Razumov, in his chair, leaning his head on his hand, spoke as if from the bottom of an abyss.
“You believe in God, Haldin?”
“There you go catching at words that are wrung from one. What does it matter? What was it the Englishman said: ’There is a divine soul in things...’ Devil take him—I don’t remember now. But he spoke the truth. When the day of you thinkers comes don’t you forget what’s divine in the Russian soul—and that’s resignation. Respect that in your intellectual restlessness and don’t let your arrogant wisdom spoil its message to the world. I am speaking to you now like a man with a rope round his neck. What do you imagine I am? A being in revolt? No. It’s you thinkers who are in everlasting revolt. I am one of the resigned. When the necessity of this heavy work came to me and I understood that it had to be done—what did I do? Did I exult? Did I take pride in my purpose? Did I try to weigh its worth and consequences? No! I was resigned. I thought ‘God’s will be done.’”
He threw himself full length on Razumov’s bed and putting the backs of his hands over his eyes remained perfectly motionless and silent. Not even the sound of his breathing could be heard. The dead stillness or the room remained undisturbed till in the darkness Razumov said gloomily—
“Yes,” answered the other readily, quite invisible now on the bed and without the slightest stir.
“Isn’t it time for me to start?”
“Yes, brother.” The other was heard, lying still in the darkness as though he were talking in his sleep. “The time has come to put fate to the test.”
He paused, then gave a few lucid directions in the quiet impersonal voice of a man in a trance. Razumov made ready without a word of answer. As he was leaving the room the voice on the bed said after him—
“Go with God, thou silent soul.”
On the landing, moving softly, Razumov locked the door and put the key in his pocket.
The words and events of that evening must have been graven as if with a steel tool on Mr. Razumov’s brain since he was able to write his relation with such fullness and precision a good many months afterwards.
The record of the thoughts which assailed him in the street is even more minute and abundant. They seem to have rushed upon him with the greater freedom because his thinking powers were no longer crushed by Haldin’s presence—the appalling presence of a great crime and the stunning force of a great fanaticism. On looking through the pages of Mr. Razumov’s diary I own that a “rush of thoughts” is not an adequate image.
The more adequate description would be a tumult of thoughts—the faithful reflection of the state of his feelings. The thoughts in themselves were not numerous—they were like the thoughts of most human beings, few and simple—but they cannot be reproduced here in all their exclamatory repetitions which went on in an endless and weary turmoil—for the walk was long.