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Anna Karenina 321

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

a new and delicious bliss, quite pure from all alloy of sense, in the being near to the woman he loved. There was no need of speech, yet he longed to hear the sound of her voice, which like her eyes had changed since she had been with child. In her voice, as in her eyes, there was that softness and gravity which is found in people continually concentrated on some cherished pursuit. "So youre not tired? Lean more on me," said he. "No, Im so glad of a chance of being alone with you, and I must own, though Im happy with them, I do regret our winter evenings alone." "That was good, but this is even better. Both are better," he said, squeezing her hand. "Do you know what we were talking about when you came in?" "About jam?" "Oh, yes, about jam too; but afterwards, about how men make offers." "Ah!" said Levin, listening more to the sound of her voice than to the words she was saying, and all the while paying attention to the road, which passed now through the forest, and avoiding places where she might make a false step. "And about Sergey Ivanovitch and Varenka. Youve noticed?... Im very anxious for it," she went on. "What do you think about it?" And she peeped into his face. "I dont know what to think," Levin answered, smiling. "Sergey seems very strange to me in that way. I told you, you know..." "Yes, that he was in love with that girl who died...." "That was when I was a child; I know about it from hearsay and tradition. I remember him then. He was wonderfully sweet. But Ive watched him since with women; he is friendly, some of them he likes, but one feels that to him theyre simply people, not women." "Yes, but now with Varenka...I fancy theres something..." "Perhaps there is.... But one has to know him.... Hes a peculiar, wonderful person. He lives a spiritual life only. Hes too pure, too exalted a nature." "Why? Would this lower him, then?" "No, but hes so used to a spiritual life that he cant reconcile himself with actual fact, and Varenka is after all fact." Levin had grown used by now to uttering his thought boldly, without taking the trouble of clothing it in exact language. He knew that his wife, in such moments of loving tenderness as now, would understand what he meant to say from a hint, and she did understand him. "Yes, but theres not so much of that actual fact about her as about me. I can see that he would never have cared for me. She is altogether spiritual." "Oh, no, he is so fond of you, and I am always so glad when my people like you...." "Yes, hes very nice to me; but..." "Its not as it was with poor Nikolay...you really cared for each other," Levin finished. "Why not speak of him?" he added. "I sometimes blame myself for not; it ends in ones forgetting. Ah, how terrible and dear he was!... Yes, what were we talking about?" Levin said, after a pause. "You think he cant fall in love," said Kitty, translating into her own language. "Its not so much that he cant fall in love," Levin said, smiling, "but he has not the weakness necessary.... Ive always envied him, and even now, when Im so happy, I still envy him." "You envy him for not being able to fall in love?" "I envy him for being better than I," said Levin. "He does not live for himself. His whole life is subordinated to his duty. And thats why he can be calm and contented." "And you?" Kitty asked, with an ironical and loving smile. She could never have explained the chain of thought that made her smile; but the last link in it was that her husband, in exalting his brother and abasing himself, was not quite sincere. Kitty knew that this insincerity came from his love for his brother, from his sense of shame at being too happy, and above all from his unflagging craving to be better--she loved it in him, and so she smiled. "And you? What are you dissatisfied with?" she asked, with the same smile. Her disbelief in his self-dissatisfaction delighted him, and unconsciously he tried to draw her into giving utterance to the grounds of her disbelief. "I am happy, but dissatisfied with myself..." he said. "Why, how can you

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