Part 13 out of 22
roubles," he added, relaxing his lips into a smile. "I have
decided, but I was afraid you might not agree."
Levin saw it was a joke, but he could not smile.
"Well, how's it to be then?--unlighted or lighted candles? that's
"Yes, yes, unlighted."
"Oh, I'm very glad. The question's decided!" said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, smiling. "How silly men are, though, in this
position," he said to Tchirikov, when Levin, after looking
absently at him, had moved back to his bride.
"Kitty, mind you're the first to step on the carpet," said
Countess Nordston, coming up. "You're a nice person!" she said
"Aren't you frightened, eh?" said Marya Dmitrievna, an old aunt.
"Are you cold? You're pale. Stop a minute, stoop down," said
Kitty's sister, Madame Lvova, and with her plump, handsome arms
she smilingly set straight the flowers on her head.
Dolly came up, tried to say something, but could not speak, cried
and then laughed unnaturally.
Kitty looked at all of them with the same absent eyes as Levin.
Meanwhile the officiating clergy had got into their vestments,
and the priest and deacon came out to the lectern, which stood in
the forepart of the church. The priest turned to Levin saying
something. Levin did not hear what the priest said.
"Take the bride's hand and lead her up," the best man said to
It was a long while before Levin could make out what was expected
of him. For a long time they tried to set him right and made him
begin again--because he kept taking Kitty by the wrong arm or
with the wrong arm--till he understood at last that what he had
to do was, without changing his position, to take her right hand
in his right hand. When at last he had taken the bride's hand in
the correct way, the priest walked a few paces in front of them
and stopped at the lectern. The crowd of friends and relations
moved after them, with a buzz of talk and a rustle of skirts.
Someone stooped down and pulled out the bride's train. The
church became so still that the drops of wax could be heard
falling from the candles.
The little old priest in his ecclesiastical cap, with his long
silvery-gray locks of hair parted behind his ears, was fumbling
with something at the lectern, putting out his little old hands
from under the heavy silver vestment with the gold cross on the
back of it.
Stepan Arkadyevitch approached him cautiously, whispered
something, and making a sign to Levin, walked back again.
The priest lighted two candles, wreathed with flowers, and
holding them sideways so that the wax dropped slowly from them he
turned, facing the bridal pair. The priest was the same old man
that had confessed Levin. He looked with weary and melancholy
eyes at the bride and bridegroom, sighed, and putting his right
hand out from his vestment, blessed the bridegroom with it, and
also with a shade of solicitous tenderness laid the crossed
fingers on the bowed head of Kitty. Then he gave them the
candles, and taking the censer, moved slowly away from them.
"Can it be true?" thought Levin, and he looked round at his
bride. Looking down at her he saw her face in profile, and from
the scarcely perceptible quiver of her lips and eyelashes he knew
she was aware of his eyes upon her. She did not look round, but
the high scalloped collar, that reached her little pink ear,
trembled faintly. He saw that a sigh was held back in her
throat, and the little hand in the long glove shook as it held
All the fuss of the shirt, of being late, all the talk of friends
and relations, their annoyance, his ludicrous position--all
suddenly passed way and he was filled with joy and dread.
The handsome, stately head-deacon wearing a silver robe and his
curly locks standing out at each side of his head, stepped
smartly forward, and lifting his stole on two fingers, stood
opposite the priest.
"Blessed be the name of the Lord," the solemn syllables rang out
slowly one after another, setting the air quivering with waves of
"Blessed is the name of our God, from the beginning, is now, and
ever shall be," the little old priest answered in a submissive,
piping voice, still fingering something at the lectern. And the
full chorus of the unseen choir rose up, filling the whole
church, from the windows to the vaulted roof, with broad waves of
melody. It grew stronger, rested for an instant, and slowly died
They prayed, as they always do, for peace from on high and for
salvation, for the Holy Synod, and for the Tsar; they prayed,
too, for the servants of God, Konstantin and Ekaterina, now
plighting their troth.
"Vouchsafe to them love made perfect, peace and help, O Lord, we
beseech Thee," the whole church seemed to breathe with the voice
of the head deacon.
Levin heard the words, and they impressed him. "How did they
guess that it is help, just help that one wants?" he thought,
recalling all his fears and doubts of late. "What do I know?
what can I do in this fearful business," he thought, "without
help? Yes, it is help I want now."
When the deacon had finished the prayer for the Imperial family,
the priest turned to the bridal pair with a book: "Eternal God,
that joinest together in love them that were separate," he read
in a gentle, piping voice: "who hast ordained the union of holy
wedlock that cannot be set asunder, Thou who didst bless Isaac
and Rebecca and their descendants, according to Thy Holy
Covenant; bless Thy servants, Konstantin and Ekaterina, leading
them in the path of all good works. For gracious and merciful
art Thou, our Lord, and glory be to Thee, the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Ghost, now and ever shall be."
"Amen!" the unseen choir sent rolling again upon the air.
"'Joinest together in love them that were separate.' What deep
meaning in those words, and how they correspond with what one
feels at this moment," thought Levin. "Is she feeling the same
And looking round, he met her eyes, and from their expression he
concluded that she was understanding it just as he was. But this
was a mistake; she almost completely missed the meaning of the
words of the service; she had not heard them, in fact. She could
not listen to them and take them in, so strong was the one
feeling that filled her breast and grew stronger and stronger.
That feeling was joy at the completion of the process that for
the last month and a half had been going on in her soul, and had
during those six weeks been a joy and a torture to her. On the
day when in the drawing room of the house in Arbaty Street she
had gone up to him in her brown dress, and given herself to him
without a word--on that day, at that hour, there took place in
her heart a complete severance from all her old life, and a quite
different, new, utterly strange life had begun for her, while the
old life was actually going on as before. Those six weeks had
for her been a time of the utmost bliss and the utmost misery.
All her life, all her desires and hopes were concentrated on this
one man, still uncomprehended by her, to whom she was bound by a
feeling of alternate attraction and repulsion, even less
comprehended than the man himself, and all the while she was
going on living in the outward conditions of her old life.
Living the old life, she was horrified at herself, at her utter
insurmountable callousness to all her own past, to things, to
habits, to the people she had loved, who loved her--to her
mother, who was wounded by her indifference, to her kind, tender
father, till then dearer than all the world. At one moment she
was horrified at this indifference, at another she rejoiced at
what had brought her to this indifference. She could not frame a
thought, not a wish apart from life with this man; but this new
life was not yet, and she could not even picture it clearly to
herself. There was only anticipation, the dread and joy of the
new and the unknown. And now behold--anticipation and
uncertainty and remorse at the abandonment of the old life--all
was ending, and the new was beginning. This new life could not
but have terrors for her inexperience; but, terrible or not, the
change had been wrought six weeks before in her soul, and this
was merely the final sanction of what had long been completed in
Turning again to the lectern, the priest with some difficulty
took Kitty's little ring, and asking Levin for his hand, put it
on the first joint of his finger. "The servant of God,
Konstantin, plights his troth to the servant of God, Ekaterina."
And putting his big ring on Kitty's touchingly weak, pink little
finger, the priest said the same thing.
And the bridal pair tried several times to understand what they
had to do, and each time made some mistake and were corrected by
the priest in a whisper. At last, having duly performed the
ceremony, having signed the rings with the cross, the priest
handed Kitty the big ring, and Levin the little one. Again they
were puzzled and passed the rings from hand to hand, still
without doing what was expected.
Dolly, Tchirikov, and Stepan Arkadyevitch stepped forward to set
them right. There was an interval of hesitation, whispering, and
smiles; but the expression of solemn emotion on the faces of the
betrothed pair did not change: on the contrary, in their
perplexity over their hands they looked more grave and deeply
moved than before, and the smile with which Stepan Arkadyevitch
whispered to them that now they would each put on their own ring
died away on his lips. He had a feeling that any smile would jar
"Thou who didst from the beginning create male and female," the
priest read after the exchange of rings, "from Thee woman was
given to man to be a helpmeet to him, and for the procreation of
children. O Lord, our God, who hast poured down the blessings of
Thy Truth according to Thy Holy Covenant upon Thy chosen
servants, our fathers, from generation to generation, bless Thy
servants Konstantin and Ekaterina, and make their troth fast in
faith, and union of hearts, and truth, and love...."
Levin felt more and more that all his ideas of marriage, all his
dreams of how he would order his life, were mere childishness,
and that it was something he had not understood hitherto, and now
understood less than ever, though it was being performed upon
him. The lump in his throat rose higher and higher, tears that
would not be checked came into his eyes.
In the church there was all Moscow, all the friends and
relations; and during the ceremony of plighting troth, in the
brilliantly lighted church, there was an incessant flow of
discreetly subdued talk in the circle of gaily dressed women and
girls, and men in white ties, frockcoats, and uniforms. The talk
was principally kept up by the men, while the women were absorbed
in watching every detail of the ceremony, which always means so
much to them.
In the little group nearest to the bride were her two sisters:
Dolly, and the other one, the self-possessed beauty, Madame
Lvova, who had just arrived from abroad.
"Why is it Marie's in lilac, as bad as black, at a wedding?" said
"With her complexion, it's the one salvation," responded Madame
Trubetskaya. "I wonder why they had the wedding in the evening?
It's like shop-people..."
"So much prettier. I was married in the evening too..." answered
Madame Korsunskaya, and she sighed, remembering how charming she
had been that day, and how absurdly in love her husband was, and
how different it all was now.
"They say if anyone's best man more than ten times, he'll never
be married. I wanted to be for the tenth time, but the post was
taken," said Count Siniavin to the pretty Princess Tcharskaya,
who had designs on him.
Princess Tcharskaya only answered with a smile. She looked at
Kitty, thinking how and when she would stand with Count Siniavin
in Kitty's place, and how she would remind him then of his joke
Shtcherbatsky told the old maid of honor, Madame Nikolaeva, that
he meant to put the crown on Kitty's chignon for luck.
