Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina

Chapter 14 (continued)

"Come, tell me how things are going with you," said Levin, bethinking himself that it was not nice of him to think only of himself.

Stepan Arkadyevitch's eyes sparkled merrily.

"You don't admit, I know, that one can be fond of new rolls when one has had one's rations of bread--to your mind it's a crime; but I don't count life as life without love," he said, taking Levin's question his own way. "What am I to do? I'm made that way. And really, one does so little harm to anyone, and gives oneself so much pleasure..."

"What! is there something new, then?" queried Levin.

"Yes, my boy, there is! There, do you see, you know the type of Ossian's women.... Women, such as one sees in dreams.... Well, these women are sometimes to be met in reality...and these women are terrible. Woman, don't you know, is such a subject that however much you study it, it's always perfectly new."

"Well, then, it would be better not to study it."

"No. Some mathematician has said that enjoyment lies in the search for truth, not in the finding it."

Levin listened in silence, and in spite of all the efforts he made, he could not in the least enter into the feelings of his friend and understand his sentiments and the charm of studying such women.

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