Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/185

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SMOKE

ness . . . in due course. And you end by being strange to everything, by losing comprehension of everything. At first you don't understand how love is possible; afterwards one won't understand how life is possible.'

Litvinov looked at Potugin, and it struck him that he had never yet met a man more lonely, more desolate . . . more unhappy. This time he was not shy, he was not stiff; downcast and pale, his head on his breast, and his hands on his knees, he sat without moving, merely smiling his dejected smile. Litvinov felt sorry for the poor, embittered, eccentric creature.

'Irina Pavlovna mentioned among other things,' he began in a low voice, 'a very intimate friend of hers, whose name if I remember was Byelsky, or Dolsky. . . .'

Potugin raised his mournful eyes and looked at Litvinov.

'Ah!' he commented thickly. . . . 'She mentioned . . . well, what of it? It 's time, though,' he added with a rather artificial yawn, 'for me to be getting home—to dinner. Good-bye.'

He jumped up from the seat and made off quickly before Litvinov had time to utter a word. . . . His compassion gave way to annoyance—annoyance with himself, be it understood. Want of consideration of any kind was foreign to his nature; he had wished to express his

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