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Anna Karenina 174

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

but with a characteristic and intelligent face. Liza Merkalova was his wifes niece, and he spent all his leisure hours with her. On meeting Anna Karenina, as he was Alexey Alexandrovitchs enemy in the government, he tried, like a shrewd man and a man of the world, to be particularly cordial with her, the wife of his enemy. "Nothing," he put in with a subtle smile, "thats the very best way. I told you long ago," he said, turning to Liza Merkalova, "that if you dont want to be bored, you mustnt think youre going to be bored. Its just as you mustnt be afraid of not being able to fall asleep, if youre afraid of sleeplessness. Thats just what Anna Arkadyevna has just said." "I should be very glad if I had said it, for its not only clever but true," said Anna, smiling. "No, do tell me why it is one cant go to sleep, and one cant help being bored?" "To sleep well one ought to work, and to enjoy oneself one ought to work too." "What am I to work for when my work is no use to anybody? And I cant and wont knowingly make a pretense about it." "Youre incorrigible," said Stremov, not looking at her, and he spoke again to Anna. As he rarely met Anna, he could say nothing but commonplaces to her, but he said those commonplaces as to when she was returning to Petersburg, and how fond Countess Lidia Ivanovna was of her, with an expression which suggested that he longed with his whole soul to please her and show his regard for her and even more than that. Tushkevitch came in, announcing that the party were awaiting the other players to begin croquet. "No, dont go away, please dont," pleaded Liza Merkalova, hearing that Anna was going. Stremov joined in her entreaties. "Its too violent a transition," he said, "to go from such company to old Madame Vrede. And besides, you will only give her a chance for talking scandal, while here you arouse none but such different feelings of the highest and most opposite kind," he said to her. Anna pondered for an instant in uncertainty. This shrewd mans flattering words, the naive, childlike affection shown her by Liza Merkalova, and all the social atmosphere she was used to,-- it was all so easy, and what was in store for her was so difficult, that she was for a minute in uncertainty whether to remain, whether to put off a little longer the painful moment of explanation. But remembering what was in store for her alone at home, if she did not come to some decision, remembering that gesture--terrible even in memory--when she had clutched her hair in both hands--she said good-bye and went away. Chapter 19 In spite of Vronskys apparently frivolous life in society, he was a man who hated irregularity. In early youth in the Corps of Pages, he had experienced the humiliation of a refusal, when he had tried, being in difficulties, to borrow money, and since then he had never once put himself in the same position again. In order to keep his affairs in some sort of order, he used about five times a year (more or less frequently, according to circumstances) to shut himself up alone and put all his affairs into definite shape. This he used to call his day of reckoning or _faire la lessive_. On waking up the day after the races, Vronsky put on a white linen coat, and without shaving or taking his bath, he distributed about the table moneys, bills, and letters, and set to work. Petritsky, who knew he was ill-tempered on such occasions, on waking up and seeing his comrade at the writing-table, quietly dressed and went out without getting in his way. Every man who knows to the minutest details all the complexity of the conditions surrounding him, cannot help imagining that the complexity of these conditions, and the difficulty of making them clear, is something exceptional and personal, peculiar to himself, and never supposes that others are surrounded by just as complicated an array of personal affairs as he is. So indeed it seemed to Vronsky. And not without inward pride, and not without reason, he thought that any other man would long ago have been in difficulties, would have been forced to some dishonorable course, if he had found himself in such a difficult position. But Vronsky felt that now especially it was essential for him to clear up and define his

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