Anna Karenina eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,033 pages of information about Anna Karenina.
her husband’s house, as he saw now in Kitty’s case.  She would owe everything to her husband, which was what he had always desired too for his future family life.  And this girl, who united all these qualities, loved him.  He was a modest man, but he could not help seeing it.  And he loved her.  There was one consideration against it—­his age.  But he came of a long-lived family, he had not a single gray hair, no one would have taken him for forty, and he remembered Varenka’s saying that it was only in Russia that men of fifty thought themselves old, and that in France a man of fifty considers himself dans la force de l’age, while a man of forty is un jeune homme.  But what did the mere reckoning of years matter when he felt as young in heart as he had been twenty years ago?  Was it not youth to feel as he felt now, when coming from the other side to the edge of the wood he saw in the glowing light of the slanting sunbeams the gracious figure of Varenka in her yellow gown with her basket, walking lightly by the trunk of an old birch tree, and when this impression of the sight of Varenka blended so harmoniously with the beauty of the view, of the yellow oatfield lying bathed in the slanting sunshine, and beyond it the distant ancient forest flecked with yellow and melting into the blue of the distance?  His heart throbbed joyously.  A softened feeling came over him.  He felt that he had made up his mind.  Varenka, who had just crouched down to pick a mushroom, rose with a supple movement and looked round.  Flinging away the cigar, Sergey Ivanovitch advanced with resolute steps towards her.

Chapter 5

“Varvara Andreevna, when I was very young, I set before myself the ideal of the woman I loved and should be happy to call my wife.  I have lived through a long life, and now for the first time I have met what I sought—­in you.  I love you, and offer you my hand.”

Sergey Ivanovitch was saying this to himself while he was ten paces from Varvara.  Kneeling down, with her hands over the mushrooms to guard them from Grisha, she was calling little Masha.

“Come here, little ones!  There are so many!” she was saying in her sweet, deep voice.

Seeing Sergey Ivanovitch approaching, she did not get up and did not change her position, but everything told him that she felt his presence and was glad of it.

“Well, did you find some?” she asked from under the white kerchief, turning her handsome, gently smiling face to him.

“Not one,” said Sergey Ivanovitch.  “Did you?”

She did not answer, busy with the children who thronged about her.

“That one too, near the twig,” she pointed out to little Masha a little fungus, split in half across its rosy cap by the dry grass from under which it thrust itself.  Varenka got up while Masha picked the fungus, breaking it into two white halves.  “This brings back my childhood,” she added, moving apart from the children beside Sergey Ivanovitch.

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Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.