Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/161

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SMOKE

her veil. In the expression of her face, in the very sound of her abruptly jerked-out whisper, there was something so irresistibly mournful, beseeching . . . Litvinov could not pretend any longer.

'Yes . . . I knew you,' he uttered not without effort.

Irina slowly shuddered, and slowly dropped her hands.

'Why did you not come up to me?' she whispered.

'Why . . . why!' Litvinov moved on one side, away from the path, Irina followed him in silence. 'Why?' he repeated once more, and suddenly his face was aflame, and he felt his chest and throat choking with a passion akin to hatred. 'You . . . you ask such a question, after all that has passed between us? Not now, of course, not now; but there . . . there ... in Moscow.'

'But, you know, we decided; you know, you promised——' Irina was beginning.

'I have promised nothing! Pardon the harshness of my expressions, but you ask for the truth—so think for yourself: to what but a caprice—incomprehensible, I confess, to me—to what but a desire to try how much power you still have over me, can I attribute your . . . I don't know what to call it . . . your

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