Anna Karenina eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,033 pages of information about Anna Karenina.
for which she watched.  But to the prince the brightness and gaiety of the June morning, and the sound of the orchestra playing a gay waltz then in fashion, and above all, the appearance of the healthy attendants, seemed something unseemly and monstrous, in conjunction with these slowly moving, dying figures gathered together from all parts of Europe.  In spite of his feeling of pride and, as it were, of the return of youth, with his favorite daughter on his arm, he felt awkward, and almost ashamed of his vigorous step and his sturdy, stout limbs.  He felt almost like a man not dressed in a crowd.

“Present me to your new friends,” he said to his daughter, squeezing her hand with his elbow.  “I like even your horrid Soden for making you so well again.  Only it’s melancholy, very melancholy here.  Who’s that?”

Kitty mentioned the names of all the people they met, with some of whom she was acquainted and some not.  At the entrance of the garden they met the blind lady, Madame Berthe, with her guide, and the prince was delighted to see the old Frenchwoman’s face light up when she heard Kitty’s voice.  She at once began talking to him with French exaggerated politeness, applauding him for having such a delightful daughter, extolling Kitty to the skies before her face, and calling her a treasure, a pearl, and a consoling angel.

“Well, she’s the second angel, then,” said the prince, smiling. “she calls Mademoiselle Varenka angel number one.”

“Oh!  Mademoiselle Varenka, she’s a real angel, allez,” Madame Berthe assented.

In the arcade they met Varenka herself.  She was walking rapidly towards them carrying an elegant red bag.

“Here is papa come,” Kitty said to her.

Varenka made—­simply and naturally as she did everything—­a movement between a bow and a curtsey, and immediately began talking to the prince, without shyness, naturally, as she talked to everyone.

“Of course I know you; I know you very well,” the prince said to her with a smile, in which Kitty detected with joy that her father liked her friend.  “Where are you off to in such haste?”

“Maman’s here,” she said, turning to Kitty.  “She has not slept all night, and the doctor advised her to go out.  I’m taking her her work.”

“So that’s angel number one?” said the prince when Varenka had gone on.

Kitty saw that her father had meant to make fun of Varenka, but that he could not do it because he liked her.

“Come, so we shall see all your friends,” he went on, “even Madame Stahl, if she deigns to recognize me.”

“Why, did you know her, papa?” Kitty asked apprehensively, catching the gleam of irony that kindled in the prince’s eyes at the mention of Madame Stahl.

“I used to know her husband, and her too a little, before she’d joined the Pietists.”

“What is a Pietist, papa?” asked Kitty, dismayed to find that what she prized so highly in Madame Stahl had a name.

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Project Gutenberg
Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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