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Anna Karenina 18

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

they moved the more tightly she grasped his hand. "With you I should soon learn; I somehow feel confidence in you," she said to him. "And I have confidence in myself when you are leaning on me," he said, but was at once panic-stricken at what he had said, and blushed. And indeed, no sooner had he uttered these words, when all at once, like the sun going behind a cloud, her face lost all its friendliness, and Levin detected the familiar change in her expression that denoted the working of thought; a crease showed on her smooth brow. "Is there anything troubling you?--though Ive no right to ask such a question," he added hurriedly. "Oh, why so?.... No, I have nothing to trouble me," she responded coldly; and she added immediately: "You havent seen Mlle. Linon, have you?" "Not yet." "Go and speak to her, she likes you so much." "Whats wrong? I have offended her. Lord help me!" thought Levin, and he flew towards the old Frenchwoman with the gray ringlets, who was sitting on a bench. Smiling and showing her false teeth, she greeted him as an old friend. "Yes, you see were growing up," she said to him, glancing towards Kitty, "and growing old. _Tiny bear_ has grown big now!" pursued the Frenchwoman, laughing, and she reminded him of his joke about the three young ladies whom he had compared to the three bears in the English nursery tale. "Do you remember thats what you used to call them?" He remembered absolutely nothing, but she had been laughing at the joke for ten years now, and was fond of it. "Now, go and skate, go and skate. Our Kitty has learned to skate nicely, hasnt she?" When Levin darted up to Kitty her face was no longer stern; her eyes looked at him with the same sincerity and friendliness, but Levin fancied that in her friendliness there was a certain note of deliberate composure. And he felt depressed. After talking a little of her old governess and her peculiarities, she questioned him about his life. "Surely you must be dull in the country in the winter, arent you?" she said. "No, Im not dull, I am very busy," he said, feeling that she was holding him in check by her composed tone, which he would not have the force to break through, just as it had been at the beginning of the winter. "Are you going to stay in town long?" Kitty questioned him. "I dont know," he answered, not thinking of what he was saying. The thought that if he were held in check by her tone of quiet friendliness he would end by going back again without deciding anything came into his mind, and he resolved to make a struggle against it. "How is it you dont know?" "I dont know. It depends upon you," he said, and was immediately horror-stricken at his own words. Whether it was that she had heard his words, or that she did not want to hear them, she made a sort of stumble, twice struck out, and hurriedly skated away from him. She skated up to Mlle. Linon, said something to her, and went towards the pavilion where the ladies took off their skates. "My God! what have I done! Merciful God! help me, guide me," said Levin, praying inwardly, and at the same time, feeling a need of violent exercise, he skated about describing inner and outer circles. At that moment one of the young men, the best of the skaters of the day, came out of the coffee-house in his skates, with a cigarette in his mouth. Taking a run, he dashed down the steps in his skates, crashing and bounding up and down. He flew down, and without even changing the position of his hands, skated away over the ice. "Ah, thats a new trick!" said Levin, and he promptly ran up to the top to do this new trick. "Dont break your neck! it needs practice!" Nikolay Shtcherbatsky shouted after him. Levin went to the steps, took a run from above as best he could, and dashed down, preserving his balance in this unwonted movement with his hands. On the last step he stumbled, but barely touching the ice with his hand, with a violent effort recovered himself, and skated off, laughing. "How splendid, how nice he is!" Kitty was thinking at that time, as she came out of the pavilion with Mlle. Linon, and looked towards him with a smile of quiet affection, as though

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