’ Now, would you believe it, excellency, every morning he recites this speech to us from beginning to end, exactly as he spoke it before the magistrate.
But Aglaya evidently thoroughly enjoyed the affectation and ceremony with which she was introducing her recitation of the poem.
—Aglaya, come here—kiss me, dear, you recited beautifully! but," she added in a whisper, "if you were sincere I am sorry for you.
Aglaya did not so much as glance at the new arrivals, but went on with her recitation, gazing at the prince the while in an affected manner, and at him alone.
Seeing them approaching, he rose from his chair, and nodding amicably to the general, signed to him not to interrupt the recitation.
If it was a joke, I do not approve of the feelings which prompted you to do it, and in any case you would have done far better not to recite it at all.
General Epanchin only knew that there was a recitation of verses going on, and took no further interest in the matter.
An ironical smile played on Evgenie’s lips all the while the recitation was proceeding, which showed that he, too, was probably in the secret of the ’poor knight’ joke.
That it was a jest there was no doubt whatever; he knew that well enough, and had good reason, too, for his conviction; for during her recitation of the ballad Aglaya had deliberately changed the letters A. N. B. into N. P. B. He was quite sure she had not done this by accident, and that his ears had not deceived him.
She continued to recite: "Once there came a vision glorious, Mystic, dreadful, wondrous fair; Burned itself into his spirit, And abode for ever there!