Crime And Punishment Page-97

Crime And Punishment

The assistant superintendent was so furious that for the first minute he could only splutter inarticulately. He leaped up from his seat. “Be silent! You are in a government office. Don’t be impudent, sir!” “You’re in a government office, too,” cried Raskolnikov, “and you’re smoking a cigarette as well as shouting, so you are showing disrespect to all of us.” He felt an indescribable satisfaction at having said this. The head clerk looked at him with a smile. The angry assistant superintendent was obviously disconcerted. “That’s not your business!” he shouted at last with unnatural loudness. “Kindly make the declaration demanded of you. Show him. Alexandr Grigorievitch. There is a complaint against you! You don’t pay your debts! You’re a fine bird!” But Raskolnikov was not listening now; he had eagerly clutched at the paper, in haste to find an explanation. He read it once, and a second time, and still did not understand. “What is this?” he asked the head clerk. “It is for the recovery of money on an I O U, a writ. You must either pay it, with all expenses, costs and so on, or give a written declaration when you can pay it, and at the same time an undertaking not to leave the capital without payment, and nor to sell or conceal your property. The creditor is at liberty to sell your property, and proceed against you according to the law.” “But I... am not in debt to anyone!” “That’s not our business. Here, an I O U for a hundred and fifteen roubles, legally attested, and due for payment, has been brought us for recovery, given by you to the widow of the assessor Zarnitsyn, nine months ago, and paid over by the widow Zarnitsyn to one Mr. Tchebarov. We therefore summon you, hereupon.” “But she is my landlady!” “And what if she is your landlady?” The head clerk looked at him with a condescending smile of compassion, and at the same time with a certain triumph, as at a novice under fire for the first time —as though he would say: “Well, how do you feel now?” But what did he care now for an I O U, for a writ of recovery! Was that worth worrying about now, was it worth attention even! He stood, he read, he listened, he answered, he even asked questions himself, but all mechanically. The triumphant sense of security, of deliverance from overwhelming danger, that was what filled his whole soul