Chapter 15

After escorting his wife upstairs, Levin went to Dolly's part of the house. Darya Alexandrovna, for her part, was also in great distress that day. She was walking about the room, talking angrily to a little girl, who stood in the corner bawling.

`And you shall stand all day in the corner, and have your dinner all alone, and not see one of your dolls, and I won't make you a new frock,' she said, not knowing how to punish her.

`Oh, she is a disgusting child!' she turned to Levin. `Where does she get such wicked propensities?'

`Why, what has she done?' Levin said without much interest, for he had wanted to ask her advice, and so was annoyed that he had come at an unlucky moment.

`Grisha and she went into the raspberries, and there... I can't tell you really what she did. It's a thousand pities Miss Elliot's not with us. This one sees to nothing - she's a machine.... Figurez-vous que la petite?...'

And Darya Alexandrovna described Masha's crime.

`That proves nothing; it's not a question of evil propensities at all, it's simply mischief,' Levin assured her.

`But you are upset about something? What have you come for?' asked Dolly. `What's going on there?'

And in the tone of her question Levin heard that it would be easy for him to say what he had meant to say.

`I've not been in there, I've been alone in the garden with Kitty. We've had a quarrel for the second time since... Stiva came.'

Dolly looked at him with her shrewd, comprehending eyes.

`Come, tell me, honor bright, has there been... Not in Kitty, but in that gentleman's behavior, a tone which might be unpleasant - not unpleasant, but horrible, offensive to a husband?'

`You mean, how shall I say... Stand there - stand in the corner!' she said to Masha, who, detecting a faint smile on her mother's face, had been turning round. `The opinion of the world would be that he is behaving as young men do behave. Il fait le cour à une jeune et jolie femme, and a husband who's a man of the world should only be flattered by it.'

`Yes, yes,' said Levin gloomily; `but you noticed it?'

`Not only I, but Stiva noticed it. Just after breakfast he said to me: Je crois que Veslovsky fait un petit brin de cour à Kitty.'

`Well, that's all right then; now I'm satisfied. I'll send him away,' said Levin.

`What do you mean! Are you crazy?' Dolly cried in horror. `Nonsense, Kostia, only think!' she said, laughing. `You can go now to Fanny,' she said to Masha. `No, if you wish it, I'll speak to Stiva. He'll take him away. He can say you're expecting visitors. Altogether he doesn't fit into the house.'

`No, no, I'll do it myself.'

`But you'll quarrel with him?'

`Not a bit. I shall so enjoy it,' Levin said, his eyes flashing with real enjoyment. `Come, forgive her, Dolly, she won't do it again,' he said of the little sinner, who had not gone to Fanny, but was standing irresolutely before her mother, waiting and looking up from under her brows to catch her mother's eye.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.