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Anna Karenina 390


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he was sorry he could not take advantage of his invitation, took leave, and drove to Lvovs. Chapter 4 Lvov, the husband of Natalia, Kittys sister, had spent all his life in foreign capitals, where he had been educated, and had been in the diplomatic service. During the previous year he had left the diplomatic service, not owing to any "unpleasantness" (he never had any "unpleasantness" with anyone), and was transferred to the department of the court of the palace in Moscow, in order to give his two boys the best education possible. In spite of the striking contrast in their habits and views and the fact that Lvov was older than Levin, they had seen a great deal of one another that winter, and had taken a great liking to each other. Lvov was at home, and Levin went in to him unannounced. Lvov, in a house coat with a belt and in chamois leather shoes, was sitting in an armchair, and with a pince-nez with blue glasses he was reading a book that stood on a reading desk, while in his beautiful hand he held a half-burned cigarette daintily away from him. His handsome, delicate, and still youthful-looking face, to which his curly, glistening silvery hair gave a still more aristocratic air, lighted up with a smile when he saw Levin. "Capital! I was meaning to send to you. Hows Kitty? Sit here, its more comfortable." He got up and pushed up a rocking chair. "Have you read the last circular in the _Journal de St. Petersbourg?_ I think its excellent," he said, with a slight French accent. Levin told him what he had heard from Katavasov was being said in Petersburg, and after talking a little about politics, he told him of his interview with Metrov, and the learned societys meeting. To Lvov it was very interesting. "Thats what I envy you, that you are able to mix in these interesting scientific circles," he said. And as he talked, he passed as usual into French, which was easier to him. "Its true I havent the time for it. My official work and the children leave me no time; and then Im not ashamed to own that my education has been too defective." "That I dont believe," said Levin with a smile, feeling, as he always did, touched at Lvovs low opinion of himself, which was not in the least put on from a desire to seem or to be modest, but was absolutely sincere. "Oh, yes, indeed! I feel now how badly educated I am. To educate my children I positively have to look up a great deal, and in fact simply to study myself. For its not enough to have teachers, there must be someone to look after them, just as on your land you want laborers and an overseer. See what Im reading"--he pointed to Buslaevs _Grammar_ on the desk--"its expected of Misha, and its so difficult.... Come, explain to me.... Here he says..." Levin tried to explain to him that it couldnt be understood, but that it had to be taught; but Lvov would not agree with him. "Oh, youre laughing at it!" "On the contrary, you cant imagine how, when I look at you, Im always learning the task that lies before me, that is the education of ones children." "Well, theres nothing for you to learn," said Lvov. "All I know," said Levin, "is that I have never seen better brought-up children than yours, and I wouldnt wish for children better than yours." Lvov visibly tried to restrain the expression of his delight, but he was positively radiant with smiles. "If only theyre better than I! Thats all I desire. You dont know yet all the work," he said, "with boys whove been left like mine to run wild abroad." "Youll catch all that up. Theyre such clever children. The great thing is the education of character. Thats what I learn when I look at your children." "You talk of the education of character. You cant imagine how difficult that is! You have hardly succeeded in combating one tendency when others crop up, and the struggle begins again. If one had not a support in religion--you remember we talked about that--no father could bring children up relying on his own strength alone without that help." This subject, which always interested Levin, was cut short by the entrance of the beauty Natalia Alexandrovna, dressed to go out. "I didnt know you were here," she said, unmistakably

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