“H’m, then you _do_ give him money?”
“Why, open it, for the time being, don’t you know?” he said, most confidentially and mysteriously.
“Who said that, Colia?”
Nastasia Philipovna seized the packet of bank-notes.
“Nor the general? Ha, ha, ha!”
IV.
“I sometimes think of coming over to you again,” said Hippolyte, carelessly. “So you _don’t_ think them capable of inviting a man on the condition that he is to look sharp and die?”

“Surely there must be someone among all of you here who will turn this shameless creature out of the room?” cried Varia, suddenly. She was shaking and trembling with rage.

And Rogojin burst out laughing, this time with unconcealed malice, as though he were glad that he had been able to find an opportunity for giving vent to it.

“Excuse me, Mr. Keller,” interposed Gavrila Ardalionovitch. “Allow me to speak. I assure you your article shall be mentioned in its proper place, and you can then explain everything, but for the moment I would rather not anticipate. Quite accidentally, with the help of my sister, Varvara Ardalionovna Ptitsin, I obtained from one of her intimate friends, Madame Zoubkoff, a letter written to her twenty-five years ago, by Nicolai Andreevitch Pavlicheff, then abroad. After getting into communication with this lady, I went by her advice to Timofei Fedorovitch Viazovkin, a retired colonel, and one of Pavlicheff’s oldest friends. He gave me two more letters written by the latter when he was still in foreign parts. These three documents, their dates, and the facts mentioned in them, prove in the most undeniable manner, that eighteen months before your birth, Nicolai Andreevitch went abroad, where he remained for three consecutive years. Your mother, as you are well aware, has never been out of Russia.... It is too late to read the letters now; I am content to state the fact. But if you desire it, come to me tomorrow morning, bring witnesses and writing experts with you, and I will prove the absolute truth of my story. From that moment the question will be decided.”

“Ladies are exempted if they like.”

“Quite so, quite so!” cried Mrs. Epanchin, delighted. “I see you _can_ be sensible now and then, Alexandra. You were speaking of Switzerland, prince?”

“But at the same time you would be very glad to know how I happened to meet Aglaya Ivanovna this morning?” The prince finished her speech for her with the utmost composure.
Muiskhin looked disturbed, but continued to gaze intently and questioningly into Prince S.’s face. The latter, however, remained silent.
“Is what today?” cried the former. Then suddenly recollecting himself, he turned sharply on the prince. “Oh,” he growled, “I see, you are here, that explains it! Is it a disease, or what, that you can’t hold your tongue? Look here, understand once for all, prince--”
“I, too, should have been unable to tear my eyes away,” said Aglaya.
“How subtle you are, Afanasy Ivanovitch! You astonish me,” cried Ferdishenko. “You will remark, gentlemen, that in saying that I could not recount the story of my theft so as to be believed, Afanasy Ivanovitch has very ingeniously implied that I am not capable of thieving--(it would have been bad taste to say so openly); and all the time he is probably firmly convinced, in his own mind, that I am very well capable of it! But now, gentlemen, to business! Put in your slips, ladies and gentlemen--is yours in, Mr. Totski? So--then we are all ready; now prince, draw, please.” The prince silently put his hand into the hat, and drew the names. Ferdishenko was first, then Ptitsin, then the general, Totski next, his own fifth, then Gania, and so on; the ladies did not draw.
Lizabetha Prokofievna was about to rise, when she saw Hippolyte laughing, and turned upon him with irritation.
“The very time when he was cringing before you and making protestations of devotion! Oh, the mean wretches! I will have nothing to do with your Pushkin, and your daughter shall not set foot in my house!”
The girls generally rose at about nine in the morning in the country; Aglaya, of late, had been in the habit of getting up rather earlier and having a walk in the garden, but not at seven o’clock; about eight or a little later was her usual time.

“You kiss my hands, _mine?_”

He hesitated no longer; but opened the glazed door at the bottom of the outer stairs and made his way up to the second storey. The place was dark and gloomy-looking; the walls of the stone staircase were painted a dull red. Rogojin and his mother and brother occupied the whole of the second floor. The servant who opened the door to Muishkin led him, without taking his name, through several rooms and up and down many steps until they arrived at a door, where he knocked.
Lebedeff began to grin again, rubbed his hands, sneezed, but spoke not a word in reply.

“Where they played last night. Then I found this bench and sat down, and thought and thought--and at last I fell fast asleep.”

All three of the Miss Epanchins were fine, healthy girls, well-grown, with good shoulders and busts, and strong--almost masculine--hands; and, of course, with all the above attributes, they enjoyed capital appetites, of which they were not in the least ashamed.
“Then I began to talk about faces, at least about the _expressions_ of faces, and said that Aglaya Ivanovna was nearly as lovely as Nastasia Philipovna. It was then I blurted out about the portrait--”
The prince paused and all waited, expecting him to go on again and finish the story.
“How can it be foreign? You _are_ going to be married, are you not? Very well, then you are persisting in your course. _Are_ you going to marry her or not?”

“I don’t remember any Nicolai Lvovitch. Was that your father?” she inquired of the prince.

“You know the kind of person she is at times.”
There was nothing particularly significant in the fact that a man was standing back in the doorway, waiting to come out or go upstairs; but the prince felt an irresistible conviction that he knew this man, and that it was Rogojin. The man moved on up the stairs; a moment later the prince passed up them, too. His heart froze within him. “In a minute or two I shall know all,” he thought.
“No, I don’t--not at all! I hardly know anyone in Russia. Why, is that your name?”

“Where have you dropped from?” cried the prince.

“I am not laughing, Nastasia Philipovna; I am only listening with all my attention,” said Totski, with dignity.

“Excuse me--wait a minute--he says that the leg we see is a wooden one, made by Tchernosvitoff.”
“What are you doing there?” she asked.
Lebedeff began to grin again, rubbed his hands, sneezed, but spoke not a word in reply.

He took up the portrait, and went out of the room.

“Is there really much more to be added?” asked the prince, with mild surprise. “Well, what is it you really want of me? Speak out; tell me why you came to make your confession to me?”
The prince made no reply.

“And you’ll never reproach me with it?”

