Part 17 out of 22
"And what is there in common between us and him?" thought Levin,
and he went off to look for Veslovsky.
As he passed through the passage he gave orders for the carriage
to be got ready to drive to the station.
"The spring was broken yesterday," said the footman.
"Well, the covered trap, then, and make haste. Where's the
"The gentleman's gone to his room."
Levin came upon Veslovsky at the moment when the latter, having
unpacked his things from his trunk, and laid out some new songs,
was putting on his gaiters to go out riding.
Whether there was something exceptional in Levin's face, or that
Vassenka was himself conscious that ce petit brin de cour he was
making was out of place in this family, but he was somewhat (as
much as a young man in society can be) disconcerted at Levin's
"You ride in gaiters?"
"Yes, it's much cleaner," said Vassenka, putting his fat leg on a
chair, fastening the bottom hook, and smiling with simple-hearted
He was undoubtedly a good-natured fellow, and Levin felt sorry
for him and ashamed of himself, as his host, when he saw the shy
look on Vassenka's face.
On the table lay a piece of stick which they had broken together
that morning, trying their strength. Levin took the fragment in
his hands and began smashing it up, breaking bits off the stick,
not knowing how to begin.
"I wanted...." He paused, but suddenly, remembering Kitty and
everything that had happened, he said, looking him resolutely in
the face: "I have ordered the horses to be put-to for you."
"How so?" Vassenka began in surprise. "To drive where?"
"For you to drive to the station," Levin said gloomily.
"Are you going away, or has something happened?"
"It happens that I expect visitors," said Levin, his strong
fingers more and more rapidly breaking off the ends of the split
stick. "And I'm not expecting visitors, and nothing has
happened, but I beg you to go away. You can explain my rudeness
as you like."
Vassenka drew himself up.
"I beg you to explain..." he said with dignity, understanding at
"I can't explain," Levin said softly and deliberately, trying to
control the trembling of his jaw; "and you'd better not ask."
And as the split ends were all broken off, Levin clutched the
thick ends in his finger, broke the stick in two, and carefully
caught the end as it fell.
Probably the sight of those nervous fingers, of the muscles he
had proved that morning at gymnastics, of the glittering eyes,
the soft voice, and quivering jaws, convinced Vassenka better
than any words. He bowed, shrugging his shoulders, and smiling
"Can I not see Oblonsky?"
The shrug and the smile did not irritate Levin.
"What else was there for him to do?" he thought.
"I'll send him to you at once."
"What madness is this?" Stepan Arkadyevitch said when, after
hearing from his friend that he was being turned out of the
house, he found Levin in the garden, where he was walking about
waiting for his guest's departure. "Mais c'est ridicule! What
fly has stung you? Mais c'est du dernier ridicule! What did you
think, if a young man..."
But the place where Levin had been stung was evidently still
sore, for he turned pale again, when Stepan Arkadyevitch would
have enlarged on the reason, and he himself cut him short.
"Please don't go into it! I can't help it. I feel ashamed of
how I'm treating you and him. But it won't be, I imagine, a
great grief to him to go, and his presence was distasteful to me
and to my wife."
"But it's insulting to him! Et puis c'est ridicule."
"And to me it's both insulting and distressing! And I'm not at
fault in any way, and there's no need for me to suffer."
"Well, this I didn't expect of you! On peut etre jaloux, mais a
ce point, c'est du dernier ridicule!"
Levin turned quickly, and walked away from him into the depths of
the avenue, and he went on walking up and down alone. Soon he
heard the rumble of the trap, and saw from behind the trees how
Vassenka, sitting in the hay (unluckily there was no seat in the
trap) in his Scotch cap, was driven along the avenue, jolting up
and down over the ruts.
"What's this?" Levin thought, when a footman ran out of the house
and stopped the trap. It was the mechanician, whom Levin had
totally forgotten. The mechanician, bowing low, said something
to Veslovsky, then clambered into the trap, and they drove off
Stepan Arkadyevitch and the princess were much upset by Levin's
action. And he himself felt not only in the highest degree
ridicule, but also utterly guilty and disgraced. But remembering
what sufferings he and his wife had been through, when he asked
himself how he should act another time, he answered that he
should do just the same again.
In spite of all this, towards the end of that day, everyone
except the princess, who could not pardon Levin's action, became
extraordinarily lively and good humored, like children after a
punishment or grown-up people after a dreary, ceremonious
reception, so that by the evening Vassenka's dismissal was spoken
of, in the absence of the princess, as though it were some remote
event. And Dolly, who had inherited her father's gift of
humorous storytelling, made Varenka helpless with laughter as she
related for the third and fourth time, always with fresh humorous
additions, how she had only just put on her new shoes for the
benefit of the visitor, and on going into the drawing room, heard
suddenly the rumble of the trap. And who should be in the trap
but Vassenka himself, with his Scotch cap, and his songs and his
gaiters, and all, sitting in the hay.
"If only you'd ordered out the carriage! But no! and then I
hear: 'Stop!' Oh, I thought they've relented. I look out, and
behold a fat German being sat down by him and driving away....
And my new shoes all for nothing!..."
Darya Alexandrovna carried out her intention and went to see
Anna. She was sorry to annoy her sister and to do anything Levin
disliked. She quite understood how right the Levins were in not
wishing to have anything to do with Vronsky. But she felt she
must go and see Anna, and show her that her feelings could not be
changed, in spite of the change in her position. That she might
be independent of the Levins in this expedition, Darya
Alexandrovna sent to the village to hire horses for the drive;
but Levin learning of it went to her to protest.
"What makes you suppose that I dislike your going? But, even if
I did dislike it, I should still more dislike your not taking my
horses," he said. "You never told me that you were going for
certain. Hiring horses in the village is disagreeable to me,
and, what's of more importance, they'll undertake the job and
never get you there. I have horses. And if you don't want to
wound me, you'll take mine."
Darya Alexandrovna had to consent, and on the day fixed Levin had
ready for his sister-in-law a set of four horses and relays,
getting them together from the farm- and saddle-horses--not at
all a smart-looking set, but capable of taking Darya Alexandrovna
the whole distance in a single day. At that moment, when horses
were wanted for the princess, who was going, and for the midwife,
it was a difficult matter for Levin to make up the number, but
the duties of hospitality would not let him allow Darya
Alexandrovna to hire horses when staying in his house. Moreover,
he was well aware that the twenty roubles that would be asked for
the journey were a serious matter for her; Darya Alexandrovna's
pecuniary affairs, which were in a very unsatisfactory state,
were taken to heart by the Levins as if they were their own.
Darya Alexandrovna, by Levin's advice, started before daybreak.
The road was good, the carriage comfortable, the horses trotted
along merrily, and on the box, besides the coachman, sat the
counting-house clerk, whom Levin was sending instead of a groom
for greater security. Darya Alexandrovna dozed and waked up only
on reaching the inn where the horses were to be changed.
After drinking tea at the same well-to-do peasant's with whom
Levin had stayed on the way to Sviazhsky's, and chatting with the
women about their children, and with the old man about Count
Vronsky, whom the latter praised very highly, Darya Alexandrovna,
at ten o'clock, went on again. At home, looking after her
children, she had no time to think. So now, after this journey
of four hours, all the thoughts she had suppressed before rushed
swarming into her brain, and she thought over all her life as she
never had before, and from the most different points of view.
Her thoughts seemed strange even to herself. At first she
thought about the children, about whom she was uneasy, although
the princess and Kitty (she reckoned more upon her) had promised
to look after them. "If only Masha does not begin her naughty
tricks, if Grisha isn't kicked by a horse, and Lily's stomach
isn't upset again!" she thought. But these questions of the
present were succeeded by questions of the immediate future. She
began thinking how she had to get a new flat in Moscow for the
coming winter, to renew the drawing room furniture, and to make
her elder girl a cloak. Then questions of the more remote future
occurred to her: how she was to place her children in the world.
"The girls are all right," she thought; "but the boys?"
"It's very well that I'm teaching Grisha, but of course that's
only because I am free myself now, I'm not with child. Stiva,
of course, there's no counting on. And with the help of
good-natured friends I can bring them up; but if there's another
baby coming?..." And the thought struck her how untruly it was
said that the curse laid on woman was that in sorrow she should
bring forth children.
"The birth itself, that's nothing; but the months of carrying the
child--that's what's so intolerable," she thought, picturing to
herself her last pregnancy, and the death of the last baby. And
she recalled the conversation she had just had with the young
woman at the inn. On being asked whether she had any children,
the handsome young woman had answered cheerfully:
"I had a girl baby, but God set me free; I buried her last Lent."
"Well, did you grieve very much for her?" asked Darya
"Why grieve? The old man has grandchildren enough as it is. It
was only a trouble. No working, nor nothing. Only a tie."
This answer had struck Darya Alexandrovna as revolting in spite
of the good-natured and pleasing face of the young woman; but now
she could not help recalling these words. In those cynical words
there was indeed a grain of truth.
"Yes, altogether," thought Darya Alexandrovna, looking back over
her whole existence during those fifteen years of her married
life, "pregnancy, sickness, mental incapacity, indifference to
everything, and most of all--hideousness. Kitty, young and
pretty as she is, even Kitty has lost her looks; and I when I'm
with child become hideous, I know it. The birth, the agony, the
hideous agonies, that last moment...then the nursing, the
sleepless nights, the fearful pains...."
Darya Alexandrovna shuddered at the mere recollection of the pain
from sore breasts which she had suffered with almost every child.
"Then the children's illnesses, that everlasting apprehension;
then bringing them up; evil propensities" (she thought of little
Masha's crime among the raspberries), "education, Latin--it's all
so incomprehensible and difficult. And on the top of it all, the
death of these children." And there rose again before her
imagination the cruel memory, that always tore her mother's
heart, of the death of her last little baby, who had died of
croup; his funeral, the callous indifference of all at the little
pink coffin, and her own torn heart, and her lonely anguish at
the sight of the pale little brow with its projecting temples,
and the open, wondering little mouth seen in the coffin at the
moment when it was being covered with the little pink lid with a
cross braided on it.
"And all this, what's it for? What is to come of it all? That
I'm wasting my life, never having a moment's peace, either with
child, or nursing a child, forever irritable, peevish, wretched
myself and worrying others, repulsive to my husband, while the
children are growing up unhappy, badly educated, and penniless.
Even now, if it weren't for spending the summer at the Levins',
I don't know how we should be managing to live. Of course Kostya
and Kitty have so much tact that we don't feel it; but it can't
go on. They'll have children, they won't be able to keep us;
it's a drag on them as it is. How is papa, who has hardly
anything left for himself, to help us? So that I can't even
bring the children up by myself, and may find it hard with the
help of other people, at the cost of humiliation. Why, even if
we suppose the greatest good luck, that the children don't die,
and I bring them up somehow. At the very best they'll simply be
decent people. That's all I can hope for. And to gain simply
that--what agonies, what toil!... One's whole life ruined!"
Again she recalled what the young peasant woman had said, and
again she was revolted at the thought; but she could not help
admitting that there was a grain of brutal truth in the words.
"Is it far now, Mihail?" Darya Alexandrovna asked the
counting house clerk, to turn her mind from thoughts that were
"From this village, they say, it's five miles." The carriage
drove along the village street and onto a bridge. On the bridge
was a crowd of peasant women with coils of ties for the sheaves
on their shoulders, gaily and noisily chattering. They stood
still on the bridge, staring inquisitively at the carriage. All
the faces turned to Darya Alexandrovna looked to her healthy and
happy, making her envious of their enjoyment of life. "They're
all living, they're all enjoying life," Darya Alexandrovna still
mused when she had passed the peasant women and was driving
uphill again at a trot, seated comfortably on the soft springs of
the old carriage, "while I, let out, as it were from prison, from
the world of worries that fret me to death, am only looking about
me now for an instant. They all live; those peasant women and my
sister Natalia and Varenka and Anna, whom I am going to see--all,
but not I.
"And they attack Anna. What for? am I any better? I have,
anyway, a husband I love--not as I should like to love him, still
I do love him, while Anna never loved hers. How is she to blame?
She wants to live. God has put that in our hearts. Very likely
I should have done the same. Even to this day I don't feel sure
I did right in listening to her at that terrible time when she
came to me in Moscow. I ought then to have cast off my husband
and have begun my life fresh. I might have loved and have been
loved in reality. And is it any better as it is? I don't
respect him. He's necessary to me," she thought about her
husband, "and I put up with him. Is that any better? At that
time I could still have been admired, I had beauty left me
still," Darya Alexandrovna pursued her thoughts, and she would
have liked to look at herself in the looking glass. She had a
traveling looking glass in her handbag, and she wanted to take
it out; but looking at the backs of the coachman and the swaying
counting house clerk, she felt that she would be ashamed if
either of them were to look round, and she did not take out the
But without looking in the glass, she thought that even now it
was not too late; and she thought of Sergey Ivanovitch, who was
always particularly attentive to her, of Stiva's good-hearted
friend, Turovtsin, who had helped her nurse her children through
the scarlatina, and was in love with her. And there was someone
else, a quite young man, who--her husband had told her it as a
joke--thought her more beautiful than either of her sisters. And
the most passionate and impossible romances rose before Darya
Alexandrovna's imagination. "Anna did quite right, and certainly
I shall never reproach her for it. She is happy, she makes
another person happy, and she's not broken down as I am, but most
likely just as she always was, bright, clever, open to every
impression," thought Darya Alexandrovna,--and a sly smile curved
her lips, for, as she pondered on Anna's love affair, Darya
Alexandrovna constructed on parallel lines an almost identical
love affair for herself, with an imaginary composite figure, the
ideal man who was in love with her. She, like Anna, confessed
the whole affair to her husband. And the amazement and
perplexity of Stepan Arkadyevitch at this avowal made her smile.
In such daydreams she reached the turning of the highroad that
led to Vozdvizhenskoe.
The coachman pulled up his four horses and looked round to the
right, to a field of rye, where some peasants were sitting on a
cart. The counting house clerk was just going to jump down, but
on second thoughts he shouted peremptorily to the peasants
instead, and beckoned to them to come up. The wind, that seemed
to blow as they drove, dropped when the carriage stood still;
gadflies settled on the steaming horses that angrily shook them
off. The metallic clank of a whetstone against a scythe, that
came to them from the cart, ceased. One of the peasants got up
and came towards the carriage.
"Well, you are slow!" the counting house clerk shouted angrily to
the peasant who was stepping slowly with his bare feet over the
ruts of the rough dry road. "Come along, do!"
A curly-headed old man with a bit of bast tied round his hair,
and his bent back dark with perspiration, came towards the
carriage, quickening his steps, and took hold of the mud-guard
with his sunburnt hand.
"Vozdvizhenskoe, the manor house? the count's?" he repeated; "go
on to the end of this track. Then turn to the left. Straight
along the avenue and you'll come right upon it. But whom do you
want? The count himself?"
"Well, are they at home, my good man?" Darya Alexandrovna said
vaguely, not knowing how to ask about Anna, even of this peasant.
"At home for sure," said the peasant, shifting from one bare foot
to the other, and leaving a distinct print of five toes and a
heel in the dust. "Sure to be at home," he repeated, evidently
eager to talk. "Only yesterday visitors arrived. There's a
sight of visitors come. What do you want?" He turned round and
called to a lad, who was shouting something to him from the cart.
"Oh! They all rode by here not long since, to look at a reaping
machine. They'll be home by now. And who will you be belonging
"We've come a long way," said the coachman, climbing onto the
box. "So it's not far?"
"I tell you, it's just here. As soon as you get out..." he said,
keeping hold all the while of the carriage.
A healthy-looking, broad-shouldered young fellow came up too.
"What, is it laborers they want for the harvest?" he asked.
"I don't know, my boy."
"So you keep to the left, and you'll come right on it," said the
peasant, unmistakably loth to let the travelers go, and eager to
The coachman started the horses, but they were only just turning
off when the peasant shouted: "Stop! Hi, friend! Stop!" called
the two voices. The coachman stopped.
"They're coming! They're yonder!" shouted the peasant. "See
what a turn-out!" he said, pointing to four persons on horseback,
and two in a char-a-banc, coming along the road.
They were Vronsky with a jockey, Veslovsky and Anna on horseback,
and Princess Varvara and Sviazhsky in the char-a-banc. They had
gone out to look at the working of a new reaping machine.
When the carriage stopped, the party on horseback were coming at
a walking pace. Anna was in front beside Veslovsky. Anna,
quietly walking her horse, a sturdy English cob with cropped mane
and short tail, her beautiful head with her black hair straying
loose under her high hat, her full shoulders, her slender waist
in her black riding habit, and all the ease and grace of her
deportment, impressed Dolly.
For the first minute it seemed to her unsuitable for Anna to be
on horseback. The conception of riding on horseback for a lady
was, in Darya Alexandrovna's mind, associated with ideas of
youthful flirtation and frivolity, which, in her opinion, was
unbecoming in Anna's position. But when she had scrutinized her,
seeing her closer, she was at once reconciled to her riding. In
spite of her elegance, everything was so simple, quiet, and
dignified in the attitude, the dress and the movements of Anna,
that nothing could have been more natural.
Beside Anna, on a hot-looking gray cavalry horse, was Vassenka
Veslovsky in his Scotch cap with floating ribbons, his stout
legs stretched out in front, obviously pleased with his own
appearance. Darya Alexandrovna could not suppress a good-humored
smile as she recognized him. Behind rode Vronsky on a dark bay
mare, obviously heated from galloping. He was holding her in,
pulling at the reins.
After him rode a little man in the dress of a jockey. Sviazhsky
and Princess Varvara in a new char-a-banc with a big, raven-black
trotting horse, overtook the party on horseback.
Anna's face suddenly beamed with a joyful smile at the instant
when, in the little figure huddled in a corner of the old
carriage, she recognized Dolly. She uttered a cry, started in
the saddle, and set her horse into a gallop. On reaching the
carriage she jumped off without assistance, and holding up her
riding habit, she ran up to greet Dolly.
"I thought it was you and dared not think it. How delightful!
You can't fancy how glad I am!" she said, at one moment pressing
her face against Dolly and kissing her, and at the next holding
her off and examining her with a smile.
"Here's a delightful surprise, Alexey!" she said, looking round
at Vronsky, who had dismounted, and was walking towards them.
Vronsky, taking off his tall gray hat, went up to Dolly.
"You wouldn't believe how glad we are to see you," he said,
giving peculiar significance to the words, and showing his strong
white teeth in a smile.
Vassenka Veslovsky, without getting off his horse, took off his
cap and greeted the visitor by gleefully waving the ribbons over
"That's Princess Varvara," Anna said in reply to a glance of
inquiry from Dolly as the char-a-banc drove up.
"Ah!" said Darya Alexandrovna, and unconsciously her face
betrayed her dissatisfaction.
Princess Varvara was her husband's aunt, and she had long known
her, and did not respect her. She knew that Princess Varvara had
passed her whole life toadying on her rich relations, but that
she should now be sponging on Vronsky, a man who was nothing to
her, mortified Dolly on account of her kinship with her husband.
Anna noticed Dolly's expression, and was disconcerted by it. She
blushed, dropped her riding habit, and stumbled over it.
