Part 10 out of 22
recent numbers of reviews and journals in different languages,
ranged like the rays of a star round the lamp. On the writing
table was a stand of drawers marked with gold lettering, and full
of papers of various sorts.
Sviazhsky 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
Sviazhsky of 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 Sviazhsky: "What is there inside
of him? And why, why is he interested in the partition of
Poland?" When Sviazhsky had finished, Levin could not help
asking: "Well, and what then?" But there was nothing to follow.
It was simply interesting that it had been proved to be so and
so. But Sviazhsky did not explain, and saw no need to explain
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
"Oh, get along with you! An inveterate supporter of serfdom at
heart, like all of them!" said Sviazhsky.
"Whose marshal you are."
"Yes, only I marshal them in the other direction," said
"I'll tell you what interests me very much," said Levin. "He's
right that our system, that's to say of rational farming, doesn't
answer, that the only thing that answers is the money-lender
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 Vassiltchikov."
"But I really don't know what it is you are surprised at. The
people are at such a low stage of rational and moral development,
that it's obvious they're bound to oppose everything that's
strange to them. In Europe, a rational system answers because
the people are educated; it follows that we must educate the
"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: 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 wise woman; her boy had screaming fits, so she was
taking him to be doctored. I asked, 'Why, how does the wise
woman 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..." Sviazhsky 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 is ill 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
But there was a gleam of alarm in Sviazhsky's eyes, and he said
"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
fundamental basis of all the conceptions and ideas of the day,
threw Levin into violent excitement. This dear good Sviazhsky,
keeping a stock of ideas simply for social 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 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 Sviazhsky, 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
"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 where
laborer is working in accordance with his habits, just as on the
old peasant's land half-way 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 peasant with his instincts,
and we shall arrange our system of culture 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 the share of labor 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.
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 that he arrived 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 ploughing, 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
The simple-hearted Ivan, the cowherd, seemed completely to grasp
Levin's proposal--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
Another difficulty lay in the invincible disbelief of the peasant
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 whatever 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 plough ploughed 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, hay fields, and arable land,
divided into several parts, had to be made into separate lots.
The simple-hearted 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 waste land that had lain fallow for eight years, was
with the help of the clever carpenter, Fyodor Ryezunov, 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 associated partnerships
were the first step to a new organization of the whole, and they
completely took up Levin's time.
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
It is true that Fyodor Ryezunov's company did not plough 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 Ryezunov 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 cattleyard and
barn on the land as agreed upon, and delayed doing it till the
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
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, Ryezunov, and detected the gleam in Ryezunov's eyes
which showed so plainly both ironical amusement at Levin, and the
firm conviction that, if any one were to be taken in, it would
not be he, Ryezunov. 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
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
side-saddle. 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 and see them again. He had been just as rude with the
Sviazhskys, leaving them without saying good-bye. 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
Sviazhsky, and copying out what he had not got, 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, 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 what he, Levin, and all the Russian
peasants and landowners, were to do with their millions of hands
and millions of acres, 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: 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 has
splendid land, splendid laborers, and that in certain cases, as
at the peasant's on the way to Sviazhsky'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.
At the end of September the timber had been carted for building
the cattleyard 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, 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 down the leather behind his neck and
his gaiters, but in the keenest and most confident temper, Levin
returned homewards in the evening. The weather had become worse
than ever towards 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 juicy, 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 further village had shown that they were
beginning to get used to their new position. The old servant to
whose hut he had gone to get dry evidently approved of Levin's
plan, and of his own accord proposed to enter the partnership by
the purchase of cattle.
"I have only to go stubbornly on towards 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 culture, 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, the whole
world. Because a just idea cannot but be fruitful. Yes, it's an
aim worth working for. And it's being me, Kostya Levin, who went
to a ball in a black tie, and was refused by the Shtcherbatskaya
girl, and who was intrinsically such a pitiful, worthless
creature--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 Agafea Mihalovna 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 servant, 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
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 head peasants had come round, and
Levin went out into the hall to them.
After his levee, that is to say, giving 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
Laska lay under the table; Agafea Mihalovna 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 dreary?" said Agafea Mihalovna. "Come,
why do you stay on at home? You ought to go to some warm
springs, especially now you're ready for the journey."
"Well, I am going away the day after tomorrow, Agafea Mihalovna;
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 Tsar for it.' Indeed and it
is a strange thing; why need you worry about the peasants?"
"I'm not worrying about them; I'm doing it for my own good."
Agafea Mihalovna 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. "Parfen Denisitch now, for all he
was no scholar, he died a death that God grant every one of us
the like," 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-nought,
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
"All I say is," answered Agafea Mihalovna, evidently not speaking
at random, but in strict sequence of idea, "that you ought to get
married, that's what I say."
Agafea Mihalovna'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 Agafea Mihalovna's needles, and recollecting what he
did not want to remember, he frowned 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
Agafea Mihalovna, 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.
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 Nikolay.
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 Agafea Mihalovna's hint, was in a troubled
and uncertain humor, the meeting with his brother that 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 Nikolay had been before in his
emaciation and sickliness, now he looked still more emaciated,
still more wasted. He was a skeleton covered with 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 Nikolay 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 unwell all the time.
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
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.
Nikolay said that he had come now to take this 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
He was in the most affectionate and good-humored mood, just as
Levin often remembered him in childhood. He even referred to
Sergey Ivanovitch without rancor. When he saw Agafea Mihalovna,
he made jokes with her and asked after the old servants. The
news of the death of Parfen Denisitch made a painful impression
on him. A look of fear crossed his face, but he regained his
"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, Myakov 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
"Marya Nikolaevna? Why, what for?"
