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Anna Karenina 96

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

and with the same dubious air with which he had regarded the snipe, he smiled contemptuously and shook his head disapprovingly, as though by no means willing to allow that this game were worth the candle. "Well, have you brought the money?" asked Oblonsky. "Sit down." "Oh, dont trouble about the money. Ive come to see you to talk it over." "What is there to talk over? But do sit down." "I dont mind if I do," said Ryabinin, sitting down and leaning his elbows on the back of his chair in a position of the intensest discomfort to himself. "You must knock it down a bit, prince. It would be too bad. The money is ready conclusively to the last farthing. As to paying the money down, therell be no hitch there." Levin, who had meanwhile been putting his gun away in the cupboard, was just going out of the door, but catching the merchants words, he stopped. "Why, youve got the forest for nothing as it is," he said. "He came to me too late, or Id have fixed the price for him." Ryabinin got up, and in silence, with a smile, he looked Levin down and up. "Very close about money is Konstantin Dmitrievitch," he said with a smile, turning to Stepan Arkadyevitch; "theres positively no dealing with him. I was bargaining for some wheat of him, and a pretty price I offered too." "Why should I give you my goods for nothing? I didnt pick it up on the ground, nor steal it either." "Mercy on us! nowadays theres no chance at all of stealing. With the open courts and everything done in style, nowadays theres no question of stealing. We are just talking things over like gentlemen. His excellencys asking too much for the forest. I cant make both ends meet over it. I must ask for a little concession." "But is the thing settled between you or not? If its settled, its useless haggling; but if its not," said Levin, "Ill buy the forest." The smile vanished at once from Ryabinins face. A hawklike, greedy, cruel expression was left upon it. With rapid, bony fingers he unbuttoned his coat, revealing a shirt, bronze waistcoat buttons, and a watch chain, and quickly pulled out a fat old pocketbook. "Here you are, the forest is mine," he said, crossing himself quickly, and holding out his hand. "Take the money; its my forest. Thats Ryabinins way of doing business; he doesnt haggle over every half-penny," he added, scowling and waving the pocketbook. "I wouldnt be in a hurry if I were you," said Levin. "Come, really," said Oblonsky in surprise. "Ive given my word, you know." Levin went out of the room, slamming the door. Ryabinin looked towards the door and shook his head with a smile. "Its all youthfulness--positively nothing but boyishness. Why, Im buying it, upon my honor, simply, believe me, for the glory of it, that Ryabinin, and no one else, should have bought the copse of Oblonsky. And as to the profits, why, I must make what God gives. In Gods name. If you would kindly sign the title-deed..." Within an hour the merchant, stroking his big overcoat neatly down, and hooking up his jacket, with the agreement in his pocket, seated himself in his tightly covered trap, and drove homewards. "Ugh, these gentlefolks!" he said to the clerk. "They--theyre a nice lot!" "Thats so," responded the clerk, handing him the reins and buttoning the leather apron. "But I can congratulate you on the purchase, Mihail Ignatitch?" "Well, well..." Chapter 17 Stepan Arkadyevitch went upstairs with his pocket bulging with notes, which the merchant had paid him for three months in advance. The business of the forest was over, the money in his pocket; their shooting had been excellent, and Stepan Arkadyevitch was in the happiest frame of mind, and so he felt specially anxious to dissipate the ill-humor that had come upon Levin. He wanted to finish the day at supper as pleasantly as it had been begun. Levin certainly was out of humor, and in spite of all his desire to be affectionate and cordial to his charming visitor, he could not control his mood. The intoxication of the news that Kitty was not married had gradually begun to work upon him. Kitty was not married, but ill, and ill from love for a man who had slighted her. This slight, as it were, rebounded upon him. Vronsky had slighted her, and she had slighted

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