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Anna Karenina 406

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

to get flurried or out of temper, Levin mentioned the names of the doctor and midwife, and explaining what the opium was needed for, tried to persuade him. The assistant inquired in German whether he should give it, and receiving an affirmative reply from behind the partition, he took out a bottle and a funnel, deliberately poured the opium from a bigger bottle into a little one, stuck on a label, sealed it up, in spite of Levins request that he would not do so, and was about to wrap it up too. This was more than Levin could stand; he took the bottle firmly out of his hands, and ran to the big glass doors. The doctor was not even now getting up, and the footman, busy now in putting down the rugs, refused to wake him. Levin deliberately took out a ten rouble note, and, careful to speak slowly, though losing no time over the business, he handed him the note, and explained that Pyotr Dmitrievitch (what a great and important personage he seemed to Levin now, this Pyotr Dmitrievitch, who had been of so little consequence in his eyes before!) had promised to come at any time; that he would certainly not be angry! and that he must therefore wake him at once. The footman agreed, and went upstairs, taking Levin into the waiting room. Levin could hear through the door the doctor coughing, moving about, washing, and saying something. Three minutes passed; it seemed to Levin that more than an hour had gone by. He could not wait any longer. "Pyotr Dmitrievitch, Pyotr Dmitrievitch!" he said in an imploring voice at the open door. "For Gods sake, forgive me! See me as you are. Its been going on more than two hours already." "In a minute; in a minute!" answered a voice, and to his amazement Levin heard that the doctor was smiling as he spoke. "For one instant." "In a minute." Two minutes more passed while the doctor was putting on his boots, and two minutes more while the doctor put on his coat and combed his hair. "Pyotr Dmitrievitch!" Levin was beginning again in a plaintive voice, just as the doctor came in dressed and ready. "These people have no conscience," thought Levin. "Combing his hair, while were dying!" "Good morning!" the doctor said to him, shaking hands, and, as it were, teasing him with his composure. "Theres no hurry. Well now?" Trying to be as accurate as possible, Levin began to tell him every unnecessary detail of his wifes condition, interrupting his account repeatedly with entreaties that the doctor would come with him at once. "Oh, you neednt be in any hurry. You dont understand, you know. Im certain Im not wanted, still Ive promised, and if you like, Ill come. But theres no hurry. Please sit down; wont you have some coffee?" Levin stared at him with eyes that asked whether he was laughing at him; but the doctor had no notion of making fun of him. "I know, I know," the doctor said, smiling; "Im a married man myself; and at these moments we husbands are very much to be pitied. Ive a patient whose husband always takes refuge in the stables on such occasions." "But what do you think, Pyotr Dmitrievitch? Do you suppose it may go all right?" "Everything points to a favorable issue." "So youll come immediately?" said Levin, looking wrathfully at the servant who was bringing in the coffee. "In an hours time." "Oh, for mercys sake!" "Well, let me drink my coffee, anyway." The doctor started upon his coffee. Both were silent. "The Turks are really getting beaten, though. Did you read yesterdays telegrams?" said the doctor, munching some roll. "No, I cant stand it!" said Levin, jumping up. "So youll be with us in a quarter of an hour." "In half an hour." "On your honor?" When Levin got home, he drove up at the same time as the princess, and they went up to the bedroom door together. The princess had tears in her eyes, and her hands were shaking. Seeing Levin, she embraced him, and burst into tears. "Well, my dear Lizaveta Petrovna?" she queried, clasping the hand of the midwife, who came out to meet them with a beaming and anxious face. "Shes going on well," she said; "persuade her to lie down. She will be easier so." From the moment when he had waked up and understood what was going on, Levin had prepared his mind to bear resolutely what was before him,

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