“Oh--h--h! You mean the four hundred roubles!” said Lebedeff, dragging the words out, just as though it had only just dawned upon him what the prince was talking about. “Thanks very much, prince, for your kind interest--you do me too much honour. I found the money, long ago!”

“What on earth does all this mean? What’s he going to read?” muttered several voices. Others said nothing; but one and all sat down and watched with curiosity. They began to think something strange might really be about to happen. Vera stood and trembled behind her father’s chair, almost in tears with fright; Colia was nearly as much alarmed as she was. Lebedeff jumped up and put a couple of candles nearer to Hippolyte, so that he might see better.

The prince left her at eleven, full of these thoughts, and went home. But it was not twelve o’clock when a messenger came to say that Nastasia was very bad, and he must come at once.

The note was written and folded anyhow, evidently in a great hurry, and probably just before Aglaya had come down to the verandah.

“Hide-and-seek? What do you mean?” inquired Mrs. Epanchin.
He walked along the road towards his own house. His heart was beating, his thoughts were confused, everything around seemed to be part of a dream.
“But whatever she may say, remember that she does not believe it herself,--remember that she will believe nothing but that she is a guilty creature.
“Prince Muishkin? Lef Nicolaievitch? H’m! I don’t know, I’m sure! I may say I have never heard of such a person,” said the clerk, thoughtfully. “At least, the name, I admit, is historical. Karamsin must mention the family name, of course, in his history--but as an individual--one never hears of any Prince Muishkin nowadays.”
“Show it me, will you?”
The prince gazed and gazed, and felt that the more he gazed the more death-like became the silence. Suddenly a fly awoke somewhere, buzzed across the room, and settled on the pillow. The prince shuddered.
Everyone exchanged startled glances. Gania rushed out towards the dining-room, but a number of men had already made their way in, and met him.
Nastasia smiled amiably at him; but evidently her depression and irritability were increasing with every moment. Totski was dreadfully alarmed to hear her promise a revelation out of her own life.

This time everyone laughed at her, her sisters, Prince S., Prince Muishkin (though he himself had flushed for some reason), and Colia. Aglaya was dreadfully indignant, and looked twice as pretty in her wrath.

The time appointed was twelve o’clock, and the prince, returning home unexpectedly late, found the general waiting for him. At the first glance, he saw that the latter was displeased, perhaps because he had been kept waiting. The prince apologized, and quickly took a seat. He seemed strangely timid before the general this morning, for some reason, and felt as though his visitor were some piece of china which he was afraid of breaking.
“He is telling lies!” cried the nephew. “Even now he cannot speak the truth. He is not called Timofey Lukianovitch, prince, but Lukian Timofeyovitch. Now do tell us why you must needs lie about it? Lukian or Timofey, it is all the same to you, and what difference can it make to the prince? He tells lies without the least necessity, simply by force of habit, I assure you.”
He shivered all over as he lay; he was in high fever again.
“And now you’ll have a million roubles, at least--goodness gracious me!” exclaimed the clerk, rubbing his hands.

“Capital! How beautifully you have written it! Thanks so much. _Au revoir_, prince. Wait a minute,” she added, “I want to give you something for a keepsake. Come with me this way, will you?”

“It’s all the same; you ought to have run after Aglaya though the other was fainting.”
At the door they met Gania coming in.

“I, too, was burning to have my say!

“The project was abandoned; Davoust shrugged his shoulders and went out, whispering to himself--‘_Bah, il devient superstitieux!_’ Next morning the order to retreat was given.”
“My sister again,” cried Gania, looking at her with contempt and almost hate. “Look here, mother, I have already given you my word that I shall always respect you fully and absolutely, and so shall everyone else in this house, be it who it may, who shall cross this threshold.”
Evgenie Pavlovitch fell back a step in astonishment. For one moment it was all he could do to restrain himself from bursting out laughing; but, looking closer, he observed that the prince did not seem to be quite himself; at all events, he was in a very curious state.
“Why? Was there no one else to pay for you?” asked the black-haired one.
“Very good. That would increase our income nicely. Have you any intention of being a Kammer-junker?”
“What a regular old woman I am today,” he had said to himself each time, with annoyance. “I believe in every foolish presentiment that comes into my head.”

