Tuesday, December 21, 2010


”The ragamuffin, who had returned with the tea and veal, could not resist asking once more whether he ‘wanted anything else,’ and on again receiving a negative reply, beat a definitive retreat. Svidrigailov fell upon the tea in eagerness, anxious to warm himself, and drank a glass of it, but was unable to eat a single morsel, as he had completely lost his appetite. He was showing clear signs of incipient feverishness. He took off his overcoat and jacket, wrapped himself up in a blanket and lay down on the bed. He was annoyed: ‘It would have been better not to be ill on this occasion at least,’ he thought, and smiled a sardonic smile. The room was airless, the candle was burning dimly, the wind roared outside, somewhere in the corner a mouse was scrabbling, and the whole place seemed to reek of mice and of something leathery. He lay and seemed to lose himself in reverie: thought followed thought. It seemed to him that he would very much like to have been able to fix his imaginings on some one thing in particular. ‘There must be some sort of garden under the window,’ he thought. ‘It’s the trees that are making that roaring noise; how I detest the roaring of trees at night, in darkness and storm – a horrible sound!’ And he remembered how, as he had made his way earlier past Petrovsky Park he had thought about it with positive loathing that reminded him of –kov Bridge and Little Neva, and again he found himself feeling cold, as he had done earlier, standing above the water. ‘I’ve never ever cared for water, not even in landscapes….”

“For some reason, he suddenly recalled how earlier that day, an hour before carrying out his plan concerning Dunya, he had told
Raskolnikov he thought it would be a good thing if he were to entrust her to the care of Razumikhin. ‘I probably said that just to give myself a cheap thrill, as Raskolnikov guessed. But that Raskolnikov’s a scoundrel. He’s got a lot on his conscience. He may eventually become a proper scoundrel, when he’s put all the nonsense behind him, but for the present he’s far too fond of life! As far as that point’s concerned that crowd are bastards. Well, let the devil do with them as he pleases, it’s no business of mine….”

“He got up and sat himself on the edge of the bed with his back to the window. ‘It’s better if I don’t try to sleep at all,’ he decided. A cold damp stream of air was coming from the window, however; without raising himself from the spot, he drew the blanket over him and swathed himself in it. As for the candle, he did not light it. He was not thinking about anything, nor did he want to think; but waking dreams rose up one after the other, fragments of thought went flickering past, without beginning, end, or anything to connect them. He seemed to fall into a semi-slumber. It might have been the cold, the gloom, the dampness, the wind that was howling outside the window and making the
trees sway, all of them combined, evoking in him and intense predisposition towards the fantastic, and a desire for it – but whatever the reason was, he kept seeing flowers….. He felt positively reluctant to leave them, but he climbed the staircase and entered a large, high-ceiling reception room, and here again everywhere – by the windows, near the doors that were opened on the terrace, on the terrace itself – everywhere there were flowers. The floors had been strewn with freshly scythed fragrant grasses, the windows were open, fresh, cool, light air filtered into the room, birds chirruped outside the windows, and in the middle of the room, on some tables covered with white satin shrouds, stood a coffin. The coffin was wrapped in white gros-de-Naples and trimmed with a thick white ruche. Garlands of flowers entwined it from every side. Covered in flowers, a young girl lay in it, dressed in a white tulle dress, her arms folded together and pressed to her bosom, as though they had been sculpted from marble. But her unbanded hair, the hair of a light blonde, was wet; a wreath of roses entwined her head. The unyielding and already stiffened profile of her face seemed sculpted from marble, but the smile on her pallid lips was full of unchildlike and limitless sorrow and a great, complaining lament. Svidrigailov knew what this girl was: there were no icons or lighted candles beside this coffin. This girl was a suicide [VICTIM] - she had drowned herself. She was only fourteen years old, but this was a heart already broken, and it had destroyed itself, insulted by a humiliation that had terrified and astonished this young child’s consciousness and had flooded her angelically pure soul with shame, tearing from her a last, final shriek of despair that was not heeded but brazenly cursed on a dark night, in the murk, in the cold, in the damp thaw weather, when wind was howling…”


1 comment: