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The Idiot

The Idiot

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Idiot Part 4, Chapter 3 Summary

  • So, in the grand scheme of things, the dude storming off in a drunken rage is apparently no biggie around their neighborhood, since General Ivolgin does this type of thing all the time. What a delight he is.
  • But this time, something seems off. Instead of his usual pattern of going on a bender and then crawling back to his wife to apologize and feel guilty and go cold turkey, the general has been acting way crazier than usual the day before he storms off. He's been irritable, moody, talking even more nonsense than usual, and generally acting weird.
  • Also, he suddenly became BFF with Lebedev for three days or so. Then they had a loud fight and ended the friendship.
  • Kolya assumes that this is because of the cold turkey approach, but he can see that Myshkin knows something about the situation that he refuses to tell him.
  • Meanwhile, Myshkin also notices the strange new closeness of Lebedev and General Ivolgin, but he's busy with his own things to think too much about it.
  • Soon, though, the day after the big argument between Lebedev and the general, Ivolgin comes to see Myshkin.
  • He is full of hot air and blather, and generally most of what he says makes no sense whatsoever, either to us or to the prince. After going on about nothing for a little while, the general makes an appointment to come back and talk to the prince some more about a really important decision. Myshkin is all, whatever dude, I have no idea what you are talking about, but ok.
  • Right after that, Myshkin calls Lebedev to talk about the general.
  • It turns out that secretly, Lebedev is mad at the prince—he feels like Myshkin has been snubbing him and treating him like an underling and not an equal. Because of this, Lebedev holds back some info that would apparently be crucial for Myshkin. Huh. Good lesson there, kids—try not to snub gossipy busy-bodies.
  • But Lebedev does go on to tell Myshkin something that explains what the deal with General Ivolgin has been.
  • The wallet with the 400 roubles that someone stole from Lebedev? Turns out it reappeared magically in the exact same spot on the floor where it would have fallen, if it had fallen out of his jacket.
  • Lebedev says that he let it lie there for a couple of days, and then it just as suddenly jumped from the floor into the lining of his jacket, through a hole cut into the pocket. (Okay, clue for anyone not getting it—General Ivolgin returned the thing and is trying to make it look like it's been there the whole time.)
  • But to torment the general, Lebedev has been pretending not to notice the wallet, either on the floor, or banging against his leg in the jacket lining.
  • Myshkin is all, dude, that's horrible, please just tell him you found the wallet.
  • Lebedev seems to feel bad and agrees that he'll do just that—soon. Maybe the next day.
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