The door opened slowly and in walked Potugin. Litvinov was exceedingly delighted to see him.
'This is nice!' he began, warmly shaking hands with his unexpected visitor, 'this is good of you! I should certainly have looked you up myself, but you would not tell me where you live. Sit down, please, put down your hat. Sit down.'
Potugin made no response to Litvinov's warm welcome, and remained standing in the middle of the room, shifting from one leg to the other; he only laughed a little and shook his head. Litvinov's cordial reception obviously touched him, but there was some constraint in the expression of his face.
'There's . . . some little misunderstanding,' he began, not without hesitation. 'Of course, it would always be ... a pleasure ... to me . . . but I have been sent . . . especially to you.'
'That's to say, do you mean,' commented Litvinov in an injured voice, 'that you would not have come to me of your own accord?'
'Oh, no, . . . indeed! But I . . . I should, perhaps, not have made up my mind to intrude on you to-day, if I had not been asked to come to you. In fact, I have a message for you.'
'From whom, may I ask?'