When Levin went into the restaurant with Oblonsky, he could not
help noticing a certain peculiarity of expression, as it were, a
restrained radiance, about the face and whole figure of Stepan
Arkadyevitch. Oblonsky took off his overcoat, and with his hat
over one ear walked into the dining room, giving directions to
the Tatar waiters, who were clustered about him in evening coats,
bearing napkins. Bowing to right and left to the people he met,
and here as everywhere joyously greeting acquaintances, he went
up to the sideboard for a preliminary appetizer of fish and
vodka, and said to the painted Frenchwoman decked in ribbons,
lace, and ringlets, behind the counter, something so amusing that
even that Frenchwoman was moved to genuine laughter. Levin for
his part refrained from taking any vodka simply because he felt
such a loathing of that Frenchwoman, all made up, it seemed, of
false hair, poudre de riz, and vinaigre de toilette. He made
haste to move away from her, as from a dirty place. His whole
soul was filled with memories of Kitty, and there was a smile of
triumph and happiness shining in his eyes.
"This way, your excellency, please. Your excellency won't be
disturbed here," said a particularly pertinacious, white-headed
old Tatar with immense hips and coattails gaping widely behind.
"Walk in, your excellency," he said to Levin; by way of showing
his respect to Stepan Arkadyevitch, being attentive to his guest
Instantly flinging a fresh cloth over the round table under the
bronze chandelier, though it already had a table cloth on it, he
pushed up velvet chairs, and came to a standstill before Stepan
Arkadyevitch with a napkin and a bill of fare in his hands,
awaiting his commands.
"If you prefer it, your excellency, a private room will be free
directly; Prince Golistin with a lady. Fresh oysters have come
Stepan Arkadyevitch became thoughtful.
"How if we were to change our program, Levin?" he said keeping
his finger on the bill of fare. And his face expressed serious
hesitation. "Are the oysters good? Mind now."
"They're Flensburg, your excellency. We've no Ostend."