On that day of the week and at that time of day people of one
set, all acquainted with one another, used to meet on the ice.
There were crack skaters there, showing off their skill, and
learners clinging to chairs with timid, awkward movements, boys,
and elderly people skating with hygienic motives. They seemed to
Levin an elect band of blissful beings because they were here,
near her. All the skaters, it seemed, with perfect
self-possession, skated towards her, skated by her, even spoke to
her, and were happy, quite apart from her, enjoying the capital
ice and the fine weather.
Nikolay Shtcherbatsky, Kitty's cousin, in a short jacket and
tight trousers, was sitting on a garden seat with his skates on.
Seeing Levin, he shouted to him:
"Ah, the first skater in Russia! Been here long? First-rate
ice--do put your skates on."
"I haven't got my skates," Levin answered, marveling at this
boldness and ease in her presence, and not for one second losing
sight of her, though he did not look at her. He felt as though
the sun were coming near him. She was in a corner, and turning
out her slender feet in their high boots with obvious timidity,
she skated towards him. A boy in Russian dress, desperately
waving his arms and bowed down to the ground, overtook her. She
skated a little uncertainly; taking her hands out of the little
muff that hung on a cord, she held them ready for emergency, and
looking towards Levin, whom she had recognized, she smiled at
him, and at her own fears. When she had got round the turn, she
gave herself a push off with one foot, and skated straight up to
Shtcherbatsky. Clutching at his arm, she nodded smiling to
Levin. She was more splendid that he had imagined her.
When he thought of her, he could call up a vivid picture of her
to himself, especially the charm of that little fair head, so
freely set on the shapely girlish shoulders, and so full of
childish brightness and good humor. The childishness of her
expression, together with the delicate beauty of her figure, made
up her special charm, and that he fully realized. But what
always struck him in her as something unlooked for, was the
expression of her eyes, soft, serene, and truthful, and above
all, her smile, which always transported Levin to an enchanted
world, where he felt himself softened and tender, as he
remembered himself in some days of his early childhood.