“Not at all. Quite the contrary; a child can kill a bear,” he said, with a slight bow moving aside for the ladies, who were approaching the table.
“You have killed a bear, I’ve been told!” said Kitty, trying assiduously to catch with her fork a perverse mushroom that would slip away, and setting the lace quivering over her white arm. “Are there bears on your place?” she added, turning her charming little head to him and smiling.
There was apparently nothing extraordinary in what she said, but what unutterable meaning there was for him in every sound, in every turn of her lips, her eyes, her hand as she said it! There was entreaty for forgiveness, and trust in him, and tenderness— soft, timid tenderness—and promise and hope and love for him, which he could not but believe in and which choked him with happiness.
“No, we’ve been hunting in the Tver province. It was coming back from there that I met your beaufrere in the train, or your beaufrere’s brother-in-law,” he said with a smile. “It was an amusing meeting.”
And he began telling with droll good-humor how, after not sleeping all night, he had, wearing an old fur-lined, full-skirted coat, got into Alexey Alexandrovitch’s compartment.
“The conductor, forgetting the proverb, would have chucked me out on account of my attire; but thereupon I began expressing my feelings in elevated language, and...you, too,” he said, addressing Karenin and forgetting his name, “at first would have ejected me on the ground of the old coat, but afterwards you took my part, for which I am extremely grateful.”
“The rights of passengers generally to choose their seats are too ill-defined,” said Alexey Alexandrovitch, rubbing the tips of his fingers on his handkerchief.
“I saw you were in uncertainty about me,” said Levin, smiling good-naturedly, “but I made haste to plunge into intellectual conversation to smooth over the defects of my attire.” Sergey Ivanovitch, while he kept up a conversation with their hostess, had one ear for his brother, and he glanced askance at him. “What is the matter with him today? Why such a conquering hero?” he thought. He did not know that Levin was feeling as though he had grown wings. Levin knew she was listening to his words and that she was glad to listen to him. And this was the only thing that interested him. Not in that room only, but in the whole world, there existed for him only himself, with enormously increased importance and dignity in his own eyes, and she. He felt himself on a pinnacle that made him giddy, and far away down below were all those nice excellent Karenins, Oblonskys, and all the world.
Quite without attracting notice, without glancing at them, as though there were no other places left, Stepan Arkadyevitch put Levin and Kitty side by side.
“Oh, you may as well sit there,” he said to Levin.