The Tatar, recollecting that it was Stepan Arkadyevich's way not to call the dishes by the names in the French bill of fare, did not repeat them after him, but could not resist rehearsing the whole menu to himself according to the bill: `Soupe printaniere, turbot sauce Beaumarchais, poulard à l'estragon, Macédoine de fruits...' and then instantly, as though worked by springs, laying down one bound bill of fare, he took up another, the list of wines, and submitted it to Stepan Arkadyevich.

`What shall we drink?'

`What you like, only not too much. Champagne,' said Levin.

`What! to start with? You're right though, I dare say. Do you like the white seal?'

`Cachet blanc,' prompted the Tatar.

`Very well, then, give us that brand with the oysters, and then we'll see.'

`Yes, sir. And what table wine?'

`You can give us Nuits. Oh, no - better the classic Chablis.'

`Yes, sir. And your cheese, Your Excellency?'

`Oh, yes, Parmesan. Or would you like another?'

`No, it's all the same to me,' said Levin, unable to suppress a smile.

And the Tatar ran off with flying coattails, and in five minutes darted in with a dish of opened oysters in their nacreous shells, and a bottle between his fingers.

Stepan Arkadyevich crushed the starchy napkin, tucked it into his waistcoat, and, settling his arms comfortably, started on the oysters.

`Not bad,' he said, detaching the jellied oysters from their pearly shells with a small silver fork, and swallowing them one after another. `Not bad,' he repeated, turning his dewy, brilliant eyes now upon Levin, now upon the Tatar.

Levin ate the oysters too, though white bread and cheese pleased him better. But he was admiring Oblonsky. Even the Tatar, uncorking the bottle and pouring the sparkling wine into the delicate funnel- shaped glasses, and adjusting his white cravat, kept on glancing at Stepan Arkadyevich with a perceptible smile of satisfaction.

`You don't care much for oysters, do you?' said Stepan Arkadyevich, emptying his wineglass, `or are you worried about something. Eh?'

He wanted Levin to be in good spirits. But it was not that Levin was not in good spirits, he was ill at ease. With what he had in his soul, he felt hard and awkward in the restaurant, in the midst of private rooms where men were dining with ladies, in all this fuss and bustle; the surroundings of bronzes, looking glasses, gas and Tatars - all of this was offensive to him. He was afraid of sullying what his soul was brimful of.

`I? Yes, I am worried; but besides that, all this bothers me,' he said. `You can't conceive how queer it all seems to a countryman like me, as queer as that gentleman's nails I saw at your office....'

`Yes, I saw how much interested you were in poor Grinevich's nails,' said Stepan Arkadyevich, laughing.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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