GETTING up from the table, Levin walked with Gagin through the lofty room to the billiard-room, feeling his arms swing as he walked with a peculiar lightness and ease. As he crossed the big room, he came upon his father-in-law.
Yes, its interesting for you. But its interest for me is quite different. You look at those little old men now, he said, pointing to a club member with bent back and projecting lip, shuffling towards them in his soft boots, and imagine that they were shlupiks like that from their birth.
I see you dont know that name. Thats our club designation. You know the game of rolling eggs: when ones rolled a long while it becomes a shlupik. So it is with us; one goes on coming and coming to the club, and ends by becoming a shlupik. Ah, you laugh! but we look out, for fear of dropping into it ourselves. You know Prince Tchetchensky? inquired the prince; and Levin saw by his face that he was just going to relate something funny.
You dont say so! Well, Prince Tchetchensky is a well-known figure. No matter, though. Hes always playing billiards here. Only three years ago he was not a shlupik and kept up his spirits and even used to call other people shlupiks. But one day he turns up, and our porter you know Vassily? Why, that fat one! Hes famous for his bon mots. And so Prince Tchetchensky asks him, Come, Vassily, whos here? Any shlupiks here yet? And he says, Youre the third. Yes, my dear boy, that he did!
Talking and greeting the friends they met, Levin and the prince walked through all the rooms: the great room where tables had already been set, and the usual partners were playing for small stakes; the divan-room, where they were playing chess, and Sergey Ivanovitch was sitting talking to somebody; the billiard-room, where, about a sofa in a recess, there was a lively party drinking champagneGagin was one of them. They peeped into the infernal regions, where a good many men were crowding round one table, at which Yashvin was sitting. Trying not to make a noise, they walked into the dark reading-room, where under the shaded lamps there sat a young man with a wrathful countenance, turning over one journal after another, and a bald general buried in a book. They went, too, into what the prince called the intellectual room, where three gentlemen were engaged in a heated discussion of the latest political news.
Prince, please come, were ready, said one of his card-party, who had come to look for him, and the prince went off. Levin sat down and listened, but recalling all the conversation of the morning he felt all of a sudden fearfully bored. He got up hurriedly, and went to look for Oblonsky and Turovtsin, with whom it had been so pleasant.
Levin! said Stepan Arkadyevitch; and Levin noticed that his eyes were not full of tears exactly, but moist, which always happened when he had been drinking, or when he was touched. Just now it was due to both causes. Levin, dont go, he said, and he warmly squeezed his arm above the elbow, obviously not at all wishing to let him go.
This is a true friend of minealmost my greatest friend, he said to Vronsky. You have become even closer and dearer to me. And I want you, and I know you ought, to be friends, and great friends, because youre both splendid fellows.
Vronsky sat down at the table, surrounded by friends, who were incessantly coming up to him. Every now and then he went to the infernal to keep an eye on Yashvin. Levin was enjoying a delightful sense of repose after the mental fatigue of the morning. He was glad that all hostility was at an end with Vronsky, and the sense of peace, decorum, and comfort never left him.
Levin went up to the table, paid the forty roubles he had lost; paid his bill, the amount of which was in some mysterious way ascertained by the little old waiter who stood at the counter, and swinging his arms he walked through all the rooms to the way out.