LEBEDEFF'S country-house was not large, but it was pretty and convenient, especially the part which was let to the prince.
A row of orange and lemon trees and jasmines, planted in green tubs, stood o_he fairly wide terrace. According to Lebedeff, these trees gave the house _ost delightful aspect. Some were there when he bought it, and he was s_harmed with the effect that he promptly added to their number. When the tub_ontaining these plants arrived at the villa and were set in their places, Lebedeff kept running into the street to enjoy the view of the house, an_very time he did so the rent to be demanded from the future tenant went u_ith a bound.
This country villa pleased the prince very much in his state of physical an_ental exhaustion. On the day that they left for Pavlofsk, that is the da_fter his attack, he appeared almost well, though in reality he felt very fa_rom it. The faces of those around him for the last three days had made _leasant impression. He was pleased to see, not only Colia, who had become hi_nseparable companion, but Lebedeff himself and all the family, except th_ephew, who had left the house. He was also glad to receive a visit fro_eneral Ivolgin, before leaving St. Petersburg.
It was getting late when the party arrived at Pavlofsk, but several peopl_alled to see the prince, and assembled in the verandah. Gania was the firs_o arrive. He had grown so pale and thin that the prince could hardl_ecognize him. Then came Varia and Ptitsin, who were rusticating in th_eighbourhood. As to General Ivolgin, he scarcely budged from Lebedeff'_ouse, and seemed to have moved to Pavlofsk with him. Lebedeff did his best t_eep Ardalion Alexandrovitch by him, and to prevent him from invading th_rince's quarters. He chatted with him confidentially, so that they might hav_een taken for old friends. During those three days the prince had notice_hat they frequently held long conversations; he often heard their voice_aised in argument on deep and learned subjects, which evidently please_ebedeff. He seemed as if he could not do without the general. But it was no_nly Ardalion Alexandrovitch whom Lebedeff kept out of the prince's way. Sinc_hey had come to the villa, he treated his own family the same. Upon th_retext that his tenant needed quiet, he kept him almost in isolation, an_uishkin protested in vain against this excess of zeal. Lebedeff stamped hi_eet at his daughters and drove them away if they attempted to join the princ_n the terrace; not even Vera was excepted.
"They will lose all respect if they are allowed to be so free and easy; besides it is not proper for them," he declared at last, in answer to a direc_uestion from the prince.
"Why on earth not?" asked the latter. "Really, you know, you are makin_ourself a nuisance, by keeping guard over me like this. I get bored all b_yself; I have told you so over and over again, and you get on my nerves mor_han ever by waving your hands and creeping in and out in the mysterious wa_ou do."
It was a fact that Lebedeff, though he was so anxious to keep everyone els_rom disturbing the patient, was continually in and out of the prince's roo_imself. He invariably began by opening the door a crack and peering in to se_f the prince was there, or if he had escaped; then he would creep softly u_o the arm-chair, sometimes making Muishkin jump by his sudden appearance. H_lways asked if the patient wanted anything, and when the latter replied tha_e only wanted to be left in peace, he would turn away obediently and make fo_he door on tip-toe, with deprecatory gestures to imply that he had only jus_ooked in, that he would not speak a word, and would go away and not intrud_gain; which did not prevent him from reappearing in ten minutes or a quarte_f an hour. Colia had free access to the prince, at which Lebedeff was quit_isgusted and indignant. He would listen at the door for half an hour at _ime while the two were talking. Colia found this out, and naturally told th_rince of his discovery.
"Do you think yourself my master, that you try to keep me under lock and ke_ike this?" said the prince to Lebedeff. "In the country, at least, I inten_o be free, and you may make up your mind that I mean to see whom I like, an_o where I please."
"Why, of course," replied the clerk, gesticulating with his hands.
The prince looked him sternly up and down.
"Well, Lukian Timofeyovitch, have you brought the little cupboard that you ha_t the head of your bed with you here?"
"No, I left it where it was."
"It cannot be moved; you would have to pull the wall down, it is so firml_ixed."
"Perhaps you have one like it here?"
"I have one that is even better, much better; that is really why I bought thi_ouse."
"Ah! What visitor did you turn away from my door, about an hour ago?"
"The-the general. I would not let him in; there is no need for him to visi_ou, prince… I have the deepest esteem for him, he is a—a great man. You don'_elieve it? Well, you will see, and yet, most excellent prince, you had muc_etter not receive him."
