In the arcade they met Varenka herself. She was walking rapidly toward them, carrying an elegant red bag.

`Here is papa come,' Kitty said to her.

Varenka made - simply and naturally as she did everything - a movement between a bow and curtsy, and immediately began talking to the Prince, without shyness, naturally, as she talked to everyone.

`Of course I know you; I know you very well,' the Prince said to her with a smile, in which Kitty detected with joy that her father liked her friend. `Where are you off to in such haste?'

`Maman's here,' she said, turning to Kitty. `She has not slept all night, and the doctor advised her to go out. I'm taking her her work.'

`So that's angel number one?' said the Prince when Varenka had gone on.

Kitty saw that her father had meant to make fun of Varenka, but that he could not do it because he liked her.

`Come, so we shall see all your friends,' he went on, `even Madame Stahl, if she deigns to recognize me.'

`Why, did you know her, papa?' Kitty asked apprehensively, catching the gleam of irony that kindled in the Prince's eyes at the mention of Madame Stahl.

`I used to know her husband, and her too a little, before she'd joined the Pietists.'

`What is a Pietist, papa?' asked Kitty, dismayed to find that what she prized so highly in Madame Stahl had a name.

`I don't quite know myself. I only know that she thanks God for everything, for every misfortune, and thanks God too that her husband died. And that's rather droll, as they didn't get on together. Who's that? What a piteous face!' he asked, noticing a sick man of medium height sitting on a bench, wearing a brown overcoat and white trousers that fell in strange folds about his long, fleshless legs. This man lifted his straw hat, showed his scanty curly hair and high forehead, painfully reddened by the pressure of the hat.

`That's Petrov, an artist,' answered Kitty blushing. `And that's his wife,' she added, indicating Anna Pavlovna, who, as though on purpose, at the very instant they approached, walked away after a child that had run off along a path.

`Poor fellow! And what a fine face he has!' said the Prince. `Why don't you go up to him? He wanted to speak to you.'

`Well, let us go, then,' said Kitty, turning round resolutely. `How are you feeling today?' she asked Petrov.

Petrov got up, leaning on his stick, and looked shyly at the Prince.

`This is my daughter,' said the Prince. `Let me introduce myself.'

The painter bowed and smiled, showing his strangely dazzling white teeth.

`We expected you yesterday, Princess,' he said to Kitty.

He staggered as he said this, and then repeated the motion, trying to make it seem as if it had been intentional.

`I meant to come, but Varenka said that Anna Pavlovna sent word you were not going.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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