6. CHAPTER VI
He spent that evening till ten o'clock going from one low haunt to
another. Katia too turned up and sang another gutter song, how a
certain "villain and tyrant"
"began kissing Katia."
Svidrigailov treated Katia and the organ-grinder and some singers and
the waiters and two little clerks. He was particularly drawn to these
clerks by the fact that they both had crooked noses, one bent to the
left and the other to the right. They took him finally to a pleasure
garden, where he paid for their entrance. There was one lanky three-year-old pine-tree and three bushes in the garden, besides a
"Vauxhall," which was in reality a drinking-bar where tea too was
served, and there were a few green tables and chairs standing round
it. A chorus of wretched singers and a drunken but exceedingly
depressed German clown from Munich with a red nose entertained the
public. The clerks quarrelled with some other clerks and a fight
seemed imminent. Svidrigailov was chosen to decide the dispute. He
listened to them for a quarter of an hour, but they shouted so loud
that there was no possibility of understanding them. The only fact
that seemed certain was that one of them had stolen something and had
even succeeded in selling it on the spot to a Jew, but would not share
the spoil with his companion. Finally it appeared that the stolen
object was a teaspoon belonging to the Vauxhall. It was missed and the
affair began to seem troublesome. Svidrigailov paid for the spoon, got
up, and walked out of the garden. It was about six o'clock. He had not
drunk a drop of wine all this time and had ordered tea more for the
sake of appearances than anything.
It was a dark and stifling evening. Threatening storm-clouds came over
the sky about ten o'clock. There was a clap of thunder, and the rain
came down like a waterfall. The water fell not in drops, but beat on
the earth in streams. There were flashes of lightning every minute and
each flash lasted while one could count five.