"Let us go to mamma!" she said, taking him by the hand. For a
long while he could say nothing, not so much because he was
afraid of desecrating the loftiness of his emotion by a word, as
that every time he tried to say something, instead of words he
felt that tears of happiness were welling up. He took her hand
and kissed it.
"Can it be true?" he said at last in a choked voice. "I can't
believe you love me, dear!"
She smiled at that "dear," and at the timidity with which he
glanced at her.
"Yes!" she said significantly, deliberately. "I am so happy!"
Not letting go his hands, she went into the drawing room. The
princess, seeing them, breathed quickly, and immediately began to
cry and then immediately began to laugh and with a vigorous step
Levin had not expected, ran up to him, and hugging his head,
kissed him, wetting his cheeks with her tears.
"So it is all settled! I am glad. Love her. I am glad....
"You've not been long settling things," said the old prince,
trying to seem unmoved; but Levin noticed that his eyes were wet
when he turned to him.
"I've long, always wished for this!" said the prince, taking
Levin by the arm and drawing him towards himself. "Even when
this little feather-head fancied..."
"Papa!" shrieked Kitty, and shut his mouth with her hands.
"Well, I won't!" he said. "I'm very, very ...plea ...Oh,
what a fool I am..."
He embraced Kitty, kissed her face, her hand, her face again and
made the sign of the cross over her.
And there came over Levin a new feeling of love for this man,
till then so little known to him, when he saw how slowly and
tenderly Kitty kissed his muscular hand.