Part 19 out of 22
glad to go to the meeting."
"I say, friends, have you heard? He has handed in the separate
report," Katavasov called from the other room, where he was
putting on his frock coat.
And a conversation sprang up upon the university question, which
was a very important event that winter in Moscow. Three old
professors in the council had not accepted the opinion of the
younger professors. The young ones had registered a separate
resolution. This, in the judgment of some people, was monstrous,
in the judgment of others it was the simplest and most just thing
to do, and the professors were split up into two parties.
One party, to which Katavasov belonged, saw in the opposite party
a scoundrelly betrayal and treachery, while the opposite party
saw in them childishness and lack of respect for the authorities.
Levin, though he did not belong to the university, had several
times already during his stay in Moscow heard and talked about
this matter, and had his own opinion on the subject. He took
part in the conversation that was continued in the street, as
they all three walked to the buildings of the old university.
The meeting had already begun. Round the cloth-covered table, at
which Katavasov and Metrov seated themselves, there were some
half-dozen persons, and one of these was bending close over a
manuscript, reading something aloud. Levin sat down in one of
the empty chairs that were standing round the table, and in a
whisper asked a student sitting near what was being read. The
student, eyeing Levin with displeasure, said:
Though Levin was not interested in the biography, he could not
help listening, and learned some new and interesting facts about
the life of the distinguished man of science.
When the reader had finished, the chairman thanked him and read
some verses of the poet Ment sent him on the jubilee, and said a
few words by way of thanks to the poet. Then Katavasov in his
loud, ringing voice read his address on the scientific labors of
the man whose jubilee was being kept.
When Katavasov had finished, Levin looked at his watch, saw it
was past one, and thought that there would not be time before the
concert to read Metrov his book, and indeed, he did not now care
to do so. During the reading he had thought over their
conversation. He saw distinctly now that though Metrov's ideas
might perhaps have value, his own ideas had a value too, and
their ideas could only be made clear and lead to something if
each worked separately in his chosen path, and that nothing would
be gained by putting their ideas together. And having made up
his mind to refuse Metrov's invitation, Levin went up to him at
the end of the meeting. Metrov introduced Levin to the chairman,
with whom he was talking of the political news. Metrov told the
chairman what he had already told Levin, and Levin made the same
remarks on his news that he had already made that morning, but
for the sake of variety he expressed also a new opinion which had
only just struck him. After that the conversation turned again
on the university question. As Levin had already heard it all,
he made haste to tell Metrov that he was sorry he could not take
advantage of his invitation, took leave, and drove to Lvov's.
Lvov, the husband of Natalia, Kitty's sister, had spent all his
life in foreign capitals, where he had been educated, and had
been in the diplomatic service.
During the previous year he had left the diplomatic service, not
owing to any "unpleasantness" (he never had any "unpleasantness"
with anyone), and was transferred to the department of the court
of the palace in Moscow, in order to give his two boys the best
In spite of the striking contrast in their habits and views and
the fact that Lvov was older than Levin, they had seen a great
deal of one another that winter, and had taken a great liking to
Lvov was at home, and Levin went in to him unannounced.
Lvov, in a house coat with a belt and in chamois leather shoes,
was sitting in an armchair, and with a pince-nez with blue
glasses he was reading a book that stood on a reading desk, while
in his beautiful hand he held a half-burned cigarette daintily
away from him.
His handsome, delicate, and still youthful-looking face, to which
his curly, glistening silvery hair gave a still more aristocratic
air, lighted up with a smile when he saw Levin.
"Capital! I was meaning to send to you. How's Kitty? Sit here,
it's more comfortable." He got up and pushed up a rocking chair.
"Have you read the last circular in the Journal de St.
Petersbourg? I think it's excellent," he said with a slight
Levin told him what he had heard from Katavasov was being said in
Petersburg, and after talking a little about politics, he told
him of his interview with Metrov, and the learned society's
meeting. To Lvov it was very interesting.
"That's what I envy you, that you are able to mix in these
interesting scientific circles," he said. And as he talked, he
passed as usual into French, which was easier to him. "It's true
I haven't the time for it. My official work and the children
leave me no time; and then I'm not ashamed to own that my
education has been too defective."
"That I don't believe," said Levin with a smile, feeling, as he
always did, touched at Lvov's low opinion of himself, which was
not in the least put on from a desire to seem or to be modest,
but was absolutely sincere.
"Oh, yes, indeed! I feel now how badly educated I am. To
educate my children I positively have to look up a great deal,
and in fact simply to study myself. For it's not enough to have
teachers, there must be someone to look after them, just as on
your land you want laborers and an overseer. See what I'm
reading"--he pointed to Buslaev's Grammar on the desk--"it's
expected of Misha, and it's so difficult.... Come, explain to
me.... Here he says..."
Levin tried to explain to him that it couldn't be understood, but
that it had to be taught; but Lvov would not agree with him.
"Oh, you're laughing at it!"
"On the contrary, you can't imagine how, when I look at you, I'm
always learning the task that lies before me, that is the
education of one's children."
"Well, there's nothing for you to learn," said Lvov.
"All I know," said Levin, "is that I have never seen better
brought-up children than yours, and I wouldn't wish for children
better than yours."
Lvov visibly tried to restrain the expression of his delight, but
he was positively radiant with smiles.
"If only they're better than I! That's all I desire. You don't
know yet all the work," he said, "with boys who've been left like
mine to run wild abroad."
"You'll catch all that up. They're such clever children. The
great thing is the education of character. That's what I learn
when I look at your children."
"You talk of the education of character. You can't imagine how
difficult that is! You have hardly succeeded in combating one
tendency when others crop up, and the struggle begins again. If
one had not a support in religion--you remember we talked about
that--no father could bring children up relying on his own
strength alone without that help."
This subject, which always interested Levin, was cut short by the
entrance of the beauty Natalia Alexandrovna, dressed to go out.
"I didn't know you were here," she said, unmistakably feeling no
regret, but a positive pleasure, in interrupting this
conversation on a topic she had heard so much of that she was by
now weary of it. "Well, how is Kitty? I am dining with you
today. I tell you what, Arseny," she turned to her husband, "you
take the carriage."
And the husband and wife began to discuss their arrangements for
the day. As the husband had to drive to meet someone on official
business, while the wife had to go to the concert and some public
meeting of a committee on the Eastern Question, there was a great
deal to consider and settle. Levin had to take part in their
plans as one of themselves. It was settled that Levin should go
with Natalia to the concert and the meeting, and that from there
they should send the carriage to the office for Arseny, and he
should call for her and take her to Kitty's; or that, if he had
not finished his work, he should send the carriage back and Levin
would go with her.
"He's spoiling me," Lvov said to his wife, "he assures me that
our children are splendid, when I know how much that's bad there
is in them."
"Arseny goes to extremes, I always say," said his wife. "If you
look for perfection, you will never be satisfied. And it's true,
as papa says,--that when we were brought up there was one
extreme--we were kept in the basement, while our parents lived in
the best rooms; now it's just the other way--the parents are in
the wash house, while the children are in the best rooms.
Parents now are not expected to live at all, but to exist
altogether for their children."
"Well, what if they like it better?" Lvov said, with his
beautiful smile, touching her hand. "Anyone who didn't know you
would think you were a stepmother, not a true mother."
"No, extremes are not good in anything," Natalia said serenely,
putting his paper knife straight in its proper place on the
"Well, come here, you perfect children," Lvov said to the two
handsome boys who came in, and after bowing to Levin, went up to
their father, obviously wishing to ask him about something.
Levin would have liked to talk to them, to hear what they would
say to their father, but Natalia began talking to him, and then
Lvov's colleague in the service, Mahotin, walked in, wearing his
court uniform, to go with him to meet someone, and a conversation
was kept up without a break upon Herzegovina, Princess
Korzinskaya, the town council, and the sudden death of Madame
Levin even forgot the commission intrusted to him. He
recollected it as he was going into the hall.
"Oh, Kitty told me to talk to you about Oblonsky," he said, as
Lvov was standing on the stairs, seeing his wife and Levin off.
"Yes, yes, maman wants us, les beaux-freres, to attack him," he
said, blushing. "But why should I?"
"Well, then, I will attack him," said Madame Lvova, with a smile,
standing in her white sheepskin cape, waiting till they had
finished speaking. "Come, let us go."
At the concert in the afternoon two very interesting things were
performed. One was a fantasia, King Lear; the other was a
quartette dedicated to the memory of Bach. Both were new and in
the new style, and Levin was eager to form an opinion of them.
After escorting his sister-in-law to her stall, he stood against
a column and tried to listen as attentively and conscientiously
as possible. He tried not to let his attention be distracted,
and not to spoil his impression by looking at the conductor in a
white tie, waving his arms, which always disturbed his enjoyment
of music so much, or the ladies in bonnets, with strings
carefully tied over their ears, and all these people either
thinking of nothing at all or thinking of all sorts of things
except the music. He tried to avoid meeting musical connoisseurs
or talkative acquaintances, and stood looking at the floor
straight before him, listening.
But the more he listened to the fantasia of Ring Lear the further
he felt from forming any definite opinion of it. There was, as
it were, a continual beginning, a preparation of the musical
expression of some feeling, but it fell to pieces again directly,
breaking into new musical motives, or simply nothing but the
whims of the composer, exceedingly complex but disconnected
sounds. And these fragmentary musical expressions, though
sometimes beautiful, were disagreeable, because they were utterly
unexpected and not led up to by anything. Gaiety and grief and
despair and tenderness and triumph followed one another without
any connection, like the emotions of a madman. And those
emotions, like a madman's, sprang up quite unexpectedly.
