The prince did not hear the rest, because at this point the servant continued his communication in a whisper.
Gavrila Ardalionovitch listened attentively, and gazed at the prince with great curiosity. At last he motioned the man aside and stepped hurriedly towards the prince.
"Are you Prince Muishkin?" he asked, with the greatest courtesy and amiability.
He was a remarkably handsome young fellow of some twenty-eight summers, fair and of middle height; he wore a small beard, and his face was most intelligent. Yet his smile, in spite of its sweetness, was a little thin, if I may so call it, and showed his teeth too evenly; his gaze though decidedly good-humoured and ingenuous, was a trifle too inquisitive and intent to be altogether agreeable.
"Probably when he is alone he looks quite different, and hardly smiles at all!" thought the prince.
He explained about himself in a few words, very much the same as he had told the footman and Rogojin beforehand.
Gavrila Ardalionovitch meanwhile seemed to be trying to recall something.
"Was it not you, then, who sent a letter a year or less ago — from Switzerland, I think it was — to Elizabetha Prokofievna (Mrs. Epanchin)?"
"Oh, then, of course they will remember who you are. You wish to see the general? I'll tell him at once — he will be free in a minute; but you — you had better wait in the ante-chamber, — hadn't you? Why is he here?" he added, severely, to the man.
"I tell you, sir, he wished it himself!"
At this moment the study door opened, and a military man, with a portfolio under his arm, came out talking loudly, and after bidding good-bye to someone inside, took his departure.
"You there, Gania?" cried a voice from the study, "come in here, will you?"
Gavrila Ardalionovitch nodded to the prince and entered the room hastily.
A couple of minutes later the door opened again and the affable voice of Gania cried:
"Come in please, prince!"