declined. Then the lady handed him a note—from Irina. 'You are a generous, noble man,' she wrote, 'and I know you would do anything for me; I beg of you this sacrifice. You will save one who is very dear to me. In saving her, you will save me too . . . Do not ask me how. I could never have brought myself to any one with such an entreaty, but to you I hold out my hands and say to you, do it for my sake.' Potugin pondered, and said that for Irina Pavlovna, certainly he was ready to do a great deal; but he should like to hear her wishes from her own lips. The interview took place the same evening; it did not last long, and no one knew of it, except the same lady. Irina was no longer living at Count Reisenbach's.
'What made you think of me, of all people?' Potugin asked her.
She was beginning to expatiate on his noble qualities, but suddenly she stopped . . .
'No,' she said, 'you must be told the truth. I know, I know that you love me; so that was why I made up my mind . . .' and then she told him everything.
Eliza Byelsky was an orphan; her relations did not like her, and reckoned on her inheritance . . . ruin was facing her. In saving her, Irina was really doing a service to him who was responsible for it all, and who was himself now