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over all the difficulties—have you made preparations?'

'I? I have not had time yet to think over or prepare anything, but only say yes, let me act, and before a month is over . . .'

'A month! we start for Italy in a fortnight.'

'A fortnight, then, is enough for me. О Irina, you seem to take my proposition coldly; perhaps it seems unpractical to you, but I am not a boy, I am not used to comforting myself with dreams, I know what a tremendous step this is, I know what a responsibility I am taking on myself; but I can see no other course. Think of it, I must break every tie with the past, if only not to be a contemptible liar in the eyes of the girl I have sacrificed for you!'

Irina drew herself up suddenly and her eyes flashed.

'Oh, I beg your pardon, Grigory Mihalitch! If I decide, if I run away, then it will at least be with a man who does it for my sake, for my sake simply, and not in order that he may not degrade himself in the good opinion of a phlegmatic young person, with milk and water, du lait coupé instead of blood, in her veins! And I must tell you too, it 's the first time, I confess, that it 's been my lot to hear that the man I honour with my regard is deserving of commiseration,