preceded by the same exquisite aristocratic perfume, there entered Valerian Vladimirovitch Ratmirov.
Litvinov rose and interchanged bows with the good-looking general, while Irina, with no sign of haste, took her hand from her face, and looking coldly at her husband, remarked in French, 'Ah! so you 've come back! But what time is it?'
'Nearly four, ma chère amie, and you not dressed yet—the princess will be expecting us,' answered the general; and with an elegant bend of his tightly-laced figure in Litvinov's direction, he added with the almost effeminate playfulness of intonation characteristic of him, 'It 's clear an agreeable visitor has made you forgetful of time.'
The reader will permit us at this point to give him some information about General Ratmirov. His father was the natural . . . what do you suppose? You are not wrong—but we didn't mean to say that . . .the natural son of an illustrious personage of the reign of Alexander I. and of a pretty little French actress. The illustrious personage brought his son forward in the world, but left him no fortune, and the son himself (the father of our hero) had not time to grow rich; he died before he had risen above the rank of a colonel in the police. A year be-