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

“Fits?” asked the prince, slightly surprised. “I very seldom have fits nowadays. I don’t know how it may be here, though; they say the climate may be bad for me.”

“Wait a bit--I’ll make the bed, and you can lie down. I’ll lie down, too, and we’ll listen and watch, for I don’t know yet what I shall do... I tell you beforehand, so that you may be ready in case I--”

“Yes, it is serious for a poor man who lives by his toil.”“I see you are shuddering, Lef Nicolaievitch,” said the latter, at length, “almost as you did once in Moscow, before your fit; don’t you remember? I don’t know what I shall do with you--”“How has he changed for the better?” asked Mrs. Epanchin. “I don’t see any change for the better! What’s better in him? Where did you get _that_ idea from? _What’s_ better?”
“As for yesterday’s episode,” continued Gania, “of course it was pre-arranged.” Here he paused, as though expecting to be asked how he knew that. But the prince did not inquire. Concerning Evgenie Pavlovitch, Gania stated, without being asked, that he believed the former had not known Nastasia Philipovna in past years, but that he had probably been introduced to her by somebody in the park during these four days. As to the question of the IOU’s she had spoken of, there might easily be something in that; for though Evgenie was undoubtedly a man of wealth, yet certain of his affairs were equally undoubtedly in disorder. Arrived at this interesting point, Gania suddenly broke off, and said no more about Nastasia’s prank of the previous evening.
A violent fit of coughing, which lasted a full minute, prevented him from finishing his sentence.“Of course it is all, my friend. I don’t doubt you for a moment,” said Lizabetha Prokofievna with dignity.

“Only that God gives that sort of dying to some, and not to others. Perhaps you think, though, that I could not die like Gleboff?”

“I arrived at the old woman’s house beside myself. She was sitting in a corner all alone, leaning her face on her hand. I fell on her like a clap of thunder. ‘You old wretch!’ I yelled and all that sort of thing, in real Russian style. Well, when I began cursing at her, a strange thing happened. I looked at her, and she stared back with her eyes starting out of her head, but she did not say a word. She seemed to sway about as she sat, and looked and looked at me in the strangest way. Well, I soon stopped swearing and looked closer at her, asked her questions, but not a word could I get out of her. The flies were buzzing about the room and only this sound broke the silence; the sun was setting outside; I didn’t know what to make of it, so I went away.

The prince came forward and introduced himself.

Muishkin glanced at Rogojin in perplexity, but the latter only smiled disagreeably, and said nothing. The silence continued for some few moments.
Nastasia introduced the prince to her guests, to most of whom he was already known.

“Yes,” said the prince, squeezing the word out with difficulty owing to the dreadful beating of his heart.

Alexandra now joined in, and it looked as though the three sisters were going to laugh on for ever.
“If you were there yourself you must have known that I was _not_ there!”
“Yes _all_, Katia, all--every one of them. Let them in, or they’ll come in whether you like or no. Listen! what a noise they are making! Perhaps you are offended, gentlemen, that I should receive such guests in your presence? I am very sorry, and ask your forgiveness, but it cannot be helped--and I should be very grateful if you could all stay and witness this climax. However, just as you please, of course.”

Arrived at the church, Muishkin, under Keller’s guidance, passed through the crowd of spectators, amid continuous whispering and excited exclamations. The prince stayed near the altar, while Keller made off once more to fetch the bride.

“Lizabetha Prokofievna, what are you thinking of?” cried the prince, almost leaping to his feet in amazement.“Russian books, indeed? Then, of course, you can read and write quite correctly?”Nastasia Philipovna was at this moment passing the young ladies’ chairs.

“Ah! here he is, the Judas!” cried a voice which the prince recognized at once. “How d’ye do, Gania, you old blackguard?”

“How do you know that? How do you know that she is not really in love with that--that rich cad--the man she eloped with?”
Parfen was silent. With sad surprise the prince observed that the look of distrust, the bitter, ironical smile, had still not altogether left his newly-adopted brother’s face. At moments, at all events, it showed itself but too plainly,
“Come to Aglaya--quick, quick!”

