Book Extract - Atonement
by Life Positive
And you murdered her!" … He leaned his elbows on his knees and squeezed his head in his hands as in a vise.
"What suffering!" A wail of anguish broke from Sonia.
"Well, what am I to do now?" he asked, suddenly raising his head and looking at her with a face hideously distorted by despair.
"What are you to do?" she cried, jumping up, and her eyes that had been full of tears suddenly began to shine. "Stand up!" (She seized him by the shoulder, he got up, looking at her almost bewildered.) "Go at once, this very minute, stand at the cross-roads, bow down, first kiss the earth which you have defiled and then bow down to all the world and say to all men aloud, 'I am a murderer!' Then God will send you life again. Will you go, will you go?" she asked him, trembling all over, snatching his two hands, squeezing them tight in hers and gazing at him with eyes full of fire.
He was amazed at her sudden ecstasy.
You mean Siberia, Sonia? I must give myself up?" he asked gloomily.
"Suffer and expiate your sin by it, that's what you must do."
"No! I am not going to them, Sonia!"
"But how will you go on living? What will you live for?" cried Sonia, "how is it possible now? Why, how can you talk to your mother? (Oh, what will become of them now?) But what am I saying? You have abandoned your mother and your sister already. He has abandoned them already! Oh, God!" she cried, "why, he knows it all himself. How, how can he live by himself! What will become of you now?"
"Don't be a child, Sonia," he said softly. "What wrong have I done them? Why should I go to them? What should I say to them? …
quot;It will be too much for you to bear, too much!" she repeated, holding out her hands in despairing supplication.
"Listen," he began a minute later, "stop crying, it's time to talk of the facts: I've come to tell you that the police are after me, on my track. …"
"Ach!" Sonia cried in terror.
"Well, why do you cry out? You want me to go to Siberia and now you are frightened?... Will you come and see me in prison when I am there?"
"Oh, I will, I will."
They sat side by side, both mournful and dejected, as though they had been cast up by the tempest alone on some deserted shore. He looked at Sonia and felt how great was her love for him, and strange to say he felt it suddenly burdensome and painful to be so loved. Yes, it was a strange and awful sensation! On his way to see Sonia he had felt that all his hopes rested on her; he expected to be rid of at least part of his suffering...
"Have you a cross on you?" she asked, as though suddenly thinking of it.
He did not at first understand the question.
"No, of course not. Here, take this one, of cypress wood. I have another, a copper one that belonged to Lizaveta. I changed with Lizaveta: she gave me her cross and I gave her my little ikon. I will wear Lizaveta's now and give you this. Take it … it's mine! It's mine, you know," she begged him. "We will go to suffer together, and together we will bear our cross!"
"Give it me," said Raskolnikov.
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