“No; I remember nothing!” said the prince. A few more words of explanation followed, words which were spoken without the smallest excitement by his companion, but which evoked the greatest agitation in the prince; and it was discovered that two old ladies to whose care the prince had been left by Pavlicheff, and who lived at Zlatoverhoff, were also relations of Ivan Petrovitch.

“H’m; I thought differently. You see, we were talking over this period of history. I was criticizing a current report of something which then happened, and having been myself an eye-witness of the occurrence--you are smiling, prince--you are looking at my face as if--” And, indeed, there were no words in which he could have expressed his horror, yes, _horror_, for he was now fully convinced from his own private knowledge of her, that the woman was mad.

There were to be very few guests besides the best men and so on; only Dana Alexeyevna, the Ptitsins, Gania, and the doctor. When the prince asked Lebedeff why he had invited the doctor, who was almost a stranger, Lebedeff replied:

“Is he married?”
“I think you are rather overwhelmed and out of breath. Have a little rest, and try to recover yourself. Take a glass of water, or--but they’ll give you some tea directly.”
“He entered, and shut the door behind him. Then he silently gazed at me and went quickly to the corner of the room where the lamp was burning and sat down underneath it.

“Of course you have your own lodging at Pavlofsk at--at your daughter’s house,” began the prince, quite at a loss what to say. He suddenly recollected that the general had come for advice on a most important matter, affecting his destiny.

The fire, choked between a couple of smouldering pieces of wood, had died down for the first few moments after the packet was thrown upon it. But a little tongue of fire now began to lick the paper from below, and soon, gathering courage, mounted the sides of the parcel, and crept around it. In another moment, the whole of it burst into flames, and the exclamations of woe and horror were redoubled.
Gania gazed after him uneasily, but said nothing.
“Aglaya Ivanovna...” began Lebedeff, promptly.
The prince was haunted all that day by the face of Lebedeff’s nephew whom he had seen for the first time that morning, just as one is haunted at times by some persistent musical refrain. By a curious association of ideas, the young man always appeared as the murderer of whom Lebedeff had spoken when introducing him to Muishkin. Yes, he had read something about the murder, and that quite recently. Since he came to Russia, he had heard many stories of this kind, and was interested in them. His conversation with the waiter, an hour ago, chanced to be on the subject of this murder of the Zemarins, and the latter had agreed with him about it. He thought of the waiter again, and decided that he was no fool, but a steady, intelligent man: though, said he to himself, “God knows what he may really be; in a country with which one is unfamiliar it is difficult to understand the people one meets.” He was beginning to have a passionate faith in the Russian soul, however, and what discoveries he had made in the last six months, what unexpected discoveries! But every soul is a mystery, and depths of mystery lie in the soul of a Russian. He had been intimate with Rogojin, for example, and a brotherly friendship had sprung up between them--yet did he really know him? What chaos and ugliness fills the world at times! What a self-satisfied rascal is that nephew of Lebedeff’s! “But what am I thinking,” continued the prince to himself. “Can he really have committed that crime? Did he kill those six persons? I seem to be confusing things... how strange it all is.... My head goes round... And Lebedeff’s daughter--how sympathetic and charming her face was as she held the child in her arms! What an innocent look and child-like laugh she had! It is curious that I had forgotten her until now. I expect Lebedeff adores her--and I really believe, when I think of it, that as sure as two and two make four, he is fond of that nephew, too!”
“And Hippolyte has come down here to stay,” said Colia, suddenly.

This time everyone laughed at her, her sisters, Prince S., Prince Muishkin (though he himself had flushed for some reason), and Colia. Aglaya was dreadfully indignant, and looked twice as pretty in her wrath.

“You are alone, aren’t you,--not married?”

“He is boring us!”

