Part 18 out of 22
son? They won't give him up to me. He will grow up despising
me, with his father, whom I've abandoned. Do you see, I love...
equally, I think, but both more than myself--two creatures,
Seryozha and Alexey."
She came out into the middle of the room and stood facing Dolly,
with her arms pressed tightly across her chest. I her white
dressing gown her figure seemed more than usually grand and
broad. She bent her head, and with shining, wet eyes looked from
under her brows at Dolly, a thin little pitiful figure in her
patched dressing jacket and nightcap, shaking all over with
"It is only those two creatures that I love, and one excludes the
other. I can't have them together, and that's the only thing I
want. And since I can't have that, I don't care about the rest.
I don't care about anything, anything. And it will end one way
or another, and so I can't, I don't like to talk of it. So don't
blame me, don't judge me for anything. You can't with your pure
heart understand all that I'm suffering." She went up, sat down
beside Dolly, and with a guilty look, peeped into her face and
took her hand.
"What are you thinking? What are you thinking about me? Don't
despise me. I don't deserve contempt. I'm simply unhappy. If
anyone is unhappy, I am," she articulated, and turning away, she
burst into tears.
Left alone, Darya Alexandrovna said her prayers and went to bed.
She had felt for Anna with all her heart while she was speaking
to her, but now she could not force herself to think of her. The
memories of home and of her children rose up in her imagination
with a peculiar charm quite new to her, with a sort of new
brilliance. That world of her own seemed to her now so sweet and
precious that she would not on any account spend an extra day
outside it, and she made up her mind that she would certainly go
back next day.
Anna meantime went back to her boudoir, took a wine glass and
dropped into it several drops of a medicine, of which the
principal ingredient was morphine. After drinking it off and
sitting still a little while, she went into her bedroom in a
soothed and more cheerful frame of mind.
When she went into the bedroom, Vronsky looked intently at her.
He was looking for traces of the conversation which he knew that,
staying so long in Dolly's room, she must have had with her. But
in her expression of restrained excitement, and of a sort of
reserve, he could find nothing but the beauty that always
bewitched him afresh though he was used to it, the consciousness
of it, and the desire that it should affect him. He did not want
to ask her what they had been talking of, but he hoped that she
would tell him something of her own accord. But she only said:
"I am so glad you like Dolly. You do, don't you?"
"Oh, I've known her a long while, you know. She's very
good-hearted, I suppose, mais excessivement terre-a-terre.
Still, I'm very glad to see her."
He took Anna's hand and looked inquiringly into her eyes.
Misinterpreting the look, she smiled to him. Next morning, in
spite of the protests of her hosts, Darya Alexandrovna prepared
for her homeward journey. Levin's coachman, in his by no means
new coat and shabby hat, with his ill-matched horses and his
coach with the patched mud-guards, drove with gloomy
determination into the covered gravel approach.
Darya Alexandrovna disliked taking leave of Princess Varvara and
the gentlemen of the party. After a day spent together, both she
and her hosts were distinctly aware that they did not get on
together, and that it was better for them not to meet. Only Anna
was sad. She knew that now, from Dolly's departure, no one again
would stir up within her soul the feelings that had been roused
by their conversation. It hurt her to stir up these feelings,
but yet she knew that that was the best part of her soul, and
that that part of her soul would quickly be smothered in the life
she was leading.
As she drove out into the open country, Darya Alexandrovna had a
delightful sense of relief, and she felt tempted to ask the two
men how they had liked being at Vronsky's, when suddenly the
coachman, Philip, expressed himself unasked:
"Rolling in wealth they may be, but three pots of oats was all
they gave us. Everything cleared up till there wasn't a grain
left by cockcrow. What are three pots? A mere mouthful! And
oats now down to forty-five kopecks. At our place, no fear, all
comers may have as much as they can eat."
"The master's a screw," put in the counting house clerk.
"Well, did you like their horses?" asked Dolly.
"The horses!--there's no two opinions about them. And the food
was good. But it seemed to me sort of dreary there, Darya
Alexandrovna. I don't know what you thought," he said, turning
his handsome, good-natured face to her.
"I thought so too. Well, shall we get home by evening?"
"Eh, we must!"
On reaching home and finding everyone entirely satisfactory and
particularly charming, Darya Alexandrovna began with great
liveliness telling them how she had arrived, how warmly they had
received her, of the luxury and good taste in which the Vronskys
lived, and of their recreations, and she would not allow a word
to be said against them.
"One has to know Anna and Vronsky--I have got to know him better
now--to see how nice they are, and how touching," she said,
speaking now with perfect sincerity, and forgetting the vague
feeling of dissatisfaction and awkwardness she had experienced
Vronsky and Anna spent the whole summer and part of the winter
in the country, living in just the same condition, and still
taking no steps to obtain a divorce. It was an understood thing
between them that they should not go away anywhere; but both
felt, the longer they lived alone, especially in the autumn,
without guests in the house, that they could not stand this
existence, and that they would have to alter it.
Their life was apparently such that nothing better could be
desired. They had the fullest abundance of everything; they had
a child, and both had occupation. Anna devoted just as much care
to her appearance when they had no visitors, and she did a great
deal of reading, both of novels and of what serious literature
was in fashion. She ordered all the books that were praised in
the foreign papers and reviews she received, and read them with
that concentrated attention which is only given to what is read
in seclusion. Moreover, every subject that was of interest to
Vronsky, she studied in books and special journals, so that he
often went straight to her with questions relating to agriculture
or architecture, sometimes even with questions relating to
horse-breeding or sport. He was amazed at her knowledge, her
memory, and at first was disposed to doubt it, to ask for
confirmation of her facts; and she would find what he asked for
in some book, and show it to him.
The building of the hospital, too, interested her. She did not
merely assist, but planned and suggested a great deal herself.
But her chief thought was still of herself--how far she was dear
to Vronsky, how far she could make up to him for all he had given
up. Vronsky appreciated this desire not only to please, but to
serve him, which had become the sole aim of her existence, but at
the same time he wearied of the loving snares in which she tried
to hold him fast. As time went on, and he saw himself more and
more often held fast in these snares, he had an ever growing
desire, not so much to escape from them, as to try whether they
hindered his freedom. Had it not been for this growing desire to
be free, not to have scenes every time he wanted to go to the
town to a meeting or a race, Vronsky would have been perfectly
satisfied with his life. The role he had taken up, the role of a
wealthy landowner, one of that class which ought to be the very
heart of the Russian aristocracy, was entirely to his taste; and
now, after spending six months in that character, he derived even
greater satisfaction from it. And his management of his estate,
which occupied and absorbed him more and more, was most
successful. In spite of the immense sums cost him by the
hospital, by machinery, by cows ordered from Switzerland, and
many other things, he was convinced that he was not wasting, but
increasing his substance. In all matters affecting income, the
sales of timber, wheat, and wool, the letting of lands, Vronsky
was hard as a rock, and knew well how to keep up prices. In all
operations on a large scale on this and his other estates, he
kept to the simplest methods involving no risk, and in trifling
details he was careful and exacting to an extreme degree. In
spite of all the cunning and ingenuity of the German steward, who
would try to tempt him into purchases by making his original
estimate always far larger than really required, and then
representing to Vronsky that he might get the thing cheaper, and
so make a profit, Vronsky did not give in. He listened to his
steward, cross-examined him, and only agreed to his suggestions
when the implement to be ordered or constructed was the very
newest, not yet known in Russia, and likely to excite wonder.
Apart from such exceptions, he resolved upon an increased outlay
only where there was a surplus, and in making such an outlay he
went into the minutest details, and insisted on getting the very
best for his money; so that by the method on which he managed his
affairs, it was clear that he was not wasting, but increasing his
In October there were the provincial elections in the Kashinsky
province, where were the estates of Vronsky, Sviazhsky,
Koznishev, Oblonsky, and a small part of Levin's land.
These elections were attracting public attention from several
circumstances connected with them, and also from the people
taking part in them. There had been a great deal of talk about
them, and great preparations were being made for them. Persons
who never attended the elections were coming from Moscow, from
Petersburg, and from abroad to attend these. Vronsky had long
before promised Sviazhsky to go to them. Before the elections
Sviazhsky, who often visited Vozdvizhenskoe, drove over to fetch
Vronsky. On the day before there had been almost a quarrel
between Vronsky and Anna over this proposed expedition. It was
the very dullest autumn weather, which is so dreary in the
country, and so, preparing himself for a struggle, Vronsky, with
a hard and cold expression, informed Anna of his departure as he
had never spoken to her before. But, to his surprise, Anna
accepted the information with great composure, and merely asked
when he would be back. He looked intently at her, at a loss to
explain this composure. She smiled at his look. He knew that
way she had of withdrawing into herself, and knew that it only
happened when she had determined upon something without letting
him know her plans. He was afraid of this; but he was so anxious
to avoid a scene that he kept up appearances, and half sincerely
believed in what he longed to believe in--her reasonableness.
"I hope you won't be dull?"
"I hope not," said Anna. "I got a box of books yesterday from
Gautier's. No, I shan't be dull."
"She's trying to take that tone, and so much the better," he
thought, "or else it would be the same thing over and over
And he set off for the elections without appealing to her for a
candid explanation. It was the first time since the beginning of
their intimacy that he had parted from her without a full
explanation. From one point of view this troubled him, but on
the other side he felt that it was better so. "At first there
will be, as this time, something undefined kept back, and then
she will get used to it. I any case I can give up anything for
her, but not my masculine independence," he thought.
