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Anna Karenina 417

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

with, and he lived, and in style too! Count Krivtsov was considered a hopeless case by everyone, and yet he kept two mistresses. Petrovsky had run through five millions, and still lived in just the same style, and was even a manager in the financial department with a salary of twenty thousand. But besides this, Petersburg had physically an agreeable effect on Stepan Arkadyevitch. It made him younger. In Moscow he sometimes found a gray hair in his head, dropped asleep after dinner, stretched, walked slowly upstairs, breathing heavily, was bored by the society of young women, and did not dance at balls. In Petersburg he always felt ten years younger. His experience in Petersburg was exactly what had been described to him on the previous day by Prince Pyotr Oblonsky, a man of sixty, who had just come back from abroad: "We dont know the way to live here," said Pyotr Oblonsky. "I spent the summer in Baden, and you wouldnt believe it, I felt quite a young man. At a glimpse of a pretty woman, my thoughts.... One dines and drinks a glass of wine, and feels strong and ready for anything. I came home to Russia--had to see my wife, and, whats more, go to my country place; and there, youd hardly believe it, in a fortnight Id got into a dressing gown and given up dressing for dinner. Neednt say I had no thoughts left for pretty women. I became quite an old gentleman. There was nothing left for me but to think of my eternal salvation. I went off to Paris--I was as right as could be at once." Stepan Arkadyevitch felt exactly the difference that Pyotr Oblonsky described. In Moscow he degenerated so much that if he had had to be there for long together, he might in good earnest have come to considering his salvation; in Petersburg he felt himself a man of the world again. Between Princess Betsy Tverskaya and Stepan Arkadyevitch there had long existed rather curious relations. Stepan Arkadyevitch always flirted with her in jest, and used to say to her, also in jest, the most unseemly things, knowing that nothing delighted her so much. The day after his conversation with Karenin, Stepan Arkadyevitch went to see her, and felt so youthful that in this jesting flirtation and nonsense he recklessly went so far that he did not know how to extricate himself, as unluckily he was so far from being attracted by her that he thought her positively disagreeable. What made it hard to change the conversation was the fact that he was very attractive to her. So that he was considerably relieved at the arrival of Princess Myakaya, which cut short their _tete-a-tete_. "Ah, so youre here!" said she when she saw him. "Well, and what news of your poor sister? You neednt look at me like that," she added. "Ever since theyve all turned against her, all those whore a thousand times worse than she, Ive thought she did a very fine thing. I cant forgive Vronsky for not letting me know when she was in Petersburg. Id have gone to see her and gone about with her everywhere. Please give her my love. Come, tell me about her." "Yes, her position is very difficult; she..." began Stepan Arkadyevitch, in the simplicity of his heart accepting as sterling coin Princess Myakayas words "tell me about her." Princess Myakaya interrupted him immediately, as she always did, and began talking herself. "Shes done what they all do, except me--only they hide it. But she wouldnt be deceitful, and she did a fine thing. And she did better still in throwing up that crazy brother-in-law of yours. You must excuse me. Everybody used to say he was so clever, so very clever; I was the only one that said he was a fool. Now that hes so thick with Lidia Ivanovna and Landau, they all say hes crazy, and I should prefer not to agree with everybody, but this time I cant help it." "Oh, do please explain," said Stepan Arkadyevitch; "what does it mean? Yesterday I was seeing him on my sisters behalf, and I asked him to give me a final answer. He gave me no answer, and said he would think it over. But this morning, instead of an answer, I received an invitation from Countess Lidia Ivanovna for this evening." "Ah, so thats it, thats it!" said

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