`Will you go?' Stepan Arkadyevich said to his wife.

`I've been wanting to a long while; I shall certainly go,' said Dolly. `I am sorry for her, and I know her. She's a splendid woman. I will go alone, when you go back, and then I shall be in no one's way. And it will be better indeed without you.'

`To be sure,' said Stepan Arkadyevich. `And you, Kitty?'

`I? Why should I go?' Kitty said, flushing all over, and she glanced round at her husband.

`Do you know Anna Arkadyevna, then?' Veslovsky asked her. `She's a very fascinating woman?'

`Yes,' she answered Veslovsky, crimsoning still more. She got up and walked across to her husband.

`Are you going shooting, then, tomorrow?' she said.

His jealousy had in these few moments, especially at the flush that had overspread her cheeks while she was talking to Veslovsky, gone far indeed. Now as he heard her words, he construed them in his own fashion. Strange as it was to him afterward to recall it, it seemed to him at the moment clear that in asking whether he was going shooting, all she cared to know was whether he would give that pleasure to Vassenka Veslovsky, with whom, as he fancied, she was in love.

`Yes, I'm going,' he answered her in an unnatural voice, disagreeable to himself.

`No, better spend the day here tomorrow, or Dolly won't see anything of her husband, and set off the day after,' said Kitty.

The motive of Kitty's words was interpreted by Levin thus: `Don't separate me from him. I don't care about your going, but do let me enjoy the society of this delightful young man.'

`Oh, if you wish, we'll stay here tomorrow,' Levin answered, with peculiar amiability.

Vassenka meanwhile, utterly unsuspecting the misery his presence had occasioned, got up from the table after Kitty, and watching her with smiling and admiring eyes, he followed her.

Levin saw that look. He turned white, and for a minute he could hardly breathe. `How dare he look at my wife like that!' was the feeling that boiled within him.

`Tomorrow, then? Do, please, let us go,' said Vassenka, sitting down on a chair, and again crossing his leg as his habit was.

Levin's jealousy went further still. Already he saw himself a deceived husband, looked upon by his wife and her lover as simply necessary to provide them with the conveniences and pleasures of life.... But in spite of that he made polite and hospitable inquiries of Vassenka about his shooting, his gun, and his boots, and agreed to go shooting next day.

Happily for Levin, the old Princess cut short his agonies by getting up herself and advising Kitty to go to bed. But even at this point Levin could not escape another agony. As he said good night to his hostess, Vassenka would again have kissed her hand, but Kitty, reddening, drew back her hand and said with a naïve bluntness, for which the old Princess scolded her afterward:

`We don't like that fashion.'

In Levin's eyes she was to blame for having allowed such relations to arise, and still more to blame for showing so awkwardly that she did not like them.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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