"Oh, she was a horrid woman! She caused me all sorts of
worries." But he did not say what the annoyances were. He could
not say that he had cast 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. Nikolay 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 by it.
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 Nikolay
and the nearness of his death--which stifled all else. But
neither of them dared to speak of it, and so whatever they said--
not 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
As the house was damp, and only one bedroom had been kept heated,
Levin put his brother to sleep in his own bedroom behind a
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, 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, he felt that. 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. Now what's to be done? what's to be
done?" he said in despair. He lighted a candle, got up
cautiously and 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
Nikolay, who lay there breathing with what was left of 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 Fyodor Bogdanitch was out of the room to fling
pillows at each other and laugh, laugh irrepressibly, so that
even their awe of Fyodor Bogdanitch could not check the
effervescing, overbrimming sense of life and happiness. "And now
that bent, 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; it's all wet, isn't it?"
Levin felt, withdrew behind the screen, 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, insoluble question presented itself--death.
"Why, he's dying--yes, he'll die in the spring, and how help
him? What can I say to him? What do I know about it? I'd even
forgotten that it was at all."
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 touchiness and irritability. He felt that this was
how it would be with his brother. And his brother Nikolay's
gentleness did in fact not 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
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 Nikolay 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 Nikolay 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
"But I tell you it's nothing to do with it. 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 words not Russian.) "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 Nikolay, angrily tugging at his necktie.
"But my idea has nothing in common..."
"That, anyway," said Nikolay 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. But if once one allows the possibility of
making of all the past a tabula rasa--no property, no family--
then labor would organize itself. But you gain 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 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 half-crop 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 just as you've
been all your life, that you want to be original to pose as not
exploiting the peasants simply, 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
"You've never had, and never have, convictions; all you want is
to please your vanity."
"Oh, very well; then let me alone!"
"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 afterwards,
Nikolay would listen to nothing he said, declaring that it was
better to part, and Konstantin saw that it simply was that life
was unbearable to him.
Nikolay 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 Nikolay, 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 Nikolay kissed him, and said,
looking with sudden strangeness and seriousness at his brother:
"Anyway, don't remember evil against me, Kostya!" and his voice
quivered. 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 not
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.
Three days after his brother's departure, Levin too set off for
his foreign tour. Happening to meet Shtcherbatsky, Kitty's
cousin, in the railway train, Levin greatly astonished him by his
"What's the matter with you?" Shtcherbatsky asked him.
"Oh, nothing; there's not much happiness in life."
"Not much? You come with me to Paris instead of to Mulhausen.
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 Shtcherbatsky, 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 the advance towards 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.
The Karenins, husband and wife, continued living in the same
house, met every day, but were complete strangers to one another.
Alexey Alexandrovitch 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 Alexey
Alexandrovitch's house, but Anna saw him away from home, and her
husband was aware of it.
The position was one of misery for all three; and not one of them
would have been equal to enduring this position for a single day,
if it had not been for the expectation that it would change, that
it was merely a temporary painful ordeal which would pass over.
Alexey Alexandrovitch 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 miserable than for anyone,
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 position, but she firmly
believed that something would very soon turn up now. Vronsky,
against his own will or wishes, followed her lead, hoped too that
something, apart from his own action, would be sure to solve all
In the middle of the winter Vronsky spent a very tiresome week.
A foreign prince, who had come on a visit to Petersburg, 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 very
irksome. The prince was anxious to miss nothing of which he
would be asked at home, had he seen 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 entertainments. The prince rejoiced in
health exceptional even among princes. By gymnastics and careful
attention to his health he had brought himself to such a point
that in spite of his excess 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 was 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 for a
bet. In Turkey he had got into a harem; in India he had hunted
on an elephant, and now in Russia he wished to taste all the
specially Russian forms of pleasure.
Vronsky, who was, as it were, chief master of the ceremonies to
him, was at great pains to arrange all the Russian amusements
suggested by various persons to the prince. They had race
horses, and Russian pancakes and bear hunts and three-horse
sledges, and gypsies and drinking feasts, with the Russian
accompaniment of broken crockery. And the prince with surprising
ease fell in with the Russian spirit, smashed trays full of
crockery, sat with a gypsy girl on his knee, and seemed to be
asking--what more, and does the whole Russian spirit consist in
In reality, of all the Russian entertainments the prince liked
best French actresses and ballet dancers 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 a sensation such as a
man might have set in charge of a dangerous madman, afraid of the
madman, and at the same time, from being with him, fearing for
his own reason. Vronsky was continually conscious of the
necessity of never for a second relaxing the tone of stern
official respectfulness, 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 very
self-satisfied and very healthy and very well-washed man, and
nothing else. He was a gentleman--that 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 for this prince he was an inferior, and his
contemptuous and indulgent attitude to him revolted him.
"Brainless beef! can I be like that?" he thought.
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-bye to him at the
station on their return from a bear hunt, at which they had had a
display of Russian prowess kept up all night.
When he got home, Vronsky found there a note from Anna. She
wrote, "I am ill and unhappy. I cannot come out, but I cannot go
on longer without seeing you. Come in this evening. Alexey
Alexandrovitch goes to the council at seven and will be there
till ten." Thinking for an instant of 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 regimental quarters, 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 confused together and joined on to a
mental image of Anna and of the peasant 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; 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 onto 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 sledge 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 Alexey
Alexandrovitch. 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 Alexey Alexandrovitch, chewing his lips, lifted his
hand to his hat and went on. Vronsky saw him without looking
round get into the carriage, pick up the rug and the opera-glass
at 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 position!" 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 tie 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 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 knew 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
"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's no 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 go 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..."
