He had found her in a condition approaching to absolute madness. She screamed, and trembled, and cried out that Rogojin was hiding out there in the garden--that she had seen him herself--and that he would murder her in the night--that he would cut her throat. She was terribly agitated all day. But it so happened that the prince called at Hippolyte’s house later on, and heard from his mother that she had been in town all day, and had there received a visit from Rogojin, who had made inquiries about Pavlofsk. On inquiry, it turned out that Rogojin visited the old lady in town at almost the same moment when Nastasia declared that she had seen him in the garden; so that the whole thing turned out to be an illusion on her part. Nastasia immediately went across to Hippolyte’s to inquire more accurately, and returned immensely relieved and comforted. “No, I didn’t like it at all, and was ill after seeing it; but I confess I stared as though my eyes were fixed to the sight. I could not tear them away.” Was there something in the whole aspect of the man, today, sufficient to justify the prince’s terror, and the awful suspicions of his demon? Something seen, but indescribable, which filled him with dreadful presentiments? Yes, he was convinced of it--convinced of what? (Oh, how mean and hideous of him to feel this conviction, this presentiment! How he blamed himself for it!) “Speak if you dare, and tell me, what is the presentiment?” he repeated to himself, over and over again. “Put it into words, speak out clearly and distinctly. Oh, miserable coward that I am!” The prince flushed with shame for his own baseness. “How shall I ever look this man in the face again? My God, what a day! And what a nightmare, what a nightmare!”
The Epanchin family had at last made up their minds to spend the summer abroad, all except the general, who could not waste time in “travelling for enjoyment,” of course. This arrangement was brought about by the persistence of the girls, who insisted that they were never allowed to go abroad because their parents were too anxious to marry them off. Perhaps their parents had at last come to the conclusion that husbands might be found abroad, and that a summer’s travel might bear fruit. The marriage between Alexandra and Totski had been broken off. Since the prince’s departure from St. Petersburg no more had been said about it; the subject had been dropped without ceremony, much to the joy of Mrs. General, who, announced that she was “ready to cross herself with both hands” in gratitude for the escape. The general, however, regretted Totski for a long while. “Such a fortune!” he sighed, “and such a good, easy-going fellow!”
This invitation to drink, couched, as it was, in such informal terms, came very strangely from Nastasia Philipovna. Her usual entertainments were not quite like this; there was more style about them. However, the wine was not refused; each guest took a glass excepting Gania, who drank nothing.
“Good-bye,” said Rogojin, pressing it hard, but quite mechanically.
“Why, what has he done?”
On hurrying back he found his bride locked up in her own room and could hear her hysterical cries and sobs. It was some time before she could be made to hear that the prince had come, and then she opened the door only just sufficiently to let him in, and immediately locked it behind him. She then fell on her knees at his feet. (So at least Dana Alexeyevna reported.)
The general was in ecstasies, for the prince’s remarks, made, as they evidently were, in all seriousness and simplicity, quite dissipated the last relics of his suspicion.
“‘I’m afraid you are ill?’ he remarked, in the tone which doctors use when they address a patient. ‘I am myself a medical man’ (he did not say ‘doctor’), with which words he waved his hands towards the room and its contents as though in protest at his present condition. ‘I see that you--’

He ran off and left the prince more dejected than ever.

Just at this moment the door opened and the prince entered, announcing:
Arrived home again, the prince sent for Vera Lebedeff and told her as much as was necessary, in order to relieve her mind, for she had been in a dreadful state of anxiety since she had missed the letter. She heard with horror that her father had taken it. Muishkin learned from her that she had on several occasions performed secret missions both for Aglaya and for Rogojin, without, however, having had the slightest idea that in so doing she might injure the prince in any way.
“A--a moral one?” asked the prince, involuntarily.

Aglaya was clearly confused, but not frightened. On entering she had merely glanced momentarily at her rival, and then had sat still, with her eyes on the ground, apparently in thought. Once or twice she glanced casually round the room. A shade of disgust was visible in her expression; she looked as though she were afraid of contamination in this place.

