Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/222

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
SMOKE

an anchor. Litvinov had lost the thread of his own thoughts . . . yes; but his will still remained to him, and he disposed of himself as of another man dependent on him. He rang for the waiter, asked him for the bill, bespoke a place in the evening omnibus; designedly he cut himself off all paths of retreat. 'If I die for it after!' he declared, as he had in the previous sleepless night; that phrase seemed especially to his taste. 'Then even if I die for it!' he repeated, walking slowly up and down the room, and only at rare intervals, unconsciously, he shut his eyes and held his breath, while those words, those words of Irina's forced their way into his soul, and set it aflame. 'It seems you won't love twice,' he thought; 'another life came to you, you let it slip—you will never be rid of that poison to the end, you will never break those bonds! Yes ; but what does that prove? Happiness? . . . Is it possible? You love her, granted . . . and she . . . she loves you . . .'

But at this point again he had to pull himself up. As a traveller on a dark night, seeing before him a light, and afraid of losing the path, never for an instant takes his eyes off it, so Litvinov continually bent all the force of his attention on a single point, a single aim. To reach his betrothed, and not precisely even his betrothed (he

202