Chapter 8

When he went into Sonia’s room, it was already getting dark. All day Sonia had been waiting for him in terrible anxiety. Dounia had been waiting with her. She had come to her that morning, remembering Svidrigailov’s words that Sonia knew. We will not describe the conversation and tears of the two girls, and how friendly they became. Dounia gained one comfort at least from that interview, that her brother would not be alone. He had gone to her, Sonia, first with his confession; he had gone to her for human fellowship when he needed it; she would go with him wherever fate might send him. Dounia did not ask, but she knew it was so. She looked at Sonia almost with reverence and at first almost embarrassed her by it. Sonia was almost on the point of tears. She felt herself, on the contrary, hardly worthy to look at Dounia. Dounia’s gracious image when she had bowed to her so attentively and respectfully at their first meeting in Raskolnikov’s room had remained in her mind as one of the fairest visions of her life.

Dounia at last became impatient and, leaving Sonia, went to her brother’s room to await him there; she kept thinking that he would come there first. When she had gone, Sonia began to be tortured by the dread of his committing suicide, and Dounia too feared it. But they had spent the day trying to persuade each other that that could not be, and both were less anxious while they were together. As soon as they parted, each thought of nothing else. Sonia remembered how Svidrigailov had said to her the day before that Raskolnikov had two alternatives—Siberia or … Besides she knew his vanity, his pride and his lack of faith.

“Is it possible that he has nothing but cowardice and fear of death to make him live?” she thought at last in despair.

Meanwhile the sun was setting. Sonia was standing in dejection, looking intently out of the window, but from it she could see nothing but the unwhitewashed blank wall of the next house. At last when she began to feel sure of his death—he walked into the room.

She gave a cry of joy, but looking carefully into his face she turned pale.

“Yes,” said Raskolnikov, smiling. “I have come for your cross, Sonia. It was you told me to go to the cross-roads; why is it you are frightened now it’s come to that?”

Sonia gazed at him astonished. His tone seemed strange to her; a cold shiver ran over her, but in a moment she guessed that the tone and the words were a mask. He spoke to her looking away, as though to avoid meeting her eyes.

“You see, Sonia, I’ve decided that it will be better so. There is one fact. … But it’s a long story and there’s no need to discuss it. But do you know what angers me? It annoys me that all those stupid brutish faces will be gaping at me directly, pestering me with their stupid questions, which I shall have to answer—they’ll point their fingers at me. … Tfoo! You know I am not going to Porfiry, I am sick of him. I’d rather go to my friend, the Explosive Lieutenant; how I shall surprise him, what a sensation I shall make! But I must be cooler; I’ve become too irritable of late. You know I was nearly shaking my fist at my sister just now, because she turned to take a last look at me. It’s a brutal state to be in! Ah! what am I coming to! Well, where are the crosses?”

He seemed hardly to know what he was doing. He could not stay still or concentrate his attention on anything; his ideas seemed to gallop after one another, he talked incoherently, his hands trembled slightly.

Without a word Sonia took out of the drawer two crosses, one of cypress wood and one of copper. She made the sign of the cross over herself and over him, and put the wooden cross on his neck.

“It’s the symbol of my taking up the cross,” he laughed. “As though I had not suffered much till now! The wooden cross, that is the peasant one; the copper one, that is Lizaveta’s—you will wear yourself, show me! So she had it on … at that moment? I remember two things like these too, a silver one and a little ikon. I threw them back on the old woman’s neck. Those would be appropriate now, really, those are what I ought to put on now. … But I am talking nonsense and forgetting what matters; I’m somehow

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