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Anna Karenina 29

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

argumentative mood. But Ill draw him out. I do love making a fool of him before Kitty, and Ill do it." "Konstantin Dmitrievitch," she said to him, "do explain to me, please, whats the meaning of it. You know all about such things. At home in our village of Kaluga all the peasants and all the women have drunk up all they possessed, and now they cant pay us any rent. Whats the meaning of that? You always praise the peasants so." At that instant another lady came into the room, and Levin got up. "Excuse me, countess, but I really know nothing about it, and cant tell you anything," he said, and looked round at the officer who came in behind the lady. "That must be Vronsky," thought Levin, and, to be sure of it, glanced at Kitty. She had already had time to look at Vronsky, and looked round at Levin. And simply from the look in her eyes, that grew unconsciously brighter, Levin knew that she loved that man, knew it as surely as if she had told him so in words. But what sort of a man was he? Now, whether for good or for ill, Levin could not choose but remain; he must find out what the man was like whom she loved. There are people who, on meeting a successful rival, no matter in what, are at once disposed to turn their backs on everything good in him, and to see only what is bad. There are people, on the other hand, who desire above all to find in that lucky rival the qualities by which he has outstripped them, and seek with a throbbing ache at heart only what is good. Levin belonged to the second class. But he had no difficulty in finding what was good and attractive in Vronsky. It was apparent at the first glance. Vronsky was a squarely built, dark man, not very tall, with a good-humored, handsome, and exceedingly calm and resolute face. Everything about his face and figure, from his short-cropped black hair and freshly shaven chin down to his loosely fitting, brand-new uniform, was simple and at the same time elegant. Making way for the lady who had come in, Vronsky went up to the princess and then to Kitty. As he approached her, his beautiful eyes shone with a specially tender light, and with a faint, happy, and modestly triumphant smile (so it seemed to Levin), bowing carefully and respectfully over her, he held out his small broad hand to her. Greeting and saying a few words to everyone, he sat down without once glancing at Levin, who had never taken his eyes off him. "Let me introduce you," said the princess, indicating Levin. "Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin, Count Alexey Kirillovitch Vronsky." Vronsky got up and, looking cordially at Levin, shook hands with him. "I believe I was to have dined with you this winter," he said, smiling his simple and open smile; "but you had unexpectedly left for the country." "Konstantin Dmitrievitch despises and hates town and us townspeople," said Countess Nordston. "My words must make a deep impression on you, since you remember them so well," said Levin, and, suddenly conscious that he had said just the same thing before, he reddened. Vronsky looked at Levin and Countess Nordston, and smiled. "Are you always in the country?" he inquired. "I should think it must be dull in the winter." "Its not dull if one has work to do; besides, ones not dull by oneself," Levin replied abruptly. "I am fond of the country," said Vronsky, noticing, and affecting not to notice, Levins tone. "But I hope, count, you would not consent to live in the country always," said Countess Nordston. "I dont know; I have never tried for long. I experienced a queer feeling once," he went on. "I never longed so for the country, Russian country, with bast shoes and peasants, as when I was spending a winter with my mother in Nice. Nice itself is dull enough, you know. And indeed, Naples and Sorrento are only pleasant for a short time. And its just there that Russia comes back to me most vividly, and especially the country. Its as though..." He talked on, addressing both Kitty and Levin, turning his serene, friendly eyes from one to the other, and saying obviously just what came into his head. Noticing that Countess Nordston wanted to say something, he stopped short without finishing what he had begun, and listened attentively to

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