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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAnna Karenina - Part Seven - Chapter 8
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Anna Karenina - Part Seven - Chapter 8 Post by :Redrik Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :January 2011 Read :3291

Click below to download : Anna Karenina - Part Seven - Chapter 8 (Format : PDF)

Anna Karenina - Part Seven - Chapter 8

Getting up from the table, Levin walked with Gagin through the
lofty room to the billiard-room, feeling his arms swing as he
walked with a peculiar lightness and ease. As he crossed the big
room, he came upon his father-in-law.

"Well, how do you like our Temple of Indolence?" said the prince,
taking his arm. "Come along, come along!"

"Yes, I wanted to walk about and look at everything. It's
interesting."

"Yes, it's interesting for you. But its interest for me is quite
different. You look at those little old men now," he said,
pointing to a club member with bent back and projecting lip,
shuffling towards them in his soft boots, "and imagine that they
were shlupiks like that from their birth up."

"How shlupiks?"

"I see you don't know that name. That's our club designation. You
know the game of rolling eggs: when one's rolled a long while it
becomes a shlupik. So it is with us; one goes on coming and
coming to the club, and ends by becoming a shlupik. Ah, you
laugh! but we look out, for fear of dropping into it ourselves.
You know Prince Tchetchensky?" inquired the prince; and Levin saw
by his face that he was just going to relate something funny.

"No, I don't know him."

"You don't say so! Well, Prince Tchetchensky is a well-known
figure. No matter, though. He's always playing billiards here.
Only three years ago he was not a shlupik and kept up his spirits
and even used to call other people shlupiks. But one day he turns
up, and our porter ...you know Vassily? Why, that fat one;
he's famous for his bon moss. And so Prince Tchetchensky asks
him, 'Come, Vassily, who's here? Any shlupiks here yet?' And he
says, 'You're the third.' Yes, my dear boy, that he did!"

Talking and greeting the friends they met, Levin and the prince
walked through all the rooms: the great room where tables had
already been set, and the usual partners were playing for small
stakes; the divanroom, where they were playing chess, and Sergey
Ivanovitch was sitting talking to somebody; the billiard-room,
where, about a sofa in a recess, there was a lively party
drinking champagne--Gagin was one of them. They peeped into the
"infernal regions," where a good many men were crowding round one
table, at which Yashvin was sitting. Trying not to make a noise,
they walked into the dark reading-room, where under the shaded
lamps there sat a young man with a wrathful countenance, turning
over one journal after another, and a bald general buried in a
book. They went, too, into what the prince called the
intellectual room, where three gentlemen were engaged in a heated
discussion of the latest political news.

"Prince, please come, we're ready," said one of his card-party,
who had come to look for him, and the prince went off. Levin sat
down and listened, but recalling all the conversation of the
morning he felt all of a sudden fearfully bored. He got up
hurriedly, and went to look for Oblonsky and Turovtsin, with whom
it had been so pleasant.

Turovtsin was one of the circle drinking in the billiard-room,
and Stepan Arkadyevitch was talking with Vronsky near the door at
the farther corner of the room.

"It's not that she's dull; but this undefined, this unsettled
position," Levin caught, and he was hurrying away, but Stepan
Arkadyevitch called to him.

"Levied" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, and Levin noticed that his
eyes were not full of tears exactly, but moist, which always
happened when he had been drinking, or when he was touched. Just
now it was due to both causes. "Levin, don't go," he said, and he
warmly squeezed his arm above the elbow, obviously not at all
wishing to let him go.

"This is a true friend of mine--almost my greatest friend," he
said to Vronsky. "You have become even closer and dearer to me.
And I want you, and I know you ought, to be friends, and great
friends, because you're both splendid fellows."

"Well, there's nothing for us now but to kiss and be friends,"
Vronsky said, with good-natured playfulness, holding out his
hand.

Levin quickly took the offered hand, and pressed it warmly.

"I'm very, very glad," said Levin.

"Waiter, a bottle of champagne," said Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"And I'm very glad," said Vronsky.

But in spite of Stepan Arkadyevitch's desire, and their own
desire, they had nothing to talk about, and both felt it.

"Do you know, he has never met Anna?" Stepan Arkadyevitch said to
Vronsky. "And I want above everything to take him to see her. Let
us go, Levin!"

"Really?" said Vronsky. "She will be very glad to see you. I
should be going home at once," he added, "but I'm worried about
Yashvin, and I want to stay on till he finishes."

"Why, is he losing?"

"He keeps losing, and I'm the only friend that can restrain him."

"Well, what do you say to pyramids? Levin, will you play?
Capital!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Get the table ready," he
said to the marker. "It has been ready a long while," answered
the marker, who had already set the balls in a triangle, and was
knocking the red one about for his own diversion.

"Well, let us begin."

After the game Vronsky and Levin sat down at Gagin's table, and
at Stepan Arkadyevitch's suggestion Levin took a hand in the
game.

Vronsky sat down at the table, surrounded by friends, who were
incessantly coming up to him. Every now and then he went to the
"infernal" to keep an eye on Yashvin. Levin was enjoying a
delightful sense of repose after the mental fatigue of the
morning. He was glad that all hostility was at an end with
Vronsky, and the sense of peace, decorum, and comfort never left
him.

When the game was over, Stepan Arkadyevitch took Levin's arm.

"Well, let us go to Anna's, then. At once? Eh? She is at home. I
promised her long ago to bring you. Where were you meaning to
spend the evemng?"

"Oh, nowhere specially. I promised Sviazhsky to go to the Society
of Agriculture. By all means, let us go," said Levin.

"Very good; come along. Find out if my carriage is here," Stepan
Arkadyevitch said to the waiter.

Levin went up to the table, paid the forty roubles he had lost;
paid his bill, the amount of which was in some mysterious way
ascertained by the little old waiter who stood at the counter,
and swinging his arms he walked through all the rooms to the way
out.

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"Vronsky's carriage!" the porter shouted in an angry bass. Thecarriage drove up and both got in. It was only for the first fewmoments, while the carriage was driving out of the clubhousegates, that Levin was still under the influence of the clubatmosphere of repose, comfort, and unimpeachable good form. Butas soon as the carriage drove out into the street, and he felt itjolting over the uneven road, heard the angry shout of asledge-driver coming towards them, saw in the uncertain light thered blind of a tavern and the shops, this impression wasdissipated, and he began to think over his actions, and
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Levin reached the club just at the right time. Members andvisitors were driving up as he arrived. Levin had not been at theclub for a very long while--not since he lived in Moscow, when hewas leaving the university and going into society. He rememberedthe club, the external details of its arrangement, but he hadcompletely forgotten the impression it had made on him in olddays. But as soon as, driving into the wide semicircular courtand getting out of the sledge, he mounted the steps, and thehall-porter, adorned with a crossway scarf, noiselessly openedthe door to him with a bow; as soon as
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