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inquired Countess Lidia Ivanovna, as soon as she came into the room. "Yes, its all over, but it was all much less serious than we had supposed," answered Anna. "My _belle-soeur_ is in general too hasty." But Countess Lidia Ivanovna, though she was interested in everything that did not concern her, had a habit of never listening to what interested her; she interrupted Anna: "Yes, theres plenty of sorrow and evil in the world. I am so worried today." "Oh, why?" asked Anna, trying to suppress a smile. "Im beginning to be weary of fruitlessly championing the truth, and sometimes Im quite unhinged by it. The Society of the Little Sisters" (this was a religiously-patriotic, philanthropic institution) "was going splendidly, but with these gentlemen its impossible to do anything," added Countess Lidia Ivanovna in a tone of ironical submission to destiny. "They pounce on the idea, and distort it, and then work it out so pettily and unworthily. Two or three people, your husband among them, understand all the importance of the thing, but the others simply drag it down. Yesterday Pravdin wrote to me..." Pravdin was a well-known Panslavist abroad, and Countess Lidia Ivanovna described the purport of his letter. Then the countess told her of more disagreements and intrigues against the work of the unification of the churches, and departed in haste, as she had that day to be at the meeting of some society and also at the Slavonic committee. "It was all the same before, of course; but why was it I didnt notice it before?" Anna asked herself. "Or has she been very much irritated today? Its really ludicrous; her object is doing good; she a Christian, yet shes always angry; and she always has enemies, and always enemies in the name of Christianity and doing good." After Countess Lidia Ivanovna another friend came, the wife of a chief secretary, who told her all the news of the town. At three oclock she too went away, promising to come to dinner. Alexey Alexandrovitch was at the ministry. Anna, left alone, spent the time till dinner in assisting at her sons dinner (he dined apart from his parents) and in putting her things in order, and in reading and answering the notes and letters which had accumulated on her table. The feeling of causeless shame, which she had felt on the journey, and her excitement, too, had completely vanished. In the habitual conditions of her life she felt again resolute and irreproachable. She recalled with wonder her state of mind on the previous day. "What was it? Nothing. Vronsky said something silly, which it was easy to put a stop to, and I answered as I ought to have done. To speak of it to my husband would be unnecessary and out of the question. To speak of it would be to attach importance to what has no importance." She remembered how she had told her husband of what was almost a declaration made her at Petersburg by a young man, one of her husbands subordinates, and how Alexey Alexandrovitch had answered that every woman living in the world was exposed to such incidents, but that he had the fullest confidence in her tact, and could never lower her and himself by jealousy. "So then theres no reason to speak of it? And indeed, thank God, theres nothing to speak of," she told herself. Chapter 33 Alexey Alexandrovitch came back from the meeting of the ministers at four oclock, but as often happened, he had not time to come in to her. He went into his study to see the people waiting for him with petitions, and to sign some papers brought him by his chief secretary. At dinner time (there were always a few people dining with the Karenins) there arrived an old lady, a cousin of Alexey Alexandrovitch, the chief secretary of the department and his wife, and a young man who had been recommended to Alexey Alexandrovitch for the service. Anna went into the drawing room to receive these guests. Precisely at five oclock, before the bronze Peter the First clock had struck the fifth stroke, Alexey Alexandrovitch came in, wearing a white tie and evening coat with two stars, as he had to go out directly after dinner. Every minute of Alexey Alexandrovitchs life was portioned out and occupied. And to make time to get through all that lay before him every day, he adhered to the strictest punctuality. "Unhasting and unresting," was his

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