"And about Sergey Ivanovitch and Varenka. You've noticed?...
I'm very anxious for it," she went on. "What do you think about
it?" And she peeped into his face.
"I don't know what to think," Levin answered, smiling. "Sergey
seems very strange to me in that way. I told you, you know..."
"Yes, that he was in love with that girl who died...."
"That was when I was a child; I know about it from hearsay and
tradition. I remember him then. He was wonderfully sweet. But
I've watched him since with women; he is friendly, some of them
he likes, but one feels that to him they're simply people, not
"Yes, but now with Varenka...I fancy there's something..."
"Perhaps there is.... But one has to know him.... He's a
peculiar, wonderful person. He lives a spiritual life only.
He's too pure, too exalted a nature."
"Why? Would this lower him, then?"
"No, but he's so used to a spiritual life that he can't reconcile
himself with actual fact, and Varenka is after all fact."
Levin had grown used by now to uttering his thought boldly,
without taking the trouble of clothing it in exact language. He
knew that his wife, in such moments of loving tenderness as now,
would understand what he meant to say from a hint, and she did
"Yes, but there's not so much of that actual fact about her as
about me. I can see that he would never have cared for me. She
is altogether spiritual."
"Oh, no, he is so fond of you, and I am always so glad when my
people like you...."
"Yes, he's very nice to me; but..."