But at that very moment the Princess came in. There was a look of horror on her face when she beheld them alone, and saw their disturbed faces. Levin bowed to her, and said nothing. Kitty neither spoke nor lifted her eyes. `Thank God, she has refused him,' thought the mother, and her face lighted up with the habitual smile with which she greeted her guests on Thursdays. She sat down and began questioning Levin about his life in the country. He sat down again, waiting for other visitors to arrive, in order to go off unnoticed. .cartier love ring replica.
Five minutes later there came in a friend of Kitty's, married the preceding winter - Countess Nordstone. .Christian Louboutin Replica.
She was a thin, sallow, sickly and nervous woman, with brilliant black eyes. She was fond of Kitty, and her affection for her showed itself, as the affection of married women for girls always does, in the desire to make a match for Kitty after her own ideal of married happiness; she wanted her to marry Vronsky. Levin she had often met at the Shcherbatsky's early in the winter, and she had always disliked him. Her invariable and favorite pursuit, when they met, consisted in making fun of him. .cheap plus dresses.
`I do like it when he looks down at me from the height of his grandeur, or breaks off his wise conversation with me because I'm a fool, or is condescending to me. I like that so - to see him condescending! I am so glad he can't bear me,' she used to say of him. .cartier juste un clou replica.
She was right, for Levin actually could not bear her, and despised her for what she was proud of and regarded as a fine characteristic - her nervousness, her refined contempt and indifference for everything coarse and earthly. .Christian Louboutin Replica.
The Countess Nordstone and Levin had got into that mutual relation not infrequently seen in society, when two persons, who remain externally on friendly terms, despise each other to such a degree that they cannot even take each other seriously, and cannot even be offended by each other. .cartier love ring replica.
The Countess Nordstone pounced upon Levin at once. .Christian Louboutin Replica.
`Ah, Constantin Dmitrievich! So you've come back to our corrupt Babylon,' she said, giving him her tiny, yellow hand and recalling what he had chanced to say early in the winter, that Moscow was a Babylon. `Come, is Babylon reformed, or have you degenerated?' she added, glancing with a simper at Kitty. .Giuseppe Zanotti outlet.
`It's very flattering for me, Countess, that you remember my words so well,' responded Levin, who had succeeded in recovering his composure, and at once from habit dropped into his tone of joking hostility to the Countess Nordstone. `They must certainly make a great impression on you.' .cartier love necklace replica.
`Oh, I should think so! I always note everything down. Well, Kitty, have you been skating again?...' .cartier love bracelet replica.
And she began talking to Kitty. Awkward as it was for Levin to withdraw now, it would still have been easier for him to perpetrate this awkwardness than to remain all the evening and see Kitty, who glanced at him now and then and avoided his eyes. He was on the point of getting up, when the Princess, noticing that he was silent, addressed him. .hermes bracelet replica.
`Shall you be long in Moscow? You're busy with the Zemstvo, though, aren't you, and can't be away for long?' .cartier love ring replica.
`No, Princess, I'm no longer a member of the board,' he said. `I have come up for a few days.' .giuseppe zanotti instagram replica.
`There's something the matter with him,' thought Countess Nordstone, glancing at his stern, serious face. `He isn't in his old argumentative mood. But I'll draw him out. I do love making a fool of him before Kitty, and I'll do it.' .cartier love bracelet replica.
`Constantin Dmitrievich,' she said to him, `do explain to me please, what does it mean - you know all about such things - in our village of Kaluga all the peasants and all the women have drunk up all they possessed, and now they can't pay us any rent. What's the meaning of that? You always praise the mouzhiks so.' .cartier love bracelet replica.
At that instant another lady came into the room, and Levin got up.
`Excuse me, Countess, but I really know nothing about it, and can't tell you anything,' he said, and looked round at the officer who came in behind the lady.
`That must be Vronsky,' thought Levin, and, to be sure of it, glanced at Kitty. She had already had time to look at Vronsky, and looked round at Levin. And, simply from the look in her eyes, that grew unconsciously brighter, Levin knew that she loved this man - knew it as surely as if she had told him in so many words. But what sort of a man was he?
