“Come, come, come! There, you must not cry, that will do. You are a good child! God will forgive you, because you knew no better. Come now, be a man! You know presently you will be ashamed.”

“And would you marry a woman like that, now?” continued Gania, never taking his excited eyes off the prince’s face.

Gania left the room in great good humour. The prince stayed behind, and meditated alone for a few minutes. At length, Colia popped his head in once more.

“In my opinion, you are far from a fool sometimes--in fact, you are very intelligent. You said a very clever thing just now about my being unjust because I had _only_ justice. I shall remember that, and think about it.”

“Chaos and scandal are to be found everywhere, madame,” remarked Doktorenko, who was considerably put out of countenance.

“Yes, I do! I have only been one day in Russia, but I have heard of the great beauty!” And the prince proceeded to narrate his meeting with Rogojin in the train and the whole of the latter’s story.

“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--”
All present exchanged looks of surprise.
At this idea, he burst out laughing all at once, in quite unaffected mirth, and without giving any explanation.
“Eighteen thousand roubles, for me? Why, you declare yourself a fool at once,” she said, with impudent familiarity, as she rose from the sofa and prepared to go. Gania watched the whole scene with a sinking of the heart.

“And you won’t reproach me for all these rude words of mine--some day--afterwards?” she asked, of a sudden.

About seven in the evening, soon after dinner, he arrived. At the first glance it struck the prince that he, at any rate, must know all the details of last night’s affair. Indeed, it would have been impossible for him to remain in ignorance considering the intimate relationship between him, Varvara Ardalionovna, and Ptitsin. But although he and the prince were intimate, in a sense, and although the latter had placed the Burdovsky affair in his hands--and this was not the only mark of confidence he had received--it seemed curious how many matters there were that were tacitly avoided in their conversations. Muishkin thought that Gania at times appeared to desire more cordiality and frankness. It was apparent now, when he entered, that he was convinced that the moment for breaking the ice between them had come at last.

Evgenie Pavlovitch seemed to be in a lively humour. He made Adelaida and Alexandra laugh all the way to the Vauxhall; but they both laughed so very readily and promptly that the worthy Evgenie began at last to suspect that they were not listening to him at all.

Aglaya observed it, and trembled with anger.
The course of events had marched in the following order. When Lebedeff returned, in company with the general, after their expedition to town a few days since, for the purpose of investigation, he brought the prince no information whatever. If the latter had not himself been occupied with other thoughts and impressions at the time, he must have observed that Lebedeff not only was very uncommunicative, but even appeared anxious to avoid him.
Suddenly Prince S. hinted something about “a new and approaching change in the family.” He was led to this remark by a communication inadvertently made to him by Lizabetha Prokofievna, that Adelaida’s marriage must be postponed a little longer, in order that the two weddings might come off together.
“Fortune--money--do you mean?” asked the prince in some surprise.

“Are you telling the truth when you say you are not in love?”

“And you preached her sermons there, did you?”
“You have!” cried Aglaya. “I might have guessed it. That’s a fitting crown to the rest of the story. If you have seen an execution, how can you say you lived happily all the while?”

“We were leaning over the balustrade of the bridge, looking into the Neva at this moment.

“No! I trust you--but I can’t understand. It seems to me that your pity is greater than my love.” A hungry longing to speak his mind out seemed to flash in the man’s eyes, combined with an intense anger.
All we know is, that the marriage really was arranged, and that the prince had commissioned Lebedeff and Keller to look after all the necessary business connected with it; that he had requested them to spare no expense; that Nastasia herself was hurrying on the wedding; that Keller was to be the prince’s best man, at his own earnest request; and that Burdovsky was to give Nastasia away, to his great delight. The wedding was to take place before the middle of July.

Gania, left alone, clutched his head with his hands.

