15. CHAPTER XV.
Katia, the maid-servant, made her appearance, terribly
"Goodness knows what it means, ma'am," she said. "There is a
whole collection of men come--all tipsy--and want to see you. They
say that 'it's Rogojin, and she knows all about it.'"
"It's all right, Katia, let them all in at once."
"Surely not ALL, ma'am? They seem so disorderly--it's dreadful to
"Yes ALL, Katia, all--every one of them. Let them in, or they'll
come in whether you like or no. Listen! what a noise they are
making! Perhaps you are offended, gentlemen, that I should
receive such guests in your presence? I am very sorry, and ask
your forgiveness, but it cannot be helped--and I should be very
grateful if you could all stay and witness this climax. However,
just as you please, of course."
The guests exchanged glances; they were annoyed and bewildered by
the episode; but it was clear enough that all this had been pre-arranged
and expected by Nastasia Philipovna, and that there was
no use in trying to stop her now--for she was little short of
Besides, they were naturally inquisitive to see what was to
happen. There was nobody who would be likely to feel much alarm.
There were but two ladies present; one of whom was the lively
actress, who was not easily frightened, and the other the silent
German beauty who, it turned out, did not understand a word of
Russian, and seemed to be as stupid as she was lovely.