"May I ask why? and also why you walk about on tiptoe and always seem as i_ou were going to whisper a secret in my ear whenever you come near me?"
"I am vile, vile; I know it!" cried Lebedeff, beating his breast with _ontrite air. "But will not the general be too hospitable for you?"
"Yes. First, he proposes to come and live in my house. Well and good; but h_ticks at nothing; he immediately makes himself one of the family. We hav_alked over our respective relations several times, and discovered that we ar_onnected by marriage. It seems also that you are a sort of nephew on hi_other's side; he was explaining it to me again only yesterday. If you are hi_ephew, it follows that I must also be a relation of yours, most excellen_rince. Never mind about that, it is only a foible; but just now he assured m_hat all his life, from the day he was made an ensign to the 11th of las_une, he has entertained at least two hundred guests at his table every day.
Finally, he went so far as to say that they never rose from the table; the_ined, supped, and had tea, for fifteen hours at a stretch. This went on fo_hirty years without a break; there was barely time to change the table-cloth; directly one person left, another took his place. On feast-days he entertaine_s many as three hundred guests, and they numbered seven hundred on th_housandth anniversary of the foundation of the Russian Empire. It amounts t_ passion with him; it makes one uneasy to hear of it. It is terrible to hav_o entertain people who do things on such a scale. That is why I wonde_hether such a man is not too hospitable for you and me."
"But you seem to be on the best of terms with him?"
"Quite fraternal—I look upon it as a joke. Let us be brothers-in-law, it i_ll the same to me,—rather an honour than not. But in spite of the two hundre_uests and the thousandth anniversary of the Russian Empire, I can see that h_s a very remarkable man. I am quite sincere. You said just now that I alway_ooked as if I was going to tell you a secret; you are right. I have a secre_o tell you: a certain person has just let me know that she is very anxiou_or a secret interview with you."
"Why should it be secret? Not at all; I will call on her myself tomorrow."
"No, oh no!" cried Lebedeff, waving his arms; "if she is afraid, it is not fo_he reason you think. By the way, do you know that the monster comes every da_o inquire after your health?"
"You call him a monster so often that it makes me suspicious."
"You must have no suspicions, none whatever," said Lebedeff quickly. "I onl_ant you to know that the person in question is not afraid of him, but o_omething quite, quite different."
"What on earth is she afraid of, then? Tell me plainly, without any mor_eating about the bush," said the prince, exasperated by the other'_ysterious grimaces.
"Ah that is the secret," said Lebedeff, with a smile.
"Yours. You forbade me yourself to mention it before you, most excellen_rince," murmured Lebedeff. Then, satisfied that he had worked up Muishkin'_uriosity to the highest pitch, he added abruptly: "She is afraid of Aglay_vanovna."
The prince frowned for a moment in silence, and then said suddenly:
"Really, Lebedeff, I must leave your house. Where are Gavrila Ardalionovitc_nd the Ptitsins? Are they here? Have you chased them away, too?"
"They are coming, they are coming; and the general as well. I will open al_he doors; I will call all my daughters, all of them, this very minute," sai_ebedeff in a low voice, thoroughly frightened, and waving his hands as he ra_rom door to door.
At that moment Colia appeared on the terrace; he announced that Lizabeth_rokofievna and her three daughters were close behind him.
Moved by this news, Lebedeff hurried up to the prince.
"Shall I call the Ptitsins, and Gavrila Ardalionovitch? Shall I let th_eneral in?" he asked.
"Why not? Let in anyone who wants to see me. I assure you, Lebedeff, you hav_isunderstood my position from the very first; you have been wrong all along.
I have not the slightest reason to hide myself from anyone," replied th_rince gaily.
Seeing him laugh, Lebedeff thought fit to laugh also, and though much agitate_is satisfaction was quite visible.
Colia was right; the Epanchin ladies were only a few steps behind him. As the_pproached the terrace other visitors appeared from Lebedeff's side of th_ouse-the Ptitsins, Gania, and Ardalion Alexandrovitch.
The Epanchins had only just heard of the prince's illness and of his presenc_n Pavlofsk, from Colia; and up to this time had been in a state o_onsiderable bewilderment about him. The general brought the prince's car_own from town, and Mrs. Epanchin had felt convinced that he himself woul_ollow his card at once; she was much excited.
In vain the girls assured her that a man who had not written for six month_ould not be in such a dreadful hurry, and that probably he had enough to d_n town without needing to bustle down to Pavlofsk to see them. Their mothe_as quite angry at the very idea of such a thing, and announced her absolut_onviction that he would turn up the next day at latest.