In September Levin moved to Moscow for Kitty's confinement. He
had spent a whole month in Moscow with nothing to do, when Sergey
Ivanovitch, who had property in the Kashinsky province, and took
great interest in the question of the approaching elections, made
ready to set off to the elections. He invited his brother, who
had a vote in the Seleznevsky district, to come with him. Levin
had, moreover, to transact in Kashin some extremely important
business relating to the wardship of land and to the receiving of
certain redemption money for his sister, who was abroad.
Levin still hesitated, but Kitty, who saw that he was bored in
Moscow, and urged him to go, on her own authority ordered him the
proper nobleman's uniform, costing seven pounds. And that seven
pounds paid for the uniform was the chief cause that finally
decided Levin to go. He went to Kashin....
Levin had been six days in Kashin, visiting the assembly each
day, and busily engaged about his sister's business, which still
dragged on. The district marshals of nobility were all occupied
with the elections, and it was impossible to get the simplest
thing done that depended upon the court of wardship. The other
matter, the payment of the sums due, was met too by difficulties.
After long negotiations over the legal details, the money was at
last ready to be paid; but the notary, a most obliging person,
could not hand over the order, because it must have the signature
of the president, and the president, though he had not given over
his duties to a deputy, was at the elections. All these worrying
negotiations, this endless going from place to place, and talking
with pleasant and excellent people, who quite saw the
unpleasantness of the petitioner's position, but were powerless
to assist him--all these efforts that yielded no result, led to a
feeling of misery in Levin akin to the mortifying helplessness
one experiences in dreams when one tries to use physical force.
He felt this frequently as he talked to his most good-natured
solicitor. This solicitor did, it seemed, everything possible,
and strained every nerve to get him out of his difficulties. "I
tell you what you might try," he said more than once; "go to
so-and-so and so-and-so," and the solicitor drew up a regular
plan for getting round the fatal point that hindered everything.
But he would add immediately, "It'll mean some delay, anyway, but
you might try it." And Levin did try, and did go. Everyone was
kind and civil, but the point evaded seemed to crop up again in
the end, and again to bar the way. What was particularly trying,
was that Levin could not make out with whom he was struggling, to
whose interest it was that his business should not be done. That
no one seemed to know; the solicitor certainly did not know. If
Levin could have understood why, just as he saw why one can only
approach the booking office of a railway station in single file,
it would not have been so vexatious and tiresome to him. But
with the hindrances that confronted him in his business, no one
could explain why they existed.
But Levin had changed a good deal since his marriage; he was
patient, and if he could not see why it was all arranged like
this, he told himself that he could not judge without knowing all
about it, and that most likely it must be so, and he tried not to
In attending the elections, too, and taking part in them, he
tried now not to judge, not to fall foul of them, but to
comprehend as fully as he could the question which was so
earnestly and ardently absorbing honest and excellent men whom he
respected. Since his marriage there had been revealed to Levin
so many new and serious aspects of life that had previously,
through his frivolous attitude to them, seemed of no importance,
that in the question of the elections too he assumed and tried to
find some serious significance.
Sergey Ivanovitch explained to him the meaning and object of the
proposed revolution at the elections. The marshal of the
province in whose hands the law had placed the control of so many
important public functions--the guardianship of wards (the very
department which was giving Levin so much trouble just now), the
disposal of large sums subscribed by the nobility of the
province, the high schools, female, male, and military, and
popular instruction on the new model, and finally, the district
council--the marshal of the province, Snetkov, was a nobleman of
the old school,--dissipating an immense fortune, a good-hearted
man, honest after his own fashion, but utterly without any
comprehension of the needs of modern days. He always took, in
every question, the side of the nobility; he was positively
antagonistic to the spread of popular education, and he succeeded
in giving a purely party character to the district council which
ought by rights to be of such an immense importance. What was
needed was to put in his place a fresh, capable, perfectly modern
man, of contemporary ideas, and to frame their policy so as from
the rights conferred upon the nobles, not as the nobility, but as
an element of the district council, to extract all the powers of
self-government that could possibly be derived from them. In the
wealthy Kashinsky province, which always took the lead of other
provinces in everything, there was now such a preponderance of
forces that this policy, once carried through properly there,
might serve as a model for other provinces for all Russia. And
hence the whole question was of the greatest importance. It was
proposed to elect as marshal in place of Snetkov either
Sviazhsky, or, better still, Nevyedovsky, a former university
professor, a man of remarkable intelligence and a great friend of
The meeting was opened by the governor, who made a speech to the
nobles, urging them to elect the public functionaries, not from
regard for persons, but for the service and welfare of their
fatherland, and hoping that the honorable nobility of the
Kashinsky province would, as at all former elections, hold their
duty as sacred, and vindicate the exalted confidence of the
When he had finished with his speech, the governor walked out of
the hall, and the noblemen noisily and eagerly--some even
enthusiastically--followed him and thronged round him while he
put on his fur coat and conversed amicably with the marshal of
the province. Levin, anxious to see into everything and not to
miss anything, stood there too in the crowd, and heard the
governor say: "Please tell Marya Ivanovna my wife is very sorry
she couldn't come to the Home." And thereupon the nobles in high
good-humor sorted out their fur coats and all drove off to the
In the cathedral Levin, lifting his hand like the rest and
repeating the words of the archdeacon, swore with most terrible
oaths to do all the governor had hoped they would do. Church
services always affected Levin, and as he uttered the words "I
kiss the cross," and glanced round at the crowd of young and old
men repeating the same, he felt touched.
On the second and third days there was business relating to the
finances of the nobility and the female high school, of no
importance whatever, as Sergey Ivanovitch explained, and Levin,
busy seeing after his own affairs, did not attend the meetings.
On the fourth day the auditing of the marshal's accounts took
place at the high table of the marshal of the province. And then
there occurred the first skirmish between the new party and the
old. The committee who had been deputed to verify the accounts
reported to the meeting that all was in order. The marshal of
the province got up, thanked the nobility for their confidence,
and shed tears. The nobles gave him a loud welcome, and shook
hands with him. But at that instant a nobleman of Sergey
Ivanovitch's party said that he had heard that the committee had
not verified the accounts, considering such a verification an
insult to the marshal of the province. One of the members of the
committee incautiously admitted this. Then a small gentleman,
very young-looking but very malignant, began to say that it would
probably be agreeable to the marshal of the province to give an
account of his expenditures of the public moneys, and that the
misplaced delicacy of the members of the committee was depriving
him of this moral satisfaction. Then the members of the
committee tried to withdraw their admission, and Sergey
Ivanovitch began to prove that they must logically admit either
that they had verified the accounts or that they had not, and he
developed this dilemma in detail. Sergey Ivanovitch was answered
by the spokesman of the opposite party. Then Sviazhsky spoke,
and then the malignant gentleman again. The discussion lasted a
long time and ended in nothing. Levin was surprised that they
should dispute upon this subject so long, especially as, when he
asked Sergey Ivanovitch whether he supposed that money had been
misappropriated, Sergey Ivanovitch answered:
"Oh, no! He's an honest man. But those old-fashioned methods of
paternal family arrangements in the management of provincial
affairs must be broken down."
On the fifth day came the elections of the district marshals. It
was rather a stormy day in several districts. In the Seleznevsky
district Sviazhsky was elected unanimously without a ballot, and
he gave a dinner that evening.
The sixth day was fixed for the election of the marshal of the
The rooms, large and small, were full of noblemen in all sorts of
uniforms. Many had come only for that day. Men who had not seen
each other for years, some from the Crimea, some from Petersburg,
some from abroad, met in the rooms of the Hall of Nobility.
There was much discussion around the governor's table under the
portrait of the Tsar.
The nobles, both in the larger and the smaller rooms, grouped
themselves in camps, and from their hostile and suspicious
glances, from the silence that fell upon them when outsiders
approached a group, and from the way that some, whispering
together, retreated to the farther corridor, it was evident that
each side had secrets from the other. In appearance the noblemen
were sharply divided into two classes: the old and the new. The
old were for the most part either in old uniforms of the
nobility, buttoned up closely, with spurs and hats, or in their
own special naval, cavalry, infantry, or official uniforms. The
uniforms of the older men were embroidered in the old-fashioned
way with epaulets on their shoulders; they were unmistakably
tight and short in the waist, as though their wearers had grown
out of them. The younger men wore the uniform of the nobility
with long waists and broad shoulders, unbuttoned over white
waistcoats, or uniforms with black collars and with the
embroidered badges of justices of the peace. To the younger men
belonged the court uniforms that here and there brightened up the
But the division into young and old did not correspond with the
division of parties. Some of the young men, as Levin observed,
belonged to the old party; and some of the very oldest noblemen,
on the contrary, were whispering with Sviazhsky, and were
evidently ardent partisans of the new party.
Levin stood in the smaller room, where they were smoking and
taking light refreshments, close to his own friends, and
listening to what they were saying, he conscientiously exerted
all his intelligence trying to understand what was said. Sergey
Ivanovitch was the center round which the others grouped
themselves. He was listening at that moment to Sviazhsky and
Hliustov, the marshal of another district, who belonged to their
party. Hliustov would not agree to go with his district to ask
Snetkov to stand, while Sviazhsky was persuading him to do so,
and Sergey Ivanovitch was approving of the plan. Levin could not
make out why the opposition was to ask the marshal to stand whom
they wanted to supersede.
