3. CHAPTER III.
THE occurrence at the Vauxhall had filled both mother and
daughters with something like horror. In their excitement
Lizabetha Prokofievna and the girls were nearly running all the
In her opinion there was so much disclosed and laid bare by the
episode, that, in spite of the chaotic condition of her mind, she
was able to feel more or less decided on certain points which, up
to now, had been in a cloudy condition.
However, one and all of the party realized that something
important had happened, and that, perhaps fortunately enough,
something which had hitherto been enveloped in the obscurity of
guess-work had now begun to come forth a little from the mists.
In spite of Prince S.'s assurances and explanations, Evgenie
Pavlovitch's real character and position were at last coming to
light. He was publicly convicted of intimacy with "that
creature." So thought Lizabetha Prokofievna and her two elder
But the real upshot of the business was that the number of
riddles to be solved was augmented. The two girls, though rather
irritated at their mother's exaggerated alarm and haste to depart
from the scene, had been unwilling to worry her at first with
Besides, they could not help thinking that their sister Aglaya
probably knew more about the whole matter than both they and
their mother put together.
Prince S. looked as black as night, and was silent and moody.
Mrs. Epanchin did not say a word to him all the way home, and he
did not seem to observe the fact. Adelaida tried to pump him a
little by asking, "who was the uncle they were talking about, and
what was it that had happened in Petersburg?" But he had merely
muttered something disconnected about "making inquiries," and
that "of course it was all nonsense." "Oh, of course," replied
Adelaida, and asked no more questions. Aglaya, too, was very
quiet; and the only remark she made on the way home was that they
were "walking much too fast to be pleasant."
Once she turned and observed the prince hurrying after them.
Noticing his anxiety to catch them up, she smiled ironically, and
then looked back no more. At length, just as they neared the
house, General Epanchin came out and met them; he had only just
arrived from town.