"She ought not to have worn a chignon," answered Madame
Nikolaeva, who had long ago made up her mind that if the elderly
widower she was angling for married her, the wedding should be of
the simplest. "I don't like such grandeur."
Sergey Ivanovitch was talking to Darya Dmitrievna, jestingly
assuring her that the custom of going away after the wedding was
becoming common because newly married people always felt a little
ashamed of themselves.
"Your brother may feel proud of himself. She's a marvel of
sweetness. I believe you're envious."
"Oh, I've got over that, Darya Dmitrievna," he answered, and a
melancholy and serious expression suddenly came over his face.
Stepan Arkadyevitch was telling his sister-in-law his joke about
"The wreath wants setting straight," she answered, not hearing
"What a pity she's lost her looks so," Countess Nordston said to
Madame Lvova. "Still he's not worth her little finger, is he?"
"Oh, I like him so--not because he's my future beau-frere,"
answered Madame Lvova. "And how well he's behaving! It's so
difficult, too, to look well in such a position, not to be
ridiculous. And he's not ridiculous, and not affected; one can
see he's moved."
"You expected it, I suppose?"
"Almost. She always cared for him."
"Well, we shall see which of them will step on the rug first. I
"It will make no difference," said Madame Lvova; "we're all
obedient wives; it's in our family."
"Oh, I stepped on the rug before Vassily on purpose. And you,
Dolly stood beside them; she heard them, but she did not answer.
She was deeply moved. The tears stood in her eyes, and she could
not have spoken without crying. She was rejoicing over Kitty and
Levin; going back in thought to her own wedding, she glanced at
the radiant figure of Stepan Arkadyevitch, forgot all the
present, and remembered only her own innocent love. She recalled
not herself only, but all her women-friends and acquaintances.
She thought of them on the one day of their triumph, when they
had stood like Kitty under the wedding crown, with love and hope
and dread in their hearts, renouncing the past, and stepping
forward into the mysterious future. Among the brides that came
back to her memory, she thought too of her darling Anna, of whose
proposed divorce she had just been hearing. And she had stood
just as innocent in orange flowers and bridal veil. And now?
"It's terribly strange," she said to herself. It was not merely
the sisters, the women-friends and female relations of the bride
who were following every detail of the ceremony. Women who were
quite strangers, mere spectators, were watching it excitedly,
holding their breath, in fear of losing a single movement or
expression of the bride and bridegroom, and angrily not
answering, often not hearing, the remarks of the callous men, who
kept making joking or irrelevant observations.
"Why has she been crying? Is she being married against her
"Against her will to a fine fellow like that? A prince, isn't
"Is that her sister in the white satin? Just listen how the
deacon booms out, 'And fearing her husband.'"
"Are the choristers from Tchudovo?"
"No, from the Synod."
"I asked the footman. He says he's going to take her home to
his country place at once. Awfully rich, they say. That's why
she's being married to him."
"No, they're a well-matched pair."
"I say, Marya Vassilievna, you were making out those fly-away
crinolines were not being worn. Just look at her in the puce
dress--an ambassador's wife they say she is--how her skirt
bounces out from side to sides"
"What a pretty dear the bride is--like a lamb decked with
flowers! Well, say what you will, we women feel for our sister."
Such were the comments in the crowd of gazing women who had
succeeded in slipping in at the church doors.
When the ceremony of plighting troth was over, the beadle spread
before the lectern in the middle of the church a piece of pink
silken stuff, the choir sang a complicated and elaborate psalm,
in which the bass and tenor sang responses to one another, and
the priest turning round pointed the bridal pair to the pink silk
rug. Though both had often heard a great deal about the saying
that the one who steps first on the rug will be the head of the
house, neither Levin nor Kitty were capable of recollecting it,
as they took the few steps towards it. They did not hear the
loud remarks and disputes that followed, some maintaining he had
stepped on first, and others that both had stepped on together.
After the customary questions, whether they desired to enter upon
matrimony, and whether they were pledged to anyone else, and
their answers, which sounded strange to themselves, a new
ceremony began. Kitty listened to the words of the prayer,
trying to make out their meaning, but she could not. The feeling
of triumph and radiant happiness flooded her soul more and more
as the ceremony went on, and deprived her of all power of
They prayed: "Endow them with continence and fruitfulness, and
vouchsafe that their hearts may rejoice looking upon their sons
and daughters." They alluded to God's creation of a wife from
Adam's rib "and for this cause a man shall leave father and
mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one
flesh," and that "this is a great mystery"; they prayed that God
would make them fruitful and bless them, like Isaac and Rebecca,
Joseph, Moses and Zipporah, and that they might look upon their
children's children. "That's all splendid," thought Kitty,
catching the words, "all that's just as it should be," and a
smile of happiness, unconsciously reflected in everyone who
looked at her, beamed on her radiant face.
"Put it on quite," voices were heard urging when the priest had
put on the wedding crowns and Shtcherbatsky, his hand shaking in
its three-button glove, held the crown high above her head.
"Put it on!" she whispered, smiling.
Levin looked round at her, and was struck by the joyful radiance
on her face, and unconsciously her feeling infected him. He too,
like her felt glad and happy.
They enjoyed hearing the epistle read, and the roll of the head
deacon's voice at the last verse, awaited with such impatience by
the outside public. They enjoyed drinking out of the shallow cup
of warm red wine and water, and they were still more pleased when
the priest, flinging back his stole and taking both their hands
in his, led them round the lectern to the accompaniment of bass
voices chanting "Glory to God."
Shtcherbatsky and Tchirikov, supporting the crowns and stumbling
over the bride's train, smiling too and seeming delighted at
something, were at one moment left behind, at the next treading
on the bridal pair as the priest came to a halt. The spark of
joy kindled in Kitty seemed to have infected everyone in the
church. It seemed to Levin that the priest and the deacon too
wanted to smile just as he did.
Taking the crowns off their heads the priest read the last prayer
and congratulated the young people. Levin looked at Kitty, and
he had never before seen her look as she did. She was charming
with the new radiance of happiness in her face. Levin longed to
say something to her, but he did not know whether it was all
over. The priest got him out of his difficulty. He smiled his
kindly smile and said gently, "Kiss your wife, and you kiss your
husband," and took the candles out of their hands.
Levin kissed her smiling lips with timid care, gave her his arm,
and with a new strange sense of closeness, walked out of the
church. He did not believe, he could not believe, that it was
true. It was only when their wondering and timid eyes met that
he believed in it, because he felt that they were one.
After supper, the same night, the young people left for the
Vronsky and Anna had been traveling for three months together in
Europe. They had visited Venice, Rome, and Naples, and had just
arrived at a small Italian town where they meant to stay some
time. A handsome head waiter, with thick pomaded hair parted
from the neck upwards, an evening coat, a broad white cambric
shirt front, and a bunch of trinkets hanging above his rounded
stomach, stood with his hands in the full curve of his pockets,
looking contemptuously from under his eyelids while he gave some
frigid reply to a gentleman who had stopped him. Catching the
sound of footsteps coming from the other side of the entry
towards the staircase, the head waiter turned round, and seeing
the Russian count, who had taken their best rooms, he took his
hands out of his pockets deferentially, and with a bow informed
him that a courier had been, and that the business about the
palazzo had been arranged. The steward was prepared to sign the
"Ah! I'm glad to hear it," said Vronsky. "Is madame at home or
"Madame has been out for a walk but has returned now," answered
Vronsky took off his soft, wide-brimmed hat and passed his
handkerchief over his heated brow and hair, which had grown half
over his ears, and was brushed back covering the bald patch on
his head. And glancing casually at the gentleman, who still
stood there gazing intently at him, he would have gone on.
"This gentleman is a Russian, and was inquiring after you," said
the head waiter.
With mingled feelings of annoyance at never being able to get
away from acquaintances anywhere, and longing to find some sort
of diversion from the monotony of his life, Vronsky looked once
more at the gentleman, who had retreated and stood still again,
and at the same moment a light came into the eyes of both.
It really was Golenishtchev, a comrade of Vronsky's in the Corps
of Pages. In the corps Golenishtchev had belonged to the liberal
party; he left the corps without entering the army, and had never
taken office under the government. Vronsky and he had gone
completely different ways on leaving the corps, and had only met
At that meeting Vronsky perceived that Golenishtchev had taken up
a sort of lofty, intellectually liberal line, and was
consequently disposed to look down upon Vronsky's interests and
calling in life. Hence Vronsky had met him with the chilling and
haughty manner he so well knew how to assume, the meaning of
which was: "You may like or dislike my way of life, that's a
matter of the most perfect indifference to me; you will have to
treat me with respect if you want to know me." Golenishtchev had
been contemptuously indifferent to the tone taken by Vronsky.
This second meeting might have been expected, one would have
supposed, to estrange them still more. But now they beamed and
exclaimed with delight on recognizing one another. Vronsky would
never have expected to be so pleased to see Golenishtchev, but
probably he was not himself aware how bored he was. He forgot
the disagreeable impression of their last meeting, and with a
face of frank delight held out his hand to his old comrade. The
same expression of delight replaced the look of uneasiness on
"How glad I am to meet you!" said Vronsky, showing his strong
white teeth in a friendly smile.
"I heard the name Vronsky, but I didn't know which one. I'm
very, very glad!"
"Let's go in. Come, tell me what you're doing."
"I've been living here for two years. I'm working."
"Ah!" said Vronsky, with sympathy; "let's go in." And with the
habit common with Russians, instead of saying in Russian what he
wanted to keep from the servants, he began to speak in French.
"Do you know Madame Karenina? We are traveling together. I am
going to see her now," he said in French, carefully scrutinizing
"Ah! I did not know" (though he did know), Golenishtchev answered
carelessly. "Have you been here long?" he added.