Stepan Arkadyevitch, who had just been drinking and taking some
lunch, came up to them in his uniform of a gentleman of the
bedchamber, wiping his lips with a perfumed handkerchief of
"We are placing our forces," he said, pulling out his whiskers,
And listening to the conversation, he supported Sviazhsky's
"One district's enough, and Sviazhsky's obviously of the
opposition," he said, words evidently intelligible to all except
"Why, Kostya, you here too! I suppose you're converted, eh?" he
added, turning to Levin and drawing his arm through his. Levin
would have been glad indeed to be converted, but could not make
out what the point was, and retreating a few steps from the
speakers, he explained to Stepan Arkadyevitch his inability to
understand why the marshal of the province should be asked to
"O sancta simplicitas!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, and briefly and
clearly he explained it to Levin. If, as at previous elections,
all the districts asked the marshal of the province to stand,
then he would be elected without a ballot. That must not be.
Now eight districts had agreed to call upon him: if two refused
to do so, Snetkov might decline to stand at all; and then the old
party might choose another of their party, which would throw them
completely out in their reckoning. But if only one district,
Sviazhsky's, did not call upon him to stand, Snetkov would let
himself be balloted for. They were even, some of them, going to
vote for him, and purposely to let him get a good many votes, so
that the enemy might be thrown off the scent, and when a
candidate of the other side was put up, they too might give him
some votes. Levin understood to some extent, but not fully, and
would have put a few more questions, when suddenly everyone
began talking and making a noise and they moved towards the big
"What is it? eh? whom?" "No guarantee? whose? what?" "They won't
pass him?" "No guarantee?" "They won't let Flerov in?" "Eh,
because of the charge against him?" "Why, at this rate, they
won't admit anyone. It's a swindle!" "The law!" Levin heard
exclamations on all sides, and he moved into the big room
together with the others, all hurrying somewhere and afraid of
missing something. Squeezed by the crowding noblemen, he drew
near the high table where the marshal of the province, Sviazhsky,
and the other leaders were hotly disputing about something.
Levin was standing rather far off. A nobleman breathing heavily
and hoarsely at his side, and another whose thick boots were
creaking, prevented him from hearing distinctly. He could only
hear the soft voice of the marshal faintly, then the shrill voice
of the malignant gentleman, and then the voice of Sviazhsky.
They were disputing, as far as he could make out, as to the
interpretation to be put on the act and the exact meaning of the
words: "liable to be called up for trial."
The crowd parted to make way for Sergey Ivanovitch approaching
the table. Sergey Ivanovitch, waiting till the malignant
gentleman had finished speaking, said that he thought the best
solution would be to refer to the act itself, and asked the
secretary to find the act. The act said that in case of
difference of opinion, there must be a ballot.
Sergey Ivanovitch read the act and began to explain its meaning,
but at that point a tall, stout, round-shouldered landowner, with
dyed whiskers, in a tight uniform that cut the back of his neck,
interrupted him. He went up to the table, and striking it with
his finger ring, he shouted loudly: "A ballot! Put it to the
vote! No need for more talking!" Then several voices began to
talk all at once, and the tall nobleman with the ring, getting
more and more exasperated, shouted more and more loudly. But it
was impossible to make out what he said.
He was shouting for the very course Sergey Ivanovitch had
proposed; but it was evident that he hated him and all his party,
and this feeling of hatred spread through the whole party and
roused in opposition to it the same vindictiveness, though in a
more seemly form, on the other side. Shouts were raised, and for
a moment all was confusion, so that the marshal of the province
had to call for order.
"A ballot! A ballot! Every nobleman sees it! We shed our blood
for our country!... The confidence of the monarch.... No
checking the accounts of the marshal; he's not a cashier.... But
that's not the point.... Votes, please! Beastly!..." shouted
furious and violent voices on all sides. Looks and faces were
even more violent and furious than their words. They expressed
the most implacable hatred. Levin did not in the least
understand what was the matter, and he marveled at the passion
with which it was disputed whether or not the decision about
Flerov should be put to the vote. He forgot, as Sergey
Ivanovitch explained to him afterwards, this syllogism: that it
was necessary for the public good to get rid of the marshal of
the province; that to get rid of the marshal it was necessary to
have a majority of votes; that to get a majority of votes it was
necessary to secure Flerov's right to vote; that to secure the
recognition of Flerov's right to vote they must decide on the
interpretation to be put on the act.
"And one vote may decide the whole question and one must be
serious and consecutive, if one wants to be of use in public
life," concluded Sergey Ivanovitch. But Levin forgot all that,
and it was painful to him to see all these excellent persons, for
whom he had a respect, in such an unpleasant and vicious state of
excitement. To escape from this painful feeling he went away
into the other room where there was nobody except the waiters at
the refreshment bar. Seeing the waiters busy over washing up the
crockery and setting in order their plates and wine glasses,
seeing their calm and cheerful faces, Levin felt an unexpected
sense of relief as though he had come out of a stuffy room into
the fresh air. He began walking up and down, looking with
pleasure at the waiters. He particularly liked the way one
gray-whiskered waiter, who showed his scorn for the other younger
ones and was jeered at by them, was teaching them how to fold up
napkins properly. Levin was just about to enter into
conversation with the old waiter, when the secretary of the court
of wardship, a little old man whose specialty it was to know all
the noblemen of the province by name and patronymic, drew him
"Please come, Konstantin Dmitrievitch," he said, "your brother's
looking for you. They are voting on the legal point."
Levin walked into the room, received a white ball, and followed
his brother, Sergey Ivanovitch, to the table where Sviazhsky was
standing with a significant and ironical face, holding his beard
in his fist and sniffing at it. Sergey Ivanovitch put his hand
into the box, put the ball somewhere, and making room for Levin,
stopped. Levin advanced, but utterly forgetting what he was to
do, and much embarrassed, he turned to Sergey Ivanovitch with the
question, "Where am I to put it?" He asked this softly, at a
moment when there was talking going on near, so that he had hoped
his question would not be overheard. But the persons speaking
paused, and his improper question was overheard. Sergey
"That is a matter for each man's own decision," he said severely.
Several people smiled. Levin crimsoned, hurriedly thrust his
hand under the cloth, and put the ball to the right as it was in
his right hand. Having put it in, he recollected that he ought
to have thrust his left hand too, and so he thrust it in though
too late, and, still more overcome with confusion, he beat a
hasty retreat into the background.
"A hundred and twenty-six for admission! Ninety-eight against!"
sang out the voice of the secretary, who could not pronounce the
letter r. Then there was a laugh; a button and two nuts were
found in the box. The nobleman was allowed the right to vote,
and the new party had conquered.
But the old party did not consider themselves conquered. Levin
heard that they were asking Snetkov to stand, and he saw that a
crowd of noblemen was surrounding the marshal, who was saying
something. Levin went nearer. In reply Snetkov spoke of the
trust the noblemen of the province had placed in him, the
affection they had shown him, which he did not deserve, as his
only merit had been his attachment to the nobility, to whom he
had devoted twelve years of service. Several times he repeated
the words: "I have served to the best of my powers with truth and
good faith, I value your goodness and thank you," and suddenly he
stopped short from the tears that choked him, and went out of the
room. Whether these tears came from a sense of the injustice
being done him, from his love for the nobility, or from the
strain of the position he was placed in, feeling himself
surrounded by enemies, his emotion infected the assembly, the
majority were touched, and Levin felt a tenderness for Snetkov.
In the doorway the marshal of the province jostled against Levin.
"Beg pardon, excuse me, please," he said as to a stranger, but
recognizing Levin, he smiled timidly. It seemed to Levin that he
would have liked to say something, but could not speak for
emotion. His face and his whole figure in his uniform with the
crosses, and white trousers striped with braid, as he moved
hurriedly along, reminded Levin of some hunted beast who sees
that he is in evil case. This expression in the marshal's face
was particularly touching to Levin, because, only the day before,
he had been at his house about his trustee business and had seen
him in all his grandeur, a kind-hearted, fatherly man. The big
house with the old family furniture; the rather dirty, far from
stylish, but respectful footmen, unmistakably old house serfs who
had stuck to their master; the stout, good-natured wife in a cap
with lace and a Turkish shawl, petting her pretty grandchild, her
daughter's daughter; the young son, a sixth form high school boy,
coming home from school, and greeting his father, kissing his big
hand; the genuine, cordial words and gestures of the old man--all
this had the day before roused an instinctive feeling of respect
and sympathy in Levin. This old man was a touching and pathetic
figure to Levin now, and he longed to say something pleasant to
"So you're sure to be our marshal again," he said.
"It's not likely," said the marshal, looking round with a scared
expression. "I'm worn out, I'm old. If there are men younger
and more deserving than I, let them serve."
And the marshal disappeared through a side door.
The most solemn moment was at hand. They were to proceed
immediately to the election. The leaders of both parties were
reckoning white and black on their fingers.
The discussion upon Flerov had given the new party not only
Flerov's vote, but had also gained time for them, so that they
could send to fetch three noblemen who had been rendered unable
to take part in the elections by the wiles of the other party.
Two noble gentlemen, who had a weakness for strong drink, had
been made drunk by the partisans of Snetkov, and a third had been
robbed of his uniform.
On learning this, the new party had made haste, during the
dispute about Flerov, to send some of their men in a sledge to
clothe the stripped gentleman, and to bring along one of the
intoxicated to the meeting.
"I've brought one, drenched him with water," said the landowner,
who had gone on this errand, to Sviazhsky. "He's all right?
