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Anna Karenina 355

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

of her own children had crawled like that. When the baby was put on the carpet and its little dress tucked up behind, it was wonderfully charming. Looking round like some little wild animal at the grown-up big people with her bright black eyes, she smiled, unmistakably pleased at their admiring her, and holding her legs sideways, she pressed vigorously on her arms, and rapidly drew her whole back up after, and then made another step forward with her little arms. But the whole atmosphere of the nursery, and especially the English nurse, Darya Alexandrovna did not like at all. It was only on the supposition that no good nurse would have entered so irregular a household as Annas that Darya Alexandrovna could explain to herself how Anna with her insight into people could take such an unprepossessing, disreputable-looking woman as nurse to her child. Besides, from a few words that were dropped, Darya Alexandrovna saw at once that Anna, the two nurses, and the child had no common existence, and that the mothers visit was something exceptional. Anna wanted to get the baby her plaything, and could not find it. Most amazing of all was the fact that on being asked how many teeth the baby had, Anna answered wrong, and knew nothing about the two last teeth. "I sometimes feel sorry Im so superfluous here," said Anna, going out of the nursery and holding up her skirt so as to escape the plaything standing in the doorway. "It was very different with my first child." "I expected it to be the other way," said Darya Alexandrovna shyly. "Oh, no! By the way, do you know I saw Seryozha?" said Anna, screwing up her eyes, as though looking at something far away. "But well talk about that later. You wouldnt believe it, Im like a hungry beggar woman when a full dinner is set before her, and she does not know what to begin on first. The dinner is you, and the talks I have before me with you, which I could never have with anyone else; and I dont know which subject to begin upon first. _Mais je ne vous ferai grace de rien_. I must have everything out with you." "Oh, I ought to give you a sketch of the company you will meet with us," she went on. "Ill begin with the ladies. Princess Varvara--you know her, and I know your opinion and Stivas about her. Stiva says the whole aim of her existence is to prove her superiority over Auntie Katerina Pavlovna: thats all true; but shes a good-natured woman, and I am so grateful to her. In Petersburg there was a moment when a chaperon was absolutely essential for me. Then she turned up. But really she is good- natured. She did a great deal to alleviate my position. I see you dont understand all the difficulty of my position...there in Petersburg," she added. "Here Im perfectly at ease and happy. Well, of that later on, though. Then Sviazhsky--hes the marshal of the district, and hes a very good sort of a man, but he wants to get something out of Alexey. You understand, with his property, now that we are settled in the country, Alexey can exercise great influence. Then theres Tushkevitch--you have seen him, you know--Betsys admirer. Now hes been thrown over and hes come to see us. As Alexey says, hes one of those people who are very pleasant if one accepts them for what they try to appear to be, _et puis il est comme il faut_, as Princess Varvara says. Then Veslovsky...you know him. A very nice boy," she said, and a sly smile curved her lips. "Whats this wild story about him and the Levins? Veslovsky told Alexey about it, and we dont believe it. _Il est tres gentil et naif_," she said again with the same smile. "Men need occupation, and Alexey needs a circle, so I value all these people. We have to have the house lively and gay, so that Alexey may not long for any novelty. Then youll see the steward--a German, a very good fellow, and he understands his work. Alexey has a very high opinion of him. Then the doctor, a young man, not quite a Nihilist perhaps, but you know, eats with his knife...but a very good doctor. Then the architect.... _Une petite cour!_" Chapter 20 "Heres

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