Anna karenina, p.191
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       Anna Karenina, p.191

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 2

  "Go, please, go then and call on the Bols," Kitty said to her husband,when he came in to see her at eleven o'clock before going out. "I knowyou are dining at the club; papa put down your name. But what are yougoing to do in the morning?"

  "I am only going to Katavasov," answered Levin.

  "Why so early?"

  "He promised to introduce me to Metrov. I wanted to talk to him about mywork. He's a distinguished scientific man from Petersburg," said Levin.

  "Yes; wasn't it his article you were praising so? Well, and after that?"said Kitty.

  "I shall go to the court, perhaps, about my sister's business."

  "And the concert?" she queried.

  "I shan't go there all alone."

  "No? do go; there are going to be some new things.... That interestedyou so. I should certainly go."

  "Well, anyway, I shall come home before dinner," he said, looking at hiswatch.

  "Put on your frock coat, so that you can go straight to call on CountessBola."

  "But is it absolutely necessary?"

  "Oh, absolutely! He has been to see us. Come, what is it? You go in, sitdown, talk for five minutes of the weather, get up and go away."

  "Oh, you wouldn't believe it! I've got so out of the way of all thisthat it makes me feel positively ashamed. It's such a horrible thing todo! A complete outsider walks in, sits down, stays on with nothing todo, wastes their time and worries himself, and walks away!"

  Kitty laughed.

  "Why, I suppose you used to pay calls before you were married, didn'tyou?"

  "Yes, I did, but I always felt ashamed, and now I'm so out of the way ofit that, by Jove! I'd sooner go two days running without my dinner thanpay this call! One's so ashamed! I feel all the while that they'reannoyed, that they're saying, 'What has he come for?'"

  "No, they won't. I'll answer for that," said Kitty, looking into hisface with a laugh. She took his hand. "Well, good-bye.... Do go,please."

  He was just going out after kissing his wife's hand, when she stoppedhim.

  "Kostya, do you know I've only fifty roubles left?"

  "Oh, all right, I'll go to the bank and get some. How much?" he said,with the expression of dissatisfaction she knew so well.

  "No, wait a minute." She held his hand. "Let's talk about it, it worriesme. I seem to spend nothing unnecessary, but money seems to fly awaysimply. We don't manage well, somehow."

  "Oh, it's all right," he said with a little cough, looking at her fromunder his brows.

  That cough she knew well. It was a sign of intense dissatisfaction, notwith her, but with himself. He certainly was displeased not at so muchmoney being spent, but at being reminded of what he, knowing somethingwas unsatisfactory, wanted to forget.

  "I have told Sokolov to sell the wheat, and to borrow an advance on themill. We shall have money enough in any case."

  "Yes, but I'm afraid that altogether..."

  "Oh, it's all right, all right," he repeated. "Well, good-bye, darling."

  "No, I'm really sorry sometimes that I listened to mamma. How nice itwould have been in the country! As it is, I'm worrying you all, andwe're wasting our money."

  "Not at all, not at all. Not once since I've been married have I saidthat things could have been better than they are...."

  "Truly?" she said, looking into his eyes.

  He had said it without thinking, simply to console her. But when heglanced at her and saw those sweet truthful eyes fastened questioninglyon him, he repeated it with his whole heart. "I was positivelyforgetting her," he thought. And he remembered what was before them, sosoon to come.

  "Will it be soon? How do you feel?" he whispered, taking her two hands.

  "I have so often thought so, that now I don't think about it or knowanything about it."

  "And you're not frightened?"

  She smiled contemptuously.

  "Not the least little bit," she said.

  "Well, if anything happens, I shall be at Katavasov's."

  "No, nothing will happen, and don't think about it. I'm going for a walkon the boulevard with papa. We're going to see Dolly. I shall expect youbefore dinner. Oh, yes! Do you know that Dolly's position is becomingutterly impossible? She's in debt all round; she hasn't a penny. We weretalking yesterday with mamma and Arseny" (this was her sister's husbandLvov), "and we determined to send you with him to talk to Stiva. It'sreally unbearable. One can't speak to papa about it.... But if you andhe..."

