Anna Karenina, v5 by Leo Tolstoy
translated by Constance Garnett
Princess Shcherbatskaia considered that it was out of the question
for the wedding to take place before Lent, just five weeks off, since
not half the trousseau could possibly be ready by that time. But she
could not but agree with Levin that to fix it for after Lent would be
putting it off too late, as an old aunt of Prince Shcherbatsky's was
seriously ill and might die, and then the mourning would delay the
wedding still longer. And therefore, deciding to divide the trousseau
into two parts——a larger and a smaller trousseau——the Princess
consented to have the wedding before Lent. She determined that she
would get the smaller part of the trousseau all ready now, and the
larger part should be sent on later, and she was much vexed with Levin
because he was incapable of giving her a serious answer to the
question whether he agreed to this arrangement or not. The arrangement
was the more suitable as, immediately after the wedding, the newly
married couple were to go to the country, where the belongings of the
larger trousseau would not be wanted.
Levin still continued in the same delirious condition, in which it
seemed to him that he and his happiness constituted the chief and sole
aim of all existence, and that he need not now think or care about
anything, that everything was being done and would be done for him by
others. He had not even plans and aims for the future, he left its
arrangement to others, knowing that everything would be delightful.
His brother, Sergei Ivanovich, and Stepan Arkadyevich, and the
Princess, guided him in doing what he had to do. All he did was to
agree entirely with everything suggested to him. His brother raised
money for him, the Princess advised him to leave Moscow after the
wedding. Stepan Arkadyevich advised him to go abroad. He agreed to
everything. "Do what you choose, if it amuses you, I'm happy, and my
happiness can be no greater and no less because of anything you do,"
he thought. When he told Kitty of Stepan Arkadyevich's advice that
they should go abroad, he was much surprised that she did not agree to
this, and had some definite requirements of her own in regard to their
future. She knew Levin had work he loved in the country. She did not,
as he saw, understand this work——she did not even care to understand
it. But that did not prevent her from regarding it as a matter of
great importance. And therefore she knew their home would be in the
country, and she wanted to go not abroad where she was not going to
live, but to the place where their home would be. This definitely
expressed purpose astonished Levin. But since he did not care either
way, he immediately asked Stepan Arkadyevich, as though it were his
duty, to go down to the country and to arrange everything there to the
best of his ability, with that taste of which he had so much.
"But, I say," Stepan Arkadyevich said to him one day after he had
come back from the country, where he had got everything ready for the
young people's arrival, "have you a certificate of having been at
"No. But what of it?"
"You can't be married without it."
"My, my, my!" cried Levin. "Why, I believe it's nine years since
I've taken the sacrament! I never thought of it."
"You're a pretty fellow!" said Stepan Arkadyevich laughing, "and
you call me a Nihilist! But this won't do, you know. You must take the
"When? There are four days left now."
Stepan Arkadyevich arranged this also, and Levin had to prepare
himself for the sacrament. To Levin, as to any unbeliever who respects
the beliefs of others, it was exceedingly disagreeable to be present
at and to take part in church ceremonies. At this moment, in his
present softened state of feeling, sensitive to everything, this
inevitable act of hypocrisy was not merely painful to Levin, it seemed
to him utterly impossible. Now, in the heyday of his highest glory,
his fullest flower, he would have to be a liar or a blasphemer. He
felt incapable of being either. But though he repeatedly plied Stepan
Arkadyevich with questions as to the possibility of obtaining a
certificate without actually communicating, Stepan Arkadyevich
maintained that it was out of the question.
"Besides, what is it to you——two days? And he's an awfully fine,
clever old fellow. He'll pull the tooth out for you so gently you
won't notice it."
Standing at the first mass, Levin attempted to revive in himself
his youthful recollections of the intense religious emotion he had
passed through between the ages of sixteen and seventeen. But he was
at once convinced that it was utterly impossible to him. He attempted
to look at it all as an empty custom, having no sort of meaning, like
the custom of paying calls; but he felt that he could not do that
either. Levin found himself, like the majority of his contemporaries,
in the vaguest position in regard to religion. Believe he could not,
and at the same time he had no firm conviction that it was all wrong.
And consequently, not being able to believe in the significance of
what he was doing, nor to regard it with indifference as an empty
formality, during the whole period of preparing for the sacrament he
was conscious of a feeling of discomfort and shame at doing what he
did not himself understand, and what, as an inner voice told him, was
therefore false and wrong.
During the service he would first listen to the prayers, trying to
attach some meaning to them not discordant with his own views; then
feeling that he could not understand and must condemn them, he tried
not to listen to them, but to attend to the thoughts, observations,
and memories which floated through his brain with extreme vividness
during this idle time of standing in church.
He had stood through the mass, the evening service, and the
midnight service, and the next day he got up earlier than usual, and,
without having tea, went at eight o'clock in the morning to the church
for the morning service and the confession.
There was no one in church but a beggar soldier, two old women,
and the churchmen. A young deacon, whose long back showed in two
distinct halves through his thin undercassock, met him, and, at once
going to a little table at the wall, read the exhortations. During the
reading, especially at the frequent and rapid repetition of the same
words, "Lord, have mercy on us!" which sounded like "mercynuslor!"
Levin felt that his thought was shut and sealed up, and that it must
not be touched or stirred now, or else confusion would be the result;
and so standing behind the deacon he went on thinking of his own
affairs, neither listening nor examining what was said. "It's
wonderful what expression there is in her hand," he thought,
remembering how they had been sitting the day before at a corner
table. They had nothing to talk about, as was almost always the case
at this time, and laying her hand on the table she kept opening and
shutting it, and laughed herself as she watched her action. He
remembered how he had kissed her hand and then had examined the lines
on the pink palm. "Another 'mercynuslor!'" thought Levin, crossing
himself, bowing, and looking at the supple spring of the deacon's back
bowing before him. "She took my hand then and examined the lines.
'You've got a splendid hand,' she said." And he looked at his own hand
and the short hand of the deacon. "Yes, now it will soon be over," he
thought. "No, it seems to be starting up again," he thought, listening
to the prayers. "No, it's just ending: there he is bowing down to the
ground. That's always at the end."
The deacon's hand in a plush cuff unobtrusively accepted a
three-rouble note, and the deacon said he would put Levin's name down
in the register, and, his new boots creaking jauntily over the
flagstones of the empty church, he went to the altar. A moment later
he peeped out thence and beckoned to Levin. Thought, till then locked
up, began to stir in Levin's head, but he made haste to drive it away.
"It will come right somehow," he thought, and went toward the ambo. He
went up the steps, and turning to the right, saw the priest. The
priest, a little ancient with a scanty grizzled beard and weary,
good-natured eyes, was standing at the lectern, turning over the pages
of a missal. With a slight bow to Levin he began immediately reading
prayers in an accustomed voice. When he had finished them he bowed
down to the ground and turned, facing Levin.
"Christ is present here unseen, receiving your confession," he
said, pointing to the crucifix. "Do you believe in all the doctrines
of the Holy Apostolic Church?" the priest went on, turning his eyes
away from Levin's face and folding his hands under his stole.
"I have doubted——I doubt everything," said Levin in a voice that
jarred on himself, and he ceased speaking.
The priest waited a few seconds to see if he would not say more,
and closing his eyes he said quickly, with a broad, Vladimirsky
"Doubt is natural to the weakness of mankind, but we must pray
that God in His mercy will strengthen us. What are your special sins?"
he added, without the slightest interval, as though anxious not to
"My chief sin is doubt. I have doubts of everything, and for the
most part I am in doubt."
"Doubt is natural to the weakness of mankind," the priest repeated
the same words. "What do you doubt about principally?"
"I doubt everything. I sometimes even have doubts of the existence
of God," Levin could not help saying, and he was horrified at the
impropriety of what he was saying. But Levin's words did not, it
seemed, make much impression on the priest.
"What sort of doubt can there be of the existence of God?" he said
hurriedly, with a barely perceptible smile.
Levin did not speak.
"What doubt can you have of the Creator when you behold His
creation?" the priest went on in the rapid customary recitative. "Who
has decked the heavenly firmament with its lights? Who has clothed the
earth in its beauty? How explain it without the Creator?" he said,
looking inquiringly at Levin.
Levin felt that it would be improper to enter upon a metaphysical
discussion with the priest, and so he said in reply merely what was a
direct answer to the question.
"I don't know," he said.
"You don't know! Then how can you doubt that God created all?" the
priest said, with good-humored perplexity.
"I don't understand it at all," said Levin, blushing, and feeling
that his words were stupid, and that they could not be anything but
stupid in such a position.
"Pray to God and beseech Him. Even the holy fathers had doubts,
and prayed to God to strengthen their faith. The devil has great
power, and we must resist him. Pray to God, beseech Him. Pray to God,"
he repeated hurriedly.
The priest paused for some time, as though meditating.
"You, I hear, are about to marry the daughter of my parishioner
and son in the spirit, Prince Shcherbatsky?" he resumed, with a smile.
"An excellent young lady."
"Yes," answered Levin, blushing for the priest. "What does he want
to ask me about this at confession for?" he thought.
And, as though answering his thought, the priest said to him:
"You are about to enter into holy matrimony, and God may bless you
with offspring. Are you?——Well, what sort of bringing-up can you give
your babes if you do not overcome the temptation of the devil,
enticing you to infidelity?" he said, with gentle reproachfulness. "If
you love your child as a good father, you will not desire only wealth,
luxury, honor for your infant; you will be anxious for his salvation,
his spiritual enlightenment with the light of truth. Eh? What answer
will you make him when the innocent babe asks you: 'Papa! Who made all
that enchants me in this world——the earth, the waters, the sun, the
flowers, the grass?' Can you say to him: 'I don't know?' You cannot
but know, since the Lord God in His infinite mercy has revealed it to
us. Or your child will ask you: 'What awaits me in the life beyond the
grave?' What will you say to him when you know nothing? How will you
answer him? Will you leave him to the allurements of the world and the
devil? That's not right," he said, and he stopped, putting his head on
one side and looking at Levin with his kindly, gentle eyes.
Levin made no answer this time, not because he did not want to
enter upon a discussion with the priest, but because no one had ever
asked him such questions——and when his babes did ask him those
questions, it would be time enough to think about answering them.
"You are entering upon a time of life," pursued the priest, "when
you must choose your path and keep to it. Pray to God that He may in
His mercy aid you and have mercy on you!" he concluded. "Our Lord and
God, Jesus Christ, in the abundance and riches of His loving-kindness,
forgives this child..." and, finishing the prayer of absolution, the
priest blessed him and dismissed him.
On getting home that day, Levin had a delightful sense of relief
at the awkward position being over and having been got through without
his having to tell a lie. Apart from this, there remained a vague
memory that what the kind, fine old fellow had said had not been at
all as stupid as he had fancied at first, and that there was something
in it that must be cleared up.
"Of course, not now," thought Levin, "but at some later day."
Levin felt more than ever now that there was something not clear and
not clean in his soul, and that, in regard to religion, he was in the
same position which he perceived so clearly and disliked in others,
and for which he blamed his friend Sviiazhsky.
Levin spent that evening with his betrothed at Dolly's, and was in
very high spirits. To explain to Stepan Arkadyevich the state of
excitement in which he found himself, he said that he was happy, like
a dog being trained to jump through a hoop, who, having at last caught
the idea, and done what was required of him, whines and wags its tail,
and jumps up to the table and the window sills in its delight.
On the day of the wedding, according to the Russian custom (the
Princess and Darya Alexandrovna insisted on strictly keeping all the
customs), Levin did not see his betrothed, and dined at his hotel with
three bachelor friends, casually brought together at his rooms. These
were Sergei Ivanovich, Katavassov, a university friend, now professor
of natural science, whom Levin had met in the street and insisted on
taking home with him, and Chirikov, his best man, a Moscow justice of
the peace, Levin's companion in his bear hunts. The dinner was a very
merry one: Sergei Ivanovich was in his happiest mood, and was much
amused by Katavassov's originality. Katavassov, feeling his
originality was appreciated and understood, made the most of it.
Chirikov always gave a lively and good-humored support to conversation
of any sort.
"See, now," said Katavassov, drawling his words from a habit
acquired in the lecture room, "what a capable fellow was our friend
Konstantin Dmitrievich. I'm speaking of absent company——he doesn't
exist for us now. At the time he left the university he was fond of
science, took an interest in humanity; now one-half of his abilities
is devoted to deceiving himself, and the other to justifying the
"A more determined enemy of matrimony than you I never saw," said
"Oh, no, I'm not an enemy of matrimony. I'm in favor of division
of labor. People who can do nothing else ought to rear people, while
the rest work for their happiness and enlightenment. That's how I look
at it. To muddle up two trades there are too many amateurs; I'm not
one of their number."
"How happy I shall be when I hear that you're in love!" said
Levin. "Please invite me to the wedding."
"I'm in love now."
"Yes, with a cuttlefish! You know," Levin turned to his brother,
"Mikhail Semionovich is writing a work on the digestive organs of
"Now, make a muddle of it! It doesn't matter what about. And the
fact is, I certainly do love cuttlefish."
"But that's no hindrance to your loving your wife."
"The cuttlefish is no hindrance. The wife is the hindrance."
"Oh, you'll see! You care about farming, hunting——well, you'll
"Arkhip was here today; he said there were no end of elk in
Prudnoe, and two bears," said Chirikov.
"Well, you must go and get them without me."
"Ah, that's the truth," said Sergei Ivanovich. "And you may say
good-by to bear hunting for the future——your wife won't allow it!"
Levin smiled. The picture of his wife not letting him go was so
pleasant that he was ready to renounce forever the delights of looking
"Still, it's a pity they should get those two bears without you.
Do you remember last time at Khapilovo? And now it would be a
delightful hunt!" said Chirikov.
Levin had not the heart to disillusion him of the notion that
there could be something delightful apart from her, and so said
"There's some sense in this custom of saying good-by to bachelor
life," said Sergei Ivanovich. "However happy you may be, you must
regret your freedom."
"And confess there is a feeling that you want to jump out of the
window, like Gogol's bridegroom?"
"Of course there is, but he won't confess," said Katavassov, and
he broke into loud laughter.
"Oh, well, the window's open.... Let's start off this instant to
Tver! There's a big she-bear; one can go right up to the lair.
Seriously, let's go by the five o'clock! And here let them do what
they like," said Chirikov smiling.
"Well, now, on my honor," said Levin smiling, "I can't find in my
heart that feeling of regret for my freedom."
"Yes, there's such a chaos in your heart just now that you can't
find anything there," said Katavassov. "Wait a bit, when you set it to
rights a little, you'll find it!"
"No; if so, I should have felt a little, apart from my feeling"
(he could not say "love" before them) "and happiness, a certain regret
at losing my freedom.... On the contrary, I am glad at the very loss
of my freedom."
"Awful! It's a hopeless case!" said Katavassov. "Well, let's drink
to his recovery, or wish that a hundredth part of his dreams may be
realized——and that would be happiness such as never has been seen on
Soon after dinner the guests went away to dress in time for the
When he was left alone, and recalled the conversation of these
bachelor friends, Levin asked himself: Had he in his heart that regret
for his freedom of which they had spoken? He smiled at the question.
"Freedom! What is freedom for? Happiness is only in loving and wishing
her wishes, thinking her thoughts; that is to say, not freedom at all——
"But do I know her thoughts, her wishes, her feelings?" some voice
suddenly whispered to him. The smile died away from his face, and he
grew thoughtful. And suddenly a strange feeling came upon him. There
came over him a dread and doubt——doubt of everything.
"What if she does not love me? What if she's marrying me simply to
be married? What if she doesn't see herself what she's doing?" he
asked himself. "She may come to her senses, and only when she is being
married realize that she does not and cannot love me." And strange,
most evil thoughts of her began to come to him. He was jealous of
Vronsky, as he had been a year ago, as though the evening he had seen
her with Vronsky had been yesterday. He suspected she had not told him
He jumped up quickly. "No, this can't go on!" he said to himself
in despair. "I'll go to her; I'll ask her; I'll say for the last time:
We are free, and hadn't we better stay so? Anything's better than
endless misery, disgrace, unfaithfulness!" With despair in his heart
and bitter anger against all men, against himself, against her, he
went out of the hotel and drove to her house.
He found her in one of the rear rooms. She was sitting on a chest
and making some arrangements with her maid, sorting over heaps of
dresses of different colors, spread on the backs of chairs and on the
"Ah!" she cried, seeing him, and beaming with delight. "Kostia!
Konstantin Dmitrievich!" (These latter days she used these names
almost alternately.) "I didn't expect you! I'm going through my
girlish wardrobe to see what's for whom...."
"Oh! That's very lovely!" he said gloomily, looking at the maid.
"You can go, Duniasha, I'll call you presently," said Kitty.
"Kostia, what's the matter?" she asked, definitely adopting this
familiar name as soon as the maid had gone out. She noticed his
strange face, agitated and gloomy, and a panic came over her.
"Kitty! I'm in torture. I can't be in torture alone," he said with
despair in his voice, standing before her and looking imploringly into
her eyes. He saw already from her loving, truthful face, that nothing
could come of what he had meant to say, but yet he wanted her to
reassure him herself. "I've come to say that there's still time. This
can all be stopped and set right."
"What? I don't understand. What is the matter?"
"What I have said a thousand times over, and can't help
thinking... that I'm not worthy of you. You couldn't consent to marry
me. Think a little. You've made a mistake. Think it over thoroughly.
You can't love me... if... Better say so," he said, without looking at
her. "I shall be wretched. Let people say what they like; anything's
better than misery.... Far better now while there's still time...."
"I don't understand," she answered, panic-stricken; "you mean you
want to give it up... that you don't want it?"
"Yes——if you don't love me."
"You're out of your mind!" she cried, turning crimson with
vexation. But his face was so piteous that she restrained her
vexation, and flinging some clothes off an armchair, she sat down
beside him. "What are you thinking? Tell me all."
"I am thinking you can't love me. What can you love me for?"
"My God! What can I do?..." she said, and burst into tears.
"Oh! What have I done?" he cried, and kneeling before her, he fell
to kissing her hands.
When the old Princess came into the room five minutes later, she
found them completely reconciled. Kitty had not simply assured him
that she loved him, but had gone so far——in answer to his question,
what she loved him for——as to explain what for. She told him that she
loved him because she understood him completely, because she knew what
he would like, and because everything he liked was good. And this
seemed to him perfectly clear. When the Princess came to them, they
were sitting side by side on the chest, sorting the dresses and
disputing over Kitty's wanting to give Duniasha the brown dress she
had been wearing when Levin proposed to her, while he insisted that
that dress must never be given away, but that Duniasha should have the
"How is it you don't see? She's a brunette, and it won't suit
her.... I've worked it all out."
Hearing why he had come, the Princess was half-humorously,
half-seriously angry with him, and sent him home to dress and not to
hinder Kitty's hairdressing, as Charles the coiffeur was just coming.
"As it is, she's been eating nothing lately and is losing her
looks, and then you must come and upset her with your nonsense," she
said to him. "Get along with you, my dear!"
Levin, guilty and shamefaced, but pacified, went back to his
hotel. His brother, Darya Alexandrovna, and Stepan Arkadyevich, all in
full dress, were waiting for him to bless him with an icon. There was
no time to lose. Darya Alexandrovna had to drive home again to fetch
her curled and pomaded son, who was to carry the icon in the bride's
carriage. Then a carriage had to be sent for the best man, and
another, that would take Sergei Ivanovich away, would have to be sent
back.... Altogether there were a great many most complicated matters
to be considered and arranged. One thing was unmistakable—— that there
must be no delay, as it was already half-past six.
Nothing special happened at the ceremony of benediction with the
icon. Stepan Arkadyevich stood in a comically solemn pose beside his
wife, took the icon, and, telling Levin to bow down to the ground, he
blessed him with his kindly, ironical smile, and kissed him three
times; Darya Alexandrovna did the same, and immediately was in a hurry
to get off, and again plunged into the intricate question of the due
order of the various carriages.
"Come, I'll tell you how we'll manage: you drive in our carriage
to fetch him, and Sergei Ivanovich, if he'll be so good, will drive
there and then send his carriage."
"Of course; I shall be delighted."
"We'll come on directly with him. Are your things sent off?" asked
"Yes," answered Levin, and he told Kouzma to lay out his clothes
for him to dress.
A crowd of people, principally women, was thronging round the
church lighted up for the wedding. Those who had not succeeded in
getting into the main entrance were crowding about the windows,
pushing, wrangling, and peeping through the gratings.
More than twenty carriages had already been drawn up in ranks
along the street by the police. A police officer, regardless of the
frost, stood at the entrance, gorgeous in his uniform. More carriages
were continually driving up, and ladies wearing flowers and carrying
their trains, and men taking off their kepis or black hats, kept
walking into the church. Inside the church both lusters were already
lighted, and all the candles before the icons. The golden nimbus on
the red ground of the ikonostasis, and the gilt relief on the icons
and the silver of the lusters and candlesticks, and the floor-flags,
and the rugs, and the banners above in the choir, and the steps of the
ambo, and the old blackened books, and the cassocks and surplices——all
were flooded with light. On the right side of the warm church, in the
crowd of evening dresses and white ties, of uniforms, and of silk,
velvet, satin, hair and flowers, of bare shoulders and arms and long
gloves, there was discreet but lively conversation that echoed
strangely in the high cupola. Every time there was heard the creak of
the opened door the conversation in the crowd died away, and everybody
looked round expecting to see the bride and bridegroom come in. But
the door had opened more than ten times, and each time it was either a
belated guest or guests, who joined the circle of the invited on the
right, or some spectator, who had eluded or softened the police
officer, and went to join the crowd of outsiders on the left. Both the
guests and the outside public had by now passed through all the phases
At first they imagined that the bride and bridegroom would arrive
immediately, and attached no importance at all to their being late.
Then they began to look more and more often toward the door, and to
talk of whether anything could have happened. Then the long delay
began to be positively discomforting, and relations and guests tried
to look as if they were not thinking of the bridegroom at all, but
were engrossed in conversation.
The protodeacon, as though to remind them of the value of his
time, coughed impatiently, making the windowpanes rattle in their
frames. In the choir the bored choristers could be heard trying their
voices and blowing their noses. The priest was continually sending
first the church clerk and then the deacon to find out whether the
bridegroom had not come, more and more often he went himself, in a
lilac vestment and an embroidered sash, to the side door, expecting to
see the bridegroom. At last one of the ladies, glancing at her watch,
said, "It really is strange, though!" and all the guests became uneasy
and began loudly expressing their wonder and dissatisfaction. One of
the bridegroom's best men went to find out what had happened. Kitty
meanwhile had long ago been quite ready, and, in her white dress and
long veil and wreath of orange blossoms, was standing in the drawing
room of the Shcherbatskys' house with her sister, Madame Lvova, who
was her bridal mother. She was looking out of the window, and had been
for over half an hour anxiously expecting to hear from her best man
that her bridegroom was at the church.
Levin meanwhile, in his trousers, but without his coat and
waistcoat, was walking to and fro in his room at the hotel,
continually putting his head out of door and looking up and down the
corridor. But in the corridor there was no sign of the person he was
looking for and he came back in despair, and waving his hands
addressed Stepan Arkadyevich, who was smoking serenely.
"Was ever a man in such a fearful fool's position?" he said.
"Yes, it is stupid," Stepan Arkadyevich assented, smiling
soothingly. "But don't worry, it'll be brought directly."
"No, what is to be done!" said Levin, with smothered fury. "And
these fool open waistcoats! Out of the question!" he said, looking at
the crumpled front of his shirt. "And what if the things have been
taken on to the railway station!" he roared in desperation.
"Then you must put on mine."
"I ought to have done so long ago, if at all."
"It's not well to look ridiculous.... Wait a bit! It will come
The point was that when Levin asked for his evening suit, Kouzma,
his old servant, had brought him the coat, waistcoat, and everything
that was wanted.
"But the shirt!" cried Levin.
"You've got a shirt on," Kouzma answered, with a placid smile.
Kouzma had not thought of leaving out a clean shirt, and on
receiving instructions to pack up everything and send it round to the
Shcherbatskys' house, from which the young people were to set out the
same evening, he had done so, packing everything but the dress suit.
The shirt worn since the morning was crumpled and out of the question
with the fashionable open waistcoat. It was a long way to send to the
Shcherbatskys'. They sent out to buy a shirt. The servant came back;
everything was shut up——it was Sunday. They sent to Stepan
Arkadyevich's and brought a shirt——it was impossibly wide and short.
They sent finally to the Shcherbatskys' to unpack the things. The
bridegroom was expected at the church while he was pacing up and down
his room like a wild beast in a cage, peeping out into the corridor,
and with horror and despair recalling what absurd things he had said
to Kitty and what she might be thinking now.
At last the guilty Kouzma flew panting into the room with the
"Only just in time. They were just lifting it into the van," said
Three minutes later Levin ran full speed into the corridor,
without looking at his watch for fear of aggravating his sufferings.
"You won't help matters like that," said Stepan Arkadyevich with a
smile, hurrying with more deliberation after him. "It will come round,
it will come round——I tell you."
"They've come!" "Here he is!" "Which one?" "Rather young, eh?"
"Why, my dear soul, she looks more dead than alive!" were the comments
in the crowd, when Levin, meeting his bride in the entrance, walked
with her into the church.
Stepan Arkadyevich told his wife the cause of the delay, and the
guests were whispering it with smiles to one another. Levin saw
nothing and no one; he did not take his eyes off his bride.
Everyone said she had lost her looks dreadfully of late, and was
not nearly as pretty on her wedding day as usual; but Levin did not
think so. He looked at her hair done up high, with the long white veil
and white flowers and the high, scalloped de Medici collar, that in
such a maidenly fashion hid her long neck at the sides and only showed
it in front, and her strikingly slender figure, and it seemed to him
that she looked better than ever——not because these flowers, this
veil, this gown from Paris added anything to her beauty; but because,
in spite of the elaborate sumptuousness of her attire, the expression
of her sweet face, of her eyes, of her lips was still her own
characteristic expression of guileless truthfulness.
"I was beginning to think you meant to run away," she said, and
smiled to him.
What happened to me is so stupid I'm ashamed to speak of it!" he
said, reddening, and he was obliged to turn to Sergei Ivanovich, who
came up to him.
"This is a pretty story of yours about the shirt!" said Sergei
Ivanovich, shaking his head and smiling.
"Yes, yes!" answered Levin, without an idea of what they were
"Now, Kostia, you have to decide," said Stepan Arkadyevich with an
air of mock dismay, "a weighty question. You are at this moment just
in the humor to appreciate all its gravity. They ask me, are they to
light the candles that have been lighted before or candles that have
never been lighted? It's a matter of ten roubles," he added, relaxing
his lips into a smile. "I have decided, but I was afraid you might not
Levin saw it was a joke, but he could not smile.
"Well, how's it to be then——unused or used candles?——that is the
"Yes, yes, unused ones."
"Oh, I'm very glad. The question's decided!" said Stepan
Arkadyevich, smiling. "How silly men become, though, in this
situation," he said to Chirikov, when Levin, after looking absently at
him, had moved back to his bride.
"Kitty, mind you're the first to step on the carpet," said
Countess Nordstone, coming up. "You're a fine person!" she said to
"Aren't you frightened, eh?" said Marya Dmitrievna, an old aunt.
"Are you cold? You're pale. Stop a minute, stoop down," said
Kitty's sister, Madame Lvova, and with her plump, pretty hands she
smilingly set straight the flowers on her head.
Dolly came up, tried to say something, but could not speak, cried,
and then laughed naturally.
Kitty looked at all of them with the same absent eyes as Levin.
Meanwhile the officiating clergy had got into their vestments, and
the priest and deacon came out to the lectern, which stood in the
porch of the church. The priest turned to Levin saying something.
Levin did not hear what the priest said.
