3. CHAPTER III
"Pyotr Petrovitch," she cried, "protect me . . . you at least! Make
this foolish woman understand that she can't behave like this to a
lady in misfortune . . . that there is a law for such things. . . .
I'll go to the governor-general himself. . . . She shall answer for
it. . . . Remembering my father's hospitality protect these orphans."
"Allow me, madam. . . . Allow me." Pyotr Petrovitch waved her off.
"Your papa as you are well aware I had not the honour of knowing"
(someone laughed aloud) "and I do not intend to take part in your
everlasting squabbles with Amalia Ivanovna. . . . I have come here to
speak of my own affairs . . . and I want to have a word with your
stepdaughter, Sofya . . . Ivanovna, I think it is? Allow me to pass."
Pyotr Petrovitch, edging by her, went to the opposite corner where
Katerina Ivanovna remained standing where she was, as though
thunderstruck. She could not understand how Pyotr Petrovitch could
deny having enjoyed her father's hospitility. Though she had invented
it herself, she believed in it firmly by this time. She was struck too
by the businesslike, dry and even contemptuous menacing tone of Pyotr
Petrovitch. All the clamour gradually died away at his entrance. Not
only was this "serious business man" strikingly incongruous with the
rest of the party, but it was evident, too, that he had come upon some
matter of consequence, that some exceptional cause must have brought
him and that therefore something was going to happen. Raskolnikov,
standing beside Sonia, moved aside to let him pass; Pyotr Petrovitch
did not seem to notice him. A minute later Lebeziatnikov, too,
appeared in the doorway; he did not come in, but stood still,
listening with marked interest, almost wonder, and seemed for a time
"Excuse me for possibly interrupting you, but it's a matter of some
importance," Pyotr Petrovitch observed, addressing the company
generally. "I am glad indeed to find other persons present. Amalia
Ivanovna, I humbly beg you as mistress of the house to pay careful
attention to what I have to say to Sofya Ivanovna. Sofya Ivanovna," he
went on, addressing Sonia, who was very much surprised and already
alarmed, "immediately after your visit I found that a hundred-rouble
note was missing from my table, in the room of my friend Mr.
Lebeziatnikov. If in any way whatever you know and will tell us where
it is now, I assure you on my word of honour and call all present to
witness that the matter shall end there. In the opposite case I shall
be compelled to have recourse to very serious measures and then . . .
you must blame yourself."