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Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

translated by Constance Garnett

PART ONE
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.
XXX.
XXXI.
XXXII.
XXXIII.
XXXIV.
PART TWO
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.
XXX.
XXXI.
XXXII.
XXXIII.
XXXIV.
XXXV.
PART THREE
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.
XXX.
XXXI.
XXXII.
PART FOUR
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
PART FIVE
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.
XXX.
XXXI.
XXXII.
XXXIII.
PART SIX
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.
XXX.
XXXI.
XXXII.
PART SEVEN
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.
XXX.
XXXI.
PART EIGHT
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.


PART ONE

Vengeance is mine; I will repay

I.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys' house. The wife had discovered that the husband was carrying on an intrigue with a French girl, who had been a governess in their family, and she had announced to her husband that she could not go on living in the same house with him. This position of affairs had now lasted two days, and not only the husband and wife themselves, but all the members of their family and the household, were painfully conscious of it. All the members of the family and the household felt that there was no sense in their living together, and that even stray people brought together by chance in any inn had more in common with one another than they, the members of the family and the household of the Oblonskys. The wife did not leave her own apartments; the husband had not been home for two days. The children ran wild all over the house; the English governess quarreled with the housekeeper, and wrote to a friend asking her to look out for a new employ for her; the man cook had walked off the day before just at dinnertime; the kitchenmaid and the coachman had given warning.

Two days after the quarrel, Prince Stepan Arkadyevich Oblonsky—— Stiva, as he was called in the fashionable world——woke up at his usual hour, that is, at eight o'clock in the morning, not in his wife's bedroom, but on the leather-covered sofa in his study. He turned over his stout, well-cared-for person on the springy sofa, as though he would sink into a long sleep again; he vigorously embraced the pillow on its other side and buried his face in it; but all at once he jumped up, sat up on the sofa, and opened his eyes.

"Yes, yes, how was it now?" he thought, going over his dream. "Yes, how was it? Yes! Alabin was giving a dinner at Darmstadt; no, not Darmstadt, but something American. Yes, but then, Darmstadt was in America. Yes, Alabin was giving a dinner on glass tables, and the tables sang, Il mio tesoro——no, not Il mio tesoro, but something better, and there were some sort of little decanters on the table, and, at the same time, these decanters were women," he recalled.

Stepan Arkadyevich's eyes twinkled gaily, and he pondered with a smile. "Yes, it was jolly, very jolly. There was a great deal more that was delightful, only there's no putting it into words, or even expressing it in one's waking thoughts." And noticing a gleam of light peeping in beside one of the woolen-cloth curtains, he cheerfully dropped his feet over the edge of the sofa and felt about with them for his slippers, a present on his last birthday, worked for him by his wife on gold-colored morocco. And, as he used to do for the last nine years, he stretched out his hand, without getting up, toward the place where his dressing gown always hung in the bedroom. And thereupon he suddenly remembered that he was not sleeping in his wife's room, but in his study, as well as the reason; the smile vanished from his face and he knit his brows.

"Ah, ah, ah! Oo!..." he muttered, recalling everything that had happened. And again every detail of his quarrel with his wife was present to his imagination, all the hopelessness of his position, and, worst of all, his own fault.

"Yes, she won't forgive me, and she can't forgive me. And the most awful thing about it is that it's all my fault——all my fault, though I'm not to blame. That's the point of the whole tragedy," he reflected. "Oh, oh, oh!" he kept repeating in despair, as he remembered the acutely painful sensations caused him by this quarrel.

Most unpleasant of all was the first minute when, on coming from the theater, good-humored and lighthearted, with a huge pear in his hand for his wife, he had not found his wife in the drawing room, to his surprise, nor in the study, but saw her at last in her bedroom, clutching the unlucky letter that revealed everything.

She, his Dolly, forever fussing and worrying over household details, and limited in her ideas, as he considered, was sitting motionless with the letter in her hand, looking at him with an expression of horror, despair and indignation.

"What is this? This?" she asked, pointing to the letter.

And at this recollection, Stepan Arkadyevich, as is so often the case, was not so much annoyed at the fact itself as at the way in which he had met his wife's words.

There happened to him at that instant that which happens to people when they are unexpectedly caught in something very disgraceful. He did not succeed in adapting his face to the situation in which he was placed toward his wife by the discovery of his fault. Instead of being hurt, denying, defending himself, begging forgiveness; instead of remaining indifferent even——anything would have been better than what he did do——his face utterly without his volition ("cerebral reflexes," mused Stepan Arkadyevich, who was fond of physiology) had assumed its habitual good-humored, and therefore stupid, smile.

This stupid smile he could not forgive himself. Catching sight of that smile Dolly shuddered as though from physical pain, broke out with her characteristic heat into a flood of cruel words, and rushed out of the room. Since then she had refused to see her husband.

"It's all the fault of that stupid smile," Stepan Arkadyevich was thinking.

"But what's to be done? What's to be done?" he kept saying to himself in despair——and found no answer.

II.

Stepan Arkadyevich was a truthful man in his relations with himself. He was incapable of self-deception and of persuading himself that he repented his conduct. He could not at this date repent the fact that he, handsome, susceptible to love, a man of thirty-four, was not in love with his wife, the mother of five living and two dead children, and only a year younger than himself. All he repented was that he had not succeeded better in hiding this from his wife. But he felt all the difficulty of his position and was sorry for his wife, his children, and himself. Possibly he might have managed to conceal his sins better from his wife if he had anticipated that the knowledge of them would have had such an effect upon her. He had never clearly reflected on the subject, but he had vaguely conceived that his wife must long ago have suspected him of being unfaithful to her, and had shut her eyes to the fact. He had even supposed that she, a worn-out woman no longer young or good-looking, and in no way remarkable or uncommon——merely a good mother——ought from a sense of fairness to take an indulgent view. It had turned out quite the other way.

"Oh, it's awful! Oh dear, oh dear! Awful!" Stepan Arkadyevich kept repeating to himself, and he could think of nothing to be done. "And how well things were going up till now! How well we got on! She was contented and happy in her children; I never interfered with her in anything; I let her manage the children and the house just as she liked. True, it's bad her having been a governess in our house. That's bad! There's something common, vulgar, in flirting with one's governess. But what a governess!" (He vividly recalled the roguish black eyes of Mlle. Roland and her smile.) "But after all, while she was in the house, I kept myself in hand. And the worst of it all is that she's already... It seems as if ill luck would have it so! Oh, oh! But what, what is to be done?"

There was no solution, save that universal solution which life gives to all questions, even the most complex and insolvable: One must live in the needs of the day——that is, forget oneself. To forget himself in sleep was impossible now, at least till nighttime; he could not go back now to the music sung by the decanter women; so he must forget himself in the dream of daily life.

"Then we shall see," Stepan Arkadyevich said to himself, and getting up he put on a gray dressing gown lined with blue silk, tied the tassels in a knot, and, drawing a deep breath of air into his broad chest, he walked to the window with his usual confident step, turning out his feet that carried his full frame so easily. He pulled up the blind and rang the bell loudly. It was at once answered by the appearance of an old friend, his valet, Matvei, carrying his clothes, his boots and a telegram. Matvei was followed by the barber with all the necessaries for shaving.

"Are there any papers from the board?" asked Stepan Arkadyevich, taking the telegram and seating himself at the looking glass.

"On the table," replied Matvei, glancing with inquiring sympathy at his master; and, after a short pause, he added with a sly smile:

"They've sent from the carriage jobber."

Stepan Arkadyevich made no reply, but merely glanced at Matvei in the looking glass. The glance, in which their eyes met in the looking glass, made it clear that they understood one another. Stepan Arkadyevich's eyes seemed to ask: "Why do you tell me that? Don't you know?"

Matvei put his hands in his jacket pockets, thrust out one leg, and gazed silently, with a good-humored, faint smile, at his master.

"I told them to come on Sunday, and till then not to trouble you or themselves for nothing," he said. He had obviously prepared the sentence beforehand.

Stepan Arkadyevich saw Matvei wanted to make a joke and attract attention to himself. Tearing open the telegram, he read it through, guessing at the words, misspelled as they always are in telegrams, and his face brightened.

"Matvei, my sister Anna Arkadyevna will be here tomorrow," he said, checking for a minute the sleek, plump hand of the barber, cutting a pink path between his long, curly side whiskers.

"Thank God!" said Matvei, showing by this response that he, like his master, realized the significance of this arrival: Anna Arkadyevna, the sister his master was so fond of, might bring about a reconciliation between husband and wife.

"Alone, or with her husband?" inquired Matvei.

Stepan Arkadyevich could not answer, as the barber was at work on his upper lip, and he raised one finger. Matvei nodded at the looking glass.

"Alone. Is the room to be got ready upstairs?"

"Inform Darya Alexandrovna: where she orders."

"Darya Alexandrovna?" Matvei repeated, as though in doubt.

"Yes, inform her. Here, take the telegram; give it to her, and then do what she tells you."

"You want to try it out," Matvei guessed, but only said: "Yes, sir."

Stepan Arkadyevich was already washed and combed and ready to be dressed, when Matvei, stepping slowly in his creaky boots, came back into the room with the telegram in his hand. The barber had gone.

"Darya Alexandrovna told me to inform you that she is going away. 'Let him'——that is you——'do as he likes,'" he said, laughing only with his eyes, and, putting his hands in his pockets, he watched his master with his head on one side. Stepan Arkadyevich was silent a minute. Then a good-humored and rather pitiful smile showed itself on his handsome face.

"Eh, Matvei?" he said, shaking his head.

"Never mind, sir; everything will come round," said Matvei.

"Come round?"

"Just so, sir."

"Do you think so?——Who's there?" asked Stepan Arkadyevich, hearing the rustle of a woman's dress at the door.

"It's I," said a firm, pleasant feminine voice, and the stern, pockmarked face of Matriona Philimonovna, the nurse, was thrust in at the door.

"Well, what's the matter, Matriosha?" queried Stepan Arkadyevich, meeting her in the doorway.

Although Stepan Arkadyevich was completely in the wrong as regards his wife, and was conscious of this himself, almost everyone in the house (even the nurse, Darya Alexandrovna's chief ally) was on his side.

"Well, what now?" he asked cheerlessly.

"Go to her, sir; own your fault again. Maybe God will aid you. She is suffering so, it's pitiful to see her; and besides, everything in the house is topsy-turvy. You must have pity, sir, on the children. Beg her forgiveness, sir. There's no help for it! One must pay the piper...."

"But she won't see me."

"You do your part. God is merciful; pray to God, sir——pray to God."

"Come, that'll do, you can go," said Stepan Arkadyevich, blushing suddenly. "Well, now, let's dress," he turned to Matvei and resolutely threw off his dressing gown.

Matvei was already holding up the shirt like a horse's collar, and, blowing off some invisible speck, he slipped it with obvious pleasure over the well-cared-for person of his master.

III.

When he was dressed, Stepan Arkadyevich sprinkled some scent on himself, pulled down his shirt cuffs, distributed into his pockets his cigarettes, pocketbook, matches and watch, with its double chain and seals, and, shaking out his handkerchief, feeling himself clean, fragrant, healthy and physically at ease, in spite of his misfortune, he walked with a slight swing of each leg into the dining room, where coffee was already waiting for him——and, alongside of his cup, the letters and papers from the office.

He read the letters. One was very unpleasant, from a merchant who was buying a forest on his wife's property. To sell this forest was absolutely essential; but at present, until he was reconciled with his wife, the subject could not be discussed. The most unpleasant thing of all was that his pecuniary interests should in this way enter into the question of his reconciliation with his wife. And the idea that he might be led on by his interests, that he might seek a reconciliation with his wife on account of the sale of the forest—— that idea hurt him.

When he had finished his letters, Stepan Arkadyevich moved the office papers close to him, rapidly looked through two cases, made a few notes with a big pencil, and, pushing away the papers, turned to his coffee. Sipping it, he opened a still damp morning paper and began to read it.

Stepan Arkadyevich took in and read a liberal paper, not an extreme one, but one advocating the views held by the majority. And in spite of the fact that science, art and politics had no special interest for him, he firmly held those views on all these subjects which were held by the majority and by his paper, and he only changed them when the majority changed them——or, more strictly speaking, he did not change them, but they imperceptibly changed of themselves within him.

Stepan Arkadyevich had not chosen his political opinions or his views——these political opinions and views had come to him of themselves——just as he did not choose the shapes of his hat and coat, but simply accepted those that were being worn. And for him, living in a certain society——owing to the need, ordinarily developed at years of discretion, for some degree of mental activity——to have views was just as indispensable as to have a hat. If there was a reason for his preferring liberal to conservative views, which were held also by many of his circle, it arose not from his considering liberalism more rational, but from its being in closer accordance with his manner of life. The liberal party said that in Russia everything was wrong, and indeed Stepan Arkadyevich had many debts and was decidedly short of money. The liberal party said that marriage was an institution quite out of date, and that it stood in need of reconstruction, and indeed family life afforded Stepan Arkadyevich little gratification, and forced him into lying and hypocrisy, which were so repulsive to his nature. The liberal party said, or rather allowed it to be understood, that religion was only a curb to keep in check the barbarous classes of the people, and indeed Stepan Arkadyevich could not stand through even a short service without his legs aching, and could never make out what was the object of all the terrible and high-flown language about another world when life might be so very amusing in this world. And with all this Stepan Arkadyevich, who liked a merry joke, was fond of embarrassing some plain man by saying that if one were to pride oneself on one's origin, one ought not to stop at Rurik and disown the founder of the line——the monkey. And so liberalism had become a habit of Stepan Arkadyevich, and he liked his newspaper, as he did his cigar after dinner, for the slight fog it diffused in his brain. He read the leading article, which maintained that it was quite senseless in our day to raise an outcry that radicalism was threatening to swallow up all conservative elements, and that the government ought to take measures to crush the revolutionary hydra; that, on the contrary, "in our opinion the danger lies not in that imaginary revolutionary hydra, but in the obstinacy of traditionalism clogging progress," etc., etc. He read another article, too, a financial one, which alluded to Bentham and Mill, and dropped some innuendoes reflecting on the ministry. With his characteristic quick-wittedness he caught the drift of each innuendo, divined whence it came, at whom and on what ground it was aimed, and that afforded him, as it always did, a certain gratification. But today that gratification was embittered by Matriona Philimonovna's advice and the unsatisfactory state of his household. He read, too, that Count Beist was rumored to have left for Wiesbaden, and that one need have no more gray hair, and of the sale of a light carriage, and of a young person seeking a situation; but these items of information did not give him, as usual, a quiet, ironical gratification.

Having finished the paper, a second cup of coffee and a roll and butter, he got up, shaking the crumbs off his waistcoat; and, squaring his broad chest, he smiled joyously; not because there was anything particularly agreeable in his mind——the joyous smile was evoked by a good digestion.

But this joyous smile at once recalled everything to him, and he grew thoughtful.

Two childish voices (Stepan Arkadyevich recognized the voices of Grisha, his youngest boy, and Tania, his eldest girl) were heard outside the door. They were carrying something, and dropped it.

"I told you not to sit passengers on the roof," said the little girl in English; "there, pick them up!"

"Everything's in confusion," thought Stepan Arkadyevich; "there are the children running about by themselves." And going to the door, he called them. They left off the box that represented a train, and came in to their father.

The little girl, her father's favorite, ran up boldly, embraced him and hung laughingly on his neck, enjoying as she always did the well-known smell of scent that came from his whiskers. At last the little girl kissed his face, which was flushed from his stooping posture and beaming with tenderness, loosed her hands, and was about to run away again; but her father held her back.

"How is mamma?" he asked, passing his hand over his daughter's smooth, soft little neck. "Good morning," he said, smiling to the boy, who had come up to greet him.

He was conscious that he loved the boy less, and always tried to be fair; but the boy felt it, and did not smile responsively to his father's chilly smile.

"Mamma? She is up," answered the girl.

Stepan Arkadyevich sighed.

"That means she hasn't slept again all night," he thought.

"Well, is she cheerful?"

The little girl knew that there was a quarrel between her father and mother, and that her mother could not be cheerful, and that her father must be aware of this, and that he was pretending when he asked about it so lightly. And she blushed for her father. He at once perceived it, and blushed too.

"I don't know," she said. "She did not say we must do our lessons, but she said we were to go for a walk with Miss Hoole to grandmamma's."

"Well, go, Tania, my darling. Oh, wait a minute, though," he said, still holding her and stroking her soft little hand.

He took off the mantelpiece, where he had put it yesterday, a little box of sweets, and gave her two, picking out her favorites, a chocolate and a bonbon.

"For Grisha?" said the little girl, pointing to the chocolate.

"Yes, yes." And still stroking her little shoulder, he kissed the nape of her neck, and let her go.

"The carriage is ready," said Matvei; "but there's someone to see you with a petition."

"Been here long?" asked Stepan Arkadyevich.

"Half an hour or so."

"How many times have I told you to tell me at once?"

"One must let you drink your coffee in peace, at least," said Matvei, in the affectionately gruff tone with which it was impossible to be angry.

"Well, show the person up at once," said Oblonsky, frowning with vexation.

The petitioner, the widow of a staff captain Kalinin, came with a request impossible and unreasonable; but Stepan Arkadyevich, as he generally did, made her sit down, heard her to the end attentively without interrupting her, and gave her detailed advice as to how and to whom to apply, and even wrote for her, easily and clearly, in his large, sprawling calligraphic and legible hand, a little note to a personage who might be of use to her. Having got rid of the staff captain's widow, Stepan Arkadyevich took his hat and stopped to recollect whether he had forgotten anything. It appeared that he had forgotten nothing except what he wanted to forget——his wife.

"Ah, yes!" He bowed his head, and his handsome face assumed a melancholy expression. "To go, or not to go?" he said to himself; and an inner voice told him he must not go, that nothing could come of it but falsity; that to amend, to set right their relations was impossible, because it was impossible to make her attractive again and able to inspire love, or to make him an old man, not susceptible to love. Except deceit and lying nothing could come of it now; and deceit and lying were opposed to his nature.

"It must be some day, though: it can't go on like this," he said, trying to give himself courage. He set straight his chest, took out a cigarette, lighted it, took two whiffs at it, flung it into a mother-of-pearl ash tray, and with rapid steps walked through the drawing room and opened the other door into his wife's bedroom.

IV.

Darya Alexandrovna, in a dressing jacket, and with her now scanty hair (once luxuriant and beautiful) fastened up with hairpins on the nape of her neck, with a sunken, thin face and large, startled eyes, which looked prominent from the thinness of her face, was standing, among a litter of all sorts of things scattered all over the room, before an open bureau, from which she was taking something. Hearing her husband's steps, she stopped, looking toward the door, and trying in vain to give her features a severe and contemptuous expression. She felt she was afraid of him, and afraid of the coming interview. She was just attempting to do what she had attempted to do ten times already in these last three days——to sort out the children's things and her own, so as to take them to her mother's——and again she could not bring herself to do this; but now again, as each time before, she kept saying to herself, that things cannot go on like this, that she must undertake something, punish him, put him to shame, avenge on him some little part at least of the suffering he had caused her. She still continued to tell herself that she should leave him, but she was conscious that this was impossible; it was impossible because she could not get out of the habit of regarding him as her husband and of loving him. Besides this, she realized that if even here in her own house she could hardly manage to look after her five children properly, they would be still worse off where she was going with all of them. As it was, even in the course of these three days, the youngest was unwell from being given unwholesome soup, and the others had almost gone without their dinner the day before. She was conscious that it was impossible to go away; but, cheating herself, she went on all the same sorting out her things and pretending she was going.

Seeing her husband, she dropped her hands into the drawer of the bureau as though looking for something, and only looked round at him when he had come quite up to her. But her face, to which she tried to give a severe and resolute expression, expressed bewilderment and suffering.

"Dolly!" he said in a subdued and timid voice. He had hunched up his shoulders and tried to look pitiful and humble, but for all that he was radiant with freshness and health. In a rapid glance she scanned his figure, beaming with freshness and health. "Yes, he is happy and content!" she thought; "while I... And that disgusting good nature which everyone likes him for and praises——I hate that good nature of his," she thought. Her mouth stiffened, the muscles of the cheek trembled on the right side of her pale, nervous face.

"What do you want?" she said in a rapid, deep, unnatural voice.

"Dolly!" he repeated, with a quiver in his voice. "Anna is coming today."

"Well, what is that to me? I can't see her!" she cried.

"But you must, really, Dolly..."

"Go away, go away, go away!" she shrieked, without looking at him, as though this shriek were called up by physical pain.

Stepan Arkadyevich could be calm when he thought of his wife, he could hope that everything would come round, as Matvei expressed it, and had been able to go on reading his paper and drinking his coffee; but when he saw her tortured, suffering face, heard the tone of her voice, submissive to fate and full of despair, his breath was cut short and a lump came to this throat, and his eyes began to shine with tears.

"My God! What have I done? Dolly! For God's sake!... You know..." He could not go on; there was a sob in his throat.

She shut the bureau with a slam, and glanced at him.

"Dolly, what can I say?... One thing: forgive me... Remember, cannot nine years of our life atone for an instant..."

She dropped her eyes and listened, expecting what he would say, as if beseeching him in some way or other to make her believe differently.

"...instant of passion..." he said, and would have gone on, but at that word, as at a pang of physical pain, her lips stiffened again, and again the muscles of her right cheek worked.

"Go away, go out of the room!" she shrieked still more shrilly, "and don't talk to me of your passions and your vilenesses."

She tried to go out, but tottered, and clung to the back of a chair to support herself. His face relaxed, his lips became puffy; tears welled up in his eyes.

"Dolly!" he said, sobbing now. "For mercy's sake, think of the children; they are not to blame! I am to blame——punish me then, make me expiate my fault. Anything I can do, I am ready to do! I am to blame, no words can express how much I am to blame! But, Dolly, forgive me!"

She sat down. He listened to her hard, heavy breathing, and he was unutterably sorry for her. She made several attempts to speak, but could not. He waited.

"You remember the children, Stiva, to play with them; but I remember, and know that they go to ruin now," she said——obviously one of the phrases she had more than once repeated to herself in the course of the last three days.

She had called him "Stiva," and he glanced at her with gratitude and moved to take her hand, but she drew back from him with aversion.

"I remember the children, and for that reason I would do anything in the world to save them; but I don't myself know the means. By taking them away from their father, or by leaving them with a vicious father—— yes, a vicious father.... Tell me, after what... has happened, can we live together? Is that possible? Do tell me——is it possible?" she repeated, raising her voice. "After my husband, the father of my children, enters into a love affair with his own children's governess...."

"But what's to be done? What's to be done?" he kept saying in a pitiful voice, not knowing what he was saying, as his head sank lower and lower.

"You are loathsome to me, repulsive!" she shrieked, getting more and more heated. "Your tears mean nothing! You have never loved me; you have neither a heart nor a sense of honor! You are hateful to me, disgusting, a stranger——yes, a complete stranger!" With pain and wrath she uttered the word so terrible to herself——stranger.

He looked at her, and the fury expressed in her face alarmed and amazed him. He did not understand that it was his pity for her that exasperated her. She saw in him compassion for her, but not love. "No, she hates me. She will not forgive me," he thought.

"It is awful Awful!" he said.

At that moment in the next room a child began to cry; probably it had fallen down. Darya Alexandrovna listened, and her face suddenly softened.

She seemed pulling herself together for a few seconds, as though she did not know where she was nor what she was doing, and, getting up rapidly, she moved toward the door.

"Well, she loves my child," he thought, noticing the change of her face at the child's cry, "my child: how can she hate me then?"

"Dolly, one word more," he said, following her.

"If you follow me, I will call in the servants, and the children! Let them all know you are a scoundrel! I am going away at once, and you may live here with your mistress!"

And she went out, slamming the door.

Stepan Arkadyevich sighed, mopped his face, and with a subdued tread walked out of the room. "Matvei says everything will come round; but how? I don't see the least chance of it. Ah, ah, how horrible it is! And how vulgarly she shouted," he said to himself, remembering her shrieks and the words——"scoundrel" and "mistress." "And very likely the maids were listening! Horribly vulgar, horribly." Stepan Arkadyevich stood a few seconds alone, wiped his eyes, thrust out his chest and walked out of the room.

It was Friday, and in the dining room the watchmaker, a German, was winding up the clock. Stepan Arkadyevich remembered his joke about this punctual, bald watchmaker, "that the German was wound up for a whole lifetime himself, to wind up watches," and he smiled. Stepan Arkadyevich was fond of a nice joke. "And maybe it will come round!" That's a good expression, 'come round,' he thought. "I must tell that."

"Matvei!" he shouted. "Arrange everything with Marya in the sitting room for Anna Arkadyevna," he said to Matvei when he came in.

"Yes, sir."

Stepan Arkadyevich put on his fur coat and went out on the front steps.

"You won't dine at home?" said Matvei, seeing him off.

"It all depends. But here's for the housekeeping," he said, taking ten roubles from his pocketbook. "Will it be enough?"

"Enough or not enough, we must make it do," said Matvei, slamming the carriage door and going back to the steps.

Darya Alexandrovna meanwhile having pacified the child, and knowing from the sound of the carriage that he had gone off, went back to her bedroom. It was her only refuge from the household cares which crowded upon her directly she went out from it. Even now, in the short time she had been in the nursery, the English governess and Matriona Philimonovna had succeeded in putting several questions to her, which did not admit of delay, and which only she could answer: "What were the children to put on for their walk? Should they have any milk? Should not a new cook be sent for?"

"Ah, let me alone, let me alone!" she said, and going back to her bedroom she sat down in the same place she had occupied when talking to her husband, clasping tightly her thin hands, her rings slipping down on her bony fingers, and fell to going over her recollections of the entire interview. "He has gone! But what has he finally arrived at with her?" she thought. "Can it be he sees her? Why didn't I ask him! No, no, reconciliation is impossible. Even if we remain in the same house, we are strangers——strangers forever!" She repeated again with special significance the word so dreadful to her. "And how I loved him! my God, how I loved him!... How I loved him! And now don't I love him? Don't I love him more than before? The most horrible thing is," she began, but did not finish her thought, because Matriona Philimonovna put her head in at the door.

"Let us send for my brother," she said; "he can get a dinner anyway, or we shall have the children getting nothing to eat till six again, like yesterday."

"Very well, I will come directly and see about it. But did you send for some new milk?"

And Darya Alexandrovna plunged into the duties of the day, and drowned her grief in them for a time.

V.

Stepan Arkadyevich had learned easily at school, thanks to his excellent abilities, but he had been idle and mischievous, and therefore was one of the lowest in his class. But in spite of his habitually dissipated mode of life, his inferior grade in the service, and his comparative youth, he occupied the honorable and lucrative position of president of one of the government boards at Moscow. This post he had received through his sister Anna's husband, Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin, who held one of the most important positions in the ministry to which the Moscow office belonged. But if Karenin had not got his brother-in-law this berth, then through a hundred other personages——brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts——Stiva Oblonsky would have received this post or some other like it, together with the salary of six thousand absolutely needful for him, as his affairs, in spite of his wife's considerable property, were in a poor state.

Half Moscow and Peterburg were friends and relations of Stepan Arkadyevich. He was born in the midst of those who had been, and had become, the powerful ones of this world. One-third of the men in the government, the older men, had been friends of his father's, and had known him in pinafores; another third were his intimate chums, and the remainder were friendly acquaintances. Consequently the distributors of earthly blessings in the shape of posts, rents, concessions and such, were all his friends, and could not overlook one of their own set; and Oblonsky had no need to make any special exertion to get a lucrative post. He had only not to refuse things, not to show jealousy, not to be quarrelsome or take offense, all of which from his characteristic good nature he never did. It would have struck him as absurd if he had been told that he would not get a position with the salary he required, especially as he expected nothing out of the way; he only wanted what the men of his own age and standing did get, and he was no worse qualified for performing duties of this kind than any other man.

Stepan Arkadyevich was not merely liked by all who knew him for his good humor, his bright disposition and his unquestionable honesty; in him, in his handsome, radiant figure, his sparkling eyes, black hair and eyebrows, and his white and pink complexion, there was something which produced a physical effect of kindliness and good humor on the people who met him. "Aha! Stiva! Oblonsky! The man himself!" was almost always said with a smile of delight on meeting him. Even though it happened at times that after a conversation with him it seemed that nothing particularly delightful had happened, the next day, and the next, everyone was just as delighted to meet him again.

After filling for two years the post of president of one of the government boards at Moscow, Stepan Arkadyevich had won the respect, as well as the liking, of his fellow officials, subordinates and superiors, and all who had had business with him. The principal qualities in Stepan Arkadyevich which had gained him this universal respect in the service consisted, in the first place, of his extreme indulgence for others, founded on a consciousness of his own shortcomings; secondly, of his perfect liberalism——not the liberalism he read of in the papers, but the liberalism that was in his blood, in virtue of which he treated all men perfectly equally and exactly the same, whatever their fortune or rank might be; and thirdly——the most important point——of his complete indifference to the business in which he was engaged, in consequence of which he was never carried away, and made no mistakes.

On reaching the offices of the board Stepan Arkadyevich, escorted by a deferential porter with a portfolio, went into his little private room, put on his uniform, and went into the board room. The clerks and officials all rose, greeting him with good-humored deference. Stepan Arkadyevich moved quickly, as always, to his place, shook hands with the members of the board, and sat down. He made a joke or two, and talked just as much as was consistent with due decorum, and began work. No one knew better than Stepan Arkadyevich how to hit on that exact limit of freedom, simplicity and official stiffness which is necessary for the agreeable conduct of business. A secretary, with the good-humored deference common to everyone in Stepan Arkadyevich's office, came up with papers, and began to speak in the familiar and easy tone which had been introduced by Stepan Arkadyevich.

"We have succeeded in getting the information from the government department of Penza. Here, would you care?..."

"You've got it at last?" said Stepan Arkadyevich, laying his finger on the paper. "Now, gentlemen..."

And the sitting of the board began.

"If they but knew," he thought, inclining his head with an important air and listening to the report, "what a guilty little boy their president was half an hour ago!" And his eyes were laughing during the reading of the report. Till two o'clock the sitting would go on without a break——then there would be an interval and luncheon.

It was not yet two, when the large glass doors of the board room suddenly opened and someone came in.

All the members of the board, sitting at the table, from below the portrait of the Czar and from behind the mirror of justice, delighted at any distraction, looked round at the door; but the doorkeeper standing there at once drove out the intruder, and closed the glass door after him.

When the case had been read through, Stepan Arkadyevich got up and stretched, and by way of tribute to the liberalism of the times took out a cigarette, being in the board room, and went into his private room. Two of his board fellows, the old veteran in the service, Nikitin, and the Kammerjunker Grinevich, went in with him.

"We shall have time to finish after lunch," said Stepan Arkadyevich.

"To be sure we shall!" said Nikitin.

"A pretty sharp fellow this Fomin must be," said Grinevich of one of the persons taking part in the case they were examining.

Stepan Arkadyevich frowned at Grinevich's words, giving him thereby to understand that it was improper to pass judgment prematurely, and made him no reply.

"Who was it who came in?" he asked the doorkeeper.

"Some fellow, your excellency, sneaked in without permission directly my back was turned. He was asking for you. I told him: when the members come out, then..."

"Where is he?"

"Maybe he's gone into the passage, he was strolling here till now. That's he," said the doorkeeper, pointing to a strongly built, broad shouldered man with a curly beard, who, without taking off his sheepskin cap, was running lightly and rapidly up the worn steps of the stone staircase. One of the officials going down——a lean fellow with a portfolio——stood out of his way, looked disapprovingly at the legs of the running man, and then glanced inquiringly at Oblonsky.

Stepan Arkadyevich was standing at the top of the stairs. His good-naturedly beaming face above the embroidered collar of his uniform beamed more than ever when he recognized the man coming up.

"Why, it's actually you, Levin, at last!" he said with a friendly mocking smile, gazing on the approaching man. "How is it you have deigned to look me up in this den?" said Stepan Arkadyevich and, not content with shaking hands, he kissed his friend. "Have you been here long?"

"I have just come, and very much wanted to see you," said Levin, looking about him shyly, and, at the same time, angrily and uneasily.

"Well, let's go into my room," said Stepan Arkadyevich, who knew his friend's sensitive and irritable shyness, and, taking his arm, he drew him along, as though guiding him through dangers.

Stepan Arkadyevich was on familiar terms with almost all his acquaintances, and called almost all of them by their Christian names: old men of sixty, boys of twenty, actors, ministers, merchants and adjutant generals, so that many of his intimate chums were to be found at the extreme ends of the social ladder, and would have been very much surprised to learn that they had, through the medium of Oblonsky, something in common. He was the familiar friend of everyone with whom he took a glass of champagne, and he took a glass of champagne with everyone, and when in consequence he met any of his disreputable chums, as he used in joke to call many of his friends, in the presence of his subordinates, he well knew how, with his characteristic tact, to diminish any possible disagreeable impression. Levin was not a disreputable chum, but Oblonsky, with his ready tact, felt that Levin fancied Oblonsky might not care to show his intimacy with him before subordinates, and so Stepan Arkadyevich made haste to take him off into his room.

Levin was almost of the same age as Oblonsky; their intimacy did not rest merely on champagne. Levin had been the friend and companion of his early youth. They were fond of one another in spite of the difference of their characters and tastes, as friends are fond of one another who have been together in early youth. But in spite of this, each of them——as is often the way with men who have selected careers of different kinds——though in discussion he would even justify the other's career, in his heart despised it. It seemed to each of them that the life he led himself was the only real life, and the life led by his friend was a mere phantasm. Oblonsky could not restrain a slight mocking smile at the sight of Levin. How often he had seen him come up to Moscow from the country where he was doing something, but what precisely Stepan Arkadyevich could never quite make out, and indeed took no interest in the matter. Levin arrived in Moscow always excited and in a hurry, rather ill at ease and irritated by his own want of ease, and for the most part with a perfectly new, unexpected view of things. Stepan Arkadyevich laughed at this, and liked it. In the same way Levin in his heart despised the town mode of life of his friend, and his official duties, which he laughed at and regarded as trifling. But the difference was that Oblonsky, since he was doing the same as everyone did, laughed assuredly and good-humoredly, while Levin laughed without assuredness and sometimes angrily.

"We have long been expecting you," said Stepan Arkadyevich, going into his room and letting Levin's hand go as though to show that here all danger was over. "I am very, very glad to see you," he went on. "Well, what now? How are you? When did you come?"

Levin was silent, looking at the unfamiliar faces of Oblonsky's two companions, and especially at the elegant Grinevich's hands—— with such long white fingers, such long yellow nails, curved at their end, and such huge shining studs on the shirt cuff, that apparently these hands absorbed all his attention, and allowed him no freedom of thought. Oblonsky noticed this at once, and smiled.

"Ah, to be sure, let me introduce you," he said. "My colleagues: Philip Ivanich Nikitin, Mikhail Stanislavich Grinevich"——and turning to Levin——"a Zemstvo member, a modern Zemstvo man, a gymnast who lifts five poods with one hand, a cattle breeder and sportsman, and my friend——Constantin Dmitrievich Levin, the brother of Sergei Ivanovich Koznishev."

"Delighted," said the veteran.

"I have the honor of knowing your brother, Sergei Ivanovich," said Grinevich, holding out his slender hand with its long nails.

Levin frowned, shook hands coldly, and at once turned to Oblonsky. Though he had a great respect for his half-brother, an author well known to all Russia, he could not endure it when people treated him not as Constantin Levin, but as the brother of the celebrated Koznishev.

"No, I am no longer a Zemstvo man. I have quarreled with them all, and don't go to the sessions any more," he said, turning to Oblonsky.

"You've been quick about it!" said Oblonsky with a smile. "But how? Why?"

"It's a long story. I will tell you some time," said Levin——but began telling him at once. "Well, to put it shortly, I was convinced that nothing was really done by the Zemstvo councils, or ever could be," he began, as though someone had just insulted him. "On one side it's a plaything; they play at being a parliament, and I'm neither young enough nor old enough to find amusement in playthings; and on the other side" (he stammered) "it's a means for the coterie of the district to feather their nests. Formerly they did this through wardships and courts of justice, now they do it through the Zemstvo—— instead of taking the bribes, they take the unearned salary," he said, as hotly as though one of those present had opposed his opinion.

"Aha! You're in a new phase again, I see——a conservative," said Stepan Arkadyevich. "However, we can go into that later."

"Yes, later. But I had to see you," said Levin, looking with hatred at Grinevich's hand.

Stepan Arkadyevich gave a scarcely perceptible smile.

"But you used to say you'd never wear European dress again," he said, gazing on Levin's new suit, obviously cut by a French tailor. "So! I see: a new phase."

Levin suddenly blushed, not as grown men blush, slightly, without being themselves aware of it, but as boys blush, feeling that they are ridiculous through their shyness, and consequently ashamed of it, and blushing still more, almost to the point of tears. And it was so strange to see this sensible, manly face in such a childish plight, that Oblonsky left off looking at him.

"Oh, where shall we meet? You know I want very much to talk to you," said Levin.

Oblonsky seemed to ponder.

"I'll tell you what: let's go to Gurin's to lunch, and there we can talk. I am free till three."

"No," answered Levin, after an instant's thought, "I have another visit to make."

"All right, then, let's dine together."

"Dine together? But I have nothing very particular——just a word or two, a question; then a little chatting."

"Well, let's have your word or two right now——and we'll talk it over in the course of the dinner."

"Well, it's this," said Levin, "however——it's of no importance."

His face suddenly assumed an expression of anger from the effort he was making to surmount his shyness.

"What are the Shcherbatskys doing? Everything as it used to be?" he said.

Stepan Arkadyevich, who had long known that Levin was in love with his sister-in-law, Kitty, gave a hardly perceptible smile, and his eyes sparkled merrily.

"You've said your word or two, but I can't answer in a few words, because... Excuse me for just a minute...."

A secretary came in, with respectful familiarity and the modest consciousness, characteristic of every secretary, of superiority to his chief in the knowledge of affairs; he went up to Oblonsky with some papers, and began, under pretense of asking a question, to explain some objection. Stepan Arkadyevich, without hearing him out, laid his hand genially on the secretary's sleeve.

"No, you do as I told you," he said, smoothing his remark with a smile, and with a brief explanation of his view of the matter he moved away the papers, and said: "So do it that way, if you please, Zakhar Nikitich."

The secretary retired in confusion. During the consultation with the secretary Levin had completely recovered from his embarrassment. He was standing with elbows on the back of a chair, and on his face was a look of ironical attention.

"I don't understand it——I don't understand it," he said.

"What don't you understand?" said Oblonsky, smiling just as cheerfully, and picking up a cigarette. He expected some queer outburst from Levin.

"I don't understand what you are doing," said Levin, shrugging his shoulders. "How can you be serious about it?"

"Why not?"

"Why, because there's nothing in it."

"You think so——yet we're overwhelmed with work."

"On paper. But, there, you've a gift for it," added Levin.

"That's to say, you think there's a lack of something in me?"

"Perhaps so," said Levin. "But all the same I admire your grandeur, and am proud to have such a great person as a friend. You've not answered my question, though," he went on, with a desperate effort looking Oblonsky straight in the face.

"Oh, that's all very well. You wait a bit, and you'll come to this yourself. It's very nice for you to have three thousand dessiatinas in the Karazinsky district, and such muscles, and the freshness of a girl of twelve; still you'll be one of us one day. Yes, as to your question, there is no change, but it's a pity you've been away so long."

"Oh, why so?" Levin queried, frightened.

"Oh, nothing," responded Oblonsky. "We'll talk it over. But what's brought you up to town?"

"Oh, we'll talk about that, too, later on," said Levin, reddening again up to his ears.

"All right. I see," said Stepan Arkadyevich. "I should ask you to come to us, you know, but my wife's not quite well. But I'll tell you what: if you want to see them, they're sure now to be at the Zoological Gardens from four to five. Kitty skates. You drive along there, and I'll come and fetch you, and we'll go and dine somewhere together."

"Capital. So good-by till then."

"Now mind, you'll forget——I know you!——or rush off home to the country!" Stepan Arkadyevich called out laughing.

"No, truly!"

And Levin went out of the room, recalling only when he was in the doorway that he had forgotten to take leave of Oblonsky's colleagues.

"That gentleman must be a man of great energy," said Grinevich, when Levin had gone away.

"Yes, my dear sir," said Stepan Arkadyevich, nodding his head, "he's a lucky fellow! Three thousand dessiatinas in the Karazinsky district; everything before him; and what youth and vigor! Not like some of us."

"But why are you complaining, Stepan Arkadyevich?"

"Why, it goes hard with me, very bad," said Stepan Arkadyevich with a heavy sigh.

VI.

When Oblonsky asked Levin what had brought him to town, Levin blushed, and was furious with himself for blushing, because he could not answer: "I have come to make your sister-in-law a proposal," though that was solely what he had come for.

The families of the Levins and the Shcherbatskys were old, noble Moscow families, and had always been on intimate and friendly terms. This intimacy had grown still closer during Levin's student days. He had both prepared for the university with the young Prince Shcherbatsky, the brother of Kitty and Dolly, and had entered at the same time with him. In those days Levin was a frequent visitor at the house of the Shcherbatskys, and he was in love with the Shcherbatsky household. Strange as it may appear, it was with the household, the family that Constantin Levin was in love, especially with the feminine half of the household. Levin did not remember his own mother, and his only sister was older than he was, so that it was in the Shcherbatskys' house that he saw for the first time that inner life of an old, noble, cultured and honorable family of which he had been deprived by the death of his father and mother. All the members of that family, especially the feminine half, were pictured by him, as it were, wrapped about with a mysterious poetical veil, and he not only perceived no defects whatever in them, but, under the poetical veil that shrouded them, he assumed the existence of the loftiest sentiments and every possible perfection. Why it was the three young ladies had one day to speak French, and the next English; why it was that at certain hours they played by turns on the piano, the sounds of which were audible in their brother's room above, where the students used to work; why they were visited by those professors of French literature, of music, of drawing, of dancing; why at certain hours all the three young ladies, with Mademoiselle Linon, drove in the coach to the Tverskoy boulevard, dressed in their satin cloaks, Dolly in a long one, Natalie in a half-long one, and Kitty in one so short that her shapely legs in tightly-drawn red stockings were visible to all beholders; why it was they had to walk about the Tverskoy boulevard escorted by a footman with a gold cockade in his hat——all this and much more that was done in their mysterious world he did not understand, but he was sure that everything that was done there was very good, and he was in love precisely with the mystery of the proceedings.

In his student days he had all but been in love with the eldest, Dolly, but she was soon married to Oblonsky. Then he began being in love with the second. He felt, as it were, that he had to be in love with one of the sisters, only he could not quite make out which. But Natalie, too, had hardly made her appearance in the world when she married the diplomat Lvov. Kitty was still a child when Levin left the university. Young Shcherbatsky went into the navy, was drowned in the Baltic and Levin's visits to the Shcherbatskys, despite his friendship with Oblonsky, became less frequent. But when early in the winter of this year Levin came to Moscow, after a year in the country, and saw the Shcherbatskys, he realized which of the three sisters he was indeed destined to love.

One would have thought that nothing could be simpler than for him, a man of good family, rather rich than poor, and thirty-two years old, to make the young Princess Shcherbatskaia an offer of marriage; in all likelihood he would at once have been looked upon as a good match. But Levin was in love, and so it seemed to him that Kitty was so perfect in every respect, a creature so far above everything earthly, while he was a creature so low and so earthly that it could not even be conceived that other people and she herself could regard him as worthy of her.

After spending two months in Moscow in a state of befuddlement, seeing Kitty almost every day in society, into which he went so as to meet her, he abruptly decided that it could not be, and went back to the country.

Levin's conviction that it could not be was founded on the idea that in the eyes of her family he was a disadvantageous and worthless match for the charming Kitty, and that Kitty herself could not love him. In her family's eyes he had no ordinary, definite career and position in society, while his comrades by this time, when he was thirty-two, were already one a colonel, and another a professor, another director of a bank and railways, or chairman of a board, like Oblonsky. But he (he knew very well how he must appear to others) was a country gentleman, occupied in breeding cattle, shooting game and building barns; in other words, a fellow of no ability, who had not turned out well, and who was doing just what, according to the ideas of the world, is done by people fit for nothing else.

The mysterious, enchanting Kitty herself could not love such an ugly person as he conceived himself to be, and, above all, such an ordinary, in no way striking person. Moreover, his attitude to Kitty in the past——the attitude of a grown-up person to a child, arising from his friendship with her brother——seemed to him yet another obstacle to love. An ugly, good-natured man, as he considered himself, might, he supposed, be liked as a friend; but to be loved with such a love as that with which he loved Kitty, one would need to be handsome and, still more, a distinguished man.

He had heard that women often did care for ugly and ordinary men, but he did not believe it, for he judged by himself, and he could not himself have loved any but beautiful, mysterious and exceptional women.

But, after spending two months alone in the country, he was convinced that this was not one of those passions of which he had had experience in his early youth; that this feeling gave him not an instant's rest; that he could not live without deciding the question as to whether she would or would not be his wife; that his despair had arisen only from his own imaginings, and that he had no sort of proof that he would be rejected. So he had now come to Moscow with a firm determination to make a proposal, and get married if he were accepted. Or... he could not conceive what would become of him if he were rejected.

VII.

On arriving in Moscow by a morning train, Levin had put up at the house of his elder half-brother, Koznishev. After changing his clothes he went down to his brother's study, intending to talk to him at once about the object of his visit, and to ask his advice; but his brother was not alone. With him there was a well-known professor of philosophy, who had come from Charkov expressly to clear up a difference that had arisen between them on a very important philosophical question. The professor was carrying on a hot crusade against materialists. Sergei Koznishev had been following this crusade with interest, and after reading the professor's last article had written him a letter stating his objections. He accused the professor of making too great concessions to the materialists. And the professor had promptly appeared to argue the matter out. The point in discussion was the question then in vogue: Is there a line to be drawn between psychical and physiological phenomena in man? And if so, where?

Sergei Ivanovich met his brother with the smile of chilly friendliness he always had for everyone, and, introducing him to the professor, went on with the conversation.

A little man in spectacles, with a narrow forehead, tore himself from the discussion for an instant to greet Levin, and then went on talking without paying any further attention to him. Levin sat down to wait till the professor should go, but he soon began to get interested in the subject under discussion.

Levin had come across the magazine articles about which they were disputing, and had read them, interested in them as a development of the first principles of science, familiar to him when a natural science student at the university. But he had never connected these scientific deductions as to the origin of man as an animal, as to reflex action, biology and sociology, with those questions as to the meaning to himself of life and death, which had of late been more and more often in his mind.

As he listened to his brother's argument with the professor, he noticed that they connected these scientific questions with those spiritual problems——that at times they almost touched on the latter; but every time they were close upon what seemed to him the chief point they promptly beat a hasty retreat, and plunged again into a sea of subtle distinctions, reservations, quotations, allusions and appeals to authorities, and it was with difficulty that he understood what they were talking about.

"I cannot admit it," said Sergei Ivanovich, with his habitual clearness and distinctness of expression, and elegance of diction. "I cannot in any case agree with Keiss that my whole conception of the external world has been derived from impressions. The most fundamental idea——the idea of existence——has not been received by me through sensation; indeed, there is no special sense organ for the transmission of such an idea."

"Yes, but they——Wurst, and Knaust, and Pripassov——would answer that your consciousness of existence is derived from the conjunction of all your sensations, that that consciousness of existence is the result of your sensations. Wurst, indeed, says plainly that, assuming there are no sensations, it follows that there is no idea of existence."

"I maintain the contrary," began Sergei Ivanovich.

But here it seemed again to Levin that, just as they were close upon the real point of the matter, they were again retreating, and he made up his mind to put a question to the professor.

"According to that, if my senses are annihilated, if my body is dead, I can have no existence of any sort?" he queried.

The professor, in annoyance, and, as it were, mental suffering at the interruption, looked round at the strange inquirer, more like a hauler of a barge than a philosopher, and turned his eyes upon Sergei Ivanovich, as though to ask: What's one to say to him? But Sergei Ivanovich, who had been talking with far less stress and one-sidedness than the professor, and who had sufficient breadth of mind to answer the professor, and at the same time to comprehend the simple and natural point of view from which the question was put, smiled and said:

"That question we have no right to answer as yet...."

"We have not the requisite data," confirmed the professor, and he went back to his argument. "No," he said; "I would point out the fact that if, as Pripassov directly asserts, sensation is based on impression, then we are bound to distinguish sharply between these two conceptions."

Levin listened no more, and simply waited for the professor to go.

VIII.

When the professor had gone, Sergei Ivanovich turned to his brother.

"Delighted that you've come. For how long? How's your farming getting on?"

Levin knew that his elder brother took little interest in farming, and only put the question in deference to him, and therefore he told him only about the sale of his wheat and money matters.

Levin had meant to tell his brother of his determination to get married, and to ask his advice; he had indeed firmly resolved to do so. But after seeing his brother, listening to his conversation with the professor, hearing afterward the unconsciously patronizing tone in which his brother questioned him about agricultural matters (their mother's property had not been divided, and Levin took charge of both their shares), Levin felt that he could not for some reason broach to him his intention of marrying. He felt that his brother would not look on it as he would have wished him.

"Well, how is your Zemstvo doing?" asked Sergei Ivanovich, who was greatly interested in Zemstvo establishments and attached great importance to them.

"I really don't know."

"What! But surely, you're a member of the board?"

"No, I'm not a member now; I've resigned," answered Levin, "and I no longer attend the sessions."

"What a pity!" commented Sergei Ivanovich, frowning.

Levin in self-defense began to describe what took place at the sessions in his district.

"That's how it always is!" Sergei Ivanovich interrupted him. "We Russians are always like that. Perhaps it's our strong point, really—— this faculty of seeing our own shortcomings; but we overdo it, we comfort ourselves with irony, which we always have on the tip of our tongues. All I say is, give such rights as our Zemstvo establishments to any other European people, and... Why, the Germans or the English would have worked their way to freedom with them, while we simply turn them into ridicule."

"But how can it be helped?" said Levin penitently. "It was my last trial. And I did try with all my soul. I can't. I'm no good at it."

"It's not that you're no good at it," said Sergei Ivanovich, "it is that you don't look at it as you should."

"Perhaps not," Levin answered dejectedly.

"Oh! do you know brother Nikolai's turned up again?"

This brother Nikolai was the elder brother of Constantin Levin, and half-brother of Sergei Ivanovich; a man who was done for, who had dissipated the greater part of his fortune, was living in the strangest and lowest company, and had quarreled with his brothers.

"What did you say?" Levin cried with horror. "How do you know?"

"Procophii saw him in the street."

"Here in Moscow? Where is he? Do you know?" Levin got up from his chair, as though on the point of starting off at once.

"I'm sorry I told you," said Sergei Ivanovich, shaking his head at his younger brother's excitement. "I sent to find out where he is living, and sent him his I O U to Trubin, which I paid. This is the answer he sent me."

And Sergei Ivanovich took a note from under a paperweight and handed it to his brother.

Levin read in the queer, familiar handwriting: "I humbly beg you to leave me in peace. That's the only favor I ask of my gracious brothers.——Nikolai Levin."

Levin read it, and without raising his head stood with the note in his hands opposite Sergei Ivanovich.

There was a struggle in his heart between the desire to forget his unhappy brother for the time, and the consciousness that it would be base to do so.

"He obviously wants to offend me," pursued Sergei Ivanovich; "but he cannot offend me, and I should have wished with all my heart to assist him, but I know it's impossible to do that."

"Yes, yes," repeated Levin. "I understand and appreciate your attitude to him; but I shall go and see him."

"If you want to, do; but I shouldn't advise it," said Sergei Ivanovich. "As regards myself, I have no fear of your doing so; he will not make you quarrel with me; but for your own sake, I should say you would do better not to go. You can't do him any good; still, do as you please."

"Very likely I can't do any good, but I feel——especially at such a moment——but that's another thing——I feel I could not be at peace."

"Well, that's something I don't understand," said Sergei Ivanovich. "One thing I do understand," he added, "it's a lesson in humility. I have come to look very differently and more indulgently on what is called infamy since brother Nikolai has become what he is... you know what he did...."

"Oh, it's awful, awful!" repeated Levin.

After obtaining his brother's address from Sergei Ivanovich's footman, Levin was on the point of setting off at once to see him, but on second thought he decided to put off his visit till the evening. The thing to do to set his heart at rest was to accomplish what he had come to Moscow for. From his brother's Levin went to Oblonsky's office, and on getting news of the Shcherbatskys from him, he drove to the place where he had been told he might find Kitty.

IX.

At four o'clock, conscious of his throbbing heart, Levin stepped out of a hired sleigh at the Zoological Gardens and turned along the path to the frozen mounds and the skating ground, knowing that he would certainly find her there, as he had seen the Shcherbatskys' carriage at the entrance.

It was a bright, frosty day. Rows of carriages, sleighs, drivers and gendarmes were standing in the approach. Crowds of well-dressed people, with hats bright in the sun, swarmed about the entrance and along the well-swept paths between the little houses adorned with carving in the Russian style. The old curly birches of the gardens, all their twigs laden with snow, looked as though freshly decked in sacred vestments.

He walked along the path toward the skating ground, and kept saying to himself——"You mustn't be excited, you must be calm. What's the matter with you? What do you want? Be still, foolish one," he conjured his heart. And the more he tried to compose himself, the more breathless he found himself. An acquaintance met him and called him by his name, but Levin did not even recognize him. He went toward the mounds, whence came the clank of the chains of sleighs as they slipped down or were dragged up, the rumble of the sliding sleighs and the sounds of merry voices. He walked on a few steps, and the skating ground lay open before him, and at once, amid all the skaters, he recognized her.

He knew she was there by the rapture and the terror that seized his heart. She was standing talking to a lady at the opposite end of the ground. There was apparently nothing striking either in her dress or her attitude, but for Levin she was as easy to find in that crowd as a rose among nettles. Everything was made bright by her. She was the smile that shed light on all around her. "Is it possible I can go over there on the ice——approach her?" he thought. The place where she stood seemed to him a holy shrine, unapproachable, and there was one moment when he was almost retreating, so overwhelmed was he with terror. He had to make an effort to master himself, and to remind himself that people of all sorts were moving about her, and that he, too, might have come there to skate. He descended, for a long while avoiding looking at her as at the sun, yet seeing her, as one does the sun, without looking.

On that day of the week, and at that time of day, people of one set, all acquainted with one another, used to meet on the ice. There were skillful skaters there, showing off their skill, and beginners clinging to chairs with timid, awkward movements, and boys and elderly people skating with hygienic motives. They seemed to Levin an elect band of blissful beings because they were here, near her. All the skaters, it seemed, with perfect self-possession, skated toward her, skated by her, even spoke to her, and were happy, quite apart from her, enjoying the capital ice and the fine weather.

Nikolai Shcherbatsky, Kitty's cousin, in a short jacket and tight trousers, was sitting on a bench with his skates on. Seeing Levin, he shouted to him:

"Ah, the first skater in Russia! Been here long? First-rate ice—— do put your skates on."

"I haven't got my skates," Levin answered, marveling at this boldness and ease in her presence, and not for one second losing sight of her, though he did not look at her. He felt as though the sun were coming near him. She was in a corner, and turning out her slender feet in their high boots, she, with obvious timidity, skated toward him. A boy in Russian dress, desperately waving his arms and bending down to the ground, overtook her. She skated a little uncertainly; taking her hands out of the little muff that hung on a cord, she held them ready for emergency, and looking toward Levin, whom she had recognized, she smiled at him and at her own fears. When she had got round the turn, she got a start with one foot and skated straight up to Shcherbatsky. Clutching at his arm, she nodded with a smile to Levin. She was more beautiful than he had imagined her.

When he thought of her, he could call up a vivid picture of her to himself, especially the charm of that little fair head, so freely set on the shapely girlish shoulders, and so full of childish brightness and kindness. Her childish countenance, together with the delicate beauty of her figure, made up that special charm of hers, which he appreciated so well. But what always struck him in her as something unlooked for was the expression of her eyes——soft, serene and truthful; and, above all, her smile, which always transported Levin to an enchanted world, where he felt moved and tender, as he remembered himself during certain rare days of his early childhood.

"Have you been here long?" she said, giving him her hand. "Thank you," she added, as he picked up the handkerchief that had fallen out of her muff.

"I? Not long ago... yesterday... I mean I arrived... today..." answered Levin, in his emotion not comprehending her question immediately. "I meant to come and see you," he said; and then, recollecting what his intention was in seeking her, he was promptly overcome with confusion, and blushed. "I didn't know you could skate, and skate so well."

She looked at him attentively, as though wishing to make out the cause of his confusion.

"Your praise is worth having. The tradition is kept up here that you are the best of skaters," she said, with her little black-gloved hand brushing some needles of hoarfrost off her muff.

"Yes, I used to skate with passion once upon a time; I wanted to attain perfection."

"You do everything with passion, I think," she said smiling. "I should so like to see how you skate. Do put on skates, and let's skate together."

"Skate together Can that be possible?" thought Levin, gazing at her.

"I'll put them on directly," he said.

And he went off to get skates.

"It's a long while since we've seen you here, sir," said the attendant, supporting his foot, and screwing on the heel of the skate. "Except you, there's none of the gentlemen first-rate skaters. Will that be all right?" said he, tightening the strap.

"Oh, yes, yes; make haste, please," answered Levin, with difficulty restraining the smile of rapture which would overspread his face. "Yes," he thought, "this is life, this is happiness! Together, she said; let us skate together! Speak to her now? But that's just why I'm afraid to speak——because I'm happy now, happy even though only in hope.... And then?... But I must! I must! I must! Away, faintheartedness!"

Levin rose to his feet, took off his overcoat, and, gaining speed over the rough ice round the pavilion, came out on the smooth ice and skated without effort, as it were, by, simple exercise of will, increasing and slackening speed and turning his course. He approached her with timidity, but again her smile reassured him.

She gave him her hand, and they set off side by side, going faster and faster, and the more rapidly they moved the more tightly she grasped his hand.

"With you I should soon learn; I somehow feel confidence in you," she said to him.

"And I have confidence in myself when you are leaning on me," he said, but was at once frightened at what he had said, and blushed. And indeed, no sooner had he uttered these words, than all at once, like the sun going behind a cloud, her face lost all its tenderness, and Levin detected the familiar change in her expression that denoted mental concentration; a tiny wrinkle came upon her smooth brow.

"Is there anything troubling you? However, I've no right to ask such a question," he said hurriedly.

"Oh, why so?... No, I have nothing to trouble me," she responded coldly, and immediately added: "You haven't seen Mlle. Linon, have you?"

"Not yet."

"Go and speak to her——she likes you so much."

"What's wrong? I have offended her. Lord help me!" thought Levin, and he flew towards the old Frenchwoman with the gray ringlets, who was sitting on a bench. Smiling and showing her false teeth, she greeted him as an old friend.

"Yes, you see we're growing up," she said to him, glancing toward Kitty, "and growing old. Tiny bear has grown big now!" pursued the Frenchwoman, laughing, and she reminded him of his joke about the three young ladies whom he had compared to the three bears in the English nursery tale. "Do you remember that's what you used to call them?"

He remembered absolutely nothing, but she had been laughing at the joke for ten years now and was fond of it.

"Now, go and skate, go and skate. Our Kitty has learned to skate nicely, hasn't she?"

When Levin darted up to Kitty her face was no longer stern; her eyes looked at him with the same sincerity and tenderness, but Levin fancied that in her tenderness there was a certain note of deliberate composure. And he felt depressed. After talking a little of her old governess and her peculiarities, she questioned him about his life.

"Surely, you must feel dull in the country in the winter," she said.

"No, I'm not dull——I am very busy," he said, feeling that she was making him submit to her composed tone, which he would not have the strength to break through——just as had been the case at the beginning of the winter.

"Are you going to stay in town long?" Kitty questioned him.

"I don't know," he answered, not thinking of what he was saying. The thought came into his mind that if he were held in submission by her tone of quiet friendliness he would end by going back again without deciding anything, and he resolved to mutiny against it.

"How is it you don't know?"

"I don't know. It depends upon you," he said, and was immediately horror-stricken at his own words.

Whether it was that she did not hear his words, or that she did not want to hear them, she made a sort of stumble, twice struck out, and hurriedly skated away from him. She skated up to Mlle. Linon, said something to her, and went toward the pavilion where the ladies took off their skates.

"My God! What have I done! Merciful God! Help me, guide me," said Levin, praying inwardly, and at the same time, feeling a need of violent exercise, he skated about, describing concentric and eccentric circles.

At that moment one of the young men, the best of the skaters of the day, came out of the coffeehouse on his skates, with a cigarette in his mouth. Taking a run he dashed down the steps on his skates, crashing and leaping. He flew down, and without even changing the free-and-easy position of his hands, skated away over the ice.

"Ah, that's a new trick!" said Levin, and he promptly ran up to the top to perform this new trick.

"Don't break your neck! This needs practice!" Nikolai Shcherbatsky shouted after him.

Levin went to the steps, took a run from above as best he could, and dashed down, preserving his balance in this unwonted movement with his hands. On the last step he stumbled, but barely touching the ice with his hand, with a violent effort recovered himself, and skated off, laughing.

"What a fine, darling chap he is!" Kitty was thinking at that moment, as she came out of the pavilion with Mlle. Linon and looked toward him with a smile of quiet kindness, as though he were a favorite brother. "And can it be my fault, can I have done anything wrong? They talk of coquetry. I know it's not he that I love; but still I am happy with him, and he's so nice. Only, why did he say that?..." she mused.

Catching sight of Kitty going away, and her mother meeting her at the steps, Levin, flushed from his rapid exercise, stood still and pondered a minute. He took off his skates, and overtook the mother and daughter at the entrance of the gardens.

"Delighted to see you," said Princess Shcherbatskaia. "On Thursdays we are home, as always."

"Today, then?"

"We shall be pleased to see you," the Princess said stiffly.

This stiffness hurt Kitty, and she could not resist the desire to smooth over her mother's coldness. She turned her head, and with a smile said:

"Good-by till this evening."

At that moment Stepan Arkadyevich, his hat cocked on one side, with beaming face and eyes, strode into the garden like a buoyant conqueror. But as he approached his mother-in-law, he responded to her inquiries about Dolly's health with a mournful and guilty countenance. After a little subdued and dejected conversation with her he set straight his chest again, and took Levin by the arm.

"Well, shall we set off?" he asked. "I've been thinking about you all this time, and I'm very, very glad you've come," he said, looking him in the face with a significant air.

"Yes, come along," answered Levin in ecstasy, hearing unceasingly the sound of that voice saying, "Good-by till this evening," and seeing the smile with which it was said.

"To England or The Hermitage?"

"It's all the same to me."

"Well, then, England it is," said Stepan Arkadyevich, selecting that restaurant because he owed more there than at The Hermitage, and consequently considered it mean to avoid it. "Have you got a sleigh? That's fine——for I sent my carriage home."

The friends hardly spoke all the way. Levin was wondering what that change in Kitty's expression had meant, and alternately assuring himself that there was hope, and falling into despair, seeing clearly that his hopes were insane, and yet all the while he felt himself quite another man, utterly unlike what he had been before her smile and those words, "Good-by till this evening."

Stepan Arkadyevich was absorbed during the drive in composing the menu of the dinner.

"You like turbot, don't you?" he said to Levin as they were arriving.

"Eh?" responded Levin. "Turbot? Yes, I'm awfully fond of turbot."

X.

When Levin went into the restaurant with Oblonsky, he could not help noticing a certain peculiarity of expression, as it were, a restrained radiance, about the face and whole figure of Stepan Arkadyevich. Oblonsky took off his overcoat, and with his hat over one ear walked into the dining room, giving directions to the Tatar waiters, who were clustered about him in evening coats, and with napkins under their arms. Bowing right and left to acquaintances who, here as everywhere, greeted him joyously, he went up to the bar, took a little wineglass of vodka and a snack of fish, and said to the painted Frenchwoman decked in ribbons, lace and ringlets, behind the desk, something so amusing that even that Frenchwoman was moved to genuine laughter. Levin for his part refrained from taking any vodka only because he found most offensive this Frenchwoman, all made up, it seemed, of false hair, poudre de riz and vinaigre de toilette. He made haste to move away from her, as from a dirty place. His whole soul was filled with memories of Kitty, and there was a smile of triumph and happiness shining in his eyes.

"This way, Your Excellency, please. Your Excellency won't be disturbed here," said a particularly pertinacious, white-headed old Tatar with immense hips and coattails gaping widely behind. "Walk in, your Excellency," he said to Levin——being attentive to his guest as well, by way of showing his respect to Stepan Arkadyevich.

Instantly flinging a fresh cloth over the round table under the bronze sconce, though it already had a tablecloth on it, he pushed up velvet chairs and came to a standstill before Stepan Arkadyevich with a napkin and a bill of fare in his hands, awaiting his commands.

"If you prefer it, Your Excellency, a private room will be free directly: Prince Golitsin with a lady. Fresh oysters have come in."

"Ah, oysters!" Stepan Arkadyevich became thoughtful.

"How if we were to change our program, Levin?" he said, keeping his finger on the bill of fare. And his face expressed serious hesitation. "Are the oysters good? Mind, now!"

"They're Flensburg, Your Excellency. We've no Ostend."

"Flensburg will do——but are they fresh?"

"Only arrived yesterday."

"Well, then, how if we were to begin with oysters, and so change the whole program? Eh?"

"It's all the same to me. I should like cabbage soup and porridge better than anything; but of course there's nothing like that here."

"Porridge a la Russe, Your Honor would like?" said the Tatar, bending down to Levin, like a nurse speaking to a child.

"No, joking apart, whatever you choose is sure to be good. I've been skating, and I'm hungry. And don't imagine," he added, detecting a look of dissatisfaction on Oblonsky's face, "that I shan't appreciate your choice. I don't object to a good dinner."

"I should hope so! After all, it's one of the pleasures of life," said Stepan Arkadyevich. "Well, then, my friend, you give us two——or better say three——dozen oysters, clear soup with vegetables..."

"Printaniere," prompted the Tatar. But Stepan Arkadyevich apparently did not care to allow him the satisfaction of giving the French names of the dishes.

"With vegetables in it, you know. Then turbot with thick sauce, then... roast beef; and mind it's good. Yes, and capons, perhaps, and then stewed fruit."

The Tatar, recollecting that it was Stepan Arkadyevich's way not to call the dishes by the names in the French bill of fare, did not repeat them after him, but could not resist rehearsing the whole menu to himself according to the bill: "Soupe printaniere, turbot sauce Beaumarchais, poulard a l'estragon, Macedoine de fruits..." and then instantly, as though worked by springs, laying down one bound bill of fare, he took up another, the list of wines, and submitted it to Stepan Arkadyevich.

"What shall we drink?"

"What you like, only not too much. Champagne," said Levin.

"What! to start with? You're right though, I dare say. Do you like the white seal?"

"Cachet blanc," prompted the Tatar.

"Very well, then, give us that brand with the oysters, and then we'll see."

"Yes, sir. And what table wine?"

"You can give us Nuits. Oh, no——better the classic Chablis."

"Yes, sir. And your cheese, Your Excellency?"

"Oh, yes, Parmesan. Or would you like another?"

"No, it's all the same to me," said Levin, unable to suppress a smile.

And the Tatar ran off with flying coattails, and in five minutes darted in with a dish of opened oysters in their nacreous shells, and a bottle between his fingers.

Stepan Arkadyevich crushed the starchy napkin, tucked it into his waistcoat, and, settling his arms comfortably, started on the oysters.

"Not bad," he said, detaching the jellied oysters from their pearly shells with a small silver fork, and swallowing them one after another. "Not bad," he repeated, turning his dewy, brilliant eyes now upon Levin, now upon the Tatar.

Levin ate the oysters too, though white bread and cheese pleased him better. But he was admiring Oblonsky. Even the Tatar, uncorking the bottle and pouring the sparkling wine into the delicate funnel-shaped glasses, and adjusting his white cravat, kept on glancing at Stepan Arkadyevich with a perceptible smile of satisfaction.

"You don't care much for oysters, do you?" said Stepan Arkadyevich, emptying his wineglass, "or are you worried about something. Eh?"

He wanted Levin to be in good spirits. But it was not that Levin was not in good spirits, he was ill at ease. With what he had in his soul, he felt hard and awkward in the restaurant, in the midst of private rooms where men were dining with ladies, in all this fuss and bustle; the surroundings of bronzes, looking glasses, gas and Tatars—— all of this was offensive to him. He was afraid of sullying what his soul was brimful of.

"I? Yes, I am worried; but besides that, all this bothers me," he said. "You can't conceive how queer it all seems to a countryman like me, as queer as that gentleman's nails I saw at your office...."

"Yes, I saw how much interested you were in poor Grinevich's nails," said Stepan Arkadyevich, laughing.

"It's too much for me," responded Levin. "Do try, now, to put yourself in my place——take the point of view of a countryman. We in the country try to bring our hands into such a state as will be most convenient for working with. So we cut our nails; sometimes we tuck up our sleeves. And here people purposely let their nails grow as long as possible, and link on small saucers by way of studs, so that they can do nothing with their hands."

Stepan Arkadyevich smiled gaily.

"Oh, yes, that's just a sign that he has no need to do coarse work. His work is with the mind...."

"Maybe. But still it's queer to me, just as at this moment it seems queer to me that we countryfolks try to satiate ourselves as soon as we can, so as to be ready for work, while here are we trying to delay satiety as long as possible, and with that object are eating oysters...."

"Why, of course," objected Stepan Arkadyevich. "But that's just the aim of culture——to make everything a source of enjoyment."

"Well, if that's its aim, I'd rather be a savage."

"You are a savage, as it is. All you Levins are savages."

Levin sighed. He remembered his brother Nikolai, and felt ashamed and pained, and he scowled; but Oblonsky began speaking of a subject which at once drew his attention.

"Oh, I say, are you going tonight to our people——the Shcherbatskys', I mean?" he said, his eyes sparkling significantly as he pushed away the empty rough shells, and drew the cheese toward him.

"Yes, I shall certainly go," replied Levin; "though I fancied the Princess was not very warm in her invitation."

"What nonsense! That's her manner.... Come, boy, the soup!... That's her manner——grande dame," said Stepan Arkadyevich. "I'm coming, too, but I have to go to the Countess Bonin's rehearsal. Come, isn't it true that you're a savage? How do you explain the sudden way in which you vanished from Moscow? The Shcherbatskys were continually asking me about you, as though I ought to know. The only thing I know is that you always do what no one else does."

"Yes," said Levin, slowly and with emotion, "you're right. I am a savage. Only, my savageness is not in having gone away, but in coming now. Now I have come..."

"Oh, what a lucky fellow you are!" broke in Stepan Arkadyevich, looking into Levin's eyes.

"Why?"

"I can tell the gallant steeds," by some... I don't know what... 'paces'; I can tell youths 'by their faces,'" declaimed Stepan Arkadyevich. "Everything is before you."

"Why, is it over for you already?"

"No; not over exactly, but the future is yours, and the present is mine, and the present——well, it's only fair to middling."

"How so?"

"Oh, things aren't right. But I don't want to talk of myself, besides I can't explain it all," said Stepan Arkadyevich. "Well, why have you come to Moscow, then?... Hi! clear the table!" he called to the Tatar.

"Are you trying to surmise?" responded Levin, his eyes, gleaming in their depth, fixed on Stepan Arkadyevich.

"I am, but I can't be the first to talk about it. You can see by that whether I surmise right or wrong," said Stepan Arkadyevich, gazing at Levin with a subtle smile.

"Well, and what have you to say to me?" said Levin in a quivering voice, feeling that all the muscles of his face were quivering too. "How do you look at it?

Stepan Arkadyevich slowly emptied his glass of Chablis, never taking his eyes off Levin.

"I?" said Stepan Arkadyevich. "There's nothing I desire so much as that——nothing! It would be the best thing that could happen."

"But you're not making a mistake? You know what we're speaking of?" said Levin, piercing him with his eyes. "You think it's possible?"

"I think it's possible. Why not?"

"No! Do you really think it's possible? No——tell me all you think! Oh, but if... If refusal's in store for me!... Indeed I feel sure..."

"What makes you think so?" said Stepan Arkadyevich, smiling at his excitement.

"It seems so to me sometimes. That will be awful for me, and for her too."

"Oh, well, anyway there's nothing awful in it for a girl. Every girl's proud of a proposal."

"Yes, every girl, but not she."

Stepan Arkadyevich smiled. He so well knew that feeling of Levin's, that for him all the girls in the world were divided into two classes: one class——all the girls in the world except her, and those girls with all sorts of human failings, and very ordinary girls: the other class——she alone, having no failings of any sort and higher than all humanity.

"Stay, take some sauce," he said, holding back Levin's hand, who was pushing the sauce away.

Levin obediently helped himself to sauce, but would not let Stepan Arkadyevich go on with his dinner.

"No, stop a minute, stop a minute," he said. "You must understand that it's a question of life and death for me. I have never spoken to anyone of this. And there's no one to whom I could speak of it, except yourself. You know we're utterly unlike each other, different in tastes, and views, and everything; but I know you're fond of me and understand me, and that's why I like you awfully. But for God's sake, be quite straightforward with me."

"I tell you what I think," said Stepan Arkadyevich, smiling. "But I'll say more: my wife is a wonderful woman..." Stepan Arkadyevich sighed, recalling his relations with his wife, and, after a moment's silence, resumed——"She has a gift of foreseeing things. She sees right through people; but that's not all; she knows what will come to pass, especially in the way of marriages. She foretold, for instance, that Princess Shahovskaia would marry Brenteln. No one would believe it, but it came to pass. And she's on your side."

"How do you mean?"

"It's not only that she likes you——she says that Kitty is certain to be your wife."

At these words Levin's face suddenly lighted up with a smile, a smile not far from touching tears.

"She says that!" cried out Levin. "I always said she was charming, your wife. There, that's enough said about it," he said, getting up from his seat.

"Well, but do sit down."

But Levin could not sit down. He walked with his firm tread twice up and down the little cage of a room, blinked his eyelids that his tears might not fall, and only then sat down to the table.

"You must understand," said he, "it's not love. I've been in love, but it's not that. It's not my feeling, but a sort of force outside me that has taken possession of me. I went away, you see, because I made up my mind that it could never be——you understand, like a happiness which is not of this earth; but I've struggled with myself, and I see there's no living without it. And it must be settled."

"What did you go away for?"

"Ah, stop a minute! Ah, the thoughts that come crowding on one! The questions one must ask oneself! Listen. You can't imagine what you've done for me by what you said. I'm so happy that I've become positively hateful; I've forgotten everything. I heard today that my brother Nikolai... you know, he's here... I had forgotten even him. It seems to me that he's happy too. It's a sort of madness. But one thing's awful.... Here, you've been married, you know the feeling.... It's awful that we——fully mature——with a past... a past not of love, but of sins... are brought all at once so near to a creature pure and innocent; it's loathsome, and that's why one can't help feeling oneself unworthy."

"Oh, well, you haven't many sins on your conscience."

"Ah, still," said Levin, "'When, with loathing, I go o'er my life, I shudder and I curse and bitterly regret...' Yes."

"What would you have? That's the way of the world," said Stepan Arkadyevich.

"There's one comfort, like that of the prayer which I always liked: 'Forgive me not according to my deeds, but according to Thy loving-kindness.' That's the only way she can forgive me."

XI.

Levin emptied his glass, and they were silent for a while.

"There's one other thing I ought to tell you. Do you know Vronsky?" Stepan Arkadyevich asked Levin.

"No, I don't. Why do you ask?"

"Give us another bottle," Stepan Arkadyevich directed the Tatar, who was filling up their glasses and fidgeting round them just when he was least wanted.

"Why, you ought to know Vronsky because he's one of your rivals."

"Who's Vronsky?" said Levin, and his face was suddenly transformed from the look of childlike ecstasy which Oblonsky had just been admiring to an angry and unpleasant expression.

"Vronsky is one of the sons of Count Kirill Ivanovich Vronsky, and one of the finest specimens of the gilded youth of Peterburg. I made his acquaintance in Tver, when I was there on official business, and he came there for the levy of recruits. Fearfully rich, handsome, great connections, an aide-de-camp, and with all that a very fine good-natured fellow. But he's more than simply a good-natured fellow, as I've found out here——he's a cultured man, too, and very intelligent; he's a man who'll make his mark."

Levin scowled and kept silent.

"Well, he turned up here soon after you'd gone, and, as I can see, he's over head and ears in love with Kitty, and you know that her mother..."

"Excuse me, but I know nothing," said Levin, frowning gloomily. And immediately he recalled his brother Nikolai, and how vile he was to have been able to forget him.

"You wait a bit——wait a bit," said Stepan Arkadyevich, smiling and touching his hand. "I've told you what I know, and I repeat that in this delicate and tender matter, as far as one can conjecture, I believe the chances are in your favor."

Levin dropped back in his chair; his face was pale.

"But I would advise you to settle the thing as soon as possible," pursued Oblonsky, filling up his glass.

"No, thanks, I can't drink any more," said Levin, pushing away his glass. "I shall get drunk.... Come, tell me how are you getting on?" he went on, obviously anxious to change the conversation.

"One word more: in any case I advise you to settle the question soon. Tonight I don't advise you to speak," said Stepan Arkadyevich. "Go round tomorrow morning, make a proposal in classic form, and God bless you...."

"Oh, do you still think of coming to me for some shooting? Come next spring, do," said Levin.

Now his whole soul was full of remorse that he had begun this conversation with Stepan Arkadyevich. His peculiar feeling was profaned by talk of the rivalry of some Peterburg officer, of the suppositions and the counsels of Stepan Arkadyevich.

Stepan Arkadyevich smiled. He knew what was passing in Levin's soul.

"I'll come some day," he said. "Yes, my dear, women——they're the pivot everything turns upon. Things are in a bad way with me, very bad. And it's all through women. Tell me frankly, now," he pursued, picking up a cigar and keeping one hand on his glass; "give me your advice."

"Why, what is it?"

"I'll tell you. Suppose you're married; you love your wife, but are fascinated by another woman..."

"Excuse me, but I'm absolutely unable to comprehend how just as I can't comprehend how I could now, after my dinner, go straight to a baker's shop and steal a loaf."

Stepan Arkadyevich's eyes sparkled more than usual.

"Why not? A loaf will sometimes smell so good that one can't resist it.

           "Himmlisch ist's wenn ich bezwungen
              Meine irdische Begier;
            Aber doch wenn's nicht gelungen
              Hatt' ich auch recht hubsch Plaisir!"

As he said this, Stepan Arkadyevich smiled subtly. Levin, too, could not help smiling.

"Yes, but joking apart," resumed Oblonsky, "you must understand that the woman, a sweet, gentle, loving creature, poor and lonely, has sacrificed everything. Now, when the thing's done, don't you see, can one possibly cast her off? Even supposing one parts from her, so as not to break up one's family life, still, can one help feeling for her, setting her on her feet, lightening her lot?"

"Well, you must excuse me there. You know to me all women are divided into two classes.... Well, no... it would be truer to say: there are women, and there are... I've never seen charming fallen beings, and I never shall see them, but such creatures as that painted Frenchwoman at the counter with the ringlets are vermin to my mind, and all fallen women are like her."

"But the Magdalen?"

"Ah, drop that! Christ would never have said those words if He had known how they would be abused. Of all the Gospel those words are the only ones remembered. However, I'm not saying so much what I think, as what I feel. I have a loathing for fallen women. You're afraid of spiders, and I of these vermin. Most likely you've not made a study of spiders and don't know their character; and so it is with me."

"It's very well for you to talk like that; it's very much like that gentleman in Dickens who used to fling all difficult questions over his right shoulder with his left hand. But denying the facts is no answer. What's to be done——you tell me that; what's to be done? Your wife gets older, while you're full of life. Before you've time to look round, you feel that you can't love your wife with love, however much you may esteem her. And then all at once love turns up—— and you're done for; you're done for," Stepan Arkadyevich said with weary despair.

Levin smiled slightly.

"Yes, you're done for," resumed Oblonsky. "But what's to be done?"

"Don't steal loaves."

Stepan Arkadyevich laughed outright.

"Oh, moralist! But you must understand, there are two women; one insists only on her rights, and those rights are your love, which you can't give her; while the other sacrifices everything for you and asks for nothing. What are you to do? How are you to act? There's a fearful tragedy in it."

"If you care for my profession of faith as regards that, I'll tell you that I don't believe there was any tragedy about it. And this is why. To my mind, love... both sorts of love, which you remember Plato defines in his Banquet, serve as the touchstone of men. Some men only understand one sort, and some only the other. And those who only know the nonplatonic love talk in vain of tragedy. In such love there can be no sort of tragedy. 'I'm much obliged for the gratification, my humble respects,'——that's all the tragedy. And in platonic love there can be no tragedy, because in that love all is clear and pure, because..."

At that instant Levin recollected his own sins and the inner conflict he had lived through. And he added unexpectedly:

"But perhaps you are right. Very likely... I don't know——I positively don't know."

"You see," said Stepan Arkadyevich, "you're very much all of a piece. That's your quality and your failing. You have a character that's all of a piece, and you want the whole of life to be of a piece too——but that's not how it is. You despise public official work because you want the reality to be constantly corresponding with the aim——and that's not how it is. You want a man's work, too, always to have a defined aim, and love and family life always to be undivided—— and that's not how it is. All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow."

Levin sighed and made no reply. He was thinking of his own affairs, and was not listening to Oblonsky.

And suddenly both of them felt that though they were friends, though they had been dining together, and drunk wine which should have drawn them closer, yet each was thinking only of his own affairs, and they had nothing to do with one another. Oblonsky had more than once experienced this extreme sense of aloofness, instead of intimacy, coming on after dinner, and he knew what to do in such cases.

"Let's have the check!" he called, and he went into the next room, where he promptly came across an aide-de-camp of his acquaintance and dropped into conversation with him about an actress and her protector. And at once, in this conversation with the aide-de-camp, Oblonsky had a sense of relaxation and relief after his conversation with Levin, which always put him to too great a mental and spiritual strain.

When the Tatar appeared with a check of twenty-six roubles and some kopecks, besides a tip for himself, Levin, who would another time have been horrified, like anyone from the country, at his share of fourteen roubles, did not notice it, paid, and set off homeward to dress and go to the Shcherbatskys', where his fate was to be decided.

XII.

The young princess Kitty Shcherbatskaia was eighteen. It was the first winter that she had been out in the world. Her success in society had been greater than that of either of her elder sisters, and greater even than her mother had anticipated. To say nothing of the young men who danced at the Moscow balls being almost all in love with Kitty, two serious suitors had already, the first winter, made their appearance: Levin, and, immediately after his departure, Count Vronsky.

Levin's appearance at the beginning of the winter, his frequent visits, and evident love for Kitty, had led to the first serious conversations between Kitty's parents as to her future, and to disputes between them. The Prince was on Levin's side; he said he wished for nothing better for Kitty. The Princess for her part, going round the question in the manner peculiar to women, maintained that Kitty was too young, that Levin had done nothing to prove that he had serious intentions, that Kitty felt no great attraction to him, and there were some other reasons too; but she did not state the principal point, which was that she looked for a better match for her daughter, that Levin was not to her liking, and that she did not understand him. When Levin had abruptly departed, the Princess was delighted, and said to her husband triumphantly: 'You see, I was right.' When Vronsky appeared on the scene, she was still more delighted, confirmed in her opinion that Kitty was to make not simply a good, but a brilliant match.

In the mother's eyes there could be no comparison between Vronsky and Levin. The mother disliked in Levin his strange and uncompromising opinions and his shyness in society, founded on his pride, as she supposed, and his queer sort of life, as she considered it, absorbed in cattle and peasants. She did not very much like it that he, who was in love with her daughter, had kept coming to the house for six weeks, as though he were waiting for something, inspecting, as though he were afraid he might be doing them too great an honor by making a proposal, and did not realize that a man who continually visits at a house where there is a young unmarried girl, is bound to make his intentions clear. And suddenly, without doing so, he disappeared. "It's as well he's not attractive enough for Kitty to have fallen in love with him," thought the mother.

Vronsky satisfied all the mother's desires. Very wealthy, clever, of aristocratic family, on the highroad to a brilliant career in the army and at court, and a fascinating man. Nothing better could be wished for.

Vronsky openly flirted with Kitty at balls, danced with her, and came continually to the house; consequently there could be no doubt of the seriousness of his intentions. But, in spite of that, the mother had spent the whole of that winter in a state of terrible anxiety and agitation.

Princess Shcherbatskaia had herself been married thirty years ago, her aunt arranging the match. The wooer, about whom everything was well known beforehand, had come, looked at his intended, and been looked at. The matchmaking aunt had ascertained and communicated their mutual impression. That impression had been favorable. Afterward, on a day fixed beforehand, the expected proposal was made to her parents, and accepted. All had passed very simply and easily. So it seemed, at least, to the Princess. But over her own daughters she had felt how far from simple and easy is the business, apparently so commonplace, of marrying off one's daughters. The panics that had been lived through, the thoughts that had been brooded over, the money that had been wasted, and the disputes with her husband over marrying the two elder girls, Darya and Natalya! Now, since the youngest began to come out in the world, the Princess was going through the same terrors, the same doubts, and still more violent quarrels with her husband, than she had over the elder girls. The old Prince, like all fathers indeed, was exceedingly scrupulous on the score of the honor and reputation of his daughters; he was unreasonably jealous over his daughters, especially over Kitty, who was his favorite, and at every turn he had scenes with the Princess for compromising her daughter. The Princess had grown accustomed to this already with her other daughters, but now she felt that there was more ground for the Prince's scrupulousness. She saw that of late years much was changed in the manners of society, that a mother's duties had become still more difficult. She saw that girls of Kitty's age formed some sort of clubs, went to some sort of lectures, mixed freely in men's society, drove about the streets alone; many of them did not curtsy; and, what was the most important thing, all of them were firmly convinced that to choose their husband was their own affair, and not their parents'. "Marriages aren't made nowadays as they used to be," was thought and said by all these young girls, and even by their elders. But just how marriages were made nowadays, the Princess could not learn from anyone. The French fashion——of the parents arranging their children's future——was not accepted; it was condemned. The English fashion of the complete independence of girls was also not accepted, and not possible in Russian society. The Russian fashion of matchmaking was considered unseemly; it was ridiculed by everyone——even by the Princess herself. But how girls were to be married, and how parents were to marry them, no one knew. Everyone with whom the Princess had chanced to discuss the matter said the same thing: "Mercy on us, it's high time in our day to cast off all that old-fashioned business. It's the young people have to marry, and not their parents; and so we ought to leave the young people to arrange it as they choose." It was very easy for anyone to say who had no daughters, but the Princess realized that, in the process of getting to know each other, her daughter might fall in love, and fall in love with someone who did not care to marry her, or who was quite unfit to be her husband. And, however much it was instilled into the Princess that in our times young people ought to arrange their lives for themselves, she was unable to believe it, just as she would have been unable to believe that, at any time whatever, loaded pistols were the most suitable playthings for children five years old. And so the Princess was more uneasy over Kitty than she had been over the elder daughters.