"Take the bride's hand and lead her up," the best man said to
It was a long while before Levin could make out what was expected
of him. For a long time they tried to set him right and made him begin
again——because he kept taking Kitty by the wrong arm or with the wrong
arm——till he understood at last that what he had to do was, without
changing his position, to take her right hand in his right hand. When
at last he had taken the bride's hand in the correct way, the priest
walked a few paces in front of them and stopped at the lectern. The
crowd of friends and relations moved after them, with a buzz of talk
and a rustle of trains. Someone stooped down and straightened out the
bride's train. The church became so still that the drops of wax could
be heard falling from the candles.
The little old priest in his calotte, with his long silvery-gray
locks of hair parted behind his ears, was fumbling with something at
the lectern, putting out his little old hands from under the heavy
silver vestment with the gold cross on the back of it.
Stepan Arkadyevich approached him cautiously, whispered something,
and, giving a wink at Levin, walked back again.
The priest lighted two candles, wreathed with flowers, and holding
them sideways so that the wax dropped slowly from them he turned,
facing the bridal pair. The priest was the same old man who had
confessed Levin. He looked with weary and melancholy eyes at the bride
and bridegroom, sighed, and, putting his right hand out from under his
vestment, blessed the bridegroom with it, and also, with a shade of
solicitous tenderness, laid his crossed fingers on the bowed head of
Kitty. Then he gave them the candles, and, taking the censer, moved
slowly away from them.
"Can it be true?" thought Levin, and he looked round at his bride.
Looking down at her he saw her face in profile, and from the scarcely
perceptible quiver of her lips and eyelashes he knew she was aware of
his eyes upon her. She did not look round, but the high scalloped
collar, that reached her little pink ear, trembled faintly. He saw
that a sigh was held back in her throat, and the little hand in the
long glove shook as it held the candle.
All the fuss of the shirt, of being late, all the talk of friends
and relations, their annoyance, his ludicrous position——all suddenly
passed away and he was filled with joy and dread.
The handsome, stately protodeacon wearing a silver robe, and his
curly locks standing out at each side of his head, stepped smartly
forward, and lifting his stole on two fingers, stood opposite the
"Blessed be the name of the Lord," the solemn syllables rang out
slowly one after another, setting the air quivering with waves of
"Blessed is the name of our God, from the beginning, as now, and
forever and aye," the little old priest answered in a submissive,
piping voice, still fingering something at the lectern. And the full
chorus of the unseen choir rose up, filling the whole church, from the
windows to the vaulted roof, with broad waves of melody. It grew
stronger, rested for an instant, and slowly died away.
They prayed, as they always do, for peace from on high and for
salvation, for the Holy Synod, and for the Czar; they prayed, too, for
the servants of God, Konstantin and Ekaterina, now plighting their
"Vouchsafe to them love made perfect, peace, and help, O Lord, we
beseech Thee," the whole church seemed to breathe with the voice of
Levin heard the words, and they impressed him. "How did they guess
that it is help, just help that one wants?" he thought, recalling all
his fears and doubts of late. "What do I know? what can I do in this
fearful business," he thought, "without help? Yes, it is help I want
When the deacon had finished the liturgical prayer, the priest
turned to the bridal pair with his book: "Eternal God, who joinest
together in love them that were separate," he read in a gentle, piping
voice, "who hast ordained the union of holy wedlock that cannot be set
asunder, Thou who didst bless Isaac and Rebecca and their descendants,
according to Thy Holy Covenant, bless Thou Thy servants, Konstantin
and Ekaterina, leading them in the path of all good works. For
gracious and merciful art Thou, our Lord, and glory be to Thee, the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, now and forever and aye."——
"Amen!" the unseen choir sent rolling again through the air.
"'Joinest together in love them that were separate.' What deep
meaning in those words, and how they correspond with what one feels at
this moment," thought Levin. "Is she feeling the same as I?"
And, looking round, he met her eyes. And from their expression he
concluded that she was understanding it just as he was. But this was a
mistake; she almost completely missed the meaning of the words of the
service; she had not heard them, in fact. She could not listen to them
and take them in, so strong was the one feeling that filled her breast
and grew stronger and stronger. That feeling was joy at the completion
of the process that for the last month and a half had been going on in
her soul, and had during those six weeks been a joy and a torture to
her. On the day when in the drawing room of the house in the Arbat
street she had gone up to him in her brown dress, and had given
herself to him without a word——on that day, at that hour, there took
place in her heart a complete severance from all her old life, and a
quite different, new, utterly strange life had begun for her, while
the old life was actually going on as before. Those six weeks had for
her been a time of the utmost bliss and the utmost misery. All her
life, all her desires and hopes were concentrated on this one man,
still uncomprehended by her, to whom she was bound by a feeling of
alternate attraction and repulsion, even less comprehended than the
man himself, and all the while she was going on living in the outward
conditions of her old life. Living the old life, she was horrified at
herself, at her utter insurmountable callousness to all her own past,
to things, to habits, to the people she had loved, who loved her——to
her mother, who was wounded by her indifference, to her kind, tender
father, till then dearer than all the world. At one moment she was
horrified at this indifference, at another she rejoiced at what had
brought her to this indifference. She could not frame a thought, nor a
wish, apart from life with this man; but this new life was not yet,
and she could not even picture it clearly to herself. There was only
anticipation, the dread and joy of the new and the unknown. And now
behold anticipation and uncertainty and remorse at the abandonment of
the old life——all this was ending, and the new was beginning. This new
life could not but have terrors for her by its obscurity; but,
terrible or not, the change had been wrought six weeks before in her
soul, and this was merely the final sanction of what had long been
completed in her heart.
Turning again to the lectern, the priest with some difficulty took
Kitty's little ring, and, asking Levin for his hand, put it on the
first joint of his finger. "The servant of God, Konstantin, plights
his troth to the servant of God, Ekaterina." And putting his big ring
on Kitty's touchingly weak, pink tiny finger, the priest said the same
And the bridal pair tried several times to understand what they
had to do, and each time made some mistake and were corrected by the
priest in a whisper. At last, having duly performed the ceremony,
having made with the rings the sign of the cross over them, the priest
handed Kitty the big ring, and Levin the little one. Again they were
puzzled, and passed the rings from hand to hand, still without doing
what was expected.
Dolly, Chirikov, and Stepan Arkadyevich stepped forward to set
them right. There was an interval of hesitation, whispering, and
smiles; but the expression of solemn emotion on the faces of the
betrothed pair did not change: on the contrary, in their perplexity
over their hands they looked more grave and deeply moved than before,
and the smile with which Stepan Arkadyevich whispered to them that now
they would each put on their own ring died away on his lips. He had a
feeling that any smile would jar on them.
"Thou who didst from the beginning create male and female," the
priest read after the exchange of rings, "from Thee woman was given to
man to be a helpmeet to him, and for the procreation of children. O
Lord, our God, who hast poured down the blessings of Thy Truth
according to Thy Holy Covenant upon Thy chosen servants, our fathers,
from generation to generation, bless Thy servants Konstantin and
Ekaterina, and make their troth fast in faith, and union of hearts,
and in truth, and in love...."
Levin felt more and more that all his ideas of marriage, all his
dreams of how he would order his life, were mere childishness, and
that it was something he had not understood hitherto, and now
understood less than ever, though it was being performed upon him. The
lump in his throat rose higher and higher; tears that would not be
checked came into his eyes.
In the church there was all Moscow, all the friends and relations;
and during the ceremony of plighting troth, in the brilliantly lighted
church, there was an incessant flow of discreetly subdued talk in the
circle of gaily dressed women and girls, and men in white ties,
evening dress, and uniform. The talk was principally kept up by the
men, while the women were absorbed in watching every detail of the
ceremony, which always touches them so much.
In the little group nearest the bride were her two sisters: Dolly,
and the younger one, the self-possessed beauty, Madame Lvova, who had
just arrived from abroad.
"Why is it Marie's in lilac? It's as bad as black at a wedding,"
said Madame Korsunskaia.
"With her complexion, it's her one salvation," responded Madame
Drubetskaia. "I wonder why they had the wedding in the evening? It's
like shop people...."
"So much prettier. I was married in the evening too...." answered
Madame Korsunskaia, and she sighed, remembering how charming she had
been that day, and how absurdly in love her husband was, and how
different it all was now.
"They say if anyone is best man more than ten times, he'll never
be married. I wanted to be one for the tenth time, but the post was
taken," said Count Siniavin to the pretty Princess Charskaia, who had
designs on him.
Princess Charskaia only answered with a smile. She looked at
Kitty, thinking how and when she would stand with Count Siniavin in
Kitty's place, and how she would remind him then of his joke today.
Shcherbatsky told the old Hoffraulein, Madame Nikoleva, that he
meant to put the crown on Kitty's chignon for luck.
"She ought not to have worn a chignon," answered Madame Nikoleva,
who had long ago made up her mind that if the elderly widower she was
angling for married her, the wedding should be of the simplest. "I
don't like such faste."
Sergei Ivanovich was talking to Darya Dmitrievna, jestingly
assuring her that the custom of going away after the wedding was
becoming common because newly married people always felt a little
ashamed of themselves.
"Your brother may feel proud of himself. She's a marvel of
sweetness. I believe you're envious."
"Oh, I've got over that, Darya Dmitrievna," he answered, and a
melancholy and serious expression suddenly came over his face.
Stepan Arkadyevich was telling his sister-in-law his joke about
"The wreath wants setting straight," she answered, without
listening to him.
"What a pity she's lost her looks so," Countess Nordstone said to
Madame Lvova. "Still, he's not worth her little finger, is he?"
"Oh, I like him so——not because he's my future beau-frere,"
answered Madame Lvova. "And how well he's behaving! It's so difficult,
too, to look well in such a position, not to be ridiculous. And he's
not ridiculous, and not affected; one can see he's moved."
"You expected it, I suppose?"
"Almost. She always cared for him."
"Well, we shall see which of them will step on the rug first. I
"It will make no difference," said Madame Lvova, "we're all
obedient wives; it's in our family."
"Oh, I stepped on the rug before Vassilii on purpose. And you,
Dolly stood beside them; she heard them, but she did not answer.
She was deeply moved. The tears stood in her eyes, and she could not
have spoken without crying. She was rejoicing over Kitty and Levin;
going back in thought to her own wedding, she glanced at the radiant
figure of Stepan Arkadyevich, forgot all the present, and remembered
only her own innocent love. She recalled not herself only, but all her
women friends and acquaintances. She thought of them on the one day of
their triumph, when they had stood like Kitty under the wedding crown,
with love and hope and dread in their hearts, renouncing the past, and
stepping forward into the mysterious future. Among the brides that
came back to her memory, she thought too of her darling Anna, of whose
proposed divorce she had just been hearing. And she had stood just as
innocent, in orange blossoms and bridal veil. And now? "It's terribly
strange," she said to herself.
It was not merely the sisters, the women friends, and the female
relations of the bride, who were following every detail of the
ceremony. Women who were quite strangers, mere spectators, were
watching it excitedly, holding their breath, in fear of losing a
single movement or expression of the bride and bridegroom, and angrily
not answering, often not hearing, the remarks of the callous men, who
kept making joking or irrelevant observations.
"Why has she been crying? Is she being married against her will?"
"Against her will——to a fine fellow like that? A Prince, isn't he?"
"Is that her sister in the white satin? Just listen how the deacon
booms out, 'and obey!'"
"Are the choristers from the church of the Miracle?"
"No——from the Synodal school."
"I'm told——he's going to take her home to his country place at
once. I asked the footman. Awfully rich, they say. That's why she's
being married to him."
"No——they're a well-matched pair."
"I say, Marya Vassilyevna, you claimed those flyaway crinolines
were not being worn. Just look at her in the puce dress——an
ambassador's wife, they say she is——see, how her skirt bounces!... So
"What a pretty dear the bride is——like a lamb decked with flowers!
Well, say what you will, we women feel for our sister."
Such were the comments in the crowd of gazing women who had
succeeded in slipping in at the church doors.
When the ceremony of plighting troth was over, the sacristan
spread before the lectern in the middle of the church a piece of pink
silken stuff, the choir sang a complicated and elaborate psalm, in
which the bass and tenor sang responses to one another, and the
priest, turning round, pointed the bridal pair to the pink silk rug.
Though both had often heard a great deal about the saying that the one
who steps first on the rug will be the head of the house, neither
Levin nor Kitty were capable of recollecting it, as they took the few
steps toward it. They did not hear the loud remarks and disputes that
followed, some maintaining he had stepped on it first, and others that
both had stepped on it together.
After the customary questions, whether they desired to enter upon
matrimony, and whether they were pledged to anyone else, and their
answers, which sounded strange to themselves, a new ceremony began.
Kitty listened to the words of the prayer, trying to make out their
meaning, but she could not. The feeling of triumph and radiant
happiness flooded her soul more and more as the ceremony went on, and
deprived her of all power of attention.
They prayed: "Endow them with continence and fruitfulness, and
vouchsafe that their hearts may rejoice looking upon their sons and
daughters." They alluded to God's creation of a wife from Adam's rib,
"and for this cause a man shall leave father and mother, and cleave
unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh," and that "this is a
great mystery;" they prayed that God would make them fruitful and
bless them, like Isaac and Rebecca, Joseph, Moses and Zipporah, and
that they might look upon their children's children. "That's all
splendid," thought Kitty, catching the words, "all that's just as it
should be," and a smile of happiness, unconsciously reflected in
everyone who looked at her, beamed on her radiant face.
"Put it on completely!" voices were heard urging when, after the
priest had put on their wedding crowns, and Shcherbatsky, his hand
shaking in its three-button glove, was holding the crown high above
"Put it on!" she whispered smiling.
Levin looked round at her, and was struck by the joyful radiance
on her face, and unconsciously her feeling infected him. He too, like
her, felt joyous and happy.
They enjoyed hearing the Epistle read, and the roll of the
protodeacon's voice at the last verse, awaited with such impatience by
the outside public. They enjoyed drinking out of the shallow cup of
warm red wine and water, and they were still more pleased when the
priest, flinging back his stole and taking both their hands in his,
led them round the lectern to the accompaniment of bass voices
chanting: "Isaiah rejoice!" Shcherbatsky and Chirikov, supporting the
crowns and stumbling over the bride's train, smiling too and seeming
delighted at something, were at one moment left behind, at the next
treading on the bridal pair as the priest came to a halt. The spark of
joy kindled in Kitty seemed to have infected everyone in the church.
It seemed to Levin that the priest and the deacon too wanted to smile,
just as he did.
Taking the crowns off their heads the priest read the last prayer
and congratulated the young couple. Levin looked at Kitty, and he had
never before seen her look as she did. She was charming with the new
radiance of happiness in her face. Levin longed to say something to
her, but he did not know whether it was all over. The priest got him
out of his difficulty. He smiled his kindly smile and said gently,
"Kiss your wife——and you kiss your husband," and took the candles out
of their hands.
Levin kissed her smiling lips with timid care, gave her his arm,
and, with a new strange sense of closeness, walked out of the church.
He did not believe, he could not believe, that it was true. It was
only when their wondering and timid eyes met that he believed in it,
because he felt that they were one.
After supper, the same night, the young people left for the
Vronsky and Anna had been traveling for three months together in
Europe. They had visited Venice, Rome and Naples, and had just arrived
at a small Italian town where they meant to stay some time.
A handsome headwaiter, with thick pomaded hair parted from the
neck upward, wearing an evening coat, a broad white cambric shirt
front, and a bunch of watch charms dangling above his small bay
window, stood with his hands in his pockets, looking contemptuously
from under his eyelids, while he gave some frigid reply to a gentleman
who had stopped still. Catching the sound of footsteps coming from the
other side of the entry toward the staircase, the headwaiter turned
round, and, seeing the Russian Count, who had taken their best rooms,
he took his hands out of his pockets deferentially, and with a bow
informed him that a courier had come, and that the business about the
palazzo had been arranged. The steward was prepared to sign the
"Ah! I'm glad to hear it," said Vronsky. "Is Madame at home or
"Madame has been out for a walk but has returned now," answered
Vronsky took off his soft, wide-brimmed hat and passed his
handkerchief over his heated brow and hair, which had grown half over
his ears, and was brushed back covering the bald patch on his head.
And, glancing casually at the gentleman, who still stood there gazing
intently at him, he would have gone on.
"This gentleman is a Russian, and was inquiring after you," said
With mingled feelings of annoyance at never being able to get away
from acquaintances anywhere, and longing to find some sort of
diversion from the monotony of his life, Vronsky looked once more at
the gentleman, who had retreated and stood still again, and at the
same moment a light came into the eyes of both.
It really was Golenishchev, a comrade of Vronsky's in the Corps of
Pages. In the Corps Golenishchev had belonged to the liberal party; he
left the Corps without entering the army, and had never taken office
under the government. Vronsky and he had gone completely different
ways on leaving the Corps, and had only met once since.
At that meeting Vronsky perceived that Golenishchev had taken up a
sort of lofty intellectually liberal line, and was consequently
disposed to look down upon Vronsky's interests and calling in life.
Hence Vronsky had met him with the chilling and haughty manner he so
well knew how to assume, the meaning of which was: "You may like or
dislike my ways of life, that's a matter of the most perfect
indifference to me; you will have to treat me with respect if you want
to know me." Golenishchev had been contemptuously indifferent to the
tone taken by Vronsky. That meeting might have been expected to
estrange them still more. But now they beamed and exclaimed with
delight on recognizing one another. Vronsky would never have expected
to be so pleased to see Golenishchev, but probably he was not himself
aware how bored he was. He forgot the disagreeable impression of their
last meeting, and with a face of frank delight held out his hand to
his old comrade. The same expression of delight replaced the look of
uneasiness on Golenishchev's face.
"How glad I am to meet you!" said Vronsky, showing his strong
white teeth in a friendly smile.
"I heard the name Vronsky, but I didn't know which one. I'm very,
"Let's go in. Come, tell me what you're doing."
"I've been living here for two years. I'm working."
"Ah!" said Vronsky, with sympathy. "Let's go in."
And with the habit common among Russians, instead of saying in
Russian what he wanted to keep from the servants, he began to speak in
"Do you know Madame Karenina? We are traveling together. I am
going to see her now," he said in French, carefully scrutinizing
"Ah, I did not know" (though he did know), Golenishchev answered
carelessly. "Have you been here long?" he added.
"Three days," Vronsky answered, once more scrutinizing his
friend's face intently.
"Yes, he's a decent fellow, and will look at the thing properly,"
Vronsky said to himself, catching the significance of Golenishchev's
face and the change of subject. "I can introduce him to Anna——he looks
at it properly."
During the three months that Vronsky had spent abroad with Anna,
he had always on meeting new people asked himself how the new person
would look at his relations with Anna, and for the most part, in men,
he had met with the "proper" way of looking at it. But if he had been
asked, and those who looked at it "properly" had been asked exactly
how they did look at it, both he and they would have been greatly
puzzled to answer.
In reality, those who in Vronsky's opinion had the "proper" view
had no sort of view at all, but behaved in general as well-bred
persons do behave in regard to all the complex and insoluble problems
with which life is encompassed on all sides; they behaved with
propriety, avoiding allusions and unpleasant questions. They assumed
an air of fully comprehending the import and force of the situation,
of accepting and even approving of it, but of considering it
superfluous and uncalled-for to put all this into words.
Vronsky at once divined that Golenishchev was of this class, and
therefore was doubly pleased to see him. And, in fact, Golenishchev's
manner to Madame Karenina, when he was taken to call on her, was all
that Vronsky could have desired. Obviously without the slightest
effort he steered clear of all subjects which might lead to
He had never met Anna before, and was struck by her beauty, and,
still more, by the naturalness with which she accepted her position.
She blushed when Vronsky brought in Golenishchev, and he was extremely
charmed by this childish blush overspreading her candid and handsome
face. But what he liked particularly was the way in which at once, as
though on purpose, so that there might be no misunderstanding with an
outsider, she called Vronsky simply Alexei, and said they were moving
into a house they had just taken——what was here called a palazzo.
Golenishchev liked this direct and simple attitude to her own
position. Looking at Anna's manner of simplehearted, spirited gaiety,
and knowing Alexei Alexandrovich and Vronsky, Golenishchev fancied
that he understood her perfectly. He fancied that he understood what
she was utterly unable to understand: how it was that, having made her
husband wretched, having abandoned him and her son and lost her good
name, she yet felt full of spirits, gaiety, and happiness.
"It's in the guidebook," said Golenishchev, referring to the
palazzo Vronsky had taken. "There's a first-rate Tintoretto there. One
of his latest period."
"I tell you what: it's a lovely day, let's go and have another
look at it," said Vronsky, addressing Anna.
"I shall be very glad to; I'll go and put on my hat. Would you say
it's hot?" she said, stopping short in the doorway and looking
inquiringly at Vronsky. And again a vivid flush overspread her face.
Vronsky saw from her eyes that she did not know on what terms he
cared to be with Golenishchev, and so was afraid of not behaving as he
He bestowed a long, tender look at her.
"No, not very," he said.
And it seemed to her that she understood everything——most of all,
that he was pleased with her; and, smiling to him, she walked with her
rapid step out of the door.
The friends glanced at one another, and a look of hesitation came
into both faces, as though Golenishchev, unmistakably admiring her,
would have liked to say something about her, and could not find the
right thing to say, while Vronsky desired and dreaded his doing so.
"Well then," Vronsky began, to start a conversation of some sort,
"so you're settled here? You're still at the same work, then?" he went
on, recalling that he had been told Golenishchev was writing
"Yes, I'm writing the second part of the Two Elements," said
Golenishchev, coloring with pleasure at the question——"that is, to be
exact, I am not writing it yet; I am preparing, collecting materials.
It will be of far wider scope, and will touch on almost all questions.
We in Russia refuse to see that we are the heirs of Byzantium," and he
launched into a long and heated explanation of his views.
Vronsky at the first moment felt embarrassed at not even knowing
of the first part of the Two Elements, of which the author spoke as
something well known. But as Golenishchev began to lay down his
opinions and Vronsky was able to follow them even without knowing the
Two Elements, he listened to him with some interest, for Golenishchev
spoke well. But Vronsky was startled and annoyed by the nervous
irascibility with which Golenishchev talked of the subject that
engrossed him. As he went on talking, his eyes glittered more and more
angrily; he was more and more hurried in his replies to imaginary
opponents, and his face grew more and more excited and worried.
Remembering Golenishchev, a thin, lively, good-natured and well-bred
boy, always at the head of the class, Vronsky could not make out the
reason for his irritability, and he did not like it. What he
particularly disliked was that Golenishchev, a man belonging to a good
set, should put himself on a level with some scribbling fellows with
whom he was irritated and angry. Was it worth it? Vronsky disliked it,
yet he felt that Golenishchev was unhappy, and was sorry for him.
Unhappiness, almost mental derangement, was visible on his mobile,
rather handsome face, as, without even noticing Anna's coming in, he
went on hurriedly and hotly expressing his views.
When Anna came in in her hat and cape, her lovely hand rapidly
swinging her parasol, and stood beside him, it was with a feeling of
relief that Vronsky broke away from the plaintive eyes of Golenishchev
which fastened persistently upon him, and with a fresh rush of love
looked at his charming companion, full of life and happiness.
Golenishchev recovered himself with an effort, and at first was
dejected and gloomy, but Anna, disposed as she was at that time to
feel friendly with everyone, soon revived his spirits by her direct
and lively manner. After trying various subjects of conversation, she
got him upon painting, of which he talked very well, and she listened
to him attentively. They walked to the house they had taken and looked
"I am very glad of one thing," said Anna to Golenishchev when they
were on their way back, "Alexei will have a capital atelier. You must
certainly take that room," she said to Vronsky in Russian, using the
affectionately familiar form, as though she saw that Golenishchev
would become intimate with them in their isolation, and that there was
no need of reserve before him.
"Do you paint?" said Golenishchev turning round quickly to Vronsky.
"Yes, I used to study long ago, and now I have begun to do a
little," said Vronsky, reddening.
"He has great talent," said Anna with a delighted smile. "I'm no
judge, of course. But good judges have said the same."
Anna, in that first period of her emancipation and rapid return to
health, felt herself unpardonably happy and full of the joy of life.
The thought of her husband's unhappiness did not poison her happiness.
On one side that memory was too awful to be thought of. On the other
side her husband's unhappiness had given her too much happiness to be
regretted. The memory of all that had happened after her illness: her
reconciliation with her husband, the rupture, the news of Vronsky's
wound, his visit, the preparations for divorce, the departure from her
husband's house, the parting from her son——all that seemed to her like
a delirious dream, from which she had waked up abroad, alone with
Vronsky. The thought of the harm caused to her husband aroused in her
a feeling like repulsion, and akin to what a drowning man might feel
who has shaken off another man clinging to him. That man did drown. It
was an evil action, of course, but it was the sole means of escape,
and better not to brood over these fearful facts.
One consolatory reflection upon her conduct had occurred to her at
the first moment of the final rupture, and when now she recalled all
the past, she remembered that one reflection. "I have inevitably made
that man wretched," she thought; "but I don't want to profit by his
misery. I, too, am suffering, and shall suffer; I am losing what I
prized above everything——I am losing my good name and my son. I have
done wrong, and so I don't want happiness, I don't want a divorce, and
shall suffer from my shame and the separation from my child." But,
however sincerely Anna had meant to suffer, she was not suffering.
Shame there was none. With the tact of which both had such a large
share, they had succeeded in avoiding Russian ladies abroad, and so
had never placed themselves in a false position, and everywhere they
had met people who pretended that they perfectly understood their
position, far better indeed than they did themselves. Separation from
the son she loved——even that did not cause her anguish in these early
days. The baby girl——his child——was so sweet, and had so won Anna's
heart, since she was all that was left her, that Anna rarely thought
of her son.
The desire for life, waxing stronger with recovered health, was so
intense, and the conditions of life were so new and pleasant, that
Anna felt unpardonably happy. The more she got to know Vronsky, the
more she loved him. She loved him for himself, and for his love for
her. Her complete ownership of him was a continual joy to her. His
presence was always sweet to her. All the traits of his character,
which she learned to know better and better, were unutterably dear to
her. His appearance, changed by his civilian dress, was as fascinating
to her as though she were some young girl in love. In everything he
said, thought, and did, she saw something particularly noble and
elevated. Her adoration of him alarmed her indeed; she sought and
could not find in him anything not fine. She dared not show him her
sense of her own insignificance beside him. It seemed to her that,
knowing this, he might sooner cease to love her; and she dreaded
nothing now so much as losing his love, though she had no grounds for
fearing it. But she could not help being grateful to him for his
attitude to her, and showing that she appreciated it. He, who had in
her opinion such a marked aptitude for a political career, in which he
would have been certain to play a leading part——he had sacrificed his
ambition for her sake, and never betrayed the slightest regret. He was
more lovingly respectful to her than ever, and the constant care that
she should not feel the awkwardness of her position never deserted him
for a single instant. He, so manly a man, never opposed her, had
indeed, with her, no will of his own, and was anxious, it seemed, for
nothing but to anticipate her wishes. And she could not but appreciate
this, even though the very intensity of his solicitude for her, the
atmosphere of care with which he surrounded her, sometimes weighed
Vronsky, meanwhile, in spite of the complete realization of what
he had so long desired, was not perfectly happy. He soon felt that the
realization of his desires gave him no more than a grain of sand out
of the mountain of happiness he had expected. It showed him the
mistake men make in picturing to themselves happiness as the
realization of their desires. For a time after joining his life to
hers, and putting on civilian dress, he had felt all the delight of
freedom in general, of which he had known nothing before, and of
freedom in his love——and he was content, but not for long. He was soon
aware that there was springing up in his heart a desire for desires——
longing. Without conscious intention he began to clutch at every
passing caprice, taking it for a desire and an object. Sixteen hours
of the day must be occupied in some way, since they were living abroad
in complete freedom, outside the conditions of social life which
filled up time in Peterburg. As for the amusements of bachelor
existence, which had provided Vronsky with entertainment on previous
tours abroad, they could not be thought of, since the sole attempt of
the sort had led to a sudden attack of depression in Anna, quite out
of proportion with the cause——a late supper with bachelor friends.
Relations with the society of the place——foreign and Russian——were
equally out of the question, owing to the irregularity of their
position. The inspection of objects of interest, apart from the fact
that everything had been seen already, had not for Vronsky, a Russian
and a sensible man, the inexplicable significance Englishmen are able
to attach to that pursuit.