“I expect he knows all about it!” thought the prince.
“At home, everybody, mother, my sisters, Prince S., even that detestable Colia! If they don’t say it, they think it. I told them all so to their faces. I told mother and father and everybody. Mamma was ill all the day after it, and next day father and Alexandra told me that I didn’t understand what nonsense I was talking. I informed them that they little knew me--I was not a small child--I understood every word in the language--that I had read a couple of Paul de Kok’s novels two years since on purpose, so as to know all about everything. No sooner did mamma hear me say this than she nearly fainted!”
“Oh prince, prince! I never should have thought it of you;” said General Epanchin. “And I imagined you a philosopher! Oh, you silent fellows!”

“Well, I’ll tell you,” said the prince, apparently in a deep reverie.

The prince redoubled his attentive study of her symptoms. It was a most curious circumstance, in his opinion, that she never spoke of Rogojin. But once, about five days before the wedding, when the prince was at home, a messenger arrived begging him to come at once, as Nastasia Philipovna was very ill.
“Are you telling the truth when you say you are not in love?”
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.

“H’m! yes, that’s true enough. Well now, how is the law over there, do they administer it more justly than here?”

He found the mother and daughter locked in one another’s arms, mingling their tears.

The prince did not notice that others were talking and making themselves agreeable to Aglaya; in fact, at moments, he almost forgot that he was sitting by her himself. At other moments he felt a longing to go away somewhere and be alone with his thoughts, and to feel that no one knew where he was.

The general watched Gania’s confusion intently, and clearly did not like it.
As to the rest, one was a man of thirty, the retired officer, now a boxer, who had been with Rogojin, and in his happier days had given fifteen roubles at a time to beggars. Evidently he had joined the others as a comrade to give them moral, and if necessary material, support. The man who had been spoken of as “Pavlicheff’s son,” although he gave the name of Antip Burdovsky, was about twenty-two years of age, fair, thin and rather tall. He was remarkable for the poverty, not to say uncleanliness, of his personal appearance: the sleeves of his overcoat were greasy; his dirty waistcoat, buttoned up to his neck, showed not a trace of linen; a filthy black silk scarf, twisted till it resembled a cord, was round his neck, and his hands were unwashed. He looked round with an air of insolent effrontery. His face, covered with pimples, was neither thoughtful nor even contemptuous; it wore an expression of complacent satisfaction in demanding his rights and in being an aggrieved party. His voice trembled, and he spoke so fast, and with such stammerings, that he might have been taken for a foreigner, though the purest Russian blood ran in his veins. Lebedeff’s nephew, whom the reader has seen already, accompanied him, and also the youth named Hippolyte Terentieff. The latter was only seventeen or eighteen. He had an intelligent face, though it was usually irritated and fretful in expression. His skeleton-like figure, his ghastly complexion, the brightness of his eyes, and the red spots of colour on his cheeks, betrayed the victim of consumption to the most casual glance. He coughed persistently, and panted for breath; it looked as though he had but a few weeks more to live. He was nearly dead with fatigue, and fell, rather than sat, into a chair. The rest bowed as they came in; and being more or less abashed, put on an air of extreme self-assurance. In short, their attitude was not that which one would have expected in men who professed to despise all trivialities, all foolish mundane conventions, and indeed everything, except their own personal interests.
At this point General Epanchin, noticing how interested Muishkin had become in the conversation, said to him, in a low tone:
“Are you not ashamed? Are you not ashamed? You barbarian! You tyrant! You have robbed me of all I possessed--you have sucked my bones to the marrow. How long shall I be your victim? Shameless, dishonourable man!”
“Seriously? Then are you a coward?”
“Why, no, it is hardly the same,” remarked Gavrila Ardalionovitch, with an air of ingenuous surprise.

“Come along!” shouted Rogojin, beside himself with joy. “Hey! all of you fellows! Wine! Round with it! Fill the glasses!”

“Pafnute, yes. And who was he?”

“But I tell you she is not in Pavlofsk! She’s in Colmina.”

“Yes--yes, quite so; you are quite right. I wished to see Aglaya Ivanovna, you know!” said the prince, nodding his head.
“Of what? Apologizing, eh? And where on earth did I get the idea that you were an idiot? You always observe what other people pass by unnoticed; one could talk sense to you, but--”