"Not too drunk, he won't fall down?" said Sviazhsky, shaking his
"No, he's first-rate. If only they don't give him any more
here.... I've told the waiter not to give him anything on any
The narrow room, in which they were smoking and taking refreshments,
was full of noblemen. The excitement grew more intense,
and every face betrayed some uneasiness. The excitement was
specially keen for the leaders of each party, who knew every
detail, and had reckoned up every vote. They were the generals
organizing the approaching battle. The rest, like the rank and
file before an engagement, though they were getting ready for the
fight, sought for other distractions in the interval. Some were
lunching, standing at the bar, or sitting at the table; others
were walking up and down the long room, smoking cigarettes, and
talking with friends whom they had not seen for a long while.
Levin did not care to eat, and he was not smoking; he did not
want to join his own friends, that is Sergey Ivanovitch, Stepan
Arkadyevitch, Sviazhsky and the rest, because Vronsky in his
equerry's uniform was standing with them in eager conversation.
Levin had seen him already at the meeting on the previous day,
and he had studiously avoided him, not caring to greet him. He
went to the window and sat down, scanning the groups, and
listening to what was being said around him. He felt depressed,
especially because everyone else was, as he saw, eager, anxious,
and interested, and he alone, with an old, toothless little man
with mumbling lips wearing a naval uniform, sitting beside him,
had no interest in it and nothing to do.
"He's such a blackguard! I have told him so, but it makes no
difference. Only think of it! He couldn't collect it in three
years!" he heard vigorously uttered by a round-shouldered, short,
country gentleman, who had pomaded hair hanging on his
embroidered collar, and new boots obviously put on for the
occasion, with heels that tapped energetically as he spoke.
Casting a displeased glance at Levin, this gentleman sharply
turned his back.
"Yes, it's a dirty business, there's no denying," a small
gentleman assented in a high voice.
Next, a whole crowd of country gentlemen, surrounding a stout
general, hurriedly came near Levin. These persons were
unmistakably seeking a place where they could talk without being
"How dare he say I had his breeches stolen! Pawned them for
drink, I expect. Damn the fellow, prince indeed! He'd better
not say it, the beast!"
"But excuse me! They take their stand on the act," was being
said in another group; "the wife must be registered as noble."
"Oh, damn your acts! I speak from my heart. We're all
gentlemen, aren't we? Above suspicion."
"Shall we go on, your excellency, fine champagne?"
Another group was following a nobleman, who was shouting
something in a loud voice; it was one of the three intoxicated
"I always advised Marya Semyonovna to let for a fair rent, for
she can never save a profit," he heard a pleasant voice say. The
speaker was a country gentleman with gray whiskers, wearing the
regimental uniform of an old general staff-officer. It was the
very landowner Levin had met at Sviazhsky's. He knew him at
once. The landowner too stared at Levin, and they exchanged
"Very glad to see you! To be sure! I remember you very well.
Last year at our district marshal, Nikolay Ivanovitch's."
"Well, and how is your land doing?" asked Levin.
"Oh, still just the same, always at a loss," the landowner
answered with a resigned smile, but with an expression of
serenity and conviction that so it must be. "And how do you come
to be in our province?" he asked. "Come to take part in our coup
d'etat?" he said, confidently pronouncing the French words with a
bad accent. "All Russia's here--gentlemen of the bedchamber,
and everything short of the ministry." He pointed to the
imposing figure of Stepan Arkadyevitch in white trousers and his
court uniform, walking by with a general.
"I ought to own that I don't very well understand the drift of
the provincial elections," said Levin.
The landowner looked at him.
"Why, what is there to understand? There's no meaning in it at
all. It's a decaying institution that goes on running only by
the force of inertia. Just look, the very uniforms tell you that
it's an assembly of justices of the peace, permanent members of
the court, and so on, but not of noblemen."
"Then why do you come?" asked Levin.
"From habit, nothing else. Then, too, one must keep up
connections. It's a moral obligation of a sort. And then, to
tell the truth, there's one's own interests. My son-in-law wants
to stand as a permanent member; they're not rich people, and he
must be brought forward. These gentlemen, now, what do they come
for?" he said, pointing to the malignant gentleman, who was
talking at the high table.
"That's the new generation of nobility."
"New it may be, but nobility it isn't. They're proprietors of a
sort, but we're the landowners. As noblemen, they're cutting
their own throats."
"But you say it's an institution that's served its time."
"That it may be, but still it ought to be treated a little more
respectfully. Snetkov, now...We may be of use, or we may not,
but we're the growth of a thousand years. If we're laying out a
garden, planning one before the house, you know, and there you've
a tree that's stood for centuries in the very spot.... Old and
gnarled it may be, and yet you don't cut down the old fellow to
make room for the flowerbeds, but lay out your beds so as to take
advantage of the tree. You won't grow him again in a year," he
said cautiously, and he immediately changed the conversation.
"Well, and how is your land doing?"
"Oh, not very well. I make five per cent."
"Yes, but you don't reckon your own work. Aren't you worth
something too? I'll tell you my own case. Before I took to
seeing after the land, I had a salary of three hundred pounds
from the service. Now I do more work than I did in the service,
and like you I get five per cent on the land, and thank God for
that. But one's work is thrown in for nothing."
"Then why do you do it, if it's a clear loss?"
"Oh, well, one does it! What would you have? It's habit, and
one knows it's how it should be. And what's more," the landowner
went on, leaning his elbows on the window and chatting on, "my
son, I must tell you, has no taste for it. There's no doubt
he'll be a scientific man. So there'll be no one to keep it up.
And yet one does it. Here this year I've planted an orchard."
"Yes, yes," said Levin, "that's perfectly true. I always feel
there's no real balance of gain in my work on the land, and yet
one does it.... It's a sort of duty one feels to the land."
"But I tell you what," the landowner pursued; "a neighbor of
mine, a merchant, was at my place. We walked about the fields
and the garden. 'No,' said he, 'Stepan Vassilievitch,
everything's well looked after, but your garden's neglected.'
But, as a fact, it's well kept up. 'To my thinking, I'd cut down
that lime-tree. Here you've thousands of limes, and each would
make two good bundles of bark. And nowadays that bark's worth
something. I'd cut down the lot.'"
"And with what he made he'd increase his stock, or buy some land
for a trifle, and let it out in lots to the peasants," Levin
added, smiling. He had evidently more than once come across
those commercial calculations. "And he'd make his fortune. But
you and I must thank God if we keep what we've got and leave it
to our children."
"You're married, I've heard?" said the landowner.
"Yes," Levin answered, with proud satisfaction. "Yes, it's
rather strange," he went on. "So we live without making
anything, as though we were ancient vestals set to keep in a
The landowner chuckled under his white mustaches.
"There are some among us, too, like our friend Nikolay
Ivanovitch, or Count Vronsky, that's settled here lately, who try
to carry on their husbandry as though it were a factory; but so
far it leads to nothing but making away with capital on it."
"But why is it we don't do like the merchants? Why don't we cut
down our parks for timber?" said Levin, returning to a thought
that had struck him.
"Why, as you said, to keep the fire in. Besides that's not work
for a nobleman. And our work as noblemen isn't done here at the
elections, but yonder, each in our corner. There's a class
instinct, too, of what one ought and oughtn't to do. There's the
peasants, too, I wonder at them sometimes; any good peasant tries
to take all the land he can. However bad the land is, he'll work
it. Without a return too. At a simple loss."
"Just as we do," said Levin. "Very, very glad to have met you,"
he added, seeing Sviazhsky approaching him.
"And here we've met for the first time since we met at your
place," said the landowner to Sviazhsky, "and we've had a good
"Well, have you been attacking the new order of things?" said
Sviazhsky with a smile.
"That we're bound to do."
"You've relieved your feelings?"
Sviazhsky took Levin's arm, and went with him to his own friends.
This time there was no avoiding Vronsky. He was standing with
Stepan Arkadyevitch and Sergey Ivanovitch, and looking straight
at Levin as he drew near.
"Delighted! I believe I've had the pleasure of meeting you...at
Princess Shtcherbatskaya's," he said, giving Levin his hand.
"Yes, I quite remember our meeting," said Levin, and blushing
crimson, he turned away immediately, and began talking to his
With a slight smile Vronsky went on talking to Sviazhsky,
obviously without the slightest inclination to enter into
conversation with Levin. But Levin, as he talked to his brother,
was continually looking round at Vronsky, trying to think of
something to say to him to gloss over his rudeness.
"What are we waiting for now?" asked Levin, looking at Sviazhsky
"For Snetkov. He has to refuse or to consent to stand," answered
"Well, and what has he done, consented or not?"
"That's the point, that he's done neither," said Vronsky.
"And if he refuses, who will stand then?" asked Levin, looking at
"Whoever chooses to," said Sviazhsky.
"Shall you?" asked Levin.
"Certainly not I," said Sviazhsky, looking confused, and turning
an alarmed glance at the malignant gentleman, who was standing
beside Sergey Ivanovitch.
"Who then? Nevyedovsky?" said Levin, feeling he was putting his
foot into it.
But this was worse still. Nevyedovsky and Sviazhsky were the two
"I certainly shall not, under any circumstances," answered the
This was Nevyedovsky himself. Sviazhsky introduced him to Levin.
"Well, you find it exciting too?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch,
winking at Vronsky. "It's something like a race. One might bet
"Yes, it is keenly exciting," said Vronsky. "And once taking the
thing up, one's eager to see it through. It's a fight!" he said,
scowling and setting his powerful jaws.
"What a capable fellow Sviazhsky is! Sees it all so clearly."
