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Anna Karenina 148


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Anna Karenina

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is bound to exist in every man of a certain degree of advancement. Possibly you are right too, that action founded on material interest would be more desirable. You are altogether, as the French say, too _primesautiere_ a nature; you must have intense, energetic action, or nothing." Levin listened to his brother and did not understand a single word, and did not want to understand. He was only afraid his brother might ask him some question which would make it evident he had not heard. "So thats what I think it is, my dear boy," said Sergey Ivanovitch, touching him on the shoulder. "Yes, of course. But, do you know? I wont stand up for my view," answered Levin, with a guilty, childlike smile. "Whatever was it I was disputing about?" he wondered. "Of course, Im right, and hes right, and its all first-rate. Only I must go round to the counting house and see to things." He got up, stretching and smiling. Sergey Ivanovitch smiled too. "If you want to go out, lets go together," he said, disinclined to be parted from his brother, who seemed positively breathing out freshness and energy. "Come, well go to the counting house, if you have to go there." "Oh, heavens!" shouted Levin, so loudly that Sergey Ivanovitch was quite frightened. "What, what is the matter?" "Hows Agafea Mihalovnas hand?" said Levin, slapping himself on the head. "Id positively forgotten her even." "Its much better." "Well, anyway Ill run down to her. Before youve time to get your hat on, Ill be back." And he ran downstairs, clattering with his heels like a spring-rattle. Chapter 7 Stephan Arkadyevitch had gone to Petersburg to perform the most natural and essential official duty--so familiar to everyone in the government service, though incomprehensible to outsiders-- that duty, but for which one could hardly be in government service, of reminding the ministry of his existence--and having, for the due performance of this rite, taken all the available cash from home, was gaily and agreeably spending his days at the races and in the summer villas. Meanwhile Dolly and the children had moved into the country, to cut down expenses as much as possible. She had gone to Ergushovo, the estate that had been her dowry, and the one where in spring the forest had been sold. It was nearly forty miles from Levins Pokrovskoe. The big, old house at Ergushovo had been pulled down long ago, and the old prince had had the lodge done up and built on to. Twenty years before, when Dolly was a child, the lodge had been roomy and comfortable, though, like all lodges, it stood sideways to the entrance avenue, and faced the south. But by now this lodge was old and dilapidated. When Stepan Arkadyevitch had gone down in the spring to sell the forest, Dolly had begged him to look over the house and order what repairs might be needed. Stepan Arkadyevitch, like all unfaithful husbands indeed, was very solicitous for his wifes comfort, and he had himself looked over the house, and given instructions about everything that he considered necessary. What he considered necessary was to cover all the furniture with cretonne, to put up curtains, to weed the garden, to make a little bridge on the pond, and to plant flowers. But he forgot many other essential matters, the want of which greatly distressed Darya Alexandrovna later on. In spite of Stepan Arkadyevitchs efforts to be an attentive father and husband, he never could keep in his mind that he had a wife and children. He had bachelor tastes, and it was in accordance with them that he shaped his life. On his return to Moscow he informed his wife with pride that everything was ready, that the house would be a little paradise, and that he advised her most certainly to go. His wifes staying away in the country was very agreeable to Stepan Arkadyevitch from every point of view: it did the children good, it decreased expenses, and it left him more at liberty. Darya Alexandrovna regarded staying in the country for the summer as essential for the children, especially for the little girl, who had not succeeded in regaining her strength after the scarlatina, and also as a means of escaping the petty humiliations, the little bills owing to the wood-merchant, the fishmonger, the shoemaker, which made her miserable. Besides this, she was pleased to go away to the country because she was dreaming of

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