little girl of thirteen who on the previous day had watched for him on the stairs. On the table before Irina was standing an open, semicircular, cardboard box of lace: she was carelessly turning over the lace with one hand, in the other she was holding Litvinov's letter. She had only just left off crying; her eyelashes were wet, and her eyelids swollen; on her cheeks could be seen the traces of undried tears not wiped away. Litvinov stood still in the doorway; she did not notice his entrance.
'You are crying?' he said wonderingly.
She started, passed her hand over her hair and smiled.
'Why are you crying?' repeated Litvinov. She pointed in silence to the letter. 'So you were . . . over that,' he articulated haltingly.
'Come here, sit down,' she said, 'give me your hand. Well, yes, I was crying . . . what are you surprised at? Is that nothing?' she pointed again to the letter.
Litvinov sat down.
'I know it 's not easy, Irina, I tell you so indeed in my letter . . . I understand your position. But if you believe in the value of your love for me, if my words have convinced you, you ought, too, to understand what I feel now at the sight of your tears. I have come here, like a man on his trial, and I await what is to be my