"Four days," Vronsky answered, once more scrutinizing his
friend's face intently.
"Yes, he's a decent fellow, and will look at the thing properly,"
Vronsky said to himself, catching the significance of
Golenishtchev's face and the change of subject. "I can introduce
him to Anna, he looks at it properly."
During those three months that Vronsky had spent abroad with
Anna, he had always on meeting new people asked himself how the
new person would look at his relations with Anna, and for the
most part, in men, he had met with the "proper" way of looking at
it. But if he had been asked, and those who looked at it
"properly" had been asked, exactly how they did look at it, both
he and they would have been greatly puzzled to answer.
In reality, those who in Vronsky's opinion had the "proper" view
had no sort of view at all, but behaved in general as well-bred
persons do behave in regard to all the complex and insoluble
problems with which life is encompassed on all sides; they
behaved with propriety, avoiding allusions and unpleasant
questions. They assumed an air of fully comprehending the import
and force of the situation, of accepting and even approving of
it, but of considering it superfluous and uncalled for to put all
this into words.
Vronsky at once divined that Golenishtchev was of this class, and
therefore was doubly pleased to see him. And in fact,
Golenishtchev's manner to Madame Karenina, when he was taken to
call on her, was all that Vronsky could have desired. Obviously
without the slightest effort he steered clear of all subjects
which might lead to embarrassment.
He had never met Anna before, and was struck by her beauty, and
still more by the frankness with which she accepted her position.
She blushed when Vronsky brought in Golenishtchev, and he was
extremely charmed by this childish blush overspreading her candid
and handsome face. But what he liked particularly was the way in
which at once, as though on purpose that there might be no
misunderstanding with an outsider, she called Vronsky simply
Alexey, and said they were moving into a house they had just
taken, what was here called a palazzo. Golenishtchev liked this
direct and simple attitude to her own position. Looking at
Anna's manner of simple-hearted, spirited gaiety, and knowing
Alexey Alexandrovitch and Vronsky, Golenishtchev fancied that he
understood her perfectly. He fancied that he understood what she
was utterly unable to understand: how it was that, having made
her husband wretched, having abandoned him and her son and lost
her good name, she yet felt full of spirits, gaiety, and
"It's in the guide-book," said Golenishtchev, referring to the
palazzo Vronsky had taken. "There's a first-rate Tintoretto
there. One of his latest period."
"I tell you what: it's a lovely day, let's go and have another
look at it," said Vronsky, addressing Anna.
"I shall be very glad to; I'll go and put on my hat. Would you
say it's hot?" she said, stopping short in the doorway and
looking inquiringly at Vronsky. And again a vivid flush
overspread her face.
Vronsky saw from her eyes that she did not know on what terms he
cared to be with Golenishtchev, and so was afraid of not behaving
as he would wish.
He looked a long, tender look at her.
"No, not very," he said.
And it seemed to her that she understood everything, most of all,
that he was pleased with her; and smiling to him, she walked with
her rapid step out at the door.
The friends glanced at one another, and a look of hesitation came
into both faces, as though Golenishtchev, unmistakably admiring
her, would have liked to say something about her, and could not
find the right thing to say, while Vronsky desired and dreaded
his doing so.
"Well then," Vronsky began to start a conversation of some sort;
"so you're settled here? You're still at the same work, then?"
he went on, recalling that he had been told Golenishtchev was
"Yes, I'm writing the second part of the Two Elements," said
Golenishtchev, coloring with pleasure at the question--"that is,
to be exact, I am not writing it yet; I am preparing, collecting
materials. It will be of far wider scope, and will touch on
almost all questions. We in Russia refuse to see that we are the
heirs of Byzantium," and he launched into a long and heated
explanation of his views.
Vronsky at the first moment felt embarrassed at not even knowing
of the first part of the Two Elements, of which the author spoke
as something well known. But as Golenishtchev began to lay down
his opinions and Vronsky was able to follow them even without
knowing the Two Elements, he listened to him with some interest,
for Golenishtchev spoke well. But Vronsky was startled and
annoyed by the nervous irascibility with which Golenishtchev
talked of the subject that engrossed him. As he went on talking,
his eyes glittered more and more angrily; he was more and more
hurried in his replies to imaginary opponents, and his face grew
more and more excited and worried. Remembering Golenishtchev, a
thin, lively, good-natured and well-bred boy, always at the head
of the class, Vronsky could not make out the reason of his
irritability, and he did not like it. What he particularly
disliked was that Golenishtchev, a man belonging to a good set,
should put himself on a level with some scribbling fellows, with
whom he was irritated and angry. Was it worth it? Vronsky
disliked it, yet he felt that Golenishtchev was unhappy, and was
sorry for him. Unhappiness, almost mental derangement, was
visible on his mobile, rather handsome face, while without even
noticing Anna's coming in, he went on hurriedly and hotly
expressing his views.
When Anna came in in her hat and cape, and her lovely hand
rapidly swinging her parasol, and stood beside him, it was with a
feeling of relief that Vronsky broke away from the plaintive eyes
of Golenishtchev which fastened persistently upon him, and with a
fresh rush of love looked at his charming companion, full of life
and happiness. Golenishtchev recovered himself with an effort,
and at first was dejected and gloomy, but Anna, disposed to feel
friendly with everyone as she was at that time, soon revived his
spirits by her direct and lively manner. After trying various
subjects of conversation, she got him upon painting, of which he
talked very well, and she listened to him attentively. They
walked to the house they had taken, and looked over it.
"I am very glad of one thing," said Anna to Golenishtchev when
they were on their way back: "Alexey will have a capital atelier.
You must certainly take that room," she said to Vronsky in
Russian, using the affectionately familiar form as though she saw
that Golenishtchev would become intimate with them in their
isolation, and that there was no need of reserve before him.
"Do you paint?" said Golenishtchev, turning round quickly to
"Yes, I used to study long ago, and now I have begun to do a
little," said Vronsky, reddening.
"He has great talent," said Anna with a delighted smile. "I'm no
judge, of course. But good judges have said the same."
Anna, in that first period of her emancipation and rapid return
to health, felt herself unpardonably happy and full of the joy
of life. The thought of her husband's unhappiness did not poison
her happiness. On one side that memory was too awful to be
thought of. On the other side her husband's unhappiness had
given her too much happiness to be regretted. The memory of all
that had happened after her illness: her reconciliation with her
husband, its breakdown, the news of Vronsky's wound, his visit,
the preparations for divorce, the departure from her husband's
house, the parting from her son--all that seemed to her like a
delirious dream, from which she had waked up alone with Vronsky
abroad. The thought of the harm caused to her husband aroused in
her a feeling like repulsion, and akin to what a drowning man
might feel who has shaken off another man clinging to him. That
man did drown. It was an evil action, of course, but it was the
sole means of escape, and better not to brood over these fearful
One consolatory reflection upon her conduct had occurred to her
at the first moment of the final rupture, and when now she
recalled all the past, she remembered that one reflection. "I
have inevitably made that man wretched," she thought; "but I
don't want to profit by his misery. I too am suffering, and
shall suffer; I am losing what I prized above everything--I am
losing my good name and my son. I have done wrong, and so I
don't want happiness, I don't want a divorce, and shall suffer
from my shame and the separation from my child." But, however
sincerely Anna had meant to suffer, she was not suffering. Shame
there was not. With the tact of which both had such a large
share, they had succeeded in avoiding Russian ladies abroad, and
so had never placed themselves in a false position, and
everywhere they had met people who pretended that they perfectly
understood their position, far better indeed than they did
themselves. Separation from the son she loved--even that did not
cause her anguish in these early days. The baby girl--HIS
child--was so sweet, and had so won Anna's heart, since she was
all that was left her, that Anna rarely thought of her son.
The desire for life, waxing stronger with recovered health, was
so intense, and the conditions of life were so new and pleasant,
that Anna felt unpardonably happy. The more she got to know
Vronsky, the more she loved him. She loved him for himself, and
for his love for her. Her complete ownership of him was a
continual joy to her. His presence was always sweet to her. All
the traits of his character, which she learned to know better and
better, were unutterably dear to her. His appearance, changed by
his civilian dress, was as fascinating to her as though she were
some young girl in love. In everything he said, thought, and
did, she saw something particularly noble and elevated. Her
adoration of him alarmed her indeed; she sought and could not
find in him anything not fine. She dared not show him her sense
of her own insignificance beside him. It seemed to her that,
knowing this, he might sooner cease to love her; and she dreaded
nothing now so much as losing his love, though she had no grounds
for fearing it. But she could not help being grateful to him for
his attitude to her, and showing that she appreciated it. He,
who had in her opinion such a marked aptitude for a political
career, in which he would have been certain to play a leading
part--he had sacrificed his ambition for her sake, and never
betrayed the slightest regret. He was more lovingly respectful
to her than ever, and the constant care that she should not feel
the awkwardness of her position never deserted him for a single
instant. He, so manly a man, never opposed her, had indeed, with
her, no will of his own, and was anxious, it seemed, for nothing
but to anticipate her wishes. And she could not but appreciate
this, even though the very intensity of his solicitude for her,
the atmosphere of care with which he surrounded her, sometimes
weighed upon her.
