5. CHAPTER V.
"Oh, of course, mamma, if we needn't stand on ceremony with him,
we must give the poor fellow something to eat after his journey;
especially as he has not the least idea where to go to," said
Alexandra, the eldest of the girls.
"Besides, he's quite a child; we can entertain him with a little
hide-and-seek, in case of need," said Adelaida.
"Hide-and-seek? What do you mean?" inquired Mrs. Epanchin.
"Oh, do stop pretending, mamma," cried Aglaya, in vexation. "Send
him up, father; mother allows."
The general rang the bell and gave orders that the prince should
be shown in.
"Only on condition that he has a napkin under his chin at lunch,
then," said Mrs. Epanchin, "and let Fedor, or Mavra, stand behind
him while he eats. Is he quiet when he has these fits? He doesn't
show violence, does he?"
"On the contrary, he seems to be very well brought up. His
manners are excellent--but here he is himself. Here you are,
prince--let me introduce you, the last of the Muishkins, a
relative of your own, my dear, or at least of the same name.
Receive him kindly, please. They'll bring in lunch directly,
prince; you must stop and have some, but you must excuse me. I'm
in a hurry, I must be off--"
"We all know where YOU must be off to!" said Mrs. Epanchin, in a
"Yes, yes--I must hurry away, I'm late! Look here, dears, let him
write you something in your albums; you've no idea what a
wonderful caligraphist he is, wonderful talent! He has just
written out 'Abbot Pafnute signed this' for me. Well, au revoir!"
"Stop a minute; where are you off to? Who is this abbot?" cried
Mrs. Epanchin to her retreating husband in a tone of excited