3. CHAPTER III.
General Ivan Fedorovitch Epanchin was standing In the middle of
the room, and gazed with great curiosity at the prince as he
entered. He even advanced a couple of steps to meet him.
The prince came forward and introduced himself.
"Quite so," replied the general, "and what can I do for you?"
"Oh, I have no special business; my principal object was to make
your acquaintance. I should not like to disturb you. I do not
know your times and arrangements here, you see, but I have only
just arrived. I came straight from the station. I am come direct
The general very nearly smiled, but thought better of it and kept
his smile back. Then he reflected, blinked his eyes, stared at his guest
once more from head to foot; then abruptly motioned him to a
chair, sat down himself, and waited with some impatience for the
prince to speak.
Gania stood at his table in the far corner of the room, turning
"I have not much time for making acquaintances, as a rule," said
the general, "but as, of course, you have your object in coming,
"I felt sure you would think I had some object in view when I
resolved to pay you this visit," the prince interrupted; "but I
give you my word, beyond the pleasure of making your acquaintance
I had no personal object whatever."
"The pleasure is, of course, mutual; but life is not all
pleasure, as you are aware. There is such a thing as business,
and I really do not see what possible reason there can be, or
what we have in common to--"