can fly under the heels. And the young hero advances with that peculiar mincing gait by means of which our Alcibiades, Tchivilo Plenkovitch, produced such a striking, almost medical, effect on old women and young girls, the same gait which we see in our loose-limbed waiters, that cream, that flower of Russian dandyism, that ne plus ultra of Russian taste. This I maintain without joking; a sack-like gracefulness, that's an artistic ideal. What do you think, is it a fine type? Does it present many materials for painting, for sculpture? And the beauty who fascinates the young hero, whose "face is as red as the blood of the hare"? . . . But I think you're not listening to me?'
Litvinov started. He had not, in fact, heard what Potugin was saying; he kept thinking, persistently thinking of Irina, of his last interview with her. . . .
'I beg your pardon, Sozont Ivanitch,' he began, 'but I 'm going to attack you again with my former question about . . . about Madame Ratmirov.'
Potugin folded up his newspaper and put it in his pocket.
'You want to know again how I came to know her?'
'No, not exactly. I should like to hear your