“I saw how the man dashed about the room to find me an empty chair, how he kicked the rags off a chair which was covered up by them, brought it to me, and helped me to sit down; but my cough went on for another three minutes or so. When I came to myself he was sitting by me on another chair, which he had also cleared of the rubbish by throwing it all over the floor, and was watching me intently.
“That will do. I can find out for myself. Only tell me, where is she now? At his house? With him?”

“And did you learn science and all that, with your professor over there?” asked the black-haired passenger.

The rest of the guests (an old tutor or schoolmaster, goodness knows why invited; a young man, very timid, and shy and silent; a rather loud woman of about forty, apparently an actress; and a very pretty, well-dressed German lady who hardly said a word all the evening) not only had no gift for enlivening the proceedings, but hardly knew what to say for themselves when addressed. Under these circumstances the arrival of the prince came almost as a godsend.
“Accept, accept, Prince Lef Nicolaievitch” said Lebedef solemnly; “don’t let it slip! Accept, quick!”
The clerk stood looking after his guest, struck by his sudden absent-mindedness. He had not even remembered to say goodbye, and Lebedeff was the more surprised at the omission, as he knew by experience how courteous the prince usually was.We may remark here that he seemed anxious not to omit a single one of the recognized customs and traditions observed at weddings. He wished all to be done as openly as possible, and “in due order.”He crossed the salon and the entrance-hall, so as to pass down the corridor into his own room. As he came near the front door he heard someone outside vainly endeavouring to ring the bell, which was evidently broken, and only shook a little, without emitting any sound.
“Oh, _she_ told me all about it long ago, and tonight I saw for myself. I saw you at the music, you know, and whom you were sitting with. She swore to me yesterday, and again today, that you are madly in love with Aglaya Ivanovna. But that’s all the same to me, prince, and it’s not my affair at all; for if you have ceased to love _her_, _she_ has not ceased to love _you_. You know, of course, that she wants to marry you to that girl? She’s sworn to it! Ha, ha! She says to me, ‘Until then I won’t marry you. When they go to church, we’ll go too--and not before.’ What on earth does she mean by it? I don’t know, and I never did. Either she loves you without limits or--yet, if she loves you, why does she wish to marry you to another girl? She says, ‘I want to see him happy,’ which is to say--she loves you.”
“And--and you won’t _laugh_ at him? That’s the chief thing.”“I don’t want any dinner, thanks, Colia. I had too good a lunch at General Epanchin’s.”The prince only laughed. Aglaya stamped her foot with annoyance.

“You are convinced? You don’t really mean to say you think that honestly?” asked Aglaya, extremely surprised.

“Oh, you shall tell us about the Basle picture another time; now we must have all about the execution,” said Adelaida. “Tell us about that face as it appeared to your imagination--how should it be drawn?--just the face alone, do you mean?”

“Four years! and I was in the same place nearly all the time,--in one village.”

Hardly had the prince uttered the last word when Gania gave such a fearful shudder that the prince almost cried out.
She did not rise from her knees; she would not listen to him; she put her questions hurriedly, as though she were pursued.
“Why do you tease him?” cried the prince, suddenly.

“I admit I was afraid that that was the case, yesterday,” blundered the prince (he was rather confused), “but today I am quite convinced that--”

“Oh, is that it? That makes a difference, perhaps. What did you go to the bandstand for?”

“Good Lord, he’s off again!” said Princess Bielokonski, impatiently.

“The devil knows what it means,” growled Ivan Fedorovitch, under his breath; “it must have taken the united wits of fifty footmen to write it.”

“Bachmatoff saw me home after the dinner and we crossed the Nicolai bridge. We were both a little drunk. He told me of his joy, the joyful feeling of having done a good action; he said that it was all thanks to myself that he could feel this satisfaction; and held forth about the foolishness of the theory that individual charity is useless.

“So I saw.”

“Who told you that?” broke in Evgenie Pavlovitch.
He rushed like a whirlwind from the room, and Muishkin looked inquiringly at the others.
He had spoken in a whisper all the way. In spite of his apparent outward composure, he was evidently in a state of great mental agitation. Arrived in a large salon, next to the study, he went to the window and cautiously beckoned the prince up to him.