During the whole of the performance Levin felt like a deaf man
watching people dancing, and was in a state of complete
bewilderment when the fantasia was over, and felt a great
weariness from the fruitless strain on his attention. Loud
applause resounded on all sides. Everyone got up, moved about,
and began talking. Anxious to throw some light on his own
perplexity from the impressions of others, Levin began to walk
about, looking for connoisseurs, and was glad to see a well-known
musical amateur in conversation with Pestsov, whom he knew.
"Marvelous!" Pestsov was saying in his mellow bass. "How are
you, Konstantin Dmitrievitch? Particularly sculpturesque and
plastic, so to say, and richly colored is that passage where you
feel Cordelia's approach, where woman, das ewig Weibliche, enters
into conflict with fate. Isn't it?"
"You mean...what has Cordelia to do with it?" Levin asked
timidly, forgetting that the fantasia was supposed to represent
"Cordelia comes in...see here!" said Pestsov, tapping his finger
on the satiny surface of the program he held in his hand and
passing it to Levin.
Only then Levin recollected the title of the fantasia, and made
haste to read in the Russian translation the lines from
Shakespeare that were printed on the back of the program.
"You can't follow it without that," said Pestsov, addressing
Levin, as the person he had been speaking to had gone away, and
he had no one to talk to.
In the entr'acte Levin and Pestsov fell into an argument upon
the merits and defects of music of the Wagner school. Levin
maintained that the mistake of Wagner and all his followers lay
in their trying to take music into the sphere of another art,
just as poetry goes wrong when it tries to paint a face as the
art of painting ought to do, and as an instance of this mistake
he cited the sculptor who carved in marble certain poetic
phantasms flitting round the figure of the poet on the pedestal.
"These phantoms were so far from being phantoms that they were
positively clinging on the ladder," said Levin. The comparison
pleased him, but he could not remember whether he had not used
the same phrase before, and to Pestsov, too, and as he said it he
Pestsov maintained that art is one, and that it can attain its
highest manifestations only by conjunction with all kinds of art.
The second piece that was performed Levin could not hear.
Pestsov, who was standing beside him, was talking to him almost
all the time, condemning the music for its excessive affected
assumption of simplicity, and comparing it with the simplicity of
the Pre-Raphaelites in painting. As he went out Levin met many
more acquaintances, with whom he talked of politics, of music,
and of common acquaintances. Among others he met Count Bol, whom
he had utterly forgotten to call upon.
"Well, go at once then," Madame Lvova said, when he told her;
"perhaps they'll not be at home, and then you can come to the
meeting to fetch me. You'll find me still there."
"Perhaps they're not at home?" said Levin, as he went into the
hall of Countess Bola's house.
"At home; please walk in," said the porter, resolutely removing
"How annoying!" thought Levin with a sigh, taking off one glove
and stroking his hat. "What did I come for? What have I to say
As he passed through the first drawing room Levin met in the
doorway Countess Bola, giving some order to a servant with a
care-worn and severe face. On seeing Levin she smiled, and asked
him to come into the little drawing room, where he heard voices.
In this room there were sitting in armchairs the two daughters of
the countess, and a Moscow colonel, whom Levin knew. Levin went
up, greeted them, and sat down beside the sofa with his hat on
"How is your wife? Have you been at the concert? We couldn't
go. Mamma had to be at the funeral service."
"Yes, I heard.... What a sudden death!" said Levin.
The countess came in, sat down on the sofa, and she too asked
after his wife and inquired about the concert.
Levin answered, and repeated an inquiry about Madame Apraksina's
"But she was always in weak health."
"Were you at the opera yesterday?"
"Yes, I was."
"Lucca was very good."
"Yes, very good," he said, and as it was utterly of no
consequence to him what they thought of him, he began repeating
what they had heard a hundred times about the characteristics of
the singer's talent. Countess Bola pretended to be listening.
Then, when he had said enough and paused, the colonel, who had
been silent till then, began to talk. The colonel too talked of
the opera, and about culture. At last, after speaking of the
proposed folle journee at Turin's, the colonel laughed, got up
noisily, and went away. Levin too rose, but he saw by the face
of the countess that it was not yet time for him to go. He must
stay two minutes longer. He sat down.
But as he was thinking all the while how stupid it was, he could
not find a subject for conversation, and sat silent.
"You are not going to the public meeting? They say it will be
very interesting," began the countess.
"No, I promised my belle-soeur to fetch her from it," said
A silence followed. The mother once more exchanged glances with
"Well, now I think the time has come," thought Levin, and he got
up. The ladies shook hands with him, and begged him to say mille
choses to his wife for them.
The porter asked him, as he gave him his coat, "Where is your
honor staying?" and immediately wrote down his address in a big
handsomely bound book.
"Of course I don't care, but still I feel ashamed and awfully
stupid," thought Levin, consoling himself with the reflection
that everyone does it. He drove to the public meeting, where he
was to find his sister-in-law, so as to drive home with her.
At the public meeting of the committee there were a great many
people, and almost all the highest society. Levin was in time
for the report which, as everyone said, was very interesting.
When the reading of the report was over, people moved about, and
Levin met Sviazhsky, who invited him very pressingly to come that
evening to a meeting of the Society of Agriculture, where a
celebrated lecture was to be delivered, and Stepan Arkadyevitch,
who had only just come from the races, and many other
acquaintances; and Levin heard and uttered various criticisms on
the meeting, on the new fantasia, and on a public trial. But,
probably from the mental fatigue he was beginning to feel, he
made a blunder in speaking of the trial, and this blunder he
recalled several times with vexation. Speaking of the sentence
upon a foreigner who had been condemned in Russia, and of how
unfair it would be to punish him by exile abroad, Levin repeated
what he had heard the day before in conversation from an
"I think sending him abroad is much the same as punishing a carp
by putting it into the water," said Levin. Then he recollected
that this idea, which he had heard from an acquaintance and
uttered as his own, came from a fable of Krilov's, and that the
acquaintance had picked it up from a newspaper article.
After driving home with his sister-in-law, and finding Kitty in
good spirits and quite well, Levin drove to the club.
Levin reached the club just at the right time. Members and
visitors were driving up as he arrived. Levin had not been at
the club for a very long while--not since he lived in Moscow,
when he was leaving the university and going into society. He
remembered the club, the external details of its arrangement, but
he had completely forgotten the impression it had made on him in
old days. But as soon as, driving into the wide semicircular
court and getting out of the sledge, he mounted the steps, and
the hall porter, adorned with a crossway scarf, noiselessly
opened the door to him with a bow; as soon as he saw in the
porter's room the cloaks and galoshes of members who thought it
less trouble to take them off downstairs; as soon as he heard the
mysterious ringing bell that preceded him as he ascended the
easy, carpeted staircase, and saw the statue on the landing, and
the third porter at the top doors, a familiar figure grown older,
in the club livery, opening the door without haste or delay, and
scanning the visitors as they passed in--Levin felt the old
impression of the club come back in a rush, an impression of
repose, comfort, and propriety.
"Your hat, please," the porter said to Levin, who forgot the club
rule to leave his hat in the porter's room. "Long time since
you've been. The prince put your name down yesterday. Prince
Stepan Arkadyevitch is not here yet."
The porter did not only know Levin, but also all his ties and
relationships, and so immediately mentioned his intimate friends.
Passing through the outer hall, divided up by screens, and the
room partitioned on the right, where a man sits at the fruit
buffet, Levin overtook an old man walking slowly in, and entered
the dining room full of noise and people.
He walked along the tables, almost all full, and looked at the
visitors. He saw people of all sorts, old and young; some he
knew a little, some intimate friends. There was not a single
cross or worried-looking face. All seemed to have left their
cares and anxieties in the porter's room with their hats, and
were all deliberately getting ready to enjoy the material
blessings of life. Sviazhsky was here and Shtcherbatsky,
Nevyedovsky and the old prince, and Vronsky and Sergey
"Ah! why are you late?" the prince said smiling, and giving him
his hand over his own shoulder. "How's Kitty?" he added,
smoothing out the napkin he had tucked in at his waistcoat
"All right; they are dining at home, all the three of them."
"Ah, 'Aline-Nadine,' to be sure! There's no room with us. Go to
that table, and make haste and take a seat," said the prince, and
turning away he carefully took a plate of eel soup.
"Levin, this way!" a good-natured voice shouted a little farther
on. It was Turovtsin. He was sitting with a young officer, and
beside them were two chairs turned upside down. Levin gladly
went up to them. He had always liked the good-hearted rake,
Turovtsin--he was associated in his mind with memories of his
courtship--and at that moment, after the strain of intellectual
conversation, the sight of Turovtsin's good-natured face was
"For you and Oblonsky. He'll be here directly."
The young man, holding himself very erect, with eyes forever
twinkling with enjoyment, was an officer from Petersburg, Gagin.
Turovtsin introduced them.
"Oblonsky's always late."
"Ah, here he is!"
"Have you only just come?" said Oblonsky, coming quickly towards
them. "Good day. Had some vodka? Well, come along then."
Levin got up and went with him to the big table spread with
spirits and appetizers of the most various kinds. One would have
thought that out of two dozen delicacies one might find something
to one's taste, but Stepan Arkadyevitch asked for something
special, and one of the liveried waiters standing by immediately
brought what was required. They drank a wine glassful and
returned to their table.
