'A rich man, a chamberlain, living in Petersburg, in the swim of things; in Livonia every one is in his hands. Hitherto he has neglected us . . . but there, I don't bear him ill-will for that. J'ai l'humeur facile, comme vous savez. Well, that's the kind of man he is. He sat near Irina, conversed with her for a quarter of an hour, not more, and said afterwards to my princess: "Ma соusine," he says, "votre fille est une perle; c'est une perfection, every one is congratulating me on such a niece. . . ." And afterwards I look round — and he had gone up to a ... a very great personage, and was talking, and kept looking at Irina . . . and the personage was looking at her too.' . . .
'And so Irina Pavlovna will not appear all day?' Litvinov asked again.
'Quite so; her head aches very badly. She told me to greet you from her, and thank you for your flowers, qu'on a trouve charmant. She needs rest. . . . The princess has gone out on a round of visits . . . and I myself . . . you see. . . .'
The prince cleared his throat, and began to fidget as though he were at a loss what to add further. Litvinov took his hat, and saying he did not want to disturb him, and would call again later to inquire after her health, he went away.