Chapter 7

Levin reached the club just at the right time. Members and visitors were driving up as he arrived. Levin had not been at the club for a very long while - not since he lived in Moscow, when he was leaving the university and going into society. He remembered the club, the external details of its arrangement, but he had completely forgotten the impression it had made on him in old days. But as soon as, driving into the wide semicircular court and getting out of the cab, he mounted the steps, and the hall porter, adorned with a crossbelt, noiselessly opened the door to him with a bow; as soon as he saw in the porter's room the cloaks and galoshes of members who thought it less trouble to take them off downstairs; as soon as he heard the mysterious ringing bell that preceded him as he ascended the low-stepped, carpeted staircase, and saw the statue on the landing, and the third porter at the top doors, a familiar figure grown older, in the club livery, opening the door without haste or delay, and scanning the visitors as they passed in - Levin felt the old impression of the club come back in a rush, an impression of repose, comfort, and propriety.

`Your hat, please,' the porter said to Levin, who forgot the club rule of checking his hat in the porter's room. `Long time since you've been here. The Prince put your name down yesterday. Prince Stepan Arkadyevich is not here yet.'

The porter not only knew Levin, but also all his connections and relationships, and so immediately mentioned his intimate friends.

Passing through the outer hall, divided up by screens, and the room partitioned on the right, where a man sits at the fruit buffet, Levin passed by a shuffling old man, and entered the dining room, full of noise and people.

He walked along the tables, almost all full, and scrutinized the visitors. He saw people of all sorts, old and young; some he knew a little; some were intimate friends. There was not a single cross or worried- looking face. All seemed to have checked their cares and anxieties in the porter's room with their hats, and were all deliberately getting ready to enjoy the material blessings of life. Sviiazhsky was here and Shcherbatsky, Neviedovsky and the old Prince, and Vronsky and Sergei Ivanovich.

`Ah! Why are you late?' the Prince said smiling, and giving him his hand over his own shoulder. `How's Kitty?' he added, smoothing out the napkin he had tucked in at his waistcoat buttons.

`Very well; they are dining at home, all three of them.'

`Ah, ``Alines-Nadines' to be sure! There's no room with us. Go to that table, and make haste and take a seat,' said the Prince, and turning away he carefully took a plate of burbot soup.

`Levin, this way!' a good-natured voice shouted a little farther on. It was Turovtsin. He was sitting with a young officer, and beside them were two chairs tipped over. Levin gladly went up to them. He had always liked the goodhearted rake, Turovtsin - he was associated in his mind with memories of his courtship - and at that moment, after the strain of intellectual conversation, the sight of Turovtsin's good-natured face was particularly welcome.

`For you and Oblonsky. He'll be here directly.'

The young man, holding himself very erect, with eyes forever twinkling with enjoyment, was an officer from Peterburg, Gaghin. Turovtsin introduced them.

`Oblonsky's always late.'

`Ah, here he is!

`Have you only just come?' said Oblonsky, coming quickly toward them. `Good day. Had some vodka? Well, come along then.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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