On entering the drawing room Stepan Arkadyevitch apologized,
explaining that he had been detained by that prince, who was
always the scapegoat for all his absences and unpunctualities,
and in one moment he had made all the guests acquainted with each
other, and, bringing together Alexey Alexandrovitch and Sergey
Koznishev, started them on a discussion of the Russification of
Poland, into which they immediately plunged with Pestsov.
Slapping Turovtsin on the shoulder, he whispered something comic
in his ear, and set him down by his wife and the old prince.
Then he told Kitty she was looking very pretty that evening, and
presented Shtcherbatsky to Karenin. In a moment he had so
kneaded together the social dough that the drawing room became
very lively, and there was a merry buzz of voices. Konstantin
Levin was the only person who had not arrived. But this was so
much the better, as going into the dining room, Stepan
Arkadyevitch found to his horror that the port and sherry had
been procured from Depre, and not from Levy, and, directing that
the coachman should be sent off as speedily as possible to
Levy's, he was going back to the drawing room.
In the dining room he was met by Konstantin Levin.
"I'm not late?"
"You can never help being late!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, taking
"Have you a lot of people? Who's here?" asked Levin, unable to
help blushing, as he knocked the snow off his cap with his glove.
"All our own set. Kitty's here. Come along, I'll introduce you
Stepan Arkadyevitch, for all his liberal views, was well aware
that to meet Karenin was sure to be felt a flattering
distinction, and so treated his best friends to this honor. But
at that instant Konstantin Levin was not in a condition to feel
all the gratification of making such an acquaintance. He had not
seen Kitty since that memorable evening when he met Vronsky, not
counting, that is, the moment when he had had a glimpse of her on
the highroad. He had known at the bottom of his heart that he
would see her here today. But to keep his thoughts free, he had
tried to persuade himself that he did not know it. Now when he
heard that she was here, he was suddenly conscious of such
delight, and at the same time of such dread, that his breath
failed him and he could not utter what he wanted to say.