Now, whether for good or for ill, Levin could not choose but remain; he must find out what the man was like whom she loved.
There are people who, on meeting a successful rival, no matter in what, are at once disposed to turn their backs on everything good in him, and to see only what is bad. There are people who, on the contrary, desire above all to find in that successful rival the qualities by which he has worsted them, and seek with a throbbing ache at heart only what is good. Levin belonged to the second class. But he had no difficulty in finding what was good and attractive in Vronsky. It was apparent at the first glance. Vronsky was a squarely built, dark man, not very tall, with a good-humored, handsome and exceedingly calm and firm face. Everything about his face and figure, from his short-cropped black hair and freshly shaven chin down to his loosely fitting, brand-new uniform, was simple and at the same time elegant. Making way for the lady who had come in, Vronsky went up to the Princess and then to Kitty.
As he approached her, his beautiful eyes shone with an especially tender light, and with a faint, happy and modestly triumphant smile (so it seemed to Levin), bowing carefully and respectfully over her, he held out his small broad hand to her.
Greeting and saying a few words to everyone, he sat down without once glancing at Levin, who had never taken his eyes off him.
`Let me introduce you,' said the Princess, indicating Levin. `Constantin Dmitrievich Levin, Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky.'
Vronsky got up and, looking cordially at Levin, shook hands with him.
`I believe I was to have dined with you this winter,' he said, smiling his simple and open smile; `but you had unexpectedly left for the country.'
`Constantin Dmitrievich despises and hates the town, and us townspeople,' said Countess Nordstone.
`My words must make a deep impression on you, since you remember them so well,' said Levin, and, suddenly becoming conscious that he had said just the same thing before, he reddened.
Vronsky looked at Levin and Countess Nordstone, and smiled.
`Are you always in the country?' he inquired. `I should think it must be dull in the winter.'
`It's not dull if one has work to do; besides, one's not dull by oneself,' Levin replied abruptly.
`I am fond of the country,' said Vronsky, noticing, yet affecting not to notice, Levin's tone.
`But I hope, Count, you would not consent to live in the country always,' said Countess Nordstone.
`I don't know; I have never tried for long. I experienced a queer feeling once,' he went on. `I never longed so for the country - Russian country, with bast shoes and peasants - as when I was spending a winter with my mother in Nice. Nice itself is dull enough, you know. And, indeed, Naples and Sorrento are only pleasant for a short time. And it's just there that Russia comes back to one's mind most vividly, and especially the country. It's as though...'
He talked on, addressing both Kitty and Levin, turning his serene, friendly eyes from one to the other, and saying obviously just what came into his head.
Noticing that Countess Nordstone wanted to say something, he stopped short without finishing what he had begun, and listened attentively to her.
The conversation did not flag for an instant, so that the old Princess, who always kept in reserve, in case a subject should be lacking, two heavy guns - the classical and professional education, and universal military service - had not to move out either of them, while Countess Nordstone had no chance of chaffing Levin.
Levin wanted to, and could not, take part in the general conversation; saying to himself every instant, `Now go,' he still did not go, as though waiting for something.
The conversation fell upon table turning and spirits, and Countess Nordstone, who believed in spiritualism, began to describe the miracles she had seen.
`Ah, Countess, you really must take me; for pity's sake do take me to see them! I have never seen anything extraordinary, though I am always on the lookout for it everywhere,' said Vronsky, smiling.
`Very well - next Saturday,' answered Countess Nordstone. `But you, Constantin Dmitrievich - are you a believer?' she asked Levin.
`Why do you ask me? You know what I shall say.'
`But I want to hear your opinion.'
`My opinion,' answered Levin, `is merely that this table turning proves that educated society - so called - is no higher than the peasants. They believe in the evil eye, and in witchcraft and conjurations, while we...'
`Oh, then you aren't a believer?'