Darya Alexandrovna went up to the char-a-banc and coldly greeted
Princess Varvara. Sviazhsky too she knew. He inquired how his
queer friend with the young wife was, and running his eyes over
the ill-matched horses and the carriage with its patched
mud-guards, proposed to the ladies that they should get into the
"And I'll get into this vehicle," he said. "The horse is quiet,
and the princess drives capitally."
"No, stay as you were," said Anna, coming up, "and we'll go in
the carriage," and taking Dolly's arm, she drew her away.
Darya Alexandrovna's eyes were fairly dazzled by the elegant
carriage of a pattern she had never seen before, the splendid
horses, and the elegant and gorgeous people surrounding her. But
what struck her most of all was the change that had taken place
in Anna, whom she knew so well and loved. Any other woman, a
less close observer, not knowing Anna before, or not having
thought as Darya Alexandrovna had been thinking on the road,
would not have noticed anything special in Anna. But now Dolly
was struck by that temporary beauty, which is only found in
women during the moments of love, and which she saw now in Anna's
face. Everything in her face, the clearly marked dimples in her
cheeks and chin, the line of her lips, the smile which, as it
were, fluttered about her face, the brilliance of her eyes, the
grace and rapidity of her move meets, the fulness of the notes of
her voice, even the manner in which, with a sort of angry
friendliness, she answered Veslovsky when he asked permission to
get on her cob, so as to teach it to gallop with the right leg
foremost--it was all peculiarly fascinating, and it seemed as if
she were herself aware of it, and rejoicing in it.
When both the women were seated in the carriage, a sudden
embarrassment came over both of them. Anna was disconcerted by
the intent look of inquiry Dolly fixed upon her. Dolly was
embarrassed because after Sviazhsky's phrase about "this
vehicle," she could not help feeling ashamed of the dirty old
carriage in which Anna was sitting with her. The coachman Philip
and the counting house clerk were experiencing the same
sensation. The counting house clerk, to conceal his confusion,
busied himself settling the ladies, but Philip the coachman
became sullen, and was bracing himself not to be overawed in
future by this external superiority. He smiled ironically,
looking at the raven horse, and was already deciding in his own
mind that this smart trotter in the char-a-banc was only good for
promenage, and wouldn't do thirty miles straight off in the heat.
The peasants had all got up from the cart and were inquisitively
and mirthfully staring at the meeting of the friends, making
their comments on it.
"They're pleased, too; haven't seen each other for a long while,"
said the curly-headed old man with the bast round his hair.
"I say, Uncle Gerasim, if we could take that raven horse now, to
cart the corn, that 'ud be quick work!"
"Look-ee! Is that a woman in breeches?" said one of them,
pointing to Vassenka Veslovsky sitting in a side saddle.
"Nay, a man! See how smartly he's going it!"
"Eh, lads! seems we're not going to sleep, then?"
"What chance of sleep today!" said the old man, with a sidelong
look at the sun. "Midday's past, look-ee! Get your hooks, and
Anna looked at Dolly's thin, care-worn face, with its wrinkles
filled with dust from the road, and she was on the point of
saying what she was thinking, that is, that Dolly had got
thinner. But, conscious that she herself had grown handsomer,
and that Dolly's eyes were telling her so, she sighed and began
to speak about herself.
"You are looking at me," she said, "and wondering how I can be
happy in my position? Well! it's shameful to confess, but I...
I'm inexcusably happy. Something magical has happened to me,
like a dream, when you're frightened, panic-stricken, and all of
a sudden you wake up and all the horrors are no more. I have
waked up. I have lived through the misery, the dread, and now
for a long while past, especially since we've been here, I've
been so happy!..." she said, with a timid smile of inquiry
looking at Dolly.
"How glad I am!" said Dolly smiling, involuntarily speaking more
coldly than she wanted to. "I'm very glad for you. Why haven't
you written to me?"
"Why?... Because I hadn't the courage.... You forget my
"To me? Hadn't the courage? If you knew how I...I look at..."
Darya Alexandrovna wanted to express her thoughts of the morning,
but for some reason it seemed to her now out of place to do so.
"But of that we'll talk later. What's this, what are all these
buildings?" she asked, wanting to change the conversation and
pointing to the red and green roofs that came into view behind
the green hedges of acacia and lilac. "Quite a little town."
But Anna did not answer.
"No, no! How do you look at my position, what do you think of
it?" she asked.
"I consider..." Darya Alexandrovna was beginning, but at that
instant Vassenka Veslovsky, having brought the cob to gallop with
the right leg foremost, galloped past them, bumping heavily up
and down in his short jacket on the chamois leather of the
side saddle. "He's doing it, Anna Arkadyevna!" he shouted.
Anna did not even glance at him; but again it seemed to Darya
Alexandrovna out of place to enter upon such a long conversation
in the carriage, and so she cut short her thought.
"I don't think anything," she said, "but I always loved you, and
if one loves anyone, one loves the whole person, just as they
are and not as one would like them to be...."
Anna, taking her eyes off her friend's face and dropping her
eyelids (this was a new habit Dolly had not seen in her before),
pondered, trying to penetrate the full significance of the words.
And obviously interpreting them as she would have wished, she
glanced at Dolly.
"If you had any sins," she said, "they would all be forgiven you
for your coming to see me and these words."
And Dolly saw that tears stood in her eyes. She pressed Anna's
hand in silence.
"Well, what are these buildings? How many there are of them!"
After a moment's silence she repeated her question.
"These are the servants' houses, barns, and stables," answered
Anna. "And there the park begins. It had all gone to ruin, but
Alexey had everything renewed. He is very fond of this place,
and, what I never expected, he has become intensely interested in
looking after it. But his is such a rich nature! Whatever he
takes up, he does splendidly. So far from being bored by it, he
works with passionate interest. He--with his temperament as I
know it--he has become careful and businesslike, a first-rate
manager, he positively reckons every penny in his management of
the land. But only in that. When it's a question of tens of
thousands, he doesn't think of money." She spoke with that
gleefully sly smile with which women often talk of the secret
characteristics only known to them--of those they love. "Do you
see that big building? that's the new hospital. I believe it
will cost over a hundred thousand; that's his hobby just now.
And do you know how it all came about? The peasants asked him
for some meadowland, I think it was, at a cheaper rate, and he
refused, and I accused him of being miserly. Of course it was
not really because of that, but everything together, he began
this hospital to prove, do you see, that he was not miserly about
money. C'est une petitesse, if you like, but I love him all the
more for it. And now you'll see the house in a moment. It was
his grandfather's house, and he has had nothing changed outside."
"How beautiful!" said Dolly, looking with involuntary admiration
at the handsome house with columns, standing out among the
different-colored greens of the old trees in the garden.
"Isn't it fine? And from the house, from the top, the view is
They drove into a courtyard strewn with gravel and bright with
flowers, in which two laborers were at work putting an edging of
stones round the light mould of a flower bed, and drew up in a
"Ah, they're here already!" said Anna, looking at the saddle
horses, which were just being led away from the steps. "It is a
nice horse, isn't it? It's my cob; my favorite. Lead him here
and bring me some sugar. Where is the count?" she inquired of
two smart footmen who darted out. "Ah, there he is!" she said,
seeing Vronsky coming to meet her with Veslovsky.
"Where are you going to put the princess?" said Vronsky in
French, addressing Anna, and without waiting for a reply, he once
more greeted Darya Alexandrovna, and this time he kissed her
hand. "I think the big balcony room."
"Oh, no, that's too far off! Better in the corner room, we shall
see each other more. Come, let's go up," said Anna, as she gave
her favorite horse the sugar the footman had brought her.
"Et vous oubliez votre devoir," she said to Veslovsky, who came
out too on the steps.
"Pardon, j'en ai tout plein les poches," he answered, smiling,
putting his fingers in his waistcoat pocket.
"Mais vous venez trop tard," she said, rubbing her handkerchief
on her hand, which the horse had made wet in taking the sugar.
Anna turned to Dolly. "You can stay some time? For one day
only? That's impossible!"
"I promised to be back, and the children..." said Dolly, feeling
embarrassed both because she had to get her bag out of the
carriage, and because she knew her face must be covered with
"No, Dolly, darling!... Well, we'll see. Come along, come
along!" and Anna led Dolly to her room.
That room was not the smart guest chamber Vronsky had suggested,
but the one of which Anna had said that Dolly would excuse it.
And this room, for which excuse was needed, was more full of
luxury than any in which Dolly had ever stayed, a luxury that
reminded her of the best hotels abroad.
"Well, darling, how happy I am!" Anna said, sitting down in her
riding habit for a moment beside Dolly. "Tell me about all of
you. Stiva I had only a glimpse of, and he cannot tell one
about the children. How is my favorite, Tanya? Quite a big
girl, I expect?"
"Yes, she's very tall," Darya Alexandrovna answered shortly,
surprised herself that she should respond so coolly about her
children. "We are having a delightful stay at the Levins'," she
"Oh, if I had known," said Anna, "that you do not despise me!...
You might have all come to us. Stiva's an old friend and a great
friend of Alexey's, you know," she added, and suddenly she
"Yes, but we are all..." Dolly answered in confusion.
"But in my delight I'm talking nonsense. The one thing, darling,
is that I am so glad to have you!" said Anna, kissing her again.
"You haven't told me yet how and what you think about me, and I
keep wanting to know. But I'm glad you will see me as I am.
The chief thing I shouldn't like would be for people to imagine I
want to prove anything. I don't want to prove anything; I
merely want to live, to do no one harm but myself. I have the
right to do that, haven't I? But it is a big subject, and we'll
talk over everything properly later. Now I'll go and dress and
send a maid to you."
Left alone, Darya Alexandrovna, with a good housewife's eye,
scanned her room. All she had seen in entering the house and
walking through it, and all she saw now in her room, gave her an
impression of wealth and sumptuousness and of that modern
European luxury of which she had only read in English novels, but
had never seen in Russia and in the country. Everything was new
from the new French hangings on the walls to the carpet which
covered the whole floor. The bed had a spring mattress, and a
special sort of bolster and silk pillowcases on the little
pillows. The marble washstand, the dressing table, the little
sofa, the tables, the bronze clock on the chimney piece, the
window curtains, and the portieres were all new and expensive.
The smart maid, who came in to offer her services, with her hair
done up high, and a gown more fashionable than Dolly's, was as
new and expensive as the whole room. Darya Alexandrovna liked
her neatness, her deferential and obliging manners, but she felt
ill at ease with her. She felt ashamed of her seeing the patched
dressing jacket that had unluckily been packed by mistake for
her. She was ashamed of the very patches and darned places of
which she had been so proud at home. At home it had been so
clear that for six dressing jackets there would be needed
twenty-four yards of nainsook at sixteen pence the yard, which
was a matter of thirty shillings besides the cutting-out and
making, and these thirty shillings had been saved. But before
the maid she felt, if not exactly ashamed, at least
Darya Alexandrovna had a great sense of relief when Annushka,
whom she had known for years, walked in. The smart maid was sent
for to go to her mistress, and Annushka remained with Darya
Annushka was obviously much pleased at that lady's arrival, and
began to chatter away without a pause. Dolly observed that she
was longing to express her opinion in regard to her mistress's
position, especially as to the love and devotion of the count to
Anna Arkadyevna, but Dolly carefully interrupted her whenever she
began to speak about this.
"I grew up with Anna Arkadyevna; my lady's dearer to me than
anything. Well, it's not for us to judge. And, to be sure,
there seems so much love..."
"Kindly pour out the water for me to wash now, please," Darya
Alexandrovna cut her short.
"Certainly. We've two women kept specially for washing small
things, but most of the linen's done by machinery. The count
goes into everything himself. Ah, what a husband!..."
Dolly was glad when Anna came in, and by her entrance put a stop
to Annushka's gossip.
Anna had put on a very simple batiste gown. Dolly scrutinized
that simple gown attentively. She knew what it meant, and the
price at which such simplicity was obtained.
"An old friend," said Anna of Annushka.
Anna was not embarrassed now. She was perfectly composed and at
ease. Dolly saw that she had now completely recovered from the
impression her arrival had made on her, and had assumed that
superficial, careless tone which, as it were, closed the door on
that compartment in which her deeper feelings and ideas were
"Well, Anna, and how is your little girl?" asked Dolly.
"Annie?" (This was what she called her little daughter Anna.)
"Very well. She has got on wonderfully. Would you like to see
her? Come, I'll show her to you. We had a terrible bother," she
began telling her, "over nurses. We had an Italian wet-nurse. A
good creature, but so stupid! We wanted to get rid of her, but
the baby is so used to her that we've gone on keeping her still."
"But how have you managed?..." Dolly was beginning a question
as to what name the little girl would have; but noticing a sudden
frown on Anna's face, she changed the drift of her question.
"How did you manage? have you weaned her yet?"
But Anna had understood.
"You didn't mean to ask that? You meant to ask about her
surname. Yes? That worries Alexey. She has no name--that is,
she's a Karenina," said Anna, dropping her eyelids till nothing
could be seen but the eyelashes meeting. "But we'll talk about
all that later," her face suddenly brightening. "Come, I'll show
you her. Elle est tres gentille. She crawls now."
In the nursery the luxury which had impressed Dolly in the whole
house struck her still more. There were little go-carts ordered
from England, and appliances for learning to walk, and a sofa
after the fashion of a billiard table, purposely constructed for
crawling, and swings and baths, all of special pattern, and
modern. They were all English, solid, and of good make, and
obviously very expensive. The room was large, and very light and
When they went in, the baby, with nothing on but her little smock
was sitting in a little elbow chair at the table, having her
dinner of broth which she was spilling all over her little chest.
The baby was being fed, and the Russian nursery maid was
evidently sharing her meal. Neither the wet-nurse nor the
head nurse were there; they were in the next room, from which
came the sound of their conversation in the queer French which
was their only means of communication.
Hearing Anna's voice, a smart, tall, English nurse with a
disagreeable face and a dissolute expression walked in at the
door, hurriedly shaking her fair curls, and immediately began to
defend herself though Anna had not found fault with her. At
every word Anna said, the English nurse said hurriedly several
times, "Yes, my lady."
The rosy baby with her black eyebrows and hair, her sturdy red
little body with tight goose-flesh skin, delighted Darya
Alexandrovna in spite of the cross expression with which she
stared at the stranger. She positively envied the baby's healthy
appearance. She was delighted, too, at the baby's crawling. Not
one of her own children had crawled like that. When the baby was
put on the carpet and its little dress tucked up behind, it was
wonderfully charming. Looking round like some little wild animal
at the grown-up big people with her bright black eyes, she
smiled, unmistakably pleased at their admiring her, and holding
her legs sideways, she pressed vigorously on her arms, and
rapidly drew her whole back up after, and then made another step
forward with her little arms.
But the whole atmosphere of the nursery, and especially the
English nurse, Darya Alexandrovna did not like at all. It was
only on the supposition that no good nurse would have entered so
irregular a household as Anna's that Darya Alexandrovna could
explain to herself how Anna with her insight into people could
take such an unprepossessing, disreputable-looking woman as nurse
to her child.
Besides, from a few words that were dropped, Darya Alexandrovna
saw at once that Anna, the two nurses, and the child had no
common existence, and that the mother's visit was something
exceptional. Anna wanted to get the baby her plaything, and
could not find it.
Most amazing of all was the fact that on being asked how many
teeth the baby had, Anna answered wrong, and knew nothing about
the two last teeth.
"I sometimes feel sorry I'm so superfluous here," said Anna,
going out of the nursery and holding up her skirt so as to escape
the plaything standing in the doorway. "It was very different
with my first child."
"I expected it to be the other way," said Darya Alexandrovna
"Oh, no! By the way, do you know I saw Seryozha?" said Anna;
screwing up her eyes, as though looking at something far away.
"But we'll talk about that later. You wouldn't believe it, I'm
like a hungry beggar woman when a full dinner is set before her,
and she does not know what to begin on first. The dinner is you,
and the talks I have before me with you, which I could never have
with anyone else; and I don't know which subject to begin upon
first. Mais je ne vous ferai grace de rien. I must have
everything out with you."
"Oh, I ought to give you a sketch of the company you will meet
with us," she went on. "I'll begin with the ladies. Princess
Varvara--you know her, and I know your opinion and Stiva's about
her. Stiva says the whole aim of her existence is to prove her
superiority over Auntie Katerina Pavlovna: that's all true; but
she's a good-natured woman, and I am so grateful to her. In
Petersburg there was a moment when a chaperon was absolutely
essential for me. Then she turned up. But really she is good-
natured. She did a great deal to alleviate my position. I see
you don't understand all the difficulty of my position...there in
Petersburg," she added. "Here I'm perfectly at ease and happy.
Well, of that later on, though. Then Sviazhsky--he's the marshal
of the district, and he's a very good sort of a man, but he wants
to get something out of Alexey. You understand, with his
property, now that we are settled in the country, Alexey can
exercise great influence. Then there's Tushkevitch--you have
seen him, you know--Betsy's admirer. Now he's been thrown over
and he's come to see us. As Alexey says, he's one of those
people who are very pleasant if one accepts them for what they
try to appear to be, et puis il est comme il faut, as Princess
Varvara says. Then Veslovsky...you know him. A very nice boy,"
she said, and a sly smile curved her lips. "What's this wild
story about him and the Levins? Veslovsky told Alexey about it,
and we don't believe it. Il est tres gentil et naif," she said
again with the same smile. "Men need occupation, and Alexey
needs a circle, so I value all these people. We have to have the
house lively and gay, so that Alexey may not long for any
novelty. Then you'll see the steward--a German, a very good
fellow, and he understands his work. Alexey has a very high
opinion of him. Then the doctor, a young man, not quite a
Nihilist perhaps, but you know, eats with his knife...but a very
good doctor. Then the architect.... Une petite cour!"
"Here's Dolly for you, princess, you were so anxious to see her,"
said Anna, coming out with Darya Alexandrovna onto the stone
terrace where Princess Varvara was sitting in the shade at an
embroidery frame, working at a cover for Count Alexey
Kirillovitch's easy chair. "She says she doesn't want anything
before dinner, but please order some lunch for her, and I'll go
and look for Alexey and bring them all in."
Princess Varvara gave Dolly a cordial and rather patronizing
reception, and began at once explaining to her that she was
living with Anna because she had always cared more for her than
her sister Katerina Pavlovna, the aunt that had brought Anna up,
and that now, when every one had abandoned Anna, she thought it
her duty to help her in this most difficult period of transition.
"Her husband will give her a divorce, and then I shall go back to
my solitude; but now I can be of use, and I am doing my duty,
however difficult it may be for me--not like some other people.
