Anna karenina, p.158
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       Anna Karenina, p.158

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 1

  Darya Alexandrovna spent the summer with her children at Pokrovskoe, ather sister Kitty Levin's. The house on her own estate was quite inruins, and Levin and his wife had persuaded her to spend the summer withthem. Stepan Arkadyevitch greatly approved of the arrangement. He saidhe was very sorry his official duties prevented him from spending thesummer in the country with his family, which would have been thegreatest happiness for him; and remaining in Moscow, he came down to thecountry from time to time for a day or two. Besides the Oblonskys, withall their children and their governess, the old princess too came tostay that summer with the Levins, as she considered it her duty to watchover her inexperienced daughter in her _interesting condition_.Moreover, Varenka, Kitty's friend abroad, kept her promise to come toKitty when she was married, and stayed with her friend. All of thesewere friends or relations of Levin's wife. And though he liked them all,he rather regretted his own Levin world and ways, which was smothered bythis influx of the "Shtcherbatsky element," as he called it to himself.Of his own relations there stayed with him only Sergey Ivanovitch, buthe too was a man of the Koznishev and not the Levin stamp, so that theLevin spirit was utterly obliterated.

  In the Levins' house, so long deserted, there were now so many peoplethat almost all the rooms were occupied, and almost every day ithappened that the old princess, sitting down to table, counted them allover, and put the thirteenth grandson or granddaughter at a separatetable. And Kitty, with her careful housekeeping, had no little troubleto get all the chickens, turkeys, and geese, of which so many wereneeded to satisfy the summer appetites of the visitors and children.

  The whole family were sitting at dinner. Dolly's children, with theirgoverness and Varenka, were making plans for going to look formushrooms. Sergey Ivanovitch, who was looked up to by all the party forhis intellect and learning, with a respect that almost amounted to awe,surprised everyone by joining in the conversation about mushrooms.

  "Take me with you. I am very fond of picking mushrooms," he said,looking at Varenka; "I think it's a very nice occupation."

  "Oh, we shall be delighted," answered Varenka, coloring a little. Kittyexchanged meaningful glances with Dolly. The proposal of the learned andintellectual Sergey Ivanovitch to go looking for mushrooms with Varenkaconfirmed certain theories of Kitty's with which her mind had been verybusy of late. She made haste to address some remark to her mother, sothat her look should not be noticed. After dinner Sergey Ivanovitch satwith his cup of coffee at the drawing-room window, and while he tookpart in a conversation he had begun with his brother, he watched thedoor through which the children would start on the mushroom-pickingexpedition. Levin was sitting in the window near his brother.

  Kitty stood beside her husband, evidently awaiting the end of aconversation that had no interest for her, in order to tell himsomething.

  "You have changed in many respects since your marriage, and for thebetter," said Sergey Ivanovitch, smiling to Kitty, and obviously littleinterested in the conversation, "but you have remained true to yourpassion for defending the most paradoxical theories."

  "Katya, it's not good for you to stand," her husband said to her,putting a chair for her and looking significantly at her.

  "Oh, and there's no time either," added Sergey Ivanovitch, seeing thechildren running out.

  At the head of them all Tanya galloped sideways, in her tightly-drawnstockings, and waving a basket and Sergey Ivanovitch's hat, she ranstraight up to him.

  Boldly running up to Sergey Ivanovitch with shining eyes, so like herfather's fine eyes, she handed him his hat and made as though she wouldput it on for him, softening her freedom by a shy and friendly smile.

  "Varenka's waiting," she said, carefully putting his hat on, seeing fromSergey Ivanovitch's smile that she might do so.

  Varenka was standing at the door, dressed in a yellow print gown, with awhite kerchief on her head.

  "I'm coming, I'm coming, Varvara Andreevna," said Sergey Ivanovitch,finishing his cup of coffee, and putting into their separate pockets hishandkerchief and cigar-case.

  "And how sweet my Varenka is! eh?" said Kitty to her husband, as soon asSergey Ivanovitch rose. She spoke so that Sergey Ivanovitch could hear,and it was clear that she meant him to do so. "And how good-looking sheis--such a refined beauty! Varenka!" Kitty shouted. "Shall you be in themill copse? We'll come out to you."

  "You certainly forget your condition, Kitty," said the old princess,hurriedly coming out at the door. "You mustn't shout like that."

  Varenka, hearing Kitty's voice and her mother's reprimand, went withlight, rapid steps up to Kitty. The rapidity of her movement, herflushed and eager face, everything betrayed that something out of thecommon was going on in her. Kitty knew what this was, and had beenwatching her intently. She called Varenka at that moment merely in ordermentally to give her a blessing for the important event which, as Kittyfancied, was bound to come to pass that day after dinner in the wood.

  "Varenka, I should be very happy if a certain something were to happen,"she whispered as she kissed her.

  "And are you coming with us?" Varenka said to Levin in confusion,pretending not to have heard what had been said.

  "I am coming, but only as far as the threshing-floor, and there I shallstop."

  "Why, what do you want there?" said Kitty.

  "I must go to have a look at the new wagons, and to check the invoice,"said Levin; "and where will you be?"

  "On the terrace."

 
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