sympathy for Potugin, and it had resulted in something like a clumsy insinuation. With secret dissatisfaction in his heart, he went back to his hotel.
'Rotten to the marrow of her bones,' he thought a little later. . . . 'but proud as the devil! She, that woman who is almost on her knees to me, proud? proud and not capricious?'
Litvinov tried to drive Irina's image out of his head, but he did not succeed. For this very reason he did not think of his betrothed; he felt to-day this haunting image would not give up its place. He made up his mind to await without further anxiety the solution of all this 'strange business'; the solution could not be long in coming, and Litvinov had not the slightest doubt it would turn out to be most innocent and natural. So he fancied, but meanwhile he was not only haunted by Irina's image—every word she had uttered kept recurring in its turn to his memory.
The waiter brought him a note : it was from the same Irina:
'If you have nothing to do this evening, come to me; I shall not be alone; I shall have guests, and you will get a closer view of our set, our society. I want you very much to see something of them; I fancy they will show themselves in all their brilliance. You