So next day the prince was expected all the morning, and at dinner, tea, an_upper; and when he did not appear in the evening, Mrs. Epanchin quarrelle_ith everyone in the house, finding plenty of pretexts without so much a_entioning the prince's name.
On the third day there was no talk of him at all, until Aglaya remarked a_inner: "Mamma is cross because the prince hasn't turned up," to which th_eneral replied that it was not his fault.
Mrs. Epanchin misunderstood the observation, and rising from her place sh_eft the room in majestic wrath. In the evening, however, Colia came with th_tory of the prince's adventures, so far as he knew them. Mrs. Epanchin wa_riumphant; although Colia had to listen to a long lecture. "He idles abou_ere the whole day long, one can't get rid of him; and then when he is wante_e does not come. He might have sent a line if he did not wish t_nconvenience himself."
At the words "one can't get rid of him," Colia was very angry, and nearly fle_nto a rage; but he resolved to be quiet for the time and show his resentmen_ater. If the words had been less offensive he might have forgiven them, s_leased was he to see Lizabetha Prokofievna worried and anxious about th_rince's illness.
She would have insisted on sending to Petersburg at once, for a certain grea_edical celebrity; but her daughters dissuaded her, though they were no_illing to stay behind when she at once prepared to go and visit the invalid.
Aglaya, however, suggested that it was a little unceremonious to go en mass_o see him.
"Very well then, stay at home," said Mrs. Epanchin, "and a good thing too, fo_vgenie Pavlovitch is coming down and there will be no one at home to receiv_im."
Of course, after this, Aglaya went with the rest. In fact, she had never ha_he slightest intention of doing otherwise.
Prince S., who was in the house, was requested to escort the ladies. He ha_een much interested when he first heard of the prince from the Epanchins. I_ppeared that they had known one another before, and had spent some tim_ogether in a little provincial town three months ago. Prince S. had greatl_aken to him, and was delighted with the opportunity of meeting him again.
The general had not come down from town as yet, nor had Evgenie Pavlovitc_rrived.
It was not more than two or three hundred yards from the Epanchins' house t_ebedeff's. The first disagreeable impression experienced by Mrs. Epanchin wa_o find the prince surrounded by a whole assembly of other guests—not t_ention the fact that some of those present were particularly detestable i_er eyes. The next annoying circumstance was when an apparently strong an_ealthy young fellow, well dressed, and smiling, came forward to meet her o_he terrace, instead of the half-dying unfortunate whom she had expected t_ee.
She was astonished and vexed, and her disappointment pleased Colia immensely.
Of course he could have undeceived her before she started, but the mischievou_oy had been careful not to do that, foreseeing the probably laughable disgus_hat she would experience when she found her dear friend, the prince, in goo_ealth. Colia was indelicate enough to voice the delight he felt at hi_uccess in managing to annoy Lizabetha Prokofievna, with whom, in spite o_heir really amicable relations, he was constantly sparring.
"Just wait a while, my boy!" said she; "don't be too certain of your triumph."
And she sat down heavily, in the arm-chair pushed forward by the prince.
Lebedeff, Ptitsin, and General Ivolgin hastened to find chairs for the youn_adies. Varia greeted them joyfully, and they exchanged confidences i_cstatic whispers.
"I must admit, prince, I was a little put out to see you up and about lik_his—I expected to find you in bed; but I give you my word, I was only annoye_or an instant, before I collected my thoughts properly. I am always wiser o_econd thoughts, and I dare say you are the same. I assure you I am as glad t_ee you well as though you were my own son,—yes, and more; and if you don'_elieve me the more shame to you, and it's not my fault. But that spiteful bo_elights in playing all sorts of tricks. You are his patron, it seems. Well, _arn you that one fine morning I shall deprive myself of the pleasure of hi_urther acquaintance."
"What have I done wrong now?" cried Colia. "What was the good of telling yo_hat the prince was nearly well again? You would not have believed me; it wa_o much more interesting to picture him on his death-bed."
"How long do you remain here, prince?" asked Madame Epanchin.
"All the summer, and perhaps longer."
"You are alone, aren't you,—not married?"
"No, I'm not married!" replied the prince, smiling at the ingenuousness o_his little feeler.
"Oh, you needn't laugh! These things do happen, you know! Now then—why didn'_ou come to us? We have a wing quite empty. But just as you like, of course.
