Chapter 30

Sviiazhsky took Levin's arm, and went with him to his own friends. This time there was no avoiding Vronsky. He was standing with Stepan Arkadyevich and Sergei Ivanovich, and looking straight at Levin as he drew near.

`Delighted! I believe I've had the pleasure of meeting you... at Princess Shcherbatskaia's,' he said, giving Levin his hand.

`Yes, I quite remember our meeting,' said Levin, and, blushing crimson, he turned away immediately, and began talking to his brother.

With a slight smile Vronsky went on talking to Sviiazhsky, obviously without the slightest inclination to enter into conversation with Levin. But Levin, as he talked to his brother, was continually looking round at Vronsky, trying to think of something to say to him to smooth over his rudeness.

`What are we waiting for now?' asked Levin, looking at Sviiazhsky and Vronsky.

`For Snetkov. He has to refuse or accept the candidacy,' answered Sviiazhsky.

`Well, and what has he done - consented or not?'

`That's the point: he's done neither,' said Vronsky.

`And if he refuses, who will run then?' asked Levin, looking at Vronsky.

`Whoever chooses to,' said Sviiazhsky.

`Shall you?' asked Levin.

`Certainly not I,' said Sviiazhsky, looking confused, and turning an alarmed glance at the venomous gentleman, who was standing beside Sergei Ivanovich.

`Who then? Neviedovsky?' said Levin, feeling he was putting his foot into it.

But this was worse still. Neviedovsky and Sviiazhsky were the two candidates.

`I certainly shall not, under any circumstances,' answered the venomous gentleman.

This was Neviedovsky himself. Sviiazhsky introduced him to Levin.

`Well, do you find it exciting too?' said Stepan Arkadyevich, winking at Vronsky. `It's something like a race. One might bet on it.'

`Yes, it is keenly exciting,' said Vronsky. `And once taking the thing up, one's eager to see it through. It's a fight!' he said, scowling and setting his powerful jaws.

`What a businessman Sviiazhsky is! Sees it all so clearly.'

`Oh, yes!' Vronsky assented indifferently.

A silence followed, during which Vronsky - since he had to look at something - looked at Levin, at his feet, at his frock coat, then at his face, and noticing his gloomy eyes fixed upon him, he said, in order to say something:

`How is it that you, living constantly in the country, are not a justice of the peace? You are not in the uniform of one.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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