"Oh, yes!" Vronsky assented indifferently.
A silence followed, during which Vronsky--since he had to look at
something--looked at Levin, at his feet, at his uniform, then at
his face, and noticing his gloomy eyes fixed upon him, he said,
in order to say something:
"How is it that you, living constantly in the country, are not a
justice of the peace? You are not in the uniform of one."
"It's because I consider that the justice of the peace is a silly
institution," Levin answered gloomily. He had been all the time
looking for an opportunity to enter into conversation with
Vronsky, so as to smooth over his rudeness at their first
"I don't think so, quite the contrary," Vronsky said, with quiet
"It's a plaything," Levin cut him short. "We don't want justices
of the peace. I've never had a single thing to do with them
during eight years. And what I have had was decided wrongly by
them. The justice of the peace is over thirty miles from me.
For some matter of two roubles I should have to send a lawyer,
who costs me fifteen."
And he related how a peasant had stolen some flour from the
miller, and when the miller told him of it, had lodged a
complaint for slander. All this was utterly uncalled for and
stupid, and Levin felt it himself as he said it.
"Oh, this is such an original fellow!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch
with his most soothing, almond-oil smile. "But come along; I
think they're voting...."
And they separated.
"I can't understand," said Sergey Ivanovitch, who had observed
his brother's clumsiness, "I can't understand how anyone can be
so absolutely devoid of political tact. That's where we Russians
are so deficient. The marshal of the province is our opponent,
and with him you're ami cochon, and you beg him to stand. Count
Vronsky, now ...I'm not making a friend of him; he's asked me
to dinner, and I'm not going; but he's one of our side--why make
an enemy of him? Then you ask Nevyedovsky if he's going to
stand. That's not a thing to do."
"Oh, I don't understand it at all! And it's all such nonsense,"
Levin answered gloomily.
"You say it's all such nonsense, but as soon as you have anything
to do with it, you make a muddle."
Levin did not answer, and they walked together into the big room.
The marshal of the province, though he was vaguely conscious in
the air of some trap being prepared for him, and though he had
not been called upon by all to stand, had still made up his mind
to stand. All was silence in the room. The secretary announced
in a loud voice that the captain of the guards, Mihail
Stepanovitch Snetkov, would now be balloted for as marshal of the
The district marshals walked carrying plates, on which were
balls, from their tables to the high table, and the election
"Put it in the right side," whispered Stepan Arkadyevitch, as
with his brother Levin followed the marshal of his district to
the table. But Levin had forgotten by now the calculations that
had been explained to him, and was afraid Stepan Arkadyevitch
might be mistaken in saying "the right side." Surely Snetkov was
the enemy. As he went up, he held the ball in his right hand,
but thinking he was wrong, just at the box he changed to the left
hand, and undoubtedly put the ball to the left. An adept in the
business, standing at the box and seeing by the mere action of
the elbow where each put his ball, scowled with annoyance. It
was no good for him to use his insight.
Everything was still, and the counting of the balls was heard.
Then a single voice rose and proclaimed the numbers for and
against. The marshal had been voted for by a considerable
majority. All was noise and eager movement towards the doors.
Snetkov came in, and the nobles thronged round him,
"Well, now is it over?" Levin asked Sergey Ivanovitch.
"It's only just beginning," Sviazhsky said, replying for Sergey
Ivanovitch with a smile. "Some other candidate may receive more
votes than the marshal."
Levin had quite forgotten about that. Now he could only remember
that there was some sort of trickery in it, but he was too bored
to think what it was exactly. He felt depressed, and longed to
get out of the crowd.
As no one was paying any attention to him, and no one apparently
needed him, he quietly slipped away into the little room where
the refreshments were, and again had a great sense of comfort
when he saw the waiters. The little old waiter pressed him to
have something, and Levin agreed. After eating a cutlet with
beans and talking to the waiters of their former masters, Levin,
not wishing to go back to the hall, where it was all so
distasteful to him, proceeded to walk through the galleries. The
galleries were full of fashionably dressed ladies, leaning over
the balustrade and trying not to lose a single word of what was
being said below. With the ladies were sitting and standing
smart lawyers, high school teachers in spectacles, and officers.
Everywhere they were talking of the election, and of how worried
the marshal was, and how splendid the discussions had been. In
one group Levin heard his brother's praises. One lady was
telling a lawyer:
"How glad I am I heard Koznishev! It's worth losing one's
dinner. He's exquisite! So clear and distinct all of it!
There's not one of you in the law courts that speaks like that.
The only one is Meidel, and he's not so eloquent by a long way."
Finding a free place, Levin leaned over the balustrade and began
looking and listening.
All the noblemen were sitting railed off behind barriers
according to their districts. In the middle of the room stood a
man in a uniform, who shouted in a loud, high voice:
"As a candidate for the marshalship of the nobility of the
province we call upon staff-captain Yevgeney Ivanovitch Apuhtin!"
A dead silence followed, and then a weak old voice was heard:
"We call upon the privy councilor Pyotr Petrovitch Bol," the
voice began again.
"Declined!" a high boyish voice replied.
Again it began, and again "Declined." And so it went on for about
an hour. Levin, with his elbows on the balustrade, looked and
listened. At first he wondered and wanted to know what it meant;
then feeling sure that he could not make it out he began to be
bored. Then recalling all the excitement and vindictiveness he
had seen on all the faces, he felt sad; he made up his mind to
go, and went downstairs. As he passed through the entry to the
galleries he met a dejected high school boy walking up and down
with tired-looking eyes. On the stairs he met a couple--a lady
running quickly on her high heels and the jaunty deputy
"I told you you weren't late," the deputy prosecutor was saying
at the moment when Levin moved aside to let the lady pass.
Levin was on the stairs to the way out, and was just feeling in
his waistcoat pocket for the number of his overcoat, when the
secretary overtook him.
"This way, please, Konstantin Dmitrievitch; they are voting."
The candidate who was being voted on was Nevyedovsky, who had so
stoutly denied all idea of standing. Levin went up to the door
of the room; it was locked. The secretary knocked, the door
opened, and Levin was met by two red-faced gentlemen, who darted
"I can't stand any more of it," said one red-faced gentleman.
After them the face of the marshal of the province was poked out.
His face was dreadful-looking from exhaustion and dismay.
"I told you not to let any one out!" he cried to the doorkeeper.
"I let someone in, your excellency!"
"Mercy on us!" and with a heavy sigh the marshal of the province
walked with downcast head to the high table in the middle of the
room, his legs staggering in his white trousers.
Nevyedovsky had scored a higher majority, as they had planned,
and he was the new marshal of the province. Many people were
amused, many were pleased and happy, many were in ecstasies, many
were disgusted and unhappy. The former marshal of the province
was in a state of despair, which he could not conceal. When
Nevyedovsky went out of the room, the crowd thronged round him
and followed him enthusiastically, just as they had followed the
governor who had opened the meetings, and just as they had
followed Snetkov when he was elected.
The newly elected marshal and many of the successful party dined
that day with Vronsky.
Vronsky had come to the elections partly because he was bored in
the country and wanted to show Anna his right to independence,
and also to repay Sviazhsky by his support at the election for
all the trouble he had taken for Vronsky at the district council
election, but chiefly in order strictly to perform all those
duties of a nobleman and landowner which he had taken upon
himself. But he had not in the least expected that the election
would so interest him, so keenly excite him, and that he would be
so good at this kind of thing. He was quite a new man in the
circle of the nobility of the province, but his success was
unmistakable, and he was not wrong in supposing that he had
already obtained a certain influence. This influence was due to
his wealth and reputation, the capital house in the town lent him
by his old friend Shirkov, who had a post in the department of
finances and was director of a nourishing bank in Kashin; the
excellent cook Vronsky had brought from the country, and his
friendship with the governor, who was a schoolfellow of
Vronsky's--a schoolfellow he had patronized and protected indeed.
But what contributed more than all to his success was his direct,
equable manner with everyone, which very quickly made the
majority of the noblemen reverse the current opinion of his
supposed haughtiness. He was himself conscious that, except that
whimsical gentleman married to Kitty Shtcherbatskaya, who had a
propos de bottes poured out a stream of irrelevant absurdities
with such spiteful fury, every nobleman with whom he had made
acquaintance had become his adherent. He saw clearly, and other
people recognized it, too, that he had done a great deal to
secure the success of Nevyedovsky. And now at his own table,
celebrating Nevyedovsky's election, he was experiencing an
agreeable sense of triumph over the success of his candidate.
The election itself had so fascinated him that, if he could
succeed in getting married during the next three years, he began
to think of standing himself--much as after winning a race ridden
by a jockey, he had longed to ride a race himself.
Today he was celebrating the success of his jockey. Vronsky sat
at the head of the table, on his right hand sat the young
governor, a general of high rank. To all the rest he was the
chief man in the province, who had solemnly opened the elections
with his speech, and aroused a feeling of respect and even of awe
in many people, as Vronsky saw; to Vronsky he was little Katka
Maslov--that had been his nickname in the Pages' Corps--whom he
felt to be shy and tried to mettre a son aise. On the left hand
sat Nevyedovsky with his youthful, stubborn, and malignant face.
With him Vronsky was simple and deferential.
Sviazhsky took his failure very light-heartedly. It was indeed
no failure in his eyes, as he said himself, turning, glass in
hand, to Nevyedovsky; they could not have found a better
representative of the new movement, which the nobility ought to
follow. And so every honest person, as he said, was on the side
of today's success and was rejoicing over it.
