Part 6, Chapter 6 Summary
Svidrigailov spends his evening in disreputable places before making his way home through a storm. In his apartment, he takes his money, tears up several papers, and goes next door to see Sonia. She listens to him timidly but earnestly as he tells her he may be going to America and will probably never see her again. He asks whether she was offered a job while she was at the orphanage today (she blushes) and gives her the receipts for the money he has already paid for her siblings to remain in the orphanage “in case anything happens.”
He then gives her a bond for three thousand roubles, which she does not want to take because she can now earn her own living, but he insists she accept it and tell no one of it. He warns her that the life she has been living is a bad one. Sonia tells him she is grateful for all he has done for her family, but she will not need it. Svidrigailov insists she will want it soon, for Raskolnikov will soon end up either with a bullet to the head or in prison for murder. Sonia is stunned, but he assures her he knows the secret but will not tell. If Raskolnikov goes to Siberia, he knows she will follow, so she is to think of it as money for Raskolnikov. Plus, he had heard her promise to repay her family’s debt to their former landlady, something she was under no obligation to do.
Before leaving, Svidrigailov asks her to give his regards to Raskolnikov and suggests she take the bonds to Razumihin for safekeeping tomorrow—or when the time comes. Sonia longs to ask questions but refrains, and Svidrigailov walks out into the storm. Later, it will be discovered that Svidrigailov made another “eccentric and unexpected” stop late that night in the rain. He went to the home of his betrothed, eventually explained that he would be gone for a time, and presented her with a gift of fifteen thousand roubles. He kisses the innocent girl good-bye and is saddened at the knowledge that her careful mother would never give her the money; the family is amazed at their connection to such a generous and gracious, if eccentric, man.
At exactly midnight, Svidrigailov walks back over the bridge and finds a hotel. He takes a tiny room at the end of a dark hall and orders tea and dinner. He hears a thunderous voice in the room next door and peeps through a crack in the wall to see a big man thumping his chest and berating a smaller man for being poor and depraved. The object of reproach does not seem to understand anything about the scolding. Svidrigailov gets his food but can only drink the tea, as he has begun to feel feverish. Now, of all times, it would be best if he were not sick, but he wraps himself in a blanket and begins having disjointed, feverish thoughts. He blows out the candle, inviting Marfa Petrovna to visit him...
(The entire section is 786 words.)