Anna Karenina eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,033 pages of information about Anna Karenina.
this.  Then a small gentleman, very young-looking but very malignant, began to say that it would probably be agreeable to the marshal of the province to give an account of his expenditures of the public moneys, and that the misplaced delicacy of the members of the committee was depriving him of this moral satisfaction.  Then the members of the committee tried to withdraw their admission, and Sergey Ivanovitch began to prove that they must logically admit either that they had verified the accounts or that they had not, and he developed this dilemma in detail.  Sergey Ivanovitch was answered by the spokesman of the opposite party.  Then Sviazhsky spoke, and then the malignant gentleman again.  The discussion lasted a long time and ended in nothing.  Levin was surprised that they should dispute upon this subject so long, especially as, when he asked Sergey Ivanovitch whether he supposed that money had been misappropriated, Sergey Ivanovitch answered: 

“Oh, no!  He’s an honest man.  But those old-fashioned methods of paternal family arrangements in the management of provincial affairs must be broken down.”

On the fifth day came the elections of the district marshals.  It was rather a stormy day in several districts.  In the Seleznevsky district Sviazhsky was elected unanimously without a ballot, and he gave a dinner that evening.

Chapter 27

The sixth day was fixed for the election of the marshal of the province.

The rooms, large and small, were full of noblemen in all sorts of uniforms.  Many had come only for that day.  Men who had not seen each other for years, some from the Crimea, some from Petersburg, some from abroad, met in the rooms of the Hall of Nobility.  There was much discussion around the governor’s table under the portrait of the Tsar.

The nobles, both in the larger and the smaller rooms, grouped themselves in camps, and from their hostile and suspicious glances, from the silence that fell upon them when outsiders approached a group, and from the way that some, whispering together, retreated to the farther corridor, it was evident that each side had secrets from the other.  In appearance the noblemen were sharply divided into two classes:  the old and the new.  The old were for the most part either in old uniforms of the nobility, buttoned up closely, with spurs and hats, or in their own special naval, cavalry, infantry, or official uniforms.  The uniforms of the older men were embroidered in the old-fashioned way with epaulets on their shoulders; they were unmistakably tight and short in the waist, as though their wearers had grown out of them.  The younger men wore the uniform of the nobility with long waists and broad shoulders, unbuttoned over white waistcoats, or uniforms with black collars and with the embroidered badges of justices of the peace.  To the younger men belonged the court uniforms that here and there brightened up the crowd.

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Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.