And if this old woman, the pawnbroker, has been murdered by someone of a higher class in society—for peasants don’t pawn gold trinkets—how are we to explain this demoralisation of the civilised part of our society?”
“There are many economic changes,” put in Zossimov.
“How are we to explain it?” Razumihin caught him up. “It might be explained by our inveterate impracticality.”
“How do you mean?”
“What answer had your lecturer in Moscow to make to the question why he was forging notes? ‘Everybody is getting rich one way or another, so I want to make haste to get rich too.’ I don’t remember the exact words, but the upshot was that he wants money for nothing, without waiting or working! We’ve grown used to having everything ready-made, to walking on crutches, to having our food chewed for us. Then the great hour struck,[*] and every man showed himself in his true colours.”