“Papa, you are wanted!” cried Colia.
Rogojin stopped and looked at him; then reflected, and replied as though he had not heard the question:
“Kapiton Eropegoff--not Captain Eropegoff!--Kapiton--major retired--Eropegoff--Kapiton.”
The general was, owing to certain circumstances, a little inclined to be too suspicious at home, and needlessly nervous; but, as an experienced father and husband, he judged it better to take measures at once to protect himself from any dangers there might be in the air.At that moment Gania, accompanied by Ptitsin, came out to the terrace. From an adjoining room came a noise of angry voices, and General Ivolgin, in loud tones, seemed to be trying to shout them down. Colia rushed off at once to investigate the cause of the uproar.“I have never asked you to marry me, Aglaya Ivanovna!” said the prince, of a sudden.“No!”“I want to go and look after my country estates. You advised me to do that yourself,” was the reply. “And then I wish to go abroad.”
“Your exclamation proves the generous sympathy of your nature, prince; for four hundred roubles--to a struggling family man like myself--is no small matter!”
“How so? What in?”
As to the evening party at the Epanchins’ at which Princess Bielokonski was to be present, Varia had reported with accuracy; though she had perhaps expressed herself too strongly.
“Oh, indeed! Then it is perhaps as well that I neither _did_ invite you, nor _do_ invite you now. Excuse me, prince, but we had better make this matter clear, once for all. We have just agreed that with regard to our relationship there is not much to be said, though, of course, it would have been very delightful to us to feel that such relationship did actually exist; therefore, perhaps--”
“‘I do not wish to deprive your mother of you, and, therefore, I will not ask you to go with me,’ he said, the morning of his departure, ‘but I should like to do something for you.’ He was mounting his horse as he spoke. ‘Write something in my sister’s album for me,’ I said rather timidly, for he was in a state of great dejection at the moment. He turned, called for a pen, took the album. ‘How old is your sister?’ he asked, holding the pen in his hand. ‘Three years old,’ I said. ‘Ah, _petite fille alors!_’ and he wrote in the album: