Part 06, Chapter 01
Author : Leo Tolstoy
Darya Alexandrovna spent the summer with her children at
Pokrovskoe, at her sister Kitty Levin’s. The house on her own
estate was quite in ruins, and Levin and his wife had persuaded
her to spend the summer with them. Stepan Arkadyevitch greatly
approved of the arrangement. He said he was very sorry his
official duties prevented him from spending the summer in the
country with his family, which would have been the greatest
happiness for him; and remaining in Moscow, he came down to the
country from time to time for a day or two. Besides the
Oblonskys, with all their children and their governess, the old
princess too came to stay that summer with the Levins, as she
considered it her duty to watch over her inexperienced daughter in
her interesting condition. Moreover, Varenka, Kitty’s friend
abroad, kept her promise to come to Kitty when she was married,
and stayed with her friend. All of these were friends or
relations of Levin’s wife. And though he liked them all, he
rather regretted his own Levin world and ways, which was
smothered by this influx of the "Shtcherbatsky element," as he
called it to himself. Of his own relations there stayed with him
only Sergey Ivanovitch, but he too was a man of the Koznishev and
not the Levin stamp, so that the Levin spirit was utterly
In the Levins’ house, so long deserted, there were now so many
people that almost all the rooms were occupied, and almost every
day it happened that the old princess, sitting down to table,
counted them all over, and put the thirteenth grandson or
granddaughter at a separate table. And Kitty, with her careful
housekeeping, had no little trouble to get all the chickens,
turkeys, and geese, of which so many were needed to satisfy the
summer appetites of the visitors and children.
The whole family were sitting at dinner. Dolly’s children, with
their governess and Varenka, were making plans for going to look
for mushrooms. Sergey Ivanovitch, who was looked up to by all
the party for his intellect and learning, with a respect that
almost amounted to awe, surprised everyone by joining in the
conversation about mushrooms.
"Take me with you. I am very fond of picking mushrooms," he
said, looking at Varenka; "I think it’s a very nice occupation."
"Oh, we shall be delighted," answered Varenka, coloring a little.
Kitty exchanged meaningful glances with Dolly. The proposal of
the learned and intellectual Sergey Ivanovitch to go looking for
mushrooms with Varenka confirmed certain theories of Kitty’s with
which her mind had been very busy of late. She made haste to
address some remark to her mother, so that her look should not be
noticed. After dinner Sergey Ivanovitch sat with his cup of
coffee at the drawing-room window, and while he took part in a
conversation he had begun with his brother, he watched the door
through which the children would start on the mushroom-picking
expedition. Levin was sitting in the window near his brother.
Kitty stood beside her husband, evidently awaiting the end of a
conversation that had no interest for her, in order to tell him
"You have changed in many respects since your marriage, and for
the better," said Sergey Ivanovitch, smiling to Kitty, and
obviously little interested in the conversation, "but you have
remained true to your passion for defending the most paradoxical
"Katya, it’s not good for you to stand," her husband said to her,
putting a chair for her and looking significantly at her.
"Oh, and there’s no time either," added Sergey Ivanovitch, seeing
the children running out.
At the head of them all Tanya galloped sideways, in her tightly-drawn
stockings, and waving a basket and Sergey Ivanovitch’s hat, she ran
straight up to him.
Boldly running up to Sergey Ivanovitch with shining eyes, so like
her father’s fine eyes, she handed him his hat and made as though
she would put it on for him, softening her freedom by a shy and
"Varenka’s waiting," she said, carefully putting his hat on,
seeing from Sergey Ivanovitch’s smile that she might do so.
Varenka was standing at the door, dressed in a yellow print gown,
with a white kerchief on her head.
"I’m coming, I’m coming, Varvara Andreevna," said Sergey
Ivanovitch, finishing his cup of coffee, and putting into their
separate pockets his handkerchief and cigar-case.
"And how sweet my Varenka is! eh?" said Kitty to her husband, as
soon as Sergey Ivanovitch rose. She spoke so that Sergey
Ivanovitch could hear, and it was clear that she meant him to do
so. "And how good-looking she is—such a refined beauty!
Varenka!" Kitty shouted. "Shall you be in the mill copse? We’ll
come out to you."
"You certainly forget your condition, Kitty," said the old
princess, hurriedly coming out at the door. "You mustn’t shout
Varenka, hearing Kitty’s voice and her mother’s reprimand, went
with light, rapid steps up to Kitty. The rapidity of her
movement, her flushed and eager face, everything betrayed that
something out of the common was going on in her. Kitty knew what
this was, and had been watching her intently. She called Varenka
at that moment merely in order mentally to give her a blessing
for the important event which, as Kitty fancied, was bound to
come to pass that day after dinner in the wood.
"Varenka, I should be very happy if a certain something were to
happen," she whispered as she kissed her.
"And are you coming with us?" Varenka said to Levin in confusion,
pretending not to have heard what had been said.
"I am coming, but only as far as the threshing-floor, and there I
"Why, what do you want there?" said Kitty.
"I must go to have a look at the new wagons, and to check the
invoice," said Levin; "and where will you be?"
"On the terrace."
From : Gutenberg.org.
November 30, 1876 : Part 06, Chapter 01 -- Publication.
February 15, 2017 : Part 06, Chapter 01 -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.
May 28, 2017 : Part 06, Chapter 01 -- Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.
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