"Coming immediately," said the clerk; and two minutes later there
did actually appear in the doorway the large figure of an old
solicitor who had been consulting with the lawyer himself.
The lawyer was a little, squat, bald man, with a dark, reddish
beard, light-colored long eyebrows, and an overhanging brow. He
was attired as though for a wedding, from his cravat to his
double watch-chain and varnished boots. His face was clever and
manly, but his dress was dandified and in bad taste.
"Pray walk in," said the lawyer, addressing Alexey
Alexandrovitch; and, gloomily ushering Karenin in before him, he
closed the door.
"Won't you sit down?" He indicated an armchair at a writing table
covered with papers. He sat down himself, and, rubbing his
little hands with short fingers covered with white hairs, he bent
his head on one side. But as soon as he was settled in this
position a moth flew over the table. The lawyer, with a
swiftness that could never have been expected of him, opened his
hands, caught the moth, and resumed his former attitude.
"Before beginning to speak of my business," said Alexey
Alexandrovitch, following the lawyer's movements with wondering
eyes, "I ought to observe that the business about which I have to
speak to you is to be strictly private."
The lawyer's overhanging reddish mustaches were parted in a
scarcely perceptible smile.
"I should not be a lawyer if I could not keep the secrets
confided to me. But if you would like proof..."
Alexey Alexandrovitch glanced at his face, and saw that the
shrewd, gray eyes were laughing, and seemed to know all about it
"You know my name?" Alexey Alexandrovitch resumed.
"I know you and the good"--again he caught a moth--"work you are
doing, like every Russian," said the lawyer, bowing.
Alexey Alexandrovitch sighed, plucking up his courage. But
having once made up his mind he went on in his shrill voice,
without timidity--or hesitation, accentuating here and there a