Crime And Punishment Page-83

Crime And Punishment

were now standing opposite one another, as he had just before been standing with the old woman, when the door divided them and he was listening. The visitor panted several times. “He must be a big, fat man,” thought Raskolnikov, squeezing the axe in his hand. It seemed like a dream indeed. The visitor took hold of the bell and rang it loudly. As soon as the tin bell tinkled, Raskolnikov seemed to be aware of something moving in the room. For some seconds he listened quite seriously. The unknown rang again, waited and suddenly tugged violently and impatiently at the handle of the door. Raskolnikov gazed in horror at the hook shaking in its fastening, and in blank terror expected every minute that the fastening would be pulled out. It certainly did seem possible, so violently was he shaking it. He was tempted to hold the fastening, but he might be aware of it. A giddiness came over him again. “I shall fall down!” flashed through his mind, but the unknown began to speak and he recovered himself at once. “What’s up? Are they asleep or murdered? D-damn them!” he bawled in a thick voice, “Hey, Alyona Ivanovna, old witch! Lizaveta Ivanovna, hey, my beauty! open the door! Oh, damn them! Are they asleep or what?” And again, enraged, he tugged with all his might a dozen times at the bell. He must certainly be a man of authority and an intimate acquaintance. At this moment light hurried steps were heard not far off, on the stairs. Someone else was approaching. Raskolnikov had not heard them at first. “You don’t say there’s no one at home,” the new-comer cried in a cheerful, ringing voice, addressing the first visitor, who still went on pulling the bell. “Good evening, Koch.” “From his voice he must be quite young,” thought Raskolnikov. “Who the devil can tell? I’ve almost broken the lock,” answered Koch. “But how do you come to know me?” “Why! The day before yesterday I beat you three times running at billiards at Gambrinus’.” “Oh!” “So they are not at home? That’s queer. It’s awfully stupid though. Where could the old woman have gone? I’ve come on business.” “Yes; and I have business with her, too.” “Well, what can we do? Go back, I suppose, Aie—aie! And I was hoping to get some money!” cried the young man. “We must give it up, of course, but what did she fix this time for? The old