And how sweet it is of you, how right of you to have come! They
live like the best of married couples; it's for God to judge
them, not for us. And didn't Biryuzovsky and Madame
Avenieva...and Sam Nikandrov, and Vassiliev and Madame Mamonova,
and Liza Neptunova... Did no one say anything about them? And
it has ended by their being received by everyone. And then,
c'est un interieur si joli, si comme il faut. Tout-a-fait a
l'anglaise. On se reunit le matin au breakfast, et puis on se
separe. Everyone does as he pleases till dinnertime. Dinner at
seven o'clock. Stiva did very rightly to send you. He needs
their support. You know that through his mother and brother he
can do anything. And then they do so much good. He didn't tell
you about his hospital? Ce sera admirable--everything from
Their conversation was interrupted by Anna, who had found the men
of the party in the billiard room, and returned with them to the
terrace. There was still a long time before the dinner-hour, it
was exquisite weather, and so several different methods of
spending the next two hours were proposed. There were very many
methods of passing the time at Vozdvizhenskoe, and these were all
unlike those in use at Pokrovskoe.
"Une partie de lawn-tennis," Veslovsky proposed, with his
handsome smile. "We'll be partners again, Anna Arkadyevna."
"No, it's too hot; better stroll about the garden and have a row
in the boat, show Darya Alexandrovna the river banks." Vronsky
"I agree to anything," said Sviazhsky.
"I imagine that what Dolly would like best would be a stroll--
wouldn't you? And then the boat, perhaps," said Anna.
So it was decided. Veslovsky and Tushkevitch went off to the
bathing place, promising to get the boat ready and to wait there
They walked along the path in two couples, Anna with Sviazhsky,
and Dolly with Vronsky. Dolly was a little embarrassed and
anxious in the new surroundings in which she found herself.
Abstractly, theoretically, she did not merely justify, she
positively approved of Anna's conduct. As is indeed not
unfrequent with women of unimpeachable virtue, weary of the
monotony of respectable existence, at a distance she not only
excused illicit love, she positively envied it. Besides, she
loved Anna with all her heart. But seeing Anna in actual life
among these strangers, with this fashionable tone that was so new
to Darya Alexandrovna, she felt ill at ease. What she disliked
particularly was seeing Princess Varvara ready to overlook
everything for the sake of the comforts she enjoyed.
As a general principle, abstractly, Dolly approved of Anna's
action; but to see the man for whose sake her action had been
taken was disagreeable to her. Moreover, she had never liked
Vronsky. She thought him very proud, and saw nothing in him of
which he could be proud except his wealth. But against her own
will, here in his own house, he overawed her more than ever, and
she could not be at ease with him. She felt with him the same
feeling she had had with the maid about her dressing jacket.
Just as with the maid she had felt not exactly ashamed, but
embarrassed at her darns, so she felt with him not exactly
ashamed, but embarrassed at herself.
Dolly was ill at ease, and tried to find a subject of
conversation. Even though she supposed that, through his pride,
praise of his house and garden would be sure to be disagreeable
to him, she did all the same tell him how much she liked his
"Yes, it's a very fine building, and in the good old-fashioned
style," he said.
"I like so much the court in front of the steps. Was that
"Oh, no!" he said, and his face beamed with pleasure. "If you
could only have seen that court last spring!"
And he began, at first rather diffidently, but more and more
carried away by the subject as he went on, to draw her attention
to the various details of the decoration of his house and garden.
It was evident that, having devoted a great deal of trouble to
improve and beautify his home, Vronsky felt a need to show off
the improvements to a new person, and was genuinely delighted at
Darya Alexandrovna's praise.
"If you would care to look at the hospital, and are not tired,
indeed, it's not far. Shall we go?" he said, glancing into her
face to convince himself that she was not bored. "Are you
coming, Anna?" he turned to her.
"We will come, won't we?" she said, addressing Sviazhsky. "Mais
il ne faut pas laisser le pauvre Veslovsky et Tushkevitch se
morfondre la dans le bateau. We must send and tell them."
"Yes, this is a monument he is setting up here," said Anna,
turning to Dolly with that sly smile of comprehension with which
she had previously talked about the hospital.
"Oh, it's a work of real importance!" said Sviazhsky. But to
show he was not trying to ingratiate himself with Vronsky, he
promptly added some slightly critical remarks.
"I wonder, though, count," he said, "that while you do so much
for the health of the peasants, you take so little interest in
"C'est devenu tellement commun les ecoles," said Vronsky. "You
understand it's not on that account, but it just happens so, my
interest has been diverted elsewhere. This way then to the
hospital," he said to Darya Alexandrovna, pointing to a turning
out of the avenue.
The ladies put up their parasols and turned into the side path.
After going down several turnings, and going through a little
gate, Darya Alexandrovna saw standing on rising ground before her
a large pretentious-looking red building, almost finished. The
iron roof, which was not yet painted, shone with dazzling
brightness in the sunshine. Beside the finished building another
had been begun, surrounded by scaffolding. Workmen in aprons,
standing on scaffolds, were laying bricks, pouring mortar out of
vats, and smoothing it with trowels.
"How quickly work gets done with you!" said Sviazhsky. "When I
was here last time the roof was not on."
"By the autumn it will all be ready. Iside almost everything is
done," said Anna.
"And what's this new building?"
"That's the house for the doctor and the dispensary," answered
Vronsky, seeing the architect in a short jacket coming towards
him; and excusing himself to the ladies, he went to meet him.
Going round a hole where the workmen were slaking lime, he stood
still with the architect and began talking rather warmly.
"The front is still too low," he said to Anna, who had asked what
was the matter.
"I said the foundation ought to be raised," said Anna.
"Yes, of course it would have been much better, Anna Arkadyevna,"
said the architect, "but now it's too late."
"Yes, I take a great interest in it," Anna answered Sviazhsky,
who was expressing his surprise at her knowledge of architecture.
"This new building ought to have been in harmony with the
hospital. It was an afterthought, and was begun without a plan."
Vronsky, having finished his talk with the architect, joined the
ladies, and led them inside the hospital.
Although they were still at work on the cornices outside and were
painting on the ground floor, upstairs almost all the rooms were
finished. Going up the broad cast-iron staircase to the landing,
they walked into the first large room. The walls were stuccoed
to look like marble, the huge plate-glass windows were already
in, only the parquet floor was not yet finished, and the
carpenters, who were planing a block of it, left their work,
taking off the bands that fastened their hair, to greet the
"This is the reception room," said Vronsky. "Here there will be
a desk, tables, and benches, and nothing more."
"This way; let us go in here. Don't go near the window," said
Anna, trying the paint to see if it were dry. "Alexey, the
paint's dry already," she added.
From the reception room they went into the corridor. Here
Vronsky showed them the mechanism for ventilation on a novel
system. Then he showed them marble baths, and beds with
extraordinary springs. Then he showed them the wards one after
another, the storeroom, the linen room, then the heating stove
of a new pattern, then the trolleys, which would make no noise as
they carried everything needed along the corridors, and many
other things. Sviazhsky, as a connoisseur in the latest
mechanical improvements, appreciated everything fully. Dolly
simply wondered at all she had not seen before, and, anxious to
understand it all, made minute inquiries about everything, which
gave Vronsky great satisfaction.
"Yes, I imagine that this will be the solitary example of a
properly fitted hospital in Russia," said Sviazhsky.
"And won't you have a lying-in ward?" asked Dolly. "That's so
much needed in the country. I have often..."
In spite of his usual courtesy, Vronsky interrupted her.
"This is not a lying-in home, but a hospital for the sick, and is
intended for all diseases, except infectious complaints," he
said. "Ah! look at this," and he rolled up to Darya Alexandrovna
an invalid chair that had just been ordered for the
convalescents. "Look." He sat down in the chair and began
moving it. "The patient can't walk--still too weak, perhaps, or
something wrong with his legs, but he must have air, and he
moves, rolls himself along...."
Darya Alexandrovna was interested by everything. She liked
everything very much, but most of all she liked Vronsky himself
with his natural, simple-hearted eagerness. "Yes, he's a very
nice, good man," she thought several times, not hearing what he
said, but looking at him and penetrating into his expression,
while she mentally put herself in Anna's place. She liked him so
much just now with his eager interest that she saw how Anna could
be in love with him.
"No, I think the princess is tired, and horses don't interest
her," Vronsky said to Anna, who wanted to go on to the stables,
where Sviazhsky wished to see the new stallion. "You go on,
while I escort the princess home, and we'll have a little talk,"
he said, "if you would like that?" he added, turning to her.
"I know nothing about horses, and I shall be delighted,"
answered Darya Alexandrovna, rather astonished.
She saw by Vronsky's face that he wanted something from her. She
was not mistaken. As soon as they had passed through the little
gate back into the garden, he looked in the direction Anna had
taken, and having made sure that she could neither hear nor see
them, he began:
"You guess that I have something I want to say to you," he said,
looking at her with laughing eyes. "I am not wrong in believing
you to be a friend of Anna's." He took off his hat, and taking
out his handkerchief, wiped his head, which was growing bald.
Darya Alexandrovna made no answer, and merely stared at him with
dismay. When she was left alone with him, she suddenly felt
afraid; his laughing eyes and stern expression scared her.
The most diverse suppositions as to what he was about to speak of
to her flashed into her brain. "He is going to beg me to come to
stay with them with the children, and I shall have to refuse; or
to create a set will receive Anna in Moscow.... Or isn't it
Vassenka Veslovsky and his relations with Anna? Or perhaps about
Kitty, that he feels he was to blame?" All her conjectures were
unpleasant, but she did not guess what he really wanted to talk
about to her.
"You have so much influence with Anna, she is so fond of you," he
said; "do help me."
Darya Alexandrovna looked with timid inquiry into his energetic
face, which under the lime-trees was continually being lighted up
in patches by the sunshine, and then passing into complete shadow
again. She waited for him to say more, but he walked in silence
beside her, scratching with his cane in the gravel.
"You have come to see us, you, the only woman of Anna's former
friends--I don't count Princess Varvara--but I know that you have
done this not because you regard our position as normal, but
because, understanding all the difficulty of the position, you
still love her and want to be a help to her. Have I understood
you rightly?" he asked, looking round at her.