`I can't believe, Countess.'
`But if I've seen for myself?'
`The peasant women, too, tell us they have seen hobgoblins.'
`Then you think I tell a lie?'
And she laughed a mirthless laugh.
`Oh, no, Masha, Constantin Dmitrievich merely said he could not believe,' said Kitty, blushing for Levin, and Levin saw this, and, still more exasperated, would have answered; but Vronsky with his bright frank smile rushed to the support of the conversation, which was threatening to become disagreeable.
`You do not admit the possibility at all?' he queried. `But why not? We admit the existence of electricity, of which we know nothing. Why should there not be some new force, still unknown to us, which...'
`When electricity was discovered,' Levin interrupted hurriedly, `it was only the phenomenon that was discovered, and it was unknown from what it proceeded and what were its effects, and ages passed before its applications were conceived. But the spiritualists, on the contrary, have begun with tables writing for them, and spirits appearing to them, and have only later started saying that it is an unknown force.'
Vronsky listened attentively to Levin, as he always did listen, obviously interested in his words.
`Yes, but the spiritualists say we don't know at present what this force is, but there is a force, and these are the conditions in which it acts. Let the scientific men find out what the force consists of. No, I don't see why there should not be a new force, if it...'
`Why, because with electricity,' Levin interrupted again, `every time you rub tar against wool, a certain phenomenon is manifested; but in this case it does not happen every time, and so it follows it is not a natural phenomenon.'
Feeling probably that the conversation was taking a tone too serious for a drawing room, Vronsky made no rejoinder, but by way of trying to change the conversation, he smiled brightly, and turned to the ladies.
`Do let us try at once, Countess,' he said; but Levin would finish saying what he thought.
`I think,' he went on, `that this attempt of the spiritualists to explain their miracles as some sort of new natural force is most futile. They boldly talk of spiritual force, and then try to subject it to material experiment.'
Everyone was waiting for him to finish, and he felt this.
`Why, I think you would be a first-rate medium,' said Countess Nordstone, `there's something enthusiastic about you.'
Levin opened his mouth, was about to say something, reddened, and said nothing.
`Do let us try table turning at once, please,' said Vronsky. `Princess, will you allow it?
And Vronsky stood up, looking about for a little table.
Kitty got up to fetch a table, and, as she passed, her eyes met Levin's. She felt for him with her whole heart, the more because she was pitying him for a suffering of which she was herself the cause. `If you can forgive me, forgive me,' said her eyes, `I am so happy.'
`I hate them all, and you, and myself,' his eyes responded, and he took up his hat. But he was not destined to escape. just as they were arranging themselves round the table, and Levin was on the point of retiring, the old Prince came in, and, after greeting the ladies, addressed Levin.
`Ah!' he began joyously. `Been here long, my boy? I didn't even know you were in town. Very glad to see you.' The old Prince embraced Levin, and, talking to him, did not observe Vronsky, who had risen, and was calmly waiting till the Prince should turn to him.
Kitty felt how grievous her father's cordiality was to Levin after what had happened. She saw, too, how coldly her father responded at last to Vronsky's bow, and how Vronsky looked with amiable perplexity at her father, trying and failing to understand how and why anyone could be hostilely disposed toward him, and she flushed.
`Prince, let us have Constantin Dmitrievich,' said Countess Nordstone, `we want to try an experiment.'
`What experiment? Table turning? Well, you must excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, but to my mind it is better fun to play the ring game,' said the old Prince, looking at Vronsky, and guessing that it had been his suggestion. `There's some sense in that, anyway.'
Vronsky looked wonderingly at the Prince with his firm eyes, and, with a faint smile, began immediately talking to Countess Nordstone of the great ball that was to come off next week.
`I hope you will be there?' he said to Kitty. As soon as the old Prince turned away from him, Levin slipped out unnoticed, and the last impression he carried away with him of that evening was the smiling, happy face of Kitty answering Vronsky's inquiry about the ball.
? Leo Tolstoy