"How disgusting you are, you men! How is it you can't understand
that a woman can never forget that," she said, getting more and
more angry, and so letting him see the cause of her irritation,
"especially a woman who cannot know your life? What do I know?
What have I ever known?" she said; "what you tell me. And how
do I know whether you tell me the truth?..."
"Anna, you hurt me. Don't you trust me? Haven't I told you that
I haven't a thought I wouldn't lay bare to you?"
"Yes, yes," she said, evidently trying to suppress her jealous
thoughts. "But if only you knew how wretched I am! I believe
you, I believe you.... What were you saying?"
But he could not at once recall what he had been going to say.
These fits of jealousy, which of late had been more and more
frequent with her, horrified him, and however much he tried to
disguise the fact, made him feel cold to her, although he knew
the cause of her jealousy was her love for him. How often he had
told himself that her love was happiness; and now she loved him
as a woman can love when love has outweighed for her all the good
things of life--and he was much further from happiness than when
he had followed her from Moscow. Then he had thought himself
unhappy, but happiness was before him; now he felt that the best
happiness was already left behind. She was utterly unlike what
she had been when he first saw her. Both morally and physically
she had changed for the worse. She had broadened out all over,
and in her face at the time when she was speaking of the actress
there was an evil expression of hatred that distorted it. He
looked at her as a man looks at a faded flower he has gathered,
with difficulty recognizing in it the beauty for which he picked
and ruined it. And in spite of this he felt that then, when his
love was stronger, he could, if he had greatly wished it, have
torn that love out of his heart; but now, when as at that moment
it seemed to him he felt no love for her, he knew that what bound
him to her could not be broken.
"Well, well, what was it you were going to say about the prince?
I have driven away the fiend," she added. The fiend was the
name they had given her jealousy. "What did you begin to tell me
about the prince? Why did you find it so tiresome?"
"Oh, it was intolerable!" he said, trying to pick up the thread
of his interrupted thought. "He does not improve on closer
acquaintance. If you want him defined, here he is: a prime,
well-fed beast such as takes medals at the cattle shows, and
nothing more," he said, with a tone of vexation that interested
"No; how so?" she replied. "He's seen a great deal, anyway; he's
"It's an utterly different culture--their culture. He's
cultivated, one sees, simply to be able to despise culture, as
they despise everything but animal pleasures."
"But don't you all care for these animal pleasures?" she said,
and again he noticed a dark look in her eyes that avoided him.
"How is it you're defending him?" he said, smiling.
"I'm not defending him, it's nothing to me; but I imagine, if you
had not cared for those pleasures yourself, you might have got
out of them. But if it affords you satisfaction to gaze at
Therese in the attire of Eve..."
"Again, the devil again," Vronsky said, taking the hand she had
laid on the table and kissing it.
"Yes; but I can't help it. You don't know what I have suffered
waiting for you. I believe I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous: I
believe you when you're here; but when you're away somewhere
leading your life, so incomprehensible to me..."
She turned away from him, pulled the hook at last out of the
crochet work, and rapidly, with the help of her forefinger, began
working loop after loop of the wool that was dazzling white in
the lamplight, while the slender wrist moved swiftly, nervously
in the embroidered cuff.
"How was it, then? Where did you meet Alexey Alexandrovitch?"
Her voice sounded in an unnatural and jarring tone.
"We ran up against each other in the doorway."
"And he bowed to you like this?"
She drew a long face, and half-closing her eyes, quickly
transformed her expression, folded her hands, and Vronsky
suddenly saw in her beautiful face the very expression with which
Alexey Alexandrovitch had bowed to him. He smiled, while she
laughed gaily, with that sweet, deep laugh, which was one of her
"I don't understand him in the least," said Vronsky. "If after
your avowal to him at your country house he had broken with you,
if he had called me out--but this I can't understand. How can he
put up with such a position? He feels it, that's evident."
"He?" she said sneeringly. "He's perfectly satisfied."
"What are we all miserable for, when everything might be so
"Only not he. Don't I know him, the falsity in which he's
utterly steeped?... Could one, with any feeling, live as he is
living with me? He understands nothing, and feels nothing.
Could a man of any feeling live in the same house with his
unfaithful wife? Could he talk to her, call her 'my dear'?"
And again she could not help mimicking him: "'Anna, ma chere;
"He's not a man, not a human being--he's a doll! No one knows
him; but I know him. Oh, if I'd been in his place, I'd long ago
have killed, have torn to pieces a wife like me. I wouldn't
have said, 'Anna, ma chere'! He's not a man, he's an official
machine. He doesn't understand that I'm your wife, that he's
outside, that he's superfluous.... Don't let's talk of him!..."
"You're unfair, very unfair, dearest," said Vronsky, trying to
soothe her. "But never mind, don't let's talk of him. Tell me
what you've been doing? What is the matter? What has been wrong
with you, and what did the doctor say?"
She looked at him with mocking amusement. Evidently she had hit
on other absurd and grotesque aspects in her husband and was
awaiting the moment to give expression to them.
But he went on:
"I imagine that it's not illness, but your condition. When will
The ironical light died away in her eyes, but a different smile,
a consciousness of something, he did not know what, and of quiet
melancholy, came over her face.
