Levin dropped back in his chair; his face was pale.
"But I would advise you to settle the thing as soon as may be,"
pursued Oblonsky, filling up his glass.
"No, thanks, I can't drink any more," said Levin, pushing away
his glass. "I shall be drunk.... Come, tell me how are you
getting on?" he went on, obviously anxious to change the
"One word more: in any case I advise you to settle the question
soon. Tonight I don't advise you to speak," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch. "Go round tomorrow morning, make an offer in due
form, and God bless you..."
"Oh, do you still think of coming to me for some shooting? Come
next spring, do," said Levin.
Now his whole soul was full of remorse that he had begun this
conversation with Stepan Arkadyevitch. A feeling such as his was
prefaced by talk of the rivalry of some Petersburg officer, of
the suppositions and the counsels of Stepan Arkadyevitch.
Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled. He knew what was passing in Levin's
"I'll come some day," he said. "But women, my boy, they're the
pivot everything turns upon. Things are in a bad way with me,
very bad. And it's all through women. Tell me frankly now," he
pursued, picking up a cigar and keeping one hand on his glass;
"give me your advice."
"Why, what is it?"
"I'll tell you. Suppose you're married, you love your wife, but
you're fascinated by another woman..."
"Excuse me, but I'm absolutely unable to comprehend how...just as
I can't comprehend how I could now, after my dinner, go straight
to a baker's shop and steal a roll."
Stepan Arkadyevitch's eyes sparkled more than usual.
"Why not? A roll will sometimes smell so good one can't resist