“Implicitly. I would give my life.... Only, you see, I am like a pig at a trough. I am no good. It’s my nature.”
Razumov, lost in thought, had forgotten his existence till the youth’s voice, entreating him to fly without loss of time, roused him unpleasantly.
“All right. Well—good-bye.”
“I am not going to leave you till I’ve seen you out of St. Petersburg,” declared Kostia unexpectedly, with calm determination. “You can’t refuse me that now. For God’s sake, Kirylo, my soul, the police may be here any moment, and when they get you they’ll immure you somewhere for ages—till your hair turns grey. I have down there the best trotter of dad’s stables and a light sledge. We shall do thirty miles before the moon sets, and find some roadside station....”
Razumov looked up amazed. The journey was decided—unavoidable. He had fixed the next day for his departure on the mission. And now he discovered suddenly that he had not believed in it. He had gone about listening, speaking, thinking, planning his simulated flight, with the growing conviction that all this was preposterous. As if anybody ever did such things! It was like a game of make-believe. And now he was amazed! Here was somebody who believed in it with desperate earnestness. “If I don’t go now, at once,” thought Razumov, with a start of fear, “I shall never go.” He rose without a word, and the anxious Kostia thrust his cap on him, helped him into his cloak, or else he would have left the room bareheaded as he stood. He was walking out silently when a sharp cry arrested him.
“What?” He turned reluctantly in the doorway. Upright, with a stiffly extended arm, Kostia, his face set and white, was pointing an eloquent forefinger at the brown little packet lying forgotten in the circle of bright light on the table. Razumov hesitated, came back for it under the severe eyes of his companion, at whom he tried to smile. But the boyish, mad youth was frowning. “It’s a dream,” thought Razumov, putting the little parcel into his pocket and descending the stairs; “nobody does such things.” The other held him under the arm, whispering of dangers ahead, and of what he meant to do in certain contingencies. “Preposterous,” murmured Razumov, as he was being tucked up in the sledge. He gave himself up to watching the development of the dream with extreme attention. It continued on foreseen lines, inexorably logical—the long drive, the wait at the small station sitting by a stove. They did not exchange half a dozen words altogether. Kostia, gloomy himself, did not care to break the silence. At parting they embraced twice—it had to be done; and then Kostia vanished out of the dream.
When dawn broke, Razumov, very still in a hot, stuffy railway-car full of bedding and of sleeping people in all its dimly lighted length, rose quietly, lowered the glass a few inches, and flung out on the great plain of snow a small brown-paper parcel. Then he sat down again muffled up and motionless. “For the people,” he thought, staring out of the window. The great white desert of frozen, hard earth glided past his eyes without a sign of human habitation.