Chapter 7

Levin came back to the house only when they sent to summon to supper. On the stairs were standing Kitty and Agathya Mikhailovna, consulting about wines for supper.

`But why are you making all this fuss? Have what we usually do.'

`No, Stiva doesn't drink... Kostia, stop, what's the matter?' Kitty began, hurrying after him, but he strode ruthlessly away to the dining room without waiting for her, and at once joined in the lively general conversation which was being maintained there by Vassenka Veslovsky and Stepan Arkadyevich.

`Well, what do you say, are we going shooting tomorrow?' said Stepan Arkadyevich.

`Please, do let's go,' said Veslovsky, moving to another chair, where he sat down sideways, with one fat leg crossed under him.

`I shall be delighted, we will go. And have you had any shooting yet this year?' said Levin to Veslovsky, looking intently at his leg, but speaking with that forced amiability that Kitty knew so well in him, and that was so out of keeping with him. `I can't answer for our finding double snipe, but there are plenty of jacksnipe. Only we ought to start early. You're not tired? Aren't you tired, Stiva?'

`Me tired? I've never been tired yet. Suppose we stay up all night. Let's go for a walk!'

`Yes, really, let's not go to bed at all! Capital!' Veslovsky chimed in.

`Oh, we all know you can do without sleep, and keep other people up too,' Dolly said to her husband, with that faint note of irony in her voice which she almost always had now with her husband. `But to my thinking, it's time for bed now... I'm going, I don't want supper.'

`No, do stay a little, Dollenka,' said Stepan Arkadyevich, going round to her side behind the table where they were having supper. `I've so much still to tell you.'

`Nothing really, I suppose.'

`Do you know Veslovsky has been at Anna's, and he's going to them again? You know they're hardly seventy verstas from you, and I too must certainly go over there. Veslovsky, come here!'

Vassenka crossed over to the ladies, and sat down beside Kitty.

`Ah, do tell me, please; you have visited her? How was she?' Darya Alexandrovna appealed to him.

Levin was left at the other end of the table, and though never pausing in his conversation with the Princess and Varenka, he saw that there was an eager and mysterious conversation going on between Stepan Arkadyevich, Dolly, Kitty, and Veslovsky. And that was not all. He saw on his wife's face an expression of real feeling as she gazed with fixed eyes on the handsome face of Vassenka, who was telling them something with great animation.

`It's exceedingly nice at their place,' Veslovsky was telling them about Vronsky and Anna. `I can't, of course, take it upon myself to judge, but in their house you feel the real feeling of home.'

`What do they intend doing?'

`I believe they think of going to Moscow for the winter.'

`How jolly it would be for us all to go over to them together! When are you going there?' Stepan Arkadyevich asked Vassenka.

`I'm spending July there.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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