6. CHAPTER VI
"She is first-rate," he said. "You can always get money from her. She
is as rich as a Jew, she can give you five thousand roubles at a time
and she is not above taking a pledge for a rouble. Lots of our fellows
have had dealings with her. But she is an awful old harpy. . . ."
And he began describing how spiteful and uncertain she was, how if you
were only a day late with your interest the pledge was lost; how she
gave a quarter of the value of an article and took five and even seven
percent a month on it and so on. The student chattered on, saying that
she had a sister Lizaveta, whom the wretched little creature was
continually beating, and kept in complete bondage like a small child,
though Lizaveta was at least six feet high.
"There's a phenomenon for you," cried the student and he laughed.
They began talking about Lizaveta. The student spoke about her with a
peculiar relish and was continually laughing and the officer listened
with great interest and asked him to send Lizaveta to do some mending
for him. Raskolnikov did not miss a word and learned everything about
her. Lizaveta was younger than the old woman and was her half-sister,
being the child of a different mother. She was thirty-five. She worked
day and night for her sister, and besides doing the cooking and the
washing, she did sewing and worked as a charwoman and gave her sister
all she earned. She did not dare to accept an order or job of any kind
without her sister's permission. The old woman had already made her
will, and Lizaveta knew of it, and by this will she would not get a
farthing; nothing but the movables, chairs and so on; all the money
was left to a monastery in the province of N----, that prayers might
be said for her in perpetuity. Lizaveta was of lower rank than her
sister, unmarried and awfully uncouth in appearance, remarkably tall
with long feet that looked as if they were bent outwards. She always
wore battered goatskin shoes, and was clean in her person. What the
student expressed most surprise and amusement about was the fact that
Lizaveta was continually with child.
"But you say she is hideous?" observed the officer.