  "Why, what can we do?" said Levin.

  "You'll be at Arseny's, anyway; talk to him, he will tell what wedecided."

  "Oh, I agree to everything Arseny thinks beforehand. I'll go and seehim. By the way, if I do go to the concert, I'll go with Natalia. Well,good-bye."

  On the steps Levin was stopped by his old servant Kouzma, who had beenwith him before his marriage, and now looked after their household intown.

  "Beauty" (that was the left shaft-horse brought up from the country)"has been badly shod and is quite lame," he said. "What does your honorwish to be done?"

  During the first part of their stay in Moscow, Levin had used his ownhorses brought up from the country. He had tried to arrange this part oftheir expenses in the best and cheapest way possible; but it appearedthat their own horses came dearer than hired horses, and they stillhired too.

  "Send for the veterinary, there may be a bruise."

  "And for Katerina Alexandrovna?" asked Kouzma.

  Levin was not by now struck as he had been at first by the fact that toget from one end of Moscow to the other he had to have two powerfulhorses put into a heavy carriage, to take the carriage three milesthrough the snowy slush and to keep it standing there four hours, payingfive roubles every time.

  Now it seemed quite natural.

  "Hire a pair for our carriage from the jobmaster," said he.

  "Yes, sir."

  And so, simply and easily, thanks to the facilities of town life, Levinsettled a question which, in the country, would have called for so muchpersonal trouble and exertion, and going out onto the steps, he called asledge, sat down, and drove to Nikitsky. On the way he thought no moreof money, but mused on the introduction that awaited him to thePetersburg savant, a writer on sociology, and what he would say to himabout his book.

  Only during the first days of his stay in Moscow Levin had been struckby the expenditure, strange to one living in the country, unproductivebut inevitable, that was expected of him on every side. But by now hehad grown used to it. That had happened to him in this matter which issaid to happen to drunkards--the first glass sticks in the throat, thesecond flies down like a hawk, but after the third they're like tinylittle birds. When Levin had changed his first hundred-rouble note topay for liveries for his footmen and hall-porter he could not helpreflecting that these liveries were of no use to anyone--but they wereindubitably necessary, to judge by the amazement of the princess andKitty when he suggested that they might do without liveries,--that theseliveries would cost the wages of two laborers for the summer, that is,would pay for about three hundred working days from Easter to AshWednesday, and each a day of hard work from early morning to lateevening--and that hundred-rouble note did stick in his throat. But thenext note, changed to pay for providing a dinner for their relations,that cost twenty-eight roubles, though it did excite in Levin thereflection that twenty-eight roubles meant nine measures of oats, whichmen would with groans and sweat have reaped and bound and thrashed andwinnowed and sifted and sown,--this next one he parted with more easily.And now the notes he changed no longer aroused such reflections, andthey flew off like little birds. Whether the labor devoted to obtainingthe money corresponded to the pleasure given by what was bought with it,was a consideration he had long ago dismissed. His business calculationthat there was a certain price below which he could not sell certaingrain was forgotten too. The rye, for the price of which he had so longheld out, had been sold for fifty kopecks a measure cheaper than it hadbeen fetching a month ago. Even the consideration that
with such anexpenditure he could not go on living for a year without debt, that evenhad no force. Only one thing was essential: to have money in the bank,without inquiring where it came from, so as to know that one had thewherewithal to buy meat for tomorrow. And this condition had hithertobeen fulfilled; he had always had the money in the bank. But now themoney in the bank had gone, and he could not quite tell where to get thenext installment. And this it was which, at the moment when Kitty hadmentioned money, had disturbed him; but he had no time to think aboutit. He drove off, thinking of Katavasov and the meeting with Metrov thatwas before him.

 

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