Levin got up and went with him to the big table spread with spirits and appetizers of the most varied kinds. One would have thought that out of two dozen delicacies one might find something to one's taste, but Stepan Arkadyevich asked for something special, and one of the liveried waiters standing by immediately brought what was required. They drank a pony each and returned to their table.
At once, while they were still at their soup, Gaghin was served with champagne, and told the waiter to fill four glasses. Levin did not refuse the wine, and asked for a second bottle. He was very hungry, and ate and drank with great enjoyment, and with still greater enjoyment took part in the lively and simple conversation of his companions. Gaghin, dropping his voice, told the last good story from Peterburg, and the story, though improper and stupid, was so ludicrous that Levin broke into roars of laughter so loud that those near looked round.
`That's in the same style as, ``that's a thing I can't endure!' You know the story?' said Stepan Arkadyevich. `Ah, that's exquisite! Another bottle,' he said to the waiter, and he began to relate his good story.
`Piotr Illyich Vinovsky invites you to drink with him,' a little old waiter interrupted Stepan Arkadyevich, bringing two delicate glasses of sparkling champagne, and addressing Stepan Arkadyevich and Levin. Stepan Arkadyevich took the glass, and looking toward a bald man with red mustaches at the other end of the table, he nodded to him, smiling.
`Who's that?' asked Levin.
`You met him once at my place, don't you remember? A good-natured fellow.'
Levin did the same as Stepan Arkadyevich and took the glass.
Stepan Arkadyevich's anecdote too was very amusing. Levin told his story, and that too was successful. Then they talked of horses, of the races, of what they had been doing that day, and of how smartly Vronsky's Atlas had won the first prize. Levin did not notice how the time passed at dinner.
`Ah! And here they are!' Stepan Arkadyevich said toward the end of dinner, leaning over the back of his chair and holding out his hand to Vronsky, who came up with a tall colonel of the Guards. Vronsky's face too beamed with the look of good-humored enjoyment that was general in the club. He propped his elbow playfully on Stepan Arkadyevich's shoulder, whispering something to him, and he held out his hand to Levin with the same good-humored smile.
`Very glad to meet you,' he said. `I looked out for you at the election, but I was told you had gone away.'
`Yes, I left the same day. We've just been talking of your horse. I congratulate you,' said Levin. `It was run in very fast time.'
`Yes; you've race horses too, haven't you?'
`No, my father had; but I remember and know something about them.'
`Where have you dined?' asked Stepan Arkadyevich.
`We were at the second table, behind the columns.'
`We've been celebrating his success,' said the tall colonel. `It's his second Imperial prize. I wish I might have the luck at cards he has with horses.'
`Well, why waste precious time? I'm going to the ``infernal regions,'' added the colonel, and he walked away.
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