She walked past the orchestra, to where an open carriage was waiting, near the road.
His change of dress was evidently a matter of some importance. Adelaida and Alexandra poured out a stream of questions; Prince S., a relative of the young man, appeared annoyed; and Ivan Fedorovitch quite excited. Aglaya alone was not interested. She merely looked closely at Evgenie for a minute, curious perhaps as to whether civil or military clothes became him best, then turned away and paid no more attention to him or his costume. Lizabetha Prokofievna asked no questions, but it was clear that she was uneasy, and the prince fancied that Evgenie was not in her good graces. “Where does she live?” “She writes to _her_--and the girl reads the letters. Haven’t you heard?--You are sure to hear; she’s sure to show you the letters herself.” “Oh yes, I knew General Epanchin well,” General Ivolgin was saying at this moment; “he and Prince Nicolai Ivanovitch Muishkin--whose son I have this day embraced after an absence of twenty years--and I, were three inseparables. Alas one is in the grave, torn to pieces by calumnies and bullets; another is now before you, still battling with calumnies and bullets--”
The day after these scandalous events, however, the prince had the honour of receiving a visit from Adelaida and her fiance, Prince S. They came, ostensibly, to inquire after his health. They had wandered out for a walk, and called in “by accident,” and talked for almost the whole of the time they were with him about a certain most lovely tree in the park, which Adelaida had set her heart upon for a picture. This, and a little amiable conversation on Prince S.’s part, occupied the time, and not a word was said about last evening’s episodes. At length Adelaida burst out laughing, apologized, and explained that they had come incognito; from which, and from the circumstance that they said nothing about the prince’s either walking back with them or coming to see them later on, the latter inferred that he was in Mrs. Epanchin’s black books. Adelaida mentioned a watercolour that she would much like to show him, and explained that she would either send it by Colia, or bring it herself the next day--which to the prince seemed very suggestive.
Meanwhile all these people--though friends of the family and of each other to a certain extent--were very far from being such intimate friends of the family and of each other as the prince concluded. There were some present who never would think of considering the Epanchins their equals. There were even some who hated one another cordially. For instance, old Princess Bielokonski had all her life despised the wife of the “dignitary,” while the latter was very far from loving Lizabetha Prokofievna. The dignitary himself had been General Epanchin’s protector from his youth up; and the general considered him so majestic a personage that he would have felt a hearty contempt for himself if he had even for one moment allowed himself to pose as the great man’s equal, or to think of him--in his fear and reverence--as anything less than an Olympic God! There were others present who had not met for years, and who had no feeling whatever for each other, unless it were dislike; and yet they met tonight as though they had seen each other but yesterday in some friendly and intimate assembly of kindred spirits.
However, she had not reached the outer hall when she turned round, walked quickly up to Nina Alexandrovna, seized her hand and lifted it to her lips.
“Why don’t you finish your sentence? Shall I tell you what you were thinking to yourself just then? You were thinking, ‘How can she marry him after this? How can it possibly be permitted?’ Oh, I know what you were thinking about!”
“Hippolyte Terentieff,” cried the last-named, in a shrill voice.
“Don’t you see he is a lunatic, prince?” whispered Evgenie Pavlovitch in his ear. “Someone told me just now that he is a bit touched on the subject of lawyers, that he has a mania for making speeches and intends to pass the examinations. I am expecting a splendid burlesque now.”
It was “heads.”
“Why? Was there no one else to pay for you?” asked the black-haired one.
“Your son, indeed! A nice papa you are! _You_ might have come to see me anyhow, without compromising anyone. Do you hide yourself, or does your son hide you?”
The prince followed her.
“Oh, _curse_ Schneider and his dirty opinions! Go on.”
There was absolute hatred in his eyes as he said this, but his look of fear and his trembling had not left him.

“Confess that you are pleased to have read it.”

She did not rise from her knees; she would not listen to him; she put her questions hurriedly, as though she were pursued.

He raised her, carried her into the room, placed her in an arm-chair, and stood over her, stupefied. On the table stood a tumbler of water. Rogojin, who now returned, took this and sprinkled a little in her face. She opened her eyes, but for a moment she understood nothing.

“Excuse me--two words! I am Varvara Ardalionovna’s guest, not yours; _you_ have extended no hospitality to me. On the contrary, if I am not mistaken, I believe you are yourself indebted to Mr. Ptitsin’s hospitality. Four days ago I begged my mother to come down here and find lodgings, because I certainly do feel better here, though I am not fat, nor have I ceased to cough. I am today informed that my room is ready for me; therefore, having thanked your sister and mother for their kindness to me, I intend to leave the house this evening. I beg your pardon--I interrupted you--I think you were about to add something?”

“Aglaya Ivanovna told me--”

The general sat on and on. He had ordered a fresh bottle when the prince arrived; this took him an hour to drink, and then he had another, and another, during the consumption of which he told pretty nearly the whole story of his life. The prince was in despair. He felt that though he had but applied to this miserable old drunkard because he saw no other way of getting to Nastasia Philipovna’s, yet he had been very wrong to put the slightest confidence in such a man.

“I only see that Aglaya Ivanovna is laughing at me,” said the poor prince, sadly.

“Nastasia Philipovna,” murmured the prince.