Vronsky, meanwhile, in spite of the complete realization of what
he had so long desired, was not perfectly happy. He soon felt
that the realization of his desires gave him no more than a grain
of sand out of the mountain of happiness he had expected. It
showed him the mistake men make in picturing to themselves
happiness as the realization of their desires. For a time after
joining his life to hers, and putting on civilian dress, he had
felt all the delight of freedom in general of which he had known
nothing before, and of freedom in his love,--and he was content,
but not for long. He was soon aware that there was springing up
in his heart a desire for desires--ennui. Without conscious
intention he began to clutch at every passing caprice, taking it
for a desire and an object. Sixteen hours of the day must be
occupied in some way, since they were living abroad in complete
freedom, outside the conditions of social life which filled up
time in Petersburg. As for the amusements of bachelor existence,
which had provided Vronsky with entertainment on previous tours
abroad, they could not be thought of, since the sole attempt of
the sort had led to a sudden attack of depression in Anna, quite
out of proportion with the cause--a late supper with bachelor
friends. Relations with the society of the place--foreign and
Russian--were equally out of the question owing to the
irregularity of their position. The inspection of objects of
interest, apart from the fact that everything had been seen
already, had not for Vronsky, a Russian and a sensible man, the
immense significance Englishmen are able to attach to that
And just as the hungry stomach eagerly accepts every object it
can get, hoping to find nourishment in it, Vronsky quite
unconsciously clutched first at politics, then at new books, and
then at pictures.
As he had from a child a taste for painting, and as, not knowing
what to spend his money on, he had begun collecting engravings,
he came to a stop at painting, began to take interest in it, and
concentrated upon it the unoccupied mass of desires which
He had a ready appreciation of art, and probably, with a taste
for imitating art, he supposed himself to have the real thing
essential for an artist, and after hesitating for some time which
style of painting to select--religious, historical, realistic, or
genre painting--he set to work to paint. He appreciated all
kinds, and could have felt inspired by any one of them; but he
had no conception of the possibility of knowing nothing at all of
any school of painting, and of being inspired directly by what is
within the soul, without caring whether what is painted will
belong to any recognized school. Since he knew nothing of this,
and drew his inspiration, not directly from life, but indirectly
from life embodied in art, his inspiration came very quickly and
easily, and as quickly and easily came his success in painting
something very similar to the sort of painting he was trying to
More than any other style he liked the French--graceful and
effective--and in that style he began to paint Anna's portrait in
Italian costume, and the portrait seemed to him, and to everyone
who saw it, extremely successful.
The old neglected palazzo, with its lofty carved ceilings and
frescoes on the walls, with its floors of mosaic, with its heavy
yellow stuff curtains on the windows, with its vases on
pedestals, and its open fireplaces, its carved doors and gloomy
reception rooms, hung with pictures--this palazzo did much, by
its very appearance after they had moved into it, to confirm in
Vronsky the agreeable illusion that he was not so much a Russian
country gentleman, a retired army officer, as an enlightened
amateur and patron of the arts, himself a modest artist who had
renounced the world, his connections, and his ambition for the
sake of the woman he loved.
The pose chosen by Vronsky with their removal into the palazzo
was completely successful, and having, through Golenishtchev,
made acquaintance with a few interesting people, for a time he
was satisfied. He painted studies from nature under the guidance
of an Italian professor of painting, and studied medieval
Italian life. Medieval Italian life so fascinated Vronsky that
he even wore a hat and flung a cloak over his shoulder in the
medieval style, which, indeed, was extremely becoming to him.
"Here we live, and know nothing of what's going on," Vronsky said
to Golenishtchev as he came to see him one morning. "Have you
seen Mihailov's picture?" he said, handing him a Russian gazette
he had received that morning, and pointing to an article on a
Russian artist, living in the very same town, and just finishing
a picture which had long been talked about, and had been bought
beforehand. The article reproached the government and the
academy for letting so remarkable an artist be left without
encouragement and support.
"I've seen it," answered Golenishtchev. "Of course, he's not
without talent, but it's all in a wrong direction. It's all the
Ivanov-Strauss-Renan attitude to Christ and to religious
"What is the subject of the picture?" asked Anna.
"Christ before Pilate. Christ is represented as a Jew with all
the realism of the new school."
And the question of the subject of the picture having brought him
to one of his favorite theories, Golenishtchev launched forth
into a disquisition on it.
"I can't understand how they can fall into such a gross mistake.
Christ always has His definite embodiment in the art of the great
masters. And therefore, if they want to depict, not God, but a
revolutionist or a sage, let them take from history a Socrates, a
Franklin, a Charlotte Corday, but not Christ. They take the very
figure which cannot be taken for their art, and then..."
"And is it true that this Mihailov is in such poverty?" asked
Vronsky, thinking that, as a Russian Maecenas, it was his duty to
assist the artist regardless of whether the picture were good or
"I should say not. He's a remarkable portrait-painter. Have you
ever seen his portrait of Madame Vassiltchikova? But I believe he
doesn't care about painting any more portraits, and so very
likely he is in want. I maintain that..."
"Couldn't we ask him to paint a portrait of Anna Arkadyevna?"
"Why mine?" said Anna. "After yours I don't want another
portrait. Better have one of Annie" (so she called her baby
girl). "Here she is," she added, looking out of the window at
the handsome Italian nurse, who was carrying the child out into
the garden, and immediately glancing unnoticed at Vronsky. The
handsome nurse, from whom Vronsky was painting a head for his
picture, was the one hidden grief in Anna's life. He painted
with her as his model, admired her beauty and medievalism, and
Anna dared not confess to herself that she was afraid of becoming
jealous of this nurse, and was for that reason particularly
gracious and condescending both to her and her little son.
Vronsky, too, glanced out of the window and into Anna's eyes,
and, turning at once to Golenishtchev, he said:
"Do you know this Mihailov?"
"I have met him. But he's a queer fish, and quite without
breeding. You know, one of those uncouth new people one's so
often coming across nowadays, One of those free-thinkers you
know, who are reared d'emblee in theories of atheism, scepticism,
and materialism. In former days," said Golenishtchev, not
observing, or not willing to observe, that both Anna and Vronsky
wanted to speak, "in former days the free-thinker was a man who
had been brought up in ideas of religion, law, and morality, and
only through conflict and struggle came to free-thought; but now
there has sprung up a new type of born free-thinkers who grow up
without even having heard of principles of morality or of
religion, of the existence of authorities, who grow up directly
in ideas of negation in everything, that is to say, savages.
Well, he's of that class. He's the son, it appears, of some
Moscow butler, and has never had any sort of bringing-up. When
he got into the academy and made his reputation he tried, as he's
no fool, to educate himself. And he turned to what seemed to him
the very source of culture--the magazines. In old times, you
see, a man who wanted to educate himself--a Frenchman, for
instance--would have set to work to study all the classics and
theologians and tragedians and historiaris and philosophers, and,
you know, all the intellectual work that came in his way. But in
our day he goes straight for the literature of negation, very
quickly assimilates all the extracts of the science of negation,
and he's ready. And that's not all--twenty years ago he would
have found in that literature traces of conflict with
authorities, with the creeds of the ages; he would have perceived
from this conflict that there was something else; but now he
comes at once upon a literature in which the old creeds do not
even furnish matter for discussion, but it is stated baldly that
there is nothing else--evolution, natural selection, struggle for
existence--and that's all. In my article I've..."
"I tell you what," said Anna, who had for a long while been
exchanging wary glances with Vronsky, and knew that he was not in
the least interested in the education of this artist, but was
simply absorbed by the idea of assisting him, and ordering a
portrait of him; "I tell you what," she said, resolutely
interrupting Golenishtchev, who was still talking away, "let's go
and see him!"
Golenishtchev recovered his self-possession and readily agreed.
But as the artist lived in a remote suburb, it was decided to
take the carriage.
An hour later Anna, with Golenishtchev by her side and Vronsky on
the front seat of the carriage, facing them, drove up to a new
ugly house in the remote suburb. On learning from the porter's
wife, who came out to them, that Mihailov saw visitors at his
studio, but that at that moment he was in his lodging only a
couple of steps off, they sent her to him with their cards,
asking permission to see his picture.
The artist Mihailov was, as always, at work when the cards of
Count Vronsky and Golenishtchev were brought to him. In the
morning he had been working in his studio at his big picture. On
getting home he flew into a rage with his wife for not having
managed to put off the landlady, who had been asking for money.
"I've said it to you twenty times, don't enter into details.
You're fool enough at all times, and when you start explaining
things in Italian you're a fool three times as foolish," he said
after a long dispute.
"Don't let it run so long; it's not my fault. If I had the
"Leave me in peace, for God's sake!" Mihailov shrieked, with
tears in his voice, and, stopping his ears, he went off into his
working room, the other side of a partition wall, and closed the
door after him. "Idiotic woman!" he said to himself, sat down to
the table, and, opening a portfolio, he set to work at once with
peculiar fervor at a sketch he had begun.
Never did he work with such fervor and success as when things
went ill with him, and especially when he quarreled with his
wife. "Oh! damn them all!" he thought as he went on working. He
was making a sketch for the figure of a man in a violent rage. A
sketch had been made before, but he was dissatisfied with it.
"No, that one was better...where is it?" He went back to his
wife, and scowling, and not looking at her, asked his eldest
little girl, where was that piece of paper he had given them?
The paper with the discarded sketch on it was found, but it was
dirty, and spotted with candle-grease. Still, he took the
sketch, laid it on his table, and, moving a little away, screwing
up his eyes, he fell to gazing at it. All at once he smiled and
"That's it! that's it!" he said, and, at once picking up the
pencil, he began rapidly drawing. The spot of tallow had given
the man a new pose.
He had sketched this new pose, when all at once he recalled the
face of a shopkeeper of whom he had bought cigars, a vigorous
face with a prominent chin, and he sketched this very face, this
chin on to the figure of the man. He laughed aloud with delight.
The figure from a lifeless imagined thing had become living, and
such that it could never be changed. That figure lived, and was
clearly and unmistakably defined. The sketch might be corrected
in accordance with the requirements of the figure, the legs,
indeed, could and must be put differently, and the position of
the left hand must be quite altered; the hair too might be thrown
back. But in making these corrections he was not altering the
figure but simply getting rid of what concealed the figure. He
was, as it were, stripping off the wrappings which hindered it
from being distinctly seen. Each new feature only brought out
the whole figure in all its force and vigor, as it had suddenly
come to him from the spot of tallow. He was carefully finishing
the figure when the cards were brought him.