Now she was afraid that Vronsky might confine himself to simply flirting with her daughter. She saw that her daughter was in love with him, but tried to comfort herself with the thought that he was an honorable man, and would not do this. But at the same time she knew how easy it is, with the freedom of manners of today, to turn a girl's head, and how lightly men generally regard such a crime. The week before, Kitty had told her mother of a conversation she had with Vronsky during a mazurka. This conversation had partly reassured the Princess; yet her assurance could not be perfect. Vronsky had told Kitty that both he and his brother were so used to obeying their mother that they never made up their minds to any important undertaking without consulting her. "And, just now, I am impatiently awaiting my mother's coming from Peterburg, as a peculiar piece of luck," he had told her.

Kitty had repeated this without attaching any significance to the words. But her mother saw them in a different light. She knew that the old lady was expected from day to day, that she would be pleased at her son's choice, and she felt it strange that he should not make his proposal through fear of vexing his mother. However, she was so anxious for the marriage itself, and still more for relief from her fears, that she believed it was so. Bitter as it was for the Princess to see the unhappiness of her eldest daughter, Dolly, on the point of leaving her husband, her anxiety over the decision of her youngest daughter's fate engrossed all her feelings. Today, with Levin's reappearance, a fresh source of anxiety arose. She was afraid that her daughter, who had at one time, as she fancied, a feeling for Levin, might, from an extreme sense of honesty, refuse Vronsky, and that Levin's arrival might generally complicate and delay the affair, now so near conclusion.

"Why, has he been here long?" the Princess asked about Levin, as they returned home.

"He came today, maman."

"There's one thing I want to say..." began the Princess, and from her serious and alert face, Kitty guessed what it would be.

"Mamma," she said, flushing hotly and turning quickly to her, "please, please don't say anything about that. I know, I know all about it."

She wished what her mother wished for, but the motives of her mother's wishes hurt her.

"I only want to say that to raise hopes..."

"Mamma, darling, for goodness' sake, don't talk about it. It's so horrible to talk about it."

"I won't," said her mother, seeing the tears in her daughter's eyes; "but one thing, my love; you promised me you would have no secrets from me. You won't?"

"Never, mamma——none," answered Kitty, flushing and looking her mother straight in the face; "but I have nothing to tell you now, and I... I... If I wanted to, I don't know what to say or how... I don't know..."

"No, she could not tell an untruth with those eyes," thought the mother, smiling at her agitation and happiness. The Princess smiled: so immense and so important seemed to the poor child everything that was taking place just now in her soul.

XIII.

After dinner, and till the beginning of the evening, Kitty was experiencing a sensation akin to that of a young man before a battle. Her heart throbbed violently, and her thoughts would not rest on anything.

She felt that this evening, when both these men would meet for the first time, would be a turning point in her life. And she was continually picturing them to herself, at one moment each individually, and then both together. When she mused on the past, she dwelt with pleasure, with tenderness, on the memories of her relations with Levin. The memories of childhood and of Levin's friendship with her dead brother have a special poetic charm to her relations with him. His love for her, of which she felt certain, was flattering and delightful to her; and it was easy for her to think of Levin. In her memories of Vronsky there always entered a certain element of awkwardness, though he was in the highest degree a fashionable and even-tempered man, as though there were some false note——not in Vronsky, he was very simple and charming——but in herself; while with Levin she felt herself perfectly simple and clear. But, on the other hand, directly she thought of the future with Vronsky, there arose before her a perspective of brilliant happiness; with Levin the future seemed misty.

When she went upstairs to dress, and looked into the looking glass, she noticed with joy that it was one of her good days, and that she was in complete possession of all her forces——she needed this so for what lay before her: she was conscious of external composure and free grace in her movements.

At half-past seven she had only just gone down into the drawing room, when the footman announced, "Constantin Dmitrievich Levin." The Princess was still in her room, and the Prince had not come in. "So it is to be," thought Kitty, and all the blood seemed to rush to her heart. She was horrified at her paleness, as she glanced into the looking glass.

At that moment she knew beyond doubt that he had come early on purpose to find her alone and to propose to her. And only then for the first time the whole thing presented itself in a new, different aspect; only then she realized that the question did not affect her only——with whom she would be happy, and whom she loved——but that she would have that moment to wound a man whom she liked. And to wound him cruelly... Wherefore? Because he, dear fellow, loved her, was in love with her. But there was no help for it; it must be so——it would have to be so.

"My God! shall I myself really have to say it to him?" she thought. "Can I tell him I don't love him? That will be a lie. What am I to say to him? That I love someone else? No, that's impossible. I'm going away——I'm going away."

She had reached the door, when she heard his step. "No It's not honest. What have I to be afraid of? I have done nothing wrong. What is to be, will be! I'll tell the truth. And with him one can't be ill at ease. Here he is," she said to herself, seeing his powerful and timid figure, with his shining eyes fixed on her. She looked straight into his face, as though imploring him to spare her, and gave him her hand.

"It's not time yet; I think I'm too early," he said glancing round the empty drawing room. When he saw that his expectations were realized, that there was nothing to prevent him from speaking, his face became somber.

"Oh, no," said Kitty, and sat down at a table.

"But this was just what I wanted, to find you alone," he began, without sitting down, and not looking at her, so as not to lose courage.

"Mamma will be down directly. She was very much tired yesterday. Yesterday..."

She talked on, not knowing what her lips were uttering, and not taking her supplicating and caressing eyes off him.

He glanced at her; she blushed, and ceased speaking.

"I told you I did not know whether I should be here long... that it depended on you..."

She dropped her head lower and lower, not knowing herself what answer she should make to what was coming.

"That it depended on you," he repeated. "I meant to say... I meant to say... I came for this... To have you be my wife!" he blurted out, not knowing what he was saying, but feeling that the most terrible thing was said, he stopped short and looked at her.

She was breathing heavily, without looking at him. She was feeling ecstasy. Her soul was flooded with happiness. She had never anticipated that his utterance of love would produce such a powerful effect on her. But it lasted only an instant. She remembered Vronsky. She lifted her clear, truthful eyes, and, seeing Levin's desperate face, she answered hastily:

"That cannot be... Forgive me."

A moment ago, and how close she had been to him, of what importance in his life! And how aloof and remote from him she had become now!

"It could not have been otherwise," he said, without looking at her. He bowed, and was about to leave.

XIV.

But at that very moment the Princess came in. There was a look of horror on her face when she beheld them alone, and saw their disturbed faces. Levin bowed to her, and said nothing. Kitty neither spoke nor lifted her eyes. "Thank God, she has refused him," thought the mother, and her face lighted up with the habitual smile with which she greeted her guests on Thursdays. She sat down and began questioning Levin about his life in the country. He sat down again, waiting for other visitors to arrive, in order to go off unnoticed.

Five minutes later there came in a friend of Kitty's, married the preceding winter——Countess Nordstone.

She was a thin, sallow, sickly and nervous woman, with brilliant black eyes. She was fond of Kitty, and her affection for her showed itself, as the affection of married women for girls always does, in the desire to make a match for Kitty after her own ideal of married happiness; she wanted her to marry Vronsky. Levin she had often met at the Shcherbatskys' early in the winter, and she had always disliked him. Her invariable and favorite pursuit, when they met, consisted in making fun of him.

"I do like it when he looks down at me from the height of his grandeur, or breaks off his wise conversation with me because I'm a fool, or is condescending to me. I like that so——to see him condescending! I am so glad he can't bear me," she used to say of him.

She was right, for Levin actually could not bear her, and despised her for what she was proud of and regarded as a fine characteristic—— her nervousness, her refined contempt and indifference for everything coarse and earthly.

The Countess Nordstone and Levin had got into that mutual relation not infrequently seen in society, when two persons, who remain externally on friendly terms, despise each other to such a degree that they cannot even take each other seriously, and cannot even be offended by each other.

The Countess Nordstone pounced upon Levin at once.

"Ah, Constantin Dmitrievich! So you've come back to our corrupt Babylon," she said, giving him her tiny, yellow hand and recalling what he had chanced to say early in the winter, that Moscow was a Babylon. "Come, is Babylon reformed, or have you degenerated?" she added, glancing with a simper at Kitty.

"It's very flattering for me, Countess, that you remember my words so well," responded Levin, who had succeeded in recovering his composure, and at once from habit dropped into his tone of joking hostility to the Countess Nordstone. "They must certainly make a great impression on you."

"Oh, I should think so! I always note everything down. Well, Kitty, have you been skating again?..."

And she began talking to Kitty. Awkward as it was for Levin to withdraw now, it would still have been easier for him to perpetrate this awkwardness than to remain all the evening and see Kitty, who glanced at him now and then and avoided his eyes. He was on the point of getting up, when the Princess, noticing that he was silent, addressed him.

"Shall you be long in Moscow? You're busy with the Zemstvo, though, aren't you, and can't be away for long?"

"No, Princess, I'm no longer a member of the board," he said. "I have come up for a few days."

"There's something the matter with him," thought Countess Nordstone, glancing at his stern, serious face. "He isn't in his old argumentative mood. But I'll draw him out. I do love making a fool of him before Kitty, and I'll do it."

"Constantin Dmitrievich," she said to him, "do explain to me please, what does it mean——you know all about such things——in our village of Kaluga all the peasants and all the women have drunk up all they possessed, and now they can't pay us any rent. What's the meaning of that? You always praise the mouzhiks so."

At that instant another lady came into the room, and Levin got up.

"Excuse me, Countess, but I really know nothing about it, and can't tell you anything," he said, and looked round at the officer who came in behind the lady.

"That must be Vronsky," thought Levin, and, to be sure of it, glanced at Kitty. She had already had time to look at Vronsky, and looked round at Levin. And, simply from the look in her eyes, that grew unconsciously brighter, Levin knew that she loved this man—— knew it as surely as if she had told him in so many words. But what sort of a man was he?

Now, whether for good or for ill, Levin could not choose but remain; he must find out what the man was like whom she loved.

There are people who, on meeting a successful rival, no matter in what, are at once disposed to turn their backs on everything good in him, and to see only what is bad. There are people who, on the contrary, desire above all to find in that successful rival the qualities by which he has worsted them, and seek with a throbbing ache at heart only what is good. Levin belonged to the second class. But he had no difficulty in finding what was good and attractive in Vronsky. It was apparent at the first glance. Vronsky was a squarely built, dark man, not very tall, with a good-humored, handsome and exceedingly calm and firm face. Everything about his face and figure, from his short-cropped black hair and freshly shaven chin down to his loosely fitting, brand-new uniform, was simple and at the same time elegant. Making way for the lady who had come in, Vronsky went up to the Princess and then to Kitty.

As he approached her, his beautiful eyes shone with an especially tender light, and with a faint, happy and modestly triumphant smile (so it seemed to Levin), bowing carefully and respectfully over her, he held out his small broad hand to her.

Greeting and saying a few words to everyone, he sat down without once glancing at Levin, who had never taken his eyes off him.

"Let me introduce you," said the Princess, indicating Levin. "Constantin Dmitrievich Levin, Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky."

Vronsky got up and, looking cordially at Levin, shook hands with him.

"I believe I was to have dined with you this winter," he said, smiling his simple and open smile; "but you had unexpectedly left for the country."

"Constantin Dmitrievich despises and hates the town, and us townspeople," said Countess Nordstone.

"My words must make a deep impression on you, since you remember them so well," said Levin, and, suddenly becoming conscious that he had said just the same thing before, he reddened.

Vronsky looked at Levin and Countess Nordstone, and smiled.

"Are you always in the country?" he inquired. "I should think it must be dull in the winter."

"It's not dull if one has work to do; besides, one's not dull by oneself," Levin replied abruptly.

"I am fond of the country," said Vronsky, noticing, yet affecting not to notice, Levin's tone.

"But I hope, Count, you would not consent to live in the country always," said Countess Nordstone.

"I don't know; I have never tried for long. I experienced a queer feeling once," he went on. "I never longed so for the country——Russian country, with bast shoes and peasants——as when I was spending a winter with my mother in Nice. Nice itself is dull enough, you know. And, indeed, Naples and Sorrento are only pleasant for a short time. And it's just there that Russia comes back to one's mind most vividly, and especially the country. It's as though..."

He talked on, addressing both Kitty and Levin, turning his serene, friendly eyes from one to the other, and saying obviously just what came into his head.

Noticing that Countess Nordstone wanted to say something, he stopped short without finishing what he had begun, and listened attentively to her.

The conversation did not flag for an instant, so that the old Princess, who always kept in reserve, in case a subject should be lacking, two heavy guns——the classical and professional education, and universal military service——had not to move out either of them, while Countess Nordstone had no chance of chaffing Levin.

Levin wanted to, and could not, take part in the general conversation; saying to himself every instant, "Now go," he still did not go, as though waiting for something.

The conversation fell upon table turning and spirits, and Countess Nordstone, who believed in spiritualism, began to describe the miracles she had seen.

"Ah, Countess, you really must take me; for pity's sake do take me to see them! I have never seen anything extraordinary, though I am always on the lookout for it everywhere," said Vronsky, smiling.

"Very well——next Saturday," answered Countess Nordstone. "But you, Constantin Dmitrievich——are you a believer?" she asked Levin.

"Why do you ask me? You know what I shall say."

"But I want to hear your opinion."

"My opinion," answered Levin, "is merely that this table turning proves that educated society——so called——is no higher than the peasants. They believe in the evil eye, and in witchcraft and conjurations, while we..."

"Oh, then you aren't a believer?"

"I can't believe, Countess."

"But if I've seen for myself?"

"The peasant women, too, tell us they have seen hobgoblins."

"Then you think I tell a lie?"

And she laughed a mirthless laugh.

"Oh, no, Masha, Constantin Dmitrievich merely said he could not believe," said Kitty, blushing for Levin, and Levin saw this, and, still more exasperated, would have answered; but Vronsky with his bright frank smile rushed to the support of the conversation, which was threatening to become disagreeable.

"You do not admit the possibility at all?" he queried. "But why not? We admit the existence of electricity, of which we know nothing. Why should there not be some new force, still unknown to us, which..."

"When electricity was discovered," Levin interrupted hurriedly, "it was only the phenomenon that was discovered, and it was unknown from what it proceeded and what were its effects, and ages passed before its applications were conceived. But the spiritualists, on the contrary, have begun with tables writing for them, and spirits appearing to them, and have only later started saying that it is an unknown force."

Vronsky listened attentively to Levin, as he always did listen, obviously interested in his words.

"Yes, but the spiritualists say we don't know at present what this force is, but there is a force, and these are the conditions in which it acts. Let the scientific men find out what the force consists of. No, I don't see why there should not be a new force, if it..."

"Why, because with electricity," Levin interrupted again, "every time you rub tar against wool, a certain phenomenon is manifested; but in this case it does not happen every time, and so it follows it is not a natural phenomenon."

Feeling probably that the conversation was taking a tone too serious for a drawing room, Vronsky made no rejoinder, but by way of trying to change the conversation, he smiled brightly, and turned to the ladies.

"Do let us try at once, Countess," he said; but Levin would finish saying what he thought.

"I think," he went on, "that this attempt of the spiritualists to explain their miracles as some sort of new natural force is most futile. They boldly talk of spiritual force, and then try to subject it to material experiment."

Everyone was waiting for him to finish, and he felt this.

"Why, I think you would be a first-rate medium," said Countess Nordstone, "there's something enthusiastic about you."

Levin opened his mouth, was about to say something, reddened, and said nothing.

"Do let us try table turning at once, please," said Vronsky. "Princess, will you allow it?

And Vronsky stood up, looking about for a little table.

Kitty got up to fetch a table, and, as she passed, her eyes met Levin's. She felt for him with her whole heart, the more because she was pitying him for a suffering of which she was herself the cause. "If you can forgive me, forgive me," said her eyes, "I am so happy."

"I hate them all, and you, and myself," his eyes responded, and he took up his hat. But he was not destined to escape. just as they were arranging themselves round the table, and Levin was on the point of retiring, the old Prince came in, and, after greeting the ladies, addressed Levin.

"Ah!" he began joyously. "Been here long, my boy? I didn't even know you were in town. Very glad to see you." The old Prince embraced Levin, and, talking to him, did not observe Vronsky, who had risen, and was calmly waiting till the Prince should turn to him.

Kitty felt how grievous her father's cordiality was to Levin after what had happened. She saw, too, how coldly her father responded at last to Vronsky's bow, and how Vronsky looked with amiable perplexity at her father, trying and failing to understand how and why anyone could be hostilely disposed toward him, and she flushed.

"Prince, let us have Constantin Dmitrievich," said Countess Nordstone, "we want to try an experiment."

"What experiment? Table turning? Well, you must excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, but to my mind it is better fun to play the ring game," said the old Prince, looking at Vronsky, and guessing that it had been his suggestion. "There's some sense in that, anyway."

Vronsky looked wonderingly at the Prince with his firm eyes, and, with a faint smile, began immediately talking to Countess Nordstone of the great ball that was to come off next week.

"I hope you will be there?" he said to Kitty. As soon as the old Prince turned away from him, Levin slipped out unnoticed, and the last impression he carried away with him of that evening was the smiling, happy face of Kitty answering Vronsky's inquiry about the ball.

XV.

At the end of the evening Kitty told her mother of her conversation with Levin, and in spite of all the pity she felt for Levin, she was glad at the thought that she had received a proposal. She had no doubt that she had acted rightly. But after she had gone to bed, she could not sleep for a long while. One impression pursued her relentlessly. It was Levin's face, with his scowling brows, and his kind eyes looking out in dark dejection below them, as he stood listening to her father, and glancing at her and at Vronsky. And she felt so sorry for him that tears came into her eyes. But immediately she thought of the man for whom she had given him up. She vividly recalled his manly, firm face, his noble calmness, and the good nature so conspicuous toward everyone. She remembered the love for her of the man she loved, and once more all was gladness in her soul, and she lay on the pillow smiling with happiness. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry; but what could I do? It's not my fault," she said to herself; but an inner voice told her otherwise. Whether she felt remorse at having captivated Levin, or at having refused him, she did not know. But her happiness was poisoned by doubts. "Lord, have pity on us; Lord, have pity, Lord, have pity!" she said over to herself till she fell asleep.

Meanwhile there took place below, in the Prince's little study, one of the scenes so often repeated between the parents on account of their favorite daughter.

"What? I'll tell you what!" shouted the Prince, brandishing his arms, and at once wrapping his squirrel-lined dressing gown round him again. "That you've no pride, no dignity; that you're disgracing, ruining your daughter by this vulgar, stupid matchmaking!"

"But, really, for mercy's sake, Prince, what have I done?" said the Princess, almost crying.

She, pleased and happy after her conversation with her daughter, had gone to the Prince to say good night as usual, and though she had no intention of telling him of Levin's proposal and Kitty's refusal, still she hinted to her husband that she fancied things were practically settled with Vronsky, and would be definitely so as soon as his mother arrived. And thereupon, at those words, the Prince had all at once flown into a passion, and begun to use unseemly language.

"What have you done? I'll tell you what. First of all, you're trying to allure an eligible gentleman, and all Moscow will be talking of it, and with good reason. If you have evening parties, invite everyone, don't pick out the possible suitors. Invite all these whelps [so the Prince styled the youths of Moscow]; engage a piano player, and let them dance——and not as you did tonight: only the wooers, and doing your matching. It makes me sick——sick to see it——and you've gone on till you've turned the poor lass's head. Levin's a thousand times the better man. As for this Peterburg swell——they're turned out by machinery, all on one pattern, and all precious rubbish. But if he were a prince of the blood, my daughter need not run after anyone."

"But what have I done?"

"Why, you've..." The Prince was yelling wrathfully.

"I know if one were to listen to you," interrupted the Princess, "we should never marry off our daughter. If it's to be so, we'd better go into the country."

"Well, we had better."

"But do wait a minute. Do I wheedle them? I don't wheedle them in the least. A young man, and a very nice one, has fallen in love with her, and she, I fancy..."

"Oh, yes, you fancy! And how if she really is in love, and he's no more thinking of marriage than I am!... Oh, that I should live to see it!... "Ah——spiritualism! Ah——Nice! Ah——the ball!'" And the Prince, imagining that he was mimicking his wife, made a mincing curtsy at each word. "And this is how we prepare wretchedness for Katenka; and she's really got the notion into her head...."

"But what makes you suppose so?"

"I don't suppose; I know. For such things we have eyes; womenfolk haven't. I see a man who has serious intentions, that's Levin: and I see a quail, like this cackler, who's only amusing himself."

"Oh, well, when once you get an idea into your head!..."

"Well, you'll remember my words, but too late, just as with Dashenka."

"Well, well, we won't talk of it," the Princess stopped him, recollecting her unlucky Dolly.

"By all means, and good night!"

And signing each other with the cross, the husband and wife parted with a kiss, feeling that each remained of his or her own opinion.

The Princess had at first been quite certain that that evening had settled Kitty's fortune, and that there could be no doubt of Vronsky's intentions, but her husband's words had disturbed her. And returning to her own room, in terror before the unknown future, she, too, like Kitty, repeated several times in her heart, "Lord, have pity; Lord, have pity; Lord, have pity!"

XVI.

Vronsky had never had a real home life. His mother had been in her youth a brilliant society woman, who had had during her married life, and still more afterward, many love affairs notorious in the whole fashionable world. His father he scarcely remembered, and he had been educated in the Corps of Pages.

Leaving the school very young as a brilliant officer, he had at once got into the circle of wealthy Peterburg army men. Although he did go more or less into Peterburg society, his love affairs had always hitherto been outside it.

In Moscow he had for the first time felt, after his luxurious and coarse life at Peterburg, all the charm of intimacy with a sweet and innocent girl of his own rank, who cared for him. It never even entered his head that there could be any harm in his relations with Kitty. At balls he danced principally with her. He was a constant visitor at her house. He talked to her as people commonly do talk in society——all sorts of nonsense, but nonsense to which he could not help attaching a special meaning in her case. Although he said nothing to her that he could not have said before everybody, he felt that she was becoming more and more dependent upon him, and the more he felt this, the better he liked it, and the tenderer was his feeling for her. He did not know that this mode of behavior in relation to Kitty had a definite character, that it is courting young girls with no intention of marriage, and that such courting is one of the evil actions common among brilliant young men such as he was. It seemed to him that he was the first who had discovered this pleasure, and he was enjoying his discovery.

If he could have heard what her parents were saying that evening, if he could have put himself at the point of view of the family, and have heard that Kitty would be unhappy if he did not marry her, he would have been greatly astonished, and would not have believed it. He could not believe that what gave such great and delicate pleasure to him, and above all to her, could be wrong. Still less could he have believed that he ought to marry.

Marriage had never presented itself to him as a possibility. He not only disliked family life, but a family, and especially a husband, in accordance with the views general in the bachelor world in which he lived, were conceived as something alien, repellent, and, above all, ridiculous. But though Vronsky had not the least suspicion of what the parents were saying, he felt on coming away from the Shcherbatskys' that the secret spiritual bond which existed between him and Kitty had grown so much stronger that evening that some step must be taken. But what step could and should be taken he could not imagine.

"What is so exquisite," he thought, as he returned from the Shcherbatskys', carrying away with him, as he always did, a delicious feeling of purity and freshness, arising partly from the fact that he had not been smoking for a whole evening, and with it a new feeling of tenderness at her love for him——"what is so exquisite is that not a word has been said by me or by her, yet we understand each other so well in this unseen language of looks and tones, that this evening more clearly than ever she told me she loves me. And how sweetly, simply, and most of all, how trustfully! I feel myself better, purer. I feel that I have a heart, and that there is a great deal of good in me Those sweet, loving eyes! When she said: 'Indeed I do...'"

"Well, what then? Oh, nothing. It's good for me, and good for her." And he began wondering where to finish the evening.

He passed in review the places he might go to. "Club? a game of bezique; champagne with Ignatov? No, I'm not going. Chateau des Fleurs; there I shall find Oblonsky, songs, the cancan. No, I'm sick of it. That's why I like the Shcherbatskys', because I'm growing better. I'll go home." He went straight to his room at Dussot's Hotel, ordered supper, and then undressed, and as soon as his head touched the pillow, fell into a sound sleep.

XVII.

Next day, at eleven o'clock in the morning, Vronsky drove to the station of the Peterburg railway to meet his mother, and the first person he came across on the great flight of steps was Oblonsky, who was expecting his sister by the same train.

"Ah! Your Excellency!" cried Oblonsky, "Whom are you meeting?"

"My mother," Vronsky responded, smiling, as everyone did who met Oblonsky. He shook hands with him, and together they ascended the steps. "She is to be here from Peterburg today."

"I was looking out for you till two o'clock last night. Where did you go from the Shcherbatskys'?"

"Home," answered Vronsky. "I must own I felt so well content yesterday after the Shcherbatskys' that I didn't care to go anywhere."

"'I can tell the gallant steeds' by some... I don't know what... 'paces'; I can tell youths 'by their faces,'" declaimed Stepan Arkadyevich, just as he had done before to Levin.

Vronsky smiled with a look that seemed to say that he did not deny it, but he promptly changed the subject.

"And whom are you meeting?" he asked.

"I? I've come to meet a pretty woman," said Oblonsky.

"So that's it!"

"Honi soit qui mal y pense! My sister Anna."

"Ah! that's Madame Karenina," said Vronsky.

"You know her, no doubt?"

"I think I do. Or perhaps not... I really am not sure," Vronsky answered heedlessly, with a vague recollection of something stiff and tedious evoked by the name Karenina.

"But Alexei Alexandrovich, my celebrated brother-in-law, you surely must know. All the world knows him."

"I know him by reputation and by sight. I know that he's clever, learned, religious somewhat... But you know that's not... not in my line," said Vronsky in English.

"Yes, he's a very remarkable man; rather a conservative, but a very nice man," observed Stepan Arkadyevich, "a very nice man."

"Oh, well, so much the better for him," said Vronsky smiling. "Oh, you've come," he said, addressing a tall old footman of his mother's standing at the door; "come here."

Besides the charm Oblonsky had in general for everyone, Vronsky had felt of late specially drawn to him by the fact that in his imagination he was associated with Kitty.

"Well, what do you say? Shall we give a supper on Sunday for the diva?" he said to him with a smile, taking his arm.

"Of course. I'm collecting subscriptions. Oh, did you make the acquaintance of my friend Levin?" asked Stepan Arkadyevich.

"Yes; but he left rather early."

"He's a capital fellow," pursued Oblonsky. "Isn't he?"

"I don't know why it is," responded Vronsky, "in all Moscow people——present company of course excepted," he put in jestingly, "there's something uncompromising. They are all on the defensive, lose their tempers, as though they all want to make one feel something...."

"Yes, that's true, it's so," said Stepan Arkadyevich, laughing cheerfully.

"Will the train be in soon?" Vronsky asked a railway official.

"The train's signaled," answered the man.

The approach of the train was more and more evident by the preparatory bustle in the station, the rush of porters, the movement of gendarmes and attendants, and crowding people meeting the train. Through the frosty vapor could be seen workmen in short sheepskins and soft felt boots crossing the rails of the curving line. The hiss of the boiler could be heard on the distant rails, and the rumble of something heavy.

"No," said Stepan Arkadyevich, who felt a great inclination to tell Vronsky of Levin's intentions in regard to Kitty. "No, you haven't got a true impression of Levin. He's a very nervous man, and is sometimes out of humor, it's true, but then he is often very charming. He has such a true, honest nature, and a heart of gold. But yesterday there were special reasons," pursued Stepan Arkadyevich, with a meaning smile, totally oblivious of the genuine sympathy he had felt the day before for his friend, and feeling the same sympathy now, only for Vronsky. "Yes, there were reasons why he could not help being either particularly happy or particularly unhappy."

Vronsky stood still and asked directly: "How so? Do you mean he proposed to your belle-soeur yesterday?"

"Maybe," said Stepan Arkadyevich. "I fancied something of the sort yesterday. Yes, if he went away early, and was out of humor too, such must be the case.... He's been so long in love, and I'm very sorry for him."

"So that's it!... I should imagine, though, she might reckon on a better match," said Vronsky, setting his chest straight and walking about again, "though I don't know him, of course," he added. "Yes, that is a hateful position! That's why most fellows prefer to have to do with the Claras. If you don't succeed with them it only proves that you've not enough cash, but in this case one's dignity is in the balance. But here's the train."

The engine had already whistled in the distance. A few instants later the platform began to shake, and, with puffs of steam hanging low in the air from the frost, the engine rolled up, with the rod of the middle wheel rhythmically moving up and down, and the bowed, muffled figure of the engine driver covered with hoarfrost. Behind the tender, setting the platform more and more slowly and more powerfully shaking, came the luggage van with a dog whining in it. At last the passenger carriages rolled in, quivering before coming to a standstill.

A smart guard jumped out, giving a whistle, and after him one by one the impatient passengers began to get down: an officer of the guards, holding himself erect, and looking severely about him; a nimble young merchant with a bag, smiling gaily; a peasant with a sack over his shoulder.

Vronsky, standing beside Oblonsky, watched the carriages and the passengers, totally oblivious of his mother. What he had just heard about Kitty excited and delighted him. Unconsciously he straightened his chest, and his eyes flashed. He felt himself a conqueror.

"Countess Vronskaia is in that compartment," said the smart guard, going up to Vronsky.

The guard's words roused him, and forced him to think of his mother and his approaching meeting with her. He did not in his heart respect his mother, and, without acknowledging it to himself, he did not love her, though in accordance with the ideas of the set in which he lived, and with his own upbringing, he could not have conceived of any behavior to his mother not in the highest degree respectful and obedient, and the more externally obedient and respectful, the less in his heart he respected and loved her.

XVIII.

Vronsky followed the guard to the carriage, and at the door of the compartment he stopped short to make room for a lady who was getting out.

With the habitual feeling of a man of the world, from one glance at this lady's appearance Vronsky classified her as belonging to the best society. He begged pardon, and was getting into the carriage, but felt he must glance at her once more; not because she was very beautiful, not because of that elegance and modest grace which were apparent in her whole figure, but because in the expression of her charming face, as she passed close by him, there was something peculiarly caressing and soft. As he looked round, she too turned her head. Her shining gray eyes, that looked dark because of her thick lashes, rested with friendly attention on his face, as though she were recognizing him, and then promptly turned away to the passing crowd, as though seeking someone. In that brief look Vronsky had time to notice the suppressed animation which played over her face, and flitted between the brilliant eyes and the faint smile that curved her red lips. It was as though her nature were so brimming over with something that, against her will, it showed itself now in the flash of her eyes, and now in her smile. Deliberately she shrouded the light in her eyes, but it shone against her will in her faintly perceptible smile.

Vronsky stepped into the carriage. His mother, a dried-up old lady with black eyes and ringlets, screwed up her eyes, scanning her son, and smiled slightly with her thin lips. Getting up from the seat and handing her maid a handbag, she gave her little wrinkled hand to her son to kiss, and lifting his head from her hand, kissed him on the cheek.

"You got my telegram? Quite well? Thank God."

"You had a good journey?" said her son, sitting down beside her, and involuntarily listening to a woman's voice outside the door. He knew it was the voice of the lady he had met at the door.

"All the same I don't agree with you," said the lady's voice.

"It's the Peterburg view, madame."

"Not Peterburg, but simply feminine," she responded.

"Well, well, allow me to kiss your hand."

"Good-by, Ivan Petrovich. And would you see if my brother is here, and send him to me?" said the lady in the doorway, and stepped back again into the compartment.

"Well, have you found your brother?" said Countess Vronskaia, addressing the lady.

Vronsky understood now that this was Madame Karenina.

"Your brother is here," he said, standing up. "Excuse me, I did not know you, and, indeed, our acquaintance was so slight," said Vronsky bowing, "that no doubt you do not remember me."

"Oh, no," said she, "I should have known you because your mother and I have been talking, I think, of nothing but you all the way." As she spoke she let the animation that would insist on coming out show itself in her smile. "And still no sign of my brother."

"Do call him, Aliosha," said the old countess.

Vronsky stepped out onto the platform and shouted: "Oblonsky! Here!"

Madame Karenina, however, did not wait for her brother, but catching sight of him she stepped out with her light, resolute step. And as soon as her brother had reached her, with a gesture that struck Vronsky by its decision and its grace, she flung her left arm around his neck, drew him rapidly to her, and kissed him warmly. Vronsky looked on, never taking his eyes from her, and smiled, he could not have said why. But recollecting that his mother was waiting for him, he went back again into the carriage.

"She's very sweet, isn't she?" said the Countess of Madame Karenina. "Her husband put her with me, and I was delighted to have her. We've been talking all the way. And so you, I hear... vous filez le parfait amour. Tant mieux, mon cher, tant mieux."

"I don't know what you are referring to, maman," he answered coldly. "Come, maman, let us go."

Madame Karenina entered the carriage again to say good-by to the Countess.

"Well, Countess, you have met your son, and I my brother," she said gaily. "And all my stories are exhausted; I should have nothing more to tell you."

"Oh, no," said the Countess, taking her hand. "I could go all around the world with you and never be dull. You are one of those delightful women in whose company it's sweet either to be silent or to chat. Now please don't fret over your son; you can't expect never to be parted."

Madame Karenina stood quite still, holding herself very erect, and her eyes were smiling.

"Anna Arkadyevna," the Countess said in explanation to her son, "has a little son eight years old, I believe, and she has never been parted from him before, and she keeps fretting over leaving him."

"Yes, the Countess and I have been talking all the time, I of my son and she of hers," said Madame Karenina, and again a smile lighted up her face——a caressing smile intended for him.

"I am afraid that you must have been dreadfully bored," he said, promptly catching the ball of coquetry she had flung him. But apparently she did not care to pursue the conversation in that strain, and she turned to the old Countess.

"Thank you so much. The time has passed so quickly. Good-by, Countess."

"Good-by, my love," answered the Countess. "Let me kiss your pretty face. I speak plainly, at my age, and I tell you simply that I've lost my heart to you."

Stereotyped as the phrase was, Madame Karenina obviously believed it and was delighted by it. She flushed, bent down slightly, and put her cheek to the Countess's lips, drew herself up again, and, with the same smile fluttering between her lips and her eyes, she gave her hand to Vronsky. He pressed the little hand she gave him, and was delighted, as though at something special, by the energetic squeeze with which she freely and vigorously shook his hand. She went out with the rapid step which bore her rather fully developed figure with such strange lightness.

"Very charming," said the Countess.

That was precisely what her son was thinking. His eyes followed her till her graceful figure was out of sight, and then the smile remained on his face. He saw out of the window how she went up to her brother, put her arm in his, and began telling him something animatedly——obviously something that had nothing to do with him, Vronsky, and at that he felt annoyed.

"Well, maman, are you perfectly well?" he repeated, turning to his mother.

"Everything has been delightful. Alexandre has been very good, and Marie has grown very pretty. She's very interesting."

And she began telling him again of what interested her most——the christening of her grandson, for which she had been staying in Peterburg, and the special favor shown her elder son by the Czar.

"Here's Lavrentii," said Vronsky, looking out of the window; "now we can go, if you like."

The old butler who had traveled with the Countess came to the carriage to announce that everything was ready, and the Countess got up to go.

"Come; there's not such a crowd now," said Vronsky.

The maid took a handbag and the lap dog, the butler and a porter the other baggage. Vronsky gave his mother his arm; but just as they were getting out of the carriage several men ran suddenly by with panic-stricken faces. The stationmaster, too, ran by in his extraordinarily colored cap. Obviously something unusual had happened. The crowd was running to the tail end of the train.

"What?... What?... Where?... Flung himself!... Crushed!..." was heard among the crowd.

Stepan Arkadyevich, with his sister on his arm, turned back. They too looked scared, and stopped at the carriage door to avoid the crowd.

The ladies got in, while Vronsky and Stepan Arkadyevich followed the crowd to find out details of the disaster.

A watchman, either drunk or too much muffled up in the bitter frost, had not heard the train moving back, and had been crushed.

Before Vronsky and Oblonsky came back the ladies heard the facts from the butler.

Oblonsky and Vronsky had both seen the mutilated corpse. Oblonsky was evidently distressed. He frowned and seemed ready to cry.

"Ah, how awful! Ah, Anna, if you had seen it! Ah, how awful!" he kept repeating.

Vronsky did not speak; his handsome face was serious, but perfectly calm.

"Ah, if you had seen it, Countess," said Stepan Arkadyevich. "And his wife was there.... It was awful to see her!... She flung herself on the body. They say he was the only support of an immense family. How awful!"

"Couldn't one do anything for her?" said Madame Karenina in an agitated whisper.

Vronsky glanced at her, and immediately got out of the carriage.

"I'll be back directly, maman," he remarked, turning round in the doorway.

When he came back a few minutes later, Stepan Arkadyevich was already in conversation with the Countess about a new singer, while she was impatiently looking toward the door, waiting for her son.

"Now let us be off," said Vronsky, coming in.

They went out together. Vronsky was in front with his mother. Behind walked Madame Karenina with her brother. Just as they were going out of the station the stationmaster overtook Vronsky.

"You gave my assistant two hundred roubles. Would you kindly explain for whose benefit you intend them?"

"For the widow," said Vronsky, shrugging his shoulders. "I should have thought there was no need to ask."

"You gave that?" cried Oblonsky behind, and, pressing his sister's hand, he added: "Most charming, most charming! Isn't he a fine fellow? Good-by, Countess."

And he and his sister stood still, looking for her maid.

When they went out the Vronskys' carriage had already driven away. People coming in were still talking of what had happened.

"What a horrible death!" said a gentleman, passing by. "They say he was cut in two."

"On the contrary, I think it's the easiest——instantaneous," observed another.

"How is it they don't take proper precautions?" a third was saying.

Madame Karenina seated herself in the carriage, and Stepan Arkadyevich saw with surprise that her lips were quivering, and that she was with difficulty restraining her tears.

"What is it, Anna?" he asked, when they had driven a few hundred sagenes.

"It's an omen of evil," she said.

"What nonsense!" said Stepan Arkadyevich. "You've come, that's the chief thing. You can't conceive how I'm resting my hopes on you."

"Have you known Vronsky long? she asked.

"Yes. You know we're hoping he will marry Kitty."

"Yes?" said Anna softly. "Come now, let us talk of you," she added, tossing her head, as though she would physically shake off something superfluous oppressing her. "Let us talk of your affairs. I got your letter, and here I am."

"Yes, all my hopes are in you," said Stepan Arkadyevich.

"Well, tell me all about it."

And Stepan Arkadyevich began his story.

On reaching home Oblonsky helped his sister out, sighed, pressed her hand, and set off to his office.

XIX.

When Anna entered the tiny drawing room, she found Dolly sitting there with a white-headed plump little boy, already resembling his father; she was listening to a lesson in French reading. As the boy read, he kept twisting and trying to tear off a button that was nearly off his jacket. His mother had several times taken his hand from it, but the plump little hand went back to the button again. His mother pulled the button off and put it in her pocket.

"Keep your hands still, Grisha," she said, and she took up her work, a coverlet she had long been making. She always set to work on it at depressed moments, and now she knitted at it nervously, twitching her fingers and counting the stitches. Though she had sent word the day before to her husband that it was nothing to her whether his sister came or not, she had made everything ready for her arrival, and was expecting her sister-in-law with agitation.

Dolly was crushed by her sorrow, utterly swallowed up by it. Still she did not forget that Anna, her sister-in-law, was the wife of one of the most important personages in Peterburg, and was a Peterburg grande dame. And, thanks to this circumstance, she did not carry out her threat to her husband——that is to say, she had not forgotten that her sister-in-law was coming. "And, after all, Anna is in no wise to blame," thought Dolly. "I know nothing save the very best about her, and I have seen nothing but kindness and affection from her toward myself." It was true that as far as she could recall her impressions at Peterburg at the Karenins', she did not like their household itself; there was something artificial about the whole arrangement of their family life. "But why should I not receive her? If only she doesn't take it into her head to console me!" thought Dolly. "All consolations and exhortations and Christian forgiveness——I have thought all this over a thousand times, and it's all no use."

All these days Dolly had been alone with her children. She did not want to talk of her sorrow, but with that sorrow in her heart she could not talk of outside matters.

She knew that in one way or another she would tell Anna everything, and she was alternately glad at the thought of speaking freely, and angry at the necessity of speaking of her humiliation with her, his sister, and of hearing her ready-made phrases of exhortation and consolation.

She had been on the lookout for her, glancing at her watch every minute, and, as often happens, let slip that precise minute when her visitor arrived, so that she did not hear the bell.

Catching the sound of skirts and of light steps at the door, she looked round, and her careworn face unconsciously expressed not gladness, but wonder. She got up and embraced her sister-in-law.

"What, here already?" she said as she kissed her.

"Dolly, how glad I am to see you!"

"I am glad, too," said Dolly, faintly smiling, and trying by the expression of Anna's face to find out whether she knew. "Most likely she knows," she thought, noticing the sympathy in Anna's face. "Well, come along, I'll take you to your room," she went on, trying to defer as long as possible the time of explanation.

"Is this Grisha? Heavens, how he's grown!" said Anna; and kissing him, never taking her eyes off Dolly, she stood still and flushed. "No, please, let us stay here."

She took off her shawl and her hat, and catching it in a lock of her black hair, which was a mass of curls, she tossed her head and shook her hair down.

"You are radiant with health and happiness!" said Dolly, almost with envy.

"I?... Yes," said Anna. "Merciful heavens, Tania! You're the same age as my Seriozha," she added, addressing the little girl as she ran in. She took her in her arms and kissed her. "Delightful child, delightful! Show me them all."

She mentioned them, not only remembering the names, but the years, months, characters, illnesses of all the children, and Dolly could not but appreciate that.

"Very well, we will go to them," she said. "It's a pity Vassia's asleep."

After seeing the children, they sat down, alone now, in the drawing room, to coffee. Anna took the tray, and then pushed it away from her.

"Dolly," she said, "he has told me."

Dolly looked coldly at Anna; she was waiting now for hypocritically sympathetic phrases, but Anna said nothing of the sort.

"Dolly, darling," she said, "I don't want to intercede for him, nor to try to comfort you——that's impossible. But, my dearest, I'm simply sorry, sorry from my heart for you!"

Under the thick lashes of her shining eyes tears suddenly glittered. She moved nearer to her sister-in-law and took her hand in her own, vigorous and little. Dolly did not shrink away, but her face did not lose its frigid expression. She said:

"To comfort me is impossible. Everything's lost after what has happened, everything's over!"

And directly she had said this, her face suddenly softened. Anna lifted the wasted, thin hand of Dolly, kissed it and said:

"But, Dolly, what's to be done, what's to be done? How is it best to act in this awful position——that's what you must think of."

"All's over, and there's nothing more," said Dolly. "And the worst of it all is, you see, that I can't cast him off: there are the children——my hands are tied. And I can't live with him! It's a torture for me to see him."

"Dolly, darling, he has spoken to me, but I want to hear it from you: tell me all about it."

Dolly looked at her inquiringly.

Sympathy and love unfeigned were apparent on Anna's face.

"Very well," she suddenly said. "But I will begin at the beginning. You know how I was married. With the education maman gave us I was more than innocent——I was foolish. I knew nothing. They say, I know, men tell their wives of their former lives, but Stiva"—— she corrected herself——"Stepan Arkadyevich told me nothing. You'll hardly believe it, but till now I imagined that I was the only woman he had known. So I lived eight years. You must understand that I was not only far from suspecting infidelity, but I regarded it as impossible, and then——try to imagine it——with such conceptions to find out suddenly all the horror, all the loathsomeness... You must try and understand me. To be fully convinced of one's happiness, and all at once..." continued Dolly, holding back her sobs, "To get a letter... His letter to his mistress, a governess in my employ. No, it's too awful!" She hastily pulled out her handkerchief and hid her face in it. "I can understand if it were passion," she went on, after a brief silence, "but to deceive me deliberately, slyly... And with whom?... To go on being my husband while he and she... It's awful! You can't understand..."

"Oh, yes, I understand! I understand! Dolly, dearest, I do understand," said Anna, pressing her hand.

"And do you imagine he realizes all the awfulness of my position? Dolly resumed. "Not in the slightest! He's happy and contented."

"Oh, no!" Anna interposed quickly. "He's to be pitied, he's weighed down by remorse..."

"Is he capable of remorse?" Dolly interrupted, gazing intently into her sister-in-law's face.

"Yes. I know him. I could not look at him without feeling sorry for him. We both know him. He's good-natured, but he's proud, and now he's so humiliated. What touched me most..." (And here Anna guessed what would touch Dolly most.) "He's tortured by two things: that he's ashamed for the children's sake, and that, loving you—— yes, yes, loving you beyond everything on earth," she hurriedly interrupted Dolly, who would have rejoined——"he has hurt you, pierced you to the heart. 'No, no, she cannot forgive me,' he keeps on saying."

Dolly looked pensively past her sister-in-law as she listened to her words.

"Yes, I can see that his position is awful; it's worse for the guilty than the innocent," she said, "if he feels that all the misery comes from his fault. But how am I to forgive him, how am I to be his wife again after her? For me to live with him now would be torture, just because I love my past love for him..."

And sobs cut short her words.

But as though of set design, each time she was softened she began to speak again of what exasperated her.

"She's young, you see, she's pretty," she went on. "Do you know, Anna, my youth and my beauty are gone, taken by whom? By him and his children. I have worked for him, and all I had has gone in his service, and now of course any fresh, vulgar creature has more charm for him. No doubt they talked of me together, or, worse still, they were silent about me.... Do you understand?"

Again her eyes glowed with hatred.

"And after that he will tell me... What! Am I to believe him? Never! No, everything is over, everything that once constituted my comfort, the reward of my work and of my sufferings... Would you believe it? I was teaching Grisha just now: once this was a joy to me, now it is a torture. What have I to strive and toil for? Why to have children? What's so awful is that all at once my heart's turned, and instead of love and tenderness, I have nothing but hatred for him; yes, hatred. I could kill him and..."

"Darling Dolly, I understand, but don't torture yourself You are so insulted, so excited, that you look at many things mistakenly."

Dolly grew calmer, and for two minutes both were silent.

"What's to be done? Think for me, Anna, help me. I have thought over everything, and I see nothing."

Anna could not find anything, but her heart echoed instantly to each word, to each change of expression on her sister-in-law's face.

"One thing I would say," began Anna. "I am his sister, I know his character, that faculty of forgetting everything, everything" (she waved her hand before her forehead), "that faculty for being completely carried away, but for completely repenting, too. He cannot believe it, he cannot comprehend now, how he could have acted as he did."

"No; he understands, and understood!" Dolly broke in. "But I... You are forgetting me... Does that make it easier for me?"

"Wait a minute. When he told me, I will own I did not realize all the horror of your position. I saw nothing but him, and that the family was broken up. I felt sorry for him, but after talking to you, I see it, as a woman, quite differently. I see your agony, and I can't tell you how sorry I am for you! But, Dolly, darling, while I fully realize your sufferings, there is one thing I don't know; I don't know... I don't know how much love there is still in your heart for him. That you know——whether there is enough for you to be able to forgive him. If there is——forgive him!"

"No," Dolly was beginning, but Anna cut her short, kissing her hand once more.

"I know more of the world than you do," she said. I know how men like Stiva look at it. You speak of his talking of you with her. That never happened. Such men are unfaithful, but their own home and wife are sacred to them. Somehow or other these women are still looked on with contempt by them, and do not touch on their feeling for their family. They draw a sort of line that can't be crossed between them and their families. I don't understand it, but it is so."

"Yes, but he has kissed her..."

"Dolly, hush, darling. I saw Stiva when he was in love with you. I remember the time when he came to me and cried, talking of you, and of what a poetry and loftiness you were for him, and I know that the longer he has lived with you the loftier you have been in his eyes. You know we have sometimes laughed at him for putting in at every word: "Dolly's a marvelous woman." have always been a divinity for him, and you are that still, and this has not been a passion of the heart...

"But if it be repeated?"

"It cannot be, as I understand it...

"Yes, but could you forgive it?"

"I don't know, I can't judge... No, I can judge," said Anna, thinking a moment; and grasping the position in her thought and weighing it in her inner balance, she added: "Yes, I can, I can, I can. Yes, I could forgive. I could not be the same, no; but I could forgive, and forgive as though it had never been, never been at all...."

"Oh, of course," Dolly interposed quickly, as though saying what she had more than once thought, "else it would not be forgiveness. If one forgives, it must be completely, completely. Come, let us go; I'll take you to your room," she said, getting up, and on the way she embraced Anna. "My dear, how glad I am you came. It has made things better, ever so much better."

XX.

The whole of that day Anna spent at home——that is, at the Oblonskys', and received no one, though some of her acquaintances had already heard of her arrival, and came to call the same day. Anna spent the whole morning with Dolly and the children. She merely sent a brief note to her brother to tell him that he must not fail to dine at home. "Come, God is merciful," she wrote.

Oblonsky did dine at home: the conversation was general, and his wife, speaking to him, addressed him as "Stiva," as she had not done for some time past. In the relations of husband and wife the same estrangement still remained, but there was no talk of separation, and Stepan Arkadyevich saw the possibility of explanation and reconciliation.

Immediately after dinner Kitty came in. She knew Anna Arkadyevna, but only very slightly, and she came now to her sister's with some trepidation, at the prospect of meeting this fashionable Peterburg lady, of whom everyone spoke so highly. But she made a favorable impression on Anna Arkadyevna——she perceived that at once. Anna was unmistakably admiring her loveliness and her youth: before Kitty knew where she was she found herself not merely under Anna's sway, but in love with her, as young girls do fall in love with older and married women. Anna did not resemble a fashionable lady, or the mother of a boy eight years old. In the elasticity of her movements, the freshness and the animation which persisted in her face and broke out in her smile and her glance, she would rather have passed for a girl of twenty, had it not been for a serious and, at times, a mournful look in her eyes, which struck and attracted Kitty. Kitty felt that Anna was perfectly simple and was concealing nothing, but that she had another higher world of interests, complex and poetic, which were inaccessible to Kitty.

After dinner, when Dolly withdrew to her own room, Anna rose quickly and went up to her brother, who was just lighting a cigar.

"Stiva," she said to him, winking gaily, making the sign of the cross over him, and glancing toward the door, "go, and God help you.

He tossed away his cigar, having understood her, and departed through the doorway.

When Stepan Arkadyevich had disappeared, she went back to the sofa where she had been sitting, surrounded by the children. Either because the children saw that their mother was fond of this aunt, or that they themselves sensed a special charm in her, the two elder ones, and the younger following their lead, as children so often do, had clung about their new aunt since before dinner, and would not leave her side. And it had become a sort of game among them to sit as close as possible to their aunt, to touch her, hold her little hand, kiss it, play with her ring, or even touch the flounce of her skirt.

"Come, come, as we were sitting before," said Anna Arkadyevna, sitting down in her place.

And again Grisha poked his little face under her arm, and nestled with his head on her gown, beaming with pride and happiness.

"And when is your next ball?" she asked Kitty.

"Next week——and a splendid ball. One of those balls where one always enjoys oneself."

"Why, are there balls where one always enjoys oneself?" Anna said, with tender irony.

"It's strange, but there are. At the Bobrishchevs' one always enjoys oneself, and at the Nikitins' too, while at the Mezhkovs' it's always dull. Haven't you noticed it?"

"No, my dear, for me there are no balls now where one enjoys oneself," said Anna, and Kitty detected in her eyes that peculiar world which was not revealed to her. "For me there are some which are less dull and tiresome than others."

"How can you be dull at a ball?"

"Why should not I be dull at a ball?" inquired Anna.

Kitty perceived that Anna knew what answer would follow.

"Because you always look the loveliest of all."

Anna had the faculty of blushing. She blushed, and said:

"In the first place it's never so; and secondly, if it were, what difference would it make to me?"

"Are you coming to this ball? asked Kitty.

"I imagine it won't be possible to avoid going. Here, take it," she said to Tania, who was pulling the loosely fitting ring off her white, slender-tipped finger.

"I shall be so glad if you go. I should so like to see you at a ball."

"Anyway, if I do go, I shall comfort myself with the thought that it's a pleasure to you.... Grisha, don't pull my hair. It's untidy enough without that," she said, putting up a straying lock, which Grisha had been playing with.

"I imagine you at the ball in lilac."

"And why in lilac, precisely?" asked Anna, smiling. "Now, children, run along, run along. Do you hear? Miss Hoole is calling you to tea," she said tearing the children from her, and sending them off to the dining room.

"I know why you press me to come to the ball. You expect a great deal of this ball, and you want everyone to be there and take part in it."

"How do you know? Yes!"

"Oh! What a happy time you are at," pursued Anna. "I remember, and I know this blue haze, like the mist on the mountains in Switzerland. This mist, which covers everything in that blissful time when childhood is just ending, and out of that vast circle, happy and gay, there is a path growing narrower and narrower, and it is delightful and alarming to enter the ballroom, bright and splendid as it is.... Who has not been through it?"

Kitty smiled without speaking. "But how did she go through it? How I should like to know all her love story!" thought Kitty, recalling the unromantic appearance of Alexei Alexandrovich, her husband.

"I know something. Stiva told me, and I congratulate you. I liked him so much," Anna continued. "I met Vronsky at the railway station."

"Oh, was he there?" asked Kitty, blushing. "What was it Stiva told you?"

"Stiva blabbed about it all. And I should be so glad. I traveled yesterday with Vronsky's mother," she went on; "and his mother talked without a pause of him; he's her favorite. I know mothers are partial, but..."

"What did his mother tell you?"

"Oh, a great deal! And although I know that he's her favorite, one can still see how chivalrous he is.... Well, for instance, she told me that he had wanted to give up all his property to his brother; that he had done something extraordinary when he was quite a child——saved a woman from the water. He's a hero, in fact," said Anna, smiling and recollecting the two hundred roubles he had given at the station.

But she did not tell Kitty about the two hundred roubles. For some reason it was disagreeable to her to think of it. She felt that there was something that had to do with her in it, and something that ought not to have been.

"She pressed me very much to go and see her," Anna went on; "and I shall be glad to go to see her tomorrow. Stiva is staying a long while in Dolly's room, thank God," Anna added, changing the subject, and getting up, Kitty fancied, displeased with something.

"No, I'm first! No, I!" screamed the children, who had finished tea, running up to their Aunt Anna.

"All together," said Anna, and she ran laughing to meet them, and, embracing them, threw all the children, shrieking with delight, into a swarming heap.

XXI.

Dolly came out of her room to the tea of the grownups. Stepan Arkadyevich did not come out. He must have left his wife's room by a back door.

"I am afraid you'll be cold upstairs," observed Dolly, addressing Anna; "I want to move you downstairs, and we shall be nearer."

"Oh, please, don't trouble about me," answered Anna, looking intently into Dolly's face, trying to make out whether there had been a reconciliation or not.

"It will be lighter for you here," answered her sister-in-law.

"I assure you that I can sleep like a marmot anywhere and any time."

"What's all this?" inquired Stepan Arkadyevich, coming out of his room and addressing his wife.

From his tone both Kitty and Anna at once gathered that a reconciliation had taken place.

"I want to move Anna downstairs, but we must hang up blinds. No one knows how to do it; I must see to it myself," answered Dolly addressing him.

"God knows whether they are fully reconciled," thought Anna, hearing her tone, cold and composed.

"Come, Dolly, why be always making difficulties," answered her husband. "There, I'll do it all, if you like..."

"I know how you do everything," answered Dolly. "You tell Matvei to do what can't be done, and go away yourself, leaving him to make a muddle of everything," and her habitual, mocking smile curved the corners of Dolly's lips as she spoke.

"Full, full reconciliation——full," thought Anna, "thank God!" and rejoicing that she was the cause of it, she went up to Dolly and kissed her.

"Not at all. Why do you always look down on me and Matvei?" said Stepan Arkadyevich, smiling hardly perceptibly, and addressing his wife.

The whole evening Dolly was, as always, a little mocking in her tone to her husband, while Stepan Arkadyevich was happy and cheerful, yet not so as to seem as if, having been forgiven, he had forgotten his fault.

At half-past nine o'clock a particularly joyful and pleasant family conversation over the tea table at the Oblonskys' was broken up by an apparently simple incident. But this simple incident for some reason struck everyone as strange. Having begun talking about common acquaintances in Peterburg, Anna got up quickly.

"She is in my album," she said; "and, by the way, I'll show you my Seriozha," she added, with a mother's smile of pride.

Toward ten o'clock, when she usually said good night to her son, and often, before going to a ball put him to bed herself, she felt depressed at being so far from him; and whatever she was talking about, she kept coming back in thought to her curly-headed Seriozha. She longed to look at his photograph and talk of him. Seizing the first pretext, she got up, and with her light, resolute step went for her album. The stairs up to her room came out on the landing of the great warm main staircase.

Just as she was leaving the drawing room, a ring was heard in the hall.

"Who can that be?" said Dolly.

"It's too early for me to be fetched, and for anyone else it's too late," observed Kitty.

"It's sure to be someone with papers for me," put in Stepan Arkadyevich. When Anna was passing the top of the staircase, a servant was running up to announce the visitor, while the visitor himself was standing under a lamp. Anna, glancing down, at once recognized Vronsky, and a strange feeling of pleasure and, at the same time, of some dread, stirred in her heart. He stood there, without taking off his coat, and pulling something out of his pocket. At the instant when she was just halfway up the stairs he raised his eyes, caught sight of her, and the expression of his face changed to embarrassment and dismay. With a slight inclination of her head she passed, hearing behind her Stepan Arkadyevich's loud voice calling him to come up, and the quiet, soft, and calm voice of Vronsky refusing.

When Anna returned with the album he was already gone, and Stepan Arkadyevich was telling them that he had called to inquire about the dinner they were giving next day to a foreign celebrity.

"And nothing would induce him to come up. What a queer fellow he is!" added Stepan Arkadyevich.

Kitty blushed. She thought that she was the only person who knew why he had come, and why he would not come up. "He has been at home," she thought, "and didn't find me, and thought I should be here, but he did not come up because he thought it late, and Anna's here."

All of them looked at each other, saying nothing, and began to look at Anna's album.

There was nothing either exceptional or strange in a man's calling at half-past nine on a friend to inquire details of a proposed dinner party and not coming in, yet it seemed strange to all of them. And to Anna it seemed stranger and more unpleasant than to any of the others.

XXII.

The ball was only just beginning as Kitty and her mother walked up the great staircase, flooded with light, and lined with flowers and footmen in powder and red coats. From the rooms came a constant, steady noise, like that of a hive aswarm; and as they were giving the final little touches to hair and dresses before a mirror on the landing between potted trees, they heard, coming from the ballroom, the gently distinct notes of the fiddles of the orchestra, beginning the first waltz. A little ancient in civilian dress, arranging his gray curls before another mirror, and diffusing an odor of scent, stumbled against them on the stairs, and stood aside, evidently admiring Kitty, whom he did not know. A beardless youth, one of those society youths whom the old Prince Shcherbatsky called whelps, in an exceedingly open waistcoat, straightening his white tie as he went, bowed to them and after running by, came back to ask Kitty for a quadrille. As the first quadrille had already been given to Vronsky, she had to promise this youth the second. An officer, buttoning his glove, stood aside in the doorway, and, stroking his mustache, admired the rosy Kitty.

Although her dress, her coiffure, and all the preparations for the ball had cost Kitty much trouble and planning, at this moment she walked into the ballroom in the elaborate tulle dress over a pink slip as unconcernedly and simply as though all the rosettes and lace, all the minute details of her attire, had not cost her or her family a moment's attention, as though she had been born in this tulle and lace, with this towering coiffure, surmounted by a rose and two small leaves.

When, just before entering the ballroom, the old Princess tried to adjust a sash ribbon that had become twisted, Kitty had drawn back a little. She felt that everything must be right of itself, and graceful, and that nothing could need setting straight.

Kitty had one of her good days. Her dress was not uncomfortable anywhere; her lace bertha did not droop anywhere; her rosettes were neither crushed nor torn off; her pink slippers with high, curving heels did not pinch, but gladdened her tiny feet; and the thick bandeaux of fair hair kept up on her head. All the three buttons buttoned up without tearing on the long glove that covered her hand without concealing its lines. The black velvet ribbon of her locket nestled with special tenderness round her neck. This velvet ribbon was a darling; at home, regarding her neck in the looking glass, Kitty had felt that that velvet was speaking. About all the rest there might be a doubt, but the velvet ribbon was a darling. Kitty smiled here too, at the ball, when she glanced at it in the glass. Her bare shoulders and arms gave Kitty a sensation of chill marble——a sensation she particularly liked. Her eyes sparkled, and her rosy lips could not help but smile from the consciousness of their own attractiveness. She had scarcely entered the ballroom and reached the tulle-ribbon-lace-colored throng of ladies, waiting to be asked to dance——Kitty was never one of that throng——when she was asked for a waltz, and asked by the best partner, the first star in the hierarchy of the ballroom, a renowned conductor of the dances and master of ceremonies, married man, handsome and well built, Iegorushka Korsunsky. He had only just left the Countess Banina, with whom he had danced the first turn of the waltz, and, scanning his demesne——that is to say, a few couples who had started dancing——he caught sight of Kitty entering, and flew up to her with that peculiar, easy amble which is confined to conductors of the dances. Bowing and without even asking her if she cared to dance, he put out his arm to encircle her slender waist. She looked round for someone to give her fan to, and their hostess, smiling to her, took it.

"How good of you to come in good time," he said to her, embracing her waist; "such a bad habit to be late."

Bending her left arm, she laid it on his shoulder, and her little feet in their pink slippers began swiftly, lightly, and rhythmically moving over the slippery floor in time to the music.

"It's a rest to waltz with you," he said to her, as they fell into the first slow steps of the waltz. "It's charming——such lightness, precision." He said to her the same thing he said to almost all his partners whom he knew well.

She smiled at his praise, and continued to look about the room over his shoulder. She was not like a girl at her first ball, for whom all faces in the ballroom melt into one vision of fairyland. And she was not a girl who had gone the stale round of balls till every face in the ballroom was familiar and tiresome. But she was in the middle stage between these two; she was excited, and at the same time she had sufficient self-possession to be able to observe. In the left corner of the ballroom she saw the very flower of society grouped together. There——impossibly naked——was the beauty Liddy, Korsunsky's wife; there was the lady of the house; there shone the bald pate of Krivin, always to be found wherever the best people were; in that direction gazed the young men, not venturing to approach; there, too, she descried Stiva, and there she saw the charming figure and head of Anna in a black velvet gown. And he was there. Kitty had not seen him since the evening she refused Levin. With her farsighted eyes, knew him at once, and was even aware that he was looking at her.

"Another turn, eh? You're not tired?" said Korsunsky, a little out of breath.

"No, thank you!"

"Where shall I take you?"

"Madame Karenina's here, I think.... Take me to her."

"Wherever you command."

And Korsunsky began waltzing with measured steps straight toward the group in the left corner, continually saying, "Pardon, mesdames, pardon, pardon, mesdames," and steering his course through the sea of lace, tulle and ribbon, and not disarranging a feather, he turned his partner sharply round, so that her slim ankles, in light, transparent stockings, were exposed to view, and her train floated out in fan shape and covered Krivin's knees. Korsunsky bowed, set straight his open shirt front, and gave her his arm to conduct her to Anna Arkadyevna. Kitty, flushed, took her train from Krivin's knees, and, a little giddy, looked round, seeking Anna. Anna was not in lilac, as Kitty had so urgently wished, but in a black, low-cut, velvet gown, showing her full shoulders and bosom, that looked as though carved in old ivory, and her rounded arms, with tiny, slender hands. The whole gown was trimmed with Venetian guipure. On her head, among her black hair——her own, with no false additions——was a little wreath of pansies, and a similar one on the black ribbon of her sash, among white lace. Her coiffure was not striking. All that was noticeable was the little willful tendrils of her curly hair that persisted in escaping on the nape of her neck, and on her temples. Encircling her sculptured, strong neck was a thread of pearls.

Kitty had been seeing Anna every day; she adored her, and had pictured her invariably in lilac. But now, seeing her in black, she felt that she had not fully perceived her charm. She saw her now as someone quite new and surprising to her. Now she understood that Anna could not have been in lilac, and that her charm was precisely in that she always stood out against her attire, that her dress could never be noticeable on her. And her black dress, with its sumptuous lace, was not noticeable on her; it was only the frame and all that was seen was she——simple, natural, elegant, and at the same time gay and animated.

She was standing, as always, very erect, and when Kitty drew near the group she was speaking to the master of the house, her head slightly turned toward him.

"No, I won't cast a stone," she was saying, in answer to something, "though I can't understand it she went on, shrugging her shoulders, and she turned at once with a soft smile of protection toward Kitty. With a cursory feminine glance she scanned her attire, and made a movement of her head, hardly perceptible, but understood by Kitty, signifying approval of her dress and her looks. "You came into the room dancing," she added.

"This is one of my most faithful supporters," said Korsunsky, bowing to Anna Arkadyevna, whom he had not yet seen. "The Princess helps to make any ball festive and successful. Anna Arkadyevna, a waltz?" he said, bending down to her.

"Why, have you met?" inquired their host.

"Is there anyone we have not met? My wife and I are like white wolves——everyone knows us," answered Korsunsky. "A waltz, Anna Arkadyevna?"

"I don't dance whenever it's possible not to," she said.

"But tonight it's impossible," answered Korsunsky.

During the conversation Vronsky was approaching them.

"Well, since it's impossible tonight, let us start," she said, not noticing Vronsky's bow, and hastily put her hand on Korsunsky's shoulder.

"What is she vexed with him about?" thought Kitty, discerning that Anna had intentionally not responded to Vronsky's bow. Vronsky went up to Kitty, reminding her of the first quadrille, and expressing his regret at not having seen her all this time. Kitty gazed in admiration at Anna waltzing, as she listened to him. She expected him to ask her for a waltz, but he did not, and she glanced wonderingly at him. He flushed, and hurriedly asked her to waltz, but he had barely put his arm round her slender waist and taken the first step when the music suddenly stopped. Kitty looked into his face, which was so close to her own, and long afterward——for several years——this look, full of love, to which he made no response, cut her to the heart with an agony of shame.

"Pardon! Pardon! Waltz! Waltz!" shouted Korsunsky from the other side of the room, and, seizing the first young lady he came across he began dancing.

XXIII.

Vronsky and Kitty waltzed several times round the room. After the waltz Kitty went to her mother, and she had hardly time to say a few words to Countess Nordstone when Vronsky came up again for the first quadrille. During the quadrille nothing of any significance was said: there was disjointed talk between them of the Korsunskys, husband and wife, whom he described very amusingly, as delightful children at forty, and of the future popular theater; and only once did the conversation touch her to the quick——when he asked her whether Levin were here, and added that he liked him very much. But Kitty did not expect much from the quadrille. She looked forward with a sinking heart to the mazurka. She fancied that the mazurka would decide everything. The fact that he did not during the quadrille ask her for the mazurka did not trouble her. She felt sure she would dance it with him, as she had done at former balls, and refused five young men, saying she was engaged for the mazurka. The whole ball up to the last quadrille was for Kitty an enchanted vision of delightful colors, sounds and motions. She only sat down when she felt too tired and begged for a rest. But as she was dancing the last quadrille with one of the tiresome young men whom she could not refuse, she chanced to be vis-a-vis with Vronsky and Anna. She had not been near Anna since the beginning of the evening, and now she again suddenly saw her as quite new and surprising. She saw in her the signs of that excitement of success she knew so well in herself; she saw that she was intoxicated with the delighted admiration she was exciting. She knew that feeling and knew its signs, and saw them in Anna; saw the quivering, flashing light in her eyes, and the smile of happiness and excitement unconsciously curving her lips, and the distinct grace, precision and lightness of her movements.

"Who is it?" she asked herself. "All——or one?" And without keeping up her end of the conversation, the thread of which the harassed young man she was dancing with lost and could not pick up again, she obeyed with external liveliness the peremptory shouts of Korsunsky starting them all into the grand rond, and then into the chaine, and at the same time she kept watch with a growing pang at her heart. "No, it's not admiration of the crowd that has intoxicated her, but the adoration of one. And that one? Can it be he?" Every time he spoke to Anna the joyous light flashed into her eyes, and the smile of happiness curved her red lips. She seemed to make an effort to control herself, in order not to show these signs of delight, but they appeared on her face of themselves. "But what of him?" Kitty looked at him and was horrified. What was pictured so clearly to Kitty in the mirror of Anna's face she saw in him. What had become of his always calm, firm manner, and the carelessly calm expression of his face? Now every time he turned to her he bent his head, as though he would have fallen at her feet, and in his eyes there was nothing but humble submission and dread. "I would not offend you," his eyes seemed to be saying each time, "but I want to save myself, and I don't know how." On his face was a look such as Kitty had never seen before.

They were speaking of common acquaintances, keeping up the smallest of small talk, but to Kitty it seemed that every word they said was determining their fate and hers. And strangely enough, although they were actually talking of how absurd Ivan Ivanovich was with his French, and how the Eletsky girl might have made a better match, these words were yet fraught with significance for them, and they sensed this as much as Kitty did. The whole ball, the whole world, everything seemed screened by a fog within Kitty's soul. Nothing but the stern discipline of her bringing-up supported her and forced her to do what was expected of her——that is, to dance, to answer questions, to talk, even to smile. But before the mazurka, when they were beginning to rearrange the chairs and a few couples moved out of the smaller rooms into the big room, a moment of despair and horror came for Kitty. She had refused five partners, and now she was not dancing the mazurka. She had not even a hope of being asked for it, because she was so successful in society that the idea would never occur to anyone that she had remained disengaged till now. She would have to tell her mother she felt ill and go home, yet she had not the strength to do this. She felt crushed.

She went to the farthest end of the second drawing room and sank into a low chair. Her light, transparent skirts rose like a cloud about her slender waist; one bare, thin, soft, girlish arm, hanging listlessly, was lost in the folds of her pink tunic; in the other she held her fan and with rapid, short strokes fanned her burning face. Yet, while she looked like a butterfly clinging to a blade of grass, and just about to open its rainbow wings for fresh flight, her heart ached with a horrible despair.

"But perhaps I am wrong——perhaps it was not so?" And again she recalled all she had seen.

"Kitty, what is it?" said Countess Nordstone, stepping noiselessly over the carpet toward her. "I don't understand it."

Kitty's lower lip began to quiver; she got up quickly.

"Kitty, you're not dancing the mazurka?"

"No, no," said Kitty in a voice shaking with tears.

"He asked her for the mazurka in my presence," said Countess Nordstone, knowing Kitty would understand who he and her were. "She said: 'Why, aren't you going to dance it with Princess Shcherbatskaia?'"

"Oh, it doesn't matter to me!" answered Kitty.

No one but she herself understood her position; no one knew that she had refused yesterday the man whom perhaps she loved, and refused him because she had put her faith in another.

Countess Nordstone found Korsunsky, with whom she was to dance the mazurka, and told him to ask Kitty.

Kitty danced in the first couple, and luckily for her she had not to talk because Korsunsky was all the time running about, overseeing his demesne. Vronsky and Anna were sitting almost opposite her. She saw them with her farsighted eyes, and saw them, too, close by when they met in the figures, and the more she saw of them the more convinced was she that her unhappiness was consummated. She saw that they felt themselves alone in this crowded room. And on Vronsky's face, always so firm and independent, she saw the look that had struck her, of bewilderment and humble submissiveness, like the expression of an intelligent dog when it has done wrong.

Anna smiled——and her smile was reflected by him. She grew thoughtful——and he became serious. Some supernatural force drew Kitty's eyes to Anna's face. She was charming in her simple black dress; charming were her round arms with their bracelets; charming was her firm neck with its thread of pearls; charming the straying curls of her loose hair; charming the graceful, light movements of her little feet and hands, charming was that lovely face in its animation—— yet there was something terrible and cruel in her charm.

Kitty admired her more than ever, and more and more acute did her suffering grow. Kitty felt crushed, and her face showed it. When Vronsky caught sight of her, coming upon her in the mazurka, he did not at once recognize her, so changed was she.

"Delightful ball!" he said to her, merely for the sake of saying something.

"Yes," she answered.

In the middle of the mazurka, repeating a complicated figure, newly invented by Korsunsky, Anna came forward into the center of the circle, chose two gentlemen, and summoned Kitty and another lady. Kitty gazed at her in dismay as she went up. Anna looked at her with drooping eyelids, and smiled, pressing her hand. But, noticing that Kitty only responded to her smile by a look of despair and amazement, she turned away from her, and began gaily talking to the other lady.

"Yes, there is something uncanny, devilish and charming about her," said Kitty to herself.

Anna did not want to stay for supper, but the master of the house began urging her.

"Nonsense, Anna Arkadyevna," said Korsunsky placing her bare hand upon his coat sleeve. "I've such an idea for a cotillon! Un bijou!"

And he moved gradually on, trying to draw her along with him. Their host smiled approvingly.

"No, I'm not going to stay," answered Anna, smiling, but, in spite of her smile, both Korsunsky and the master of the house saw from her resolute tone that she would not stay.

"No; why, as it is, I have danced more at your ball in Moscow than I have all the winter in Peterburg," said Anna, looking round at Vronsky, who stood near her. "I must rest a little before my journey."

"Are you definitely going tomorrow then?" asked Vronsky.

"Yes, I suppose so," answered Anna, as though wondering at the boldness of his question; but the irrepressible, quivering brilliance of her eyes and her smile set him on fire as she said it.

Anna Arkadyevna did not stay to supper, but went home.

XXIV.

"Yes, there must be something disgusting, repulsive about me," reflected Levin, as he left the Shcherbatskys', and set out on foot for his brother's lodgings. "And I don't get on with other people. Pride, they say. No, I haven't even pride. If I had any pride, I should not have put myself in such a position." And he pictured to himself Vronsky, happy, good-natured, clever and calm——certainly never placed in the awful position in which he had been that evening. "Yes, she was bound to choose him. It must be so, and I cannot complain of anyone or anything. I am myself to blame. What right had I to imagine she would care to join her life to mine? Who am I, and what am I? A nobody, not wanted by anyone, nor of use to anybody." And he recalled his brother Nikolai, and dwelt with pleasure on the thought of him. "Isn't he right in saying that everything in the world is bad and vile? And are we fair in our judgment, present and past, of brother Nikolai? Of course, from the point of view of Procophii, seeing him in a torn cloak and tipsy, he's a despicable person. But I know him differently. I know his soul, and know that we are alike. And I, instead of going to seek him out, went out to dinner, and then came here." Levin walked up to a lamppost, read his brother's address, which was in his pocketbook, and called a cabby. All the long way to his brother's Levin vividly recalled all the facts, familiar to him, of his brother Nikolai's life. He remembered how his brother, while at the university, and for a year afterward, had, in spite of the jeers of his companions, lived like a monk, strictly observing all religious rites, services and fasts, and avoiding every sort of pleasure—— especially women. And now, afterward, he had all at once broken out: had associated with the most horrible people, and rushed into the most senseless debauchery. He remembered later the scandal over a boy, whom he had taken from the country to bring up, and, in a fit of rage, had so violently beaten that proceedings were brought against him for personal injury. Then he remembered the scandal with a sharper, to whom he had lost money, and given a promissory note, and against whom he had himself lodged a complaint, asserting that he had cheated him. (This was the money Sergei Ivanovich had paid.) Then he remembered how he had spent a night in a police station for disorderly conduct in the street. He remembered the shameful proceedings he had instituted against his brother Sergei Ivanovich, accusing him of not having paid him, apparently, his share of his mother's estate; and the last scandal, when he had gone to a Western province in an official capacity, and there had got into trouble for assaulting a village elder.... It was all horribly vile, yet to Levin it appeared not at all as vile as it inevitably would to those who did not know Nikolai, did not know all his story, did not know his heart.

Levin remembered that when Nikolai had been in the devout stage, the period of fasts and monks and church services, when he was seeking in religion a support and a curb for his passionate temperament, everyone, far from encouraging him, had jeered at him——and Levin had, too, with the others. They had teased him, calling him Noah and Monk; yet, when he had broken out, no one had helped him, but had all turned away from him, with horror and loathing.

Levin felt that brother Nikolai, in spite of all the ugliness of his life, in his soul, in the very depths of his soul, was no more in the wrong than the people who despised him. He was not to blame for having been born with his unbridled character and some pressure upon his intellect. For he had always wanted to be good. "I will tell him everything, without reserve, and I will make him speak without reserve, too, and I'll show him that I love him, and therefore understand him," Levin resolved to himself, as, toward eleven o'clock, he reached the hotel of which he had the address.

"At the top, twelve and thirteen," the porter answered Levin's inquiry.

"At home?"

"Probably he is at home."

The door of No. 12 was half open, and, together with a streak of light, there issued thick fumes of cheap, poor tobacco, and the sound of a voice, unknown to Levin; but he knew at once that his brother was there: he recognized his cough.

As he went in at the door, the unknown voice was saying:

"It all depends with how much judgment and knowledge the thing's done."

Konstantin Levin looked in at the door, and saw that the speaker was a young man with an immense shock of hair, wearing a Russian coat, and that a pock-marked young woman in a woolen gown, without collar or cuffs, was sitting on the sofa. His brother was not to be seen. Konstantin felt a sharp pang at his heart at the thought of the strange company in which his brother spent his life. No one had heard him, and Konstantin, taking off his galoshes, listened to what the gentleman in the Russian coat was saying. He was speaking of some enterprise.

"Well, the devil flay them, these privileged classes," his brother's voice responded, with a cough. "Masha! get us some supper, and serve up some wine, if there's any left; or else send for some."

The woman rose, came out from behind the partition, and saw Konstantin.

"There's some gentleman here, Nikolai Dmitrievich," she said.

"Whom do you want?" said the voice of Nikolai Levin, angrily.

"It's I," answered Konstantin Levin, coming forward into the light.

"Who's I?" Nikolai's voice said again, still more angrily. He could be heard getting up hurriedly, stumbling against something, and Levin saw, facing him in the doorway, the big scared eyes, and the huge, gaunt, stooping figure of his brother, so familiar, and yet astonishing in its oddity and sickliness.

He was even thinner than three years before, when Konstantin Levin had seen him last. He was wearing a short coat, and his hands and big bones seemed huger than ever. His hair had grown thinner, the same straight mustache hid his lips, the same eyes gazed strangely and naively at his visitor.

"Ah, Kostia!" he exclaimed suddenly, recognizing his brother, and his eyes lighted up with joy. But the same second he looked round at the young man, and gave the nervous jerk of his head and neck that Konstantin knew so well, as if his cravat were choking him; and a quite different expression——wild, suffering and cruel——rested on his emaciated face.

"I wrote to you and Sergei Ivanovich both that I don't know you, and don't want to know you. What is it you want?"

He was not at all the same as Konstantin had been fancying him. The worst and most oppressive part of his character, which made all relations with him so difficult, had been forgotten by Konstantin Levin when he thought of him; and now, when he saw his face, and especially that nervous twitching of his head, he remembered it all.

"I didn't want to see you for anything," he answered timidly. "I've simply come to see you."

His brother's timidity obviously softened Nikolai. His lips twitched.

"Oh, so that's it?" he said. "Well, come in; sit down. Like some supper? Masha, bring supper for three. No, stop a minute. Do you know who this is?" he said, addressing his brother, and indicating the gentleman in the Russian coat: "This is Mr. Kritsky, a friend of my Kiev days——a very remarkable man. He's persecuted by the police, of course, since he's not a scoundrel."

And he surveyed, as it was a habit of his, everyone in the room. Seeing that the woman standing in the doorway was starting to go, he shouted to her. "Wait a minute, I said." And with that inability to express himself, the incoherence that Konstantin knew so well, he began, with another look round at everyone, to tell Kritsky's story to his brother: how he had been expelled from the university for starting a benevolent society for the poor students, and classes on Sunday, and how he had afterward been a teacher in a rural school, and had been driven out of that, too; and had afterward been on trial for something or other.

"You're of the Kiev University?" said Konstantin Levin to Kritsky, to break the awkward silence that followed.

"Yes——I was in Kiev," Kritsky replied angrily, his face darkening.

"And this woman," Nikolai Levin interrupted him, pointing to her, "is my lifemate, Marya Nikolaevna. I took her out of a dive, and he jerked his neck as he said it. "But I love her and respect her, and anyone who wants to know me," he added, raising his voice and knitting his brows, "is requested to love her and respect her. She's precisely the same as a wife to me——precisely. So now you know whom you've got to do with. And if you think you're lowering yourself—— well, there's the door, and God speed thee!"

And again his eyes traveled inquiringly over all of them.

"But how will I lower myself? I don't understand."

"Then, Masha, tell them to bring supper; three portions, and vodka and wine... No, wait a minute... No, it doesn't matter... Go ahead."

XXV.

"So you see," pursued Nikolai Levin, painfully wrinkling his forehead and twitching.

It was obviously difficult for him to think of what to say and do.

"Here, do you see?... He pointed to some sort of short iron bars, fastened together with twine, lying in a corner of the room. "Do you see that? That's the beginning of a new enterprise we're going into. This enterprise will be an industrial association...."

Konstantin scarcely heard him. He looked into his sickly, consumptive face, and he was more and more sorry for him, and he could not force himself to listen to what his brother was telling him about the association. He saw that this association was a mere anchor to save him from self-contempt. Nikolai Levin went on talking:

"You know that capital oppresses the worker. Our workers, the mouzhiks, bear all the burden of labor, and are so placed that, no matter how much they work, they can't escape from their position of beasts of burden. All the profits of labor, on which they might improve their position, and gain leisure for themselves, and after that education——all the surplus values, are taken from them by the capitalists. And society is so constituted that the harder they work, the greater the profit of the merchants and landowners, while they stay beasts of burden to the end. And that state of things must be changed," he finished up, and looked questioningly at his brother.

"Yes, of course," said Konstantin, looking at the patch of red that had come out on his brother's projecting cheekbones.

"And so we're founding a locksmiths' association, where all the production and profit, and the chief instruments of production—— everything——will be in common."

"Where is the association to be?" asked Konstantin Levin.

"In the village of Vozdrem, government of Kazan."

"But why in a village? In the villages, I think, there is plenty of work as it is. Why a locksmiths' association in a village?"

"Why? Because the peasants are just as much slaves as they ever were, and that's why you and Sergei Ivanovich don't like people to try and get them out of their slavery," said Nikolai Levin, exasperated by the objection.

Konstantin Levin sighed, looking meanwhile about the cheerless and dirty room. This sigh seemed to exasperate Nikolai still more.

"I know Sergei Ivanovich's, and your, aristocratic views. I know that he applies all the power of his intellect to justify existing evils."

"I say, why do you talk of Sergei Ivanovich?" Levin let drop, smiling.

"Sergei Ivanovich? I'll tell you why!" Nikolai Levin shrieked suddenly at the name of Sergei Ivanovich. "I'll tell you why... But what's the use of talking? There's only one thing... What did you come to me for? You look down on all this; very well, then; but go away, in God's name——go away!" he shrieked, getting up from his chair. "Go away——go away!"

"I don't look down on it at all," said Konstantin Levin timidly. "I don't even dispute it."

At that instant Marya Nikolaevna came back. Nikolai Levin looked round angrily at her. She went quickly to him, and whispered something.

"I'm not well; I've grown irritable," said Nikolai Levin, getting calmer and breathing painfully; "and then you talk to me of Sergei Ivanovich and his essay. It's such rubbish, such lying, such self-deception! What can a man write about justice who knows nothing of it? Have you read his essay?" he turned to Kritsky, sitting down again at the table, and clearing a space for himself by pushing back some half-made cigarettes.

"I haven't," Kritsky responded gloomily, obviously not desiring to enter into the conversation.

"Why not?" said Nikolai Levin, now turning with exasperation upon Kritsky.

"Because I didn't see the use of wasting my time over it."

"Oh, if you please——how did you know it would be wasting your time? That essay's too deep for many people——that is to say, it's over their heads. But it's different with me, I see through his ideas, and I know wherein the essay's weakness lies."

They all fell silent. Kritsky got up sluggishly and reached for his cap.

"Won't you have supper? All right, good-by! Come round tomorrow with the locksmith."

Kritsky had hardly gone out when Nikolai Levin smiled and winked.

"He, too, is poor stuff," he said. "For I can see..."

But at that instant Kritsky, at the door, called him.

"What do you want now?" he said, and went out to him in the passage. Left alone with Marya Nikolaevna, Levin turned to her.

"Have you been long with my brother?" he said to her.

"Yes, more than a year. His health has become very poor. He drinks a great deal," she said.

"Just how?"

"He drinks vodka, and it's bad for him."

"And a great deal?" whispered Levin.

"Yes," she said, looking timidly toward the doorway, where Nikolai Levin had reappeared.

"What were you talking about?" he said, knitting his brows, and turning his scared eyes from one to the other. "What was it?"

"Oh, nothing," Konstantin answered in confusion.

"Oh, if you don't want to say, don't. Only it's no good your talking to her. She's a wench, and you're a gentleman," he said, with a jerk of the neck. "You understand everything, I see, and have taken stock of everything, and look with commiseration on my transgressions," he began again, raising his voice.

"Nikolai Dmitrich, Nikolai Dmitrich," whispered Marya Nikolaevna, again going up to him.

"Oh, very well, very well!... But where's the supper? Ah, here it is," he said, seeing a waiter with a tray. "Here, set it here," he added angrily, and promptly seizing the vodka, he poured out a pony and drank it greedily. "Like a drink?" he turned to his brother, and at once became better-humored. "Well, enough of Sergei Ivanovich. I'm glad to see you, anyway. After all's said and done, we're not strangers. Come, have a drink. Tell me what you're doing," he went on, greedily munching a piece of bread, and pouring out another pony. "How are things with you?"

"I live alone in the country, as I always have. I'm busy looking after the land," answered Konstantin, watching with horror the greediness with which his brother ate and drank, and trying to conceal that he noticed it.

"Why don't you get married?"

"No opportunity has presented itself," Konstantin answered, reddening.

"Why not? For me now, everything's at an end! I've made a mess of my life. But this I've said, and I say still, that if my share had been given me when I needed it, my whole life would have been different."

Konstantin made haste to change the conversation.

"Do you know your little Vania's with me——a clerk in the countinghouse at Pokrovskoe?"

Nikolai jerked his neck, and sank into thought.

"Yes, tell me what's going on at Pokrovskoe. Is the house still standing, and the birch trees, and our schoolroom? And Philip the gardener——is he living? How I remember the summerhouse and the sofa! Now mind and don't alter anything in the house, but make haste and get married, and make everything as it used to be again. Then I'll come and see you, if your wife is a fine woman."

"Why, come to me now," said Levin. "How snugly we could settle down!"

"I'd come and see you if I were sure I shouldn't find Sergei Ivanovich."

"You wouldn't find him there. I live quite independently of him."

"Yes, but say what you like, you have to choose between me and him," he said, looking timidly into his brother's face.

This timidity touched Konstantin.

"If you want to hear my confession of faith on the subject, I tell you that in your quarrel with Sergei Ivanovich I take neither side. You're both wrong. You're rather wrong outwardly, and he, rather inwardly."

