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Anna Karenina 33

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

her, could be wrong. Still less could he have believed that he ought to marry. Marriage had never presented itself to him as a possibility. He not only disliked family life, but a family, and especially a husband was, in accordance with the views general in the bachelor world in which he lived, conceived as something alien, repellant, and, above all, ridiculous. But though Vronsky had not the least suspicion what the parents were saying, he felt on coming away from the Shtcherbatskys that the secret spiritual bond which existed between him and Kitty had grown so much stronger that evening that some step must be taken. But what step could and ought to be taken he could not imagine. "What is so exquisite," he thought, as he returned from the Shtcherbatskys, carrying away with him, as he always did, a delicious feeling of purity and freshness, arising partly from the fact that he had not been smoking for a whole evening, and with it a new feeling of tenderness at her love for him--"what is so exquisite is that not a word has been said by me or by her, but we understand each other so well in this unseen language of looks and tones, that this evening more clearly than ever she told me she loves me. And how secretly, simply, and most of all, how trustfully! I feel myself better, purer. I feel that I have a heart, and that there is a great deal of good in me. Those sweet, loving eyes! When she said: Indeed I do... "Well, what then? Oh, nothing. Its good for me, and good for her." And he began wondering where to finish the evening. He passed in review of the places he might go to. "Club? a game of bezique, champagne with Ignatov? No, Im not going. _Chateau des Fleurs_; there I shall find Oblonsky, songs, the cancan. No, Im sick of it. Thats why I like the Shtcherbatskys, that Im growing better. Ill go home." He went straight to his room at Dussots Hotel, ordered supper, and then undressed, and as soon as his head touched the pillow, fell into a sound sleep. Chapter 17 Next day at eleven oclock in the morning Vronsky drove to the station of the Petersburg railway to meet his mother, and the first person he came across on the great flight of steps was Oblonsky, who was expecting his sister by the same train. "Ah! your excellency!" cried Oblonsky, "whom are you meeting?" "My mother," Vronsky responded, smiling, as everyone did who met Oblonsky. He shook hands with him, and together they ascended the steps. "She is to be here from Petersburg today." "I was looking out for you till two oclock last night. Where did you go after the Shtcherbatskys?" "Home," answered Vronsky. "I must own I felt so well content yesterday after the Shtcherbatskys that I didnt care to go anywhere." "I know a gallant steed by tokens sure, And by his eyes I know a youth in love," declaimed Stepan Arkadyevitch, just as he had done before to Levin. Vronsky smiled with a look that seemed to say that he did not deny it, but he promptly changed the subject. "And whom are you meeting?" he asked. "I? Ive come to meet a pretty woman," said Oblonsky. "You dont say so!" "_Honi soit qui mal y pense!_ My sister Anna." "Ah! thats Madame Karenina," said Vronsky. "You know her, no doubt?" "I think I do. Or perhaps not...I really am not sure," Vronsky answered heedlessly, with a vague recollection of something stiff and tedious evoked by the name Karenina. "But Alexey Alexandrovitch, my celebrated brother-in-law, you surely must know. All the world knows him." "I know him by reputation and by sight. I know that hes clever, learned, religious somewhat.... But you know thats not..._not in my line,_" said Vronsky in English. "Yes, hes a very remarkable man; rather a conservative, but a splendid man," observed Stepan Arkadyevitch, "a splendid man." "Oh, well, so much the better for him," said Vronsky smiling. "Oh, youve come," he said, addressing a tall old footman of his mothers, standing at the door; "come here." Besides the charm Oblonsky had in general for everyone, Vronsky had felt of late specially drawn to him by the fact that in his imagination he was associated with Kitty. "Well, what do you say? Shall we give a supper on Sunday

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