Irina ceased speaking, there were tears in her voice. She sighed, and timidly, with a kind of furtive, searching look, gazed at Litvinov, held out her hand to him. . . .
Litvinov slowly took the hand and faintly pressed it.
'Let us be friends,' whispered Irina.
'Friends,' repeated Litvinov dreamily.
'Yes, friends . . . or if that is too much to ask, then let us at least be friendly. . . . Let us be simply as though nothing had happened.'
'As though nothing had happened, . . .' repeated Litvinov again. 'You said just now, Irina Pavlovna, that I was unwilling to forget the old days. . . . But what if I can't forget them?'
A blissful smile flashed over Irina's face, and at once disappeared, to be replaced by a harassed, almost scared expression.
'Be like me, Grigory Mihalitch, remember only what was good in them; and most of all, give me your word. . . . Your word of honour. . . .'
'Not to avoid me . . . not to hurt me for nothing. You promise? tell me!'
'And you will dismiss all evil thoughts of me from your mind.'
'Yes . . . but as for understanding you — I give it up.'