"Oh, yes," answered Darya Alexandrovna, putting down her
"No," he broke in, and unconsciously, oblivious of the awkward
position into which he was putting his companion, he stopped
abruptly, so that she had to stop short too. "No one feels more
deeply and intensely than I do all the difficulty of Anna's
position; and that you may well understand, if you do me the
honor of supposing I have any heart. I am to blame for that
position, and that is why I feel it."
"I understand," said Darya Alexandrovna, involuntarily admiring
the sincerity and firmness with which he said this. "But just
because you feel yourself responsible, you exaggerate it, I am
afraid," she said. "Her position in the world is difficult, I
can well understand."
"In the world it is hell!" he brought out quickly, frowning
darkly. "You can't imagine moral sufferings greater than what
she went through in Petersburg in that fortnight...and I beg you
to believe it."
"Yes, but here, so long as neither Anna...nor you miss
"Society!" he said contemptuously, "how could I miss society?"
"So far--and it may be so always--you are happy and at peace. I
see in Anna that she is happy, perfectly happy, she has had time
to tell me so much already," said Darya Alexandrovna, smiling;
and involuntarily, as she said this, at the same moment a doubt
entered her mind whether Anna really were happy.
But Vronsky, it appeared, had no doubts on that score.
"Yes, yes," he said, "I know that she has revived after all her
sufferings; she is happy. She is happy in the present. But
I?... I am afraid of what is before us...I beg your pardon, you
would like to walk on?"
"No, I don't mind."
"Well, then, let us sit here."
Darya Alexandrovna sat down on a garden seat in a corner of the
avenue. He stood up facing her.
"I see that she is happy," he repeated, and the doubt whether she
were happy sank more deeply into Darya Alexandrovna's mind. "But
can it last? Whether we have acted rightly or wrongly is another
question, but the die is cast," he said, passing from Russian to
French, "and we are bound together for life. We are united by
all the ties of love that we hold most sacred. We have a child,
we may have other children. But the law and all the conditions
of our position are such that thousands of complications arise
which she does not see and does not want to see. And that one
can well understand. But I can't help seeing them. My daughter
is by law not my daughter, but Karenin's. I cannot bear this
falsity!" he said, with a vigorous gesture of refusal, and he
looked with gloomy inquiry towards Darya Alexandrovna.
She made no answer, but simply gazed at him. He went on:
"One day a son may be born, my son, and he will be legally a
Karenin; he will not be the heir of my name nor of my property,
and however happy we may be in our home life and however many
children we may have, there will be no real tie between us. They
will be Karenins. You can understand the bitterness and horror
of this position! I have tried to speak of this to Anna. It
irritates her. She does not understand, and to her I cannot
speak plainly of all this. Now look at another side. I am
happy, happy in her love, but I must have occupation. I have
found occupation, and am proud of what I am doing and consider it
nobler than the pursuits of my former companions at court and in
the army. And most certainly I would not change the work I am
doing for theirs. I am working here, settled in my own place,
and I am happy and contented, and we need nothing more to make us
happy. I love my work here. Ce n'est pas un pis-aller, on the
Darya Alexandrovna noticed that at this point in his explanation
he grew confused, and she did not quite understand this
digression, but she felt that having once begun to speak of
matters near his heart, of which he could not speak to Anna, he
was now making a clean breast of everything, and that the
question of his pursuits in the country fell into the same
category of matters near his heart, as the question of his
relations with Anna.
"Well, I will go on," he said, collecting himself. "The great
thing is that as I work I want to have a conviction that what I
am doing will not die with me, that I shall have heirs to come
after me,--and this I have not. Conceive the position of a man
who knows that his children, the children of the woman he loves,
will not be his, but will belong to someone who hates them and
cares nothing about them! It is awful!"
He paused, evidently much moved.
"Yes, indeed, I see that. But what can Anna do?" queried Darya
"Yes, that brings me to the object of my conversation," he said,
calming himself with an effort. "Anna can, it depends on
her.... Even to petition the Tsar for legitimization, a divorce
is essential. And that depends on Anna. Her husband agreed to a
divorce--at that time your husband had arranged it completely.
And now, I know, he would not refuse it. It is only a matter of
writing to him. He said plainly at that time that if she
expressed the desire, he would not refuse. Of course," he said
gloomily, "it is one of those Pharisaical cruelties of which only
such heartless men are capable. He knows what agony any
recollection of him must give her, and knowing her, he must have
a letter from her. I can understand that it is agony to her.
But the matter is of such importance, that one must passer
par-dessus toutes ces finesses de sentiment. Il y va du bonheur
et de l'existence d'Anne et de ses enfants. I won't speak of
myself, though it's hard for me, very hard," he said, with an
expression as though he were threatening someone for its being
hard for him. "And so it is, princess, that I am shamelessly
clutching at you as an anchor of salvation. Help me to persuade
her to write to him and ask for a divorce."
"Yes, of course," Darya Alexandrovna said dreamily, as she
vividly recalled her last interview with Alexey Alexandrovitch.
"Yes, of course," she repeated with decision, thinking of Anna.
"Use your influence with her, make her write. I don't like--I'm
almost unable to speak about this to her."
"Very well, I will talk to her. But how is it she does not
think of it herself?" said Darya Alexandrovna, and for some
reason she suddenly at that point recalled Anna's strange new
habit of half-closing her eyes. And she remembered that Anna
drooped her eyelids just when the deeper questions of life were
touched upon. "Just as though she half-shut her eyes to her own
life, so as not to see everything," thought Dolly. "Yes, indeed,
for my own sake and for hers I will talk to her," Dolly said in
reply to his look of gratitude.
They got up and walked to the house.
When Anna found Dolly at home before her, she looked intently in
her eyes, as though questioning her about the talk she had had
with Vronsky, but she made no inquiry in words.
"I believe it's dinner time," she said. "We've not seen each
other at all yet. I am reckoning on the evening. Now I want to
go and dress. I expect you do too; we all got splashed at the
Dolly went to her room and she felt amused. To change her dress
was impossible, for she had already put on her best dress. But
in order to signify in some way her preparation for dinner, she
asked the maid to brush her dress, changed her cuffs and tie, and
put some lace on her head.
"This is all I can do," she said with a smile to Anna, who came
in to her in a third dress, again of extreme simplicity.
"Yes, we are too formal here," she said, as it were apologizing
for her magnificence. "Alexey is delighted at your visit, as he
rarely is at anything. He has completely lost his heart to you,"
she added. "You're not tired?"
There was no time for talking about anything before dinner.
Going into the drawing room they found Princess Varvara already
there, and the gentlemen of the party in black frock-coats. The
architect wore a swallow-tail coat. Vronsky presented the
doctor and the steward to his guest. The architect he had
already introduced to her at the hospital.
A stout butler, resplendent with a smoothly shaven round chin and
a starched white cravat, announced that dinner was ready, and the
ladies got up. Vronsky asked Sviazhsky to take in Anna
Arkadyevna, and himself offered his arm to Dolly. Veslovsky was
before Tushkevitch in offering his arm to Princess Varvara, so
that Tushkevitch with the steward and the doctor walked in alone.
The dinner, the dining room, the service, the waiting at table,
the wine, and the food, were not simply in keeping with the
general tone of modern luxury throughout all the house, but
seemed even more sumptuous and modern. Darya Alexandrovna
watched this luxury which was novel to her, and as a good
housekeeper used to managing a household--although she never
dreamed of adapting anything she saw to her own household, as it
was all in a style of luxury far above her own manner of
living--she could not help scrutinizing every detail, and
wondering how and by whom it was all done. Vassenka Veslovsky,
her husband, and even Sviazhsky, and many other people she knew,
would never have considered this question, and would have readily
believed what every well-bred host tries to make his guests feel,
that is, that all that is well-ordered in his house has cost him,
the host, no trouble whatever, but comes of itself. Darya
Alexandrovna was well aware that even porridge for the children's
breakfast does not come of itself, and that therefore, where so
complicated and magnificent a style of luxury was maintained,
someone must give earnest attention to its organization. And
from the glance with which Alexey Kirillovitch scanned the table,
from the way he nodded to the butler, and offered Darya
Alexandrovna her choice between cold soup and hot soup, she saw
that it was all organized and maintained by the care of the
master of the house himself. It was evident that it all rested
no more upon Anna than upon Veslovsky. She, Sviazhsky, the
princess, and Veslovsky, were equally guests, with light hearts
enjoying what had been arranged for them.
Anna was the hostess only in conducting the conversation. The
conversation was a difficult one for the lady of the house at a
small table with persons present, like the steward and the
architect, belonging to a completely different world, struggling
not to be overawed by an elegance to which they were
unaccustomed, and unable to sustain a large share in the general
conversation. But this difficult conversation Anna directed with
her usual tact and naturalness, and indeed she did so with actual
enjoyment, as Darya Alexandrovna observed. The conversation
began about the row Tushkevitch and Veslovsky had taken alone
together in the boat, and Tushkevitch began describing the last
boat races in Petersburg at the Yacht Club. But Anna, seizing
the first pause, at once turned to the architect to draw him out
of his silence.
"Nikolay Ivanitch was struck," she said, meaning Sviazhsky, "at
the progress the new building had made since he was here last;
but I am there every day, and every day I wonder at the rate at
which it grows."
"It's first-rate working with his excellency," said the architect
with a smile (he was respectful and composed, though with a sense
of his own dignity). "It's a very different matter to have to do
with the district authorities. Where one would have to write out
sheaves of papers, here I call upon the count, and in three words
we settle the business."
"The American way of doing business," said Sviazhsky, with a
"Yes, there they build in a rational fashion..."