He could bear it no longer, and with a look of entreaty, mingled with reproach, he addressed Aglaya, pointing to Nastasia the while:
This sort of character is met with pretty frequently in a certain class. They are people who know everyone--that is, they know where a man is employed, what his salary is, whom he knows, whom he married, what money his wife had, who are his cousins, and second cousins, etc., etc. These men generally have about a hundred pounds a year to live on, and they spend their whole time and talents in the amassing of this style of knowledge, which they reduce--or raise--to the standard of a science.
“I must state that I only revised the first part of the article,” interposed Lebedeff with feverish impatience, while laughter rose from all around him; “but we fell out in the middle over one idea, so I never corrected the second part. Therefore I cannot be held responsible for the numerous grammatical blunders in it.”
The actress was a kind-hearted woman, and highly impressionable. She was very angry now.
“It was, I assure you, and if not to her then to Rogojin, which is the same thing. Mr. Hippolyte has had letters, too, and all from the individual whose name begins with an A.,” smirked Lebedeff, with a hideous grin.
There was a moment or two of gloomy silence. Aglaya rose from her seat.

“I knew yesterday that you didn’t love me.”

“That is _not_ true,” said the prince, in an equally low voice.

“Did no one awake me besides yourself? Was there no one else here? I thought there was another woman.”

No one met him; the verandah was empty, and nearly pitch dark. He opened the door into the room, but it, too, was dark and empty. He stood in the middle of the room in perplexity. Suddenly the door opened, and in came Alexandra, candle in hand. Seeing the prince she stopped before him in surprise, looking at him questioningly.
“Oh, that’s not in _my_ province! I believe she receives at any time; it depends upon the visitors. The dressmaker goes in at eleven. Gavrila Ardalionovitch is allowed much earlier than other people, too; he is even admitted to early lunch now and then.”
Ptitsin listened and smiled, then turned as if to get his hat; but if he had intended to leave, he changed his mind. Before the others had risen from the table, Gania had suddenly left off drinking, and pushed away his glass, a dark shadow seemed to come over his face. When they all rose, he went and sat down by Rogojin. It might have been believed that quite friendly relations existed between them. Rogojin, who had also seemed on the point of going away now sat motionless, his head bent, seeming to have forgotten his intention. He had drunk no wine, and appeared absorbed in reflection. From time to time he raised his eyes, and examined everyone present; one might have imagined that he was expecting something very important to himself, and that he had decided to wait for it. The prince had taken two or three glasses of champagne, and seemed cheerful. As he rose he noticed Evgenie Pavlovitch, and, remembering the appointment he had made with him, smiled pleasantly. Evgenie Pavlovitch made a sign with his head towards Hippolyte, whom he was attentively watching. The invalid was fast asleep, stretched out on the sofa.
“But I told you she is not at Pavlofsk. And what would be the use if she were?”
“Oho! ho, ho, ho!” cried Ferdishenko. “_Now_ then, prince! My word, what things I would say if I had such a chance as that! My goodness, prince--go on!”
“Well, what then? Supposing I should like to know?” cried Lizabetha Prokofievna, blushing. “I’m sure I am not afraid of plain speaking. I’m not offending anyone, and I never wish to, and--”
The neighbours undoubtedly did hear. Varia rushed out of the room.

“Oh well, as you like!” said Muishkin. “I will think it over. You shall lose nothing!”

“Look here, once for all,” cried Aglaya, boiling over, “if I hear you talking about capital punishment, or the economical condition of Russia, or about Beauty redeeming the world, or anything of that sort, I’ll--well, of course I shall laugh and seem very pleased, but I warn you beforehand, don’t look me in the face again! I’m serious now, mind, this time I _am really_ serious.” She certainly did say this very seriously, so much so, that she looked quite different from what she usually was, and the prince could not help noticing the fact. She did not seem to be joking in the slightest degree.
The sufferer was immediately taken to his room, and though he partially regained consciousness, he lay long in a semi-dazed condition.
“At all events, you’ve disbanded your troop--and you are living in your own house instead of being fast and loose about the place; that’s all very good. Is this house all yours, or joint property?”