wittily among us just now — and to civilisation — yes, yes, that is a better word — and I love it with my whole heart and believe in it, and I have no other belief, and never shall have. That word, ci-vi-li-sa-tion (Potugin pronounced each syllable with full stress and emphasis), is intelligible, and pure, and holy, and all the other ideals, nationality, glory, or what you like — they smell of blood. . . . Away with them!'
'Well, but Russia, Sozont Ivanitch, your country — you love it?'
Potugin passed his hand over his face. 'I love her passionately and passionately hate her.'
Litvinov shrugged his shoulders.
'That 's stale, Sozont Ivanitch, that 's a commonplace.'
'And what of it? So that 's what you 're afraid of! A commonplace! I know many excellent commonplaces. Here, for example, Law and Liberty is a well-known commonplace. Why, do you consider it's better as it is with us, lawlessness and bureaucratic tyranny? And, besides, all those phrases by which so many young heads are turned: vile bourgeoisie, souveraineté du peuple, right to labour, aren't they commonplaces too? And as for love, inseparable from hate . . .'
'Byronism,' interposed Litvinov, 'the romanticism of the thirties.'