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Anna Karenina 222

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

flooding his heart. "And how dared I associate a thought of anything not innocent with this touching creature? And, yes, I do believe its true what Darya Alexandrovna told me," he thought. Stepan Arkadyevitch took him by the arm and led him away to Karenin. "Let me introduce you." He mentioned their names. "Very glad to meet you again," said Alexey Alexandrovitch coldly, shaking hands with Levin. "You are acquainted?" Stepan Arkadyevitch asked in surprise. "We spent three hours together in the train," said Levin smiling, "but got out, just as in a masquerade, quite mystified--at least I was." "Nonsense! Come along, please," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, pointing in the direction of the dining room. The men went into the dining-room and went up to a table, laid with six sorts of spirits and as many kinds of cheese, some with little silver spades and some without, caviar, herrings, preserves of various kinds, and plates with slices of French bread. The men stood round the strong-smelling spirits and salt delicacies, and the discussion of the Russification of Poland between Koznishev, Karenin, and Pestsov died down in anticipation of dinner. Sergey Ivanovitch was unequaled in his skill in winding up the most heated and serious argument by some unexpected pinch of Attic salt that changed the disposition of his opponent. He did this now. Alexey Alexandrovitch had been maintaining that the Russification of Poland could only be accomplished as a result of larger measures which ought to be introduced by the Russian government. Pestsov insisted that one country can only absorb another when it is the more densely populated. Koznishev admitted both points, but with limitations. As they were going out of the drawing room to conclude the argument, Koznishev said, smiling: "So, then, for the Russification of our foreign populations there is but one method--to bring up as many children as one can. My brother and I are terribly in fault, I see. You married men, especially you, Stepan Arkadyevitch, are the real patriots: what number have you reached?" he said, smiling genially at their host and holding out a tiny wine glass to him. Everyone laughed, and Stepan Arkadyevitch with particular good humor. "Oh, yes, thats the best method!" he said, munching cheese and filling the wine-glass with a special sort of spirit. The conversation dropped at the jest. "This cheese is not bad. Shall I give you some?" said the master of the house. "Why, have you been going in for gymnastics again?" he asked Levin, pinching his muscle with his left hand. Levin smiled, bent his arm, and under Stepan Arkadyevitchs fingers the muscles swelled up like a sound cheese, hard as a knob of iron, through the fine cloth of the coat. "What biceps! A perfect Samson!" "I imagine great strength is needed for hunting bears," observed Alexey Alexandrovitch, who had the mistiest notions about the chase. He cut off and spread with cheese a wafer of bread fine as a spider-web. Levin smiled. "Not at all. Quite the contrary; a child can kill a bear," he said, with a slight bow moving aside for the ladies, who were approaching the table. "You have killed a bear, Ive been told!" said Kitty, trying assiduously to catch with her fork a perverse mushroom that would slip away, and setting the lace quivering over her white arm. "Are there bears on your place?" she added, turning her charming little head to him and smiling. There was apparently nothing extraordinary in what she said, but what unutterable meaning there was for him in every sound, in every turn of her lips, her eyes, her hand as she said it! There was entreaty for forgiveness, and trust in him, and tenderness-- soft, timid tenderness--and promise and hope and love for him, which he could not but believe in and which choked him with happiness. "No, weve been hunting in the Tver province. It was coming back from there that I met your _beaufrere_ in the train, or your _beaufreres_ brother-in-law," he said with a smile. "It was an amusing meeting." And he began telling with droll good-humor how, after not sleeping all night, he had, wearing an old fur-lined, full-skirted coat, got into Alexey Alexandrovitchs compartment. "The conductor, forgetting the proverb, would have chucked me out on account of my attire; but thereupon I began expressing my feelings in elevated language, and...you, too," he said, addressing Karenin and forgetting his name, "at first would have ejected me on the ground of the old coat, but afterwards you took my part, for which I am extremely grateful." "The rights of passengers generally to choose their

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