Crime And Punishment Page-90

Crime And Punishment

old woman’s box were still in his pockets! He had not thought till then of taking them out and hiding them! He had not even thought of them while he was examining his clothes! What next? Instantly he rushed to take them out and fling them on the table. When he had pulled out everything, and turned the pocket inside out to be sure there was nothing left, he carried the whole heap to the corner. The paper had come off the bottom of the wall and hung there in tatters. He began stuffing all the things into the hole under the paper: “They’re in! All out of sight, and the purse too!” he thought gleefully, getting up and gazing blankly at the hole which bulged out more than ever. Suddenly he shuddered all over with horror; “My God!” he whispered in despair: “what’s the matter with me? Is that hidden? Is that the way to hide things?” He had not reckoned on having trinkets to hide. He had only thought of money, and so had not prepared a hiding-place. “But now, now, what am I glad of?” he thought, “Is that hiding things? My reason’s deserting me—simply!” He sat down on the sofa in exhaustion and was at once shaken by another unbearable fit of shivering. Mechanically he drew from a chair beside him his old student’s winter coat, which was still warm though almost in rags, covered himself up with it and once more sank into drowsiness and delirium. He lost consciousness. Not more than five minutes had passed when he jumped up a second time, and at once pounced in a frenzy on his clothes again. “How could I go to sleep again with nothing done? Yes, yes; I have not taken the loop off the armhole! I forgot it, forgot a thing like that! Such a piece of evidence!” He pulled off the noose, hurriedly cut it to pieces and threw the bits among his linen under the pillow. “Pieces of torn linen couldn’t rouse suspicion, whatever happened; I think not, I think not, any way!” he repeated, standing in the middle of the room, and with painful concentration he fell to gazing about him again, at the floor and everywhere, trying to make sure he had not forgotten anything. The conviction that all his faculties, even memory, and the simplest power of reflection were failing him, began to be an insufferable torture. “Surely it isn’t beginning already! Surely it isn’t my punishment coming upon me? It is!” The frayed rags he had cut off his trousers were actually lying on the floor in the middle of the room, where anyone coming in would see them!