. . . I am beyond feeling pride now! I hold out my hand to you as a beggar, will you understand, just as a beggar. . . . I ask for charity,' she added suddenly, in an involuntary, irrepressible outburst, 'I ask for charity, and you——'
Her voice broke. Litvinov raised his head and looked at Irina; her breathing came quickly, her lips were quivering. Suddenly his heart beat fast, and the feeling of hatred vanished.
'You say that our paths have lain apart,' Irina went on. 'I know you are about to marry from inclination, you have a plan laid out for your whole life; yes, that 's all so, but we have not become strangers to one another, Grigory Mihalitch; we can still understand each other. Or do you imagine I have grown altogether dull—altogether debased in the mire? Ah, no, don't think that, please! Let me open my heart, I beseech you—there—even for the sake of those old days, if you are not willing to forget them. Do so, that our meeting may not have come to pass in vain; that would be too bitter; it would not last long in any case. ... I don't know how to say it properly, but you will understand me, because I ask for little, so little . . . only a little sympathy, only that you should not repulse me, that you should let me open my heart——'