She always seemed absorbed in work about which there could be no
doubt, and so it seemed she could not take interest in anything
outside it. It was just this contrast with her own position that
was for Kitty the great attraction of Mademoiselle Varenka.
Kitty felt that in her, in her manner of life, she would find an
example of what she was now so painfully seeking: interest in
life, a dignity in life--apart from the worldly relations of
girls with men, which so revolted Kitty, and appeared to her now
as a shameful hawking about of goods in search of a purchaser.
The more attentively Kitty watched her unknown friend, the more
convinced she was this girl was the perfect creature she fancied
her, and the more eagerly she wished to make her acquaintance.
The two girls used to meet several times a day, and every time
they met, Kitty's eyes said: "Who are you? What are you? Are
you really the exquisite creature I imagine you to be? But for
goodness' sake don't suppose," her eyes added, "that I would
force my acquaintance on you, I simply admire you and like you."
"I like you too, and you're very, very sweet. And I should like
you better still, if I had time," answered the eyes of the
unknown girl. Kitty saw indeed, that she was always busy.
Either she was taking the children of a Russian family home from
the springs, or fetching a shawl for a sick lady, and wrapping
her up in it, or trying to interest an irritable invalid, or
selecting and buying cakes for tea for someone.
Soon after the arrival of the Shtcherbatskys there appeared in
the morning crowd at the springs two persons who attracted
universal and unfavorable attention. These were a tall man with
a stooping figure, and huge hands, in an old coat too short for
him, with black, simple, and yet terrible eyes, and a pockmarked,
kind-looking woman, very badly and tastelessly dressed.
Recognizing these persons as Russians, Kitty had already in her
imagination begun constructing a delightful and touching romance
about them. But the princess, having ascertained from the
visitors' list that this was Nikolay Levin and Marya Nikolaevna,
explained to Kitty what a bad man this Levin was, and all her
fancies about these two people vanished. Not so much from what
her mother told her, as from the fact that it was Konstantin's
brother, this pair suddenly seemed to Kitty intensely unpleasant.
This Levin, with his continual twitching of his head, aroused in
her now an irrepressible feeling of disgust.