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Anna Karenina 69

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

said his wife. "Thats as you like." "Mamma, why shouldnt father come with us?" said Kitty. "It would be nicer for him and for us too." The old prince got up and stroked Kittys hair. She lifted her head and looked at him with a forced smile. It always seemed to her that he understood her better than anyone in the family, though he did not say much about her. Being the youngest, she was her fathers favorite, and she fancied that his love gave him insight. When now her glance met his blue kindly eyes looking intently at her, it seemed to her that he saw right through her, and understood all that was not good that was passing within her. Reddening, she stretched out towards him expecting a kiss, but he only patted her hair and said: "These stupid chignons! Theres no getting at the real daughter. One simply strokes the bristles of dead women. Well, Dolinka," he turned to his elder daughter, "whats your young buck about, hey?" "Nothing, father," answered Dolly, understanding that her husband was meant. "Hes always out; I scarcely ever see him," she could not resist adding with a sarcastic smile. "Why, hasnt he gone into the country yet--to see about selling that forest?" "No, hes still getting ready for the journey." "Oh, thats it!" said the prince. "And so am I to be getting ready for a journey too? At your service," he said to his wife, sitting down. "And I tell you what, Katia," he went on to his younger daughter, "you must wake up one fine day and say to yourself: Why, Im quite well, and merry, and going out again with father for an early morning walk in the frost. Hey?" What her father said seemed simple enough, yet at these words Kitty became confused and overcome like a detected criminal. "Yes, he sees it all, he understands it all, and in these words hes telling me that though Im ashamed, I must get over my shame." She could not pluck up spirit to make any answer. She tried to begin, and all at once burst into tears, and rushed out of the room. "See what comes of your jokes!" the princess pounced down on her husband. "Youre always..." she began a string of reproaches. The prince listened to the princesss scolding rather a long while without speaking, but his face was more and more frowning. "Shes so much to be pitied, poor child, so much to be pitied, and you dont feel how it hurts her to hear the slightest reference to the cause of it. Ah! to be so mistaken in people!" said the princess, and by the change in her tone both Dolly and the prince knew she was speaking of Vronsky. "I dont know why there arent laws against such base, dishonorable people." "Ah, I cant bear to hear you!" said the prince gloomily, getting up from his low chair, and seeming anxious to get away, yet stopping in the doorway. "There are laws, madam, and since youve challenged me to it, Ill tell you whos to blame for it all: you and you, you and nobody else. Laws against such young gallants there have always been, and there still are! Yes, if there has been nothing that ought not to have been, old as I am, Id have called him out to the barrier, the young dandy. Yes, and now you physic her and call in these quacks." The prince apparently had plenty more to say, but as soon as the princess heard his tone she subsided at once, and became penitent, as she always did on serious occasions. "Alexander, Alexander," she whispered, moving to him and beginning to weep. As soon as she began to cry the prince too calmed down. He went up to her. "There, thats enough, thats enough! Youre wretched too, I know. It cant be helped. Theres no great harm done. God is merciful...thanks..." he said, not knowing what he was saying, as he responded to the tearful kiss of the princess that he felt on his hand. And the prince went out of the room. Before this, as soon as Kitty went out of the room in tears, Dolly, with her motherly, family instincts, had promptly perceived that here a womans work lay before her, and she prepared to do it. She took off her hat, and, morally speaking, tucked up her sleeves and

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