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Anna Karenina

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had in this transient, trivial life made, as it seemed to him, a few trivial mistakes tortured him as though the eternal salvation in which he believed had no existence. But this temptation did not last long, and soon there was reestablished once more in Alexey Alexandrovitchs soul the peace and the elevation by virtue of which he could forget what he did not want to remember. Chapter 26 "Well, Kapitonitch?" said Seryozha, coming back rosy and good- humored from his walk the day before his birthday, and giving his overcoat to the tall old hall porter, who smiled down at the little person from the height of his long figure. "Well, has the bandaged clerk been here today? Did papa see him?" "He saw him. The minute the chief secretary came out, I announced him," said the hall porter with a good-humored wink. "Here, Ill take it off." "Seryozha!" said the tutor, stopping in the doorway leading to the inner rooms. "Take it off yourself." But Seryozha, though he heard his tutors feeble voice, did not pay attention to it. He stood keeping hold of the hall porters belt, and gazing into his face. "Well, and did papa do what he wanted for him?" The hall porter nodded his head affirmatively. The clerk with his face tied up, who had already been seven times to ask some favor of Alexey Alexandrovitch, interested both Seryozha and the hall porter. Seryozha had come upon him in the hall, and had heard him plaintively beg the hall porter to announce him, saying that he and his children had death staring them in the face. Since then Seryozha, having met him a second time in the hall, took great interest in him. "Well, was he very glad?" he asked. "Glad? I should think so! Almost dancing as he walked away." "And has anything been left?" asked Seryozha, after a pause. "Come, sir," said the hall-porter; then with a shake of his head he whispered, "Something from the countess." Seryozha understood at once that what the hall porter was speaking of was a present from Countess Lidia Ivanovna for his birthday. "What do you say? Where?" "Korney took it to your papa. A fine plaything it must be too!" "How big? Like this?" "Rather small, but a fine thing." "A book." "No, a thing. Run along, run along, Vassily Lukitch is calling you," said the porter, hearing the tutors steps approaching, and carefully taking away from his belt the little hand in the glove half pulled off, he signed with his head towards the tutor. "Vassily Lukitch, in a tiny minute!" answered Seryozha with that gay and loving smile which always won over the conscientious Vassily Lukitch. Seryozha was too happy, everything was too delightful for him to be able to help sharing with his friend the porter the family good fortune of which he had heard during his walk in the public gardens from Lidia Ivanovnas niece. This piece of good news seemed to him particularly important from its coming at the same time with the gladness of the bandaged clerk and his own gladness at toys having come for him. It seemed to Seryozha that this was a day on which everyone ought to be glad and happy. "You know papas received the Alexander Nevsky today?" "To be sure I do! People have been already to congratulate him." "And is he glad?" "Glad at the Tsars gracious favor! I should think so! Its a proof hes deserved it," said the porter severely and seriously. Seryozha fell to dreaming, gazing up at the face of the porter, which he had thoroughly studied in every detail, especially the chin that hung down between the gray whiskers, never seen by anyone but Seryozha, who saw him only from below. "Well, and has your daughter been to see you lately?" The porters daughter was a ballet dancer. "When is she to come on week-days? Theyve their lessons to learn too. And youve your lesson, sir; run along." On coming into the room, Seryozha, instead of sitting down to his lessons, told his tutor of his supposition that what had been brought him must be a machine. "What do you think?" he inquired. But Vassily Lukitch was thinking of nothing but the necessity of learning the grammar lesson for the teacher, who was coming at two. "No, do just tell me, Vassily Lukitch," he asked suddenly, when he was seated at their work table with the book in his hands, "what is greater than

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