When Vronsky went to Moscow from Petersburg, he had left his
large set of rooms in Morskaia to his friend and favorite comrade
Petritsky was a young lieutenant, not particularly
well-connected, and not merely not wealthy, but always hopelessly
in debt. Towards evening he was always drunk, and he had often
been locked up after all sorts of ludicrous and disgraceful
scandals, but he was a favorite both of his comrades and his
superior officers. On arriving at twelve o'clock from the
station at his flat, Vronsky saw, at the outer door, a hired
carriage familiar to him. While still outside his own door, as
he rang, he heard masculine laughter, the lisp of a feminine
voice, and Petritsky's voice. "If that's one of the villains,
don't let him in!" Vronsky told the servant not to announce him,
and slipped quietly into the first room. Baroness Shilton, a
friend of Petritsky's, with a rosy little face and flaxen hair,
resplendent in a lilac satin gown, and filling the whole room,
like a canary, with her Parisian chatter, sat at the round table
making coffee. Petritsky, in his overcoat, and the cavalry
captain Kamerovsky, in full uniform, probably just come from
duty, were sitting each side of her.
"Bravo! Vronsky!" shouted Petritsky, jumping up, scraping his
chair. "Our host himself! Baroness, some coffee for him out of
the new coffee pot. Why, we didn't expect you! Hope you're
satisfied with the ornament of your study," he said, indicating
the baroness. "You know each other, of course?"
"I should think so," said Vronsky, with a bright smile, pressing
the baroness's little hand. "What next! I'm an old friend."
"You're home after a journey," said the baroness, "so I'm flying.
Oh, I'll be off this minute, if I'm in the way."
"You're home, wherever you are, baroness," said Vronsky. "How do
you do, Kamerovsky?" he added, coldly shaking hands with
"There, you never know how to say such pretty things," said the
baroness, turning to Petritsky.
"No; what's that for? After dinner I say things quite as good."