He went in to his wife.
"Come, Sasha, don't be cross!" he said, smiling timidly and
affectionately at her. "You were to blame. I was to blame.
I'll make it all right." And having made peace with his wife he
put on an olive-green overcoat with a velvet collar and a hat,
and went towards his studio. The successful figure he had
already forgotten. Now he was delighted and excited at the visit
of these people of consequence, Russians, who had come in their
Of his picture, the one that stood now on his easel, he had at
the bottom of his heart one conviction--that no one had ever
painted a picture like it. He did not believe that his picture
was better than all the pictures of Raphael, but he knew that
what he tried to convey in that picture, no one ever had
conveyed. This he knew positively, and had known a long while,
ever since he had begun to paint it. But other people's
criticisms, whatever they might be, had yet immense consequence
in his eyes, and they agitated him to the depths of his soul.
Any remark, the most insignificant, that showed that the critic
saw even the tiniest part of what he saw in the picture, agitated
him to the depths of his soul. He always attributed to his
critics a more profound comprehension than he had himself, and
always expected from them something he did not himself see in the
picture. And often in their criticisms he fancied that he had
He walked rapidly to the door of his studio, and in spite of his
excitement he was struck by the soft light on Anna's figure as
she stood in the shade of the entrance listening to
Golenishtchev, who was eagerly telling her something, while she
evidently wanted to look round at the artist. He was himself
unconscious how, as he approached them, he seized on this
impression and absorbed it, as he had the chin of the shopkeeper
who had sold him the cigars, and put it away somewhere to be
brought out when he wanted it. The visitors, not agreeably
impressed beforehand by Golenishtchev's account of the artist,
were still less so by his personal appearance. Thick-set and of
middle height, with nimble movements, with his brown hat,
olive-green coat and narrow trousers--though wide trousers had
been a long while in fashion,--most of all, with the ordinariness
of his broad face, and the combined expression of timidity and
anxiety to keep up his dignity, Mihailov made an unpleasant
"Please step in," he said, trying to look indifferent, and going
into the passage he took a key out of his pocket and opened the
On entering the studio, Mihailov once more scanned his visitors
and noted down in his imagination Vronsky's expression too, and
especially his jaws. Although his artistic sense was unceasingly
at work collecting materials, although he felt a continually
increasing excitement as the moment of criticizing his work drew
nearer, he rapidly and subtly formed, from imperceptible signs, a
mental image of these three persons.
That fellow (Golenishtchev) was a Russian living here. Mihailov
did not remember his surname nor where he had met him, nor what
he had said to him. He only remembered his face as he remembered
all the faces he had ever seen; but he remembered, too, that it
was one of the faces laid by in his memory in the immense class
of the falsely consequential and poor in expression. The
abundant hair and very open forehead gave an appearance of
consequence to the face, which had only one expression--a petty,
childish, peevish expression, concentrated just above the bridge
of the narrow nose. Vronsky and Madame Karenina must be,
Mihailov supposed, distinguished and wealthy Russians, knowing
nothing about art, like all those wealthy Russians, but posing as
amateurs and connoisseurs. "Most likely they've already looked
at all the antiques, and now they're making the round of the
studios of the new people, the German humbug, and the cracked
Pre-Raphaelite English fellow, and have only come to me to make
the point of view complete," he thought. He was well acquainted
with the way dilettanti have (the cleverer they were the worse he
found them) of looking at the works of contemporary artists with
the sole object of being in a position to say that art is a thing
of the past, and that the more one sees of the new men the more
one sees how inimitable the works of the great old masters have
remained. He expected all this; he saw it all in their faces, he
saw it in the careless indifference with which they talked among
themselves, stared at the lay figures and busts, and walked about
in leisurely fashion, waiting for him to uncover his picture.
But in spite of this, while he was turning over his studies,
pulling up the blinds and taking off the sheet, he was in intense
excitement, especially as, in spite of his conviction that all
distinguished and wealthy Russians were certain to be beasts and
fools, he liked Vronsky, and still more Anna.
"Here, if you please," he said, moving on one side with his
nimble gait and pointing to his picture, "it's the exhortation to
Pilate. Matthew, chapter xxvii," he said, feeling his lips were
beginning to tremble with emotion. He moved away and stood
For the few seconds during which the visitors were gazing at the
picture in silence Mihailov too gazed at it with the indifferent
eye of an outsider. For those few seconds he was sure in
anticipation that a higher, juster criticism would be uttered by
them, by those very visitors whom he had been so despising a
moment before. He forgot all he had thought about his picture
before during the three years he had been painting it; he forgot
all its qualities which had been absolutely certain to him--he
saw the picture with their indifferent, new, outside eyes, and
saw nothing good in it. He saw in the foreground Pilate's
irritated face and the serene face of Christ, and in the
background the figures of Pilate's retinue and the face of John
watching what was happening. Every face that, with such agony,
such blunders and corrections had grown up within him with its
special character, every face that had given him such torments
and such raptures, and all these faces so many times transposed
for the sake of the harmony of the whole, all the shades of color
and tones that he had attained with such labor--all of this
together seemed to him now, looking at it with their eyes, the
merest vulgarity, something that had been done a thousand times
over. The face dearest to him, the face of Christ, the center of
the picture, which had given him such ecstasy as it unfolded
itself to him, was utterly lost to him when he glanced at the
picture with their eyes. He saw a well-painted (no, not even
that--he distinctly saw now a mass of defects) repetition of
those endless Christs of Titian, Raphael, Rubens, and the same
soldiers and Pilate. It was all common, poor, and stale, and
positively badly painted--weak and unequal. They would be
justified in repeating hypocritically civil speeches in the
presence of the painter, and pitying him and laughing at him when
they were alone again.
The silence (though it lasted no more than a minute) became too
intolerable to him. To break it, and to show he was not
agitated, he made an effort and addressed Golenishtchev.
"I think I've had the pleasure of meeting you," he said, looking
uneasily first at Anna, then at Vronsky, in fear of losing any
shade of their expression.
"To be sure! We met at Rossi's, do you remember, at that soiree
when that Italian lady recited--the new Rachel?" Golenishtchev
answered easily, removing his eyes without the slightest regret
from the picture and turning to the artist.
Noticing, however, that Mihailov was expecting a criticism of the
picture, he said:
"Your picture has got on a great deal since I saw it last time;
and what strikes me particularly now, as it did then, is the
figure of Pilate. One so knows the man: a good-natured, capital
fellow, but an official through and through, who does not know
what it is he's doing. But I fancy..."
All Mihailov's mobile face beamed at once; his eyes sparkled. He
tried to say something, but he could not speak for excitement,
and pretended to be coughing. Low as was his opinion of
Golenishtchev's capacity for understanding art, trifling as was
the true remark upon the fidelity of the expression of Pilate as
an official, and offensive as might have seemed the utterance of
so unimportant an observation while nothing was said of more
serious points, Mihailov was in an ecstasy of delight at this
observation. He had himself thought about Pilate's figure just
what Golenishtchev said. The fact that this reflection was but
one of millions of reflections, which as Mihailov knew for
certain would be true, did not diminish for him the significance
of Golenishtchev's remark. His heart warmed to Golenishtchev for
this remark, and from a state of depression he suddenly passed to
ecstasy. At once the whole of his picture lived before him in
all the indescribable complexity of everything living. Mihailov
again tried to say that that was how he understood Pilate, but
his lips quivered intractably, and he could not pronounce the
words. Vronsky and Anna too said something in that subdued voice
in which, partly to avoid hurting the artist's feelings and
partly to avoid saying out loud something silly--so easily said
when talking of art--people usually speak at exhibitions of
pictures. Mihailov fancied that the picture had made an
impression on them too. He went up to them.
"How marvelous Christ's expression is!" said Anna. Of all she
saw she liked that expression most of all, and she felt that it
was the center of the picture, and so praise of it would be
pleasant to the artist. "One can see that He is pitying Pilate."
This again was one of the million true reflections that could be
found in his picture and in the figure of Christ. She said that
He was pitying Pilate. In Christ's expression there ought to be
indeed an expression of pity, since there is an expression of
love, of heavenly peace, of readiness for death, and a sense of
the vanity of words. Of course there is the expression of an
official in Pilate and of pity in Christ, seeing that one is the
incarnation of the fleshly and the other of the spiritual life.
All this and much more flashed into Mihailov's thoughts.
"Yes, and how that figure is done--what atmosphere! One can walk
round it," said Golenishtchev, unmistakably betraying by this
remark that he did not approve of the meaning and idea of the
"Yes, there's a wonderful mastery!" said Vronsky. "How those
figures in the background stand out! There you have technique,"
he said, addressing Golenishtchev, alluding to a conversation
between them about Vronsky's despair of attaining this technique.
"Yes, yes, marvelous!" Golenishtchev and Anna assented. In spite
of the excited condition in which he was, the sentence about
technique had sent a pang to Mihailov's heart, and looking
angrily at Vronsky he suddenly scowled. He had often heard this
word technique, and was utterly unable to understand what was
understood by it. He knew that by this term was understood a
mechanical facility for painting or drawing, entirely apart from
its subject. He had noticed often that even in actual praise
technique was opposed to essential quality, as though one could
paint well something that was bad. He knew that a great deal of
attention and care was necessary in taking off the coverings, to
avoid injuring the creation itself, and to take off all the
coverings; but there was no art of painting--no technique of any
sort--about it. If to a little child or to his cook were
revealed what he saw, it or she would have been able to peel the
wrappings off what was seen. And the most experienced and adroit
painter could not by mere mechanical facility paint anything if
the lines of the subject were not revealed to him first.
