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ON AN EXCEPTIONALLY HOT evening early in July a young man came out of the tiny room which he rented from tenants in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. Bridge.
He had successfully avoided meeting his landlady on the stairs. His closet of a room was under the roof of a high, five-floor house and was more like a cupboard than a place in which to live. The landlady who provided him with the room and with dinner and service lived on the floor below, and every time he went out he was obliged to pass her kitchen, the door of which was always open. And each time he passed, the young man had a sick, frightened feeling, which made him grimace and feel ashamed. He was hopelessly in debt to his landlady and was afraid of meeting her.
This was not because he was cowardly and browbeaten, quite the contrary; but for some time past he had been in an overstrained irritable condition, verging on hypochondria. He had become so completely absorbed in himself and isolated from everyone else that he dreaded meeting not only his landlady, but anyone at all. He was crushed by poverty, but even the anxieties of his position had recently ceased to weigh upon him. He had given up attending to matters of practical importance; he had lost all desire to do so. In fact, nothing that any landlady could do held any terror for him. But to be stopped on the stairs, to be forced to listen to her trivial, irrelevant gossip, to pestering demands for payment, threats and complaints, all the while racking his brains for excuses, avoiding the issue, lying — no, he would rather creep down the stairs like a cat and slip out unseen.
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Download the free e-book by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, «Crime And Punishment» , in English. You can also print the text of the book. For this, the PDF and DOC formats are suitable.