13 Sensible, manly face - Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy
"Yes, later. But i wanted to see you", said Levin, looking with hatred at Grinevitch's hand.
Stepan Arkadyevitch gave a scarcely perceptible smile.
"How was it you used to say you would never wear European dress again?" he said, scanning his new suit, obviously cut by a French tailor. "Ah! I see: a new phase!"
Levin suddenly blushed, not as grown men blush, slightly, without being themselves aware of it, but as boys blush, feeling that they are ridiculous through their shyness, and consequently ashamed of it and blushing still more, almost to the point of tears. And it was so strange to see this sensible, manly face in such a childish plight, that Oblonsky left off looking at him.
"Oh, where shall we meet? You know i want very much to talk to you", said Levin.
Oblonsky seemed to ponder.
"I'll tell you what: let's go to Gurin's to lunch, and there we can talk. I am free till three".
"No", answered Levin, after an instant's thought, "I have got to go on somewhere else".
"All right, then, let's dine together".
"Dine together? But i have nothing very
particular, only a few words to say, and a
question i want to ask you, and we can have a
"Well, say the few words, then, at once, and we'll gossip after dinner".
"Well, it's this", said Levin; "but it's of no importance, though".
His face l at once took an expression of anger from the effort he was making to surmount his shyness.
"What are the Shtcherbatskys doing? Everything as it used to be?" he said.
Stepan Arkadyevitch, who had long known that Levin was in love with his sister-in-low, Kitty, gave a hardly perceptible smile, and his eyes sparkled merrily.
"You said a few words, but i can't answer in a few words, because... Escuse me a minute".
A secretary came in, with respectful familiarity and the modest consciousness, characteristic of every secretary, of superiority to his chief in the Knowledge of their business; he went to Oblonsky with some papers, and began, under pretense of asking a question, to explain some objection. Stepan Arkadyevitch, without hearing him out, laid his hand genially on the secretary's sleeve.
"No, you do as i told you", he said, softening his words with a smile, and with a brief explanation of his view of the matter he turned away from the papers, and said: "So do it that way, if you please, Zahar Nikititch".
The secretary retired in confusion. During the consultation with the secretary Levin had completely recovered from his embarrassment. He was standing with his elbows on the back of a chair, and on his face was a look if ironical attention.
"I don't understand it, I don't understand it", he said.
"What don't you understand?" said Oblonsky, smiling as brightly as ever, and picking up a cigarette. He expected some queer outburst from Levin.
"I don't understand what you are doing", said Levin, shrugging his shoulders. "How can you do it seriously?"
"Why, because there's nothing in it".
"You think so, but we're overwhelmed with work".
"On paper. But, there, you've a gift for it", added Levin.
"That's to say, you think there's a lack of something im me?"
"Perhaps so", said Levin. "But all the same i admire your gradeur, and am proud that i have a friend in such a great person. You've not answered my question though", he went on, with a desperate effort looking Oblonsky straight in the face.
"Oh, that's all very well. You wait a bit, and you'll come to this yourself. It's very nice for you to have ober six thousand acres in the Karazinsky district, and such muscles, and the freshness of a girl of twelve; still you'll be one if us one day. Yes, as to your question, there is no change, but it's a pity you've been away so long".
"Oh, why so?" Levin queried, panic-stricken.
"Oh, nothing", responded Oblonsky. "We'll talk it over. But what's brought you up to town?"
"Oh, we'll talk about that, too, later on", said Levin, reddening again up to his ears.
"All right. I see", said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "I should ask you to come to us, you know, but my wife's not quite the thing. But i tell you what; if you want to see them, they're sure now to be at the Zoological Gardens from four to five. Kitty skates. You drive along there, and i'll come and fetch you, and we'll go and dine somewhere together".
"Capital. So good-bye till then".
"Now mind, you'll forget, i know you, or rush off home to the country!" Stepan Arkadyevitch called out laughing.