Besides, he saw that if it came to talking about technique, it
was impossible to praise him for it. In all he had painted and
repainted he saw faults that hurt his eyes, coming from want of
care in taking off the wrappings--faults he could not correct now
without spoiling the whole. And in almost all the figures and
faces he saw, too, remnants of the wrappings not perfectly
removed that spoiled the picture.
"One thing might be said, if you will allow me to make the
remark..." observed Golenishtchev.
"Oh, I shall be delighted, I beg you," said Mihailov with a
"That is, that you make Him the man-god, and not the God-man.
But I know that was what you meant to do."
"I cannot paint a Christ that is not in my heart," said Mihailov
"Yes; but in that case, if you will allow me to say what I
think.... Your picture is so fine that my observation cannot
detract from it, and, besides, it is only my personal opinion.
With you it is different. Your very motive is different. But
let us take Ivanov. I imagine that if Christ is brought down to
the level of an historical character, it would have been better
for Ivanov to select some other historical subject, fresh,
"But if this is the greatest subject presented to art?"
"If one looked one would find others. But the point is that art
cannot suffer doubt and discussion. And before the picture of
Ivanov the question arises for the believer and the unbeliever
alike, 'Is it God, or is it not God?' and the unity of the
impression is destroyed."
"Why so? I think that for educated people," said Mihailov, "the
question cannot exist."
Golenishtchev did not agree with this, and confounded Mihailov by
his support of his first idea of the unity of the impression
being essential to art.
Mihailov was greatly perturbed, but he could say nothing in
defense of his own idea.
Anna and Vronsky had long been exchanging glances, regretting
their friend's flow of cleverness. At last Vronsky, without
waiting for the artist, walked away to another small picture.
"Oh, how exquisite! What a lovely thing! A gem! How
exquisite!" they cried with one voice.
"What is it they're so pleased with?" thought Mihailov. He had
positively forgotten that picture he had painted three years ago.
He had forgotten all the agonies and the ecstasies he had lived
through with that picture when for several months it had been the
one thought haunting him day and night. He had forgotten, as he
always forgot, the pictures he had finished. He did not even
like to look at it, and had only brought it out because he was
expecting an Englishman who wanted to buy it.
"Oh, that's only an old study," he said.
"How fine!" said Golenishtchev, he too, with unmistakable
sincerity, falling under the spell of the picture.
Two boys were angling in the shade of a willow-tree. The elder
had just dropped in the hook, and was carefully pulling the float
from behind a bush, entirely absorbed in what he was doing. The
other, a little younger, was lying in the grass leaning on his
elbows, with his tangled, flaxen head in his hands, staring at
the water with his dreamy blue eyes. What was he thinking of?
The enthusiasm over this picture stirred some of the old feeling
for it in Mihailov, but he feared and disliked this waste of
feeling for things past, and so, even though this praise was
grateful to him, he tried to draw his visitors away to a third
But Vronsky asked whether the picture was for sale. To Mihailov
at that moment, excited by visitors, it was extremely distasteful
to speak of money matters.
"It is put up there to be sold," he answered, scowling gloomily.
When the visitors had gone, Mihailov sat down opposite the
picture of Pilate and Christ, and in his mind went over what had
been said, and what, though not said, had been implied by those
visitors. And, strange to say, what had had such weight with
him, while they were there and while he mentally put himself at
their point of view, suddenly lost all importance for him. He
began to look at his picture with all his own full artist vision,
and was soon in that mood of conviction of the perfectibility,
and so of the significance, of his picture--a conviction
essential to the most intense fervor, excluding all other
interests--in which alone he could work.
Christ's foreshortened leg was not right, though. He took his
palette and began to work. As he corrected the leg he looked
continually at the figure of John in the background, which his
visitors had not even noticed, but which he knew was beyond
perfection. When he had finished the leg he wanted to touch that
figure, but he felt too much excited for it. He was equally
unable to work when he was cold and when he was too much affected
and saw everything too much. There was only one stage in the
transition from coldness to inspiration, at which work was
possible. Today he was too much agitated. He would have covered
the picture, but he stopped, holding the cloth in his hand, and,
smiling blissfully, gazed a long while at the figure of John. At
last, as it were regretfully tearing himself away, he dropped the
cloth, and, exhausted but happy, went home.
Vronsky, Anna, and Golenishtchev, on their way home, were
particularly lively and cheerful. They talked of Mihailov and
his pictures. The word talent, by which they meant an inborn,
almost physical, aptitude apart from brain and heart, and in
which they tried to find an expression for all the artist had
gained from life, recurred particularly often in their talk, as
though it were necessary for them to sum up what they had no
conception of, though they wanted to talk of it. They said that
there was no denying his talent, but that his talent could not
develop for want of education--the common defect of our Russian
artists. But the picture of the boys had imprinted itself on
their memories, and they were continually coming back to it.
"What an exquisite thing! How he has succeeded in it, and how
simply! He doesn't even comprehend how good it is. Yes, I
mustn't let it slip; I must buy it," said Vronsky.
Mihailov sold Vronsky his picture, and agreed to paint a
portrait of Anna. On the day fixed he came and began the work.
From the fifth sitting the portrait impressed everyone,
especially Vronsky, not only by its resemblance, but by its
characteristic beauty. It was strange how Mihailov could have
discovered just her characteristic beauty. "One needs to know
and love her as I have loved her to discover the very sweetest
expression of her soul," Vronsky thought, though it was only from
this portrait that he had himself learned this sweetest
expression of her soul. But the expression was so true that he,
and others too, fancied they had long known it.
"I have been struggling on for ever so long without doing
anything," he said of his own portrait of her, "and he just
looked and painted it. That's where technique comes in."
"That will come," was the consoling reassurance given him by
Golenishtchev, in whose view Vronsky had both talent, and what
was most important, culture, giving him a wider outlook on art.
Golenishtchev's faith in Vronsky's talent was propped up by his
own need of Vronsky's sympathy and approval for his own articles
and ideas, and he felt that the praise and support must be
In another man's house, and especially in Vronsky's palazzo,
Mihailov was quite a different man from what he was in his
studio. He behaved with hostile courtesy, as though he were
afraid of coming closer to people he did not respect. He called
Vronsky "your excellency," and notwithstanding Anna's and
Vronsky's invitations, he would never stay to dinner, nor come
except for the sittings. Anna was even more friendly to him than
to other people, and was very grateful for her portrait. Vronsky
was more than cordial with him, and was obviously interested to
know the artist's opinion of his picture. Golenishtchev never
let slip an opportunity of instilling sound ideas about art into
Mihailov. But Mihailov remained equally chilly to all of them.
Anna was aware from his eyes that he liked looking at her, but he
avoided conversation with her. Vronsky's talk about his painting
he met with stubborn silence, and he was as stubbornly silent
when he was shown Vronsky's picture. He was unmistakably bored
by Golenishtchev's conversation, and he did not attempt to oppose
Altogether Mihailov, with his reserved and disagreeable, as it
were, hostile attitude, was quite disliked by them as they got to
know him better; and they were glad when the sittings were over,
and they were left with a magnificent portrait in their
possession, and he gave up coming. Golenishtchev was the first
to give expression to an idea that had occurred to all of them,
which was that Mihailov was simply jealous of Vronsky.
"Not envious, let us say, since he has talent; but it annoys him
that a wealthy man of the highest society, and a count, too (you
know they all detest a title), can, without any particular
trouble, do as well, if not better, than he who has devoted all
his life to it. And more than all, it's a question of culture,
which he is without."
Vronsky defended Mihailov, but at the bottom of his heart he
believed it, because in his view a man of a different, lower
world would be sure to be envious.
Anna's portrait--the same subject painted from nature both by him
and by Mihailov--ought to have shown Vronsky the difference
between him and Mihailov; but he did not see it. Only after
Mihailov's portrait was painted he left off painting his portrait
of Anna, deciding that it was now not needed. His picture of
medieval life he went on with. And he himself, and
Golenishtchev, and still more Anna, thought it very good, because
it was far more like the celebrated pictures they knew than
Mihailov meanwhile, although Anna's portrait greatly fascinated
him, was even more glad than they were when the sittings were
over, and he had no longer to listen to Golenishtchev's
disquisitions upon art, and could forget about Vronsky's
painting. He knew that Vronsky could not be prevented from
amusing himself with painting; he knew that he and all dilettanti
had a perfect right to paint what they liked, but it was
distasteful to him. A man could not be prevented from making
himself a big wax doll, and kissing it. But if the man were to
come with the doll and sit before a man in love, and begin
caressing his doll as the lover caressed the woman he loved, it
would be distasteful to the lover. Just such a distasteful
sensation was what Mihailov felt at the sight of Vronsky's
painting: he felt it both ludicrous and irritating, both pitiable
Vronsky's interest in painting and the Middle Ages did not last
long. He had enough taste for painting to be unable to finish
his picture. The picture came to a standstill. He was vaguely
aware that its defects, inconspicuous at first, would be glaring
if he were to go on with it. The same experience befell him as
Golenishtchev, who felt that he had nothing to say, and
continually deceived himself with the theory that his idea was
not yet mature, that he was working it out and collecting
materials. This exasperated and tortured Golenishtchev, but
Vronsky was incapable of deceiving and torturing himself, and
even more incapable of exasperation. With his characteristic
decision, without explanation or apology, he simply ceased
working at painting.
But without this occupation, the life of Vronsky and of Anna, who
wondered at his loss of interest in it, struck them as
intolerably tedious in an Italian town. The palazzo suddenly
seemed so obtrusively old and dirty, the spots on the curtains,
the cracks in the floors, the broken plaster on the cornices
became so disagreeably obvious, and the everlasting sameness of
Golenishtchev, and the Italian professor and the German traveler
became so wearisome, that they had to make some change. They
resolved to go to Russia, to the country. In Petersburg Vronsky
intended to arrange a partition of the land with his brother,
while Anna meant to see her son. The summer they intended to
spend on Vronsky's great family estate.
