reasons that it was not proper for a young girl to avoid society, that she ought to 'have this experience,' that no one ever saw her anywhere, as it was. Litvinov undertook to lay these 'reasons' before her. Irina looked steadily and scrutinisingly at him, so steadily and scrutinisingly that he was confused, and then, playing with the ends of her sash, she said calmly:
'Do you desire it, you?'
'Yes. ... I suppose so,' replied Litvinov hesitatingly. 'I agree with your papa. . . . Indeed, why should you not go ... to see the world, and show yourself,' he added with a short laugh.
'To show myself,' she repeated slowly. 'Very well then, I will go. . . . Only remember, it is you yourself who desired it.'
'That's to say, I——.' Litvinov was beginning.
'You yourself have desired it,' she interposed. 'And here is one condition more; you must promise me that you will not be at this ball.'
'I wish it to be so.'
Litvinov unclasped his hands.
'I submit . . . but I confess I should so have enjoyed seeing you in all your grandeur, witnessing the sensation you are certain to make. . . . How proud I should be of you!' he added with a sigh.