Vronsky heard with pleasure this lighthearted prattle of a pretty woman, said yes to everything, gave her half-joking counsel, and altogether dropped at once into the tone habitual to him in talking to such women. In his Peterburg world all people were divided into two utterly opposed kinds. One, the lower, consisted of vulgar, stupid and, above all, ridiculous people, who believe that one husband ought to live with the one wife whom he has lawfully wedded; that a girl should be innocent, a woman modest, and a man manly, self-controlled, and strong; that one ought to bring up one's children, earn one's bread and pay one's debts; and various similar absurdities. Those people were of an old-fashioned and ridiculous kind. But there was another kind of people - real people, to which they all belonged, and here the chief thing was to be elegant, magnanimous, daring, gay, and to abandon oneself without a blush to every passion, and to laugh at everything else.

For the first moment only, Vronsky was startled, after the impressions of a quite different world that he had brought with him from Moscow; but immediately, as though he had thrust his feet into old slippers, he stepped into his former lighthearted, pleasant world.

The coffee was really never made, but spluttered over everyone and boiled away, doing just what was required of it - that is, providing cause for much noise and laughter, and spoiling a costly rug and the Barones'ss gown.

`Well, good-by now - or else you'll never get washed, and I shall have on my conscience the worst offense any decent person can commit - uncleanliness. So you would advise a knife at his throat?'

`Absolutely - and in such a way that your little hand may not be far from his lips. He'll kiss it, and all will end well,' answered Vronsky.

`So, the Français tonight!' and, with a rustle of her skirts, she vanished.

Kamerovsky got up too, and Vronsky, without waiting for him to go, shook hands and went off to his dressing room. While he was washing, Petritsky briefly outlined to him his position, as far as it had changed since Vronsky's departure from Peterburg. No money whatsoever. His father said he wouldn't give him any, nor pay his debts. His tailor was trying to get him locked up, and another fellow, too, was threatening to do so without fail. The colonel of his regiment had announced that if these scandals did not cease a resignation would be inevitable. As for the Baroness, he was fed up with her, particularly because she was forever wanting to give him money. But there was another girl - he intended showing her to Vronsky - a marvel, exquisite, in the strict Oriental style, `genre of the slave Rebecca, you see.' He had had a row, too, with Berkoshev, and the latter intended sending seconds, but, of course, it would all come to nothing. Altogether everything was going splendidly and was most jolly. And, without letting his comrade enter into further details of his position, Petritsky proceeded to tell him all the interesting news. As he listened to Petritsky's familiar stories, in the familiar setting of the rooms he had spent the last three years in, Vronsky felt the delightful sensation of coming back to the insouciant and customary life of Peterburg.

`Impossible!' he cried, releasing the pedal of the wash basin in which he had been sousing his stalwart red neck. `Impossible!' he cried, at the news that Laura had dropped Fertinghof and had tied up with Mileev. `And is he as stupid and satisfied as ever? Well, and what's Buzulukov doing?'

`Oh, Buzulukov got into a scrape - simply lovely!' cried Petritsky. `You know his passion for balls - and he never misses a single one at court. He went to a big ball in a new casque. Have you seen the new casques? Very good, and lighter. Well, he's standing... No - do listen.'

`I am listening,' answered Vronsky, rubbing himself with a rough towel.

`The Grand Duchess passes by with some ambassador or other, and, as ill luck would have it, their talk veers to the new casques. And so the Grand Duchess wanted to show the new casque to the ambassador.... Just then they catch sight of our dear boy standing there.' (Petritsky mimicked him, standing with his

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