of this, the prince did not lift the stick again, and still shouting, “Blackguards! … fill up the road …” he ran to his room.

Princess Marya and Mademoiselle Bourienne stood, waiting for the old prince before dinner, well aware that he was out of temper. Mademoiselle Bourienne’s beaming countenance seemed to say, “I know nothing about it, I am just the same as usual,” while Princess Marya stood pale and terrified with downcast eyes. What made it harder for Princess Marya was that she knew that she ought to act like Mademoiselle Bourienne at such times, but she could not do it. She felt, “If I behave as if I did not notice it, he’ll think I have no sympathy with him. If I behave as if I were depressed and out of humour myself, he’ll say (as indeed often happened) that I’m sulky …” and so on.

The prince glanced at his daughter’s scared face and snorted.

“Stuff!” or perhaps “stupid!” he muttered. “And the other is not here! they’ve been telling tales to her already,” he thought, noticing that the little princess was not in the dining-room.

“Where’s Princess Liza?” he asked. “In hiding?”

“She’s not quite well,” said Mademoiselle Bourienne with a bright smile; “she is not coming down. In her condition it is only to be expected.”

“H’m! h’m! kh! kh!” growled the prince, and he sat down to the table. He thought his plate was not clean: he pointed to a mark on it and threw it away. Tihon caught it and handed it to a footman. The little princess was quite well, but she was in such overwhelming terror of the prince, that on hearing he was in a bad temper, she had decided not to come in.

“I am afraid for my baby,” she said to Mademoiselle Bourienne; “God knows what might not be the result of a fright.”

The little princess, in fact, lived at Bleak Hills in a state of continual terror of the old prince, and had an aversion for him, of which she was herself unconscious, so completely did terror overbear every other feeling. There was the same aversion on the prince’s side, too; but in his case it was swallowed up in contempt. As she went on staying at Bleak Hills, the little princess became particularly fond of Mademoiselle Bourienne; she spent her days with her, begged her to sleep in her room, and often talked of her father-in-law, and criticised him to her.

“We have company coming, prince,” said Mademoiselle Bourienne, her rosy fingers unfolding her dinner- napkin. “His excellency Prince Kuragin with his son, as I have heard say?” she said in a tone of inquiry.

“H’m! … his excellence is an upstart. I got him his place in the college,” the old prince said huffily. “And what his son’s coming for, I can’t make out. Princess Lizaveta Karlovna and Princess Marya can tell us, maybe; I don’t know what he’s bringing his son here for. I don’t want him.” And he looked at his daughter, who turned crimson.

“Unwell, eh? Scared of the minister, as that blockhead Alpatitch called him to-day?”

Non, mon père.”

Unsuccessful as Mademoiselle Bourienne had been in the subject she had started, she did not desist, but went on prattling away about the conservatories, the beauty of a flower that had just opened, and after the soup the prince subsided.

After dinner he went to see his daughter-in-law. The little princess was sitting at a little table gossiping with Masha, her maid. She turned pale on seeing her father-in-law.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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