Levin had been married three months. He was happy, but not at
all in the way he had expected to be. At every step he found his
former dreams disappointed, and new, unexpected surprises of
happiness. He was happy; but on entering upon family life he saw
at every step that it was utterly different from what he had
imagined. At every step he experienced what a man would
experience who, after admiring the smooth, happy course of a
little boat on a lake, should get himself into that little boat.
He saw that it was not all sitting still, floating smoothly; that
one had to think too, not for an instant to forget where one was
floating; and that there was water under one, and that one must
row; and that his unaccustomed hands would be sore; and that it
was only to look at it that was easy; but that doing it, though
very delightful, was very difficult.
As a bachelor, when he had watched other people's married life,
seen the petty cares, the squabbles, the jealousy, he had only
smiled contemptuously in his heart. In his future married life
there could be, he was convinced, nothing of that sort; even the
external forms, indeed, he fancied, must be utterly unlike the
life of others in everything. And all of a sudden, instead of
his life with his wife being made on an individual pattern, it
was, on the contrary, entirely made up of the pettiest details,
which he had so despised before, but which now, by no will of his
own, had gained an extraordinary importance that it was useless
to contend against. And Levin saw that the organization of all
these details was by no means so easy as he had fancied before.
Although Levin believed himself to have the most exact
conceptions of domestic life, unconsciously, like all men, he
pictured domestic life as the happiest enjoyment of love, with
nothing to hinder and no petty cares to distract. He ought, as
he conceived the position, to do his work, and to find repose
from it in the happiness of love. She ought to be beloved, and
nothing more. But, like all men, he forgot that she too would
want work. And he was surprised that she, his poetic, exquisite
Kitty, could, not merely in the first weeks, but even in the
first days of their married life, think, remember, and busy
herself about tablecloths, and furniture, about mattresses for
visitors, about a tray, about the cook, and the dinner, and so
on. While they were still engaged, he had been struck by the
definiteness with which she had declined the tour abroad and
decided to go into the country, as though she knew of something
she wanted, and could still think of something outside her love.
This had jarred upon him then, and now her trivial cares and
anxieties jarred upon him several times. But he saw that this
was essential for her. And, loving her as he did, though he did
not understand the reason of them, and jeered at these domestic
pursuits, he could not help admiring them. He jeered at the way
in which she arranged the furniture they had brought from Moscow;
rearranged their room; hung up curtains; prepared rooms for
visitors; a room for Dolly; saw after an abode for her new maid;
ordered dinner of the old cook; came into collision with Agafea
Mihalovna, taking from her the charge of the stores. He saw how
the old cook smiled, admiring her, and listening to her
inexperienced, impossible orders, how mournfully and tenderly
Agafea Mihalovna shook her head over the young mistress's new
arrangements. He saw that Kitty was extraordinarily sweet when,
laughing and crying, she came to tell him that her maid, Masha,
was used to looking upon her as her young lady, and so no one
obeyed her. It seemed to him sweet, but strange, and he thought
it would have been better without this.
He did not know how great a sense of change she was experiencing;
she, who at home had sometimes wanted some favorite dish, or
sweets, without the possibility of getting either, now could
order what she liked, buy pounds of sweets, spend as much money
as she liked, and order any puddings she pleased.
She was dreaming with delight now of Dolly's coming to them with
her children, especially because she would order for the children
their favorite puddings and Dolly would appreciate all her new
housekeeping. She did not know herself why and wherefore, but
the arranging of her house had an irresistible attraction for
her. Istinctively feeling the approach of spring, and knowing
that there would be days of rough weather too, she built her nest
as best she could, and was in haste at the same time to build it
and to learn how to do it.
This care for domestic details in Kitty, so opposed to Levin's
ideal of exalted happiness, was at first one of the
disappointments; and this sweet care of her household, the aim of
which he did not understand, but could not help loving, was one
of the new happy surprises.
Another disappointment and happy surprise came in their quarrels.
Levin could never have conceived that between him and his wife
any relations could arise other than tender, respectful and
loving, and all at once in the very early days they quarreled, so
that she said he did not care for her, that he cared for no one
but himself, burst into tears, and wrung her arms.
This first quarrel arose from Levin's having gone out to a new
farmhouse and having been away half an hour too long, because he
had tried to get home by a short cut and had lost his way. He
drove home thinking of nothing but her, of her love, of his own
happiness, and the nearer he drew to home, the warmer was his
tenderness for her. He ran into the room with the same feeling,
with an even stronger feeling than he had had when he reached the
Shtcherbatskys' house to make his offer. And suddenly he was met
by a lowering expression he had never seen in her. He would have
kissed her; she pushed him away.
"What is it?"
"You've been enjoying yourself," she began, trying to be calm and
spiteful. But as soon as she opened her mouth, a stream of
reproach, of senseless jealousy, of all that had been torturing
her during that half hour which she had spent sitting motionless
at the window, burst from her. It was only then, for the first
time, that he clearly understood what he had not understood when
he led her out of the church after the wedding. He felt now that
he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he
ended and she began. He felt this from the agonizing sensation
of division that he experienced at that instant. He was offended
for the first instant, but the very same second he felt that he
could not be offended by her, that she was himself. He felt for
the first moment as a man feels when, having suddenly received a
violent blow from behind, he turns round, angry and eager to
avenge himself, to look for his antagonist, and finds that it is
he himself who has accidentally struck himself, that there is no
one to be angry with, and that he must put up with and try to
soothe the pain.
Never afterwards did he feel it with such intensity, but this
first time he could not for a long while get over it. His
natural feeling urged him to defend himself, to prove to her she
was wrong; but to prove her wrong would mean irritating her still
more and making the rupture greater that was the cause of all his
suffering. One habitual feeling impelled him to get rid of the
blame and to pass it on her. Another feeling, even stronger,
impelled him as quickly as possible to smooth over the rupture
without letting it grow greater. To remain under such undeserved
reproach was wretched, but to make her suffer by justifying
himself was worse still. Like a man half-awake in an agony of
pain, he wanted to tear out, to fling away the aching place, and
coming to his senses, he felt that the aching place was himself.
He could do nothing but try to help the aching place to bear it,
and this he tried to do.
They made peace. She, recognizing that she was wrong, though she
did not say so, became tenderer to him, and they experienced new,
redoubled happiness in their love. But that did not prevent such
quarrels from happening again, and exceedingly often too, on the
most unexpected and trivial grounds. These quarrels frequently
arose from the fact that they did not yet know what was of
importance to each other and that all this early period they were
both often in a bad temper. When one was in a good temper, and
the other in a bad temper, the peace was not broken; but when
both happened to be in an ill-humor, quarrels sprang up from such
incomprehensibly trifling causes, that they could never remember
afterwards what they had quarreled about. It is true that when
they were both in a good temper their enjoyment of life was
redoubled. But still this first period of their married life was
a difficult time for them.
During all this early time they had a peculiarly vivid sense of
tension, as it were, a tugging in opposite directions of the
chain by which they were bound. Altogether their honeymoon--that
is to say, the month after their wedding--from which from
tradition Levin expected so much, was not merely not a time of
sweetness, but remained in the memories of both as the bitterest
and most humiliating period in their lives. They both alike
tried in later life to blot out from their memories all the
monstrous, shameful incidents of that morbid period, when both
were rarely in a normal frame of mind, both were rarely quite
It was only in the third month of their married life, after their
return from Moscow, where they had been staying for a month, that
their life began to go more smoothly.
They had just come back from Moscow, and were glad to be alone.
He was sitting at the writing table in his study, writing. She,
wearing the dark lilac dress she had worn during the first days
of their married life, and put on again today, a dress
particularly remembered and loved by him, was sitting on the
sofa, the same old-fashioned leather sofa which had always stood
in the study in Levin's father's and grandfather's days. She was
sewing at broderie anglaise. He thought and wrote, never losing
the happy consciousness of her presence. His work, both on the
land and on the book, in which the principles of the new land
system were to be laid down, had not been abandoned; but just as
formerly these pursuits and ideas had seemed to him petty and
trivial in comparison with the darkness that overspread all life,
now they seemed as unimportant and petty in comparison with the
life that lay before him suffused with the brilliant light of
happiness. He went on with his work, but he felt now that the
center of gravity of his attention had passed to something else,
and that consequently he looked at his work quite differently and
more clearly. Formerly this work had been for him an escape from
life. Formerly he had felt that without this work his life would
be too gloomy. Now these pursuits were necessary for him that
life might not be too uniformly bright. Taking up his
manuscript, reading through what he had written, he found with
pleasure that the work was worth his working at. Many of his old
ideas seemed to him superfluous and extreme, but many blanks
became distinct to him when he reviewed the whole thing in his
memory. He was writing now a new chapter on the causes of the
present disastrous condition of agriculture in Russia. He
maintained that the poverty of Russia arises not merely from the
anomalous distribution of landed property and misdirected
reforms, but that what had contributed of late years to this
result was the civilization from without abnormally grafted upon
Russia, especially facilities of communication, as railways,
leading to centralization in towns, the development of luxury,
and the consequent development of manufactures, credit and its
accompaniment of speculation--all to the detriment of
agriculture. It seemed to him that in a normal development of
wealth in a state all these phenomena would arise only when a
considerable amount of labor had been put into agriculture, when
it had come under regular, or at least definite, conditions; that
the wealth of a country ought to increase proportionally, and
especially in such a way that other sources of wealth should not
outstrip agriculture; that in harmony with a certain stage of
agriculture there should be means of communication corresponding
to it, and that in our unsettled condition of the land, railways,
called into being by political and not by economic needs, were
premature, and instead of promoting agriculture, as was expected
of them, they were competing with agriculture and promoting the
development of manufactures and credit, and so arresting its
progress; and that just as the one-sided and premature
development of one organ in an animal would hinder its general
development, so in the general development of wealth in Russia,
credit, facilities of communication, manufacturing activity,
indubitably necessary in Europe, where they had arisen in their
proper time, had with us only done harm, by throwing into the
background the chief question calling for settlement--the
question of the organization of agriculture.
