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Anna Karenina 279

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

him and smiling, he looked round. "Well?" he queried, smiling, and getting up. "He looked round," she thought. "Its nothing; I wanted you to look round," she said, watching him, and trying to guess whether he was vexed at being interrupted or not. "How happy we are alone together!--I am, that is," he said, going up to her with a radiant smile of happiness. "Im just as happy. Ill never go anywhere, especially not to Moscow." "And what were you thinking about?" "I? I was thinking.... No, no, go along, go on writing; dont break off," she said, pursing up her lips, "and I must cut out these little holes now, do you see?" She took up her scissors and began cutting them out. "No; tell me, what was it?" he said, sitting down beside her and watching the tiny scissors moving round. "Oh! what was I thinking about? I was thinking about Moscow, about the back of your head." "Why should I, of all people, have such happiness! Its unnatural, too good," he said, kissing her hand. "I feel quite the opposite; the better things are, the more natural it seems to me." "And youve got a little curl loose," he said, carefully turning her head round. "A little curl, oh yes. No, no, we are busy at our work!" Work did not progress further, and they darted apart from one another like culprits when Kouzma came in to announce that tea was ready. "Have they come from the town?" Levin asked Kouzma. "Theyve just come; theyre unpacking the things." "Come quickly," she said to him as she went out of the study, "or else I shall read your letters without you." Left alone, after putting his manuscripts together in the new portfolio bought by her, he washed his hands at the new washstand with the elegant fittings, that had all made their appearance with her. Levin smiled at his own thoughts, and shook his head disapprovingly at those thoughts; a feeling akin to remorse fretted him. There was something shameful, effeminate, Capuan, as he called it to himself, in his present mode of life. "Its not right to go on like this," he thought. "Itll soon be three months, and Im doing next to nothing. Today, almost for the first time, I set to work seriously, and what happened? I did nothing but begin and throw it aside. Even my ordinary pursuits I have almost given up. On the land I scarcely walk or drive about at all to look after things. Either I am loath to leave her, or I see shes dull alone. And I used to think that, before marriage, life was nothing much, somehow didnt count, but that after marriage, life began in earnest. And here almost three months have passed, and I have spent my time so idly and unprofitably. No, this wont do; I must begin. Of course, its not her fault. Shes not to blame in any way. I ought myself to be firmer, to maintain my masculine independence of action; or else I shall get into such ways, and shell get used to them too.... Of course shes not to blame," he told himself. But it is hard for anyone who is dissatisfied not to blame someone else, and especially the person nearest of all to him, for the ground of his dissatisfaction. And it vaguely came into Levins mind that she herself was not to blame (she could not be to blame for anything), but what was to blame was her education, too superficial and frivolous. ("That fool Tcharsky: she wanted, I know, to stop him, but didnt know how to.") "Yes, apart from her interest in the house (that she has), apart from dress and _broderie anglaise_, she has no serious interests. No interest in her work, in the estate, in the peasants, nor in music, though shes rather good at it, nor in reading. She does nothing, and is perfectly satisfied." Levin, in his heart, censured this, and did not as yet understand that she was preparing for that period of activity which was to come for her when she would at once be the wife of her husband and mistress of the house, and would bear, and nurse, and bring up children. He knew not that she was instinctively aware of this, and preparing herself for this time of terrible toil, did not reproach herself for the moments of carelessness and happiness

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