Litvinov conducted the two travellers to the room taken for them, promised to come back within an hour, and went to his own room. Directly he entered it, he fell again under the spell which had been lulled for a while. Here, in that room, since the day before, Irina reigned supreme; everything was eloquent of her, the very air seemed to have kept secret traces of her visit. . . . Again Litvinov felt himself her slave. He drew out her handkerchief, hidden in his bosom, pressed it to his lips, and burning memories flowed in subtle poison through his veins. He realised that there was no turning back, no choosing now; the sorrowful emotion aroused in him by Tatyana melted away like snow in the fire, and remorse died down . . . died down so completely that his uneasiness even was soothed, and the possibility—present to his intellect—of hypocrisy no longer revolted him. . . . Love, Irina's love, that was now his truth, his bond, his conscience. . . . The sensible Litvinov did not even ponder how to get out of a position, the horror and hideousness of which he bore lightly, as if it did not concern him.
The hour had not yet passed when a waiter came to Litvinov from the newly arrived ladies; they begged him to come to them in the public drawing-room. He followed the messenger,