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Anna Karenina 218

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

and nothing will be left, then everything is so unimportant! And I consider my idea very important, but it turns out really to be as unimportant too, even if it were carried out, as doing for that bear. So one goes on living, amusing oneself with hunting, with work--anything so as not to think of death!" Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled a subtle affectionate smile as he listened to Levin. "Well, of course! Here youve come round to my point. Do you remember you attacked me for seeking enjoyment in life? Dont be so severe, O moralist!" "No; all the same, whats fine in life is..." Levin hesitated-- "oh, I dont know. All I know is that we shall soon be dead." "Why so soon?" "And do you know, theres less charm in life, when one thinks of death, but theres more peace." "On the contrary, the finish is always the best. But I must be going," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, getting up for the tenth time. "Oh, no, stay a bit!" said Levin, keeping him. "Now, when shall we see each other again? Im going tomorrow." "Im a nice person! Why, thats just what I came for! You simply must come to dinner with us today. Your brothers coming, and Karenin, my brother-in-law." "You dont mean to say hes here?" said Levin, and he wanted to inquire about Kitty. He had heard at the beginning of the winter that she was at Petersburg with her sister, the wife of the diplomat, and he did not know whether she had come back or not; but he changed his mind and did not ask. "Whether shes coming or not, I dont care," he said to himself. "So youll come?" "Of course." "At five oclock, then, and not evening dress." And Stepan Arkadyevitch got up and went down below to the new head of his department. Instinct had not misled Stepan Arkadyevitch. The terrible new head turned out to be an extremely amenable person, and Stepan Arkadyevitch lunched with him and stayed on, so that it was four oclock before he got to Alexey Alexandrovitch. Chapter 8 Alexey Alexandrovitch, on coming back from church service, had spent the whole morning indoors. He had two pieces of business before him that morning; first, to receive and send on a deputation from the native tribes which was on its way to Petersburg, and now at Moscow; secondly, to write the promised letter to the lawyer. The deputation, though it had been summoned at Alexey Alexandrovitchs instigation, was not without its discomforting and even dangerous aspect, and he was glad he had found it in Moscow. The members of this deputation had not the slightest conception of their duty and the part they were to play. They naively believed that it was their business to lay before the commission their needs and the actual condition of things, and to ask assistance of the government, and utterly failed to grasp that some of their statements and requests supported the contention of the enemys side, and so spoiled the whole business. Alexey Alexandrovitch was busily engaged with them for a long while, drew up a program for them from which they were not to depart, and on dismissing them wrote a letter to Petersburg for the guidance of the deputation. He had his chief support in this affair in the Countess Lidia Ivanovna. She was a specialist in the matter of deputations, and no one knew better than she how to manage them, and put them in the way they should go. Having completed this task, Alexey Alexandrovitch wrote the letter to the lawyer. Without the slightest hesitation he gave him permission to act as he might judge best. In the letter he enclosed three of Vronskys notes to Anna, which were in the portfolio he had taken away. Since Alexey Alexandrovitch had left home with the intention of not returning to his family again, and since he had been at the lawyers and had spoken, though only to one man, of his intention, since especially he had translated the matter from the world of real life to the world of ink and paper, he had grown more and more used to his own intention, and by now distinctly perceived the feasibility of its execution. He was sealing the envelope to the lawyer, when he heard the loud tones of Stepan Arkadyevitchs voice. Stepan Arkadyevitch was disputing with Alexey Alexandrovitchs servant, and insisting on being announced. "No matter," thought Alexey Alexandrovitch, "so much

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