“Poodle? What was that? And in a railway carriage? Dear me,” said Nastasia, thoughtfully, as though trying to recall something to mind.

“You may imagine her ecstasy, her gratitude. The wretched Platon, who had almost died since yesterday of the reproaches showered upon him, wept on my shoulder. Of course poor Peter had no chance after this.

“What on earth is the matter with the boy? What phenomenal feeble-mindedness!” exclaimed Ferdishenko.

The doctor stated that there was no danger to be apprehended from the wound on the head, and as soon as the prince could understand what was going on around him, Colia hired a carriage and took him away to Lebedeff’s. There he was received with much cordiality, and the departure to the country was hastened on his account. Three days later they were all at Pavlofsk.

“Oh, curse it all,” he said; “what on earth must you go blabbing for? You know nothing about the thing, and yet--idiot!” he added, muttering the last word to himself in irrepressible rage.

All present exchanged looks of surprise.

“Yes--I don’t like that Ferdishenko. I can’t understand why Nastasia Philipovna encourages him so. Is he really her cousin, as he says?”

“I know it for a fact,” replied Rogojin, with conviction.
“What would I show them?
“Such advice, and at such a moment, you must allow, prince, was--”

Gania certainly did look dreadfully abashed. Colia rushed up to comfort the prince, and after him crowded Varia, Rogojin and all, even the general.

“Rogojin!” announced Ferdishenko.

She seemed to wish to show him something, not far off, in the park.
“Yes, they say I have a ‘young’ face. As to disturbing you I shall soon learn to avoid doing that, for I hate disturbing people. Besides, you and I are so differently constituted, I should think, that there must be very little in common between us. Not that I will ever believe there is _nothing_ in common between any two people, as some declare is the case. I am sure people make a great mistake in sorting each other into groups, by appearances; but I am boring you, I see, you--”
“Well, anyone who does not interest himself in questions such as this is, in my opinion, a mere fashionable dummy.”

She awaited him in trembling agitation; and when he at last arrived she nearly went off into hysterics.

“Alexandra Michailovna out, too! How disappointing! Would you believe it, I am always so unfortunate! May I most respectfully ask you to present my compliments to Alexandra Michailovna, and remind her... tell her, that with my whole heart I wish for her what she wished for herself on Thursday evening, while she was listening to Chopin’s Ballade. She will remember. I wish it with all sincerity. General Ivolgin and Prince Muishkin!”

The prince trembled.

“_What_ a--”
“I’ll come tomorrow. Now I’m going home--are you coming to my house?”
“None of us ever thought such a thing!” Muishkin replied for all. “Why should you suppose it of us? And what are you going to read, Hippolyte? What is it?”
According to her opinion, the whole thing had been one huge, fantastical, absurd, unpardonable mistake. “First of all, this prince is an idiot, and, secondly, he is a fool--knows nothing of the world, and has no place in it. Whom can he be shown to? Where can you take him to? What will old Bielokonski say? We never thought of such a husband as _that_ for our Aglaya!”
“Yes, here in my chest. I received them at the siege of Kars, and I feel them in bad weather now. And as to the third of our trio, Epanchin, of course after that little affair with the poodle in the railway carriage, it was all _up_ between us.”

“I don’t know; I always feel like that when I look at the beauties of nature for the first time; but then, I was ill at that time, of course!”

“And do you not live in idleness?”

“But it will lead at least to solidarity, and balance of interests,” said Ptitsin.

“My dear, ‘_se trompe_’ is easily said. Do you remember any case at all like it? Everybody was at their wits’ end. I should be the first to say ‘_qu’on se trompe_,’ but unfortunately I was an eye-witness, and was also on the commission of inquiry. Everything proved that it was really he, the very same soldier Kolpakoff who had been given the usual military funeral to the sound of the drum. It is of course a most curious case--nearly an impossible one. I recognize that... but--”

Evgenie Pavlovitch stood on the steps like one struck by lightning. Mrs. Epanchin stood still too, but not with the petrified expression of Evgenie. She gazed haughtily at the audacious person who had addressed her companion, and then turned a look of astonishment upon Evgenie himself.