could be heard in a plaintive whimper, and a few names, which will not be forgotten by posterity, were pronounced with gnashing of teeth . . . And not a drop of living water under all this noise and wrangle! What stale, what unprofitable nonsense, what wretched trivialities were absorbing all these heads and hearts, and not for that one evening, not in society only, but at home too, every hour and every day, in all the depth and breadth of their existence! And what ignorance, when all is said! What lack of understanding of all on which human life is built, all by which life is made beautiful!
On parting from Litvinov, Irina again pressed his hand and whispered significantly, 'Well? Are you pleased? Have you seen enough? Do you like it?' He made her no reply, but merely bowed low in silence.
Left alone with her husband, Irina was just going to her bedroom. ... He stopped her.
'Je vous ai beaucoup admirée ce soir, madame,' he observed, smoking a cigarette, and leaning against the mantelpiece, 'vous vous êtes parfaitement moquée de nous tous!'
'Pas plus cette fois-ci que les autres,' she answered indifferently.
'How do you mean me to understand you?' asked Ratmirov.
'As you like.'