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Anna Karenina 397


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Anna Karenina

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few moments, while the carriage was driving out of the clubhouse gates, that Levin was still under the influence of the club atmosphere of repose, comfort, and unimpeachable good form. But as soon as the carriage drove out into the street, and he felt it jolting over the uneven road, heard the angry shout of a sledge driver coming towards them, saw in the uncertain light the red blind of a tavern and the shops, this impression was dissipated, and he began to think over his actions, and to wonder whether he was doing right in going to see Anna. What would Kitty say? But Stepan Arkadyevitch gave him no time for reflection, and, as though divining his doubts, he scattered them. "How glad I am," he said, "that you should know her! You know Dolly has long wished for it. And Lvovs been to see her, and often goes. Though she is my sister," Stepan Arkadyevitch pursued, "I dont hesitate to say that shes a remarkable woman. But you will see. Her position is very painful, especially now." "Why especially now?" "We are carrying on negotiations with her husband about a divorce. And hes agreed; but there are difficulties in regard to the son, and the business, which ought to have been arranged long ago, has been dragging on for three months past. As soon as the divorce is over, she will marry Vronsky. How stupid these old ceremonies are, that no one believes in, and which only prevent people being comfortable!" Stepan Arkadyevitch put in. "Well, then their position will be as regular as mine, as yours." "What is the difficulty?" said Levin. "Oh, its a long and tedious story! The whole business is in such an anomalous position with us. But the point is she has been for three months in Moscow, where everyone knows her, waiting for the divorce; she goes out nowhere, sees no woman except Dolly, because, do you understand, she doesnt care to have people come as a favor. That fool Princess Varvara, even she has left her, considering this a breach of propriety. Well, you see, in such a position any other woman would not have found resources in herself. But youll see how she has arranged her life--how calm, how dignified she is. To the left, in the crescent opposite the church!" shouted Stepan Arkadyevitch, leaning out of the window. "Phew! how hot it is!" he said, in spite of twelve degrees of frost, flinging his open overcoat still wider open. "But she has a daughter: no doubt shes busy looking after her?" said Levin. "I believe you picture every woman simply as a female, _une couveuse,_" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "If shes occupied, it must be with her children. No, she brings her up capitally, I believe, but one doesnt hear about her. Shes busy, in the first place, with what she writes. I see youre smiling ironically, but youre wrong. Shes writing a childrens book, and doesnt talk about it to anyone, but she read it to me and I gave the manuscript to Vorkuev...you know the publisher...and hes an author himself too, I fancy. He understands those things, and he says its a remarkable piece of work. But are you fancying shes an authoress?--not a bit of it. Shes a woman with a heart, before everything, but youll see. Now she has a little English girl with her, and a whole family shes looking after." "Oh, something in a philanthropic way?" "Why, you will look at everything in the worst light. Its not from philanthropy, its from the heart. They--that is, Vronsky-- had a trainer, an Englishman, first-rate in his own line, but a drunkard. Hes completely given up to drink--delirium tremens-- and the family were cast on the world. She saw them, helped them, got more and more interested in them, and now the whole family is on her hands. But not by way of patronage, you know, helping with money; shes herself preparing the boys in Russian for the high school, and shes taken the little girl to live with her. But youll see her for yourself." The carriage drove into the courtyard, and Stepan Arkadyevitch rang loudly at the entrance where sledges were standing. And without asking the servant who opened the door whether the lady were at home, Stepan Arkadyevitch walked into the hall. Levin followed him, more and more doubtful whether he was doing right

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