Stepan Arkadyevitch was glad, too, that he was having a good
time, and that everyone was pleased. The episode of the
elections served as a good occasion for a capital dinner.
Sviazhsky comically imitated the tearful discourse of the
marshal, and observed, addressing Nevyedovsky, that his
excellency would have to select another more complicated method
of auditing the accounts than tears. Another nobleman jocosely
described how footmen in stockings had been ordered for the
marshal's ball, and how now they would have to be sent back
unless the new marshal would give a ball with footmen in
Continually during dinner they said of Nevyedovsky: "our
marshal," and "your excellency."
This was said with the same pleasure with which a bride is called
"Madame" and her husband's name. Nevyedovsky affected to be not
merely indifferent but scornful of this appellation, but it was
obvious that he was highly delighted, and had to keep a curb on
himself not to betray the triumph which was unsuitable to their
new liberal tone.
After dinner several telegrams were sent to people interested in
the result of the election. And Stepan Arkadyevitch, who was in
high good humor, sent Darya Alexandrovna a telegram: "Nevyedovsky
elected by twenty votes. Congratulations. Tell people." He
dictated it aloud, saying: "We must let them share our
rejoicing." Darya Alexandrovna, getting the message, simply
sighed over the rouble wasted on it, and understood that it was
an after-dinner affair. She knew Stiva had a weakness after
dining for faire jouer le telegraphe.
Everything, together with the excellent dinner and the wine, not
from Russian merchants, but imported direct from abroad, was
extremely dignified, simple, and enjoyable. The party--some
twenty--had been selected by Sviazhsky from among the more active
new liberals, all of the same way of thinking, who were at the
same time clever and well bred. They drank, also half in jest,
to the health of the new marshal of the province, of the
governor, of the bank director, and of "our amiable host."
Vronsky was satisfied. He had never expected to find so pleasant
a tone in the provinces.
Towards the end of dinner it was still more lively. The governor
asked Vronsky to come to a concert for the benefit of the
Servians which his wife, who was anxious to make his
acquaintance, had been getting up.
"There'll be a ball, and you'll see the belle of the province.
Worth seeing, really."
"Not in my line," Vronsky answered. He liked that English
phrase. But he smiled, and promised to come.
Before they rose from the table, when all of them were smoking,
Vronsky's valet went up to him with a letter on a tray.
"From Vozdvizhenskoe by special messenger," he said with a
"Astonishing! how like he is to the deputy prosecutor
Sventitsky," said one of the guests in French of the valet, while
Vronsky, frowning, read the letter.
The letter was from Anna. Before he read the letter, he knew its
contents. Expecting the elections to be over in five days, he
had promised to be back on Friday. Today was Saturday, and he
knew that the letter contained reproaches for not being back at
the time fixed. The letter he had sent the previous evening had
probably not reached her yet.
The letter was what he had expected, but the form of it was
unexpected, and particularly disagreeable to him. "Annie is very
ill, the doctor says it may be inflammation. I am losing my
head all alone. Princess Varvara is no help, but a hindrance. I
expected you the day before yesterday, and yesterday, and now I
am sending to find out where you are and what you are doing. I
wanted to come myself, but thought better of it, knowing you
would dislike it. Send some answer, that I may know what to
The child ill, yet she had thought of coming herself. Their
daughter ill, and this hostile tone.
The innocent festivities over the election, and this gloomy,
burdensome love to which he had to return struck Vronsky by their
contrast. But he had to go, and by the first train that night he
set off home.
Before Vronsky's departure for the elections, Anna had reflected
that the scenes constantly repeated between them each time he
left home, might only make him cold to her instead of attaching
him to her, and resolved to do all she could to control herself
so as to bear the parting with composure. But the cold, severe
glance with which he had looked at her when he came to tell her
he was going had wounded her, and before he had started her peace
of mind was destroyed.
In solitude afterwards, thinking over that glance which had
expressed his right to freedom, she came, as she always did, to
the same point--the sense of her own humiliation. "He has the
right to go away when and where he chooses. Not simply to go
away, but to leave me. He has every right, and I have none.
But knowing that, he ought not to do it. What has he done,
though?... He looked at me with a cold, severe expression. Of
course that is something indefinable, impalpable, but it has
never been so before, and that glance means a great deal," she
thought. "That glance shows the beginning of indifference."
And though she felt sure that a coldness was beginning, there was
nothing she could do, she could not in any way alter her
relations to him. Just as before, only by love and by charm
could she keep him. And so, just as before, only by occupation
in the day, by morphine at night, could she stifle the fearful
thought of what would be if he ceased to love her. It is true
there was still one means; not to keep him--for that she wanted
nothing more than his love--but to be nearer to him, to be in
such a position that he would not leave her. That means was
divorce and marriage. And she began to long for that, and made
up her mind to agree to it the first time he or Stiva approached
her on the subject.
Absorbed in such thoughts, she passed five days without him, the
five days that he was to be at the elections.
Walks, conversation with Princess Varvara, visits to the
hospital, and, most of all, reading--reading of one book after
another--filled up her time. But on the sixth day, when the
coachman came back without him, she felt that now she was utterly
incapable of stifling the thought of him and of what he was doing
there, just at that time her little girl was taken ill. Anna
began to look after her, but even that did not distract her mind,
especially as the illness was not serious. However hard she
tried, she could not love this little child, and to feign love
was beyond her powers. Towards the evening of that day, still
alone, Anna was in such a panic about him that she decided to
start for the town, but on second thoughts wrote him the
contradictory letter that Vronsky received, and without reading
it through, sent it off by a special messenger. The next morning
she received his letter and regretted her own. She dreaded a
repetition of the severe look he had flung at her at parting,
especially when he knew that the baby was not dangerously ill.
But still she was glad she had written to him. At this moment
Anna was positively admitting to herself that she was a burden to
him, that he would relinquish his freedom regretfully to return
to her, and in spite of that she was glad he was coming. Let him
weary of her, but he would be here with her, so that she would
see him, would know of every action he took.
She was sitting in the drawing room near a lamp, with a new
volume of Taine, and as she read, listening to the sound of the
wind outside, and every minute expecting the carriage to arrive.
Several times she had fancied she heard the sound of wheels, but
she had been mistaken. At last she heard not the sound of
wheels, but the coachman's shout and the dull rumble in the
covered entry. Even Princess Varvara, playing patience,
confirmed this, and Anna, flushing hotly, got up; but instead of
going down, as she had done twice before, she stood still. She
suddenly felt ashamed of her duplicity, but even more she dreaded
how he might meet her. All feeling of wounded pride had passed
now; she was only afraid of the expression of his displeasure.
She remembered that her child had been perfectly well again for
the last two days. She felt positively vexed with her for
getting better from the very moment her letter was sent off.
Then she thought of him, that he was here, all of him, with his
hands, his eyes. She heard his voice. And forgetting
everything, she ran joyfully to meet him.
"Well, how is Annie?" he said timidly from below, looking up to
Anna as she ran down to him.
He was sitting on a chair, and a footman was pulling off his warm
"Oh, she is better."
"And you?" he said, shaking himself.
She took his hand in both of hers, and drew it to her waist,
never taking her eyes off him.
"Well, I'm glad," he said, coldly scanning her, her hair, her
dress, which he knew she had put on for him. All was charming,
but how many times it had charmed him! And the stern, stony
expression that she so dreaded settled upon his face.
"Well, I'm glad. And are you well?" he said, wiping his damp
beard with his handkerchief and kissing her hand.
"Never mind," she thought, "only let him be here, and so long as
he's here he cannot, he dare not, cease to love me."
The evening was spent happily and gaily in the presence of
Princess Varvara, who complained to him that Anna had been taking
morphine in his absence.
"What am I to do? I couldn't sleep.... My thoughts prevented
me. When he's here I never take it--hardly ever."
He told her about the election, and Anna knew how by adroit
questions to bring him to what gave him most pleasure--his own
success. She told him of everything that interested him at home;
and all that she told him was of the most cheerful description.
But late in the evening, when they were alone, Anna, seeing that
she had regained complete possession of him, wanted to erase the
painful impression of the glance he had given her for her letter.
"Tell me frankly, you were vexed at getting my letter, and you
didn't believe me?"
As soon as she had said it, she felt that however warm his
feelings were to her, he had not forgiven her for that.
"Yes," he said, "the letter was so strange. First, Annie ill,
and then you thought of coming yourself."
"It was all the truth."
"Oh, I don't doubt it."
"Yes, you do doubt it. You are vexed, I see."
"Not for one moment. I'm only vexed, that's true, that you seem
somehow unwilling to admit that there are duties..."
"The duty of going to a concert..."
"But we won't talk about it," he said.
"Why not talk about it?" she said.
"I only meant to say that matters of real importance may turn up.
Now, for instance, I shall have to go to Moscow to arrange about
the house.... Oh, Anna, why are you so irritable? Don't you
know that I can't live without you?"
"If so," said Anna, her voice suddenly changing, "it means that
you are sick of this life.... Yes, you will come for a day and
go away, as men do..."
"Anna, that's cruel. I am ready to give up my whole life."
But she did not hear him.
"If you go to Moscow, I will go too. I will not stay here.
Either we must separate or else live together."
"Why, you know, that's my one desire. But for that..."
"We must get a divorce. I will write to him. I see I cannot go
on like this.... But I will come with you to Moscow."
"You talk as if you were threatening me. But I desire nothing
so much as never to be parted from you," said Vronsky, smiling.
