'Нm. С'est clair.' Ratmirov warily, like a cat, knocked off the ash of the cigarette with the tip of the long nail of his little finger. 'Oh, by the way! This new friend of yours—what the dickens is his name?—Mr. Litvinov—doubtless enjoys the reputation of a very clever man.'
At the name of Litvinov, Irina turned quickly round.
'What do you mean to say?'
The general smiled.
'He keeps very quiet . . . one can see he 's afraid of compromising himself.'
Irina too smiled; it was a very different smile from her husband's.
'Better keep quiet than talk . . . as some people talk.'
'Attrapé!' answered Ratmirov with feigned submissiveness. 'Joking apart, he has a very interesting face. Such a . . . concentrated expression . . . and his whole bearing. . . . Yes. . . .' The general straightened his cravat, and bending his head stared at his own moustache. 'He 's a republican, I imagine, of the same sort as your other friend, Mr. Potugin; that 's another of your clever fellows who are dumb.'
Irina's brows were slowly raised above her wide open clear eyes, while her lips were tightly pressed together and faintly curved.
'What 's your object in saying that. Valerian