"Kitty plays, and we have a piano, not a good one, it's true, but
you will give us so much pleasure," said the princess with her
affected smile, which Kitty disliked particularly just then,
because she noticed that Varenka had no inclination to sing.
Varenka came, however, in the evening and brought a roll of music
with her. The princess had invited Marya Yevgenyevna and her
daughter and the colonel.
Varenka seemed quite unaffected by there being persons present
she did not know, and she went directly to the piano. She could
not accompany herself, but she could sing music at sight very
well. Kitty, who played well, accompanied her.
"You have an extraordinary talent," the princess said to her
after Varenka had sung the first song extremely well.
Marya Yevgenyevna and her daughter expressed their thanks and
"Look," said the colonel, looking out of the window, "what an
audience has collected to listen to you." There actually was
quite a considerable crowd under the windows.
"I am very glad it gives you pleasure," Varenka answered simply.
Kitty looked with pride at her friend. She was enchanted by her
talent, and her voice and her face, but most of all by her
manner, by the way Varenka obviously thought nothing of her
singing and was quite unmoved by their praises. She seemed only
to be asking: "Am I to sing again, or is that enough?"
"If it had been I," thought Kitty, "how proud I should have been!
How delighted I should have been to see that crowd under the
windows! But she's utterly unmoved by it. Her only motive is to
avoid refusing and to please mamma. What is there in her? What
is it gives her the power to look down on everything, to be calm
independently of everything? How I should like to know it and to
learn it of her!" thought Kitty, gazing into her serene face.
The princess asked Varenka to sing again, and Varenka sang
another song, also smoothly, distinctly, and well, standing erect
at the piano and beating time on it with her thin, dark-skinned