Vronsky had never had a real home life. His mother had been in
her youth a brilliant society woman, who had had during her
married life, and still more afterwards, many love affairs
notorious in the whole fashionable world. His father he scarcely
remembered, and he had been educated in the Corps of Pages.
Leaving the school very young as a brilliant officer, he had at
once got into the circle of wealthy Petersburg army men.
Although he did go more or less into Petersburg society, his love
affairs had always hitherto been outside it.
In Moscow he had for the first time felt, after his luxurious and
coarse life at Petersburg, all the charm of intimacy with a sweet
and innocent girl of his own rank, who cared for him. It never
even entered his head that there could be any harm in his
relations with Kitty. At balls he danced principally with her.
He was a constant visitor at their house. He talked to her as
people commonly do talk in society--all sorts of nonsense, but
nonsense to which he could not help attaching a special meaning
in her case. Although he said nothing to her that he could not
have said before everybody, he felt that she was becoming more
and more dependent upon him, and the more he felt this, the
better he liked it, and the tenderer was his feeling for her. He
did not know that his mode of behavior in relation to Kitty had a
definite character, that it is courting young girls with no
intention of marriage, and that such courting is one of the evil
actions common among brilliant young men such as he was. It
seemed to him that he was the first who had discovered this
pleasure, and he was enjoying his discovery.
If he could have heard what her parents were saying that evening,
if he could have put himself at the point ov view of the family
and have heard that Kitty would be unhappy if he did not marry
her, he would have been greatly astonished, and would not have
believed it. He could not believe that what gave such great and
delicate pleasure to him, and above all to her, could be wrong.
Still less could he have believed that he ought to marry.