Of those who were present, such as knew the prince listened to his outburst in a state of alarm, some with a feeling of mortification. It was so unlike his usual timid self-constraint; so inconsistent with his usual taste and tact, and with his instinctive feeling for the higher proprieties. They could not understand the origin of the outburst; it could not be simply the news of Pavlicheff’s perversion. By the ladies the prince was regarded as little better than a lunatic, and Princess Bielokonski admitted afterwards that “in another minute she would have bolted.”

“I knew it was bound to be so.” Then he added quickly:

The old man was very pale; every now and then his lips trembled, and his hands seemed unable to rest quietly, but continually moved from place to place. He had twice already jumped up from his chair and sat down again without being in the least aware of it. He would take up a book from the table and open it--talking all the while,--look at the heading of a chapter, shut it and put it back again, seizing another immediately, but holding it unopened in his hand, and waving it in the air as he spoke.
“Perhaps you do not wish to accept my proposition?” she asked, gazing haughtily at the prince.

By this time, to judge from appearances, poor Prince Muishkin had been quite forgotten in St. Petersburg. If he had appeared suddenly among his acquaintances, he would have been received as one from the skies; but we must just glance at one more fact before we conclude this preface.

Aglaya observed it, and trembled with anger.“Yes, of course,” said Ferdishenko. “C’est du nouveau.”

“Yes--yes--for a while, I think,” stammered the prince.

“The prince! What on earth has the prince got to do with it? Who the deuce is the prince?” cried the general, who could conceal his wrath no longer.“Fortune--money--do you mean?” asked the prince in some surprise.

“What suspicion attaches to Evgenie Pavlovitch?”