While he was writing his ideas she was thinking how unnaturally
cordial her husband had been to young Prince Tcharsky, who had,
with great want of tact, flirted with her the day before they
left Moscow. "He's jealous," she thought. "Goodness! how sweet
and silly he is! He's jealous of me! If he knew that I think no
more of them than of Piotr the cook," she thought, looking at his
head and red neck with a feeling of possession strange to
herself. "Though it's a pity to take him from his work (but he
has plenty of time!), I must look at his face; will he feel I'm
looking at him? I wish he'd turn round...I'll WILL him to!"
and she opened her eyes wide, as though to intensify the
influence of her gaze.
"Yes, they draw away all the sap and give a false appearance of
prosperity," he muttered, stopping to write, and, feeling that
she was looking at him and smiling, he looked round.
"Well?" he queried, smiling, and getting up.
"He looked round," she thought.
"It's nothing; I wanted you to look round," she said, watching
him, and trying to guess whether he was vexed at being
interrupted or not.
"How happy we are alone together!--I am, that is," he said,
going up to her with a radiant smile of happiness.
"I'm just as happy. I'll never go anywhere, especially not to
"And what were you thinking about?"
"I? I was thinking.... No, no, go along, go on writing; don't
break off," she said, pursing up her lips, "and I must cut out
these little holes now, do you see?"
She took up her scissors and began cutting them out.
"No; tell me, what was it?" he said, sitting down beside her and
watching the tiny scissors moving round.
"Oh! what was I thinking about? I was thinking about Moscow,
about the back of your head."
"Why should I, of all people, have such happiness! It's
unnatural, too good," he said, kissing her hand.
"I feel quite the opposite; the better things are, the more
natural it seems to me."
"And you've got a little curl loose," he said, carefully turning
her head round.
"A little curl, oh yes. No, no, we are busy at our work!"
Work did not progress further, and they darted apart from one
another like culprits when Kouzma came in to announce that tea
"Have they come from the town?" Levin asked Kouzma.
"They've just come; they're unpacking the things."
"Come quickly," she said to him as she went out of the study, "or
else I shall read your letters without you."
Left alone, after putting his manuscripts together in the new
portfolio bought by her, he washed his hands at the new washstand
with the elegant fittings, that had all made their appearance
with her. Levin smiled at his own thoughts, and shook his head
disapprovingly at those thoughts; a feeling akin to remorse
fretted him. There was something shameful, effeminate, Capuan,
as he called it to himself, in his present mode of life. "It's
not right to go on like this," he thought. "It'll soon be three
months, and I'm doing next to nothing. Today, almost for the
first time, I set to work seriously, and what happened? I did
nothing but begin and throw it aside. Even my ordinary pursuits
I have almost given up. On the land I scarcely walk or drive
about at all to look after things. Either I am loath to leave
her, or I see she's dull alone. And I used to think that, before
marriage, life was nothing much, somehow didn't count, but that
after marriage, life began in earnest. And here almost three
months have passed, and I have spent my time so idly and
unprofitably. No, this won't do; I must begin. Of course, it's
not her fault. She's not to blame in any way. I ought myself to
be firmer, to maintain my masculine independence of action; or
else I shall get into such ways, and she'll get used to them
too.... Of course she's not to blame," he told himself.
But it is hard for anyone who is dissatisfied not to blame
someone else, and especially the person nearest of all to him,
for the ground of his dissatisfaction. And it vaguely came into
Levin's mind that she herself was not to blame (she could not be
to blame for anything), but what was to blame was her education,
too superficial and frivolous. ("That fool Tcharsky: she wanted,
I know, to stop him, but didn't know how to.") "Yes, apart from
her interest in the house (that she has), apart from dress and
broderie anglaise, she has no serious interests. No interest in
her work, in the estate, in the peasants, nor in music, though
she's rather good at it, nor in reading. She does nothing, and
is perfectly satisfied." Levin, in his heart, censured this, and
did not as yet understand that she was preparing for that period
of activity which was to come for her when she would at once be
the wife of her husband and mistress of the house, and would
bear, and nurse, and bring up children. He knew not that she was
instinctively aware of this, and preparing herself for this time
of terrible toil, did not reproach herself for the moments of
carelessness and happiness in her love that she enjoyed now while
gaily building her nest for the future.
When Levin went upstairs, his wife was sitting near the new
silver samovar behind the new tea service, and, having settled
old Agafea Mihalovna at a little table with a full cup of tea,
was reading a letter from Dolly, with whom they were in continual
and frequent correspondence.
"You see, your good lady's settled me here, told me to sit a bit
with her," said Agafea Mihalovna, smiling affectionately at
In these words of Agafea Mihalovna, Levin read the final act of
the drama which had been enacted of late between her and Kitty.
He saw that, in spite of Agafea Mihalovna's feelings being hurt
by a new mistress taking the reins of government out of her
hands, Kitty had yet conquered her and made her love her.
"Here, I opened your letter too," said Kitty, handing him an
illiterate letter. "It's from that woman, I think, your
brother's..." she said. "I did not read it through. This is
from my people and from Dolly. Fancy! Dolly took Tanya and
Grisha to a children's ball at the Sarmatskys': Tanya was a
But Levin did not hear her. Flushing, he took the letter from
Marya Nikolaevna, his brother's former mistress, and began to
read it. This was the second letter he had received from Marya
Nikolaevna. In the first letter, Marya Nikolaevna wrote that his
brother had sent her away for no fault of hers, and, with
touching simplicity, added that though she was in want again, she
asked for nothing, and wished for nothing, but was only tormented
by the thought that Nikolay Dmitrievitch would come to grief
without her, owing to the weak state of his health, and begged
his brother to look after him. Now she wrote quite differently.
She had found Nikolay Dmitrievitch, had again made it up with him
in Moscow, and had moved with him to a provincial town, where he
had received a post in the government service. But that he had
quarreled with the head official, and was on his way back to
Moscow, only he had been taken so ill on the road that it was
doubtful if he would ever leave his bed again, she wrote. "It's
always of you he has talked, and, besides, he has no more money
"Read this; Dolly writes about you," Kitty was beginning, with a
smile; but she stopped suddenly, noticing the changed expression
on her husband's face.
"What is it? What's the matter?"
"She writes to me that Nikolay, my brother, is at death's door.
I shall go to him."
Kitty's face changed at once. Thoughts of Tanya as a marquise,
of Dolly, all had vanished.
"When are you going?" she said.
"And I will go with you, can I?" she said.
"Kitty! What are you thinking of?" he said reproachfully.
"How do you mean?" offended that he should seem to take her
suggestion unwillingly and with vexation. "Why shouldn't I go?
I shan't be in your way. I..."
"I'm going because my brother is dying," said Levin. "Why should
"Why? For the same reason as you."
"And, at a moment of such gravity for me, she only thinks of her
being dull by herself," thought Levin. And this lack of candor
in a matter of such gravity infuriated him.
"It's out of the question," he said sternly.
Agafea Mihalovna, seeing that it was coming to a quarrel, gently
put down her cup and withdrew. Kitty did not even notice her.
The tone in which her husband had said the last words wounded
her, especially because he evidently did not believe what she had
"I tell you, that if you go, I shall come with you; I shall
certainly come," she said hastily and wrathfully. "Why out of
the question? Why do you say it's out of the question?"
"Because it'll be going God knows where, by all sorts of roads
and to all sorts of hotels. You would be a hindrance to me,"
said Levin, trying to be cool.
"Not at all. I don't want anything. Where you can go, I
"Well, for one thing then, because this woman's there whom you
"I don't know and don't care to know who's there and what. I
know that my husband's brother is dying and my husband is going
to him, and I go with my husband too...."
"Kitty! Don't get angry. But just think a little: this is a
matter of such importance that I can't bear to think that you
should bring in a feeling of weakness, of dislike to being left
alone. Come, you'll be dull alone, so go and stay at Moscow a
"There, you always ascribe base, vile motives to me," she said
with tears of wounded pride and fury. "I didn't mean, it wasn't
weakness, it wasn't...I feel that it's my duty to be with my
husband when he's in trouble, but you try on purpose to hurt me,
you try on purpose not to understand...."
"No; this is awful! To be such a slave!" cried Levin, getting
up, and unable to restrain his anger any longer. But at the same
second he felt that he was beating himself.
"Then why did you marry? You could have been free. Why did you,
if you regret it?" she said, getting up and running away into the
When he went to her, she was sobbing.
He began to speak, trying to find words not to dissuade but
simply to soothe her. But she did not heed him, and would not
agree to anything. He bent down to her and took her hand, which
resisted him. He kissed her hand, kissed her hair, kissed her
hand again--still she was silent. But when he took her face in
both his hands and said "Kitty!" she suddenly recovered herself,
and began to cry, and they were reconciled.
It was decided that they should go together the next day. Levin
told his wife that he believed she wanted to go simply in order
to be of use, agreed that Marya Nikolaevna's being with his
brother did not make her going improper, but he set off at the
bottom of his heart dissatisfied both with her and with himself.
He was dissatisfied with her for being unable to make up her mind
to let him go when it was necessary (and how strange it was for
him to think that he, so lately hardly daring to believe in such
happiness as that she could love him--now was unhappy because she
loved him too much!), and he was dissatisfied with himself for
not showing more strength of will. Even greater was the feeling
of disagreement at the bottom of his heart as to her not needing
to consider the woman who was with his brother, and he thought
with horror of all the contingencies they might meet with. The
mere idea of his wife, his Kitty, being in the same room with a
common wench, set him shuddering with horror and loathing.