Do you lease it from HIM?—this fellow, I mean," she added, nodding toward_ebedeff. "And why does he always wriggle so?"
At that moment Vera, carrying the baby in her arms as usual, came out of th_ouse, on to the terrace. Lebedeff kept fidgeting among the chairs, and di_ot seem to know what to do with himself, though he had no intention of goin_way. He no sooner caught sight of his daughter, than he rushed in he_irection, waving his arms to keep her away; he even forgot himself so far a_o stamp his foot.
"Is he mad?" asked Madame Epanchin suddenly.
"No, he… "
"Perhaps he is drunk? Your company is rather peculiar," she added, with _lance at the other guests… .
"But what a pretty girl! Who is she?"
"That is Lebedeff's daughter—Vera Lukianovna."
"Indeed? She looks very sweet. I should like to make her acquaintance."
The words were hardly out of her mouth, when Lebedeff dragged Vera forward, i_rder to present her.
"Orphans, poor orphans!" he began in a pathetic voice.
"The child she carries is an orphan, too. She is Vera's sister, my daughte_uboff. The day this babe was born, six weeks ago, my wife died, by the wil_f God Almighty… . Yes… Vera takes her mother's place, though she is but he_ister… nothing more… nothing more… "
"And you! You are nothing more than a fool, if you'll excuse me! Well! well!
you know that yourself, I expect," said the lady indignantly.
Lebedeff bowed low. "It is the truth," he replied, with extreme respect.
"Oh, Mr. Lebedeff, I am told you lecture on the Apocalypse. Is it true?" aske_glaya.
"Yes, that is so… for the last fifteen years."
"I have heard of you, and I think read of you in the newspapers."
"No, that was another commentator, whom the papers named. He is dead, however, and I have taken his place," said the other, much delighted.
"We are neighbours, so will you be so kind as to come over one day and explai_he Apocalypse to me?" said Aglaya. "I do not understand it in the least."
"Allow me to warn you," interposed General Ivolgin, "that he is the greates_harlatan on earth." He had taken the chair next to the girl, and wa_mpatient to begin talking. "No doubt there are pleasures and amusement_eculiar to the country," he continued, "and to listen to a pretended studen_olding forth on the book of the Revelations may be as good as any other. I_ay even be original. But… you seem to be looking at me with some surprise—ma_ introduce myself—General Ivolgin—I carried you in my arms as a baby—"
"Delighted, I'm sure," said Aglaya; "I am acquainted with Varvara Ardalionovn_nd Nina Alexandrovna." She was trying hard to restrain herself from laughing.
Mrs. Epanchin flushed up; some accumulation of spleen in her suddenly neede_n outlet. She could not bear this General Ivolgin whom she had once known, long ago—in society.
"You are deviating from the truth, sir, as usual!" she remarked, boiling ove_ith indignation; "you never carried her in your life!"
"You have forgotten, mother," said Aglaya, suddenly. "He really did carry m_bout,—in Tver, you know. I was six years old, I remember. He made me a bo_nd arrow, and I shot a pigeon. Don't you remember shooting a pigeon, you an_, one day?"
"Yes, and he made me a cardboard helmet, and a little wooden sword—_emember!" said Adelaida.
"Yes, I remember too!" said Alexandra. "You quarrelled about the wounde_igeon, and Adelaida was put in the corner, and stood there with her helme_nd sword and all."
The poor general had merely made the remark about having carried Aglaya in hi_rms because he always did so begin a conversation with young people. But i_appened that this time he had really hit upon the truth, though he ha_imself entirely forgotten the fact. But when Adelaida and Aglaya recalled th_pisode of the pigeon, his mind became filled with memories, and it i_mpossible to describe how this poor old man, usually half drunk, was moved b_he recollection.
"I remember—I remember it all!" he cried. "I was captain then. You were such _ovely little thing—Nina Alexandrovna!—Gania, listen! I was received then b_eneral Epanchin."
"Yes, and look what you have come to now!" interrupted Mrs. Epanchin.
"However, I see you have not quite drunk your better feelings away. But you'v_roken your wife's heart, sir—and instead of looking after your children, yo_ave spent your time in public-houses and debtors' prisons! Go away, m_riend, stand in some corner and weep, and bemoan your fallen dignity, an_erhaps God will forgive you yet! Go, go! I'm serious! There's nothing s_avourable for repentance as to think of the past with feelings of remorse!"
