9. CHAPTER IX.
"But at the same time you would be very glad to know how I
happened to meet Aglaya Ivanovna this morning?" The prince
finished her speech for her with the utmost composure.
"Well, what then? Supposing I should like to know?" cried
Lizabetha Prokofievna, blushing. "I'm sure I am not afraid of
plain speaking. I'm not offending anyone, and I never wish to,
"Pardon me, it is no offence to wish to know this; you are her
mother. We met at the green bench this morning, punctually at
seven o'clock,--according to an agreement made by Aglaya Ivanovna
with myself yesterday. She said that she wished to see me and
speak to me about something important. We met and conversed for
an hour about matters concerning Aglaya Ivanovna herself, and
"Of course it is all, my friend. I don't doubt you for a moment,"
said Lizabetha Prokofievna with dignity.
"Well done, prince, capital!" cried Aglaya, who entered the room
at this moment. "Thank you for assuming that I would not demean
myself with lies. Come, is that enough, mamma, or do you intend
to put any more questions?"
"You know I have never needed to blush before you, up to this
day, though perhaps you would have been glad enough to make me,"
said Lizabetha Prokofievna,--with majesty. "Good-bye, prince;
forgive me for bothering you. I trust you will rest assured of my
unalterable esteem for you."
The prince made his bows and retired at once. Alexandra and
Adelaida smiled and whispered to each other, while Lizabetha
Prokofievna glared severely at them. "We are only laughing at the
prince's beautiful bows, mamma," said Adelaida. "Sometimes he
bows just like a meal-sack, but to-day he was like--like Evgenie
"It is the HEART which is the best teacher of refinement and
dignity, not the dancing-master," said her mother, sententiously,
and departed upstairs to her own room, not so much as glancing at