Anna Karenina - Part 2 (Chapter 19, page 2 of 3)

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Chapter 19

"What?" said Vronsky angrily, making a wry face of disgust, and
showing his even teeth.

"You're not afraid of getting fat?"

"Waiter, sherry!" said Vronsky, without replying, and moving the
book to the other side of him, he went on reading.

The plump officer took up the list of wines and turned to the
young officer.

"You choose what we're to drink," he said, handing him the card,
and looking at him.

"Rhine wine, please," said the young officer, stealing a timid
glance at Vronsky, and trying to pull his scarcely visible
mustache. Seeing that Vronsky did not turn round, the young
officer got up.

"Let's go into the billiard room," he said.

The plump officer rose submissively, and they moved towards the

At that moment there walked into the room the tall and well-built
Captain Yashvin. Nodding with an air of lofty contempt to the
two officers, he went up to Vronsky.

"Ah! here he is!" he cried, bringing his big hand down heavily on
his epaulet. Vronsky looked round angrily, but his face lighted
up immediately with his characteristic expression of genial and
manly serenity.

"That's it, Alexey," said the captain, in his loud baritone.
"You must just eat a mouthful, now, and drink only one tiny

"Oh, I'm not hungry."

"There go the inseparables," Yashvin dropped, glancing
sarcastically at the two officers who were at that instant
leaving the room. And he bent his long legs, swathed in tight
riding breeches, and sat down in the chair, too low for him, so
that his knees were cramped up in a sharp angle.

"Why didn't you turn up at the Red Theater yesterday? Numerova
wasn't at all bad. Where were you?"

"I was late at the Tverskoys'," said Vronsky.

"Ah!" responded Yashvin.

Yashvin, a gambler and a rake, a man not merely without moral
principles, but of immoral principles, Yashvin was Vronsky's
greatest friend in the regiment. Vronsky liked him both for his
exceptional physical strength, which he showed for the most part
by being able to drink like a fish, and do without sleep without
being in the slightest degree affected by it; and for his great
strength of character, which he showed in his relations with his
comrades and superior officers, commanding both fear and respect,
and also at cards, when he would play for tens of thousands and
however much he might have drunk, always with such skill and
decision that he was reckoned the best player in the English
Club. Vronsky respected and liked Yashvin particularly because
he felt Yashvin liked him, not for his name and his money, but
for himself. And of all men he was the only one with whom
Vronsky would have liked to speak of his love. He felt that
Yashvin, in spite of his apparent contempt for every sort of
feeling, was the only man who could, so he fancied, comprehend
the intense passion which now filled his whole life. Moreover,
he felt certain that Yashvin, as it was, took no delight in
gossip and scandal, and interpreted his feeling rightly, that is
to say, knew and believed that this passion was not a jest, not a
pastime, but something more serious and important.

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