There was no need to repeat that she was serious. The general, like al_runkards, was extremely emotional and easily touched by recollections of hi_etter days. He rose and walked quietly to the door, so meekly that Mrs.
Epanchin was instantly sorry for him.
"Ardalion Alexandrovitch," she cried after him, "wait a moment, we are al_inners! When you feel that your conscience reproaches you a little less, com_ver to me and we'll have a talk about the past! I dare say I am fifty time_ore of a sinner than you are! And now go, go, good-bye, you had better no_tay here!" she added, in alarm, as he turned as though to come back.
"Don't go after him just now, Colia, or he'll be vexed, and the benefit o_his moment will be lost!" said the prince, as the boy was hurrying out of th_oom.
"Quite true! Much better to go in half an hour or so said Mrs. Epanchin.
"That's what comes of telling the truth for once in one's life!" sai_ebedeff. "It reduced him to tears."
"Come, come! the less YOU say about it the better—to judge from all I hav_eard about you!" replied Mrs. Epanchin.
The prince took the first opportunity of informing the Epanchin ladies that h_ad intended to pay them a visit that day, if they had not themselves com_his afternoon, and Lizabetha Prokofievna replied that she hoped he woul_till do so.
By this time some of the visitors had disappeared.
Ptitsin had tactfully retreated to Lebedeff's wing; and Gania soon followe_im.
The latter had behaved modestly, but with dignity, on this occasion of hi_irst meeting with the Epanchins since the rupture. Twice Mrs. Epanchin ha_eliberately examined him from head to foot; but he had stood fire withou_linching. He was certainly much changed, as anyone could see who had not me_im for some time; and this fact seemed to afford Aglaya a good deal o_atisfaction.
"That was Gavrila Ardalionovitch, who just went out, wasn't it?" she aske_uddenly, interrupting somebody else's conversation to make the remark.
"Yes, it was," said the prince.
"I hardly knew him; he is much changed, and for the better!"
"I am very glad," said the prince.
"He has been very ill," added Varia.
"How has he changed for the better?" asked Mrs. Epanchin. "I don't see an_hange for the better! What's better in him? Where did you get THAT idea from?
"There's nothing better than the 'poor knight'!" said Colia, who was standin_ear the last speaker's chair.
"I quite agree with you there!" said Prince S., laughing.
"So do I," said Adelaida, solemnly.
"WHAT poor knight?" asked Mrs. Epanchin, looking round at the face of each o_he speakers in turn. Seeing, however, that Aglaya was blushing, she added, angrily:
"What nonsense you are all talking! What do you mean by poor knight?"
"It's not the first time this urchin, your favourite, has shown his impudenc_y twisting other people's words," said Aglaya, haughtily.
Every time that Aglaya showed temper (and this was very often), there was s_uch childish pouting, such "school-girlishness," as it were, in her apparen_rath, that it was impossible to avoid smiling at her, to her own unutterabl_ndignation. On these occasions she would say, "How can they, how DARE the_augh at me?"
This time everyone laughed at her, her sisters, Prince S., Prince Muishkin (though he himself had flushed for some reason), and Colia. Aglaya wa_readfully indignant, and looked twice as pretty in her wrath.
"He's always twisting round what one says," she cried.
"I am only repeating your own exclamation!" said Colia. "A month ago you wer_urning over the pages of your Don Quixote, and suddenly called out 'there i_othing better than the poor knight.' I don't know whom you were referring to, of course, whether to Don Quixote, or Evgenie Pavlovitch, or someone else, bu_ou certainly said these words, and afterwards there was a long conversation…
"You are inclined to go a little too far, my good boy, with your guesses,"
said Mrs. Epanchin, with some show of annoyance.
"But it's not I alone," cried Colia. "They all talked about it, and they d_till. Why, just now Prince S. and Adelaida Ivanovna declared that they upheld
'the poor knight'; so evidently there does exist a 'poor knight'; and if i_ere not for Adelaida Ivanovna, we should have known long ago who the 'poo_night' was."
"Why, how am I to blame?" asked Adelaida, smiling.
"You wouldn't draw his portrait for us, that's why you are to blame! Aglay_vanovna asked you to draw his portrait, and gave you the whole subject of th_icture. She invented it herself; and you wouldn't."
"What was I to draw? According to the lines she quoted:
"'From his face he never lifted That eternal mask of steel.'"
"What sort of a face was I to draw? I couldn't draw a mask."
"I don't know what you are driving at; what mask do you mean?" said Mrs.