But as he said these words there gleamed in his eyes not merely a
cold look, but the vindictive look of a man persecuted and made
She saw the look and correctly divined its meaning.
"If so, it's a calamity!" that glance told her. It was a
moment's impression, but she never forgot it.
Anna wrote to her husband asking him about a divorce, and towards
the end of November, taking leave of Princess Varvara, who wanted
to go to Petersburg, she went with Vronsky to Moscow. Expecting
every day an answer from Alexey Alexandrovitch, and after that
the divorce, they now established themselves together like
The Levins had been three months in Moscow. The date had long
passed on which, according to the most trustworthy calculations
of people learned in such matters, Kitty should have been
confined. But she was still about, and there was nothing to show
that her time was any nearer than two months ago. The doctor,
the monthly nurse, and Dolly and her mother, and most of all
Levin, who could not think of the approaching event without
terror, began to be impatient and uneasy. Kitty was the only
person who felt perfectly calm and happy.
She was distinctly conscious now of the birth of a new feeling of
love for the future child, for her to some extent actually
existing already, and she brooded blissfully over this feeling.
He was not by now altogether a part of herself, but sometimes
lived his own life independently of her. Often this separate
being gave her pain, but at the same time she wanted to laugh
with a strange new joy.
All the people she loved were with her, and all were so good to
her, so attentively caring for her, so entirely pleasant was
everything presented to her, that if she had not known and felt
that it must all soon be over, she could not have wished for a
better and pleasanter life. The only thing that spoiled the
charm of this manner of life was that her husband was not here as
she loved him to be, and as he was in the country.
She liked his serene, friendly, and hospitable manner in the
country. In the town he seemed continually uneasy and on his
guard, as though he were afraid someone would be rude to him, and
still more to her. At home in the country, knowing himself
distinctly to be in his right place, he was never in haste to be
off elsewhere. He was never unoccupied. Here in town he was in
a continual hurry, as though afraid of missing something, and yet
he had nothing to do. And she felt sorry for him. To others,
she knew, he did not appear an object of pity. On the contrary,
when Kitty looked at him in society, as one sometimes looks at
those one loves, trying to see him as if he were a stranger, so
as to catch the impression he must make on others, she saw with a
panic even of jealous fear that he was far indeed from being a
pitiable figure, that he was very attractive with his fine
breeding, his rather old-fashioned, reserved courtesy with women,
his powerful figure, and striking, as she thought, and expressive
face. But she saw him not from without, but from within; she saw
that here he was not himself; that was the only way she could
define his condition to herself. Sometimes she inwardly
reproached him for his inability to live in the town; sometimes
she recognized that it was really hard for him to order his life
here so that he could be satisfied with.
What had he to do, indeed? He did not care for cards; he did not
go to a club. Spending the time with jovial gentlemen of
Oblonsky's type--she knew now what that meant...it meant drinking
and going somewhere after drinking. She could not think without
horror of where men went on such occasions. Was he to go into
society? But she knew he could only find satisfaction in that if
he took pleasure in the society of young women, and that she
could not wish for. Should he stay at home with her, her mother
and her sisters? But much as she liked and enjoyed their
conversations forever on the same subjects--"Aline-Nadine," as
the old prince called the sisters' talks--she knew it must bore
him. What was there left for him to do? To go on writing at his
book he had indeed attempted, and at first he used to go to the
library and make extracts and look up references for his book.
But, as he told her, the more he did nothing, the less time he
had to do anything. And besides, he complained that he had
talked too much about his book here, and that consequently all
his ideas about it were muddled and had lost their interest for
One advantage in this town life was that quarrels hardly ever
happened between them here in town. Whether it was that their
conditions were different, or that they had both become more
careful and sensible in that respect, they had no quarrels in
Moscow from jealousy, which they had so dreaded when they moved
from the country.
One event, an event of great importance to both from that point
of view, did indeed happen--that was Kitty's meeting with
The old Princess Marya Borissovna, Kitty's godmother, who had
always been very fond of her, had insisted on seeing her. Kitty,
though she did not go into society at all on account of her
condition, went with her father to see the venerable old lady,
and there met Vronsky.
The only thing Kitty could reproach herself for at this meeting
was that at the instant when she recognized in his civilian dress
the features once so familiar to her, her breath failed her, the
blood rushed to her heart, and a vivid blush--she felt it--
overspread her face. But this lasted only a few seconds. Before
her father, who purposely began talking in a loud voice to
Vronsky, had finished, she was perfectly ready to look at
Vronsky, to speak to him, if necessary, exactly as she spoke to
Princess Marya Borissovna, and more than that, to do so in such a
way that everything to the faintest intonation and smile would
have been approved by her husband, whose unseen presence she
seemed to feel about her at that instant.
She said a few words to him, even smiled serenely at his joke
about the elections, which he called "our parliament." (She had
to smile to show she saw the joke.) But she turned away
immediately to Princess Marya Borissovna, and did not once glance
at him till he got up to go; then she looked at him, but
evidently only because it would be uncivil not to look at a man
when he is saying good-bye.
She was grateful to her father for saying nothing to her about
their meeting Vronsky, but she saw by his special warmth to her
after the visit during their usual walk that he was pleased with
her. She was pleased with herself. She had not expected she
would have had the power, while keeping somewhere in the bottom
of her heart all the memories of her old feeling for Vronsky, not
only to seem but to be perfectly indifferent and composed with
Levin flushed a great deal more than she when she told him she
had met Vronsky at Princess Marya Borissovna's. It was very hard
for her to tell him this, but still harder to go on speaking of
the details of the meeting, as he did not question her, but
simply gazed at her with a frown.
"I am very sorry you weren't there," she said. "Not that you
weren't in the room...I couldn't have been so natural in your
presence...I am blushing now much more, much, much more," she
said, blushing till the tears came into her eyes. "But that you
couldn't see through a crack."
The truthful eyes told Levin that she was satisfied with herself,
and in spite of her blushing he was quickly reassured and began
questioning her, which was all she wanted. When he had heard
everything, even to the detail that for the first second she
could not help flushing, but that afterwards she was just as
direct and as much at her ease as with any chance acquaintance,
Levin was quite happy again and said he was glad of it, and would
not now behave as stupidly as he had done at the election, but
would try the first time he met Vronsky to be as friendly as
"It's so wretched to feel that there's a man almost an enemy whom
it's painful to meet," said Levin. "I'm very, very glad."
"Go, please, go then and call on the Bols," Kitty said to her
husband, when he came in to see her at eleven o'clock before
going out. "I know you are dining at the club; papa put down
your name. But what are you going to do in the morning?"
"I am only going to Katavasov," answered Levin.
"Why so early?"
"He promised to introduce me to Metrov. I wanted to talk to him
about my work. He's a distinguished scientific man from
Petersburg," said Levin.
"Yes; wasn't it his article you were praising so? Well, and
after that?" said Kitty.
"I shall go to the court, perhaps, about my sister's business."
"And the concert?" she queried.
"I shan't go there all alone."
"No? do go; there are going to be some new things.... That
interested you so. I should certainly go."
"Well, anyway, I shall come home before dinner," he said, looking
at his watch.
"Put on your frock coat, so that you can go straight to call on
"But is it absolutely necessary?"
"Oh, absolutely! He has been to see us. Come, what is it? You
go in, sit down, talk for five minutes of the weather, get up and
"Oh, you wouldn't believe it! I've got so out of the way of all
this that it makes me feel positively ashamed. It's such a
horrible thing to do! A complete outsider walks in, sits down,
stays on with nothing to do, wastes their time and worries
himself, and walks away!"
"Why, I suppose you used to pay calls before you were married,
"Yes, I did, but I always felt ashamed, and now I'm so out of the
way of it that, by Jove! I'd sooner go two days running without
my dinner than pay this call! One's so ashamed! I feel all the
while that they're annoyed, that they're saying, 'What has he
"No, they won't. I'll answer for that," said Kitty, looking into
his face with a laugh. She took his hand. "Well, good-bye....
Do go, please."
He was just going out after kissing his wife's hand, when she
"Kostya, do you know I've only fifty roubles left?"
"Oh, all right, I'll go to the bank and get some. How much?" he
said, with the expression of dissatisfaction she knew so well.
"No, wait a minute." She held his hand. "Let's talk about it,
it worries me. I seem to spend nothing unnecessary, but money
seems to fly away simply. We don't manage well, somehow."
"Oh, it's all right," he said with a little cough, looking at her
from under his brows.
That cough she knew well. It was a sign of intense
dissatisfaction, not with her, but with himself. He certainly
was displeased not at so much money being spent, but at being
reminded of what he, knowing something was unsatisfactory, wanted
"I have told Sokolov to sell the wheat, and to borrow an advance
on the mill. We shall have money enough in any case."
"Yes, but I'm afraid that altogether..."
"Oh, it's all right, all right," he repeated. "Well, good-bye,
"No, I'm really sorry sometimes that I listened to mamma. How
nice it would have been in the country! As it is, I'm worrying
you all, and we're wasting our money."
"Not at all, not at all. Not once since I've been married have
I said that things could have been better than they are...."
"Truly?" she said, looking into his eyes.
He had said it without thinking, simply to console her. But when
he glanced at her and saw those sweet truthful eyes fastened
questioningly on him, he repeated it with his whole heart. "I
was positively forgetting her," he thought. And he remembered
what was before them, so soon to come.
"Will it be soon? How do you feel?" he whispered, taking her two
"I have so often thought so, that now I don't think about it or
know anything about it."