At once, while they were still at the soup, Gagin was served with
champagne, and told the waiter to fill four glasses. Levin did
not refuse the wine, and asked for a second bottle. He was very
hungry, and ate and drank with great enjoyment, and with still
greater enjoyment took part in the lively and simple conversation
of his companions. Gagin, dropping his voice, told the last good
story from Petersburg, and the story, though improper and stupid,
was so ludicrous that Levin broke into roars of laughter so loud
that those near looked round.
"That's in the same style as, 'that's a thing I can't endure!'
You know the story?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Ah, that's
exquisite! Another bottle," he said to the waiter, and he began
to relate his good story.
"Pyotr Illyitch Vinovsky invites you to drink with him," a little
old waiter interrupted Stepan Arkadyevitch, bringing two delicate
glasses of sparkling champagne, and addressing Stepan
Arkadyevitch and Levin. Stepan Arkadyevitch took the glass, and
looking towards a bald man with red mustaches at the other end of
the table, he nodded to him, smiling.
"Who's that?" asked Levin.
"You met him once at my place, don't you remember? A
Levin did the same as Stepan Arkadyevitch and took the glass.
Stepan Arkadyevitch's anecdote too was very amusing. Levin told
his story, and that too was successful. Then they talked of
horses, of the races, of what they had been doing that day, and
of how smartly Vronsky's Atlas had won the first prize. Levin
did not notice how the time passed at dinner.
"Ah! and here they are!" Stepan Arkadyevitch said towards the end
of dinner, leaning over the back of his chair and holding out his
hand to Vronsky, who came up with a tall officer of the Guards.
Vronsky's face too beamed with the look of good-humored enjoyment
that was general in the club. He propped his elbow playfully on
Stepan Arkadyevitch's shoulder, whispering something to him, and
he held out his hand to Levin with the same good-humored smile.
"Very glad to meet you," he said. "I looked out for you at the
election, but I was told you had gone away."
"Yes, I left the same day. We've just been talking of your
horse. I congratulate you," said Levin. "It was very rapidly
"Yes; you've race horses too, haven't you?"
"No, my father had; but I remember and know something about it."
"Where have you dined?" asked Stepan Arkadyevitch.
"We were at the second table, behind the columns."
"We've been celebrating his success," said the tall colonel.
"It's his second Imperial prize. I wish I might have the luck at
cards he has with horses. Well, why waste the precious time?
I'm going to the 'infernal regions,'" added the colonel, and he
"That's Yashvin," Vronsky said in answer to Turovtsin, and he sat
down in the vacated seat beside them. He drank the glass offered
him, and ordered a bottle of wine. Under the influence of the
club atmosphere or the wine he had drunk, Levin chatted away to
Vronsky of the best breeds of cattle, and was very glad not to
feel the slightest hostility to this man. He even told him,
among other things, that he had heard from his wife that she had
met him at Princess Marya Borissovna's.
"Ah, Princess Marya Borissovna, she's exquisite!" said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, and he told an anecdote about her which set them
all laughing. Vronsky particularly laughed with such
simplehearted amusement that Levin felt quite reconciled to him.
"Well, have we finished?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, getting up
with a smile. "Let us go."
Getting up from the table, Levin walked with Gagin through the
lofty room to the billiard room, feeling his arms swing as he
walked with a peculiar lightness and ease. As he crossed the big
room, he came upon his father-in-law.
"Well, how do you like our Temple of Idolence?" said the prince,
taking his arm. "Come along, come along!"
"Yes, I wanted to walk about and look at everything. It's
"Yes, it's interesting for you. But its interest for me is quite
different. You look at those little old men now," he said,
pointing to a club member with bent back and projecting lip,
shuffling towards them in his soft boots, "and imagine that they
were shlupiks like that from their birth up."
"I see you don't know that name. That's our club designation.
You know the game of rolling eggs: when one's rolled a long while
it becomes a shlupik. So it is with us; one goes on coming and
coming to the club, and ends by becoming a shlupik. Ah, you
laugh! but we look out, for fear of dropping into it ourselves.
You know Prince Tchetchensky?" inquired the prince; and Levin saw
by his face that he was just going to relate something funny.
"No, I don't know him."
"You don't say so! Well, Prince Tchetchensky is a well-known
figure. No matter, though. He's always playing billiards here.
Only three years ago he was not a shlupik and kept up his spirits
and even used to call other people shlupiks. But one day he
turns up, and our porter...you know Vassily? Why, that fat one;
he's famous for his bon mots. And so Prince Tchetchensky asks
him, 'Come, Vassily, who's here? Any shlupiks here yet?' And he
says, 'You're the third.' Yes, my dear boy, that he did!"
Talking and greeting the friends they met, Levin and the prince
walked through all the rooms: the great room where tables had
already been set, and the usual partners were playing for small
stakes; the divan room, where they were playing chess, and Sergey
Ivanovitch was sitting talking to somebody; the billiard room,
where, about a sofa in a recess, there was a lively party
drinking champagne--Gagin was one of them. They peeped into the
"infernal regions," where a good many men were crowding round one
table, at which Yashvin was sitting. Trying not to make a noise,
they walked into the dark reading room, where under the shaded
lamps there sat a young man with a wrathful countenance, turning
over one journal after another, and a bald general buried in a
book. They went, too, into what the prince called the
intellectual room, where three gentlemen were engaged in a heated
discussion of the latest political news.
"Prince, please come, we're ready," said one of his card party,
who had come to look for him, and the prince went off. Levin sat
down and listened, but recalling all the conversation of the
morning he felt all of a sudden fearfully bored. He got up
hurriedly, and went to look for Oblonsky and Turovtsin, with whom
it had been so pleasant.
Turovtsin was one of the circle drinking in the billiard room,
and Stepan Arkadyevitch was talking with Vronsky near the door at
the farther corner of the room.
"It's not that she's dull; but this undefined, this unsettled
position," Levin caught, and he was hurrying away, but Stepan
Arkadyevitch called to him.
"Levied" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, and Levin noticed that his
eyes were not full of tears exactly, but moist, which always
happened when he had been drinking, or when he was touched. Just
now it was due to both causes. "Levin, don't go," he said, and
he warmly squeezed his arm above the elbow, obviously not at all
wishing to let him go.
"This is a true friend of mine--almost my greatest friend," he
said to Vronsky. "You have become even closer and dearer to me.
And I want you, and I know you ought, to be friends, and great
friends, because you're both splendid fellows."
"Well, there's nothing for us now but to kiss and be friends,"
Vronsky said, with good-natured playfulness, holding out his
Levin quickly took the offered hand, and pressed it warmly.
"I'm very, very glad," said Levin.
"Waiter, a bottle of champagne," said Stepan Arkadyevitch.
"And I'm very glad," said Vronsky.
But in spite of Stepan Arkadyevitch's desire, and their own
desire, they had nothing to talk about, and both felt it.
"Do you know, he has never met Anna?" Stepan Arkadyevitch said to
Vronsky. "And I want above everything to take him to see her.
Let us go, Levin!"
"Really?" said Vronsky. "She will be very glad to see you. I
should be going home at once," he added, "but I'm worried about
Yashvin, and I want to stay on till he finishes."
"Why, is he losing?"
"He keeps losing, and I'm the only friend that can restrain him."
"Well, what do you say to pyramids? Levin, will you play?
Capital!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Get the table ready," he
said to the marker.
"It has been ready a long while," answered the marker, who had
already set the balls in a triangle, and was knocking the red one
about for his own diversion.
"Well, let us begin."
After the game Vronsky and Levin sat down at Gagin's table, and
at Stepan Arkadyevitch's suggestion Levin took a hand in the
Vronsky sat down at the table, surrounded by friends, who were
incessantly coming up to him. Every now and then he went to the
"infernal" to keep an eye on Yashvin. Levin was enjoying a
delightful sense of repose after the mental fatigue of the
morning. He was glad that all hostility was at an end with
Vronsky, and the sense of peace, decorum, and comfort never left
When the game was over, Stepan Arkadyevitch took Levin's arm.
"Well, let us go to Anna's, then. At once? Eh? She is at home.
I promised her long ago to bring you. Where were you meaning to
spend the evening?"
"Oh, nowhere specially. I promised Sviazhsky to go to the
Society of Agriculture. By all means, let us go," said Levin.
"Very good; come along. Find out if my carriage is here," Stepan
Arkadyevitch said to the waiter.
Levin went up to the table, paid the forty roubles he had lost;
paid his bill, the amount of which was in some mysterious way
ascertained by the little old waiter who stood at the counter,
and swinging his arms he walked through all the rooms to the way
"Oblonsky's carriage!" the porter shouted in an angry bass. The
carriage drove up and both got in. It was only for the first few
moments, while the carriage was driving out of the clubhouse
gates, that Levin was still under the influence of the club
atmosphere of repose, comfort, and unimpeachable good form. But
as soon as the carriage drove out into the street, and he felt it
jolting over the uneven road, heard the angry shout of a sledge
driver coming towards them, saw in the uncertain light the red
blind of a tavern and the shops, this impression was dissipated,
and he began to think over his actions, and to wonder whether he
was doing right in going to see Anna. What would Kitty say? But
Stepan Arkadyevitch gave him no time for reflection, and, as
though divining his doubts, he scattered them.
