spite of my . . . of the wrong I did you in the past, to renew my acquaintance with you, it was because . . . because——'
'Because what?' asked Litvinov, almost rudely.
'Because,' Irina declared with sudden force—'it 's too insufferable, too unbearably stifling for me in society, in the envied position you talk about; because meeting you, a live man, after all these dead puppets—you have seen samples of them three days ago, there au Vieux Château,— I rejoice over you as an oasis in the desert, while you suspect me of flirting, and despise me and repulse me on the ground that I wronged you—as indeed I did—but far more myself!'
'You chose your lot yourself, Irina Pavlovna,' Litvinov rejoined sullenly, as before not turning his head.
'I chose it myself, yes . . . and I don't complain; I have no right to complain,' said Irina hurriedly; she seemed to derive a secret consolation from Litvinov's very harshness. 'I know that you must think ill of me, and I won't justify myself; I only want to explain my feeling to you, I want to convince you I am in no flirting humour now. . . . Me flirting with you! Why, there is no sense in it. . . . When I saw you, all that was good, that was young in