Crime And Punishment Page-96

Crime And Punishment

air-balloon and filled almost half the room. She smelt of scent. But she was obviously embarrassed at filling half the room and smelling so strongly of scent; and though her smile was impudent as well as cringing, it betrayed evident uneasiness. The lady in mourning had done at last, and got up. All at once, with some noise, an officer walked in very jauntily, with a peculiar swing of his shoulders at each step. He tossed his cockaded cap on the table and sat down in an easy￾chair. The small lady positively skipped from her seat on seeing him, and fell to curtsying in a sort of ecstasy; but the officer took not the smallest notice of her, and she did not venture to sit down again in his presence. He was the assistant superintendent. He had a reddish moustache that stood out horizontally on each side of his face, and extremely small features, expressive of nothing much except a certain insolence. He looked askance and rather indignantly at Raskolnikov; he was so very badly dressed, and in spite of his humiliating position, his bearing was by no means in keeping with his clothes. Raskolnikov had unwarily fixed a very long and direct look on him, so that he felt positively affronted. “What do you want?” he shouted, apparently astonished that such a ragged fellow was not annihilated by the majesty of his glance. “I was summoned... by a notice...” Raskolnikov faltered. “For the recovery of money due, from the student,” the head clerk interfered hurriedly, tearing himself from his papers. “Here!” and he flung Raskolnikov a document and pointed out the place. “Read that!” “Money? What money?” thought Raskolnikov, “but... then... it’s certainly not that.” And he trembled with joy. He felt sudden intense indescribable relief. A load was lifted from his back. “And pray, what time were you directed to appear, sir?” shouted the assistant superintendent, seeming for some unknown reason more and more aggrieved. “You are told to come at nine, and now it’s twelve!” “The notice was only brought me a quarter of an hour ago,” Raskolnikov answered loudly over his shoulder. To his own surprise he, too, grew suddenly angry and found a certain pleasure in it. “And it’s enough that I have come here ill with fever.” “Kindly refrain from shouting!” “I’m not shouting, I’m speaking very quietly, it’s you who are shouting at me. I’m a student, and allow no one to shout at me.”