preserved a recollection of the obscure companions of your youth. . . .'
'Does it astound you?' said Irina softly.
'It touches me,' Litvinov went on, ' because I could never have imagined——'
'You have not told me you have forgiven me, though,' interposed Irina.
'I sincerely rejoice at your happiness, Irina Pavlovna. With my whole heart I wish you all that is best on earth. . . .'
'And you will not remember evil against me?'
I will remember nothing but the happy moments for which I was once indebted to you.'
Irina held out both hands to him; Litvinov clasped them warmly, and did not at once let them go. . . . Something that long had not been, secretly stirred in his heart at that soft contact. Irina was again looking straight into his face; but this time she was smiling. . . . And he for the first time gazed directly and intently at her. . . . Again he recognised the features once so precious, and those deep eyes, with their marvellous lashes, and the little mole on her cheek, and the peculiar growth of her hair on her forehead, and her habit of somehow sweetly and humorously curving her lips
and faintly twitching her eyebrows, all, all he recognised. . . . But how beautiful she had