It was the beginning of June, and for a whole week the weather in St. Petersburg had
been magnificent. The Epanchins had a luxurious country-house at Pavlofsk, [One of
the fashionable summer resorts near St. Petersburg.] and to this spot Mrs. Epanchin
determined to proceed without further delay. In a couple of days all was ready, and the
family had left town. A day or two after this removal to Pavlofsk, Prince Muishkin arrived
in St. Petersburg by the morning train from Moscow. No one met him; but, as he
stepped out of the carriage, he suddenly became aware of two strangely glowing eyes
fixed upon him from among the crowd that met the train. On endeavouring to re-
discover the eyes, and see to whom they belonged, he could find nothing to guide him.
It must have been a hallucination. But the disagreeable impression remained, and
without this, the prince was sad and thoughtful already, and seemed to be much
His cab took him to a small and bad hotel near the Litaynaya. Here he engaged a
couple of rooms, dark and badly furnished. He washed and changed, and hurriedly left
the hotel again, as though anxious to waste no time. Anyone who now saw him for the
first time since he left Petersburg would judge that he had improved vastly so far as his
exterior was concerned. His clothes certainly were very different; they were more
fashionable, perhaps even too much so, and anyone inclined to mockery might have
found something to smile at in his appearance. But what is there that people will not
The prince took a cab and drove to a street near the Nativity, where he soon discovered
the house he was seeking. It was a small wooden villa, and he was struck by its
attractive and clean appearance; it stood in a pleasant little garden, full of flowers. The
windows looking on the street were open, and the sound of a voice, reading aloud or
making a speech, came through them. It rose at times to a shout, and was interrupted
occasionally by bursts of laughter.
Prince Muishkin entered the court-yard, and ascended the steps. A cook with her
sleeves turned up to the elbows opened the door. The visitor asked if Mr. Lebedeff were
"He is in there," said she, pointing to the salon.
The room had a blue wall-paper, and was well, almost pretentiously, furnished, with its
round table, its divan, and its bronze clock under a glass shade. There was a narrow
pier- glass against the wall, and a chandelier adorned with lustres hung by a bronze
chain from the ceiling.