Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/304

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

side. . . . He grew calm at last; at last he came to a decision. From the very first instant he had a presentiment of this decision; . . . it had appeared to him at first like a distant, hardly perceptible point in the midst of the darkness and turmoil of his inward conflict; then it had begun to move nearer and nearer, till it ended by cutting with icy edge into his heart.

Litvinov once more dragged his box out of the corner, once more he packed all his things, without haste, even with a kind of stupid carefulness, rang for the waiter, paid his bill, and despatched to Irina a note in Russian to the following purport:

'I don't know whether you are doing me a greater wrong now than then; but I know this present blow is infinitely heavier. . . . It is the end. You tell me, "I cannot" ; and I repeat to you, "I cannot . . ." do what you want. I cannot and I don't want to. Don't answer me. You are not capable of giving me the only answer I would accept. I am going away to-morrow early by the first train. Good-bye, may you be happy! We shall in all probability not see each other again.'

Till night-time Litvinov did not leave his room; God knows whether he was expecting anything. About seven o'clock in the evening