“What did you mean, sir, that he didn’t exist? Explain yourself,” he repeated, angrily. 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.
“Let it to me,” said the prince.
“I should have liked to have taken you to see Hippolyte,” said Colia. “He is the eldest son of the lady you met just now, and was in the next room. He is ill, and has been in bed all day. But he is rather strange, and extremely sensitive, and I thought he might be upset considering the circumstances in which you came... Somehow it touches me less, as it concerns my father, while it is _his_ mother. That, of course, makes a great difference. What is a terrible disgrace to a woman, does not disgrace a man, at least not in the same way. Perhaps public opinion is wrong in condemning one sex, and excusing the other. Hippolyte is an extremely clever boy, but so prejudiced. He is really a slave to his opinions.”
Ptitsin explained, for the benefit of the company, that the prince’s aunt had died five months since. He had never known her, but she was his mother’s own sister, the daughter of a Moscow merchant, one Paparchin, who had died a bankrupt. But the elder brother of this same Paparchin, had been an eminent and very rich merchant. A year since it had so happened that his only two sons had both died within the same month. This sad event had so affected the old man that he, too, had died very shortly after. He was a widower, and had no relations left, excepting the prince’s aunt, a poor woman living on charity, who was herself at the point of death from dropsy; but who had time, before she died, to set Salaskin to work to find her nephew, and to make her will bequeathing her newly-acquired fortune to him. “Why, prince, I declare you must have had a taste of this sort of thing yourself--haven’t you? I have heard tell of something of the kind, you know; is it true?”
“Look here, Lef Nicolaievitch, you go straight on to the house; I shall walk on the other side. See that we keep together.”
“Oh, I forgive him with all my heart; you may tell him so if you like,” laughed Evgenie.
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.
“May I ask you, Hippolyte, not to talk of this subject? And not to use such expressions?”
“Ferdishenko,” he said, gazing intently and inquiringly into the prince’s eyes.
At this moment a loud voice from behind the group which hedged in the prince and Nastasia Philipovna, divided the crowd, as it were, and before them stood the head of the family, General Ivolgin. He was dressed in evening clothes; his moustache was dyed.
The actress was a kind-hearted woman, and highly impressionable. She was very angry now.
“Yes--yes--oh; yes!” “He led up to this on purpose. He took the trouble of writing all that so that people should come and grab him by the arm,” observed Rogojin. “Good-night, prince. What a time we’ve sat here, my very bones ache!”
Offering all these facts to our readers and refusing to explain them, we do not for a moment desire to justify our hero’s conduct. On the contrary, we are quite prepared to feel our share of the indignation which his behaviour aroused in the hearts of his friends. Even Vera Lebedeff was angry with him for a while; so was Colia; so was Keller, until he was selected for best man; so was Lebedeff himself,--who began to intrigue against him out of pure irritation;--but of this anon. In fact we are in full accord with certain forcible words spoken to the prince by Evgenie Pavlovitch, quite unceremoniously, during the course of a friendly conversation, six or seven days after the events at Nastasia Philipovna’s house.
Suddenly Gania approached our hero who was at the moment standing over Nastasia Philipovna’s portrait, gazing at it.

The prince bent forward to listen, putting all the strain he could muster upon his understanding in order to take in what Rogojin said, and continuing to gaze at the latter’s face.

“I like your sister very much.”
“Would you believe,” said the mistress of the house, suddenly addressing the prince, “would you believe that that man has not even spared my orphan children? He has stolen everything I possessed, sold everything, pawned everything; he has left me nothing--nothing! What am I to do with your IOU’s, you cunning, unscrupulous rogue? Answer, devourer! answer, heart of stone! How shall I feed my orphans? with what shall I nourish them? And now he has come, he is drunk! He can scarcely stand. How, oh how, have I offended the Almighty, that He should bring this curse upon me! Answer, you worthless villain, answer!”
His wife, Colia, and Ptitsin ran out after him.
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.
“Well, it was clear enough all along,” he said, after a moment’s reflection. “So that’s the end,” he added, with a disagreeable smile, continuing to walk up and down the room, but much slower than before, and glancing slyly into his sister’s face.
Gania listened attentively, but to his sister’s astonishment he was by no means so impressed by this news (which should, she thought, have been so important to him) as she had expected.
“Oh, is that it? That makes a difference, perhaps. What did you go to the bandstand for?”
“It was engineered by other people, and is, properly speaking, rather a fantasy than an intrigue!”

PART II

“I never said you were Rogojin’s mistress--you are _not!_” said the prince, in trembling accents.
XVI.
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!”

“He is the sort of man,” he continued, “who won’t give up his object, you know; he is not like you and me, prince--he belongs to quite a different order of beings. If he sets his heart on a thing he won’t be afraid of anything--” and so on.

