'From a person you know, from Irina Pavlovna Ratmirov. You promised three days ago to go and see her and you have not been.'
Litvinov stared at Potugin in amazement.
'You know Madame Ratmirov?'
'As you see.'
'And you know her well?'
'I am to a certain degree a friend of hers.'
Litvinov was silent for a little.
'Allow me to ask you,' he began at last, 'do you know why Irina Pavlovna wants to see me?'
Potugin went up to the window.
'To a certain degree I do. She was, as far as I can judge, very pleased at meeting you,—well,—and she wants to renew your former relations.'
'Renew,' repeated Litvinov. 'Excuse my indiscretion, but allow me to question you a little more. Do you know what was the nature of those relations?'
'Strictly speaking . . . no, I don't know. But I imagine,' added Potugin, turning suddenly to Litvinov and looking affectionately at him, 'I imagine that they were of some value. Irina Pavlovna spoke very highly of you, and I was obliged to promise her I would bring you. Will you come?'