Everyone took part in the conversation except Kitty and Levin.
At first, when they were talking of the influence that one people
has on another, there rose to Levin's mind what he had to say on
the subject. But these ideas, once of such importance in his
eyes, seemed to come into his brain as in a dream, and had now
not the slightest interest for him. It even struck him as
strange that they should be so eager to talk of what was of no
use to anyone. Kitty, too, should, one would have supposed, have
been interested in what they were saying of the rights and
education of women. How often she had mused on the subject,
thinking of her friend abroad, Varenka, of her painful state of
dependence, how often she had wondered about herself what would
become of her if she did not marry, and how often she had argued
with her sister about it! But it did not interest her at all.
She and Levin had a conversation of their own, yet not a
conversation, but some sort of mysterious communication, which
brought them every moment nearer, and stirred in both a sense of
glad terror before the unknown into which they were entering.
At first Levin, in answer to Kitty's question how he could have
seen her last year in the carriage, told her how he had been
coming home from the mowing along the highroad and had met her.
"It was very, very early in the morning. You were probably only
just awake. Your mother was asleep in the corner. It was an
exquisite morning. I was walking along wondering who it could be
in a four-in-hand? It was a splendid set of four horses with
bells, and in a second you flashed by, and I saw you at the
window--you were sitting like this, holding the strings of your
cap in both hands, and thinking awfully deeply about something,"
he said, smiling. "How I should like to know what you were
thinking about then! Something important?"
"Wasn't I dreadfully untidy?" she wondered, but seeing the smile
of ecstasy these reminiscences called up, she felt that the
impression she had made had been very good. She blushed and
laughed with delight; "Really I don't remember."
"How nicely Turovtsin laughs!" said Levin, admiring his moist
eyes and shaking chest.
"Have you known him longs" asked Kitty.
"Oh, everyone knows him!"
"And I see you think he's a horrid man?"
"Not horrid, but nothing in him."
"Oh, you're wrong! And you must give up thinking so directly!"
said Kitty. "I used to have a very poor opinion of him too, but
he, he's an awfully nice and wonderfully good-hearted man. He
has a heart of gold."
"How could you find out what sort of heart he has?"
"We are great friends. I know him very well. Last winter, soon
after...you came to see us," she said, with a guilty and at
the same time confiding smile, "all Dolly's children had scarlet
fever, and he happened to come and see her. And only fancy," she
said in a whisper, "he felt so sorry for her that he stayed and
began to help her look after the children. Yes, and for three
weeks he stopped with them, and looked after the children like a
"I am telling Konstantin Dmitrievitch about Turovtsin in the
scarlet fever," she said, bending over to her sister.
"Yes, it was wonderful, noble!" said Dolly, glancing towards
Turovtsin, who had become aware they were talking of him, and
smiling gently to him. Levin glanced once more at Turovtsin, and
wondered how it was he had not realized all this man's goodness
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, and I'll never think ill of people again!"
he said gaily, genuinely expressing what he felt at the moment.