And, just as the hungry animal eagerly clutches every object it
can get, hoping to find nourishment in it, Vronsky quite unconsciously
clutched first at politics, then at new books, and then at pictures.
As he had, ever since he was a child, a taste for painting, and
as, not knowing what to spend his money on, he had begun collecting
engravings, he came to a stop at painting, began to take interest in
it, and concentrated upon it the unoccupied fund of desires which
As he had a capacity for understanding art, and for true and
tasteful imitation in the art of painting, he supposed himself to have
the real thing essential for an artist, and after hesitating for some
time which style of painting to select——religious, historical,
realistic, or genre painting——he set to work to paint. He appreciated
all kinds, and could have felt inspired by any one of them; but he had
no conception of the possibility of knowing nothing at all of any
school of painting, and of being inspired directly by what is within
the soul, without caring whether what is painted will belong to any
recognized school. Since he knew nothing of this, and drew his
inspiration, not directly from life, but indirectly from life embodied
in art, his inspiration came very quickly and easily, and as quickly
and easily came his success in painting something very similar to the
sort of painting he was trying to imitate.
More than any other style he liked the French——graceful and
effective——and in that style he began to paint Anna's portrait in
Italian costume, and the portrait seemed to him, and to everyone who
saw it, extremely successful.
The old neglected palazzo, with its lofty plastic plafonds and
frescoes on the walls, with its floors of mosaic, with its heavy
yellow stuff curtains on the windows, with its vases on pedestals, and
its open fireplaces, its carved doors and gloomy reception rooms hung
with pictures——this palazzo did much, by its very appearance after
they had moved into it, to confirm in Vronsky the agreeable illusion
that he was not so much a Russian country gentleman, a retired officer
of the life guards, as an enlightened amateur and patron of the arts,
himself a modest artist who had renounced the world, his connections,
and his ambition for the sake of the woman he loved.
The pose chosen by Vronsky with their removal into the palazzo was
completely successful, and having, through Golenishchev, made the
acquaintance of a few interesting people, for a time he was satisfied.
He painted studies from nature under the guidance of an Italian
professor of painting, and studied medieval Italian life. Medieval
Italian life so fascinated Vronsky that even his hat, and a plaid
flung over his shoulder, were worn in the medieval style, which,
indeed, was extremely becoming to him.
"Here we live, and know nothing of what's going on," Vronsky said
to Golenishchev, when the latter came to see him one morning. "Have
you seen Mikhailov's picture?" he said, handing him a Russian gazette
he had received that morning, and pointing to an article on a Russian
artist, living in the very same town, and just finishing a picture
which had long been talked about, and had been bought beforehand. The
article reproached the government and the academy for letting so
remarkable an artist be left without encouragement and support.
"I've seen it," answered Golenishchev. "Of course, he's not
without talent, but it's all in a wrong direction. It's all the
Ivanov-Strauss-Renan attitude to Christ and to religious painting."
"What is the subject of the picture?" asked Anna.
"Christ before Pilate. Christ is represented as a Jew with all the
realism of the new school."
And the question of the subject of the picture having brought him
to one of his favorite theories, Golenishchev launched forth into a
disquisition on it.
"I can't understand how they can fall into such a gross mistake.
Christ always has His definite embodiment in the art of the great
masters. And therefore, if they want to depict, not God, but a
revolutionist or a sage, let them take from history a Socrates, a
Franklin, a Charlotte Corday, but not Christ. They take the very
figure which cannot be taken for their art, and then..."
"And is it true that this Mikhailov is in such poverty?" asked
Vronsky, thinking that, as a Russian Maecenas, it was his duty to
assist the artist regardless of whether the picture were good or bad.
"Hardly. He's a remarkable portrait painter. Have you ever seen
his portrait of Madame Vassilkova? But I believe he doesn't care about
painting any more portraits, and so, likely as not, he may be in want.
I maintain that..."
"Couldn't we ask him to paint a portrait of Anna Arkadyevna?" said
"Why mine?" said Anna. "After yours I don't want another portrait.
Better have one of Annie" (so she called her baby girl). "Here she
is," she added, looking out of the window at the handsome Italian
nurse, who was carrying the child out into the garden, and immediately
glancing, unperceived, at Vronsky. The handsome nurse, from whom
Vronsky was painting a head for his picture, was the one hidden grief
in Anna's life. He painted with her as his model, admired her beauty
and medievalism, and Anna dared not confess to herself that she was
afraid of becoming jealous of this nurse, and was for that reason
particularly gracious and condescending both to her and her little
Vronsky, too, glanced out of the window and into Anna's eyes, and,
turning at once to Golenishchev, he said:
"Do you know this Mikhailov?"
"I have met him. But he's a queer fish, and quite without
breeding. You know, one of those savage new people one is forever
coming across nowadays; one of those freethinkers, you know, who are
reared d'emblee in theories of atheism, negation, and materialism. In
former days," said Golenishchev, not observing, or not willing to
observe, that both Anna and Vronsky wanted to speak, "in former days
the freethinker was a man who had been brought up in ideas of
religion, law, and morality, and only through conflict and struggle
came to free thought; but now there has sprung up a new type of native
freethinker who grows up without even having heard of principles of
morality or of religion, of the existence of authorities, who grows up
directly in ideas of negation in everything, that is to say, a savage.
Well, he's of that class. He's the son, it appears, of some Moscow
butler, and has never had any sort of bringing-up. When he got into
the academy and made his reputation he tried, as he's no fool, to
educate himself. And he turned to what seemed to him the very source
of culture——the magazines. In old times, you see, a man who wanted to
educate himself——a Frenchman, for instance——would have set to work to
study all the classics: theologians and tragedians and historians and
philosophers, and, you see, all the intellectual work that came in his
way. But in our day he goes straight for the literature of negation,
very quickly assimilates all the extracts of the science of negation,
and he's all set. And that's not all—— twenty years ago he would have
found in that literature traces of conflict with authorities, with the
creeds of the ages; he would have perceived from this conflict that
there was something else; but now he comes at once upon a literature
in which the old creeds do not even furnish matter for discussion, but
it is stated baldly that there is nothing else; just evolution,
natural selection, the struggle for existence——and that's all. In my
"I tell you what," said Anna, who had for a long while been
exchanging wary glances with Vronsky, and knew that he was not in the
least interested in the education of this artist, but was simply
absorbed by the idea of assisting him, and ordering a portrait of him;
"I tell you what," she said, resolutely interrupting Golenishchev, who
was still talking away, "let's go and see him!"
Golenishchev recovered his self-possession and readily agreed.
But, as the artist lived in a remote ward of the town, it was decided
to take a carriage.
An hour later Anna, with Golenishchev by her side and Vronsky on
the front seat of the carriage, facing them, drove up to an ugly new
house in a remote ward. On learning from the porter's wife, who came
out to them, that Mikhailov saw visitors at his studio, but that at
that moment he was in his lodging only a couple of steps off, they
sent her to him with their cards, asking permission to see his
The artist Mikhailov was, as always, at work when the cards of
Count Vronsky and Golenishchev were brought to him. In the morning he
had been working in his studio at his big picture. On getting home he
flew into a rage with his wife for not having managed to put off the
landlady, who had been asking for money.
"I've said it to you twenty times, don't enter into details.
You're fool enough at all times, and when you start explaining things
in Italian you're a triple fool," he said after a long dispute.
"Don't let it run so long; it's not my fault. If I had the
"Leave me in peace, for God's sake!" Mikhailov shrieked, with
tears in his voice, and, stopping his ears, he went off into his
working room, on the other side of a partition wall, and closed the
door after him. "There's no sense in her!" he said to himself, sat
down to the table, and, opening a portfolio, he set to work at once
with peculiar fervor at a sketch he had begun.
Never did he work with such fervor and success as when things went
ill with him, and especially when he quarreled with his wife. "Oh!
damn them all!" he thought as he went on working. He was making a
sketch for the figure of a man in a violent rage. A sketch had been
made before, but he was dissatisfied with it. "No, that one was
better.... Where is it?" He went back to his wife, and, scowling and
not looking at her, asked his eldest little girl: Where was that piece
of paper he had given them? The paper with the discarded sketch on it
was found, but it was dirty, and spotted with candle grease. Still, he
took the sketch, laid it on his table, and, moving a little away,
screwing up his eyes, he fell to gazing at it. All at once he smiled
and gesticulated gleefully.
"That's it! That's it!" he said, and, at once picking up the
pencil, he began drawing rapidly. The spot of tallow had given the man
a new pose.
He had sketched this new pose, when all at once he recalled the
face of a shopkeeper of whom he had bought cigars, a vigorous face
with a prominent chin, and he sketched this very face, this chin, on
to the figure of the man. He laughed aloud with delight. The figure
from a lifeless imagined thing had become living, and such that it
could never be changed. That figure lived, and was clearly and
unmistakably defined. The sketch might be corrected in accordance with
the requirements of the figure; the legs, indeed, could and must be
put differently, and the position of the left hand must be quite
altered; the hair, too, might be thrown back. But in making these
corrections he was not altering the figure but simply getting rid of
what concealed the figure. He was, as it were, stripping off the veils
which hindered it from being distinctly seen; each new feature only
brought out the whole figure in all its force and vigor, as it had
suddenly come to him from the spot of tallow. He was carefully
finishing the figure when the cards were brought him.
He went in to his wife.
"Come, Sasha, don't be cross!" he said, smiling timidly and
affectionately at her. "You were to blame. I was to blame. I'll make
it all right." And, having made peace with his wife, he put on an
olive-green overcoat with a velvet collar and a hat, and went toward
his studio. The successful figure he had already forgotten. Now he was
delighted and excited at the visit of these people of consequence,
Russians, who had come in their carriage.
Of his picture, the one that stood now on his easel, he had at the
bottom of his heart one conviction——that no one had ever painted a
picture like it. He did not believe that this picture was better than
all the pictures of Raphael, but he knew that what he tried to convey
in that picture no one ever had conveyed. This he knew positively, and
had known a long while, ever since he had begun to paint it. But other
people's criticisms, whatever they might be, had yet immense
consequence in his eyes, and they agitated him to the depths of his
soul. Any remark, the most insignificant, which showed that the critic
saw even the tiniest part of what he himself saw in the picture,
agitated him to the depths of his soul. He always attributed to his
judges a more profound comprehension than he had himself, and always
expected from them something he did not himself see in the picture.
And often in their criticisms he fancied that he found this.
He walked rapidly to the door of his studio, and in spite of his
excitement he was struck by the soft light on Anna's figure as she
stood in the shade of the entrance listening to Golenishchev, who was
eagerly telling her something, while she evidently wanted to look
round at the artist. He was himself unconscious how, as he approached
them, he seized on this impression and absorbed it, as he had the chin
of the shopkeeper who had sold him the cigars, and put it away
somewhere to be brought out when he wanted it. The visitors, not
agreeably impressed beforehand by Golenishchev's account of the
artist, were still less so by his personal appearance. Thickset and of
middle height, with nimble movements, with his brown hat, olive-green
coat and narrow trousers——though wide trousers had been a long while
in fashion——most of all, with the ordinariness of his broad face, and
the combined expression of timidity and anxiety to keep up his
dignity, Mikhailov made an unpleasant impression.
"Please step in," he said, trying to look indifferent, and going
into the passage he took a key out of his pocket and opened the door.
On entering the studio, Mikhailov once more scanned his visitors
and noted down in his imagination Vronsky's expression too, and
especially his jaws. Although his artistic sense was unceasingly at
work collecting materials, although he felt a continually increasing
excitement as the moment of criticizing his work drew nearer, he
rapidly and subtly formed, from imperceptible signs, a mental image of
these three persons. That fellow (Golenishchev) was a Russian living
here. Mikhailov did not remember his surname nor where he had met him,
nor what he had said to him. He only remembered his face as he
remembered all the faces he had ever seen; but he remembered, too,
that it was one of the faces laid by in his memory in the immense
class of the falsely consequential and poor in expression. The
abundant hair and very open forehead gave an appearance of consequence
to the face, which had only one expression——a petty, childish, peevish
expression, concentrated just above the bridge of the narrow nose.
Vronsky and Madame Karenina must be, Mikhailov supposed, distinguished
and wealthy Russians, knowing nothing about art, like all those
wealthy Russians, but posing as amateurs and connoisseurs. "Most
likely they've already looked at all the antiques, and now they're
making the round of the studios of the new people——the German humbug,
and the cracked Pre-Raphaelite English fellow——and have only come to
me to make the point of view complete," he thought. He was well
acquainted with the way dilettanti have (the cleverer they were the
worse he found them) of looking at the works of contemporary artists
with the sole object of being in a position to say that art is lost,
and the more one sees of the new men the more one sees how inimitable
the works of the great old masters have remained. He expected all
this; he saw it all in their faces, he saw it in the careless
indifference with which they talked among themselves, stared at the
lay figures and busts, and walked about in leisurely fashion, waiting
for him to uncover his picture. But in spite of this, while he was
turning over his studies, pulling up the blinds and taking off the
sheet, he was in intense excitement, especially as, in spite of his
conviction that all distinguished and wealthy Russians were certain to
be beasts and fools, he liked Vronsky, and still more Anna.
"Here, if you please," he said, moving on one side with his nimble
gait and pointing to his picture, "it's the exhortation by Pilate.
Matthew, chapter 27," he said, feeling his lips were beginning to
tremble with emotion. He moved away and stood behind them.
For the few seconds during which the visitors were gazing at the
picture in silence, Mikhailov too gazed at it with the indifferent eye
of an outsider. For those few seconds he was sure in anticipation that
a higher, juster criticism would be uttered by them, by those very
visitors whom he had been despising so a moment before. He forgot all
he had thought about his picture before, during the three years he had
been painting it; he forgot all its qualities, which had been
absolutely certain to him——he saw the picture with their indifferent,
new, outside eyes, and saw nothing good in it. He saw in the
foreground Pilate's irritated face and the serene face of Christ, and
in the background the figures of Pilate's retinue and the face of John
watching what was happening. Every face that, with such exertion, such
blunders and corrections had grown up within him with its special
character, every face that had given him such torments and such
raptures, and all these faces so many times transposed for the sake of
the harmony of the whole, all the shades of color and tones that he
had attained with such labor——all of this together seemed to him now,
looking at it with their eyes, the merest vulgarity, something that
had been done a thousand times over. The face dearest to him, the face
of Christ, the center of the picture, which had given him such ecstasy
as it unfolded itself to him, was utterly lost to him when he glanced
at the picture with their eyes. He saw a well-painted (no, not even
that——he distinctly saw now a mass of defects) repetition of those
endless Christs of Titian, Raphael, Rubens, and the same soldiers and
Pilate. It was all common, poor, and stale, and badly painted——weak
and motley. They would be justified in repeating hypocritically
courteous speeches in the presence of the painter, and pitying him and
laughing at him when they were alone again.
The silence (though it lasted no more than a minute) became too
intolerable to him. To break it, and to show he was not agitated, he
made an effort and addressed Golenishchev.
"I think I've had the pleasure of meeting you," he said, looking
uneasily first at Anna, then at Vronsky, in fear of losing any shade
of their expression.
"To be sure! We met at Rossi's; do you remember, at that soiree
when that Italian lady recited——the new Rachel?" Golenishchev answered
easily, removing his eyes without the slightest regret from the
picture and turning to the artist.
Noticing, however, that Mikhailov was expecting a criticism of the
picture, he said:
"Your picture has got on a great deal since I saw it last time;
and what strikes me particularly now, as it did then, is the figure of
Pilate. One so knows the man: a good-natured, capital fellow, but an
official through and through, who knows not what he doth. But I
All of Mikhailov's mobile face beamed at once; his eyes sparkled.
He tried to say something, but he could not speak for excitement, and
pretended to be coughing. Low as was his opinion of Golenishchev's
capacity for understanding art, trifling as was the true remark upon
the fidelity of the expression of Pilate as an official, and offensive
as might have seemed the utterance of so unimportant an observation
while nothing was said of more serious points, Mikhailov was in an
ecstasy of delight at this observation. He had himself thought about
Pilate's figure just what Golenishchev had said. The fact that this
reflection was but one of millions of reflections, which, as Mikhailov
knew for certain, would be true, did not diminish for him the
significance of Golenishchev's remark. His heart warmed to
Golenishchev for this remark, and from a state of depression he
suddenly passed to ecstasy. At once the whole of his picture lived
before him in all the indescribable complexity of everything living.
Mikhailov again tried to say that that was how he understood Pilate,
but his lips quivered intractably, and he could not pronounce the
words. Vronsky and Anna too said something in that subdued voice which
(partly to avoid hurting the artist's feelings and partly to avoid
giving loud utterance to something silly——so easily done when talking
of art) people use at exhibitions of pictures. Mikhailov fancied that
the picture had made an impression on them too. He went up to them.
"How marvelous Christ's expression is!" said Anna. Of all she saw
she liked that expression most of all, and she felt that it was the
center of the picture, and so praise of it would be pleasant to the
artist. "One can see that He is pitying Pilate."
This again was one of the million true reflections that could be
found in his picture and in the figure of Christ. She said that He was
pitying Pilate. In Christ's expression there ought to be indeed an
expression of pity, since there is an expression of love, of unearthly
peace, of preparedness for death, and a sense of the vanity of words.
Of course, there is the expression of an official in Pilate, and of
pity in Christ, considering that one is the incarnation of the
fleshly, and the other of the spiritual, life. All this and much more
flashed into Mikhailov's thoughts. And his face beamed with delight
"Yes, and how that figure is done——what atmosphere! One can walk
round it," said Golenishchev, unmistakably betraying by this remark
that he did not approve of the meaning and idea of the figure.
"Yes, there's a wonderful mastery!" said Vronsky. "How those
figures in the background stand out! There you have technique," he
said, addressing Golenishchev, alluding to a conversation between them
about Vronsky's despair of attaining this technique.
"Yes, yes, marvelous!" Golenishchev and Anna assented.
In spite of the excited condition in which he was, the sentence
about technique had sent a pang to Mikhailov's heart, and looking
angrily at Vronsky he suddenly scowled. He had often heard this word
"technique," and was utterly unable to understand what was meant by
it. He knew that by this term was meant a mechanical dexterity for
painting or drawing, entirely apart from its subject. He had noticed
often that even in actual praise technique was opposed to essential
quality, as though one could paint well something that was bad. He
knew that a great deal of attention and care was necessary in taking
off the veils, to avoid injuring the creation itself, and to take off
all the veils; but there was no art of painting——no technique of any
sort——about it. If to a little child or to his cook were revealed what
he saw, either would have been able to peel the veils off what was
seen. And the most experienced and adroit painter could not by mere
mechanical faculty paint anything if the lines of the subject were not
revealed to him first. Besides, he saw that if it came to talking
about technique, it was impossible to praise him for it. In all he had
painted he saw faults that hurt his eyes, coming from want of care in
taking off the veils——faults he could not correct now without spoiling
the whole. And in almost all the figures and faces he saw, too,
remnants of the veils not perfectly removed that spoiled the picture.
"One thing might be said, if you will allow me to make the
remark..." observed Golenishchev.
"Oh, I shall be delighted, I beg of you to do so," said Mikhailov
with a forced smile.
"That is, you make Him the man-god, and not the God-man. But I
know that was what you meant to do."
"I cannot paint a Christ that is not in my heart," said Mikhailov
"Yes; but in that case, if you will allow me to say what I
think... Your picture is so fine that my observation cannot detract
from it, and, besides, it is only my personal opinion. With you it is
different. Your very motive is different. But let us take Ivanov. I
imagine that if Christ is brought down to the level of an historical
character, it would have been better for Ivanov to select some other
historical subject, fresh, untouched."
"But if this is the greatest subject presented to art?"
"If one looked one would find others. But the point is that art
cannot suffer doubt and discussion. And before the picture of Ivanov
the question arises for the believer and the unbeliever alike, 'Is it
God, or is it not God?' and the unity of the impression is destroyed."
"Why so? I think that, for educated people," said Mikhailov, "the
question cannot exist."
Golenishchev did not agree with this, and confounded Mikhailov by
his support of his first idea of the unity of the impression being
essential to art.
Mikhailov was greatly perturbed, but he could say nothing in
defense of his own idea.
Anna and Vronsky had long been exchanging glances, regretting
their friend's flow of cleverness. At last Vronsky, without waiting
for the artist, walked away to another small picture.
"Oh, how exquisite! What a lovely thing! A gem! How exquisite!"
they cried with one voice.
"What is it they're so pleased with?" thought Mikhailov. He had
positively forgotten that picture he had painted three years ago. He
had forgotten all the agonies and the ecstasies he had lived through
with that picture when, for several months, it had been the one
thought haunting him day and night. He had forgotten, as he always
forgot, the pictures he had finished. He did not even like to look at
it, and had only brought it out because he was expecting an Englishman
who wanted to buy it.
"Oh, that's only an old study," he said.
"How fine!" said Golenishchev, he too, with unmistakable
sincerity, falling under the spell of the picture.
Two boys were angling in the shade of a willow tree. The elder had
just dropped in the hook, and was carefully pulling the float from
behind a bush, entirely absorbed in what he was doing. The other, a
little younger, was lying in the grass leaning on his elbows, with his
tangled, flaxen head in his hands, staring at the water with his
dreamy blue eyes. What was he thinking of?
The enthusiasm over this picture stirred some of the old feeling
for it in Mikhailov, but he feared and disliked this waste of feeling
for things past, and so, even though this praise was grateful to him,
he tried to draw his visitors away to a third picture.
But Vronsky asked whether the picture was for sale? To Mikhailov
at that moment, excited by visitors, it was extremely distasteful to
speak of money matters.
"It is put up there to be sold," he answered, scowling gloomily.
When the visitors had gone, Mikhailov sat down opposite the
picture of Pilate and Christ, and in his mind went over what had been
said, and what, though not said, had been implied by those visitors.
And, strange to say, what had had such weight with him, while they
were there and while he mentally put himself at their point of view,
suddenly lost all importance for him. He began to look at his picture
with all his own full, artist's vision, and was soon in that mood of
conviction of the perfectibility, and so of the significance, of his
picture——a conviction essential to the intensest fervor, excluding all
other interests——in which alone he could work.
Christ's foreshortened leg was not right, though. He took his
palette and began to work. As he corrected the leg he looked
continually at the figure of John in the background, which his
visitors had not even noticed, but which he knew was beyond
perfection. When he had finished the leg he wanted to touch that
figure, but he felt too much excited for that. He was equally unable
to work when he was cold and when he was too much affected and saw
everything too clearly. There was only one stage in the transition
from coldness to inspiration, at which work was possible. Today he was
too much agitated. He would have covered the picture, but he stopped,
holding the cloth in his hand, and, smiling blissfully, gazed a long
while at the figure of John. At last, tearing himself away with
evident regret, he dropped the cloth, and, exhausted but happy, went
Vronsky, Anna, and Golenishchev, on their way home, were
particularly lively and cheerful. They talked of Mikhailov and his
pictures. The word talent, by which they meant an inborn, almost
physical, aptitude apart from brain and heart, and in which they tried
to find an expression for all the artist had gained from life,
recurred particularly often in their talk, as though it were necessary
for them to sum up what they had no conception of, though they wanted
to talk of it. They said that there was no denying his talent, but
that his talent could not develop for want of education—— the common
defect of our Russian artists. But the picture of the boys had
imprinted itself on their memories, and they were continually coming
back to it. "What an exquisite thing! How he has succeeded in it, and
how simply! He doesn't even comprehend how good it is. Yes, I mustn't
let it slip; I must buy it," said Vronsky.
Mikhailov sold Vronsky his picture, and agreed to paint a portrait
of Anna. On the day fixed he came and began the work.
From the fifth sitting the portrait impressed everyone, especially
Vronsky, not only by its resemblance, but by its characteristic
beauty. It was strange how Mikhailov could have discovered precisely
the beauty characteristic of her. "One needs to know and love her as I
have loved her to discover the very sweetest expression of her soul,"
Vronsky thought, though it was only from this portrait that he had
himself learned this sweetest expression of her soul. But the
expression was so true that he, and others too, fancied they had long
"I have been struggling on for ever so long without doing
anything," he said of his own portrait of her, "and he just looked and
painted it. That's where technique comes in."
"That will come," was the consoling reassurance given him by
Golenishchev, in whose view Vronsky had both talent, and, what was
most important, education, giving him an exalted outlook on art.
Golenishchev's faith in Vronsky's talent was propped up by his own
need of Vronsky's sympathy and approval for his own essays and ideas,
and he felt that the praise and support must be mutual.
In another man's house, and especially in Vronsky's palazzo,
Mikhailov was quite a different man from what he was in his studio. He
behaved with hostile deference, as though he were afraid of coming
closer to people he did not respect. He called Vronsky "Your
Excellency," and, notwithstanding Anna's and Vronsky's invitations, he
would never stay to dinner, nor come except for the sittings. Anna was
even more friendly to him than to other people, and was very grateful
for her portrait. Vronsky was more than courteous with him, and was
obviously interested to know the artist's opinion of his picture.
Golenishchev never let slip an opportunity of instilling sound ideas
about art into Mikhailov. But Mikhailov remained equally chilly to all
of these people. Anna was aware from his eyes that he liked to look at
her, but he avoided conversation with her. Vronsky's talk about his
painting he met with stubborn silence, and he was as stubbornly silent
when he was shown Vronsky's picture. He was unmistakably bored by
Golenishchev's conversation, and he did not attempt to oppose him.
Altogether Mikhailov, with his reserved and disagreeable, and,
apparently, hostile attitude, was quite disliked by them as they got
to know him better; and they were glad when the sittings were over,
and they were left with a magnificent portrait in their possession,
and he gave up coming.
Golenishchev was the first to give expression to an idea that had
occurred to all of them——which was that Mikhailov was simply envious
"Not envious, let us say, since he has talent; but it annoys him
that a wealthy man of the highest society, and a Count, too (you know
these fellows detest all that), can, without any particular trouble,
do as well, if not better, than he who has devoted all his life to it.
And, more than all, it's a question of education, which he lacks."
Vronsky defended Mikhailov, but at the bottom of his heart he
believed this, because in his view a man of a different, lower world
would be sure to be envious.
Anna's portrait——the same subject painted from nature both by him
and by Mikhailov——ought to have shown Vronsky the difference between
him and Mikhailov; but he did not see it. Only after Mikhailov's
portrait was painted did he leave off painting his own portrait of
Anna, deciding that it was no longer needed. His picture of medieval
life he went on with. And he himself, and Golenishchev, and, still
more, Anna, thought it very good, because it was far more like the
celebrated pictures they knew than Mikhailov's picture.
Mikhailov meanwhile, although Anna's portrait greatly fascinated
him, was even more glad than they were when the sittings were over,
and he had no longer to listen to Golenishchev's disquisitions upon
art, and could forget about Vronsky's painting. He knew that Vronsky
could not be prevented from amusing himself with painting; he knew
that he and all dilettanti had a perfect right to paint what they
liked, but it was distasteful to him. A man could not be prevented
from making himself a big wax doll, and kissing it. But if the man
were to come with the doll and sit before a man in love, and begin
caressing his doll as the lover caressed the woman he loved, it would
be distasteful to the lover. Just such a distasteful sensation was
what Mikhailov felt at the sight of Vronsky's painting: he felt it
both ludicrous and irritating, both pitiable and offensive.
Vronsky's interest in painting and the Middle Ages did not last
long. He had enough taste for painting to be unable to finish his
picture. The picture came to a standstill. He was vaguely aware that
its defects, inconspicuous at first, would be glaring if he were to go
on with it. The same experience befell him as Golenishchev, who felt
that he had nothing to say, and continually deceived himself with the
theory that his idea was not yet mature, that he was working it out
and collecting material. This exasperated and tortured Golenishchev,
but Vronsky was incapable of deceiving and torturing himself, and even
more incapable of exasperation. With his characteristic decision,
without explanation or apology, he simply ceased work at painting.
