Well, so be it, I am a pig, but she is a lady! I have
the semblance of a beast, but Katerina Ivanovna, my spouse is a person of
education and an officers daughter. Granted, granted, I am a scoundrel,
but she is a woman of a noble heart, full of sentiments, refined by education.
oh, if only she felt for me! Honoured sir, honoured sir,
you know every man ought to have at least one place where people feel for
him!! But Katerina Ivanovna, though she is magnanimous, she is unjust.
And yet, although I realise that when she pulls my hair she only does it
out of pityfor I repeat without being ashamed, she pulls my hair,
young man, but, my God, if she would but once.
But no, no! Its
all in vain and its no use talking! No use talking! For more than
once, my wish did come true and more than once she has felt for me but
such is my fate and I am a beast by nature! Do you know, sir, do you know,
I have sold her very stockings for drink? Not her shoesthat would
be more or less in the order of things, but her stockings, her stockings
I have sold for drink! Her mohair shawl I sold for drink, a present to her
long ago, her own property, not mine; and we live in a cold room and she
caught cold this winter and has begun coughing and spitting blood too. We
have three little children and Katerina Ivanovna is at work from morning
till night; she is scrubbing and cleaning and washing the children, for
shes been used to cleanliness from a child. But her chest is weak
and she has a tendency to consumption and I feel it! Do you suppose I dont
feel it? And the more I drink the more I feel it. Thats why I drink
too. I try to find sympathy and feeling in drink.
I drink so that
I may suffer twice as much! Young man, my wife was educated in a high-class
school for the daughters of noblemen, and on leaving, she danced the shawl
dance before the governor and other personages for which she was presented
with a gold medal and a certificate of merit. The medal
medal of course was soldlong ago, hm
but the certificate of
merit is in her trunk still and not long ago she showed it to our landlady.
And although she is most continually on bad terms with the landlady, yet
she wanted to tell some one or other of her past honours and of the happy
days that are gone. I dont condemn her for it. I dont blame
her, for the one thing left her is recollection of the past, and all the
rest is dust and ashes. Yes, yes, she is a lady of spirit, proud and determined.
She scrubs the floors herself and has nothing but black bread to eat, but
wont allow herself to be treated with disrespect. We have now part
of a room at Amalia Ivanovna Lippevechsels; and what we live upon
and what we pay our rent with, I could not say. There are a lot of people
living there beside ourselves. Dirt and disorder, a perfect Bedlam
And meanwhile my daughter by my first wife has grown
up; and what my daughter has had to put up with from her step-mother whilst
she was growing up, I wont speak of. For, though Katerina Ivanovna
is full of generous feelings, she is a spirited lady, irritable and short-tempered.
Yes. But its no use going over that! Sonia, as you may well fancy,
has had no education. And do you suppose that a respectable poor girl can
earn much by honest work? Not fifteen farthings a day can she earn, if she
is respectable and has no special talent and that without putting her work
down for an instant! And there are the little ones hungry.
Ivanovna walking up and down and wringing her hands, her cheeks flushed
red, as they always are in that disease: "Here you live with us,"
says she, "you eat and drink and are kept warm and you do nothing to
help." And much she gets to eat and drink when there is not a crust
for the little ones for three days! I was lying at the time
what of it! I was lying drunk and I heard my Sonia speaking (she is a gentle
creature with a soft little voice
fair hair and such a pale, thin
little face). She said: "Katerina Ivanovna, am I really to do a thing
like that?" Darya Frantsovna, you see, a woman of evil character and
very well known to the police, had two or three times tried to get at her
through the landlady. "And why not?" said Katerina Ivanovna with
a jeer, "You are something mighty precious to be so careful of!"
But dont blame her, dont blame her, honoured sir, dont
blame her! She was not herself when she spoke, but driven to distraction
by her illness and the crying of the hungry children. At six oclock
I saw Sonia get up, put on her kerchief and her cape, and go out of the
room and about nine oclock she came back. She walked straight up to
Katerina Ivanovna and she laid thirty roubles on the table before her in
silence. She did not utter a word, she did not even look at her, she simply
picked up our big green shawl, put it over her head and lay down on the
bed with her face to the wall; only her little shoulders and her body kept
And I went on lying there, just as before.
I saw, young man, I saw Katerina Ivanovna, in the same silence go up to
Sonias little bed; she was on her knees all the evening kissing Sonias
feet, and would not get up, and then they both fell asleep in each others
Credits: Reprinted from Crime and Punishment. Trans. Constance Garnett.
New York: P. F. Collier & Son, 1917.
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