"Ah, ah! You see that, you see that!" Nikolai shouted joyfully.

"But I personally value friendly relations with you more because..."

"Why, why?"

Konstantin could not say that he valued it more because Nikolai was unhappy, and needed affection. But Nikolai knew that this was just what he meant to say, and scowling he took to the vodka again.

"Enough, Nikolai Dmitrich!" said Marya Nikolaevna, stretching out her plump, bare arm toward the decanter.

"Let it be! Don't annoy me! I'll beat you!" he shouted.

Marya Nikolaevna smiled a sweet and good-humored smile, which was at once reflected on Nikolai's face, and whisked the decanter off.

"And do you suppose she understands nothing?" said Nikolai. "She understands everything better than all of us. Tell the truth——isn't there something good and sweet about her?"

"Were you never before in Moscow?" Konstantin said to her, for the sake of saying something.

"Only you mustn't be formal with her. It frightens her. No one ever spoke to her so but the justice of the peace who tried her for trying to get out of a house of ill fame. My God, what senselessness there is in this world!" he cried suddenly. "These new institutions, these justices of the peace, these Zemstvo——what hideousness it all is!"

And he began to enlarge on his encounters with the new institutions.

Konstantin Levin listened to him, and that disbelief in the sense of all public institutions, which he shared with him, and often expressed, was now distasteful to him, coming from his brother's lips.

"In the other world we shall understand it all," he said lightly.

"In the other world? Ah, I don't like that other world! I don't like it," he said, letting his scared wild eyes rest on his brother's face. "Here one would think that to get out of all the baseness and the mess, one's own and other people's, would be a good thing, and yet I'm afraid of death, awfully afraid of death." He shuddered. "But do drink something. Would you like some champagne? Or shall we go somewhere? Let's go to the gypsies! Do you know, I've gotten very fond of the gypsies, and of Russian songs."

His speech had begun to falter, and he skipped at random from one subject to another. Konstantin, with the help of Masha, persuaded him not to go out anywhere, and got him to bed hopelessly drunk.

Masha promised to write to Konstantin in case of need, and to persuade Nikolai to go and stay with his brother.

XXVI.

In the morning Konstantin Levin left Moscow, and toward evening he reached home. On the journey in the train he talked to his fellow travelers about politics and the new railways, and, just as in Moscow, he was overcome by a sense of confusion of ideas, by dissatisfaction with himself, and shame of something or other. But when he got out at his own station, when he saw his one-eyed coachman Ignat, with the collar of his coat turned up; when, in the dim light falling through the station windows, he saw his own carpeted sledge, his own horses with their tails up, in their harness trimmed with rings and tassels; when the coachman Ignat, as he put in his luggage, told him the village news——that the contractor had arrived, and that Pava had calved——he felt that little by little the confusion was clearing up, and the shame and self-dissatisfaction were passing away. He felt this at the mere sight of Ignat and the horses; but he began to see what had happened to him in quite a different light, when he had put on the sheepskin coat brought for him, and, all muffled up, had taken his seat in the sleigh and started off, pondering on the work that lay before him in the village, and staring at the off horse, that had been formerly his saddle horse, overridden, but a spirited animal from the Don. He felt himself, and did not want to be anyone else. All he wanted now was to be better than before. In the first place, he resolved that from that day on he would give up hoping for the extraordinary happiness which the marriage was to afford him, and consequently he would not disdain the present so. In the second place, he would never again let himself give way to low passion, the memory of which had so tortured him when he had been making up his mind to propose. Then, remembering his brother Nikolai, he resolved that he would never allow himself to forget him, that he would watch him, and not lose sight of him, so as to be ready to help should things go ill with him. And that would be soon, he felt. Then, too, his brother's talk of communism, which he had treated so lightly at the time, now made him reflect. He considered an alteration in economic conditions nonsense; yet he had always felt the injustice of his own abundance in comparison with the poverty of the common folk, and he now determined that, in order to feel quite in the right, though he had worked hard and lived by no means luxuriously before, he would now work still harder, and would allow himself even less luxury. And all this seemed to him so easy a conquest over himself that he spent the whole drive in most pleasant reveries. With a lively feeling of hope in a new, better life, he drove up to his house about nine o'clock at night.

The snow of the little quadrangle before the house was lit up by light falling from the windows in the room of his old nurse, Agathya Mikhailovna, who performed the duties of housekeeper in his house. She was not yet asleep. Kouzma, awakened by her, sleepy and barefooted, ran out onto the steps. A setter bitch, Laska, leaped out too, almost upsetting Kouzma, and whining, rubbed against Levin's knees, jumping up and longing, yet not daring, to put her forepaws on his chest.

"You're soon returned, my dear," said Agathya Mikhailovna.

"I grew homesick, Agathya Mikhailovna. East or West, home is best," he answered, and went into his study.

The study was gradually lit up as the candle was brought in. The familiar details came out: the stag's horns; the bookshelves; the plain stove with its warm-hole, which had long wanted mending; his father's sofa, a large table, and, on the table, an open book, a broken ash tray, a notebook with his handwriting. As he saw all this, there came over him for an instant a doubt of the possibility of arranging the new life, of which he had been dreaming on the road. All these traces of his life seemed to clutch him, and to say to him: "No, you're not going to get away from us, and you're not going to be different——but you're going to be the same as you've always been: with doubts, everlasting dissatisfaction with yourself, vain efforts to amend, and lapses, and everlasting expectation of a happiness which you won't get, and which isn't possible for you."

But it was his things that said this to him, while another voice in his heart was telling him that he must not fall under the sway of the past, and that one can do anything with oneself. And hearing that voice, he went into the corner where stood his two dumbbells, of one pood each, and began jerking and pushing them up, trying to induce a state of well-being. There was a creak of steps at the door. He hastily put down the dumbbells.

The bailiff came in, and said that everything, thank God, was well, but also informed him that the buckwheat in the new drying machine had been a little scorched. This piece of news irritated Levin. The new drying machine had been constructed and partly invented by Levin. The bailiff had always been against this drying machine, and now it was with suppressed triumph that he announced that the buckwheat had been scorched. Levin was firmly convinced that if the buckwheat had been scorched it was only because precautions had not been taken, for which he had hundreds of times given orders. He was annoyed, and reprimanded the bailiff. But there had been an important and joyful event: Pava, his best cow, an expensive beast, bought at a show, had calved.

"Kouzma, give me my sheepskin coat. And you, do tell them to fetch a lantern——I'm going to have a look at her," he said to the bailiff.

The cowhouse for the more valuable cows was just behind the house. Walking across the yard, passing a snowdrift by the lilac tree, he went into the cowhouse. There came a warm, steamy smell of dung when the frozen door was opened, and the cows, astonished at the unfamiliar light of the lantern, stirred on their fresh straw. He caught a glimpse of the broad, smooth, black and piebald back of a Dutch cow. Berkoot, the bull, was lying down with his ring in his lip, and seemed about to get up, but thought better of it, and only gave two snorts as they passed by him. Pava, the reddish beauty, huge as a hippopotamus, with her back turned to them, screened her calf from the arrivals and sniffed it all over.

Levin went into the stall, looked Pava over, and hefted the reddish and red-dappled calf up on its unsteady, spindly legs. Pava, uneasy, began lowing, but when Levin put the calf close to her she was soothed, and, sighing heavily, began licking her with her rough tongue. The calf fumbling, poked its nose under its mother's groin, and twirled its tiny tail.

"Bring the light here, Fiodor——bring the lantern here," said Levin, examining the heifer. "Like the dam! though the color takes after the sire. A perfect beauty! Long, and broad in the haunch. Isn't she a beauty now, Vassilii Fiodorovich?" he addressed the bailiff, quite forgiving him for the buckwheat under the influence of his delight in the heifer.

"What bad blood could she take after?——Semion the contractor came the day after you left. You must settle with him, Konstantin Dmitrich," said the bailiff. "And I have already told you about the machine."

This matter alone was enough to bring Levin back to all the details of his estate, which was on a large scale, and complicated. He went straight from the cowhouse to the countinghouse, and, after a short talk with the bailiff and Semion the contractor, he went back to the house and straight upstairs to the drawing room.

XXVII.

The house was big and old-fashioned, and Levin, though he lived alone, heated and used the whole house. He knew that this was stupid, he knew that it was even wrong, and contrary to his present new plans, but this house was a whole world to Levin. It was the world in which his father and mother had lived and died. They had lived just the life that to Levin seemed the ideal of perfection, and that he had dreamed of renewing with his wife, with his family.

Levin scarcely remembered his mother. His conception of her was for him a sacred memory, and his future wife was bound to be, in his imagination, a repetition of that exquisite, holy ideal of a woman that his mother had been.

He was so far from conceiving of love for woman apart from marriage that he positively pictured to himself first the family, and only secondarily the woman who would give him a family. His ideas of marriage were, consequently, quite unlike those of the great majority of his acquaintances, for whom getting married was merely one of the many affairs of everyday life. For Levin it was the chief affair of life, on which its whole happiness turned. And now he had to give up that!

When he had gone into the second drawing room, where he always had tea, and had settled himself in his armchair with a book, and Agathya Mikhailovna had brought him tea, and with her usual, "Well, I'll stay a while, my dear," had taken a chair at the window, he felt that, however strange it might be, he had not parted from his daydreams, and that he could not live without them. Whether with her, or with another——it was still bound to be. He was reading his book, pondering on what he was reading, and pausing to listen to Agathya Mikhailovna, who gossiped away without flagging, and yet, with all that, all sorts of pictures of his work and a future family life rose disconnectedly before his imagination. He felt that in the depth of his soul something was steadying, settling down, and abating.

He heard Agathya Mikhailovna talking of how Prokhor had forgotten his duty to God, and, with the money Levin had given him to buy a horse, had been drinking without a letup, and had beaten his wife till he'd half-killed her. He listened, and read his book, and recalled the whole train of ideas suggested by his reading. It was Tyndall's Treatise on Heat. He recalled his own criticisms of Tyndall for his self-complacency in the cleverness of his experiments, and for his lack of philosophic insight. And suddenly there floated into his mind the joyful thought: "In two years' time I shall have two Dutch cows in my herd; Pava herself will perhaps still be alive; a dozen young daughters of Berkoot, and these three added for show——it would be marvelous!" He took up his book again. "Now well, electricity and heat are the same thing; but is it possible to substitute one quantity for the other in an equation for the solution of any problem? No. Well, then what of it? The connection between all the forces of nature is felt instinctively, anyway.... It'll be particularly pleasant when Pava's daughter will be a red-dappled cow like all the herd, to which the other three should be added! Splendid! I'll go out with my wife and visitors to meet the herd.... My wife says, 'Kostia and I looked after that heifer like a child.' 'How can it interest you so much?' says a visitor. 'Everything that interests him, interests me.' But who will she be?" And he remembered what had happened at Moscow.... "Well, there's nothing to be done.... It's not my fault. But now everything shall go on in a new way. It's nonsense to pretend that life won't let one, that the past won't let one. One must struggle to live better—— far better...." He raised his head, and sank into thought. Old Laska, who had not yet fully digested her delight at his return, and had run out into the yard to bark, came back wagging her tail, and crept up to him, bringing in the scent of the fresh air, put her head under his hand, and yelped plaintively, asking to be stroked.

"If she could but speak," said Agathya Mikhailovna. "Even though it's a dog... Yet she understands that her master's come home, and that he's low-spirited."

"Why low-spirited?"

"Do you suppose I don't see it, my dear? It's high time I should know the gentlefolk. Why, I've grown up from a little thing with them. Never mind, sir, so long as one has health and a clear conscience."

Levin looked intently at her, surprised at how well she had fathomed his thoughts.

"Shall I fetch you another cup?" she asked and, taking his cup, went out.

Laska kept poking her head under his hand. He stroked her, and she promptly curled up at his feet, laying her head on a protruding hand-paw. And in token of all now being well and satisfactory, she opened her mouth a little, smacked her lips, and settling her sticky lips more comfortably about her old teeth, she sank into blissful respose. Levin watched her last movements attentively.

"That's what I'll do," he said to himself; "that's what I'll do! Never mind.... All's well."

XXVIII.

After the ball, early next morning, Anna Arkadyevna sent her husband a telegram that she was leaving Moscow the same day.

"No, I must go, I must go"; she explained the change in her plans to her sister-in-law, in a tone that suggested that she had to remember so many things that there was no enumerating them: "no, really, it had better be today!"

Stepan Arkadyevich was not dining at home, but he promised to come and see his sister off at seven o'clock.

Kitty, too, did not come, sending a note that she had a headache. Dolly and Anna dined alone with the children and the English governess. Whether it was because children are fickle, or because they have acute senses, and they felt that Anna was quite different that day from what she had been when they had taken such a fancy to her, that she was not now interested in them——they had abruptly dropped their play with their aunt, and their love for her, and were quite indifferent to her leaving. Anna was absorbed the whole morning in preparations for her departure. She wrote notes to her Moscow acquaintances, jotted down her accounts, and packed. Altogether Dolly fancied she was not in a placid state of mind, but in that worried mood which Dolly knew so well in her own case, and which does not come without cause, and for the most part covers dissatisfaction with oneself. After dinner, Anna went up to her room to dress, and Dolly followed her.

"How queer you are today!" Dolly said to her.

"I? Do you think so? I'm not queer, but I'm nasty. I am like that sometimes. I keep feeling as if I could cry. It's very stupid, but it'll pass off," said Anna quickly, and she bent her flushed face over a tiny bag in which she was packing a nightcap and some cambric handkerchiefs. Her eyes were particularly bright, and were continually dimmed with tears. "In the same way I didn't want to leave Peterburg—— and now I don't want to go away from here."

"You came here and did a good deed," said Dolly, looking intently at her.

Anna's eyes were wet with tears as she looked at her.

"Don't say that, Dolly. I've done nothing, and could do nothing. I often wonder why people are all in league to spoil me. What have I done, and what could I do? In your heart there was found love enough to forgive...."

If it had not been for you, God knows what would have happened! How happy you are, Anna!" said Dolly. "Everything is clear and good in your heart."

"Every heart has its own skeleton, as the English say."

"You have no sort of skeleton, have you? Everything is so clear in you."

"I have!" said Anna suddenly, and, unexpectedly after her tears, a sly, mocking smile puckered her lips.

"Come, he's amusing, anyway, your skeleton, and not depressing," said Dolly, smiling.

"No, he is depressing. Do you know why I'm going today instead of tomorrow? This is a confession that weighs on me; I want to make you its recipient," said Anna resolutely letting herself drop into an armchair, and looking straight into Dolly's face.

And to her surprise Dolly saw that Anna was blushing up to her ears, up to the curly black ringlets on her neck.

"Yes," Anna went on. "Do you know why Kitty didn't come to dinner? She's jealous of me. I have spoiled... I've been the cause of that ball being a torture to her instead of a pleasure. But truly, truly, it's not my fault, or only my fault a little bit," she said, daintily drawling the words "a little bit."

"Oh, how like Stiva you said that!" said Dolly, laughing.

Anna was hurt.

"Oh no, oh no! I'm not Stiva," she said, knitting her brows. "That's why I'm telling you, just because I do not even for an instant permit myself to doubt about myself," said Anna.

But at the very moment she was uttering the words, she felt that they were not true. She was not merely doubting about herself——she felt emotion at the thought of Vronsky, and was going away sooner than she had meant, solely to avoid meeting him.

"Yes, Stiva told me you danced the mazurka with him, and that he..."

"You can't imagine how absurdly it all came about. I only meant to be matchmaking, and all at once it turned out quite differently. Possibly against my own will..."

She flushed and stopped.

"Oh, they feel it immediately!" said Dolly.

"But I should be in despair if there were anything serious in it on his side," Anna interrupted her. "And I'm certain it will all be forgotten, and Kitty will leave off hating me."

"All the same, Anna, to tell you the truth, I'm not very anxious for this marriage for Kitty. And it's better it should come to nothing, if he, Vronsky, is capable of falling in love with you in a single day."

"Oh, heavens, that would be too silly!" said Anna, and again a deep flush of pleasure appeared on her face, as she heard the idea that absorbed her put into words. "And so here I am, going away, having made an enemy of Kitty, whom I liked so much! Ah, how sweet she is! But you'll make it right, Dolly? Eh?"

Dolly could scarcely suppress a smile. She loved Anna, but she was pleased to see that she, too, had her weaknesses.

"An enemy? That can't be."

"I did so want you all to care for me, as I do for you, and now I care for you more than ever," said Anna, with tears in her eyes. "Ah, how silly I am today!"

She passed her handkerchief over her face and began dressing.

At the very moment of starting Stepan Arkadyevich arrived, late, rosy and good-humored, smelling of wine and cigars.

Anna's emotionalism infected Dolly, and when she embraced her sister-in-law for the last time, she whispered:

"Remember, Anna, what you've done for me——I shall never forget. And remember that I love you, and shall always love you as my dearest friend!"

"I don't know why," said Anna, kissing her and hiding her tears.

"You understand me, and still understand. Good-by, my darling!"

XXIX.

"Now, it's all over——God be praised!" was the first thought that came to Anna Arkadyevna, when she had said good-by for the last time to her brother, who had stood blocking up the entrance to the carriage till the third bell rang. She sat down on her lounge beside Annushka, and looked about her in the twilight of the sleeping carriage. "Thank God! tomorrow I shall see Seriozha and Alexei Alexandrovich, and my life, good and familiar, will go on in the old way."

Still in the same anxious frame of mind in which she had been all that day, Anna took a meticulous pleasure in making herself comfortable for the journey. With her tiny, deft hands she opened and shut her little red bag, took out a cushion, laid it on her knees, and, carefully wrapping up her feet, settled herself comfortably. An invalid lady had already lain down to sleep. Two other ladies began talking to Anna, and a stout elderly lady tucked up her feet, and made observations about the heating of the train. Anna answered the ladies in a few words, but not foreseeing any entertainment from the conversation, she asked Annushka to get a small lantern, hooked it on the arm of her seat, and took from her bag a paper knife and an English novel. At first she could not get interested in her reading. The fuss and stir were disturbing; then, when the train had started, she could not help listening to the noises; then the snow beating on the left window and sticking to the pane, and the sight of the muffled guard passing by, covered with snow on one side, and the conversations about the terrible blizzard raging outside, distracted her attention. And after that everything was the same and the same: the same jouncing and rattling, the same snow lashing the window, the same rapid transitions from steaming heat to cold, and back again to heat, the same flitting of the same faces in the half-murk, and the same voices; and then Anna began to read, and to grasp what she read. Annushka was already dozing, the red bag on her lap, clutched by her broad hands, in gloves, of which one was torn. Anna Arkadyevna read and grasped the sense, yet it was annoying to her to read——that is, to follow the reflection of other people's lives. She had too great a desire to live herself. If she read that the heroine of the novel were nursing a sick man, she longed to move with noiseless steps about his sickroom; if she read of a member of Parliament delivering a speech, she longed to deliver it; if she read of how Lady Mary had ridden after the hounds, and had provoked her sister-in-law, and had surprised everyone by her daring——she, too, longed to be doing the same. But there was no chance of doing anything; and, her little hands toying with the smooth paper knife, she forced herself to read.

The hero of the novel was already beginning to attain his English happiness, a baronetcy, and an estate, and Anna was feeling a desire to go with him to his estate, when she suddenly felt that he ought to feel ashamed, and that she was ashamed of the same thing. But what was it he was ashamed of? "What have I to be ashamed of?" she asked herself in injured surprise. She abandoned the book and sank against the back of her chair, tightly gripping the paper knife in both hands. There was nothing to be ashamed of. She went over all her Moscow recollections. All were fine, pleasant. She recalled the ball, recalled Vronsky and his enamored, submissive face; she recalled all her conduct with him——there was nothing shameful. Yet, with all that, at this very point in her reminiscences, the feeling of shame was intensified, as though some inner voice, precisely here, when she recalled Vronsky, were saying to her: "Warm, very warm——hot!" "Well, what is it?" she said to herself resolutely, shifting on her seat. "What does it mean? Am I afraid to look at this without blinking? Well, what is it? Can it be that between me and this boy-officer there exist, or can exist, any other relations than such as are common with every acquaintance?" She laughed contemptuously and took up her book again; but now she was absolutely unable to make sense of what she read. She passed the paper knife over the windowpane, then laid its smooth, cool surface to her cheek, and almost laughed aloud at the unreasoning joy that all at once possessed her. She felt that her nerves, like strings, were being tautened more and more upon some kind of tightening peg. She felt her eyes opening wider and wider, her fingers and toes twitching nervously, something within stopping her breathing, while all images and sounds seemed in the swaying half-murk to strike her with extraordinary vividness. Moments of doubt were continually besetting her: was the car going forward, or back, or was it standing absolutely still? Was it really Annushka at her side, or a stranger? "What's that on the arm of the chair——a fur cloak or some beast? And what am I myself: is it I, or some other woman?" She was afraid of yielding to this trance—— but something was drawing her into it, and, at will, she could yield to it or resist it. She got up to rouse herself, and slipped off her plaid and the cape of warm dress. For a moment she regained her self-possession, and realized that the thin peasant who had come in wearing a long nankeen overcoat, with a button missing from it, was the fireman, that he was looking at the thermometer, that the wind and snow had burst in after him through the door; but then everything grew confused again.... That peasant with the long waist took to gnawing something within the wall; the little crone started stretching her legs the whole length of the car and filled it with a black cloud; then there was a dreadful screeching and banging, as though someone were being rent into pieces; then a red blaze blinded her eyes, and, at last, everything was screened by a wall. Anna felt that she had plunged downward. Yet all this was not terrible, but joyful. The voice of a man muffled up and covered with snow shouted something in her very ear. She arose and came to, realizing that they had come to a station, and that this was the conductor. She requested Annushka to hand her the cape she had taken off, and her shawl, put them on, and went toward the door.

"Do you wish to get out?" asked Annushka.

"Yes, I want to get a breath of air. It's very hot in here."

And she opened the door. The blizzard and the wind rushed to meet her and began to contend with her for the door. And even this seemed joyful to her. She opened the door and stepped out. This seemed to be all that the wind had been lying in wait for; it set up a gleeful whistle and was about to snatch her up and whirl her away, but she clutched the cold doorpost and, holding on to her shawl, descended to the platform and the shelter of the car. The wind had been mighty on the steps, but on the platform, in the lee of the train, there was a lull. With enjoyment she drew deep breaths of the snowy, frosty air and, standing near the car, looked about the platform and the lighted station.

XXX.

The frightful storm raged and whistled between the wheels of the cars, along the posts, around the corner of the station. The cars, posts, people——everything in sight——were covered with snow on one side, and were getting more and more snowed under. For a moment there would come a lull in the storm, but then it would again swoop down with such gusts that it seemed impossible to withstand it. Meanwhile some men or other were dashing about, gaily talking to one another, making the boards of the platform creak and ceaselessly opening and shutting the big doors. A stooping human shadow glided by at her feet, and she heard a hammer tapping upon iron. "Let's have the telegram!" came an angry voice out of the stormy murk on the other side. "This way! No. 28!" other voices were also shouting, and muffled figures scurried by, plastered with snow. Two gentlemen passed by her, cigarettes glowing in their mouths. She drew in one more deep breath, and had just taken her hand out of her muff to grasp the doorpost and enter the car, when still another man in a military overcoat, quite close beside her, stepped between her and the flickering light of a lantern. She looked round, and the same instant recognized Vronsky's face. Putting his hand to the peak of his cap, he bowed to her and asked if there weren't anything she wanted, whether he could not be of some service to her? She gazed rather long at him, without any answer, and, in spite of the shadow in which he was standing, she saw (or fancied she saw) the expression both of his face and his eyes. It was again that expression of reverent rapture which had affected her so yesterday. More than once she had told herself during the past few days, and only just now, that Vronsky was for her only one of the hundreds of young men, forever exactly the same, that one meets everywhere; that she would never permit herself even to think of him; yet now at the first flush of meeting him, she was seized by an emotion of joyous pride. She had no need to ask why he was here. She knew, as surely as if he had told her, that he was here only to be where she was.

"I didn't know you were going. And why are you going?" she said, letting fall the hand which had grasped the doorpost. And irrepressible joy and animation shone in her face.

"Why am I going?" he repeated, looking straight into her eyes. "You know that I am going to be where you are," he said; "I cannot do otherwise."

And at this very point, as though it had overcome all obstacles, the wind scattered the snow from the car roofs, and began to flutter some sheet of iron it had torn off, while the low-pitched whistle of the engine set up a roar in front, dismal and lamenting. All the awesomeness of the blizzard now seemed still more splendid to her. He had uttered precisely what her soul yearned for, but which her reason dreaded. She made no answer, and in her face he beheld a struggle.

"Forgive me, if what I have said displeases you," he said humbly.

He had spoken courteously, deferentially, yet so firmly, so obdurately that, for long, she could find no answer.

"What you say is wrong, and I beg of you, if you are a good man, to forget what you have said, even as I shall forget it," she said at last.

"Not a single word of yours, nor a single gesture, shall I ever forget——nor could I forget...."

"Enough, enough!" she cried, vainly attempting to give a stern expression to her face, which he was avidly scrutinizing. Clutching at the cold doorpost, she clambered up the steps and quickly entered the corridor of the car. But in this little corridor she paused, reviewing in her imagination all that had occurred. Without recalling her own words or his, she realized instinctively that that conversation had brought them fearfully closer; and she was both frightened and made happy thereby. After standing thus a few seconds, she went into the car and sat down in her place. That tensed state which had tormented her at first was not only renewed, but grew greater and reached such a pitch that she was afraid that, at any moment, something would snap within her from the excessive tension. She did not sleep all night. But in that nervous tension, and in the reveries that filled her imagination, there was nothing unpleasant or gloomy; on the contrary, there was something joyous, glowing and exhilarating. Toward morning Anna dozed off as she sat, and when she awoke it was already light, and the train was nearing Peterburg. At once thoughts of home, of her husband and son, and the details of the day ahead, and days to follow, came thronging upon her.

At Peterburg, as soon as the train stopped and she got out, the first face that attracted her attention was that of her husband. "Oh, my God! What has happened to his ears?" she thought looking at his frigid and imposing figure, and especially the ears, that struck her so now, as they propped up the brim of his round hat. Catching sight of her he went to meet her, pursing his lips into their habitual mocking smile, and fixing her with his big, tired eyes. Some unpleasant sensation contracted her heart as she met his obdurate and tired glance, as though she had expected to see him a different man. She was particularly struck by that feeling of dissatisfaction with herself which she experienced on meeting him. This was an intimate, familiar feeling, like that state of dissimulation which she experienced in her relations with her husband; but hitherto she had not taken note of the feeling; now she was clearly and painfully aware of it.

"Yes, as you see, your tender spouse, as devoted as he was during the second year after marriage, was consumed by the desire of seeing you," he said in his dilatory, high-pitched voice, and in that tone which he almost always used to her——a tone of bantering at anyone who should speak thus in earnest.

"Is Seriozha quite well?" she asked.

"And is this all the reward," said he, "for my ardor? He's well—— quite well...."

XXXI.

Vronsky had not even attempted to fall asleep all that night. He sat in his armchair, his eyes fixed before him or scanning the people who got in and out, and if he had indeed, on previous occasions, struck and aroused people who did not know him by his air of unshakable calmness, he now seemed prouder and more self-sufficient than ever. He regarded people as if they were things. A nervous young man, a clerk in a law court, who had the seat opposite his, conceived a hatred for him because of this air. The young man asked him for a light, and entered into conversation with him, and even jostled him, to make him feel that he was not a thing, but a man. But Vronsky kept on regarding him as if he were a lamppost, and the young man grimaced, feeling that he was losing his self-possession under the oppressiveness of this refusal to recognize him as a human being.

Vronsky saw nothing and no one. He felt himself a king, not because he believed that he had made any impression on Anna——he did not yet believe that——but because the impression she had made on him afforded him happiness and pride.

What would come of it all he did not know, or even think. He felt that all his forces, hitherto dissolute, scattered, were centered on one thing, and bent with fearful energy toward one blissful goal. And therein lay his happiness. He did but know that he had told her the truth, that he had come where she was, that all the happiness of life, the sole meaning in life for him, now lay in seeing her and hearing her voice. And when he got out of his car at Bologovo to get some seltzer water, and had caught sight of Anna, his very first word had involuntarily told her his very thoughts. And he was glad he had told her, that she knew now, and was thinking of it. He did not sleep all night. Back in his compartment, he incessantly kept ruminating upon every posture in which he had seen her, every word she had uttered; and, in his imagination, making his heart swoon, floated pictures of a possible future.

When he got out of the train at Peterburg, he felt after his sleepless night as lively and fresh as after a cold bath. He paused near his car, waiting for her to emerge. "Once more," he said to himself, smiling unconsciously, "once more I shall see her walk, her face; she may say something, turn her head, glance, smile, perhaps." But before he caught sight of her, he saw her husband, whom the stationmaster was deferentially escorting through the crowd. "Ah, yes. The husband." Only now, for the first time, did Vronsky realize clearly the fact that there was someone attached to her——a husband. He had known that she had a husband, but had hardly believed in his existence, and only now, when he saw him, did he fully believe in him, with his head, and shoulders, and his black-trousered legs; especially when he saw this husband placidly take her arm, with a consciousness of proprietorship.

Seeing Alexei Alexandrovich with his spick-and-span Peterburg face and austerely self-confident figure, in his round hat, with his rather prominent spine, he believed in him, and was aware of a disagreeable sensation, such as might be felt by a man who, tortured by thirst, finds, on reaching a spring, a dog, a sheep or a pig therein that has not only drunk of it, but also muddied the water. Alexei Alexandrovich's manner of walking, gyrating his whole pelvis and his flat feet, was especially offensive to Vronsky. He could recognize in no one but himself an indubitable right to love her. But she was still the same, and the sight of her affected him the same way, physically reviving him, stirring him, and filling his soul with happiness. He told his German valet, who ran up to him from the second class, to take his things and go on, he himself went up to her. He saw the first meeting between the husband and wife, and noted, with a lover's insight, the sign of the slight embarrassment with which she spoke to her husband. "No, she does not love him, and cannot love him," he decided to himself.

At the very moment that he was approaching Anna Arkadyevna from the back, he noticed with joy that she was conscious of his drawing near, and that she looked round; after which, seeing him, she turned again to her husband.

"Have you had a good night?" he said, bowing both to her and to her husband, and leaving it to Alexei Alexandrovich to accept the bow on his own account, and to return it or not, as he might see fit.

"Thank you——a very good one," she answered.

Her face seemed tired, and lacking in that play of animation which usually hovered between her smile and her eyes; but for a single instant, as she glanced at him, something flashed in her eyes, and although this flash died away at once, he was made happy by that moment. She glanced at her husband, to find out whether he knew Vronsky. Alexei Alexandrovich was regarding Vronsky with displeasure, absent-mindedly trying to recall who he was. Vronsky's calmness and self-confidence had here run up, like a scythe against a stone, on the frigid self-confidence of Alexei Alexandrovich.

"Count Vronsky," said Anna.

"Ah! We are acquainted, I believe," said Alexei Alexandrovich apathetically, proffering his hand. "You set out with the mother and return with the son," he said to Anna, articulating distinctly, as though each word were a coin of high value bestowed by him on his hearers.——"You're back from leave, I suppose?" he said, and without waiting for a reply, he addressed his wife in his bantering tone: "Well, were a great many tears shed in Moscow at parting?"

By addressing his wife thus he meant Vronsky to perceive that he wished to be left alone, and, turning slightly toward him, he touched his hat; but Vronsky turned to Anna Arkadyevna:

"I hope to have the honor of calling on you," he said.

Alexei Alexandrovich glanced with his weary eyes at Vronsky.

"Delighted," he said coldly. "We're at home Mondays." Then, dismissing Vronsky entirely, he said to his wife: "I am rather lucky to have just half an hour to meet you, so that I can prove to you my fondness," he went on, in the same bantering tone.

"You lay too great a stress on your fondness for me to value it very much," she responded in the same bantering tone, involuntarily listening to the sound of Vronsky's steps behind them. "But what have I to do with that?" she said to herself, and began questioning her husband as to how Seriozha had got on without her.

"Oh, capitally! Mariette says he has been a very darling boy, and... I must disappoint you... But he has not languished for you as your husband has. But once more merci, my dear, for bestowing a whole day upon me. Our dear Samovar will be enraptured." (He called the Countess Lidia Ivanovna, well known in society, a samovar, because she was bubbling over with excitement on any and every occasion.) "She has been asking for you. And, d'you know, if I may venture to advise you, you ought to go to see her today. You know how she takes everything to heart. Just now, with all her own cares, she's anxious about the reconciliation of the Oblonskys."

The Countess Lidia Ivanovna was a friend of her husband's, and the center of that one of the coteries of the Peterburg beau monde with which Anna was, through her husband, in the closest rapport.

"But I wrote to her."

"Yes, but she must have full details. Go to see her, if you're not too tired, my dear. Well, Kondratii will take you in the carriage, while I go to my committee. Once more I shall not be alone at dinner," Alexei Alexandrovich continued, but no longer in a jesting tone. "You wouldn't believe how I've grown used to you...."

And, with a prolonged pressure of her hand, and a particular smile, he helped her into her carriage.

XXXII.

The first person to meet Anna at home was her son. He dashed down the stairs to her, in spite of the governess's call, and with frenzied rapture shrieked: "Mother! mother!" Running up to her, he hung on her neck.

"I told you it was mother!" he shouted to the governess. "I knew it!"

And her son, like her husband, aroused in Anna a feeling akin to disappointment. In her imagination he had been better than he was in reality. She had to descend to reality to enjoy him as he was. But, even so, he was charming, with his fair curls, his blue eyes and his chubby, graceful little legs in tightly pulled-up stockings. Anna experienced an almost physical delight in the sensation of his nearness, and his caresses; and a moral reassurance, when she met his ingenuous, trusting and loving glance, and heard his naive questions. Anna took out the presents Dolly's children had sent him, and told her son about Tania, a little girl in Moscow, and how Tania could read, and even taught the other children.

"Why, am I not as good as she?" asked Seriozha.

"To me you're better than anyone else in the whole world."

"I know that," said Seriozha, smiling.

Anna had scarcely drunk her coffee when the Countess Lidia Ivanovna was announced. The Countess Lidia Ivanovna was a tall, fleshy woman, with an unwholesomely yellow complexion and beautiful, pensive black eyes. Anna liked her, but today she seemed, for the first time, to see her with all her shortcomings.

"Well, my friend, were you the bearer of the olive branch?" asked Countess Lidia Ivanovna, the minute she entered the room.

"Yes, it's all over, but it was not at all as serious as we thought," answered Anna. "My belle-soeur is, in general, much too categorical."

But Countess Lidia Ivanovna, who was interested in everything that did not concern her, had a habit of never listening to what interested her; she interrupted Anna:

"Yes, there's plenty of sorrow and evil in the world——and I am so fatigued today!"

"Oh, why?" asked Anna, trying to repress a smile.

"I'm beginning to weary of vainly breaking lances for the truth, and at times I'm altogether unstrung. The affair with our Dear Sisters [this was a religiously patriotic, philanthropic institution] started off splendidly, but it's impossible to do anything with such people," added Countess Lidia Ivanovna, with a mocking submissiveness to fate. "They pounced on the idea, and mangled it, and afterward they thrash it out so pettily and trivially. Two or three people, your husband among them, grasp all the significance of this affair but the others merely degrade it. Yesterday Pravdin wrote to me..."

Pravdin was a well-known Pan-Slavist abroad, and Countess Lidia Ivanovna told the gist of his letter.

Next the Countess spoke of other unpleasantnesses and intrigues against the work of the unification of the churches, and departed in haste, since that day she had to attend the meeting of another society, and also a Slavonic committee.

"All this is as it has always been; but how is it I didn't notice it before?" Anna asked herself. "Or has she been very much irritated today? It's really ludicrous: her object is to do good; she's a Christian; yet she's forever angry, and forever having enemies——and always enemies in the name of Christianity and doing good."

After Countess Lidia Ivanovna another friend came, the wife of a director of the Department, who told her all the news of the town. At three o'clock she too went away, promising to come to dinner. Alexei Alexandrovich was at the Ministry. Anna, left alone, spent the time till dinner in lending her presence to her son's dinner (he dined apart from his parents), in putting her things in order, and in reading and answering the notes and letters which had accumulated on her escritoire.

The feeling of unreasoning shame, which she had felt during the journey, and her agitation, had completely vanished. In the accustomed conditions of her life she again felt herself firm and irreproachable.

She recalled with wonder her state of mind only yesterday. "What was it? Nothing. Vronsky said something silly, which it was easy to put an end to, and I answered just as I should have. To speak of it to my husband would be unnecessary and impermissible. To speak of it would be to attach importance to that which has none." She remembered how she had told her husband of what was almost declaration made her in Peterburg by a young man, a subordinate of her husband's, and how Alexei Alexandrovich had answered that every woman of the world was exposed to this sort of thing, but that he had the fullest confidence in her tact, and would never permit himself to degrade her and himself by jealousy. "So then, there's no reason to say anything? And, thank God, there isn't anything to say," she told herself.

XXXIII.

Alexei Alexandrovich came back from the Ministry at four o'clock, but as often happened, had no chance to drop in at her room. He went into his study to see the people waiting for him with petitions, and to sign certain papers brought him by his head clerk. At dinnertime (there were always at least three people dining with the Karenins) there arrived an old lady, a cousin of Alexei Alexandrovich; the director of the Department and his wife; and a young man who had been recommended to Alexei Alexandrovich for a post. Anna went into the drawing room to entertain these guests. Precisely at five o'clock, before the bronze Peter the First clock had finished the fifth stroke, Alexei Alexandrovich made his entry, in white tie and evening coat with two stars, as he had to go out directly after dinner. Every minute of Alexei Alexandrovich's life was taken up and apportioned. And in order to accomplish all that each day held for him, he adhered to the strictest orderliness. "Nor haste nor rest," was his device. He entered the dining hall, bowed to all, and hurriedly sat down, smiling to his wife:

"Yes, my solitude is over. You wouldn't believe how uncomfortable [he laid stress on the word uncomfortable] it is to dine alone."

At dinner he chatted with his wife about things at Moscow, and asked, with his mocking smile, about Stepan Arkadyevich; but the conversation was for the most part general, dealing with the official and public news of Peterburg. After dinner he spent half an hour with his guests, and, again with a smile, pressed his wife's hand, withdrew, and drove off to the Council. Anna went that evening neither to the Princess Betsy Tverskaia, who, hearing of her return, had invited her, nor to the theater, where she had a box for that evening. Her principal reason for not going out was because the dress she had expected to wear was not ready. All in all, Anna was exceedingly annoyed when she started to dress for the evening after the departure of her guests. Before her departure for Moscow she, who was generally a mistress of the art of dressing well yet inexpensively, had given her dressmaker three dresses to make over. The dresses were to be made over so that their old selves would be unrecognizable, and they should have been ready three days ago. It turned out that two dresses were nowhere near ready, while the other one had not been made over to Anna's liking. The dressmaker came to explain, asserting that her way was best, and Anna had become so heated that she blushed at the recollection. To regain her composure fully she went into the nursery and spent the whole evening with her son, putting him to bed herself, making the sign of the cross over him, and tucking him in. She was glad she had not gone out anywhere, and had spent the evening so well. She felt so lighthearted and calm, she saw so clearly that all that had seemed to her so significant on her railway journey was merely one of the ordinary trivial incidents of fashionable life, and that she had no cause to feel ashamed before anyone else or before herself. Anna sat down near the fireplace with an English novel and waited for her husband. Exactly at half-past nine she heard his ring, and he entered the room.

"Here you are at last!" she observed, extending her hand to him.

He kissed her hand and sat down beside her.

"All in all, I can see your trip was a success," he said to her.

"Yes, very much so," said she, and she began telling him everything from the beginning: her journey with Countess Vronskaia, her arrival, the accident at the station. Then she described the pity she had felt, first for her brother, and, afterward, for Dolly.

"I do not suppose there is any excuse for such a man, even though he is your brother," said Alexei Alexandrovich sternly.

Anna smiled. She knew that he said this precisely to show that family considerations could not prevent him from expressing his sincere opinion. She knew this trait in her husband and liked it.

"I am glad everything has ended so well, and that you have returned," he went on. "Well, and what do they say there about the new bill I have got passed in the Council?"

Anna had heard nothing of this bill, and she felt conscience-stricken that she could so readily forget what was to him of such importance.

"Here, on the other hand, this has created a great deal of talk," said he, with a self-satisfied smile.

She saw that Alexei Alexandrovich wanted to tell her something that pleased him about it, and she brought him by questions to telling it. With the same self-satisfied smile he told her of the ovations he had received as a consequence of the bill he had passed.

"I was very, very happy. It shows that at last an intelligent and firm view of the matter is forming among us."

After his second cup of tea, with cream and bread, Alexei Alexandrovich got up, and went toward his study.

"And you went nowhere this evening? Weren't You really bored?" he said.

"Oh, no!" she answered, getting up after him and accompanying him across the room to his study. "What are you reading now?" she asked.

"Just now I'm reading Duc de Lille——Poisie des enfers," he answered. "A most remarkable book."

Anna smiled, as people smile at the weaknesses of those they love, and, putting her hand in his, she kept him company to the door of his study. She knew his habit, now become a necessity, of reading in the evening. She knew, too, that in spite of his official duties, which engrossed almost all his time, he deemed it his duty to keep up with everything of note that appeared in the intellectual sphere. She knew, too, that his actual interest lay in books dealing with politics, philosophy and theology, that art was utterly foreign to his nature; but, in spite of this——or rather, in consequence of it——Alexei Alexandrovich never missed anything which created a sensation in the world of art, but made it his duty to read everything. She knew that in politics, in philosophy, in theology, Alexei Alexandrovich was a doubter and a seeker; yet in matters of art and poetry——and, above all, of music, of which he was totally devoid of understanding——he had the most definite and decided opinions. He was fond of discoursing on Shakespeare, Raphael, Beethoven, on the significance of new schools of poetry and music, all of which were classified by him with most obvious consistency.

"Well, God be with you," she said at the door of the study, where a shaded candle and a decanter of water were already placed near his armchair. "As for me, I'm going to write to Moscow."

He squeezed her hand, and again kissed it.

"Still, he's a good man; truthful, kindhearted, and remarkable in his own sphere," Anna said to herself, back in her room, as though defending him before someone who accused him, saying that one could not love him. "But why is it his ears stick out so queerly? Or has he had his hair cut?..."

Exactly at twelve, as Anna was still sitting at her desk finishing a letter to Dolly, she heard the sound of measured, slippered steps, and Alexei Alexandrovich, washed and combed, a book under his arm, approached her.

"Come, come," said he, with a particular smile, and passed on into their bedroom.

"And what right had he to look at him like that?" reflected Anna, recalling how Vronsky had looked at Alexei Alexandrovich.

Having disrobed, she went into the bedroom; but her face had none of the animation which, during her stay at Moscow, had fairly spurted from her eyes and her smile; on the contrary, now the fire seemed extinct in her, or hidden somewhere far away.

XXXIV.

Upon his departure from Peterburg Vronsky had left his large apartments on Morskaia to his friend and favorite comrade Petritsky.

Petritsky was a young lieutenant, not particularly well-connected, and not merely not wealthy, but in debt all around. Toward evening he was always drunk, and he had often found himself in the guardhouse because of sorts of ludicrous and disgraceful scrapes, but he was a favorite both of his comrades and his superior officers. At twelve o'clock, as Vronsky was driving up from the station to his quarters, he saw, near the entrance of the house, a hired carriage familiar to him. Even as he rang he heard, beyond the door, masculine laughter, the twitter of a feminine voice, and Petritsky's shout: "If that's one of the villains, don't let him in!" Vronsky told the servant not to announce him, and slipped noiselessly into the first room. Baroness Shilton, a friend of Petritsky's, with a rosy little face and flaxen-fair, resplendent in a lilac satin gown, and filling the whole room, like a canary, with her Parisian accents, sat at a round table, brewing coffee. Petritsky, in his overcoat, and the cavalry captain Kamerovsky, in full uniform, probably just come from duty, were sitting near her.

"Bravo! Vronsky!" shouted Petritsky, jumping up, scraping his chair. "Our host himself! Baroness, some coffee for him out of the new coffeepot. There, we didn't expect you! I Hope you're satisfied with the adornment of your study," he said, indicating the Baroness. "You know each other, of course?"

"I should say so!" said Vronsky, with a bright smile, squeezing the Baroness's little hand. "Why, we're old friends."

"You've just returned after traveling," said the Baroness, "so I'll run along. Oh, I'll be off this minute, if I'm in the way!"

"You're home, wherever you are, Baroness," said Vronsky. "How do you do, Kamerovsky?" he added, coldly shaking hands with Kamerovsky.

"There, you can never say such charming things," said the Baroness, turning to Petritsky.

"No——why not? After dinner even I can say things quite as good."

"After dinner there's no merit in them! Well, then, I'll give you some coffee; go wash and tidy up," said the Baroness, sitting down again, and anxiously turning a gadget in the new coffee urn. "Pierre, give me the coffee," she said, addressing Petritsky, whom she called Pierre, playing on his surname, making no secret of her relations with him. "I want to put some more in."

"You'll spoil it!"

"No, I won't spoil it! Well, and how is your wife?" said the Baroness suddenly, interrupting Vronsky's conversation with his comrade. "We've been marrying you off here. Have you brought your wife along?"

"No, Baroness. I was born a gypsy, and a gypsy I'll die."

"So much the better——so much the better. Shake hands on it."

And the Baroness, detaining Vronsky, began telling him, interspersing her story with many jokes, about her latest plans of life, and seeking his counsel.

"He persists in refusing to give me a divorce! Well, what am I to do?" (He was her husband.) "Now I want to begin a suit against him. What would you advise? Kamerovsky, look after the coffee——it's boiled out; you can see I'm taken up with business! I want a lawsuit, because I must have my property. You can understand the stupidity of his saying that I am unfaithful to him," she said contemptuously, "yet through it he wants to get the benefit of my fortune."

Vronsky heard with pleasure this lighthearted prattle of a pretty woman, said yes to everything, gave her half-joking counsel, and altogether dropped at once into the tone habitual to him in talking to such women. In his Peterburg world all people were divided into two utterly opposed kinds. One, the lower, consisted of vulgar, stupid and, above all, ridiculous people, who believe that one husband ought to live with the one wife whom he has lawfully wedded; that a girl should be innocent, a woman modest, and a man manly, self-controlled, and strong; that one ought to bring up one's children, earn one's bread and pay one's debts; and various similar absurdities. Those people were of an old-fashioned and ridiculous kind. But there was another kind of people——real people, to which they all belonged, and here the chief thing was to be elegant, magnanimous, daring, gay, and to abandon oneself without a blush to every passion, and to laugh at everything else.

For the first moment only, Vronsky was startled, after the impressions of a quite different world that he had brought with him from Moscow; but immediately, as though he had thrust his feet into old slippers, he stepped into his former lighthearted, pleasant world.

The coffee was really never made, but spluttered over everyone and boiled away, doing just what was required of it——that is, providing cause for much noise and laughter, and spoiling a costly rug and the Baroness's gown.

"Well, good-by now——or else you'll never get washed, and I shall have on my conscience the worst offense any decent person can commit—— uncleanliness. So you would advise a knife at his throat?"

"Absolutely——and in such a way that your little hand may not be far from his lips. He'll kiss it, and all will end well," answered Vronsky.

"So, the Francais tonight!" and, with a rustle of her skirts, she vanished.

Kamerovsky got up too, and Vronsky, without waiting for him to go, shook hands and went off to his dressing room. While he was washing, Petritsky briefly outlined to him his position, as far as it had changed since Vronsky's departure from Peterburg. No money whatsoever. His father said he wouldn't give him any, nor pay his debts. His tailor was trying to get him locked up, and another fellow, too, was threatening to do so without fail. The colonel of his regiment had announced that if these scandals did not cease a resignation would be inevitable. As for the Baroness, he was fed up with her, particularly because she was forever wanting to give him money. But there was another girl——he intended showing her to Vronsky——a marvel, exquisite, in the strict Oriental style, "genre of the slave Rebecca, you see." He had had a row, too, with Berkoshev, and the latter intended sending seconds, but, of course, it would all come to nothing. Altogether everything was going splendidly and was most jolly. And, without letting his comrade enter into further details of his position, Petritsky proceeded to tell him all the interesting news. As he listened to Petritsky's familiar stories, in the familiar setting of the rooms he had spent the last three years in, Vronsky felt the delightful sensation of coming back to the insouciant and customary life of Peterburg.

"Impossible!" he cried, releasing the pedal of the wash basin in which he had been sousing his stalwart red neck. "Impossible!" he cried, at the news that Laura had dropped Fertinghof and had tied up with Mileev. "And is he as stupid and satisfied as ever? Well, and what's Buzulukov doing?"

"Oh, Buzulukov got into a scrape——simply lovely!" cried Petritsky. "You know his passion for balls——and he never misses a single one at court. He went to a big ball in a new casque. Have you seen the new casques? Very good, and lighter. Well, he's standing... No——do listen."

"I am listening," answered Vronsky, rubbing himself with a rough towel.

"The Grand Duchess passes by with some ambassador or other, and, as ill luck would have it, their talk veers to the new casques. And so the Grand Duchess wanted to show the new casque to the ambassador.... Just then they catch sight of our dear boy standing there." (Petritsky mimicked him, standing with his casque.) "The Grand Duchess requested him to give her the casque——he doesn't do so. What's up? Well, they all wink at him, and nod and frown——give it to her, do! He still doesn't. Just stands there, stock-still. You can picture it to yourself!... Well, this... what's his name... tries to take the casque from him... He won't give it up!... This chap tore it from him, and hands it to the Grand Duchess. "This is the new casque," says the Grand Duchess. She turned the casque over, and——just picture it!——bang went a pear and candy out of it——two pounds of candy!... He'd collected all that——our dear boy!"

Vronsky rolled with laughter. And, long afterward, even when he was talking of other things, he would go off into peals of his hearty laughter baring his strong, closely set teeth, whenever he thought of the casque.

Having learned all the news, Vronsky, with the assistance of his valet, got into his uniform, and went off to report himself. He intended, afterward, to go to his brother and to Betsy, and to pay several visits, as an entering wedge into that society where he might meet Madame Karenina. As always in Peterburg, he left home without any intention of returning before very late at night.

PART TWO

I.

Toward the end of winter, in the house of the Shcherbatskys, a consultation was being held, which was to determine the state of Kitty's health, and what was to be done to restore her failing strength. She had been ill, and, as spring came on, she grew worse. The family doctor gave her cod-liver oil, then iron, then lunar caustic; but since neither the first, nor the second, nor the third availed, and since his advice was to go abroad before the beginning of the spring, a celebrated doctor was called in. The celebrated doctor, not yet old and a very handsome man, demanded an examination of the patient. He maintained, with special satisfaction, it seemed, that maiden modesty is merely a relic of barbarism, and that nothing could be more natural than for a man who was not yet old to handle a young girl in the nude. He deemed this natural, because he did it every day, and neither felt nor thought, as it seemed to him, anything evil as he did it and, consequently, he considered girlish modesty not merely as a relic of barbarism, but, as well, an insult to himself.

It was necessary to submit, for, although all the doctors studied in the same school, all using the same textbooks, and all learned in the same science, and though some people said this celebrated doctor was but a poor doctor, in the Princess's household and circle it was for some reason held that this celebrated doctor alone had some peculiar knowledge, and that he alone could save Kitty. After thorough examination and tapping of the patient, distraught and dazed with shame, the celebrated doctor, having painstakingly washed his hands, was standing in the drawing room talking to the Prince. The Prince frowned and coughed as he listened to the doctor. As a man who had seen something of life, and neither a fool nor an invalid, he had no faith in medicine, and at soul was wrought up with all this comedy, especially as he was probably the only one who fully understood the cause of Kitty's illness. "You're barking up the wrong tree," he mentally applied this phrase from the hunter's vocabulary to the celebrated doctor, as he listened to the latter's patter about the symptoms of his daughter's complaint. The doctor, for his part, found difficulty in restraining the expression of his contempt for this old grandee, as well as in condescending to the low level of his comprehension. He perceived that it was useless to talk to the old man, and that the head of this house was the mother——and she it was before whom he intended to scatter his pearls. It was at this point that the Princess entered the drawing room with the family doctor. The Prince retreated, doing his best not to betray how ridiculous he regarded the whole comedy. The Princess was distraught, and did not know what to do. She felt herself at fault before Kitty.

"Well, doctor, decide our fate," said the Princess. "Tell me everything."——"Is there any hope?" was what she had wanted to say, but her lips quivered, and she could not utter this question. "Well, doctor?"

"Immediately, Princess——I will discuss the matter with my colleague, and then have the honor of laying my opinion before you."

"Then we had better leave you?"

"As you please."

The Princess, with a sigh, stepped outside.

When the doctors were left alone, the family doctor began timidly explaining his opinion, that there was an incipient tubercular process, but... and so on. The celebrated doctor listened to him, and in the middle of the other's speech looked at his big gold watch.

"That is so," said he. "But..."

The family doctor respectfully ceased in the middle of his speech.

"As you know, we cannot determine the incipience of the tubercular process; until the appearance of vomicae there is nothing determinate. But we may suspect it. And there are indications: malnutrition, nervous excitability, and so on. The question stands thus: if we suspect a tubercular process, what must we do to maintain nutrition?"

"But then, you know, there are always moral, spiritual causes at the back of these cases," the family doctor permitted himself to interpolate with a subtle smile.

"Yes, that's to be taken for granted," retorted the celebrated doctor, again glancing at his watch. "Beg pardon——but is the Iauzsky bridge finished yet, or must one still make a detour?" he asked. "Ah! It is finished. Well, in that case I can make it in twenty minutes. As we were saying, the question may be posited thus: the nutrition must be maintained and the nerves improved. The one is bound with the other; one must work upon both sides of this circle."

"But what about the trip abroad?" asked the family doctor.

"I am a foe to trips abroad. And take notice: if there is any incipient tubercular process, which we cannot know, a trip abroad will not help. We must have a remedy that would improve nutrition, and do no harm."

And the celebrated doctor expounded his plan of treatment with Soden waters, in designating which his main end was evidently their harmlessness.

The family doctor heard him out attentively and respectfully.

"But in favor of foreign travel I would urge the change of habits, the removal from conditions which evoke memories. And then——the mother wishes it," he added.

"Ah! Well, in that case, one might go; well, let them go; but those German charlatans may do harm.... Our instructions ought to be followed.... Well, let them go then."

He again glanced at his watch.

"Oh! it's time to go," and he went to the door.

The celebrated doctor informed the Princess (prompted by a feeling of propriety) that he must see the patient once more.

"What! Another examination!" the mother exclaimed in horror.

"Oh, no——I merely need certain details, Princess."

"Come this way."

And the mother, followed by the doctor, went into the drawing room to Kitty. Wasted and blushing, with a peculiar glitter in her eyes—— a consequence of the shame she had gone through, Kitty was standing in the middle of the room. When the doctor came in she turned crimson, and her eyes filled with tears. All her illness and its treatment seemed to her a thing so stupid——even funny! Treatment seemed to her as funny as reconstructing the pieces of a broken vase. It was her heart that was broken. Why, then, did they want to cure her with pills and powders? But she could not hurt her mother——all the more so since her mother considered herself to blame.

"May I trouble you to sit down, Princess?" the celebrated doctor said to her.

Smiling, he, sat down facing her, felt her pulse, and again started in with his tiresome questions. She answered him, and suddenly, becoming angry, got up.

"You must pardon me, doctor——but really, this will lead us nowhere. You ask me the same things, three times running."

The celebrated doctor did not take umbrage.

"Sickly irritability," said he to the Princess, when Kitty had left the room. "However, I had finished...."

And the doctor scientifically defined to the Princess, as to an exceptionally clever woman, the condition of the young Princess, and concluded by explaining the mode of drinking the unnecessary waters. When the question of going abroad came up, the doctor was plunged into profound considerations, as though deciding a weighty problem. Finally his decision was given: they might go abroad, but must put no faith in charlatans, but turn to him in everything.

It seemed as though some cheerful influence had sprung up after the doctor's departure. The mother grew more cheerful when she returned to her daughter, while Kitty too pretended to be more cheerful. She had frequent, almost constant, occasions to be pretending now.

"Really, I'm quite well, maman. But if you want to go abroad, let's!" she said, and, trying to show that she was interested in the proposed trip, she began talking of the preparations for the departure.

II.

Right after the doctor Dolly arrived. She knew that the consultation was scheduled for that day, and, despite the fact that she had only recently gotten up from her lying-in (she had had another little girl at the end of the winter), despite her having enough trouble and cares of her own, she had left her breast baby and an ailing girl to come and learn Kitty's fate, which was being decided that day.

"Well, what's what?" said she, entering into the drawing room, without taking off her hat. "You're all in good spirits. That means good news, then?"

An attempt was made to tell her what the doctor had said, but it proved that, even though the doctor had talked coherently and long, it was utterly impossible to convey what he had said. The only point of interest was that going abroad was definitely decided upon.

Dolly could not help sighing. Her dearest friend, her sister, was going away. And her life was far from gay. Her relations with Stepan Arkadyevich after their reconciliation had become humiliating. The welding Anna had made proved not at all solid, and family concord had broken down again at the same point. There was nothing definite, but Stepan Arkadyevich was hardly ever at home; also, there was hardly ever any money, and Dolly was constantly being tortured by suspicions of infidelities, and by now she drove them away from her, dreading the agony of jealousy she had already experienced. The first explosion of jealousy, once lived through, could never return, and even the discovery of infidelities could never affect her now as it had the first time. Such a discovery now would only mean breaking up her family habits, and she permitted him to deceive her, despising him—— and still more herself——for this weakness. Besides this, the cares of her large family were a constant torment to her: now the nursing of her breast baby did not go well; now the nurse would leave, now (as at the present time) one of the children would fall ill.

"Well, how's everybody in your family?" asked her mother.

"Ah, maman, we have enough trouble of our own. Lili has taken ill, and I'm afraid it's scarlatina. I have come here now to find out about Kitty, and then I shall shut myself up entirely, if——God forbid——it really be scarlatina."

The old Prince too had come in from his study after the doctor's departure, and, after offering his cheek to Dolly, and chatting awhile with her, he turned to his wife:

"What have you decided——are you going? Well, and what do you want to do with me?"

"I think you had better stay here, Alexandre," said his wife.

"Just as you wish."

"Maman, why shouldn't father come with us?" said Kitty. "He'll feel better, and so will we."

The old Prince got up and stroked Kitty's hair. She lifted her head and looked at him with a forced smile. It always seemed to her that he understood her better than anyone else in the family did, though he spoke but little with her. Being the youngest, she was her father's favorite, and she fancied that his love for her gave him insight. When now her gaze met his blue, kindly eyes, scrutinizing her intently, it seemed to her that he saw right through her, and understood all the evil things that were at work within her. Reddening, she was drawn toward him, expecting a kiss; but he merely patted her hair and said:

"These silly chignons! One can't as much as get near one's real daughter, but simply stroke the hair of defunct females. Well Dolinka," he turned to his elder daughter, "what's your ace up to now?"

"Nothing, papa," answered Dolly, who knew that this referred to her husband. "He's always out; I hardly ever see him," she could not resist adding with a mocking smile.

"Why, hasn't he gone into the country yet——about the sale of the forest?"

"No; he's still getting ready."

"Oh, that's it!" said the Prince. "And so I'm to be getting ready, too? At your service," he said to his wife, sitting down. "And as for you, Katia," he went on, addressing his younger daughter, "you must wake up one fine day and say to yourself: Why, I'm quite well, and merry, and I'm going out again with papa for an early morning stroll in the frost. Eh?"

What her father said seemed simple enough, yet at these words Kitty grew confused and upset, like a criminal caught red-handed. "Yes, he knows all, he understands all, and in these words he's telling me that though I'm ashamed, I must live through my shame." She could not pluck up spirit enough to make any answer. She made an attempt but suddenly burst into tears, and ran out of the room.

"See what comes of your jokes!" the Princess pounced on her husband. "You're always..." she launched into her reproachful speech.

The Prince listened to the Princess's reproaches rather a long while and kept silent, but his face grew more and more glowering.

"She's so much to be pitied, poor thing, so much to be pitied, yet you don't feel how it pains her to hear the least hint as to the cause of it all. Ah! to be so mistaken in people!" said the Princess, and by the change in her tone both Dolly and the Prince knew she meant Vronsky. "I don't know why there aren't laws against such vile, dishonorable people."

"Ah, I oughtn't to listen to you!" said the Prince glumly, getting up from his chair, as if to go, yet pausing in the doorway. "There are laws, my dear, and since you've challenged me to it, I'll tell you who's to blame for it all: you——you, you alone. Laws against such young gallants have always existed, and still exist! Yes, if there weren't anything that ought not to have been, I, old as I am, would have called him out to the barrier, this swell. Yes, and now go ahead and physic her, and call in these charlatans."

The Prince, it seemed, had plenty more to say, but no sooner had the Princess caught his tone than she subsided at once, and became penitent, as was always the case in serious matters.

"Alexandre, Alexandre," she whispered, approaching him and bursting into tears.

As soon as she began to weep the Prince, too, calmed down. He went up to her.

"There, that's enough, that's enough! You feel badly too, I know. Nothing can be done about it! It's not so very bad. God is merciful... thanks..." he said, without knowing himself what he was saying now, responding to the moist kiss of the Princess that he felt on his hand. And the Prince went out of the room.

No sooner had Kitty gone out of the room, in tears, than Dolly, with her motherly, domestic habit, had promptly perceived that here a woman's work lay before her, and got ready for it. She took off her hat, and, morally speaking, tucked up her sleeves and got ready for action. While her mother was attacking her father, she tried to restrain her mother, so far as daughterly reverence would allow. During the Prince's outburst she was silent; she felt ashamed for her mother and tender toward her father for so quickly being kind again. But when her father left, she made ready for what was most necessary—— to go to Kitty and compose her.

"I've intended long since to tell you something, maman: did you know that Levin meant to propose to Kitty when he was here last? He told Stiva so."

"Well, what of it? I don't understand..."

"Why, perhaps Kitty refused him?... Did she say nothing to you?"

"No, she said nothing to me either of the one or the other; she's too proud. But I know it's all on account of this..."

"Yes, but suppose she has refused Levin——and she wouldn't have refused him if it hadn't been for the other, I know. And then, this fellow has deceived her so horribly."

It was too frightful for the Princess to think how much at fault she was before her daughter, and she grew angry.

"Oh, now I really understand nothing! Nowadays everybody thinks to live after his own way; a mother isn't told a thing, and then you have..."

"Maman, I'll go to her."

"Do. Am I forbidding you?"

III.

When she went into Kitty's little sanctum, a pretty, rosy little room, full of knickknacks in vieux saxe, as youthful and rosy and gay as Kitty herself had been only two months ago, Dolly recalled how they had together decorated the room the year before, with what gaiety and love. Her heart turned cold when she beheld Kitty sitting on the low chair nearest the door, her eyes fixed immovably on a corner of the rug. Kitty glanced at her sister, and the cold, rather austere expression of her face did not change.

"I'm going now, and shall entrench myself at home, and you won't be able to come to see me," said Darya Alexandrovna sitting down beside her. "I want to talk to you."

"What about?" Kitty asked swiftly, lifting her head in fright.

"What should it be, save what's grieving you?"

"I have no grief."

"Come, Kitty. Do you possibly think I cannot know? I know all. And, believe me, this is so insignificant... We've all been through it."

Kitty did not speak, and her face had a stern expression.

"He's not worth your suffering on his account," pursued Darya Alexandrovna, coming straight to the point.

"Yes——because he has disdained me," said Kitty, in a jarring voice. "Don't say anything! Please, don't say anything!"

"But whoever told you that? No one has said that. I'm certain he was in love with you, and remained in love with you, but..."

"Oh, the most awful thing of all for me are these condolences!" cried out Kitty, in a sudden fit of anger. She turned round on her chair, turned red, and her fingers moved quickly, as she pinched the buckle of the belt she held, now with one hand, now with the other. Dolly knew this trick her sister had of grasping something in turn with each of her hands, when in excitement; she knew that, in a moment of excitement Kitty was capable of forgetting herself and saying a great deal too much and much that was unpleasant, and Dolly would have calmed her; but it was already too late.

"What——what is it you want to make me feel, eh?" said Kitty quickly. "That I've been in love with a man who didn't even care to know me, and that I'm dying for love of him? And this is said to me by my own sister, who imagines that... that... that she's sympathizing with me!... I don't want these condolences and hypocrisies!"

"Kitty, you're unjust."

"Why do you torment me?"

"But I... On the contrary... I can see you're hurt...."

But Kitty in her heat did not hear her.

"I've nothing to despair over and be comforted about. I'm sufficiently proud never to allow myself to care for a man who does not love me."

"Why, I don't say anything of the kind... Only, tell me the truth," said Darya Alexandrovna, taking her by the hand, "tell me——did Levin speak to you?..."

The mention of Levin seemed to deprive Kitty of the last vestige of self-control. She leaped up from her chair, and, flinging the buckle to the ground, gesticulating rapidly with her hands, she said:

"Why bring Levin in too? I can't understand——what you want to torture me for? I've told you, and I repeat it——I have some pride, and never, never would I do what you're doing——going back to a man who's deceived you, who has come to love another woman. I can't understand this! You may——but I can't do it!"

And, having said these words, she glanced at her sister, and seeing that Dolly sat silent, her head mournfully bowed, Kitty, instead of leaving the room, as she had intended, sat down near the door, and, hiding her face in her shawl, let her head drop.

The silence lasted for two minutes. Dolly's thoughts were of herself. That humiliation of which she was always conscious came back to her with special pain when her sister reminded her of it. She had not expected such cruelty from her sister, and was resentful. But suddenly she heard the rustle of a skirt, and, simultaneously, an outburst of smothered sobbing, and felt arms clasping her neck from below. Kitty was on her knees before her.

"Dolinka, I am so, so unhappy!" she whispered penitently.

And the endearing face, covered with tears, hid itself in Darya Alexandrovna's skirt.

It was as if tears were the indispensable oil without which the machinery of mutual communion could not run smoothly between the two sisters; the sisters, after their tears, discussed everything but that which engrossed them; but, even in talking of outside matters, they understood one another. Kitty knew that what she had uttered in anger about her husband's infidelity and her humiliating position had struck her poor sister to the very depths of her heart, but she also knew that the latter had forgiven her. Dolly for her part had comprehended all she had wanted to find out. She had become convinced that her surmises were correct; that Kitty's misery, her incurable misery, was due precisely to the fact that Levin had proposed to her and she had refused him, while Vronsky had deceived her, and that she stood ready to love Levin and to hate Vronsky. Kitty said no word of this; she spoke of nothing save her own spiritual state.

"I have nothing to grieve over," she said, calming down, "but you could understand that everything has become loathsome, hateful, coarse to me——and I myself most of all. You can't imagine what loathsome thoughts I have about everything."

"Why, whatever loathsome thoughts can you have?" asked Dolly, smiling.

"Most, most loathsome and coarse: I couldn't tell you. This is not melancholy, nor boredom, but far worse. As if everything of good that I had were gone out of sight, while only that which was most loathsome were left. Well, how shall I put it to you?" she went on, seeing incomprehension in her sister's eyes. "Papa began saying something to me just now... It seems to me he thinks all I need is to marry. If mamma takes me to a ball——it seems to me she takes me only to marry me off as fast as possible, and get me off her hands. I know this isn't so, but I can't drive away such thoughts. These suitors so called——I can't bear the sight of them. It seems to me as if they're always taking stock of me. Formerly, to go anywhere in a ball dress was a downright joy to me; I used to admire myself; now I feel ashamed, in at ease. Well, take any example you like... This doctor... Now..."

Kitty hesitated; she wanted to say further that ever since this change had taken place in her, Stepan Arkadyevich had become unbearably repulsive to her, and that she could not see him without imagining the grossest and most hideous things.

"Well now, everything appears to me, in the coarsest, most loathsome aspect," she went on. "That is my ailment. Perhaps all this will pass..."

"Try not to think of such things..."

"I can't help it. I feel well only when I am with the children, at your house."

"What a pity you can't visit me!"

"Oh, yes, I'll come.——I've had scarlatina, and I'll persuade maman to let me come."

Kitty insisted on having her way, and went to stay at her sister's and nursed the children all through the scarlatina——for it really proved to be scarlatina. The two sisters brought all the six children successfully through it; Kitty's health, however, did not improve, and in Lent the Shcherbatskys went abroad.

IV.

There is really only one circle of Peterburg upper society: everyone knows everyone else, even visits each other. But this great circle has subdivisions of its own. Anna Arkadyevna Karenina had friends and close ties in three different circles. One circle was her husband's set of civil servants and officials, consisting of his colleagues and subordinates, brought together in a most diversified and capricious manner, yet separated by social conditions. Anna could now recall only with difficulty the feeling of almost pious reverence which she had at first borne for these persons. Now she knew all of them, as people know one another in a provincial town; she knew their habits and weaknesses, and where the shoe pinched each one of them. She knew their attitudes toward one another and to the chief center; knew who backed whom, and how and wherewithal each one maintained his position, and who agreed or disagreed with whom; but this circle of political, masculine interests could not interest her, and, in spite of Countess Lidia Ivanovna's suggestions, she avoided it.

Another small circle, with which Anna was intimate, was the one by means of which Alexei Alexandrovich had made his career. The center of this circle was the Countess Lidia Ivanovna. This was a circle of elderly, homely, virtuous and pious women, and clever, learned and ambitious men. One of the clever people belonging to this small circle had called it "the conscience of Peterburg society." Alexei Alexandrovich appreciated this circle very much, and Anna, who knew so well how to get on with all, had in the early days of her life in Peterburg found friends even in this circle. But now, upon her return from Moscow, this set had become unbearable to her. It seemed to her that both she and all of them were dissimulating, and she experienced such boredom and lack of ease in their society that she tried to visit the Countess Lidia Ivanovna as infrequently as possible.

And, finally, the third circle with which Anna had ties was the really fashionable world——the world of balls, of dinners, of sumptuous dresses; the world that hung on to the court with one hand, in order not to sink to the level of the demimonde, which the members of the fashionable world believed they despised——yet the tastes of both were not only similar, but precisely the same. Her connection with this circle was maintained through Princess Betsy Tverskaia, her cousin's wife, who had an income of a hundred and twenty thousand roubles, and who had taken a great liking to Anna ever since she first came out, looking after her and drawing her into her own circle, poking fun at that of Countess Lidia Ivanovna.

"When I'm old and shall have lost my looks, I'll be the same," Betsy used to say; "but for a young and pretty woman like you it's much too early to join that Old Ladies' Home."

Anna had at first avoided, as much as she could, Princess Tverskaia's world, because it necessitated expenditures above her means——and, besides, at soul she preferred the first circle; but after her trip to Moscow, things fell out quite the other way. She avoided her moral friends, and went out into the fashionable world. There she would meet Vronsky, and experienced an agitating joy at such meetings. Especially often did she meet Vronsky at Betsy's, for Betsy was a Vronsky by birth, and his cousin. Vronsky went everywhere where he might meet Anna, and, at every chance he had, spoke to her of his love. She offered him no encouragement, yet every time she met him there was kindled in her soul that same feeling of animation which had come upon her that day in the railway carriage when she had seen him for the first time. She felt herself that her delight shone in her eyes and puckered her lips into a smile—— and she could not quench the expression of this delight.

At first Anna had sincerely believed that she was displeased with him for daring to pursue her; but not long after her return from Moscow, on arriving at a soiree where she had anticipated meeting him, yet not finding him there, she realized clearly, from the feeling of sadness which overcame her, that she had been deceiving herself, and that this pursuit was not merely not distasteful to her, but that it constituted all the interest of her life.

It was the second performance of a celebrated cantatrice, and all the fashionable world was in the theater. Vronsky, seeing his cousin from his seat in the front row, did not wait till the entr'acte, but went to her box.

"Why didn't you come to dinner?" she said to him. "I marvel at this clairvoyance of lovers," she added with a smile, so that no one but he could hear, "she wasn't there. But do come after the opera."

Vronsky looked inquiringly at her. She nodded. He thanked her by a smile, and sat down beside her.

"But how I remember your jeers!" continued Princess Betsy, who took special delight in following up the progress of this passion. "What's become of all that? You're caught, my dear fellow."

"That's my one desire——to be caught," answered Vronsky, with his calm, good-natured smile. "If I complain at all, it's only that I'm not caught enough, if the truth were told. I begin to lose hope."

"Why, whatever hope can you expect?" said Betsy, offended on behalf of her friend. "Entendons nous...." But in her eyes flitted gleams of light, which proclaimed that she understood very well, even as much as he did, what hope he might entertain.

"None whatever," said Vronsky, laughing and showing his closely set teeth. "Excuse me," he added, taking the binoculars out of her hand, and proceeding to scrutinize, over her bare shoulder, the row of boxes opposite them. "I'm afraid I'm becoming ridiculous."

He was very well aware that he ran no risk of being ridiculous in the eyes of Betsy and all other fashionable people. He was very well aware that in the eyes of these people the role of the hapless lover of a girl, or in general, of any woman free to marry, might be ridiculous; but the role of a man pursuing a married woman, and, regardless of everything, staking his life on drawing her into adultery——that role has something beautiful and majestic about it, and can never be ridiculous, and so it was with a proud and gay smile under his mustaches that he lowered the binoculars and looked at his cousin.

"But why didn't you come to dinner?" she said, admiring him.

"I must tell you about that. I was busy——and with what, do you suppose? I'll give you a hundred guesses, a thousand... you'd never guess. I've been reconciling a husband with a man who'd insulted his wife. Yes, really!"

"Well, did you reconcile them?"

"Almost."

"You really must tell me about it," she said, getting up. "Come to me in the next entr'acte."

"I can't; I'm going to the French theater."

"Leaving Nilsson?" Betsy queried in horror, though she could not herself have distinguished Nilsson from any chorus girl.

"What can I do? I've an appointment there, all because of my mission of peace."

"'Blessed are the peacemakers;' 'they shall be saved'," said Betsy, recalling something of that sort she had heard from somebody or other. "Very well, then, sit down, and tell me what it's all about."

And she resumed her seat.

V.

"This is rather indiscreet, but it's so charming that one is awfully tempted to tell the story," said Vronsky, looking at her with laughing eyes. "I don't intend to mention any names."

"But I shall guess them——so much the better."

"Listen, then: two festive young men were driving along..."

"Officers of your regiment, of course?"

"I didn't say they were officers——just two young men who had been lunching."

"In other words, drinking."

"Possibly. They were driving on their way to dinner with a friend in the gayest of moods. And they catch sight of a pretty woman in a hired sleigh, who overtakes them, looks back at them, and——so it seemed to them, at any rate——nods to them and laughs. They, of course, follow her——galloping at full speed. To their amazement, the fair one alights at the entrance of the very house to which they were going. The fair one darts upstairs to the top floor. All they got was a glimpse of rosebud lips under a short veil, and of exquisite little feet."

"You tell this with such feeling that it seems to me you yourself must have been one of the two."

"But what did you tell me just now?... Well, the young men enter their comrade's apartment——he was giving a farewell dinner. There they certainly did take a drop too much, as is always the case at farewell dinners. And at dinner they inquire who lives at the top in that house. No one knows; only their host's valet, in answer to their inquiry whether any 'young ladies' are living on the top floor, answered that there were a great many of them. After dinner the two young men go into their host's study, and write a letter to the fair unknown. They composed a passionate epistle, really a declaration, and then carry the letter upstairs themselves, so as to explain whatever might prove not altogether clear in the letter."

"Why do you tell me such nasty things? And then?"

"They ring. A maidservant opens the door, they hand her the letter, and assure her that they're both so enamored that they'll die on the spot at the door. The maid, stupefied, carries on the negotiations. Suddenly a gentleman appears——with side whiskers like country sausages, he is as red as a lobster and, informing them that there is no one living in that flat except his wife, he sends them both packing."

"How do you know he had side whiskers like sausages, as you put it?"

"Ah, do but listen. Recently I went to make peace between them."

"Well, and what was the upshot?"

"That's the most interesting part. This couple turned out to be a most happy one——a government clerk and his lady. The government clerk lodges a complaint, whereupon I become a mediator——and what a mediator!... I assure you Talleyrand was a nobody compared to me."

"Just what was the difficulty?"

"Ah, do but listen.... We make fitting apologies: 'We are in despair; we entreat forgiveness for the unfortunate misunderstanding.' The government clerk with the country sausages begins to melt, and he, too, desires to express his sentiments, but no sooner does he begin to express them than he gets heated and says nasty things, and again I'm obliged to trot out all my diplomatic talents. 'I agree that their action was bad, but I beg of you to take into consideration the misunderstanding, and their youth; besides, the young men had just come from their lunch. You understand. Their repentance is heartfelt and they beg you to forgive their misbehavior.' The government clerk was softened once more. 'I consent, Count, and am ready to forgive but you must understand that my wife——my wife!——a respectable woman is subjected to annoyances, and insults, and impertinences by certain milksops, scou-...' Yet, you understand, the milksop is present, and it is up to me to make peace between them. Again I trot out all my diplomacy, and again, just as the matter is about to be concluded, our friend the government clerk gets heated and turns red while his country sausages bristle up, and I once more exert diplomatic finesse."

"Ah, you must hear this story!" said Betsy, laughing, to a lady who was entering the box. "He has made me laugh so much... Well, bonne chance!" she added, giving Vronsky the one finger free from holding her fan, and with a shrug of her shoulders letting down the bodice of her gown, that had worked up, so as to be fittingly and fully nude as she moved forward, toward the footlights, into the lights of the gas, and within the ken of all.

Vronsky drove to the French theater, where he really had to see the colonel of his regiment, who never missed a single performance there; he wanted to talk over his peacemaking, which had been occupying and amusing him for the last three days. Petritsky, whom he liked, was implicated in the affair, as well as another fine fellow and excellent comrade, who had lately joined the regiment——the young Prince Kedrov. But, mainly, the interests of the regiment were involved as well.

Both culprits were in Vronsky's squadron. The colonel of the regiment had received a call from the government clerk, Venden, with a complaint against his officers, who had insulted his wife. His young wife, as Venden told the story——he had been married half a year——had been at church with her mother, and, suddenly feeling indisposed, due to her interesting condition, found that she could not remain standing and drove home in the first sleigh with the mettlesome coachman she came across. It was then that the officers set off in pursuit of her; she was alarmed, and, feeling still worse, ran home up the staircase. Venden himself, on returning from his office, had heard a ring at their bell and voices, had stepped out, and seeing the intoxicated officers with a letter, he had pushed them out. He was asking that the culprits be severely punished.

"You may say what you will," said the colonel to Vronsky, whom he had invited to come and see him. "Petritsky is becoming impossible. Not a week goes by without some scrape. This clerk chap won't let matters drop——he'll go on with the thing."

Vronsky saw all the thanklessness of the business, and that a duel was out of the question here; that everything must be done to soften this government clerk, and hush the matter up. The colonel had called in Vronsky precisely because he knew him to be an honorable and intelligent man, but, above all, one to whom the honor of the regiment was dear. They talked it over, and decided that Petritsky and Kedrov must go with Vronsky to this government clerk and apologize. The colonel and Vronsky were both fully aware that Vronsky's name and insignia of aide-de-camp were bound to go a long way toward softening the government clerk. And these two influences proved in fact not without effect; though the result of the mediation remained, as Vronsky had described, uncertain.

On reaching the French theater, Vronsky retired to the foyer with the colonel, and reported to him his success——or lack of it. The colonel, thinking it all over, decided not to go on with the matter; but then, for his own delectation, proceeded to question Vronsky about the details of his interview and for a long while could not restrain his laughter as he listened to Vronsky's story of how the government clerk, after subsiding for a while, would suddenly flare up again, as he recalled the details, and how Vronsky, at the last half-word of conciliation, had skillfully maneuvered a retreat, shoving Petritsky out before him.

"It's a disgraceful scrape, but a killing one. Kedrov really can't fight this gentleman! So he was awfully wrought up?" he asked again, laughing. "But what do you think of Claire today? She's a wonder!" he went on, speaking of a new French actress. "No matter how often you see her, she's different each time. It's only the French who can do that."

VI.

Princess Betsy drove home from the theater without waiting for the end of the last act. She had just time enough to go into her dressing room, sprinkle her long, pale face with powder, rub it off, set her dress to rights, and order tea in the big drawing room, when one after another carriages drove up to her huge house on the Bolshaia Morskaia. Her guests dismounted at the wide entrance, and the stout porter, who used to read newspapers mornings behind the glass door, to the edification of the passers-by, noiselessly opened the immense door, letting the visitors pass by him into the house.

Almost at the same instant that the hostess, with freshly arranged coiffure and freshened face, entered at one door, her guests entered at the other, into the drawing room, a large room with dark walls, downy rugs and a brightly lighted table, gleaming with the light of candles, the whiteness of napery, the silver of the samovar and the tea service of transparent porcelain.

The hostess sat down at the samovar and took off her gloves. Chairs were set with the aid of footmen, moving almost imperceptibly about the room; the party settled itself, divided into two groups: one round the samovar near the hostess, the other at the opposite end of the drawing room, round the handsome wife of an ambassador, in black velvet, with sharply defined black eyebrows. In both groups conversation wavered, as it always does, for the first few minutes, broken up by meetings, salutations, offers of tea, and, as it were, seeking for some point in common.

"She's exceptionally fine as an actress; one can see she's studied Kaulbach," said a diplomatist in the circle of the ambassador's wife. "Did you notice how she fell down?..."

"Oh, please, don't let us talk about Nilsson! No one can possibly say anything new about her," said a fat, red-faced, flaxen-headed lady, without eyebrows and without chignon, wearing an old silk dress. This was Princess Miaghkaia, noted for her simplicity and the roughness of her manners, and nicknamed enfant terrible. Princess Miaghkaia was seated halfway between the two groups, and, listening to both, took part in the conversation first of one and then of the other. "Three people have used that very phrase about Kaulbach to me today, just as though they had conspired. And I don't know why that phrase should be so much to their liking."

The conversation was cut short by this observation, and again a new subject had to be thought of.

"Do tell us something amusing, yet not spiteful," said the ambassador's wife, a great proficient in the art of that elegant conversation called by the English small talk. She addressed the diplomatist, who was now at a loss just what to begin upon.

"That is said to be a difficult task——only that which is spiteful is supposed to be amusing," he began with a smile. "However, I'll make the attempt. Give me a theme. it's all a matter of the theme. If the theme be but given, it's easy enough to embroider it. I often think that the celebrated conversationalists of the last century would find it difficult to talk cleverly now. Everything clever has become such a bore...."

"That has been said long ago," the ambassador's wife interrupted him, laughing.

The conversation had begun amiably, but just because it was too amiable, it came to a stop again. They had to have recourse to the sure, never-failing remedy——malicious gossip.

"Don't you think there's something Louis Quinze about Tushkevich?" he said, glancing toward a handsome, fair-haired young man, standing at the table.

"Oh, yes! He's in the same style as the drawing room, and that's why it is he's so often here."

This conversation was kept up, since it depended on allusions to what could not be talked of in that room——that is to say, of the relations of Tushkevich with their hostess.

Round the samovar and the hostess the conversation having, in the meanwhile, vacillated in precisely the same way between the three inevitable topics——the latest piece of public news, the theater, and censuring the fellow creature——had finally come to rest on the last topic——that is, malicious gossip.

"Have you heard that even the Maltishcheva——the mother, not the daughter——has ordered a costume in diable rose color?"

"Impossible! No, that's just charming!"

"I wonder that with her sense——for after all she's no fool——she doesn't see how funny she is."

Every one had something to say in censure or ridicule of the hapless Maltishcheva, and the conversation crackled merrily, like a blazing bonfire.

The husband of Princess Betsy, a good-natured corpulent man, an ardent collector of engravings, hearing that his wife had visitors, had come into the drawing room before leaving for his club. Stepping noiselessly over the thick rugs, he approached Princess Miaghkaia.

"How did you like Nilsson?" he asked.

"Oh, how can you steal up on anyone like that! How you startled me!" she responded. "Please don't talk to me about the opera; you know nothing about music. I'd rather come down to your own level, and discuss with you your majolica and engravings. Come, now, what treasure have you been buying lately at the rag fair?"

"Would you like me to show you? But you don't understand such things."

"Yes, show me. I've been learning about them at those——what's their names?... those bankers... They have some splendid engravings. They showed them to us."

"Why, have you been at the Schutzburgs?" asked the hostess from behind the samovar.

"Yes, ma chere. They asked my husband and myself to dinner, and I was told that the sauce at that dinner cost a thousand roubles," Princess Miaghkaia said, speaking loudly, conscious that all were listening; "and very nasty sauce it was——some green mess. We had to ask them, and I made a sauce for eighty-five kopecks, and everybody was very much pleased with it. I can't afford thousand-rouble sauces."

"She's unique!" said the lady of the house.

"Amazing!" somebody else added.

The effect produced by Princess Miaghkaia's speeches was always the same, and the secret of the effect she produced lay in the fact that though she spoke not always appropriately, as now, she said homely truths, not devoid of sense. In the society in which she lived such utterances had the same result as the most pungent wit. Princess Miaghkaia could never see why it had that result, but she knew it had, and took advantage of it.

Since everyone had been listening while Princess Miaghkaia spoke, and the conversation around the ambassador's wife had dropped, Princess Betsy tried to bring the whole party together, and she addressed the ambassador's wife.

"Really won't you have tea? Do come and join us."

"No, we're very comfortable here," the ambassador's wife responded with a smile, and went on with the interrupted conversation.

It was a most agreeable conversation. They were censuring the Karenins, husband and wife.

"Anna is quite changed since her stay in Moscow. There's something strange about her," said one of her feminine friends.

"The great change is that she has brought back with her the shadow of Alexei Vronsky," said the ambassador's wife.

"Well, what of it? There's a fable of Grimm's about a man without a shadow——a man deprived of his shadow. As a punishment for something or other. I never could understand just how this was a punishment. Yet a woman must probably feel uncomfortable without a shadow."

"Yes, but women followed by a shadow usually come to a bad end," said Anna's friend.

"Bite your tongue!" said Princess Miaghkaia suddenly. "Karenina is a splendid woman. I don't like her husband——but her I like very much."

"Why don't you like her husband? He's such a remarkable man," said the ambassador's wife. "My husband says there are few statesmen like him in Europe."

"And my husband tells me just the same, but I don't believe it," said Princess Miaghkaia. "If our husbands didn't talk to us, we should see the facts as they are. Alexei Alexandrovich, to my thinking, is simply a fool. I say it in a whisper.... But doesn't it really make everything clear? Before, when I was told to consider him clever, I kept looking for his ability, and thought myself a fool for not seeing it; but directly I said, he's a fool, though only in a whisper, everything became clear——isn't that so?"

"How spiteful you are today!"