“He is a strange boy, thoughtless, and inclined to be indiscreet.”
“I knew yesterday that you didn’t love me.”
“Gentlemen, I supposed from this that poor Mr. Burdovsky must be a simple-minded man, quite defenceless, and an easy tool in the hands of rogues. That is why I thought it my duty to try and help him as ‘Pavlicheff’s son’; in the first place by rescuing him from the influence of Tchebaroff, and secondly by making myself his friend. I have resolved to give him ten thousand roubles; that is about the sum which I calculate that Pavlicheff must have spent on me.”

“It is madness--it is merely another proof of her insanity!” said the prince, and his lips trembled.

“I’ll swear it by whatever you please.”

Colia and Vera Lebedeff were very anxious on the prince’s account, but they were so busy over the arrangements for receiving the guests after the wedding, that they had not much time for the indulgence of personal feelings.

“Such beauty is real power,” said Adelaida. “With such beauty as that one might overthrow the world.” She returned to her easel thoughtfully.
“It’s impossible, for that very reason,” said the prince. “How would she get out if she wished to? You don’t know the habits of that house--she _could_ not get away alone to Nastasia Philipovna’s! It’s all nonsense!” “Everyone has his worries, prince, especially in these strange and troublous times of ours,” Lebedeff replied, drily, and with the air of a man disappointed of his reasonable expectations.

“He beat me, he thrashed me unmercifully!” replied Lebedeff vehemently. “He set a dog on me in Moscow, a bloodhound, a terrible beast that chased me all down the street.”

“I am not surprised at that. After what you... But I do hate that way of looking at things! Because some fool, or a rogue pretending to be a fool, strikes a man, that man is to be dishonoured for his whole life, unless he wipes out the disgrace with blood, or makes his assailant beg forgiveness on his knees! I think that so very absurd and tyrannical. Lermontoff’s Bal Masque is based on that idea--a stupid and unnatural one, in my opinion; but he was hardly more than a child when he wrote it.”
“I knew yesterday that Gavrila Ardalionovitch--” began the prince, and paused in evident confusion, though Hippolyte had shown annoyance at his betraying no surprise.
“You must have forgotten Russia, hadn’t you?”
“Yes, your father kindly recommended me to him.”
It was quite dark now, and Muishkin could not see her face clearly, but a minute or two later, when he and the general had left the villa, he suddenly flushed up, and squeezed his right hand tightly.
“Not in the least; on the contrary, he interests me.”
Yes, all this must be put straight and above-board, there must be no more passionate renouncements, such as Rogojin’s. It must all be clear as day. Cannot Rogojin’s soul bear the light? He said he did not love her with sympathy and pity; true, he added that “your pity is greater than my love,” but he was not quite fair on himself there. Kin! Rogojin reading a book--wasn’t that sympathy beginning? Did it not show that he comprehended his relations with her? And his story of waiting day and night for her forgiveness? That didn’t look quite like passion alone.
“I had a note,” said the prince.
However, when he did master the fact, it acted upon him as a tonic by completely distracting his attention. He went at once to Nina Alexandrovna’s, whither the general had been carried, and stayed there until the evening. He could do no good, but there are people whom to have near one is a blessing at such times. Colia was in an almost hysterical state; he cried continuously, but was running about all day, all the same; fetching doctors, of whom he collected three; going to the chemist’s, and so on.
“I am intoxicated, general. I am having a day out, you know--it’s my birthday! I have long looked forward to this happy occasion. Daria Alexeyevna, you see that nosegay-man, that Monsieur aux Camelias, sitting there laughing at us?”

When--late in the evening--the prince made his appearance in Lizabetha Prokofievna’s drawing-room, he found it full of guests. Mrs. Epanchin questioned him very fully about the general as soon as he appeared; and when old Princess Bielokonski wished to know “who this general was, and who was Nina Alexandrovna,” she proceeded to explain in a manner which pleased the prince very much.