The conversation passed to the misuse of political power in the
United States, but Anna quickly brought it round to another
topic, so as to draw the steward into talk.
"Have you ever seen a reaping machine?" she said, addressing
Darya Alexandrovna. "We had just ridden over to look at one when
we met. It's the first time I ever saw one."
"How do they work?" asked Dolly.
"Exactly like little scissors. A plank and a lot of little
scissors. Like this."
Anna took a knife and fork in her beautiful white hands covered
with rings, and began showing how the machine worked. It was
clear that she saw nothing would be understood from her
explanation; but aware that her talk was pleasant and her hands
beautiful she went on explaining.
"More like little penknives," Veslovsky said playfully, never
taking his eyes off her.
Anna gave a just perceptible smile, but made no answer. "Isn't
it true, Karl Fedoritch, that it's just like little scissors?"
she said to the steward.
"Oh, ja," answered the German. "Es it ein ganz einfaches Ding,"
and he began to explain the construction of the machine.
"It's a pity it doesn't bind too. I saw one at the Vienna
exhibition, which binds with a wire," said Sviazhsky. "They
would be more profitable in use."
"Es kommt drauf an.... Der Preis vom Draht muss ausgerechnet
werden." And the German, roused from his taciturnity, turned to
Vronsky. "Das laesst sich ausrechnen, Erlaucht." The German was
just feeling in the pocket where were his pencil and the
notebook he always wrote in, but recollecting that he was at a
dinner, and observing Vronsky's chilly glance, he checked
himself. "Zu compliziert, macht zu viel Klopot," he concluded.
"Wuenscht man Dochots, so hat man auch Klopots," said Vassenka
Veslovsky, mimicking the German. "J'adore l'allemand," he
addressed Anna again with the same smile.
"Cessez," she said with playful severity.
"We expected to find you in the fields, Vassily Semyonitch," she
said to the doctor, a sickly-looking man; "have you been there?"
"I went there, but I had taken flight," the doctor answered
with gloomy jocoseness.
"Then you've taken a good constitutional?"
"Well, and how was the old woman? I hope it's not typhus?"
"Typhus it is not, but it's taking a bad turn."
"What a pity!" said Anna, and having thus paid the dues of
civility to her domestic circle, she turned to her own friends.
"It would be a hard task, though, to construct a machine from
your description, Anna Arkadyevna," Sviazhsky said jestingly.
"Oh, no, why so?" said Anna with a smile that betrayed that she
knew there was something charming in her disquisitions upon the
machine that had been noticed by Sviazhsky. This new trait of
girlish coquettishness made an unpleasant impression on Dolly.
"But Anna Arkadyevna's knowledge of architecture is marvelous,"
"To be sure, I heard Anna Arkadyevna talking yesterday about
plinths and damp-courses," said Veslovsky. "Have I got it
"There's nothing marvelous about it, when one sees and hears so
much of it," said Anna. "But, I dare say, you don't even know
what houses are made of?"
Darya Alexandrovna saw that Anna disliked the tone of raillery
that existed between her and Veslovsky, but fell in with it
against her will.
Vronsky acted in this matter quite differently from Levin. He
obviously attached no significance to Veslovsky's chattering; on
the contrary, he encouraged his jests.
"Come now, tell us, Veslovsky, how are the stones held together?"
"By cement, of course."
"Bravo! And what is cement?"
"Oh, some sort of paste ...no, putty," said Veslovsky, raising
a general laugh.
The company at dinner, with the exception of the doctor, the
architect, and the steward, who remained plunged in gloomy
silence, kept up a conversation that never paused, glancing off
one subject, fastening on another, and at times stinging one or
the other to the quick. Once Darya Alexandrovna felt wounded to
the quick, and got so hot that she positively flushed and
wondered afterwards whether she had said anything extreme or
unpleasant. Sviazhsky began talking of Levin, describing his
strange view that machinery is simply pernicious in its effects
on Russian agriculture.
"I have not the pleasure of knowing this M. Levin," Vronsky said,
smiling, "but most likely he has never seen the machines he
condemns; or if he has seen and tried any, it must have been
after a queer fashion, some Russian imitation, not a machine from
abroad. What sort of views can anyone have on such a subject?"
"Turkish views, in general," Veslovsky said, turning to Anna with
"I can't defend his opinions," Darya Alexandrovna said, firing
up; "but I can say that he's a highly cultivated man, and if he
were here he would know very well how to answer you, though I am
not capable of doing so."
"I like him extremely, and we are great friends," Sviazhsky said,
smiling good-naturedly. "Mais pardon, il est un petit peu toque;
he maintains, for instance, that district councils and
arbitration boards are all of no use, and he is unwilling to take
part in anything."
"It's our Russian apathy," said Vronsky, pouring water from an
iced decanter into a delicate glass on a high stem; "we've no
sense of the duties our privileges impose upon us, and so we
refuse to recognize these duties."
"I know no man more strict in the performance of his duties,"
said Darya Alexandrovna, irritated by Vronsky's tone of
"For my part," pursued Vronsky, who was evidently for some reason
or other keenly affected by this conversation, "such as I am, I
am, on the contrary, extremely grateful for the honor they have
done me, thanks to Nikolay Ivanitch" (he indicated Sviazhsky),
"in electing me a justice of the peace. I consider that for me
the duty of being present at the session, of judging some
peasants' quarrel about a horse, is as important as anything I
can do. And I shall regard it as an honor if they elect me for
the district council. It's only in that way I can pay for the
advantages I enjoy as a landowner. Unluckily they don't
understand the weight that the big landowners ought to have in
It was strange to Darya Alexandrovna to hear how serenely
confident he was of being right at his own table. She thought
how Levin, who believed the opposite, was just as positive in his
opinions at his own table. But she loved Levin, and so she was
on his side.
"So we can reckon upon you, count, for the coming elections?"
said Sviazhsky. "But you must come a little beforehand, so as to
be on the spot by the eighth. If you would do me the honor to
stop with me."
"I rather agree with your beau-frere," said Anna, "though not
quite on the same ground as he," she added with a smile. "I'm
afraid that we have too many of these public duties in these
latter days. Just as in old days there were so many government
functionaries that one had to call in a functionary for every
single thing, so now everyone's doing some sort of public duty.
Alexey has been here now six months, and he's a member, I do
believe, of five or six different public bodies. Du train que
cela va, the whole time will be wasted on it. And I'm afraid
that with such a multiplicity of these bodies, they'll end in
being a mere form. How many are you a member of, Nikolay
Ivanitch?" she turned to Sviazhsky--"over twenty, I fancy."
Anna spoke lightly, but irritation could be discerned in her
tone. Darya Alexandrovna, watching Anna and Vronsky attentively,
detected it instantly. She noticed, too, that as she spoke
Vronsky's face had immediately taken a serious and obstinate
expression. Noticing this, and that Princess Varvara at once
made haste to change the conversation by talking of Petersburg
acquaintances, and remembering what Vronsky had without apparent
connection said in the garden of his work in the country, Dolly
surmised that this question of public activity was connected with
some deep private disagreement between Anna and Vronsky.
The dinner, the wine, the decoration of the table were all very
good; but it was all like what Darya Alexandrovna had seen at
formal dinners and balls which of late years had become quite
unfamiliar to her; it all had the same impersonal and constrained
character, and so on an ordinary day and in a little circle of
friends it made a disagreeable impression on her.
After dinner they sat on the terrace, then they proceeded to play
lawn tennis. The players, divided into two parties, stood on
opposite sides of a tightly drawn net with gilt poles on the
carefully leveled and rolled croquet-ground. Darya Alexandrovna
made an attempt to play, but it was a long time before she could
understand the game, and by the time she did understand it, she
was so tired that she sat down with Princess Varvara and simply
looked on at the players. Her partner, Tushkevitch, gave up
playing too, but the others kept the game up for a long time.
Sviazhsky and Vronsky both played very well and seriously. They
kept a sharp lookout on the balls served to them, and without
haste or getting in each other's way, they ran adroitly up to
them, waited for the rebound, and neatly and accurately returned
them over the net. Veslovsky played worse than the others. He
was too eager, but he kept the players lively with his high
spirits. His laughter and outcries never paused. Like the other
men of the party, with the ladies' permission, he took off his
coat, and his solid, comely figure in his white shirt-sleeves,
with his red perspiring face and his impulsive movements, made a
picture that imprinted itself vividly on the memory.
When Darya Alexandrovna lay in bed that night, as soon as she
closed her eyes, she saw Vassenka Veslovsky flying about the
During the game Darya Alexandrovna was not enjoying herself. She
did not like the light tone of raillery that was kept up all the
time between Vassenka Veslovsky and Anna, and the unnaturalness
altogether of grown-up people, all alone without children,
playing at a child's game. But to avoid breaking up the party
and to get through the time somehow, after a rest she joined the
game again, and pretended to be enjoying it. All that day it
seemed to her as though she were acting in a theater with actors
cleverer than she, and that her bad acting was spoiling the whole
performance. She had come with the intention of staying two
days, if all went well. But in the evening, during the game, she
made up her mind that she would go home next day. The maternal
cares and worries, which she had so hated on the way, now, after
a day spent without them, struck her in quite another light, and
tempted her back to them.
When, after evening tea and a row by night in the boat, Darya
Alexandrovna went alone to her room, took off her dress, and
began arranging her thin hair for the night, she had a great
sense of relief.
It was positively disagreeable to her to think that Anna was
coming to see her immediately. She longed to be alone with her
Dolly was wanting to go to bed when Anna came in to see her,
attired for the night. In the course of the day Anna had several
times begun to speak of matters near her heart, and every time
after a few words she had stopped: "Afterwards, by ourselves,
we'll talk about everything. I've got so much I want to tell
you," she said.
