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Anna Karenina 34


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for the _diva?_" he said to him with a smile, taking his arm. "Of course. Im collecting subscriptions. Oh, did you make the acquaintance of my friend Levin?" asked Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Yes; but he left rather early." "Hes a capital fellow," pursued Oblonsky. "Isnt he?" "I dont know why it is," responded Vronsky, "in all Moscow people--present company of course excepted," he put in jestingly, "theres something uncompromising. They are all on the defensive, lose their tempers, as though they all want to make one feel something..." "Yes, thats true, it is so," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, laughing good-humoredly. "Will the train soon be in?" Vronsky asked a railway official. "The trains signaled," answered the man. The approach of the train was more and more evident by the preparatory bustle in the station, the rush of porters, the movement of policemen and attendants, and people meeting the train. Through the frosty vapor could be seen workmen in short sheepskins and soft felt boots crossing the rails of the curving line. The hiss of the boiler could be heard on the distant rails, and the rumble of something heavy. "No," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, who felt a great inclination to tell Vronsky of Levins intentions in regard to Kitty. "No, youve not got a true impression of Levin. Hes a very nervous man, and is sometimes out of humor, its true, but then he is often very nice. Hes such a true, honest nature, and a heart of gold. But yesterday there were special reasons," pursued Stepan Arkadyevitch, with a meaning smile, totally oblivious of the genuine sympathy he had felt the day before for his friend, and feeling the same sympathy now, only for Vronsky. "Yes, there were reasons why he could not help being either particularly happy or particularly unhappy." Vronsky stood still and asked directly: "How so? Do you mean he made your _belle-soeur_ an offer yesterday?" "Maybe," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "I fancied something of the sort yesterday. Yes, if he went away early, and was out of humor too, it must mean it.... Hes been so long in love, and Im very sorry for him." "So thats it! I should imagine, though, she might reckon on a better match," said Vronsky, drawing himself up and walking about again, "though I dont know him, of course," he added. "Yes, that is a hateful position! Thats why most fellows prefer to have to do with Klaras. If you dont succeed with them it only proves that youve not enough cash, but in this case ones dignitys at stake. But heres the train." The engine had already whistled in the distance. A few instants later the platform was quivering, and with puffs of steam hanging low in the air from the frost, the engine rolled up, with the lever of the middle wheel rhythmically moving up and down, and the stooping figure of the engine-driver covered with frost. Behind the tender, setting the platform more and more slowly swaying, came the luggage van with a dog whining in it. At last the passenger carriages rolled in, oscillating before coming to a standstill. A smart guard jumped out, giving a whistle, and after him one by one the impatient passengers began to get down: an officer of the guards, holding himself erect, and looking severely about him; a nimble little merchant with a satchel, smiling gaily; a peasant with a sack over his shoulder. Vronsky, standing beside Oblonsky, watched the carriages and the passengers, totally oblivious of his mother. What he had just heard about Kitty excited and delighted him. Unconsciously he arched his chest, and his eyes flashed. He felt himself a conqueror. "Countess Vronskaya is in that compartment," said the smart guard, going up to Vronsky. The guards words roused him, and forced him to think of his mother and his approaching meeting with her. He did not in his heart respect his mother, and without acknowledging it to himself, he did not love her, though in accordance with the ideas of the set in which he lived, and with his own education, he could not have conceived of any behavior to his mother not in the highest degree respectful and obedient, and the more externally obedient and respectful his behavior, the less in his heart he respected and loved her. Chapter 18 Vronsky followed the guard to the carriage, and at the door of the compartment he stopped short to make room for a lady who was getting out. With the insight of a man

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