Crime and Punishment Chapter 1
On a hot evening in July, Raskolnikov, a young university student, leaves his little garret and takes to the streets of St. Petersburg. He avoids running into his landlady to whom he is heavily in debt. Raskolnikov has been holed up in his room of late, cutting himself off from people and practical matters, thinking. Now, out on the streets, he goes over his thoughts:
"Why am I going there now? Am I capable of that? Is that serious? It is not serious at all. It's simply a fantasy to amuse myself; a plaything! Yes, maybe it is a plaything." Chapter 1, pg. 2
Although Raskolnikov is wearing but rags, he does not stand out amongst the crowd that fills the area around the slummy Hay Market. That is, not until a drunkard makes a pointed remark about Raskolnikov's Zimmerman hat. This causes Raskolnikov to wonder whether he is too noticeable. If so, that would ruin his plan. What were dreams before is now a greater reality. Knowing even the number of steps to his destination, Raskolnikov makes this trip a rehearsal for what he will do later. Upon reaching the house, Raskolnikov heads to the dark staircase in the back. He is relieved that he does not see anyone. He comes to the fourth floor where he sees some porters moving furniture from a recently vacated flat. Raskolnikov rings the bell of the only occupied flat on the floor. An old woman answers the door. As soon as he is let in, Raskolnikov begins to make mental notes of the room's arrangements. He produces a silver watch to sell to Alyona Ivanova, an old pawnbroker and moneylender. She stingily offers a rouble and a half. Raskolnikov feels slighted, but accepts the money and tells the old woman he will be back another day with more things. Raskolnikov leaves the place feeling repulsed at himself. In a state of confusion, he stumbles into a tavern (having never set foot into one before) and drinks a beer, which makes him feel better. In the mostly empty tavern, he notices a government clerk who seems agitated.