"How glad I am," he said, "that you should know her! You know
Dolly has long wished for it. And Lvov's been to see her, and
often goes. Though she is my sister," Stepan Arkadyevitch
pursued, "I don't hesitate to say that she's a remarkable woman.
But you will see. Her position is very painful, especially now."
"Why especially now?"
"We are carrying on negotiations with her husband about a
divorce. And he's agreed; but there are difficulties in regard
to the son, and the business, which ought to have been arranged
long ago, has been dragging on for three months past. As soon as
the divorce is over, she will marry Vronsky. How stupid these
old ceremonies are, that no one believes in, and which only
prevent people being comfortable!" Stepan Arkadyevitch put in.
"Well, then their position will be as regular as mine, as yours."
"What is the difficulty?" said Levin.
"Oh, it's a long and tedious story! The whole business is in
such an anomalous position with us. But the point is she has
been for three months in Moscow, where everyone knows her,
waiting for the divorce; she goes out nowhere, sees no woman
except Dolly, because, do you understand, she doesn't care to
have people come as a favor. That fool Princess Varvara, even
she has left her, considering this a breach of propriety. Well,
you see, in such a position any other woman would not have found
resources in herself. But you'll see how she has arranged her
life--how calm, how dignified she is. To the left, in the
crescent opposite the church!" shouted Stepan Arkadyevitch,
leaning out of the window. "Phew! how hot it is!" he said, in
spite of twelve degrees of frost, flinging his open overcoat
still wider open.
"But she has a daughter: no doubt she's busy looking after her?"
"I believe you picture every woman simply as a female, une
couveuse," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "If she's occupied, it must
be with her children. No, she brings her up capitally, I
believe, but one doesn't hear about her. She's busy, in the
first place, with what she writes. I see you're smiling
ironically, but you're wrong. She's writing a children's book,
and doesn't talk about it to anyone, but she read it to me and I
gave the manuscript to Vorkuev...you know the publisher...and
he's an author himself too, I fancy. He understands those
things, and he says it's a remarkable piece of work. But are you
fancying she's an authoress?--not a bit of it. She's a woman
with a heart, before everything, but you'll see. Now she has a
little English girl with her, and a whole family she's looking
"Oh, something in a philanthropic way?"
"Why, you will look at everything in the worst light. It's not
from philanthropy, it's from the heart. They--that is, Vronsky--
had a trainer, an Englishman, first-rate in his own line, but a
drunkard. He's completely given up to drink--delirium tremens--
and the family were cast on the world. She saw them, helped
them, got more and more interested in them, and now the whole
family is on her hands. But not by way of patronage, you know,
helping with money; she's herself preparing the boys in Russian
for the high school, and she's taken the little girl to live with
her. But you'll see her for yourself."
The carriage drove into the courtyard, and Stepan Arkadyevitch
rang loudly at the entrance where sledges were standing.
And without asking the servant who opened the door whether the
lady were at home, Stepan Arkadyevitch walked into the hall.
Levin followed him, more and more doubtful whether he was doing
right or wrong.
Looking at himself in the glass, Levin noticed that he was red in
the face, but he felt certain he was not drunk, and he followed
Stepan Arkadyevitch up the carpeted stairs. At the top Stepan
Arkadyevitch inquired of the footman, who bowed to him as to an
intimate friend, who was with Anna Arkadyevna, and received the
answer that it was M. Vorkuev.
"Where are they?"
"In the study."
Passing through the dining room, a room not very large, with
dark, paneled walls, Stepan Arkadyevitch and Levin walked over
the soft carpet to the half-dark study, lighted up by a single
lamp with a big dark shade. Another lamp with a reflector was
hanging on the wall, lighting up a big full-length portrait of a
woman, which Levin could not help looking at. It was the
portrait of Anna, painted in Italy by Mihailov. While Stepan
Arkadyevitch went behind the treillage, and the man's voice which
had been speaking paused, Levin gazed at the portrait, which
stood out from the frame in the brilliant light thrown on it, and
he could not tear himself away from it. He positively forgot
where he was, and not even hearing what was said, he could not
take his eyes off the marvelous portrait. It was not a picture,
but a living, charming woman, with black curling hair, with bare
arms and shoulders, with a pensive smile on the lips, covered
with soft down; triumphantly and softly she looked at him with
eyes that baffled him. She was not living only because she was
more beautiful than a living woman can be.
"I am delighted!" He heard suddenly near him a voice,
unmistakably addressing him, the voice of the very woman he had
been admiring in the portrait. Anna had come from behind the
treillage to meet him, and Levin saw in the dim light of the
study the very woman of the portrait, in a dark blue shot gown,
not in the same position nor with the same expression, but with
the same perfection of beauty which the artist had caught in the
portrait. She was less dazzling in reality, but, on the other
hand, there was something fresh and seductive in the living woman
which was not in the portrait.
She had risen to meet him, not concealing her pleasure at seeing
him; and in the quiet ease with which she held out her little
vigorous hand, introduced him to Vorkuev and indicated a
red-haired, pretty little girl who was sitting at work, calling
her her pupil, Levin recognized and liked the manners of a woman
of the great world, always self-possessed and natural.
"I am delighted, delighted," she repeated, and on her lips these
simple words took for Levin's ears a special significance. "I
have known you and liked you for a long while, both from your
friendship with Stiva and for your wife's sake.... I knew her
for a very short time, but she left on me the impression of an
exquisite flower, simply a flower. And to think she will soon be
She spoke easily and without haste, looking now and then from
Levin to her brother, and Levin felt that the impression he was
making was good, and he felt immediately at home, simple and
happy with her, as though he had known her from childhood.
"Ivan Petrovitch and I settled in Alexey's study," she said in
answer to Stepan Arkadyevitch's question whether he might smoke,
"just so as to be able to smoke"--and glancing at Levin, instead
of asking whether he would smoke, she pulled closer a
tortoise-shell cigar-case and took a cigarette.
"How are you feeling today?" her brother asked her.
"Oh, nothing. Nerves, as usual."
"Yes, isn't it extraordinarily fine?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch,
noticing that Levin was scrutinizing the picture.
"I have never seen a better portrait."
"And extraordinarily like, isn't it?" said Vorkuev.
Levin looked from the portrait to the original. A peculiar
brilliance lighted up Anna's face when she felt his eyes on her.
Levin flushed, and to cover his confusion would have asked
whether she had seen Darya Alexandrovna lately; but at that
moment Anna spoke. "We were just talking, Ivan Petrovitch and I,
of Vashtchenkov's last pictures. Have you seen them?"
"Yes, I have seen them," answered Levin.
"But, I beg your pardon, I interrupted you...you were saying?..."
Levin asked if she had seen Dolly lately.
"She was here yesterday. She was very indignant with the high
school people on Grisha's account. The Latin teacher, it seems,
had been unfair to him."
"Yes, I have seen his pictures. I didn't care for them very
much," Levin went back to the subject she had started.
Levin talked now not at all with that purely businesslike
attitude to the subject with which he had been talking all the
morning. Every word in his conversation with her had a special
significance. And talking to her was pleasant; still pleasanter
it was to listen to her.
Anna talked not merely naturally and cleverly, but cleverly and
carelessly, attaching no value to her own ideas and giving great
weight to the ideas of the person she was talking to.
The conversation turned on the new movement in art, on the new
illustrations of the Bible by a French artist. Vorkuev attacked
the artist for a realism carried to the point of coarseness.
Levin said that the French had carried conventionality further
than anyone, and that consequently they see a great merit in the
return to realism. In the fact of not lying they see poetry.
Never had anything clever said by Levin given him so much
pleasure as this remark. Anna's face lighted up at once, as at
once she appreciated the thought. She laughed.
"I laugh," she said, "as one laughs when one sees a very true
portrait. What you said so perfectly hits off French art now,
painting and literature too, indeed--Zola, Daudet. But perhaps
it is always so, that men form their conceptions from fictitious,
conventional types, and then--all the combinaisons made--they
are tired of the fictitious figures and begin to invent more
natural, true figures."
"That's perfectly true," said Vorknev.
"So you've been at the club?" she said to her brother.
"Yes, yes, this is a woman!" Levin thought, forgetting himself
and staring persistently at her lovely, mobile face, which at
that moment was all at once completely transformed. Levin did
not hear what she was talking of as she leaned over to her
brother, but he was struck by the change of her expression. Her
face--so handsome a moment before in its repose--suddenly wore a
look of strange curiosity, anger, and pride. But this lasted
only an instant. She dropped her eyelids, as though recollecting
"Oh, well, but that's of no interest to anyone," she said, and
she turned to the English girl.
"Please order the tea in the drawing room," she said in English.
The girl got up and went out.
"Well, how did she get through her examination?" asked Stepan
"Splendidly! She's a very gifted child and a sweet character."
"It will end in your loving her more than your own."
"There a man speaks. In love there's no more nor less. I love
my daughter with one love, and her with another."
"I was just telling Anna Arkadyevna," said Vorkuev, "that if she
were to put a hundredth part of the energy she devotes to this
English girl to the public question of the education of Russian
children, she would be doing a great and useful work."
"Yes, but I can't help it; I couldn't do it. Count Alexey
Kirillovitch urged me very much" (as she uttered the words Count
Alexey Kirillovitch she glanced with appealing timidity at Levin,
and he unconsciously responded with a respectful and reassuring
look); "he urged me to take up the school in the village. I
visited it several times. The children were very nice, but I
could not feel drawn to the work. You speak of energy. Energy
rests upon love; and come as it will, there's no forcing it. I
took to this child--I could not myself say why."
