Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/64

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SMOKE

that it 's rotten! And if only we had a genuine contempt for it,' pursued Potugin, 'but that's really all cant and humbug. We can do well enough as far as abuse goes, but the opinion of the West is the only thing we value, the opinion, that 's to say, of the Parisian loafers. ... I know a man — a good fellow, I fancy — the father of a family, and no longer young; he was thrown into deep dejecticon for some days because in a Parisian restaurant he had asked for une portion de biftek aux pommes de terre, and a real French-man thereupon shouted: Garçon! biftek pommes! My friend was ready to die with shame, and after that he shouted everywhere, Biftek pommes! and taught others to do the same. The very cocottes are surprised at the reverential trepidation with which our young barbarians enter their shameful drawing-rooms. "Good God!" they are thinking, "is this really where I am, with no less a person than Anna Deslions herself!"'

'Tell me, pray,' continued Litvinov, 'to what do you ascribe the influence Gubaryov undoubtedly has over all about him? Is it his talent, his abilities?'

'No, no; there is nothing of that sort about him. . . .'

'His personal character is it, then?'

'Not that either, but he has a strong will. We Slavs, for the most part, as we all know,

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