"Soon, soon. You say that our position is miserable, that we
must put an end to it. If you knew how terrible it is to me,
what I would give to be able to love you freely and boldly! I
should not torture myself and torture you with my jealousy....
And it will come soon but not as we expect."
And at the thought of how it would come, she seemed so pitiable
to herself that tears came into her eyes, and she could not go
on. She laid her hand on his sleeve, dazzling and white with its
rings in the lamplight.
"It won't come as we suppose. I didn't mean to say this to you,
but you've made me. Soon, soon, all will be over, and we shall
all, all be at peace, and suffer no more."
"I don't understand," he said, understanding her.
"You asked when? Soon. And I shan't live through it. Don't
interrupt me!" and she made haste to speak. "I know it; I know
for certain. I shall die; and I'm very glad I shall die, and
release myself and you."
Tears dropped from her eyes; he bent down over her hand and began
kissing it, trying to hide his emotion, which, he knew, had no
sort of grounds, though he could not control it.
"Yes, it's better so," she said, tightly gripping his hand.
"That's the only way, the only way left us."
He had recovered himself, and lifted his head.
"How absurd! What absurd nonsense you are talking!"
"No, it's the truth."
"What, what's the truth?"
"That I shall die. I have had a dream."
"A dream?" repeated Vronsky, and instantly he recalled the
peasant of his dream.
"Yes, a dream," she said. "It's a long while since I dreamed it.
I dreamed that I ran into my bedroom, that I had to get something
there, to find out something; you know how it is in dreams," she
said, her eyes wide with horror; "and in the bedroom, in the
corner, stood something."
"Oh, what nonsense! How can you believe..."
But she would not let him interrupt her. What she was saying was
too important to her.
"And the something turned round, and I saw it was a peasant with
a disheveled beard, little, and dreadful looking. I wanted to
run away, but he bent down over a sack, and was fumbling there
with his hands..."
She showed how he had moved his hands. There was terror in her
face. And Vronsky, remembering his dream, felt the same terror
filling his soul.
"He was fumbling and kept talking quickly, quickly in French, you
know: Il faut le battre, le fer, le brayer, le petrir.... And in
my horror I tried to wake up, and woke up...but woke up in
the dream. And I began asking myself what it meant. And Korney
said to me: 'In childbirth you'll die, ma'am, you'll die....'
And I woke up."
"What nonsense, what nonsense!" said Vronsky; but he felt himself
that there was no conviction in his voice.
"But don't let's talk of it. Ring the bell, I'll have tea. And
stay a little now; it's not long I shall..."
But all at once she stopped. The expression of her face
instantaneously changed. Horror and excitement were suddenly
replaced by a look of soft, solemn, blissful attention. He could
not comprehend the meaning of the change. She was listening to
the stirring of the new life within her.
Alexey Alexandrovitch, after meeting Vronsky on his own steps,
drove, as he had intended, to the Italian opera. He sat
through two acts there, and saw everyone he had wanted to see.
On returning home, he carefully scrutinized the hat stand, and
noticing that there was not a military overcoat there, he went,
as usual, to his own room. But, contrary to his usual habits, he
did not go to bed, he walked up and down his study till three
o'clock in the morning. The feeling of furious anger with his
wife, who would not observe the proprieties and keep to the one
stipulation he had laid on her, not to receive her lover in her
own home, gave him no peace. She had not complied with his
request, and he was bound to punish her and carry out his
threat--obtain a divorce and take away his son. He knew all the
difficulties connected with this course, but he had said he would
do it, and now he must carry out his threat. Countess Lidia
Ivanovna had hinted that this was the best way out of his
position, and of late the obtaining of divorces had been brought
to such perfection that Alexey Alexandrovitch saw a possibility
of overcoming the formal difficulties. Misfortunes never come
singly, and the affairs of the reorganization of the native
tribes, and of the irrigation of the lands of the Zaraisky
province, had brought such official worries upon Alexey
Alexandrovitch that he had been of late in a continual condition
of extreme irritability.
He did not sleep the whole night, and his fury, growing in a sort
of vast, arithmetical progression, reached its highest limits in
the morning. He dressed in haste, and as though carrying his cup
full of wrath, and fearing to spill any over, fearing to lose
with his wrath the energy necessary for the interview with his
wife, he went into her room directly he heard she was up.
Anna, who had thought she knew her husband so well, was amazed at
his appearance when he went in to her. His brow was lowering,
and his eyes stared darkly before him, avoiding her eyes; his
mouth was tightly and contemptuously shut. In his walk, in his
gestures, in the sound of his voice there was a determination and
firmness such as his wife had never seen in him. He went into
her room, and without greeting her, walked straight up to her
writing-table, and taking her keys, opened a drawer.
"What do you want?" she cried.
"Your lover's letters," he said.
"They're not here," she said, shutting the drawer; but from that
action he saw he had guessed right, and roughly pushing away her
hand, he quickly snatched a portfolio in which he knew she used
to put her most important papers. She tried to pull the
portfolio away, but he pushed her back.
"Sit down! I have to speak to you," he said, putting the
portfolio under his arm, and squeezing it so tightly with his
elbow that his shoulder stood up. Amazed and intimidated, she
gazed at him in silence.
"I told you that I would not allow you to receive your lover in
"I had to see him to..."
She stopped, not finding a reason.
"I do not enter into the details of why a woman wants to see her
"I meant, I only..." she said, flushing hotly. This coarseness
of his angered her, and gave her courage. "Surely you must feel
how easy it is for you to insult me?" she said.
"An honest man and an honest woman may be insulted, but to tell a
thief he's a thief is simply la constatation d'un fait."
