'And do you intend to stay long?' pursued the polite general.
'I have not made up my mind yet.'
'Ah! that is very delightful . . . very.'
The general paused. Litvinov, too, was speechless. Both held their hats in their hands and bending forward with a grin, gazed at the top of each other's heads.
' Deux gendarmes un beau dimanche, ' began humming—out of tune of course, we have never come across a Russian nobleman who did not sing out of tune—a dull-eyed and yellow-faced general, with an expression of constant irritability on his face, as though he could not forgive himself for his own appearance. Among all his companions he alone had not the complexion of a rose.
'But why don't you sit down, Grigory Mihalitch,' observed Irina at last.
Litvinov obeyed and sat down.
I say, Valérien, give me some fire!, remarked in English another general, also young, but already stout, with fixed eyes which seemed staring into the air, and thick silky whiskers, into which he slowly plunged his snow-white fingers. Ratmirov gave him a silver matchbox.
'Avez vouz des papiros?' asked one of the ladies, with a lisp.