They find that a large party has assembled at his home and that the champagne is already flowing. Present are Lebedyev, his daughter Vera, Ippolit, Burdovsky, Kolya, General Ivolgin, Ganya, Ptitsyn, Ferdyschenko, Keller, and, to Myshkin's surprise, Yevgeny Pavlovich, who has come to ask for his friendship and advice. The guests greet the Prince warmly and compete for his attention. Stimulated by Lebedyev's eloquence, everyone engages for some time in intelligent and inebriated disputation on lofty subjects, but the good-humoured atmosphere begins to dissipate when Ippolit suddenly produces a large red-sealed envelope and announces that it contains an essay he has written which he now intends to read to them. The essay is a series of verbose psychological observations on the subject of his own approaching death, written in a defiant, self-conscious style, and culminating in the announcement that, rather than go on living for a few more weeks, he will be shooting himself at sunrise. The reading drags on for over an hour and by its end the sun has risen. Most of his audience, however, are bored and resentful, apparently not at all concerned that he is about to shoot himself. Only Vera, Kolya, Burdovsky and Keller seek to restrain him. He distracts them by pretending to abandon the plan, then suddenly pulls out a small pistol, puts it to his temple and pulls the trigger. There is a click but no shot: Ippolit faints but is not killed. It turns out, to the great amusement of some, that he had taken out the cap earlier and forgotten to put it back in. Ippolit is devastated and tries desperately to convince everyone that it was an accident. Eventually he falls asleep and the party disperses.