"This cruelty is something new I did not know in you."
"You call it cruelty for a husband to give his wife liberty,
giving her the honorable protection of his name, simply on the
condition of observing the proprieties: is that cruelty?"
"It's worse than cruel--it's base, if you want to know!" Anna
cried, in a rush of hatred, and getting up, she was going away.
"No!" he shrieked in his shrill voice, which pitched a note
higher than usual even, and his big hands clutching her by the
arm so violently that red marks were left from the bracelet he
was squeezing, he forcibly sat her down in her place.
"Base! If you care to use that word, what is base is to forsake
husband and child for a lover, while you eat your husband's
She bowed her head. She did not say what she had said the
evening before to her lover, that HE was her husband, and her
husband was superfluous; she did not even think that. She felt
all the justice of his words, and only said softly:
"You cannot describe my position as worse than I feel it to be
myself; but what are you saying all this for?"
"What am I saying it for? what for?" he went on, as angrily.
"That you may know that since you have not carried out my wishes
in regard to observing outward decorum, I will take measures to
put an end to this state of things."
"Soon, very soon, it will end, anyway," she said; and again, at
the thought of death near at hand and now desired, tears came
into her eyes.
"It will end sooner than you and your lover have planned! If you
must have the satisfaction of animal passion..."
"Alexey Alexandrovitch! I won't say it's not generous, but it's
not like a gentleman to strike anyone who's down."
"Yes, you only think of yourself! But the sufferings of a man
who was your husband have no interest for you. You don't care
that his whole life is ruined, that he is thuff...thuff..."
Alexey Alexandrovitch was speaking so quickly that he stammered,
and was utterly unable to articulate the word "suffering." In
the end he pronounced it "thuffering." She wanted to laugh, and
was immediately ashamed that anything could amuse her at such a
moment. And for the first time, for an instant, she felt for
him, put herself in his place, and was sorry for him. But what
could she say or do? Her head sank, and she sat silent. He too
was silent for some time, and then began speaking in a frigid,
less shrill voice, emphasizing random words that had no
"I came to tell you..." he said.
She glanced at him. "No, it was my fancy," she thought,
recalling the expression of his face when he stumbled over the
word "suffering." "No; can a man with those dull eyes, with that
self-satisfied complacency, feel anything?"
"I cannot change anything," she whispered.
"I have come to tell you that I am going tomorrow to Moscow, and
shall not return again to this house, and you will receive notice
of what I decide through the lawyer into whose hands I shall
intrust the task of getting a divorce. My son is going to my
sister's," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, with an effort recalling
what he had meant to say about his son.
"You take Seryozha to hurt me," she said, looking at him from
under her brows. "You do not love him.... Leave me Seryozha!"
"Yes, I have lost even my affection for my son, because he is
associated with the repulsion I feel for you. But still I
shall take him. Goodbye!"
And he was going away, but now she detained him.
"Alexey Alexandrovitch, leave me Seryozha!" she whispered once
more. "I have nothing else to say. Leave Seryozha till my...I
shall soon be confined; leave him!"
Alexey Alexandrovitch flew into a rage, and, snatching his hand
from her, he went out of the room without a word.
The waiting-room of the celebrated Petersburg lawyer was full
when Alexey Alexandrovitch entered it. Three ladies--an old
lady, a young lady, and a merchant's wife--and three gentlemen--
one a German banker with a ring on his finger, the second a
merchant with a beard, and the third a wrathful-looking
government clerk in official uniform, with a cross on his neck--
had obviously been waiting a long while already. Two clerks were
writing at tables with scratching pens. The appurtenances of the
writing-tables, about which Alexey Alexandrovitch was himself
very fastidious, were exceptionally good. He could not help
observing this. One of the clerks, without getting up, turned
wrathfully to Alexey Alexandrovitch, half closing his eyes.
"What are you wanting?"
He replied that he had to see the lawyer on some business.
"He is engaged," the clerk responded severely, and he pointed
with his pen at the persons waiting, and went on writing.
"Can't he spare time to see me?" said Alexey Alexandrovitch.
"He has not time free; he is always busy. Kindly wait your
"Then I must trouble you to give him my card," Alexey
Alexandrovitch said with dignity, seeing the impossibility of
preserving his incognito.
The clerk took the card and, obviously not approving of what he
read on it, went to the door.
Alexey Alexandrovitch was in principle in favor of the publicity
of legal proceedings, though for some higher official
considerations he disliked the application of the principle in
Russia, and disapproved of it, as far as he could disapprove of
anything instituted by authority of the Emperor. His whole life
had been spent in administrative work, and consequently, when he
did not approve of anything, his disapproval was softened by the
recognition of the inevitability of mistakes and the possibility
of reform in every department. In the new public law courts he
disliked the restrictions laid on the lawyers conducting cases.
But till then he had had nothing to do with the law courts, and
so had disapproved of their publicity simply in theory; now his
disapprobation was strengthened by the unpleasant impression made
on him in the lawyer's waiting room.
"Coming immediately," said the clerk; and two minutes later there
did actually appear in the doorway the large figure of an old
solicitor who had been consulting with the lawyer himself.
The lawyer was a little, squat, bald man, with a dark, reddish
beard, light-colored long eyebrows, and an overhanging brow. He
was attired as though for a wedding, from his cravat to his
double watch-chain and varnished boots. His face was clever and
manly, but his dress was dandified and in bad taste.
"Pray walk in," said the lawyer, addressing Alexey
Alexandrovitch; and, gloomily ushering Karenin in before him, he
closed the door.
