And he began telling with droll good-humor how, after not
sleeping all night, he had, wearing an old fur-lined,
full-skirted coat, got into Alexey Alexandrovitch's compartment.
"The conductor, forgetting the proverb, would have chucked me out
on account of my attire; but thereupon I began expressing my
feelings in elevated language, and...you, too," he said,
addressing Karenin and forgetting his name, "at first would have
ejected me on the ground of the old coat, but afterwards you took
my part, for which I am extremely grateful."
"The rights of passengers generally to choose their seats are too
ill-defined," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, rubbing the tips of his
fingers on his handkerchief.
"I saw you were in uncertainty about me," said Levin, smiling
good-naturedly, "but I made haste to plunge into intellectual
conversation to smooth over the defects of my attire."
Sergey Ivanovitch, while he kept up a conversation with their
hostess, had one ear for his brother, and he glanced askance at
him. "What is the matter with him today? Why such a conquering
hero?" he thought. He did not know that Levin was feeling as
though he had grown wings. Levin knew she was listening to his
words and that she was glad to listen to him. And this was the
only thing that interested him. Not in that room only, but in
the whole world, there existed for him only himself, with
enormously increased importance and dignity in his own eyes, and
she. He felt himself on a pinnacle that made him giddy, and far
away down below were all those nice excellent Karenins,
Oblonskys, and all the world.
Quite without attracting notice, without glancing at them, as
though there were no other places left, Stepan Arkadyevitch put
Levin and Kitty side by side.
"Oh, you may as well sit there," he said to Levin.
The dinner was as choice as the china, in which Stepan
Arkadyevitch was a connoisseur. The soupe Marie-Louise was a
splendid success; the tiny pies eaten with it melted in the mouth
and were irreproachable. The two footmen and Matvey, in white
cravats, did their duty with the dishes and wines unobtrusively,
quietly, and swiftly. On the material side the dinner was a
success; it was no less so on the immaterial. The conversation,
at times general and at times between individuals, never paused,
and towards the end the company was so lively that the men rose
from the table, without stopping speaking, and even Alexey