"And you're not frightened?"
She smiled contemptuously.
"Not the least little bit," she said.
"Well, if anything happens, I shall be at Katavasov's."
"No, nothing will happen, and don't think about it. I'm going
for a walk on the boulevard with papa. We're going to see Dolly.
I shall expect you before dinner. Oh, yes! Do you know that
Dolly's position is becoming utterly impossible? She's in debt
all round; she hasn't a penny. We were talking yesterday with
mamma and Arseny" (this was her sister's husband Lvov), "and we
determined to send you with him to talk to Stiva. It's really
unbearable. One can't speak to papa about it.... But if you and
"Why, what can we do?" said Levin.
"You'll be at Arseny's, anyway; talk to him, he will tell what we
"Oh, I agree to everything Arseny thinks beforehand. I'll go and
see him. By the way, if I do go to the concert, I'll go with
Natalia. Well, good-bye."
On the steps Levin was stopped by his old servant Kouzma, who had
been with him before his marriage, and now looked after their
household in town.
"Beauty" (that was the left shaft-horse brought up from the
country) "has been badly shod and is quite lame," he said. "What
does your honor wish to be done?"
During the first part of their stay in Moscow, Levin had used his
own horses brought up from the country. He had tried to arrange
this part of their expenses in the best and cheapest way
possible; but it appeared that their own horses came dearer than
hired horses, and they still hired too.
"Send for the veterinary, there may be a bruise."
"And for Katerina Alexandrovna?" asked Konzma.
Levin was not by now struck as he had been at first by the fact
that to get from one end of Moscow to the other he had to have
two powerful horses put into a heavy carriage, to take the
carriage three miles through the snowy slush and to keep it
standing there four hours, paying five roubles every time.
Now it seemed quite natural.
"Hire a pair for our carriage from the jobmaster," said he.
And so, simply and easily, thanks to the facilities of town life,
Levin settled a question which, in the country, would have called
for so much personal trouble and exertion, and going out onto the
steps, he called a sledge, sat down, and drove to Nikitsky. On
the way he thought no more of money, but mused on the
introduction that awaited him to the Petersburg savant, a writer
on sociology, and what he would say to him about his book.
Only during the first days of his stay in Moscow Levin had been
struck by the expenditure, strange to one living in the country,
unproductive but inevitable, that was expected of him on every
side. But by now he had grown used to it. That had happened to
him in this matter which is said to happen to drunkards--the
first glass sticks in the throat, the second flies down like a
hawk, but after the third they're like tiny little birds. When
Levin had changed his first hundred-rouble note to pay for
liveries for his footmen and hall-porter he could not help
reflecting that these liveries were of no use to anyone--but
they were indubitably necessary, to judge by the amazement of the
princess and Kitty when he suggested that they might do without
liveries,--that these liveries would cost the wages of two
laborers for the summer, that is, would pay for about three
hundred working days from Easter to Ash Wednesday, and each a day
of hard work from early morning to late evening--and that
hundred-rouble note did stick in his throat. But the next note,
changed to pay for providing a dinner for their relations, that
cost twenty-eight roubles, though it did excite in Levin the
reflection that twenty-eight roubles meant nine measures of oats,
which men would with groans and sweat have reaped and bound and
thrashed and winnowed and sifted and sown,--this next one he
parted with more easily. And now the notes he changed no longer
aroused such reflections, and they flew off like little birds.
Whether the labor devoted to obtaining the money corresponded to
the pleasure given by what was bought with it, was a
consideration he had long ago dismissed. His business
calculation that there divas a certain price below which he could
not sell certain grain was forgotten too. The rye, for the price
of which he had so long held out, had been sold for fifty kopecks
a measure cheaper than it had been fetching a month ago. Even
the consideration that with such an expenditure he could not go
on living for a year without debt, that even had no force. Only
one thing was essential: to have money in the bank, without
inquiring where it came from, so as to know that one had the
wherewithal to buy meat for tomorrow. And this condition had
hitherto been fulfilled; he had always had the money in the bank.
But now the money in the bank had gone, and he could not quite
tell where to get the next installment. And this it was which,
at the moment when Kitty had mentioned money, had disturbed him;
but he had no time to think about it. He drove off, thinking of
Katavasov and the meeting with Metrov that was before him.
Levin had on this visit to town seen a great deal of his old
friend at the university, Professor Katavasov, whom he had not
seen since his marriage. He liked in Katavasov the clearness and
simplicity of his conception of life. Levin thought that the
clearness of Katavasov's conception of life was due to the
poverty of his nature; Katavasov thought that the
disconnectedness of Levin's ideas was due to his lack of
intellectual discipline; but Levin enjoyed Katavasov's clearness,
and Katavasov enjoyed the abundance of Levin's untrained ideas,
and they liked to meet and to discuss.
Levin had read Katavasov some parts of his book, and he had liked
them. On the previous day Katavasov had met Levin at a public
lecture and told him that the celebrated Metrov, whose article
Levin had so much liked, was in Moscow, that he had been much
interested by what Katavasov had told him about Levin's work, and
that he was coming to see him tomorrow at eleven, and would be
very glad to make Levin's acquaintance.
"You're positively a reformed character, I'm glad to see," said
Katavasov, meeting Levin in the little drawing room. "I heard
the bell and thought: Impossible that it can be he at the exact
time!... Well, what do you say to the Montenegrins now? They're
a race of warriors."
"Why, what's happened?" asked Levin.
Katavasov in a few words told him the last piece of news from the
war, and going into his study, introduced Levin to a short,
thick-set man of pleasant appearance. This was Metrov. The
conversation touched for a brief space on politics and on how
recent events were looked at in the higher spheres in Petersburg.
Metrov repeated a saying that had reached him through a most
trustworthy source, reported as having been uttered on this
subject by the Tsar and one of the ministers. Katavasov had
heard also on excellent authority that the Tsar had said
something quite different. Levin tried to imagine circumstances
in which both sayings might have been uttered, and the
conversation on that topic dropped.
"Yes, here he's written almost a book on the natural conditions
of the laborer in relation to the land," said Katavasov; "I'm not
a specialist, but I, as a natural science man, was pleased at
his not taking mankind as something outside biological laws; but,
on the contrary, seeing his dependence on his surroundings, and
in that dependence seeking the laws of his development."
"That's very interesting," said Metrov.
"What I began precisely was to write a book on agriculture; but
studying the chief instrument of agriculture, the laborer," said
Levin, reddening, "I could not help coming to quite unexpected
And Levin began carefully, as it were, feeling his ground, to
expound his views. He knew Metrov had written an article against
the generally accepted theory of political economy, but to what
extent he could reckon on his sympathy with his own new views he
did not know and could not guess from the clever and serene face
of the learned man.
"But in what do you see the special characteristics of the
Russian laborer?" said Metrov; "in his biological
characteristics, so to speak, or in the condition in which he is
Levin saw that there was an idea underlying this question with
which he did not agree. But he went on explaining his own idea
that the Russian laborer has a quite special view of the land,
different from that of other people; and to support this
proposition he made haste to add that in his opinion this
attitude of the Russian peasant was due to the consciousness of
his vocation to people vast unoccupied expanses in the East.
"One may easily be led into error in basing any conclusion on the
general vocation of a people," said Metrov, interrupting Levin.
"The condition of the laborer will always depend on his relation
to the land and to capital."
And without letting Levin finish explaining his idea, Metrov
began expounding to him the special point of his own theory.
In what the point of his theory lay, Levin did not understand,
because he did not take the trouble to understand. He saw that
Metrov, like other people, in spite of his own article, in which
he had attacked the current theory of political economy, looked
at the position of the Russian peasant simply from the point of
view of capital, wages, and rent. He would indeed have been
obliged to admit that in the eastern--much the larger--part of
Russia rent was as yet nil, that for nine-tenths of the eighty
millions of the Russian peasants wages took the form simply of
food provided for themselves, and that capital does not so far
exist except in the form of the most primitive tools. Yet it was
only from that point of view that he considered every laborer,
though in many points he differed from the economists and had his
own theory of the wage-fund, which he expounded to Levin.
Levin listened reluctantly, and at first made objections. He
would have liked to interrupt Metrov, to explain his own thought,
which in his opinion would have rendered further exposition of
Metrov's theories superfluous. But later on, feeling convinced
that they looked at the matter so differently, that they could
never understand one another, he did not even oppose his
statements, but simply listened. Although what Metrov was saying
was by now utterly devoid of interest for him, he yet experienced
a certain satisfaction in listening to him. It flattered his
vanity that such a learned man should explain his ideas to him so
eagerly, with such intensity and confidence in Levin's
understanding of the subject, sometimes with a mere hint
referring him to a whole aspect of the subject. He put this down
to his own credit, unaware that Metrov, who had already discussed
his theory over and over again with all his intimate friends,
talked of it with special eagerness to every new person, and in
general was eager to talk to anyone of any subject that
interested him, even if still obscure to himself.
"We are late though," said Katavasov, looking at his watch
directly Metrov had finished his discourse.
"Yes, there's a meeting of the Society of Amateurs today in
commemoration of the jubilee of Svintitch," said Katavasov in
answer to Levin's inquiry. "Pyotr Ivanovitch and I were going.
I've promised to deliver an address on his labors in zoology.
Come along with us, it's very interesting."
"Yes, and indeed it's time to start," said Metrov. "Come with
us, and from there, if you care to, come to my place. I should
very much like to hear your work."
"Oh, no! It's no good yet, it's unfinished. But I shall be very