Can this be still a dream? Raskolnikov thought once more.
He looked carefully and suspiciously at the unexpected visitor.
Svidrigailov! What nonsense! It cant be! he said at last aloud in bewilderment.
His visitor did not seem at all surprised at this exclamation.
Ive come to you for two reasons. In the first place, I wanted to make your personal acquaintance, as I have already heard a great deal about you that is interesting and flattering; secondly, I cherish the hope that you may not refuse to assist me in a matter directly concerning the welfare of your sister, Avdotya Romanovna. For without your support she might not let me come near her now, for she is prejudiced against me, but with your assistance I reckon on
You reckon wrongly, interrupted Raskolnikov.
They only arrived yesterday, may I ask you?
Raskolnikov made no reply.
It was yesterday, I know. I only arrived myself the day before. Well, let me tell you this, Rodion Romanovitch, I dont consider it necessary to justify myself, but kindly tell me what was there particularly criminal on my part in all this business, speaking without prejudice, with common sense?
Raskolnikov continued to look at him in silence.
That in my own house I persecuted a defenceless girl and insulted her with my infamous proposalsis that it? (I am anticipating you.) But youve only to assume that I, too, am a man et nihil humanum in a word, that I am capable of being attracted and falling in love (which does not depend on our will), then everything can be explained in the most natural manner. The question is, am I a monster, or am I myself a victim? And what if I am a victim? In proposing to the object of my passion to elope with me to America or Switzerland, I may have cherished the deepest respect for her and may have thought that I was promoting our mutual happiness! Reason is the slave of passion, you know; why, probably, I was doing more harm to myself than anyone!
But thats not the point, Raskolnikov interrupted with disgust. Its simply that whether you are right or wrong, we dislike you. We dont want to have anything to do with you. We show you the door. Go out!
Svidrigailov broke into a sudden laugh.
But youre but theres no getting round you, he said, laughing in the frankest way. I hoped to get round you, but you took up the right line at once!
But you are trying to get round me still!
What of it? What of it? cried Svidrigailov, laughing openly. But this is what the French call bonne guerre, and the most innocent form of deception! But still you have interrupted me; one way or another, I repeat again: there would never have been any unpleasantness except for what happened in the garden. Marfa Petrovna
You have got rid of Marfa Petrovna, too, so they say? Raskolnikov interrupted rudely.
Oh, youve heard that, too, then? Youd be sure to, though. But as for your question, I really dont know what to say, though my own conscience is quite at rest on that score. Dont suppose that I am in any apprehension about it. All was regular and in order; the medical inquiry diagnosed apoplexy due to bathing immediately after a heavy dinner and a bottle of wine, and indeed it could have proved nothing
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