6. CHAPTER VI
From old habit he took his usual walk in the direction of the Hay
Market. A dark-haired young man with a barrel organ was standing in
the road in front of a little general shop and was grinding out a very
sentimental song. He was accompanying a girl of fifteen, who stood on
the pavement in front of him. She was dressed up in a crinoline, a
mantle and a straw hat with a flame-coloured feather in it, all very
old and shabby. In a strong and rather agreeable voice, cracked and
coarsened by street singing, she sang in hope of getting a copper from
the shop. Raskolnikov joined two or three listeners, took out a five
copeck piece and put it in the girl's hand. She broke off abruptly on
a sentimental high note, shouted sharply to the organ grinder "Come
on," and both moved on to the next shop.
"Do you like street music?" said Raskolnikov, addressing a middle-aged
man standing idly by him. The man looked at him, startled and
"I love to hear singing to a street organ," said Raskolnikov, and his
manner seemed strangely out of keeping with the subject--"I like it on
cold, dark, damp autumn evenings--they must be damp--when all the
passers-by have pale green, sickly faces, or better still when wet
snow is falling straight down, when there's no wind--you know what I
mean?--and the street lamps shine through it . . ."
"I don't know. . . . Excuse me . . ." muttered the stranger,
frightened by the question and Raskolnikov's strange manner, and he
crossed over to the other side of the street.
Raskolnikov walked straight on and came out at the corner of the Hay
Market, where the huckster and his wife had talked with Lizaveta; but
they were not there now. Recognising the place, he stopped, looked
round and addressed a young fellow in a red shirt who stood gaping
before a corn chandler's shop.
"Isn't there a man who keeps a booth with his wife at this corner?"
"All sorts of people keep booths here," answered the young man,
glancing superciliously at Raskolnikov.