failed to perceive himself what precisely constituted la question that no other result could possibly have been anticipated. And then too Irina was slily provoking the disputants and setting them against one another, constantly exchanging glances and slight signs with Litvinov as she did so. . . . But he was sitting like one spell-bound, he was hearing nothing, and waiting for nothing but for those splendid eyes to sparkle again, that pale, tender, mischievous, exquisite face to flash upon him again. . . . It ended by the ladies growing restive, and requesting that the dispute should cease. . . . Ratmirov entreated the dilettante to sing his song again, and the self-taught genius once more played his waltz. . . .
Litvinov stayed till after midnight, and went away later than all the rest. The conversation had in the course of the evening touched upon a number of subjects, studiously avoiding anything of the faintest interest; the generals, after finishing their solemn game, solemnly joined in it: the influence of these statesmen was at once apparent. The conversation turned upon notorieties of the Parisian demi-monde, with whose names and talents every one seemed intimately acquainted, on Sardou's latest play, on a novel of About's, on Patti in the Traviata. Some one proposed a game of 'secretary,' au