2. EPILOGUE - II (continued)
"You're a gentleman," they used to say. "You shouldn't hack about with
an axe; that's not a gentleman's work."
The second week in Lent, his turn came to take the sacrament with his
gang. He went to church and prayed with the others. A quarrel broke
out one day, he did not know how. All fell on him at once in a fury.
"You're an infidel! You don't believe in God," they shouted. "You
ought to be killed."
He had never talked to them about God nor his belief, but they wanted
to kill him as an infidel. He said nothing. One of the prisoners
rushed at him in a perfect frenzy. Raskolnikov awaited him calmly and
silently; his eyebrows did not quiver, his face did not flinch. The
guard succeeded in intervening between him and his assailant, or there
would have been bloodshed.
There was another question he could not decide: why were they all so
fond of Sonia? She did not try to win their favour; she rarely met
them, sometimes only she came to see him at work for a moment. And yet
everybody knew her, they knew that she had come out to follow /him/,
knew how and where she lived. She never gave them money, did them no
particular services. Only once at Christmas she sent them all presents
of pies and rolls. But by degrees closer relations sprang up between
them and Sonia. She would write and post letters for them to their
relations. Relations of the prisoners who visited the town, at their
instructions, left with Sonia presents and money for them. Their wives
and sweethearts knew her and used to visit her. And when she visited
Raskolnikov at work, or met a party of the prisoners on the road, they
all took off their hats to her. "Little mother Sofya Semyonovna, you
are our dear, good little mother," coarse branded criminals said to
that frail little creature. She would smile and bow to them and
everyone was delighted when she smiled. They even admired her gait and
turned round to watch her walking; they admired her too for being so
little, and, in fact, did not know what to admire her most for. They
even came to her for help in their illnesses.