'Well? I will not refuse,' she assented at last. 'Some day . . . perhaps. . . But first you . . . because, do you see, though I tried to follow you up, I know scarcely anything of you; while of me . . . well, of me you have heard enough certainly. Haven't you? I suppose you have heard of me, tell me?'
'You, Irina Pavlovna, occupied too conspicuous a place in the world, not to be the subject of talk . . . especially in the provinces, where I have been and where every rumour is believed.'
'And do you believe the rumours? And of what kind were the rumours?'
'To tell the truth, Irina Pavlovna, such rumours very seldom reached me. I have led a very solitary life.'
'How so? why, you were in the Crimea, in the militia?'
'You know that too?'
'As you see. I tell you, you have been watched.'
Again Litvinov felt puzzled.
'Why am I to tell you what you know without me?' said Litvinov in an undertone.
'Why . . . to do what I ask you. You see I ask you, Grigory Mihalitch.'
Litvinov bowed his head and began . . . began in rather a confused fashion to recount