Kitty was standing, with her sleeves tucked up, over the baby in the bath. Hearing her husband's footstep, she turned toward him, summoning him to her with her smile. With one hand she was supporting the fat baby that lay floating and sprawling on its back, while with the other she squeezed the sponge over him.

`Come, look, look!' she said, when her husband came up to her. `Agathya Mikhailovna's right. He knows us!'

Mitia had on that day given unmistakable, incontestable signs of recognizing all his friends.

As soon as Levin approached the bath, the experiment was tried, and it was completely successful. The cook, sent for with this object, bent over the baby. He frowned and shook his head disapprovingly. Kitty bent down to him, he gave her a beaming smile, propped his little hands on the sponge and chirruped, making such a queer little contented sound with his lips that Kitty and the nurse were not alone in their admiration - Levin, too, was surprised and delighted.

The baby was taken out of the bath, drenched with water, wrapped in towels, dried, and, after a piercing scream, handed to his mother.

`Well, I am glad you are beginning to love him,' said Kitty to her husband, when she had settled herself comfortably in her usual place, with the baby at her breast. `I am so glad! It had begun to distress me. You said you had no feeling for him.'

`No; did I say that? I only said I was disappointed.'

`What! Disappointed in him?'

`Not disappointed in him, but in my own feeling; I had expected more. I had expected a rush of new delightful emotion to come as a surprise. And then instead of that - disgust, pity...'

She listened attentively, looking at him over the baby, while she put back on her slender fingers the rings she had taken off while giving Mitia his bath.

`And most of all, at there being far more apprehension and pity than pleasure. Today, after that fright during the storm, I understand how I love him.'

Kitty's smile was radiant.

`Were you very much frightened?' she said. `So was I, too, but I feel it more now that it's over. I'm going to look at the oak. How charming Katavassov is! And what a happy day we've had altogether. And you're so amiable with Sergei Ivanovich, when you care to be... Well, go back to them. It's always so hot and steamy here after the bath....'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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