'And Potugin, you say, was connected with—'
'It 's very painful for me even to refer to it,' Irina broke in. 'Eliza was my greatest friend at school, and afterwards in Petersburg we saw each other continually. She confided all her secrets to me, she was very unhappy, she suffered much. Potugin behaved splendidly in the affair, with true chivalry. He sacrificed himself. It was only then I learnt to appreciate him! But we have drifted away again. I am waiting for your story, Grigory Mihalitch.'
'But my story cannot interest you the least, Irina Pavlovna.'
'That 's not your affair.'
'Think, Irina Pavlovna, we have not seen each other for ten years, ten whole years. How much water has flowed by since then.'
'Not water only! not water only!' she repeated with a peculiar little expression; 'that 's just why I want to hear what you are going to tell me.'
'And beside I really don't know where to begin.'
'At the beginning. From the very time when you . . . when I went away to Petersburg. You left Moscow then. . . . Do you know I have never been back to Moscow since!'