Crime And Punishment Page-98

Crime And Punishment

that moment without thought for the future, without analysis, without suppositions or surmises, without doubts and without questioning. It was an instant of full, direct, purely instinctive joy. But at that very moment something like a thunderstorm took place in the office. The assistant superintendent, still shaken by Raskolnikov’s disrespect, still fuming and obviously anxious to keep up his wounded dignity, pounced on the unfortunate smart lady, who had been gazing at him ever since he came in with an exceedingly silly smile. “You shameful hussy!” he shouted suddenly at the top of his voice. (The lady in mourning had left the office.) “What was going on at your house last night? Eh! A disgrace again, you’re a scandal to the whole street. Fighting and drinking again. Do you want the house of correction? Why, I have warned you ten times over that I would not let you off the eleventh! And here you are again, again, you... you...!” The paper fell out of Raskolnikov’s hands, and he looked wildly at the smart lady who was so unceremoniously treated. But he soon saw what it meant, and at once began to find positive amusement in the scandal. He listened with pleasure, so that he longed to laugh and laugh... all his nerves were on edge. “Ilya Petrovitch!” the head clerk was beginning anxiously, but stopped short, for he knew from experience that the enraged assistant could not be stopped except by force. As for the smart lady, at first she positively trembled before the storm. But, strange to say, the more numerous and violent the terms of abuse became, the more amiable she looked, and the more seductive the smiles she lavished on the terrible assistant. She moved uneasily, and curtsied incessantly, waiting impatiently for a chance of putting in her word: and at last she found it. “There was no sort of noise or fighting in my house, Mr. Captain,” she pattered all at once, like peas dropping, speaking Russian confidently, though with a strong German accent, “and no sort of scandal, and his honour came drunk, and it’s the whole truth I am telling, Mr. Captain, and I am not to blame.... Mine is an honourable house, Mr. Captain, and honourable behaviour, Mr. Captain, and I always, always dislike any scandal myself. But he came quite tipsy, and asked for three bottles again, and then he lifted up one leg, and began playing the pianoforte with one foot, and that is not at all right in an honourable house, and he ganz broke the piano, and it was very bad manners indeed and I said so. And he took up a bottle and began hitting everyone with it. And then I called the porter, and Karl came, and he took Karl and hit him in the eye; and he hit Henriette in the eye, too, and gave me five slaps on the cheek. And it was so ungentlemanly in an honourable house, Mr. Captain, and I screamed. And he