And she glanced again at Levin. And her smile and her glance--
all told him that it was to him only she was addressing her
words, valuing his good opinion, and at the same time sure
beforehand that they understood each other.
"I quite understand that," Levin answered. "It's impossible to
give one's heart to a school or such institutions in general, and
I believe that's just why philanthropic institutions always
give such poor results."
She was silent for a while, then she smiled.
"Yes, yes," she agreed; "I never could. Je n'ai pas le coeur
assez large to love a whole asylum of horrid little girls. Cela
ne m'a jamais reussi. There are so many women who have made
themselves une position sociale in that way. And now more than
ever," she said with a mournful, confiding expression, ostensibly
addressing her brother, but unmistakably intending her words only
for Levin, "now when I have such need of some occupation, I
cannot." And suddenly frowning (Levin saw that she was frowning
at herself for talking about herself) she changed the subject.
"I know about you," she said to Levin; "that you're not a
public-spirited citizen, and I have defended you to the best of
"How have you defended me?"
"Oh, according to the attacks made on you. But won't you have
some tea?" She rose and took up a book bound in morocco.
"Give it to me, Anna Arkadyevna," said Vorkuev, indicating the
book. "It's well worth taking up."
"Oh, no, it's all so sketchy."
"I told him about it," Stepan Arkadyevitch said to his sister,
nodding at Levin.
"You shouldn't have. My writing is something after the fashion
of those little baskets and carving which Liza Mertsalova used to
sell me from the prisons. She had the direction of the prison
department in that society," she turned to Levin; "and they were
miracles of patience, the work of those poor wretches."
And Levin saw a new trait in this woman, who attracted him so
extraordinarily. Besides wit, grace, and beauty, she had truth.
She had no wish to hide from him all the bitterness of her
position. As she said that she sighed, and her face suddenly
taking a hard expression, looked as it were turned to stone.
With that expression on her face she was more beautiful than
ever; but the expression was new; it was utterly unlike that
expression, radiant with happiness and creating happiness, which
had been caught by the painter in her portrait. Levin looked
more than once at the portrait and at her figure, as taking her
brother's arm she walked with him to the high doors and he felt
for her a tenderness and pity at which he wondered himself.
She asked Levin and Vorkuev to go into the drawing room, while
she stayed behind to say a few words to her brother. "About her
divorce, about Vronsky, and what he's doing at the club, about
me?" wondered Levin. And he was so keenly interested by the
question of what she was saying to Stepan Arkadyevitch, that he
scarcely heard what Vorkuev was telling him of the qualities of
the story for children Anna Arkadyevna had written.
At tea the same pleasant sort of talk, full of interesting
matter, continued. There was not a single instant when a subject
for conversation was to seek; on the contrary, it was felt that
one had hardly time to say what one had to say, and eagerly held
back to hear what the others were saying. And all that was said,
not only by her, but by Vorkuev and Stepan Arkadyevitch--all, so
it seemed to Levin, gained peculiar significance from her
appreciation and her criticism. While he followed this
interesting conversation, Levin was all the time admiring her--
her beauty, her intelligence, her culture, and at the same time
her directness and genuine depth of feeling. He listened and
talked, and all the while he was thinking of her inner life,
trying to divine her feelings. And though he had judged her so
severely hitherto, now by some strange chain of reasoning he was
justifying her and was also sorry for her, and afraid that
Vronsky did not fully understand her. At eleven o'clock, when
Stepan Arkadyevitch got up to go (Vorkuev had left earlier), it
seemed to Levin that he had only just come. Regretfully Levin
"Good-bye," she said, holding his hand and glancing into his face
with a winning look. "I am very glad que la glace est rompue."
She dropped his hand, and half closed her eyes.
"Tell your wife that I love her as before, and that if she cannot
pardon me my position, then my wish for her is that she may never
pardon it. To pardon it, one must go through what I have gone
through, and may God spare her that."
"Certainly, yes, I will tell her..." Levin said, blushing.
"What a marvelous, sweet and unhappy woman!" he was thinking,
as he stepped out into the frosty air with Stepan Arkadyevitch.
"Well, didn't I tell you?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, seeing that
Levin had been completely won over.
"Yes," said Levin dreamily, "an extraordinary woman! It's not
her cleverness, but she has such wonderful depth of feeling. I'm
awfully sorry for her!"
"Now, please God everything will soon be settled. Well, well,
don't be hard on people in future," said Stepan Arkadyevitch,
opening the carriage door. "Good-bye; we don't go the same way."
Still thinking of Anna, of everything, even the simplest phrase
in their conversation with her, and recalling the minutest
changes in her expression, entering more and more into her
position, and feeling sympathy for her, Levin reached home.
At home Kouzma told Levin that Katerina Alexandrovna was quite
well, and that her sisters had not long been gone, and he handed
him two letters. Levin read them at once in the hall, that he
might not over look them later. One was from Sokolov, his
bailiff. Sokolov wrote that the corn could not be sold, that it
was fetching only five and a half roubles, and that more than
that could not be got for it. The other letter was from his
sister. She scolded him for her business being still unsettled.
"Well, we must sell it at five and a half if we can't get more,"
Levin decided the first question, which had always before seemed
such a weighty one, with extraordinary facility on the spot.
"It's extraordinary how all one's time is taken up here," he
thought, considering the second letter. He felt himself to blame
for not having got done what his sister had asked him to do for
her. "Today, again, I've not been to the court, but today I've
certainly not had time." And resolving that he would not fail to
do it next day, he went up to his wife. As he went in, Levin
rapidly ran through mentally the day he had spent. All the
events of the day were conversations, conversations he had heard
and taken part in. All the conversations were upon subjects
which, if he had been alone at home, he would never have taken
up, but here they were very interesting. And all these
conversations were right enough, only in two places there was
something not quite right. One was what he had said about the
carp, the other was something not "quite the thing" in the tender
sympathy he was feeling for Anna.
Levin found his wife low-spirited and dull. The dinner of the
three sisters had gone off very well, but then they had waited
and waited for him, all of them had felt dull, the sisters had
departed, and she had been left alone.
"Well, and what have you been doing?" she asked him, looking
straight into his eyes, which shone with rather a suspicious
brightness. But that she might not prevent his telling her
everything, she concealed her close scrutiny of him, and with an
approving smile listened to his account of how he had spent the
"Well, I'm very glad I met Vronsky. I felt quite at ease and
natural with him. You understand, I shall try not to see him,
but I'm glad that this awkwardness is all over," he said, and
remembering that by way of trying not to see him, he had
immediately gone to call on Anna, he blushed. "We talk about the
peasants drinking; I don't know which drinks most, the peasantry
or our own class; the peasants do on holidays, but..."
But Kitty took not the slightest interest in discussing the
drinking habits of the peasants. She saw that he blushed, and
she wanted to know why.
"Well, and then where did you go?"
"Stiva urged me awfully to go and see Anna Arkadyevna."
And as he said this, Levin blushed even more, and his doubts as
to whether he had done right in going to see Anna were settled
once for all. He knew now that he ought not to have done so.
Kitty's eyes opened in a curious way and gleamed at Anna's name,
but controlling herself with an effort, she concealed her emotion
and deceived him.
"Oh!" was all she said.
"I'm sure you won't be angry at my going. Stiva begged me to,
and Dolly wished it," Levin went on.
"Oh, no!" she said, but he saw in her eyes a constraint that
boded him no good.
"She is a very sweet, very, very unhappy, good woman," he said,
telling her about Anna, her occupations, and what she had told
him to say to her.
"Yes, of course, she is very much to be pitied," said Kitty, when
he had finished. "Whom was your letter from?"
He told her, and believing in her calm tone, he went to change
Coming back, he found Kitty in the same easy chair. When he went
up to her, she glanced at him and broke into sobs.
"What? what is it?" he asked, knowing beforehand what.
"You're in love with that hateful woman; she has bewitched you!
I saw it in your eyes. Yes, yes! What can it all lead to? You
were drinking at the club, drinking and gambling, and then you
went...to her of all people! No, we must go away.... I shall go
It was a long while before Levin could soothe his wife. At last
he succeeded in calming her, only by confessing that a feeling of
pity, in conjunction with the wine he had drunk, had been too
much for him, that he had succumbed to Anna's artful influence,
and that he would avoid her. One thing he did with more
sincerity confess to was that living so long in Moscow, a life of
nothing but conversation, eating and drinking, he was
degenerating. They talked till three o'clock in the morning.
Only at three o'clock were they sufficiently reconciled to be
able to go to sleep.
After taking leave of her guests, Anna did not sit down, but
began walking up and down the room. She had unconsciously the
whole evening done her utmost to arouse in Levin a feeling of
love--as of late she had fallen into doing with all young men--
and she knew she had attained her aim, as far as was possible in
one evening, with a married and conscientious man. She liked him
indeed extremely, and, in spite of the striking difference, from
the masculine point of view, between Vronsky and Levin, as a
woman she saw something they had in common, which had made Kitty
able to love both. Yet as soon as he was out of the room, she
ceased to think of him.