But, without this occupation, the life of Vronsky and of Anna, who
wondered at his loss of interest in it, struck them as intolerably
tedious in an Italian town; the palazzo suddenly seemed so obtrusively
old and dirty, the spots on the curtains, the cracks in the floors,
the broken plaster on the cornices, became so disagreeably obvious,
and the everlasting sameness of Golenishchev, and the Italian
professor, and the German traveler, became so wearisome, that they had
to make some change. They resolved to go to Russia, to the country. In
Peterburg Vronsky intended to arrange a partition of the land with his
brother, while Anna meant to see her son. The summer they intended to
spend on Vronsky's great family estate.
Levin had been married two months. He was happy, but not at all in
the way he had expected to be. At every step he found disenchantment
in his former dreams, and new, unexpected enchantment. He was happy;
but on entering upon family life he saw at every step that it was
utterly different from what he had imagined. At every step he
experienced what a man would experience who, after admiring the
smooth, happy course of a little boat on a lake, should get himself
into that little boat. He saw that it was not all sitting still, and
floating smoothly; that one had to think too, not for an instant
forgetting where one was floating; and that there was water under one,
and that one must row; and that his unaccustomed hands would be sore;
and that it was only easy to look at; but that doing it, though very
delightful was very difficult.
As a bachelor, when he had watched other people's married life,
had seen the petty cares, the squabbles, the jealousy, he had only
smiled contemptuously in his heart. In his future married life there
could be, he was convinced, nothing of that sort; even the external
forms, indeed, he fancied, must be utterly unlike the life of others
in everything. And all of a sudden, instead of his life with his wife
being made on an individual pattern, it was, on the contrary, entirely
made up of the pettiest details, which he had so despised before, but
which now, by no will of his own, had gained an extraordinary and
indisputable importance. And Levin saw that the organization of all
these details was by no means so easy as he had fancied before.
Although Levin believed himself to have the most exact conceptions of
domestic life, unconsciously, like all men, he pictured domestic life
only as enjoyment of love, with nothing to hinder and no petty cares
to distract. He ought, as he conceived the position, to do his work,
and to find repose from it in the happiness of love. She ought to be
beloved, and nothing more. But, like all men, he forgot that she too
would want work. And he was surprised that she, his poetic, exquisite
Kitty, could not merely in the first weeks, but even in the first days
of their married life, think, remember, and busy herself about
tablecloths, and furniture, about mattresses for visitors, about a
tray, about the cook, and the dinner, and so on. While they were still
engaged, he had been struck by the definiteness with which she had
declined the tour abroad and decided to go into the country, as though
she knew of something she wanted, and could still think of something
outside her love. This had jarred upon him then, and now her trivial
cares and anxieties jarred upon him several times. But he saw that
this was essential for her. And, loving her as he did, though he did
not understand the reason for them, and jeered at these domestic
pursuits, he could not help admiring them. He jeered at the way in
which she arranged the furniture they had brought from Moscow;
rearranged their rooms; hung up curtains; prepared rooms for visitors,
and for Dolly; saw after an abode for her new maid; ordered dinner of
the old cook; came into collision with Agathya Mikhailovna, taking
from her the charge of the stores. He saw how the old cook smiled,
admiring her, and listening to her inexperienced, impossible orders;
how mournfully and tenderly Agathya Mikhailovna shook her head over
the young mistress's new arrangements in the pantry. He saw that Kitty
was extraordinarily sweet when, laughing and crying, she came to tell
him that her maid, Masha, was used to looking upon her as her young
lady, and so no one obeyed her. It seemed to him sweet, but strange,
and he thought it would have been better without this.
He did not know how great a sense of change she was experiencing;
she, who at home had sometimes wanted some pickled cabbage, or sweets,
without the possibility of getting either, now could order what she
liked, buy pounds of sweets, spend as much money as she liked, and
order any cakes she pleased.
She was dreaming with delight now of Dolly's coming to them with
her children, especially because she would order for the children
their favorite cakes, and Dolly would appreciate all her new
housekeeping. She did not know herself why and wherefore, but the
arranging of her house had an irresistible attraction for her.
Instinctively feeling the approach of spring, and knowing that there
would be days of rough weather too, she built her nest as best she
could, and was in haste at the same time to build and to learn how to
This care for domestic details in Kitty, so opposed to Levin's
ideal of exalted happiness, was at first one of the disenchantments;
and this sweet care of her household, the aim of which he did not
understand, but could not help loving, was one of the new
Another disenchantment and enchantment consisted of their
quarrels. Levin could never have conceived that between him and his
wife any relations could arise other than tender, respectful and
loving, and all at once, in the very early days, they quarreled, so
that she said he did not care for her, that he cared for no one but
himself, burst into tears, and waved her hands.
This first quarrel arose from Levin's having gone out to a new
grange and having been away half an hour too long, because he had
tried to get home by a short cut and had lost his way. He drove home
thinking of nothing but her, of her love, of his own happiness, and,
the nearer he drew to home, the warmer was his tenderness for her. He
ran into the room with the same feeling, with an even stronger
feeling, than he had had when he reached the Shcherbatskys' house to
propose. And suddenly he was met by a lowering expression he had never
seen in her. He would have kissed her, she pushed him away.
"What is it?"
"You've been enjoying yourself..." she began, trying to be calm
But as soon as she opened her mouth, she burst into a stream of
reproach, of senseless jealousy, of all that had been torturing her
during that half-hour which she had spent sitting motionless at the
window. It was only then, for the first time, that he clearly
understood what he had not understood when he led her out of the
church after the wedding. He felt now that he was not simply close to
her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began. He felt
this from the agonizing sensation of division that he experienced at
that instant. He was offended for the first instant, but the very same
second he felt that he could not be offended by her, that she was
himself. He felt for the first moment as a man feels when, having
suddenly received a violent blow from behind, he turns round, angry
and eager to avenge himself, to look for his antagonist, and finds
that it is he himself who has accidentally struck himself, that there
is no one to be angry with, and that he must put up with and try to
soothe the pain.
Never afterward did he feel it with such intensity, but this first
time he could not for a long while get over it. His natural feeling
urged him to defend himself, to prove to her she was wrong; but to
prove her wrong would mean irritating her still more and making the
rupture greater that was the cause of all his suffering. One habitual
feeling impelled him to get rid of the blame and to pass it on her;
another feeling, even stronger, impelled him as quickly as possible to
smooth over the rupture without letting it grow greater. To remain
under such undeserved reproach was wretched, but to make her suffer by
justifying himself was worse still. Like a man half-awake in an agony
of pain, he wanted to tear out, to fling away the seat of pain, and,
coming to his senses, he felt that the seat of pain was himself. He
could do nothing but try to help the seat of pain bear it, and this he
tried to do.
They made peace. She, recognizing that she was wrong, though she
did not say so, became tenderer to him, and they experienced new,
redoubled happiness in their love. But that did not prevent such
quarrels from happening again, and exceedingly often too, on the most
unexpected and trivial grounds. These quarrels frequently arose from
the fact that they did not yet know what was of importance to each,
and that all this early period they were both often in a bad temper.
When one was in a good temper, and the other in a bad temper, the
peace was not broken; but when both happened to be in an ill-humor,
quarrels sprang up from such incomprehensibly trifling causes that
they could never remember afterward what they had quarreled about. It
is true that when they were both in a good temper their enjoyment of
life was redoubled. But still this first period of their married life
was a difficult time for them.
During all this early period they had a peculiarly vivid sense of
tension, as it were, a tugging in opposite directions of the chain by
which they were bound. Altogether their honeymoon——that is to say, the
month after their wedding——from which, through tradition, Levin had
expected so much, was not merely not a time of sweetness, but remained
in the memories of both as the bitterest and most humiliating period
in their lives. They both alike tried in later life to blot out from
their memories all the monstrous, shameful incidents of that morbid
period, when both were rarely in a normal frame of mind, when both
were rarely quite themselves.
It was only in the third month of their married life, after their
return from Moscow, where they had been staying for a month, that
their life began to go more smoothly.
They had just come back from Moscow, and were glad to be alone. He
was sitting at the writing table in his study, writing. She, wearing
the dark lilac dress she had worn during the first days of their
married life, and put on again today——a dress particularly remembered
and loved by him——was sitting on the sofa, the same old-fashioned
leather sofa which had always stood in the study in Levin's father's
and grandfather's days. She was sewing at broderie anglaise. He
thought and wrote, never losing the happy consciousness of her
presence. His work, both on the land and on the book, in which the
principles of the new land system were to be laid down, had not been
abandoned; but just as formerly his work and ideas had seemed to him
petty and trivial in comparison with the darkness that overspread all
life, now they seemed as unimportant and petty in comparison with the
life that lay before him suffused with the brilliant light of
happiness. He went on with his work, but he felt now that the center
of gravity of his attention had passed to something else, and that
consequently he looked at his work quite differently and more clearly.
Formerly this work had been for him an escape from life. Formerly he
had felt that without this work his life would be too gloomy. Now this
work was necessary for him so that life might not be too uniformly
bright. Taking up his manuscript, reading through what he had written,
he found with pleasure that the work was worth his working at. Many of
his old ideas seemed to him superfluous and extreme, but many blanks
became distinct to him when he reviewed the whole thing in his memory.
He was writing now a new chapter on the causes of the present
disadvantageous condition of agriculture in Russia. He maintained that
the poverty of Russia arises not merely from the anomalous
distribution of landed property and from misdirected reforms, but that
what had contributed of late years to this result was a civilization
from without, abnormally grafted upon Russia——especially facilities of
communication such as railways, leading to centralization in towns,
the development of luxury, and the consequent development of
manufactures, credit, and its accompaniment of speculation——all to the
detriment of agriculture. It seemed to him that in a normal
development of wealth in a state all these phenomena would arise only
when a considerable amount of labor had been put into agriculture,
when it had come under regular, or at least definite, conditions; that
the wealth of a country ought to increase proportionally, and
especially in such a way that other sources of wealth should not
outstrip agriculture; that in harmony with a certain stage of
agriculture there should be means of communication corresponding to
it, and that in our unsettled condition of the land, railways, called
into being by political and not by economic needs, were premature,
and, instead of promoting agriculture, as was expected of them, they
were competing with agriculture and promoting the development of
manufactures and credit, and so arresting its progress; and that just
as the one-sided and premature development of one organ in an animal
would hinder its general development, so in the general development of
wealth in Russia, credit, facilities of communication, manufacturing
activity, indubitably necessary in Europe, where they had arisen in
their proper time, had with us only done harm, by throwing into the
background the chief question, next in turn, of the organization of
While he was at his writing, she was thinking how unnaturally
cordial her husband had been to young Prince Charsky, who had, with
great want of tact, flirted with her the day before they left Moscow.
"He's jealous," she thought. "My God! How sweet and silly he is! He's
jealous of me! If he only knew that all others are no more to me than
Piotr the cook!" she thought, looking at his head and red neck with a
feeling of possession strange to herself. "Though it's a pity to take
him from his work (but he has plenty of time!), I must look at his
face; will he feel I'm looking at him? I wish he'd turn round.... I'll
will him to!" and she opened her eyes wide, as though to intensify the
influence of her gaze.
"Yes, they draw away all the sap and give a false resplendence,"
he muttered, stopped writing, and, feeling that she was looking at him
and smiling, he looked round.
"Well?" he queried, smiling, and getting up.
"He looked round," she thought.
"It's nothing; I wanted you to look round," she said, watching
him, and trying to guess whether he was vexed at being interrupted or
"How happy we are alone together! I am, that is," he said, going
up to her with a radiant smile of happiness.
"I'm just as happy. I'll never go anywhere, especially not to
"And what were you thinking about?"
"I? I was thinking... No, no, go on writing; don't break off," she
said, pursing up her lips, "and I must cut out these little holes now,
do you see?"
She took up her scissors and began cutting them out.
"No; tell me——what was it?" he said, sitting down beside her and
watching the circular motion of the tiny scissors.
"Oh! what was I thinking about? I was thinking about Moscow, about
the nape of your neck."
"Why should I, of all people, have such happiness! It's unnatural.
Too good," he said kissing her hand.
"I feel quite the opposite; the better things are, the more
natural it seems to me."
"And you've got a little curl loose," he said, carefully turning
her head round. "A little curl, oh yes. No, no, we are busy at our
Work did not progress further, and they darted apart from one
another like culprits when Kouzma came in to announce that tea was
"Have they come from town?" Levin asked Kouzma.
"They've just come; they're unpacking the things."
"Come quickly," she said to him as she went out of the study, "or
else I shall read the letters without you."
Left alone, after putting his manuscripts together in the new
portfolio bought by her, he washed his hands at the new washstand with
the new elegant fittings, which had all made their appearance with
her. Levin smiled at his own thoughts, and shook his head
disapprovingly at those thoughts; a feeling akin to remorse fretted
him. There was something shameful, effeminate, Capuan, as he called it
to himself, in his present mode of life. "It's not right to go on like
this," he thought. "It'll soon be three months, and I'm doing next to
nothing. Today, almost for the first time, I set to work seriously——
and what happened? I did nothing but begin and throw it aside. I have
almost given up even my ordinary pursuits. I scarcely walk or drive
about at all to look after things on my land. Either I am loath to
leave her, or I see she's dull alone. And I used to think that, before
marriage, life was nothing much, somehow didn't count, but that after
marriage life began in earnest. And here almost three months have
passed, and I have spent my time so idly and unprofitably. No, this
won't do; I must begin. Of course, it's not her fault. She's not to
blame in any way. I ought to be firmer myself, to maintain my
masculine independence of action; or else I shall get into such ways,
and she'll get used to them too.... Of course she's not to blame," he
But it is hard for anyone who is dissatisfied not to blame someone
else, and especially the person nearest of all to one, for the basis
of one's dissatisfaction. And it vaguely came into Levin's mind that
she herself was not to blame (she could not be to blame for anything),
but what was to blame was her education, too superficial and
frivolous. ("That fool Charsky: I know she wanted to stop him, but
didn't know how to.") "Yes, apart from her interest in the house (that
she has), apart from dress and broderie anglaise, she has no serious
interests. No interest in my work, in the estate, in the peasants, nor
in music, though she's rather good at it, nor in reading. She does
nothing, and is perfectly satisfied." Levin, in his heart, censured
this, and did not as yet understand that she was preparing for that
period of activity which was to come for her when she would at once be
the wife of her husband and mistress of the house, and would bear, and
nurse, and bring up children. He knew not that she was instinctively
aware of this, and preparing herself for this time of terrible toil,
did not reproach herself for the moments of carelessness and happiness
in her love, which she was enjoying now, while gaily building her nest
for the future.
When Levin went upstairs, his wife was sitting near the new silver
samovar and the new tea service, and, having settled old Agathya
Mikhailovna at a little table with a full cup of tea, was reading a
letter from Dolly, with whom they were in continual and frequent
"You see, your lady's settled me here, told me to sit a bit with
her," said Agathya Mikhailovna, smiling amicably at Kitty.
In these words of Agathya Mikhailovna Levin read the final act of
the drama which had been enacted of late between her and Kitty. He saw
that, in spite of Agathya Mikhailovna's feelings being hurt by a new
mistress taking the reins of government out of her hands, Kitty had
yet conquered her and made her love her.
"Here, I opened your letter too," said Kitty, handing him an
illiterate letter. "It's from that woman, I think——your brother's..."
she said. "I did not read it through. This is from my people and from
Dolly. Fancy! Dolly took Tania and Grisha to a children's ball at the
Sarmatskys': Tania was a French marquise."
But Levin did not hear her. Flushing, he took the letter from
Marya Nikolaevna, his brother's former mistress, and began to read it.
This was the second letter he had received from Marya Nikolaevna. In
the first letter, Marya Nikolaevna wrote that his brother had sent her
packing for no fault of hers, and, with touching simplicity, added
that though she was in want again, she asked for nothing, and wished
for nothing, but was only tormented by the thought that Nikolai
Dmitrievich would come to grief without her, owing to the weak state
of his health, and begged his brother to look after him. Now she wrote
quite differently. She had found Nikolai Dmitrievich, had again made
it up with him in Moscow, and had moved with him to a provincial town,
where he had received a post in the government service. But, she
wrote, he had quarreled with the head official, and was on his way
back to Moscow, only he had been taken so ill on the road that it was
doubtful if he would ever leave his bed again. "It's always of you he
has talked, and, besides he has no more money left."
"Read this; Dolly writes about you," Kitty was beginning, with a
smile; but she stopped suddenly, noticing the changed expression on
her husband's face. "What is it? What's the matter?"
"She writes to me that Nikolai, my brother, is at death's door. I
shall go to him."
Kitty's face changed at once. Thoughts of Tania as a marquise, of
Dolly, all had vanished.
"When are you going?" she said.
"And I will go with you——may I?" she said.
"Kitty! What are you thinking of?" he said reproachfully.
"What am I thinking of?" offended that he should seem to take her
suggestion unwillingly and with vexation.
"Why shouldn't I go? I shan't be in your way. I..."
"I'm going because my brother is dying," said Levin. "Why should
"Why? For the same reason as you."
"And, at a moment of such gravity for me, she only thinks of her
being dull by herself," thought Levin. And this subterfuge in a matter
of such gravity infuriated him.
"It's out of the question," he said sternly.
Agathya Mikhailovna, seeing that it was coming to a quarrel,
gently put down her cup and withdrew. Kitty did not even notice her.
The tone in which her husband had said the last words offended her,
especially because he evidently did not believe what she had said.
"I tell you, that if you go, I shall come with you; I shall
certainly come," she said hastily and wrathfully. "Why out of the
question? Why do you say it's out of the question?"
"Because it'll be going God knows where, by all sorts of roads and
to all sorts of hotels.... You would be a hindrance to me," said
Levin, trying to be cool.
"Not at all. I don't want anything. Where you can go, I can..."
"Well, for one thing then, because this woman's there whom you
"I don't know and don't care to know who's there and what. I know
that my husband's brother is dying, and my husband is going to him,
and I go with my husband so that..."
"Kitty! Don't get angry. But just think a little: this is a matter
of such importance that I can't bear to think that you should bring in
a feeling of weakness, of dislike to being left alone. Come, you'll be
dull alone, so go and stay at Moscow a little."
"There, you always ascribe base, vile motives to me," she said
with tears of wrath and wounded pride. "I didn't mean anything——it
wasn't weakness, it wasn't anything.... I feel that it's my duty to be
with my husband when he's in trouble, but you try on purpose to hurt
me, you try on purpose not to understand...."
"No; this is awful! To be such a slave!" cried Levin, getting up,
and unable to restrain his vexation any longer. But at the same second
he felt that he was beating himself.
"Then why did you marry? You could have been free. Why did you, if
you regret it?" she said, getting up and running away into the drawing
When he went to her, she was sobbing.
He began to speak, trying to find words not to dissuade but simply
to soothe her. But she did not heed him, and would not agree to
anything. He bent down to her and took her hand, which resisted him.
He kissed her hand, kissed her hair, kissed her hand again——still she
was silent. But when he took her face in both his hands, and said
"Kitty!" she suddenly collected herself, still shed some tears, and
they were reconciled.
It was decided that they should go together the next day. Levin
told his wife that he believed she wanted to go simply in order to be
of use, agreed that Marya Nikolaevna's being with his brother did not
make her going improper, but he set off dissatisfied, at the bottom of
his heart, both with her and with himself. He was dissatisfied with
her for being unable to make up her mind to let him go when it was
necessary (and how strange it was for him to think that he, so lately
hardly daring to believe in such happiness as the possibility of her
loving him——now was unhappy because she loved him too much!), and he
was dissatisfied with himself for not showing more strength of will.
Even greater was the feeling of disagreement at the bottom of his
heart as to her not needing to consider the woman who was with his
brother, and he thought with horror of all the contingencies they
might meet with. The mere idea of his wife, his Kitty, being in the
same room with a common wench, set him shuddering with horror and
The hotel of the provincial town where Nikolai Levin was lying ill
was one of those provincial hotels which are constructed on the newest
model of modern improvements, with the best intentions of cleanliness,
comfort, and even elegance, but, owing to the public that patronizes
them, are with astounding rapidity transformed into filthy taverns
with a pretension of modern improvement and made by the very
pretension worse than the old-fashioned, honestly filthy hotels. This
hotel had already reached that stage, and the soldier in a filthy
uniform smoking in the entry, supposed to stand for a hall porter, and
the cast-iron, perforated, somber and disagreeable staircase, and the
free and easy waiter in a filthy dress coat, and the common dining
room with a dusty bouquet of wax flowers adorning the table, and
filth, dust and disorder everywhere, and, at the same time, the sort
of modern, up-to-date, self-complacent, railway uneasiness of this
hotel, aroused a most painful feeling in Levin after their fresh young
life, especially because the impression of falsity made by the hotel
was so out of keeping with what awaited them.
As is invariably the case, after they had been asked at what price
they wanted rooms, it appeared that there was not one decent room for
them; one decent room had been taken by the inspector of railroads,
another by a lawyer from Moscow, a third by Princess Astafieva just
arrived from the country. There remained only one filthy room, next to
which they promised that another should be empty by the evening.
Feeling angry with his wife because what he had expected had come to
pass——that at the moment of arrival, when his heart throbbed with
emotion and anxiety to know how his brother was getting on, he should
have to be seeing after her, instead of rushing straight to his
brother——Levin conducted her to the room assigned them.
"Go, do go!" she said, looking at him with timid and guilty eyes.
He went out of the door without a word, and at once stumbled over
Marya Nikolaevna, who had heard of his arrival and had not dared to go
in to see him. She was just the same as when he had seen her in
Moscow; the same woolen gown, and bare arms and neck, and the same
good-naturedly stupid, pock-marked face, only a little plumper.
"Well, how is he? How is he?"
"Very bad. He can't get up. He has been expecting you all this
while. He... Are you... with your wife?"
Levin did not for the first moment understand what confused her,
but she immediately enlightened him.
"I'll go away. I'll go down to the kitchen," she brought out.
"Nikolai Dmitrievich will be delighted. He heard about it, and knows
her, and remembers her abroad."
Levin realized that she meant his wife, and did not know what
answer to make.
"Come along, come along to him!" he said.
But, as soon as he moved, the door of his room opened and Kitty
peeped out. Levin crimsoned both from shame and anger at his wife, who
had put herself and him in such a difficult position; but Marya
Nikolaevna crimsoned still more. She positively shrank together and
flushed to the point of tears, and, clutching the ends of her shawl in
both hands, twisted them in her red fingers without knowing what to
say and what to do.
For the first instant Levin saw an expression of eager curiosity
in the eyes with which Kitty looked at this incomprehensible to her,
awful woman; but it lasted only a single instant.
"Well! How is he?" she turned to her husband and then to her.
"But one can't go on talking in the passage like this!" Levin
said, looking angrily at a gentleman who walked jauntily at that
instant across the corridor, as though about his affairs.
"Well then, come in," said Kitty, turning to Marya Nikolaevna, who
had recovered herself——but, noticing her husband's face of dismay——"or
go on; go, and then come for me," she said, and went back into the
room. Levin went to his brother's room.
He had not in the least expected what he saw and felt in his
brother's room. He had expected to find him in the same state of
self-deception which he had heard was so frequent with the
consumptive, and which had struck him so much during his brother's
visit in the autumn. He had expected to find the physical signs of the
approach of death more marked——greater weakness, greater emaciation,
but still almost the same condition of things. He had expected himself
to feel the same distress at the loss of the brother he loved and the
same horror in face of death as he had felt then, only in a greater
degree. And he had prepared himself for this; but he found something
In a little dirty room with the painted panels of its walls filthy
with spittle; with conversation audible from the next room through the
thin partition, in a stifling atmosphere saturated with impurities, on
a bedstead moved away from the wall, there lay, covered with a quilt,
a body. One arm of this body was above the quilt, and the wrist, huge
as a rake handle, was attached, inconceivably it seemed, to the thin,
long bobbin smooth from the beginning to the middle. The head lay
sideways on the pillow. Levin could see the scanty locks wet with
sweat on the temples and the tensed, seemingly transparent forehead.
"It cannot be that that fearful body was my brother Nikolai?"
thought Levin. But he went closer, saw the face, and doubt became
impossible. In spite of the terrible change in the face, Levin had
only to glance at those eager eyes at his approach, only to catch the
faint movement of the mouth under the sticky mustache, to realize the
terrible truth that this dead body was his living brother.
The glittering eyes looked sternly and reproachfully at the
brother as he drew near. And immediately this glance established a
living relationship between living men. Levin immediately felt the
reproach in the eyes fixed on him, and felt remorse at his own
When Konstantin took him by the hand, Nikolai smiled. The smile
was faint, scarcely perceptible, and in spite of the smile the stern
expression of the eyes was unchanged.
"You did not expect to find me like this," he articulated with
"Yes... no," said Levin, hesitating over his words. "How was it
you didn't let me know before——that is, at the time of my wedding? I
made inquiries in all directions."
He had to talk so as not to be silent, and he did not know what to
say, especially as his brother made no reply, and simply stared
without dropping his eyes, and apparently penetrated to the inner
meaning of each word. Levin told his brother that his wife had come
with him. Nikolai expressed pleasure, but said he was afraid of
frightening her by his condition. A silence followed. Suddenly Nikolai
stirred, and began to say something. Levin expected something of
peculiar gravity and importance from the expression of his face, but
Nikolai began speaking of his health. He found fault with the doctor,
regretting he had not a celebrated Moscow doctor. Levin saw that he
still had hopes.
Seizing the first moment of silence, Levin got up, anxious to
escape, if only for an instant, from his agonizing emotion, and said
that he would go and fetch his wife.
"Very well, and I'll tell Masha to tidy up here. It's dirty and
stinking here, I expect. Masha! Clear up the room," the sick man said
with effort. "And when you've cleared up, you go away," he added,
looking inquiringly at his brother.
Levin made no answer. Going out into the corridor, he stopped
short. He had said he would fetch his wife, but now, taking stock of
the emotion he was feeling, he decided that, on the contrary, he would
try to persuade her not to go in to the sick man. "Why should she
suffer as I am suffering?" he thought.
"Well, how is he?" Kitty asked with a frightened face.
"Oh, it's awful, it's awful! What did you come for?" said Levin.
Kitty was silent for a few seconds, looking timidly and ruefully
at her husband; then she went up and took him by the elbow with both
"Kostia! Take me to him; it will be easier for us to bear it
together. Only take me, take me to him, please, and go away," she
said. "You must understand that for me to see you, and not to see him,
is far more painful. There I might be a help to you and to him.
Please, let me!" she besought her husband, as though the happiness of
her life depended on it.
Levin was obliged to agree, and, regaining his composure, and
completely forgetting about Marya Nikolaevna by now, he went again in
to his brother with Kitty.
Stepping lightly, and continually glancing at her husband, showing
him a valorous and sympathetic face, Kitty went into the sickroom,
and, turning without haste, noiselessly closed the door. With
inaudible steps she went quickly to the sick man's bedside, and going
up so that he would not have to turn his head, she immediately clasped
in her fresh young hand the skeleton of his huge hand, pressed it, and
began speaking with that soft eagerness, sympathetic and inoffensive,
which is peculiar merely to women.
"We have met, though we were not acquainted, at Soden," she said.
"You never thought I was to be your sister."
"You would not have recognized me?" he said, with a smile which
had become radiant at her entrance.
"Yes, I should. What a good thing you let us know! Not a day has
passed that Kostia has not mentioned you, and been anxious."
But the sick man's interest did not last long.
Before she had finished speaking, there had come back into his
face the stern, reproachful expression of the dying man's envy of the
"I am afraid you are not quite comfortable here," she said,
turning away from his fixed stare, and looking about the room. "We
must ask about another room," she said to her husband, "so that we
might be nearer."
Levin could not look calmly at his brother; he could not himself
be natural and calm in his presence. When he went in to the sick man,
his eyes and his attention were unconsciously dimmed, and he did not
see and did not distinguish the details of his brother's position. He
smelt the awful odor, saw the dirt, disorder, and miserable condition,
and heard the groans, and felt that nothing could be done to help. It
never entered his head to analyze the details of the sick man's
situation, to consider how that body was lying under the quilt, how
those emaciated legs and thighs and spine were lying huddled up, and
whether they could not be made more comfortable, whether anything
could not be done to make things, if not better, at least not so bad.
