Anna karenina, p.190
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       Anna Karenina, p.190

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 1

  The Levins had been three months in Moscow. The date had long passed onwhich, according to the most trustworthy calculations of people learnedin such matters, Kitty should have been confined. But she was stillabout, and there was nothing to show that her time was any nearer thantwo months ago. The doctor, the monthly nurse, and Dolly and her mother,and most of all Levin, who could not think of the approaching eventwithout terror, began to be impatient and uneasy. Kitty was the onlyperson who felt perfectly calm and happy.

  She was distinctly conscious now of the birth of a new feeling of lovefor the future child, for her to some extent actually existing already,and she brooded blissfully over this feeling. He was not by nowaltogether a part of herself, but sometimes lived his own lifeindependently of her. Often this separate being gave her pain, but atthe same time she wanted to laugh with a strange new joy.

  All the people she loved were with her, and all were so good to her, soattentively caring for her, so entirely pleasant was everythingpresented to her, that if she had not known and felt that it must allsoon be over, she could not have wished for a better and pleasanterlife. The only thing that spoiled the charm of this manner of life wasthat her husband was not here as she loved him to be, and as he was inthe country.

  She liked his serene, friendly, and hospitable manner in the country. Inthe town he seemed continually uneasy and on his guard, as though hewere afraid someone would be rude to him, and still more to her. At homein the country, knowing himself distinctly to be in his right place, hewas never in haste to be off elsewhere. He was never unoccupied. Here intown he was in a continual hurry, as though afraid of missing something,and yet he had nothing to do. And she felt sorry for him. To others, sheknew, he did not appear an object of pity. On the contrary, when Kittylooked at him in society, as one sometimes looks at those one loves,trying to see him as if he were a stranger, so as to catch theimpression he must make on others, she saw with a panic even of jealousfear that he was far indeed from being a pitiable figure, that he wasvery attractive with his fine breeding, his rather old-fashioned,reserved courtesy with women, his powerful figure, and striking, as shethought, and expressive face. But she saw him not from without, but fromwithin; she saw that here he was not himself; that was the only way shecould define his condition to herself. Sometimes she inwardly reproachedhim for his inability to live in the town; sometimes she recognized thatit was really hard for him to order his life here so that he could besatisfied with it.

  What had he to do, indeed? He did not care for cards; he did not go to aclub. Spending the time with jovial gentlemen of Oblonsky's type--sheknew now what that meant ... it meant drinking and going somewhere afterdrinking. She could not think without horror of where men went on suchoccasions. Was he to go into society? But she knew he could only findsatisfaction in that if he took pleasure in the society of young women,and that she could not wish for. Should he stay at home with her, hermother and her sisters? But much as she liked and enjoyed theirconversations forever on the same subjects--"Aline-Nadine," as the oldprince called the sisters' talks--she knew it must bore him. What wasthere left for him to do? To go on writing at his book he had indeedattempted, and at first he used to go to the library and make extractsand look up references for his book. But, as he told her, the more hedid nothing, the less time he had to do anything. And besides, hecomplained that he had talked too much about his book here, and thatconsequently all his ideas about it were muddled and had lost theirinterest for him.

  One advantage in this town life was that quarrels hardly ever happenedbetween them here in town. Whether it was that their conditions weredifferent, or that they had both become more careful and sensible inthat respect, they had no quarrels in Moscow from jealousy, which theyhad so dreaded when they moved from the country.

  One event, an event of great importance to both from that point of view,did indeed happen--that was Kitty's meeting with Vronsky.

  The old Princess Marya Borissovna, Kitty's godmother, who had alwaysbeen very fond of her, had insisted on seeing her. Kitty, though she didnot go into society at all on account of her condition, went with herfather to see the venerable old lady, and there met Vronsky.

  The only thing Kitty could reproach herself for at this meeting was thatat the instant when she recognized in his civilian dress the featuresonce so familiar to her, her breath failed her, the blood rushed to herheart, and a vivid blush--she felt it--overspread her face. But thislasted only a few seconds. Before her father, who purposely begantalking in a loud voice to Vronsky, had finished, she was perfectlyready to look at Vronsky, to speak to him, if necessary, exactly as shespoke to Princess Marya Borissovna, and more than that, to do so in sucha way that everything to the faintest intonation and smile would havebeen approved by her husband, whose unseen presence she seemed to feelabout her at that instant.

  She said a few words to him, even smiled serenely at his joke about theelections, which he called "our parliament." (She had to smile to showshe saw the joke.) But she turned away immediately to Princess MaryaBorissovna, and did not once glance at him till he got up to go; thenshe looked at him, but evidently only because it would be uncivil not tolook at a man when he is saying good-bye.

  She was grateful to her father for saying nothing to her about theirmeeting Vronsky, but she saw by his special warmth to her after thevisit during their usual walk that he was pleased with her. She waspleased with herself. She had not expected she would have had the power,while keeping somewhere in the bottom of her heart all the memories ofher old feeling for Vronsky, not only to seem but to be perfectlyindifferent and composed with him.

  Levin flushed a great deal more than she when she told him she had metVronsky at Princess Marya Borissovna's. It was very hard for her to tellhim this, but still harder to go on speaking of the details of themeeting, as he did not question her, but simply gazed at her with afrown.

  "I am very sorry you weren't there," she said. "Not that you weren't inthe room ... I couldn't have been so natural in your presence ... I amblushing now much more, much, much more," she said, blushing till thetears came into her eyes. "But that you couldn't see through a crack."

  The truthful eyes told Levin that she was satisfied with herself, and inspite of her blushing he was quickly reassured and began questioningher, which was all she wanted. When he had heard everything, even to thedetail that for the first second she could not help flushing, but thatafterwards she was just as direct and as much at her ease as with anychance acquaintance, Levin was quite happy again and said he was glad ofit, and would not now behave as stupidly as he had done at the election,but would try the first time he met Vronsky to be as friendly aspossible.

  "It's so wretched to feel that there's a man almost an enemy whom it'spainful to meet," said Levin. "I'm very, very glad."

 
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