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that to put it off longer, to dissemble, to turn away, had become impossible, that an explanation with Tatyana had become inevitable; he could imagine how she was sitting there, never stirring, waiting for him . . . he could foresee what he would say to her; but how was he to act, how was he to begin? He had turned his back on his upright, well-organised, orderly future; he knew that he was flinging himself headlong into a gulf . . . but that did not confound him. The thing was done, but how was he to face his judge? And if only his judge would come to meet him—an angel with a flaming sword; that would be easier for a sinning heart . . . instead of which he had himself to plunge the knife in. . . . Infamous! But to turn back, to abandon that other, to take advantage of the freedom offered him, recognised as his. . . . No! better to die! No, he would have none of such loathsome freedom . . . but would humble himself in the dust, and might those eyes look down on him with love. . . .

'Grigory Mihalitch,' said a melancholy voice, and some one's hand was laid heavily upon Litvinov.

He looked round in some alarm and recognised Potugin.

'I beg your pardon, Grigory Mihalitch,' began the latter with his customary humility, 'I am