It made his blood run cold when he began to think of all these
details. He was absolutely convinced that nothing could be done to
prolong his brother's life or to relieve his suffering. But a
consciousness of Levin's regarding all aid as out of the question was
felt by the sick man, and exasperated him. And this made it still more
painful for Levin. To be in the sickroom was agony to him, not to be
there was still worse. And he was continually, on various pretexts,
going out of the room, and coming in again, because he was unable to
But Kitty thought, and felt, and acted quite differently. On
seeing the sick man she pitied him. And pity in her womanly heart did
not arouse at all that feeling of horror and loathing that it aroused
in her husband, but a desire to act, to find out all the details of
his state, and to remedy them. And since she had not the slightest
doubt that it was her duty to help him, she had no doubt either that
it was possible, and immediately set to work. The very details, the
mere thought of which reduced her husband to terror, immediately
engaged her attention. She sent for the doctor, sent to the chemist's,
set the maid who had come with her and Marya Nikolaevna to sweep and
dust and scrub; she herself washed up something, washed out something
else, laid something under the quilt. Something was by her direction
brought into the sickroom, something else was carried out. She herself
went several times to her room, regardless of the men she met in the
corridor, got out and brought in sheets, pillowcases, towels, and
The waiter, who was busy with a party of engineers dining in the
dining hall, came several times with an irate countenance in answer to
her summons, and could not avoid carrying out her orders, as she gave
them with such gracious insistence that there was no evading her.
Levin did not approve of all this; he did not believe it would be of
any good to the patient. Above all, he was afraid the patient would be
angry at it. But the sick man, though he seemed to be indifferent
about it, was not angry, but only abashed and on the whole seemed
interested in what she was doing with him. Coming back from the doctor
to whom Kitty had sent him, Levin, on opening the door, came upon the
sick man at the instant when, by Kitty's direction, they were changing
his linen. The long white ridge of his spine, with the huge, prominent
shoulder blades and jutting ribs and vertebrae, was bare, and Marya
Nikolaevna and the waiter were struggling with the sleeve of the
nightshirt, and could not get the long, limp arm into it. Kitty,
hurriedly closing the door after Levin, did not look in that
direction, but the sick man groaned, and she moved rapidly toward him.
"Come, a little quicker," she said.
"Oh, don't you come," said the sick man angrily. "I'll do it
"What did you say?" queried Marya Nikolaevna.
But Kitty heard and saw he was ashamed and uncomfortable at being
naked before her.
"I'm not looking, I'm not looking!" she said, putting the arm in.
"Marya Nikolaevna, you come this side——you do it," she added.
"Please, run over for me, there's a little bottle in my small
bag," she said, turning to her husband, "you know, in the side pocket;
bring it, please, and meanwhile they'll finish clearing up here."
Returning with the bottle, Levin found the sick man settled
comfortably and everything about him completely changed. The heavy
smell was replaced by the smell of aromatic vinegar, which Kitty with
pouting lips and puffed-out, rosy cheeks was squirting through a small
tube. There was no dust visible anywhere; a rug was laid by the
bedside. On the table stood medicine bottles and decanters tidily
arranged, and the linen needed was folded up there, and Kitty's
broderie anglaise. On the other table by the patient's bed there were
candles, and drink, and powders. The sick man himself, washed and
combed, lay in clean sheets on high raised pillows, in a clean
nightshirt with a white collar about his astoundingly thin neck, and,
with a new expression of hope, was looking fixedly at Kitty.
The doctor brought by Levin, and found by him at the club, was not
the one who had been attending Nikolai Levin, and whom he disliked.
The new doctor took up a stethoscope and sounded the patient, shook
his head, prescribed medicine, and with extreme minuteness explained
first how to take the medicine and then what diet was to be adhered
to. He advised eggs, raw or hardly cooked, and Seltzer water, with new
milk at a certain temperature. When the doctor had gone away the sick
man said something to his brother, of which Levin could distinguish
only the last words: "Your Katia." By the expression with which he
gazed at her, Levin saw that he was praising her. He beckoned to him
Katia, as he called her.
"I'm much better already," he said. "Why, with you I should have
got well long ago. How fine everything is!" He took her hand and drew
it toward his lips, but, as though afraid she would dislike it, he
changed his mind, let it go, and only stroked it. Kitty took his hand
in both of hers and squeezed it.
"Now turn me over on the left side and go to bed," he said.
No one could make out what he said but Kitty; she alone
understood. She understood because she was all the while mentally
keeping watch on what he needed.
"On the other side," she said to her husband, "he always sleeps on
that side. Turn him over——it's so disagreeable calling the servants.
I'm not strong enough. Can you?" she said to Marya Nikolaevna.
"I'm afraid...." answered Marya Nikolaevna.
Terrible as it was to Levin to put his arms round that terrible
body, to take hold, under the quilt, of that of which he preferred to
know nothing, under his wife's influence he made his resolute face
that she knew so well, and, putting his arms into the bed took hold of
the body, but in spite of his own strength, he was struck by the
strange heaviness of those powerless limbs. While he was turning him
over, conscious of the huge emaciated arm about his neck, Kitty
swiftly and noiselessly turned the pillow, beat it up, and settled in
it the sick man's head, smoothing back his hair, which was sticking
again to his moist brow.
The sick man kept his brother's hand in his own. Levin felt that
he meant to do something with his hand and was pulling it somewhere.
Levin yielded with a sinking heart: yes, he drew it to his mouth and
kissed it. Levin, shaking with sobs and unable to articulate a word,
went out of the room.
"Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast
revealed them unto babes." So Levin thought about his wife as he
talked to her that evening.
Levin thought of the text, not because he considered himself "wise
and prudent." He did not consider himself wise and prudent, but he
could not help knowing that he had more intellect than his wife and
Agathya Mikhailovna, and he could not help knowing that when he
thought of death, he thought with all the force of his intellect. He
knew too that the brains of many great men, whose thoughts he had
read, had brooded over death and yet knew not a hundredth part of what
his wife and Agathya Mikhailovna knew about it. Different as those two
women were, Agathya Mikhailovna and Katia, as his brother Nikolai had
called her, and as Levin particularly liked to call her now, they were
quite alike in this. Both knew, without a shade of doubt, what sort of
thing life was, and what was death, and though neither of them could
have answered, and would not even have understood the questions that
presented themselves to Levin, both had no doubt of the significance
of this event, and were precisely alike in their way of looking at it,
which they shared with millions of people. The proof that they knew
for a certainty the nature of death lay in the fact that they knew
without a second of hesitation how to deal with the dying, and were
not frightened by them. Levin, and other men like him, though they
could have said a great deal about death, obviously did not know this
since they were afraid of death, and were absolutely at a loss what to
do when people were dying. If Levin had been alone now with his
brother Nikolai, he would have looked at him with terror, and with
still greater terror waited, and would not have known what else to do.
More than that, he did not know what to say, how to look, how to
move. To talk of outside things seemed to him shocking, impossible; to
talk of death and depressing subjects——also impossible. To be silent
was also impossible. "If I look at him he will think I am studying
him, I am afraid of him; if I don't look at him, he'll think I'm
thinking of other things. If I walk on tiptoe, he will be vexed; to
tread firmly, I'm ashamed." Kitty evidently did not think of herself,
and had no time to think about herself: she was thinking about him
because she knew something, and all went well. She even told him about
herself and about her wedding, and smiled and sympathized with him,
and petted him, and talked of cases of recovery, and all went well;
therefore, she must know. The proof that her behavior and Agathya
Mikhailovna's was not instinctive, animal, irrational, lay in that
apart from the physical treatment, the relief of suffering, both
Agathya Mikhailovna and Kitty required for the dying man something
else more important than the physical treatment, and something which
had nothing in common with physical conditions. Agathya Mikhailovna,
speaking of a man recently dead, had said: "Well, thank God, he took
the sacrament and received Extreme Unction; God grant each one of us
such a death." Katia, in just the same way, besides all her care about
linen, bedsores, drink, found time the very first day to persuade the
sick man of the necessity of taking the sacrament and receiving
On getting back from the sickroom to their own two rooms for the
night, Levin sat with hanging head, not knowing what to do. To say
nothing of supper, of preparing for bed, of considering what they were
going to do, he could not even talk to his wife; he was ashamed to.
Kitty, on the contrary, was more active than usual. She was even
livelier than usual. She ordered supper to be brought, herself
unpacked their things, and herself helped to make the beds, and did
not even forget to sprinkle them with Persian insecticide. She showed
that alertness, that swiftness of reflection which comes out in men
before a battle, in conflict, in the dangerous and decisive moments of
life——those moments when a man shows once and for all his value, and
that all his past has not been wasted but has been a preparation for
Everything went rapidly in her hands, and before it was twelve
o'clock all their things were arranged tidily and orderly in such a
way that the hotel rooms seemed like home, like her rooms: the beds
were made, brushes, combs, looking glasses were put out, table napkins
Levin felt that it was unpardonable to eat, to sleep, to talk even
now, and it seemed to him that every movement he made was unseemly.
She arranged the brushes, but she did it all so that there was nothing
shocking in it.
They could neither of them eat, however, and for a long while they
could not sleep, and did not even go to bed.
"I am very glad I persuaded him to receive Extreme Unction
tomorrow," she said, sitting in her dressing jacket before her folding
looking glass, combing her soft, fragrant hair with a small-toothed
comb. "I have never seen it, but I know, mamma has told me, there are
prayers said for recovery."
"Do you suppose he can possibly recover?" said Levin, watching a
slender tress at the back of her round little head that was
continually hidden when she passed the comb through the front.
"I asked the doctor; he said he couldn't live more than three
days. But can they be sure? I'm very glad, anyway, that I persuaded
him," she said, looking askance at her husband through her hair.
"Anything is possible," she added with that peculiar, rather sly
expression that was always in her face when she spoke of religion.
Since their conversation about religion during their engagement
neither of them had ever started a discussion of the subject, but she
performed all the ceremonies of going to church, saying her prayers,
and so on, always with the unvarying conviction that this ought to be
so. In spite of his assertion to the contrary, she was firmly
persuaded that he was as much a Christian as she, and indeed a far
better one; and all that he said about it was simply one of his absurd
masculine freaks, just as he would say about her broderie anglaise——
that good people patch holes but that she cut them out on purpose, and
"Yes, you see this woman, Marya Nikolaevna, did not know how to
manage all this," said Levin. "And... I must own I'm very, very glad
you came. You are such purity that..." He took her hand and did not
kiss it (to kiss her hand in such closeness to death seemed to him
improper); he merely squeezed it with a penitent air, looking at her
"It would have been miserable for you to be alone," she said, and
lifting her hands which hid her cheeks, flushing with pleasure,
twisted her coil of hair on the nape of her neck and pinned it there.
"No," she went on, "she did not know how.... Luckily, I learned lot at
"Surely there are no people there so ill?"
"What's so awful to me is that I can't but see him as he was when
he was young. You would not believe how charming he was as a youth,
but I did not understand him then."
"I can quite, quite believe it. How I feel that we might have been
friends!" she said; and, distressed at what she had said, she looked
round at her husband, and tears came into her eyes.
"Yes, might have been," he said mournfully. "He's just one of
those people of whom they say that they are not for this world."
"But we have many days before us; we must go to bed," said Kitty,
glancing at her tiny watch.
The next day the sick man received the sacrament and Extreme
Unction. During the ceremony Nikolai Levin prayed fervently. His great
eyes fastened on the holy icon that was set out on a card table
covered with a colored napkin, expressed such passionate prayer and
hope that it was awful to Levin to see it. Levin knew that this
passionate prayer and hope would only make him feel more bitterly the
parting from the life he so loved. Levin knew his brother and the
workings of his intellect: he knew that his unbelief came not from
life being easier for him without faith, but had grown up because,
step by step, the contemporary scientific interpretation of natural
phenomena crushed out the possibility of faith; and so he knew that
his present return was not a legitimate one, brought about by way of
the same working of his intellect, but simply a temporary, interested
return to faith in a desperate hope of recovery. Levin knew too that
Kitty had strengthened his hope by accounts of the marvelous
recoveries she had heard of Levin knew all this; and it was
agonizingly painful to him to behold the supplicating, hopeful eyes
and the emaciated wrist, lifted with difficulty, making the sign of
the cross on the tense brow, and the prominent shoulders and hollow,
gasping chest, which one could not feel consistent with the life the
sick man was praying for. During the sacrament Levin offered prayers,
and did what he, an unbeliever, had done a thousand times. He said,
addressing God: "If Thou dost exist, make this man recover" (of course
this same thing has been repeated many times), "and Thou wilt save him
After Extreme Unction the sick man became suddenly much better. He
did not cough once in the course of an hour, smiled, kissed Kitty's
hand, thanking her with tears, and said he was comfortable, free from
pain, and that he felt strong and had an appetite. He even raised
himself when his soup was brought, and asked for a cutlet as well.
Hopelessly ill as he was, obvious as it was at the first glance that
he could not recover, Levin and Kitty were for that hour both in the
same state of excitement, happy, though fearful of being mistaken.
"Is he better?"——"Yes, much."——"It's wonderful."——"There's nothing
wonderful in it."——"Anyway, he's better,"——they said in a whisper,
smiling to one another.
This self-deception was not of long duration. The sick man fell
into a quiet sleep, but he was waked up half an hour later by his
cough. And all at once every hope vanished in those about him and in
himself. The reality of his suffering crushed all hopes in Levin and
Kitty, and in the sick man himself, leaving no doubt, no memory even
of past hopes.
Without referring to what he had believed in half an hour before,
as though ashamed even to recall it, he asked for iodine to inhale in
a bottle covered with perforated paper. Levin gave him the bottle, and
the same look of passionate hope with which he had taken the sacrament
was now fastened on his brother, demanding from him the confirmation
of the doctor's words that inhaling iodine worked wonders.
"Isn't Katia here?" he gasped, looking round while Levin
reluctantly assented to the doctor's words. "No——then I can say it....
It was for her sake I went through that farce. She's so sweet; but you
and I can't deceive ourselves. This is what I believe in," he said,
and, squeezing the bottle in his bony hand, he began breathing over
At eight o'clock in the evening Levin and his wife were drinking
tea in their room, when Marya Nikolaevna ran in to them breathlessly.
She was pale, and her lips were quivering.——"He is dying!" she
whispered. "I'm afraid he will die right away."
Both of them ran to him. He was sitting raised up, with one elbow
on the bed, his long back bent, and his head hanging low.
"How do you feel?" Levin asked in a whisper, after a silence.
"I feel I'm setting off," Nikolai said with difficulty, but with
extreme distinctness, deliberately squeezing the words out of himself.
He did not raise his head, but simply turned his eyes upward, without
their reaching his brother's face. "Katia, go away!" he added.
Levin jumped up, and with a peremptory whisper made her go out.
"I'm setting off," he said again.
"Why do you think so?" said Levin, so as to say something.
"Because I'm setting off," he repeated, as though he had a liking
for the phrase. "It's the end."
Marya Nikolaevna went up to him.
"You had better lie down; you'd be easier," she said.
"I shall lie down soon enough," he pronounced slowly, "when I'm
dead," he said sarcastically, wrathfully. "Well, you can put me down
if you like."
Levin laid his brother on his back, sat down beside him, and gazed
at his face, holding his breath. The dying man lay with closed eyes,
but the muscles twitched from time to time on his forehead, as with
one thinking deeply and intensely. Levin involuntarily thought with
him of what it was that was happening to him now, but in spite of all
his mental efforts to keep him company, he saw by the expression of
that calm, stern face, and by the playing muscle above his brow, that
for the dying man there was growing clearer and clearer all that was
still as dark as ever for Levin.
"Yes, yes, so," the dying man articulated slowly at intervals.
"Wait a little." He was silent again. "Right!" he pronounced all at
once reassuringly, as though all were solved for him. "O Lord!" he
murmured, and sighed deeply.
Marya Nikolaevna felt his feet. "They're getting cold," she
For a long while, a very long while, it seemed to Levin, the sick
man lay motionless. But he was still alive, and from time to time he
sighed. Levin by now was exhausted from mental strain. He felt that
with no mental effort could he understand what it was that was right.
He felt that he could not follow the dying man's thinking. He could
not even think of the problem of death itself, but, with no will of
his own, thoughts kept coming to him of what he had to do next——
closing the dead man's eyes, dressing him, ordering the coffin. And,
strange to say, he felt utterly cold, and was not conscious of sorrow
nor of loss, less still of pity for his brother. If he had any feeling
for his brother at that moment, it was rather envy for the knowledge
the dying man had now, which he could not have.
A long time more he sat over him so, continually expecting the
end. But the end did not come. The door opened and Kitty appeared.
Levin got up to stop her. But at the moment he was getting up, he
caught the sound of the dying man stirring.
"Don't go away," said Nikolai and held out his hand. Levin gave
him his, and angrily waved to his wife to go away.
With the dying man's hand in his hand, he sat for half an hour, an
hour, another hour. He did not think of death at all now. He wondered
what Kitty was doing; who lived in the next room; whether the doctor
lived in a house of his own. He longed for food and for sleep. He
cautiously drew away his hand and felt the feet. The feet were cold,
but the sick man was still breathing. Levin tried once more to move
away on tiptoe, but the sick man stirred again and said: "Don't go."
The dawn came; the sick man's condition was unchanged. Levin
stealthily withdrew his hand, and, without looking at the dying man,
went off to his own room and went to sleep. When he woke up, instead
of news of his brother's death which he expected, he learned that the
sick man had returned to his earlier condition. He had begun sitting
up again, coughing, had begun eating again, talking again, and again
had ceased to talk of death, again had begun to express hope of his
recovery, and had become more irritable and gloomier than ever. No
one, neither his brother nor Kitty, could soothe him. He was angry
with everyone, and said nasty things to everyone, reproached everyone
for his sufferings, and insisted that they should get him a celebrated
doctor from Moscow. To all inquiries made of him as to how he felt, he
made the same answer with an expression of vindictive reproachfulness:
"I'm suffering horribly, intolerably!" The sick man was suffering more
and more, especially from bedsores, which it was impossible now to
remedy, and grew more and more angry with everyone about him, blaming
them for everything, and especially for not having brought him a
doctor from Moscow. Kitty tried in every possible way to relieve him,
to soothe him; but it was all in vain, and Levin saw that she herself
was exhausted both physically and morally, though she would not admit
it. The sense of death, which had been evoked in all by his taking
leave of life on the night when he had sent for his brother, was
broken up. Everyone knew that he must inevitably die soon, that he was
half-dead already. Everyone wished for nothing but that he should die
as soon as possible, and everyone, concealing this, gave him
medicines, tried to find remedies and doctors, and deceived him, and
themselves, and one another. All this was falsehood, disgusting,
irreverent deceit. And owing to the bent of his character, and because
he loved the dying man more than anyone else did, Levin was most
painfully conscious of this deceit.
Levin, who had long been possessed by the idea of reconciling his
brothers, at least in face of death, had written to his brother,
Sergei Ivanovich, and having received an answer from him, he read this
letter to the sick man. Sergei Ivanovich wrote that he could not come
himself, and in touching terms he begged his brother's forgiveness.
The sick man said nothing.
"What am I to write to him?" said Levin. "I hope you are not angry
"No, not in the least!" Nikolai answered, vexed at the question.
"Tell him to send me a doctor."
Three more days of agony followed; the sick man was still in the
same condition. The sense of longing for his death was felt by
everyone now who saw him: by the waiters, and the hotelkeeper, and all
the people staying in the hotel, and the doctor, and Marya Nikolaevna,
and Levin, and Kitty. The sick man alone did not express this feeling,
but on the contrary was furious at their not getting him doctors, and
went on taking medicine and talking of life. Only at rare moments,
when the opium gave him an instant's relief from his never-ceasing
pain, he would sometimes, half-asleep, utter what was ever more
intense in his heart than in all the others: "Oh, if it were only the
end!" or, "When will it be over?"
His sufferings, steadily growing more intense, did their work and
prepared him for death. There was no position in which he was not in
pain, there was not a minute in which he was unconscious of it, not a
limb, not a part of his body that did not ache and cause him agony.
Even the memories, the impressions, the thoughts of this body awakened
in him now the same aversion as the body itself. The sight of other
people, their remarks, his own reminiscences——everything was for him a
source of agony. Those about him felt this, and instinctively did not
allow themselves to move freely, to talk, to express their wishes
before him. All his life was merged in the one feeling of suffering
and desire to be rid of it.
There was evidently coming over him that revulsion which would
make him look upon death as the goal of his desires, as happiness.
Hitherto each individual desire, aroused by suffering or privation,
such as hunger, fatigue, thirst, had been satisfied by some bodily
function giving pleasure. But now no physical craving or suffering
received relief, and the effort to relieve them only caused fresh
suffering. And so all desires were merged in one——the desire to be rid
of all his sufferings and their source, the body. But he had no words
to express this desire of deliverance, and so he did not speak of it,
and from habit asked for the satisfaction of desires which could not
now be satisfied. "Turn me over on the other side," he would say, and
immediately after he would ask to be turned back again as before.
"Give me some broth. Take away the broth. Talk of something: why are
you silent?" And directly they began to talk he would close his eyes,
and would show weariness, indifference, and loathing.
On the tenth day from their arrival in the town, Kitty was unwell.
She suffered from headache and sickness, and she could not get up all
The doctor opined that the indisposition arose from fatigue and
excitement, and prescribed rest.
After dinner, however, Kitty got up and went as with her work to
the sick man. He looked at her sternly when she came in, and smiled
contemptuously when she said she had been unwell. That day he was
continually blowing his nose, and groaning piteously.
"How do you feel?" she asked him.
"Worse," he articulated with difficulty. "In pain!"
"In pain, where?"
"It will be over today, you will see," said Marya Nikolaevna.
Though it was said in a whisper, the sick man, whose hearing Levin had
noticed was very keen, must have heard. Levin said "Hush!" to her, and
looked round at the sick man. Nikolai had heard; but these words
produced no effect on him. His eyes had still the same intense,
"Why do you think so?" Levin asked her, when she had followed him
into the corridor.
"He has begun picking at himself," said Marya Nikolaevna.
"How do you mean?"
"Like this," she said, tugging at the folds of her woolen skirt.
Levin noticed, indeed, that all that day the patient pulled at
himself, as it were, trying to snatch something away.
Marya Nikolaevna's prediction came true. Toward night the sick man
was not able to lift his hands, and could only gaze before him with
the same intensely concentrated expression in his eyes. Even when his
brother or Kitty bent over him, so that he could see them, he looked
just the same. Kitty sent for the priest to read the prayer for the
While the priest was reading it, the dying man did not show any
sign of life; his eyes were closed. Levin, Kitty and Marya Nikolaevna
stood at the bedside. The priest had not quite finished reading the
prayer when the dying man stretched, sighed, and opened his eyes. The
priest, on finishing the prayer, put the cross to the cold forehead,
then slowly returned it to the stand, and, after standing in silence
for two minutes more, he touched the huge, bloodless hand that was
"He is gone," said the priest, and would have moved away; but
suddenly there was a faint stir in the mustaches of the dead man, that
seemed glued together, and quite distinctly in the hush they heard
from the bottom of the chest the sharply defined sounds:
"Not quite.... Soon."
And a minute later the face brightened, a smile came out under the
mustaches, and the women who had gathered round began carefully laying
out the corpse.
The sight of his brother, and the nearness of death, revived in
Levin that sense of horror in the face of the insolvable enigma,
together with the nearness and inevitability of death, that had come
upon him that autumn evening when his brother had come to him. This
feeling was now even stronger than before; even less than before did
he feel capable of apprehending the meaning of death, and its
inevitability rose up before him more terrible than ever. But now,
thanks to his wife's presence, that feeling did not reduce him to
despair. In spite of death, he felt the need of life and love. He felt
that love saved him from despair, and that his love, under the menace
of despair, had become still stronger and purer.
The one mystery of death, still unsolved, had scarcely passed
before his eyes, when another mystery had arisen, as insoluble, urging
him to love and to life.
The doctor confirmed his former suppositions in regard to Kitty.
Her indisposition consisted of pregnancy.
From the moment when Alexei Alexandrovich understood from his
interviews with Betsy and with Stepan Arkadyevich that all that was
expected of him was to leave his wife in peace, without burdening her
with his presence, and that his wife herself desired this, he felt so
distraught that he could come to no decision by himself; he did not
know himself what he wanted now, and, putting himself in the hands of
those who were so pleased to interest themselves in his affairs, he
met everything with unqualified assent. It was only when Anna had left
his house, and the English governess sent to ask him whether she
should dine with him or separately, that for the first time he clearly
comprehended his position, and was appalled by it.
Most difficult of all in this position was the fact that he could
not in any way connect and reconcile his past with the present. It was
not the past when he had lived happily with his wife that troubled
him. The transition from that past to a knowledge of his wife's
unfaithfulness he had already lived through miserably; that state had
been painful, but he could understand it. If his wife had then, on
declaring to him her unfaithfulness, left him, he would have been
wounded, unhappy, but he would not have been in the hopeless position——
incomprehensible to himself——in which he felt himself now. He could
not now reconcile his immediate past, his tenderness, his love for his
sick wife, and for the other man's child with what was now the case——
with the fact that, seemingly in return for all this, he now found
himself alone, put to shame, a laughingstock, needed by no one, and
despised by everyone.
For the first two days after his wife's departure Alexei
Alexandrovich received petitioners and his head clerk, drove to the
committee, and went down to dinner in the dining room as usual.
Without giving himself a reason for what he was doing, he strained
every nerve of his being for those two days, simply to preserve an
appearance of composure, and even of indifference. Answering inquiries
about the disposition of Anna Arkadyevna's rooms and belongings, he
had exercised immense self-control to appear like a man in whose eyes
what had occurred was not unforeseen nor out of the ordinary course of
events, and he attained his aim: no one could have detected in him any
signs of despair. But on the second day after her departure, when
Kornei gave him a bill from a fashionable draper's shop, which Anna
had forgotten to pay, and announced that the shopman was waiting,
Alexei Alexandrovich told him to show the man up.
"Excuse me, Your Excellency, for venturing to trouble you. But if
you direct us to apply to Her Excellency, would you graciously oblige
us with her address?"
Alexei Alexandrovich pondered, as it seemed to the shopman, and
all at once, turning round, he sat down to the table. Burying his head
in his hands, he sat for a long while in that position, made several
attempts to speak, and stopped short.
Kornei, perceiving his master's emotion, asked the shopman to call
another time. Left alone, Alexei Alexandrovich realized that he had
not the strength to keep up the role of firmness and composure any
longer. He gave orders for the carriage that was awaiting him to be
taken back, and for no one to be admitted, and he did not go down to
He felt that he could not endure the weight of universal contempt
and exasperation, which he had distinctly seen in the faces of the
shopman and of Kornei and of everyone, without exception, whom he had
met during these two days. He felt that he could not turn aside from
himself the hatred of men, because that hatred did not come from his
being bad (in that case he could have tried to be better), but from
his being shamefully and repulsively unhappy. He knew that for this,
for the very fact that his heart was torn with grief, they would be
merciless to him. He felt that men would crush him as dogs strangle a
mangled dog, yelping with pain. He knew that his sole means of
security against people was to hide his wounds from them, and
instinctively he tried to do this for two days, but now he felt
incapable of keeping up the unequal struggle.
His despair was even intensified by the consciousness that he was
utterly alone in his sorrow. In all Peterburg there was not a human
being to whom he could express what he was feeling, who would feel for
him, not as a high official, not as a member of society, but simply as
a suffering man; indeed, he had not such a one in the whole world.
Alexei Alexandrovich grew up an orphan. There were two brothers.
They did not remember their father, and their mother died when Alexei
Alexandrovich was ten years old. The property was a small one. Their
uncle, Karenin, a government official of high standing, at one time a
favorite of the late Czar, had brought them up.
