For a second he felt that he was sharing the feeling of Agafea Mihalovna, vexation at their making jam without water, and altogether at the outside Shtcherbatsky element. He smiled, however, and went up to Kitty.
“Well, how are you?” he asked her, looking at her with the expression with which everyone looked at her now.
“Oh, very well,” said Kitty, smiling, “and how have things gone with you?”
“The wagons held three times as much as the old carts did. Well, are we going for the children? I’ve ordered the horses to be put in.”
“What! you want to take Kitty in the wagonette?” her mother said reproachfully.
“Yes, at a walking pace, princess.”
Levin never called the princess “maman” as men often do call their mothers-in-law, and the princess disliked his not doing so. But though he liked and respected the princess, Levin could not call her so without a sense of profaning his feeling for his dead mother.
“Come with us, maman,” said Kitty.
“I don’t like to see such imprudence.”
“Well, I’ll walk then, I’m so well.” Kitty got up and went to her husband and took his hand.
“You may be well, but everything in moderation,” said the princess.
“Well, Agafea Mihalovna, is the jam done?” said Levin, smiling to Agafea Mihalovna, and trying to cheer her up. “Is it all right in the new way?”
“I suppose it’s all right. For our notions it’s boiled too long.”
“It’ll be all the better, Agafea Mihalovna, it won’t mildew, even though our ice has begun to thaw already, so that we’ve no cool cellar to store it,” said Kitty, at once divining her husband’s motive, and addressing the old housekeeper with the same feeling; “but your pickle’s so good, that mamma says she never tasted any like it,” she added, smiling, and putting her kerchief straight.
Agafea Mihalovna looked angrily at Kitty.
“You needn’t try to console me, mistress. I need only to look at you with him, and I feel happy,” she said, and something in the rough familiarity of that with him touched Kitty.
“Come along with us to look for mushrooms, you will show us the best places.” Agafea Mihalovna smiled and shook her head, as though to say: “I should like to be angry with you too, but I can’t.”
“Do it, please, by my receipt,” said the princess; “put some paper over the jam, and moisten it with a little rum, and without even ice, it will never go mildewy.”
Kitty was particularly glad of a chance of being alone with her husband, for she had noticed the shade of mortification that had passed over his face—always so quick to reflect every feeling—at the moment when he had come onto the terrace and asked what they were talking of, and had got no answer.