11. CHAPTER XI.
THE anger of the Epanchin family was unappeased for three days.
As usual the prince reproached himself, and had expected
punishment, but he was inwardly convinced that Lizabetha
Prokofievna could not be seriously angry with him, and that she
probably was more angry with herself. He was painfully surprised,
therefore, when three days passed with no word from her. Other
things also troubled and perplexed him, and one of these grew
more important in his eyes as the days went by. He had begun to
blame himself for two opposite tendencies--on the one hand to
extreme, almost "senseless," confidence in his fellows, on the
other to a "vile, gloomy suspiciousness."
By the end of the third day the incident of the eccentric lady
and Evgenie Pavlovitch had attained enormous and mysterious
proportions in his mind. He sorrowfully asked himself whether he
had been the cause of this new "monstrosity," or was it ... but
he refrained from saying who else might be in fault. As for the
letters N.P.B., he looked on that as a harmless joke, a mere
childish piece of mischief--so childish that he felt it would be
shameful, almost dishonourable, to attach any importance to it.
The day after these scandalous events, however, the prince had
the honour of receiving a visit from Adelaida and her fiance,
Prince S. They came, ostensibly, to inquire after his health.
They had wandered out for a walk, and called in "by accident,"
and talked for almost the whole of the time they were with him
about a certain most lovely tree in the park, which Adelaida had
set her heart upon for a picture. This, and a little amiable
conversation on Prince S.'s part, occupied the time, and not a
word was said about last evening's episodes. At length Adelaida
burst out laughing, apologized, and explained that they had come
incognito; from which, and from the circumstance that they said
nothing about the prince's either walking back with them or
coming to see them later on, the latter inferred that he was in
Mrs. Epanchin's black books. Adelaida mentioned a watercolour
that she would much like to show him, and explained that she
would either send it by Colia, or bring it herself the next day--
which to the prince seemed very suggestive.