“In the first place, I have had the opportunity of getting a correct idea of Mr. Burdovsky. I see what he is for myself. He is an innocent man, deceived by everyone! A defenceless victim, who deserves indulgence! Secondly, Gavrila Ardalionovitch, in whose hands I had placed the matter, had his first interview with me barely an hour ago. I had not heard from him for some time, as I was away, and have been ill for three days since my return to St. Petersburg. He tells me that he has exposed the designs of Tchebaroff and has proof that justifies my opinion of him. I know, gentlemen, that many people think me an idiot. Counting upon my reputation as a man whose purse-strings are easily loosened, Tchebaroff thought it would be a simple matter to fleece me, especially by trading on my gratitude to Pavlicheff. But the main point is--listen, gentlemen, let me finish!--the main point is that Mr. Burdovsky is not Pavlicheff’s son at all. Gavrila Ardalionovitch has just told me of his discovery, and assures me that he has positive proofs. Well, what do you think of that? It is scarcely credible, even after all the tricks that have been played upon me. Please note that we have positive proofs! I can hardly believe it myself, I assure you; I do not yet believe it; I am still doubtful, because Gavrila Ardalionovitch has not had time to go into details; but there can be no further doubt that Tchebaroff is a rogue! He has deceived poor Mr. Burdovsky, and all of you, gentlemen, who have come forward so nobly to support your friend--(he evidently needs support, I quite see that!). He has abused your credulity and involved you all in an attempted fraud, for when all is said and done this claim is nothing else!”

“No, I had better speak,” continued the prince, with a new outburst of feverish emotion, and turning towards the old man with an air of confidential trustfulness. “Yesterday, Aglaya Ivanovna forbade me to talk, and even specified the particular subjects I must not touch upon--she knows well enough that I am odd when I get upon these matters. I am nearly twenty-seven years old, and yet I know I am little better than a child. I have no right to express my ideas, and said so long ago. Only in Moscow, with Rogojin, did I ever speak absolutely freely! He and I read Pushkin together--all his works. Rogojin knew nothing of Pushkin, had not even heard his name. I am always afraid of spoiling a great Thought or Idea by my absurd manner. I have no eloquence, I know. I always make the wrong gestures--inappropriate gestures--and therefore I degrade the Thought, and raise a laugh instead of doing my subject justice. I have no sense of proportion either, and that is the chief thing. I know it would be much better if I were always to sit still and say nothing. When I do so, I appear to be quite a sensible sort of a person, and what’s more, I think about things. But now I must speak; it is better that I should. I began to speak because you looked so kindly at me; you have such a beautiful face. I promised Aglaya Ivanovna yesterday that I would not speak all the evening.”
“So I had decided, my friend; not to give her up to anyone,” continued Rogojin. “We’ll be very quiet. I have only been out of the house one hour all day, all the rest of the time I have been with her. I dare say the air is very bad here. It is so hot. Do you find it bad?”

“‘Why, what on earth can have possessed you to come and see _me_, Terentieff?’ he cried, with his usual pleasant, sometimes audacious, but never offensive familiarity, which I liked in reality, but for which I also detested him. ‘Why what’s the matter?’ he cried in alarm. ‘Are you ill?’

“Yes, directly; I’ll go away directly. I’ll--”Rogojin took the chair offered him, but he did not sit long; he soon stood up again, and did not reseat himself. Little by little he began to look around him and discern the other guests. Seeing Gania, he smiled venomously and muttered to himself, “Look at that!”

“H’m! and he receives a good salary, I’m told. Well, what should you get but disgrace and misery if you took a wife you hated into your family (for I know very well that you do hate me)? No, no! I believe now that a man like you would murder anyone for money--sharpen a razor and come up behind his best friend and cut his throat like a sheep--I’ve read of such people. Everyone seems money-mad nowadays. No, no! I may be shameless, but you are far worse. I don’t say a word about that other--”

Without the ceremony of knocking, Parfen entered a small apartment, furnished like a drawing-room, but with a polished mahogany partition dividing one half of it from what was probably a bedroom. In one corner of this room sat an old woman in an arm-chair, close to the stove. She did not look very old, and her face was a pleasant, round one; but she was white-haired and, as one could detect at the first glance, quite in her second childhood. She wore a black woollen dress, with a black handkerchief round her neck and shoulders, and a white cap with black ribbons. Her feet were raised on a footstool. Beside her sat another old woman, also dressed in mourning, and silently knitting a stocking; this was evidently a companion. They both looked as though they never broke the silence. The first old woman, so soon as she saw Rogojin and the prince, smiled and bowed courteously several times, in token of her gratification at their visit.

“I carried you in my arms as a baby,” he observed.

“And sure enough the matter ended as satisfactorily as possible. A month or so later my medical friend was appointed to another post. He got his travelling expenses paid, and something to help him to start life with once more. I think Bachmatoff must have persuaded the doctor to accept a loan from himself. I saw Bachmatoff two or three times, about this period, the third time being when he gave a farewell dinner to the doctor and his wife before their departure, a champagne dinner.

