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Anna Karenina 97

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

him, Levin. Consequently Vronsky had the right to despise Levin, and therefore he was his enemy. But all this Levin did not think out. He vaguely felt that there was something in it insulting to him, and he was not angry now at what had disturbed him, but he fell foul of everything that presented itself. The stupid sale of the forest, the fraud practiced upon Oblonsky and concluded in his house, exasperated him. "Well, finished?" he said, meeting Stepan Arkadyevitch upstairs. "Would you like supper?" "Well, I wouldnt say no to it. What an appetite I get in the country! Wonderful! Why didnt you offer Ryabinin something?" "Oh, damn him!" "Still, how you do treat him!" said Oblonsky. "You didnt even shake hands with him. Why not shake hands with him?" "Because I dont shake hands with a waiter, and a waiters a hundred times better than he is." "What a reactionist you are, really! What about the amalgamation of classes?" said Oblonsky. "Anyone who likes amalgamating is welcome to it, but it sickens me." "Youre a regular reactionist, I see." "Really, I have never considered what I am. I am Konstantin Levin, and nothing else." "And Konstantin Levin very much out of temper," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, smiling. "Yes, I am out of temper, and do you know why? Because--excuse me--of your stupid sale..." Stepan Arkadyevitch frowned good-humoredly, like one who feels himself teased and attacked for no fault of his own. "Come, enough about it!" he said. "When did anybody ever sell anything without being told immediately after the sale, It was worth much more? But when one wants to sell, no one will give anything.... No, I see youve a grudge against that unlucky Ryabinin." "Maybe I have. And do you know why? Youll say again that Im a reactionist, or some other terrible word; but all the same it does annoy and anger me to see on all sides the impoverishing of the nobility to which I belong, and, in spite of the amalgamation of classes, Im glad to belong. And their impoverishment is not due to extravagance--that would be nothing; living in good style --thats the proper thing for noblemen; its only the nobles who know how to do it. Now the peasants about us buy land, and I dont mind that. The gentleman does nothing, while the peasant works and supplants the idle man. Thats as it ought to be. And Im very glad for the peasant. But I do mind seeing the process of impoverishment from a sort of--I dont know what to call it-- innocence. Here a Polish speculator bought for half its value a magnificent estate from a young lady who lives in Nice. And there a merchant will get three acres of land, worth ten roubles, as security for the loan of one rouble. Here, for no kind of reason, youve made that rascal a present of thirty thousand roubles." "Well, what should I have done? Counted every tree?" "Of course, they must be counted. You didnt count them, but Ryabinin did. Ryabinins children will have means of livelihood and education, while yours maybe will not!" "Well, you must excuse me, but theres something mean in this counting. We have our business and they have theirs, and they must make their profit. Anyway, the things done, and theres an end of it. And here come some poached eggs, my favorite dish. And Agafea Mihalovna will give us that marvelous herb-brandy..." Stepan Arkadyevitch sat down at the table and began joking with Agafea Mihalovna, assuring her that it was long since he had tasted such a dinner and such a supper. "Well, you do praise it, anyway," said Agafea Mihalovna, "but Konstantin Dmitrievitch, give him what you will--a crust of bread--hell eat it and walk away." Though Levin tried to control himself, he was gloomy and silent. He wanted to put one question to Stepan Arkadyevitch, but he could not bring himself to the point, and could not find the words or the moment in which to put it. Stepan Arkadyevitch had gone down to his room, undressed, again washed, and attired in a nightshirt with goffered frills, he had got into bed, but Levin still lingered in his room, talking of various trifling matters, and not daring to ask what he wanted to know. "How wonderfully they make this soap," he said gazing at a piece of soap he was handling, which Agafea Mihalovna had put

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