Litvinov did not keep his promise of returning later; he reflected that it would be better to defer his visit till the following day. When he went into the too familiar drawing-room at about twelve o'clock, he found there the two youngest princesses, Viktorinka and Kleopatrinka. He greeted them, and then inquired, 'Was Irina Pavlovna better, and could he see her?'
'Irinotchka has gone away with mammy,' replied Viktorinka; she lisped a little, but was more forward than her sister.
'How . . . gone away?' repeated Litvinov, and there was a sort of still shudder in the very bottom of his heart. 'Does she not, does she not look after you about this time, and give you your lessons?'
'Irinotchka will not give us any lessons any more now,' answered Viktorinka. 'Not any more now,' Kleopatrinka repeated after her.
'Is your papa at home?' asked Litvinov.