"...almost all had blackened eyes..."
Now he walked along, thinking of nothing. At that point there is a great block of buildings, entirely let out in dram shops and eating-houses; women were continually running in and out, bare-headed and in their indoor clothes. Here and there they gathered in groups, on the pavement, especially about the entrances to various festive establishments in the lower storeys. From one of these a loud din, sounds of singing, the tinkling of a guitar and shouts of merriment, floated into the street. A crowd of women were thronging round the door; some were sitting on the steps, others on the pavement, others were standing talking. A drunken soldier, smoking a cigarette, was walking near them in the road, swearing; he seemed to be trying to find his way somewhere, but had forgotten where. One beggar was quarrelling with another, and a man dead drunk was lying right across the road. Raskolnikov joined the throng of women, who were talking in husky voices. They were bare-headed and wore cotton dresses and goatskin shoes. There were women of forty and some not more than seventeen; almost all had blackened eyes.
He felt strangely attracted by the singing and all the noise and uproar in the saloon below...someone could be heard within dancing frantically, marking time with his heels to the sounds of the guitar and of a thin falsetto voice singing a jaunty air.
It's interesting to note that his wandering has taken him from the relative safety of his squalid cocoon, and into the path of the police clerk Zametov, at which point Raskolnikov comes perilously close - deliriously, insanely - to confessing his crime. As it is, he does reveal several peripheral details about how he (theoretically, he insists) would have covered his tracks. Though it's unclear at the moment whether Zametov believes him.
Writers know that the power of the writing sneaks up on you and hits you upside the head through the details.
Yes, those blackened eyes.
Posted by: Shelley at Jun 13, 2012 5:07:29 PM