1. CHAPTER I
But during the two or three days after Katerina Ivanovna's death, he
had two or three times met Svidrigailov at Sonia's lodging, where he
had gone aimlessly for a moment. They exchanged a few words and made
no reference to the vital subject, as though they were tacitly agreed
not to speak of it for a time.
Katerina Ivanovna's body was still lying in the coffin, Svidrigailov
was busy making arrangements for the funeral. Sonia too was very busy.
At their last meeting Svidrigailov informed Raskolnikov that he had
made an arrangement, and a very satisfactory one, for Katerina
Ivanovna's children; that he had, through certain connections,
succeeded in getting hold of certain personages by whose help the
three orphans could be at once placed in very suitable institutions;
that the money he had settled on them had been of great assistance, as
it is much easier to place orphans with some property than destitute
ones. He said something too about Sonia and promised to come himself
in a day or two to see Raskolnikov, mentioning that "he would like to
consult with him, that there were things they must talk over. . . ."
This conversation took place in the passage on the stairs.
Svidrigailov looked intently at Raskolnikov and suddenly, after a
brief pause, dropping his voice, asked: "But how is it, Rodion
Romanovitch; you don't seem yourself? You look and you listen, but you
don't seem to understand. Cheer up! We'll talk things over; I am only
sorry, I've so much to do of my own business and other people's. Ah,
Rodion Romanovitch," he added suddenly, "what all men need is fresh
air, fresh air . . . more than anything!"
He moved to one side to make way for the priest and server, who were
coming up the stairs. They had come for the requiem service. By
Svidrigailov's orders it was sung twice a day punctually. Svidrigailov
went his way. Raskolnikov stood still a moment, thought, and followed
the priest into Sonia's room. He stood at the door. They began
quietly, slowly and mournfully singing the service. From his childhood
the thought of death and the presence of death had something
oppressive and mysteriously awful; and it was long since he had heard
the requiem service. And there was something else here as well, too
awful and disturbing. He looked at the children: they were all
kneeling by the coffin; Polenka was weeping. Behind them Sonia prayed,
softly and, as it were, timidly weeping.