On completing his high school and university courses with medals,
Alexei Alexandrovich had, with his uncle's aid, immediately started in
a prominent position in the service, and from that time forward he had
devoted himself exclusively to political ambition. In the high school
and the university, and afterward in the service, Alexei Alexandrovich
had never formed a close friendship with anyone. His brother had been
the person nearest to his heart, but he had a post in the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, and was always abroad, where he had died shortly
after Alexei Alexandrovich's marriage.
While he was governor of a province, Anna's aunt, a wealthy
provincial lady, had brought him——middle-aged as he was, though young
for a governor——together with her niece, and had succeeded in putting
him in such a position that he had either to declare himself or to
leave town. Alexei Alexandrovich hesitated a great while. There were
at the time as many reasons for the step as against it, and there was
no overbalancing consideration to outweigh his invariable rule of
abstaining when in doubt. But Anna's aunt had through a common
acquaintance insinuated that he had already compromised the girl, and
that he was in honor bound to propose to her. He proposed, and
concentrated on his betrothed and his wife all the feeling of which he
The attachment he felt to Anna precluded in his heart every need
of intimate relations with others. And now, among all his
acquaintances, he had not one friend. He had plenty of so-called
connections, but no friendships. Alexei Alexandrovich had plenty of
people whom he could invite to dinner, to whose sympathy he could
appeal in any public affair he was concerned about, whose interest he
could reckon upon for anyone he wished to help, with whom he could
candidly discuss other people's business and affairs of state. But his
relations with these people were confined to one clearly defined
channel, and had a certain routine from which it was impossible to
depart. There was one man, a comrade of his at the university, with
whom he had become friendly later, and with whom he could have spoken
of a personal sorrow; but this friend had a post in the Department of
Education in a remote part of Russia. Of the people in Peterburg the
most intimate and most likely were his head clerk and his doctor.
Mikhail Vassilievich Sludin, the head clerk, was a
straightforward, intelligent, goodhearted and conscientious man, and
Alexei Alexandrovich was aware of his personal good will. But their
five years of official work together seemed to have put a barrier
between them that cut off warmer relations.
After signing the papers brought him, Alexei Alexandrovich had sat
for a long while in silence, glancing at Mikhail Vassilievich, and
several times he attempted to speak, but could not. He had already
prepared the phrase: "You have heard of my trouble?" But he ended by
saying as usual: "So you'll get this ready for me?" and with that
The other person was the doctor, who had also a kindly feeling for
him; but there had long existed a silent understanding between them
that both were weighed down by work, and always in a hurry.
Of his women friends, foremost among them Countess Lidia Ivanovna,
Alexei Alexandrovich never thought. All women, simply as women, were
terrible and distasteful to him.
Alexei Alexandrovich had forgotten the Countess Lidia Ivanovna but
she had not forgotten him. At the bitterest moment of his lonely
despair she came to him, and, without waiting to be announced, walked
straight into his study. She found him as he was sitting with his head
in both hands.
"F'ai force la consigne," she said, walking in with rapid steps
and breathing hard with excitement and rapid exertion. "I have heard
all! Alexei Alexandrovich! Dear friend!" she went on, warmly squeezing
his hand in both of hers and gazing with her fine pensive eyes into
Alexei Alexandrovich, frowning, got up, and, disengaging his hand,
moved a chair up for her.
"Won't you sit down, Countess? I'm seeing no one because I'm
unwell, Countess," he said, and his lips twitched.
"Dear friend!" repeated Countess Lidia Ivanovna, never taking her
eyes off his, and suddenly her eyebrows rose at the inner corners,
describing a triangle on her forehead, her ugly yellow face becoming
still uglier, but Alexei Alexandrovich felt that she was sorry for him
and was preparing to cry. And he too was softened; he snatched her
plump hand and proceeded to kiss it.
"Dear friend!" she said in a voice breaking with emotion. "You
ought not to give way to grief. Your sorrow is a great one, but you
ought to find consolation."
"I am crushed, I am annihilated, I am no longer a man!" said
Alexei Alexandrovich, letting go her hand, but still gazing into her
brimming eyes. "My position is so awful because I can find nowhere, I
cannot find within me, strength to support me."
"You will find support; seek it——not in me, though I beseech you
to believe in my friendship," she said, with a sigh. "Our support is
love, that love that He has vouchsafed us. His burden is light," she
said, with the look of ecstasy Alexei Alexandrovich knew so well. "He
will be your support and your succor."
Although there was in these words a flavor of that sentimental
emotion at her own lofty feelings, and that new mystical fervor which
had lately gained ground in Peterburg, and which seemed to Alexei
Alexandrovich disproportionate, still it was pleasant to him to hear
"I am weak. I am crushed. I foresaw nothing, and now I understand
"Dear friend!" repeated Lidia Ivanovna.
"It's not the loss of what I no longer have; it's not that!"
pursued Alexei Alexandrovich. "I do not grieve for that. But I cannot
help feeling ashamed before other people for the position I am placed
in. It is wrong, but I can't help it——I can't help it."
"It was not you who performed that noble act of forgiveness, at
which I was moved to ecstasy, and everyone else too, but He, working
within your heart," said Countess Lidia Ivanovna, raising her eyes
rapturously, "and so you cannot be ashamed of your act."
Alexei Alexandrovich knit his brows, and, crooking his hands, he
cracked his fingers.
"One must know all the details," he said in his high voice. "A
man's strength has its limits, Countess, and I have reached my limits.
The whole day I have had to be making arrangements, arrangements about
household matters arising" (he emphasized the word arising) "from my
new, solitary position. The servants, the governess, the accounts....
These pinpricks have stabbed me to the heart, and I have not the
strength to bear it. At dinner... yesterday, I was almost getting up
from the dinner table. I could not bear the way my son looked at me.
He did not ask me the meaning of it all, but he wanted to ask, and I
could not bear the look in his eyes. He was afraid to look at me, but
that is not all..." Alexei Alexandrovich would have referred to the
bill that had been brought him, but his voice shook, and he stopped.
That bill on blue paper, for a hat and ribbons, he could not recall
without a rush of self-pity.
"I understand, dear friend," said Lidia Ivanovna. "I understand it
all. Succor and comfort you will find not in me, though I have come
only to aid you, if I can. If I could take from off you all these
petty, humiliating cares... I understand that a woman's word, a
woman's superintendence, is needed. You will intrust it to me?"
Silently and gratefully Alexei Alexandrovich squeezed her hand.
"Together we will take care of Seriozha. Practical affairs are not
my strong point. But I will set to work. I will be your housekeeper.
Don't thank me. I do it not from myself..."
"I cannot help thanking you."
"But, dear friend, do not give way to the feeling of which you
spoke——being ashamed of what is the Christian's highest glory: he who
humbles himself shall be exalted. And you cannot thank me. You must
thank Him, and pray to Him for succor. In Him alone we find peace,
consolation, salvation, and love," she said, and turning her eyes
heavenward, she began praying, as Alexei Alexandrovich gathered from
Alexei Alexandrovich listened to her now, and those expressions
which had seemed to him, if not distasteful, at least exaggerated, now
seemed to him natural and consolatory. Alexei Alexandrovich had
disliked this new enthusiastic fervor. He was a believer, who was
interested in religion primarily in its political aspect, and the new
doctrine which ventured upon several new interpretations, just because
it paved the way to discussion and analysis, was in principle
disagreeable to him. He had hitherto taken up a cold and even
antagonistic attitude to this new doctrine, and with Countess Lidia
Ivanovna, who had been carried away by it, he had never argued, but by
silence had assiduously parried her attempts to provoke him into
argument. Now for the first time he heard her words with pleasure, and
did not inwardly oppose them.
"I am very, very grateful to you, both for your deeds and for your
words," he said, when she had finished praying.
Countess Lidia Ivanovna once more squeezed both of her friend's
"Now I will enter upon my duties," she said with a smile after a
pause, as she wiped away the traces of tears. "I am going to Seriozha.
Only in the last extremity shall I apply to you." And she got up and
Countess Lidia Ivanovna went into Seriozha's part of the house,
and, dropping tears on the scared child's cheeks, she told him that
his father was a saint and his mother was dead.
Countess Lidia Ivanovna kept her promise. She did actually take
upon herself the care of the organization and management of Alexei
Alexandrovich's household. But she had not overstated the case when
saying that practical affairs were not her strong point. All her
arrangements had to be modified because they could not be carried out,
and they were modified by Kornei, Alexei Alexandrovich's valet, who,
though no one was aware of the fact, now managed Karenin's household,
and quietly and discreetly reported to his master, while the latter
was dressing, all it was necessary for him to know. But Lidia
Ivanovna's help was none the less real; she gave Alexei Alexandrovich
moral support in the consciousness of her love and respect for him,
and still more (as it was soothing to her to believe) by having almost
turned him to Christianity——that is, from an indifferent and apathetic
believer she had turned him into an ardent and steadfast adherent of
the new interpretation of Christian doctrine, which had been gaining
ground of late in Peterburg. It was easy for Alexei Alexandrovich to
believe in this teaching. Alexei Alexandrovich, like Lidia Ivanovna
indeed, and others who shared their views, was completely devoid of
profundity of imagination, that spiritual faculty in virtue of which
the ideas evoked by the imagination become so actual that they must
needs be in harmony with other ideas, and with reality itself. He saw
nothing impossible and absurd in the idea that death, though existing
for unbelievers, did not exist for him, and that, as he was possessed
of the most perfect faith, of the measure of which he was himself the
judge, there was therefore no sin in his soul, and he was experiencing
complete salvation here on earth.
It is true that the erroneousness and shallowness of this
conception of his faith was dimly perceptible to Alexei Alexandrovich,
and he knew that when, without the slightest idea that his forgiveness
was the action of a higher power, he had surrendered directly to the
feeling of forgiveness, he had felt more happiness than now, when he
was thinking every instant that Christ was in his heart, and that in
signing official papers he was doing His will. But for Alexei
Alexandrovich it was a necessity to think in that way; it was such a
necessity for him in his humiliation to have some elevated standpoint,
however imaginary, from which, looked down upon by all, he could look
down on others, that he clung, as to his one salvation, to his
delusion of salvation.
The Countess Lidia Ivanovna had, as a very young and enthusiastic
girl, been married to a wealthy man of high rank, a very good-natured,
jovial, and extremely dissipated rake. One month after marriage her
husband abandoned her, and her enthusiastic protestations of affection
he met with an irony and even hostility which people, knowing the
Count's good heart, and seeing no defects in the enthusiastic Lidia,
were at a loss to explain. Though they were divorced and lived apart,
yet whenever the husband met the wife, he invariably behaved to her
with the same malignant irony, the cause of which was
Countess Lidia Ivanovna had long given up being in love with her
husband, but from that time she had never given up being in love with
someone. She was in love with several people at once, both men and
women; she had been in love with almost everyone who had been
particularly distinguished in any way. She was in love with all the
new princes and princesses who married into the Imperial family; she
had been in love with one archbishop, one vicar, and one parish
priest; she had been in love with one journalist, three Slavophils,
with Komissarov, with one minister, one doctor, one English
missionary, and Karenin. All these passions, constantly waning or
growing more ardent, did not prevent her from keeping up the most
extended and complicated relations with the Court and fashionable
society. But from the time that, after Karenin's trouble, she had
taken him under special protection, from the time that she had set to
work in Karenin's household looking after his welfare, she felt that
all her other attachments were not the real thing, and that she was
now genuinely in love, and with no one but Karenin. The feeling she
now experienced for him seemed to her stronger than any of her former
feelings. Analyzing her feeling, and comparing it with former
passions, she distinctly perceived that she would not have been in
love with Komissarov if he had not saved the life of the Czar; that
she would not have been in love with Ristich-Kudzhitsky if there had
been no Slavonic question; but that she loved Karenin for himself, for
his lofty, uncomprehended soul, for the sweet——to her——high notes of
his voice, for his drawling intonation, his weary eyes, his character,
and his soft white hands with their swollen veins. She was not simply
overjoyed at meeting him, but she sought in his face signs of the
impression she was making on him. She tried to please him, not by her
words only, but in her whole person. For his sake it was that she now
lavished more care on her dress than before. She caught herself in
reveries on what might have been, if she had not been married and he
had been free. She blushed with emotion when he came into the room,
she could not repress a smile of rapture when he said anything amiable
For several days now Countess Lidia Ivanovna had been in a state
of intense excitement. She had learned that Anna and Vronsky were in
Peterburg. Alexei Alexandrovich must be saved from seeing her, he must
be saved even from the torturing knowledge that that awful woman was
in the same town with him, and that he might meet her any minute.
Lidia Ivanovna made inquiries through her friends as to what those
shocking people, as she called Anna and Vronsky, intended doing, and
she endeavored so to guide every movement of her friend during those
days that he might not come across them. The young adjutant, a friend
of Vronsky, through whom she obtained her information, and who hoped
through Countess Lidia Ivanovna to obtain a concession, told her that
they had finished their business and were going away next day. Lidia
Ivanovna had already begun to calm down, when the next morning a note
was brought her, the handwriting of which she recognized with horror.
It was the handwriting of Anna Karenina. The envelope was of paper as
thick as bast; on the oblong yellow paper there was a huge monogram,
and the letter smelt of agreeable scent.
"Who brought it?"
"A commissionaire from the hotel."
It was some time before Countess Lidia Ivanovna could sit down to
read the letter. Her excitement brought on an attack of asthma, to
which she was subject. When she had recovered her composure, she read
the following letter in French:
"Madame la Comtesse——The Christian feelings with which your heart
is filled give me the, I feel, unpardonable boldness to write to you.
I am miserable at being separated from my son. I entreat permission to
see him once before my departure. Forgive me for recalling myself to
your memory. I apply to you and not to Alexei Alexandrovich, simply
because I do not wish to cause that generous man to suffer in
remembering me. Knowing your friendship for him, I know you will
understand me. Could you send Seriozha to me, or should I come to the
house at some fixed hour, or will you let me know when and where I
could see him away from home? I do not anticipate a refusal, knowing
the magnanimity of him with whom it rests. You cannot conceive the
craving I have to see him, and so cannot conceive the gratitude your
help will arouse in me.
Everything in this letter exasperated Countess Lidia Ivanovna: its
contents, and the allusion to magnanimity, and especially its free and
easy——as she considered——tone.
"Say that there is no answer," said Countess Lidia Ivanovna, and
immediately opening her blotting book, she wrote to Alexei
Alexandrovich that she hoped to see him at one o'clock at the levee.
"I must talk with you of a grave and painful subject. There we
will arrange where to meet. Best of all at my house, where I will
order tea as you like it. Urgent. He lays the cross, but He gives the
strength to bear it," she added, so as to give him some slight
Countess Lidia Ivanovna usually wrote some two or three letters a
day to Alexei Alexandrovich. She enjoyed that form of communication,
which gave opportunity for a refinement and air of mystery not
afforded by their personal interviews.
The levee was drawing to a close. People met as they were going
away, and gossiped of the latest news, of the newly bestowed honors,
and the changes in the positions of the higher functionaries.
"If only Countess Marya Borissovna were Minister of War, and
Princess Vatkovsky were Commander in Chief," said a gray-headed,
little old man in a gold-embroidered uniform, addressing a tall,
handsome maid of honor who had questioned him about the new
"And if I were one of the adjutants," said the maid of honor,
"You have an appointment already. You're over the Ecclesiastical
Department. And your assistant's Karenin."
"Good day, Prince!" said the little old man to a man who came up
"What were you saying of Karenin?" said the Prince.
"He and Putiatov have received the order of Alexandre Nevsky."
"I thought he had it already."
"No. Just look at him," said the little old man, pointing with his
embroidered hat to Karenin in a Court uniform, with the new red ribbon
across his shoulders, standing in the doorway of the hall with an
influential member of the Imperial Council. "Pleased and happy as
brass," he added, stopping to shake hands with a handsome gentleman of
the bedchamber of colossal proportions.
"No——he's looking older," said the gentleman of the bedchamber.
"From overwork. He's always drawing up projects nowadays. He won't
let a poor devil go nowadays till he's explained it all to him under
"Looking older, did you say? Il fait des passions. I believe
Countess Lidia Ivanovna's jealous now of his wife."
"Oh, come now, please don't say any harm of Countess Lidia
"Why, is there any harm in her being in love with Karenin?"
"But is it true Madame Karenina's here?"
"Well, not here in the palace, but in Peterburg. I met her
yesterday with Alexei Vronsky, bras dessus, bras dessous, on the
"C'est un homme qui n'a pas..." the gentleman of the bedchamber
was beginning, but he stopped to make room, bowing, for a member of
the Imperial family to pass.
Thus people talked incessantly of Alexei Alexandrovich, finding
fault with him and laughing at him, while he, blocking up the way of
the member of the Imperial Council he had captured, was explaining to
him point by point his new financial project, never interrupting his
discourse for an instant for fear he should escape.
Almost at the same time that his wife left Alexei Alexandrovich
there had come to him that bitterest moment in the life of an
official——the moment when his upward career comes to a full stop. This
full stop had arrived and everyone perceived it, but Alexei
Alexandrovich himself was not yet aware that his career was over.
Whether it was due to his feud with Stremov, or his misfortune with
his wife, or simply that Alexei Alexandrovich had reached his
predestined limits, it had become evident to everyone in the course of
that year that his career was at an end. He still filled a position of
consequence, he sat on many commissions and committees, but he was a
man whose day was over, and from whom nothing was expected. Whatever
he said, whatever he proposed, was heard as though it were something
long familiar, and the very thing that was not needed. But Alexei
Alexandrovich was not aware of this, and, on the contrary, being cut
off from direct participation in governmental activity, he saw more
clearly than ever the errors and defects in the action of others, and
thought it his duty to point out means for their correction. Shortly
after his separation from his wife, he began writing his first note on
the new judicial procedure, the first of the endless series of notes
he was destined to write in the future.
Alexei Alexandrovich did not merely fail to observe his hopeless
position in the official world, he was not merely free from anxiety on
this head——he was positively more satisfied than ever with his own
"He that is married careth for the things of the world, how he may
please his wife; he that is unmarried careth for the things that
belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord," says the Apostle
Paul, and Alexei Alexandrovich, who was now guided in every action by
Scripture, often recalled this text. It seemed to him that ever since
he had been left without a wife, he had, in these very projects of
reform, been serving the Lord more zealously than ever.
The unmistakable impatience of the member of the Council trying to
get away from him did not trouble Alexei Alexandrovich; he gave up his
exposition only when the member of the Council, seizing his chance
when one of the Imperial family was passing, slipped away from him.
Left alone, Alexei Alexandrovich looked down, collecting his
thoughts, then looked casually about him and walked toward the door,
where he hoped to meet Countess Lidia Ivanovna.
"And how strong they all are——how sound physically," thought
Alexei Alexandrovich, looking at the powerfully built gentleman of the
bedchamber with his well-groomed, perfumed whiskers, and at the red
neck of the Prince, pinched by his tight uniform. He had to pass them
on his way. "Truly is it said that all the world is evil," he thought,
with another sidelong glance at the calves of the gentleman of the
Moving forward deliberately, Alexei Alexandrovich bowed with his
customary air of weariness and dignity to the gentleman who had been
talking about him, and, looking toward the door, his eyes sought
Countess Lidia Ivanovna.
"Ah! Alexei Alexandrovich!" said the little old man, with a
malicious light in his eyes, at the moment when Karenin had come up to
them, and was nodding with a frigid gesture. "I haven't congratulated
you yet," said the old man, pointing to his newly received ribbon.
"Thank you," answered Alexei Alexandrovich. "What an exquisite day
today," he added, laying emphasis in his peculiar way on the word
That they laughed at him he was well aware, but he did not expect
anything but hostility from them; he was used to that by now.
Catching sight of the yellow shoulders of Lidia Ivanovna jutting
out above her corset, and her fine pensive eyes summoning him to her,
Alexei Alexandrovich smiled, revealing untarnished white teeth, and
went toward her.
Lidia Ivanovna's dress had cost her great pains, as indeed all her
dresses had done of late. Her aim in dress was now quite the reverse
of what she had pursued thirty years before. Then her desire had been
to adorn herself with something, and the more adorned the better. Now,
on the contrary, she was perforce decked out in a way so inconsistent
with her age and her figure, that her one anxiety was to contrive that
the contrast between these adornments and her own exterior should not
be too appalling. And as far as Alexei Alexandrovich was concerned she
succeeded, and was in his eyes attractive. For him she was the one
island not only of good will to him, but of love in the midst of the
sea of hostility and jeering that surrounded him.
Passing through rows of ironical eyes, he was drawn as naturally
to her loving glance as a plant to the sun.
"I congratulate you," she said to him, her eyes on his ribbon.
Suppressing a smile of pleasure, he shrugged his shoulders,
closing his eyes, as though to say that that could not be a source of
joy to him. Countess Lidia Ivanovna was very well aware that it was
one of his chief sources of satisfaction, though he never admitted it.
"How is our angel?" said Countess Lidia Ivanovna, meaning Seriozha.
"I can't say I was quite pleased with him," said Alexei
Alexandrovich, raising his eyebrows and opening his eyes. "And
Sitnikov is not satisfied with him." (Sitnikov was the tutor to whom
Seriozha's secular education had been intrusted.) "As I have mentioned
to you, there's a sort of coldness in him toward the most important
questions which ought to touch the heart of every man and every
child...." Alexei Alexandrovich began expounding his views on the sole
question that interested him outside the service——the education of his
When Alexei Alexandrovich, with Lidia Ivanovna's help, had been
brought back anew to life and activity, he felt it his duty to
undertake the education of the son left on his hands. Having never
before taken any interest in educational questions, Alexei
Alexandrovich devoted some time to the theoretical study of the
subject. After reading several books on anthropology, education, and
didactics, Alexei Alexandrovich drew up a plan of education, and,
engaging the best tutor in Peterburg to superintend it, he set to
work, and the subject continually absorbed him.
"Yes——but the heart! I see in him his father's heart, and with
such a heart a child cannot go far wrong," said Lidia Ivanovna with
"Yes, perhaps.... As for me, I do my duty. It's all I can do."
"You're coming to me," said Countess Lidia Ivanovna, after a
pause; "we have to speak of a subject painful for you. I would give
anything to have spared you certain memories, but others are not of
the same mind. I have received a letter from her. She is here in
Alexei Alexandrovich shuddered at the allusion to his wife, but
immediately his face assumed the deathlike rigidity which expressed
utter helplessness in the matter.
"I was expecting it," he said.
Countess Lidia Ivanovna looked at him ecstatically, and tears of
rapture at the greatness of his soul came into her eyes.
When Alexei Alexandrovich came into the Countess Lidia Ivanovna's
snug little boudoir, decorated with old china and hung with portraits,
the lady herself had not yet made her appearance.
She was changing her dress.
A cloth was laid on a round table, and on it stood a china tea
service and a silver teakettle and spirit lamp. Alexei Alexandrovich
looked idly about at the endless familiar portraits which adorned the
room, and, sitting down to the table, he opened a New Testament lying
upon it. The rustle of the Countess's silk skirt drew his attention
"Well, now, we can sit quietly," said Countess Lidia Ivanovna,
slipping hurriedly with an agitated smile between the table and the
sofa, "and talk over our tea."
After some words of preparation, Countess Lidia Ivanovna,
breathing hard and flushing crimson, gave into Alexei Alexandrovich's
hands the letter she had received.
After reading the letter, he sat a long while in silence.
"I don't think I have the right to refuse her," he said, timidly
lifting his eyes.
"Dear friend, you never see evil in anyone!"
"On the contrary, I see that all is evil. But whether it is
His face showed irresolution, and a seeking for counsel, support,
and guidance, in a matter he did not understand.
"No," Countess Lidia Ivanovna interrupted him; "there are limits
to everything. I can understand immorality," she said, not quite
truthfully, since she never could understand that which leads women to
immorality; "but I don't understand cruelty——to whom? To you! How can
she stay in the town where you are? No, the longer one lives the more
one learns. And I'm learning to understand your loftiness and her
"Who is to cast a stone?" said Alexei Alexandrovich, unmistakably
pleased with the part he had to play. "I have forgiven all, and so I
cannot deprive her of what is exacted by love in her——by her love for
"But is that love, my friend? Is it sincere? Admitting that you
have forgiven——that you forgive... have we the right to work on the
soul of that angel? He looks on her as dead. He prays for her, and
beseeches God to have mercy on her sins. And it is better so. But now
what will he think?"
"I had not thought of that," said Alexei Alexandrovich, evidently
Countess Lidia Ivanovna hid her face in her hands and was silent.
She was praying.
"If you ask my advice," she said, having finished her prayer and
uncovered her face, "I do not advise you to do this. Do you suppose I
don't see how you are suffering, how this has torn open your wounds?
But supposing that, as always, you don't think of yourself——what can
it lead to?——To fresh suffering for you, to torture for the child. If
there were a trace of humanity left in her, she ought not to wish it
herself. No, I have no hesitation in saying I advise against it, and
if you will intrust it to me, I will write to her."
And Alexei Alexandrovich consented, and Countess Lidia Ivanovna
sent the following letter in French:
"Dear Madame——To be reminded of you might result in your son's
asking questions, which could not be answered without implanting in
the child's soul a spirit of censure toward what should be for him
sacred, and therefore I beg you to interpret your husband's refusal in
the spirit of Christian love. I pray to Almighty God to have mercy on
This letter attained the secret object which Countess Lidia
Ivanovna had concealed from herself. It wounded Anna to the quick.
For his part, Alexei Alexandrovich, on returning home from Lidia
Ivanovna's, could not all that day concentrate himself on his usual
pursuits, and find that spiritual peace of one saved and believing
which he had felt of late.
The thought of his wife, who had so greatly sinned against him,
and toward whom he had been so saintly, as Countess Lidia Ivanovna had
so justly told him, ought not to have troubled him; but he was not
easy; he could not understand the book he was reading; he could not
drive away harassing recollections of his relations with her, of the
mistake which, as it now seemed, he had made in regard to her. The
memory of how he had received her confession of infidelity on their
way home from the races (especially his having insisted only on the
observance of external decorum, and not having sent a challenge)
tortured him like a remorse. He was tortured, too, by the thought of
the letter he had written her; and, most of all, his forgiveness,
which nobody wanted, and his care of the other man's child, seared his
heart with shame and remorse.
And just the same feeling of shame and remorse he felt now, as he
reviewed all his past with her, recalling the awkward words in which,
after long wavering, he proposed to her.
"But how have I been to blame?" he said to himself. And this
question always excited another question in him——whether they felt
differently, did their loving and marrying differently, these Vronskys
and Oblonskys... these gentlemen of the bedchamber, with their fine
calves. And there passed before his mind a whole series of these
succulent, vigorous, self-confident men, who always and everywhere
drew his inquisitive attention in spite of himself. He tried to dispel
these thoughts, he tried to persuade himself that he was not living
for this transient life, but for the life of eternity, and that there
was peace and love in his heart. But the fact that he had in this
transient, trivial life made, as it seemed to him, a few trivial
mistakes, tortured him as though the eternal salvation in which he
believed had no existence. But this temptation did not last long, and
soon there was reestablished once more in Alexei Alexandrovich's soul
the peace and the loftiness by virtue of which he could forget what he
did not want to remember.
"Well, Kapitonich?" said Seriozha, coming back rosy and
good-humored from his walk the day before his birthday, and giving his
Russian plaited overcoat to the tall old hall porter, who smiled down
at the little person from the height of his long figure. "Well, has
the bandaged official been here today? Did papa see him?"
"He saw him. The minute the head clerk came out, I announced him,"
said the hall porter with a good-humored wink. "Here, I'll take it
"Seriozha!" said his Slavonic tutor, stopping in the doorway
leading to the inner rooms. "Take it off yourself." But Seriozha,
though he heard the tutor's feeble voice, did not pay attention to it.
He stood keeping hold of the hall porter's shoulder knot and gazing
into his face.
"Well, and did papa do what he wanted for him?"
The hall porter nodded his head affirmatively.
The bandaged official, who had already been seven times to ask
some favor of Alexei Alexandrovich, interested both Seriozha and the
hall porter. Seriozha had come upon him in the hall, and had heard him
plaintively beg the hall porter to announce him, saying that he and
his children had death staring them in the face.