One of these incidents was a visit from Lebedeff. Lebedeff came rather early--before ten--but he was tipsy already. Though the prince was not in an observant condition, yet he could not avoid seeing that for at least three days--ever since General Ivolgin had left the house Lebedeff had been behaving very badly. He looked untidy and dirty at all times of the day, and it was said that he had begun to rage about in his own house, and that his temper was very bad. As soon as he arrived this morning, he began to hold forth, beating his breast and apparently blaming himself for something.

“And why did you tell us this?”

“Capital! And your handwriting?”

“But could anyone possibly eat sixty monks?” objected the scoffing listeners.

The prince muttered something, blushed, and jumped up; but Aglaya immediately sat down beside him; so he reseated himself.

“Because he _didn’t_ exist--never could and never did--there! You’d better drop the subject, I warn you!”
The prince observed with great surprise, as he approached his villa, accompanied by Rogojin, that a large number of people were assembled on his verandah, which was brilliantly lighted up. The company seemed merry and were noisily laughing and talking--even quarrelling, to judge from the sounds. At all events they were clearly enjoying themselves, and the prince observed further on closer investigation--that all had been drinking champagne. To judge from the lively condition of some of the party, it was to be supposed that a considerable quantity of champagne had been consumed already.

Hippolyte suddenly burst into a fit of hysterical laughter, which turned into a choking cough.

“Oh, Aglaya--perhaps you cannot understand all this. Try to realize that in the perpetual admission of guilt she probably finds some dreadful unnatural satisfaction--as though she were revenging herself upon someone.

“What is it?” asked the actress.

Keller, for instance, had run into the house three times of late, “just for a moment,” and each time with the air of desiring to offer his congratulations. Colia, too, in spite of his melancholy, had once or twice begun sentences in much the same strain of suggestion or insinuation.

“They are quarrelling,” said the prince, and entered the drawing-room, just as matters in there had almost reached a crisis. Nina Alexandrovna had forgotten that she had “submitted to everything!” She was defending Varia. Ptitsin was taking her part, too. Not that Varia was afraid of standing up for herself. She was by no means that sort of a girl; but her brother was becoming ruder and more intolerable every moment. Her usual practice in such cases as the present was to say nothing, but stare at him, without taking her eyes off his face for an instant. This manoeuvre, as she well knew, could drive Gania distracted.“At the first glimpse of the rising sun, prince, I will go to bed. I told you I would, word of honour! You shall see!” cried Hippolyte. “You think I’m not capable of opening this packet, do you?” He glared defiantly round at the audience in general.

This must be thought out; it was clear that there had been no hallucination at the station then, either; something had actually happened to him, on both occasions; there was no doubt of it. But again a loathing for all mental exertion overmastered him; he would not think it out now, he would put it off and think of something else. He remembered that during his epileptic fits, or rather immediately preceding them, he had always experienced a moment or two when his whole heart, and mind, and body seemed to wake up to vigour and light; when he became filled with joy and hope, and all his anxieties seemed to be swept away for ever; these moments were but presentiments, as it were, of the one final second (it was never more than a second) in which the fit came upon him. That second, of course, was inexpressible. When his attack was over, and the prince reflected on his symptoms, he used to say to himself: “These moments, short as they are, when I feel such extreme consciousness of myself, and consequently more of life than at other times, are due only to the disease--to the sudden rupture of normal conditions. Therefore they are not really a higher kind of life, but a lower.” This reasoning, however, seemed to end in a paradox, and lead to the further consideration:--“What matter though it be only disease, an abnormal tension of the brain, if when I recall and analyze the moment, it seems to have been one of harmony and beauty in the highest degree--an instant of deepest sensation, overflowing with unbounded joy and rapture, ecstatic devotion, and completest life?” Vague though this sounds, it was perfectly comprehensible to Muishkin, though he knew that it was but a feeble expression of his sensations.

X.
She was accompanied sometimes in her carriage by a girl of sixteen, a distant relative of her hostess. This young lady sang very well; in fact, her music had given a kind of notoriety to their little house. Nastasia, however, was behaving with great discretion on the whole. She dressed quietly, though with such taste as to drive all the ladies in Pavlofsk mad with envy, of that, as well as of her beauty and her carriage and horses.
“Nastasia Philipovna! Nastasia Philipovna!”

“And meanwhile I have never been able, in spite of my great desire to do so, to persuade myself that there is no future existence, and no Providence.

“Let me add to this that in every idea emanating from genius, or even in every serious human idea--born in the human brain--there always remains something--some sediment--which cannot be expressed to others, though one wrote volumes and lectured upon it for five-and-thirty years. There is always a something, a remnant, which will never come out from your brain, but will remain there with you, and you alone, for ever and ever, and you will die, perhaps, without having imparted what may be the very essence of your idea to a single living soul.