One thought, and one only, pursued her in different forms, and
refused to be shaken off. "If I have so much effect on others,
on this man, who loves his home and his wife, why is it he is so
cold to me?...not cold exactly, he loves me, I know that! But
something new is drawing us apart now. Why wasn't he here all
the evening? He told Stiva to say he could not leave Yashvin,
and must watch over his play. Is Yashvin a child? But supposing
it's true. He never tells a lie. But there's something else in
it if it's true. He is glad of an opportunity of showing me that
he has other duties; I know that, I submit to that. But why
prove that to me? He wants to show me that his love for me is
not to interfere with his freedom. But I need no proofs, I need
love. He ought to understand all the bitterness of this life for
me here in Moscow. Is this life? I am not living, but waiting
for an event, which is continually put off and put off. No
answer again! And Stiva says he cannot go to Alexey
Alexandrovitch. And I can't write again. I can do nothing, can
begin nothing, can alter nothing; I hold myself in, I wait,
inventing amusements for myself--the English family, writing,
reading--but it's all nothing but a sham, it's all the same as
morphine. He ought to feel for me," she said, feeling tears of
self-pity coming into her eyes.
She heard Vronsky's abrupt ring and hurriedly dried her tears--
not only dried her tears, but sat down by a lamp and opened a
book, affecting composure. She wanted to show him that she was
displeased that he had not come home as he had promised--
displeased only, and not on any account to let him see her
distress, and least of all, her self-pity. She might pity
herself, but he must not pity her. She did not want strife, she
blamed him for wanting to quarrel, but unconsciously put herself
into an attitude of antagonism.
"Well, you've not been dull?" he said, eagerly and
good-humoredly, going up to her. "What a terrible passion it
"No, I've not been dull; I've learned long ago not to be dull.
Stiva has been here and Levin."
"Yes, they meant to come and see you. Well, how did you like
Levin?" he said, sitting down beside her.
"Very much. They have not long been gone. What was Yashvin
"He was winning--seventeen thousand. I got him away. He had
really started home, but he went back again, and now he's
"Then what did you stay for?" she asked, suddenly lifting her
eyes to him. The expression of her face was cold and ungracious.
"You told Stiva you were staying on to get Yashvin away. And you
have left him there."
The same expression of cold readiness for the conflict appeared
on his face too.
"In the first place, I did not ask him to give you any message;
and secondly, I never tell lies. But what's the chief point, I
wanted to stay, and I stayed," he said, frowning. "Anna, what
is it for, why will you?" he said after a moment's silence,
bending over towards her, and he opened his hand, hoping she
would lay hers in it.
She was glad of this appeal for tenderness. But some strange
force of evil would not let her give herself up to her feelings,
as though the rules of warfare would not permit her to surrender.
"Of course you wanted to stay, and you stayed. You do everything
you want to. But what do you tell me that for? With what
object?" she said, getting more and more excited. "Does anyone
contest your rights? But you want to be right, and you're
welcome to be right."
His hand closed, he turned away, and his face wore a still more
"For you it's a matter of obstinacy," she said, watching him
intently and suddenly finding the right word for that expression
that irritated her, "simply obstinacy. For you it's a question
of whether you keep the upper hand of me, while for me...."
Again she felt sorry for herself, and she almost burst into
tears. "If you knew what it is for me! When I feel as I do now
that you are hostile, yes, hostile to me, if you knew what this
means for me! If you knew how I feel on the brink of calamity at
this instant, how afraid I am of myself!" And she turned away,
hiding her sobs.
"But what are you talking about?" he said, horrified at her
expression of despair, and again bending over her, he took her
hand and kissed it. "What is it for? Do I seek amusements
outside our home? Don't I avoid the society of women?"
"Well, yes! If that were all!" she said.
"Come, tell me what I ought to do to give you peace of mind? I
am ready to do anything to make you happy," he said, touched by
her expression of despair; "what wouldn't I do to save you from
distress of any sort, as now, Anna!" he said.
"It's nothing, nothing!" she said. "I don't know myself whether
it's the solitary life, my nerves.... Come, don't let us talk
of it. What about the race? You haven't told me!" she inquired,
trying to conceal her triumph at the victory, which had anyway
been on her side.
He asked for supper, and began telling her about the races; but
in his tone, in his eyes, which became more and more cold, she
saw that he did not forgive her for her victory, that the feeling
of obstinacy with which she had been struggling had asserted
itself again in him. He was colder to her than before, as though
he were regretting his surrender. And she, remembering the words
that had given her the victory, "how I feel on the brink of
calamity, how afraid I am of myself," saw that this weapon was a
dangerous one, and that it could not be used a second time. And
she felt that beside the love that bound them together there had
grown up between them some evil spirit of strife, which she could
not exorcise from his, and still less from her own heart.
There are no conditions to which a man cannot become used,
especially if he sees that all around him are living in the same
way. Levin could not have believed three months before that he
could have gone quietly to sleep in the condition in which he was
that day, that leading an aimless irrational life, living too
beyond his means, after drinking to excess (he could not call
what happened at the club anything else), forming inappropriately
friendly relations with a man with whom his wife had once been in
love, and a still more inappropriate call upon a woman who could
only be called a lost woman, after being fascinated by that woman
and causing his wife distress--he could still go quietly to
sleep. But under the influence of fatigue, a sleepless night,
and the wine he had drunk, his sleep was sound and untroubled.
At five o'clock the creak of a door opening waked him. He jumped
up and looked round. Kitty was not in bed beside him. But there
was a light moving behind the screen, and he heard her steps.
"What is it?...what is it?" he said, half-asleep. "Kitty!
What is it?"
"Nothing," she said, coming from behind the screen with a candle
in her hand. "I felt unwell," she said, smiling a particularly
sweet and meaning smile.
"What? has it begun?" he said in terror. "We ought to send..."
and hurriedly he reached after his clothes.
"No, no," she said, smiling and holding his hand. "It's sure to
be nothing. I was rather unwell, only a little. It's all over
And getting into bed, she blew out the candle, lay down and was
still. Though he thought her stillness suspicious, as though she
were holding her breath, and still more suspicious the expression
of peculiar tenderness and excitement with which, as she came
from behind the screen, she said "nothing," he was so sleepy that
he fell asleep at once. Only later he remembered the stillness
of her breathing, and understood all that must have been passing
in her sweet, precious heart while she lay beside him, not
stirring, in anticipation of the greatest event in a woman's
life. At seven o'clock he was waked by the touch of her hand on
his shoulder, and a gentle whisper. She seemed struggling
between regret at waking him, and the desire to talk to him.
"Kostya, don't be frightened. It's all right. But I fancy....
We ought to send for Lizaveta Petrovna."
The candle was lighted again. She was sitting up in bed, holding
some knitting, which she had been busy upon during the last few
"Please, don't be frightened, it's all right. I'm not a bit
afraid," she said, seeing his scared face, and she pressed his
hand to her bosom and then to her lips.
He hurriedly jumped up, hardly awake, and kept his eyes fixed on
her, as he put on his dressing gown; then he stopped, still
looking at her. He had to go, but he could not tear himself from
her eyes. He thought he loved her face, knew her expression, her
eyes, but never had he seen it like this. How hateful and
horrible he seemed to himself, thinking of the distress he had
caused her yesterday. Her flushed face, fringed with soft
curling hair under her night cap, was radiant with joy and
Though there was so little that was complex or artificial in
Kitty's character in general, Levin was struck by what was
revealed now, when suddenly all disguises were thrown off and the
very kernel of her soul shone in her eyes. And in this
simplicity and nakedness of her soul, she, the very woman he
loved in her, was more manifest than ever. She looked at him,
smiling; but all at once her brows twitched, she threw up her
head, and going quickly up to him, clutched his hand and pressed
close up to him, breathing her hot breath upon him. She was in
pain and was, as it were, complaining to him of her suffering.
And for the first minute, from habit, it seemed to him that he
was to blame. But in her eyes there was a tenderness that told
him that she was far from reproaching him, that she loved him for
her sufferings. "If not I, who is to blame for it?" he thought
unconsciously, seeking someone responsible for this suffering for
him to punish; but there was no one responsible. She was
suffering, complaining, and triumphing in her sufferings, and
rejoicing in them, and loving them. He saw that something
sublime was being accomplished in her soul, but what? He could
not make it out. It was beyond his understanding.
"I have sent to mamma. You go quickly to fetch Lizaveta Petrovna
...Kostya!... Nothing, it's over."
She moved away from him and rang the bell.
"Well, go now; Pasha's coming. I am all right."
And Levin saw with astonishment that she had taken up the
knitting she had brought in in the night and begun working at it
As Levin was going out of one door, he heard the maid-servant
come in at the other. He stood at the door and heard Kitty
giving exact directions to the maid, and beginning to help her
move the bedstead.
He dressed, and while they were putting in his horses, as a hired
sledge was not to be seen yet, he ran again up to the bedroom,
not on tiptoe, it seemed to him, but on wings. Two maid-servants
were carefully moving something in the bedroom.
Kitty was walking about knitting rapidly and giving directions.
"I'm going for the doctor. They have sent for Lizaveta Petrovna,
but I'll go on there too. Isn't there anything wanted? Yes,
shall I go to Dolly's?"
She looked at him, obviously not hearing what he was saying.
"Yes, yes. Do go," she said quickly, frowning and waving her
hand to him.
He had just gone into the drawing room, when suddenly a plaintive
moan sounded from the bedroom, smothered instantly. He stood
still, and for a long while he could not understand.
"Yes, that is she," he said to himself, and clutching at his head
he ran downstairs.