"Won't you sit down?" He indicated an armchair at a writing table
covered with papers. He sat down himself, and, rubbing his
little hands with short fingers covered with white hairs, he bent
his head on one side. But as soon as he was settled in this
position a moth flew over the table. The lawyer, with a
swiftness that could never have been expected of him, opened his
hands, caught the moth, and resumed his former attitude.
"Before beginning to speak of my business," said Alexey
Alexandrovitch, following the lawyer's movements with wondering
eyes, "I ought to observe that the business about which I have to
speak to you is to be strictly private."
The lawyer's overhanging reddish mustaches were parted in a
scarcely perceptible smile.
"I should not be a lawyer if I could not keep the secrets
confided to me. But if you would like proof..."
Alexey Alexandrovitch glanced at his face, and saw that the
shrewd, gray eyes were laughing, and seemed to know all about it
"You know my name?" Alexey Alexandrovitch resumed.
"I know you and the good"--again he caught a moth--"work you are
doing, like every Russian," said the lawyer, bowing.
Alexey Alexandrovitch sighed, plucking up his courage. But
having once made up his mind he went on in his shrill voice,
without timidity--or hesitation, accentuating here and there a
"I have the misfortune," Alexey Alexandrovitch began, "to have
been deceived in my married life, and I desire to break off all
relations with my wife by legal means--that is, to be divorced,
but to do this so that my son may not remain with his mother."
The lawyer's gray eyes tried not to laugh, but they were dancing
with irrepressible glee, and Alexey Alexandrovitch saw that it
was not simply the delight of a man who has just got a profitable
job: there was triumph and joy, there was a gleam like the
malignant gleam he saw in his wife's eyes.
"You desire my assistance in securing a divorce?"
"Yes, precisely so; but I ought to warn you that I may be
wasting your time and attention. I have come simply to consult
you as a preliminary step. I want a divorce, but the form in
which it is possible is of great consequence to me. It is very
possible that if that form does not correspond with my
requirements I may give up a legal divorce."
"Oh, that's always the case," said the lawyer, "and that's always
for you to decide."
He let his eyes rest on Alexey Alexandrovitch's feet, feeling
that he might offend his client by the sight of his irrepressible
amusement. He looked at a moth that flew before his nose, and
moved his hands, but did not catch it from regard for Alexey
"Though in their general features our laws on this subject are
known to me," pursued Alexey Alexandrovitch, "I should be glad
to have an idea of the forms in which such things are done in
"You would be glad," the lawyer, without lifting his eyes,
responded, adopting, with a certain satisfaction, the tone of his
client's remarks, "for me to lay before you all the methods by
which you could secure what you desire?"
And on receiving an assuring nod from Alexey Alexandrovitch, he
went on, stealing a glance now and then at Alexey
Alexandrovitch's face, which was growing red in patches.
"Divorce by our laws," he said, with a slight shade of
disapprobation of our laws, "is possible, as you are aware, in
the following cases.... Wait a little!" he called to a clerk
who put his head in at the door, but he got up all the same, said
a few words to him, and sat down again. "...In the following
cases: physical defect in the married parties, desertion without
communication for five years," he said, crooking a short finger
covered with hair, "adultery" (this word he pronounced with
obvious satisfaction), "subdivided as follows" (he continued to
crook his fat fingers, though the three cases and their
subdivisions could obviously not be classified together):
"physical defect of the husband or of the wife, adultery of the
husband or of the wife." As by now all his fingers were used up,
he uncrooked all his fingers and went on: "This is the
theoretical view; but I imagine you have done me the honor to
apply to me in order to learn its application in practice. And
therefore, guided by precedents, I must inform you that in
practice cases of divorce may all be reduced to the following--
there's no physical defect, I may assume, nor desertion?..."
Alexey Alexandrovitch bowed his head in assent.
"--May be reduced to the following: adultery of one of the
married parties, and the detection in the fact of the guilty
party by mutual agreement, and failing such agreement, accidental
detection. It must be admitted that the latter case is rarely
met with in practice," said the lawyer, and stealing a glance at
Alexey Alexandrovitch he paused, as a man selling pistols, after
enlarging on the advantages of each weapon, might await his
customer's choice. But Alexey Alexandrovitch said nothing, and
therefore the lawyer went on: "The most usual and simple, the
sensible course, I consider, is adultery by mutual consent. I
should not permit myself to express it so, speaking with a man of
no education," he said, "but I imagine that to you this is
Alexey Alexandrovitch was, however, so perturbed that he did not
immediately comprehend all the good sense of adultery by mutual
consent, and his eyes expressed this uncertainty; but the lawyer
promptly came to his assistance.
"People cannot go on living together--here you have a fact. And
if both are agreed about it, the details and formalities become a
matter of no importance. And at the same time this is the
simplest and most certain method."
Alexey Alexandrovitch fully understood now. But he had religious
scruples, which hindered the execution of such a plan.
"That is out of the question in the present case," he said.
"Only one alternative is possible: undesigned detection,
supported by letters which I have."
At the mention of letters the lawyer pursed up his lips, and gave
utterance to a thin little compassionate and contemptuous sound.
"Kindly consider," he began, "cases of that kind are, as you are
aware, under ecclesiastical jurisdiction; the reverend fathers
are fond of going into the minutest details in cases of that
kind," he said with a smile, which betrayed his sympathy with the
reverend fathers' taste. "Letters may, of course, be a partial
confirmation; but detection in the fact there must be of the most
direct kind, that is, by eyewitnesses. In fact, if you do me the
honor to intrust your confidence to me, you will do well to leave
me the choice of the measures to be employed. If one wants the
result, one must admit the means."
