2. CHAPTER II
"A strange scene passed between us last time we met, Rodion
Romanovitch. Our first interview, too, was a strange one; but then
. . . and one thing after another! This is the point: I have perhaps
acted unfairly to you; I feel it. Do you remember how we parted? Your
nerves were unhinged and your knees were shaking and so were mine.
And, you know, our behaviour was unseemly, even ungentlemanly. And yet
we are gentlemen, above all, in any case, gentlemen; that must be
understood. Do you remember what we came to? . . . and it was quite
"What is he up to, what does he take me for?" Raskolnikov asked
himself in amazement, raising his head and looking with open eyes on
"I've decided openness is better between us," Porfiry Petrovitch went
on, turning his head away and dropping his eyes, as though unwilling
to disconcert his former victim and as though disdaining his former
wiles. "Yes, such suspicions and such scenes cannot continue for long.
Nikolay put a stop to it, or I don't know what we might not have come
to. That damned workman was sitting at the time in the next room--can
you realise that? You know that, of course; and I am aware that he
came to you afterwards. But what you supposed then was not true: I had
not sent for anyone, I had made no kind of arrangements. You ask why I
hadn't? What shall I say to you? it had all come upon me so suddenly.
I had scarcely sent for the porters (you noticed them as you went out,
I dare say). An idea flashed upon me; I was firmly convinced at the
time, you see, Rodion Romanovitch. Come, I thought--even if I let one
thing slip for a time, I shall get hold of something else--I shan't
lose what I want, anyway. You are nervously irritable, Rodion
Romanovitch, by temperament; it's out of proportion with other
qualities of your heart and character, which I flatter myself I have
to some extent divined. Of course I did reflect even then that it does
not always happen that a man gets up and blurts out his whole story.
It does happen sometimes, if you make a man lose all patience, though
even then it's rare. I was capable of realising that. If I only had a
fact, I thought, the least little fact to go upon, something I could
lay hold of, something tangible, not merely psychological. For if a
man is guilty, you must be able to get something substantial out of
him; one may reckon upon most surprising results indeed. I was
reckoning on your temperament, Rodion Romanovitch, on your temperament
above all things! I had great hopes of you at that time."