Chapter 6

During the time of the children's tea the grownups sat on the balcony and talked as though nothing had happened though they all, especially Sergei Ivanovich and Varenka, were very well aware that there had happened an event which, though negative, was of very great importance. They both had the same feeling, rather like that of a schoolboy after an unlucky examination, which has left him in the same class or shut him out of school forever. Everyone present, also feeling that something had happened, talked eagerly about extraneous subjects. Levin and Kitty were particularly happy and conscious of their love that evening. And their happiness in their love seemed to imply a disagreeable reference to those who would have liked to feel the same and could not - and they felt a prick of conscience.

`Mark my words, Alexandre will not come,' said the old Princess.

That evening they were expecting Stepan Arkadyevich to come down by train, and the old Prince had written that possibly he might come too.

`And I know why,' the Princess went on; `he says that newly married couples ought to be left alone for a while at first.'

`But papa has left us alone. We've never seen him,' said Kitty. `Besides, we're not newly married! - we're old married people by now.

`Only if he doesn't come, I shall say good-by to you, children,' said the Princess, sighing mournfully.

`What nonsense, mamma!' both the daughters fell upon her at once. `How do you suppose he is feeling? Why, now...'

And suddenly there was an unexpected quiver in the Princess's voice. Her daughters were silent, and looked at one another. `Maman always finds something to be miserable about,' they said in that glance. They did not know that happy as the Princess was in her daughter's house, and useful as she felt herself to be there, she had been extremely miserable, both on her own account and her husband's, ever since they had married off their last and favorite daughter, and their family nest had been left empty.

`What is it, Agathya Mikhailovna?' Kitty asked suddenly of Agathya Mikhailovna, who was standing with a mysterious air, and a face full of meaning.

`About supper.'

`Well, that's right,' said Dolly; `you go and arrange about it, and I'll go and hear Grisha repeat his lesson, or else he will have done nothing all day.'

`That's my duty! No, Dolly, I'm going,' said Levin, jumping up.

Grisha, who was by now at a high school, had to go over the lessons of the term in the summer holidays. Darya Alexandrovna, who had been studying Latin with her son in Moscow before, had made it a rule on coming to the Levins' to go over with him, at least once a day, the most difficult lessons of Latin and arithmetic. Levin had offered to take her place, but the mother, having once overheard Levin's lesson, and noticing that it was not given exactly as the teacher in Moscow had given it, said resolutely, though with much embarrassment and anxiety not to mortify Levin, that they must keep strictly to the book as the teacher had done, and that she had better undertake it again herself. Levin was amazed both at Stepan Arkadyevich, who, by neglecting his duty, threw upon the mother the supervision of studies of which she had no comprehension, and at the teachers for teaching the children so badly. But he promised his sister-in-law to give the lessons exactly as she wished. And he went on teaching Grisha, not in his own way, but by the book, and so took little interest in it, and often forgot the hour of the lesson. So it had been today.

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