4. CHAPTER IV.
Without the ceremony of knocking, Parfen entered a small
apartment, furnished like a drawing-room, but with a polished
mahogany partition dividing one half of it from what was probably
a bedroom. In one corner of this room sat an old woman in an arm-chair,
close to the stove. She did not look very old, and her
face was a pleasant, round one; but she was white-haired and, as
one could detect at the first glance, quite in her second
childhood. She wore a black woollen dress, with a black
handkerchief round her neck and shoulders, and a white cap with
black ribbons. Her feet were raised on a footstool. Beside her
sat another old woman, also dressed in mourning, and silently
knitting a stocking; this was evidently a companion. They both
looked as though they never broke the silence. The first old
woman, so soon as she saw Rogojin and the prince, smiled and
bowed courteously several times, in token of her gratification at
"Mother," said Rogojin, kissing her hand, "here is my great
friend, Prince Muishkin; we have exchanged crosses; he was like a
real brother to me at Moscow at one time, and did a great deal
for me. Bless him, mother, as you would bless your own son. Wait
a moment, let me arrange your hands for you."
But the old lady, before Parfen had time to touch her, raised her
right hand, and, with three fingers held up, devoutly made the
sign of the cross three times over the prince. She then nodded
her head kindly at him once more.
"There, come along, Lef Nicolaievitch; that's all I brought you
here for," said Rogojin.
When they reached the stairs again he added:
"She understood nothing of what I said to her, and did not know
what I wanted her to do, and yet she blessed you; that shows she
wished to do so herself. Well, goodbye; it's time you went, and I
must go too."
He opened his own door.