AFTER RETURNING FROM THE HAY MARKET, THE NIGHT OF FINDING OUT LIZAVETA WOULD NOT BE HOME AND THE PAWNBROKER WOULD BE ALONE. HE THREW HIMSELF ON THE SOFA STILL FEELING FEVERISH, IT WAS ALMOST DARK AND FELL INTO A DEEP, LEADEN SLEEP, NOT DREAMING, UNTIL TEN THE NEXT MORNING WHEN NASTASYA WITH MUCH DIFFICULTY WOKE HIM BRINGING HIM TEA IN HER OWN TEAPOT.
"Look at him sleeping there!" she cried indignantly. "All he does is sleep!" His head ached; he got to his feet, took a turn around his room, (closest) and dropped back down on the sofa.
"Falling asleep again!" Nastasya cried. "Are you sick or what?" He made no reply.
"Later," he said with an effort, closing his eyes and turning to the wall. Nastasya stood over him for awhile.
"Maybe he really is sick," she said and left.
She came back at two o'clock bringing soup. He lay as before. The tea untouched. Nastasya was offended shaking him angrily.
"Are you sick or aren't you?" Nastasya asked, no reply. "Go!" Waving his hand.
She stood there a while looking at him with compassion, then left.
After a few minutes he raised his head ate a few bites. His head ached less after finishing his dinner. He lay back down but could not sleep. He daydreamed he was in Africa, in Egypt, in some oasis. The air was so fresh the water so blue, cold, running over the many-colored stones and over such clean sand sparkling with gold . . . All at once he heard the clock strike. He gave a start, realizing the time and jumped up. His heart was pounding as he listen down the stairs. All quiet as if everyone were asleep . . . It was strange that he could have slept since the day before, preparing nothing . . . Meanwhile it just struck six o'clock . . . In place of sleep, an extraordinary, feverish, confused bustle came over him. The preparations are not many. He used all his energy to figure everything out, his heart was pounding so making it hard for him to breathe.
HE TORE STRIPS FROM AN OLD TATTERED SHIRT, SEWING THEM INSIDE THE LEFT ARM OF HIS COAT TO HIDE THE AXE. HE HAD THOUGHT UP THIS HIDDEN INNER LOOP TO CONCEAL THE AXE TWO WEEKS AGO.
HE RETRIEVED THE WRAPPED UP PIECE OF IRON AND WOOD TO FOOL ALYONA INTO THINKING IT WAS A SILVER CIGARETTE CASE, TYING A RIBBON CROSSWISE WITH A KNOT THAT WOULD BE HARD TO UNTIE. THIS WOULD DISTRACT THE OLD WOMAN LONG ENOUGH TO CATCH THE RIGHT MOMENT.
HE WOULD QUIETLY STEAL THE AXE FROM THE LANDLADY'S KITCHEN.
HE HAD THOUGHT ABOUT THE MAIN DETAILS BUT PUT OFF MANY TRIFLES. HE COULD IN NO WAY IMAGINE, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT ONE DAY HE WOULD FINISH THINKING, GET UP, AND ---SIMPLY GO THERE . . . EVEN HIS RECENT TRIAL (THAT IS, HIS VISIT WITH THE INTENTION OF MAKING A FINAL SURVEY OH THE PLACE) WAS FAR FROM THE REAL THING. HE WAS SIMPLY DREAMING, TOYING WITH IT. HE SPAT THE IDEA OUT IMMEDIATELY REALIZING HE COULD NOT ENDURE IT, FLEEING FURIOUS WITH HIMSELF. YET HE HAD ALREADY CONCLUDED THE MORAL ANALYSIS: HIS REASONING WAS AS SHARP AS A RAZOR, HE NO LONGER FINDS ANY CONSCIOUS OBJECTIONS. HE SIMPLY DID NOT BELIEVE IN HIMSELF, STUBBORNLY SEEKING OBJECTIONS AS IF SOMEONE WERE FORCING HIM, AND DRAWING HIM TO IT. THIS LAST DAY, COMING BY CHANCE RESOLVED EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE, AFFECTED HIM WHOLLY MECHANICALLY: AS IF SOMEONE HAD TAKEN HIM BY THE HAND AND PULLED HIM ALONG IRRESISTIBLY, BLINDLY, WITH NATURAL FORCES, WITHOUT OBJECTIONS. AS IF A PIECE OF HIS CLOTHING HAD BEEN CAUGHT IN THE COGS OF A MACHINE AND HE WERE DRAGGED INTO IT.
LONG BEFORE HE HAD HE HAD BEEN OCCUPIED WITH ONE QUESTION. WHY ALMOST ALL CRIMES ARE SO EASILY DETECTED AND SOLVED, AND WHY ALMOST ALL CRIMINALS LEAVE AN OBVIOUSLY MARKED TRAIL. LYING, BUT AT THE TIME OF THE CRIME THE CRIMINAL'S WILL AND REASON IS REPLACED BY CHILDISH THOUGHTLESSNESS, JUST AT THE MOMENT WHEN REASON AND PRUDENCE ARE MOST NECESSARY. THIS DARKENING OF REASONING WILL TAKE HOLD OF A MAN LIKE A DISEASE. HE DECIDED THAT IN HIS OWN PERSONAL CASE THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN. REASON AND WILL WOULD REMAIN WITH HIM THROUGHOUT WHAT HE PLOTTED, FOR THE SOLE REASON THAT WHAT HE HAD PLOTTED--WAS "NOT A CRIME" . . .
BEFORE GETTING DOWN THE STAIRS, HE CANNOT GET THE AXE IN THE KITCHEN, NASTASYA WAS THERE. HE WAS TERRIBLY STRUCK. HE WAS HUMILIATED. DULL, BRUTAL RAGE WAS SEETHING IN HIM.
HE STOPPED IN THE GATEWAY REFLECTING, REMEMBERING THE CARETAKERS CLOSET TWO STEPS AWAY. THERE'S NO ONE THERE, QUICKLY HE GRABS THE AXE AND PLACES IT UNDER HIS COAT IN THE LOOP HE HAD MADE FOR IT. THE INCIDENT ENCOURAGED HIM ENORMOUSLY.
HE WENT QUIETLY ON HIS WAY, IN NO HURRY. A CURSE ROSE UP IN HIS SOUL, HE HAD MONEY TWO DAYS AGO AND FORGOT TO PURCHASE A HAT, ONE LESS NOTICEABLE THAN THE OLD DRUNK MADE FUN OF. IT WAS TEN MINUTES PAST SEVEN BY A CLOCK IN A SHOP. HE WAS NOT AFRAID, NOT AT ALL.
HE HAD NO TROUBLE GETTING PAST THE GATES INTO THE HOUSE THANKS TO A HAY WAGON GOING IN, HE'S INSIDE AND AT THE STAIRS. QUIETLY PAUSING TO LISTEN, ALL DOORS WERE SHUT, HE MET NO ONE. ONE EMPTY APARTMENT ON THE SECOND FLOOR WHERE PAINTERS ARE WORKING. HE IS NOW ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, HERE WAS THE DOOR. THE APARTMENT ON THE THIRD FLOOR JUST UNDER THE OLD WOMAN'S WAS EMPTY. HE WAS GASPING FOR BREATH. A THOUGHT RACED THROUGH HIS MIND: "SHOULDN'T I GO AWAY?" HE LISTENED AT THE OLD WOMAN'S DOOR: DEAD SILENCE. THEN HE LISTENED DOWN THE STAIRS, LONG ATTENTIVELY . . . THEN HE TOOK A LAST LOOK AROUND, PULLED HIMSELF TOGETHER, STRAIGHTENED HIMSELF UP, FELT THE AXE. SHOULDN'T I WAIT A LITTLE LONGER . . . UNTIL MY HEART STOPS THIS . . . ?
BUT HIS HEART COULD NOT STOP. ON THE CONTRARY, AS THOUGH ON PURPOSE, IT POUNDED HARDER, HARDER, HARDER . . .
HE RANG THE BELL, HALF A MINUTE LATER HE RANG AGAIN LOUDER . . .
NO ANSWER. HE KNEW THE OLD WOMAN WAS AT HOME, BUT ALONE AND SUSPICIOUS. HE PRESSED HIS EAR TO THE DOOR. HE KNEW SHE WAS STANDING, LISTENING CAUTIOUSLY AT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR WITH AN EAR TO THE DOOR . . .
HE MUTTERED SOMETHING THEN RANG FOR THE THIRD TIME TO EASE HER SUSPICIONS.
A SECOND LATER THE SOUND OF A LATCH BEING LIFTED. . . .