After dinner several telegrams were sent to people interested in
the result of the election. And Stepan Arkadyevitch, who was in
high good humor, sent Darya Alexandrovna a telegram: "Nevyedovsky
elected by twenty votes. Congratulations. Tell people." He
dictated it aloud, saying: "We must let them share our
rejoicing." Darya Alexandrovna, getting the message, simply
sighed over the rouble wasted on it, and understood that it was
an after-dinner affair. She knew Stiva had a weakness after
dining for faire jouer le telegraphe.
Everything, together with the excellent dinner and the wine, not
from Russian merchants, but imported direct from abroad, was
extremely dignified, simple, and enjoyable. The party--some
twenty--had been selected by Sviazhsky from among the more active
new liberals, all of the same way of thinking, who were at the
same time clever and well bred. They drank, also half in jest,
to the health of the new marshal of the province, of the
governor, of the bank director, and of "our amiable host."
Vronsky was satisfied. He had never expected to find so pleasant
a tone in the provinces.
Towards the end of dinner it was still more lively. The governor
asked Vronsky to come to a concert for the benefit of the
Servians which his wife, who was anxious to make his
acquaintance, had been getting up.
"There'll be a ball, and you'll see the belle of the province.
Worth seeing, really."
"Not in my line," Vronsky answered. He liked that English
phrase. But he smiled, and promised to come.
Before they rose from the table, when all of them were smoking,
Vronsky's valet went up to him with a letter on a tray.
"From Vozdvizhenskoe by special messenger," he said with a
"Astonishing! how like he is to the deputy prosecutor
Sventitsky," said one of the guests in French of the valet, while
Vronsky, frowning, read the letter.