“Then I’m not to read it?” he whispered, nervously. “Am I not to read it?” he repeated, gazing around at each face in turn. “What are you afraid of, prince?” he turned and asked the latter suddenly.
“No! Oh no! Not at all!” said Evgenie. “But--how is it, prince, that you--(excuse the question, will you?)--if you are capable of observing and seeing things as you evidently do, how is it that you saw nothing distorted or perverted in that claim upon your property, which you acknowledged a day or two since; and which was full of arguments founded upon the most distorted views of right and wrong?”
“I recognize no jurisdiction over myself, and I know that I am now beyond the power of laws and judges.
He had not said a word yet; he sat silent and listened to Evgenie Pavlovitch’s eloquence. The latter had never appeared so happy and excited as on this evening. The prince listened to him, but for a long time did not take in a word he said.
The latter requested him to take a seat once more, and sat down himself.
So spoke the good lady, almost angrily, as she took leave of Evgenie Pavlovitch.

“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.”

“Rogojin only leaned his elbow on the table and silently stared at me. So passed two or three minutes, and I recollect that his silence hurt and offended me very much. Why did he not speak? He looked intently around him, and wondered why he had come here; he was very tired, so he approached the bench and sat down on it. Around him was profound silence; the music in the Vauxhall was over. The park seemed quite empty, though it was not, in reality, later than half-past eleven. It was a quiet, warm, clear night--a real Petersburg night of early June; but in the dense avenue, where he was sitting, it was almost pitch dark.

“I took it out and had a look at it; it’s all right. I’ve let it slip back into the lining now, as you see, and so I have been walking about ever since yesterday morning; it knocks against my legs when I walk along.”

“Vladimir Doktorenko,” said Lebedeff’s nephew briskly, and with a certain pride, as if he boasted of his name.
“Look here, Parfen; if you love her so much, surely you must be anxious to earn her respect? And if you do so wish, surely you may hope to? I said just now that I considered it extraordinary that she could still be ready to marry you. Well, though I cannot yet understand it, I feel sure she must have some good reason, or she wouldn’t do it. She is sure of your love; but besides that, she must attribute _something_ else to you--some good qualities, otherwise the thing would not be. What you have just said confirms my words. You say yourself that she found it possible to speak to you quite differently from her usual manner. You are suspicious, you know, and jealous, therefore when anything annoying happens to you, you exaggerate its significance. Of course, of course, she does not think so ill of you as you say. Why, if she did, she would simply be walking to death by drowning or by the knife, with her eyes wide open, when she married you. It is impossible! As if anybody would go to their death deliberately!”

Her usually thoughtful, pale face, which all this while had been so little in harmony with the jests and laughter which she had seemed to put on for the occasion, was now evidently agitated by new feelings, though she tried to conceal the fact and to look as though she were as ready as ever for jesting and irony.

“You spoke of a meeting with Nastasia Philipovna,” he said at last, in a low voice.
The latter, with one thing and another, was now so disturbed and confused, that when, a couple of hours or so later, a message came from Colia that the general was ill, he could hardly take the news in.
“They can’t bake bread anywhere, decently; and they all freeze in their houses, during winter, like a lot of mice in a cellar. At all events, I’ve had a good Russian cry over this poor fellow,” she added, pointing to the prince, who had not recognized her in the slightest degree. “So enough of this nonsense; it’s time we faced the truth. All this continental life, all this Europe of yours, and all the trash about ‘going abroad’ is simply foolery, and it is mere foolery on our part to come. Remember what I say, my friend; you’ll live to agree with me yourself.”
“There were a couple of old bullets in the bag which contained the pistol, and powder enough in an old flask for two or three charges.
“Is it jolly there?”
“Excuse me--two words! I am Varvara Ardalionovna’s guest, not yours; _you_ have extended no hospitality to me. On the contrary, if I am not mistaken, I believe you are yourself indebted to Mr. Ptitsin’s hospitality. Four days ago I begged my mother to come down here and find lodgings, because I certainly do feel better here, though I am not fat, nor have I ceased to cough. I am today informed that my room is ready for me; therefore, having thanked your sister and mother for their kindness to me, I intend to leave the house this evening. I beg your pardon--I interrupted you--I think you were about to add something?”

“I--I don’t quite know how to answer your question, Aglaya Ivanovna. What is there to say to such a question? And--and must I answer?”

“In connection with ‘the ten,’ eh?” laughed Evgenie, as he left the room.

“Why are you so unhappy, mother?” asked Adelaida, who alone of all the company seemed to have preserved her good temper and spirits up to now.
Mrs. Epanchin almost sprang up in amazement at his answer, and at the assurance of his tone.