Levin felt now at leaving behind all his family and household
cares such an eager sense of joy in life and expectation that he
was not disposed to talk. Besides that, he had that feeling of
concentrated excitement that every sportsman experiences as he
approaches the scene of action. If he had anything on his mind
at that moment, it was only the doubt whether they would start
anything in the Kolpensky marsh, whether Laska would show to
advantage in comparison with Krak, and whether he would shoot
well that day himself. Not to disgrace himself before a new
spectator--not to be outdone by Oblonsky--that too was a thought
that crossed his brain.
Oblonsky was feeling the same, and he too was not talkative.
Vassenka Veslovsky kept up alone a ceaseless flow of cheerful
chatter. As he listened to him now, Levin felt ashamed to think
how unfair he had been to him the day before. Vassenka was
really a nice fellow, simple, good-hearted, and very
good-humored. If Levin had met him before he was married, he
would have made friends with him. Levin rather disliked his
holiday attitude to life and a sort of free and easy assumption
of elegance. It was as though he assumed a high degree of
importance in himself that could not be disputed, because he had
long nails and a stylish cap, and everything else to correspond;
but this could be forgiven for the sake of his good nature and
good breeding. Levin liked him for his good education, for
speaking French and English with such an excellent accent, and
for being a man of his world.
Vassenka was extremely delighted with the left horse, a horse of
the Don Steppes. He kept praising him enthusiastically. "How
fine it must be galloping over the steppes on a steppe horse!
Eh? isn't it?" he said. He had imagined riding on a steppe horse
as something wild and romantic, and it turned out nothing of the
sort. But his simplicity, particularly in conjunction with his
good looks, his amiable smile, and the grace of his movements,
was very attractive. Either because his nature was sympathetic
to Levin, or because Levin was trying to atone for his sins of
the previous evening by seeing nothing but what was good in him,
anyway he liked his society.