The Princess began talking to him, but he did not hear her. Though the conversation with the Princess had indeed jarred upon him, he was gloomy not on account of that conversation, but from what he saw at the samovar.

`No, it's impossible,' he thought, glancing now and then at Vassenka bending over Kitty, telling her something with his charming smile, and at her, flushed and disturbed.

There was something unclean in Vassenka's attitude, in his eyes, in his smile. Levin even saw something unclean in Kitty's attitude and look. And again the light died away in his eyes. Again, as before, all of a sudden, without the slightest transition, he felt cast down from a pinnacle of happiness, peace, and dignity, into an abyss of despair, rage, and humiliation. Again everything and everyone had become hateful to him.

`You do just as you think best, Princess,' he said again, looking round.

`Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown!' Stepan Arkadyevich said playfully, hinting, evidently, not simply at the Princess's conversation, but at the cause of Levin's agitation, which he had noticed. `How late you are today, Dolly!'

Everyone got up to greet Darya Alexandrovna. Vassenka only rose for an instant, and, with the lack of courtesy to ladies characteristic of the modern young man, he scarcely bowed, and resumed his conversation again, laughing at something.

`Masha has been almost the end of me. She did not sleep well, and is dreadfully capricious today,' said Dolly.

The conversation Vassenka had started with Kitty was running on the same lines as on the previous evening - discussing Anna, and whether love is to be put higher than worldly considerations. Kitty disliked the conversation, and she was disturbed both by the subject and the tone in which it was conducted, and especially by the knowledge of the effect it would have on her husband. But she was too simple and unsophisticated to know how to cut short this conversation, or even to conceal the superficial pleasure afforded her by the young man's very obvious admiration. She wanted to stop this conversation, but she did not know what to do. Whatever she did, she knew it would be observed by her husband, and the worst interpretation put on it. And, in fact, when she asked Dolly what was wrong with Masha, and Vassenka, waiting till this uninteresting conversation was over, began to gaze indifferently at Dolly, the question struck Levin as an unnatural and disgusting piece of hypocrisy.

`What do you say, shall we go and look for mushrooms today?' said Dolly.

`By all means, please, and I shall come too,' said Kitty, and she blushed. She wanted from politeness to ask Vassenka whether he would come, and she did not ask him. `Where are you going, Kostia?' she asked her husband with a guilty face, as he passed by her with a resolute step. This guilty air confirmed all his suspicions.

`The mechanician came when I was away; I haven't seen him yet,' he said, not looking at her.

He went downstairs, but before he had time to leave his study he heard his wife's familiar footsteps running with reckless speed to him.

`What do you want?' he said to her shortly. `We are busy.'

`I beg your pardon,' she said to the German mechanician; `I want a few words with my husband.'

The German would have left the room, but Levin said to him:

`Don't disturb yourself'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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