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Anna Karenina 133


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Anna Karenina

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cast by the leaves, at a table, covered with a white cloth, and set with coffeepot, bread-and-butter, cheese, and cold game, sat the princess in a high cap with lilac ribbons, distributing cups and bread-and-butter. At the other end sat the prince, eating heartily, and talking loudly and merrily. The prince had spread out near him his purchases, carved boxes, and knick-knacks, paper-knives of all sorts, of which he bought a heap at every watering-place, and bestowed them upon everyone, including Lieschen, the servant girl, and the landlord, with whom he jested in his comically bad German, assuring him that it was not the water had cured Kitty, but his splendid cookery, especially his plum soup. The princess laughed at her husband for his Russian ways, but she was more lively and good-humored than she had been all the while she had been at the waters. The colonel smiled, as he always did, at the princes jokes, but as far as regards Europe, of which he believed himself to be making a careful study, he took the princesss side. The simple-hearted Marya Yevgenyevna simply roared with laughter at everything absurd the prince said, and his jokes made Varenka helpless with feeble but infectious laughter, which was something Kitty had never seen before. Kitty was glad of all this, but she could not be light-hearted. She could not solve the problem her father had unconsciously set her by his goodhumored view of her friends, and of the life that had so attracted her. To this doubt there was joined the change in her relations with the Petrovs, which had been so conspicuously and unpleasantly marked that morning. Everyone was good humored, but Kitty could not feel good humored, and this increased her distress. She felt a feeling such as she had known in childhood, when she had been shut in her room as a punishment, and had heard her sisters merry laughter outside. "Well, but what did you buy this mass of things for?" said the princess, smiling, and handing her husband a cup of coffee. "One goes for a walk, one looks in a shop, and they ask you to buy. _Erlaucht, Durchlaucht?_ Directly they say _Durchlaucht_, I cant hold out. I lose ten thalers." "Its simply from boredom," said the princess. "Of course it is. Such boredom, my dear, that one doesnt know what to do with oneself." "How can you be bored, prince? Theres so much thats interesting now in Germany," said Marya Yevgenyevna. "But I know everything thats interesting: the plum soup I know, and the pea sausages I know. I know everything." "No, you may say what you like, prince, theres the interest of their institutions," said the colonel. "But what is there interesting about it? Theyre all as pleased as brass halfpence. Theyve conquered everybody, and why am I to be pleased at that? I havent conquered anyone; and Im obliged to take off my own boots, yes, and put them away too; in the morning, get up and dress at once, and go to the dining room to drink bad tea! How different it is at home! You get up in no haste, you get cross, grumble a little, and come round again. Youve time to think things over, and no hurry." "But times money, you forget that," said the colonel. "Time, indeed, that depends! Why, theres time one would give a month of for sixpence, and time you wouldnt give half an hour of for any money. Isnt that so, Katinka? What is it? why are you so depressed?" "Im not depressed." "Where are you off to? Stay a little longer," he said to Varenka. "I must be going home," said Varenka, getting up, and again she went off into a giggle. When she had recovered, she said good-bye, and went into the house to get her hat. Kitty followed her. Even Varenka struck her as different. She was not worse, but different from what she had fancied her before. "Oh, dear! its a long while since Ive laughed so much!" said Varenka, gathering up her parasol and her bag. "How nice he is, your father!" Kitty did not speak. "When shall I see you again?" asked Varenka. "Mamma meant to go and see the Petrovs. Wont you be there?" said Kitty, to try Varenka. "Yes," answered Varenka. "Theyre getting ready to go away, so I promised to help them pack." "Well, Ill come too, then." "No, why should you?" "Why not? why not? why not?"

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