Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
seats are too
ill-defined," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, rubbing the tips of his
fingers on his handkerchief.
"I saw you were in uncertainty about me," said Levin, smiling
good-naturedly, "but I made haste to plunge into intellectual
conversation to smooth over the defects of my attire."
Sergey Ivanovitch, while he kept up a conversation with their
hostess, had one ear for his brother, and he glanced askance at
him. "What is the matter with him today? Why such a conquering
hero?" he thought. He did not know that Levin was feeling as
though he had grown wings. Levin knew she was listening to his
words and that she was glad to listen to him. And this was the
only thing that interested him. Not in that room only, but in
the whole world, there existed for him only himself, with
enormously increased importance and dignity in his own eyes, and
she. He felt himself on a pinnacle that made him giddy, and far
away down below were all those nice excellent Karenins,
Oblonskys, and all the world.
Quite without attracting notice, without glancing at them, as
though there were no other places left, Stepan Arkadyevitch put
Levin and Kitty side by side.
"Oh, you may as well sit there," he said to Levin.
The dinner was as choice as the china, in which Stepan
Arkadyevitch was a connoisseur. The _soupe Marie-Louise_ was a
splendid success; the tiny pies eaten with it melted in the mouth
and were irreproachable. The two footmen and Matvey, in white
cravats, did their duty with the dishes and wines unobtrusively,
quietly, and swiftly. On the material side the dinner was a
success; it was no less so on the immaterial. The conversation,
at times general and at times between individuals, never paused,
and towards the end the company was so lively that the men rose
from the table, without stopping speaking, and even Alexey
Pestsov liked thrashing an argument out to the end, and was not
satisfied with Sergey Ivanovitchs words, especially as he felt
the injustice of his view.
"I did not mean," he said over the soup, addressing Alexey
Alexandrovitch, "mere density of population alone, but in
conjunction with fundamental ideas, and not by means of
"It seems to me," Alexey Alexandrovitch said languidly, and with
no haste, "that thats the same thing. In my opinion, influence
over another people is only possible to the people which has the
higher development, which..."
"But thats just the question," Pestsov broke in in his bass.
He was always in a hurry to speak, and seemed always to put his
whole soul into what he was saying. "In what are we to make
higher development consist? The English, the French, the
Germans, which is at the highest stage of development? Which of
them will nationalize the other? We see the Rhine provinces have
been turned French, but the Germans are not at a lower stage!" he
shouted. "There is another law at work there."
"I fancy that the greater influence is always on the side of true
civilization," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, slightly lifting his
"But what are we to lay down as the outward signs of true
civilization?" said Pestsov.
"I imagine such signs are generally very well known," said Alexey
"But are they fully known?" Sergey Ivanovitch put in with a
subtle smile. "It is the accepted view now that real culture
must be purely classical; but we see most intense disputes on
each side of the question, and there is no denying that the
opposite camp has strong points in its favor."
"You are for classics, Sergey Ivanovitch. Will you take red
wine?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch.
"I am not expressing my own opinion of either form of culture,"
Sergey Ivanovitch said, holding out his glass with a smile of
condescension, as to a child. "I only say that both sides have
strong arguments to support them," he went on, addressing Alexey
Alexandrovitch. "My sympathies are classical from education, but
in this discussion I am personally unable to arrive at a
conclusion. I see no distinct grounds for classical studies
being given a preeminence over scientific studies."
"The natural sciences have just as great an educational value,"
put in Pestsov. "Take astronomy, take botany, or zoology with
its system of general principles."
"I cannot quite agree with that," responded Alexey Alexandrovitch
"It seems to me that one must admit that the very process of
studying the forms of language has a peculiarly favorable
influence on intellectual development.
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