Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/169

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SMOKE

everything that happened to meet him. . . . He suddenly found himself before a seat, caught sight of some one's legs in front of it; and looked upwards from them. . . . The legs belonged to a man, sitting on the seat, and reading a newspaper; this man turned out to be Potugin. Litvinov uttered a faint exclamation. Potugin laid the paper down on his knees, and looked attentively, without a smile, at Litvinov; and Litvinov also attentively, and also without a smile, looked at Potugin.

'May I sit by you?' he asked at last.

'By all means, I shall be delighted. Only I warn you, if you want to have a talk with me, you mustn't be offended with me—I'm in a most misanthropic humour just now, and I see everything in an exaggeratedly repulsive light.'

'That 's no matter, Sozont Ivanitch,' responded Litvinov, sinking down on the seat, 'indeed it 's particularly appropriate. . . . But why has such a mood come over you?'

'I ought not by rights to be ill-humoured,' began Potugin. 'I 've just read in the paper a project for judicial reforms in Russia, and I see with genuine pleasure that we 've got some sense at last, and they're not as usual on the pretext of independence, nationalism, or originality, proposing to tack a little home-made tag of our own on to the clear

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