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PART FOUR : Chapter 11

Leo TolstoyAug 24, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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Everyone took part in the conversation
except Kitty and Levin.  At first, when they were
talking of the influence that one people has on another,
there rose to Levin’s mind what he had to say
on the subject.  But these ideas, once of such
importance in his eyes, seemed to come into his brain
as in a dream, and had now not the slightest interest
for him.  It even struck him as strange that
they should be so eager to talk of what was of no
use to anyone.  Kitty, too, should, one would
have supposed, have been interested in what they were
saying of the rights and education of women. 
How often she had mused on the subject, thinking
of her friend abroad, Varenka, of her painful state
of dependence, how often she had wondered about herself
what would become of her if she did not marry, and
how often she had argued with her sister about it! 
But it did not interest her at all.  She and
Levin had a conversation of their own, yet not a conversation,
but some sort of mysterious communication, which brought
them every moment nearer, and stirred in both a sense
of glad terror before the unknown into which they
were entering.

At first Levin, in answer to Kitty’s
question how he could have seen her last year in the
carriage, told her how he had been coming home from
the mowing along the highroad and had met her.

“It was very, very early in
the morning.  You were probably only just awake. 
Your mother was asleep in the corner.  It was
an exquisite morning.  I was walking along wondering
who it could be in a four-in-hand?  It was a
splendid set of four horses with bells, and in a second
you flashed by, and I saw you at the window ­you
were sitting like this, holding the strings of your
cap in both hands, and thinking awfully deeply about
something,” he said, smiling.  “How
I should like to know what you were thinking about
then!  Something important?”

“Wasn’t I dreadfully untidy?”
she wondered, but seeing the smile of ecstasy these
reminiscences called up, she felt that the impression
she had made had been very good.  She blushed
and laughed with delight; “Really I don’t
remember.”

“How nicely Turovtsin laughs!”
said Levin, admiring his moist eyes and shaking chest.

“Have you known him long?” asked Kitty.

“Oh, everyone knows him!”

“And I see you think he’s a horrid man?”

“Not horrid, but nothing in him.”

“Oh, you’re wrong! 
And you must give up thinking so directly!”
said Kitty.  “I used to have a very poor
opinion of him too, but he, he’s an awfully
nice and wonderfully good-hearted man.  He has
a heart of gold.”

“How could you find out what sort of heart he
has?”

“We are great friends. 
I know him very well.  Last winter, soon after…you
came to see us,” she said, with a guilty and
at the same time confiding smile, “all Dolly’s
children had scarlet fever, and he happened to come
and see her.  And only fancy,” she said
in a whisper, “he felt so sorry for her that
he stayed and began to help her look after the children. 
Yes, and for three weeks he stopped with them, and
looked after the children like a nurse.”

“I am telling Konstantin Dmitrievitch
about Turovtsin in the scarlet fever,” she said,
bending over to her sister.

“Yes, it was wonderful, noble!”
said Dolly, glancing towards Turovtsin, who had become
aware they were talking of him, and smiling gently
to him.  Levin glanced once more at Turovtsin,
and wondered how it was he had not realized all this
man’s goodness before.

“I’m sorry, I’m
sorry, and I’ll never think ill of people again!”
he said gaily, genuinely expressing what he felt at
the moment.

 

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