Since then Seriozha, having met him a second time in the hall,
took great interest in him.
"Well, was he very glad?" he asked.
"Glad? I should think so! Almost dancing as he walked away."
"And has anything been left for me?" asked Seriozha, after a pause.
"Come, sir," said the hall porter; then with a shake of his head
he whispered: "Something from the Countess."
Seriozha understood at once that what the hall porter was speaking
of was a present from Countess Lidia Ivanovna for his birthday.
"You don't say? Where?"
"Kornei took it to your papa. A fine plaything it must be, too!"
"How big? Like this?"
"Rather small, but a fine thing."
"No-something else. Run along, run along, Vassilii Lukich is
calling you," said the porter, hearing the tutor's steps approaching,
and, carefully taking away from his shoulder knot the little hand in
the glove half-pulled off, he indicated with his head Lukich, the
"Vassilii Lukich, I'm coming in one tiny minute!" answered
Seriozha with gay and loving smile which always won over the careful
Seriozha was too happy; everything was too delightful for him to
be able to help sharing with his friend the porter the family good
fortune, of which he had heard from Lidia Ivanovna's niece during his
walk in the public gardens. This piece of good news seemed to him
particularly important from its coming at the same time with the joy
of the bandaged official, and his own joy at toys having come for him.
It seemed to Seriozha that this was a day on which everyone ought to
be glad and happy.
"You know papa's received the order of Alexandre Nevsky today?"
"To be sure I do! People have already been here to congratulate
"And is he glad?"
"Glad at the Czar's gracious favor? I should think so! It's a
proof he's deserved it," said the porter sternly and seriously.
Seriozha fell to musing, gazing up at the face of the porter,
which he had thoroughly studied in every detail, especially at his
chin, which hung down between the gray whiskers——never seen by anyone
but Seriozha, who saw him only from below.
"Well, and has your daughter been to see you lately?"
The porter's daughter was a ballet dancer.
"When is she to come on weekdays? They've their lessons to learn,
too. And you've your lesson, sir; run along."
On coming into the room Seriozha, instead of sitting down to his
lessons, told his tutor of his supposition that what had been brought
him must be a toy railway. "What do you think?" he inquired.
But Vassilii Lukich was thinking of nothing but the necessity of
learning the grammar lesson for the teacher, who was coming at two.
"No, do just tell me, Vassilii Lukich," he asked suddenly, when he
was seated at their worktable with the book in his hands, "what is
greater than the Alexandre Nevsky? You know papa's received the
Vassilii Lukich replied that the Vladimir was greater than the
"And higher still?"
"Well, highest of all is the Andrei Pervozvanny."
"And higher than the Andrei?"
"I don't know."
"What——you don't know?" And Seriozha, leaning on his elbows, sank
into deep meditation.
His meditations were of the most complex and diverse character. He
imagined his father's having been suddenly presented with both the
Vladimir and the Andrei today, and in consequence being much better
tempered at his lesson; and dreamed how, when he was grown up, he
would himself receive all the orders, and what might be invented
higher than the Andrei. Directly any higher order were invented, he
would win it. They would make a higher one still, and he would
immediately win that too.
The time passed in such meditations, and when the teacher came,
the lesson about the adverbs of place and time and manner of action
was not ready, and the teacher was not only displeased, but hurt. This
touched Seriozha. He felt he was not to blame for not having learned
the lesson; however much he tried, he was utterly unable to do it. As
long as the teacher was explaining to him, he believed him and seemed
to comprehend, but as soon as he was left alone, he was positively
unable to recollect and to understand that the short and familiar word
"suddenly" is an adverb of manner of action. Still he was sorry that
he had disappointed the teacher, and he was anxious to comfort him.
He chose a moment when the teacher was looking in silence at the
"Mikhail Ivanich, when is your birthday?" he asked, all of a
"You'd much better be thinking about your work. Birthdays are of
no importance to a rational being. It's a day like any other, on which
one has to do one's work."
Seriozha looked intently at the teacher, at his scanty beard, at
his spectacles, which had slipped down below the ridge on his nose,
and fell into so deep a reverie that he heard nothing of what the
teacher was explaining to him. He knew that the teacher did not think
what he had said——he felt it from the tone in which it was said. "But
why have they all agreed to speak, just in the same manner, always the
dreariest and most useless stuff? Why does he keep me off; why doesn't
he love me?" he asked himself mournfully, and could not think of an
After the lesson with the teacher of grammar came his father's
lesson. While waiting for his father, Seriozha sat at the table
playing with a penknife, and fell to musing. Among Seriozha's favorite
occupations was searching for his mother during his walks. He did not
believe in death generally, and in her death in particular, in spite
of what Lidia Ivanovna had told him and his father had confirmed, and
it was just because of that, and after he had been told she was dead,
that he had begun looking for her when out for a walk. Every woman of
full, graceful figure with dark hair was his mother. At the sight of
such a woman such a feeling of tenderness stirred within him that his
breath failed him, and tears came into his eyes. And he was on tiptoe
with expectation that she would come up to him, would lift her veil.
All her face would be visible, she would smile, she would hug him, he
would sniff her fragrance, feel the softness of her arms, and cry with
happiness, just as he had one evening lain on her lap while she
tickled him, and he laughed and bit her white, ring-covered fingers.
Later, when he accidentally learned from his old nurse that his mother
was not dead, and his father and Lidia Ivanovna had explained to him
that she was dead to him because she was wicked (which he could not
possibly believe, because he loved her), he went on seeking her and
expecting her in the same way. That day in the public gardens there
had been a lady in a lilac veil, whom he had watched with a throbbing
heart, believing it to be her as she came toward them along the path.
The lady had not come up to them, but had disappeared somewhere. That
day, more intensely than ever, Seriozha felt a rush of love for her,
and now, waiting for his father, he forgot everything, and cut all
round the edge of the table with his penknife, staring straight before
him with sparkling eyes, and thinking of her.
"Here is your papa," Vassilii Lukich diverted him.
Seriozha jumped up and went up to his father, and, kissing his
hand, looked at him intently, trying to discover signs of his joy at
receiving the Alexandre Nevsky.
"Did you have a good walk?" said Alexei Alexandrovich, sitting
down in his easy chair, pulling the volume of the Old Testament to him
and opening it. Although Alexei Alexandrovich had more than once told
Seriozha that every Christian ought to know Scripture history
thoroughly, he often referred to the Bible himself during the lesson,
and Seriozha observed this.
"Yes, it was very good indeed, papa," said Seriozha, sitting
sideways on his chair and rocking it, which was forbidden. "I saw
Nadinka" (Nadinka was a niece of Lidia Ivanovna's who was being
brought up in her house). "She told me you'd been given a new star.
Are you glad, papa?"
"First of all, don't rock your chair, please," said Alexei
Alexandrovich. "And secondly, it's not the reward that's precious, but
the work itself. And I could have wished you had understood that. If
you now are going to work, to study, in order to win a reward, then
the work will seem hard to you; but when you work" (Alexei
Alexandrovich, as he spoke, thought of how he had been sustained by a
sense of duty through the wearisome labor of the morning, consisting
of signing one hundred and eighty papers), "loving your work, you will
find your reward for it."
Seriozha's eyes hitherto shining with gaiety and tenderness, grew
dull and dropped before his father's gaze. This was the same
long-familiar tone his father always took with him, and Seriozha had
learned by now to fall in with it. His father always talked to him——so
Seriozha felt——as though he were addressing some boy of his own
imagination, one of those boys who exist in books, utterly unlike
himself. And Seriozha always tried, before his father, to pretend
being this storybook boy.
"You understand that, I hope?" said his father.
"Yes, papa," answered Seriozha, acting the part of the imaginary
The lesson consisted of learning by heart several verses out of
the Evangel and the repetition of the beginning of the Old Testament.
The verses from the Evangel Seriozha knew fairly well, but at the
moment when he was saying them he became so absorbed in watching the
sharply protruding, bony knobbiness of his father's forehead, that he
lost the thread, and he transposed the end of one verse and the
beginning of another. It was evident to Alexei Alexandrovich that he
did not understand what he was saying, and this irritated him.
He frowned, and began explaining what Seriozha had heard many
times before and never could remember, because he understood it too
well, just as that "suddenly" is an adverb of manner of action.
Seriozha looked with scared eyes at his father, and could think of
nothing but whether his father would make him repeat what he had said,
as he sometimes did. And this thought so alarmed Seriozha that he now
understood nothing. But his father did not make him repeat it, and
passed on to the lesson out of the Old Testament. Seriozha recounted
the events themselves well enough, but when he had to answer questions
as to what certain events prefigured, he knew nothing, though he had
already been punished over this lesson. The passage at which he was
utterly unable to say anything, and began fidgeting and cutting the
table and swinging his chair, was where he had to tell of the
patriarchs before the Flood. He did not know one of them, except
Enoch, who had been taken up alive to heaven. Last time he had
remembered their names, but now he had forgotten them utterly, chiefly
because Enoch was the personage he liked best in the whole of the Old
Testament, and Enoch's translation to heaven was connected in his mind
with a whole long train of thought, in which he became absorbed now
while he gazed with fascinated eyes at his father's watch chain and a
half-unbuttoned button on his waistcoat.
In death, of which they talked to him so often, Seriozha
disbelieved entirely. He did not believe that those he loved could
die, above all that he himself would die. That was to him something
utterly inconceivable and impossible. But he had been told all men
die; he had asked people, indeed, whom he trusted, and they, too, had
confirmed it; his old nurse, too, said the same, though reluctantly.
But Enoch had not died, and so it followed that everyone did not die.
"And why cannot anyone else so serve God and be taken alive to
heaven?" thought Seriozha. Bad people——that is, those Seriozha did not
like——might die, but the good might all be like Enoch.
"Well, what are the names of the patriarchs?"
"But you have said that already. This is bad. Seriozha, very bad.
If you don't try to learn what is most necessary of all for a
Christian," said his father, getting up, "whatever can interest you? I
am displeased with you, and Piotr Ignatich" (this was the chief
pedagogue) "is displeased with you.... I shall have to punish you."
His father and his teacher were both displeased with Seriozha, and
he certainly did learn his lessons very badly. But still it could not
be said he was a stupid boy. On the contrary, he was far cleverer than
the boys his teacher held up as examples to Seriozha. In his father's
opinion, he did not want to learn what he was taught. In reality he
could not learn that. He could not, because the claims of his own soul
were more binding on him that those claims his father and his teacher
made upon him. Those claims were in opposition, and he was in direct
conflict with his governors.
He was nine years old; he was a child; but he knew his own soul,
it was precious to him; he guarded it as the eyelid guards the eye,
and without the key of love he let no one into his soul. His teachers
complained that he would not learn, while his soul was brimming over
with thirst for knowledge. And he learned from Kapitonich, from his
nurse, from Nadinka, from Vassilii Lukich——but not from his teachers.
The spring his father and his teachers reckoned upon to turn their
mill wheels had long oozed at another place, and its waters did their
His father punished Seriozha by not letting him go to see Nadinka,
Lidia Ivanovna's niece; but this punishment turned out happily for
Seriozha. Vassilii Lukich was in a good humor, and showed him how to
make windmills. The whole evening passed over this work and in
dreaming how to make a windmill on which he could turn himself——
clutching at the wings or tying himself on and whirling round. Of his
mother Seriozha did not think all the evening, but, when he had gone
to bed, he suddenly remembered her, and prayed in his own words that
tomorrow his mother, in time for his birthday, might leave off hiding
herself and come to him.
"Vassilii Lukich, do you know what I prayed for tonight——extra
beside the regular things?"
"That you might learn your lessons better?"
"No. You'll never guess. A splendid thing——but it's a secret. When
it comes to pass I'll tell you. Can't you guess?"
"No, I can't guess. You tell me," said Vassilii Lukich with a
smile, which was rare with him. "Come, lie down, I'm putting out the
"Without the candle I can see better what I see and what I prayed
for. There! I was almost telling the secret!" said Seriozha, laughing
When the candle was taken away, Seriozha heard his mother and felt
her presence. She stood over him, and her loving gaze caressed him.
But then came windmills——a penknife——everything became confused, and
he fell asleep.
On arriving in Peterburg, Vronsky and Anna stayed at one of the
best hotels; Vronsky apart in a lower story, Anna above with her
child, its nurse, and her maid, in a large suite of four rooms.
On the day of his arrival Vronsky went to his brother's. There he
found his mother, who had come from Moscow on business. His mother and
sister-in-law greeted him as usual: they asked him about his stay
abroad, and talked of their common acquaintances, but did not let drop
a single word in allusion to his connection with Anna. His brother
came next morning to see Vronsky, and of his own accord asked him
about her, and Alexei Vronsky told him directly that he looked upon
his connection with Madame Karenina as marriage; that he hoped to
arrange a divorce, and then to marry her, and until then he considered
her as much a wife as any other wife, and he begged him to tell their
mother and his wife so.
"If the world disapproves, I don't care," said Vronsky; "but if my
relations want to be on terms of relationship with me, they will have
to be on the same terms with my wife."
The elder brother, who had always a respect for his younger
brother's judgment, could not well tell whether he was right or not
till the world had decided the question; for his part he had nothing
against it, and with Alexei he went up to see Anna.
Before his brother, as before everyone, Vronsky addressed Anna
with a certain formality, treating her as he might a very intimate
friend, but it was understood that his brother knew their real
relations, and they talked about Anna's going to Vronsky's estate.
In spite of all his social experience Vronsky was, in consequence
of the new position in which he was placed, laboring under a strange
misapprehension. One would have thought he must have understood that
society was closed for him and Anna; but now some vague ideas had
sprung up in his brain that this was only the case in old-fashioned
days, and that now, with the rapidity of modern progress (he had
unconsciously become by now a partisan of every sort of progress), the
views of society had changed, and that the question of their reception
by society was far from decided. "Of course," he thought, "she would
not be received at Court, but intimate friends can, and must, look at
it in the proper light."
One may sit for several hours at a stretch with one's legs crossed
in the same position, if one knows that there's nothing to prevent
one's changing one's position; but if a man knows that he must remain
sitting so with crossed legs, then cramps come on, the legs begin to
twitch and to strain toward the spot to which one would like to draw
them. This was what Vronsky was experiencing in regard to the world.
Though at the bottom of his heart he knew that the world was shut on
them, he put it to the test whether the world had not changed by now
and would not receive them. But he very quickly perceived that though
the world was open for him personally, it was closed for Anna. Just as
in the game of cat and mouse, the hands raised for him were dropped to
bar the way for Anna.
One of the first ladies of Peterburg society whom Vronsky saw was
his cousin Betsy.
"At last!" she greeted him joyfully. "And Anna? How glad I am!
Where are you stopping? I can fancy after your delightful travels you
must find our poor Peterburg horrid. I can fancy your honeymoon in
Rome. How about the divorce? Is that all over?"
Vronsky noticed that Betsy's enthusiasm waned when she learned
that no divorce had as yet taken place.
"People will cast a stone at me, I know," she said, "but I shall
come and see Anna; yes, I shall certainly come. You won't be here
long, I suppose?"
And she did certainly come to see Anna the same day, but her tone
was not at all the same as in former days. She unmistakably prided
herself on her courage, and wished Anna to appreciate the fidelity of
her friendship. She only stayed ten minutes, talking of society news,
and on leaving she said:
"You've never told me when the divorce is to be? Supposing I'm
ready to fling my cap over the mill, other starchy people will give
you the cold shoulder until you're married. And that's so simple
nowadays. Ca se fait. So you're going on Friday? Sorry we shan't see
each other again."
From Betsy's tone Vronsky might have grasped what he had to expect
from the world; but he made another effort in his own family. His
mother he did not reckon upon. He knew that his mother, who had been
so enthusiastic over Anna at their first acquaintance, would have no
mercy on her now for having ruined her son's career. But he had more
hope of Varia, his brother's wife. He fancied she would not cast a
stone, and would go simply and directly to see Anna, and would receive
her in her own house.
The day after his arrival Vronsky went to her, and finding her
alone, expressed his wishes directly.
"You know, Alexei," she said after hearing him, "how fond I am of
you, and how ready I am to do anything for you; but I have not spoken,
because I knew I could be of no use to you and to Anna Arkadyevna,"
she said, articulating the name "Anna Arkadyevna" with particular
care. "Don't suppose, please, that I judge her. Never! Perhaps in her
place I should have done the same. I don't and can't enter into that,"
she said, glancing timidly at his gloomy face. "But one must call
things by their names. You want me to go and see her, to ask her here,
and to rehabilitate her in society; but do understand that I cannot do
so. I have daughters growing up, and I must live in the world for my
husband's sake. Well, I'm ready to come and see Anna Arkadyevna——she
will understand that I can't ask her here, or I should have to do so
in such a way that she would not meet people who look at things
differently; that would offend her. I can't raise her..."
"Oh, I don't regard her as having fallen more than hundreds of
women you do receive!" Vronsky interrupted her still more gloomily,
and he got up in silence, understanding that his sister-in-law's
decision was not to be shaken.
"Alexei! Don't be angry with me. Please understand that I'm not to
blame," began Varia, looking at him with a timid smile.
"I'm not angry with you," he said still as gloomily; "but this is
doubly painful to me. I'm sorry, too, that this means breaking up our
friendship——if not breaking up, at least weakening it. You will
understand that for me, too, it cannot be otherwise."
And with that he left her.
Vronsky knew that further efforts were useless, and that he had to
spend these few days in Peterburg as though in a strange town,
avoiding every sort of relation with his own old circle in order not
to be exposed to the annoyances and humiliations which were so
intolerable to him. One of the most unpleasant features of his
position in Peterburg was that Alexei Alexandrovich and his name
seemed to meet him everywhere. He could not begin to talk of anything
without the conversation turning on Alexei Alexandrovich, he could not
go anywhere without risk of meeting him. So at least it seemed to
Vronsky, just as it seems to a man with a sore finger that he is
continually, as though on purpose, grazing his sore finger against
Their stay in Peterburg was the more painful to Vronsky because he
perceived all the time a sort of new mood he could not understand in
Anna. At one time she would seem in love with him, and the next she
would become cold, irritable, and impenetrable. She was worrying over
something, and keeping something back from him, and did not seem to
notice the humiliations which poisoned his existence, and which for
her, with her delicate intuition, must have been still more
One of Anna's objects in coming back to Russia had been to see her
son. From the day she left Italy the thought of seeing him had never
ceased to agitate her. And, as she got nearer to Peterburg, the
delight and importance of this meeting grew ever greater in her
imagination. She did not even put to herself the problem of how to
arrange it. It seemed to her natural and simple to see her son when
she should be in the same town with him. But on her arrival in
Peterburg she was suddenly made distinctly aware of her present
position in society, and she grasped the fact that to arrange this
meeting was no easy matter.
She had now been two days in Peterburg. The thought of her son
never left her for a single instant, but she had not yet seen him. To
go straight to the house, where she might meet Alexei Alexandrovich——
that she felt she had no right to do. She might be refused admittance
and insulted. To write and so enter into relations with her husband——
the thought of doing that made her miserable; she could only be at
peace when she did not think of her husband. To get a glimpse of her
son out walking, finding out where and when he went out, was not
enough for her; she had so looked forward to this meeting, she had so
much she must say to him, she so longed to embrace him, to kiss him.
Seriozha's old nurse might be a help to her and show her what to do.
But the nurse was not now living in Alexei Alexandrovich's house. In
this uncertainty, and in efforts to find the nurse, two days had
Hearing of the close intimacy between Alexei Alexandrovich and
Countess Lidia Ivanovna, Anna decided on the third day to write her a
letter, which cost her great pains, and in which she intentionally
said that permission to see her son must depend on her husband's
magnanimity. She knew that if the letter were shown to her husband, he
would keep up his role of magnanimity, and would not refuse her
The commissionaire who took the letter had brought her back the
most cruel and unexpected answer——that there was no answer. She had
never felt so humiliated as at the moment when, sending for
commissionaire, she heard from him the exact account of how he had
waited, and how afterward he had been told there was no answer. Anna
felt humiliated, insulted, but she saw that from her point of view
Countess Lidia Ivanovna was right. Her suffering was the more poignant
since she had to bear it in solitude. She could not and would not
share it with Vronsky. She knew that to him, although he was the
primary cause of her distress, the question of her seeing her son
would seem a matter of very little consequence. She knew that he would
never be capable of understanding all the depth of her suffering, that
for his cool tone at any allusion to it she would begin to hate him.
And she dreaded that more than anything in the world, and so she hid
from him everything that related to her son.
Spending the whole day at home she considered ways of seeing her
son, and had reached a decision to write to her husband. She was just
composing this letter when she was handed the letter from Lidia
Ivanovna. The Countess's silence had subdued and depressed her, but
the letter, all that she read between the lines in it, so exasperated
her, this malice was so revolting beside her passionate, legitimate
tenderness for her son, that she turned against other people and left
off blaming herself.
"This coldness is simulation of feeling!" she said to herself.
"They must needs insult me and torture the child, and I am to submit
to it! Not on any consideration! She is worse than I am. I don't lie,
anyway." And she decided on the spot that next day, Seriozha's
birthday, she would go straight to her husband's house, bribe the
servants, deceive the people, but at any cost see her son and overturn
the hideous deception with which they were encompassing the unhappy
She went to a toyshop, bought toys, and thought over a plan of
action. She would go early in the morning at eight o'clock, when
Alexei Alexandrovich would be certain not to be up. She would have
money in her hand to give the hall porter and the footman, so that
they should let her in, and, without raising her veil, she would say
that she had come from Seriozha's godfather to congratulate him, and
that she had been charged to leave the toys at his bedside. She had
prepared everything but the words she should say to her son. Often she
dreamed of it, she could never think of anything.
The next day, at eight o'clock in the morning, Anna got out of a
hired coach and rang at the front entrance of her former home.
"Run and see what's wanted. Some lady," said Kapitonich, who, not
yet dressed, in his overcoat and galoshes, had peeped out of the
window and seen a lady in a veil standing close up to the door. His
assistant, a lad Anna did not know, had no sooner opened the door to
her than she came in, and pulling a three-rouble note out of her muff
put it hurriedly into his hand.
"Seriozha——Sergei Alexeich," she said, and was going on.
Scrutinizing the note, the porter's assistant stopped her at the
second glass door.
"Whom do you want?" he asked.
She did not hear his words and made no answer.
Noticing the embarrassment of the unknown lady, Kapitonich went
out to her, opened the second door for her, and asked her what she was
pleased to want.
"From Prince Skorodumov for Sergei Alexeich," she said.
"He's not up yet," said the porter, looking at her attentively.
Anna had not anticipated that the absolutely unchanged hall of the
house where she had lived for nine years would so greatly affect her.
Memories sweet and painful rose one after another in her heart, and
for a moment she forgot what she was here for.
"Would you kindly wait?" said Kapitonich, taking off her fur cloak.
As he took off the cloak, Kapitonich glanced at her face,
recognized her, and made her a low bow in silence.
"Please walk in, Your Excellency," he said to her.
She tried to say something, but her voice refused to utter any
sound; with a guilty and imploring glance at the old man she went with
light, swift steps up the stairs. Bent double, and his galoshes
catching in the steps, Kapitonich ran after her, trying to overtake
"The tutor's there; maybe he's not dressed. I'll let him know."
Anna still mounted the familiar staircase, not understanding what
the old man was saying.
"This way, to the left, if you please. Excuse its not being tidy.
He's in the former smoking room now," the hall porter said, panting.
"Excuse me, wait a little, Your Excellency; I'll just see," he said,
and overtaking her, he opened the high door and disappeared behind it.
Anna stood still waiting. "He's only just awake," said the hall
porter, coming out.
And at the very instant the porter said this, Anna caught the
sound of a childish yawn. From the sound of this yawn alone she knew
her son and seemed to see him living before her eyes.
"Let me in; go away!" she said and went in through the high
doorway. On the right of the door stood a bed, and sitting up in the
bed was the boy. His little body bent forward, his nightshirt
unbuttoned, he was stretching and still yawning. The instant his lips
came together they curved into a blissfully sleepy smile, and with
that smile he slowly and deliciously rolled back again.
"Seriozha!" she whispered, walking noiselessly up to him.
When she was parted from him, and all this latter time when she
had been feeling a fresh rush of love for him, she had pictured him as
he was at four years old, when she had loved him most of all. Now he
was not even the same as when she had left him; he was farther than
ever from the four-year-old baby, more grown and thinner. How thin his
face was, how short his hair was! What long hands! How he had changed
since she left him! But it was he with his head, his lips, his soft
neck and broad little shoulders.
"Seriozha!" she repeated, in the child's very ear.
He raised himself again on his elbow, turned his tousled head from
side to side, as though looking for something, and opened his eyes.
Quietly and inquiringly he looked for several seconds at his mother
standing motionless before him, then all at once he smiled a blissful
smile, and shutting his eyes again, rolled not backward but toward
her, into her arms.
"Seriozha! My darling boy!" she said, breathing hard and putting
her arms around his plump little body.
"Mother!" he said, wriggling about in her arms so as to touch her
hands with different parts of him.
Smiling sleepily still, with closed eyes, he flung his fat little
arms round her shoulders, rolled toward her, with the delicious sleepy
warmth and fragrance that is only found in children, and began rubbing
his face against her neck and shoulders.
"I knew," he said, opening his eyes. "It's my birthday today. I
knew you'd come. I'll get up directly."
And saying that he dropped asleep.
Anna looked at him hungrily; she saw how he had grown and changed
in her absence. She knew, and did not know, the bare legs so long now,
that were thrust out below the quilt; she knew those short-cropped
curls on his neck in which she had so often kissed him. She touched
all this and could say nothing; tears choked her.
"What are you crying for, mother?" he said, waking up completely.
"Mother, what are you crying for?" he cried in a tearful voice.
"I?... I won't cry... I'm crying for joy. It's so long since I've
seen you. I won't, I won't," she said, gulping down her tears and
turning away. "Come, it's time for you to dress now," she added, after
a pause, and, never letting go his hands, she sat down by his bedside
on the chair, where his clothes were put ready for him.
"How do you dress without me? How..." she made an attempt to talk
simply and cheerfully, but she could not, and again she turned away.
"I don't have a cold bath——papa didn't order it. And you've not
seen Vassilii Lukich? He'll come in soon. Why, you're sitting on my
And Seriozha went off into a peal of laughter. She looked at him
"Mother, darling, sweet one!" he shouted, flinging himself on her
again and hugging her. It was as if only now, on seeing her smile, he
fully grasped what had happened. "I don't want that on," he said,
taking off her hat. And, as it were, seeing her afresh without her
hat, he fell to kissing her again.
"But what did you think about me? You didn't think I was dead?"
"I never believed it."
"You didn't believe it, my sweet?"
"I knew, I knew!" he repeated his favorite phrase, and snatching
the hand that was stroking his hair, he pressed the open palm to his
mouth and kissed it.
Meanwhile Vassilii Lukich had not at first understood who this
lady was, and had learned from their conversation that it was no other
person than the mother who had left her husband, and whom he had not
seen, as he had entered the house after her departure. He was in doubt
whether to go in or not, or whether to communicate with Alexei
Alexandrovich. Reflecting finally that his duty was to get Seriozha up
at the hour fixed, and that it was therefore not his business to
consider who was there, the mother or anyone else, but simply to do
his duty, he finished dressing, went to the door and opened it.
But the embraces of the mother and child, the sound of their
voices, and what they were saying, made him change his mind. He shook
his head, and with a sigh he closed the door. "I'll wait another ten
minutes," he said to himself, clearing his throat and wiping away
Among the servants of the household there was intense excitement
all this time. All had heard that their mistress had come, and that
Kapitonich had let her in, and that she was even now in the nursery,
and everyone knew that their master always went in person to the
nursery at nine o'clock, and everyone fully comprehended that it was
impossible for the husband and wife to meet, and that they must
prevent it. Kornei, the valet, going down to the hall porter's room,
asked who had let her in, and how it was he had done so, and
ascertaining that Kapitonich had admitted her and shown her up, he
gave the old man a talking-to. The hall porter was doggedly silent,
but when Kornei told him he ought to be sent packing Kapitonich darted
up to him, and, shaking his hands in Kornei's face, began:
"Oh yes, to be sure you'd not have let her in! After ten years'
service, and never a word but of kindness, and there you'd up and say,
'Be off, go along, get away with you!' Oh yes, you're a shrewd one at
politics, I dare say! You don't need to be taught how to swindle the
master, and to filch raccoon fur coats!"