"If it is so..." Alexey Alexandrovitch began, suddenly turning
white; but at that moment the lawyer rose and again went to the
door to speak to the intruding clerk.
"Tell her we don't haggle over fees!" he said, and returned to
On his way back he caught unobserved another moth. "Nice state
my rep curtains will be in by the summer!" he thought, frowning.
"And so you were saying?..." he said.
"I will communicate my decision to you by letter," said Alexey
Alexandrovitch, getting up, and he clutched at the table. After
standing a moment in silence, he said: "From your words I may
consequently conclude that a divorce may be obtained? I would
ask you to let me know what are your terms."
"It may be obtained if you give me complete liberty of action,"
said the lawyer, not answering his question. "When can I reckon
on receiving information from you?" he asked, moving towards the
door, his eyes and his varnished boots shining.
"In a week's time. Your answer as to whether you will undertake
to conduct the case, and on what terms, you will be so good as to
communicate to me."
The lawyer bowed respectfully, let his client out of the door,
and, left alone, gave himself up to his sense of amusement. He
felt so mirthful that, contrary to his rules, he made a reduction
in his terms to the haggling lady, and gave up catching moths,
finally deciding that next winter he must have the furniture
covered with velvet, like Sigonin's.
Alexey Alexandrovitch had gained a brilliant victory at the
sitting of the Commission of the 17th of August, but in the
sequel this victory cut the ground from under his feet. The new
commission for the inquiry into the condition of the native
tribes in all its branches had been formed and despatched to its
destination with an unusual speed and energy inspired by Alexey
Alexandrovitch. Within three months a report was presented. The
condition of the native tribes was investigated in its political,
administrative, economic, ethnographic, material, and religious
aspects. To all these questions there were answers admirably
stated, and answers admitting no shade of doubt, since they were
not a product of human thought, always liable to error, but were
all the product of official activity. The answers were all based
on official data furnished by governors and heads of churches,
and founded on the reports of district magistrates and
ecclesiastical superintendents, founded in their turn on the
reports of parochial overseers and parish priests; and so all of
these answers were unhesitating and certain. All such questions
as, for instance, of the cause of failure of crops, of the
adherence of certain tribes to their ancient beliefs, etc.--
questions which, but for the convenient intervention of the
official machine, are not, and cannot be solved for ages--
received full, unhesitating solution. And this solution was in
favor of Alexey Alexandrovitch's contention. But Stremov, who
had felt stung to the quick at the last sitting, had, on the
reception of the commission's report, resorted to tactics which
Alexey Alexandrovitch had not anticipated. Stremov, carrying
with him several members, went over to Alexey Alexandrovitch's
side, and not contenting himself with warmly defending the
measure proposed by Karenin, proposed other more extreme measures
in the same direction. These measures, still further exaggerated
in opposition to what was Alexey Alexandrovitch's fundamental
idea, were passed by the commission, and then the aim of
Stremov's tactics became apparent. Carried to an extreme, the
measures seemed at once to be so absurd that the highest
authorities, and public opinion, and intellectual ladies, and the
newspapers, all at the same time fell foul of them, expressing
their indignation both with the measures and their nominal
father, Alexey Alexandrovitch. Stremov drew back, affecting to
have blindly followed Karenin, and to be astounded and distressed
at what had been done. This meant the defeat of Alexey
Alexandrovitch. But in spite of failing health, in spite of his
domestic griefs, he did not give in. There was a split in the
commission. Some members, with Stremov at their head, justified
their mistake on the ground that they had put faith in the
commission of revision, instituted by Alexey Alexandrovitch, and
maintained that the report of the commission was rubbish, and
simply so much waste paper. Alexey Alexandrovitch, with a
following of those who saw the danger of so revolutionary an
attitude to official documents, persisted in upholding the
statements obtained by the revising commission. In consequence
of this, in the higher spheres, and even in society, all was
chaos, and although everyone was interested, no one could tell
whether the native tribes really were becoming impoverished and
ruined, or whether they were in a flourishing condition. The
position of Alexey Alexandrovitch, owing to this, and partly
owing to the contempt lavished on him for his wife's infidelity,
became very precarious. And in this position he took an
important resolution. To the astonishment of the commission, he
announced that he should ask permission to go himself to
investigate the question on the spot. And having obtained
permission, Alexey Alexandrovitch prepared to set off to these
Alexey Alexandrovitch's departure made a great sensation, the
more so as just before he started he officially returned the
posting-fares allowed him for twelve horses, to drive to his
"I think it very noble," Betsy said about this to the Princess
Myakaya. "Why take money for posting-horses when everyone knows
that there are railways everywhere now?"
But Princess Myakaya did not agree, and the Princess Tverskaya's
opinion annoyed her indeed.
"It's all very well for you to talk," said she, "when you have I
don't know how many millions; but I am very glad when my husband
goes on a revising tour in the summer. It's very good for him
and pleasant traveling about, and it's a settled arrangement for
me to keep a carriage and coachman on the money."
On his way to the remote provinces Alexey Alexandrovitch stopped
for three days at Moscow.
