Chapter 14

Next day at ten o'clock Levin, who had already gone his rounds, knocked at the room where Vassenka had been put for the night.

`Entrez!' Veslovsky called to him. `Excuse me, I've only just finished my ablutions,' he said, smiling, standing before him in his underclothes only.

`Don't mind me, please,' Levin sat down in the window. `Have you slept well?'

`Like the dead. What sort of day is it for shooting?'

`What will you take, tea or coffee?'

`Neither. I'll wait till lunch. I'm really ashamed. I suppose the ladies are down? A walk now would be capital. You show me your horses.'

After walking about the garden, visiting the stable, and even doing some gymnastic exercises together on the parallel bars, Levin returned to the house with his guest, and went with him into the drawing room.

`We had splendid shooting, and so many delightful experiences!' said Veslovsky, going up to Kitty, who was sitting at the samovar. `What a pity ladies are cut off from these delights!'

`Well, I suppose he must say something to the lady of the house,' Levin said to himself. Again he fancied something in the smile, in the all-conquering air with which their guest addressed Kitty...

The Princess, sitting on the other side of the table with Marya Vlassyevna and Stepan Arkadyevich, called Levin to her side, and began to talk to him about moving to Moscow for Kitty's confinement, and getting ready rooms for them. Just as Levin had disliked all the trivial preparations for his wedding, as derogatory to the grandeur of the event, now he felt still more offensive the preparations for the approaching birth, the date of which they reckoned, it seemed, on their fingers. He tried to turn a deaf ear to these discussions of the best patterns of long clothes for the coming baby; tried to turn away and avoid seeing the mysterious, endless strips of knitting, the triangles of linen, to which Dolly attached special importance, and so on. The birth of a son (he was certain it would be a son) which was promised him, but which he still could not believe in - so marvelous it seemed - presented itself to his mind, on one hand, as a happiness so immense, and therefore so incredible; on the other, as an event so mysterious, that this assumption of a definite knowledge of what would be, and consequent preparation for it, as for something ordinary that did happen to people, jarred on him as confusing and humiliating.

But the Princess did not understand his feelings, and put down his reluctance to think and talk about it to carelessness and indifference, and so she gave him no peace. She had commissioned Stepan Arkadyevich to look at an apartment, and now she called Levin to her.

`I know nothing about it, Princess. Do as you think fit,' he said.

`You must decide when you will move.'

`I really don't know. I know millions of children are born away from Moscow, and doctors... Why...'

`But if so...'

`Oh, no, as Kitty wishes.'

`We can't talk to Kitty about it! Do you want me to frighten her? Why, this spring Natalie Golitzina died from having an ignorant doctor.'

`I will do just what you say,' he said gloomily.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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