me, revived . . . that time when I had not yet chosen my lot, everything that lies behind in that streak of brightness behind those ten years. . . .'
'Come, really, Irina Pavlovna! So far as I am aware, the brightness in your life began precisely with the time we separated. . . .'
Irina put her handkerchief to her lips.
'That's very cruel, what you say, Grigory Mihalitch; but I can't feel angry with you.
Oh, no, that was not a bright time, it was not for happiness I left Moscow; I have known not one moment, not one instant of happiness . . . believe me, whatever you have been told. If I were happy, could I talk to you as I am talking now. . . . I repeat to you, you don't know what these people are. . . . Why, they understand nothing, feel for nothing; they 've no intelligence even, ni esprit ni intelligence, nothing but tact and cunning; why, in reality, music and poetry and art are all equally remote from them. . . . You will say that I was rather indifferent to all that myself; but not to the same degree, Grigory Mihalitch . . . not to the same degree! It 's not a woman of the world before you now, you need only look at me—not a society queen. . . . That 's what they call us, I believe . . . but a poor, poor creature, really deserving of pity. Don't wonder at my words.