From the book, The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (translated by Garnett).

And at last she stood before him, face to face for the first time since their parting. She was saying something to him, but he looked at her in silence; his heart was too full, and ached with anguish. Oh, never could he forget that meeting with her and he always remembered it with some anguish. She sank on her knees before him on the spot, in the street, like one demented. He stepped back in horror, and she tried to catch his hand to kiss it, and just as in his dream that night, the tears glistened on her long eyelashes.

‘Stand up! Stand up!’ he said in a frightened whisper, raising her. ‘Stand up, at once!’

‘Are you happy? Happy?’ she asked. ‘Only say one word to me, are you happy now? Today, this minute? Have you been with her [Aglaia]? What did she say?’

She did not get up. She did not hear him. She questioned him hurriedly, and was in haste to speak, as though she were being pursued.

‘I’m going tomorrow as you told me. I won’t… It’s the last time I shall see you. The last time! Now it’s absolutely the last time!’

‘Calm yourself, stand up!’ he said in despair.

She looked greedily at him, clutching at his hands.

‘Goodbye,’ she said at last, she got up and went quickly away from him, almost running. Myskhin saw that Rogozhin had suddenly appeared beside her, that he had taken her arm, and was leading her away.

‘Wait a minute, prince,’ cried Rogozhin, ‘I’ll be back in five minutes.’

Five minutes later he did, in fact, return. Myshkin was waiting for him at the same place.

‘I’ve put her in the carriage,’ he said. ‘It’s been waiting there at the corner since ten o’clock. She knew you’d be at the young lady’s [Aglaia] all the evening. I told her exactly what you wrote to me today. She won’t write to the young lady again, she’s promised; and she’ll go away from here tomorrow as you wish. She wanted to see you for the last time, though you refused her. We’ve been waiting for you here, on that seat there, to catch you as you came back.’

‘Did she take you with her of her own accord?’

‘Why not?’ grinned Rogozhin. ‘I saw what I knew before. You’ve read the letters I suppose?’

‘Have you really read them?’ asked Myshkin, struck by that idea.

‘Rather! She showed me each one of them herself. About the razor too, do you remember, ha-ha!’

‘She’s mad!’ cried Myshkin, wringing his hands.

‘Who knows about that? Perhaps not,’ Rogozhin said softly, as though to himself. Myshkin did not answer.

‘Well, goodbye,’ said Rogozhin. ‘I’m going away tomorrow too: don’t remember evil against me! And I say, brother,’ he added, turning quickly, ‘why didn’t you answer her question: are you happy or not?’

‘No, no, no!’ cried Myshkin, with unspeakable sadness.

‘I should think not, indeed,’ laughed Rogozhin maliciously, and he went away without looking back.



The story is about prince Myshkin. He’s not royalty. Rather, he has the title of “prince” because of some distant ancestry. He has epileptic fits, is incredibly kind and compassionate, and as a result of these factors he is considered an idiot by everyone, even by those who love him. “She” (Natasya) is a woman of incredible beauty, but who is locked in her own maliciousness and thus thinks herself unworthy of Myshkin. Rogozhin loves Natasya. Aglaia is also beautiful (second only to Natasya), who has a good heart, though very stubborn. Natasya tried to get Aglaia and Myshkin to marry, simply so she won’t have to wonder about Myshkin. Aglaia believes Natasya will commit suicide if Myshkin and she (Aglaia) marries. Myshkin may be in love with Aglaia, though he pities (if not loves) Natasya.






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