The day after his arrival he was driving back from calling on the
governor-general. At the crossroads by Gazetoy Place, where
there are always crowds of carriages and sledges, Alexey
Alexandrovitch suddenly heard his name called out in such a loud
and cheerful voice that he could not help looking round. At the
corner of the pavement, in a short, stylish overcoat and a
low-crowned fashionable hat, jauntily askew, with a smile that
showed a gleam of white teeth and red lips, stood Stepan
Arkadyevitch, radiant, young, and beaming. He called him
vigorously and urgently, and insisted on his stopping. He had
one arm on the window of a carriage that was stopping at the
corner, and out of the window were thrust the heads of a lady in
a velvet hat, and two children. Stepan Arkadyevitch was smiling
and beckoning to his brother-in-law. The lady smiled a kindly
smile too, and she too waved her hand to Alexey Alexandrovitch.
It was Dolly with her children.
Alexey Alexandrovitch did not want to see anyone in Moscow, and
least of all his wife's brother. He raised his hat and would
have driven on, but Stepan Arkadyevitch told his coachman to
stop, and ran across the snow to him.
"Well, what a shame not to have let us know! Been here long? I
was at Dussot's yesterday and saw 'Karenin' on the visitors'
list, but it never entered my head that it was you," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, sticking his head in at the window of the carriage,
"or I should have looked you up. I am glad to see you!" he
said, knocking one foot against the other to shake the snow off.
"What a shame of you not to let us know!" he repeated.
"I had no time; I am very busy," Alexey Alexandrovitch responded
"Come to my wife, she does so want to see you."
Alexey Alexandrovitch unfolded the rug in which his frozen feet
were wrapped, and getting out of his carriage made his way over
the snow to Darya Alexandrovna.
"Why, Alexey Alexandrovitch, what are you cutting us like this
for?" said Dolly, smiling.
"I was very busy. Delighted to see you!" he said in a tone
clearly indicating that he was annoyed by it. "How are you?"
"Tell me, how is my darling Anna?"
Alexey Alexandrovitch mumbled something and would have gone on.
But Stepan Arkadyevitch stopped him.
"I tell you what we'll do tomorrow. Dolly, ask him to dinner.
We'll ask Koznishev and Pestsov, so as to entertain him with our
"Yes, please, do come," said Dolly; "we will expect you at five,
or six o'clock, if you like. How is my darling Anna? How
"She is quite well," Alexey Alexandrovitch mumbled, frowning.
"Delighted!" and he moved away towards his carriage.
"You will come?" Dolly called after him.
Alexey Alexandrovitch said something which Dolly could not catch
in the noise of the moving carriages.
"I shall come round tomorrow!" Stepan Arkadyevitch shouted to
Alexey Alexandrovitch got into his carriage, and buried himself
in it so as neither to see nor be seen.
"Queer fish!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch to his wife, and glancing
at his watch, he made a motion of his hand before his face,
indicating a caress to his wife and children, and walked jauntily
along the pavement.
"Stiva! Stiva!" Dolly called, reddening.
He turned round.
"I must get coats, you know, for Grisha and Tanya. Give me the
"Never mind; you tell them I'll pay the bill!" and he vanished,
nodding genially to an acquaintance who drove by.
The next day was Sunday. Stepan Arkadyevitch went to the Grand
Theater to a rehearsal of the ballet, and gave Masha Tchibisova,
a pretty dancing-girl whom he had just taken under his
protection, the coral necklace he had promised her the evening
before, and behind the scenes in the dim daylight of the theater,
managed to kiss her pretty little face, radiant over her present.
Besides the gift of the necklace he wanted to arrange with her
about meeting after the ballet. After explaining that he could
not come at the beginning of the ballet, he promised he would
come for the last act and take her to supper. From the theater
Stepan Arkadyevitch drove to Ohotny Row, selected himself the
fish and asparagus for dinner, and by twelve o'clock was at
Dussot's, where he had to see three people, luckily all staying
at the same hotel: Levin, who had recently come back from abroad
and was staying there; the new head of his department, who had
just been promoted to that position, and had come on a tour of
revision to Moscow; and his brother-in-law, Karenin, whom he must
see, so as to be sure of bringing him to dinner.
Stepan Arkadyevitch liked dining, but still better he liked to
give a dinner, small, but very choice, both as regards the food
and drink and as regards the selection of guests. He
particularly liked the program of that day's dinner. There would
be fresh perch, asparagus, and la piece de resistance--
first-rate, but quite plain, roast beef, and wines to suit: so
much for the eating and drinking. Kitty and Levin would be of
the party, and that this might not be obtrusively evident, there
would be a girl cousin too, and young Shtcherbatsky, and la piece
de resistance among the guests--Sergey Koznishev and Alexey
Alexandrovitch. Sergey Ivanovitch was a Moscow man, and a
philosopher; Alexey Alexandrovitch a Petersburger, and a
practical politician. He was asking, too, the well-known
eccentric enthusiast, Pestsov, a liberal, a great talker, a
musician, an historian, and the most delightfully youthful person
of fifty, who would be a sauce or garnish for Koznishev and
Karenin. He would provoke them and set them off.
The second installment for the forest had been received from the
merchant and was not yet exhausted; Dolly had been very amiable
and goodhumored of late, and the idea of the dinner pleased
Stepan Arkadyevitch from every point of view. He was in the most
light-hearted mood. There were two circumstances a little
unpleasant, but these two circumstances were drowned in the sea
of good-humored gaiety which flooded the soul of Stepan
Arkadyevitch. These two circumstances were: first, that on
meeting Alexey Alexandrovitch the day before in the street he had
noticed that he was cold and reserved with him, and putting the
expression of Alexey Alexandrovitch's face and the fact that he
had not come to see them or let them know of his arrival with the
rumors he had heard about Anna and Vronsky, Stepan Arkadyevitch