"Soldier!" said Kornei contemptuously, and he turned to the nurse
who was coming in. "Here, what do you think, Maria Efimovna: he let
her in without a word to anyone," Kornei said addressing her. "Alexei
Alexandrovich will be down immediately——and will go into the nursery!"
"A pretty business, a pretty business!" said the nurse, "You,
Kornei Vassilyevich——you'd best detain the master some way or other,
while I'll run and get her away somehow. A pretty business!"
When the nurse went into the nursery, Seriozha was telling his
mother how he and Nadinka had had a fall in tobogganing downhill, and
had turned over three times. She was listening to the sound of his
voice, watching his face and the play of expression on it, touching
his hand, but she did not follow what he was saying. She must go, she
must leave him——this was the only thing she was thinking and feeling.
She heard the steps of Vassilii Lukich coming up to the door and
coughing; she heard, too, the steps of the nurse as she came near; but
she sat like one turned to stone, incapable of speaking or rising.
"Mistress, darling!" began the nurse, going up to Anna and kissing
her hands and shoulders. "God has brought joy indeed to our boy on his
birthday. You haven't changed one bit."
"Oh, nurse dear, I didn't know you were in the house," said Anna,
rousing herself for a moment.
"I'm not living here——I'm living with my daughter. I came for the
birthday, Anna Arkadyevna, darling!"
The nurse suddenly burst into tears, and fell to kissing her hand
Seriozha, with radiant eyes and smiles, holding his mother by one
hand and his nurse by the other, pattered on the rug with his chubby
little bare feet. The tenderness shown by his beloved nurse to his
mother threw him into an ecstasy.
"Mother! She often comes to see me, and when she comes..." he was
beginning, but he stopped, noticing that the nurse was saying
something in a whisper to his mother, and that in his mother's face
there was a look of dread and something like shame, which was so
strangely unbecoming to her.
She went up to him.
"My sweet!" she said.
She could not say good-by, but the expression on her face said it,
and he understood. "Darling, darling Kootik!" she used the name by
which she had called him when he was little "you won't forget me?
You..." but she could not say more.
How often afterward she thought of words she might have said. But
now she did not know what to say, and could say nothing. But Seriozha
knew all she wanted to say to him. He understood that she was unhappy
and loved him. He understood even what the nurse had whispered. He had
caught the words "Always at nine o'clock," and he knew that this was
said of his father, and that his father and mother could not meet.
That he understood, but one thing he could not understand——why there
should be a look of dread and shame in her face?... She was not at
fault, but she was afraid of his father and ashamed of something. He
would have liked to put a question that would have set at rest this
doubt, but he did not dare; he saw that she was miserable, and he
pitied her. Silently he pressed close to her and whispered:
"Don't go yet. He won't come just yet."
The mother held him away from her to see whether he was thinking,
what he said to her, and in his frightened face she read not only that
he was speaking of his father, but, as it were, asking her what he
ought to think about his father.
"Seriozha, my darling," she said, "love him; he's better and
kinder than I am, and I have done him wrong. When you grow up you will
"There's no one better than you!..." he cried in despair through
his tears, and, clutching her by the shoulders, he began squeezing her
with all his force to him, his arms trembling with the strain.
"My sweet, my little one!" said Anna, and she cried as weakly and
childishly as he.
At that moment the door opened; Vassilii Lukich came in. At the
other door there was the sound of steps, and the nurse in a scared
whisper said, "He's coming," and gave Anna her hat.
Seriozha sank on the bed and sobbed, hiding his face in his hands.
Anna removed his hands, once more kissed his wet face, and with rapid
steps went to the door. Alexei Alexandrovich walked in, meeting her.
Seeing her, he stopped short and bowed his head.
Although she had just said he was better and kinder than she, in
the rapid glance she flung at him, taking in his whole figure in all
its details, feelings of repulsion and hatred for him, and jealousy
for her son, took possession of her. With a swift gesture she put down
her veil, and, quickening her pace, almost ran out of the room.
She had not time to undo, and so carried back with her, the parcel
of toys she had chosen the day before in a toyshop with such love and
Intensely as Anna had longed to see her son, and long as she had
been thinking of it and preparing herself for it, she had not in the
least expected that seeing him would affect her so deeply. On getting
back to her lonely rooms in the hotel she could not for a long while
understand why she was there. "Yes, it's all over, and I am again
alone," she said to herself, and, without taking off her hat she sat
down in a low chair by the hearth. Fixing her eyes on a bronze clock
standing on a table between the windows, she tried to think.
The French maid brought from abroad came in to suggest she should
dress. She gazed at her wonderingly and said, "Later on." A footman
offered her coffee. "Later on," she said.
The Italian nurse, after taking the baby out in her best, came in
with her, and brought her to Anna. The plump, well-fed little baby, on
seeing her mother, as she always did, held out her chubby little
hands, and with a smile on her toothless mouth, began, like a fish
with a float, bobbing her fingers up and down the starched folds of
her embroidered pinafore, making them rustle. It was impossible not to
smile, not to kiss the baby, impossible not to hold out a finger for
her to clutch, crowing and prancing all over; impossible not to offer
her a lip which she sucked into her little mouth by way of a kiss. And
all this Anna did, and took her in her arms and made her dance, and
kissed her fresh little cheek and bare little elbows; but at the sight
of this child it was plainer than ever to her that the feeling she had
for her could not be called love in comparison with what she felt for
Seriozha. Everything in this baby was charming, but for some reason
all this did not go deep to her heart. On her first child, though the
child of an unloved father, had been concentrated all the love that
had never found satisfaction. Her baby girl had been born in the most
painful circumstances and had not had a hundredth part of the care and
thought which had been concentrated on her first child. Besides, in
the little girl everything was still in the future, while Seriozha was
by now almost a personality, and a personality dearly loved. In him
there was a conflict of thoughts, and of feelings; he understood her,
he loved her, he judged her, she thought, recalling his words and his
eyes. And she was forever——not physically only but spiritually——
divided from him, and it was impossible to set this right.
She gave the baby back to the nurse, let her go, and opened the
locket in which there was Seriozha's portrait when he was almost of
the same age as the girl. She got up, and, taking off her hat, took up
from a little table an album in which there were photographs of her
son at different ages. She wanted to compare them, and began taking
them out of the album. She took them all out except one, the latest
and best photograph. In it he was in a white smock, sitting astride a
chair, with frowning eyes and smiling lips. It was his best, most
singular expression. With her little supple hands, her white, delicate
fingers, that moved with a peculiar intensity today, she pulled at a
corner of the photograph, but the photograph had caught somewhere and
she could not get it out. There was no paper knife on the table, and,
pulling out the photograph that was next to her son's (it was a
photograph of Vronsky taken at Rome in a round hat and with long
hair), she used it to push out her son's photograph. "Oh, here he is!"
she said, glancing at the portrait of Vronsky, and she suddenly
recalled that he was the cause of her present misery. She had not once
thought of him all the morning. But now, coming all at once upon that
manly, noble face, so familiar and so dear to her, she felt a sudden
rush of love for him.
"But where is he? How is it he leaves me alone in my misery?" she
thought all at once with a feeling of reproach, forgetting she had
herself kept from him everything concerning her son. She sent to ask
him to come to her immediately; with a throbbing heart she awaited
him, rehearsing to herself the words in which she would tell him all,
and the expressions of love with which he would console her. The
messenger returned with the answer that he had a visitor with him, but
that he would come immediately, and that he asked whether she would
let him bring with him Prince Iashvin, who had just arrived in
Peterburg. "He's not coming alone, and since dinner yesterday he has
not seen me," she thought; "he's not coming so that I could tell him
everything, but coming with Iashvin." And all at once a strange idea
came to her: What if he had ceased to love her?
And going over the events of the last few days, it seemed to her
that she saw in everything a confirmation of this terrible idea: the
fact that he had not dined at home yesterday, and the fact that he had
insisted on their taking separate sets of rooms at Peterburg, and that
even now he was not coming to her alone, as though he were trying to
avoid meeting her face to face.
"But he ought to tell me so. I must know that it is so. If I knew
it, then I'd know what I should do," she said to herself, utterly
unable to picture to herself the position she would be in if she were
convinced of his not caring for her. She thought he had ceased to love
her, she felt close upon despair, and consequently she felt
exceptionally alert. She rang for her maid and went to her dressing
room. As she dressed, she took more care over her appearance than she
had done all these days, as though he might, if he had grown cold to
her, fall in love with her again because she had dressed and arranged
her hair in the way most becoming to her.
She heard the bell ring before she was ready.
When she went into the drawing room it was not he, but Iashvin,
who met her eyes. Vronsky was looking through the photographs of her
son, which she had forgotten on the table, and he made no haste to
look round at her.
"We have met already," she said, putting her little hand into the
huge hand of Iashvin, whose bashfulness was so queerly out of keeping
with his immense frame and coarse face. "We met last year at the
races. Give them to me," she said, with a rapid movement snatching
from Vronsky the photographs of her son, and glancing significantly at
him with flashing eyes. "Were the races good this year? Instead of
them I saw the races in the Corso in Rome. But you don't care for life
abroad," she said with a cordial smile. "I know you and all your
tastes, though I have seen so little of you."
"I'm awfully sorry for that, for my tastes are mostly bad," said
Iashvin, gnawing at his left mustache.
Having talked a little while, and noticing that Vronsky glanced at
the clock, Iashvin asked her whether she would be staying much longer
in Peterburg, and unbending his huge figure, reached after his cap.
"Not long, I think," she said hesitatingly, glancing at Vronsky.
"So then we shan't meet again?" said Iashvin getting up and
turning to Vronsky. "Where do you have your dinner?"
"Come and dine with me," said Anna resolutely, angry it seemed
with herself for her embarrassment, but flushing as she always did
when she defined her position before a fresh person. "The dinner here
is not good, but at least you will see him. There is no one of his old
friends in the regiment Alexei cares for as he does for you."
"Delighted," said Iashvin with a smile, from which Vronsky could
see that he liked Anna very much.
Iashvin said good-by, and went away; Vronsky stayed behind.
"Are you going too?" she said to him.
"I'm late already," he answered. "Run along! I'll catch up in a
moment," he called to Iashvin.
She took him by the hand, and without taking her eyes off him,
gazed at him while she ransacked her mind for the words to say that
would keep him.
"Wait a minute, there's something I want to say to you," and
taking his broad hand she pressed it on her neck. "Oh, was it right my
asking him to dinner?"
"You did quite right," he said with a serene smile that showed his
close teeth, and he kissed her hand.
"Alexei, you have not changed to me?" she said, pressing his hand
in both of hers. "Alexei, I am miserable here. When are we going
"Soon, soon. You wouldn't believe how disagreeable our way of
living here is to me too," he said, and he drew away his hand.
"Well, go, go!" she said, offended, and she walked quickly away
When Vronsky returned home, Anna was not yet home. Soon after he
had left, some lady, so they told him, had come to see her, and she
had gone out with her. That she had gone out without leaving word
where she was going, that she had not yet come back, and that all the
morning she had been going about somewhere without a word to him—— all
this, together with the strange look of excitement in her face in the
morning, and the recollection of the hostile tone with which she had
before Iashvin almost snatched her son's photographs out of his hands,
made him serious. He decided he absolutely must speak openly with her.
And he waited for her in her drawing room. But Anna did not return
alone, but brought with her her old unmarried aunt, Princess
Oblonskaia. This was the lady who had come in the morning, and with
whom Anna had gone out shopping. Anna appeared not to notice Vronsky's
worried and inquiring expression, and began a lively account of her
morning's shopping. He saw that there was something working within
her; in her flashing eyes, when they rested for a moment on him, there
was an intense concentration, and in her words and movements there was
that nervous rapidity and grace which, during the early period of
their intimacy, had so fascinated him, but which now so disturbed and
The dinner was laid for four. All were gathered together and about
to go into the little dining room when Tushkevich made his appearance
with a message from Princess Betsy. Princess Betsy begged her to
excuse her not having come to say good-by; she had been indisposed,
but begged Anna to come to her between half-past six and half-past
eight o'clock. Vronsky glanced at Anna at the precise limit of time,
so suggestive of steps having been taken that she should meet no one;
but Anna appeared not to notice it.
"Very sorry that I can't come just between half-past six and
nine," she said with a faint smile.
"The Princess will be very sorry."
"And so shall I."
"You're going, no doubt, to hear Patti?" said Tushkevich.
"Patti? You give me an idea. I would go if it were possible to get
"I can get one," Tushkevich offered his services.
"I should be very, very grateful to you," said Anna. "But won't
you dine with us?"
Vronsky gave a hardly perceptible shrug. He was at a complete loss
to understand what Anna was about. What had she brought the old
Princess Oblonskaia home for, what had she made Tushkevich stay to
dinner for, and, most amazing of all, why was she sending him for a
box? Could she possibly think in her position of going to Patti's
benefit, where all the circle of her acquaintances would be? He looked
at her with serious eyes, but she responded with that defiant,
half-mirthful, half-desperate look, the meaning of which he could not
comprehend. At dinner Anna was in aggressively high spirits——she
almost flirted both with Tushkevich and with Iashvin. When they got up
from dinner and Tushkevich had gone to get a box at the opera, Iashvin
went to smoke, and Vronsky went down with him to his own rooms. After
sitting there for some time he ran upstairs. Anna was already dressed
in a low-necked gown of light silk and velvet that she had had made in
Paris, and with costly white lace on her head, framing her face, and
particularly becoming, showing up her dazzling beauty.
"Are you really going to the theater?" he said, trying not to look
"Why do you ask with such alarm?" she said, wounded again at his
not looking at her. "Why shouldn't I go?"
She appeared not to understand the meaning of his words.
"Oh, of course there's no reason whatever," he said frowning.
"That's just what I say," she said, willfully refusing to see the
irony of his tone, and quietly turning back her long, perfumed glove.
"Anna, for God's sake! What is the matter with you?" he said,
watching her exactly as once her husband had done.
"I don't understand what you are asking."
"You know that it's out of the question to go."
"Why so? I'm not going alone. Princess Varvara has gone to dress——
she is going with me."
He shrugged his shoulders with an air of perplexity and despair.
"But do you mean to say you don't know?..." he began.
"But I don't care to know!" she almost shrieked. "I don't care to.
Do I regret what I have done? No, no, no! If it were all to do again
from the beginning, it would be the same. For us, for you and for me,
there is only one thing that matters, whether we love each other.
Other people we need not consider. Why are we living here apart and
not seeing each other? Why can't I go? I love you, and I don't care
for anything," she said in Russian, glancing at him with a peculiar,
obscure for him, gleam in her eyes, "if you have not changed to me....
Why don't you look at me?"
He looked at her. He saw all the beauty of her face and full
dress, always so becoming to her. But now her beauty and elegance were
just what irritated him.
"My feeling cannot change, you know, but I beg you, I entreat
you," he said again in French, with a note of tender supplication in
his voice, but with coldness in his eyes.
She did not hear his words, but she saw the coldness of his eyes,
and answered with irritation:
"And I beg you to explain why I should not go."
"Because it might cause you..." He hesitated.
"I don't understand. Iashvin n'est compromettant, and Princess
Varvara is no worse than others. Oh, here she is!"
Vronsky for the first time experienced a feeling of anger against
Anna, almost a hatred for her intentional refusal to understand her
own position. This feeling was aggravated by his being unable to tell
her plainly the cause of his anger. If he had told her directly what
he was thinking, he would have said: "In that dress, with a Princess
only too well known to everyone, to show yourself at the theater is
equivalent not merely to acknowledging your position as a fallen
woman, but is flinging down a challenge to society——that is to say,
cutting yourself off from it forever."
He could not say that to her. "But how can she fail to see it, and
what is going on within her?" he said to himself He felt at the same
time that his respect for her was diminished while his sense of her
beauty was intensified.
He went back scowling to his rooms, and, sitting down beside
Iashvin, who, with his long legs stretched out on a chair, was
drinking cognac and Seltzer water, he ordered a glass of the same for
"You were talking of Lankovsky's Powerful. That's a fine horse,
and I would advise you to buy him," said Iashvin, glancing at his
comrade's gloomy face. "His hindquarters aren't quite first-rate, but
the legs and head——one couldn't wish for anything better."
"I think I will take him," answered Vronsky.
Their conversation about horses interested him, but he did not for
an instant forget Anna, and could not help listening to the sound of
steps in the corridor and looking at the clock on the chimney piece.
"Anna Arkadyevna gave orders to announce that she has gone to the
Iashvin, tipping another glass of cognac into the bubbling water,
drank it and got up, buttoning his coat.
"Well, let's go," he said, faintly smiling under his mustache, and
showing by this smile that he knew the cause of Vronsky's gloominess,
and did not attach any significance to it.
"I'm not going," Vronsky answered gloomily.
"Well, I must——I promised to. Good-by then. If you do, come to the
stalls; you can take Krassinsky's stall," added Iashvin as he went
"No, I'm busy."
"A wife is a care, but it's worse when she's not a wife," thought
Iashvin, as he walked out of the hotel.
Vronsky, left alone, got up from his chair and began pacing up and
down the room.
"And what's today? The fourth series.... Iegor and his wife are
there, and my mother, most likely. Of course all Peterburg's there.
Now she's gone in, taken off her cloak and come into the glare.
Tushkevich, Iashvin, Princess Varvara," he pictured them to
himself.... "What about me? Either that I'm frightened, or have given
up to Tushkevich the right to protect her? From every point of view——
stupid, stupid!... And why is she putting me in such a position?" he
said with a gesture of despair.
With that gesture he knocked against the table, on which there was
standing the Seltzer water and the decanter of cognac, and almost
upset it. He tried to catch it, let it slip, and angrily kicked the
table over and rang.
"If you care to be in my service," he said to the valet who came
in, "you had better remember your duties. This shouldn't be here. You
ought to have cleared away."
The valet, conscious of his own innocence, would have defended
himself, but, glancing at his master, he saw from his face that the
only thing to do was to be silent, and hurriedly threading his way in
and out, dropped down on the carpet and began gathering up the whole
and broken glasses and bottles.
"That's not your duty; send the waiter to clear away, and get my
dress coat out."
Vronsky arrived at the theater at half-past eight The performance
was in full swing. The little old boxkeeper, recognizing Vronsky as he
helped him off with his fur coat, called him "Your Excellency," and
suggested he should not take a check but should simply call Fiodor. In
the brightly lighted corridor there was no one but the box opener and
two footmen with fur cloaks on their arms listening at the doors.
Through the closed doors came the sounds of the discreet staccato
accompaniment of the orchestra, and a single female voice rendering
distinctly a musical phrase. The door opened to let the box opener
slip through, and the phrase drawing to the end reached Vronsky's
hearing clearly. But the doors were closed again at once, and Vronsky
did not hear the end of the phrase and the cadence of the
accompaniment, though he knew from the thunder of applause that it was
over. When he entered the hall, brilliantly lighted with chandeliers
and gas jets, the noise was still going on. On the stage the singer,
bowing and smiling, flashing with bare shoulders and with diamonds,
was, with the help of the tenor who had given her his arm, gathering
up the bouquets that were clumsily flying over the footlights. Then
she went up to a gentleman with glossy pomaded hair parted down the
middle, who was stretching across the footlights holding out something
to her, and all the public in the stalls as well as in the boxes was
in excitement, craning forward, shouting and clapping. The conductor
in his high chair assisted in passing the offering, and straightened
his white tie. Vronsky walked into the middle of the stalls, and,
standing still, began looking about him. That day less than ever was
his attention turned upon the familiar, habitual surroundings, the
stage, the noise, all the familiar, uninteresting, particolored herd
of spectators in the packed theater.
There were, as always, the same ladies of some sort with officers
of some sort in the back of the boxes; the same gaily dressed women——
God knows who——and uniforms and black coats; the same dirty crowd in
the upper gallery, and among the crowd, in the boxes and in the front
rows, were some forty of the real people, men and women. And to those
oases Vronsky at once directed his attention, and with them he entered
at once into relation.
The act was over when he went in, and so he did not go straight to
his brother's box, but going up to the first row of stalls stopped at
the footlights with Serpukhovskoy, who, standing with one knee, raised
and his heel on the footlights, caught sight of him in the distance
and beckoned to him, smiling.
Vronsky had not yet seen Anna. He purposely avoided looking in her
direction. But he knew by the direction of people's eyes where she
was. He looked round discreetly, but he was not seeking her; expecting
the worst, his eyes sought for Alexei Alexandrovich. To his relief
Alexei Alexandrovich was not in the theater that evening.
"How little of the military man there is left in you!"
Serpukhovskoy was saying to him. "A diplomat, an artist, something of
that sort, one would say."
"Yes, it was like going back home when I put on a dress coat,"
answered Vronsky, smiling and slowly taking out his opera glasses.
"Well, I'll own I envy you there. When I come back from abroad and
put on this," he touched his shoulder knot, "I regret my freedom."
Serpukhovskoy had long given up all hope of Vronsky's career, but
he liked him as before, and was now particularly cordial to him.
"What a pity you were not in time for the first act!"
Vronsky, listening with half an ear, moved his opera glasses from
the stalls and scanned the boxes. Near a lady in a turban and a bald
old man, who seemed to blink angrily in the moving opera glasses,
Vronsky suddenly caught sight of Anna's head, proud, strikingly
beautiful, and smiling in its frame of lace. She was in the fifth box,
twenty paces from him. She was sitting in front, and, slightly
turning, was saying something to Iashvin. The setting of her head on
her handsome, broad shoulders, and the restrained excitement and
brilliance of her eyes and her whole face reminded him of her just as
he had seen her at the ball in Moscow. But he felt utterly different
toward her beauty now. In his feeling for her now there was no element
of mystery, and so her beauty, though it attracted him even more
intensely than before, gave him now a sense of injury. She was not
looking in his direction, but Vronsky felt that she had seen him
When Vronsky turned the opera glasses again in that direction, he
noticed that Princess Varvara was particularly red, and kept laughing
unnaturally and looking round at the next box. Anna, folding her fan
and tapping it on the red velvet, was gazing away and did not see, and
obviously did not wish to see, what was taking place in the next box.
Iashvin's face wore the expression which was common when he was losing
at cards. Scowling, he sucked the left tip of his mustache further and
further into his mouth, and cast sidelong glances at the next box.
In that box on the left were the Kartassovs. Vronsky knew them,
and knew that Anna was acquainted with them. Madame Kartassova, a thin
little woman, was standing up in her box, and, her back turned upon
Anna, she was putting on a mantle that her husband was holding for
her. Her face was pale and angry, and she was talking excitedly.
Kartassov, a fat, bald man, was continually looking round at Anna,
while he attempted to soothe his wife. When the wife had gone out, the
husband lingered a long while, and tried to catch Anna's eye,
obviously anxious to bow to her. But Anna, with unmistakable
intention, avoided noticing him, and talked to Iashvin, whose cropped
head was bent down to her. Kartassov went out without making his
salutation, and the box was left empty.
Vronsky could not understand exactly what had passed between the
Kartassovs and Anna, but he saw that something humiliating for Anna
had happened. He knew this both from what he had seen, and most of all
from the face of Anna, who, he could see, was taxing every nerve to
carry through the part she had taken up. And in maintaining this
attitude of external composure she was completely successful. Anyone
who did not know her and her circle, who had not heard all the
utterances of the women expressive of commiseration, indignation and
amazement, that she should show herself in society, and show herself
so conspicuously with her lace and her beauty, would have admired the
serenity and loveliness of this woman without a suspicion that she was
undergoing the sensations of a man in the stocks.
Knowing that something had happened, but not knowing precisely
what, Vronsky felt a thrill of agonizing anxiety, and hoping to find
out something, he went toward his brother's box. Purposely choosing
the way round farthest from Anna's box, he jostled as he came out
against the colonel of his old regiment, talking to two acquaintances.
Vronsky heard the name of Karenin, and noticed how the colonel
hastened to address Vronsky loudly by name, with a meaning glance at
"Ah, Vronsky! When are you coming to the regiment? We can't let
you off without a supper. You're our——one of the most thorough," said
the colonel of his regiment.
"I can't stop, awfully sorry, another time," said Vronsky, and he
ran upstairs toward his brother's box.
The old countess, Vronsky's mother, with her steel-gray curls, was
in his brother's box. Varia with the young Princess Sorokina met him
in the corridor.
Leaving the Princess Sorokina with her mother, Varia held out her
hand to her brother-in-law, and began immediately to speak of what
interested him. She was more excited than he had ever seen her.
"I think it's mean and hateful, and Madame Kartassova had no right
to do it. Madame Karenina..." she began.
"But what is it? I don't know."
"What? You haven't heard?"
"You know I should be the last person to hear of it."
"There isn't a more spiteful creature than that Madame Kartassova!"
"But what did she do?"
"My husband told me.... She has insulted Madame Karenina. Her
husband began talking to her across the box, and Madame Kartassova
made a scene. She said something aloud, they say, something insulting,
and went away."
"Count, your maman is asking for you," said the young Princess
Sorokina, peeping out of the door of the box.
"I've been expecting you all the while," said his mother, smiling
sarcastically. "You were nowhere to be seen."
Her son saw that she could not suppress a smile of delight.
"Good evening, maman. I have come to you," he said coldly.
"Why aren't you going to faire la cour a Madame Karenina?" she
went on, when Princess Sorokina had moved away. "Elle fait sensation.
On oublie la Patti pour elle."
"Maman, I have asked you not to say anything to me of that," he
"I'm only saying what everyone's saying."
Vronsky made no reply, and saying a few words to Princess
Sorokina, he went away. At the door he met his brother.
"Ah, Alexei!" said his brother. "How disgusting! Idiot of a woman,
nothing else.... I wanted to go straight to her. Let's go together."
Vronsky did not hear him. With rapid steps he went downstairs; he
felt that he must do something, but he did not know what. Anger with
her for having put herself and him in such a false position, together
with pity for her suffering, filled his heart. He went down, and made
straight for Anna's box. At her box stood Stremov, talking to her.
"There are no more tenors. Le moule en est brise!"
Vronsky bowed to her and stopped to greet Stremov.
"You came in late, I think, and have missed the best song," Anna
said to Vronsky, glancing ironically, he thought, at him.
"I am a poor judge of music," he said, looking sternly at her.
"Like Prince Iashvin," she said smiling, "who considers that Patti
sings too loud.——Thank you," she said, her little hand in its long
glove taking the playbill Vronsky picked up, and suddenly at that
instant her lovely face quivered. She got up and went into the
interior of the box.
Noticing in the next act that her box was empty, Vronsky, rousing
many an indignant "Hush!" in the silent audience, went out in the
middle of a solo and drove home.
Anna was already at home. When Vronsky went up to her, she was in
the same dress she had worn at the theater. She was sitting in the
first armchair against the wall, looking straight before her. She
looked at him, and at once resumed her former position.
"Anna," he said.
"You, you are to blame for everything!" she cried, with tears of
despair and hatred in her voice, getting up.
"I begged, I implored you not to go; I knew it would be
"Unpleasant?" she cried. "Hideous! As long as I live I shall never
forget it. She said it was a disgrace to sit beside me."
"A silly woman's chatter," he said, "but why risk it, why
"I hate your calm. You ought not to have brought me to this. If
you had loved me..."
"Anna! How does the question of my love come in?..."
"Oh, if you loved me, as I love, if you were tortured as I am..."
she said, looking at him with an expression of terror.
He was sorry for her, and angry notwithstanding. He assured her of
his love because he saw that this was the only means of soothing her,
and he did not reproach her in words, but in his heart he reproached
And the asseverations of his love, which seemed to him so trivial
that he was ashamed to utter them, she drank in eagerly, and gradually
became calmer. The next day, completely reconciled, they left for the