Seeing him laugh, Lebedeff thought fit to laugh also, and though much agitated his satisfaction was quite visible.
“What? What can you have heard?” said the prince, stammering.
“What of that? People will say anything,” said Rogojin drily.
“Well, sir, I suppose you wanted to make me look ridiculous?”

“Oh, I was told. Of course I don’t altogether believe it. I am very sorry that I should have had to say this, because I assure you I don’t believe it myself; it is all nonsense, of course. It was stupid of me to say anything about it.”

If, loving a woman above everything in the world, or at least having a foretaste of the possibility of such love for her, one were suddenly to behold her on a chain, behind bars and under the lash of a keeper, one would feel something like what the poor prince now felt.
“Where is Nastasia Philipovna?” asked the prince, breathlessly.

“Not those very words. She only just had time to whisper as she went by; but by the way she looked at me I knew it was important. She looked at me in a way that made my heart stop beating.”

“Oh, don’t think that I have no sense of my own humiliation! I have suffered already in reading so far. Which of you all does not think me a fool at this moment--a young fool who knows nothing of life--forgetting that to live as I have lived these last six months is to live longer than grey-haired old men. Well, let them laugh, and say it is all nonsense, if they please. They may say it is all fairy-tales, if they like; and I have spent whole nights telling myself fairy-tales. I remember them all. But how can I tell fairy-tales now? The time for them is over. They amused me when I found that there was not even time for me to learn the Greek grammar, as I wanted to do. ‘I shall die before I get to the syntax,’ I thought at the first page--and threw the book under the table. It is there still, for I forbade anyone to pick it up.
“‘Lumen caeli, sancta Rosa!’ Shouting on the foe he fell, And like thunder rang his war-cry O’er the cowering infidel.
“No, you fool--you don’t know whom you are dealing with--and it appears I am a fool, too!” said Parfen, trembling beneath the flashing glance of Nastasia. “Oh, curse it all! What a fool I was to listen to you!” he added, with profound melancholy.
Murmurs arose in the neighbourhood of Burdovsky and his companions; Lebedeff’s nephew protested under his breath.
“But--why?”
“What! don’t you know about it yet? He doesn’t know--imagine that! Why, he’s shot himself. Your uncle shot himself this very morning. I was told at two this afternoon. Half the town must know it by now. They say there are three hundred and fifty thousand roubles, government money, missing; some say five hundred thousand. And I was under the impression that he would leave you a fortune! He’s whistled it all away. A most depraved old gentleman, really! Well, ta, ta!--bonne chance! Surely you intend to be off there, don’t you? Ha, ha! You’ve retired from the army in good time, I see! Plain clothes! Well done, sly rogue! Nonsense! I see--you knew it all before--I dare say you knew all about it yesterday-”
“I expect he knows all about it!” thought the prince.
“Poor Peter Volhofskoi was desperately in love with Anfisa Alexeyevna. I don’t know whether there was anything--I mean I don’t know whether he could possibly have indulged in any hope. The poor fellow was beside himself to get her a bouquet of camellias. Countess Sotski and Sophia Bespalova, as everyone knew, were coming with white camellia bouquets. Anfisa wished for red ones, for effect. Well, her husband Platon was driven desperate to find some. And the day before the ball, Anfisa’s rival snapped up the only red camellias to be had in the place, from under Platon’s nose, and Platon--wretched man--was done for. Now if Peter had only been able to step in at this moment with a red bouquet, his little hopes might have made gigantic strides. A woman’s gratitude under such circumstances would have been boundless--but it was practically an impossibility.

The sufferer was immediately taken to his room, and though he partially regained consciousness, he lay long in a semi-dazed condition.

As to the girls, nothing was said openly, at all events; and probably very little in private. They were proud damsels, and were not always perfectly confidential even among themselves. But they understood each other thoroughly at the first word on all occasions; very often at the first glance, so that there was no need of much talking as a rule.

“Never mind, never mind,” said the prince, signing to him to keep quiet.