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Leo Tolstoy

“Wait, wait,' he began, interrupting Oblonsky. 'Aristocratism, you say. But allow me to ask, what makes up this aristocratism of Vronsky or whoever else it may be - such aristocratism that I can be scorned? You consider Vronsky an aristocrat, but I don't. A man whose father crept out of nothing by wiliness, whose mother, God knows who she didn't have liaisons with... No, excuse me, but I consider myself an aristocrat and people like myself, who can point to three or four honest generations in their families' past, who had a high degree of education (talent and intelligence are another thing), and who never lowered themselves before anyone, never depended on anyone, as my father lived, and my grandfather. And I know many like that. You find it mean that I count the trees in the forest, while you give away thirty thousand to Ryabinin; but you'll have rent coming in and I don't know what else, while I won't, and so I value what I've inherited and worked for... We're the aristocrats, and not someone who can only exist on hand-outs from the mighty of this world and can be bought for twenty kopecks.

'But who are you attacking? I agree with you,' said Stepan Arkadyich sincerely and cheerfully, though he felt Levin included him among those who could be bought for twenty kopecks.”


Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
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Anna Karenina Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
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