12. CHAPTER XII.
IT was seven in the evening, and the prince was just preparing to
go out for a walk in the park, when suddenly Mrs. Epanchin
appeared on the terrace.
"In the first place, don't dare to suppose," she began, "that I
am going to apologize. Nonsense! You were entirely to blame."
The prince remained silent.
"Were you to blame, or not?"
"No, certainly not, no more than yourself, though at first I
thought I was."
"Oh, very well, let's sit down, at all events, for I don't intend
to stand up all day. And remember, if you say, one word about
'mischievous urchins,' I shall go away and break with you
altogether. Now then, did you, or did you not, send a letter to
Aglaya, a couple of months or so ago, about Easter-tide?"
"What for? What was your object? Show me the letter." Mrs.
Epanchin's eyes flashed; she was almost trembling with
"I have not got the letter," said the prince, timidly, extremely
surprised at the turn the conversation had taken. "If anyone has
it, if it still exists, Aglaya Ivanovna must have it."
"No finessing, please. What did you write about?"
"I am not finessing, and I am not in the least afraid of telling
you; but I don't see the slightest reason why I should not have
"Be quiet, you can talk afterwards! What was the letter about?
Why are you blushing?"
The prince was silent. At last he spoke.