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Chapter 6

  • 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."
  • "Impossible!"
  • "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?"
  • "Too hospitable?"
  • "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.
  • "Whose secret?"
  • "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?
  • WHAT'S better?"
  • "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.
  • Their entrance caused some slight commotion.