Now they were by themselves, and Anna did not know what to talk
about. She sat in the window looking at Dolly, and going over in
her own mind all the stores of intimate talk which had seemed so
inexhaustible beforehand, and she found nothing. At that moment
it seemed to her that everything had been said already.
"Well, what of Kitty?" she said with a heavy sigh, looking
penitently at Dolly. "Tell me the truth, Dolly: isn't she angry
"Angry? Oh, no!" said Darya Alexandrovna, smiling.
"But she hates me, despises me?"
"Oh, no! But you know that sort of thing isn't forgiven."
"Yes, yes," said Anna, turning away and looking out of the open
window. "But I was not to blame. And who is to blame? What's
the meaning of being to blame? Could it have been otherwise?
What do you think? Could it possibly have happened that you
didn't become the wife of Stiva?"
"Really, I don't know. But this is what I want you to tell
"Yes, yes, but we've not finished about Kitty. Is she happy?
He's a very nice man, they say."
"He's much more than very nice. I don't know a better man."
"Ah, how glad I am! I'm so glad! Much more than very nice," she
"But tell me about yourself. We've a great deal to talk about.
And I've had a talk with..." Dolly did not know what to call
him. She felt it awkward to call him either the count or Alexey
"With Alexey," said Anna, "I know what you talked about. But I
wanted to ask you directly what you think of me, of my life?"
"How am I to say like that straight off? I really don't know."
"No, tell me all the same.... You see my life. But you mustn't
forget that you're seeing us in the summer, when you have come to
us and we are not alone.... But we came here early in the
spring, lived quite alone, and shall be alone again, and I desire
nothing better. But imagine me living alone without him, alone,
and that will be...I see by everything that it will often be
repeated, that he will be half the time away from home," she
said, getting up and sitting down close by Dolly.
"Of course," she interrupted Dolly, who would have answered, "of
course I won't try to keep him by force. I don't keep him
indeed. The races are just coming, his horses are running, he
will go. I'm very glad. But think of me, fancy my position....
But what's the use of talking about it?" She smiled. "Well,
what did he talk about with you?"
"He spoke of what I want to speak about of myself, and it's easy
for me to be his advocate; of whether there is not a possibility
...whether you could not..." (Darya Alexandrovna hesitated)
"correct, improve your position.... You know how I look at
it.... But all the same, if possible, you should get
"Divorce, you mean?" said Anna. "Do you know, the only woman who
came to see me in Petersburg was Betsy Tverskaya? You know her,
of course? Au fond, c'est la femme la plus depravee qui existe.
She had an intrigue with Tushkevitch, deceiving her husband in
the basest way. And she told me that she did not care to know me
so long as my position was irregular. Don't imagine I would
compare...I know you, darling. But I could not help
remembering.... Well, so what did he say to you?" she repeated.
"He said that he was unhappy on your account and his own.
Perhaps you will say that it's egoism, but what a legitimate and
noble egoism. He wants first of all to legitimize his daughter,
and to be your husband, to have a legal right to you."
"What wife, what slave can be so utterly a slave as I, in my
position?" she put in gloomily.
"The chief thing he desires...he desires that you should not
"That's impossible. Well?"
"Well, and the most legitimate desire--he wishes that your
children should have a name."
"What children?" Anna said, not looking at Dolly, and half
closing her eyes.
"Annie and those to come..."
"He need not trouble on that score; I shall have no more
"How can you tell that you won't?"
"I shall not, because I don't wish it." And, in spite of all her
emotion, Anna smiled, as she caught the naive expression of
curiosity, wonder, and horror on Dolly's face.
"The doctor told me after my illness..."
"Impossible!" said Dolly, opening her eyes wide.
For her this was one of those discoveries the consequences and
deductions from which are so immense that all that one feels for
the first instant is that it is impossible to take it all in, and
that one will have to reflect a great, great deal upon it.
This discovery, suddenly throwing light on all those families of
one or two children, which had hitherto been so incomprehensible
to her, aroused so many ideas, reflections, and contradictory
emotions, that she had nothing to say, and simply gazed with
wide-open eyes of wonder at Anna. This was the very thing she
had been dreaming of, but now learning that it was possible, she
was horrified. She felt that it was too simple a solution of too
complicated a problem.
"N'est-ce pas immoral?" was all she said, after a brief pause.
"Why so? Think, I have a choice between two alternatives: either
to be with child, that is an invalid, or to be the friend and
companion of my husband--practically my husband," Anna said in a
tone intentionally superficial and frivolous.
"Yes, yes," said Darya Alexandrovna, hearing the very arguments
she had used to herself, and not finding the same force in them
"For you, for other people," said Anna, as though divining her
thoughts, "there may be reason to hesitate; but for me.... You
must consider, I am not his wife; he loves me as long as he
loves me. And how am I to keep his love? Not like this!"
She moved her white hands in a curve before her waist with
extraordinary rapidity, as happens during moments of excitement;
ideas and memories rushed into Darya Alexandrovna's head. "I,"
she thought, "did not keep my attraction for Stiva; he left me
for others, and the first woman for whom he betrayed me did not
keep him by being always pretty and lively. He deserted her and
took another. And can Anna attract and keep Count Vronsky in
that way? If that is what he looks for, he will find dresses and
manners still more attractive and charming. And however white
and beautiful her bare arms are, however beautiful her full
figure and her eager face under her black curls, he will find
something better still, just as my disgusting, pitiful, and
charming husband does."
Dolly made no answer, she merely sighed. Anna noticed this sigh,
indicating dissent, and she went on. In her armory she had other
arguments so strong that no answer could be made to them.
"Do you say that it's not right? But you must consider," she
went on; "you forget my position. How can I desire children?
I'm not speaking of the suffering, I'm not afraid of that. Think
only, what are my children to be? Ill-fated children, who will
have to bear a stranger's name. For the very fact of their birth
they will be forced to be ashamed of their mother, their father,
"But that is just why a divorce is necessary." But Anna did not
hear her. She longed to give utterance to all the arguments with
which she had so many times convinced herself.
"What is reason given me for, if I am not to use it to avoid
bringing unhappy beings into the world!" She looked at Dolly,
but without waiting for a reply she went on:
"I should always feel I had wronged these unhappy children," she
said. "If they are not, at any rate they are not unhappy; while
if they are unhappy, I alone should be to blame for it."
These were the very arguments Darya Alexandrovna had used in her
own reflections; but she heard them without understanding them.
"How can one wrong creatures that don't exist?" she thought. And
all at once the idea struck her: could it possibly, under any
circumstances, have been better for her favorite Grisha if he had
never existed? And this seemed to her so wild, so strange, that
she shook her head to drive away this tangle of whirling, mad
"No, I don't know; it's not right," was all she said, with an
expression of disgust on her face.
"Yes, but you mustn't forget that you and I.... And besides
that," added Anna, in spite of the wealth of her arguments and
the poverty of Dolly's objections, seeming still to admit that it
was not right, "don't forget the chief point, that I am not now
in the same position as you. For you the question is: do you
desire not to have any more children; while for me it is: do I
desire to have them? And that's a great difference. You must
see that I can't desire it in my position."
Darya Alexandrovna made no reply. She suddenly felt that she had
got far away from Anna; that there lay between them a barrier of
questions on which they could never agree, and about which it was
better not to speak.
"Then there is all the more reason for you to legalize your
position, if possible," said Dolly.
"Yes, if possible," said Anna, speaking all at once in an utterly
different tone, subdued and mournful.
"Surely you don't mean a divorce is impossible? I was told your
husband had consented to it."
"Dolly, I don't want to talk about that."
"Oh, we won't then," Darya Alexandrovna hastened to say, noticing
the expression of suffering on Anna's face. "All I see is that
you take too gloomy a view of things."
"I? Not at all! I'm always bright and happy. You see, je fais
des passions. Veslovsky..."
"Yes, to tell the truth, I don't like Veslovsky's tone," said
Darya Alexandrovna, anxious to change the subject.
"Oh, that's nonsense! It amuses Alexey, and that's all; but he's
a boy, and quite under my control. You know, I turn him as I
please. It's just as it might be with your Grisha.... Dolly!"--
she suddenly changed the subject--"you say I take too gloomy a
view of things. You can't understand. It's too awful! I try not
to take any view of it at all."
"But I think you ought to. You ought to do all you can."
"But what can I do? Nothing. You tell me to marry Alexey, and
say I don't think about it. I don't think about it!" she
repeated, and a flush rose into her face. She got up,
straightening her chest, and sighed heavily. With her light step
she began pacing up and down the room, stopping now and then. "I
don't think of it? Not a day, not an hour passes that I don't
think of it, and blame myself for thinking of it...because
thinking of that may drive me mad. Drive me mad!" she repeated.
"When I think of it, I can't sleep without morphine. But never
mind. Let us talk quietly. They tell me, divorce. In the first
place, he won't give me a divorce. He's under the influence of
Countess Lidia Ivanovna now."
Darya Alexandrovna, sitting erect on a chair, turned her head,
following Anna with a face of sympathetic suffering.
"You ought to make the attempt," she said softly.
"Suppose I make the attempt. What does it mean?" she said,
evidently giving utterance to a thought, a thousand times thought
over and learned by heart. "It means that I, hating him, but
still recognizing that I have wronged him--and I consider him
magnanimous--that I humiliate myself to write to him.... Well,
suppose I make the effort; I do it. Either I receive a
humiliating refusal or consent.... Well, I have received his
consent, say..." Anna was at that moment at the furthest end
of the room, and she stopped there, doing something to the
curtain at the window. "I receive his consent, but my...my