"Lord have mercy on us! pardon us! aid us!" he repeated the words
that for some reason came suddenly to his lips. And he, an
unbeliever, repeated these words not with his lips only. At that
instant he knew that all his doubts, even the impossibility of
believing with his reason, of which he was aware in himself, did
not in the least hinder his turning to God. All of that now
floated out of his soul like dust. To whom was he to turn if not
to Him in whose hands he felt himself, his soul, and his love?
The horse was not yet ready, but feeling a peculiar concentration
of his physical forces and his intellect on what he had to do, he
started off on foot without waiting for the horse, and told
Kouzma to overtake him.
At the corner he met a night cabman driving hurriedly. In the
little sledge, wrapped in a velvet cloak, sat Lizaveta Petrovna
with a kerchief round her head. "Thank God! thank God!" he said,
overjoyed to recognize her little fair face which wore a
peculiarly serious, even stern expression. Telling the driver
not to stop, he ran along beside her.
"For two hours, then? Not more?" she inquired. "You should let
Pyotr Dmitrievitch know, but don't hurry him. And get some opium
at the chemist's."
"So you think that it may go on well? Lord have mercy on us and
help us!" Levin said, seeing his own horse driving out of the
gate. Jumping into the sledge beside Konzma, he told him to
drive to the doctor's.
The doctor was not yet up, and the footman said that "he had been
up late, and had given orders not to be waked, but would get up
soon." The footman was cleaning the lamp-chimneys, and seemed
very busy about them. This concentration of the footman upon his
lamps, and his indifference to what was passing in Levin, at
first astounded him, but immediately on considering the question
he realized that no one knew or was bound to know his feelings,
and that it was all the more necessary to act calmly, sensibly,
and resolutely to get through this wall of indifference and
attain his aim.
"Don't be in a hurry or let anything slip," Levin said to
himself, feeling a greater and greater flow of physical energy
and attention to all that lay before him to do.
Having ascertained that the doctor was not getting up, Levin
considered various plans, and decided on the following one: that
Konzma should go for another doctor, while he himself should go
to the chemist's for opium, and if when he came back the doctor
had not yet begun to get up, he would either by tipping the
footman, or by force, wake the doctor at all hazards.
At the chemist's the lank shopman sealed up a packet of powders
for a coachman who stood waiting, and refused him opium with the
same callousness with which the doctor's footman had cleaned his
lamp chimneys. Trying not to get flurried or out of temper,
Levin mentioned the names of the doctor and midwife, and
explaining what the opium was needed for, tried to persuade him.
The assistant inquired in German whether he should give it, and
receiving an affirmative reply from behind the partition, he took
out a bottle and a funnel, deliberately poured the opium from a
bigger bottle into a little one, stuck on a label, sealed it up,
in spite of Levin's request that he would not do so, and was
about to wrap it up too. This was more than Levin could stand;
he took the bottle firmly out of his hands, and ran to the big
glass doors. The doctor was not even now getting up, and the
footman, busy now in putting down the rugs, refused to wake him.
Levin deliberately took out a ten rouble note, and, careful to
speak slowly, though losing no time over the business, he handed
him the note, and explained that Pyotr Dmitrievitch (what a great
and important personage he seemed to Levin now, this Pyotr
Dmitrievitch, who had been of so little consequence in his eyes
before!) had promised to come at any time; that he would
certainly not be angry! and that he must therefore wake him at
The footman agreed, and went upstairs, taking Levin into the
Levin could hear through the door the doctor coughing, moving
about, washing, and saying something. Three minutes passed; it
seemed to Levin that more than an hour had gone by. He could not
wait any longer.
"Pyotr Dmitrievitch, Pyotr Dmitrievitch!" he said in an imploring
voice at the open door. "For God's sake, forgive me! See me as
you are. It's been going on more than two hours already."
"I a minute; in a minute!" answered a voice, and to his
amazement Levin heard that the doctor was smiling as he spoke.
"For one instant."
"In a minute."
Two minutes more passed while the doctor was putting on his
boots, and two minutes more while the doctor put on his coat and
combed his hair.
"Pyotr Dmitrievitch!" Levin was beginning again in a plaintive
voice, just as the doctor came in dressed and ready. "These
people have no conscience," thought Levin. "Combing his hair,
while we're dying!"
"Good morning!" the doctor said to him, shaking hands, and, as it
were, teasing him with his composure. "There's no hurry. Well
Trying to be as accurate as possible Levin began to tell him
every unnecessary detail of his wife's condition, interrupting
his account repeatedly with entreaties that the doctor would come
with him at once.
"Oh, you needn't be in any hurry. You don't understand, you
know. I'm certain I'm not wanted, still I've promised, and if
you like, I'll come. But there's no hurry. Please sit down;
won't you have some coffee?"
Levin stared at him with eyes that asked whether he was laughing
at him; but the doctor had no notion of making fun of him.
"I know, I know," the doctor said, smiling; "I'm a married man
myself; and at these moments we husbands are very much to be
pitied. I've a patient whose husband always takes refuge in the
stables on such occasions."
"But what do you think, Pyotr Dmitrievitch? Do you suppose it
may go all right?"
"Everything points to a favorable issue."
"So you'll come immediately?" said Levin, looking wrathfully at
the servant who was bringing in the coffee.
"In an hour's time."
"Oh, for mercy's sake!"
"Well, let me drink my coffee, anyway."
The doctor started upon his coffee. Both were silent.
"The Turks are really getting beaten, though. Did you read
yesterday's telegrams?" said the doctor, munching some roll.
"No, I can't stand it!" said Levin, jumping up. "So you'll be
with us in a quarter of an hour."
"In half an hour."
"On your honor?"
When Levin got home, he drove up at the same time as the
princess, and they went up to the bedroom door together. The
princess had tears in her eyes, and her hands were shaking.
Seeing Levin, she embraced him, and burst into tears.
"Well, my dear Lizaveta Petrovna?" she queried, clasping the hand
of the midwife, who came out to meet them with a beaming and
"She's going on well," she said; "persuade her to lie down. She
will be easier so."
From the moment when he had waked up and understood what was
going on, Levin had prepared his mind to bear resolutely what was
before him, and without considering or anticipating anything, to
avoid upsetting his wife, and on the contrary to soothe her and
keep up her courage. Without allowing himself even to think of
what was to come, of how it would end, judging from his inquiries
as to the usual duration of these ordeals, Levin had in his
imagination braced himself to bear up and to keep a tight rein on
his feelings for five hours, and it had seemed to him he could do
this. But when he came back from the doctor's and saw her
sufferings again, he fell to repeating more and more frequently:
"Lord, have mercy on us, and succor us!" He sighed, and flung his
head up, and began to feel afraid he could not bear it, that he
would burst into tears or run away. Such agony it was to him.
And only one hour had passed.
But after that hour there passed another hour, two hours, three,
the full five hours he had fixed as the furthest limit of his
sufferings, and the position was still unchanged; and he was
still bearing it because there was nothing to be done but bear
it; every instant feeling that he had reached the utmost limits
of his endurance, and that his heart would break with sympathy
But still the minutes passed by and the hours, and still hours
more, and his misery and horror grew and were more and more
All the ordinary conditions of life, without which one can form
no conception of anything, had ceased to exist for Levin. He
lost all sense of time. Minutes--those minutes when she sent for
him and he held her moist hand, that would squeeze his hand with
extraordinary violence and then push it away--seemed to him
hours, and hours seemed to him minutes. He was surprised when
Lizaveta Petrovna asked him to light a candle behind a screen,
and he found that it was five o'clock in the afternoon. If he
had been told it was only ten o'clock in the morning he would not
have been more surprised. Where he was all this time, he knew as
little as the time of anything. He saw her swollen face,
sometimes bewildered and in agony, sometimes smiling and trying
to reassure him. He saw the old princess too, flushed and
overwrought, with her gray curls in disorder, forcing herself to
gulp down her tears, biting her lips; he saw Dolly too and the
doctor, smoking fat cigarettes, and Lizaveta Petrovna with a
firm, resolute, reassuring face, and the old prince walking up
and down the hall with a frowning face. But why they came in and
went out, where they were, he did not know. The princess was
with the doctor in the bedroom, then in the study, where a table
set for dinner suddenly appeared; then she was not there, but
Dolly was. Then Levin remembered he had been sent somewhere.
Once he had been sent to move a table and sofa. He had done this
eagerly, thinking it had to be done for her sake, and only later
on he found it was his own bed he had been getting ready. Then
he had been sent to the study to ask the doctor something. The
doctor had answered and then had said something about the
irregularities in the municipal council. Then he had been sent
to the bedroom to help the old princess to move the holy picture
in its silver and gold setting, and with the princess's old
waiting maid he had clambered on a shelf to reach it and had
broken the little lamp, and the old servant had tried to reassure
him about the lamp and about his wife, and he carried the holy
picture and set it at Kitty's head, carefully tucking it in
behind the pillow. But where, when, and why all this had
happened, he could not tell. He did not understand why the old
princess took his hand, and looking compassionately at him,
begged him not to worry himself, and Dolly persuaded him to eat
something and led him out of the room, and even the doctor looked
seriously and with commiseration at him and offered him a drop of
All he knew and felt was that what was happening was what had
happened nearly a year before in the hotel of the country town at
the deathbed of his brother Nikolay. But that had been grief--
this was joy. Yet that grief and this joy were alike outside all
the ordinary conditions of life; they were loopholes, as it were,
in that ordinary life through which there came glimpses of
something sublime. And in the contemplation of this sublime
something the soul was exalted to inconceivable heights of which
it had before had no conception, while reason lagged behind,
unable to keep up with it.