Epanchin, irritably. She began to see pretty clearly though what it meant, an_hom they referred to by the generally accepted title of "poor knight." Bu_hat specially annoyed her was that the prince was looking so uncomfortable, and blushing like a ten-year-old child.
"Well, have you finished your silly joke?" she added, "and am I to be tol_hat this 'poor knight' means, or is it a solemn secret which cannot b_pproached lightly?"
But they all laughed on.
"It's simply that there is a Russian poem," began Prince S., evidently anxiou_o change the conversation, "a strange thing, without beginning or end, an_ll about a 'poor knight.' A month or so ago, we were all talking an_aughing, and looking up a subject for one of Adelaida's pictures—you know i_s the principal business of this family to find subjects for Adelaida'_ictures. Well, we happened upon this 'poor knight.' I don't remember wh_hought of it first—"
"Oh! Aglaya Ivanovna did," said Colia.
"Very likely—I don't recollect," continued Prince S.
"Some of us laughed at the subject; some liked it; but she declared that, i_rder to make a picture of the gentleman, she must first see his face. We the_egan to think over all our friends' faces to see if any of them would do, an_one suited us, and so the matter stood; that's all. I don't know why Nicola_rdalionovitch has brought up the joke now. What was appropriate and funn_hen, has quite lost all interest by this time."
"Probably there's some new silliness about it," said Mrs. Epanchin, sarcastically.
"There is no silliness about it at all—only the profoundest respect," sai_glaya, very seriously. She had quite recovered her temper; in fact, fro_ertain signs, it was fair to conclude that she was delighted to see this jok_oing so far; and a careful observer might have remarked that her satisfactio_ated from the moment when the fact of the prince's confusion became apparen_o all.
"'Profoundest respect!' What nonsense! First, insane giggling, and then, al_f a sudden, a display of 'profoundest respect.' Why respect? Tell me at once, why have you suddenly developed this 'profound respect,' eh?"
"Because," replied Aglaya gravely, "in the poem the knight is described as _an capable of living up to an ideal all his life. That sort of thing is no_o be found every day among the men of our times. In the poem it is not state_xactly what the ideal was, but it was evidently some vision, some revelatio_f pure Beauty, and the knight wore round his neck, instead of a scarf, _osary. A device—A. N. B.—the meaning of which is not explained, was inscribe_n his shield—"
"No, A. N. D.," corrected Colia.
"I say A. N. B., and so it shall be!" cried Aglaya, irritably. "Anyway, the
'poor knight' did not care what his lady was, or what she did. He had chose_is ideal, and he was bound to serve her, and break lances for her, an_cknowledge her as the ideal of pure Beauty, whatever she might say or d_fterwards. If she had taken to stealing, he would have championed her jus_he same. I think the poet desired to embody in this one picture the whol_pirit of medieval chivalry and the platonic love of a pure and high-soule_night. Of course it's all an ideal, and in the 'poor knight' that spiri_eached the utmost limit of asceticism. He is a Don Quixote, only serious an_ot comical. I used not to understand him, and laughed at him, but now I lov_he 'poor knight,' and respect his actions."
So ended Aglaya; and, to look at her, it was difficult, indeed, to judg_hether she was joking or in earnest.
"Pooh! he was a fool, and his actions were the actions of a fool," said Mrs.
Epanchin; "and as for you, young woman, you ought to know better. At al_vents, you are not to talk like that again. What poem is it? Recite it! _ant to hear this poem! I have hated poetry all my life. Prince, you mus_xcuse this nonsense. We neither of us like this sort of thing! Be patient!"
They certainly were put out, both of them.
The prince tried to say something, but he was too confused, and could not ge_is words out. Aglaya, who had taken such liberties in her little speech, wa_he only person present, perhaps, who was not in the least embarrassed. Sh_eemed, in fact, quite pleased.
She now rose solemnly from her seat, walked to the centre of the terrace, an_tood in front of the prince's chair. All looked on with some surprise, an_rince S. and her sisters with feelings of decided alarm, to see what ne_rolic she was up to; it had gone quite far enough already, they thought. Bu_glaya evidently thoroughly enjoyed the affectation and ceremony with whic_he was introducing her recitation of the poem.
Mrs. Epanchin was just wondering whether she would not forbid the performanc_fter all, when, at the very moment that Aglaya commenced her declamation, tw_ew guests, both talking loudly, entered from the street. The new arrival_ere General Epanchin and a young man.