Avdotya Romanovna shared her anxiety, and was not of timorous disposition, she could not see the glowing light in his eyes without wonder and almost alarm. It was only the unbounded confidence inspired by Nastasya’s account of her brother’s queer friend, which prevented her from trying to run away from him, and to persuade her mother to do the same. She realised, too, that even running away was perhaps impossible now. Ten minutes later, however, she was considerably reassured; it was characteristic of Razumihin that he showed his true nature at once, whatever mood he might be in, so that people quickly saw the sort of man they had to deal with.

“You can’t go to the landlady, that’s perfect nonsense!” he cried. “If you stay, though you are his mother, you’ll drive him to a frenzy, and then goodness knows what will happen! Listen, I’ll tell you what I’ll do: Nastasya will stay with him now, and I’ll conduct you both home, you can’t be in the streets alone; Petersburg is an awful place in that way. … But no matter! Then I’ll run straight back here and a quarter of an hour later, on my word of honour, I’ll bring you news how he is, whether he is asleep, and all that. Then, listen! Then I’ll run home in a twinkling—I’ve a lot of friends there, all drunk—I’ll fetch Zossimov—that’s the doctor who is looking after him, he is there, too, but he is not drunk; he is not drunk, he is never drunk! I’ll drag him to Rodya, and then to you, so that you’ll get two reports in the hour—from the doctor, you understand, from the doctor himself, that’s a very different thing from my account of him! If there’s anything wrong, I swear I’ll bring you here myself, but, if it’s all right, you go to bed. And I’ll spend the night here, in the passage, he won’t hear me, and I’ll tell Zossimov to sleep at the landlady’s, to be at hand. Which is better for him: you or the doctor? So come home then! But the landlady is out of the question; it’s all right for me, but it’s out of the question for you: she wouldn’t take you, for she’s … for she’s a fool … She’d be jealous on my account of Avdotya Romanovna and of you, too, if you want to know … of Avdotya Romanovna certainly. She is an absolutely, absolutely unaccountable character! But I am a fool, too! … No matter! Come along! Do you trust me? Come, do you trust me or not?”

“Let us go, mother,” said Avdotya Romanovna, “he will certainly do what he has promised. He has saved Rodya already, and if the doctor really will consent to spend the night here, what could be better?”

“You see, you … you … understand me, because you are an angel!” Razumihin cried in ecstasy, “let us go! Nastasya! Fly upstairs and sit with him with a light; I’ll come in a quarter of an hour.”

Though Pulcheria Alexandrovna was not perfectly convinced, she made no further resistance. Razumihin gave an arm to each and drew them down the stairs. He still made her uneasy, as though he was competent and good-natured, was he capable of carrying out his promise? He seemed in such a condition. …

“Ah, I see you think I am in such a condition!” Razumihin broke in upon her thoughts, guessing them, as he strolled along the pavement with huge steps, so that the two ladies could hardly keep up with him, a fact he did not observe, however. “Nonsense! That is … I am drunk like a fool, but that’s not it; I am not drunk from wine. It’s seeing you has turned my head … But don’t mind me! Don’t take any notice: I am talking nonsense, I am not worthy of you. … I am utterly unworthy of you! The minute I’ve taken you home, I’ll pour a couple of pailfuls of water over my head in the gutter here, and then I shall be all right. … If only you knew how I love you both! Don’t laugh, and don’t be angry! You may be angry with anyone, but not with me! I am his friend, and therefore I am your friend, too, I want to be … I had a presentiment … Last year there was a moment … though it wasn’t a presentiment really, for you seem to have fallen from heaven. And I expect I shan’t sleep all night … Zossimov was afraid a little time ago that he would go mad … that’s why he mustn’t be irritated.”

“What do you say?” cried the mother.

“Did the doctor really say that?” asked Avdotya Romanovna, alarmed.

“Yes, but it’s not so, not a bit of it. He gave him some medicine, a powder, I saw it, and then your coming here. … Ah! It would have been better if you had come to-morrow. It’s a good thing we went away. And in an hour Zossimov himself will report to you about everything. He is not drunk! And I shan’t be drunk. … And what made me get so tight? Because they got me into an argument, damn them! I’ve sworn never

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.