restrict your freedom . . . when I know that your heart——'
'Well, don't come near me, you will crush my dress,' she said hastily.
Litvinov was disturbed.
'But you will take the nosegay?' he asked.
'Of course; it is very pretty, and I love that scent. Merci—I shall keep it in memory——'
'Of your first coming out,' observed Litvinov, 'your first triumph.'
Irina looked over her shoulder at herself in the glass, scarcely bending her figure.
'And do I really look so nice? You are not partial?'
Litvinov overflowed in enthusiastic praises. Irina was already not listening to him, and holding the flowers up to her face, she was again looking away into the distance with her strange, as it were, overshadowed, dilated eyes, and the ends of her delicate ribbons stirred by a faint current of air rose slightly behind her shoulders like wings.
The prince made his appearance, his hair well becurled, in a white tie, and a shabby black evening coat, with the medal of nobility on a Vladimir ribbon in his buttonhole. After him came the princess in a china silk dress of antique cut, and with the anxious severity under which mothers try to conceal their agitation,