9. CHAPTER IX.
Silence immediately fell on the room; all looked at the prince as
though they neither understood, nor hoped to understand. Gania
was motionless with horror.
Nastasia's arrival was a most unexpected and overwhelming event
to all parties. In the first place, she had never been before. Up
to now she had been so haughty that she had never even asked
Gania to introduce her to his parents. Of late she had not so
much as mentioned them. Gania was partly glad of this; but still
he had put it to her debit in the account to be settled after
He would have borne anything from her rather than this visit. But
one thing seemed to him quite clear-her visit now, and the
present of her portrait on this particular day, pointed out
plainly enough which way she intended to make her decision!
The incredulous amazement with which all regarded the prince did
not last long, for Nastasia herself appeared at the door and
passed in, pushing by the prince again.
"At last I've stormed the citadel! Why do you tie up your bell?"
she said, merrily, as she pressed Gania's hand, the latter having
rushed up to her as soon as she made her appearance. "What are
you looking so upset about? Introduce me, please!"
The bewildered Gania introduced her first to Varia, and both
women, before shaking hands, exchanged looks of strange import.
Nastasia, however, smiled amiably; but Varia did not try to look
amiable, and kept her gloomy expression. She did not even
vouchsafe the usual courteous smile of etiquette. Gania darted a
terrible glance of wrath at her for this, but Nina Alexandrovna,
mended matters a little when Gania introduced her at last.
Hardly, however, had the old lady begun about her " highly
gratified feelings," and so on, when Nastasia left her, and
flounced into a chair by Gania's side in the corner by the
window, and cried: "Where's your study? and where are the--the
lodgers? You do take in lodgers, don't you?"
Gania looked dreadfully put out, and tried to say something in
reply, but Nastasia interrupted him: