'A11 the grandeur will consist of a white frock, and as for the sensation. . . . Well, any way, I wish it.'
'Irina, darling, you seem to be angry?'
Irina laughed again.
'Oh, no! I am not angry. Only, Grisha . . . (She fastened her eyes on him, and he thought he had never before seen such an expression in them.) 'Perhaps, it must be,' she added in an undertone.
'But, Irina, you love me, dear?'
'I love you,' she answered with almost solemn gravity, and she clasped his hand firmly like a man.
All the following days Irina was busily occupied over her dress and her coiffure; on the day before the ball she felt unwell, she could not sit still, and twice she burst into tears in solitude; before Litvinov she wore the same uniform smile. . . . She treated him, however, with her old tenderness, but carelessly, and was constantly looking at herself in the glass. On the day of the ball she was silent and pale, but collected. At nine o'clock in the evening Litvinov came to look at her. When she came to meet him in a white tarlatan gown, with a spray of small blue flowers in her slightly raised hair, he almost uttered a cry; she seemed to him so