Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/168

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Litvinov let the Grand Duchess and all her suite get out of sight, and then he too went along the avenue. He could not make up his mind clearly what he was feelingĀ ; he was conscious both of shame and dread, while his vanity was flattered. . . . The unexpected explanation with Irina had taken him utterly by surprise; her rapid burning words had passed over him like a thunder-storm. 'Queer creatures these society women,' he thought; 'there 's no consistency in them . . . and how perverted they are by the surroundings in which they go on living, while they're conscious of its hideousness themselves!' . . . In reality he was not thinking this at all, but only mechanically repeating these hackneyed phrases, as though he were trying to ward off other more painful thoughts. He felt that he must not think seriously just now, that he would probably have to blame himself, and he moved with lagging steps, almost forcing himself to pay attention to