Anna karenina, p.16
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       Anna Karenina, p.16

           graf Leo Tolstoy

  Chapter 16

  Vronsky had never had a real home life. His mother had been in her youtha brilliant society woman, who had had during her married life, andstill more afterwards, many love affairs notorious in the wholefashionable world. His father he scarcely remembered, and he had beeneducated in the Corps of Pages.

  Leaving the school very young as a brilliant officer, he had at once gotinto the circle of wealthy Petersburg army men. Although he did go moreor less into Petersburg society, his love affairs had always hithertobeen outside it.

  In Moscow he had for the first time felt, after his luxurious and coarselife at Petersburg, all the charm of intimacy with a sweet and innocentgirl of his own rank, who cared for him. It never even entered his headthat there could be any harm in his relations with Kitty. At balls hedanced principally with her. He was a constant visitor at their house.He talked to her as people commonly do talk in society--all sorts ofnonsense, but nonsense to which he could not help attaching a specialmeaning in her case. Although he said nothing to her that he could nothave said before everybody, he felt that she was becoming more and moredependent upon him, and the more he felt this, the better he liked it,and the tenderer was his feeling for her. He did not know that his modeof behavior in relation to Kitty had a definite character, that it iscourting young girls with no intention of marriage, and that suchcourting is one of the evil actions common among brilliant young mensuch as he was. It seemed to him that he was the first who haddiscovered this pleasure, and he was enjoying his discovery.

  If he could have heard what her parents were saying that evening, if hecould have put himself at the point of view of the family and have heardthat Kitty would be unhappy if he did not marry her, he would have beengreatly astonished, and would not have believed it. He could not believethat what gave such great and delicate pleasure to him, and above all toher, could be wrong. Still less could he have believed that he ought tomarry.

  Marriage had never presented itself to him as a possibility. He not onlydisliked family life, but a family, and especially a husband was, inaccordance with the views general in the bachelor world in which helived, conceived as something alien, repellant, and, above all,ridiculous.

  But though Vronsky had not the least suspicion what the parents weresaying, he felt on coming away from the Shtcherbatskys' that the secretspiritual bond which existed between him and Kitty had grown so muchstronger that evening that some step must be taken. But what step couldand ought to be taken he could not imagine.

  "What is so exquisite," he thought, as he returned from theShtcherbatskys', carrying away with him, as he always did, a deliciousfeeling of purity and freshness, arising partly from the fact that hehad not been smoking for a whole evening, and with it a new feeling oftenderness at her love for him--"what is so exquisite is that not a wordhas been said by me or by her, but we understand each other so well inthis unseen language of looks and tones, that this evening more clearlythan ever she told me she loves me. And how secretly, simply, and mostof all, how trustfully! I feel myself better, purer. I feel that I havea heart, and that there is a great deal of good in me. Those sweet,loving eyes! When she said: 'Indeed I do...'

  "Well, what then? Oh, nothing. It's good for me, and good for her." Andhe began wondering where to finish the evening.

  He passed in review of the places he might go to. "Club? a game ofbezique, champagne with Ignatov? No, I'm not going. _Chateau desFleurs_; there I shall find Oblonsky, songs, the cancan. No, I'm sick ofit. That's why I like the Shtcherbatskys', that I'm growing better. I'llgo home." He went straight to his room at Dussot's Hotel, orderedsupper, and then undressed, and as soon as his head touched the pillow,fell into a sound sleep.

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