It was a lovely morning: the bright, cheerful houses with their
little gardens, the sight of the red-faced, red-armed,
beer-drinking German waitresses, working away merrily, did the
heart good. But the nearer they got to the springs the oftener
they met sick people; and their appearance seemed more pitiable
than ever among the everyday conditions of prosperous German
life. Kitty was no longer struck by this contrast. The bright
sun, the brilliant green of the foliage, the strains of the music
were for her the natural setting of all these familiar faces,
with their changes to greater emaciation or to convalescence, for
which she watched. But to the prince the brightness and gaiety
of the June morning, and the sound of the orchestra playing a gay
waltz then in fashion, and above all, the appearance of the
healthy attendants, seemed something unseemly and monstrous, in
conjunction with these slowly moving, dying figures gathered
together from all parts of Europe. In spite of his feeling of
pride and, as it were, of the return of youth, with his favorite
daughter on his arm, he felt awkward, and almost ashamed of his
vigorous step and his sturdy, stout limbs. He felt almost like a
man not dressed in a crowd.
"Present me to your new friends," he said to his daughter,
squeezing her hand with his elbow. "I like even your horrid
Soden for making you so well again. Only it's melancholy, very
melancholy here. Who's that?"
Kitty mentioned the names of all the people they met, with some
of whom she was acquainted and some not. At the entrance of the
garden they met the blind lady, Madame Berthe, with her guide,
and the prince was delighted to see the old Frenchwoman's face
light up when she heard Kitty's voice. She at once began talking
to him with French exaggerated politeness, applauding him for
having such a delightful daughter, extolling Kitty to the skies
before her face, and calling her a treasure, a pearl, and a
"Well, she's the second angel, then," said the prince, smiling.
"she calls Mademoiselle Varenka angel number one."
"Oh! Mademoiselle Varenka, she's a real angel, allez," Madame
In the arcade they met Varenka herself. She was walking rapidly
towards them carrying an elegant red bag.