Anna karenina, p.222
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       Anna Karenina, p.222

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 2

  Sergey Ivanovitch and Katavasov had only just reached the station of theKursk line, which was particularly busy and full of people that day,when, looking round for the groom who was following with their things,they saw a party of volunteers driving up in four cabs. Ladies met themwith bouquets of flowers, and followed by the rushing crowd they wentinto the station.

  One of the ladies, who had met the volunteers, came out of the hall andaddressed Sergey Ivanovitch.

  "You too come to see them off?" she asked in French.

  "No, I'm going away myself, princess. To my brother's for a holiday. Doyou always see them off?" said Sergey Ivanovitch with a hardlyperceptible smile.

  "Oh, that would be impossible!" answered the princess. "Is it true thateight hundred have been sent from us already? Malvinsky wouldn't believeme."

  "More than eight hundred. If you reckon those who have been sent notdirectly from Moscow, over a thousand," answered Sergey Ivanovitch.

  "There! That's just what I said!" exclaimed the lady. "And it's truetoo, I suppose, that more than a million has been subscribed?"

  "Yes, princess."

  "What do you say to today's telegram? Beaten the Turks again."

  "Yes, so I saw," answered Sergey Ivanovitch. They were speaking of thelast telegram stating that the Turks had been for three days insuccession beaten at all points and put to flight, and that tomorrow adecisive engagement was expected.

  "Ah, by the way, a splendid young fellow has asked leave to go, andthey've made some difficulty, I don't know why. I meant to ask you; Iknow him; please write a note about his case. He's being sent byCountess Lidia Ivanovna."

  Sergey Ivanovitch asked for all the details the princess knew about theyoung man, and going into the first-class waiting-room, wrote a note tothe person on whom the granting of leave of absence depended, and handedit to the princess.

  "You know Count Vronsky, the notorious one ... is going by this train?"said the princess with a smile full of triumph and meaning, when hefound her again and gave her the letter.

  "I had heard he was going, but I did not know when. By this train?"

  "I've seen him. He's here: there's only his mother seeing him off. It'sthe best thing, anyway, that he could do."

  "Oh, yes, of course."

  While they were talking the crowd streamed by them into the dining room.They went forward too, and heard a gentleman with a glass in his handdelivering a loud discourse to the volunteers. "In the service ofreligion, humanity, and our brothers," the gentleman said, his voicegrowing louder and louder; "to this great cause mother Moscow dedicatesyou with her blessing. _Jivio!_" he concluded, loudly and tearfully.

  Everyone shouted _Jivio!_ and a fresh crowd dashed into the hall, almostcarrying the princess off her legs.

  "Ah, princess! that was something like!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch,suddenly appearing in the middle of the crowd and beaming upon them witha delighted smile. "Capitally, warmly said, wasn't it? Bravo! And SergeyIvanovitch! Why, you ought to have said something--just a few words, youknow, to encourage them; you do that so well," he added with a soft,respectful, and discreet smile, moving Sergey Ivanovitch forward alittle by the arm.

  "No, I'm just off."

  "Where to?"

  "To the country, to my brother's," answered Sergey Ivanovitch.

  "Then you'll see my wife. I've written to her, but you'll see her first.Please tell her that they've seen me and that it's 'all right,' as theEnglish say. She'll understand. Oh, and be so good as to tell her I'mappointed secretary of the committee.... But she'll understand! Youknow, _les petites miseres de la vie humaine,_" he said, as it wereapologizing to the princess. "And Princess Myakaya--not Liza, butBibish--is sending a thousand guns and twelve nurses. Did I tell you?"

  "Yes, I heard so," answered Koznishev indifferently.

  "It's a pity you're going away," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Tomorrowwe're giving a dinner to two who're setting off--Dimer-Bartnyansky fromPetersburg and our Veslovsky, Grisha. They're both going. Veslovsky'sonly lately married. There's a fine fellow for you! Eh, princess?" heturned to the lady.

  The princess looked at Koznishev without replying. But the fact thatSergey Ivanovitch and the princess seemed anxious to get rid of him didnot in the least disconcert Stepan Arkadyevitch. Smiling, he stared atthe feather in the princess's hat, and then about him as though he weregoing to pick something up. Seeing a lady approaching with a collectingbox, he beckoned her up and put in a five-rouble note.

  "I can never see these collecting boxes unmoved while I've money in mypocket," he said. "And how about today's telegram? Fine chaps thoseMontenegrins!"

  "You don't say so!" he cried, when the princess told him that Vronskywas going by this train. For an instant Stepan Arkadyevitch's facelooked sad, but a minute later, when, stroking his mustaches andswinging as he walked, he went into the hall where Vronsky was, he hadcompletely forgotten his own despairing sobs over his sister's corpse,and he saw in Vronsky only a hero and an old friend.

  "With all his faults one can't refuse to do him justice," said theprincess to Sergey Ivanovitch as soon as Stepan Arkadyevitch had leftthem. "What a typically Russian, Slav nature! Only, I'm afraid it won'tbe pleasant for Vronsky to see him. Say what you will, I'm touched bythat man's fate. Do talk to him a little on the way," said the princess.

  "Yes, perhaps, if it happens so."

  "I never liked him. But this atones for a great deal. He's not merelygoing himself, he's taking a squadron at his own expense."

  "Yes, so I heard."

  A bell sounded. Everyone crowded to the doors. "Here he is!" said theprincess, indicating Vronsky, who with his mother on his arm walked by,wearing a long overcoat and wide-brimmed black hat. Oblonsky was walkingbeside him, talking eagerly of something.

  Vronsky was frowning and looking straight before him, as though he didnot hear what Stepan Arkadyevitch was saying.

  Probably on Oblonsky's pointing them out, he looked round in thedirection where the princess and Sergey Ivanovitch were standing, andwithout speaking lifted his hat. His face, aged and worn by suffering,looked stony.

  Going onto the platform, Vronsky left his mother and disappeared into acompartment.

  On the platform there rang out "God save the Tsar," then shouts of"hurrah!" and _"jivio!"_ One of the volunteers, a tall, very young manwith a hollow chest, was particularly conspicuous, bowing and waving hisfelt hat and a nosegay over his head. Then two officers emerged, bowingtoo, and a stout man with a big beard, wearing a greasy forage cap.

 

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