"Not a bit. I'd no other way out of it. One of us two had to be the fool. And, as you know, one could never say that of oneself."

"No one is satisfied with his fortune, and everyone is satisfied with his wit," the diplomatist repeated the French saying.

"That's it——that's just it," Princess Miaghkaia turned to him promptly. "But the point is that I won't abandon Anna to your mercies. She's such a dear, so charming. How can she help it if they're all in love with her, and follow her about like shadows?"

"Oh, I had no idea of censuring her," Anna's friend said in self-defense.

"If we have no shadows following us, it does not prove that we've any right to blame her."

And, having duly disposed of Anna's friend, the Princess Miaghkaia got up, and, together with the ambassador's wife, joined the group at the table, where the general conversation had to do with the king of Prussia.

"What were you gossiping so maliciously about?" asked Betsy.

"About the Karenins. The Princess gave us a character sketch of Alexei Alexandrovich," said the ambassador's wife with a smile, as she sat down at the table.

"Pity we didn't hear it!" said Princess Betsy, glancing toward the door. "Ah, here you are at last!" she said, turning with a smile to Vronsky who was entering.

Vronsky was not merely acquainted with all the persons whom he was meeting here; he saw them all every day; and so he came in with the quiet manner with which one enters a room full of people whom one had left only a short while ago.

"Where do I come from?" he repeated the question of the ambassador's wife. "Well, there's no help for it——I must confess. From the opera bouffe. I do believe I've seen it a hundred times, and always with fresh enjoyment. It's exquisite! I know it's disgraceful, but I go to sleep at the opera, yet I sit out the opera bouffe to the last minute, and enjoy it. This evening..."

He mentioned a French actress, and was about to tell something about her; but the ambassador's wife, with playful trepidation, cut him short.

"Please, don't tell us about that horror."

"Very well, I won't——especially as everyone knows those horrors."

"And we should all go to see them if it were accepted as the correct thing, like the opera," chimed in Princess Miaghkaia.

VII.

Steps were heard at the door, and Princess Betsy, knowing it was Madame Karenina, glanced at Vronsky. He was looking toward the door, and his face wore a strange new expression. Joyfully, intently, and at the same time timidly, he gazed at the approaching figure, and slowly he rose to his feet. Anna walked into the drawing room. Holding herself extremely erect, as always, looking straight before her, and moving with her swift, resolute and light step, that distinguished her walk from that of other society women, she crossed the few paces that separated her from her hostess, shook hands with her, smiled, and with the same smile looked around at Vronsky. Vronsky bowed low and pushed a chair up for her.

She acknowledged this only by a slight nod, flushed, and frowned. But immediately, while rapidly greeting her acquaintances, and shaking the hands proffered to her, she addressed Princess Betsy:

"I have been at Countess Lidia's, and meant to have come here earlier, but I stayed on. Sir John was there. A most interesting man."

"Oh, that's this missionary?"

"Yes; he told us about life in India, most interestingly."

The conversation, interrupted by her coming in, flickered up again like the light of a lamp being blown out.

"Sir John! Yes, Sir John. I've seen him. He speaks well. Vlassieva is altogether in love with him."

"And is it true that the younger Vlassieva is to marry Topov?"

"Yes——they say it's quite settled."

"I wonder at the parents! They say it's a marriage of passion."

"Of passion? What antediluvian notions you have! Whoever talks of passion nowadays?" said the ambassador's wife.

"What would you do? This silly old fashion is still far from dead," said Vronsky.

"So much the worse for those who keep up the fashion. The only happy marriages I know are marriages of prudence."

"Yes,——but then, how often the happiness of these prudent marriages is scattered like dust, precisely because that passion to which recognition has been denied appears on the scene," said Vronsky.

"But by marriages of prudence we mean those in which both parties have sown their wild oats already. That's like scarlatina——one has to go through with it and get it over with."

"In that case we must learn how to vaccinate for love, like small-pox."

"I was in love in my young days——with a church clerk," said the Princess Miaghkaia. "I don't know that it did me any good."

"No; I think——all jokes aside——that to know love, one must first make a fault, and then mend it," said Princess Betsy.

"Even after marriage?" said the ambassador's wife playfully.

"It's never too late to mend," the diplomatist repeated the English proverb.

"Just so," Betsy agreed; "one must make a mistake and rectify it. What do you think about it?" She turned to Anna, who, with a barely perceptible resolute smile on her lips, was listening to the conversation.

"I think" said Anna, playing with the glove she had taken off, "I think... if there are as many minds as there are heads, then surely there must be as many kinds of love as there are hearts."

Vronsky was gazing at Anna, and with a heart sinking was waiting for what she would say. He sighed as after a danger escaped when she had uttered these words.

Anna suddenly turned to him.

"Oh, I have had a letter from Moscow. They write me that Kitty Shcherbatskaia's very ill."

"Really?" said Vronsky, knitting his brows.

Anna looked sternly at him.

"That doesn't interest you?"

"On the contrary, it does——very much. What is it, exactly, that they write you, if may know?" he asked.

Anna got up and went to Betsy.

"Give me a cup of tea," she said, pausing behind her chair.

While Betsy was pouring out the tea, Vronsky walked up to Anna.

"What is it they write you?" he repeated.

"I often think men have no understanding of what is dishonorable, though they're forever talking of it," said Anna, without answering him. "I've wanted to tell you something for a long while," she added, and, moving a few steps away, she sat down at a corner table which held albums.

"I don't quite understand the significance of your words," he said, handing her the cup.

She glanced towards the sofa beside her, and he instantly sat down.

"Yes, I've wanted to tell you," she said, without looking at him. "Your action was wrong——wrong, very wrong."

"Do you suppose I don't know that I've acted wrongly? But who was the cause of my doing so?"

"Why do you say that to me?" she said looking at him sternly.

"You know why," he answered, boldly and joyously, meeting her glance and without dropping his eyes.

It was not he, but she, who became confused.

"That merely proves you have no heart," she said. But her eyes said that she knew he had a heart, and that was why she was afraid of him.

"What you spoke of just now was a mistake, and not love."

"Remember that I have forbidden you to utter that word, that detestable word," said Anna, with a shudder. But at once she felt that by that very word "forbidden" she had shown that she acknowledged certain rights over him, and by that very fact was encouraging him to speak of love. "I have long meant to tell you this," she went on, looking resolutely into his eyes, and all aflame from the burning flush on her cheeks. "I've come here purposely this evening, knowing I should meet you. I have come to tell you that this must end. I have never blushed before anyone, and you force me to feel guilty of something."

He looked at her and was struck by a new spiritual beauty in her face.

"What do you wish of me?" he said, simply and gravely.

"I want you to go to Moscow and ask for Kitty's forgiveness," she said.

"That is not your wish," he said.

He saw she was saying what she was forcing herself to say, not what she wanted to say.

"If you love me, as you say," she whispered, "you will do this, so that I may be at peace."

His face grew radiant.

"Don't you know that you're all my life to me? But I know no peace, and I can't give it to you; all of myself, and love——yes. I can't think of you and myself apart. You and I are one to me. And I see no possibility before us of peace——either for me or for you. I see a possibility of despair, of wretchedness.... Or else I see a possibility of happiness——and what a happiness!... Can it be impossible?" he added, his lips barely moving——yet she heard.

She strained every effort of her mind to say what ought to be said. But instead of that she let her eyes rest on him, full of love, and made no answer.

"It's come!" he thought in ecstasy. "When I was beginning to despair, and it seemed there would be no end——it's come! She loves me! She owns it!"

"Then do this for me: never say such things to me, and let us be friends," she said in words; but her eyes spoke quite differently.

"Friends we shall never be——that you know yourself. Whether we shall be the happiest or the most wretched of people——that lies within your power."

She would have said something, but he interrupted her.

"For I ask but one thing: I ask for the right to hope, to suffer—— even as I am doing now. But if even that cannot be, command me to disappear, and I disappear. You shall not see me if my presence is painful to you."

"I don't want to drive you away."

"Only don't change anything——leave everything as it is," said he, in a shaky voice. "Here's your husband."

At that instant Alexei Alexandrovich did in fact walk into the room with his calm, ungainly gait.

Glancing at his wife and Vronsky, he went up to the lady of the house, and, sitting down for a cup of tea, began talking in his unhasty, always audible voice, in his habitual tone of banter, as if he were teasing someone.

"Your Rambouillet is in full conclave," he said looking round at all the party; "the graces and the muses."

But Princess Betsy could not endure that tone of his——sneering, as she called it, using the English word, and like a clever hostess she at once brought him around to a serious conversation on the subject of universal conscription. Alexei Alexandrovich was immediately carried away by the subject, and began seriously defending the new imperial decree before Princess Betsy, who had attacked it.

Vronsky and Anna still sat at the little table.

"This is getting indecorous," whispered one lady, with an expressive glance at Madame Karenina, her husband and Vronsky.

"What did I tell you?" said Anna's friend.

But it was not only these ladies who watched them——almost everyone in the room, even the Princess Miaghkaia and Betsy herself, looked several times in the direction of the two who had withdrawn from the general circle, as though they found it a hindrance. Alexei Alexandrovich was the only person who did not once look in their direction, and was not diverted from the interesting discussion he had entered upon.

Noticing the disagreeable impression that was being made on everyone, Princess Betsy slipped someone else into her place to listen to Alexei Alexandrovich, and walked over to Anna.

"I'm always amazed at the clearness and precision of your husband's language," she said. "The most transcendent ideas seem to be within my grasp when he's speaking."

"Oh, yes!" said Anna, radiant with a smile of happiness, and not understanding a word of what Betsy had said. She crossed over to the big table and took part in the general conversation.

Alexei Alexandrovich, after staying half an hour, walked up to his wife and suggested that they go home together. But she answered, without looking at him, that she was staying to supper. Alexei Alexandrovich bowed himself out.

The fat old Tatar, Madame Karenina's coachman, in a glistening leather coat, was with difficulty bridling the left of her pair of grays, chilled with the cold and rearing at the entrance. A footman stood by the carriage door he had opened. The hall porter stood holding open the great door of the house. Anna Arkadyevna, with her quick little hand, was unfastening the lace of her sleeve, caught in the hook of her fur cloak, and with bent head was listening rapturously to the words Vronsky murmured as he saw her down to her carriage.

"You've said nothing, of course, and I ask nothing," he was saying; "but you know that friendship is not what I want: that there's only one happiness in life for me——that word you dislike so... yes, love!..."

"Love..." she repeated slowly, in an inner voice, and suddenly, at the very instant she unhooked the lace, she added, "I don't like the word precisely because it means too much to me, far more than you can understand," and she glanced into his face. "Good-by."

She gave him her hand, and with her rapid, springy step she passed by the porter and vanished into the carriage.

Her glance, the touch of her hand, had seared him. He kissed the palm of his hand where she had touched it, and went home, happy in the realization that he had got nearer to the attainment of his aims that evening than during the two last months.

VIII.

Alexei Alexandrovich had seen nothing striking or improper in the fact that his wife was sitting with Vronsky at a table apart, in eager conversation with him about something. But he noticed that to the rest of the party this appeared as something striking and improper, and for that reason it seemed to him, too, to be improper. He made up his mind that he must speak of it to his wife.

On reaching home Alexei Alexandrovich went to his study, as he usually did, seated himself in his low chair, opened a book on the Papacy at the place he had marked by inserting the paper knife, read till one o'clock, just as he usually did. But from time to time he would rub his high forehead and shake his head, as though to drive away something. At his usual time he got up and made his toilet for the night. Anna Arkadyevna had not yet come in. With a book under his arm he went upstairs. But this evening, instead of his usual thoughts and meditations upon official details, his thoughts were absorbed by his wife and something disagreeable connected with her. Contrary to his usual habit, he did not get into bed, but fell to walking up and down the rooms with his hands clasped behind his back. He could not go to bed, feeling that it was absolutely needful for him first to think thoroughly over the situation that had just arisen.

When Alexei Alexandrovich had made up his mind that he must have a talk with his wife, it had seemed a very easy and simple matter. But now, when he began to think over the question that had just presented itself, it seemed to him very complicated and difficult.

Alexei Alexandrovich was not jealous. Jealousy, according to his notions, was an insult to one's wife, and one ought to have confidence in one's wife. Why one ought to have that confidence——that is to say, a complete conviction that his young wife would always love him——he did not ask himself. But he had never experienced such a lack of confidence, because he had confidence in her, and told himself that he ought to have it. Now, though his conviction that jealousy was a shameful feeling, and that one ought to feel confidence, had not broken down, he still felt that he was standing face to face with something illogical and fatuous, and did not know what ought to be done. Alexei Alexandrovich was standing face to face with life, with the possibility of his wife's loving someone other than himself, and this seemed to him very fatuous and incomprehensible, because it was of the very stuff of life. All his life Alexei Alexandrovich had lived and worked in official spheres, having to do merely with the reflections of life. And every time he had stumbled against life itself he had shrunk away from it. Now he experienced a feeling akin to that of a man who, while calmly crossing a precipice by a bridge, should suddenly discover that the bridge is broken, and that there is a chasm below. That chasm was life itself——the bridge, that artificial life in which Alexei Alexandrovich had lived. For the first time the question presented itself to him of the possibility of his wife's loving someone else, and he was horrified at it.

He did not undress, but walked up and down with his regular tread over the resounding parquet of the dining room, where one lamp was burning; over the carpet of the dark drawing room, in which the light was reflected merely on the big new portrait of himself hanging over the sofa; and across her boudoir, where two candles burned, lighting up the portraits of her parents and feminine friends, and the pretty knickknacks of her writing table, every one of which he knew so well. He walked across her boudoir to the bedroom door and turned back again.

At each turn in his walk, especially on the parquet of the well-lit dining room, he halted and said to himself, "Yes, this I must decide and put a stop to; I must express my view of it and my decision." And he turned back again. "But just what shall I express? And what decision?" he would say to himself in the drawing room——and found no answer. "But, after all," he asked himself before turning into the boudoir," what has occurred? Nothing. She was talking a long while with him. But what of that? Surely women in society can talk to whom they please. And then, jealousy means debasing both her and myself," he soliloquized as he entered her boudoir; but this dictum, which had always had such weight with him before, had now no weight and no meaning whatsoever. And from the bedroom door he turned back again; but as he entered the dark drawing room some inner voice told him that it was not so, and that if others had noticed, it meant that there was something. And he said to himself again in the dining room: "Yes, I must decide and put a stop to it, and express my views...." And again at the turn in the drawing room he asked himself: "Decide how?" And again he asked inwardly: "What has occurred?" And answered: "Nothing," and recollected that jealousy was a feeling insulting to his wife; but again in the drawing room he was convinced that something had happened. His thoughts, like his body, were describing a complete circle, without alighting upon anything new. He noticed this, rubbed his forehead, and sat down in her boudoir.

There, looking at her table, with the malachite blotting case lying at the top, and an unfinished letter, his thoughts suddenly changed. He began to think of her, of what her thoughts and emotions must be. For the first time he pictured vividly to himself her personal life, her ideas, her desires, and the thought that she could and must have a separate life of her own seemed to him so appalling that he made haste to drive it away. It was the chasm which he was afraid to peep into. To put himself in thought and feeling in another person's place was a spiritual action foreign to Alexei Alexandrovich. He looked on this spiritual action as a harmful and dangerous abuse of the fancy.

"And the worst of it all," thought he, "is that just now, at the very moment when my great work is approaching completion" (he was thinking of the project he was bringing forward at the time), "when I stand in need of all my mental peace and all my energies——just now this stupid worry has to come falling about my ears. But what's to be done? I'm not one of those men who submit to uneasiness and worry without having the force of character to face them."

"I must think this over, come to a decision, and put it out of my mind," he said aloud.

"The question of her feelings, of what has passed and may be passing in her soul——that's not my affair; that's the affair of her conscience, and falls under the head of religion," he said to himself, feeling consolation in the sense that he had found to which division of regulating principles this new circumstance could be properly referred.

"And so," Alexei Alexandrovich said to himself, "questions as to her feelings, and so on, are questions for her conscience, with which I can have nothing to do. My duty is clearly defined. As the head of the family, I am a person bound in duty to guide her, and, consequently, in part the person responsible; I am bound to point out the danger I perceive, to warn her, even to use my authority. I ought to speak plainly to her."

And everything that he would say tonight to his wife took clear shape in Alexei Alexandrovich's head. Thinking over what he would say, he somewhat regretted that he should have to use his time and mental powers for domestic consumption, with so little to show for it, but, in spite of that, the form and consistency of the speech before him shaped itself as clearly and distinctly in his head as a ministerial report. "I must speak on, and express fully, the following points: first, an explanation of the value to be attached to public opinion and to decorum; secondly, an explanation of the religious significance of marriage; thirdly, if need be, a reference to the calamity possibly ensuing to our son; fourthly, a reference to the unhappiness likely to result to herself." And, interlacing his fingers, the palms downward, Alexei Alexandrovich stretched his hands, and the joints of the fingers cracked.

This gesture, this bad habit——the joining of his hands cracking his fingers, always soothed him, and gave precision to his thoughts, so needful to him now. There was the sound of a carriage driving up to the front door. Alexei Alexandrovich halted in the middle of the room.

A woman's step was heard mounting the stairs. Alexei Alexandrovich, ready for his speech, stood squeezing his crossed fingers, waiting for their crack to come again. One joint cracked.

Already, from the sound of light steps on the stairs, he was aware that she was close, and though he was satisfied with his speech, he felt frightened because of the explanation confronting him.

IX.

Anna came in with her head bent, playing with the tassels of her hood. Her face was glowing with a vivid glow; but this glow was not one of joyousness——it recalled the fearful glow of a conflagration in the midst of a dark night. On seeing her husband, Anna raised her head and smiled, as though she had just waked up.

"You're not in bed? What a miracle!" she said throwing off her hood and, without stopping, she went on into the dressing room. "It's late, Alexei Alexandrovich," she said, from behind the door.

"Anna, I must have a talk with you."

"With me?" she said, wonderingly. She came out from the door, and looked at him. "Why, what is it? What about?" she asked, sitting down. "Well, let's talk, if it's so necessary. But it would be better to go to sleep."

Anna was saying whatever came to her tongue, and marveled, hearing herself, at her own capacity for lying. How simple and natural were her words, and how likely that she was simply sleepy She felt herself clad in an impenetrable armor of falsehood. She felt that some unseen force had come to her aid and was supporting her.

"Anna, I must warn you," he began.

"Warn me? she said. "Of what?

She looked at him so simply, so brightly, that anyone who did not know her as her husband knew her could not have noticed anything unnatural, either in the sound or the sense of her words. But to him, knowing her, knowing that whenever he went to bed five minutes later than usual, she noticed it, and asked him the reason——to him, knowing that every joy, every pleasure and pain that she felt she communicated to him at once——to him it meant a great deal to see now that she did not care to notice his state of mind, that she did not care to say a word about herself. He saw that the inmost recesses of her soul, that had always hitherto lain open before him, were now closed against him. More than that, he saw from her tone that she was not even perturbed at that, but seemed to be saying straightforwardly to him: "Yes, it is closed now, which is as it should be, and will be so in future." Now he experienced a feeling such as a man might have who, returning home, finds his own house locked up. "But perhaps the key may yet be found," thought Alexei Alexandrovich.

"I want to warn you," he said in a low voice, "that through thoughtlessness and lack of caution you may cause yourself to be talked about in society. Your too animated conversation this evening with Count Vronsky" (he enunciated the name firmly and with quiet intervals) "attracted attention."

He talked and looked at her laughing eyes, which frightened him now with their impenetrable look, and, as he talked, he felt all the uselessness and futility of his words.

"You're always like that," she answered as though completely misapprehending him, and of all he had said only taking in the last phrase. "One time you don't like my being dull, and another time you don't like my being lively. I wasn't dull. Does that offend you?"

Alexei Alexandrovich shivered, and bent his hands to make the joints crack.

"Oh, please, don't do that——I dislike it so," she said.

"Anna, is this you?" said Alexei Alexandrovich quietly, making an effort over himself, and restraining the motion of his hands.

"But what is it all about?" she said, with such genuine and droll wonder. "What do you want of me?"

Alexei Alexandrovich paused, and rubbed his forehead and his eyes. He saw that instead of doing as he had intended——that is to say, warning his wife against a mistake in the eyes of the world——he had unconsciously become agitated over what was the affair of her conscience, and was struggling against some imaginary barrier.

"This is what I meant to say to you," he went on coldly and composedly, "and I beg you to hear me to the end. I consider jealousy, as you know, a humiliating and degrading feeling, and I shall never allow myself to be guided by it; but there are certain rules of decency which cannot be disregarded with impunity. This evening it was not I who observed it——but, judging by the impression made on the company, everyone observed that your conduct and deportment were not altogether what one would desire."

"I positively don't understand," said Anna, shrugging her shoulders. "He doesn't care," she thought. "But other people noticed it and that's what upsets him."——"You're not well, Alexei Alexandrovich," she added, and, getting up, was about to pass through the door; but he moved forward as though he would stop her.

His face was gloomy and forbidding, as Anna had never seen it before. She stopped, and bending her head back and to one side, began taking out her hairpins with her quick-darting hand.

"Well, I'm listening——what does follow?" she said, calmly and ironically; "and, indeed, I am listening even with interest, for I should like to understand what it is all about."

She spoke, and marveled at the confident, calm and natural tone in which she spoke, and at the choice of the words she used.

"To enter into all the details of your feelings I have no right, and, besides, I regard that as useless and even harmful," began Alexei Alexandrovich. "Rummaging in our souls, we often bring up something that might have otherwise lain there unnoticed. Your feelings are an affair of your own conscience; but I am in duty bound to you, to myself and to God, to point out to you your duties. Our life has been joined, not by man, but by God. That union can only be severed by a crime, and a crime of that nature brings its own chastisement."

"I don't understand a word. And, oh dear! how sleepy I am, unluckily," she said, rapidly passing her hand through her hair, feeling for the remaining hairpins.

"Anna, for God's sake don't speak like that!" he said gently. "Perhaps I am mistaken, but believe me, that which I am saying I say as much for myself as for you. I am your husband, and I love you."

For an instant her face fell, and the mocking gleam in her eyes died away; but the phrase "I love" threw her into revolt again. She thought: "Love? Can he love? If he hadn't heard there was such a thing as love, he would never have used the word. He doesn't even know what love is."

"Alexei Alexandrovich, I really do not understand," she said. "Define what it is you consider..."

"Pardon, let me say all I have to say. I love you. But I am not speaking of myself; the most important persons in this matter are our son and yourself. It may very well be, I repeat, that my words seem to you utterly unnecessary and out of place; it may be that they are called forth by my mistaken impression. In that case, I beg you to forgive me. But if you are conscious yourself of even the smallest foundation for them, then I beg you to think a little, and if your heart prompts you, to speak out to me..."

Alexei Alexandrovich was unconsciously saying something utterly unlike what he had prepared.

"I have nothing to say. And besides she said suddenly, with difficulty repressing a smile, "it's really time to be in bed."

Alexei Alexandrovich sighed, and, without saying more, went into the bedroom.

When she came into the bedroom, he was already in bed. His lips were sternly compressed, and his eyes looked away from her. Anna got into her bed, and lay expecting every minute that he would begin to speak to her again. She both feared his speaking and wished for it. But he was silent. She waited for a long while without moving, and forgot about him. She thought of that other; she pictured him, and felt how her heart was flooded with emotion and guilty delight at the thought of him. Suddenly she heard an even, tranquil snore. For the first instant Alexei Alexandrovich seemed, as it were, appalled at his own snoring, and ceased; but after a pause of one or two breaths, the snore sounded again, with a new tranquil rhythm.

"It's late, it's late," she whispered with a smile. A long while she lay, without moving, and with open eyes, whose brilliance she almost fancied she could herself see in the darkness.

X.

From that time a new life began for Alexei Alexandrovich and for his wife. Nothing special happened. Anna went out into society, as she had always done, was particularly often at Princess Betsy's, and met Vronsky everywhere. Alexei Alexandrovich saw this, but was powerless to do anything. All his efforts to draw her into open discussion she confronted with a barrier which he could not penetrate, made up of a sort of amused perplexity. Outwardly everything was the same, but their inner relations were completely changed. Alexei Alexandrovich, a man of great power in the world of politics, felt himself helpless in this matter. Like an ox with head bent submissively, he waited the fall of the poleax which he felt was lifted over him. Every time he began to think about it, he felt that he must try once more; that by kindness, tenderness and persuasion there was still hope of saving her, of bringing her back to herself, and every day he was on the verge of talking to her. But every time he began he felt that the spirit of evil and deceit, which had taken possession of her, had possession of him too, and he talked to her in a tone quite unlike that which he had meant to use. Involuntarily he talked to her in his habitual tone of bantering at anyone who should say what he was saying. And in that tone it was impossible to say to her what the occasion demanded.

XI.

That which to Vronsky had been for almost a whole year the one absorbing desire of his life, replacing all his old desires; that which to Anna had been an impossible, terrible, and, for that very reason, a more entrancing dream of happiness——that desire had been fulfilled. He stood before her, pale, his lower jaw quivering, and besought her to be calm, without himself knowing how or why.

"Anna! Anna!" he said with a quivering voice, "Anna, for God's sake!..."

But the louder he spoke, the lower she cast down her once proud and gay, but now shame-stricken head, and she bowed down and sank from the sofa where she was sitting——down on the floor, at his feet; she would have fallen on the carpet if he had not held her.

"My God!" Forgive me!" she said, sobbing, pressing his hands to her bosom.

She felt so sinful, so guilty, that nothing was left her but to humiliate herself and beg forgiveness, and as now there was no one in her life but him, to him, too, she addressed her prayer for forgiveness. Looking at him, she had a physical sense of her humiliation, and she could say nothing more. And he felt as a murderer must feel when he beholds the body he has robbed of life. That body, robbed by him of life, was their love, the first stage of their love. There was something awful and revolting in the memory of what had been bought at this fearful price of shame. Shame at her spiritual nakedness crushed her and infected him. But in spite of all the murderer's horror before the body of his victim, he must hack it to pieces, hide the body, must use what the murderer had gained by his murder.

And as the murderer, with fury, and, as it were, with passion, falls on the body, and drags it, and hacks at it——so he covered her face and shoulders with kisses. She held his hand, and did not stir. Yes, these kisses——that is what has been bought by this shame. Yes, and this one hand, which will always be mine——the hand of my accomplice. She lifted up that hand and kissed it. He sank on his knees and tried to see her face; but she hid it, and said nothing. At last, as though making an effort over herself, she got up and pushed him away. Her face was still as beautiful, but it was only the more pitiful for that.

"All is over," she said; "I have nothing but you. Remember that."

"I can never forget what is my whole life. For one instant of this happiness..."

"Happiness!" she said with horror and loathing and her horror unconsciously infected him. "For God's sake, not a word, not a word more."

She rose quickly and moved away from him.

"Not a word more," she repeated, and with a look of chill despair, incomprehensible to him, she parted from him. She felt that at that moment she could not put into words the sense of shame, of rapture, and of horror at this stepping into a new life, and she did not want to speak of it, to vulgarize this feeling by inappropriate words. But later too, and the next day, and the day after, she still found no words in which she could express the complexity of those feelings; indeed, she could not even find thoughts in which she could clearly think out all that was in her soul.

She said to herself. "No, just now I can't think of it——later on, when I am calmer." But this calm for thoughts never came; every time the thought rose of what she had done and what would happen to her, and what she ought to do, a horror came over her and she drove those thoughts away.

"Later, later," she said, "when I am calmer."

But in her dreams, when she had no control over her thoughts, her position presented itself to her in all its hideous nakedness. One dream haunted her almost every night. She dreamed that both were husbands at once, that both were lavishing caresses on her. Alexei Alexandrovich was weeping, kissing her hands, and saying, "How happy we are now!" And Alexei Vronsky was there too, and he, too, was her husband. And she was marveling that it had once seemed impossible to her, was explaining to them, laughing, that this was ever so much simpler, and that now both of them were happy and contented. But this dream weighed on her like a nightmare, and she would awake from it in terror.

XII.

In the early days, after his return from Moscow, whenever Levin shuddered and grew red, remembering the disgrace of his rejection, he would say to himself: "This was just how I used to shudder and blush, thinking everything utterly lost, when I was flunked in physics and did not get promoted; and this is also how I thought myself utterly ruined after I had mismanaged that affair of my sister's with which I had been entrusted. And yet, now that the years have passed, I recall it and wonder that it could distress me so much. It will be the same thing with this trouble as well. Time will go by, and I shall not mind this either."

But three months had passed and he had not left off minding about it; and it was as painful for him to think of it now as it had been during those first days. He could not be at peace because, after dreaming so long of family life, and feeling himself so ripe for it, he was still not married, and was farther than ever from marriage. He was painfully conscious himself, as were all about him, that at his years it is not good that man should be alone. He remembered how before starting for Moscow he had once said to his cowherd Nicolai, a simplehearted peasant, to whom he liked to talk: "Well, Nicolai! I mean to get married," and how Nicolai had promptly answered, as of a matter on which there could be no possible doubt: "And high time too, Konstantin Dmitrich." But marriage had now become farther off than ever. The place was taken, and whenever he tried to imagine any of the girls he knew in that place, he felt that it was utterly impossible. Moreover, the recollection of the rejection and the part he had played in the affair tortured him with shame. However often he told himself that he was in no wise to blame in it, that recollection, like other similarly humiliating recollections, made him wince and blush. There had been in his past, as in every man's, actions, recognized by him as bad, for which his conscience ought to have tormented him; but the recollection of these evil actions was far from causing him as much suffering as these trivial but humiliating recollections. These wounds never healed. And with these recollections was now ranged his rejection and the sorry plight in which he must have appeared to others that evening. Yet time and labor were doing their work. Bitter recollections were more and more being covered up by the incidents—— inconspicuous ones, but important——of his country life. Every week he thought less often of Kitty. He was impatiently looking forward to the news that she was married, or just going to be married, hoping that such news would, like having a tooth out, completely cure him.

Meanwhile spring came on, beautiful and kindly, without the delays and treacheries incident to spring——one of those rare springs in which plants, beasts and man rejoice alike. This lovely spring roused Levin still more, and strengthened him in his resolution of renouncing all his past and building up his lonely life firmly and independently. Though many of the plans with which he had returned to the country had not been carried out, his most important resolution——that of purity of life——had nevertheless been kept by him. He was free from that shame which had usually harassed him after a fall; and he could look everyone straight in the face. In February he had received a letter from Marya Nikolaevna telling him that his brother Nikolai's health was getting worse, but that he would not take advice, and in consequence of this letter Levin went to Moscow to his brother's, and succeeded in persuading him to see a doctor and to go to a watering place abroad. He succeeded so well in persuading his brother, and in lending him money for the journey without irritating him, that he was satisfied with himself on that score. In addition to his farming, which called for special attention in spring, in addition to reading Levin had begun that winter a work on agriculture, the plan of which turned on taking into account the character of the laborer on the land as one of the unalterable data of the question, like the climate and the soil, and consequently deducing all the principles of scientific culture, not simply from the data of soil and climate, but from the data of soil, climate and a certain unalterable character of the laborer. Thus, in spite of his solitude, or in consequence of his solitude, life was exceedingly full, save that, on rare occasions, he suffered from an unsatisfied desire to communicate his stray ideas to someone besides Agathya Mikhailovna. With her indeed he not infrequently fell into discussions upon physics, the theory of agriculture, and, especially, philosophy: philosophy was Agathya Mikhailovna's favorite subject.

Spring was slow in unfolding. For the last few weeks of Lent it had been steadily fine and frosty weather. In the daytime there was a thaw in the sun, but at night there were as many as seven degrees of frost. The snow was so packed and frozen that loads could be carried along anywhere, regardless of roads. Easter came in snow. Then all of a sudden, on Easter Monday, a warm wind sprang up, storm clouds swooped down, and for three days and three nights the warm, tempestuous rain fell in torrents. On Thursday the wind dropped, and a thick gray fog brooded over the land, as though screening the mysteries of the transformations that were being wrought in nature. Behind the fog there was the flowing of water, the cracking and floating of ice, the swift rush of turbid, foaming torrents; and on the following Monday, in the evening, the fog parted, the storm clouds split up into little curling crests of cloud, the sky cleared, and the real spring had come. In the morning the sun arose brilliant and quickly wore away the thin layer of ice that covered the water, and all the warm air was quivering with the steam that rose up from the quickened earth. The old grass looked greener, and the young grass thrust up its tiny blades; the buds of the guelder-rose and of the currant, and the sticky birch buds were swollen with sap, and an exploring bee was humming about the golden blossoms that studded the willow. Larks trilled unseen above the velvety green fields and the ice-covered stubble land; pewits wailed over the lowlands and marshes, flooded by the pools; cranes and wild geese flew high across the sky uttering their spring calls. The cattle, bald in patches where the new hair had not grown yet, lowed in the pastures; bowlegged lambs frisked round their bleating dams, who were shedding their fleece; nimble-footed children ran along the drying paths, covered with the prints of bare feet; there was a merry chatter of peasant women over their linen at the pond, and the ring of axes in the yard, where the peasants were repairing plows and harrows. The real spring had come.

XIII.

Levin put on his big boots, and, for the first time, a cloth overcoat instead of his fur cloak, and went out to look after his farm, stepping over streams of water that flashed in the sunshine and dazzled his eyes, and stepping one minute on ice and the next into sticky mud.

Spring is the time of plans and projects. And, as he came out into the farmyard, Levin, like a tree in spring that knows not what form will be taken by the young shoots and twigs imprisoned in its swelling buds, hardly knew what undertakings he was going to launch upon now in the farmwork that was so dear to him. But he felt that he was full of the most splendid plans and projects. First of all he went to the cattle. The cows had been let out into their paddock, and their smooth sides were already glossy with their new, sleek, spring coats; they basked in the sunshine and lowed to go to the meadow. Levin gazed admiringly at the cows he knew so intimately to the minutest detail of their condition, and gave orders for them to be driven out into the meadow, and the calves to be let into the paddock. The herdsman ran gaily to get ready for the meadow. The cowherd girls, picking up their petticoats, ran splashing through the mud with bare legs, still white, not yet brown from the sun, waving brushwood in their hands, chasing the calves that frolicked in the mirth of spring.

After admiring the increase of that year, which were particularly fine——the early calves were the size of a peasant's cow, and Pava's daughter, at three months old, was as big as a yearling——Levin gave orders for a trough to be brought out and hay to be put in the racks. But it appeared that, since the paddock had not been used during the winter, the racks made in the autumn were broken. He sent for the carpenter, who, according to his orders, ought to have been at work at the threshing machine. But it appeared that the carpenter was repairing the harrows, which ought to have been repaired before Lent. This was very annoying to Levin. It was annoying to come upon that everlasting slovenliness in the farmwork against which he had been striving with all his might for so many years. The racks, as he ascertained, being not wanted in winter, had been carried to the cart horses' stable, and there broken, as they were of light construction, only meant for foddering calves. Moreover, it was apparent also that the harrows and all the agricultural implements, which he had directed to be looked over and repaired in the winter, for which very purpose he had hired three carpenters, had not been put into repair, and the harrows were being repaired when they ought to have been harrowing the field. Levin sent for his bailiff, but immediately went off himself to look for him. The bailiff, beaming all over, like everything that day, in a sheepskin bordered with astrakhan, came out of the barn, twisting a bit of straw in his hands.

"Why isn't the carpenter at the threshing machine?"

"Oh, I meant to tell you yesterday, the harrows want repairing. Here it's time they got to work in the fields."

"But what were they doing in the winter, then?"

"But what did you want the carpenter for?"

"Where are the racks for the calves' paddock?"

"I ordered them to be got ready. What would you have with those people!" said the bailiff, with a wave of his hand.

"It's not those people but this bailiff!" said Levin, getting angry. "Why, what do I keep you for?" he cried. But, bethinking himself that this would not help matters, he stopped short in the middle of a sentence, and merely sighed. "Well, what do you say? Can sowing begin?" he asked, after a pause.

"Behind Turkino, tomorrow or next day, they might begin."

"And the clover?"

"I've sent Vassilii and Mishka; they're sowing it. Only I don't know if they'll manage to get through; it's so slushy."

"How many dessiatinas?

"Six."

"Why not sow all?" cried Levin.

That they were only sowing the clover on six dessiatinas, not in all the twenty, was still more annoying to him. Clover, as he knew, both from books and from his own experience, never did well except when it was sown as early as possible, almost in the snow. And yet Levin could never get this done.

"There's no one to send. What would you do with such people? Three haven't turned up. And there's Semion..."

"Well, you should have taken some men from the chaffcutter."

"And so I have, as it is."

"Where are the peasants, then?"

"Five are making compote" (which meant compost), "and four are shifting the oats for fear of being touched, Konstantin Dmitrich."

Levin knew very well that "touching" meant that his English seed oats were already spoiled. Again they had not done as he had ordered.

"Why, but I told you during Lent to put in pipes," he cried.

"Don't be put out; we shall get it all done in time."

Levin made an angry gesture, and went into the granary to glance at the oats, and then to the stable. The oats were not yet spoiled. But the laborers were carrying the oats in spades when they might simply let them slide down into the lower granary; and arranging for this to be done, and taking two laborers from there for sowing clover, Levin got over the vexation his bailiff had caused him. Indeed, it was such a lovely day that one could not be angry.

"Ignat!" he called to the coachman, who, with his sleeves tucked up, was washing the carriage wheels, "saddle..."

"Which, sir?"

"Well, let it be Kolpik."

"Yes, sir."

While they were saddling his horse, Levin again called the bailiff, who was hanging about in sight, to make it up with him, and began talking to him about the spring operations before them, and his plans for the farming.

The wagons were to begin carting manure earlier, so as to get all done before the early mowing. And the plowing of the outlying land was to go on without a break, so as to let it lie black fallow and furrowed. And the moving to be all done by hired labor, not on half-profits.

The bailiff listened attentively, and obviously made an effort to approve of his employer's projects. But still he had that look Levin knew so well that always irritated him, a look of hopelessness and despondency. That look said: "That's all very well, but as God wills."

Nothing mortified Levin so much as that tone. But it was the tone common to all the bailiffs he had ever had. They had all taken that attitude to his plans, and so now he was not angered by it, but mortified, and felt all the more roused to struggle against this apparently elemental force continually ranged against him, for which he could find no other name than "as God wills."

"If we can manage it, Konstantin Dmitrich," said the bailiff.

"Why shouldn't you manage it?"

"We positively must have fifteen laborers more. And they don't turn up. There were some here today asking seventy roubles for the summer."

Levin was silent. Again he was brought face to face with that opposing force. He knew that however much they tried, they could not hire more than forty——thirty-seven perhaps or thirty-eight——laborers for a reasonable sum; some forty had been taken on, and there were no more. But still he could not help struggling against it.

"Send to Sury, to Chefirovka, if they don't come. We must look for them."

"I'll send, to be sure," said Vassilii Fiodorovich despondently. "But then there are the horses——they're not good for much."

"We'll get some more. I know, of course," Levin added laughing, "you always want to do with as little and as poor a quality as possible; but this year I'm not going to let you have things your own way. I'll see to everything myself."

"Why, I don't think you take much rest as it is. It cheers us up to work under the master's eye...."

"So they're sowing clover behind the Birch Dale? I'll go and have a look at them," he said, mounting the little bay cob, Kolpik, who was led up by the coachman.

"You can't get across the stream, Konstantin Dmitrich," the coachman shouted.

"All right, I'll go by the forest."

And Levin rode through the slush of the farmyard to the gate and out into the open country, his good little horse, after his long inactivity, ambling easily, snorting over the pools, and asking, as it were, for guidance.

If Levin had felt happy before in the cattle pens and farmyard, he felt happier yet in the open country. Swaying rhythmically with the ambling paces of his good little cob, drinking in the warm yet fresh scent of the snow and the air, as he rode through his forest over the crumbling, wasted snow, still left in parts, and covered with dissolving tracks, he rejoiced over every tree, with the moss reviving on its bark and the buds swelling on its shoots. When he came out of the forest, in the immense plain before him, his winter fields stretched in an unbroken carpet of green, without one bare place or swamp, only spotted here and there in the hollows with patches of melting snow. He was not put out of temper even by the sight of the peasants' horse and colt trampling down his young grass (he told a peasant he met to drive them out), nor by the sarcastic and stupid reply of the peasant Ipat, whom he met on the way, and asked, "Well, Ipat, shall we soon be sowing?" "We must get the plowing done first, Konstantin Dmitrich," answered Ipat. The farther he rode, the happier he became, and plans for the land rose to his mind each better than the last: to plant all his fields with hedges along the southern borders, so that the snow should not lie under them; to divide them up into six fields of tillage and three for pasture and hay; to build a cattle yard at the further end of the estate, and to dig a pond and to construct movable pens for the cattle as a means of manuring the land. And then three hundred dessiatinas of wheat, one hundred of potatoes, and one hundred and fifty of clover, and not a dessiatina exhausted.

Absorbed in such dreams, carefully keeping his horse by the hedges so as not to trample his young winter fields, he rode up to the laborers who had been sent to sow clover. A telega with the seed in it was standing, not at the edge, but in the middle of the tillage, and the winter corn had been torn up by the wheels and trampled by the horse. Both the laborers were sitting in the hedge, probably smoking a pipe, turn and turn about. The earth in the telega, with which the seed was mixed, was not crushed to powder, but crusted together or adhering in clods. Seeing the master, the laborer, Vassilii, went toward the telega, while Mishka set to work sowing. This was not as it should be, but with the laborers Levin seldom lost his temper. When Vassilii came up, Levin told him to lead the horse to the hedge.

"Never mind, sir, it'll spring up again," responded Vassilii.

"Please don't argue," said Levin, "but do as you're told."

"Yes, sir," answered Vassilii, and he took the horse's head. "What a sowing, Konstantin Dmitrich!" he said ingratiatingly. "First-rate. Only it's a work to get about! A fellow drags thirty pounds of earth at every step."

"Why is it you have earth that's not sifted?" said Levin.

"Well, we crumble it up," answered Vassilii, taking up some seed and rolling the earth in his palms.

Vassilii was not to blame for their having fired up his telega with unsifted earth, but still it was annoying.

Levin had already, more than once, tried a way he knew for stifling his anger, and turning all that seemed dark right again, and he tried that way now. He watched how Mishka strode along, swinging the huge clods of earth that clung to each foot; and, getting off his horse, he took the sieve from Vassilii and started sowing himself.

"Where did you stop?"

Vassilii pointed to the mark with his foot, and Levin went forward as best he could, scattering the seed on the land. Walking was as difficult as on a bog, and by the time Levin had ended the row he was in a great heat, and, stopping, gave the sieve over to Vassilii.

"Well master, when summer's here, mind you don't scold me for this row," said Vassilii.

"Eh?" said Levin cheerily, already feeling the effect of his method.

"Why, you'll see in the summertime. It'll look different. Look you where I sowed last spring. How I did work at it I do my best, Konstantin Dmitrich, d'ye see, as I would for my own father. I don't like botchwork myself, nor would I let another man do it. What's good for the master is good for us too. It does one's heart good," said Vassilii, pointing, "to look over yonder."

"It's a lovely spring, Vassilii."

"Why, it's a spring such as even the old men don't remember the like of. I was up home; my father there has sown wheat too, three osminas of it. He was saying you couldn't tell it from rye."

"Have you been sowing wheat long?"

"Why, sir, it was you taught us, the year before last. You gave me two measures. We sold about one chetvert and sowed three osminas."

"Well, mind you crumble up the clods," said Levin, going toward his horse, "and keep an eye on Mishka. And if there's a good crop you shall have half a rouble for every dessiatina."

"Thank you, kindly. We are very well content, sir, with your treatment, as it is."

Levin got on his horse and rode toward the field where last year's clover was, and the one which was plowed ready for the spring corn.

The crop of clover coming up in the stubble was magnificent. It had revived already, and stood up vividly green through the broken stalks of last year's wheat. The horse sank in up to the pasterns, and he drew each hoof with a sucking sound out of the half-thawed ground. Over the plowland the riding was utterly impossible; the horse could only keep a foothold where there was ice, and in the thawing furrows he sank in deep at each step. The plowland was in splendid condition; in a couple of days it would be fit for harrowing and sowing. Everything was capital, everything was cheering. Levin rode back across the streams, hoping the water would have gone down. And he did in fact get across, and startled two ducks. "There must be woodcock here too," he thought, and just as he reached the turning homewards he met the forest keeper, who confirmed his theory about the woodcock.

Levin went home at a trot, so as to have time to eat his dinner and get his gun ready for the evening.

XIV.

As he rode up to the house in the happiest frame of mind, Levin heard the bell ring at the side of the principal entrance of the house.

"Yes, that's someone from the railway station," he thought, "just the time to be here from the Moscow train.... Who could it be? What if it's brother Nikolai? He did say: 'I may go to the waters, or I may come down to you.'" He felt dismayed and vexed for the first minute that his brother Nikolai's presence should come to his happy mood of spring. But he felt ashamed of the feeling, and at once he opened, as it were, the arms of his soul, and with a softened feeling of joy and expectation, he now hoped with all his heart that it was his brother. He spurred on his horse, and as he rode out from behind the acacias, he saw a hired troika from the railway station, and a gentleman in a fur coat. It was not his brother. "Oh, if it were only some pleasant person one could talk to a little!" he thought.

"Ah," cried Levin joyfully, flinging up both his hands. "Here's a delightful visitor! Ah, how glad I am to see you!" he shouted, recognizing Stepan Arkadyevich.

"I shall find out for certain whether she's married, or when she's going to be married," he thought.

And on that delicious spring day he felt that the thought of her did not hurt him at all.

"Didn't expect me, did you?" said Stepan Arkadyevich, getting out of the sleigh, splashed with mud on the bridge of his nose, on his cheek, and on his eyebrows, but radiant with health and good spirits. "I've come primarily to see you," he said, embracing and kissing him, "secondly, to have some stand shooting, and thirdly, to sell the forest at Ergushovo."

"Delightful! What a spring we're having! How ever did you get along in a sleigh?"

"In a wagon it would have been worse still, Konstantin Dmitrievich," answered the driver, who knew him.

"Well, I'm very, very glad to see you," said Levin, with a genuine smile of childlike delight.

Levin led his friend to the guest room, where Stepan Arkadyevich's things were also carried——a bag, a gun in a case, a satchel for cigars. Leaving him there to wash and change his clothes, Levin went off to the countinghouse to speak about the plowing and the clover. Agathya Mikhailovna, always very anxious for the credit of the house, met him in the hall with inquiries about dinner.

"Do just as you like, only let it be as soon as possible," he said, and went to the bailiff.

When he came back, Stepan Arkadyevich, washed and combed, came out of his room with a beaming smile, and they went upstairs together.

"Well, I am glad I managed to get away to you! Now I shall understand what the mysterious business is that you are always absorbed in here. No, really, I envy you. What a house, how splendid it all is! So bright, so cheerful!" said Stepan Arkadyevich, forgetting that it was not always spring and fine weather as on this day. "And your old nurse is simply charming! A pretty maid in an apron might be even more agreeable, perhaps; but for your severe monastic style it does very well."

Stepan Arkadyevich imparted to him many interesting bits of news; especially interesting to Levin was the news that his brother, Sergei Ivanovich, was intending to spend the summer with him in the country.

Not one word did Stepan Arkadyevich say in reference to Kitty and the Shcherbatskys; he merely gave him greetings from his wife. Levin was grateful to him for his delicacy, and rejoiced exceedingly over his guest. As always happened with him during his solitude, a mass of ideas and feelings had been accumulating within him, which he could not communicate to those about him. And now he poured out upon Stepan Arkadyevich his poetic joy over the spring, and his failures and plans for the land, and his thoughts and criticisms on the books he had been reading, and the idea of his own book, the basis of which really was, though he was unaware of it himself, a criticism of all the old books on agriculture. Stepan Arkadyevich, always charming, understanding everything at the slightest reference, was particularly charming on this visit, and Levin noticed in him a special tenderness, as it were, and a new tone of respect that flattered him.

The efforts of Agathya Mikhailovna and the cook to have the dinner particularly good, only ended in the two famished friends attacking the preliminary course, eating a great deal of bread and butter, salt goose and salted mushrooms, and in Levin's finally ordering the soup to be served without the accompaniment of little patties, with which the cook had particularly meant to impress their visitor. But though Stepan Arkadyevich was accustomed to very different dinners, he thought everything excellent: the herb brandy, and the bread, and the butter, and, above all, the salt goose and the mushrooms, and the nettle soup, and the chicken in white sauce, and the white Crimean wine——everything was excellent and marvelous.

"Splendid, splendid!" he said, lighting a fat cigar after the roast. "I feel as if, coming to you, I had landed on a peaceful shore after the noise and jolting of a steamer. And so you maintain that the laborer himself is an element to be studied, and to regulate the choice of methods in agriculture. Of course, I'm an ignorant outsider; but I should fancy theory and its application will have its influence on the laborer too."

"Yes, but wait a bit. I'm not talking of political economy——I'm talking of the science of agriculture. It ought to be like the natural sciences, and to observe given phenomena and the laborer in his economic, ethnographical..."

At that instant Agathya Mikhailovna came in with jam.

"Oh, Agathya Fiodorovna," said Stepan Arkadyevich, kissing the tips of his plump fingers, "what salt goose, what herb brandy!... What do you think, isn't it time to start, Kostia?" he added.

Levin looked out of the window at the sun sinking behind the bare treetops of the forest.

"Yes, it's time," he said. "Kouzma, get ready the wide droshky," and he ran downstairs.

Stepan Arkadyevich, going down, carefully took the canvas cover off his varnished gun case with his own hands, and opening it, began to get ready his expensive, new-fashioned gun. Kouzma, who already scented a big tip, never left Stepan Arkadyevich's side, and put on him both his stockings and boots, a task which Stepan Arkadyevich readily left to him.

"Kostia, give orders that if the merchant Riabinin comes——I told him to come today——he's to be shown in and asked to wait for me..."

"Why, do you mean to say you're selling the forest to Riabinin?"

"Yes. Do you know him?"

"To be sure I do. I have had to do business with him, 'positively and definitively.'"

Stepan Arkadyevich laughed. 'Positively and definitively' were the merchant's favorite words.

"Yes, it's wonderfully funny the way he talks. She knows where her master's going!" he added, patting Laska, who hung about Levin, whining and licking his hands, his boots, and his gun.

The droshky was already at the steps when they went out.

"I told them to bring the droshky round, though it's not far to go; or would you rather walk?"

"No, we'd better drive," said Stepan Arkadyevich, getting into the droshky. He sat down, tucked the tiger-striped rug round him, and lighted a cigar. "How is it you don't smoke? A cigar is a sort of thing, not exactly a pleasure, but the crown and outward sign of pleasure. Come, this is life! How splendid it is! This is how I should like to live!"

"Why, who prevents you?" said Levin, smiling.

"No, you're a lucky man! You've got everything you like. You like horses——and you have them; dogs——you have them; shooting——you have it; farming——you have it."

"Perhaps because I rejoice in what I have, and don't fret for what I haven't," said Levin, thinking of Kitty.

Stepan Arkadyevich comprehended, looked at him, but said nothing.

Levin was grateful to Oblonsky, for noticing, with his never-failing tact, that he dreaded conversation about the Shcherbatskys, and so saying nothing about them. But now Levin was longing to find out about that which was tormenting him so, yet had not the courage to begin.

"Come, tell me how things are going with you," said Levin, bethinking himself that it was not good of him to think only of himself.

Stepan Arkadyevich's eyes sparkled merrily.

"You don't admit, I know, that one can be fond of new rolls when one has had one's ration of bread——to your mind it's a crime; but I don't count life as life without love," he said, taking Levin's question in his own way. "What am I to do? I'm made that way. And really, one does so little harm to anyone, and gives oneself so much pleasure..."

"What! is there something new, then?" queried Levin.

"Yes, my boy, there is! There, do you see, you know the type of Ossian's women... women, such as one sees in dreams... Well, these women are sometimes to be met with in reality.... And these women are terrible. Woman, don't you know, is such a subject that no matter how much you study it, it's always perfectly new."

"Well, then, it would be better not to study it."

"No. Some mathematician has said that enjoyment lies in the search for truth, not in the finding of it."

Levin listened in silence, and, in spite of all the efforts he made, he could not in the least enter into the feelings of his friend and understand his sentiments and the charm of studying such women.

XV.

The place fixed on for the stand shooting was not far above a stream in a little aspen copse. On reaching the copse, Levin got out of the droshky and led Oblonsky to a corner of a mossy, swampy glade, already quite free from snow. He went back himself to a double birch tree on the other side, and, leaning his gun on the fork of a dead lower branch, he took off his full overcoat, fastened his belt again, and worked his arms to see if they were free.

Gray old Laska, who had followed them, sat down warily opposite him and pricked up her ears. The sun was setting behind a thick forest, and in the glow of sunset the birch trees, dotted about in the aspen copse, stood out clearly with their hanging twigs, and their buds swollen almost to bursting.

From the thickest parts of the copse, where the snow still remained, came the faint sound of narrow winding streamlets of water running away. Tiny birds twittered, and now and then fluttered from tree to tree.

In the pauses of complete stillness there came the rustle of last year's leaves, stirred by the thawing of the earth and the growth of grasses.

"Imagine! One can hear and see the grass growing!" Levin said to himself, noticing a wet, slate-colored aspen leaf moving beside a blade of young grass. He stood, listened, and gazed sometimes down at the wet mossy ground, sometimes at Laska listening all alert, sometimes at the sea of bare treetops that stretched on the slope below him, sometimes at the darkening sky, covered with white streaks of cloud. A hawk flew high over a forest far away with a slow sweep of its wings; another flew with exactly the same motion in the same direction and vanished. The birds twittered more and more loudly and busily in the thicket. An owl hooted not far off, and Laska, starting, stepped cautiously a few steps forward, and, putting her head on one side, began to listen intently. Beyond the stream was heard the cuckoo. Twice she uttered her usual call, and then became hoarse, hurried, and broke down.

"Imagine! The cuckoo already!" said Stepan Arkadyevich, coming out from behind a bush.

"Yes, I hear it," answered Levin, reluctantly breaking the stillness with his voice, which sounded disagreeable to himself. "Now it's coming!"

Stepan Arkadyevich's figure again went behind the bush, and Levin saw nothing but the bright flash of a match, followed by the red glow and blue smoke of a cigarette.

Tchk! Tchk! came the snapping sound of Stepan Arkadyevich cocking his gun.

"What's that cry?" asked Oblonsky, drawing Levin's attention to a prolonged cry, as though a colt were whinnying in a high voice, in play.

"Oh, don't you know it? That's a buck hare. But enough talking! Listen——here it comes!" almost shrieked Levin, cocking his gun.

They heard a shrill whistle in the distance, and in the exact time, so well known to the sportsman, two seconds later——another, a third, and, after the third whistle, the hoarse, guttural cry could be heard.

Levin looked about him to right and to left, and there, just facing him against the dusky blue sky above the confused mass of tender shoots of the aspens, he saw the flying bird. It was flying straight toward him; the guttural cry, like the even tearing of some strong stuff, sounded close to his ear; the long beak and neck of the bird could be seen, and at the very instant when Levin was taking aim, behind the bush where Oblonsky stood, there was a flash of red lightning: the bird dropped like an arrow, and darted upward again. Again came the red flash and the sound of a blow, and, fluttering its wings as though trying to keep up in the air, the bird paused, stopped still an instant, and fell with a heavy splash to the slushy ground.

"Can I possibly have missed it?" shouted Stepan Arkadyevich, who could not see for the smoke.

"Here it is!" said Levin, pointing to Laska, who, with one ear pricked up, wagging the tip of her shaggy tail, was coming slowly back, as though she would prolong the pleasure, and seemingly smiling, was bringing the dead bird to her master. "Well, I'm glad you were successful," said Levin, who, at the same time, had a sense of envy that he had not succeeded in shooting the woodcock.

"It was a bad shot from the right barrel," responded Stepan Arkadyevich, loading his gun. "Sh... Here it comes!"

The shrill whistles rapidly following one another were heard again. Two woodcocks, playing and chasing one another, and only whistling, not crying, flew straight at the very heads of the sportsmen. There was the report of four shots, and like swallows, the woodcocks turned swift somersaults in the air and vanished from sight.

The stand shooting was capital. Stepan Arkadyevich shot two more birds, and Levin two, of which one was not found. It began to get dark. Venus, bright and silvery, shone with her soft light low down in the west, behind the birch trees, and high up in the east twinkled the red fires of somber Arcturus. Over his head Levin made out the stars of the Great Bear and lost them again. The woodcocks had ceased flying; but Levin resolved to stay a little longer, till Venus, which he saw below a branch of birch, should be above it, and the stars of the Great Bear should be perfectly plain. Venus had risen above the branch, and the chariot of the Great Bear with its shaft was now all plainly visible against the dark blue sky, yet still he waited.

"Isn't it time to go home?" said Stepan Arkadyevich.

It was quite still now in the copse, and not a bird was stirring.

"Let's stay a little while," answered Levin.

"As you like."

They were standing now about fifteen paces from one another.

"Stiva!" said Levin unexpectedly; "how is it you don't tell me whether your sister-in-law's married yet, or when she's going to be?"

Levin felt so resolute and serene that no answer he fancied could affect him. But he had never dreamed of the answer which Stepan Arkadyevich made.

"She's never thought of being married, and isn't thinking of it; but she's very ill, and the doctors have sent her abroad. They're positively afraid she may not live."

"What!" cried Levin. "Very ill? What is wrong with her? How is she?..."

While they were speaking, Laska, with ears pricked up, was looking upward at the sky, and, reproachfully, at them.

"What a time they have chosen to gab," she was thinking. "There it comes.... Here it is——yes, sure enough. They'll miss it..." thought Laska.

But at that very instant both suddenly heard a shrill whistle which, as it were, smote on their ears, and both suddenly seized their guns and two flashes gleamed, and two bangs sounded at the very same instant. The woodcock flying high above instantly folded its wings and fell into a thicket, bending down the delicate shoots.

"Splendid! Together!" cried Levin, and he ran with Laska into the thicket to look for the woodcock.

"Oh, yes, what was it that was unpleasant?" he recollected. "Yes, Kitty's ill... Well, it can't be helped; I'm very sorry," he thought.

"She's found it! Isn't she a clever girl?" he said, taking the warm bird from Laska's mouth and packing it into the almost full gamebag. "I've got it, Stiva!" he shouted.

XVI.

On the way home Levin asked all the details of Kitty's illness and of the Shcherbatskys' plans, and though he would have been ashamed to admit it, he was pleased at what he heard. He was pleased that there was still hope, and still more pleased that she, who had made him suffer, should be suffering so much. But when Stepan Arkadyevich began to speak of the causes of Kitty's illness, and mentioned Vronsky's name, Levin cut him short.

"I have no right whatever to know family matters, and, to tell the truth, no interest in them either."

Stepan Arkadyevich smiled a barely perceptible smile, catching the instantaneous change he knew so well in Levin's face, which had become as gloomy as it had been bright a minute before.

"Have you quite settled about the forest with Riabinin?" asked Levin.

"Yes, it's all settled. The price is magnificent——thirty-eight thousand. Eight straightaway, and the rest in six years. I've been bothering about it for ever so long. No one would give more."

"Then you've as good as given away your forest for nothing," said Levin gloomily.

"How do you mean——for nothing?" said Stepan Arkadyevich with a good-humored smile, knowing that nothing would be right in Levin's eyes now.

"Because the forest is worth at least five hundred roubles the dessiatina," answered Levin.

"Oh, these farmers!" said Stepan Arkadyevich playfully. "Your tone of contempt for us poor townsfolk!... But when it comes to business, we are better at it than anyone. I assure you I have reckoned it all out," he said, "and the forest is fetching a very good price——so much so that I'm afraid of this fellow's crying off, in fact. You know it's not 'timber forest,'" said Stepan Arkadyevich, hoping by this distinction to convince Levin completely of the unfairness of his doubts, "but for the most part firewood. And it won't run to more than thirty sazhenes of wood per dessiatina, and he's paying me at the rate of two hundred roubles the dessiatina."

Levin smiled contemptuously. "I know," he thought, "that fashion not only in him, but in all city people, who, after being twice in ten years in the country, pick up two or three phrases and use them in season and out of season, firmly persuaded that they know all about it. 'Timber, run to thirty sazhenes the dessiatina.' He says those words without understanding them himself."

"I wouldn't attempt to teach you what you write about in your office," said he, "and if need arose, I should come to you to ask about it. But you're so positive you know all the lore of the forest. It's difficult. Have you counted the trees?"

"How count the trees?" said Stepan Arkadyevich, laughing, still trying to draw his friend out of his ill temper. "Count sands of seas, and rays of stars, though could some higher power..."

"Oh, well, the higher power of Riabinin can. Not a single merchant ever buys a forest without counting the trees, unless they get it given them for nothing, as you're doing now. I know your forest. I go there every year shooting, and your forest's worth five hundred a dessiatina paid down, while he's giving you two hundred by installments. So that in fact you're making him a present of thirty thousand."

"Come, don't let your imagination run away with you," said Stepan Arkadyevich piteously. "Why was it none would give it, then?"

"Why, because he has an understanding with the merchants; he's bought them off. I've had to do with all of them; I know them. They're not merchants, you know; they're speculators. He wouldn't look at a bargain that gave him ten, fifteen per cent profit, but holds back to buy a rouble's worth for twenty kopecks."

"Well, enough of it! You're out of temper."

"Not in the least," said Levin gloomily, as they drove up to the house.

At the steps there stood a trap tightly covered with iron and leather, with a sleek horse tightly harnessed with broad collar straps. In the trap sat the chubby, tightly belted overseer who served Riabinin as coachman. Riabinin himself was already in the house, and met the friends in the hall. Riabinin was a tall, thinnish, middle-aged man, with mustache and a projecting clean-shaven chin, and prominent muddy-looking eyes. He was dressed in a long-skirted blue coat, with buttons below the waist at the back, and wore high boots wrinkled over the ankles and straight over the calf, with big galoshes drawn over them. He mopped his face with his handkerchief, and, wrapping himself in his coat, which sat extremely well as it was, he greeted them with a smile, holding out his hand to Stepan Arkadyevich, as though he wanted to catch something.

"So, here you are," said Stepan Arkadyevich, giving him his hand. "That's capital."

"I did not venture to disregard Your Excellency's commands, though the road was extremely bad. I positively covered the whole way at a walk, but I am here on time. Konstantin Dmitrich, my respects"; he turned to Levin, trying to seize his hand too. But Levin, scowling, made as though he did not notice his hand, and took out the woodcocks. "Your honors have been diverting yourselves with the chase? What kind of bird may it be, pray?" added Riabinin, looking contemptuously at the woodcocks: "a great delicacy, I suppose." And he shook his head disapprovingly, as though he had grave doubts whether this game were worth the candle.

"Would you like to go into my study?" Levin said in French to Stepan Arkadyevich, scowling morosely. "Go into my study; you can talk there."

"Quite so, wherever you please," said Riabinin with supercilious dignity, as though wishing to make it felt that others might be in difficulties as to how to behave, but that he could never be in any difficulty about anything.

On entering the study Riabinin looked about, as it was a habit of his, as though seeking a holy image, but, when he had found it, he did not cross himself. He scanned the bookcases and bookshelves, and with the same dubious air with which he had regarded the woodcocks, he smiled superciliously and shook his head disapprovingly, as though by no means willing to allow that this game, either, were worth the candle.

"Well, have you brought the money?" asked Oblonsky. "Sit down."

"Oh, don't trouble about the money. I've come to see you to talk it over."

"What is there to talk over? But do sit down."

"I don't mind if I do," said Riabinin, sitting down and leaning his elbows on the back of his armchair in a position of the intensest discomfort to himself. "You must knock it down a bit, Prince. It would be a sin otherwise. As for the money, it is ready definitively, to the last kopeck. As for money down, there'll be no hitch there."

Levin, who had meanwhile been putting his gun away in the cupboard, was just going out of the door, but catching the merchant's words, he stopped.

"Why, you've got the forest for nothing as it is," he said. "He came to me too late, or I'd have fixed the price for him."

Riabinin got up, and in silence, with a smile, he looked up at Levin.

"Konstantin Dmitrievich is very close," he said with a smile, turning to Stepan Arkadyevich; "there's definitively no dealing with him. I was bargaining for some wheat of him, and a pretty price I offered too."

"Why should I give you what's mine for nothing? I didn't pick it up off the ground, nor did I steal it, either."

"Mercy on us! Nowadays there's positively no chance at all of stealing. With the definitively open courts, and everything done in style, nowadays there's no question of stealing. We are just talking things over like gentlemen. His Excellency's asking too much for the forest. I can't make both ends meet over it. I must ask for a little concession."

"But is the thing settled between you or isn't it? If it's settled, it's useless haggling; but if it isn't," said Levin, "I'll buy the forest."

The smile vanished at once from Riabinin's face. A hawklike, greedy, cruel expression was left upon it. With rapid, bony fingers he unbuttoned his coat, revealing a large shirt, bronze waistcoat buttons, and a watch chain, and quickly pulled out a fat old pocketbook.

"Here you are, the forest is mine," he said, crossing himself quickly, and holding out his hand. "Take the money; it's my forest. That's Riabinin's way of doing business; he doesn't haggle over every copper," he added, scowling and waving the pocketbook.

"I wouldn't be in a hurry if I were you," said Levin.

"Come, really," said Oblonsky in surprise, "I've given my word, you know."

Levin went out of the room, slamming the door. Riabinin looked toward the door and shook his head with a smile.

"It's all youthfulness——definitively nothing but childishness. Why, I'm buying it, upon my honor, simply, believe me, for the glory of it, that Riabinin, and no one else, should have bought the copse of Oblonsky. And as to the profits, why, I must make what God gives. God's my witness. If you would kindly sign the title deed..."

Within an hour the merchant, carefully stroking his wrapper down, and hooking up his coat, with the agreement in his pocket, seated himself in his tightly covered trap, and drove homeward.

"Ugh, these gentlefolk!" he said to the overseer. "They are all made alike! they're a fine lot!"

"That's so," responded the overseer, handing him the reins and buttoning the leather apron. "But can I congratulate you on the purchase, Mikhail Ignatich?"

"Well, well..."

XVII.

Stepan Arkadyevich went upstairs with his pocket bulging with notes which the merchant had paid him for three months in advance. The business of the forest was over, the money in his pocket; their shooting had been excellent, and Stepan Arkadyevich was in the happiest frame of mind, and therefore felt especially anxious to dissipate the ill-humor that had come upon Levin. He wanted to finish the day at supper as pleasantly as it had been begun.

Levin certainly was out of humor, and, in spite of all his desire to be affectionate and cordial to his charming guest, he could not control his mood. The aftereffects of the intoxication of the news that Kitty was not married had gradually begun to work upon him.

Kitty was not married, and was ill, and ill from love for a man who had slighted her. This offense, as it were, rebounded upon him. Vronsky had slighted her, and she had slighted him, Levin. Consequently Vronsky had the right to despise Levin, and therefore he was his enemy. But all this Levin did not think of. He vaguely felt that there was something in it insulting to him, and he was not angry now at what had disturbed him, but he fell foul of everything that presented itself. The stupid sale of the forest, the fraud practised upon Oblonsky and concluded in his house, exasperated him.

"Well, finished?" he said, meeting Stepan Arkadyevich upstairs. "Would you like supper?"

"Well, I wouldn't say no to it. What an appetite I get in the country! Wonderful! Why didn't you offer Riabinin something?"

"Oh, damn him!"

"Still, how you do treat him!" said Oblonsky. "You didn't even shake hands with him. Why not shake hands with him?"

"Because I don't shake hands with a waiter, and a waiter's a hundred times better than he is."

"What a reactionist you are, really! What about the amalgamation of classes?" said Oblonsky.

"Anyone who likes it is welcome to it, but it sickens me."

"You're a downright reactionist, I see."

"Really. I have never considered what I am. I am Konstantin Levin, and nothing else."

"And Konstantin Levin very much out of temper," said Stepan Arkadyevich, smiling.

"Yes, I am out of temper, and do you know why? Because——excuse me—— of your stupid sale...."

Stepan Arkadyevich frowned good-humoredly, like one who feels himself teased and attacked for no fault of his own.

"Come, enough about that!" he said. "When did anybody ever sell anything without being told immediately after the sale, 'It was worth much more'? But when one wants to sell, no one will give anything.... No, I see you've a grudge against that unlucky Riabinin."

"Maybe I have. And do you know why? You'll say again that I'm a reactionist, or some other terrible word; but all the same it does annoy and anger me to see on all sides the impoverishing of the nobility to which I belong, and, in spite of the amalgamation of classes, I'm glad to belong. And their impoverishment is not due to living in luxury——that would be nothing; living in good style—— that's the proper thing for noblemen: it's only the nobles who know how to do it. Now, the peasants about us buy land, and I don't mind that. The gentleman does nothing, while the peasant works and supplants the idle man. That's as it should be. And I welcome the peasant. But I do mind seeing the process of impoverishment from a sort of——I don't know what to call it——innocence. Here a Polish lessee bought for half its value a magnificent estate from a lady who lives in Nice. And there a merchant leases land, worth ten roubles in rent the dessiatina, for one rouble. Here, for no kind of reason, you've made that cheat a present of thirty thousand roubles."

"Well, what should I have done? Counted every tree?"

"Of course, they must be counted. You didn't count them, but Riabinin did. Riabinin's children will have means of livelihood and education, while yours, like as not, won't!"

"Well, you must excuse me, but there's something mean in this counting. We have our business and they have theirs, and they must make their profit. Anyway, the thing's done, and there's an end of it. And here come some fried eggs, my favorite dish. And Agathya Mikhailovna will give us that marvelous herb brandy...."

Stepan Arkadyevich sat down at the table and began jollying Agathya Mikhailovna, assuring her that it was long since he had tasted such a dinner and such a supper.

"Well, you praise it, at any rate," said Agathya Mikhailovna, "but Konstantin Dmitrievich, no matter what you give him——even a crust of bread——will just eat it and walk away."

Though Levin tried to control himself, he was gloomy and silent. He wanted to put one question to Stepan Arkadyevich, but he could not bring himself to the point, and could not find the words or the moment in which to put it. Stepan Arkadyevich had gone down to his room, undressed, again washed, and, attired in a nightshirt with goffered frills, had got into bed, but Levin still lingered in his room, talking of various trifling matters, and not daring to ask what he wanted to know.

"How wonderfully they make the soap," he said gazing at a piece of soap he was unwrapping, which Agathya Mikhailovna had placed in readiness for the guest, but a brand which Oblonsky did not use. "Just look——why, it's a work of art."

"Yes, everything's brought to such a pitch of perfection nowadays," said Stepan Arkadyevich, with a moist and blissful yawn. "The theater, for instance, and the entertainments... A-a-a!" he yawned. "The electric light everywhere... A-a-a!"

"Yes, the electric light," said Levin. "Yes. Oh, and where's Vronsky now?" he asked suddenly, laying down the soap.

"Vronsky?" said Stepan Arkadyevich, checking his yawn; "he's in Peterburg. He left soon after you did, and hasn't been once in Moscow since. And, do you know, Kostia, I'll tell you the truth," he went on, leaning his elbow on the table, and, with his hand, propping up his handsome ruddy face, in which his humid, good-natured, sleepy eyes shone like stars. "It's your own fault. You took fright at the sight of your rival. But, as I told you at the time, I couldn't say which had the better chance. Why didn't you fight it out? I told you at the time that..." He yawned inwardly, without opening his mouth.

"Does he know, or doesn't he, that I did propose?" Levin wondered gazing at him. "Yes, there's something humbugging, something diplomatic in his face." And, feeling he was blushing, he looked Stepan Arkadyevich straight in the face without speaking.

"If there was anything on her side at that time, it was nothing but a superficial attraction," pursued Oblonsky. "His being such a perfect aristocrat, you know, and his future position in society, had an influence not with her, but with her mother."

Levin scowled. The humiliation of his rejection stung him to the heart, as though it were a fresh wound he had only just received. But he was at home, and the walls of home are a support.

"Wait, wait," he began, interrupting Oblonsky. "You talk of his being an aristocrat. But allow me to ask what it consists of, that aristocracy of Vronsky or of anybody else, beside which I can be looked down upon? You consider Vronsky an aristocrat, but I don't. A man whose father crawled up from nothing at all by intrigue, and whose mother——God knows whom she wasn't mixed up with... No, excuse me, but I consider myself aristocratic, and people like me, who can point back in the past to three or four honorable generations of their family, of the highest degree of breeding (talent and intellect, of course, are another matter), and have never curried favor with anyone, never depended on anyone for anything, like my father and my grandfather. And I know many such. You think it mean of me to count the trees in my forest, while you make Riabinin a present of thirty thousand; but you get from the government your liferent, and I don't know what, while I shall not, and so I prize what's come to me from my ancestors, or has been won by hard work... We are aristocrats, and not those who can only exist by favor of the powerful ones of this earth, and who can be bought for twenty kopecks."

"Well, but whom are you attacking? I agree with you," said Stepan Arkadyevich, sincerely and genially; though he was aware that in the class of those who could be bought for twenty kopecks Levin was reckoning him as well. Levin's animation gave him genuine pleasure. "Whom are you attacking? A good deal of what you say is not true about Vronsky, of course, but I won't talk about that. I tell you straight out, if I were you, I should go back with me to Moscow, and..."

"No; I don't know whether you know it or not, but I don't care. And I tell you——I did propose, and was rejected, and Katerina Alexandrovna is nothing now to me but a painful and humiliating reminiscence."

"Why? What nonsense!"

"But we won't talk about it. Please forgive me, if I've been nasty," said Levin. Now that he had opened his heart, he became as he had been in the morning. "You're not angry with me, Stiva? Please don't be angry," he said, and, smiling, he took his hand.

"Of course not; not a bit——nor is there any reason to be. I'm glad we've spoken openly. And, do you know, stand shooting in the morning is usually good——why not go? I might go, without sleeping, straight from shooting to the station."

"Capital."

XVIII.

Although all Vronsky's inner life was absorbed in his passion, his external life unalterably and inevitably followed along the old accustomed lines of his social and regimental ties and interests. The interests of his regiment took an important place in Vronsky's life, both because he was fond of the regiment, and still more because the regiment was fond of him. They were not only fond of Vronsky in his regiment, they respected him too, and were proud of him; proud that this man, with his immense wealth, his brilliant education and abilities, and the path open before him to every kind of success, distinction and ambition, had disregarded all that, and of all the interests of life had the interests of his regiment and his comrades nearest to his heart. Vronsky was aware of his comrades' view of him, and in addition to his liking for that sort of life, he felt bound to keep up that reputation.

It need not be said that he did not speak of his love to any of his comrades, nor did he betray his secret even in the wildest drinking bouts (though indeed he was never so drunk as to lose all control of himself). And he closed the mouths of any of his thoughtless comrades who attempted to allude to his liaison. But, in spite of that, his love was known to all the town; everyone guessed with more or less certainty at his relations with Madame Karenina. The majority of the younger men envied him for just what was the most irksome factor in his love——the exalted position of Karenin, and the consequent transparency to society, of their liaison.

The greater number of the young women, who envied Anna and had long been weary of having her called righteous, rejoiced at the fulfillment of their predictions, and were only waiting for a decisive turn in public opinion to fall upon her with all the weight of their scorn. They were already making ready their handfuls of mud to cast at her when the right moment arrived. The greater number of the middle-aged people and certain great personages were displeased at the prospect of the impending scandal in society.

Vronsky's mother, on hearing of his liaison, was at first pleased by it, because nothing to her mind gave such a finishing touch to a brilliant young man as a liaison in the highest society; she was pleased, too, that Madame Karenina, who had so taken her fancy, and had talked so much of her son, was, after all, just like all the other pretty and decent women——according to the Countess Vronskaia's ideas. But she had heard of late that her son had refused a position offered him of great importance to his career, simply in order to remain in the regiment, where could be constantly seeing Madame Karenina; she heard that great personages were displeased with him on this account, and she changed her opinion. She was vexed, too, that from all she could learn of this liaison it was not that brilliant, graceful, worldly liaison which she would have welcomed, but a sort of Werther's desperate passion, so she was told, which might well lead him into follies. She had not seen him since his abrupt departure from Moscow, and she sent her elder son to bid him to come to her.

This elder brother, too, was displeased with his younger brother. He did not distinguish what sort of love his might be, big or little, passionate or passionless, pure or impure (he kept a ballet girl himself, though he was the father of a family, so he was rather indulgent), but he knew that this love displeased those whom it was necessary to please, and therefore he did not approve of his brother's conduct.

Besides the service and society, Vronsky had another great interest—— horses; he was passionately fond of horses.

That year races and a steeplechase had been arranged for the officers. Vronsky had put his name down, bought a thoroughbred English mare, and in spite of his love, he was looking forward to the races with intense, though reserved, excitement....

These two passions did not interfere with one another. On the contrary, he needed occupation and distraction quite apart from his love, so as to recruit and rest himself from the violent emotions that agitated him.

XIX.

On the day of the races at Krasnoe Selo, Vronsky had come earlier than usual to eat beefsteak in the common messroom of the regiment. He had no need to be strict with himself, as his weight was exactly the required one; but still he had to avoid gaining flesh, and so he eschewed farinaceous and sweet dishes. He sat with his coat unbuttoned over a white waistcoat, resting both elbows on the table, and, while waiting for the steak he had ordered, was looking over a French novel that lay open on his plate. He was only looking at the book to avoid conversation with the officers coming in and out; he was thinking.

He was thinking of Anna's promise to see him today after the races. But he had not seen her for three days, and as her husband had just returned from abroad, he did not know whether she would be able to meet him today or not, and he did not know how to find out. He had had his last interview with her at his cousin Betsy's summer villa. He visited the summer villa of the Karenins as rarely as possible. Now he wanted to go there, and he pondered the question of how to do it.

"Of course I shall say Betsy has sent me to ask whether she's coming to the races. Of course, I'll go," he decided, lifting his head from the book. And as he vividly pictured the happiness of seeing her, his face lighted up.

"Send to my house, and tell them to have out the carriage and three horses as quickly as they can," he said to the servant, who handed him the steak on a hot silver dish, and moving the dish up toward him, he began eating.

From the adjoining billiard room came the sound of balls clicking, of talk and laughter. Two officers appeared at the entrance door: one, a young fellow with a weak, delicate face, who had lately joined the regiment from the Corps of Pages; the other, a plump, elderly officer, with a bracelet on his wrist, and little eyes, lost in fat.

Vronsky glanced at them, frowned, and looking down at his book as though he had not noticed them, he proceeded to eat and read at the same time.

"What? Fortifying yourself for your work?" said the plump officer, sitting down beside him.

"As you see," responded Vronsky, knitting his brows, wiping his mouth, and without looking at the officer.

"So you're not afraid of getting fat? said the latter, turning a chair round for the young officer.

"What?" said Vronsky angrily, making a wry face of disgust and showing his heavy teeth.

"You're not afraid of getting fat?"

"Waiter, sherry!" said Vronsky, without replying, and moving the book to the other side of him, he went on reading.

The plump officer took up the list of wines and turned to the young officer.

"You choose what we're to drink," he said, handing him the card, and looking at him.

"Rhine wine, please," said the young officer, stealing a timid glance at Vronsky, and trying to pull his scarcely visible mustache. Seeing that Vronsky did not turn round, the young officer got up.

"Let's go into the billiard room," he said.

The plump officer rose submissively, and they moved toward the door.

At that moment there walked into the room the tan and well-built Captain Iashvin. Nodding with an air of lofty contempt to the two officers, he went up to Vronsky.

"Ah! Here he is!" he cried, bringing his big hand down heavily on his epaulet. Vronsky looked round angrily, but his face lighted up immediately with his characteristic expression of calm and firm friendliness.

"That's it, Aliosha," said the captain, in his loud baritone. "Have a bite and drink one tiny glass."

"Oh, I'm not very hungry."

"There go the inseparables," Iashvin dropped, glancing sarcastically at the two officers who were at that instant leaving the room. And he bent his long legs, swathed in tight riding breeches, and sat down in the chair, too low for him, so that his knees were cramped up in a sharp angle. "Why didn't you turn up at Theater at Krasnoe Selo yesterday? Numerova wasn't at all bad. Where were you?"

"I was late at the Tverskys'," said Vronsky.

"Ah!" responded Iashvin.

Iashvin, a gambler and a rake, a man not merely without any principles, but of immoral principles——Iashvin was Vronsky's greatest friend in the regiment. Vronsky liked him both for his exceptional physical strength, which he showed for the most part by being able to drink like a fish and to do without sleep without being in the slightest degree affected by it; and for his great strength of character, which he showed in his relations with his comrades and superior officers, commanding both fear and respect, and also at cards, when he would play for tens of thousands and, however much he might have drunk, always with such skill and decision that he was reckoned the best player in the English Club. Vronsky respected and liked Iashvin particularly because he felt Iashvin liked him, not for his name and his money, but for himself. And of all men he was the only one with whom Vronsky would have liked to speak of his love. He felt that Iashvin, in spite of his apparent contempt for every sort of feeling, was the only man who could, so he fancied, comprehend the intense passion which now filled his whole life. Moreover, he felt certain that Iashvin, as it was, took no delight in gossip and scandal, and interpreted his feeling rightly——that is to say, knew and believed that this passion was not a joke, not a pastime, but something more serious and important.

Vronsky had never spoken to him of his passion, but he was aware that he knew all about it, and that he put the right interpretation on it, and he was glad to see this in his eyes.

"Ah! yes," he said, to the announcement that Vronsky had been at the Tverskys'; and, his black eyes shining, he plucked at his left mustache, and began twisting it into his mouth——a bad habit he had.

"Well, and what did you do yesterday? Win anything?" asked Vronsky.

"Eight thousand. But three don't count; the chap will hardly pay up."

"Oh, then you can afford to lose over me," said Vronsky, laughing. (Iashvin had betted heavily on Vronsky in the races.)

"No chance of my losing. Makhotin's the only one who's a dangerous entrant."

And the conversation passed to forecasts of the coming race, the only thing Vronsky could think of just now.

"Come along, I've finished," said Vronsky, and getting up he went to the door. Iashvin got up too, stretching his long legs and his long back.

"It's too early for me to dine, but I must have a drink. I'll come along directly. Hi, wine!" he shouted, in his rich voice, that was so famous at drill, and set the windows shaking. "No, I don't need it!" he shouted again, immediately after. "You're going home, so I'll go with you."

And he walked out with Vronsky.

XX.

Vronsky was staying in a roomy, clean, Finnish hut, divided into two by a partition. Petritsky lived with him in camp too. Petritsky was asleep when Vronsky and Iashvin came into the hut.

"Get up, don't go on sleeping," said Iashvin, going behind the partition and giving Petritsky, who was lying with ruffled hair and with his nose in the pillow, a prod on the shoulder.

Petritsky jumped up suddenly onto his knees and looked around.

"Your brother's been here," he said to Vronsky. "He waked me up, the devil take him, and said he'd look in again." And pulling up the rug he flung himself back on the pillow. "Oh do quit that, Iashvin!" he said, getting furious with Iashvin, who was pulling the rug off him. "Quit that!" He turned over and opened his eyes. "You'd better tell me what to drink; I've such a nasty taste in my mouth that..."

"Vodka's better than anything," boomed Iashvin. "Tereshchenko! Vodka for your master and cucumbers," he shouted, obviously taking pleasure in the sound of his own voice.

"Vodka, do you think? Eh?" queried Petritsky, blinking and rubbing his eyes. "And you'll drink something? All right then, we'll have a drink together! Vronsky, have a drink?" said Petritsky, getting up and wrapping the tiger-striped bedcover round him. He went to the door of the partition wall, raised his hands, and hummed in French: "'There was a king in Thu-u-le.' Vronsky, will you have a drink?"

"Go along," said Vronsky, putting on the coat his valet handed him.

"Where are you off to?" asked Iashvin. "Oh, here is your troika," he added, seeing the carriage drive up.

"To the stables, and I've got to see Briansky, too, about the horses," said Vronsky.

Vronsky had as a fact promised to call at Briansky's, some ten verstas from Peterhof, and to bring him money owing for some horses; and he hoped to have time to get that in too. But his comrades were at once aware that that was not the only place he was going.

Petritsky, still humming, winked and made a pout with his lips, as though he would say: "Oh, yes, we know your Briansky!"

"Mind you're not late!" was Iashvin's only comment; and, to change the conversation: "How's my roan? Is he doing all right?" he inquired, looking out of the window at the shaft horse, which he had sold to Vronsky.

"Stop!" cried Petritsky to Vronsky, just as he was going out. "Your brother left a letter and a note for you. Wait a bit; where are they?"

Vronsky stopped.

"Well, where are they?"

"Where are they? That's just the question!" said Petritsky solemnly, sliding his forefinger upward along his nose.

"Come, tell me; this is silly!" said Vronsky smiling.

"I haven't lighted the fire. They must be here somewhere."

"Come, enough fooling! Where is the letter?"

"No, I've forgotten, really. Or was it a dream? Wait a bit, wait a bit! But what's the use of getting in a rage? If you'd drunk four bottles per man yesterday as I did, you'd forget where you were at. Wait a bit, I'll remember!"

Petritsky went behind the partition and lay down on his bed.

"Wait a bit! This was how I was lying, and this was how he was standing. Yes——yes——yes... Here it is!"——and Petritsky pulled a letter out from under the mattress, where he had hidden it.

Vronsky took the letter and his brother's note. It was the letter he was expecting——from his mother, reproaching him for not having been to see her——and the note was from his brother to say that he must have a little talk with him. Vronsky knew that it was all about the same thing. "What business is it of theirs!" thought Vronsky, and crumpling up the letters he thrust them between the buttons of his coat so as to read them carefully on the road. In the porch of the hut he was met by two officers; one of his regiment and one of another.

Vronsky's quarters were always a meeting place for all the officers.

"Where are you off to?"

"I must go to Peterhof."

"Has the mare come from Tsarskoe?"

"Yes, but I've not seen her yet."

"They say Makhotin's Gladiator's lame."

"Nonsense! However, are you going to race in this mud?" said the other.

"Here are my saviors!" cried Petritsky, seeing them come in. Before him stood the batman with vodka and pickled cucumbers on a tray. "Here's Iashvin, ordering me to drink a pick-me-up."

"Well, you did make it hot for us yesterday," said one of those who had come in; "you didn't let us get a wink of sleep all night."

"Oh, didn't we make a pretty finish!" said Petritsky. "Volkov climbed onto the roof and began telling us how sad he was. I said: 'Let's have music, the funeral march!' He fairly dropped asleep on the roof over the funeral march."

"Drink it up; you positively must drink the vodka, and then Seltzer water, and a lot of lemon," said Iashvin, standing over Petritsky like a mother making a child take medicine, "and then a little champagne——just a wee bottle."

"Come, there's some sense in that. Stop a bit, Vronsky. We'll all have a drink."

"No; good-by, all of you. I'm not going to drink today."

"Why, are you gaining weight? All right, then we must have it alone. Give us the Seltzer water and lemon."