“Do you know, prince,” he said, in quite a different tone, “I do not know you at all, yet, and after all, Elizabetha Prokofievna would very likely be pleased to have a peep at a man of her own name. Wait a little, if you don’t mind, and if you have time to spare?”

This was a gentleman of about thirty, tall, broad-shouldered, and red-haired; his face was red, too, and he possessed a pair of thick lips, a wide nose, small eyes, rather bloodshot, and with an ironical expression in them; as though he were perpetually winking at someone. His whole appearance gave one the idea of impudence; his dress was shabby.

He could not believe that this was the same haughty young girl who had once so proudly shown him Gania’s letter. He could not understand how that proud and austere beauty could show herself to be such an utter child--a child who probably did not even now understand some words.
“Very happy to meet him, I’m sure,” remarked the latter. “I remember Lef Nicolaievitch well. When General Epanchin introduced us just now, I recognized you at once, prince. You are very little changed, though I saw you last as a child of some ten or eleven years old. There was something in your features, I suppose, that--”
“Prince,” he said, with feeling, “I was a blackguard. Forgive me!” His face gave evidence of suffering. The prince was considerably amazed, and did not reply at once. “Oh, come, forgive me, forgive me!” Gania insisted, rather impatiently. “If you like, I’ll kiss your hand. There!”
“They have planted roses all round her grave, and every year they look after the flowers and make Marie’s resting-place as beautiful as they can. I was in ill odour after all this with the parents of the children, and especially with the parson and schoolmaster. Schneider was obliged to promise that I should not meet them and talk to them; but we conversed from a distance by signs, and they used to write me sweet little notes. Afterwards I came closer than ever to those little souls, but even then it was very dear to me, to have them so fond of me.
“And sure enough the matter ended as satisfactorily as possible. A month or so later my medical friend was appointed to another post. He got his travelling expenses paid, and something to help him to start life with once more. I think Bachmatoff must have persuaded the doctor to accept a loan from himself. I saw Bachmatoff two or three times, about this period, the third time being when he gave a farewell dinner to the doctor and his wife before their departure, a champagne dinner.
“No, I needn’t,” replied Rogojin, and taking the other by the hand he drew him down to a chair. He himself took a chair opposite and drew it up so close that he almost pressed against the prince’s knees. At their side was a little round table.
“How, nothing that they have done is Russian?” asked Prince S.
“There, they are all like that,” said Gania, laughing, “just as if I do not know all about it much better than they do.”
The general felt troubled and remained silent, while Lizabetha Prokofievna telegraphed to him from behind Aglaya to ask no questions.
“That is an artful and traitorous idea. A smart notion,” vociferated the clerk, “thrown out as an apple of discord. But it is just. You are a scoffer, a man of the world, a cavalry officer, and, though not without brains, you do not realize how profound is your thought, nor how true. Yes, the laws of self-preservation and of self-destruction are equally powerful in this world. The devil will hold his empire over humanity until a limit of time which is still unknown. You laugh? You do not believe in the devil? Scepticism as to the devil is a French idea, and it is also a frivolous idea. Do you know who the devil is? Do you know his name? Although you don’t know his name you make a mockery of his form, following the example of Voltaire. You sneer at his hoofs, at his tail, at his horns--all of them the produce of your imagination! In reality the devil is a great and terrible spirit, with neither hoofs, nor tail, nor horns; it is you who have endowed him with these attributes! But... he is not the question just now!”

“How? What kind of person is she?” cried the general, arrived at the limits of his patience. “Look here, Gania, don’t you go annoying her tonight. What you are to do is to be as agreeable towards her as ever you can. Well, what are you smiling at? You must understand, Gania, that I have no interest whatever in speaking like this. Whichever way the question is settled, it will be to my advantage. Nothing will move Totski from his resolution, so I run no risk. If there is anything I desire, you must know that it is your benefit only. Can’t you trust me? You are a sensible fellow, and I have been counting on you; for, in this matter, that, that--”

A young fellow entered the ante-room at this moment, with a bundle of papers in his hand. The footman hastened to help him take off his overcoat. The new arrival glanced at the prince out of the corners of his eyes.
“But he interested me too much, and all that day I was under the influence of strange thoughts connected with him, and I determined to return his visit the next day.“Yes, unless she has gone to Pavlofsk: the fine weather may have tempted her, perhaps, into the country, with Daria Alexeyevna. ‘I am quite free,’ she says. Only yesterday she boasted of her freedom to Nicolai Ardalionovitch--a bad sign,” added Lebedeff, smiling.“You drunken moujik,” said Daria Alexeyevna, once more. “You ought to be kicked out of the place.”