"Lord, have mercy on us, and succor us!" he repeated to himself
incessantly, feeling, in spite of his long and, as it seemed,
complete alienation from religion, that he turned to God just as
trustfully and simply as he had in his childhood and first youth.
All this time he had two distinct spiritual conditions. One was
away from her, with the doctor, who kept smoking one fat
cigarette after another and extinguishing them on the edge of a
full ash tray, with Dolly, and with the old prince, where there
was talk about dinner, about politics, about Marya Petrovna's
illness, and where Levin suddenly forgot for a minute what was
happening, and felt as though he had waked up from sleep; the
other was in her presence, at her pillow, where his heart seemed
breaking and still did not break from sympathetic suffering, and
he prayed to God without ceasing. And every time he was brought
back from a moment of oblivion by a scream reaching him from the
bedroom, he fell into the same strange terror that had come upon
him the first minute. Every time he heard a shriek, he jumped
up, ran to justify himself, remembered on the way that he was not
to blame, and he longed to defend her, to help her. But as he
looked at her, he saw again that help was impossible, and he was
filled with terror and prayed: "Lord, have mercy on us, and help
us!" And as time went on, both these conditions became more
intense; the calmer he became away from her, completely
forgetting her, the more agonizing became both her sufferings and
his feeling of helplessness before them. He jumped up, would
have liked to run away, but ran to her.
Sometimes, when again and again she called upon him, he blamed
her; but seeing her patient, smiling face, and hearing the words,
"I am worrying you," he threw the blame on God; but thinking of
God, at once he fell to beseeching God to forgive him and have
He did not know whether it was late or early. The candles had
all burned out. Dolly had just been in the study and had
suggested to the doctor that he should lie down. Levin sat
listening to the doctor's stories of a quack mesmerizer and
looking at the ashes of his cigarette. There had been a period
of repose, and he had sunk into oblivion. He had completely
forgotten what was going on now. He heard the doctor's chat and
understood it. Suddenly there came an unearthly shriek. The
shriek was so awful that Levin did not even jump up, but holding
his breath, gazed in terrified inquiry at the doctor. The doctor
put his head on one side, listened, and smiled approvingly.
Everything was so extraordinary that nothing could strike Levin
as strange. "I suppose it must be so," he thought, and still sat
where he was. Whose scream was this? He jumped up, ran on
tiptoe to the bedroom, edged round Lizaveta Petrovna and the
princess, and took up his position at Kitty's pillow. The scream
had subsided, but there was some change now. What it was he did
not see and did not comprehend, and he had no wish to see or
comprehend. But he saw it by the face of Lizaveta Petrovna.
Lizaveta Petrovna's face was stern and pale, and still as
resolute, though her jaws were twitching, and her eyes were fixed
intently on Kitty. Kitty's swollen and agonized face, a tress of
hair clinging to her moist brow, was turned to him and sought his
eyes. Her lifted hands asked for his hands. Clutching his chill
hands in her moist ones, she began squeezing them to her face.
"Don't go, don't go! I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid!" she said
rapidly. "Mamma, take my earrings. They bother me. You're not
afraid? Quick, quick, Lizaveta Petrovna..."
She spoke quickly, very quickly, and tried to smile. But
suddenly her face was drawn, she pushed him away.
"Oh, this is awful! I'm dying, I'm dying! Go away!" she
shrieked, and again he heard that unearthly scream.
Levin clutched at his head and ran out of the room.
"It's nothing, it's nothing, it's all right," Dolly called after
But they might say what they liked, he knew now that all was
over. He stood in the next room, his head leaning against the
door post, and heard shrieks, howls such as he had never heard
before, and he knew that what had been Kitty was uttering these
shrieks. He had long ago ceased to wish for the child. By now
he loathed this child. He did not even wish for her life now,
all he longed for was the end of this awful anguish.
"Doctor! what is it? What is it? By God!" he said, snatching at
the doctor's hand as he came up.
"It's the end," said the doctor. And the doctor's face was so
grave as he said it that Levin took THE END as meaning her death.
Beside himself, he ran into the bedroom. The first thing he saw
was the face of Lizaveta Petrovna. It was even more frowning and
stern. Kitty's face he did not know. In the place where it had
been was something that was fearful in its strained distortion
and in the sounds that came from it. He fell down with his head
on the wooden framework of the bed, feeling that his heart was
bursting. The awful scream never paused, it became still more
awful, and as though it had reached the utmost limit of terror,
suddenly it ceased. Levin could not believe his ears, but there
could be no doubt; the scream had ceased and he heard a subdued
stir and bustle, and hurried breathing, and her voice, gasping,
alive, tender, and blissful, uttered softly, "It's over!"
He lifted his head. With her hands hanging exhausted on the
quilt, looking extraordinarily lovely and serene, she looked at
him in silence and tried to smile, and could not.
And suddenly, from the mysterious and awful far-away world in
which he had been living for the last twenty-two hours, Levin
felt himself all in an instant borne back to the old every-day
world, glorified though now, by such a radiance of happiness that
he could not bear it. The strained chords snapped, sobs and
tears of joy which he had never foreseen rose up with such
violence that his whole body shook, that for long they prevented
him from speaking.
Falling on his knees before the bed, he held his wife's hand
before his lips and kissed it, and the hand, with a weak movement
of the fingers, responded to his kiss. And meanwhile, there at
the foot of the bed, in the deft hands of Lizaveta Petrovna, like
a flickering light in a lamp, lay the life of a human creature,
which had never existed before, and which would now with the same
right, with the same importance to itself, live and create in its
"Alive! alive! And a boy too! Set your mind at rest!" Levin
heard Lizaveta Petrovna saying, as she slapped the baby's back
with a shaking hand.
"Mamma, is it true?" said Kitty's voice.
The princess's sobs were all the answers she could make. And in
the midst of the silence there came in unmistakable reply to the
mother's question, a voice quite unlike the subdued voices
speaking in the room. It was the bold, clamorous, self-assertive
squall of the new human being, who had so incomprehensibly
If Levin had been told before that Kitty was dead, and that he
had died with her, and that their children were angels, and that
God was standing before him, he would have been surprised at
nothing. But now, coming back to the world of reality, he had to
make great mental efforts to take in that she was alive and well,
and that the creature squalling so desperately was his son.
Kitty was alive, her agony was over. And he was unutterably
happy. That he understood; he was completely happy in it. But
the baby? Whence, why, who was he?... He could not get used to
the idea. It seemed to him something extraneous, superfluous, to
which he could not accustom himself.
At ten o'clock the old prince, Sergey Ivanovitch, and Stepan
Arkadyevitch were sitting at Levin's. Having inquired after
Kitty, they had dropped into conversation upon other subjects.
Levin heard them, and unconsciously, as they talked, going over
the past, over what had been up to that morning, he thought of
himself as he had been yesterday till that point. It was as
though a hundred years had passed since then. He felt himself
exalted to unattainable heights, from which he studiously lowered
himself so as not to wound the people he was talking to. He
talked, and was all the time thinking of his wife, of her
condition now, of his son, in whose existence he tried to school
himself into believing. The whole world of woman, which had
taken for him since his marriage a new value he had never
suspected before, was now so exalted that he could not take it in
in his imagination. He heard them talk of yesterday's dinner at
the club, and thought: "What is happening with her now? Is she
asleep? How is she? What is she thinking of? Is he crying, my
son Dmitri?" And in the middle of the conversation, in the
middle of a sentence, he jumped up and went out of the room.
"Send me word if I can see her," said the prince.
"Very well, in a minute," answered Levin, and without stopping,
he went to her room.
She was not asleep, she was talking gently with her mother,
making plans about the christening.
Carefully set to rights, with hair well-brushed, in a smart
little cap with some blue in it, her arms out on the quilt, she
was lying on her back. Meeting his eyes, her eyes drew him to
her. Her face, bright before, brightened still more as he drew
near her. There was the same change in it from earthly to
unearthly that is seen in the face of the dead. But then it
means farewell, here it meant welcome. Again a rush of emotion,
such as he had felt at the moment of the child's birth, flooded
his heart. She took his hand and asked him if he had slept. He
could not answer, and turned away, struggling with his weakness.
"I have had a nap, Kostya!" she said to him; "and I am so
She looked at him, but suddenly her expression changed.
"Give him to me," she said, hearing the baby's cry. "Give him to
me, Lizaveta Petrovna, and he shall look at him."
"To be sure, his papa shall look at him," said Lizaveta Petrovna,
getting up and bringing something red, and queer, and wriggling.
"Wait a minute, we'll make him tidy first," and Lizaveta
Petrovna laid the red wobbling thing on the bed, began untrussing
and trussing up the baby, lifting it up and turning it over with
one finger and powdering it with something.
Levin, looking at the tiny, pitiful creature, made strenuous
efforts to discover in his heart some traces of fatherly feeling
for it. He felt nothing towards it but disgust. But when it was
undressed and he caught a glimpse of wee, wee, little hands,
little feet, saffron-colored, with little toes, too, and
positively with a little big toe different from the rest, and
when he saw Lizaveta Petrovna closing the wide-open little hands,
as though they were soft springs, and putting them into linen
garments, such pity for the little creature came upon him, and
such terror that she would hurt it, that he held her hand back.
Lizaveta Petrovna laughed.
"Don't be frightened, don't be frightened!"
When the baby had been put to rights and transformed into a firm
doll, Lizaveta Petrovna dandled it as though proud of her