5. CHAPTER V.
IT was late now, nearly half-past two, and the prince did not
find General Epanchin at home. He left a card, and determined to
look up Colia, who had a room at a small hotel near. Colia was
not in, but he was informed that he might be back shortly, and
had left word that if he were not in by half-past three it was to
be understood that he had gone to Pavlofsk to General Epanchin's,
and would dine there. The prince decided to wait till half-past
three, and ordered some dinner. At half-past three there was no
sign of Colia. The prince waited until four o'clock, and then
strolled off mechanically wherever his feet should carry him.
In early summer there are often magnificent days in St.
Petersburg--bright, hot and still. This happened to be such a day.
For some time the prince wandered about without aim or object. He
did not know the town well. He stopped to look about him on
bridges, at street corners. He entered a confectioner's shop to
rest, once. He was in a state of nervous excitement and
perturbation; he noticed nothing and no one; and he felt a
craving for solitude, to be alone with his thoughts and his
emotions, and to give himself up to them passively. He loathed
the idea of trying to answer the questions that would rise up in
his heart and mind. "I am not to blame for all this," he thought
to himself, half unconsciously.
Towards six o'clock he found himself at the station of the
He was tired of solitude now; a new rush of feeling took hold of
him, and a flood of light chased away the gloom, for a moment,
from his soul. He took a ticket to Pavlofsk, and determined to
get there as fast as he could, but something stopped him; a
reality, and not a fantasy, as he was inclined to think it. He
was about to take his place in a carriage, when he suddenly threw
away his ticket and came out again, disturbed and thoughtful. A
few moments later, in the street, he recalled something that had
bothered him all the afternoon. He caught himself engaged in a
strange occupation which he now recollected he had taken up at
odd moments for the last few hours--it was looking about all
around him for something, he did not know what. He had forgotten
it for a while, half an hour or so, and now, suddenly, the uneasy
search had recommenced.