"Vronsky!" shouted someone when he was already outside.

"Well?"

"You'd better get your hair cut, it'll weigh you down——especially at the bald place."

Vronsky was in fact beginning, prematurely, to get a little bald. He laughed gaily, showing his heavy teeth, and pulling his cap over the thin place, went out and got into his carriage.

"To the stables!" he said, and was just pulling out the letters to read them through, but thought better of it, and put off reading them so as not to distract his attention before looking at the mare. "Later on!..."

XXI.

The temporary stable, a wooden booth, had been put up close to the racecourse, and there his mare was to have been taken the previous day. He had not yet seen her there. During the last few days he had not ridden her out for exercise himself, but had put her in the charge of the trainer, and so now he absolutely did not know in what condition his mare had arrived yesterday or was in today. He had scarcely got out of his carriage when his stableboy (groom), recognizing the carriage some way off, called the trainer. A dry-looking Englishman, in high boots and a short jacket, clean-shaven, except for a tuft below his chin, came to meet him walking with the uncouth gait of a jockey, turning his elbows out and swaying from side to side.

"Well, how's Frou-Frou?" Vronsky asked in English.

"All right, sir," the Englishman's voice responded somewhere far down in his throat. "Better not go in," he added, touching his hat. "I've put a muzzle on her, and the mare's fidgety. Better not go in, it'll excite the mare."

"No, I'm going in. I want to look at her."

"Come along, then," said the Englishman, frowning, and speaking with his mouth shut, and, with swinging elbows, he went on in front with his disjointed gait.

They went into the little yard in front of the shed. The stableboy on duty, spruce and smart in his holiday attire, met them with a broom in his hand, and followed them. In the shed there were five horses in their separate stalls, and Vronsky knew that his chief rival, Makhotin's Gladiator, a very tall chestnut horse, had been brought there, and must be standing among them. Even more than his mare, Vronsky longed to see Gladiator, whom he had never seen, but Vronsky knew that by the etiquette of the racecourse it was not merely impossible for him to see the horse, but improper even to ask questions about him. just as he was passing along the passage, the boy opened the door into the second horsebox on the left, and Vronsky caught a glimpse of a big chestnut horse with white legs. He knew that this was Gladiator, but, with the feeling of a man turning away from the sight of another man's open letter, he turned round and went into Frou-Frou's stall.

"The stall belonging to Ma-k... Mak... I never can say the name—— is here," said the Englishman over his shoulder, pointing his dirty-nailed thumb toward Gladiator's stall.

"Makhotin? Yes, he's my most serious rival," said Vronsky.

"If you were riding him," said the Englishman, "I'd bet on you.

"Frou-Frou's more nervous, while the other is more powerful," said Vronsky, smiling at the compliment to his riding.

"In a steeplechase it all depends on riding and on pluck," said the Englishman.

Of pluck——that is, energy and courage——Vronsky did not merely feel that he had enough; what was of far more importance, he was firmly convinced that no one in the world could have more of this pluck than he had.

"Don't you think I want more sweating down?"

"Oh, no," answered the Englishman. "Please, don't speak loud. The mare's fidgety," he added, nodding toward the horse box, before which they were standing, and from which came the sound of restless stamping in the straw.

He opened the door, and Vronsky went into the horse box, dimly lighted by one little window. In the horse box stood a dark bay mare, with a muzzle on, shifting her feet on the fresh straw. Looking round him in the twilight of the horse box, Vronsky unconsciously took in once more in a comprehensive glance all the points of his favorite mare. Frou-Frou was an animal of medium size, not altogether free from reproach, from a breeder's point of view. She was small-boned all over; though her chest was extremely prominent in front, it was narrow. Her hindquarters were a little drooping, and in her forelegs, and still more in her hind legs, there was a noticeable curvature. The muscles of both hind legs and forelegs were not very thick; but across her shoulders the mare was exceptionally broad, a peculiarity specially striking now that she was lean from training. The bones of her legs below the knees looked no thicker than a finger from in front, but were extraordinarily thick seen from the side. She looked altogether, except across the shoulders, apparently pinched in at the sides and pressed out in depth. But she had in the highest degree the quality that makes all defects forgotten: that quality was blood, the blood that tells, as the English expression has it. The muscles stood up sharply under the network of sinews, covered with the delicate, mobile skin, soft as satin, and they were hard as bone. Her clean-cut head, with prominent, bright, spirited eyes, broadened out at the open nostrils, that showed the red blood in the cartilage within. About all her figure, and especially her head, there was a certain expression of energy, and, at the same time, of softness. She was one of those creatures which seem devoid of speech only because the mechanism of their mouths does not allow of it.

To Vronsky, at any rate, it seemed that she understood all he felt at that moment as he looked at her.

Directly Vronsky went toward her, she drew in a deep breath, and, turning back her prominent eye tin the white looked bloodshot, she started at the approaching figures from the opposite side, shaking her muzzle, and shifting lightly from one leg to the other.

"There, you see how fidgety she is," said the Englishman.

"Whoa, darling! Whoa!" said Vronsky, going up to the mare and speaking soothingly to her.

But the nearer he came, the more excited she grew. Only when he stood by her head she was suddenly quieter, while the muscles quivered under her soft, delicate coat. Vronsky patted her strong neck, straightened over her sharp withers a stray lock of her mane that had fallen on the other side, and moved his face near her dilated nostrils, transparent as a bat's wing. She drew a loud breath and snorted out through her tense nostrils, started, pricked up her sharp ear, and put out her strong, black lip toward Vronsky, as though she would nip hold of his sleeve. But remembering the muzzle, she shook it and again began restlessly stamping her shapely legs one after the other.

"Calm down, darling, calm down!" he said, patting her again over her hindquarters; and, with a glad sense that his mare was in the best possible condition, he went out of the horse box.

The mare's excitement had infected Vronsky. He felt that his heart was throbbing, and that he, too, like the mare, longed to move, to bite; it was both fearful and delicious.

"Well, I rely on you, then," he said to the Englishman, "half-past six on the ground."

"All right," said the Englishman. "Oh, where are you going, my lord?" he asked suddenly, using the title my lord, which he scarcely ever used.

Vronsky in amazement raised his head, and stared, as he knew how to stare, not into the Englishman's eyes, but at his forehead, astounded at the impertinence of his question. But realizing that in asking this the Englishman had been looking at him not as an employer, but as a jockey, he answered:

"I've got to go to Briansky's; I shall be home within an hour."

"How often I'm asked that question today!" he said to himself, and he blushed, a thing which rarely happened to him. The Englishman looked gravely at him; and, as though he, too, knew where Vronsky was going, he added:

"The great thing is to keep quiet before a race," said he; "don't get out of temper, or upset about anything."

"All right," answered Vronsky, smiling; and, jumping into his carriage, he told the man to drive to Peterhof.

Before he had driven many paces away, the dark clouds that had been threatening rain all day broke, and there was a heavy downpour of rain.

"What a pity!" thought Vronsky, putting up the roof of the carriage. "It was muddy before, now it will be a perfect swamp." As he sat in solitude in the closed carriage, he took out his mother's letter and his brother's note, and read them through.

Yes, it was the same thing over and over again. Everyone——his mother, his brother——everyone thought fit to interfere in the affairs of his heart. This interference aroused in him a feeling of angry hatred——a feeling he had rarely known before. "What business is it of theirs? Why does everybody feel called upon to concern himself about me? And why do they worry me so? Just because they see that this is something they can't understand. If it were a common, vulgar, worldly intrigue, they would have left me alone. They feel that this is something different, that this is not a mere pastime, that this woman is dearer to me than life. And this is incomprehensible, and that's why it annoys them. Whatever our destiny is or may be, we have made it ourselves, and we do not complain of it," he said, in the word we linking himself with Anna. "No, they must needs teach us how to live. They haven't an idea of what happiness is; they don't know that without our love there is for us neither happiness nor unhappiness——no life at all," he thought.

He was angry with all of them for their interference just because he felt in his soul that they, all these people, were right. He felt that the love that bound him to Anna was not a momentary impulse, which would pass, as worldly intrigues do pass, leaving no other traces in the life of either save pleasant or unpleasant memories. He felt all the torture of his own position and hers, all the difficulty in store for them, conspicuous as they were in the eye of all the world——in concealing their love, in lying and deceiving; and in lying, deceiving, feigning and continually thinking of others, when the passion that united them was so intense that they were both oblivious of everything else save their love.

He vividly recalled all the constantly recurring instances of inevitable necessity for lying and deceit, which were so against his natural bent. He recalled particularly vividly the shame he had more than once detected in her at this necessity for lying and deceit. And he experienced the strange feeling that had sometimes come upon him since his relations with Anna. This was a feeling of loathing for something——whether for Alexei Alexandrovich, or for himself, or for the whole world, he could not have said. But he always drove away this strange feeling. Now, too, he shook it off and continued the thread of his thoughts.

"Yes, she was unhappy before, but proud and at peace; and now she cannot be at peace and feel secure in her dignity, though she does not show it. Yes, we must put an end to it," he decided.

And for the first time the idea clearly presented itself that it was essential to put an end to this false position, and the sooner the better. "Abandon everything must we——she and I——and hide ourselves somewhere alone with our love," he said to himself.

XXII.

The shower did not last long, and by the time Vronsky arrived, his shaft horse trotting at full speed, and dragging the off horses galloping through the mud with their reins hanging loose, the sun had peeped out again, the roofs of the summer villas and the old lime trees in the gardens on both sides of the high street sparkled with wet brilliance, and from the twigs came a pleasant drip, and, from the roofs, rushing streams of water. He thought no more of shower spoiling the racecourse, but was now rejoicing because——thanks to the rain——he would be sure to find her at home and alone, as he knew that Alexei Alexandrovich, who had lately returned from a watering place, had not moved from Peterburg.

Hoping to find her alone, Vronsky alighted, as he always did, to avoid attracting attention, before crossing the bridge, and walked to the house. He did not go up the steps to the street door, but went into the court.

"Has your master come?" he asked a gardener.

"No, sir. The mistress is at home. But will you please go to the front door; there are servants there," the gardener answered. "They'll open the door."

"No, I'll go in from the garden."

And feeling satisfied that she was alone, and wanting to take her by surprise, since he had not promised to be there today, and she would certainly not expect him to come before the races, he walked, holding his sword and stepping cautiously over the sandy path, bordered with flowers, to the terrace that looked out upon the garden. Vronsky forgot now all that he had thought on the way of the hardships and difficulties of his position. He thought of nothing but that he would see her directly, not in imagination, but living, all of her, as she was in reality. He was just going in, stepping on his whole foot so as not to make a noise, up the worn steps of the terrace, when he suddenly remembered what he always forgot, and what caused the most torturing side of his relations with her: her son, with his questioning, and, as he fancied, hostile eyes.

This boy was more often than anyone else a check upon their freedom. When he was present, both Vronsky and Anna did not merely avoid speaking of anything that they could not have repeated before everyone; they did not even allow themselves to refer by hints to anything the boy did not understand. They had made no agreement about this, it had been settled of itself. They would have felt it as wounding themselves to deceive the child. In his presence they talked like acquaintances. But, in spite of this caution, Vronsky often saw the child's intent, bewildered glance fixed upon him, and a strange shyness, uncertainty——at one time there was friendliness, at another coldness and reserve, in the boy's manner to him, as though the child felt that between this man and his mother there existed some important bond, the significance of which he could not understand.

As a matter of fact the boy did feel that he could not understand this relation, and he tried painfully, yet was unable, to make clear to himself what feeling he ought to have for this man. With a child's keen instinct for every manifestation of feeling he saw distinctly that his father, his governess, his nurse——all not merely disliked Vronsky, but looked on him with horror and aversion, though they never said anything about him; while his mother looked on him as her greatest friend.

"What does it mean? Who is he? How ought I to love him? If I don't know, it's my fault; either I'm stupid or a naughty boy," thought the child. And this was what caused his dubious, inquiring, sometimes hostile expression, and the shyness and uncertainty which Vronsky found so irksome. This child's presence always and infallibly called up in Vronsky that strange feeling of inexplicable loathing which he had experienced of late. This child's presence called up both in Vronsky and in Anna a feeling akin to the feeling of a sailor who sees by the compass that the direction in which he is swiftly moving is far from the right one, but that to arrest his motion is not in his power, that every instant is carrying him farther and farther away, and that to admit to himself his deviation from the right direction is tantamount to admitting his certain ruin.

This child, with his innocent outlook upon life, was the compass that showed them the point at which they had departed from what they knew, yet did not want to know.

This time Seriozha was not at home, and she was completely alone. She was sitting on the terrace waiting for the return of her son, who had gone out for a stroll and had been caught in the rain. She had sent out a manservant and a maid to look for him, and was sitting here waiting for them. Dressed in a white gown, deeply embroidered, she was sitting in a corner of the terrace behind some flowers, and did not hear him. Bending her curly dark head, she pressed her forehead against a cool watering pot that stood on the parapet, and both her lovely hands, with the rings he knew so well, clasped the pot. The beauty of her whole figure, her head, her neck, her hands, struck Vronsky every time as something new and unexpected. He stood still, gazing at her in ecstasy. But, directly he would have made a step to come nearer to her, she was aware of his presence, pushed away the watering pot, and turned her flushed face toward him.

"What's the matter? Are you unwell," he said to her in French, going up to her. He would have run to her, but remembering that there might be outsiders, he looked round toward the balcony door, and reddened, as he always reddened, feeling that he had to be afraid and be on his guard.

"No, I'm quite well," she said, getting up and squeezing his outstretched hand tightly. "I did not expect... thee."

"My God! what cold hands!" he said.

"You startled me," she said. "I'm alone, and expecting Seriozha; he's out for a walk; they'll come from this direction."

But, in spite of her efforts to be calm, her lips were quivering.

"Forgive me for coming, but I couldn't pass the day without seeing you," he went on, speaking French, as he always did, to avoid using the stiff Russian plural form, so impossibly frigid between them, and the dangerously intimate singular.

"Forgive——for what I'm so glad!"

"But you're ill or worried," he went on, without letting go her hands and bending over her. "What were you thinking of?"

"Always of the same thing." she said, with a smile.

She spoke the truth. If ever at any moment she had been asked what she was thinking of, she could have answered truly: Of the same thing, of her happiness and her unhappiness. She was thinking, just when he came upon her, of this: Why was it, she wondered, that to others, to Betsy for instance (she knew of her secret connection with Tushkevich), all this was so easy, while to her it was such torture? Today this thought gained special poignancy from certain other considerations. She asked him about the races. He answered her questions, and, seeing that she was agitated, trying to calm her, he began telling her in the simplest tone the details of his preparations for the races.

"Shall I tell him, or not?" she thought, looking into his calm, affable eyes. "He is so happy, so absorbed in his races that he won't understand as he should; he won't understand all the significance of this event to us."

"But you haven't told me what you were thinking of when I came in," he said, interrupting his narrative; "pray, tell me!"

She did not answer, and, bending her head a little, she looked inquiringly at him from under her brows, her eyes shining under their long lashes. Her hand shook as it played with a leaf she had picked. He saw it, and his face expressed that utter subjection, that slavish devotion, which had done so much to win her.

"I see something has happened. Do you suppose I can be at peace, knowing you have a trouble I am not sharing? Tell me, for God's sake!" he repeated imploringly.

"Yes, I shan't be able to forgive him if he does not realize all the significance of it. Better not tell; why put him to the proof?" she thought, still staring at him in the same way, and feeling that her hand that held the leaf was trembling more and more.

"For God's sake!" he repeated, taking her hand.

"Shall I tell you?"

"Yes, yes, yes..."

"I am pregnant," she said, softly and slowly.

The leaf in her hand shook more violently, but she did not take her eyes off him, watching how he would take it. He turned pale, would have said something, but stopped; he dropped her hand, and his head sank on his breast. "Yes, he realizes all the significance of the fact," she thought, and gratefully she pressed his hand.

But she was mistaken in thinking he realized the significance of the news as she, a woman, realized it. On hearing it, he felt come upon him with tenfold intensity that strange feeling of loathing of someone. But, at the same time, he realized that the turning point he had been longing for had come now; that it was impossible to go on concealing things from her husband, and it was inevitable in one way or another that they should soon put an end to their unnatural position. But, besides that, her emotion physically affected him in the same way. He looked at her with a look of submissive tenderness, kissed her hand, got up, and, in silence, paced up and down the terrace.

"Yes," he said, going up to her resolutely. "Neither you nor I have looked on our relations as a passing amusement, and now our fate is sealed. It is absolutely necessary to put an end"——he looked round as he spoke——"to the deception in which we are living."

"Put an end? Put an end how, Alexei?" she said softly.

She was calmer now, and her face lighted up with a tender smile.

"Leave your husband and make our life one."

"It is one as it is," she answered, scarcely audibly.

"Yes, but completely, completely."

"But how, Alexei——tell me how?" she said in melancholy mockery at the hopelessness of her own situation. "Is there any way out of such a situation? Am I not the wife of my husband?"

"There is a way out of every situation. We must take our stand," he said. "Anything's better than the situation in which you're living. Of course, I see how you torture yourself over everything——the world, and your son, and your husband."

"Oh, not over my husband," she said, with a plain smile. "I don't know him, I don't think of him. He doesn't exist."

"You're not speaking sincerely. I know you. You worry about him too."

"Oh, he doesn't even know," she said, and suddenly a hot flush came over her face; her cheeks, her brow, her neck crimsoned, and tears of shame came into her eyes. "But let us not even talk of him."

XXIII.

Vronsky had several times already, though not so resolutely as now, tried to bring her to consider her position, and every time he had been confronted by the same superficiality and frivolity with which she met his appeal now. It was as though there were something in this which she could not or would not face, as though directly she began to speak of this, she, the real Anna, retreated somehow into herself, and another strange and unaccountable woman came out, whom he did not love and whom he feared, and who was in opposition to him. But today he was resolved to have it out.

"Whether he knows or not," said Vronsky, in his usual calm and firm tone, "whether he knows or not, has nothing to do with us. We cannot... You cannot stay like this, especially now."

"What's to be done, according to you?" she asked with the same frivolous irony. She who had so feared he would take her condition too frivolously, was now vexed with him for deducing from it the necessity of taking some step.

"Tell him everything, and leave him."

"Very well, let us suppose I do that," she said. "Do you know what the result of that would be? I can tell you it all beforehand," and a wicked light gleamed in her eyes, that had been so tender a minute before. "'Eh, you love another man, and have entered into a criminal liaison with him?'" (Mimicking her husband, she threw an emphasis on the word "criminal," as Alexei Alexandrovich did.) "'I warned you of the results in the religious, the civil, and the domestic aspects. You have not listened to me. Now I cannot let you disgrace my name'"——"and my son," she had meant to say, but about her son she could not jest—— "'disgrace my name, and'——and more in the same style," she added. "In general terms, he'll say in his official manner, and with all distinctness and precision, that he cannot let me go, but will take all measures in his power to prevent scandal. And he will calmly and punctiliously act in accordance with his words. That's what will happen. He's not a man, but a machine——and a spiteful machine when he's angry," she added, recalling Alexei Alexandrovich as she spoke, with all the peculiarities of his figure and manner of speaking, and reckoning against him every defect she could find in him, forgiving him nothing for the great wrong she herself was doing him.

"But, Anna," said Vronsky, in a soft and persuasive voice, trying to soothe her, "we absolutely must tell him, at any rate, and then be guided by the line he takes."

"What——run away?"

"And why not run away? I don't see how we can keep on like this. And not for my sake——I see that you suffer."

"Yes, run away, and become your mistress," she said angrily.

"Anna," he said, with reproachful tenderness.

"Yes," she went on, "become your mistress, and complete the ruin of..."

Again she would have said "my son," but she could not utter that word.

Vronsky could not understand how she, with her strong and truthful nature, could endure this state of deceit, and not long to get out of it. But he did not suspect that the chief cause of it was the word son, which she could not utter. When she thought of her son, and his future attitude to his mother, who had abandoned his father, she felt such terror at what she had done that she no longer reasoned, but, being a woman, could only try to comfort herself with lying assurances and words so that everything should remain as it always had been, and that it was possible to forget the fearful question of how it would be with her son.

"I beg you, I entreat you," she said suddenly, taking his hand, and speaking in quite a different tone, sincere and tender, "never speak to me of that!"

"But, Anna..."

"Never. Leave it to me. I know all the baseness, all the horror of my position; but it's not so easy to decide as you think. Therefore leave it to me, and do what I say. Never speak to me of it. Do you promise me?... No, no, promise!..."

"I promise everything, but I can't be at peace, especially after what you have told me I can't be at peace, when you can't be at peace...."

"I?" she repeated. "Yes, I am worried sometimes; but that will pass, if you will never talk about this. When you talk about it——it's only then it worries me."

"I don't understand," he said.

"I know," she interrupted him, "how hard it is for your truthful nature to lie, and I grieve for you. I often think, how could you ruin your whole life for me."

"I was just thinking the very same thing," he said; "how could you sacrifice everything for my sake? I can't forgive myself because you're unhappy."

"I unhappy?" she said, coming closer to him, and looking at him with an ecstatic smile of love. "I am like a hungry man who has been given food. He may be cold, and dressed in rags, and ashamed, but he is not unhappy. I unhappy? No, this is my happiness...."

She could hear the sound of her son's voice coming toward them, and, glancing swiftly round the terrace, she got up impulsively. Her eyes glowed with the fire he knew so well; with a rapid movement she raised her lovely hands, covered with rings, took his head, looked into his face with a protracted gaze, and, putting up her face with smiling, parted lips, swiftly kissed his mouth and both eyes, and thrust him away. She would have gone, but he held her back.

"When?" he murmured in a whisper, gazing in ecstasy at her.

"Tonight, at one o'clock," she whispered, and, with a heavy sigh, she walked with her light, swift step to meet her son.

Seriozha had been caught by the rain in the big garden, and he and his nurse had taken shelter in a bower.

"Well, au revoir," she said to Vronsky. "I must soon be getting ready for the races. Betsy promised to fetch me."

Vronsky, looking at his watch, hurriedly drove off.

XXIV.

When Vronsky had looked at his watch on the Karenins' balcony, he had been so greatly agitated and lost in his thoughts that, although he saw the hands on the face of his watch, he could not take in what time it was. He came out onto the highroad and walked, picking his way carefully through the mud, to his carriage. He was so completely absorbed in his feeling for Anna, that he did not even think what o'clock it was, and whether he had time to go to Briansky's. He preserved, as often happens, only the external faculty of memory, that points out each step one has to take, one after the other. He went up to his coachman, who was dozing on the box in the shadow, already lengthening, of a thick lime tree; he admired the shifting clouds of midges circling over the hot horses, and, waking the coachman, he jumped into the carriage, and told him to drive to Briansky's. It was only after driving nearly seven verstas that he had sufficiently recovered himself to look at his watch, and realize that it was half past five, and that he was late.

There were several races set for that day: the Body Guards' race, then the officers' two-versta race, then the four-versta race, and then the race for which he was entered. He could still be in right time for his race, but if he went to Briansky's he could be only in full time, and he would arrive when the whole Court would be in their places. That would be a pity. But he had promised Briansky to come, and so he decided to drive on, telling the coachman not to spare the horses.

He reached Briansky's, spent five minutes there, and galloped back. This rapid drive calmed him. All that was painful in his relations with Anna, all the feeling of indefiniteness left by their conversation, had slipped out of his mind. He was thinking now with pleasure and excitement of the race, of his being in time after all, and now and then the thought of the happiness of this night's assignation flashed across his imagination like a dazzling light.

The excitement of the approaching race gained upon him more and more as he drove farther and farther into the atmosphere of the races, overtaking carriages driving up from the summer villas or out of Peterburg.

There was no longer anyone at home at his quarters; all were at the races, and his valet was looking out for him at the gate. While he was changing his clothes, his valet told him that the second race had begun already, that a lot of gentlemen had been to ask for him, and a boy had twice run up from the stables.

Dressing without hurry (he never hurried himself, and never lost his self-possession), Vronsky drove to the sheds. From the sheds he could see a perfect sea of carriages, and people on foot, soldiers surrounding the racecourse, and pavilions swarming with people. The second race was apparently going on, for just as he went into the sheds he heard a bell ringing. Going toward the stable, he met the white-legged chestnut, Makhotin's Gladiator, being led to the racecourse in a blue and orange horsecloth, with what looked like huge ears edged with blue.

"Where's Cord?" he asked the stableboy.

"In the stable, putting on the saddle."

In the open horse box stood Frou-Frou, saddled ready. They were just going to lead her out.

"I'm not too late?"

"All right! All right!" said the Englishman; "don't upset yourself!"

Vronsky once more took in at one glance the beautiful lines of his favorite mare, who was quivering all over, and with an effort he tore himself from the sight of her, and went out of the stable. He went toward the pavilions at the most favorable moment for escaping attention. The two-versta race was just finishing, and all eyes were fixed on the cavalry guard in front and the light hussar behind, urging their horses on with a last effort close to the winning post. From the center and outside of the ring all were crowding to the winning post, and a group of soldiers and officers of the cavalry guards were shouting loudly their delight at the expected triumph of their officer and comrade. Vronsky moved into the middle of the crowd unnoticed, almost at the very moment when the bell rang at the finish of the race, and the tall, mud-spattered cavalry guard who came in first, leaning over the saddle, let go the reins of his panting gray stallion that looked dark with sweat.

The stallion, stiffening out his legs, with an effort stopped his rapid course, and the officer of the cavalry guards looked round him like a man waking up from a heavy sleep, and just managed to smile. A crowd of friends and outsiders pressed round him.

Vronsky intentionally avoided that select crowd of upper world, which was moving and talking with discreet freedom before the pavilions. He knew that Madame Karenina was there, and Betsy, and his brother's wife, and he purposely did not go near them for fear of something distracting his attention. But he was continually met and stopped by acquaintances, who told him about the previous races, and kept asking him why he was so late.

At the time when the racers had to go to the pavilion to receive the prizes, and all attention was directed to that point, Vronsky's elder brother, Alexandre, a colonel with the shoulder knot, came up to him. He was not tall, though as broadly built as Alexei, and handsomer and rosier than he; he had a red nose, and an open, tipsy face.

"Did you get my note?" he said. "There's never any finding you."

Alexandre Vronsky, in spite of his dissolute life, and particularly his drunken habits, for which he was notorious, was quite one of the Court circle.

Now, as he talked to his brother of a matter bound to be exceedingly disagreeable to him, knowing that the eyes of many people might be fixed upon him, he kept a smiling countenance, as though he were jesting with his brother about something of little moment.

"I got it, and I really can't make out what you are worrying yourself about," said Alexei.

"I'm worrying myself because the remark has just been made to me that you weren't here, and that you were seen in Peterhof on Monday."

"There are matters which only concern those directly interested in them, and the matter you are so worried about is of that nature..."

"Yes, but if so, one does not belong in the service, one does not..."

"I beg you not to meddle, and that is all."

Alexei Vronsky's frowning face turned pale, and his prominent lower jaw quivered, which happened rarely with him. Being a man of very warm heart, he was seldom angry; but when he was angry, and when his chin quivered, then, as Alexandre Vronsky knew, he was dangerous. Alexandre Vronsky smiled gaily.

"I only wanted to give you mother's letter. Answer it and don't worry about anything just before the race. Bonne chance," he added, smiling, and he moved away from him. But after him another friendly greeting brought Vronsky to a standstill.

"So you won't recognize your friends! How are you, mon cher?" said Stepan Arkadyevich, as conspicuously brilliant in the midst of all the Peterburg brilliance as he was in Moscow, his face rosy, and his whiskers sleek and glossy. "I came up yesterday, and I'm delighted because I shall see your triumph. When shall we meet?"

"Come tomorrow to the messroom," said Vronsky, and squeezing him by the sleeve of his greatcoat, with apologies, he moved away to the center of the racecourse, where the horses were being led for the great steeplechase.

The horses who had run in the last race were being led home, steaming and exhausted, by the stableboys, and one after another the fresh horses for the coming race made their appearance, for the most part English racers, wearing horsecloths and looking with their drawn-up bellies like strange, huge birds. On the right Frou-Frou was led in, lean and beautiful, lifting up her elastic, rather long pasterns, as though moved by springs. Not far from her they were taking the caparison off the lop-cared Gladiator. The strong, exquisite, perfectly correct lines of the stallion, with his superb hindquarters and excessively short pasterns almost over his hoofs, attracted Vronsky's attention in spite of himself. He would have gone up to his mare, but he was again detained by an acquaintance.

"Oh, there's Karenin!" said the acquaintance with whom he was chatting. "He's looking for his wife, and she's in the middle of the pavilion. Didn't you see her?"

"No, I didn't," answered Vronsky, and without even glancing round toward the pavilion where his friend was pointing out Madame Karenina, he went up to his mare.

Vronsky had not had time to look at the saddle, about which he had to give some direction, when the entrants were summoned to the pavilion to receive their numbers and places in the row at starting. Seventeen officers, looking serious and severe, many with pale faces, met together in the pavilion and drew the numbers. Vronsky drew number 7. The cry was heard: "Mount!"

Feeling that, with the others riding in the race, he was the center upon which all eyes were fastened, Vronsky walked up to his mare in that state of nervous tension in which he usually became dilatory and calm in his movements. Cord, in honor of the races, had put on his best clothes, a black coat buttoned up, a stiffly starched collar, which propped up his cheeks, a black bowler and Hessian boots. He was calm and dignified as ever, and was with his own hands holding Frou-Frou by both reins, standing straight in front of her. Frou-Frou was still trembling as though in a fever. Her eye, full of fire, glanced sideways at Vronsky. Vronsky slipped his finger under the saddle girth. The mare glanced aslant at him, drew up her lip, and twitched her ear. The Englishman puckered up his lips, intending to indicate a smile that anyone should verify his saddling.

"Get up; you won't feel so excited."

Vronsky looked round for the last time at his rivals. He knew that he would not see them during the race. Two were already riding forward to the point from which they were to start. Galtsin, a friend of Vronsky's and one of his more formidable rivals, was moving round a bay horse that would not let him mount. A little hussar of the life guards in tight riding breeches rode off at a gallop, crouched up like a cat over the porridge, in imitation of English jockeys. Prince Kuzovlev sat with a white face on his thoroughbred mare from the Grabovsky stud, while an English groom led her by the bridle. Vronsky and all his comrades knew Kuzovlev and his peculiarity of "weak nerves" and terrible vanity. They knew that he was afraid of everything——afraid of riding a line horse. But now, just because it was terrible, because people broke their necks, and there was a doctor standing at each obstacle, and an ambulance with a cross on it, and a sister of mercy, he had made up his mind to take part in the race. Their eyes met, and Vronsky gave him a friendly and encouraging nod. Only one he did not see, his chief rival, Makhotin on Gladiator.

"Don't be in a hurry," said Cord to Vronsky, "and remember one thing: don't hold her in at the fences, and don't urge her on; let her go as she likes."

"All right, all right," said Vronsky, taking the reins.

"If you can, lead the race; but don't lose heart till the last minute, even if you're behind."

Before the mare had time to move, Vronsky stepped with an agile, vigorous movement into the steel-toothed stirrup, and lightly and firmly placed his compacted body on the creaking leather of the saddle. Getting his right foot in the stirrup, he with habitual moving smoothed the double reins between his fingers, and Cord let go. As though she did not know which foot to put first, Frou-Frou started, dragging at the reins with her long neck, and as though she were on springs, shaking her rider from side to side. Cord quickened his step, following him. The excited mare, trying to deceive her rider, pulled at the reins, first on one side and then the other, and Vronsky tried in vain with voice and hand to soothe her.

They were just reaching the dammed-up stream on their way to the starting point. Several of the riders were in front and several behind, when suddenly Vronsky heard the sound of a horse galloping in the behind him, and he was overtaken by Makhotin on his white-legged, lop-eared Gladiator. Makhotin smiled, showing his long teeth, but Vronsky looked at him angrily. He did not like him, and regarded him now as his most formidable rival. He was angry with him for galloping past and exciting his mare. Frou-Frou started into a gallop, her left foot forward, made two bounds, and fretting at the tightened reins, passed into a jolting trot, bumping her rider up and down. Cord, too, scowled, and followed Vronsky almost ambling.

XXV.

There were seventeen officers in all riding in this race. The racecourse was a large four-versta ring in the form of an ellipse in front of the pavilion. On this course nine obstacles had been arranged: the stream, a big and solid barrier two arsheenes high, just before the pavilion, a dry ditch, a ditch full of water, a precipitous slope, an Irish barricade (one of the most difficult obstacles, consisting of a mound fenced with brushwood, beyond which was a ditch out of sight for the horses, so that the horse had to clear both obstacles or possibly be killed); then two more ditches filled with water, and one dry one; and the end of the race was just facing the pavilion. But the race began not in the ring, but a hundred arsheenes away from it, and in that part of the course was the first obstacle, a dammed-up stream, three arsheenes in breadth, which the racers could leap or wade through as they preferred.

Three times they were ranged ready to start, but each time some horse thrust itself out of line, and they had to begin again. The starter, Colonel Sestrin, was beginning to lose his temper, when at last, for the fourth time, he shouted "Away!" and the riders started.

Every eye, every opera glass, was turned on the brightly colored group of riders at the moment they were in line to start.

"They're off! They're starting!" was heard on all sides after the hush of expectation.

And little groups and solitary figures among the public began running from place to place to get a better view. In the very first minute the close group of horsemen spread out, and it could be seen that they were approaching the stream in twos and threes and one behind another. To the spectators it seemed as though they had all started simultaneously, but to the racers there were seconds of difference that had great value to them.

Frou-Frou, excited and overnervous, had lost the first moment, and several horses had started before her, but before reaching the stream, Vronsky, who was holding in the mare with all his force as she tugged at the bridle, easily overtook three, and there were left in front of him Makhotin's chestnut Gladiator, whose hindquarters were moving lightly and rhythmically up and down exactly in front of Vronsky, and, in front of all, the dainty mare Diana bearing the more dead than alive Kuzovlev.

For the first instant Vronsky was not master either of himself or his mare. Up to the first obstacle, the stream, he could not guide the motions of his mare.

Gladiator and Diana came up to it together and almost at the same instant; at a stroke they rose above the stream and flew across to the other side; Frou-Frou darted after them easily, as if flying; but at the very moment when Vronsky felt himself in the air, he suddenly saw almost under his mare's hoofs Kuzovlev, who was floundering with Diana on the further side of the stream. (Kuzovlev had let go the reins as he took the leap, and the mare had fallen together with him over her head.) Those details Vronsky learned later; at the moment all he saw was that just under him, where Frou-Frou must alight, Diana's legs or head might be in the way. But Frou-Frou drew up her legs and back in the very act of leaping, like a falling cat, and, clearing the other mare, alighted beyond her.

"Oh, you darling!" flashed through Vronsky's head.

After crossing the stream Vronsky had complete control of his mare, and began holding her in, intending to cross the great barrier behind Makhotin, and to try to overtake him in the clear ground of about two hundred sazhenes that followed it.

The great barrier stood just in front of the Imperial Pavilion. The Czar and the whole Court, and crowds of people, were all gazing at them——at him, and at Makhotin, a length ahead of him, as they drew near the "devil," as the solid barrier was called. Vronsky was aware of those eyes fastened upon him from all sides, but he saw nothing except the ears and neck of his own mare, the ground racing to meet him, and the back and white legs of Gladiator beating time swiftly before him, and keeping always the same distance ahead. Gladiator rose, with no sound of knocking against anything. With a wave of his short tail he disappeared from Vronsky's sight.

"Bravo!" cried a voice.

At the same instant, under Vronsky's eyes, right before him flashed the palings of the barrier. Without the slightest change in her action his mare flew over it; the palings vanished, and he heard only a crash behind him. The mare, excited by Gladiator's keeping ahead, had risen too soon before the barrier, and grazed it with one of her hind hoofs. But her pace never changed, and Vronsky, feeling a spatter of mud in his face, realized that he was once more the same distance from Gladiator. Once more he perceived in front of him the same back and short tail, and again the same swiftly moving white legs that got no further away.

At the very moment when Vronsky thought that now was the time to overtake Makhotin, Frou-Frou herself, understanding his thoughts, without any incitement on his part, gained considerably, and began getting alongside of Makhotin on the most favorable side, close to the inner rope. Makhotin would not let her pass that side. Vronsky had hardly formed the thought that he could perhaps pass on the outer side, when Frou-Frou shifted her pace and began overtaking him on the other side. Frou-Frou's shoulder, beginning by now to be dark with sweat, was even with Gladiator's back. For a few bounds they moved evenly. But before the obstacle they were approaching, Vronsky began working at the reins, anxious to avoid having to take the outer circle, and swiftly passed Makhotin just upon the declivity. He caught a glimpse of his mud-stained face as he flashed by. He even fancied that he smiled. Vronsky passed Makhotin, but he was immediately aware of him close upon him, and he never ceased hearing just behind him the even-thudding hoofs and the rapid and still quite fresh breathing of Gladiator.

The next two obstacles, the watercourse and the barrier, were easily crossed, but Vronsky began to hear the snorting and thud of Gladiator closer upon him. He urged on his mare, and to his delight felt that she easily quickened her pace, and the thud of Gladiator's hoofs was again heard at the same distance away.

Vronsky was at the head of the race, just as he wanted to be and as Cord had advised, and now he felt sure of being the winner. His excitement, his delight, and his tenderness for Frou-Frou grew keener and keener. He longed to look round, but he did not dare do this, and tried to be cool and not to urge on his mare, so as to keep the same reserve of force in her as he felt that Gladiator still kept. There remained only one obstacle, the most difficult; if he could cross it ahead of the others, he would come in first. He was flying toward the Irish barricade; Frou-Frou and he both together saw the barricade in the distance, and both the man and the mare had a moment's hesitation. He saw the uncertainty in the mare's ears and lifted the whip, but at the same time felt that his fears were groundless; the mare knew what was wanted. She quickened her pace and rose rhythmically, just as he had fancied she would, and as she left the ground gave herself up to the force of her rush, which carried her far beyond the ditch; and with the same rhythm, without effort, with the same leg forward, Frou-Frou fell back into her pace again.

"Bravo, Vronsky!" he heard shouts from a knot of men——he knew they were his friends and his regiment comrades——who were standing at the obstacle. He could not fail to recognize Iashvin's voice, though he did not see him.

"O my sweet!" he said inwardly to Frou-Frou, as he listened for what was happening behind. "He's cleared it!" he thought, catching the thud of Gladiator's hoofs behind him. There remained only the last ditch, filled with water and two arsheenes wide. Vronsky did not even look at it, but anxious to come in a long way ahead began sawing away at the reins, lifting the mare's head and letting it go in time with her paces. He felt that the mare was at her very last reserve of strength; not her neck and shoulders merely were wet, but the sweat was standing in drops on her mane, her head, her sharp ears, and her breath came in short, sharp gasps. But he knew that she had strength left more than enough for the remaining two hundred sazhenes. It was only from feeling himself nearer the ground and from the peculiar smoothness of his motion that Vronsky knew how greatly the mare had quickened her pace. She flew over the ditch as though not noticing it. She flew over it like a bird; but at the same instant Vronsky, to his horror, felt that failing to keep up with the mare's pace, he had, he did not know how, made an abominable, unpardonable move in recovering his seat in the saddle. All at once his position had shifted and he knew that something awful had happened. He could not yet make out what had happened, when the white legs of a chestnut horse flashed by close to him, and Makhotin passed at a swift gallop. Vronsky was touching the ground with one foot, and his mare was sinking on that foot. He just had time to free his leg when she fell on one side, gasping painfully, and, making vain efforts to rise with her delicate, soaking neck, she fluttered on the ground at his feet like a shot bird. The clumsy movement made by Vronsky had broken her back. But that he only knew much later. At that moment he knew only that Makhotin had flown swiftly by, while he stood staggering alone on the muddy, motionless ground, and Frou-Frou lay gasping before him, bending her head back and gazing at him with her exquisite eye. Still unable to realize what had happened, Vronsky tugged at his mare's reins. Again she struggled all over like a fish, and, her shoulders making the wings of the saddle crackle, she rose on her front legs; but unable to lift her back, she quivered all over and again fell on her side. With his face hideous with passion, pale, his lower jaw trembling, Vronsky kicked her with his heel in the stomach and again fell to tugging at the rein. She did not stir, but thrusting her nose into the ground, she simply gazed at her master with her speaking eyes.

"A-a-a!" groaned Vronsky, clutching at his head. "Ah! what have I done!" he cried. "The race lost! And my fault! shameful, unpardonable! And the poor darling, ruined mare! Ah, what have I done!"

A crowd of men, a doctor and his assistant, the officers of his regiment, ran up to him. To his misery he felt that he was whole and unhurt. The mare had broken her back, and it was decided to shoot her. Vronsky could not answer questions, could not speak to anyone. He turned, and without picking up his fallen cap, walked away from the racecourse, unconscious of where he was going. He felt utterly wretched. For the first time in his life he knew the bitterest sort of misfortune, misfortune beyond remedy, and caused by his own fault.

Iashvin overtook him with his cap, and led him home, and half an hour later Vronsky had regained his self-possession. But the memory of that race remained for long in his heart, the cruelest and bitterest memory of his life.

XXVI.

The external relations of Alexei Alexandrovich and his wife had remained unchanged. The sole difference lay in the fact that he was more busily occupied than ever. As in former years, at the beginning of the spring he had gone to a foreign watering place for the sake of his health, being deranged every year with his strenuous winter work. And just as always he returned in July and at once fell to his usual work with increased energy. Just as always, too, his wife had moved for the summer to a villa out of town, while he remained in Peterburg.

From the date of their conversation after the party at Princess Tverskaia's he had never spoken again to Anna of his suspicions and his jealousies, and that habitual tone of his of bantering mimicry was the most convenient tone possible for his present attitude to his wife. He was a little colder to his wife. He simply seemed to be slightly displeased with her for that first midnight conversation, which she had repelled. In his attitude to her there was a shade of vexation, but nothing more. "You would not be open with me," he seemed to say, mentally addressing her; "so much the worse for you. Now you may beg as you please, but I won't be open with you. So much the worse for you!" he said mentally, like a man who, after vainly attempting to extinguish a fire, should fly in a rage with his vain efforts and say, "Oh, very well then! You shall burn for this!"

This man, so subtle and astute in official life, did not realize all the insanity of such an attitude to his wife. He did not realize it, because it was too terrible to him to realize his actual position, and he shut down and locked and sealed up in his heart that secret place where lay hid his feelings toward his family——that is, his wife and son. He who had been such a considerate father, had from the end of that winter become peculiarly frigid to his son, and adopted to him just the same bantering tone as he used with his wife. "Aha, young man!" was the greeting with which he met him.

Alexei Alexandrovich asserted, and believed, that he had never in any previous year had so much official business as that year. But he was not aware that he sought work for himself that year, that this was one of the means for keeping shut that secret place where lay hid his feelings toward his wife and son, and his thoughts about them, which became more terrible the longer they lay there. If anyone had had the right to ask Alexei Alexandrovich what he thought of his wife's behavior, the mild and peaceable Alexei Alexandrovich would have made no answer, but he would have been greatly angered with any man who should question him on that subject. It was precisely for this reason that there came into Alexei Alexandrovich's face a look of haughtiness and severity whenever anyone inquired after his wife's health. Alexei Alexandrovich did not want to think at all about his wife's behavior and feelings, and he actually succeeded in not thinking about them at all.

Alexei Alexandrovich's permanent summer villa was in Peterhof, and the Countess Lidia Ivanovna used to spend the summer there, close to Anna, and constantly seeing her. That year Countess Lidia Ivanovna declined to settle in Peterhof, did not call once at Anna Arkadyevna's, and had hinted to Alexei Alexandrovich about the unsuitability of Anna's close intimacy with Betsy and Vronsky. Alexei Alexandrovich had sternly cut her short, roundly declaring his wife to be above suspicion, and from that time began to avoid Countess Lidia Ivanovna. He did not want to see, and did not see, that many people in society cast dubious glances on his wife; he did not want to understand, and did not understand, why his wife had so particularly insisted on staying at Tsarskoe, where Betsy was staying, and not far from the camp of Vronsky's regiment. He did not allow himself to think about it, and he did not think about it; but, all the same, though he never admitted it to himself, and had no proofs, nor even suspicious evidence, at the bottom of his heart he knew beyond all doubt that he was a deceived husband, and he was profoundly miserable about it.

How often during those eight years of happy life with his wife had Alexei Alexandrovich looked at other men's faithless wives and other deceived husbands and asked himself: "How can people descend to that? How is it they don't put an end to such a hideous situation?" But now, when the misfortune had come upon himself, he was so far from thinking of putting an end to the situation that he would not recognize it at all——would not recognize it just because it was too awful, too unnatural.

Since his return from abroad Alexei Alexandrovich had been twice at their country villa. Once he dined there, another time he spent the evening there with a party of friends, but he had not once stayed the night there, as it had been his habit to do in previous years.

The day of the races had been a very busy day for Alexei Alexandrovich; but when sketching out the day in the morning he made up his mind to go immediately after his early dinner, to their summer villa to see his wife and from there to the races, which all the Court were to witness, and at which he was bound to be present. He was going to see his wife, because he had determined to see her once a week to keep up appearances. And besides, on that day, as it was the fifteenth, he had to give his wife some money for her expenses, according to their usual arrangement.

With his habitual control over his thoughts, though he thought all this about his wife, he did not let his thoughts stray further in regard to her.

That morning was a very full one for Alexei Alexandrovich. The evening before, Countess Lidia Ivanovna had sent him a pamphlet by a celebrated traveler in China, who was staying in Peterburg, and with it she enclosed a note begging him to see the traveler himself, as he was an extremely interesting person from various points of view, and likely to be useful. Alexei Alexandrovich had not had time to read the pamphlet through in the evening, and finished it in the morning. Then people began arriving with petitions, and then came the reports, interviews, appointments, dismissals, apportionment of rewards, pensions, payments, papers——the workday round, as Alexei Alexandrovich called it, that always took up so much time. Then there was a private business of his own, a visit from the doctor, and from the steward who managed his property. The steward did not take up much time. He simply gave Alexei Alexandrovich the money he needed, together with a brief statement of the position of his affairs, which was not altogether satisfactory, as during that year, owing to increased expenses, more had been paid out than usual, and there was a deficit. But the doctor, a celebrated Peterburg doctor, who was an intimate acquaintance of Alexei Alexandrovich, had taken up a great deal of time. Alexei Alexandrovich had not expected him that day, and was surprised at his visit, and still more so when the doctor questioned him very carefully about his health, listened to his breathing, and tapped at his liver. Alexei Alexandrovich did not know that his friend Lidia Ivanovna, noticing that he was not as well as usual that year, had begged the doctor to go and examine him. "Do this for my sake," the Countess Lidia Ivanovna had said to him.

"I will do it for the sake of Russia, Countess," replied the doctor.

"A priceless man!" said the Countess Lidia Ivanovna.

The doctor was extremely dissatisfied with Alexei Alexandrovich. He found the liver considerably enlarged, and the digestive powers weakened, while the course of mineral waters had been quite without effect. He prescribed more physical exercise as far as possible, and as far as possible less mental strain, and above all no worry——in other words, just what was as much out of Alexei Alexandrovich's power as abstaining from breathing. Then he withdrew, leaving in Alexei Alexandrovich an unpleasant sense that something was wrong with him, and that there was no chance of curing it.

As he was coming away, the doctor chanced to meet on the steps an acquaintance of his, Sludin, who was head clerk in Alexei Alexandrovich's office. They had been comrades at the university, and, though they rarely met, they thought highly of each other and were excellent friends, and hence there was no one to whom the doctor would have given his opinion of a patient so freely as to Sludin.

"How glad I am you've been seeing him!" said Sludin. "He's not well, and I fancy... Well, what do you think of him?"

"I'll tell you," said the doctor, beckoning over Sludin's head to his coachman to bring the carriage round. "It's just this," said the doctor, taking a finger of his kid glove in his white hands and pulling it, "if you don't strain the strings, and then try to break them, you'll find it a difficult job; but strain a string to its very utmost, and the mere weight of one finger on the strained string will snap it. And with his close assiduity, his conscientious devotion to his work, he's strained to the utmost; and there's some outside burden weighing on him, and that not a light one," concluded the doctor, raising his eyebrows significantly. "Will you be at the races?" he added, as he came down to his carriage. "Yes, yes, to be sure; it does waste a lot of time," the doctor responded vaguely to some reply of Sludin's he had not caught.

Directly after the doctor, who had taken up so much time, came the celebrated traveler, and Alexei Alexandrovich, by means of the pamphlet he had only just finished reading, and his previous acquaintance with the subject, impressed the traveler by the depth of his knowledge of the subject and the breadth and enlightenment of his view of it.

At the same time with the traveler there was announced a provincial marshal of nobility on a visit to Peterburg, with whom Alexei Alexandrovich had to have some conversation. After his departure, he had to finish the daily routine of business with his head clerk, and then he still had to drive round to call on a certain personage on a matter of grave and serious import. Alexei Alexandrovich hardly managed to be back by five o'clock, his dinner hour, and, after dining with his head clerk, he invited him to drive with him to his summer villa and to the races.

Though he did not acknowledge it to himself, Alexei Alexandrovich always tried nowadays to secure the presence of a third person in his interviews with his wife.

XXVII.

Anna was upstairs, standing before the looking glass, and, with Annushka's assistance, pinning the last ribbon on her gown when she heard carriage wheels crunching the gravel at the entrance.

"It's too early for Betsy," she thought, and, glancing out of the window, she caught sight of the carriage and, protruded from it, the black hat of Alexei Alexandrovich, and the ears that she knew so well. "How unlucky! Can he be going to stay the night?" she wondered, and the thought of all that might come of such a chance struck her as so awful and terrible that, without dwelling on it for a moment, she went down to meet him with a bright and radiant face; and conscious of the presence of that spirit of falsehood and deceit in herself that she had come to know of late, she abandoned herself to that spirit and began talking, hardly knowing what she was saying.

"Ah, how lovely of you!" she said, giving her husband her hand, and with a smile greeting Sludin, who was like one of the family. "You're staying the night, I hope?" was the first word the spirit of falsehood prompted her to utter. "And now we'll go together. Only it's a pity I've promised Betsy. She's coming for me."

Alexei Alexandrovich knit his brows at Betsy's name.

"Oh, I'm not going to separate the inseparables," he said in his usual bantering tone. "I'm going with Mikhail Vassilyevich. Even the doctors order me to walk. I'll walk, and fancy myself at the springs again."

"There's no hurry," said Anna. "Would you like tea?"

She rang.

"Bring in tea, and tell Seriozha that Alexei Alexandrovich is here. Well, tell me, how have you been? Mikhail Vassilyevich, you've not been to see me before. Look how lovely it is out on the terrace," she said, turning first to one and then to the other.

She spoke very simply and naturally, but too much and too fast. She was the more aware of this from noticing in the inquisitive look which Mikhail Vassilyevich turned on her that he was, as it were, keeping watch on her.

Mikhail Vassilyevich promptly went out on the terrace.

She sat down beside her husband.

"You don't look quite well," she said.

"Yes," he said; "the doctor's been with me today and wasted an hour of my time. I feel that some one of our friends must have sent him: my health's so precious...."

"Come: what did he say?"

She questioned him about his health, and what he had been doing, and tried to persuade him to take a rest and come out to her.

All this she said brightly, rapidly, and with a peculiar brilliance in her eyes. But Alexei Alexandrovich did not now attach any special significance to this tone of hers. He heard only her words and gave them only the direct sense they bore. And he answered simply, though jestingly. There was nothing remarkable in all this conversation, but never after could Anna recall this brief scene without an agonizing pang of shame.

Seriozha came in, preceded by his governess. If Alexei Alexandrovich had allowed himself to observe he would have noticed the timid and bewildered eyes with which Seriozha glanced first at his father and then at his mother. But he would not see anything, and he did not see it.

"Ah, the young man! He's grown. Really, he's getting quite a man. How are you, young man?"

And he gave his hand to the scared child.

Seriozha had been shy of his father before, and now, ever since Alexei Alexandrovich had taken to calling him "young man," and since that insolvable question had occurred to him as to whether Vronsky were friend or foe, he avoided his father. He looked round toward his mother, as though seeking refuge. It was only with his mother that he was at ease. Meanwhile, Alexei Alexandrovich was holding his son by the shoulder, while he was speaking to the governess, and Seriozha was so miserably uncomfortable that Anna saw he was on the point of tears.

Anna, who had flushed a little the instant her son had come in, noticing that Seriozha was uncomfortable, got up hurriedly, took Alexei Alexandrovich's hand from her son's shoulder, and, kissing the boy, led him out onto the terrace, and quickly came back.

"It's time to start, though," said she, glancing at her watch. "How is it Betsy doesn't come?..."

"Yes," said Alexei Alexandrovich, and, getting up, he folded his hands and cracked his fingers. "I've come to bring you some money, too——for nightingales, we know, can't live on fairy tales," he said. "You want it, I expect?"

"No, I don't... Yes, I do," she said, without looking at him, and crimsoning to the roots of her hair. "But you'll come back here after the races, I suppose?"

"Oh, yes!" answered Alexei Alexandrovich. "And here's the glory of Peterhof——Princess Tverskaia," he added, looking out of the window at the English harnessed carriage, with the tiny seats placed extremely high. "What elegance! Charming! Well, let us be starting too, then."

Princess Tverskaia did not get out of her carriage, but her liveryman, in spatterdashes, a cape and black high hat, jumped off at the entrance.

"I'm going; good-by!" said Anna, and, kissing her son, she went up to Alexei Alexandrovich and held out her hand to him. "It was ever so lovely of you to come."

Alexei Alexandrovich kissed her hand.

"Well, au revoir, then! You'll come back for some tea——that'll be delightful!" she said, and went out, radiant and gay. But as soon as he was out of sight, she became aware of the spot on her hand that his lips had touched, and she shuddered with repulsion.

XXVIII.

When Alexei Alexandrovich reached the racecourse Anna was already sitting in the pavilion beside Betsy, in that pavilion where the highest society had gathered. She caught sight of her husband in the distance. Two men, her husband and her lover, were the two centers of her existence, and, unaided by her external senses, she was aware of their proximity. She was aware of her husband approaching a long way off, and she could not help following him in the surging crowd in the midst of which he was moving. She watched his progress toward the pavilion, saw him now responding condescendingly to an ingratiating bow, now exchanging friendly, nonchalant greetings with his equals, now assiduously trying to catch the eye of some great one of this world, and taking off his big round hat that pressed down the tips of his ears. All these ways of his she knew, and all were hateful to her. "Nothing but ambition, nothing but desire to get on——that's all there is in his soul," she thought; "as for his lofty ideals, love of culture, religion, they are only so many tools for getting on."

From his glances toward the ladies' pavilion (he was staring straight at her, but did not distinguish his wife in the sea of muslin, ribbons, feathers, parasols and flowers) she saw that he was looking for her, but she purposely avoided noticing him.

"Alexei Alexandrovich!" Princess Betsy called to him; "I'm sure you don't see your wife: here she is."

He smiled his chilly smile.

"There's so much splendor here that one's eyes are dazzled," he said, and he went into the pavilion. He smiled to his wife as a man should smile on meeting his wife after only just parting from her, and greeted the princess and other acquaintances, giving to each what was due——that is to say, jesting with the ladies and dealing out friendly greetings among the men. Below, near the pavilion, was standing an adjutant general of whom Alexei Alexandrovich had a high opinion, noted for his intelligence and culture. Alexei Alexandrovich entered into conversation with him.

There was an interval between the races, and so nothing hindered conversation. The adjutant general expressed his disapproval of races. Alexei Alexandrovich replied defending them. Anna heard his high, measured tones, without losing one word, and every word struck her as false, and stabbed her ears with pain.

When the four-versta steeplechase was beginning, she bent forward and gazed with fixed eyes at Vronsky as he went up to his horse and mounted, and at the same time she heard that loathsome, never-ceasing voice of her husband. She was in an agony of terror for Vronsky, but a still greater agony was the never-ceasing, as it seemed to her, stream of her husband's shrill voice with its familiar intonations.

"I'm a wicked woman, a lost woman," she thought; "but I don't like lying, I can't endure falsehood, while as for him [her husband], falsehood is the breath of life to him. He knows all about it, he sees it all; what does he care if he can talk so calmly? If he were to kill me, if he were to kill Vronsky, I might respect him. No, all he wants is falsehood and propriety," Anna said to herself, not considering exactly what it was she wanted of her husband, and how she would have liked to see him behave. She did not understand either that Alexei Alexandrovich's peculiar loquacity that day, so exasperating to her, was merely the expression of his inward distress and uneasiness. As a child that has been hurt hops about, putting all his muscles into movement to drown the pain, in the same way Alexei Alexandrovich needed mental exercise to drown the thoughts of his wife, that in her presence and in Vronsky's, and with the continual iteration of his name, would force themselves on his attention. And it is as natural for a child to hop about, as it was natural for him to talk well and cleverly. He was saying:

"Danger in the races to officers, to cavalrymen, is an essential element in the race. If England can point to the most brilliant feats of cavalry in military history, it is simply owing to the fact that she has historically developed this force both in beasts and in men. Sport has, in my opinion, a great value, and, as is always the case, we see nothing but what is most superficial."

"It's not superficial," said Princess Tverskaia. "One of the officers, they say, has broken two ribs."

Alexei Alexandrovich smiled his smile, which uncovered his teeth, but revealed nothing more.

"We'll admit, Princess, that that's not superficial," he said, "but internal. But that's not the point," and he turned again to the general with whom he talked seriously; "we mustn't forget that those who are taking part in the race are military men, who have chosen that career, and one must allow that every calling has its disagreeable side. It forms an integral part of the duties of an officer. Low sports, such as prize fighting or Spanish bullfights, are a sign of barbarity. But specialized trials of skill are a sign of development."

"No, I shan't come another time; it's too upsetting," said Princess Betsy. "Isn't it, Anna?"

"It is upsetting, but one can't tear oneself away," said another lady. "If I'd been a Roman woman I should never have missed a single circus."

Anna said nothing, and, keeping her opera glass up, gazed always at the same spot.

At that moment a tall general walked through the pavilion. Breaking off what he was saying, Alexei Alexandrovich got up hurriedly, though with dignity, and bowed low to the general.

"You're not racing?" the officer asked, chaffing him.

"My race is a harder one," Alexei Alexandrovich responded deferentially.

And though the answer meant nothing, the general looked as though he had heard a witty remark from a witty man, and fully relished la pointe de la sauce.

"There are two aspects," Alexei Alexandrovich resumed: "those who take part and those who look on; and love for such spectacles is an unmistakable proof of a low degree of development in the spectator, I admit, but..."

"Any bets, Princess?" sounded Stepan Arkadyevich's voice from below, addressing Betsy. "Who's your favorite?"

"Anna and I are for Kuzovlev," replied Betsy.

"I'm for Vronsky. A pair of gloves?"

"Done!"

"But it is a pretty sight, isn't it?"

Alexei Alexandrovich paused while the others were talking near him, but he began again directly.

"I admit that manly sports do not..." he made an attempt to continue.

But at that moment the racers started, and all conversation ceased. Alexei Alexandrovich also fell silent, and everyone stood up and turned toward the stream. Alexei Alexandrovich took no interest in the race, and so he did not watch the racers, but fell listlessly to scanning the spectators with his weary eyes. His eyes rested upon Anna.

Her face was white and stern. She was obviously seeing nothing and no one but one man. Her hand had convulsively clutched her fan, and she held her breath. He looked at her and hastily turned away, scrutinizing other faces.

"But here's this lady too, and others very much moved as well; it's very natural," Alexei Alexandrovich told himself He tried not to look at her, but unconsciously his eyes were drawn to her. He examined that face again, trying not to read what was so plainly written on it, and against his own will, with horror, read in it what he did not want to know.

The first fall——Kuzovlev's, at the stream——agitated everyone, but Alexei Alexandrovich saw distinctly on Anna's pale, triumphant face that the man she was watching had not fallen. When, after Makhotin and Vronsky had cleared the worst barrier, the next officer had been thrown straight on his head at it and fatally injured, and a shudder of horror passed over the whole public, Alexei Alexandrovich saw that Anna did not even notice it, and had some difficulty in realizing what they were saying around her. But more and more often, and with greater persistence, he watched her. Anna, wholly engrossed as she was with the sight of Vronsky racing, became aware of her husband's cold eyes fixed upon her from aside.

She glanced round for an instant, looked inquiringly at him, and with a slight frown turned away again.

"Ah, I don't care!" she seemed to say to him, and she did not once glance at him again.

The race was an unlucky one, and of the seventeen officers who rode in it more than half had been thrown and hurt. Toward the end of the race everyone was in a state of agitation, which was intensified by the fact that the Czar was displeased.

XXIX.

Everyone was loudly expressing disapprobation, everyone was repeating a phrase someone had uttered: "The lions and gladiators will be the next thing," and everyone was feeling horrified; so that when Vronsky fell to the ground, and Anna moaned aloud, there was nothing very much out of the way in it. But afterward a change came over Anna's face which really went beyond decorum. She utterly lost her head. She began fluttering like a caged bird, at one moment wanting to get up and move away, and at the next turning to Betsy.

"Let us go, let us go!" she said.

But Betsy did not hear her. She was bending down, talking to a general who had come up to her.

Alexei Alexandrovich went up to Anna and courteously offered her his arm.

"Let us go, if you like," he said in French, but Anna was listening to the general and did not notice her husband.

"He's broken his leg too, so they say," the general was saying. "This surpasses everything."

Without answering her husband, Anna lifted her opera glass and gazed toward the place where Vronsky had fallen; but it was so far off, and there was such a crowd of people about it, that she could make out nothing. She put down the opera glass, and would have moved away, but at that moment an officer galloped up and made some announcement to the Czar. Anna craned forward, listening.

"Stiva! Stiva!" she cried to her brother.

But her brother did not hear her. Again she would have moved away.

"Once more I offer you my arm if you want to be going," said Alexei Alexandrovich, reaching for her hand.

She drew back from him with aversion, and without looking at his face answered:

"No, no, leave me alone——I'll stay."

She saw now that from the place of Vronsky's accident an officer was running across the course toward the pavilion. Betsy waved her handkerchief to him. The officer brought the news that the rider was not killed, but that the back of the horse had been broken.

On hearing this Anna sat down hurriedly, and hid her face in her fan. Alexei Alexandrovich saw that she was weeping, and could not control her tears, nor even the sobs that were shaking her bosom. Alexei Alexandrovich stood so as to screen her, giving her time to recover herself.

"For the third time I offer you my arm," he said to her after a short interval, turning to her. Anna gazed at him and did not know what to say. Princess Betsy came to her rescue.

"No, Alexei Alexandrovich; I brought Anna and I promised to take her home," put in Betsy.

"Excuse me, Princess," he said smiling courteously, but looking her very firmly in the face, "but I see that Anna's not very well, and I wish her to come home with me."

Anna looked about her in a frightened way, got up submissively, and laid her hand on her husband's arm.

"I'll send to him and find out, and let you know," Betsy whispered to her.

As they left the pavilion, Alexei Alexandrovich, as always, talked to those he met, and Anna had, as always, to talk and answer; but she was utterly beside herself, and moved hanging on her husband's arm, as though in a dream.

"Is he killed or not? Is it true? Will he come or not? Shall I see him today?" she was thinking.

She took her seat in her husband's carriage in silence, and in silence drove out of the press of carriages. In spite of all he had seen, Alexei Alexandrovich still did not allow himself to consider his wife's real condition. He merely saw the outward symptoms. He saw that she was behaving unbecomingly, and considered it his duty to tell her so. But it was very difficult for him not to say more, to tell her nothing but that. He opened his mouth to tell her she had behaved unbecomingly, but he could not help saying something utterly different.

"What an inclination we all have, though, for these cruel spectacles! he said. "I observe..."

"Eh? I don't understand," said Anna contemptuously.

He was offended, and at once began to say what he had meant to say.

"I am obliged to tell you..." he began.

"So now we are to have it out," she thought, and she felt frightened.

"I am obliged to tell you that your behavior has been unbecoming today," he said to her, in French.

"In what way has my behavior been unbecoming?" she said aloud, turning her head swiftly and looking him straight in the face, not with the bright expression that seemed covering something, but with a look of determination, under which she concealed with difficulty the dismay she was feeling.

"Be careful," he said, pointing to the open window opposite the coachman.

He got up and pulled up the window.

"What did you consider unbecoming?" she repeated.

"The despair you were unable to conceal at the accident to one of the riders."

He waited for her to retort, but she was silent, looking straight before her.

"I have already begged you so to conduct yourself in society that even malicious tongues can find nothing to say against you. There was a time when I spoke of your inward attitude, but I am not speaking of that now. Now I speak only of your external attitude. You have behaved improperly, and I would wish it not to occur again."

She did not hear half of what he was saying; she felt panic-stricken before him, and was thinking whether it was true that Vronsky was not killed. Was it of him they were speaking when they said the rider was unhurt, but that the back of the horse had been broken? She merely smiled with a forced smile when he finished, and made no reply, because she had not heard what he said. Alexei Alexandrovich had begun to speak boldly, but as he realized plainly what he was speaking of, the dismay she was feeling infected him too. He saw the smile, and a strange misapprehension came over him.

"She is smiling at my suspicions. Yes, she will tell me directly what she told me before; that there is no foundation for my suspicions, that the whole thing is absurd."

At that moment, when the revelation of everything was hanging over him, there was nothing he expected so much as that she would answer mockingly, as before, that his suspicions were absurd and utterly groundless. So terrible to him was what he knew that now he was ready to believe anything. But the expression of her face, scared and gloomy, did not now promise even deception.

"Possibly I was mistaken," said he. "If so, I beg your pardon."

"No, you were not mistaken," she said slowly, looking desperately into his frigid face. "You were not mistaken. I was in despair, nor could I help being in despair. I am listening to you, but I am thinking of him. I love him, I am his mistress; I can't bear you; I'm afraid of you, and I hate you... You can do what you like to me."

And dropping back into the corner of the carriage, she broke into sobs, hiding her face in her hands. Alexei Alexandrovich did not stir, and kept looking straight before him. But his whole face suddenly bore the solemn rigidity of the dead, and his expression did not change during the whole time of the drive home. On reaching the house he turned his head to her, still with the same expression.

"Very well! But I expect a strict observance of the external forms of propriety till such time"——his voice shook——"as I may take measures to secure my honor, and communicate them to you."

He got out first and helped her to get out. Before the servants he pressed her hand, took his seat in the carriage, and drove back to Peterburg.

Immediately afterward a footman came from Princess Betsy and brought Anna a note.

"I sent to Alexei to find out how he is, and he writes me he is quite well and unhurt, but in despair."

"So he will be here," she thought. "What a good thing I told him all."

She glanced at her watch. She had still three hours to wait, and the memories of their last meeting set her blood in flame.

"My God, how light it is! It's dreadful, but I do love to see his face, and I do love this fantastic light.... My husband! Oh! yes... Well, thank God! everything's at an end with him."

XXX.

In the little German watering place to which the Shcherbatskys had betaken themselves, as in all places indeed where people are gathered together, the usual process, as it were, of the crystallization of society went on, assigning to each member of that society a definite and unalterable place. Just as the particle of water in frost, definitely and unalterably, takes the special form of the crystal of snow, so each new person that arrived at the springs was at once placed in his or her peculiar place.

Furst Shcherbatsky, samt Gemahlin und Tochter, by the apartments they took, and from their name and from the friends they made, were immediately crystallized into a definite place marked out for them.

There was visiting the watering place that year a real German Furstin, in consequence of which the crystallizing process went on more vigorously than ever. Princess Shcherbatsky wished, above everything, to present her daughter to this German Princess, and the day after their arrival she duly performed this rite. Kitty made a low and graceful curtsy in the "very simple," that is to say, very elegant frock that had been ordered for her from Paris. The German Princess said, "I hope the roses will soon come back to this pretty little face," and for the Shcherbatskyg certain definite lines of existence were at once laid down, from which there was no departing. The Shcherbatskys made the acquaintance too of the family of an English lady, and of a German Countess and her son, wounded in the last war, and of a learned Swede, and of M. Canut and his sister. Yet inevitably the Shcherbatskys were thrown most into the society of a Moscow lady, Marya Eugenyevna Rtishcheva and her daughter, whom Kitty disliked, because she had fallen ill, like herself, over a love affair; and a Moscow colonel, whom Kitty had known from childhood, and had always seen in uniform and epaulets, and who now, with his little eyes and his open neck and flowered cravat, was uncommonly ridiculous and tedious, because there was no getting rid of him. When all this was so firmly established, Kitty began to be very much bored, especially as the Prince went off to Carlsbad and she was left alone with her mother. She took no interest in the people she knew, feeling that nothing fresh would come of them. Her chief mental interest in the watering place consisted in watching and making theories about the people she did not know. It was characteristic of Kitty that she always imagined everything in people in the most favorable light possible, especially so in those she did not know. And now, as she made surmises as to who people were, what were their relations to one another, and what they were like, Kitty endowed them with the most marvelous and noble characters, and found confirmation in her observations.

Of these people the one that attracted her most was a Russian girl who had come to the watering place with an invalid Russian lady, Madame Stahl, as everyone called her. Madame Stahl belonged to the highest society, but she was so ill that she could not walk, and only on exceptionally fine days made her appearance at the springs in an invalid carriage. But it was not so much from ill-health as from pride——so Princess Shcherbatskaia interpreted it——that Madame Stahl had not made the acquaintance of anyone among the Russians there. The Russian girl looked after Madame Stahl, and besides that, she was, as Kitty observed, on friendly terms with all the invalids who were seriously ill——and there were many of them at the springs——and was solicitous over them in the most natural way. This Russian girl was not, as Kitty gathered, related to Madame Stahl, nor was she a paid attendant. Madame Stahl called her Varenka, and other people called her "Mademoiselle Varenka." Apart from the interest Kitty took in this girl's relations with Madame Stahl and with other unknown persons, Kitty, as often happened, felt an inexplicable attraction to Mademoiselle Varenka, and was aware when their eyes met that she too liked her.

Of Mademoiselle Varenka one would not say that she had passed her first youth, but she was, as it were, a creature without youth; she might have been taken for nineteen or for thirty. If her features were criticized separately, she was handsome rather that plain, in spite of the sickly hue of her face. Hers would have been a good figure, too, if it had not been for her extreme thinness and the size of her head, which was too large for her medium height. But she was not likely to be attractive to men. She was like a fine flower, already past its bloom and without fragrance, though the petals were still unwithered. Moreover, she would have been unattractive to men also from the lack of just what Kitty had too much of——of the suppressed fire of vitality, and the consciousness of her own attractiveness.

She always seemed absorbed in work, beyond a doubt, and so it seemed as if she could take no interest in anything outside it. It was just this contrast with her own position that was for Kitty the great attraction of Mademoiselle Varenka. Kitty felt that in her, in her manner of life, she would find an example of what she was now so painfully seeking: interest in life, a dignity in life——apart from the worldly relations of girls with men, which so revolted Kitty, and appeared to her now as a shameful exhibition of goods in search of a purchaser. The more attentively Kitty watched her unknown friend, the more convinced she was that this girl was the perfect creature she fancied her, and the more eagerly she wished to make her acquaintance.

The two girls used to meet several times a day, and every time they met Kitty's eyes said: "Who are you? What are you? Are you really the exquisite creature I imagine you to be? But for goodness' sake don't suppose," her eyes added, "that I would force my acquaintance on you——I simply admire you and like you." "I like you too, and you're very, very sweet. And I should like you better still, if I had time," answered the eyes of the unknown girl. Kitty saw, indeed, that she was always busy. Either she was taking the children of a Russian family home from the springs, or fetching a shawl for a sick lady, and wrapping her up in it, or trying to interest an irritable invalid, or selecting and buying teacakes for someone.

Soon after the arrival of the Shcherbatskys there appeared in the morning crowd at the springs two persons who attracted universal and unfavorable attention. These were a tall man with a stooping figure and huge hands, in an old coat too short for him, with black, simple, and yet terrible eyes, and a pock-marked, kind-looking woman, very badly and tastelessly dressed. Recognizing these persons as Russians, Kitty had already in her imagination begun constructing a delightful and touching romance about them. But the Princess, having ascertained from the Kurliste that this was Nikolai Levin and Marya Nikolaevna, explained to Kitty what a bad man this Levin was, and all her fancies about these two people vanished. Not so much from what her mother told her, as from the fact that it was Konstantin's brother, this pair suddenly seemed to Kitty in the highest degree unpleasant. This Levin, with his continual twitching of his head, aroused in her now an irrepressible feeling of disgust.

It seemed to her that his big, terrible eyes, which persistently pursued her, expressed a feeling of hatred and contempt, and she tried to avoid meeting him.

XXXI.

It was a foul day; it had been raining all the morning, and the invalids, with their parasols, had flocked into the arcades.

Kitty was walking there with her mother and the Moscow colonel, smart and jaunty in his European coat, bought ready-made at Frankfort. They were walking on one side of the arcade, trying to avoid Levin, who was walking on the other side. Varenka, in her dark dress, in a black hat with a turndown brim, was walking up and down the whole length of the arcade with a blind Frenchwoman, and, every time she met Kitty, they exchanged friendly glances.

"Mamma, couldn't I speak to her?" said Kitty, watching her unknown friend, and noticing that she was going up to the spring, and that they might come there together.

"Oh, if you want to so much, I'll find out about her first and make her acquaintance myself," answered her mother. "What do you see in her out of the way? A companion, most probably. If you like, I'll make acquaintance with Madame Stahl; I used to know her belle-soeur," added the Princess, lifting her head haughtily.

Kitty knew that the Princess was offended because Madame Stahl had apparently avoided making her acquaintance. Kitty did not insist.

"How wonderfully sweet she is!" she said, gazing at Varenka just as she handed a glass to the Frenchwoman. "Look how natural and sweet it all is."

"It's so funny to see your engouements," said the Princess. "No, we'd better go back," she added, noticing Levin coming toward them with his companion and a German doctor, to whom he was talking very noisily and angrily.

They turned to go back, when suddenly they heard, not merely noisy talk, but actual shouting. Levin, stopping short, was shouting at the doctor, and the doctor, too, was excited. A crowd gathered about them. The Princess and Kitty beat a hasty retreat, while the colonel joined the crowd to find out what was up.

A few minutes later the colonel overtook them.

"What was it?" inquired the Princess.

"Scandalous and disgraceful!" answered the colonel. "The one thing to be dreaded is meeting Russians abroad. That tall gentleman was abusing the doctor, flinging all sorts of insults at him because he wasn't treating him quite as he liked, and he began waving his stick at him. It's simply scandalous!"

"Oh, how unpleasant!" said the Princess. "Well, and how did it end?"

"Luckily at that point that miss... the one in the mushroom hat... intervened. She is a Russian lady, I think," said the colonel.

"Mademoiselle Varenka?" Kitty asked joyously.

"Yes, yes. She came to the rescue before anyone else; she took the man by the arm and led him away."

"There, mamma," said Kitty, "yet you wonder why I'm enthusiastic about her."

The next day, as she watched her unknown friend, Kitty noticed that Mademoiselle Varenka was already on the same terms with Levin and his companion as with her other proteges. She went up to them, entered into conversation with them, and served as interpreter for the woman, who could not speak any foreign language.

Kitty began to entreat her mother still more urgently to let her make acquaintance with Varenka. And, disagreeable as it was to the Princess to seem to take the first step in wishing to make the acquaintance of Madame Stahl, who thought fit to give herself airs, she made inquiries about Varenka, and, having ascertained particulars about her tending to prove that there could he no harm, even if little good in the acquaintance, she herself approached Varenka and made acquaintance with her.

Choosing a time when her daughter had gone to the spring, while Varenka had stopped outside the baker's, the Princess approached her.

"Allow me to make your acquaintance," she said, with her dignified smile. "My daughter has lost her heart to you," she said. "Possibly you do not know me. I am..."

"That feeling is more than reciprocal, Princess," Varenka answered hurriedly.

"What a good deed you did yesterday to our poor compatriot!" said the Princess.

Varenka flushed a little.

"I don't remember. I don't think I did anything," she said.

"Why, you saved that Levin from disagreeable consequences."

"Yes, sa compagne called me, and I tried to pacify him; he's very ill, and was dissatisfied with the doctor. I'm used to looking after such invalids."

"Yes, I've heard you live at Mentone with your aunt——I think—— Madame Stahl: I used to know her belle-soeur."

"No, she's not my aunt. I call her maman, but I am not related to her; I was brought up by her," answered Varenka, flushing a little again.

This was so simply said, and so sweet was the truthful and candid expression of her face, that the Princess saw why Kitty had taken such a fancy to Varenka.

"Well, and what's this Levin going to do?" asked the Princess.

"He's going away," answered Varenka.

At that instant Kitty came up from the spring beaming with delight because her mother had become acquainted with her unknown friend.

"See, Kitty, your intense desire to make friends with Mademoiselle..."

"Varenka," Varenka put in smiling, "that's what everyone calls me."

Kitty blushed with pleasure, and slowly, without speaking, squeezed her new friend's hand, which did not respond to her pressure, but lay motionless in her hand. The hand did not respond to her pressure, but the face of Mademoiselle Varenka glowed with a soft, glad, though rather mournful, smile, that showed large but handsome teeth.

"I have long wished for this too," she said.

"But "But you are so busy..."

"Oh, no I'm not at all busy," answered Varenka, but at that moment she had to leave her new friends because two little Russian girls, children of an invalid, ran up to her.

"Varenka, mamma's calling!" they cried.

And Varenka went after them.

XXXII.

The particulars which the Princess had learned in regard to Varenka's past and her relations with Madame Stahl were as follows:

Madame Stahl, of whom some people said that she had worried her husband out of his life, while others said it was he who had made her wretched by his immoral behavior, had always been a woman of weak health and enthusiastic temperament. When, after her separation from her husband, she gave birth to her only child, the child had died almost immediately, and the family of Madame Stahl, knowing her sensibility and fearing the news would kill her, had substituted another child, a baby born the same night and in the same house in Peterburg, the daughter of the chief cook of the Imperial Household. This was Varenka. Madame Stahl learned later on that Varenka was not her own child, but she went on bringing her up, especially as very soon afterward Varenka had not a relation of her own living.

Madame Stahl had now been living without a break, more than ten years abroad, in the south, never leaving her couch. And some people said that Madame Stahl had made her social position as a philanthropic, highly religious woman; other people said she really was at heart the highly ethical being, living for nothing but the good of her fellow creatures, which she represented herself to be. No one knew what her faith was——Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox. But one fact was indubitable——she was in amicable relations with the highest dignitaries of all the churches and sects.

Varenka lived with her all the while abroad, and everyone who knew Madame Stahl knew and liked Mademoiselle Varenka, as everyone called her.

Having learned all these facts, the Princess found nothing to object to in her daughter's intimacy with Varenka, more especially as Varenka's breeding and education were of the best——she spoke French and English extremely well——and, what was of the most weight, brought a message from Madame Stahl expressing her regret that she had been prevented by her ill-health from making the acquaintance of the Princess.

After getting to know Varenka, Kitty became more and more fascinated by her friend, and every day she discovered new virtues in her.

The Princess, hearing that Varenka had a good voice, asked her to come and sing to them in the evening.

"Kitty plays, and we have a piano; not a good one, it's true, but you will give us so much pleasure," said the Princess with her affected smile, which Kitty disliked particularly just then, because she noticed that Varenka had no inclination to sing. Varenka came, however, in the evening, and brought a roll of music with her. The Princess had invited Marya Eugenyevna and her daughter, and the colonel.

Varenka seemed quite unaffected by the presence of persons whom she did not know, and she went directly to the piano. She could not accompany herself, but she could sing music at sight very well. Kitty, who played well, accompanied her.

"You have an extraordinary talent," the Princess said to her after Varenka had sung the first song excellently.

Marya Eugenyevna and her daughter expressed their thanks and admiration.

"Look," said the colonel, looking out of the window, "what an audience has collected to listen to you."

There actually was a considerable crowd under the windows.

"I am very glad it gives you pleasure," Varenka answered simply.

Kitty looked with pride at her friend. She was enchanted by her talent, and her voice, and her face, but most of all by her manner, by Varenka's obviously thinking nothing of her singing and being quite unmoved by their praise. She seemed only to be asking: "Am I to sing again, or is that enough?"

"If it had been I," thought Kitty, "how proud I should have been! How delighted I should have been to see that crowd under the windows! But she's utterly unmoved by it. Her only motive is to avoid refusing and to please maman. What is there about her? What is it gives her the power to look down on everything, to be calm independently of everything? How I should like to know it, and to learn it from her!" thought Kitty, gazing into her serene face. The Princess asked Varenka to sing again, and Varenka sang another song, also smoothly, distinctly, and well, standing erect at the piano and beating time on it with her thin, dark-skinned hand.

The next song in the book was an Italian one. Kitty played the opening bars, and looked round at Varenka.

"Let's skip that," said Varenka, flushing a little.

Kitty let her eyes rest on Varenka's face, with a look of dismay and inquiry.

"Very well, the next one," she said hurriedly, turning over the pages, and at once feeling that there was something connected with the song.

"No," answered Varenka with a smile, laying her hand on the music, "no, let's have that one." And she sang it just as quietly, as coolly, and as well as the others.

When she had finished, they all thanked her again, and went off to tea. Kitty and Varenka went out into the little garden that adjoined the house.

"Am I right, that you have some reminiscences connected with that song?" said Kitty. "Don't tell me," she added hastily, "only say if I'm right."

"No, why not? I'll tell you," said Varenka simply, and, without waiting for a reply, she went on: "Yes, it brings up memories, once painful ones. I cared for someone once, and I used to sing him that song."

Kitty with big, wide-open eyes gazed silently, sympathetically at Varenka.

"I cared for him, and he cared for me; but his mother was opposed, and he married another girl. He's living now not far from us, and I see him sometimes. You didn't think I had a love story, too," she said, and there was a faint gleam in her handsome face of that fire which Kitty felt must once have glowed all over her.

"I didn't think so? Why, if I were a man, I could never care for anyone else after knowing you. Only I can't understand how he could, to please his mother, forget you and make you unhappy; he had no heart."

"Oh, no, he's a very good man, and I'm not unhappy; quite the contrary——I'm very happy. Well, we shan't be singing any more now," she added, turning toward the house.

"How good you are! How good you are!" cried Kitty, and stopping her, she kissed her. "If I could only be even a little like you!"

"Why should you be like anyone? You're lovely as you are," said Varenka, smiling her gentle, weary smile.

"No, I'm not lovely at all. Come, tell me... Stop a minute, let's sit down," said Kitty, making her sit down again beside her. "Tell me, isn't it humiliating to think that a man has disdained your love, that he hasn't cared for it?..."

"But he didn't disdain it; I believe he cared for me, but he was a dutiful son...."

"Yes, but if it hadn't been on account of his mother, if it had been his own doing?..." said Kitty, feeling she was giving away her secret, and that her face, burning with the flush of shame, had betrayed her already.

"In that case he would have done wrong, and I should not have regretted him," answered Varenka, evidently realizing that they were now talking not of her, but of Kitty.

"But the humiliation," said Kitty, "the humiliation one can never forget——never!" she said, remembering her look at the last ball during the pause in the music.

"Where is the humiliation? Why, you did nothing wrong?"

"Worse than wrong——shameful."

Varenka shook her head and laid her hand on Kitty's.

"Why, what's shameful about it?" she said. "You didn't tell a man who didn't care for you, that you loved him, did you?"

"Of course not; I never said a word, but he knew it. No, no, there are looks, there are ways; I can't forget it, if I live a hundred years."

"Why so? I don't understand. The whole point is whether you love him now or not," said Varenka, who called everything by its name.

"I hate him; I can't forgive myself."

"Why, what for?"

"The shame, the humiliation!"

"Oh! if everyone were as sensitive as you are!" said Varenka. "There isn't a girl who hasn't been through the same. And it's all so unimportant."

"Why, what is important?" said Kitty, looking into her face with inquisitive wonder.

"Oh, there's so much that's important," said Varenka, smiling.

"Why, what?"

"Oh, so much that's more important," answered Varenka, not knowing what to say. But at that instant they heard the Princess's voice from the window. "Kitty, it's cold! Either get a shawl, or come indoors."

"It really is time to go in!" said Varenka, getting up. "I have to go on to Madame Berthe's; she asked me to."

Kitty held her by the hand, and with passionate curiosity and entreaty her eyes asked her: "What is it, what is this of such importance, that gives you such tranquility? You know, tell me!" But Varenka did not even know what Kitty's eyes were asking her. She merely thought that she had to go to see Madame Berthe too that evening, and to make haste home in time for maman's tea at twelve o'clock. She went indoors, collected her music, and saying good-by to everyone, was about to go.

"Allow me to see you home," said the colonel.

"Yes, how can you go alone at night like this?" chimed in the Princess. "Anyway, I'll send Parasha."

Kitty saw that Varenka could hardly restrain a smile at the idea that she needed an escort.

"No, I always go about alone and nothing ever happens to me," she said, taking her hat. And kissing Kitty once more, without saying what was important, she stepped out courageously with the music under her arm and vanished into the twilight of the summer night, bearing away with her her secret of what was important, and what gave her that calm and dignity so much to be envied.

XXXIII.

Kitty made the acquaintance of Madame Stahl too, and this acquaintance, together with her friendship with Varenka, did not merely exercise a great influence on her——it also comforted her in her mental distress. She found this comfort through a completely new world being opened to her by means of this acquaintance, a world having nothing in common with her past; an exalted, noble world, from the height of which she could contemplate her past calmly. It was revealed to her that besides the instinctive life to which Kitty had given herself up hitherto there was a spiritual life. This life was disclosed in religion, but a religion having nothing in common with that one which Kitty had known from childhood, and which found expression in masses and evening services at the Widow's Home, where one might meet one's friends; and in learning by heart Slavonic texts with the priest. This was a lofty, mysterious religion connected with a whole series of noble thoughts and feelings, which one could not merely believe because one was told to believe, but which one could love.

Kitty found all this out not from words. Madame Stahl talked to Kitty as to a charming child that one regards with pleasure, as one regards the memory of one's youth, and only once she said in passing that in all human sorrows nothing gives comfort but love and faith, and that in the sight of Christ's compassion for us no sorrow is trifling——and immediately talked of other things. But in every gesture of Madame Stahl, in every word, in every heavenly——as Kitty called it—— look; and, above all, in the whole story of her life, which she heard from Varenka, Kitty recognized that something "that was important," of which, till then, she had known nothing.

Yet, elevated as Madame Stahl's character was, touching as was her story, and exalted and moving as was her speech, Kitty could not help detecting in her some traits which perplexed her. She noticed that, when questioning her about her family, Madame Stahl had smiled contemptuously, which was not in accord with Christian meekness. Kitty noticed, too, that when she had found a Catholic priest with her, Madame Stahl had studiously kept her face in the shadow of the lamp shade and had smiled in a peculiar way. Trivial as these two observations were, they perplexed her, and she had her doubts as to Madame Stahl. But on the other hand Varenka, alone in the world, without friends or relations, with a melancholy disappointment in the past, desiring nothing, regretting nothing, was just that perfection of which Kitty dared hardly dream. In Varenka she realized that one has but to forget oneself and love others, and one will be calm, happy and good. And that was what Kitty longed to be. Seeing now clearly what was most important, Kitty was not satisfied with being enthusiastic over it; she at once gave herself up with her whole soul to the new life that was opening to her. From Varenka's accounts of the doings of Madame Stahl and other people whom she mentioned, Kitty had already constructed the plan of her own future life. She would, like Madame Stahl's niece, Aline, of whom Varenka had talked to her a great deal, seek out those who were in trouble, wherever she might be living, help them as far as she could, giving them the Gospel; she would read the Gospel to the sick, to the criminals, to the dying. The idea of reading the Gospel to criminals, as Aline did, particularly fascinated Kitty. But all these were secret dreams, of which Kitty did not talk either to her mother or to Varenka.

While awaiting the time for carrying out her plans on a large scale, however, Kitty, even then at the springs, where there were so many people ill and unhappy, readily found a chance for practicing her new principles in imitation of Varenka.

At first the Princess noticed nothing but that Kitty was much under the influence of her engouement, as she called it, for Madame Stahl, and still more for Varenka. She saw that Kitty did not merely imitate Varenka in her conduct, but unconsciously imitated her in her manner of walking, of talking, of blinking her eyes. But later on the Princess noticed that, apart from this adoration, some kind of serious spiritual change was taking place in her daughter.

The Princess saw that in the evenings Kitty read a French Testament that Madame Stahl had given her——a thing she had never done before; that she avoided society acquaintances and associated with the sick people who were under Varenka's protection, and especially one poor family, that of a sick painter, Petrov. Kitty was unmistakably proud of playing the part of a sister of mercy in that family. All this was well enough, and the Princess had nothing to say against it, especially as Petrov's wife was a perfectly respectable woman, and that the German Princess, noticing Kitty's devotion, praised her, calling her an angel of consolation. All this would have been very well, if there had been no exaggeration. But the Princess saw that her daughter was rushing into extremes, and so indeed she told her.

"Il ne faut jamais rien outrer," she said to her.

Her daughter made her no reply, but in her heart she thought that one could not talk about exaggeration where Christianity was concerned. What exaggeration could there be in the practice of a doctrine wherein one was bidden to turn the other cheek when one was smitten, and give one's shirt if one's coat were taken? But the Princess disliked this exaggeration, and disliked even more the fact that she felt her daughter did not care to show her all her heart. Kitty did in fact conceal her new views and feelings from her mother. She concealed them not because she did not respect or did not love her mother, but simply because she was her mother. She would have revealed them to anyone sooner than to her mother.

"How is it Anna Pavlovna's not been to see us for so long?" the Princess said one day, referring to Madame Petrov. "I've asked her, but she seems put out about something."

"No, I've not noticed it, maman," said Kitty, flushing hotly.

"Is it long since you've been to see them?"

"We intend making an excursion to the mountains tomorrow," answered Kitty.

"Well, you may go," answered the Princess, gazing at her daughter's embarrassed face and trying to guess the cause of her embarrassment.

That day Varenka came to dinner and told them that Anna Pavlovna had changed her mind and given up the excursion for the morrow. And the Princess noticed again that Kitty reddened.

"Kitty, haven't you had some misunderstanding with the Petrovs?" said the Princess, when they were left alone. "Why has she given up sending the children and coming to see us?"

Kitty answered that nothing had happened between them, and that she could not tell why Anna Pavlovna seemed displeased with her. Kitty answered perfectly truthfully. She did not know the reason Anna Pavlovna had changed toward her, but she guessed it. She guessed at something which she could not tell her mother, which she did not put into words to herself It was one of those things which one knows but which one can never speak of even to oneself, so terrible and shameful would it be to be mistaken.

Again and again she went over in her memory all her relations with the family. She remembered the simple delight expressed on the round, good-natured face of Anna Pavlovna at their meetings; she remembered their secret confabulations about the invalid, their plots to draw him away from the work which was forbidden him, and to get him out of doors; the devotion of the youngest boy, who used to call her "my Kitty," and would not go to bed without her. How lovely it all was! "Then she recalled the thin, terribly thin figure of Petrov, with his long neck, in his brown coat, his scant, curly hair, his questioning blue eyes that were so terrible to Kitty at first, and his painful attempts to seem hearty and lively in her presence. She recalled the efforts she had made at first to overcome the repugnance she felt for him, as for all consumptive people, and the pains it had cost her to think of things to say to him. She recalled the timid, softened look with which he gazed at her, and the strange feeling of compassion and awkwardness, and later of a sense of her own goodness, which she had felt at it. How lovely it all was! But all that was at first. Now, a few days ago, everything was suddenly spoiled. Anna Pavlovna had met Kitty with affected cordiality, and had kept continual watch on her and on her husband.

Could that touching pleasure he showed when she came near be the cause of Anna Pavlovna's coolness?

"Yes," she mused, "there was something unnatural about Anna Pavlovna, and utterly unlike her good nature, when she said angrily the day before yesterday: 'There, he will keep waiting for you; he wouldn't drink his coffee without you, though he's grown so dreadfully weak.'"

"Yes, perhaps, too, she didn't like it when I gave him the rug. It was all so simple, but he took it so awkwardly, and was so long thanking me, that I felt awkward too. And then that portrait of me he did so well. And most of all that look of confusion and tenderness! Yes, yes, that's it!" Kitty repeated to herself with horror. "No, it can't be, it oughtn't to be! He's so much to be pitied!" she said to herself directly after.

This doubt poisoned the charm of her new life.

XXXIV.

Before the end of the water cure, Prince Shcherbatsky, who had gone on from Carlsbad to Baden and Kissingen to Russian friends——to get a breath of Russian atmosphere, as he said——came back to his wife and daughter.

The views of the Prince and of the Princess on life abroad were completely opposed. The Princess thought everything delightful, and in spite of her established position in Russian society, she tried abroad to be like a European fashionable lady, which she was not for the simple reason that she was a typical Russian gentlewoman; and so she was affected, which did not altogether suit her. The Prince, on the contrary, thought everything foreign detestable, got sick of European life, kept to his Russian habits, and purposely tried to show himself abroad less European than he was in reality.

The Prince returned thinner, with the skin hanging in loose bags on his cheeks, but in the most cheerful frame of mind. His good humor was even greater when he saw Kitty completely recovered. The news of Kitty's friendship with Madame Stahl and Varenka, and the reports the Princess gave him of some kind of change she had noticed in Kitty, troubled the Prince and aroused his habitual feeling of jealousy of everything that drew his daughter away from him, and a dread that his daughter might have got out of the reach of his influence into regions inaccessible to him. But this unpleasant news was all drowned in the sea of kindliness and good humor which was always within him, and more so than ever since his course of Carlsbad waters.

The day after his arrival the Prince, in his long overcoat, with his Russian wrinkles and baggy cheeks propped up by a starched collar, set off with his daughter to the spring in the greatest good humor.

It was a lovely morning: the tidy, cheerful houses with their little gardens, the sight of the red-faced, red-armed, beer-drinking German waitresses, working away merrily, and bright sun did one's heart good. But the nearer they got to the springs the oftener they met sick people; and their appearance seemed more pitiable than ever among the everyday conditions of prosperous German life. Kitty was no longer struck by this contrast. The bright sun, the brilliant green of the foliage, the strains of the music were for her the natural setting of all these familiar faces, with their changes to greater emaciation or to convalescence, for which she watched. But to the Prince the brightness and gaiety of the June morning, and the sound of the orchestra playing a gay waltz then in fashion, and above all, the appearance of the robust waitresses, seemed something unseemly and monstrous, in conjunction with these slowly moving cadavers gathered together from all parts of Europe.

In spite of his feeling of pride and, as it were, of the return of youth, when he walked with his favorite daughter on his arm, he felt awkward, and almost ashamed of his vigorous step and his sturdy, stout and fat limbs. He felt almost like a man not dressed in a crowd.

"Present, present me to your new friends," he said to his daughter, squeezing her hand with his elbow. "I like even your horrid Soden for making you so well again. Only it's melancholy, very melancholy here. Who's that?"

Kitty mentioned the names of all the people they met, of some with whom she was acquainted, and some with whom she was not. At the very entrance of the garden they met the blind lady, Madame Berthe, with her guide, and the Prince was delighted to see the old Frenchwoman's face light up when she heard Kitty's voice. She at once began talking to him with the exaggerated politeness of the French, applauding him for having such a delightful daughter, extolling Kitty to the skies before her face, and calling her a treasure, a pearl and a consoling angel.

"Well, she's the second angel, then," said the Prince, smiling. "She calls Mademoiselle Varenka angel number one."

"Oh! Mademoiselle Varenka——she's a real angel, allez," Madame Berthe assented.

In the arcade they met Varenka herself. She was walking rapidly toward them, carrying an elegant red bag.

"Here is papa come," Kitty said to her.

Varenka made——simply and naturally as she did everything——a movement between a bow and curtsy, and immediately began talking to the Prince, without shyness, naturally, as she talked to everyone.

"Of course I know you; I know you very well," the Prince said to her with a smile, in which Kitty detected with joy that her father liked her friend. "Where are you off to in such haste?"

"Maman's here," she said, turning to Kitty. "She has not slept all night, and the doctor advised her to go out. I'm taking her her work."

"So that's angel number one?" said the Prince when Varenka had gone on.

Kitty saw that her father had meant to make fun of Varenka, but that he could not do it because he liked her.

"Come, so we shall see all your friends," he went on, "even Madame Stahl, if she deigns to recognize me."

"Why, did you know her, papa?" Kitty asked apprehensively, catching the gleam of irony that kindled in the Prince's eyes at the mention of Madame Stahl.

"I used to know her husband, and her too a little, before she'd joined the Pietists."

"What is a Pietist, papa?" asked Kitty, dismayed to find that what she prized so highly in Madame Stahl had a name.

"I don't quite know myself. I only know that she thanks God for everything, for every misfortune, and thanks God too that her husband died. And that's rather droll, as they didn't get on together. Who's that? What a piteous face!" he asked, noticing a sick man of medium height sitting on a bench, wearing a brown overcoat and white trousers that fell in strange folds about his long, fleshless legs. This man lifted his straw hat, showed his scanty curly hair and high forehead, painfully reddened by the pressure of the hat.

"That's Petrov, an artist," answered Kitty blushing. "And that's his wife," she added, indicating Anna Pavlovna, who, as though on purpose, at the very instant they approached, walked away after a child that had run off along a path.

"Poor fellow! And what a fine face he has!" said the Prince. "Why don't you go up to him? He wanted to speak to you."

"Well, let us go, then," said Kitty, turning round resolutely. "How are you feeling today?" she asked Petrov.

Petrov got up, leaning on his stick, and looked shyly at the Prince.

"This is my daughter," said the Prince. "Let me introduce myself."

The painter bowed and smiled, showing his strangely dazzling white teeth.

"We expected you yesterday, Princess," he said to Kitty.

He staggered as he said this, and then repeated the motion, trying to make it seem as if it had been intentional.

"I meant to come, but Varenka said that Anna Pavlovna sent word you were not going."

"Not going!" said Petrov, blushing, and immediately beginning to cough, and his eyes sought his wife. "Aneta! Aneta!" he said loudly, and the swollen veins stood out like cords on his thin white neck.

Anna Pavlovna came up.

"So you sent word to the Princess that we weren't going!" he whispered to her angrily, losing his voice.

"Good morning, Princess," said Anna Pavlovna, with an assumed smile utterly unlike her former manner. "Very glad to make your acquaintance," she said to the Prince. "You've long been expected, Prince."

"Why did you send word to the Princess that we weren't going?" the artist whispered hoarsely again, still more angrily, obviously exasperated that his voice failed him so that he could not give his words the expression he would have liked to.

"Oh, mercy on us! I thought we weren't going," his wife answered crossly.

"What, when..." He coughed and waved his hand.

The Prince took off his hat and moved away with his daughter.

"Ah! ah!" he sighed deeply. "Oh, poor things!"

"Yes, papa," answered Kitty. "And you must know they've three children, no servant, and scarcely any means. He gets something from the Academy," she went on briskly, trying to drown the distress that queer change in Anna Pavlovna's manner toward her had aroused in her. "Oh, here's Madame Stahl," said Kitty, indicating an invalid carriage, where, propped on pillows, something in gray and blue was lying under a sunshade. This was Madame Stahl. Behind her stood the gloomy, robust German workman who pushed the carriage. Close by was standing a flaxen-headed Swedish Count, whom Kitty knew by name. Several invalids were lingering near the low carriage, staring at the lady as though she were some curiosity.

The Prince walked up to her, and Kitty detected that disconcerting gleam of irony in his eyes. He walked up to Madame Stahl, and addressed her with extreme courtesy and charm in that excellent French which so few speak nowadays.

"I don't know if you remember me, but I must recall myself to thank you for your kindness to my daughter," he said taking off his hat and not putting it on again.

"Prince Alexandre Shcherbatsky," said Madame Stahl, lifting upon him her heavenly eyes, in which Kitty discerned a look of annoyance. "Delighted! I have taken a great fancy to your daughter."

"You are still in weak health?"

"Yes; I'm used to it," said Madame Stahl, and she introduced the Prince to the Swedish Count.

"You are scarcely changed at all," the Prince said to her. "It's ten or eleven years since I had the honor of seeing you."

"Yes; God sends the cross and sends the strength to bear it. Often one wonders what is the goal of this life?... The other side!" she said angrily to Varenka, who had rearranged the rug over her feet not to her satisfaction.

"To do good, probably," said the Prince with a twinkle in his eye.

"That is not for us to judge," said Madame Stahl, perceiving the shade of expression on the Prince's face. "So you will send me that book, dear Count? I'm very grateful to you," she said to the young Swede.

"Ah!" cried the Prince, catching sight of the Moscow colonel standing near, and with a bow to Madame Stahl he walked away with his daughter and the Moscow colonel, who joined them.

"That's our aristocracy, Prince!" the Moscow colonel said with ironical intention. He cherished a grudge against Madame Stahl for not making his acquaintance.

"She's the same as ever," replied the Prince.

"Did you know her before her illness, Prince——that's to say, before she took to her bed?"

"Yes. She took to her bed before my eyes," said the Prince.

"They say it's ten years since she has stood on her feet."

"She doesn't stand up because her legs are too short. She has a very bad figure."

"Papa, it's not possible!" cried Kitty.

"That's what wicked tongues say, my darling. And your Varenka is to endure still," he added. "Oh, these invalid ladies!"

"Oh, no, papa!" Kitty objected warmly. "Varenka worships her. And then she does so much good! Ask anyone! Everyone knows her and Aline Stahl."

"Perhaps so," said the Prince, squeezing her hand with his elbow; "but it's better when one does good so that you may ask everyone and no one knows."

Kitty did not answer, not because she had nothing to say, but because she did not care to reveal her secret thoughts even to her father. But, strange to say, although she had made up her mind so firmly not to be influenced by her father's views, not to let him into her inmost sanctuary, she felt that the heavenly image of Madame Stahl, which she had carried for a whole month in her heart, had vanished, never to return, just as the fantastic figure made up of some clothes thrown down at random vanishes when one sees that it is only some fallen garment. All that was left was a woman with short legs, who lay down because she had a bad figure, and worried patient Varenka for not arranging her rug to her liking. And by no effort of her imagination could Kitty bring back the former Madame Stahl.

XXXV.

The Prince communicated his good humor to his own family and his friends, and even to the German landlord in whose rooms the Shcherbatskys were staying.

On coming back with Kitty from the springs, the Prince, who had asked the colonel, and Marya Eugenyevna, and Varenka all to come and have coffee with them, gave orders for a table and chairs to be taken into the tiny garden under the chestnut tree, and lunch to be laid there. The landlord and the servants, too, grew brisker under the influence of his good spirits. They knew his openhandedness; and half an hour later the invalid doctor from Hamburg, who lived on the top floor, looked enviously out of his window at the merry party of healthy Russians assembled under the chestnut tree. In the trembling circles of shadow cast by the leaves, at a table covered with a white cloth, and set with coffeepot, bread, butter, cheese, and cold game, sat the Princess in a high cap with lilac ribbons, distributing cups and sandwiches. At the other end sat the Prince, eating heartily, and talking loudly and merrily. The Prince had spread out near him his purchases——carved boxes, and knickknacks, and paper knives of all sorts, of which he had bought a heap at every watering place, and bestowed them upon everyone, including Lieschen, the servant girl, and the landlord, with whom he jested in his comically bad German, assuring him that it was not the water had cured Kitty, but his splendid cookery——especially his plum soup. The Princess laughed at her husband for his Russian ways, but she was more lively and good-humored than she had been all the while she had been at the waters. The colonel smiled, as he always did, at the Prince's jokes, but as far as regards Europe, of which he believed himself to be making a careful study, he took the Princess's side. The goodhearted Marya Eugenyevna simply roared with laughter at everything absurd the Prince said, and his jokes made Varenka helpless with feeble but infectious laughter, which was something Kitty had never seen before.

Kitty was glad of all this, but she could not be lighthearted. She could not solve the problem her father had unconsciously set her by his good-humored view of her friends, and of the life that had so attracted her. To this doubt there was joined the change in her relations with the Petrovs, which had been so conspicuously and unpleasantly marked that morning. Everyone was good-humored, but Kitty could not feel good-humored, and this increased her distress. She felt a feeling such as she had known in childhood, when she had been shut in her room as a punishment, and had heard her sisters' merry laughter outside.

"Well, but what did you buy this mass of things for? said the Princess, smiling, and handing her husband a cup of coffee.

"One goes for a walk, one looks in a shop, and they ask you to buy. 'Erlaucht, Excellenz, Durchlaucht?' Directly they say 'Durchlaucht,' I can't hold out——and ten thalers are gone."

"It's simply from boredom," said the Princess.

"Of course it is. Such boredom, my dear, that one doesn't know what to do with oneself."

"How can you be bored, Prince? There's so much that's interesting now in Germany," said Marya Eugenyevna.

"But I know everything that's interesting: the plum soup I know and the pea sausages I know. I know everything."

"No, you may say what you like, Prince——there's the interest of their institutions," said the colonel.

"But what is there interesting? They're all as beaming with joy as brass halfpence; they've conquered everybody. And why am I to be pleased at that? I haven't conquered anyone; only I have myself to take off my own boots, and, besides, to expose them before the door; in the morning, get up and dress at once, and go to the coffeeroom to drink bad tea! How different it is at home! You get up in no haste, you get cross, grumble a little and come round again. You've time to think things over, and no hurry."

"But time's money, you forget that," said the colonel.

"Time, indeed! Why, there are times one would give a month of for half a rouble, and times you wouldn't give half an hour of for any money. Isn't that so, Katenka? What is it? Why are you so depressed?"

"I'm not depressed."

"Where are you off to? Stay a little longer," he said to Varenka.

"I must be going home," said Varenka, getting up, and again she broke out laughing. When she had recovered, she said good-by, and went into the house to get her hat.

Kitty followed her. Even Varenka struck her as different. She was not inferior, but different from what she had fancied her before.

"Oh, dear! It's a long while since I've laughed so much!" said Varenka, gathering up her parasol and her handbag. "What a dear your father is!"

Kitty did not speak.

"When shall I see you again?" asked Varenka.

"Maman meant to go and see the Petrovs. Won't you be there?" said Kitty, to try Varenka.

"Yes," answered Varenka. "They're getting ready to go away, so I promised to help them pack."

"Well, I'll come too, then."

"No, why should you?"

"Why not? Why not? Why not?" said Kitty, opening her eyes wide, and clutching at Varenka's parasol, so as not to let her go. "No, wait a minute——why not?"

"Oh, nothing; your father has come, and, besides, they will feel awkward at your helping."

"No, tell me why you don't want me to be often at the Petrovs? You don't want me to——why not?"

"I didn't say that," said Varenka quietly.

"No, please tell me!"

"Tell you everything?" asked Varenka.

"Everything, everything!" Kitty assented.

"Well, there's really nothing of any consequence; only that Mikhail Alexeievich" (that was the artist's name) "had meant to leave earlier, and now he doesn't want to go away," said Varenka, smiling.

"Go on, go on!" Kitty urged impatiently, looking somberly at Varenka.

"Well, and for some reason Anna Pavlovna told him that he didn't want to go because you are here. Of course, that was nonsense; but there was a dispute over it——over you. You know how irritable these sick people are."

Kitty, scowling more than ever, kept silent, and Varenka went on speaking alone, trying to soften or soothe her, and seeing a storm coming——she did not know whether of tears or of words.

"So you'd better not go... You understand; you won't be offended?..."

"And it serves me right! And it serves me right!" Kitty cried quickly, snatching the parasol out of Varenka's hand, and avoiding looking at her friend's face.

Varenka felt inclined to smile, looking at her friend's childish fury, but she was afraid of wounding her.

"How does it serve you right? I don't understand," she said.

"It serves me right, because it was all sham; because it was all done on purpose, and not from the heart. What business had I to interfere with outsiders? And so it's come about that I'm the cause of a quarrel, and that I've done what nobody asked me to do. Because it was all a sham! A sham! A sham!..."

"A sham? With what object?" said Varenka gently.

"Oh, it's so idiotic! So hateful! There was no need whatever for me... Nothing but sham!" she said, opening and shutting the parasol.

"But with what object?"

"To seem better to people, to myself, to God; to deceive everyone. No! Now I won't descend to that. One could be bad; but anyway not a liar, not a cheat."

"But who is a cheat?" said Varenka reproachfully. "You speak as if..."

But Kitty was in one of her gusts of fury, and she would not let her finish.

"I don't talk about you——not about you at all. You're perfection. Yes, yes, I know you're all perfection; but what am I to do if I'm bad? This would never have been if I weren't bad. So let me be what I am, but not to be a sham. What have I to do with Anna Pavlovna? Let them go their way, and me go mine. I can't be different.... And yet it's not that, it's not that."

"What is it?" asked Varenka in bewilderment.

"Everything. I can't act except from the heart, and you act from principle. I simply liked you, but you most likely only wanted to save me, to improve me."

"You are unjust," said Varenka.

"But I'm not speaking of other people, I'm speaking of myself."

"Kitty," they heard her mother's voice, "come here, show papa your necklace."

Kitty, with a haughty air, without making peace with her friend, took the necklace in a little box from the table and went to her mother.

"What's the matter? Why are you so red?" her mother and father said to her with one voice.

"Nothing," she answered. "I'll be back directly," and she ran back.

"She's still here," she thought. "What am I to say to her? Oh, dear! What have I done, what have I said? Why was I rude to her? What am I to do? What am I to say to her?" thought Kitty, and she stopped in the doorway.

Varenka in her hat and with the parasol in her hands was sitting at a table examining the parasol spring which Kitty had broken. She lifted her head.

"Varenka, forgive me, do forgive me," whispered Kitty, going up to her. "I don't remember what I said. I..."

"I really didn't mean to hurt you," said Varenka, smiling.

Peace was made. But with her father's coming all the world in which she had been living was transformed for Kitty. She did not give up everything she had learned, but she became aware that she had deceived herself in supposing she could be what she wanted to be. Her eyes were, it seemed, opened; she felt all the difficulty of maintaining herself without hypocrisy and self-conceit on the pinnacle to which she had wished to mount. Moreover, she became aware of all the dreariness of the world of sorrow, of sick and dying people, in which she had been living. The efforts she had made to like it seemed to her intolerable, and she felt a longing to get back quickly into the fresh air, to Russia, to Ergushovo, where, as she knew from letters, her sister Dolly had already gone with her children.

But her affection for Varenka did not wane. Parting Kitty begged her to come to them in Russia.

"I'll come when you get married," said Varenka.

"I shall never marry."

"Well, then, I shall never come."

"Well, then, I shall be married simply for that. Mind now, remember your promise," said Kitty.

The doctor's prediction was fulfilled. Kitty returned home, to Russia, cured. She was not as gay and thoughtless as before, but she was serene. Her Moscow troubles had become a memory to her.

PART THREE

I.

Sergei Ivanovich Koznishev wanted a rest from mental work, and instead of going abroad as he usually did, he came toward the end of May to stay in the country with his brother. In his judgment the best sort of life was a country life. He had come now to enjoy such a life at his brother's. Konstantin Levin was very glad to have him, especially as he did not expect his brother Nikolai that summer. But in spite of his affection and respect for Sergei Ivanovich, Konstantin Levin was uncomfortable with his brother in the country. It made him uncomfortable, and it even annoyed him, to see his brother's attitude to the country. To Konstantin Levin the country was the background of life——that is of pleasures, endeavors, labor; to Sergei Ivanovich the country meant on one hand rest from work, on the other a valuable antidote to laxness——an antidote which he took with satisfaction and a sense of its salutariness. To Konstantin Levin the country was good because it afforded a field for labor, of the usefulness of which there could be no doubt; to Sergei Ivanovich the country was particularly good, because there it was possible and fitting to do nothing. Moreover, Sergei Ivanovich's attitude toward "the people" rather piqued Konstantin. Sergei Ivanovich used to say that he knew and liked "the people," and he often talked to the peasants, which he knew how to do without affectation or condescension, and from every such conversation he would deduce general conclusions in favor of "the people" and in confirmation of his knowing them. Konstantin Levin did not like such an attitude toward "the people." To Konstantin "the people" was simply the chief partner in the common labor, and in spite of all the respect and the love, almost like that of kinship, he had for the peasant (sucked in probably, as he said himself, with the milk of his peasant nurse), Konstantin as a fellow worker with them, while sometimes enthusiastic over the vigor, gentleness, and justice of these men, was very often, when their common labors called for other qualities, exasperated with the peasant for his carelessness, slovenliness, drunkenness and lying. If he had been asked whether he liked or didn't like "the people," Konstantin Levin would have been absolutely at a loss what to reply. He liked and did not like "the people," just as he liked and did not like men in general. Of course, being a goodhearted man, he liked men more than he disliked them, and so too with "the people." But like or dislike "the people" as something peculiar he could not, not only because he lived with "the people," and all his interests were bound up with theirs, but also because he regarded himself as a part of "the people," did not see any peculiar qualities or failings distinguishing himself from "the people," and could not contrast himself with them. Moreover, although he had lived so long in the closest relations with the peasants, as farmer and arbitrator, and what was more, as adviser (the peasants trusted him, and for forty verstas round they would come to ask his advice), he had no definite views of "the people," and would have been as much at a loss to answer the question whether he knew "the people" as the question whether he liked them. For him to say he knew "the people" would have been the same as to say he knew men. He was continually watching and getting to know people of all sorts, and among them peasants, whom he regarded as good and interesting people, and he was continually observing new points in them, altering his former views of them and forming new ones.

With Sergei Ivanovich it was quite the contrary. Just as he liked and praised a country life in comparison with the life he did not like, so too he liked "the people" in contradistinction to the class of men he did not like, and so too he knew "the people" as something distinct from, and opposed to, men in general. In his methodical brain there were distinctly formulated certain aspects of peasant life, deduced partly from that life itself, but chiefly from contrast with other modes of life. He never changed his opinion of "the people" and his sympathetic attitude toward them.

In the discussions that arose between the brothers on their views of "the people," Sergei Ivanovich always got the better of his brother, precisely because Sergei Ivanovich had definite ideas about the peasant——his character, his qualities, and his tastes; Konstantin Levin had no definite and unalterable idea on the subject, and so in their arguments Konstantin was readily convicted of contradicting himself.

In Sergei Ivanovich's eyes his younger brother was a capital fellow, with his heart in the right place (as he expressed it in French), but with a mind which, though fairly quick, was too much influenced by the impressions of the moment, and consequently filled with contradictions. With all the condescension of an elder brother he sometimes explained to him the true import of things, but he derived little satisfaction from arguing with him because he got the better of him too easily.

Konstantin Levin regarded his brother as a man of immense intellect and culture, as generous in the highest sense of the word, and possessed of a special faculty for working for the public good. But in the depths of his heart, the older he became, and the more intimately he knew his brother, the more and more frequently the thought struck him that this faculty of working for the public good, of which he felt himself utterly devoid, was possibly not so much a quality as a lack of something——not a lack of good, honest, noble desires and tastes, but a lack of vital force, of what is called heart, of that impulse which drives a man to choose some one out of the innumerable paths of life, and to care only for that one. The better he knew his brother, the more he noticed that Sergei Ivanovich, and many other people who worked for the public welfare, were not led by any impulse of the heart to care for the public good, but reasoned from intellectual considerations that it was a right thing to take an interest in public affairs, and consequently took an interest in them. Levin was confirmed in this conjecture by observing that his brother did not take questions affecting the public welfare or the question of the immortality of the soul a bit more to heart than he did chess problems, or the ingenious construction of a new machine.

Besides this, Konstantin Levin was not at his ease with his brother, because in the country, especially in summertime, Levin was continually busy with work on the land, and the long summer day was not long enough for him to get through all he had to do, while Sergei Ivanovich was merely taking a holiday. But though he was taking a holiday now——that is to say, he was doing no writing——he was so used to intellectual activity that he liked to put into concise and eloquent shape the ideas that occurred to him, and liked to have someone listen to him. His most usual and natural listener was his brother. And so, in spite of the friendliness and directness of their relations, Konstantin felt an awkwardness in leaving him alone. Sergei Ivanovich liked to stretch himself on the grass in the sun, and to lie so, basking and chatting lazily.

"You wouldn't believe," he would say to his brother, "what a pleasure this rural laziness is to me. Not an idea in one's brain—— as empty as a drum!"

But Konstantin Levin found it dull sitting and listening to him, especially when he knew that while he was away manure would be carted into fields not plowed ready for it, and heaped up God knows how; and the shares in the plows would not be screwed in, so that they would come off, and then his men would say the new plows were a silly invention, and there was nothing like the old wooden plow, and so on.

"Come, you've done enough trudging about in the heat," Sergei Ivanovich would say to him.

"No, I must just run round to the countinghouse for a minute," Levin would answer, and would run off to the fields.

II.

Early in June Agathya Mikhailovna, the old nurse and housekeeper, in carrying to the cellar a jar of mushrooms she had just pickled, happened to slip, fall and sprain her wrist. The district doctor, a talkative young medico who had just finished his studies, came to see her. He examined the wrist, said it was not luxated, bandaged it, and being asked to dinner evidently was delighted at a chance of talking to the celebrated Sergei Ivanovich Koznishev, and to show his advanced views of things told him all the scandal of the district, complaining of the poor state into which the Zemstvo affairs had fallen. Sergei Ivanovich listened attentively, asked him questions, and, roused by a new listener, he talked fluently, uttered a few keen and weighty observations, respectfully appreciated by the young doctor, and was soon in that animated frame of mind his brother knew so well, which always, with him, followed a brilliant and animated conversation. After the departure of the doctor, he wanted to go with a fishing rod to the river. Sergei Ivanovich was fond of angling, and was, it seemed, proud of being able to care for such a stupid occupation.

Konstantin Levin, whose presence was needed in the plowland and the meadows, had come to take his brother in the cabriolet.

It was that time of the year, the turning point of summer, when the crops of the present year are a certainty, when one begins to think of the sowing for next year, and the mowing is at hand; when the rye is all in ear, though its ears are still light, not yet full, and it waves in gray-green billows in the wind; when the green oats, with tufts of yellow grass scattered here and there among it, droop irregularly over the late-sown fields; when the early buckwheat is already out and hiding the ground; when the fallow lands, trodden hard as stone by the cattle, are half-plowed over, with paths left untouched by the plow; when the odor from the dry manure heaps carted into the fields mingles at sunset with the smell of meadowsweet, and on the low-lying lands the preserved meadows are a thick sea of grass waiting for the mowing, with blackened heaps of sorrel stalks among it.

It was the time when there comes a brief pause in the toil of the fields before the beginning of the labors of harvest——every year recurring, every year claiming all the peasant's thews. The crop was a splendid one, and bright, hot summer days had set in with short, dewy nights.

The brothers had to drive through the woods to reach the meadows. Sergei Ivanovich was all the while admiring the beauty of the woods, which were a tangled mass of leaves, pointing out to his brother now an old lime tree on the point of flowering, dark on the shady side, and brightly spotted with yellow stipules, now the young shoots of this year's saplings brilliant with emerald. Konstantin Levin did not like talking and hearing about the beauty of nature. Words for him took away the beauty of what he saw. He assented to what his brother said, but could not help thinking of other things. When they came out of the woods, all his attention was engrossed by the view of the fallow land on the upland, in parts yellow with grass, in parts trampled and checkered with furrows, in parts dotted with ridges of manure, and in parts even plowed. A string of telegas was moving across it. Levin counted the telegas, and was pleased that all that were wanted had been brought, and at the sight of the meadows his thoughts passed to the mowing. He always felt something peculiar moving him to the quick at haymaking. On reaching the meadow Levin stopped the horse.

The morning dew was still lying on the thick undergrowth of the grass, and, that he might not get his feet wet, Sergei Ivanovich asked his brother to drive him in the cabriolet up to the willow tree from which the perch were caught. Sorry as Konstantin Levin was to crush down his mowing grass, he drove him into the meadow. The high grass softly turned about the wheels and the horse's legs, leaving its seeds clinging to the wet axles and spokes of the wheels.

His brother seated himself under a bush, arranging his tackle, while Levin led the horse away, tied him up and walked into the vast gray-green sea of grass unstirred by the wind. The silky grass with its ripe seeds came almost to his waist in the riverside spots.

Crossing the meadow, Konstantin Levin came out on the road, and met an old man with a swollen eye, carrying a swarming basket with bees.

"What? Taken a stray swarm, Fomich?" he asked.

"No, indeed, Konstantin Mitrich! All we can do to keep our own! This is the second new swarm that has flown away.... Luckily the lads caught them. They were plowing your field. They unyoked the horses and galloped after them."

"Well, what do you say, Fomich——start mowing or wait a bit?"

"Well, now! Our way's to wait till St. Peter's Day. But you always mow sooner. Well, to be sure, please God, the hay's good. There'll be plenty for the beasts."

"What do you think about the weather?"

"That's in God's hands. Maybe even the weather will favor us."

Levin walked up to his brother.

Sergei Ivanovich had caught nothing, but he was not bored, and seemed in the most cheerful frame of mind. Levin saw that, stimulated by his conversation with the doctor, he wanted to talk. Levin, on the other hand, would have liked to get home as soon as possible, to give orders about getting together the mowers for next day, and to set at rest his doubts about the mowing, which greatly absorbed him.

"Well, let's be going," he said.

"Why be in such a hurry? Let's stay a little. But how wet you are! Even though one catches nothing, it's fine. That's the best thing about every part of sport, that one has to do with nature. How exquisite this steely water is!" said Sergei Ivanovich. "These riverside banks always remind me of the riddle——do you know it? 'The grass says to the river: we quiver and we quiver.'"

"I don't know the riddle," answered Levin cheerlessly.

III.

"Do you know I've been thinking about you," said Sergei Ivanovich. "It's beyond everything what's being done in the district, according to what this doctor tells me. He's a very intelligent fellow. And as I've told you before, I tell you again: it's not right for you not to go to the meetings, and to keep out of the Zemstvo affairs entirely. If decent people won't go into it, of course it's bound to go all wrong. We pay the money, and it all goes in salaries, and there are no schools, nor district dressers, nor midwives, nor pharmacies—— nothing."

"Well, I did try, you know," Levin said gently and unwillingly. "I can't! And so there's no help for it."

"But why can't you? I must own I can't make it out. Indifference, incapacity——I won't admit; surely it's not simply laziness?"

"None of those things. I've tried, and I see I can do nothing," said Levin.

He had hardly grasped what his brother was saying. Looking toward the plowland across the river, he made out something black, but he could not distinguish whether it was a horse or the bailiff on horseback.

"Why is it you can do nothing? You made an attempt and didn't succeed, as you think, and you give in. How can you have so little ambition?"

"Ambition!" said Levin, stung to the quick by his brother's words; "I don't understand. If they'd told me at college that other people understood the integral calculus, and I didn't, then ambition would have come in. But in this case one wants first to be convinced that one has certain abilities for this sort of business, and especially that all this business is of great importance."

"What! Do you mean to say it's not of importance?" said Sergei Ivanovich, stung to the quick in his turn by his brother's considering of no importance anything that interested him, and still more at his obviously paying little attention to what he was saying.

"I don't think it important; it does not take hold of me——I can't help it," answered Levin, making out that what he saw was the bailiff, and that the bailiff seemed to be letting the peasants go off the plowed land. They were turning the plow over. "Can they have finished plowing?" he wondered.

"Come, really though," said the elder brother, with a frown on his handsome, clever face, "there's a limit to everything. It's very well to be original and genuine, and to dislike everything hypocritical——I know all about that; but really, what you're saying either has no meaning, or it has a very wrong meaning. How can you think it a matter of no importance whether 'the people,' whom you love as you assert..."

"I never did assert it," thought Konstantin Levin.

"...die without help? The ignorant peasant women starve the children, and the people stagnate in darkness, and are helpless in the hands of every village clerk, while you have at your disposal a means of helping them, and don't help them because to your mind it's of no importance!"

And Sergei Ivanovich put before him the dilemma: Either you are so undeveloped that you can't see all that you can do, or you won't sacrifice your ease, your vanity, or whatever it is, to do it.

Konstantin Levin felt that there was no course open to him but to submit, or to confess to a lack of zeal for the public good. And this mortified him and hurt his feelings.

"It's both," he said resolutely; "I don't see that it is possible..."

"What! Is it impossible, if the money were properly laid out, to provide medical aid?"

"Impossible, as it seems to me.... For the four thousand square verstas of our district, what with our undersnow waters, and the storms, and the work in the fields, I don't see how it is possible to provide medical aid all over. And besides, I don't believe in medicine."

"Oh, well, that's unfair.... I can quote to you thousands of instances.... But the schools, at least?"

"Why have schools?"

"What do you mean? Can there be two opinions of the advantage of education? If it's a good thing for you, it's a good thing for everyone."

Konstantin Levin felt himself morally pinned against a wall, and so he became heated, and unconsciously blurted out the chief cause of his indifference to public business.

"Perhaps it may all be very good; but why should I worry myself about establishing dispensaries which I shall never make use of, and schools to which I shall never send my children, to which even the peasants don't want to send their children, and to which I've no very firm faith that they ought to send them?" said he.

Sergei Ivanovich was for a minute surprised at this unexpected view of the subject; but he promptly made a new plan of attack.

He was silent for a little, drew out a hook, threw it in again, and turned to his brother smiling.

"Come, now.... In the first place, the dispensary is needed. We ourselves sent for the district doctor for Agathya Mikhailovna."

"Oh, well, but I fancy her wrist will never be straight again."

"That remains to be proved.... Next, the peasant who can read and write is as a workman of more use and value to you."

"No; you can ask anyone you like," Konstantin Levin answered with decision, "the man that can read and write is much inferior as a workman. And mending the highroads is an impossibility; and as soon as they put up bridges they're stolen."

"Still, that's not the point," said Sergei Ivanovich, frowning. He disliked contradiction, and still more, arguments that were continually skipping from one thing to another, introducing new and disconnected points, so that there was no knowing to which to reply. "Let me say. Do you admit that education is a benefit for the people?"

"Yes, I admit it," said Levin without thinking, and he was conscious immediately that he had said what he did not think. He felt that if he admitted that, it would be proved that he had been talking meaningless rubbish. How it would be proved he could not tell, but he knew that this would inevitably be logically proved to him, and he awaited the proofs.

The argument turned out to be far simpler than Konstantin Levin had expected.

"If you admit that it is a benefit," said Sergei Ivanovich, "then, as an honest man, you cannot help caring about it and sympathizing with the movement, and so wishing to work for it."

"But I still do not admit this movement to be good," said Konstantin Levin, reddening.

"What! But you just said now..."

"That's to say, I don't admit it's being either good or possible."

"That you can't tell without making the trial."

"Well, supposing that is so," said Levin, though he did not suppose so at all, "supposing that is so, still I don't see, all the same, why I should worry myself about it."

"How so?"

"No; since we are talking, explain it to me from the philosophical point of view," said Levin.

"I can't see where philosophy comes in," said Sergei Ivanovich, in a tone, Levin fancied, as though he did not admit his brother's right to talk about philosophy. And that irritated Levin.

"I'll tell you, then," he said with heat, "I imagine the mainspring of all our actions is, after all, self-interest. Now in the Zemstvo institutions I, as a nobleman, see nothing that could conduce to my prosperity. The roads are not better and could not be better; my horses carry me well enough over bad ones. Doctors and dispensaries are of no use to me. A justice of the peace is of no use to me——I never appeal to him, and never shall appeal to him. The schools are of no good to me, but positively harmful, as I told you. For me the Zemstvo institutions simply mean the liability of paying eighteen kopecks for every dessiatina, of driving into the town, sleeping with bedbugs, and listening to all sorts of idiocy and blather, and self-interest offers me no inducement."

"Excuse me," Sergei Ivanovich interposed with a smile, "self-interest did not induce us to work for the emancipation of the serfs, yet we did work for it."

"No!" Konstantin Levin broke in with still greater heat; "the emancipation of the serfs was a different matter. There self-interest did come in. One longed to throw off that yoke that crushed us——all the decent people among us. But to be a member of the Zemstvo and discuss how many street cleaners are needed, and how sewers shall be constructed in the town in which I don't live——to serve on a jury and try a peasant who has stolen a flitch of bacon, and listen for six hours at a stretch to all sorts of jabber from the counsel for the defense and the prosecution, and the president cross-examining my old simpleton Alioshka: 'Do you admit, prisoner at the bar, the fact of the removal of the bacon'——'Eh?'"

Konstantin Levin had warmed to his subject, and began mimicking the president and the half-witted Alioshka: it seemed to him that it was all to the point.

But Sergei Ivanovich shrugged his shoulders.

"Well, what do you mean to say, then?"

"I simply mean to say that those rights that touch me... my interest, I shall always defend to the best of my ability; that when raids were made on us students, and the police read our letters, I was ready to defend those rights to the utmost, to defend my rights to education and freedom. I can understand compulsory military service, which affects my children, my brothers, and myself——I am ready to deliberate on what concerns me; but deliberating on how to spend forty thousand roubles of Zemstvo's money, or judging the half-witted Alioshka——that I don't understand, and I can't do it."

Konstantin Levin spoke as though the floodgates of his speech had burst open. Sergei Ivanovich smiled.

"But tomorrow it'll be your turn to be tried; would it have suited your tastes better to be tried in the old criminal court?"

"I'm not going to be tried. I shan't murder anybody, and I've no need of it. Well, I tell you what," he went on, flying off again to a subject quite beside the point, "our district self-government and all the rest of it——it's just like the birch saplings we stick in the ground, as we would do it on Trinity Day, to look like a copse which has grown up of itself in Europe, and I can't gush over these birch saplings and believe in them."

Sergei Ivanovich merely shrugged his shoulders, as though to express his wonder how the birch saplings had come into their argument at that point, though he did really understand at once what his brother meant.

"Excuse me, but you know one really can't argue in that way," he observed.

But Konstantin Levin wanted to justify himself for the failing, of which he was conscious, of a lack of zeal for the public welfare, and he went on.

"I imagine," Konstantin said, "that no sort of activity is likely to be lasting if it is not founded on self-interest——that's a universal principle, a philosophical principle," he said, repeating the word "philosophical" with determination, as though wishing to show that he had as much right as anyone else to talk of philosophy.

Sergei Ivanovich smiled. "He too has a philosophy of his own at the service of his natural tendencies," he thought.

"Come, you'd better let philosophy alone," he said. "The chief problem of the philosophy of all ages consists precisely in finding that indispensable connection which exists between individual and social interests. But that's not to the point; what is to the point is a correction I must make in your comparison. The birches are not simply stuck in, but some are sown and some are planted, and one must deal carefully with them. It's only those peoples that have an intuitive sense of what's of importance and significance in their institutions, and know how to value them, who have a future before them——it's only those peoples that one can truly call historical."

And Sergei Ivanovich carried the subject into the regions of philosophical history where Konstantin Levin could not follow him, and showed him all the incorrectness of his outlook.

"As for your dislike of it——excuse my saying so——that's simply our Russian sloth and old serfowners' ways, and I'm convinced that in you it's a temporary error and will pass."

Konstantin was silent. He felt himself vanquished on all sides, but he felt at the same time that what he wanted to say was unintelligible to his brother. Only he could not make up his mind whether it was unintelligible because he was not capable of expressing his meaning clearly, or because his brother would not or could not understand him. But he did not pursue the speculation, and, without replying, he fell to musing on a quite different and personal matter.

Sergei Ivanovich wound up the last line, unhitched the horse, and they drove off.

IV.

The personal matter that absorbed Levin during his conversation with his brother was this. Once, the year previous, he had gone to look at the mowing, and being made very angry by the bailiff he had had recourse to his favorite means for regaining his temper——he had taken a scythe from a peasant and begun mowing.

He liked the work so much that he had several times tried his hand at mowing since. He had cut the whole of the meadow in front of his house, and this year, ever since the early spring, he had cherished a plan for mowing for whole days together with the peasants. Ever since his brother's arrival he had been in doubt as to whether to mow or not. He was loath to leave his brother alone all day long, and he was afraid his brother would laugh at him about it. But as he drove into the meadow, and recalled the sensations of mowing, he came near deciding that he would go mowing. After the irritating discussion with his brother, he pondered over this intention again.

"I must have physical exercise, or my temper'll certainly be ruined," he thought, and he determined he would go mowing, however awkward he might feel about it with his brother or the peasants.

Toward evening Konstantin Levin went to his countinghouse, gave directions as to the work to be done, and sent about the village to summon the mowers for the morrow, to cut the hay in Kalinov meadow, the largest and best of his grasslands.

"And send my scythe, please, to Tit, for him to set it, and bring it round tomorrow. I may do some mowing myself, too," he said, trying not to be embarrassed.

The bailiff smiled and said:

"Yes, sir."

At tea the same evening Levin said to his brother too.

"I fancy the fine weather will last," said he. "Tomorrow I shall start mowing."

"I'm so fond of that form of field labor," said Sergei Ivanovich.

"I'm awfully fond of it. I sometimes mow myself with the peasants, and tomorrow I want to try mowing the whole day."

Sergei Ivanovich lifted his head, and looked with curiosity at his brother.

"How do you mean? Just like one of the peasants, all day long?"

"Yes, it's very pleasant," said Levin.

"It's splendid as exercise, only you'll hardly be able to stand it," said Sergei Ivanovich, without a shade of irony.

"I've tried it. It's hard work at first, but you get into it. I dare say I shall manage to keep it up...."

"Oh, so that's it! But tell me, how do the peasants look at it? I suppose they laugh in their sleeves at their master's being such a queer fish?"

"No, I don't think so; but it's so delightful, and at the same time such hard work, that one has no time to think about it."

"But how will you do about dining with them? To send you a bottle of Lafitte and roast turkey out there would be a little awkward."

"No, I'll simply come home at the time of their noonday rest."

Next morning Konstantin Levin got up earlier than usual, but he was detained giving directions on the farm, and when he reached the mowing grass the mowers were already at their second swath.

From the uplands he could get a view of the shaded cut part of the meadow below, with the grayish swaths and the black heaps of coats, taken off by the mowers at the place from which they had started cutting.

Gradually, as he rode toward the meadow, the peasants came into sight, some in coats, some in their shirts, mowing, one behind another in a long string, each swinging his scythe in his own way. He counted forty-two of them.

They were mowing slowly over the uneven, low-lying parts of the meadow, where there had been an old dam. Levin recognized some of his own men. Here was old Iermil in a very long white smock, bending forward to swing a scythe; there was a young fellow, Vaska, who had been a coachman of Levin's, taking every swath with a wide sweep. Here, too, was Tit, Levin's preceptor in the art of mowing, a thin little peasant. He went on ahead, and cut his wide swath without bending, as though playing with his scythe.

Levin got off his mare, and fastening her up by the roadside went to meet Tit, who took a second scythe out of a bush and gave it him.

"It's ready, sir; it's like a razor——it cuts of itself," said Tit, taking off his cap with a smile and giving him the scythe.

Levin took the scythe, and began trying it. As they finished their swaths, the mowers, hot and good-humored, came out into the road one after another, and smirking, greeted the master. They all stared at him, but no one made any remark, till a tall old man, with a wrinkled, beardless face, wearing a short sheepskin jacket, came out into the road and accosted him.

"Look'ee now, master, once take hold of the rope, there's no letting go!" he said, and Levin heard smothered laughter among the mowers.

"I'll try not to let it go," he said, taking his stand behind Tit, and waiting for the time to begin.

"Mind'ee," repeated the old man.

Tit made room, and Levin started behind him. The grass was short close to the road, and Levin, who had not done any mowing for a long while, and was disconcerted by the eyes fastened upon him, cut badly for the first moments, though he swung his scythe vigorously. Behind him he heard voices:

"It's not set right; handle's too high; see how he has to stoop to it," said one.

"Press more on the heel of the scythe," said another.

"Never mind, he'll get on all right," the old man resumed. "See, he's made a start.... You swing it too wide, you'll tire yourself out.... The master, sure, does his best for himself! But see the grass missed out! For such work us fellows would catch it!"

The grass became lusher, and Levin, listening without answering, followed Tit, trying to do the best he could. They moved a hundred paces. Tit kept moving on, without stopping, nor showing the slightest weariness, but Levin was already beginning to fear he would not be able to keep it up——so tired was he.

He felt as he swung his scythe that he was at the very end of his strength, and was making up his mind to ask Tit to stop. But at that very moment Tit stopped of his own accord, and, stooping down, picked up some grass, rubbed his scythe, and began whetting it. Levin straightened himself, and drawing a deep breath looked round. Behind him came a peasant, and he too was evidently tired, for he stopped at once without waiting to mow up to Levin, and began whetting his scythe. Tit sharpened his scythe and Levin's, and they went on.

The next time it was just the same. Tit moved on with sweep after sweep of his scythe, without stopping or showing signs of weariness. Levin followed him, trying not to get left behind, and he found it harder and harder: the moment came when he felt he had no strength left, but at that very moment Tit stopped and whetted the scythes.

So they mowed the first row. And this long row seemed particularly hard work to Levin; but when the end was reached, and Tit, shouldering his scythe, began with deliberate stride returning on the tracks left by his heels in the cut grass, and Levin walked back in the same way over the space he had cut, in spite of the sweat that ran in streams over his face and fell in drops down his nose, and drenched his back as though he had been soaked in water, he felt very happy. What delighted him particularly was that now he knew he would be able to hold out.

His pleasure was only disturbed by his swath not being well cut. "I will swing less with my arm and more with my whole body," he thought, comparing Tit's swath, which looked as if it had been cut along a surveyor's cord, with his own scattered and irregularly lying grass.

The first swath, as Levin noticed, Tit had mowed especially quickly, probably wishing to put his master to the test, and the swath happened to be a long one. The next swaths were easier, but still Levin had to strain every nerve not to drop behind the peasants.

He thought of nothing, wished for nothing, save not to be left behind the peasants, and to do his work as well as possible. He heard nothing save the swish of scythes, and saw before him Tit's upright figure mowing away, the crescent-shaped curve of the cut grass, the grass and flowers slowly and rhythmically falling before the blade of his scythe, and ahead of him the end of the swath, where would come the rest.

Suddenly, in the midst of his toil, without understanding what it was or whence it came, he felt a pleasant sensation of chill on his hot, moist shoulders. He glanced at the sky in the interval for whetting the scythes. A heavy, lowering storm cloud had blown up, and big raindrops were falling. Some of the peasants went to their coats and put them on; others——just like Levin himself——merely shrugged their shoulders, enjoying the pleasant coolness of it.

Another swath, and yet another swath followed——long swaths and short swaths, with good grass and with poor grass. Levin lost all sense of time, and could not have told whether it were late or early now. A change began to come over his work, which gave him immense satisfaction. In the midst of his toil there were moments during which he forgot what he was doing, and it all came easy to him, and at those same moments his swath was almost as smooth and well cut as Tit's. But as soon as he recollected what he was doing, and began trying to do better, he was at once conscious of all the difficulty of his task, and the swath was badly mown.

On finishing yet another swath he would have gone back to the top of the meadow again to begin the next, but Tit stopped, and going up to the old man said something in a low voice to him. They both looked at the sun. "What are they talking about, and why doesn't he go back?" thought Levin, without guessing that the peasants had been mowing no less than four hours without stopping, and that it was time for their lunch.

"Lunch, sir," said the old man.

"Is it really time? Lunch it is, then."

Levin gave his scythe to Tit, and, together with the peasants, who were crossing the long stretch of mown grass, slightly sprinkled with rain, to get their bread from the heap of coats, he went toward his horse. Only then did he suddenly awake to the fact that he had been wrong about the weather and that the rain was drenching his hay.

"The hay will be spoiled," he said.

"Not a bit of it, sir; mow in the rain, and you'll rake in fine weather!" said the old man.

Levin untied his horse and rode home to his coffee.

Sergei Ivanovich was just getting up. When he had drunk his coffee, Levin rode back again to the mowing before Sergei Ivanovich had had time to dress and come down to the dining room.

V.

After lunch Levin was not in the same place in the string of mowers as before, but stood between the old man who had accosted him jocosely, and now invited him to be his neighbor, and a young peasant, who had only been married in the autumn, and who was mowing this summer for the first time.

The old man, holding himself erect, moved in front, with his feet turned out, taking long, regular strides, and with a precise and regular action which seemed to cost him no more effort than swinging one's arms in walking, as though it were in play, he laid down the high, even swath of grass. It was as though it were not he but the sharp scythe of itself swishing through the juicy grass.

Behind Levin came the lad Mishka. His comely, youthful face, with a twist of fresh grass bound round his hair, was all working with effort; but whenever anyone looked at him he smiled. He would clearly have died sooner than own it was hard work for him.

Levin kept between them. In the very heat of the day the mowing did not seem such hard work to him. The perspiration with which he was drenched cooled him, while the sun, that burned his back, his head, and his arms, bare to the elbow, gave a vigor and dogged energy to his labor; and more and more often now came those moments of unconsciousness, when it was possible not to think of what one was doing. The scythe cut of itself. These were happy moments. Still more delightful were the moments when they reached the stream where the swaths ended, and the old man rubbed his scythe with the wet, thick grass, rinsed its blade in the fresh water of the stream, ladled out a little in a whetstone case, and offered Levin a drink.

"What do you say to my kvass, eh? Good, eh?" he would say, winking.

And truly Levin had never drunk any liquor as good as this warm water with green bits floating in it, and a taste of rust from the tin whetstone case. And immediately after this came the delicious, slow saunter, with his hand on the scythe, during which he could wipe away the streaming sweat, take deep breaths of air, and look about at the long string of mowers, and at what was happening around in the forest and the field.

The longer Levin mowed, the oftener he felt the moments of unconsciousness in which it seemed that it was not his hands which swung the scythe, but that the scythe was moving together with itself a body full of life and consciousness of its own; and as though by magic, without thinking of it, the work turned out regular and well-finished of itself. These were the most blissful moments.

It was only hard work when he had to break off the motion, which had become unconscious, and to think; when he had to mow round a hummock or an unweeded tuft of sorrel. The old man did this easily. When a hummock came he changed his action, and at one time with the heel, and at another with the tip of his scythe, clipped the hummock round both sides with short strokes. And while he did this he kept looking about and watching what came into his view: at one moment he picked a wild berry and ate it or offered it to Levin, then he flung away a twig with the blade of the scythe, then he looked at a quail's nest, from which the bird flew just under the scythe, or caught a snake that crossed his path, and lifting it on the scythe as though on a fork showed it to Levin and threw it away.

For both Levin and the young peasant behind him, such changes of position were difficult. Both of them, repeating over and over again the same strained movement, were in a perfect frenzy of toil, and were incapable of shifting their position and at the same time watching what was before them.

Levin did not notice how time was passing. If he had been asked how long he had been working he would have said half an hour——yet it was getting on to dinnertime. As they were walking back over the cut grass, the old man called Levin's attention to the little girls and boys who were coming from different directions, hardly visible through the long grass, and along the road toward the mowers, carrying sacks of bread that stretched their little arms, and lugging small pitchers of kvass, stopped up with rags.

"Look'ee at the little doodlebugs crawling!" he said, pointing to them, and he shaded his eyes with his hand to look at the sun.

They mowed two more swaths; the old man stopped.

"Come, master, dinnertime!" he said decidedly. And on reaching the stream the mowers moved off across the swaths toward their pile of coats, where the children who had brought their dinners were sitting waiting for them. The peasants gathered——those who came from afar under their telegas, those who lived near under a willow bush, covered with grass.

Levin sat down by them; he felt disinclined to go away.

All constraint with the master had disappeared long ago. The peasants got ready for dinner. Some washed, the young lads bathed in the stream, others made a place comfortable for a rest, untied their sacks of bread, and uncovered the pitchers of kvass. The old man crumbled up some bread in a cup, stirred it with the handle of a spoon, poured water on it from his whetstone case, broke up some more bread, and having seasoned it with salt, he turned to the east to say his prayer.

"Come, master, taste my sop," said he, kneeling down before the cup.

The sop was so good that Levin gave up the idea of going home for dinner. He ate with the old man, and talked to him about his family affairs, taking the keenest interest in them, and told him about his own affairs and all the circumstances that could be of interest to the old man. He felt much nearer to him than to his brother, and could not help smiling at the affection he felt for this man. When the old man got up again, said his prayer, and lay down under a bush, putting some grass under his head for a pillow, Levin did the same, and, in spite of the clinging flies that were so persistent in the sunshine, and the midges that tickled his hot face and body, he fell asleep at once and only waked when the sun had passed to the other side of the bush and reached him. The old man had been awake a long while, and was sitting up whetting the scythes of the younger lads.

Levin looked about him and hardly recognized the place, everything was so changed. The immense stretch of meadow had been mown and was sparkling with a peculiar fresh brilliance, with its lines of already sweet-smelling grass in the slanting rays of the evening sun. And the bushes about the river, mowed around, and the river itself, not visible before, now gleaming, like steel in its bends, and the moving, ascending peasants, and the sharp wall of grass of the unmown part of the meadow, and the hawks hovering over the stripped meadow——all was perfectly new. Raising himself, Levin began considering how much had been cut and how much more could still be done that day.

The work done was exceptionally great for forty-two men. They had cut the whole of the big meadow, which had, in the years of corvee, taken thirty scythes two days to mow. Only the corners remained to do, where the swaths were short. But Levin felt a longing to get as much mowing done that day as possible, and was vexed with the sun sinking so quickly in the sky. He felt no weariness; all he wanted was to get his work done more and more quickly, and as much of it as possible.

"Could we cut the Mashkin Upland too?——what do you think?" he said to the old man.

"As God wills——the sun's not high. A little vodka for the lads?"

At the afternoon rest, when they were sitting down again, and those who smoked had lighted their pipes, the old man told the men that "the Mashkin Upland's to be cut——there'll be vodka."

"Why not cut it? Come on, Tit! We'll look sharp! We can eat at night. Come on!" voices cried out, and eating up their bread, the mowers went back to work.

"Come, lads, keep it up!" said Tit, and ran on ahead almost at a trot.

"Get along, get along!" said the old man, hurrying after him and easily overtaking him, "I'll mow thee down, look out!"

And young and old mowed away, as though they were racing with one another. But however fast they worked, they did not spoil the grass, and the swaths were laid just as neatly and exactly. The little piece left uncut in the corner was mown in five minutes. The last of the mowers were just ending their swaths while the foremost snatched up their coats onto their shoulders, and crossed the road toward the Mashkin Upland.

The sun was already sinking among the trees when they went with their jingling whetstone cases into the wooded ravine of the Mashkin Upland. The grass was up to their waists in the middle of the hollow, lush, tender, and feathery, spotted here and there among the trees with wild heartsease.

After a brief consultation——whether to take the swaths lengthwise or diagonally——Prokhor Iermilin, also a doughty mower, a huge, black-haired peasant, went on ahead. He went up to the top, turned back again and started mowing, and they all proceeded to form in line behind him, going downhill through the hollow and uphill right up to the edge of the forest. The sun sank behind the forest. The dew was falling by now; the mowers were in the sun only on the hillside, but below, where a mist was rising, and on the opposite side, they mowed into the fresh, dewy shade. The work went rapidly.

The spicily fragrant grass cut with a succulent sound, was at once laid in high swaths. The mowers from all sides, brought closer together in the short swath, kept urging one another on to the sound of jingling whetstone cases, and clanging scythes, and the hiss of the whetstones sharpening them, and good-humored shouts.

Levin still kept between the young peasant and the old man. The old man, who had put on his short sheepskin jacket, was just as good-humored, jocose, and free in his movements. Among the trees they were continually cutting with their scythes the so-called "birch mushrooms," swollen fat in the succulent grass. But the old man bent down every time he came across a mushroom, picked it up and put it in his bosom. "Another present for my old woman," he would say as he did so.

Easy as it was to mow the wet, lush grass, it was hard work going up and down the steep sides of the ravine. But this did not trouble the old man. Swinging his scythe just as ever, and moving his feet in their big, plaited bast sandals, with firm short steps, he climbed slowly up the steep place, and though his breeches hanging out below his smock, and his whole frame, trembled with effort, he did not miss one blade of grass or one mushroom on his way, and kept making jokes with the peasants and Levin. Levin walked after him and often thought he must fall, as he climbed with a scythe up a steep hillock, where it would have been hard work to clamber even without the scythe. But he climbed up and did what he had to do. He felt as though some external force were moving him.

VI.

The Mashkin Upland was mown, the last swaths finished, the peasants had put on their coats and were gaily trudging home. Levin got on his horse, and, parting regretfully from the peasants, rode homeward. On the hillside he looked back; he could not see them in the mist that had risen from the valley; he could only hear their rough, good-humored voices, their laughter, and the sound of clanking scythes.

Sergei Ivanovich had long ago finished dinner, and was drinking iced lemonade in his own room, looking through the reviews and papers which he had just received by post, when Levin rushed into the room, talking merrily, with his wet and matted hair sticking to his forehead, and his back and chest grimed and moist.

"We mowed the whole meadow! Oh, it is fine, wonderful! And how have you been getting on?" said Levin, completely forgetting the disagreeable conversation of the previous day.

"Dear me! What you look like!" said Sergei Ivanovich, for the first moment looking round with some dissatisfaction. "And the door—— do shut the door!" he cried. "You must have let in a dozen at least."

Sergei Ivanovich could not endure flies, and in his own room he never opened the window except at night, and carefully kept the door shut.

"Not one, on my honor. But if I have, I'll catch them. You wouldn't believe what a pleasure mowing is! How have you spent the day?"

"Very well. But have you really been mowing the whole day? I expect you're as hungry as a wolf. Kouzma has got everything ready for you."

"No, I don't feel hungry even. I had something to eat there. But I'll go and wash."

"Yes, go along, go along, and I'll come to you directly," said Sergei Ivanovich, shaking his head as he looked at his brother. "Go along, make haste," he added smiling, and, gathering up his books, he prepared to go too. He, too, felt suddenly good-humored and disinclined to leave his brother's side. "But what did you do while it was raining?"

"Rain? Why, there was scarcely a drop. I'll come directly. So you had a good day too? That's first-rate." And Levin went off to change his clothes.

Five minutes later the brothers met in the dining room. Although it seemed to Levin that he was not hungry, and he sat down to dinner simply so as not to hurt Kouzma's feelings, yet when he began to eat the dinner struck him as extraordinarily good. Sergei Ivanovich watched him with a smile.

"Oh, by the way, there's a letter for you," said he. "Kouzma, bring it from below, please. And mind you shut the doors."

The letter was from Oblonsky. Levin read it aloud. Oblonsky wrote to him from Peterburg: "I have had a letter from Dolly; she's at Ergushovo, and everything seems going wrong there. Do ride over and see her, please; help her with advice; you know all about it. She will be so glad to see you. She's quite alone, poor thing. My mother-in-law and all of them are still abroad."

"That's capital! I will certainly ride over to her," said Levin. "Or we'll go together. She's such a good woman, isn't she?"

"They're not far from here, then?"

"Thirty verstas. Or perhaps forty. But a capital road. It will be a capital drive."

"I shall be delighted," said Sergei Ivanovich, still smiling.

The sight of his younger brother's appearance had immediately put him in a good humor.

"Well, you have an appetite!" he said, looking at his dark-red, sunburned face and neck bent over the plate.

"Splendid! You can't imagine what an effective remedy it is for every sort of foolishness. I want to enrich medicine with a new word: Arbeitskur."

"Well, but you don't need it, I should fancy."

"No——but for all sorts of nervous invalids."

"Yes, it ought to be tried. I had meant to come to the mowing to look at you, but it was so unbearably hot that I got no further than the forest. I sat there a little, and went on by the forest to the village, met your old nurse, and sounded her as to the peasant's view of you. As far as I can make out, they don't approve of this. She said: 'It's not a gentleman's work.' Altogether, I fancy that in the people's ideas there are very clear and definite notions of certain, as they call it, 'gentlemanly' lines of action. And they don't sanction the gentlefolk's moving outside bounds clearly laid down in their ideas."

"Maybe so; but anyway, it's a pleasure such as I have never known in my life. And there's no harm in it, you know. Is there?" answered Levin. "I can't help it if they don't like it. Though I do believe it's all right. Eh?"

"Altogether," pursued Sergei Ivanovich, "you're satisfied with your day?"

"Quite satisfied. We cut the whole meadow. And I made friends with such a splendid old man there! You can't fancy how delightful he was!"

"Well, so you're satisfied with your day. And so am I. First, I solved two chess problems, and one a very pretty one——a pawn opening. I'll show it to you. And then——I thought over our conversation of yesterday."

"Eh! Our conversation of yesterday?" said Levin, blissfully dropping his eyelids and drawing deep breaths after finishing his dinner, and absolutely incapable of recalling what their conversation of yesterday had been about.

"I think you are partly right. Our difference of opinion amounts to this: that you make the mainspring self-interest, while I contend that interest in the common weal is bound to exist in every man of a certain degree of advancement. Possibly you are right too——that action founded on material interest would be more desirable. You are altogether, as the French say, too prime-sautiere a nature; you must have intense, energetic action, or nothing."

Levin listened to his brother and did not understand a single word, and did not want to understand. He was only afraid his brother might ask him some question which would make it evident he had not heard.

"So that's what I think it is, my dear boy," said Sergei Ivanovich, touching him on the shoulder.

"Yes, of course. But, do you know? I won't stand up for my view," answered Levin, with a guilty, childlike smile. "Whatever was it I was disputing about?" he wondered. "Of course, I'm right, and he's right, and it's all first-rate. Only I must go round to the countinghouse and see to things." He got up, stretching and smiling.

Sergei Ivanovich smiled too.

"If you want to go out, let's go together," he said, disinclined to be parted from his brother, who seemed positively breathing out freshness and energy. "Come, we'll go to the countinghouse, if you have to go there."

"Oh, heavens!" shouted Levin, so loudly that Sergei Ivanovich was quite frightened.

"What, what is the matter?

"How's Agathya Mikhailovna's hand?" said Levin, slapping himself on the head. "I'd positively forgotten her."

"It's much better."

"Well, anyway, I'll run down to her. Before you've time to get your hat on, I'll be back."

And he ran downstairs, clattering with his heels like a spring rattle.

VII.

Stepan Arkadyevich had gone to Peterburg to perform the most natural and essential official duty——so familiar to everyone in the government service, though incomprehensible to outsiders——that duty but for which one could hardly be in government service: of reminding the ministry of his existence; and having, for the due performance of this rite, taken all the available cash from home, was gaily and agreeably spending his days at the races and in the summer villas. Meanwhile Dolly and the children had moved into the country, to cut down expenses as much as possible. She had gone to Ergushovo, the estate that had been her dowry, and the one where in spring the forest had been sold. It was nearly fifty verstas from Levin's Pokrovskoe.

The big old house at Ergushovo had been pulled down long ago, and the old Prince had had the wing done up and added to. Twenty years before, when Dolly was a child, the wing had been roomy and comfortable, though, like all wings, it stood sideways to the entrance avenue, and to the south. But by now this wing was old and dilapidated. When Stepan Arkadyevich had gone down in the spring to sell the forest, Dolly had begged him to look over the house and order what repairs might be needed. Stepan Arkadyevich, like an unfaithful husbands indeed, was very solicitous for his wife's comfort, and he had himself looked over the house, and given instructions about everything that he considered necessary. What he considered necessary was to cover all the furniture with new cretonne, to put up curtains, to weed the garden, to make a little bridge on the pond, and to plant flowers. But he forgot many other essential matters, the want of which greatly distressed Darya Alexandrovna later on.

In spite of Stepan Arkadyevich's efforts to be an attentive father and husband, he never could keep in his mind that he had a wife and children. He had bachelor tastes, and it was in accordance with them that he shaped his life. On his return to Moscow he informed his wife with pride that everything was ready, that the house would be a pretty toy, and that he most certainly advised her to go. His wife's staying away in the country was very agreeable to Stepan Arkadyevich from every point of view: it did the children good, it decreased expenses, and it left him more at liberty. Darya Alexandrovna regarded staying in the country for the summer as essential for the children, especially for the little girl, who had not succeeded in regaining her strength after the scarlatina, and also as a means of escaping the petty humiliations, the little bills owing to the wood merchant, the fishmonger, the shoemaker, which made her miserable. Besides this, she was pleased to go away to the country because she was dreaming of getting her sister Kitty to stay with her there. Kitty was to be back from abroad in the middle of the summer, and bathing had been prescribed for her. Kitty wrote that no prospect was so alluring as to spend the summer with Dolly at Ergushovo, full of childhood associations for both of them.

The first days of her existence in the country were very hard for Dolly. She used to stay in the country as a child, and the impression she had retained of it was that the country was a refuge from all the unpleasantness of the town, that life there, though not luxurious—— Dolly could easily make up her mind to that——was cheap and comfortable; that there was plenty of everything, everything was cheap, everything could be got, and children were happy. But now, coming to the country as the head of a family, she perceived that it was all utterly unlike what she had fancied.

The day after their arrival there was a heavy fall of rain and in the night the water came through in the corridor and in the nursery, so that the beds had to be carried into the drawing room. There was no kitchenmaid to be found; of the nine cows, it appeared from the words of the cowherd woman that some were about to calve, others had just calved, others were old, and others again hard-uddered; there was neither butter nor milk enough even for the children. There were no eggs. They could get no fowls; old, purplish, stringy roosters were all they had for roasting and boiling. Impossible to get women to scrub the floors——all were potato hoeing. Driving was out of the question, because one of the horses was restive, and bolted in the shafts. There was no place where they could bathe; the whole of the riverbank was trampled by the cattle and open to the road; even walks were impossible, for the cattle strayed into the garden through a gap in the hedge, and there was one terrible bull, who bellowed, and therefore might be expected to gore somebody. There were no proper cupboards for their clothes; what cupboards there were either would not close at all, or flew open whenever anyone passed by them. There were no pots and kettles; there was no boiler in the washhouse, nor even an ironing board in the maids' room.

Finding instead of peace and rest all these, from her point of view, fearful calamities, Darya Alexandrovna was at first in despair. She exerted herself to the utmost, felt the hopelessness of the position, and was every instant suppressing the tears that started into her eyes. The bailiff, a retired quartermaster, whom Stepan Arkadyevich had taken a fancy to and had appointed bailiff on account of his handsome and respectful appearance as a hall porter, showed no sympathy for Darya Alexandrovna's woes. He would say respectfully, "Nothing can be done, the peasants are such a wretched lot," and did nothing to help her.

The position seemed hopeless. But in the Oblonskys' household, as in all families indeed, there was one inconspicuous but most valuable and useful person——Matriona Philimonovna. She soothed her mistress, assured her that everything would come round (it was her expression, and Matvei had borrowed it from her), and without fuss or hurry proceeded to set to work herself.

She had immediately made friends with the bailiff's wife, and on the very first day she drank tea with her and the bailiff under the acacias, and reviewed all the circumstances of the position. Very soon Matriona Philimonovna had established her club, so to say, under the acacias, and there it was, in this club, consisting of the bailiff's wife, the village elder, and the countinghouse clerk, that the difficulties of existence were gradually smoothed away, and in a week's time everything actually had come round. The roof was mended, a kitchenmaid was found——a crony of the village elder's——hens were bought, the cows began giving milk, the garden hedge was stopped up with stakes, the carpenter made a mangle, hooks were put in the cupboards, and they ceased to fly open spontaneously and an ironing board covered with army cloth was placed across from the arm of a chair to the chest of drawers, and there was a smell of flatirons in the maids' room.

"Just see, now, and you were quite in despair," said Matriona Philimonovna, pointing to the ironing board.

They even rigged up a bathing shed of straw hurdles. Lily began to bathe, and Darya Alexandrovna began to realize, if only in part, her expectations, if not of a peaceful, at least of a comfortable, life in the country. Peaceful with six children Darya Alexandrovna could not be. One would fall ill, another might easily become so, a third would be without something necessary, a fourth would show symptoms of a bad disposition, and so on. Rare indeed were the brief periods of peace. But these cares and anxieties were for Darya Alexandrovna the sole happiness possible. Had it not been for them, she would have been left alone to brood over her husband who did not love her. And besides, hard though it was for the mother to bear the dread of illness, the illnesses themselves, and the grief of seeing signs of evil propensities in her children——the children themselves were even now repaying her in small joys for her pains. Those joys were so small that they passed unnoticed, like gold in sand, and at bad moments she could see nothing but the pain, nothing but sand; but there were good moments too when she saw nothing but the joy, nothing but gold.

Now, in the solitude of the country, she began to be more and more frequently aware of those joys. Often, looking at them, she would make every possible effort to persuade herself that she was mistaken, that she as a mother was partial to her children. All the same, she could not help saying to herself that she had charming children, all six of them in different ways, but a set of children such as is not often to be met with——and she was happy in them, and proud of them.

VIII.

Toward the end of May, when everything had been more or less satisfactorily arranged, she received her husband's answer to her complaints of the disorganized state of things in the country. He wrote begging her forgiveness for not having thought of everything before, and promised to come down at the first chance. This chance did not present itself, and till the beginning of June Darya Alexandrovna stayed alone in the country.

On the Sunday in St. Peter's week Darya Alexandrovna drove to mass to have all her children take the sacrament. Darya Alexandrovna in her intimate, philosophical talks with her sister, her mother, and her friends very often astonished them by the freedom of her views in regard to religion. She had a strange religion, all her own, of the transmigration of souls, in which she had firm faith, troubling herself little about the dogmas of the Church. But in her family she was strict in carrying out all that was required by the Church——and not merely in order to set an example, but with all her heart. The fact that the children had not been at the sacrament for nearly a year worried her extremely, and with the full approval and sympathy of Matriona Philimonovna she decided that this should take place now, in the summer.

For several days before Darya Alexandrovna was busily deliberating on how to dress all the children. Frocks were made, or altered and washed, seams and flounces were let out, buttons were sewn on and ribbons got ready. One dress, Tania's, which the English governess had undertaken, cost Darya Alexandrovna much loss of temper. The English governess in altering it had made the seams in the wrong place, had taken up the sleeves too much, and altogether spoiled the dress. It was so narrow on Tania's shoulders that it was quite painful to look at her. But Matriona Philimonovna had the happy thought of putting in gussets, and adding a little shoulder-cape. The dress was set right, but there was nearly a quarrel with the English governess. In the morning, however, all was happily arranged, and about nine o'clock—— the time at which they had asked the priest to wait for them for the mass——the children in their new dresses stood with beaming faces on the step before the carriage, waiting for their mother.

In the carriage, instead of the restive Raven, they had harnessed, thanks to the representations of Matriona Philimonovna, the bailiff's horse, Brownie, and Darya Alexandrovna, delayed by anxiety over her own attire, came out and got in, dressed in a white muslin gown.

Darya Alexandrovna had done her hair, and dressed with care and excitement. In the old days she had dressed for her own sake, to look pretty and be admired; later on, as she got older, dress became more and more distasteful to her; she saw that she was losing her good looks. But now she began to feel pleasure and interest in dress again. Now she did not dress for her own sake, nor for the sake of her own beauty, but simply that, as the mother of those exquisite creatures, she might not spoil the general effect. And looking at herself for the last time in the looking glass she was satisfied with herself. She looked well. Not as well as she wished to look in the old days, at a ball, but well for the object she now had in view.

In the church there was no one but the peasants, the servants, and their womenfolk. But Darya Alexandrovna saw, or fancied she saw, the sensation produced by her children and herself. The children were not only beautiful to look at in their smart little dresses, but they were charming in the way they behaved. Aliosha, it is true, did not stand quite correctly; he kept turning round, trying to look at his little jacket from behind; but all the same he was wonderfully sweet. Tania behaved like a grown-up person, and looked after the little ones. And the smallest, Lily, was bewitching in her naive astonishment at everything, and it was difficult not to smile when, after taking the sacrament, she said in English, "Please, some more."

On the way home the children felt that something solemn had happened, and were very sedate.

Everything went happily at home too; but at lunch Grisha began whistling, and, what was worse, was disobedient to the English governess, and was forbidden to have any tart. Darya Alexandrovna would not have let things go as far as the punishment on such a day had she been present; but she had to support the English governess's authority, and she upheld her decision that Grisha should have no tart. This rather spoiled the general good humor.

Grisha cried, declaring that Nikolinka had whistled too, yet was not punished, and that he wasn't crying for the tart——he didn't care—— but at being unjustly treated. This was really too tragic, and Darya Alexandrovna made up her mind to persuade the English governess to forgive Grisha, and she went to speak to her. But on her way, as she passed the drawing room, she beheld a scene, filling her heart with such pleasure that the tears came into her eyes, and she forgave the delinquent herself.

The culprit was sitting at the window in the corner of the drawing room; beside him was standing Tania with a plate. On the pretext of wanting to give some dinner to her dolls, she had asked the governess's permission to take her share of tart to the nursery, and had taken it instead to her brother. While still weeping over the injustice of his punishment, he was eating the tart, and kept saying through his sobs, "Eat yourself; let's eat it together... together."

Tania had at first been under the influence of her pity for Grisha, then of a sense of her noble action, and tears were standing in her eyes too; but she did not refuse, and ate her share.

On catching sight of their mother they were dismayed, but, looking into her face, they saw they were not doing wrong. They burst out laughing, and, with their mouths full of tart, they began wiping their smiling lips with their hands, and smearing their radiant faces all over with tears and jam.

"Mercy! Your new white frock——Tania! Grisha!" said their mother, trying to save the frock, but with tears in her eyes, smiling a blissful, rapturous smile.

The new frocks were taken off, and orders were given for the little girls to have their blouses put on, and the boys their old jackets, and the wide droshky to be harnessed——with Brownie, to the bailiff's annoyance, again in the shafts——to drive out for mushroom picking and bathing. A roar of delighted shrieks arose in the nursery, and never ceased till they had set off for the bathing place.

They gathered a whole basketful of mushrooms; even Lily found a birch mushroom. It had always happened before that Miss Hoole found them and pointed them out to her; but this time she found a big one quite by herself, and there was a general scream of delight; "Lily has found a mushroom!"

Then they reached the river, put the horses under the birch trees, and went to the bathing place. The coachman, Terentii, hitched the horses, who kept whisking away the horseflies, to a tree, and, treading down the grass, lay down in the shade of a birch and smoked his shag, while the never-ceasing shrieks of delight of the children floated across to him from the bathing place.

Though it was hard work to look after all the children and restrain their pranks, though it was difficult, too, to keep one's head and not mix up all the stockings, little breeches, and shoes for the different legs, and to undo and to do up again all the tapes and buttons, Darya Alexandrovna, who had always liked bathing herself, and believed it to be very good for the children, enjoyed nothing so much as bathing with all the children. To go over all those fat little legs, pulling on their stockings, to take in her arms and dip those little naked bodies, and to hear their screams of delight and alarm, to see the breathless faces with wide-open, scared, and happy eyes of all her splashing cherubs, was a great pleasure to her.

When half the children had been dressed, some peasant women in holiday dress, out picking herbs, came up to the bathing shed and stopped shyly. Matriona Philimonovna called one of them and handed her a sheet and a shirt that had dropped into the water for her to dry them, and Darya Alexandrovna began to talk to the women. At first they laughed behind their hands and did not understand her questions, but soon they grew bolder and began to talk, winning Darya Alexandrovna's heart at once by the genuine admiration of the children that they showed.

"My, what a beauty! As white as sugar," said one, admiring Tanechka, and shaking her head, "but thin...."

"Yes, she has been ill."

"Lookee, they've been bathing him too," said another, pointing to the breast baby.

"No; he's only three months old," answered Darya Alexandrovna with pride.

"You see!"

"And have you any children?"

"I've had four; I've two living——a boy and a girl. I weaned her last carnival."

"How old is she?"

"Why, more than one year old."

"Why did you nurse her so long?"

"It's our custom; for three fasts...."

And the conversation became most interesting to Darya Alexandrovna. What sort of time did she have? What was the matter with the boy? Where was her husband? Did it often happen?

Darya Alexandrovna felt disinclined to leave the peasant women, so interesting to her was their conversation, so completely identical were all their interests. What pleased her most of all was that she saw clearly what all the women admired more than anything was her having so many children, and such fine ones. The peasant women even made Darya Alexandrovna laugh, and offended the English governess, because she was the cause of the laughter she did not understand. One of the younger women kept staring at the Englishwoman, who was dressing after all the rest, and when she put on her third petticoat she could not refrain from the remark, "My, she keeps putting on and putting on, and she'll never have done!" she said, and they all went off into peals of laughter.

IX.

On the drive home, as Darya Alexandrovna, with all her children round her, their heads still wet from their baths, and a kerchief tied over her own head, was getting near the house, the coachman said: "There's some gentleman coming: the master of Pokrovskoe, I do believe."

Darya Alexandrovna peeped out in front, and was delighted when she recognized in the gray hat and gray coat the familiar figure of Levin walking to meet them. She was glad to see him at any time, but at this moment she was specially glad he should see her in all her glory. No one was better able to appreciate her grandeur than Levin.

Seeing her, he found himself face to face with one of the pictures of his daydream of family life.

"You're like a hen with your brood, Darya Alexandrovna."

"Ah, how glad I am to see you!" she said, holding out her hand to him.

"Glad to see me——but you didn't let me know. My brother's staying with me. I got a note from Stiva that you were here."

"From Stiva?" Darya Alexandrovna asked with surprise.

"Yes; he writes that you are here, and that he thinks you might allow me to be of use to you," said Levin, and as he said it he became suddenly embarrassed, and, stopping abruptly, he walked on in silence by the droshky, snapping off the buds of the lime trees and nibbling them. He was embarrassed through a sense that Darya Alexandrovna would be annoyed by receiving from an outsider help that should by rights have come from her own husband. Darya Alexandrovna certainly did not like this little way of Stepan Arkadyevich's of foisting his domestic duties on others. And she was at once aware that Levin was aware of this. It was just for this fineness of perception, for this delicacy, that Darya Alexandrovna liked Levin.

"I know, of course," said Levin, "that this simply means that you would like to see me, and I'm exceedingly glad. Though I can fancy that, used to town housekeeping as you are, you must feel you are in the wilds here, and if there's anything wanted, I'm altogether at your disposal."

"Oh, no!" said Dolly. "At first things were rather uncomfortable, but now we've settled everything capitally——thanks to my old nurse," she said, indicating Matriona Philimonovna, who, seeing that they were speaking of her, smiled brightly and cordially to Levin. She knew him, and knew that he would be a good match for her young lady, and was very keen to see the matter settled.

"Won't you get in, sir, we'll make room on this side!" she said to him.

"No, I'll walk. Children, who'd like to race the horses with me?"

The children knew Levin very little, and could not remember when they had seen him, but they experienced in regard to him none of that strange feeling of shyness and hostility which children so often experience toward hypocritical, grown-up people, and for which they are so often and miserably punished. Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised. Whatever faults Levin had, there was not a trace of hypocrisy in him, and so the children showed him the same friendliness that they saw in their mother's face. On his invitation, the two elder ones at once jumped out to him and ran with him as simply as they would have done with their nurse, or Miss Hoole, or their mother. Lily, too, began begging to go to him, and her mother handed her over to him; he sat her on his shoulder and ran along with her.

"Don't be afraid, don't be afraid, Darya Alexandrovna!" he said, smiling good-humoredly to the mother; "there's no chance of my hurting or dropping her."

And, looking at his strong, agile, assiduously careful and extremely strained movements, the mother felt her mind at rest, and smiled gaily and approvingly as she watched him.

Here, in the country, with children, and with Darya Alexandrovna, with whom he was in sympathy, Levin was in a mood not infrequent with him, of childlike lightheartedness that she particularly liked in him. As he ran with the children, he taught them gymnastic feats, set Miss Hoole laughing with his queer English accent, and talked to Darya Alexandrovna of his pursuits in the country.

After dinner, Darya Alexandrovna, sitting alone with him on the balcony, began to speak of Kitty.

"You know, Kitty's coming here, and is going to spend the summer with me."

"Really," he said, flushing; and at once, to change the conversation, he said: "Then I'll send you two cows, shall I? If you insist on a bill you shall pay me five roubles a month——if you aren't ashamed."

"No, thank you. We can manage very well now."

"Oh, well, then, I'll have a look at your cows, and if you'll allow me, I'll give directions about their food. Everything depends on their food."

And Levin, to turn the conversation, explained to Darya Alexandrovna the theory of cowkeeping, based on the principle that the cow is simply a machine for the transformation of food into milk, and so on.

He talked of this, and passionately longed to hear more of Kitty, and, at the same time, was afraid of hearing it. He dreaded the breaking up of the inward peace he had gained with such effort.

"Yes, but still all this has to be looked after, and who is there to look after it?" Darya Alexandrovna responded reluctantly.

She had by now got her household matters so satisfactorily arranged, thanks to Matriona Philimonovna, that she was disinclined to make any change in them; besides, she had no faith in Levin's knowledge of farming. General principles, as to the cow being a machine for the production of milk, she looked on with suspicion. It seemed to her that such principles could only be a hindrance in farm management. It all seemed to her a far simpler matter: all that was needed, as Matriona Philimonovna had explained, was to give Brindle and Whitebreast more food and drink, and not to let the cook carry all the kitchen slops to the laundrymaid's cow. That was clear. But general propositions as to feeding on meal and on grass were doubtful and obscure. And, what was most important, she wanted to talk about Kitty.

X.

"Kitty writes to me that there's nothing she longs for so much as quiet and solitude," Dolly said after the silence that had followed.

"And how is she——better?" Levin asked in agitation.

"Thank God, she's quite well again. I never believed her lungs were affected."

"Oh, I'm very glad!" said Levin, and Dolly fancied she saw something touching, helpless, in his face as he said this and looked silently into her face.

"Let me ask you, Konstantin Dmitrievich," said Darya Alexandrovna, smiling her kindly and rather mocking smile, "why are you angry with Kitty?"

"I? I'm not angry with her," said Levin.

"Yes, you are. Why was it you did not come to see us or them when you were in Moscow?"

"Darya Alexandrovna," he said, blushing up to the roots of his hair, "I wonder really that with your kind heart you don't feel this. How it is you feel no pity for me, if nothing else, when you know..."

"What do I know?"

"You know that I proposed and was refused," said Levin, and all the tenderness he had been feeling for Kitty a minute before was replaced by a feeling of anger for the slight he had suffered.

"What makes you suppose I know?"

"Because everybody knows it...."

"That's just where you are mistaken; I did not know it, though I had guessed it was so."

"Well, now you know it."

"All I knew was that something had happened that made her dreadfully miserable, and that she begged me never to speak of it. And if she would not tell me, she would certainly not speak of it to anyone else. But what did pass between you? Tell me."

"I have told you."

"When was it?"

"When I was at their house the last time."

"Do you know," said Darya Alexandrovna, "I am awfully, awfully sorry for her. You suffer only from pride...."

"Perhaps so," said Levin, "but..."

She interrupted him.

"But she, poor girl... I am awfully, awfully sorry for her. Now I see it all."

"Well, Darya Alexandrovna, you must excuse me," he said, getting up. "Good-by, Darya Alexandrovna, till we meet again."

"No, wait a minute," she said, clutching him by the sleeve. "Wait a minute, sit down."

"Please, please, don't let us talk of this," he said, sitting down, and at the same time feeling rise up and stir within his heart a hope he had believed to be buried.

"If I did not like you," she said, and tears came into her eyes; "if I did not know you, as I do know you..."

The feeling that had seemed dead revived more and more, rose up and took possession of Levin's heart.

"Yes, I understand it all now," said Darya Alexandrovna. "You can't understand it; for you men, who are free and make your own choice, it's always clear whom you love. But a girl's in a position of suspense, with all a woman's or maiden's modesty, a girl who sees you men from afar, who takes everything on trust——a girl may have, and often has, such a feeling that she cannot tell what to say."

"Yes, if the heart does not speak...."

"No, the heart does speak; but just consider: you men have views about a girl, you come to the house, you make friends, you criticize, you wait to see if you have found what you love, and then, when you are sure you love her, you propose..."

"Well, that's not quite it."

"Anyway you propose, when your love is ripe, or when the balance has completely turned between the two you are choosing from. But a girl is not asked. She is expected to make her choice, and yet she cannot choose——she can only answer 'yes' or 'no.'"

"Yes, to choose between me and Vronsky," thought Levin, and the dead thing that had come to life within him died again, and only weighed on his heart and set it aching.

"Darya Alexandrovna," he said, "that's how one chooses a new dress, or some purchase or other——not love. The choice has been made, and so much the better.... And there can be no repetition."

"Ah, pride, pride!" said Darya Alexandrovna, as though despising him for the baseness of this feeling in comparison with that other feeling which only women know. "At the time when you proposed to Kitty she was just in a position in which she could not answer. She was in doubt. Doubt between you and Vronsky. Him she was seeing every day, and you she had not seen for a long while. Supposing she had been older... I, for instance, in her place, could have felt no doubt. I always disliked him, and my dislike proved to be justified."

Levin recalled Kitty's answer. She had said: "No, that cannot be...."

"Darya Alexandrovna," he said dryly, "I appreciate your confidence in me; I believe you are making a mistake. But whether I am right or wrong, that pride you so despise makes any thought of Katerina Alexandrovna out of the question for me; you understand——utterly out of the question."

"I will only say one thing more: you know that I am speaking of my sister, whom I love as I love my own children. I don't say she cared for you; all I meant to say is that her refusal at that moment proves nothing."

"I don't know!" said Levin, jumping up. "you only knew how you are hurting me. It's just as if a child of yours were dead, and they were to say to you: He would have been like this and like that, and he might have lived, and how happy you would have been in him. But he's dead, dead, dead!..."

"How absurd you are!" said Darya Alexandrovna, looking with mournful tenderness at Levin's excitement. "Yes, I see it all more and more clearly," she went on musingly. "So you won't come to see us, then, when Kitty's here?"

"No, I shan't come. Of course I won't avoid meeting Katerina Alexandrovna; but, as far as I can, I will try to save her the annoyance of my presence."

"You are very, very absurd," repeated Darya Alexandrovna, looking with tenderness into his face. "Very well then, let it be as though we had not spoken of this. What have you come for, Tania?" she said in French to the little girl who had come in.

"Where's my spade, mamma?"

"I speak French, and you must too."

The little girl tried to say it in French, but could not remember the French for spade; the mother prompted her, and then told her in French where to look for the spade. And this made a disagreeable impression on Levin.

Everything in Darya Alexandrovna's house and children struck him now as by no means so charming as a little while before.

"And why does she talk French with the children?" he thought. "How unnatural and false it is! And the children feel it so: Learning French and unlearning sincerity," he thought to himself, unaware that Darya Alexandrovna had thought all that over twenty times already, and yet, even at the cost of some loss of sincerity, believed it necessary to teach her children French in that way.

"But why are you going? Do stay a little."

Levin stayed to tea; but his good humor had vanished, and he felt ill at ease.

After tea he went out into the hall to order his horses to be put in, and, when he came back, he found Darya Alexandrovna greatly disturbed, with a troubled face, and tears in her eyes. While Levin had been outside, an incident had occurred which had all at once shattered all the happiness she had been feeling that day, and her pride in her children. Grisha and Tania had been fighting over a ball. Darya Alexandrovna, hearing a scream in the nursery, ran in and saw a terrible sight. Tania was pulling Grisha's hair, while he, with a face hideous with rage, was beating her with his fists wherever he could get at her. Something snapped in Darya Alexandrovna's heart when she saw this. It was as if darkness had swooped down upon her life; she felt that these children of hers, that she was so proud of, were not merely most ordinary, but positively bad, ill-bred children, with coarse, brutal propensities——wicked children.

She could not talk or think of anything else, and she could not help speaking to Levin of her misery.

Levin saw she was unhappy and tried to comfort her, saying that it showed nothing bad, that all children fight; but, even as he said it, he was thinking in his heart: "No, I won't be artificial and talk French with my children; but my children won't be like that. All one has to do is not spoil children, not to distort their nature, and they'll be delightful. No, my children won't be like that."

He said good-by and drove away, and she did not try to detain him.

XI.

In the middle of July the elder of the village on Levin's sister's estate, about twenty verstas from Pokrovskoe, came to Levin to report about the hay, and how things were going there. The chief source of income on his sister's estate was from the water meadows. In former years the hay had been bought by the peasants for twenty roubles the dessiatina. When Levin took over the management of the estate, he thought on examining the grasslands that they were worth more, and he fixed the price at twenty-five roubles the dessiatina. The peasants would not give that price, and, as Levin suspected, kept off other purchasers. Then Levin had driven over himself, and arranged to have the grass cut, partly by hired labor, partly at a payment of a certain proportion of the crop. The peasants of this village put every hindrance they could in the way of this new arrangement, but it was carried out, and the first year the meadows had yielded a profit almost double. Two years ago and the previous year the peasants had maintained the same opposition to the arrangement, and the hay had been cut on the same system. This year the peasants were doing all the mowing for a third of the hay crop, and the village elder had come now to announce that the hay had been cut, and that, fearing rain, he had invited the countinghouse clerk over, had divided the crop in his presence, and had raked together eleven stacks as the owner's share. From the vague answers to his question how much hay had been cut on the principal meadow, from the hurry of the village elder who had made the division, without asking leave, from the whole tone of the peasant, Levin perceived that there was something wrong in the division of the hay, and made up his mind to drive over himself to look into the matter.

Arriving by dinnertime at the village, and leaving his horse at the cottage of an old friend of his, the husband of his brother's wet nurse, Levin went to see the old man in his beehouse, wanting to find out from him the truth about the hay. Parmenich, a talkative, comely old man, gave Levin a very warm welcome, showed him all he was doing, told him everything about his bees and the swarms of that year; but gave vague and unwilling answers to Levin's inquiries about the mowing. This confirmed Levin still more in his suspicions. He went to the hayfields and examined the stacks. The haystacks could not possibly contain fifty wagonloads each, and to convict the peasants Levin ordered the wagons that had carried the hay to be brought up directly, to lift one stack, and carry it into the barn. There turned out to be only thirty-two loads in the stack. In spite of the village elder's assertions about the compressibility of hay, and its having settled down in the stacks, and his swearing that everything had been done in fear of God, Levin stuck to his point that the hay had been divided without his orders, and that, therefore, he would not accept that hay as fifty loads to a stack. After a prolonged dispute the matter was decided by the peasants taking, as their share, these eleven stacks, reckoning them as fifty loads each, and apportioning the owner's share anew. The arguments and the division of the haycocks lasted the whole afternoon. When the last of the hay had been divided, Levin, entrusting the superintendence of the rest to the countinghouse clerk, sat down on a haycock marked off by a stake of willow, and looked admiringly at the meadow swarming with peasants.

In front of him, in the bend of the river beyond the little marsh, moved a bright-colored line of peasant women, merrily chattering with their ringing voices, and the scattered hay was being rapidly formed into gray winding rows over the pale green aftermath. After the women came the men with pitchforks, and from the gray rows there were growing up broad, high, soft haycocks. To the left telegas were rumbling over the meadow that had been already cleared, and one after another the haycocks vanished, flung up in huge forkfuls, and in their place there were rising heavy cartloads of fragrant hay hanging over the horses' hindquarters.

"What weather for haying! What hay it'll be!" said an old man, squatting down beside Levin. "It's tea, not hay It's like scattering grain to the ducks, the way they pick it up!" he added, pointing to the growing haycocks. "Since dinnertime they've carried a good half of it."

"The last load, eh?" he shouted to a young peasant, who drove by, standing in the front of an empty telega box, shaking the reins of hemp.

"The last, dad!" the lad shouted back, pulling in the horse, and, smiling, he looked round at a bright, rosy-cheeked peasant girl who sat in the telega box, smiling too, and drove on.

"Who's that? Your son?" asked Levin.

"My dear youngest," said the old man with a tender smile.

"What a fine fellow!"

"The lad's all right."

"Married already?"

"Yes, it's two years last St. Philip's day."

"Any children?"

"Children, indeed! Why, for over a year he was innocent as a babe himself, and bashful too," answered the old man. "What hay this is! It's tea indeed!" he repeated, wishing to change the subject.

Levin looked more attentively at Vanka Parmenov and his wife. They were loading a haycock onto the wagon not far from him. Ivan Parmenov was standing on the wagon, taking, laying in place, and stamping down the huge bundles of hay, which his pretty young wife deftly handed up to him, at first in armfuls, and then on the pitchfork. The young wife worked easily, merrily, and deftly. The close-packed hay did not once break away by her fork. First she tedded it, stuck the fork into it, then with a rapid, supple movement leaned the whole weight of her body on it, and at once with a bend of her back under the red belt she drew herself up, and arching her full bosom under the long white apron, with a deft turn swung the fork in her arms, and flung the bundle of hay high onto the wagon. Ivan, obviously doing his best to save her every minute of unnecessary labor, made haste, opening wide his arms to clutch the bundle and lay it in the wagon. As she raked together what was left of the hay, the young wife shook off the bits of hay that had fallen on her neck, and, arranging the red kerchief that was gone backward baring her white brow, not browned by the sun, she crept under the wagon to tie up the load. Ivan directed her how to fasten the cord to the crosspiece, and at something she said he laughed aloud. In the expressions of both faces was to be seen vigorous, young, freshly awakened love.

XII.

The load was tied on. Ivan jumped down and took the quiet, sleek horse by the bridle. The young wife flung the rake up on the load; with a bold step, swinging her arms, she went to join the women, who were forming a ring for the haymakers' dance. Ivan drove off to the road and fell into line with the other loaded wagons. The peasant women, with their rakes on their shoulders, gay with bright flowers, and chattering with ringing, merry voices, walked behind the hay wagon. One wild untrained female voice broke into a song, and sang it alone through a verse, and then the same verse was unanimously taken up and repeated by half a hundred strong healthy voices, of all sorts, coarse and fine.

The women, all singing, began to come close to Levin, and he felt as though a storm were swooping down upon him with a thunder of merriment. The storm swooped down, enveloped him and the haycock on which he was lying, and the other haycocks, and wagonloads, and the whole meadow and distant fields all seemed to be shaking and singing to the measures of this wild merry song, with its shouts and whistles and clapping. Levin felt envious of this health and mirthfulness; he longed to take part in the expression of this joy of life. But he could do nothing, and had to lie and look on and listen. When the peasants, with their singing, had vanished out of sight and hearing, a weary feeling of despondency at his own isolation, his physical inactivity, his alienation from this world, came over Levin.

Some of the very peasants who had been most active in wrangling with him over the hay, some whom he had treated with contumely, and who had tried to cheat him——those very peasants had greeted him good-humoredly, and evidently had not, were incapable of having, any feeling of rancor against him, any regret, any recollection even of having tried to deceive him. All that was drowned in a sea of merry common labor. God gave the day, God gave the strength. And the day and the strength were consecrated to labor, and that labor was its own reward. For whom the labor? What would be its fruits? These were idle considerations——beside the point.

Often Levin had admired this life, often he had a sense of envy of the men who led this life; but today, for the first time, especially under the influence of what he had seen in the attitude of Ivan Parmenov to his young wife, the idea presented itself definitely to his mind that it was in his power to exchange the dreary, artificial, idle, and individualistic life he was leading for this laborious, pure, and generally delightful life.

The old man who had been sitting beside him had long ago gone home; the people had all gone their different ways. Those who lived near had gone home, while those who came from afar were gathered into a group for supper, and to spend the night in the meadow. Levin, unobserved by the peasants, still lay on the haycock, and still looked on, and listened, and mused. The peasants who remained for the night in the meadow scarcely slept all the short summer night. At first there was the sound of merry talk and general laughing over the supper, then singing again, and laughter.

All the long day of toil had left no trace in them save lightness of heart. Before the early dawn all was hushed. Nothing was to be heard but the night sounds of the frogs that never ceased in the marsh, and the horses snorting in the mist that rose over the meadow before morning. Rousing himself, Levin got up from the haycock, and, looking at the stars, he saw that the night was over.

"Well, what am I going to do? How am I to set about it?" he said to himself, trying to express to himself all the thoughts and feelings he had passed through in this brief night. All the thoughts and feelings he had passed through fell into three separate trains of thought. One was the renunciation of his old life, of his utterly useless education. This renunciation gave him satisfaction, and was easy and simple. Another series of thoughts and mental images related to the life he longed to live now. The simplicity, the purity, the sanity of this life he felt clearly, and he was convinced he would find in it its content, its peace, and its dignity, of the lack of which he was so miserably conscious. But a third series of ideas turned upon the question of how to effect this transition from the old life to the new. And there nothing took clear shape for him. "A wife. Work and the necessity of work. Leave Pokrovskoe? Buy land? Become a member of a peasant community? Marry a peasant girl? How am I to set about it?" he asked himself again, and could not find an answer. "I haven't slept all night, though, and I can't think it out clearly," he said to himself. "I'll work it out later. One thing's certain——this night has decided my fate. All my old dreams of home life were absurd, not the real thing," he told himself. "It's all ever so much simpler and better...."

"How beautiful!" he thought, looking at the strange, as it were, mother-of-pearl shell of white fleecy cloudlets resting right over his head in the middle of the sky. "How exquisite it all is in this exquisite night! And when was there time for that cloud shell to form? Just now I looked at the sky, and there was nothing in it——only two white streaks. Yes, and so imperceptibly, too, my views of life changed!"

He went out of the meadow and walked along the highroad toward the village. A slight wind arose, and the sky looked gray and sullen. The gloomy moment had come that usually precedes the dawn, the full triumph of light over darkness.

Shrinking from the cold, Levin walked rapidly, looking at the ground. "What's that? Someone coming," he thought, catching the tinkle of bells, and lifting his head. Forty paces from him a carriage and four with the luggage on its top was driving toward him along the grassy highroad on which he was walking. The shaft horses were tilted against the shafts by the ruts, but the dexterous driver sitting on the box held the shaft over the ruts, so that the wheels ran on the smooth part of the road.

This was all Levin noticed, and without wondering who it could be, he gazed absently at the coach.

In the coach was an old lady dozing in one corner, and at the window, evidently only just awake, sat a young girl holding in both hands the ribbons of a white cap. With a face full of light and thought, full of a subtle, complex inner life, that was remote from Levin, she was gazing from the window at the glow of the sunrise.

At the very instant when this apparition was vanishing, the truthful eyes glanced at him. She recognized him, and her face lighted up with wondering delight.

He could not be mistaken. There were no other eyes like those in all the world. There was only one creature in the world that could concentrate for him all the brightness and meaning of life. It was she. It was Kitty. He comprehended that she was driving to Ergushovo from the railway station. And everything that had been stirring Levin during this sleepless night, all the resolutions he had made, all vanished at once. He recalled with horror his dreams of marrying a peasant girl. There only, in this carriage that had crossed over to the other side of the road, and was rapidly disappearing——there only could he find the solution of the riddle of his life, which had weighed so agonizingly upon him of late.

She did not look out again. The sound of the carriage springs was no longer audible, the bells could scarcely be heard. The barking of dogs showed the carriage had reached the village, and all that was left was the empty fields all round, the village in front, and he himself isolated and apart from it all, wandering lonely along the deserted highroad.

He glanced at the sky, expecting to find there the cloud shell he had been admiring and taking as the symbol of the ideas and feelings of that night. There was nothing in the sky in the least like a shell. There, in the remote heights above, a mysterious change had been accomplished. There was no trace of a shell, and there was stretched over fully half the sky an even cover of tiny, and ever tinier, cloudlets. The sky had grown blue and bright; and with the same softness, but with the same remoteness, it met his questioning gaze.

"No," he said to himself, "however good that life of simplicity and toil may be, I cannot go back to it. I love her."

XIII.

None but those who were most intimate with Alexei Alexandrovich knew that, while on the surface the coldest and most rational of men, he had one weakness quite opposed to the general trend of his character. Alexei Alexandrovich could not hear or see a child or woman crying without being moved. The sight of tears threw him into a state of nervous agitation, and he utterly lost all power of reflection. The head clerk of his board and the secretary were aware of this, and used to warn women who came with petitions on no account to give way to tears, if they did not want to ruin their chances. "He will get angry, and will not listen to you," they used to say. And, as a fact, in such cases the emotional disturbance set up in Alexei Alexandrovich by the sight of tears found expression in hasty anger. "I can do nothing. Kindly leave the room!" he would usually shout in such cases.

When, returning from the races, Anna had informed him of her relations with Vronsky, and immediately afterward had burst into tears, hiding her face in her hands, Alexei Alexandrovich, for all the fury aroused in him against her, was aware at the same time of a rush of that emotional disturbance always produced in him by tears. Conscious of it, and conscious that any expression of his feelings at that minute would be out of keeping with the situation, he tried to suppress every manifestation of life in himself, and so neither stirred nor looked at her. This was what had caused that strange expression of deathlike rigidity in his face which had so impressed Anna.

When they reached the house he helped her to get out of the carriage, and, making an effort to master himself, took leave of her with his usual urbanity, and uttered that phrase that bound him to nothing; he said that tomorrow he would let her know his decision.

His wife's words, confirming his worst suspicions, had sent a cruel pang to the heart of Alexei Alexandrovich. That pang was intensified by the strange feeling of physical pity for her engendered by her tears. But when he was all alone in the carriage Alexei Alexandrovich, to his surprise and delight, felt complete relief both from this pity and from the doubts and agonies of jealousy.

He experienced the sensations of a man who has had a tooth out after suffering long from toothache. After a fearful agony and a sense of something huge, bigger than the head itself, being torn out of his jaw, the sufferer, hardly able to believe in his own good luck, feels all at once that what has so long envenomed his existence and enchained his attention, exists no longer, and that he can live and think again, and take an interest in other things besides his tooth. This feeling Alexei Alexandrovich was experiencing. The agony had been strange and terrible, but now it was over; he felt that he could live again and think of something other than his wife.

"No honor, no heart, no religion; a corrupt woman. I always knew it and always saw it, though I tried to deceive myself to spare her," he said to himself. And it actually seemed to him that he always had seen it: he recalled incidents of their past life, in which he had never seen anything wrong before——now these incidents proved clearly that she had always been a corrupt woman. "I made a mistake in linking my life to hers; but there was nothing wrong in my mistake, and so I cannot be unhappy. It's not I who am to blame," he told himself, "but she. But I have nothing to do with her. She does not exist for me."

All that would befall her and her son, toward whom his sentiments were as much changed as toward her, ceased to interest him. The only thing that interested him now was the question in what way he could best, with most propriety and comfort for himself, and so with most justice, shake clear the mud with which she had spattered him in her fall, and then proceed along his path of active, honorable, and useful existence.

"I cannot be made unhappy by the fact that a contemptible woman has committed a crime. I have only to find the best way out of the difficult position in which she has placed me. And I shall find it," he said to himself, frowning more and more. "I'm neither the first nor the last." And to say nothing of historical instances dating from Menelaus, recently revived in the memory of all by La Belle Helene, a whole list of contemporary examples of husbands with unfaithful wives in the highest society rose before Alexei Alexandrovich's imagination. "Daryalov, Poltavsky, Prince Karibanov, Count Paskudin, Dram... Yes, even Dram... such an honest, capable fellow... Semionov, Chagin, Sigonin," Alexei Alexandrovich remembered. "Admitting that a certain quite irrational ridicule falls to the lot of these men, yet I never saw anything but a misfortune in it, and always felt sympathy for it," Alexei Alexandrovich said to himself, though indeed this was not the fact, and he had never felt sympathy for misfortunes of that kind, but the more often he had heard of instances of unfaithful wives betraying their husbands, the more highly he had thought of himself. "It is a misfortune which may befall anyone. And this misfortune has befallen me. The only thing to be done is to make the best of the situation." And he began passing in review the methods of proceeding of men who had been in the same position that he was in.

"Daryalov fought a duel...."

The duel had particularly fascinated the thoughts of Alexei Alexandrovich in his youth, just because he was physically a fainthearted man, and was himself well aware of the fact. Alexei Alexandrovich could not without horror contemplate the idea of a pistol aimed at himself, and never made use of any weapon in his life. This horror had in his youth set him often pondering on dueling, and picturing himself in a position in which he would have to expose his life to danger. Having attained success and an established position in the world, he had long ago forgotten this feeling; but the habitual bent of feeling reasserted itself, and dread of his own cowardice proved even now so strong that Alexei Alexandrovich spent a long while thinking over the question of dueling in all its aspects, and hugging the idea of a duel, though he was fully aware beforehand that he would never under any circumstances fight one.

"There's no doubt our society is still so barbarous (it's not the same in England) that very many"——and among these were those whose opinion Alexei Alexandrovich particularly valued——"look favorably on the duel; but what result is attained by it? Suppose I call him out," Alexei Alexandrovich went on to himself, and vividly picturing the night he would spend after the challenge, and the pistol aimed at him, he shuddered, and knew that he never would do it——"suppose I call him out. Suppose I am taught," he went on musing, "I am placed, I press the trigger," he said to himself, closing his eyes, "and it turns out I have killed him," Alexei Alexandrovich said to himself, and he shook his head as though to dispel such silly ideas. "What sense is there in murdering a man in order to define one's relation to a guilty wife and son? I should still have to decide what I ought to do with her. But what is more probable, and what would doubtlessly occur——I should be killed or wounded. I, the innocent person, should be the victim—— killed or wounded. It's even more senseless. But, apart from that, a challenge to fight would be an act hardly honest on my side. Don't I know beforehand that my friends would never allow me to fight a duel—— would never allow the life of a statesman, needed by Russia, to be exposed to danger? What would come of it? It would come of it that, knowing beforehand that the matter would never come to real danger, it would amount to my simply trying to gain a certain sham reputation by such a challenge. That would be dishonest, that would be false, that would be deceiving myself and others. A duel is quite impossible, and no one expects it of me. My aim is simply to safeguard my reputation, which is essential for the uninterrupted pursuit of my public duties." Official duties, which had always been of great consequence in Alexei Alexandrovich's eyes, seemed of special importance to his mind at this moment.

Considering and rejecting the duel, Alexei Alexandrovich turned to divorce——another solution selected by several of the husbands he remembered. Passing in mental review all the instances he knew of divorces (there were plenty of them in the very highest society with which he was very familiar), Alexei Alexandrovich could not find a single example in which the object of divorce was that which he had in view. In all these instances the husband had practically ceded or sold his unfaithful wife, and the very party who, being in fault, had not the right to contract a marriage, had formed counterfeit, pseudo-matrimonial ties with a new husband. In his own case, Alexei Alexandrovich saw that a legal divorce, that is to say, one in which only the guilty wife would be repudiated, was impossible of attainment. He saw that the complex conditions of the life they led made the coarse proofs of his wife's guilt, required by the law, out of the question; he saw that a certain refinement in that life would not admit of such proofs being brought forward, even if he had them, and that to bring forward such proofs would damage him in the public estimation more than it would her.

An attempt at divorce could lead to nothing but a public scandal, which would be a perfect godsend to his enemies for calumny and attacks on his high position in society. His chief object, to define the position with the least amount of disturbance possible, would not be attained by divorce either. Moreover, in the event of divorce, or even of an attempt to obtain a divorce, it was obvious that the wife broke off all relations with the husband and threw in her lot with the lover. And, in spite of the complete, as he supposed, contempt and indifference he now felt for his wife, at the bottom of his heart Alexei Alexandrovich still had one feeling left in regard to her——a disinclination to see her free to throw in her lot with Vronsky, so that her crime would be to her advantage. The mere notion of this so exasperated Alexei Alexandrovich, that directly it rose to his mind he groaned with inward agony, and got up and changed his place in the carriage, and for a long while after he sat with scowling brows, wrapping his numbed and bony legs in the fleecy rug.

"Apart from formal divorce, one might still do as Karibanov, Paskudin, and that good fellow Dram did——that is, separate from one's wife," he went on thinking, when he had regained his composure. But this step too presented the same drawback of public scandal as a divorce, and, what was more, a separation, quite as much as a regular divorce, flung his wife into the arms of Vronsky. "No, it's out of the question, out of the question!" he said aloud, twisting his rug about him again. "I cannot be unhappy, but neither she nor he ought to be happy."

The feeling of jealousy, which had tortured him during the period of uncertainty, had passed away at the instant when, with agony, the tooth had been extracted by his wife's words. But that feeling had been replaced by another——the desire, not merely that she should not triumph, but that she should get due punishment for her crime. He did not acknowledge this feeling, but at the bottom of his heart he longed for her to suffer for having destroyed his peace of mind, and having dishonored him. And once again going over the conditions inseparable from a duel, a divorce, a separation, and once again rejecting them, Alexei Alexandrovich felt convinced that there was only one solution—— to keep her with him, concealing what had happened from the world, and using every measure in his power to break off the intrigue, and still more——though this he did not admit to himself——to punish her. "I must communicate to her my decision; that, thinking over the terrible position in which she has placed her family, all other solutions will be worse for both sides than an external status quo, and that such I agree to retain, on the strict condition of obedience on her part to my wishes——that is to say, cessation of all intercourse with her lover." When this decision had been finally adopted, another weighty consideration occurred to Alexei Alexandrovich in support of it. "By such a course only shall I be acting in accordance with the dictates of religion," he told himself. "In adopting this course, I am not casting off a guilty wife, but giving her a chance of amendment; and, indeed, difficult as the task will be to me, I shall devote part of my energies to her reformation and salvation." Though Alexei Alexandrovich was perfectly aware that he could not exert any moral influence over his wife, that such an attempt at reformation could lead to nothing but falsity; though in passing through these difficult moments he had not once thought of seeking guidance in religion; yet now, when his conclusion corresponded, as it seemed to him, with the requirements of religion, this religious sanction to his decision gave him complete satisfaction, and to some extent restored his peace of mind. He was pleased to think that, even in such an important crisis in life, no one would be able to say that he had not acted in accordance with the principles of that religion whose banner he had always held aloft amid the general coolness and indifference. As he pondered over subsequent developments, Alexei Alexandrovich did not see, indeed, why his relations with his wife should not remain practically the same as before. No doubt, she could never regain his esteem, but there was not, and there could not be, any sort of reason why his existence should be troubled, and why he should suffer because she was a bad and faithless wife. "Yes, time will pass—— time, which arranges all things; and the old relations will be reestablished," Alexei Alexandrovich told himself; so far reestablished, that is, that I shall not be sensible of a break in the continuity of my life. She is bound to be unhappy, but I am not to blame, and so I cannot be unhappy."

XIV.

As he neared Peterburg, Alexei Alexandrovich not only adhered entirely to his decision, but was even composing in his head the letter he would write to his wife. Going into the hall Alexei Alexandrovich glanced at the letters and papers brought from his Ministry and directed that they should be brought to him in his study.

"The horses can be taken out, and I will see no one," he said in answer to the porter, with a certain pleasure, indicative of his agreeable frame of mind, emphasizing the words, "see no one."

In his study Alexei Alexandrovich walked up and down twice, and stopped at an immense writing table, on which six candles had already been lighted by the valet who had preceded him. He cracked his knuckles, and sat down, sorting out his writing appurtenances. Putting his elbows on the table, he bent his head on one side, thought a minute, and began to write, without pausing for a second. He wrote without using any form of address to her, and wrote in French, making use of the plural "vous," which has not the same note of coldness as the corresponding Russian form.

"At our last conversation, I notified you of my intention of communicating to you my decision in regard to the subject of that conversation. Having carefully considered everything, I am writing now with the object of fulfilling that promise. My decision is as follows. Whatever your conduct may have been, I do not consider myself justified in breaking the ties in which we are bound by a Higher Power. The family cannot be broken up by a whim, a caprice, or even by the sin of one of the partners in the marriage, and our life must go on as it has done in the past. This is essential for me, for you, and for our son. I am fully persuaded that you have repented, and do repent, of what has called forth the present letter, and that you will co-operate with me in eradicating the cause of our estrangement, and forgetting the past. In the contrary event, you can conjecture what awaits you and your son. All this I hope to discuss more in detail in a personal interview. As the season is drawing to a close, I would beg you to return to Peterburg as quickly as possible——not later than Tuesday. All necessary preparations shall be made for your arrival here. I beg you to note that I attach particular significance to compliance with this request.

                                          "A. Karenin

"P.S.——I enclose the money which may be needed for your expenses."

He read the letter through and felt pleased with it, and especially because he had remembered to enclose money: there was not a harsh word, not a reproach in it, nor was there undue indulgence. Most of all, it was a golden bridge for a return. Folding the letter and smoothing it with a massive ivory knife, and putting it in an envelope with the money, he rang the bell with the gratification it always afforded him to use the well-arranged appointments of his writing table.

"Give this to a messenger to be delivered to Anna Arkadyevna tomorrow, at the summer villa," he said, getting up.

"Certainly, Your Excellency; is tea to be served in the study?"

Alexei Alexandrovich ordered tea to be brought to the study, and playing with the massive paper knife, he moved to his easy chair, near which there had been placed ready for him a lamp and the French work on les tables Eugubines that he had begun. Over the easy chair there hung in a gold frame an oval portrait of Anna, a fine painting by a celebrated artist. Alexei Alexandrovich glanced at it. The unfathomable eyes gazed ironically and insolently at him, as they did that night of their last explanation. Insufferably insolent and challenging was the effect in Alexei Alexandrovich's eyes of the black lace about the head, admirably touched in by the painter, the black hair and handsome white hand the fourth finger of which was covered with rings. After looking at the portrait for a minute, Alexei Alexandrovich shuddered so that his lips quivered and produced "brrr," and turned away. He made haste to sit down in his easy chair and opened the book. He tried to read, but he could not revive the very vivid interest he had felt before in Eugubine inscriptions. He looked at the book and thought of something else. He thought not of his wife, but of a complication that had arisen in his official life, which at the time constituted the chief interest of it. He felt that he had penetrated more deeply than ever before into this intricate affair, and that he had originated a leading idea——he could say it without self-flattery——calculated to clear up the whole business, to strengthen him in his official career, to discomfit his enemies, and thereby to be of the greatest benefit to the State. Directly the servant had set the tea and left the room, Alexei Alexandrovich got up and went to the writing table. Moving into the middle of the table a portfolio of current papers, with a scarcely perceptible smile of self-satisfaction, he took a pencil from a rack and plunged into the perusal of a complex report relating to the present complication. The complication was of this nature: Alexei Alexandrovich's characteristic quality as a politician, that special individual qualification that every rising functionary possesses, the qualification that with his unflagging ambition, his reserve, his honesty, and his self-confidence had made his career, was his contempt for red tape, his cutting down of correspondence, his direct contact, wherever possible, with the living fact, and his economy. It happened that the famous Commission of the 2nd of June had set on foot an inquiry into the irrigation of lands in the Zaraisky province, which fell under Alexei Alexandrovich's department, and was a glaring example of fruitless expenditure and paper reforms. Alexei Alexandrovich was aware of the truth of this. The irrigation of these lands in the Zaraisky province had been initiated by the predecessor of Alexei Alexandrovich's predecessor. And vast sums of money had actually been spent, and were still being spent, on this business, and utterly unproductively, and the whole business could obviously lead to nothing whatever. Alexei Alexandrovich had perceived this at once on entering office, and would have liked to lay hands on the business. But at first, when he did not yet feel secure in his position, he knew it would affect too many interests, and would be imprudent; later on he had been engrossed in other questions, and had simply forgotten this case. It went of itself, like all such cases, by the mere force of inertia. (Many people gained their livelihood by this business, especially one highly conscientious and musical family: all the daughters played on stringed instruments, and Alexei Alexandrovich knew the family and had stood godfather to one of the elder daughters.) The raising of this question by a hostile Ministry was in Alexei Alexandrovich's opinion a dishonorable proceeding, seeing that in every Ministry there were things similar and worse, which no one inquired into, for well-known reasons of official etiquette. However, now that the gauntlet had been thrown down to him, he had boldly picked it up and demanded the appointment of a special commission to investigate and verify the working of the Commission of Irrigation of the lands in the Zaraisky province; but in compensation he gave no quarter to the enemy either. He demanded also the appointment of another special commission to inquire into the question of the Native Tribes Organization. The question of the Native Tribes had been brought up incidentally in the Committee of the 2nd of June, and had been pressed forward actively by Alexei Alexandrovich, as one admitting of no delay on account of the deplorable condition of the native tribes. In the Committee this question had been a ground of contention between several Ministries. The Ministry hostile to Alexei Alexandrovich proved that the condition of the native tribes was exceedingly flourishing, that the proposed reconstruction might be the ruin of their prosperity, and that if there were anything wrong, it arose mainly from the failure on the part of Alexei Alexandrovich's Ministry to carry out the measures prescribed by law. Now Alexei Alexandrovich intended to demand: First, that a new commission should be formed which should be empowered to investigate the condition of the native tribes on the spot; secondly, if it should appear that the condition of the native tribes actually was such as it appeared to be from the official data in the hands of the Committee, that another new scientific commission should be appointed to investigate the deplorable condition of the native tribes from the—— (a) political, (b) administrative, (c) economic, (d) ethnographical, (e) material, and (f) religious points of view; thirdly, that evidence should be required from the rival Ministry of the measures that had been taken during the last ten years by that Ministry for averting the disastrous conditions in which the native tribes were now placed; and, fourthly and finally, that that Ministry be asked to explain why it had, as appeared from the reports submitted before the Committee, under Nos. 17,015 and 18,308, dated December 5, 1863, and June 7, 1864 respectively, acted in direct contravention of the intention of the basic and organic law, T... Statute 18, and the note to Statute 36. A flush of eagerness suffused the face of Alexei Alexandrovich as he rapidly wrote out a synopsis of these ideas for his own benefit. Having filled a sheet of paper, he got up, rang, and sent a note to the head clerk to look up certain necessary facts for him. Getting up and walking about the room, he glanced again at the portrait, frowned, and smiled contemptuously. After reading a little more of the book on Eugubine inscriptions, and renewing his interest in it, Alexei Alexandrovich went to bed at eleven o'clock, and recollecting as he lay in bed the incident with his wife, he saw it now in by no means so gloomy a light.

XV.

Though Anna had obstinately and with exasperation contradicted Vronsky——when he told her their position was impossible, and persuaded her to lay open everything to her husband——at the bottom of her heart she regarded her own position as false and dishonorable, and she longed with her whole soul to change it. On the way home from the races she had told her husband the truth in a moment of excitement, and in spite of the agony she had suffered in doing so, she was glad of it. After her husband had left her, she told herself that she was glad, that now everything was made clear, and at least there would be no more lying and deception. It seemed to her beyond doubt that her position was now made clear forever. It might be bad, this new position, but it would be clear; there would be no indefiniteness or falsehood about it. The pain she had caused herself and her husband in uttering those words would be rewarded now by everything being made clear, she thought. That evening she saw Vronsky, but she did not tell him of what had passed between her and her husband, though, to make the position clear, it was necessary to tell him.

When she woke up next morning the first thing that rose to her mind was what she had said to her husband, and those words seemed to her so awful that she could not conceive now how she could have brought herself to utter those strange, coarse words, and could not imagine what would come of it. But the words were spoken, and Alexei Alexandrovich had gone away without saying anything. "I saw Vronsky and did not tell him. At the very instant he was going away I would have turned him back and told him, but I changed my mind, because it was strange that I had not told him the first minute. Why was it I wanted to tell him and didn't?" And in answer to this question a burning blush of shame spread over her face. She knew what had kept her from it, she knew that she had been ashamed. Her position, which had seemed to her simplified the night before, suddenly struck her now as not only not simple, but as absolutely hopeless. She felt terrified at the disgrace, of which she had not even thought before. Directly she thought of what her husband would do, the most terrible ideas came to her mind. She had a vision of being turned out of the house, of her shame being proclaimed to all the world. She asked herself where she should go when she was turned out of the house, and she could not find an answer.

When she thought of Vronsky, it seemed to her that he did not love her, that he was already beginning to be tired of her, that she could not offer herself to him, and she felt bitter against him for it. It seemed to her that the words that she had spoken to her husband, and had continually repeated in her imagination, she had said to everyone, and everyone had heard them. She could not bring herself to look those of her own household in the face. She could not bring herself to call her maid, and still less go downstairs and see her son and his governess.

The maid, who had been listening at her door for a long while, came into her room of her own accord. Anna glanced inquiringly into her face, and blushed with a scared look. The maid begged her pardon for coming in, saying that she had fancied the bell rang. She brought her clothes and a note. The note was from Betsy. Betsy reminded her that Liza Merkalova and Baroness Stoltz were coming to play croquet with her that morning with their adorers, Kaluzhsky and old Stremov. "Come, if only as a study in characters. I shall expect you," she finished.

Anna read the note and heaved a deep sigh.

"Nothing——I need nothing," she said to Annushka, who was rearranging the bottles and brushes on the dressing table. "You may go. I'll dress at once and come down. I need nothing, nothing."

Annushka went out, but Anna did not begin dressing, and sat in the same position, her head and hands hanging listlessly, and every now and then she shivered all over, was apparently about to make some gesture, utter some word, and sank back into lifelessness again. She repeated continually, "My God! my God!" But neither "God" nor "my" had any meaning to her. The idea of seeking help in her difficulty in religion was as remote from her as seeking help from Alexei Alexandrovich himself, although she had never had doubts of the faith in which she had been brought up. She knew that the support of religion was possible only upon condition of renouncing what made up for her the whole meaning of life. She was not simply miserable, she began to feel alarm at the new spiritual condition, never experienced before, in which she found herself. She felt as though everything were beginning to be double in her soul, just as objects sometimes appear double to overtired eyes. She hardly knew at times what it was she feared, and what she hoped for. Whether she feared or desired what had happened, or what was going to happen, and exactly what she longed for, she could not have said.

"Ah, what am I doing!" she said to herself, feeling a sudden thrill of pain in both sides of her head. When she came to herself, she saw that she was holding her hair in both hands, each side of her temples, and she was pressing them. She jumped up, and began walking about.

"The coffee is ready, and mademoiselle and Seriozha are waiting," said Annushka, coming back again and finding Anna in the same position.

"Seriozha? What about Seriozha?" Anna asked, with sudden eagerness, recollecting her son's existence for the first time that morning.

"He's been naughty, I think," answered Annushka with a smile.

"In what way?"

"Some peaches were lying on the table in the corner room. I think he ate one of them on the sly."

The recollection of her son suddenly roused Anna from the helpless condition in which she found herself. She recalled the partly sincere, though greatly exaggerated, role of the mother living for her child, which she had taken up of late years, and she felt with joy that in the plight in which she found herself she had a dominion independent of any position she would be placed in by her relations to her husband or to Vronsky. This dominion was her son. In whatever position she might be placed, she could not abandon her son. Her husband might put her to shame and turn her out, Vronsky might grow cold to her and go on living his own life apart (she thought of him again with bitterness and reproach); she could not leave her son. She had an aim in life. And she must act; act to secure the position of her son, so that he might not be taken from her. Quickly indeed, as quickly as possible, she must take action before he was taken from her. She must take her son and go away. Here was the one thing she had to do now. She must be calm, and get out of this insufferable position. The thought of immediate action binding her to her son, of going away somewhere with him, gave her this calming.

She dressed quickly, went downstairs, and with resolute steps walked into the drawing room, where she found, as usual, waiting for her, the coffee, Seriozha, and his governess. Seriozha, all in white, with his back and head bent, was standing at a table under a looking glass, and with an expression of intense concentration which she knew well, and in which he resembled his father, he was doing something to the flowers he carried.

The governess had a particularly severe expression. Seriozha screamed shrilly, as he often did, "Ah, mamma!" and stopped, hesitating whether to go to greet his mother and put down the flowers, or to finish making the wreath and go with the flowers.

The governess, after saying good morning, began a long and detailed account of Seriozha's naughtiness, but Anna did not hear her; she was considering whether she would take her with her or not. "No, I won't take her," she decided. "I'll go alone with my son."

"Yes, it's very wrong," said Anna, and taking her son by the shoulder she looked at him, not severely, but with a timid glance that bewildered and delighted the boy, and she kissed him. "Leave him to me," she said to the astonished governess, and without letting go of her son, she sat down at the table, where coffee was set ready for her.

"Mamma! I... I didn't..." he said, trying to make out from her expression what was in store for him in regard to the peaches.

"Seriozha," she said, as soon as the governess had left the room, "that was wrong, but you'll never do it again, will you?... You love me?"

She felt that the tears were coming into her eyes. "Can I help loving him?" she said to herself, looking deeply into his scared and at the same time delighted eyes. "And can he ever join his father in punishing me? Is it possible he will not feel for me?" Tears were already flowing down her face, and to hide them she got up abruptly and almost ran out on the terrace.

After the thundershowers of the last few days, cold, bright weather had set in. The air was cold in the bright sun that filtered through the freshly washed leaves.

She shivered, both from the cold and from the inward horror which had clutched her with fresh force in the open air.

"Run along, run along to Mariette," she said to Seriozha, who had followed her out, and she began walking up and down on the straw matting of the terrace. "Can it be that they won't forgive me, won't understand how it all could not have been otherwise?" she said to herself.

Standing still, and looking at the tops of the aspen trees waving in the wind, with their freshly washed, brightly shining leaves in the cold sunshine, she knew that they would not forgive her, that everyone and everything would be merciless to her now as was that sky, that green. And again she felt that everything was doubling in her soul. "I mustn't, mustn't think," she said to herself. "I must get ready. To go where? When? Whom to take with me? Yes——to Moscow, by the evening train. Annushka and Seriozha, and only the most necessary things. But first I must write to them both." She went quickly indoors into her boudoir, sat down at the table, and wrote to her husband:

"After what has happened I cannot remain any longer in your house. I am going away, and taking my son with me. I don't know the law; and so I don't know with which of the parents the son should remain; but I take him with me because I cannot live without him. Be generous, leave him to me."

Up to this point she wrote rapidly and naturally, but the appeal to his generosity, a quality she did not recognize in him, and the necessity of winding up the letter with something touching, pulled her up.

"Of my fault and my remorse I cannot speak, because..."

She stopped again, finding no connection in her ideas. "No," she said to herself, "there's no need of anything," and tearing up the letter, she wrote it again, leaving out the allusion to generosity, and sealed it up.

Another letter had to be written to Vronsky. "I have told my husband," she wrote, and she sat a long while unable to write more. It was so coarse, so unfeminine. "And what more am I to write him?" she said to herself. Again a flush of shame spread over her face; she recalled his composure, and a feeling of anger against him impelled her to tear the sheet with the phrase she had written into tiny bits. "No need of anything," she said to herself, and closing her blotting case she went upstairs, told the governess and the servants that she was going that day to Moscow, and at once set to work to pack up her things.

XVI.

All the rooms of the summer villa were full of porters, gardeners, and footmen, going to and fro carrying out things. Cupboards and chests were open; twice they had to run to a store for cord; pieces of newspaper were cluttering the floor. Two trunks, some bags and strapped-up plaids had been carried down into the hall. The carriage and two hired cabs were waiting at the steps. Anna, forgetting her inward agitation in the work of packing, was standing at a table in her boudoir, packing her traveling bag, when Annushka called her attention to the clatter of some carriage driving up. Anna looked out of the window and saw Alexei Alexandrovich's messenger on the steps, ringing at the front doorbell.

"Run and find out what it is," she said, and, with a calm sense of being prepared for anything, she sat down in a low chair, folding her hands on her knees. A footman brought in a thick packet directed in Alexei Alexandrovich's hand.

"The messenger has orders to wait for an answer," he said.

"Very well," she said, and as soon as he had left the room she tore open the letter with trembling fingers. A packet of unfolded banknotes done up with a band fell out of it. She extricated the letter and began reading it from the end. "Preparations shall be made for your arrival here... I attach particular significance to compliance...." she read. She ran through it backward, read it all through, and once more read the letter all through again, from the beginning. When she had finished, she felt that she was cold all over, and that a fearful calamity, such as she had not expected, had burst upon her.

In the morning she had regretted that she had spoken to her husband, and wished for nothing so much as that those words might be unspoken. And here this letter regarded them as unspoken, and gave her what she had wanted. But now this letter seemed to her more awful than anything she had been able to conceive.

"He's right!" she said. "Of course, he's always right; he's a Christian, he's generous! Yes, vile, base creature! And no one understands it except me, and no one ever will; and I can't explain it. They say he's so religious, so high-principled, so upright, so clever; but they don't see what I've seen. They don't know how he has crushed my life for eight years, crushed everything that was living in me——he has not once even thought that I'm a live woman who must have love. They don't know how at every step he's humiliated me, and been just as pleased with himself. Haven't I striven—— striven with all my strength——to find something to give meaning to my life? Haven't I struggled to love him, to love my son when I could not love my husband? But the time came when I knew that I couldn't cheat myself any longer, that I was alive, that I was not to blame, that God has made me so that I must love and live. And now what does he do? If he'd killed me, if he'd killed him, I could have borne anything, I could have forgiven anything; but, no, he..."

"How was it I didn't guess what he would do? He's doing just what's natural to his mean character. He'll keep himself in the right, while he'll drive me, in my ruin, still lower, still to worse ruin..."

"'You can conjecture what awaits you and your son,'" she recalled a part of his letter. "That's a threat to take away my child, and most likely according to their stupid law he can. But I know very well why he says it. He doesn't believe even in my love for my child, or he despises it (just as he always used to ridicule it). He despises that feeling in me, but he knows that I won't abandon my child, that I can't abandon my child, that there could be no life for me without my child, even with him whom I love; but that if I abandoned my child and ran away from him, I should be acting like the most infamous, basest of women. He knows that, and knows that I am incapable of doing that."

"Our life must go on as it has done in the past," she recalled another sentence in his letter. "That life was miserable enough in the old days; it has been awful of late. What will it be now? And he knows all that; he knows that I can't repent breathing, repent loving; he knows that it can lead to nothing but lying and deceit; but he wants to go on torturing me. I know him; I know that he's at home and is happy in deceit, like a fish swimming in the water. No, I won't give him that happiness. I'll break through the spider's web of lies in which he wants to catch me, come what may. Anything's better than lying and deceit."

"But how? My God! my God! Was ever a woman so miserable as I am?..."

"No; I will break through it, I will break through it!" she cried, jumping up and keeping back her tears. And she went to the writing table to write him another letter. But at the bottom of her heart she felt that she was not strong enough to break through anything, that she was not strong enough to get out of her old position, however false and dishonorable it might be.

She sat down at the writing table, but instead of writing she clasped her hands on the table, and, laying her head on them, burst into tears, with sobs and heaving breast, like a child crying. She was weeping because her dream of her position being made clear and definite had been annihilated forever. She knew beforehand that everything would go on in the old way, and far worse, indeed, than in the old way. She felt that her position in the world she enjoyed, and which had seemed to her of so little consequence in the morning, was now precious to her, that she would not have the strength to exchange it for the shameful position of a woman who has abandoned husband and child to join her lover; that however much she might struggle, she could not be stronger than herself. She would never know freedom in love, but would remain forever a guilty wife, with the menace of detection hanging over her at every instant; deceiving her husband for the sake of a shameful connection with a man living apart and away from her, whose life she could never share. She knew that this was how it would be, and at the same time it was so awful that she could not even conceive what it would end in. And she cried without restraint, as children cry when they are punished.

The sound of a footman's steps forced her to rouse herself, and, hiding her face from him, she pretended to be writing.

"The messenger asks if there's any answer," the footman informed her.

"Any answer? Yes," said Anna. "Let him wait. I'll ring."

"What can I write?" she thought. "What can I decide upon alone? What do I know? What do I want? What is there I care for?" Again she felt that her soul was beginning to double. She was terrified again at this feeling, and clutched at the first pretext for doing something which might divert her thoughts from herself. "I ought to see Alexei" (so she called Vronsky in her thoughts); "no one but he can tell me what I ought to do. I'll go to Betsy's, perhaps I shall see him there," she said to herself, completely forgetting that, when she had told him the day before that she was not going to Princess Tverskaia's he had said that in that case he should not go either. She went up to the table, wrote to her husband: "I have received your letter.——A."; and, ringing the bell, gave it to the footman.

"We are not going," she said to Annushka, as she came in.

"Not going at all?"

"No; don't unpack till tomorrow, and let the carriage wait. I'm going to the Princess."

"Which dress am I to get ready?"

XVII.

The croquet party to which the Princess Tverskaia had invited Anna was to consist of two ladies and their adorers. These two ladies were the chief representatives of a select new Peterburg circle, nicknamed, in imitation of some imitation, les sept merveilles du monde. These ladies belonged to a circle which, though of the highest society, was utterly hostile to that in which Anna moved. Moreover, old Stremov, one of the most influential people in Peterburg, and the admirer of Liza Merkalova, was Alexei Alexandrovich's enemy in the political world. From all these considerations Anna had not meant to go, and the hints in Princess Tverskaia's note referred to her refusal. But now Anna was eager to go, in the hope of seeing Vronsky.

Anna arrived at Princess Tverskaia's earlier than the other guests.

At the very moment of her entry, Vronsky's footman, with his side whiskers combed out, and looking like a Kammerjunker, went in too. He stopped at the door, and, taking off his cap, let her pass. Anna recognized him, and only then recalled that Vronsky had told her the day before that he would not come. Most likely he was sending a note to say so.

As she took off her outer garment in the hall, she heard the footman say, rolling his r's even like a Kammerjunker: "From the Count for the Princess," as he handed over the note.

She longed to question him as to where his master was. She longed to turn back and send him a letter to come and see her, or to go herself to see him. But none of the three courses was possible. Already she heard bells ringing ahead of her to announce her arrival, and Princess Tverskaia's footman was standing at the open door waiting for her to pass into the inner rooms.

"The Princess is in the garden; she will be informed immediately. Would you be pleased to walk into the garden?" announced another footman in another room.

The position of uncertainty, of indecision, was still the same as at home——worse, in fact, since it was impossible to take any step, impossible to see Vronsky, and she had to remain here among outsiders, in company so uncongenial to her present mood. But she was wearing a dress that she knew suited her. She was not alone; all around was that luxurious setting of idleness that she was used to, and she felt less wretched than at home. She was not forced to think what she had to do. Everything would be done of itself. On meeting Betsy coming toward her in a white gown that struck her by its elegance, Anna smiled to her just as she always did. Princess Tverskaia was walking with Tushkevich and a young lady, a relation, who, to the great joy of her parents in the provinces, was spending the summer with the fashionable Princess.

There was probably something unusual about Anna, for Betsy noticed it at once.

"I slept badly," answered Anna, looking intently at the footman who came to meet them, and, as she supposed, brought Vronsky's note.

"How glad I am you've come!" said Betsy. "I'm tired, and was just longing to have some tea before they come. You might go," she turned to Tushkevich, "with Masha, and try the croquet ground over there, where they've been clipping it. We shall have time to talk a little over tea, we'll have a cozy chat, eh?" she said in English to Anna, with a smile, pressing the hand which held a parasol.

"Yes, especially as I can't stay very long with you. I'm forced to go on to old Madame Vrede. I've been promising to go for a century," said Anna, to whom lying, alien as it was to her nature, had become not merely simple and natural in society, but a positive source of satisfaction. Why she said this, which she had not thought of a second before, she could not have explained. She had said it simply from the reflection that as Vronsky would not be here, she had better secure her own freedom, and try to see him somehow. But why she had spoken of old Hoffraulein Vrede, whom she had to go and see, as she had to see many other people, she could not have explained; and yet, as it afterward turned out, had she cudgeled her brains for the most cunning subterfuge to meet Vronsky, she could have thought of nothing better.

"No. I'm not going to let you go for anything," answered Betsy, looking intently into Anna's face. "Really, if I were not fond of you, I should feel offended. One would think you were afraid my society would compromise you.——Tea in the small dining room, please," she said, half closing her eyes, as she always did when addressing the footman.

Taking the note from him, she read it.

"Alexei is playing us false," she said in French; "he writes that he can't come," she added, in a tone as simple and natural as though it could never enter her head that Vronsky could mean anything more to Anna than a game of croquet. Anna knew that Betsy knew everything, but, hearing how she spoke of Vronsky before her, she almost felt persuaded for a minute that she knew nothing.

"Ah!" said Anna indifferently, as though not greatly interested in the matter; and she went on, smiling: "How can you or your friends compromise anyone?"

This playing with words, this hiding of a secret, had a great fascination for Anna, as, indeed, it has for all women. And it was not the necessity of concealment, not the purpose for which the concealment was contrived, but the process of concealment itself which attracted her.

"I can't be more catholic than the Pope," she said. "Stremov and Liza Merkalova——why, they're the cream of the cream of society. Besides, they're received everywhere, and I"——she laid special stress on the I——"have never been strict and intolerant. It's simply that I haven't the time."

"No; you don't care, perhaps, to meet Stremov? Let him and Alexei Alexandrovich tilt at each other in the Committee——that's no affair of ours. But, in society, he's the most amiable man I know, and an ardent croquet player. You shall see. And, in spite of his absurd position as Liza's lovesick swain at his age, you ought to see how he carries off the absurd position. He's very nice. Don't you know Sappho Stoltz? Oh, that's a new type——quite new!"

Betsy went on with all this chatter, yet, at the same time, from her good-humored, shrewd glance, Anna felt that she partly guessed her plight, and was hatching something for her benefit. They were in the little boudoir.

"I must write to Alexei, though," and Betsy sat down to the table, scribbled a few lines, and put the note in an envelope. "I'm telling him to come to dinner. I've one lady extra to dinner with me, and no man to take her in. Look what I've said——will that persuade him? Excuse me, I must leave you for a minute. Would you seal it up, please, and send it off? she said from the door; "I have to give some directions."

Without a moment's hesitation, Anna sat down to the table with Betsy's letter, and, without reading it, wrote below: "It's essential for me to see you. Come to the Vrede garden. I shall be there at six o'clock." She sealed it up, and, Betsy coming back, in her presence handed the note for transmittal.

At tea, which was brought them on a little tea table in the cool little drawing room, a cozy chat promised by Princess Tverskaia before the arrival of her visitors really did come off between the two women. They criticized the people they were expecting, and the conversation fell upon Liza Merkalova.

"She's very sweet, and I always liked her," said Anna.

"You ought to like her. She raves about you. Yesterday she came up to me after the races and was in despair at not finding you. She says you're a real heroine of romance, and that if she were a man she would do all sorts of mad things for your sake. Stremov says she does that as it is."

"But do tell me, please——I never could make it out," said Anna, after being silent for some time, speaking in a tone that showed she was not asking an idle question, but that what she was asking was of greater importance to her than it should have been, "do tell me, please: what are her relations with Prince Kaluzhsky——Mishka, as he's called? I've met them so little. What does it mean?"

Betsy smiled with her eyes, and looked intently at Anna.

"It's a new mode," she said. "They've all adopted that mode. They've flung their caps over the windmills. But there are ways and ways of flinging them."

"Yes, but precisely what are her relations with Kaluzhsky?"

Betsy broke into unexpectedly mirthful and irrepressible laughter, a thing which rarely happened with her.

"You're encroaching on Princess Miaghkaia's special domain now. That's the question of an enfant terrible," and Betsy obviously tried to restrain herself, but could not, and went off into peals of that infectious laughter peculiar to people who do not laugh often. "You'd better ask them," she brought out, between tears of laughter.

"No; you laugh," said Anna, laughing too, in spite of herself, "but I never could understand it. I can't understand the husband's role in it."

"The husband? Liza Merkalova's husband carries her shawl, and is always ready to be of use. But no one cares to inquire about what is really going on. You know, in decent society one doesn't talk or think even of certain details of the toilet. That's how it is in this case."

"Will you be at Madame Rolandaky's fete?" asked Anna, to change the conversation.

"I don't think so," answered Betsy, and, without looking at her friend, she began filling the little transparent cups with fragrant tea. Putting a cup before Anna, she took out a thin cigarette, and, fitting it into a silver holder, she lighted it. "It's like this, you see: I'm in a fortunate position," she began, quite serious now, as she took up her cup. "I understand you, and I understand Liza. Liza now is one of those naive natures that, like children, don't know what's good and what's bad. Anyway, she didn't comprehend it when she was very young. And now she's aware that the lack of comprehension suits her. Now, perhaps, she doesn't know on purpose," said Betsy, with a subtle smile. "But, anyway, it suits her. The very same thing, don't you see, may be looked at tragically, and turned into misery, or it may be looked at simply, and even humorously. Possibly you are inclined to look at things too tragically."

"How I should like to know other people just as I know myself!" said Anna, seriously and dreamily. "Am I worse than other people, or better? I think I'm worse."

"Enfant terrible, enfant terrible!" repeated Betsy. "But here they are."

XVIII.

They heard the sound of steps and a man's voice, then a woman's voice and laughter, and immediately thereafter there walked in the expected guests: Sappho Stoltz, and a young man beaming with excess of health, the so-called Vaska. It was evident that ample supplies of beefsteak, truffles, and Burgundy were profitable for his health. Vaska bowed to the two ladies, and glanced at them, but only for one second. He walked after Sappho into the drawing room, and followed her about as though he were chained to her, keeping his sparkling eyes fixed on her as though he wanted to eat her. Sappho Stoltz was a blonde beauty with black eyes. She walked with smart little steps in high-heeled shoes, and shook hands with the ladies vigorously, like a man.

Anna had never met this new star of fashion, and was struck by her beauty, the exaggerated extreme to which her dress was carried, and the boldness of her manners. On her head there was such an echafaudage of soft, golden hair——her own and false mixed——that her head was equal in size to the elegantly rounded bust, of which so much was exposed in front. The impulsive abruptness of her movements was such that at every step the lines of her knees and the upper part of her legs were distinctly marked under her dress, and the question involuntarily rose in one's mind where in the undulating, piled-up mountain of material at the back the real body of the woman, so small and slender, so naked in front, and so hidden behind and below, really came to an end.

Betsy made haste to introduce her to Anna.

"Only fancy, we all but ran over two soldiers," she began telling them at once, using her eyes, smiling and twitching away her train, which she at first threw too much to one side. "I drove here with Vaska... Ah, to be sure, you don't know each other." And, mentioning his surname, she introduced the young man, and, reddening, broke into a ringing laugh at her mistake——that is, at her having called him Vaska before a stranger. Vaska bowed once more to Anna, but he said nothing to her. He addressed Sappho: "You've lost your bet. We got here first. Pay up," said he, smiling.

Sappho laughed still more festively.

"Not just now," said she.

"It's all one, I'll have it later."

"Very well, very well. Oh, yes," she turned suddenly to Princess Betsy: "I am a nice person... I positively forgot it.... I've brought you a visitor. And here he comes."

The unexpected young visitor, whom Sappho had brought with her, and whom she had forgotten, was, however, a personage of such consequence that, in spite of his youth, both the ladies rose on his entrance.

He was a new admirer of Sappho's. Like Vaska, he now dogged her footsteps.

Soon after Prince Kaluzhsky arrived, and Liza Merkalova with Stremov. Liza Merkalova was a thin brunette, with an Oriental, languid type of face, and charming——as everyone used to say——ineffable eyes. The tone of her dark dress (Anna immediately observed and appreciated the fact) was in perfect harmony with her style of beauty. Liza was as soft and loose as Sappho was tight and shackled.

But to Anna's taste Liza was far more attractive. Betsy had said to Anna that she had adopted the pose of an unsophisticated child, but when Anna saw her she felt this was not the truth. She really was unsophisticated, spoiled, yet a sweet and irresponsible woman. It is true that her tone was the same as Sappho's; that, like Sappho, she had two men, one young and one old, tacked on to her, and devouring her with their eyes. But there was something in her higher than her surroundings. There was in her the glow of the real diamond among paste. This glow shone out in her charming, truly ineffable eyes. The weary, and at the same time passionate, glance of those eyes, encircled by dark rings, impressed one by its perfect sincerity. Everyone looking into those eyes fancied he knew her wholly, and, knowing her, could not but love her. At the sight of Anna, her whole face lighted up at once with a smile of delight.

"Ah, how glad I am to see you!" she said, going up to her. "Yesterday, at the races, I wanted just to get to you, but you'd gone away. I did so want to see you, especially yesterday. Wasn't it awful?" she said, looking at Anna with eyes that seemed to lay bare all her soul.

"Yes; I had no idea it would be so thrilling," said Anna, blushing.

The company got up at this moment to go into the garden.

"I'm not going," said Liza, smiling and settling herself close to Anna. "You won't go either, will you? Who wants to play croquet?"

"Oh, I like it," said Anna.

"There, how do you manage never to be bored by things? One has but to look at you, to be joyful. You're alive, but I'm bored."

"How can you be bored? Why, you live among the merriest people in Peterburg," said Anna.

"Possibly the people who are not of our set are even more bored; but we are not amused ourselves——I certainly am not, but awfully, awfully bored."

Sappho, smoking a cigarette, went off into the garden with the two young men. Betsy and Stremov remained at the tea table.

"You bored?" said Betsy. "Sappho says they enjoyed themselves tremendously at your house last night."

"Ah, how dreary it all was!" said Liza Merkalova. "We all drove back to my place after the races. And always the same people, always the same. Always the same thing. We lounged about on sofas all the evening. What's enjoyable about that? No; do tell me how you manage never to be bored?" she said, addressing Anna again. "One has but to look at you and one sees a woman who may be happy or unhappy, but who isn't bored. Tell me——how do you do it?"

"I do nothing," answered Anna, blushing at these searching questions.

"That's the best way," Stremov put in.

Stremov was a man of fifty, partly gray, but still vigorous in appearance, very ugly, but with a characteristic and intelligent face. Liza Merkalova was his wife's niece, and he spent all his leisure hours with her. On meeting Anna Karenina, since he was Alexei Alexandrovich's enemy in the government, he tried, like a shrewd man and a man of the world, to be particularly cordial with her, the wife of his enemy.

"Nothing," he put in with a subtle smile, "that's the very best way. I told you long ago," he said, turning to Liza Merkalova, "that, in order not to be bored, you mustn't think you're going to be bored. Just as you mustn't be afraid of not being able to fall asleep, if you're afraid of sleeplessness. That's precisely what Anna Arkadyevna has just said."

"I should be very glad if I had said it, for it's not only clever but true," said Anna, smiling.

"No, do tell me why it is one can't go to sleep, and one can't help being bored?"

"To sleep well one should work, and to enjoy oneself one should also work."

"What am I to work for when my work is of no use to anybody? And I can't, and won't, knowingly make a pretense at it."

"You're incorrigible," said Stremov, without looking at her, and he spoke again to Anna.

As he rarely met Anna, he could say nothing but banalities to her, but he said those banalities, when was she returning to Peterburg, and how fond Countess Lidia Ivanovna was of her——with an expression which suggested that he longed with his whole soul to please her, and show his regard for her——and even more than that.

Tushkevich came in, announcing that the party were awaiting the other players to begin croquet.

"No, don't go away, please don't," pleaded Liza Merkalova, hearing that Anna was going. Stremov joined in her entreaties.

"It's too violent a transition," he said, "to go from such company to old Madame Vrede. And, besides, you will only give her a chance for talking scandal, while here you will arouse other feelings, of the finest and directly opposed to scandal," he said to her.

Anna pondered for an instant in uncertainty. This shrewd man's flattering words, the naive, childlike affection shown her by Liza Merkalova, and all the worldly atmosphere she was used to——it was all so easy, while that which was in store for her was so difficult, that she was for a minute in uncertainty: should she remain, should she put off a little longer the painful moment of explanation? But, remembering what was in store for her when she would be alone at home, if she did not come to some decision; remembering that gesture—— terrible even in memory——when she had clutched her hair in both hands, she said good-by and went away.

XIX.

In spite of Vronsky's apparently frivolous life in society, he was a man who hated disorder. In early youth, in the Corps of Pages, he had experienced the humiliation of a refusal, when he had tried, being in difficulties, to borrow money, and since then he had never once put himself in the same position again.

In order to keep his affairs in some sort of order, he was wont, about five times a year (more or less frequently, according to circumstances), to shut himself up alone and put all his affairs into definite shape. This he would call his day of washing up or faire la lessive.

On waking up late in the morning after the races, Vronsky put on a white linen coat, and, without shaving or taking his bath, he distributed about the table money, bills, and letters, and set to work. Petritsky, who knew he was ill-tempered on such occasions, on waking up and seeing his comrade at the writing table, quietly dressed and went out without getting in his way.

Every man who knows to the minutest details all the complexity of the conditions surrounding him, cannot help imagining that the complexity of these conditions, and the difficulty of making them clear, is something exceptional and personal, peculiar to himself, and never supposes that others are surrounded by just as complicated an array of personal affairs as he is. So indeed it seemed to Vronsky. And not without inward pride, and not without reason, he thought that any other man would long ago have been in difficulties, and would have been forced to some dishonorable course, if he had found himself in such a difficult position. But Vronsky felt that now especially it was essential for him to clear up and define his position if he were to avoid getting into difficulties.

What Vronsky attacked first, as being the easiest, was his pecuniary position. Writing out on note paper in his minute handwriting all that he owed, he added up the amount and found that his debts amounted to seventeen thousand and some odd hundreds, which he left out for the sake of clearness. Reckoning up his cash and the balance in his bankbook, he found that he had left one thousand eight hundred roubles, and nothing coming in before the New Year. Reckoning over again his list of debts, Vronsky copied it, dividing it into three classes. In the first class he put the debts which he would have to pay at once, or for which he must in any case have the money ready so that on demand for payment there would not be a moment's delay in paying. Such debts amounted to about four thousand: one thousand five hundred for a horse, and two thousand five hundred as surety for a young comrade, Venevsky, who had lost that sum to a cardsharper in Vronsky's presence. Vronsky had wanted to pay the money at the time (he had that amount then), but Venevsky and Iashvin had insisted that they would pay and not Vronsky, who had not played. So far, so good; but Vronsky knew that in this dirty business, though his only share in it was undertaking by word of mouth to be surety for Venevsky, it was absolutely necessary for him to have the two thousand five hundred roubles, so as to be able to fling it at the cheat, and have no more words with him. And so, for this first and most important division, he must have four thousand roubles. The second class—— eight thousand roubles——consisted of less important debts. These were principally accounts owing in connection with his race horses, to the purveyor of oats and hay, the Englishman, the saddler, and so on. He would have to pay some two thousand roubles on these debts too, in order to be quite free from anxiety. The last class of debts——to shops, to hotels, to his tailor——were such as need not be considered. So that he needed at least six thousand roubles, and he only had one thousand eight hundred for current expenses. For a man with one hundred thousand roubles of revenue, which was what everyone fixed as Vronsky's income, such debts, one would suppose, could hardly be embarrassing; but the fact was that he was far from having one hundred thousand. His father's immense property, which alone yielded a yearly income of two hundred thousand, was left undivided between the brothers. At the time when the elder brother, with a mass of debts, had married Princess Varia Chirkova, the daughter of a Dekabrist without any fortune whatever, Alexei had given up to his elder brother almost the whole income from his father's estate, reserving for himself only twenty-five thousand a year from it. Alexei had said at the time to his brother that the sum would be sufficient for him until he married, which he would probably never do. And his brother, who was in command of one of the most expensive regiments, and was only just married, could not decline the gift. His mother, who had her own separate property, had allowed Alexei every year twenty thousand in addition to the twenty-five thousand he had reserved, and Alexei had spent it all. Of late his mother, incensed with him on account of his love affair and his leaving Moscow, had given up sending him the money. And, in consequence of this, Vronsky, who had been in the habit of living on the scale of forty-five thousand a year, having only received twenty thousand that year, now found himself in difficulties. To get out of these difficulties, he could not apply to his mother for money. Her last letter, which he had received the day before, had particularly exasperated him by the hints it contained that she was quite ready to help him to succeed in the world and in the army, but not to lead a life which scandalized all good society. His mother's attempt to buy him stung him to the quick and made him feel colder than ever toward her. But he could not draw back from the generous word when it was once uttered, even though he felt now, vaguely foreseeing certain eventualities in his liaison with Madame Karenina, that his generous word had been spoken thoughtlessly, and that, even though he were not married, he might need all the hundred thousand of income. But it was impossible to draw back. He had only to recall his brother's wife, to remember how that sweet, delightful Varia sought, at every convenient opportunity, to remind him that she remembered his generosity and appreciated it, to grasp the impossibility of taking back his gift. It was as impossible as beating a woman, or stealing, or lying. One thing only could and ought to be done, and Vronsky determined upon it without an instant's hesitation: to borrow money from a moneylender, ten thousand roubles, a proceeding which presented no difficulty; to cut down his expenses generally, and to sell his race horses. Resolving on this, he promptly wrote a note to Rolandaky, who had more than once sent to him with offers to buy horses from him. Then he sent for the Englishman and the moneylender, and divided what money he had according to the accounts he intended to pay. Having finished this business, he wrote a cold and cutting answer to his mother. Then he took out of his notebook three notes of Anna's, read them again, burned them, and, remembering their conversation on the previous day, he sank into deep thought.

XX.

Vronsky's life was particularly happy in that he had a code of principles, which defined with unfailing certitude what he ought and what he ought not to do. This code of principles covered only a very small circle of contingencies, but then the principles were never doubtful, and Vronsky, as he never went outside that circle, had never had a moment's hesitation about doing what he ought to do. These principles laid down as invariable rules: that one must pay a cardsharper, but need not pay a tailor; that one must never tell a lie to a man, but one may to a woman; that one must never cheat anyone, but one may a husband; that one must never pardon an insult, but one may give one and so on. These principles were possibly not reasonable and not good, but they were of unfailing certainty, and, so long as he adhered to them, Vronsky felt that his heart was at peace and he could hold his head up. But of late, in regard to his relations with Anna, Vronsky had begun to feel that his code of principles did not fully cover all possible contingencies, and to foresee in the future difficulties and perplexities for which he could find no guiding clue.

His present relation to Anna and to her husband was to his mind clear and simple. It was clearly and precisely defined in the code of principles by which he was guided.

She was an honorable woman who had bestowed her love upon him, and he loved her, and therefore she was in his eyes a woman who had a right to the same respect, or even more, than a lawful wife. He would have had his hand chopped off before he would have allowed himself by a word, by a hint, to humiliate her, or even to fall short of the fullest respect a woman could look for.

His attitude toward society, too, was clear. Everyone might know, might suspect it, but no one might dare to speak of it. If any did speak, he was ready to force all who might do so to be silent and to respect the nonexistent honor of the woman he loved.

His attitude to the husband was the clearest of all. From the moment that Anna loved Vronsky, he had regarded his own right over her as the one thing unassailable. Her husband was simply a superfluous and tiresome person. No doubt he was in a pitiable position, but how could that be helped? The one thing the husband had a right to was to demand satisfaction with a weapon in his hand, and Vronsky was prepared for this at any minute.

But of late new inner relations had arisen between her and him, which frightened Vronsky by their indefiniteness. Only the day before she had told him that she was with child. And he felt that this fact, and what she expected of him, called for something not fully defined in that code of principles by which he had hitherto steered his course in life. And he had been indeed caught unawares, and, at the first moment when she spoke to him of her position, his heart had prompted him to beg her to leave her husband. He had said that, but now, thinking things over he saw clearly that it would be better to manage avoiding that; and at the same time, as he told himself this, he was afraid whether such an avoidance were not wrong.

"If I told her to leave her husband, it would mean uniting her life with mine; am I prepared for that? How can I take her away now, when I have no money? Supposing I could arrange... But how can I take her away while I'm in the service? If I say it, I ought to be prepared to do it; that is, I ought to have the money and to retire from the army."

And he grew thoughtful. The question whether to retire from the service or not brought him to the other, and perhaps the chief though hidden, interest of his life, of which none knew but he.

Ambition was the old dream of his youth and childhood, a dream which he did not confess even to himself, though it was so strong that now this passion was even doing battle with his love. His first steps in the world and in the service had been successful, but two years before he had made a great mistake. Anxious to show his independence, and for the sake of advancement, he had refused a post that had been offered him, hoping that this refusal would heighten his value; but it turned out that he had been too bold, and he was passed over. And having, whether he liked or not, taken up for himself the position of an independent man, he carried it off with great tact and good sense, behaving as though he bore no grudge against anyone, nor regarding himself as injured in any way, and caring for nothing but to be left alone since he was enjoying himself. In reality he had ceased to enjoy himself as long ago as the year before, when he had gone to Moscow. He felt that this independent attitude of a man who might have done anything, but cared to do nothing, was already beginning to pall, that many people were beginning to fancy that he was not really capable of anything but being a straightforward, good-natured fellow. His connection with Madame Karenina, by creating so much sensation and attracting general attention, had given him a fresh distinction, which had soothed his gnawing worm of ambition for a while; but a week ago that worm had been roused up again with fresh force. The friend of his childhood, a man of the same set, of the same coterie, his comrade in the Corps of Pages, Serpukhovskoy, who had left school with him, and had been his rival in class, in gymnastics, in their scrapes and their dreams of glory, had come back a few days before from Central Asia, where he had gained two steps up in rank, and an order rarely bestowed upon generals so young.

As soon as he arrived in Peterburg, people began to talk about him as a newly risen star of the first magnitude. A schoolfellow of Vronsky's and of the same age, he was a general and was expecting a command which might have influence on the course of political events; while Vronsky, though he was independent and brilliant, and beloved by a charming woman, was simply a cavalry captain who was readily allowed to be as independent as ever he liked. "Of course, I don't envy Serpukhovskoy and never could envy him; but his advancement shows me that one has only to watch one's opportunity, and the career of a man like me may be very rapidly made. Three years ago he was in just the same position as I am. If I retire, I burn my ships. If I remain in the army, I lose nothing. She said herself she did not wish to change her position. And with her love I cannot feel envious of Serpukhovskoy." And, slowly twirling his mustaches, he got up from the table and walked about the room. His eyes shone particularly brightly, and he felt in that firm, calm, and happy frame of mind which always came after he had thoroughly faced his position. Everything was straight and clear, just as after former days of striking balances. He shaved, took a cold bath, dressed, and went out.

XXI.

"I've come to fetch you. Your lessive lasted a good time today," said Petritsky. "Well, is it over?"

"It's over," answered Vronsky, smiling with his eyes only, and twirling the tips of his mustaches as circumspectly as though after the perfect order into which his affairs had been brought any overbold or rapid movement might disturb it.

"You're always just as if you'd come out of a bath after it," said Petritsky. "I've come from Gritzka" (that was what they called the colonel);——"you're expected there."

Vronsky, without answering, looked at his comrade, thinking of something else.

"Yes; is that music at his place?" he said, listening to the familiar bass sounds of trumpets, of polkas and waltzes, floating across to him. "What's the fete?"

"Serpukhovskoy's come."

"Aha!" said Vronsky. "Why, I didn't know."

The smile in his eyes gleamed more brightly than ever.

Having once made up his mind that he was happy in his love, that he sacrificed his ambition to it——at any rate, having taken up this role——Vronsky was incapable of feeling either envious of Serpukhovskoy, or vexed at him for not having come to him first upon coming to the regiment. Serpukhovskoy was a good friend, and he was delighted he had come.

"Ah, I'm very glad!"

The colonel, Demin, had taken a large country house. The whole party was on the wide lower balcony. In the courtyard the first objects that met Vronsky's eyes were a band of singers in short white linen jackets, standing near a barrel of vodka, and the robust, good-humored figure of the colonel surrounded by officers. He had gone out as far as the first step of the balcony and was loudly shouting to drown out the band playing an Offenbach quadrille, waving his arms and giving some orders to a few soldiers standing on one side. A group of soldiers, a quartermaster, and several subalterns came up to the balcony with Vronsky. The colonel returned to the table, went out again on the steps with a tumbler in his hand, and proposed the toast, "To the health of our former comrade, the gallant general, Prince Serpukhovskoy. Hurrah!"

The colonel was followed by Serpukhovskoy, who came out on the steps smiling, with a glass in his hand.

"You always get younger, Bondarenko," he said to the rosy-cheeked, smart-looking sergeant standing just before him, still youngish-looking though doing his second term of service.

It was three years since Vronsky had seen Serpukhovskoy. He looked more robust, had let his whiskers grow, but was still the same graceful creature, whose face and figure were even more striking from their fineness and nobility than their beauty. The only change Vronsky detected in him was that subdued, continual beaming which settles on the faces of men who are successful and are sure of the recognition of their success by everyone. Vronsky knew that radiant air, and immediately observed it in Serpukhovskoy.

As Serpukhovskoy came down the steps he saw Vronsky. A smile of pleasure lighted up his face. He tossed his head upward and waved the glass in his hand, greeting Vronsky, and showing him by the gesture that he could not come to him before kissing the sergeant who stood craning forward his lips ready to be kissed.

"Here he is!" shouted the colonel. "Iashvin told me you were in one of your gloomy tempers."

Serpukhovskoy kissed the moist, fresh lips of the brave sergeant, and, wiping his mouth with his handkerchief, walked up to Vronsky.

"How glad I am!" he said, squeezing his hand and drawing him to one side.

"You look after him," the colonel shouted to Iashvin, pointing to Vronsky; and he went down below to the soldiers.

"Why weren't you at the races yesterday? I expected to see you there," said Vronsky, scrutinizing Serpukhovskoy.

"I did go, but late. I beg your pardon," he added, and turned to the adjutant: "Please have this distributed from me, each man as much as it comes to."

And he hurriedly took three notes for a hundred roubles each from his pocketbook, and blushed.

"Vronsky! Have a bite or a drink?" asked Iashvin. "Hi, something for the Count to eat! There——drink that."

The spree at the colonel's lasted a long while.

There was a great deal of drinking. They swung Serpukhovskoy and tossed him in the air. Then they did the same to the colonel. Then, to the accompaniment of the band, the colonel himself danced with Petritsky. Then the colonel, who began to show signs of weakening, sat down on a bench in the courtyard and began demonstrating to Iashvin the superiority of Russia over Prussia, especially in cavalry attack, and there was a lull in the revelry for a moment. Serpukhovskoy went into the house to the bathroom to wash his hands and found Vronsky there——Vronsky was sousing his head with water. He had taken off his coat and put his red hairy neck under the tap, and was rubbing it and his head with his hands. When he had finished, Vronsky sat down by Serpukhovskoy. They both sat down in the bathroom on a lounge, and a conversation began which was very interesting to both of them.

"I've always been hearing about you through my wife," said Serpukhovskoy. "I'm glad you've been seeing her pretty often."

"She's friendly with Varia, and they're the only women in Peterburg I care about seeing," answered Vronsky, smiling. He smiled because he foresaw the topic the conversation would turn to, and he was glad of it.

"The only ones?" Serpukhovskoy queried, smiling.

"Yes; and I heard news of you, but not only through your wife," said Vronsky, checking Serpukhovskoy's hint by assuming a stern expression. "I was greatly delighted to hear of your success, but not a bit surprised. I expected even more."

Serpukhovskoy smiled. Such an opinion of him was obviously agreeable to him, and he did not think it necessary to conceal it.

"Well, I, on the contrary, expected less——I'll own up frankly. But I'm glad, very glad. I'm ambitious——that's my weakness, and I confess to it."

"Perhaps you wouldn't confess to it if you hadn't been successful," said Vronsky.

"I don't suppose so," said Serpukhovskoy, smiling again. "I won't say life wouldn't be worth living without it, but it would be dull. Of course I may be mistaken, but I fancy I have a certain capacity for the line I've chosen, and that if there is to be power of any sort in my hands, it will be better than in the hands of a good many people I know," said Serpukhovskoy, with beaming consciousness of success; "and so the nearer I get to it, the better pleased I am."

"Perhaps that is true for you, but not for everyone. I used to think so too, but now I see and think life worth living not only for that."

"There it comes! there it comes!" said Serpukhovskoy laughing. "Ever since I heard about you, about your refusal, I began... Of course, I approved of what you did. But there are ways of doing everything. And I think your action was good in itself, but you didn't do it in quite the way you should have done."

"What's done can't be undone, and you know I never go back on what I've done. And, besides, I'm very well off."

"Very well off——for the time. But you're not satisfied with that. I wouldn't say this to your brother. He's a charming child, like our host here. There he goes!" he added, listening to the roar of a "hurrah!"——"and he's happy; that does not satisfy you."

"I didn't say it did."

"Yes, but that's not the only thing. Such men as you are wanted."

"By whom?"

"By whom? By society, by Russia. Russia needs men, she needs a party, or else everything goes and will go to the dogs."

"How do you mean? Bertenev's party against the Russian communists?"

"No," said Serpukhovskoy, frowning with vexation at being suspected of such an absurdity. "Tout ca est une blague. That has always been, and always will be. There are no communists. But intriguing people have to invent a noxious, dangerous party. It's an old trick. No, what's wanted is a powerful party of independent men, like you and me."

"But why so?" Vronsky mentioned a few men who were in power. "Why aren't they independent men?"

"Simply because they have not, or have not had from birth, an independent fortune, they've not had a name, they weren't born close to the sun as we were. They can be bought either by money or by favor. And they have to find a support for themselves in inventing a trend. And they bring forward some notion, some trend that they don't believe in, that does harm; and the whole policy is really only a means to a house at the expense of the crown and so much income. Cela n'est pas plus fin que ca, when you get a peep at their cards. I may be inferior to them, more stupid perhaps, though I don't see why I should be inferior to them. But you and I have one important, certain advantage over them, in being more difficult to buy. And such men are more needed than ever."

Vronsky listened attentively, but he was not so much interested by the meaning of the words as by the attitude of Serpukhovskoy, who was already contemplating a struggle with the existing powers, and already had his likes and dislikes in that world, while his own interest in his service did not go beyond the interests of his squadron. Vronsky felt, too, how powerful Serpukhovskoy might become through his unmistakable faculty for thinking things out and for taking things in, through his intelligence and gift of eloquence, so rarely met with in the world in which he moved. And, ashamed as he was of the feeling, he felt envious.

"Still I haven't the one thing of paramount importance for that," he answered; "I haven't the desire for power. I had it once, but it's gone."

"Excuse me, that's not true," said Serpukhovskoy smiling.

"Yes, it's true, it's true——now to be truthful!" Vronsky added.

"Yes, it's true now, that's another thing; but that now won't last forever."

"Perhaps," answered Vronsky.

"You say perhaps," Serpukhovskoy went on, as though guessing his thoughts, "but I say for certain. And that's what I wanted to see you for. Your action was just what it should have been. I see that, but you ought not to persevere in it. I only ask you to give me carte blanche. I'm not going to offer you my protection.... Though, indeed, why shouldn't I protect you?——you've protected me often enough! I should hope our friendship rises above all that sort of thing. Yes," he said, smiling to him as tenderly as a woman, "give me carte blanche, retire from the regiment, and I'll get you in imperceptibly."

"But you must understand that I want nothing," said Vronsky, "except to leave things just as they were."

Serpukhovskoy got up and stood facing him.

"You said, leave things just as they were. I understand what that means. But listen: we're the same age, you've known a greater number of women perhaps than I have." Serpukhovskoy's smile and gestures told Vronsky that he mustn't be afraid, that he would be tender and careful in touching the sore place. "But I'm married, and believe me, in getting to know one's wife thoroughly, if one loves her, as someone has said, one gets to know all women better than if one knew thousands of them."

"We're coming directly!" Vronsky shouted to an officer, who looked into the room and called them to the colonel.

Vronsky was longing now to hear Serpukhovskoy to the end, and know what he would say to him.

"And here's my opinion for you. Women are the chief stumbling block in a man's career. It's hard to love a woman and do anything. There's only one way of having love conveniently without its being a hindrance——that's marriage. Now, how am I to tell you what I mean?" said Serpukhovskoy, who liked similes. "Wait, wait a minute! Yes, just as you can only carry a fardeau yet do something with your hands when the fardeau is tied on your back——and that's marriage. And that's what I felt when I was married. My hands were suddenly set free. But if you drag that fardeau about with you without marriage, your hands will always be so full that you can do nothing. Look at Mazankov, at Krupov. They've ruined their careers for the sake of women."

"What women!" said Vronsky, recalling the Frenchwoman and the actress with whom the two men he had mentioned were connected.

"The firmer the woman's footing in society, the worse it is. That's much the same as not merely carrying the fardeau in your arms, but tearing it away from someone else."

"You have never loved," Vronsky said softly, looking straight before him and thinking of Anna.

"Perhaps. But you remember what I've said to you. And another thing—— women are all more materialistic than men. We make something immense out of love, but they are always terre-a-terre."

"Directly, directly!" he cried to a footman who came in. But the footman had not come to call them again, as he supposed. The footman brought Vronsky a note.

"A man brought it from Princess Tverskaia."

Vronsky opened the letter, and flushed crimson.

"My head's begun to ache; I'm going home," he said to Serpukhovskoy.

"Oh, good-by then. You give me carte blanche!"

"We'll talk about it later on; I'll look you up in Peterburg."

XXII.

It was six o'clock already, and so, in order to be there quickly, and at the same time not to drive with his own horses, known to everyone, Vronsky got into Iashvin's hackney coach and told the coachman to drive as quickly as possible. It was a roomy, old-fashioned coach, with seats for four. He sat in one corner, stretched his legs out on the front seat, and sank into deep thought.

A vague sense of the clearness to which his affairs had been brought, a vague recollection of the friendliness and flattery of Serpukhovskoy, who had considered him a man who was needed, and, most of all, the anticipation of the meeting before him——all blended into a general, joyous sense of life. This feeling was so strong that he could not help smiling. He dropped his legs, crossed one leg over the other knee, and, taking it in his hand, felt the springy muscle of the calf, where it had been grazed the day before by his fall, and, leaning back he drew several deep breaths.

"I'm happy, very happy!" he said to himself. He had often before had this sense of physical joy in his own body, but he had never felt so fond of himself, of his own body, as at that moment. He enjoyed the slight ache in his strong leg, he enjoyed the muscular sensation of movement in his chest as he breathed. The bright, cold August day, which had made Anna feel so hopeless, seemed to him keenly stimulating, and refreshed his face and neck that still tingled from the cold water. The scent of brilliantine on his mustaches struck him as particularly pleasant in the fresh air. Everything he saw from the carriage window, everything in that cold pure air, in the pale light of the sunset, was as fresh, and gay, and strong as he was himself: the roofs of the houses shining in the rays of the setting sun, the sharp outlines of fences and angles of buildings, the figures of passers-by and carriages that met him now and then, the motionless green of the trees and grass, the fields with evenly drawn furrows of potatoes, and the slanting shadows that fell from the houses, and trees, and bushes, and even from the rows of potatoes—— everything was bright like a pretty landscape freshly painted and varnished.

"Get on, get on!" he said to the driver, putting his head out of the window, and pulling a three-rouble note out of his pocket he handed it to the man as he looked round. The driver's hand fumbled with something at the lamp, the whip cracked, and the coach rolled rapidly along the smooth highroad.

"I want nothing, nothing but this happiness," he thought, staring at the bone button of the bell in the space between the windows, and picturing to himself Anna just as he had seen her last time. "And as I go on, I love her more and more. Here's the garden of the Vrede's crown villa. Whereabouts will she be? Where? How? Why did she fix on this place to meet me, and why does she write in Betsy's letter?" he thought, now for the first time wondering at it. But there was now no time for wonder. He called to the driver to stop before reaching the avenue, and opening the door, jumped out of the carriage as it was moving, and went up the avenue that led to the house. There was no one in the avenue; but, looking round to the right, he caught sight of her. Her face was hidden by a veil, but he drank in with glad eyes the special movement in walking, peculiar to her alone, the slope of her shoulders, and the setting of her head, and at once a sort of electric shock ran all over him. With fresh force he felt conscious of himself, from the springy movements of his legs to the movements of his lungs as he breathed, and something set his lips twitching.

Joining him, she pressed his hand tightly.

"You're not angry because I sent for you? I absolutely had to see you," she said; and the serious and set line of her lips, which he saw under the veil, transformed his mood at once.

"I angry? But how have you come——where?"

"Never mind," she said, laying her hand on his arm, "come along, I must talk to you."

He saw that something had happened, and that the interview would not be a joyous one. In her presence he had no will of his own: without knowing the grounds of her distress, he already felt the same distress unconsciously passing over him.

"What is it? What?" he asked her, squeezing her hand with his elbow, and trying to read her thoughts in her face.

She walked on a few steps in silence, gathering up her courage; then suddenly she stopped.

"I did not tell you yesterday," she began, breathing quickly and painfully, "that coming home with Alexei Alexandrovich I told him everything... told him I could not be his wife, that... and told him everything."

He heard her, unconsciously bending his whole figure down to her as though hoping in this way to soften the hardness of her position for her. But directly she had said this he suddenly drew himself up, and a proud and hard expression came over his face.

"Yes, yes, that's better, a thousand times better! I know how painful it was," he said. But she was not listening to his words—— she was reading his thoughts from the expression of his face. She could not guess that that arose from the first idea that presented itself to Vronsky——that a duel was now inevitable. The idea of a duel had never crossed her mind, and so she put a different interpretation on this passing expression of hardness.

When she got her husband's letter, she knew then at the bottom of her heart that everything would go on in the old way, that she would not have the strength of will to forego her position, to abandon her son, and to join her lover. The morning spent at Princess Tverskaia's had confirmed her still more in this. But this interview was still of the utmost gravity for her. She hoped that this interview would transform her position, and save her. If on hearing this news he were to say to her resolutely, passionately, without an instant's wavering: "Throw up everything and come with me! she would give up her son and go away with him. But this news had not produced on him the effect she had expected; he simply seemed resentful of some affront.

"It was not in the least painful for me. It happened of itself," she said irritably, "and see..." She pulled her husband's letter out of her glove.

"I understand, I understand," he interrupted her, taking the letter, but not reading it, and trying to soothe her. "The one thing I longed for, the one thing I prayed for, was to cut short this position, so as to devote my life to your happiness."

"Why do you tell me that?" she said. "Do you suppose I can doubt it? If I doubted..."

"Who's that coming?" said Vronsky suddenly, pointing to two ladies walking toward them. "Perhaps they know us!" and he hurriedly turned off, drawing her after him into a side path.

"Oh, I don't care!" she said. Her lips were quivering. And he fancied that her eyes looked with strange fury at him from under her veil. "I tell you that's not the point——I can't doubt that; but see what he writes me. Read it." She stood still again.

Again, just as at the first moment of hearing of her rupture with her husband, Vronsky, on reading the letter, was unconsciously carried away by the natural sensation aroused in him by his own relation to the injured husband. Now, while he held his letter in his hands, he could not help picturing the challenge, which he would most likely find at home today or tomorrow, and the duel itself, in which, with the same cold and haughty expression that his face was assuming at this moment, he would await the injured husband's shot, after having himself fired into the air. And at that instant there flashed across his mind the thought of what Serpukhovskoy had just said to him, and what he had himself been thinking in the morning——that it was better not to bind himself; and he knew that he could not tell her this thought.

Having read the letter, he raised his eyes to her, and there was no firmness in them. She saw at once that he had been thinking about it before by himself. She knew that whatever he might say to her, he would not say all he thought. And she knew that her last hope had failed her. This was not what she had been looking for.

"You see the sort of man he is," she said, with a shaking voice; "he..."

"Forgive me, but I rejoice at it," Vronsky interrupted. "For God's sake, let me finish!" he added, his eyes imploring her to give him time to explain his words. "I rejoice, because things cannot, cannot possibly remain as he supposes."

"Why can't they?" Anna said, restraining her tears, and obviously attaching no sort of consequence to what he said. She felt that her fate was sealed.

Vronsky meant that after the duel——inevitable, he thought——things could not go on as before, but he said something different.

"It can't go on. I hope that now you will leave him. I hope"——he was confused, and reddened——"that you will let me arrange and plan our life. Tomorrow..." he was beginning.

She did not let him go on.

"But my child!" she shrieked. "You see what he writes! I should have to leave him, and I can't and won't do that."

"But, for God's sake, which is better? To leave your child, or keep up this degrading situation?"

"To whom is it degrading?"

"To all, and most of all to you."

"You say degrading... Don't say that. These words have no meaning for me," she said in a shaking voice. She did not want him now to say what was untrue. She had nothing left her but his love, and she wanted to love him. "Don't you understand that from the day I loved you everything has changed for me? For me there is one thing, and one thing only——your love. If that's mine, I feel so exalted, so strong, that nothing can be degrading to me. I am proud of my position, because... proud of being... proud..." She could not say what she was proud of. Tears of shame and despair choked her utterance. She stood still and sobbed.

He felt, too, something swelling in his throat and twitching in his nose, and for the first time in his life he felt on the point of weeping. He could not have said exactly what it was touched him so; he felt sorry for her, and he felt he could not help her, and with that he knew that he was to blame for her wretchedness, and that he had done something wrong.

"Isn't a divorce possible?" he said feebly. She shook her head, without answering. "Couldn't you take your son, and still leave him?

"Yes; but it all depends on him. Now I must go to him," she said shortly. Her presentiment that all would again go on in the old way had not deceived her.

"On Tuesday I shall be in Peterburg, and everything can be settled."

"Yes," she said. "But don't let us talk any more of it."

Anna's carriage, which she had sent away, and ordered to come back to the little gate of the Vrede garden, drove up. Anna said good-by to Vronsky, and drove home.

XXIII.

On Monday there was the usual session of the Commission of the 2nd of June. Alexei Alexandrovich walked into the hall where the session was held, greeted the members and the president, as usual, and sat down in his place, putting his hand on the papers laid ready before him. Among those papers lay the necessary evidence and a rough outline of the speech he intended to make. But he did not really need these documents. He remembered every point, and did not think it necessary to go over in his memory what he would say. He knew that when the time came, and when he saw his enemy facing him, and studiously endeavoring to assume an expression of indifference, his speech would flow of itself better than he could prepare it now. He felt that the import of his speech was of such magnitude that every word of it would have weight. Meantime, as he listened to the usual report, he had the most innocent and inoffensive air. No one, looking at his white hands, with their swollen veins and long fingers, so softly stroking the edges of the white paper that lay before him, and at the air of weariness with which his head drooped on one side, would have suspected that in a few minutes a torrent of words would flow from his lips that would arouse a fearful storm, set the members shouting and attacking one another, and force the president to call for order. When the report was over, Alexei Alexandrovich announced in his subdued, delicate voice that he had several points to bring before the meeting in regard to the organization of the native tribes. All attention was turned upon him. Alexei Alexandrovich cleared his throat, and, without looking at his opponent, but selecting, as he always did while he was delivering his speeches, the first person sitting opposite him, an inoffensive little old man, who never had an opinion of any sort in the Commission, began to expound his views. When he reached the point about the basic and organic law, his opponent jumped up and began to protest. Stremov, who was also a member of the Commission, and was also stung to the quick, began defending himself, and an altogether stormy session followed; but Alexei Alexandrovich triumphed, and his motion was carried, three new commissions were appointed, and the next day, in a certain Peterburg circle, nothing else was talked of but this session. Alexei Alexandrovich's success had been even greater than he had anticipated.

Next morning, Tuesday, Alexei Alexandrovich, on awaking, recollected with pleasure his triumph of the previous day, and he could not help smiling, though he tried to appear indifferent, when the head clerk, anxious to flatter him, informed him of the rumors that had reached him concerning what had happened in the Commission.

Absorbed in business with the head clerk, Alexei Alexandrovich had completely forgotten that it was Tuesday, the day fixed by him for the return of Anna Arkadyevna, and he was surprised and received a shock of annoyance when a servant came in to inform him of her arrival.

Anna had arrived in Peterburg early in the morning; the carriage had been sent to meet her in accordance with her telegram, and so Alexei Alexandrovich might have known of her arrival. But, when she arrived, he did not meet her. She was told that he had not yet gone out, but was busy with the head clerk. She sent word to her husband that she had come, went to her own room, and occupied herself in sorting out her things, expecting he would come to her. But an hour passed; he did not come. She went into the dining room on the pretext of giving some directions, and spoke loudly on purpose, expecting him to come out there; but he did not come, though she heard him go to the door of his study as he parted from the head clerk. She knew that he should before long go out to his office as usual, and she wanted to see him before that, so that their attitude to one another might be defined.

She walked across the drawing room and went resolutely to him. When she went into his study he was in official uniform, obviously ready to go out, sitting at a little table on which he rested his elbows, looking dejectedly before him. She saw him before he saw her, and she knew that he was thinking of her.

On seeing her, he would have risen, but changed his mind, then his face flushed hotly——a thing Anna had never seen before, and he got up quickly and went to meet her, looking not at her eyes, but above them, at her forehead and hair. He went up to her, took her by the hand, and asked her to sit down.

"I am very glad you have come," he said, sitting down beside her, and, obviously wishing to say something, he stuttered. Several times he attempted to speak, but stopped. In spite of the fact, that in preparing herself for meeting him, she had schooled herself to despise and accuse him, she did not know what to say to him, and she felt pity for him. And so the silence lasted rather long: "Is Seriozha quite well?" he said, and, without waiting for an answer, he added: "I shan't be dining at home today, and I must go out directly."

"I had thought of going to Moscow," she said.

"No, you did quite, quite right to come," he said, and was silent again.

Seeing that he was powerless to begin the conversation, she began herself.

"Alexei Alexandrovich," she said, looking at him and without dropping her eyes under his persistent gaze at her hair, "I'm a guilty woman, I'm a bad woman, yet I am the same as I was, as I told you then, and I have come to tell you that I can change nothing."

"I haven't asked you about that," he said, all at once, resolutely and with hatred looking her straight in the face; "that was as I had supposed." Under the influence of anger he apparently regained complete possession of all his faculties. "But as I told you then, and have written to you," he said in a thin, shrill voice, "I repeat now, that I am not bound to know this. I ignore it. Not all wives are so kind as you, to be in such a hurry to communicate such agreeable news to their husbands." He laid special emphasis on the word "agreeable." "I shall ignore it so long as the world knows nothing of it, so long as my name is not disgraced. And so I simply inform you that our relations must be just as they have always been, and that only in the event of your compromising yourself I shall be obliged to take steps to secure my honor."

"But our relations cannot be the same as always," Anna began in a timid voice, looking at him with dismay.

When she saw once more those composed gestures, heard that shrill, childlike and sarcastic voice, her aversion for him extinguished her pity for him, and she felt only afraid; but at all costs she wanted to make clear her position.

"I cannot be your wife while I..." she began.

He laughed a cold and malignant laugh.

"The manner of life you have chosen is reflected, I suppose, in your ideas. I have so much of both respect and contempt——I respect your past and despise your present——that I was far from the interpretation you put on my words."

Anna sighed and bowed her head.

"Though indeed I fail to comprehend how, with the independence you show," he went on, getting hot, "announcing your infidelity to your husband and seeing nothing reprehensible in it, apparently, you can see anything reprehensible in performing a wife's duties in relation to your husband."

"Alexei Alexandrovich! What is it you want of me?"

"I want never to meet that man here, and I want you to conduct yourself so that neither society, nor the servants, could possibly reproach you.... I want you not to see him. That's not much, I think. And in return you will enjoy all the privileges of a faithful wife without fulfilling her duties. That's all I have to say to you. Now it's time for me to go. I'm not dining at home." He got up and moved toward the door.

Anna got up too. Bowing in silence, he let her pass before him.

XXIV.

The night spent by Levin on the haycock did not pass without an effect upon him. The way in which he had been managing his land revolted him and lost all attraction for him. In spite of the magnificent harvest, never had there been (or, at least, it had never seemed so to him) so many hindrances and so many quarrels between him and the peasants as that year, and the origin of these failures and this hostility was now perfectly comprehensible to him. The delight he had experienced in the work itself, and the consequent greater intimacy with the peasants, the envy he felt of them, of their life, the desire to adopt that life, which had been to him that night not a dream but an intention, the execution of which he had thought out in detail——all this had so transformed his view of the farming of the land as he had managed it, that he could not take his former interest in it, and could not help seeing that unpleasant relation between him and the workpeople which was the foundation of it all. The herd of improved cows such as Pava, the whole land plowed over and enriched, the nine level fields surrounded with willow fences, the ninety dessiatinas heavily manured, drill plows, and all the rest of it——it was all splendid, if only the work had been done by himself, or by himself and his comrades, by people in sympathy with him. But he saw clearly now (his work on a book of agriculture, in which the chief element in husbandry was to have been the laborer, greatly assisted him in this) that the sort of farming he was carrying on was nothing but a cruel and stubborn struggle between him and the laborers, in which there was on one side——his side——a continual intense effort to change everything to a pattern he considered better; on the other side, the natural order of things. And in this struggle he saw that, with immense expenditure of force on his side, and with no effort or even intention on the other side, the sole attainment was that the work did not go to the liking of either side, and that splendid tools, splendid cattle and land were spoiled with no good to anyone. Worst of all, the energy expended on this work was not merely wasted. He could not help feeling now, since the meaning of his system had become clear to him, that the aim of his energy was a most unworthy one. In reality, what was the struggle about? He was struggling for every groat (and he could not help it, for he had only to relax his efforts, and he would not have had the money to pay his laborers' wages), while they were only struggling to be able to do their work easily and agreeably——that is to say, as they were used to doing it. It was for his interests that every laborer should work as hard as possible, and that while doing so he should keep his wits about him, so as to try not to break the winnowing machines, the horse rakes, the threshing machines, that he should attend to what he was doing. What the laborer wanted was to work as pleasantly as possible, with rests, and, above all, carelessly and heedlessly, without thinking. That summer Levin saw this at every step. He sent the men to mow some clover for hay, picking out the worst patches where the clover was overgrown with grass and weeds and of no use for seed; again and again they mowed his best dessiatinas of seed clover, justifying themselves by the pretext that the bailiff had told them to, and trying to pacify him with the assurance that it would make splendid hay; but he knew that it was because those dessiatinas were so much easier to mow. He sent out a hay machine for pitching the hay——it was broken at the first row because it was dull work for a peasant to sit on the seat in front with the great wings waving above him. And he was told: "Don't trouble——sure, the womenfolks will pitch it quick enough." The plows were practically useless, because it never occurred to the laborer to raise the colter when he turned the plow, and in forcing it round, he tortured the horse and spoiled the ground——and then begged Levin not to mind it. The horses were allowed to stray into the wheat because not a single laborer wanted to be night watchman, and, in spite of orders to the contrary, the laborers insisted on taking turns for night duty about the horses; and when Vanka, after working all day long, fell asleep, he would say, very penitent for his fault: "Do what you will to me."

Three of the best heifers were allowed to overeat themselves to death, by letting them into the clover aftermath without care as to drenching them, and nothing would make the men believe that they had been blown out by the clover, but they told Levin, by way of consolation, that one of his neighbors had lost a hundred and twelve head of cattle in three days. All this happened, not because anyone felt ill will to Levin or to his farming; on the contrary, he knew that they liked him, thinking him a simple gentleman (their highest praise); but it happened simply because all they wanted was to work merrily and carelessly, and his interests were not only remote and incomprehensible to them, but fatally opposed to their most just claims. Long before, Levin had felt dissatisfaction with his own position in regard to the land. He saw that his boat leaked, but he did not look for the leak, perhaps purposely deceiving himself. But now he could deceive himself no longer. The farming of the land, as he was managing it, had become not merely unattractive but revolting to him, and he could take no further interest in it.

To this now was joined the presence, only thirty verstas off, of Kitty Shcherbatskaia, whom he longed to see and could not. Darya Alexandrovna Oblonskaia had invited him, when he was over there, to come; to come with the object of renewing his proposal to her sister, who would, so she gave him to understand, accept it now. Levin himself had felt on seeing Kitty Shcherbatskaia that he had never ceased to love her; but he could not go over to the Oblonskys', knowing she was there. The fact that he had proposed to her, and that she had refused him, had placed an insuperable barrier between her and him. "I can't ask her to be my wife merely because she can't be the wife of the man she wanted to marry," he said to himself. The thought of this made him cold and hostile to her. "I should not be able to speak to her without a feeling of reproach; I could not look at her without resentment; and she will only hate me all the more, as she's bound to. And besides, how can I now, after what Darya Alexandrovna told me, go to see them? Can I help showing that I know what she told me? And I shall come to forgive her magnanimously, and take pity on her! And go through a performance before her of forgiving, and deigning to bestow my love on her!... Why did Darya Alexandrovna tell me that? I might have seen her by chance——then everything would have happened of itself; but, as it is, it's out of the question——out of the question!"

Darya Alexandrovna sent him a letter, asking him for a sidesaddle for Kitty's use. "I'm told you have a sidesaddle," she wrote to him; "I hope you will bring it over yourself."

This was more than he could stand. How could a woman of any intelligence, of any delicacy, put her sister in such a humiliating position! He wrote ten notes, and tore them all up, and then sent the saddle without any reply. To write that he would come was impossible, because he could not come; to write that he could not come because something prevented him, or that he would be away, would be still worse. He sent the saddle without any answer; and with a sense of having done something shameful, he handed over all the now revolting business of the estate to his bailiff, and set off next day to a remote district to see his friend Sviiazhsky, who had splendid marshes for double snipes in his neighborhood, and had lately written, asking him to keep a long-standing promise to visit him. The snipe marsh, in the Surovsky district, had long tempted Levin, but he had continually put off this visit on account of his work on the estate. Now he was glad to get away from the neighborhood of the Shcherbatskys, and still more from his farmwork, especially on a shooting expedition, which always served as the best consolation in trouble.

XXV.

In the Surovsky district there was neither railway nor mail coach, and Levin drove there with his own horses in his tarantass.

He stopped halfway at a well-to-do peasant's to feed his horses. A bald, well-preserved old man, with a broad, red beard, grizzled on his cheeks, opened the gate, squeezing against the gatepost to let the troika pass. Directing the coachman to a place under the shed in the big, clean, tidy new yard, with charred, wooden plows in it, the old man asked Levin to come into the room. A cleanly dressed young housewife, with clogs on her bare feet, was scrubbing the floor in the new outer room. She was frightened by the dog that ran in after Levin, and uttered a shriek, but began laughing at her own fright at once when she was told the dog would not hurt her. Pointing out to Levin with her bare arm the door into the room, she bent down again, hiding her handsome face, and went on scrubbing.

"Would you like a samovar?" she asked.

"Yes, please."

The room was a big one, with a tile stove, and a partition dividing it into two. Under the icons stood a table painted in patterns, a bench and two chairs. Near the entrance was a dresser full of crockery. The shutters were closed, there were few flies, and it was so clean that Levin was anxious that Laska, who had been running along the road and bathing in puddles, should not muddy the floor, and ordered her to a place in the corner by the door. After looking round the room, Levin went out in the back yard. The comely young housewife in clogs, swinging the empty pails on the yoke, ran on before him to the well for water.

"Look sharp, my girl!" the old man shouted after her, good-humoredly, and he walked up to Levin. "Well, sir, are you going to Nikolai Ivanovich Sviiazhsky? He comes to us too," he began chatting, leaning his elbows on the railing of the steps. In the middle of the old man's account of his acquaintance with Sviiazhsky, the gates creaked again, and laborers came into the yard from the fields, with wooden plows and harrows. The horses harnessed to the plows and harrows were sleek and fat. The laborers were obviously of the household: two were young men in cotton-print shirts and caps, the two others were hired laborers in homespun shirts, one an old man, the other a young fellow.

Moving off from the steps, the old man went up to the horses and began unharnessing them.

"What have they been plowing?" asked Levin.

"Plowing up the potatoes. We rent a bit of land too. Fedot, don't let out the gelding, but take it to the trough, and we'll put another in harness."

"Oh, father, about the plowshares I ordered——has he brought them along?" asked the big, robust fellow, obviously the old man's son.

"There... in the sledge," answered the old man, rolling up the reins he had taken off, and flinging them on the ground. "You can put them right, while they have dinner."

The comely young housewife came into the outer room with the full pails dragging at her shoulders. More women came on the scene from somewhere, young and handsome, middle-aged, old and ugly, with children and without children.

The samovar was beginning to sing; the laborers and the family, having disposed of the horses, came in to dinner. Levin, getting his provisions out of his carriage, invited the old man to take tea with him.

"Well, I have had some today already," said the old man, obviously accepting the invitation with pleasure. "Well, be it so, for company."

Over their tea Levin heard all about the old man's farming. Ten years before the old man had rented a hundred and twenty dessiatinas from the lady who owned them, and a year ago he had bought them and rented another three hundred from a neighboring landowner. A small part of the land——the worst part——he let out for rent, while some forty dessiatinas of arable land he cultivated himself, with his family and two hired laborers. The old man complained that things were going badly. But Levin saw that he simply did so from a feeling of propriety, and that his farm was in a flourishing condition. If it had been unsuccessful he would not have bought land at a hundred and five roubles the dessiatina, he would not have married off his three sons and a nephew, he would not have rebuilt twice after fires, and each time on a larger scale. In spite of the old man's complaints, it was evident that he was proud, and justly proud, of his prosperity, proud of his sons, his nephew, his sons' wives, his horses, and his cows, and especially of the fact that he was keeping all this farming going. From his conversation with the old man, Levin realized he was not averse to new methods either. He had planted a great many potatoes, and his potatoes, as Levin had seen driving past, were already past flowering and beginning to ripen, whereas Levin's were only just coming into flower. He plowed the ground for his potatoes with a modern plow borrowed from a neighboring landowner. He sowed wheat. The trifling fact that, thinning out his rye, the old man used the rye he thinned out for his horses, struck Levin especially. How many times had Levin seen this splendid fodder wasted, and tried to get it saved; but always it had turned out to be impossible. This peasant had done so, and he could not say enough in praise of it as food for the beasts.

"What have the wenches to do? They carry it out in bundles to the roadside, and the cart brings it away."

"Well, we landowners can't manage well with our laborers," said Levin, handing him a glass of tea.

"Thanks," said the old man, and he took the glass, but refused sugar, pointing to a bit he had left. "There's no getting along with them," said he. "They're simple waste. Look at Sviiazhsky, for instance. We know what the land's like——first-rate; yet there's not much of a crop to boast of. It's not looked after enough——that's all it is!"

"But you work your land with hired laborers?"

"We're all peasants together. We go into everything ourselves. If a man's no use, he can go, and we can manage by ourselves."

"Father Finogen wants some tar," said the young woman in the clogs, coming in.

"Yes, yes, that's how it is, sir!" said the old man, getting up, and, crossing himself lingeringly, he thanked Levin and went out.

When Levin went in the kitchen to call his coachman he saw the whole family of men at dinner. The women were standing up waiting on them. The young, robust son was telling something funny, with his mouth full of buckwheat porridge, and they were all laughing——the woman in the clogs, who was pouring cabbage soup into a bowl, laughing most merrily of all.

Very probably the comely face of the young woman in the clogs had a good deal to do with the impression of well-being this peasant household made upon Levin, but the impression was so strong that Levin could never get rid of it. And all the way from the old peasant's to Sviiazhsky's he kept recalling this peasant farm as though there were something in this impression demanding his special attention.

XXVI.

Sviiazhsky was the marshal of his district. He was five years older than Levin, and had long been married. His sister-in-law, a young girl Levin liked very much, lived in his house; and Levin knew that Sviiazhsky and his wife would have greatly liked to marry the girl to him. He knew this with certainty, as so-called eligible young men always know it, though he could never have brought himself to speak of it to anyone; and he also knew that, although he wanted to get married, and although by every token this very attractive girl would make an excellent wife, he could no more have married her, even if he had not been in love with Kitty Shcherbatskaia, than he could have flown up to the sky. And this knowledge poisoned the pleasure he had hoped to find in the visit to Sviiazhsky.

On getting Sviiazhsky's letter with the invitation for shooting, Levin had immediately thought of this; but, in spite of it, he had made up his mind that Sviiazhsky's having such views for him was simply his own groundless supposition, and so he would go, notwithstanding. Besides, at the bottom of his heart, he had a desire to try himself, to put himself to the test in regard to this girl. The Sviiazhskys' home life was exceedingly pleasant, and Sviiazhsky himself, the best type of Zemstvo man that Levin knew, was very interesting to him.

Sviiazhsky was one of those people, always a source of wonder to Levin, whose convictions, very logical though never original, go one way by themselves, while their life, exceedingly definite and firm in its course, goes its way quite apart and almost always in direct contradiction to their convictions. Sviiazhsky was an extremely advanced man. He despised the nobility, and believed the mass of the nobility to be secretly in favor of serfdom, and only concealing their views out of cowardice. He regarded Russia as a ruined country, rather after the style of Turkey, and the government of Russia as so bad that he never permitted himself to criticize its doings seriously, and yet he was a functionary of that government, and a model marshal of nobility, and when he drove about he always wore his cap with the cockade and red band. He considered human life only tolerable abroad, and went abroad to stay at every opportunity, and at the same time he carried on a complex and improved system of agriculture in Russia, and with extreme interest followed everything and knew everything that was being done in Russia. He considered the Russian peasant as occupying a stage of development intermediate between the ape and the man, and at the same time in the days of Zemstvo election no one was readier to shake hands with the peasants and listen to their opinion. He believed neither in God nor the devil, but was much concerned about the question of the improvement of the clergy and the maintenance of their revenues, and took special trouble to keep up the church in his village.

On the woman question he was on the side of the extreme advocates of complete liberty for women, and especially their right to labor. But he lived with his wife on such terms that their affectionate, childless home life was the admiration of everyone, and arranged his wife's life so that she did nothing and could do nothing but share her husband's preoccupations in spending their time as happily and as agreeably as possible.

If it had not been a characteristic of Levin to put the most favorable interpretation on people, Sviiazhsky's character would have presented no doubt or difficulty to him: he would have said to himself, "a fool or a knave," and everything would have seemed clear. But he could not say a fool, because Sviiazhsky was unmistakably clever, and, moreover, a highly cultivated man, who was exceptionally modest over his culture. There was not a subject he knew nothing of. But he did not display his knowledge except when he was compelled to do so. Still less could Levin say that he was a knave, as Sviiazhsky was unmistakably an honest, goodhearted, sensible man, who worked good-humoredly, keenly, and perseveringly at his work, which was held in high honor by everyone about him, and certainly he had never consciously done, and was indeed incapable of doing, anything base.

Levin tried to understand him, and could not understand him, and looked at him and his life as at a living enigma.

Levin and he were very friendly, and so Levin used to venture to sound Sviiazhsky, to try to get at the very foundation of his view of life; but it was always in vain. Every time Levin tried to penetrate beyond the outer chambers of Sviiazhsky's mind, which were hospitably open to all, he noticed that Sviiazhsky was slightly disconcerted; faint signs of alarm were visible in his eyes, as though he were afraid Levin would understand him, and he would give him a kindly, good-humored rebuff.

Just now, since his disenchantment with farming, Levin was particularly glad to stay with Sviiazhsky. Apart from the fact that the sight of this happy and affectionate couple, so pleased with themselves and everyone else, and their well-ordered home, had always a cheering effect on Levin, he felt a longing, now that he was so dissatisfied with his own life, to get at that secret in Sviiazhsky which gave him such clarity, definiteness, and good courage in life. Moreover, Levin knew that at Sviiazhsky's he would meet the landowners of the neighborhood, and it was particularly interesting for him just now to hear and take part in those rural conversations concerning crops, laborers' wages, and so on, which, Levin was aware, are conventionally regarded as something very low, but which seemed to him just now to constitute the one subject of importance. "It was not, perhaps, of importance in the days of serfdom, and it may not be of importance in England. In both cases the conditions of agriculture are firmly established; but among us now, when everything has been turned topsy-turvy, and is only just taking shape, the question what form these conditions will take is the one question of importance in Russia," thought Levin.

The shooting turned out to be poorer than Levin expected. The marsh was dry and there were no snipe at all. He walked about the whole day and only brought back three birds, but to make up for that he brought back, as he always did from shooting, an excellent appetite, excellent spirits, and that keen, intellectual mood which with him always accompanied violent physical exertion. And while out shooting, when he seemed to be thinking of nothing at all, the old man and his family would time and again come to mind, and the impression of them seemed to claim not merely his attention, but the solution of some question connected with them.

In the evening, at tea, two landowners who had come about some business connected with a wardship were of the party, and the interesting conversation Levin had been looking forward to sprang up.

Levin was sitting beside his hostess at the tea table, and was obliged to keep up a conversation with her and her sister, who was sitting opposite him. Madame Sviiazhsky was a round-faced, fair-haired, rather short woman, all smiles and dimples. Levin tried through her to get at a solution of the weighty enigma her husband presented to his mind; but he had not complete freedom of ideas, because he was in an agony of embarrassment. This agony of embarrassment was due to the fact that the sister-in-law was sitting opposite to him, in a dress, specially put on, as he fancied, for his benefit, cut particularly open, in the shape of a trapeze, at her white bosom. This quadrangular opening, in spite of the bosom's being very white, or just because it was very white, deprived Levin of the full use of his faculties. He imagined, probably mistakenly, that this low-necked bodice had been made on his account, and felt that he had no right to look at it, and tried not to look at it; but he felt that he was to blame for the very fact of the low-necked bodice having been made. It seemed to Levin that he had imposed upon someone, that he ought to explain something, but that to explain it was impossible, and for that reason he was continually blushing, was ill at ease and awkward. His awkwardness infected the pretty sister-in-law too. But their hostess appeared not to observe this, and kept purposely drawing her into the conversation.

"You say," she said, pursuing the subject that had been started, "that my husband cannot be interested in what's Russian. It's quite the contrary; he is in cheerful spirits abroad, but never in such as he is here. Here he feels in his proper place. He has so much to do, and he has the faculty of interesting himself in everything. Oh, you've not been to see our school, have you?"

"I've seen it.... The little house covered with ivy, isn't it?"

"Yes; that's Nastia's work," she said, indicating her sister.

"You teach in it yourself?" asked Levin, trying to look above the open neck, but feeling that no matter where he looked in that direction he should see it.

"Yes; I used to teach in it myself, and do teach still, but we have a first-rate schoolmistress now. And we've started gymnastic exercises."

"No, thank you, I won't have any more tea," said Levin, and conscious of doing a rude thing, but incapable of continuing the conversation, he got up, blushing. "I hear a very interesting conversation," he added, and walked to the other end of the table, where Sviiazhsky was sitting with the two gentlemen of the neighborhood. Sviiazhsky was sitting sideways, with one elbow on the table, and a cup in one hand, while with the other hand he gathered up his beard, held it to his nose and let it drop again, as though he were smelling it. His brilliant black eyes were looking directly at the excited country gentleman with gray mustaches, and apparently he derived amusement from his remarks. The gentleman was complaining of the peasants. It was evident to Levin that Sviiazhsky knew the answer to this gentleman's complaints, which would at once demolish his whole contention, but that in his position he could not give utterance to this answer, and listened, not without pleasure, to the landowner's comic talk.

The gentleman with the gray mustaches was obviously an inveterate adherent of serfdom and a devoted agriculturist, who had lived all his life in the country. Levin saw proofs of this in his dress, in his old-fashioned threadbare coat, obviously not his everyday attire, in his shrewd, deep-set eyes, in his coherent Russian, in the imperious tone that had become habitual from long use, and in the resolute gestures of his large, beautiful sunburned hands, with a single old wedding ring on his fourth finger.

XXVII.

"If I'd only the heart to throw up what's been set going... such a lot of trouble wasted... I'd turn my back on the whole business, sell out, go off like Nikolai Ivanovich... to hear La Belle Helene," said the landowner, a pleasant smile lighting up his shrewd old face.

"But, you see, you don't throw it up," said Nikolai Ivanovich Sviiazhsky, "so there must be something gained."

"The only gain is that I live in my own house, neither bought nor hired. Besides, one keeps hoping the people will learn sense. Though, instead of that, believe it or not, there is such drunkenness, such immorality!... They keep making partition of their bits of land; there isn't a horse or a cow. The peasant's dying of hunger, but just go and take him on as a laborer——he'll do his best to do you a mischief, and then bring you up before the justice of the peace."

"But then, you make complaints to the justice too," said Sviiazhsky.

"I lodge complaints? Not for anything in the world There's so much talk springs up that one is sorry ever to have complained. At the works, for instance, they pocketed the advance money and made off. What did the justice do? Why, acquitted them. Nothing keeps them in order but their own communal court and their village elder. He'll flog them in the good old style! But for that there'd be nothing for it but to give it all up and run away."

Obviously the landowner was chaffing Sviiazhsky, who, far from resenting it, was apparently amused by it.

"But, you see, we manage our land without such extreme measures," said he, smiling: "Levin, and I, and this gentleman."

He indicated the other landowner.

"Yes, the thing's done at Mikhail Petrovich's, but ask him how it's done. Do you call that a rational system?" said the landowner, obviously rather proud of the word "rational".

"My system's very simple," said Mikhail Petrovich, "thank God. All my management rests on getting the money ready for the autumn taxes.... The peasants come to me, 'Father, master, help us!' Well, the peasants are all one's neighbors; one feels for them. So one advances them a third, but one says: 'Remember, lads, I have helped you, and you must help me when I need it——whether it's the sowing of the oats, or the hay cutting, or the harvest'; and well, one agrees, so much for each taxpayer——though there are dishonest ones among them too, it's true."

Levin, who had long been familiar with these patriarchal methods, exchanged glances with Sviiazhsky and interrupted Mikhail Petrovich, turning again to the gentleman with the gray mustaches.

"Well, what do you think?" he asked. "What system is one to adopt nowadays?"

"Why, manage like Mikhail Petrovich, or let the land for half the crop or for rent to the peasants; one can do that——only that's just how the general prosperity of the country is being ruined. Where the land with serf labor and good management gave a yield of nine to one, on the metayage system it yields three to one. Russia has been ruined by the emancipation!"

Sviiazhsky looked with smiling eyes at Levin, and even made a faint gesture of irony to him; but Levin did not think the landowner's words absurd; he understood them better than he did Sviiazhsky. A great deal more of what the landowner said to show in what way Russia was ruined by the emancipation struck him indeed as very true, new to him, and quite incontestable. The landowner unmistakably spoke his own individual thought——a thing that rarely happens——and a thought to which he had been brought not by a desire of finding some exercise for an idle brain, but a thought which had grown up out of the conditions of his life, which he had brooded over in the solitude of his village, and had considered in every aspect.

"The point is, don't you see, that progress of every sort is only made by the use of authority," he said, evidently wishing to show he was not without culture. "Take the reforms of Peter, of Catherine, of Alexander. Take European history. And progress in agriculture more than anything else——the potato, for instance, that was introduced among us by force. The wooden plow, too, wasn't always used. It was introduced in the days of appanaged princes, perhaps, but it was probably brought in by force. Now, in our own day, we landowners in the serf times used various improvements in our husbandry: drying machines and threshing machines, and carting manure, and all the modern implements——all these we brought into use by our authority, and the peasants opposed it at first, and ended by imitating us. Now, by the abolition of serfdom, we have been deprived of our authority; and so our husbandry, where it had been raised to a high level, is bound to sink to the most savage, primitive condition. That's how I see it."

"But why so? If it's rational, you'll be able to keep up the same system with hired labor," said Sviiazhsky.

"We've no power over them. With whom am I going to work the system, allow me to ask?"

"There it is——the labor force——the chief element in agriculture," thought Levin.

"With laborers."

"The laborers won't work well, and won't work with good implements. Our laborer can do nothing but get drunk, like a swine, and then ruin everything you give him. He spoils the horses by watering unseasonably, he cuts good harness, barters the tires of the wheels for drink, drops bits of iron into the threshing machine, so as to break it. He loathes the sight of anything that's not after his fashion. And that's how the whole level of husbandry has fallen. Lands gone out of cultivation, overgrown with weeds, or divided among the peasants, and where millions of chetverts were raised you get a hundred thousand; the wealth of the country has decreased. If the same thing had been done, but with consideration for..."

And he proceeded to unfold his own scheme of emancipation by means of which these drawbacks might have been avoided.

This did not interest Levin, but, when he had finished, Levin went back to his first position, and, addressing Sviiazhsky, and trying to draw him into expressing his serious opinion, said:

"It's perfectly true that the standard of culture is falling, and that with our present relations to the peasants there is no possibility of farming on a rational system to yield a profit," said he.

"I don't believe it," Sviiazhsky replied quite seriously; "all I see is that we don't know how to cultivate the land, and that our system of agriculture in the serf days was by no means too high, but too low. We have no machines, no good stock, no efficient supervision; we don't even know how to keep accounts. Ask any landowner; he won't be able to tell you which crop's profitable, and which isn't."

"Italian bookkeeping," said the landowner ironically. "You may keep your books as you like, but if they spoil everything for you, there won't be any profit."

"Why do they spoil things? A poor threshing machine, or your Russian presser, they will break, but my steam press they don't break. A wretched Russian nag they'll ruin, but keep good percherons or the Russian wagon horses——they won't ruin them. And so it is all round. We must raise our farming to a higher level."

"Oh, if one only had the means to do it, Nikolai Ivanovich! It's all very well for you; but for me, with a son to keep at the university, lads to be educated at the high school——how am I going to buy these percherons?"

"Well, that's what the banks are for."

"To get whatever I have left sold by auction? No, thank you."

"I don't agree that it's necessary or possible to raise the level of agriculture still higher," said Levin. "I devote myself to it, and I have means, but I can do nothing. As to the banks, I don't know to whom they're any good. For my part, anyway, whatever I've spent money on in the way of husbandry has been a loss: stock——a loss, machinery—— a loss."

"That's true enough," the gentleman with the gray mustaches chimed in, even laughing with satisfaction.

"And I'm not the only one," pursued Levin. "I mix with all the neighboring landowners, who are cultivating their land on a rational system; they all, with rare exceptions, are doing so at a loss. Come, tell us how does your land do——does it pay?" said Levin, and at once in Sviiazhsky's eyes he detected that fleeting expression of alarm which he had noticed whenever he had tried to penetrate beyond the outer chambers of Sviiazhsky's mind.

Moreover, this question on Levin's part was not quite in good faith. Madame Sviiazhsky had just told him at tea that they had that summer invited a German expert accountant from Moscow, who for a consideration of five hundred roubles had investigated the management of their property, and found that it was costing them a loss of three thousand odd roubles. She did not remember the precise sum, but it appeared that the German had worked it out to the fraction of a kopeck.

The landowner smiled at the mention of the profits of Sviiazhsky's farming, obviously aware how much gain his neighbor and marshal was likely to be making.

"Possibly it does not pay," answered Sviiazhsky. "That merely proves that either I'm a bad manager, or that I've sunk my capital for the increase of my rents."

"Oh, rent!" Levin cried with horror. "Rent there may be in Europe, where land has been improved by the labor put into it; but with us all the land is deteriorating from the labor put into it——in other words, they're working it out; so there's no question of rent."

"How——no rent? It's a law."

"Then we're outside the law; rent explains nothing for us, but simply muddles us. No, tell me how there can be a theory of rent?..."

"Will you have some curded milk? Masha, pass us some curded milk or raspberries." He turned to his wife. "The raspberries are lasting extraordinarily late this year."

And in the happiest frame of mind Sviiazhsky got up and walked off, apparently supposing the conversation to have ended at the very point when to Levin it seemed that it was only just beginning.

Having lost his antagonist, Levin continued the conversation with the landowner, trying to prove to him that all the difficulty arises from the fact that we don't find out the peculiarities and habits of our laborer; but the landowner, like all men who think independently and in isolation, was slow in taking in any other person's thought, and particularly partial to his own. He stuck to it that the Russian peasant is a swine and likes swinishness, and that to get him out of his swinishness one must have authority, and there is none; one must have the stick, and we have become so liberal that we have all of a sudden replaced the stick, that served us for a thousand years, with lawyers and model prisons, where the worthless, stinking peasant is fed on good soup and has a fixed allowance of cubic feet of air.

"What makes you think," said Levin, trying to get back to the question, "that it's impossible to find some relation to the laborer in which the labor would become productive?"

"That never could be so with the Russian people; we've no authority," answered the landowner.

"How can new conditions be found?" said Sviiazhsky. Having eaten some curded milk and lighted a cigarette, he came back to the discussion. "All possible relations to the labor force have been defined and studied," he said. "The relic of barbarism, the primitive commune with a guarantee for all, will disappear of itself; serfdom has been abolished——there remains nothing but free labor, and its forms are fixed and ready made, and must be adopted. Permanent hands, day laborers, farmers——you can't get out of those forms."

"But Europe is dissatisfied with these forms."

"Dissatisfied, and seeking new ones. And will find them, in all probability."

"That's just what I meant," answered Levin. "Why shouldn't we seek them for ourselves?"

"Because it would be just like inventing afresh the means for constructing railways. They are ready, invented."

"But if they don't suit us, if they're stupid?" said Levin.

And again he detected the expression of alarm in the eyes of Sviiazhsky.

"Oh, yes; we'll bury the world under our caps! We've found the secret Europe was seeking for! I've heard all that; but, excuse me, do you know all that's been done in Europe on the question of the organization of labor?"

"No, very little."

"That question is now absorbing the best minds in Europe. The Schulze-Delitsch movement.... And then, all this enormous literature of the labor question, the most liberal Lassalle movement.... The Mulhausen experiment? That's a fact by now, as you're probably aware."

"I have some idea of it, but very vague."

"No, you only say that; no doubt you know all about it as well as I do. I'm no professor of sociology, of course, but it interested me, and really, if it interests you, you ought to study it."

"But what conclusion have they come to?"

"Excuse me..."

The two neighbors had risen, and Sviiazhsky, once more checking Levin in his inconvenient habit of peeping into what was beyond the outer chambers of his mind, went to see his guests out.

XXVIII.

Levin was insufferably bored that evening with the ladies; he was stirred as he had never been before by the idea that the dissatisfaction he was feeling with his system of managing his land was not an exceptional case, but the general condition of things in Russia; that the evolving of some relation of the laborers to the soil which they would work, as with the peasant he had met halfway to the Sviiazhskys', was not a dream, but a problem which must be solved. And it seemed to him that the problem could be solved, and that he ought to try to solve it.

After saying good night to the ladies, and promising to stay the whole of the next day, so as to make an expedition on horseback with them to see an interesting gap in the crown forest, Levin went, before going to bed, into his host's study to get the books on the labor question that Sviiazhsky had offered him. Sviiazhsky's study was a huge room, by bookcases and with two tables in it——one a massive writing table, standing in the middle of the room, and the other a round table, covered with recent numbers of reviews and journals in different languages, ranged like the rays of a star round a lamp. On the writing table was a stand of drawers marked with gold labels, and full of papers of various sorts.

Sviiazhsky took out the books, and sat down in a rocking chair.

"What are you looking at there?" he said to Levin, who was standing at the round table looking through the reviews. "Oh, yes, there's a very interesting article here," said Sviiazhsky, pointing to the review Levin was holding in his hand. "It appears," he went on, with eager interest, "that Friedrich was not, after all, the person chiefly responsible for the partition of Poland. It is proved..."

And, with his characteristic clearness, he summed up those new, very important, and interesting revelations. Although Levin was engrossed at the moment by his ideas about the problem of the land, he wondered, as he heard Sviiazhsky: "What is there inside of him? And why, why is he interested in the partition of Poland?" When Sviiazhsky had finished, Levin could not help asking: "Well, and what then?" But there was nothing to follow. It was simply interesting that such and such had been "proved." But Sviiazhsky did not explain, and saw no need of explaining, why it was interesting to him.

"Yes, but I was very much interested by your irritable neighbor," said Levin, sighing. "He's a clever fellow, and said a lot that was true."

"Oh, get along with you! An inveterate supporter of serfdom at heart, like all of them!" said Sviiazhsky.

"Whose marshal you are."

"Yes, only I marshal them in the other direction," said Sviiazhsky, laughing.

"I'll tell you what interests me very much," said Levin. "He's right that our system, that is to say, of rational farming, doesn't answer; that the only thing that answers is the moneylender system, like that meek-looking gentleman's, or else the very simplest. Whose fault is it?"

"Our own, of course. Besides, it's not true that it doesn't answer. It answers with Vassilchikov."

"A factory..."

"But I really don't know what it is you are surprised at. The people are at such a low stage of material and moral development, that obviously they're bound to oppose everything that's necessary to them. In Europe, a rational system answers because the people are educated; it follows that we must educate the people——that's all."

"But how are we to educate the people?"

"To educate the people three things are needed: schools, and schools, and schools."

"But you said yourself the people are at such a low stage of material development: what help are schools for that?"

"Do you know, you remind me of the story of the advice given to the sick man.——You should try purgative medicine. Taken it: worse. Try leeches. Tried them: worse. Well, then, there's nothing left but to pray to God. Tried it: worse. That's just how it is with us. I say political economy; you say——worse. I say socialism——worse. Education—— worse."

"But how do schools help matters?"

"They give the peasant fresh wants."

"Well, that's a thing I've never understood," Levin replied with heat. "In what way are schools going to help the people to improve their material position? You say schools, education, will give them fresh wants. So much the worse, since they won't be capable of satisfying them. And in what way a knowledge of addition and subtraction and the catechism is going to improve their material condition, I never could make out. The day before yesterday I met a peasant woman in the evening with a little baby, and asked her where she was going. She said she was going to the wisewoman; her boy had screaming fits, so she was taking him to be doctored. I asked, 'Why, how does the wisewoman cure screaming fits?' 'She puts the child on the hen roost and repeats some charm....'"

"Well, you're saying it yourself! What's wanted to prevent her taking her child to the hen roost to cure it of screaming fits is just..." Sviiazhsky said, smiling good-humoredly.

"Oh, no!" said Levin with annoyance; "that method of doctoring I merely meant as a simile for doctoring the people with schools. The people are poor and ignorant——that we see as surely as the peasant woman sees the baby has fits because it screams. But in what way this trouble of poverty and ignorance is to be cured by schools is as incomprehensible as how the hen roost affects the screaming. What has to be cured is what makes him poor."

"Well, in that, at least, you're in agreement with Spencer, whom you dislike so much. He says, too, that education may be the consequence of greater prosperity and comfort, of more frequent washing, as he says, but not of being able to read and write...."

"Well, then, I'm very glad——or the contrary, very sorry——that I'm in agreement with Spencer; only I've known it a long while. Schools can do no good; what will do good is an economic organization in which the people will become richer, will have more leisure——and then there will be schools."

"Still, all over Europe now schools are obligatory."

"And how far do you agree with Spencer yourself about it?" asked Levin.

But there was a gleam of alarm in Sviiazhsky's eyes, and he said smiling:

"No; that screaming story is positively capital! Did you really hear it yourself?"

Levin saw that he was not to discover the connection between this man's life and his thoughts. Obviously he did not care in the least what his reasoning led him to; all he wanted was the process of reasoning. And he did not like it when the process of reasoning brought him into a blind alley. That was the only thing he disliked, and avoided by changing the conversation to something agreeable and amusing.

All the impressions of the day, beginning with the impression made by the old peasant, which served, as it were, as the thorough bass of all the conceptions and ideas of the day, threw Levin into violent excitement. This dear good Sviiazhsky, keeping a stock of ideas simply for public purposes, and obviously having some other principles hidden from Levin, while with the crowd, whose name is legion, he guided public opinion by ideas he did not share; that irascible country gentleman, perfectly correct in the conclusions that he had been worried into by life, but wrong in his exasperation against a whole class, and that the best class in Russia; his own dissatisfaction with the work he had been doing, and the vague hope of finding a remedy for all this——all was blended in a sense of inward turmoil, and the anticipation of some solution near at hand.

Left alone in the room assigned him, lying on a spring mattress, that yielded unexpectedly at every movement of his arm or his leg, Levin did not fall asleep for a long while. Not one conversation with Sviiazhsky, though he had said a great deal that was clever, had interested Levin; but the conclusions of the irascible landowner required consideration. Levin could not help recalling every word he had said, and in imagination amending his own replies.

"Yes, I ought to have said to him: You say that our husbandry does not answer because the peasant hates improvements, and that they must be forced on him by authority. If no system of husbandry answered at all without these improvements, you would be quite right. But the only system that does answer is when the laborer is working in accordance with his habits, just as on the old peasant's land halfway here. Your and our general dissatisfaction with the system shows that either we are to blame or the laborers. We have gone our way——the European way—— a long while, without asking ourselves about the qualities of our labor force. Let us try to look upon the labor force not as an abstract force but as the Russian mouzhik with his instincts, and let us arrange our system of agriculture in accordance with that. Imagine, I ought to have said to him, that you have the same system as the old peasant has, that you have found means of making your laborers take an interest in the success of the work, and have found the happy mean in the way of improvements which they will admit, and you will, without exhausting the soil, get twice or three times the yield you got before. Divide it in halves, give half as the share of labor, the surplus left you will be greater, and labor's share will be greater too. And to do this one must lower the standard of husbandry and interest the laborers in its success. How to do this?——that's a matter of detail; but undoubtedly it can be done."

This idea threw Levin into a great excitement. He did not sleep half the night, thinking over in detail the putting of his idea into practice. He had not intended to go away next day, but he now determined to go home early in the morning. Besides, the sister-in-law with her low-necked bodice aroused in him a feeling akin to shame and remorse for some utterly base action. Most important of all——he must get back without delay: he would have to make haste to put his new project to the peasants before the sowing of the winter wheat, so that the sowing might be undertaken on a new basis. He had made up his mind to revolutionize his whole system.

XXIX.

The carrying out of Levin's plan presented many difficulties; but he struggled on, doing his utmost, and attained a result which, though not what he desired, was enough to enable him, without self-deception, to believe that the attempt was worth the trouble. One of the chief difficulties was that the process of cultivating the land was in full swing, that it was impossible to stop everything and begin it all again from the beginning, and the machine had to be mended while in motion.

When on the evening of his arrival home he informed the bailiff of his plans, the latter with visible pleasure agreed with what he said, so long as he was pointing out that all that had been done up to that time was stupid and useless. The bailiff said that he had said so a long while ago, but no heed had been paid him. But as for the proposal made by Levin——to take a part as shareholder with his laborers in each agricultural undertaking——at this the bailiff simply expressed a profound despondency, and offered no definite opinion, but began immediately talking of the urgent necessity of carrying the remaining sheaves of rye the next day, and of sending the men out for the second plowing, so that Levin felt that this was not the time for discussing it.

On beginning to talk to the peasants about it, and making a proposition to cede them the land on new terms, he came into collision with the same great difficulty——that they were so much absorbed by the current work of the day that they had not time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed scheme.

The simplehearted Ivan, the cowherd, seemed to grasp Levin's proposal fully——that he should with his family take a share of the profits of the cattle yard——and he was in complete sympathy with the plan. But when Levin hinted at the future advantages, Ivan's face expressed alarm and regret that he could not hear all he had to say, and he made haste to find himself some task that would admit of no delay: he either snatched up the fork to pitch the hay out of the pens, or ran to get water or to clear out the manure.

Another difficulty lay in the invincible disbelief of the peasants that a landowner's object could be anything else than a desire to squeeze all he could out of them. They were firmly convinced that his real aim (whatever he might say to them) would always be in what he did not say to them. And they themselves, in giving their opinion, said a great deal but never said what was their real object. Moreover (Levin felt that the irascible landowner had been right) the peasants made their first and unalterable condition of any agreement whatsoever that they should not be forced to any new methods of tillage of any kind, nor to use new implements. They agreed that the modern plow plowed better, that the scarifier did the work more quickly, but they found thousands of reasons that made it out of the question for them to use either of them; and though he had accepted the conviction that he would have to lower the standard of cultivation, he felt sorry to give up improved methods, the advantages of which were so obvious. But in spite of all these difficulties he got his way, and by autumn the system was working, or at least so it seemed to him.

At first Levin had thought of giving up the whole farming of the land just as it was to the peasants, the laborers, and the bailiff, on new conditions of partnership; but he was very soon convinced that this was impossible, and determined to divide it up. The cattle yard, the garden, hayfields, and arable land, divided into several parts, had to be made into separate lots. The simplehearted cowherd, Ivan, who, Levin fancied, understood the matter better than any of them, collecting together a gang of workers to help him, principally of his own family, became a partner in the cattle yard. A distant part of the estate, a tract of wasteland that had lain fallow for eight years, was with the help of the clever carpenter, Fiodor Rezunov, taken by six families of peasants on new conditions of partnership and the peasant Shuraev took the management of all the vegetable gardens on the same terms. The remainder of the land was still worked on the old system, but these three items were the first step to a new organization of the whole, and they completely engrossed Levin.

It is true that in the cattle yard things went no better than before, and Ivan strenuously opposed warm housing for the cows and butter made of fresh cream, affirming that cows require less food if kept cold, and that butter is more profitable made from sour cream, and he asked for wages just as under the old system, and took not the slightest interest in the fact that the money he received was not wages but an advance out of his future share in the profits.

It is true that Fiodor Rezunov's company did not plow over the ground twice before sowing, as had been agreed, justifying themselves on the plea that the time was too short. It is true that the peasants of the same company, though they had agreed to work the land on new conditions, always spoke of the land, not as held in partnership, but as rented for half the crop, and more than once the peasants and Rezunov himself said to Levin: "If you would take a rent for the land, it would save you trouble, and we should be more free." Moreover, the same peasants kept putting off, on various excuses, the building of a cattle yard and threshing barn on the land as agreed upon, and delayed doing it till the winter.

It is true that Shuraev would have liked to let out the kitchen gardens he had undertaken in small lots to the peasants. He evidently quite misunderstood, and apparently intentionally misunderstood, the conditions upon which the land had been given to him.

Often, too, talking to the peasants and explaining to them all the advantages of the plan, Levin felt that the peasants heard nothing but the sound of his voice, and were firmly resolved, whatever he might say, not to let themselves be taken in. He felt this especially when he talked to the cleverest of the peasants, Rezunov, and detected that gleam in Rezunov's eyes which showed so plainly both ironical amusement at Levin, and the firm conviction that, if anyone were to be taken in, it would not be he, Rezunov.

But in spite of all this Levin thought the system worked, and that by keeping accounts strictly, and insisting on his own way, he would prove to them in the future the advantages of the arrangement, and then the system would go of itself.

These matters, together with the management of the land still left on his hands, and the indoor work over his book, so engrossed Levin the whole summer that he scarcely ever went out shooting. At the end of August he heard that the Oblonskys had gone away to Moscow——from their servant, who brought back the sidesaddle. He felt that in not answering Darya Alexandrovna's letter he had by his rudeness, of which he could not think without a flush of shame, burned his ships, and that he would never go to see them again. He had been just as rude with the Sviiazhskys, leaving them without saying good-by. But he would never go to see them again either. He did not care about that now. The business of reorganizing the farming of his land absorbed him as completely as though there would never be anything else in his life. He read the books lent him by Sviiazhsky, and ordering from Moscow what he had not had, he read both the economic and socialistic books on the subject, but, as he had anticipated, found nothing bearing on the scheme he had undertaken. In the books on political economy——in Mill, for instance——whom he studied first with great ardor, hoping every minute to find an answer to the questions that were engrossing him, he found laws deduced from the condition of land culture in Europe; but he did not see why these laws, which did not apply in Russia, must be general. He saw just the same thing in the socialistic books: either they were the beautiful but impracticable fantasies which had fascinated him when he was a student, or they were attempts at improving, at rectifying the economic position in which Europe was placed, with which the system of land tenure in Russia had nothing in common. Political economy told him that the laws by which the wealth of Europe had been developed, and was developing, were universal and unvarying. Socialism told him that development along these lines leads to ruin. And neither of them gave an answer, or even a hint, in reply to the question as to what he, Levin, and all the Russian peasants and landowners, were to do with their millions of hands and millions of dessiatinas, to make them as productive as possible for the common weal.

Having once taken the subject up, he read conscientiously everything bearing on it, and intended in the autumn to go abroad to study land systems on the spot, in order that he might not on this question be confronted with what so often met him on various subjects. Often, just as he was beginning to understand the idea in the mind of anyone he was talking to, and was beginning to explain his own, he would suddenly be told: "But Kauffmann, but Jones, but Dubois, but Michelli? You haven't read them: do read, they've thrashed that question out thoroughly."

He saw now distinctly that Kauffmann and Michelli had nothing to tell him. He knew what he wanted. He saw that Russia had splendid land, splendid laborers, and that in certain cases, as at the peasant's on the way to Sviiazhsky's, the produce raised by the laborers and the land is great——in the majority of cases when capital is applied in the European way the produce is small, and that this simply arises from the fact that the laborers want to work and work well only in their own peculiar way, and that this antagonism is not incidental but invariable, and has its roots in the national spirit. He thought that the Russian people whose task it was to colonize and cultivate vast tracts of unoccupied land, consciously adhered, till all their land was occupied, to the methods suitable to their purpose, and that their methods were by no means so bad as was generally supposed. And he wanted to prove this theoretically in his book and practically on his land.

XXX.

At the end of September the timber had been carted for building the cattle yard on the land that had been allotted to the association of peasants, and the butter from the cows was sold and the profits divided. In Practice the system worked capitally, or, at least, so it seemed to Levin. In order to work out the whole subject theoretically and to complete his book, which, in Levin's daydreams, was not merely to effect a revolution in political economy, but to annihilate that science entirely and to lay the foundation of a new science of the relation of the people to the soil, all that was left to do was to make a tour abroad, and to study on the spot all that had been done in the same direction, and to collect conclusive evidence that all that had been done there was not what was wanted. Levin was only waiting for the delivery of his wheat to receive the money for it and go abroad. But the rains began preventing the harvesting of the corn and potatoes left in the fields, and putting a stop to all work, even to the delivery of the wheat. The mud was impassable along the roads; two mills were carried away by the spate, and the weather got worse and worse.

On the 30th of September the sun came out in the morning, and, hoping for fine weather, Levin began making final preparations for his journey. He gave orders for the wheat to be delivered, sent the bailiff to the merchant to get the money owing him, and went out himself to give some final directions on the estate before setting off.

Having finished all his business, soaked through with the streams of water which kept running into his leather coat and down his neck and his boot tops, but in the keenest and most confident temper, Levin turned homeward in the evening. The weather had become worse than ever toward evening; the hail lashed the drenched mare so cruelly that she went along sideways, shaking her head and ears; but Levin was all right under his hood, and he looked cheerfully about him at the muddy streams running under the wheels, at the drops hanging on every bare twig, at the whiteness of the patch of unmelted hailstones on the planks of the bridge, at the thick layer of still succulent, fleshy leaves that lay heaped up about the stripped elm tree. In spite of the gloominess of nature around him, he felt peculiarly eager. The talks he had been having with the peasants in the farther village had shown that they were beginning to get used to their new position. The innkeeper, an old man, to whose inn he had gone to get dry evidently approved of Levin's plan, and of his own accord proposed to enter the partnership for purchasing of cattle.

"I have only to go on stubbornly toward my aim, and I shall attain my end," thought Levin; "and it's something to work and take trouble for. This is not a matter of myself individually, the question of the public welfare comes into it. The whole system of agriculture, the chief element in the condition of the people, must be completely transformed. Instead of poverty——general prosperity and content; instead of hostility——harmony and unity of interests. In short, a bloodless revolution, but a revolution of the greatest magnitude, beginning in the little circle of our district, then the province, then Russia, and the whole world. Because a just idea cannot but be fruitful. Yes, it's an aim worth working for. And the fact that it is I, Kostia Levin, who went to a ball in a black tie, and was refused by the Shcherbatsky girl, and who is intrinsically such a pitiful, worthless creature to himself——that proves nothing; I feel sure Franklin felt just as worthless, and he too had no faith in himself, thinking of himself as a whole. That means nothing. And he too, most likely, had an Agathya Mikhailovna to whom he confided his secrets."

Musing on such thoughts Levin reached home in the darkness.

The bailiff, who had been to the merchant, had come back and brought part of the money for the wheat. An agreement had been made with the old innkeeper, and on the road the bailiff had learned that everywhere the corn was still standing in the fields, so that his one hundred and sixty shocks that had not been carried were nothing in comparison with the losses of others.

After dinner Levin was sitting, as he usually did, in an easy chair with a book, and as he read he went on thinking of the journey before him in connection with his book. Today all the significance of his book rose before him with special distinctness, and whole periods ranged themselves in his mind in illustration of his theories. "I must write that down," he thought. "That ought to form a brief introduction, which I thought unnecessary before." He got up to go to his writing table, and Laska, lying at his feet, got up too, stretching and looking at him as though to inquire where to go. But he had not time to write it down, for the overseers had come for receiving orders, and Levin went out into the hall to meet them.

After giving orders, that is to say, directions about the labors of the next day, and seeing all the peasants who had business with him, Levin went back to his study and sat down to work. Laska lay under the table; Agathya Mikhailovna settled herself in her place with her stocking.

After writing for a little while, Levin suddenly thought with exceptional vividness of Kitty, her refusal, and their last meeting. He got up and began walking about the room.

"What's the use of being downhearted?" said Agathya Mikhailovna. "Come, why do you stay on at home? You ought to go to some warm springs, especially now that you're ready for the journey."

"Well, I am going away the day after tomorrow, Agathya Mikhailovna; I must finish my work."

"There, there, your work, you say! As if you hadn't done enough for the peasants! Why, as 'tis, they're saying, 'Your master will be getting some honor from the Czar for it.' Indeed, 'tis a strange thing: why need you worry about the peasants?"

"I'm not worrying about them; I'm doing it for my own good."

Agathya Mikhailovna knew every detail of Levin's plans for his land. Levin often put his views before her in all their complexity, and not uncommonly he argued with her and did not agree with her comments. But on this occasion she entirely misinterpreted what he had said.

"Of one's soul's salvation we all know and must think before all else," she said with a sigh. "Parfion Denissich now, for all he was no scholar, died a death whose like may God grant to every one of us," she said, referring to a servant who had died recently. "Took the sacrament and all."

"That's not what I mean," said he. "I mean that I'm acting for my own advantage. It's all the better for me if the peasants do their work better."

"Well, whatever you do, if he's a lazy good-for-naught, everything'll be at sixes and sevens. If he has a conscience, he'll work, and if not, there's no doing anything."

"Oh, come, you say yourself Ivan has begun looking after the cattle better."

"All I say is," answered Agathya Mikhailovna, evidently not speaking at random, but in strict sequence of ideas, "that you ought to get married——that's what I say."

Agathya Mikhailovna's allusion to the very subject he had only just been thinking about hurt and stung him. Levin scowled, and without answering her, he sat down again to his work, repeating to himself all that he had been thinking of the real significance of that work. Only at intervals he listened in the stillness to the click of Agathya Mikhailovna's needles, and, recollecting what he did not want to remember, he would frown again.

At nine o'clock they heard the bell and the faint vibration of a carriage over the mud.

"Well, here's visitors come to us, and you won't be dull," said Agathya Mikhailovna, getting up and going to the door. But Levin overtook her. His work was not going well now, and he was glad of a visitor, whoever it might be.

XXXI.

Running halfway down the staircase, Levin caught a sound he knew, a familiar cough in the hall. But he heard it indistinctly through the sound of his own footsteps, and hoped he was mistaken. Then he caught sight of a long, bony, familiar figure, and now it seemed there was no possibility of mistake; and yet he still went on hoping that this tall man taking off his fur cloak and coughing was not his brother Nikolai.

Levin loved his brother, but being with him was always a torture. Just now, when Levin, under the influence of the thoughts that had come to him, and Agathya Mikhailovna's hint, was in a troubled and uncertain humor, this meeting with his brother which he had to face seemed particularly difficult. Instead of a lively, healthy visitor, some outsider who would, he hoped, cheer him up in his uncertain humor, he had to see his brother, who knew him through and through, who would call forth all the thoughts nearest his heart, would force him to show himself fully. And that he was not disposed to do.

Angry with himself for so base a feeling, Levin ran into the hall; as soon as he had seen his brother close, this feeling of selfish disappointment vanished instantly and was replaced by pity. Terrible as his brother Nikolai had been before in his emaciation and sickliness, now he looked still more emaciated, still more wasted. He was a skeleton covered by skin.

He stood in the hall, jerking his long thin neck, and pulling the scarf off it, and smiled a strange and pitiful smile. When he saw that smile, submissive and humble, Levin felt something clutching at his throat.

"You see, I've come to you," said Nikolai in a thick voice, never for one second taking his eyes off his brother's face. "I've been meaning to a long while, but I've been constantly unwell. Now I'm ever so much better," he said, rubbing his beard with his big thin hands.

"Yes, yes!" answered Levin. And he felt still more frightened when, kissing him, he felt with his lips the dryness of his brother's skin and saw close to him his big eyes, full of a strange light.

A few weeks before, Konstantin Levin had written to his brother that through the sale of the small part of the property that had remained undivided, there was a sum of about two thousand roubles to come to him as his share.

Nikolai said that he had come now to take his money and, what was more important, to stay a while in the old nest, to get in touch with the earth, so as to renew his strength like the heroes of old for the work that lay before him. In spite of his exaggerated stoop, and the emaciation that was so striking from his height, his movements were as rapid and abrupt as ever. Levin led him into his study.

His brother dressed with particular care——a thing he never used to do——combed his scanty, lank hair, and, smiling, went upstairs.

He was in the most affectionate and good-humored mood, just as Levin often remembered him in childhood. He even referred to Sergei Ivanovich without rancor. When he saw Agathya Mikhailovna, he joked with her and asked after the old servants. The news of the death of Parfion Denissich made a painful impression on him. A look of fear crossed his face, but he regained his serenity immediately.

"Of course he was quite old," he said, and changed the subject. "Well, I'll spend a month or two with you, and then I'm off to Moscow. Do you know, Miaghkov has promised me a place there, and I'm going into the service. Now I'm going to arrange my life quite differently," he went on. "You know I got rid of that woman."

"Marya Nikolaevna? Why, what for?"

"Oh, she was a horrid woman! She caused me all sorts of annoyances." But he did not say what the annoyances were. He could not say that he had driven off Marya Nikolaevna because the tea was weak, and, above all, because she would look after him as though he were an invalid. "Besides, I want to turn over a new leaf completely now. I've done silly things, of course, like everyone else, but money's the last consideration; I don't regret it. So long as there's health——and my health, thank God, is quite restored."

Levin listened and racked his brains, but could think of nothing to say. Nikolai probably felt the same; he began questioning his brother about his affairs; and Levin was glad to talk about himself, because then he could speak without hypocrisy. He told his brother of his plans and his doings.

His brother listened, but evidently he was not interested.

These two men were so akin, so near each other, that the slightest gesture, the tone of voice, told both more than could be said in words.

Both of them now had only one thought——the illness of Nikolai and the nearness of his death——which stifled all else. But neither of them dared speak of it, and so, whatever they said——without uttering the one thought that filled their minds——was all falsehood. Never had Levin been so glad when the evening was over and it was time to go to bed. Never with any outside person, never on any official visit, had he been so unnatural and false as he was that evening. And the consciousness of this unnaturalness, and the remorse he felt at it, made him even more unnatural. He wanted to weep over his dying, dearly loved brother, and he had to listen and keep on talking of how he meant to live.

As the house was damp, and only the one bedroom had been kept heated, Levin put his brother to sleep in his own bedroom, behind a partition.

His brother got into bed, and whether he slept or did not sleep, tossed about like a sick man, coughed, and when he could not get his throat clear, mumbled something. Sometimes when his breathing was painful, he said, "Oh, my God!" Sometimes when he was choking he muttered angrily, "Ah, the devil!" Levin could not sleep for a long while, hearing him. His thoughts were of the most various kinds, but the end of all his thoughts was the same——death.

Death, the inevitable end of all, for the first time presented itself to him with irresistible force. And death, which was here in this loved brother, groaning half-asleep and from habit calling without distinction on God and the devil, was not so remote as it had hitherto seemed to him. It was in himself, too, that he felt this. If not today, tomorrow; if not tomorrow, in thirty years——wasn't it all the same? And what was this inevitable death——he did not know, had never thought about it, and, what was more, had not the power, had not the courage to think about it.

"I work, I want to do something, but I had forgotten it must all end; I had forgotten——death."

He sat on his bed in the darkness, crouched up, hugging his knees, and, holding his breath from the strain of thought, he pondered. But the more intensely he thought, the clearer it became to him that it was indubitably so, that, in reality, looking upon life, he had forgotten one little fact——that death will come, and all ends; that nothing was even worth beginning, and that there was no helping it anyway. Yes, it was awful, but it was so.

"But I am alive still. What's to be done now——what's to be done?" he asked in despair. He lighted a candle, got up cautiously, went to the looking glass, and began looking at his face and hair. Yes, there were gray hairs about his temples. He opened his mouth. His back teeth were beginning to decay. He bared his muscular arms. Yes, there was strength in them. But Nikolenka, who lay there breathing with what was left of his lungs, had had a strong, healthy body too. And suddenly he recalled how they used to go to bed together as children, and how they only waited till Fiodor Bogdanich was out of the room to fling pillows at each other and laugh, laugh irrepressibly, so that even their awe of Fiodor Bogdanich could not check the effervescing, overbrimming sense of life and happiness. "And now that warped, hollow chest... And I, not knowing what will become of me, or wherefore...."

"K-ha! K-ha! Damnation! Why do you keep fidgeting——why don't you go to sleep?" his brother's voice called to him.

"Oh, I don't know; I'm not sleepy."

"I have had a good sleep, I'm not in a sweat now. Just see, feel my shirt——there's no sweat, is there?"

Levin felt it, withdrew behind the partition, and put out the candle, but for a long while he could not sleep. The question how to live had hardly begun to grow a little clearer to him, when a new, insolvable question presented itself——death.

"Why, he's dying——yes, he'll die in the spring; and how is one to help him? What can I say to him? What do I know about it? I'd even forgotten the very fact of it."

XXXII.

Levin had long before made the observation that when one is uncomfortable with people from their being excessively amenable and meek, one is apt very soon after to find things intolerable from their pretensions and irritability. He felt that this was how it would be with his brother. And his brother Nikolai's gentleness did not, in fact, last out for long. The very next morning he began to be irritable, and seemed doing his best to find fault with his brother, attacking him on his tenderest points.

Levin felt himself to blame, and could not set things right. He felt that if they had both not kept up appearances, but had spoken, as it is called, from the heart——that is to say, had said only just what they were thinking and feeling——they would simply have looked into each other's faces, and Konstantin could only have said: "You're dying, you're dying," and Nikolai could only have answered: "I know I'm dying, but I'm afraid, I'm afraid, I'm afraid!" And they could have said nothing more, if they had said only what was in their hearts. But life like that was impossible, and so Konstantin tried to do what he had been trying to do all his life, and never could learn to do, though, as far as he could observe, many people knew so well how to do it, and without it there was no living at all. He tried to say what he was not thinking, but he felt continually that it had a ring of falsehood, that his brother detected him in it, and was exasperated at it.

The third day Nikolai induced his brother to explain his plan to him again, and began not merely attacking it, but intentionally confounding it with communism.

"You've simply borrowed an idea that's not your own, but you've distorted it, and are trying to apply it where it's not applicable."

"But I tell you there's nothing in common. They deny the justice of property, of capital, of inheritance, while I do not deny this chief stimulus." (Levin felt disgusted himself at using such expressions, but ever since he had been engrossed by his work, he had unconsciously come more and more frequently to use non-Russian words.) "All I want is to regulate labor."

"Which means, you've borrowed an idea, stripped it of all that gave it its force, and want to make believe that it's something new," said Nikolai, angrily tugging at his necktie.

"But my idea has nothing in common..."

"The other, at any rate," said Nikolai Levin, with an ironical smile, his eyes flashing malignantly, "has the charm of——what's one to call it?——geometrical symmetry, of clearness, of definiteness. It may be a Utopia. If one once allows the possibility of making all the past a tabula rasa——no property, no family——then labor would organize itself. But you have nothing..."

"Why do you mix things up? I've never been a communist."

"But I have, and I consider it's premature, but rational, and it has a future, just like Christianity in its first ages."

"All that I maintain is that the labor force ought to be investigated from the point of view of natural science; that is to say, it ought to be studied, its qualities ascertained..."

"But that's an utter waste of time. That force finds a certain form of activity of itself, according to the stage of its development. There have been slaves first, everywhere; then metayers; and we have the metayage system, rent, and day laborers. What are you trying to find?"

Levin suddenly lost his temper at these words, because at the bottom of his heart he was afraid that it was true——true that he was trying to hold the balance even between communism and the familiar forms, and that this was hardly possible.

"I am trying to find means of working productively for myself and for the laborers. I want to organize..." he answered hotly.

"You don't want to organize anything; it's simply the same as you've been all your life——you want to be original, to pose as not simply exploiting the peasants, but with some idea in view."

"Oh, all right, that's what you think——and let me alone!" answered Levin, feeling the muscles of his left cheek twitching uncontrollably.

"You've never had, and never have, convictions; all you want is to please your vanity."

"Oh, very well; let me alone then!"

"And I will let you alone! And it's high time I did, and go to the devil with you! And I'm very sorry I ever came!"

In spite of all Levin's efforts to soothe his brother afterward, Nikolai would listen to nothing he said, declaring that it was better to part, and Konstantin saw that it was simply a case of life being unbearable to him.

Nikolai was just getting ready to go, when Konstantin went in to him again and begged him, rather unnaturally, to forgive him if he had hurt his feelings in any way.

"Ah, generosity!" said Nikolai, and he smiled. "If you want to be right, I can give you that satisfaction. You're in the right; but I'm going all the same."

It was only just at parting that Nikolai kissed him, and said, looking with sudden strangeness and seriousness at his brother:

"Anyway, don't remember evil against me, Kostia!" and his voice quavered.

These were the only words that had been spoken sincerely between them. Levin knew that those words meant, "You see, and you know, that I'm in a bad way, and maybe we shall never see each other again." Levin knew this, and the tears gushed from his eyes. He kissed his brother once more, but he could not speak, and knew not what to say.

Two days after his brother's departure, Levin too set off for his foreign tour. Happening to meet Shcherbatsky, Kitty's cousin, in the railway train, Levin greatly astonished him by his depression.

"What's the matter with you?" Shcherbatsky asked him.

"Oh, nothing; there's not much happiness in life."

"Not much? You come with me to Paris instead of to Mulhouse. You shall see how to be happy."

"No, I've done with it all. It's time I was dead."

"Well, that's a good one!" said Shcherbatsky, laughing, "why, I'm only just getting ready to begin."

"Yes, I thought the same not long ago, but now I know I shall soon be dead."

Levin said what he had genuinely been thinking of late. He saw nothing but death, or an approach to death in everything. But his cherished scheme only engrossed him the more. Life had to be got through somehow, till death did come. Darkness had fallen upon everything for him; but just because of this darkness he felt that the one guiding clue in the darkness was his work, and he clutched it, and clung to it with all his strength.

PART FOUR

I.

The Karenins, husband and wife, continued living in the same house, met every day, but were complete strangers to one another. Alexei Alexandrovich made it a rule to see his wife every day, so that the servants might have no grounds for suppositions, but avoided dining at home. Vronsky was never at Alexei Alexandrovich's house, but Anna saw him away from home, and her husband was aware of it.

The position was one of torture for all three; and not one of them would have been equal to enduring this position for a single day, had it not been for the expectation that it would change, that it was merely a temporary painful difficulty which would pass over. Alexei Alexandrovich hoped that this passion would pass, as everything does pass, that everyone would forget about it, and his name would remain unsullied. Anna, on whom the position depended, and for whom it was more poignant than for any other, endured it because she not merely hoped, but firmly believed, that it would all very soon be settled and come right. She had not the least idea what would settle the situation, but she firmly believed that something would now very soon turn up. Vronsky unaccountably followed her lead, hoping too that something, independent of him, would be sure to clear up all difficulties.

In the middle of the winter Vronsky spent a very tiresome week. A foreign Prince, who had come on a visit to Peterburg, was put under his charge, and he had to show him the sights worth seeing. Vronsky was of distinguished appearance; he possessed, moreover, the art of behaving with respectful dignity, and was used to having to do with such grand personages——that was how he came to be put in charge of the Prince. But he felt his duties to be very irksome. The Prince was anxious to miss nothing about which he would be asked at home: Had he seen this and that in Russia? And on his own account he was anxious to enjoy to the utmost all Russian forms of amusement. Vronsky was obliged to be his guide in satisfying both these inclinations. The mornings they spent driving to look at places of interest: the evenings they passed enjoying the national amusements. The prince enjoyed a health exceptional even among Princes. By gymnastics and careful attention to his person he had brought himself to such a point that in spite of his excesses in pleasure he looked as fresh as a big, glossy, green Dutch cucumber. The Prince had traveled a great deal, and considered one of the chief advantages of modern facilities of communication the accessibility of the pleasures of all nations. He had been in Spain, and there had indulged in serenades, and had made friends with a Spanish girl who played the mandolin. In Switzerland he had killed chamois. In England he had galloped in a red coat over hedges and killed two hundred pheasants on a bet. In Turkey he had got into a harem; in India he had traveled on an elephant; and now, in Russia, he wished to taste all the peculiarly Russian forms of pleasure.

Vronsky, who was, as it were, chief master of the ceremonies to him, was at great pains to distribute all the Russian amusements suggested by various persons to the Prince. They had race horses, and Russian pancakes and bear hunts, and troikas, and gypsy choruses, and drinking orgies, with the Russian accompaniment of broken crockery. And the Prince, with surprising ease, fell in with the Russian spirit; he smashed trays full of crockery, sat with a gypsy girl on his knee, and seemed to be asking: What more? Or does the whole Russian spirit consist in just this?

In reality, of all the Russian entertainments the Prince liked best French actresses, a ballet dancer, and white-seal champagne. Vronsky was used to Princes, but, either because he had himself changed of late, or that he was in too close proximity to the Prince, that week seemed fearfully wearisome to him. The whole of that week he experienced unceasingly a sensation such as a man might have who has been put in charge of a dangerous madman, who is afraid of the madman, and, at the same time, from being with him, fears for his own reason. Vronsky was continually conscious of the necessity of never for a second relaxing the tone of stern official respectfulness, so that he might not himself be insulted. The Prince's manner of treating the very people who, to Vronsky's surprise, were ready to descend to any depths to provide him with Russian amusements, was contemptuous. His criticisms of Russian women, whom he wished to study, more than once made Vronsky crimson with indignation. The chief reason why the Prince was so particularly disagreeable to Vronsky was that he could not help seeing himself in him. And what he saw in this mirror did not gratify his self-esteem. He was a very stupid and a very self-satisfied and a very healthy and a very well-washed man, and nothing else. He was a gentleman, it was true, and Vronsky could not deny it. He was equable and not cringing with his superiors, was free and ingratiating in his behavior with his equals, and was contemptuously indulgent with his inferiors. Vronsky was himself the same, and regarded it as a great merit to be so. But to this Prince he was an inferior, and his contemptuous and indulgent attitude to him revolted him.

"Brainless beef! Can I be like that?" he reflected.

Be that as it might, when, on the seventh day, he parted from the Prince, who was starting for Moscow, and received his thanks, he was happy to be rid of his uncomfortable position and the unpleasant reflection of himself. He said good-by to him at the station, on their return from a bear hunt, at which they had had a display of Russian derring-do kept up all night.

II.

When he got home, Vronsky found there a note from Anna. She wrote: "I am ill and unhappy. I cannot come out, yet cannot go on longer without seeing you. Come in this evening. Alexei Alexandrovich goes to the Council at seven and will be there till ten." After a minute's reflection on the strangeness of her bidding him come straight to her, in spite of her husband's insisting on her not receiving him, he decided to go.

Vronsky had that winter got his promotion, was now a colonel, had left the regiment, and was living alone. After having some lunch, he lay down on the sofa immediately, and in five minutes memories of the hideous scenes he had witnessed during the last few days were jumbled and joined to a mental image of Anna and of the peasant, one of the encompassing people, who had played an important part in the bear hunt, and Vronsky fell asleep. He waked up in the dark, trembling with horror, and made haste to light a candle. "What was it? What? What was the dreadful thing I dreamed? Yes, yes; the peasant bear hunter, I think; a little dirty man with a disheveled beard was stooping down doing something, and all of a sudden he began saying some strange words in French. Yes, there was nothing else in the dream," he said to himself. "But why was it so awful?" He vividly recalled the peasant again and those incomprehensible French words the peasant had uttered, and a chill of horror ran down his spine.

"What nonsense!" thought Vronsky, and glanced at his watch.

It was half-past eight already. He rang up his servant, dressed in haste, and went out on the steps, completely forgetting the dream and only worried at being late. As he drove up to the Karenins' entrance he looked at his watch and saw it was ten minutes to nine. A high, narrow carriage with a pair of grays was standing at the entrance. He recognized Anna's carriage. "She is coming to me," thought Vronsky, "and better she should. I don't like going into that house. But no matter; I can't hide myself," he thought, and with that manner peculiar to him from childhood, as of a man who has nothing to be ashamed of, Vronsky got out of his sleigh and went to the door. The door opened, and the hall porter with a rug on his arm called the carriage. Vronsky, though he did not usually notice details, noticed at this moment the amazed expression with which the porter glanced at him. In the very doorway Vronsky almost ran up against Alexei Alexandrovich. The gas jet threw its full light on the bloodless, sunken face under the black hat, and on the white cravat, brilliant against the beaver of the coat. Karenin's fixed, dull eyes were fastened upon Vronsky's face. Vronsky bowed, and Alexei Alexandrovich, chewing his lips, lifted his hand to his hat and went on. Vronsky saw him get into the carriage without looking back, receive the rug and the opera glasses through the window, and disappear. Vronsky went into the hall. His brows were scowling, and his eyes gleamed with a proud and angry light in them.

"What a situation!" he thought. "If he would fight, would stand up for his honor, I could act, could express my feelings; but this weakness or baseness... He puts me in the position of playing false, which I never meant and never mean to do."

Vronsky's ideas had changed since the day of his conversation with Anna in the Vrede garden. Unconsciously yielding to the weakness of Anna——who had surrendered herself up to him utterly, and simply looked to him to decide her fate, ready to submit to anything——he had long ceased to think that their liaison might end as he had thought then. His ambitious plans had retreated into the background again, and feeling that he had got out of that circle of activity in which everything was definite, he had given himself up entirely to his passion, and that passion was binding him more and more closely to her.

He was still in the hall when he caught the sound of her retreating footsteps. He realized she had been expecting him, had listened for him, and was now going back to the drawing room.

"No," she cried, on seeing him, and at the first sound of her voice the tears came into her eyes. "No; if things are to go on like this, the end will come much, much too soon."

"What is it, dear one?"

"What? I've been waiting in agony for an hour, two hours... No, I won't... I can't quarrel with you. Of course you couldn't come. No, I won't."

She laid her two hands on his shoulders, and looked a long while at him with a profound, passionate, and, at the same time, searching look. She was studying his face to make up for the time she had not seen him. She was, every time she saw him, making the picture of him in her imagination (incomparably superior, impossible in reality) fit with him as he really was.

III.

"You met him?" she asked, when they had sat down at the table in the lamplight. "You're punished, you see, for being late."

"Yes; but how was it? Wasn't he to be at the Council?"

"He had been and come back, and was going out somewhere again. But that doesn't matter. Don't talk about it. Where have you been? With the Prince still?"

She knew every detail of his existence. He was going to say that he had been up all night and had dropped asleep, but looking at her thrilled and rapturous face, he was ashamed. And he said he had had to report on the Prince's departure.

"But it's over now? He is gone?"

"Thank God it's over! You wouldn't believe how insufferable it's been for me."

"Why so? Isn't it the life all of you——all young men——always lead?" she said, knitting her brows; and, taking up the crochet work that was lying on the table, she began drawing the hook out of it, without looking at Vronsky.

"I gave that life up long ago," said he, wondering at the change in her face, and trying to divine its meaning. "And I confess," he said, with a smile, showing his thick, white teeth, "this week I've been, as it were, looking at myself in a glass, seeing that life, and I didn't like it."

She held the work in her hands, but did not crochet, and looked at him with strange, shining, and hostile eyes.

"This morning Liza came to see me——they're not afraid to call on me, in spite of the Countess Lidia Ivanovna," she put in——"and she told me about your Athenian evening. How loathsome!"

"I was just going to say..."

She interrupted him.

"It was that Therese you used to know?"

"I was just saying..."

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