Part 20 out of 22
handiwork, and stood a little away so that Levin might see his
son in all his glory.
Kitty looked sideways in the same direction, never taking her
eyes off the baby. "Give him to me! give him to me!" she said,
and even made as though she would sit up.
"What are you thinking of, Katerina Alexandrovna, you mustn't
move like that! Wait a minute. I'll give him to you. Here
we're showing papa what a fine fellow we are!"
And Lizaveta Petrovna, with one hand supporting the wobbling
head, lifted up on the other arm the strange, limp, red creature,
whose head was lost in its swaddling clothes. But it had a nose,
too, and slanting eyes and smacking lips.
"A splendid baby!" said Lizaveta Petrovna.
Levin sighed with mortification. This splendid baby excited in
him no feeling but disgust and compassion. It was not at all the
feeling he had looked forward to.
He turned away while Lizaveta Petrovna put the baby to the
Suddenly laughter made him look round. The baby had taken the
"Come, that's enough, that's enough!" said Lizaveta Petrovna, but
Kitty would not let the baby go. He fell asleep in her arms.
"Look, now," said Kitty, turning the baby so that he could see
it. The aged-looking little face suddenly puckered up still more
and the baby sneezed.
Smiling, hardly able to restrain his tears, Levin kissed his wife
and went out of the dark room. What he felt towards this little
creature was utterly unlike what he had expected. There was
nothing cheerful and joyous in the feeling; on the contrary, it
was a new torture of apprehension. It was the consciousness of a
new sphere of liability to pain. And this sense was so painful
at first, the apprehension lest this helpless creature should
suffer was so intense, that it prevented him from noticing the
strange thrill of senseless joy and even pride that he had felt
when the baby sneezed.
Stepan Arkadyevitch's affairs were in a very bad way.
The money for two-thirds of the forest had all been spent
already, and he had borrowed from the merchant in advance at ten
per cent discount, almost all the remaining third. The merchant
would not give more, especially as Darya Alexandrovna, for the
first time that winter insisting on her right to her own
property, had refused to sign the receipt for the payment of the
last third of the forest. All his salary went on household
expenses and in payment of petty debts that could not be put off.
There was positively no money.
This was unpleasant and awkward, and in Stepan Arkadyevitch's
opinion things could not go on like this. The explanation of the
position was, in his view, to be found in the fact that his
salary was too small. The post he filled had been unmistakably
very good five years ago, but it was so no longer.
Petrov, the bank director, had twelve thousand; Sventitsky, a
company director, had seventeen thousand; Mitin, who had founded
a bank, received fifty thousand.
"Clearly I've been napping, and they've overlooked me," Stepan
Arkadyevitch thought about himself. And he began keeping his
eyes and ears open, and towards the end of the winter he had
discovered a very good berth and had formed a plan of attack upon
it, at first from Moscow through aunts, uncles, and friends, and
then, when the matter was well advanced, in the spring, he went
himself to Petersburg. It was one of those snug, lucrative
berths of which there are so many more nowadays than there used
to be, with incomes ranging from one thousand to fifty thousand
roubles. It was the post of secretary of the committee of the
amalgamated agency of the southern railways, and of certain
banking companies. This position, like all such appointments,
called for such immense energy and such varied qualifications,
that it was difficult for them to be found united in any one man.
And since a man combining all the qualifications was not to be
found, it was at least better that the post be filled by an
honest than by a dishonest man. And Stepan Arkadyevitch was not
merely an honest man--unemphatically--in the common acceptation
of the words, he was an honest man--emphatically--in that special
sense which the word has in Moscow, when they talk of an "honest"
politician, an "honest" writer, an "honest" newspaper, an
"honest" institution, an "honest" tendency, meaning not simply
that the man or the institution is not dishonest, but that they
are capable on occasion of taking a line of their own in
opposition to the authorities.
Stepan Arkadyevitch moved in those circles in Moscow in which
that expression had come into use, was regarded there as an
honest man, and so had more right to this appointment than
The appointment yielded an income of from seven to ten thousand a
year, and Oblonsky could fill it without giving up his government
position. It was in the hands of two ministers, one lady, and
two Jews, and all these people, though the way had been paved
already with them, Stepan Arkadyevitch had to see in Petersburg.
Besides this business, Stepan Arkadyevitch had promised his
sister Anna to obtain from Karenin a definite answer on the
question of divorce. And begging fifty roubles from Dolly, he
set off for Petersburg.
Stepan Arkadyevitch sat in Karenin's study listening to his
report on the causes of the unsatisfactory position of Russian
finance, and only waiting for the moment when he would finish to
speak about his own business or about Anna.
"Yes, that's very true," he said, when Alexey Alexandrovitch took
off the pince-nez, without which he could not read now, and
looked inquiringly at his former brother-in-law, "that's very
true in particular cases, but still the principle of our day is
"Yes, but I lay down another principle, embracing the principle
of freedom," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, with emphasis on the
word "embracing," and he put on his pince-nez again, so as to
read the passage in which this statement was made. And turning
over the beautifully written, wide-margined manuscript, Alexey
Alexandrovitch read aloud over again the conclusive passage.
"I don't advocate protection for the sake of private interests,
but for the public weal, and for the lower and upper classes
equally," he said, looking over his pince-nez at Oblonsky. "But
THEY cannot grasp that, THEY are taken up now with personal
interests, and carried away by phrases."
Stepan Arkadyevitch knew that when Karenin began to talk of what
THEY were doing and thinking, the persons who would not accept
his report and were the cause of everything wrong in Russia, that
it was coming near the end. And so now he eagerly abandoned the
principle of free-trade, and fully agreed. Alexey Alexandrovitch
paused, thoughtfully turning over the pages of his manuscript.
"Oh, by the way," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, "I wanted to ask
you, some time when you see Pomorsky, to drop him a hint that I
should be very glad to get that new appointment of secretary of
the committee of the amalgamated agency of the southern railways
and banking companies." Stepan Arkadyevitch was familiar by now
with the title of the post he coveted, and he brought it out
rapidly without mistake.
Alexey Alexandrovitch questioned him as to the duties of this new
committee, and pondered. He was considering whether the new
committee would not be acting in some way contrary to the views
he had been advocating. But as the influence of the new
committee was of a very complex nature, and his views were of
very wide application, he could not decide this straight off, and
taking off his pince-nez, he said:
"Of course, I can mention it to him; but what is your reason
precisely for wishing to obtain the appointment?"
"It's a good salary, rising to nine thousand, and my means..."
"Nine thousand!" repeated Alexey Alexandrovitch, and he frowned.
The high figure of the salary made him reflect that on that side
Stepan Arkadyevitch's proposed position ran counter to the main
tendency of his own projects of reform, which always leaned
"I consider, and I have embodied my views in a note on the
subject, that in our day these immense salaries are evidence of
the unsound economic assiette of our finances."
"But what's to be done?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Suppose a
bank director gets ten thousand--well, he's worth it; or an
engineer gets twenty thousand--after all, it's a growing thing,
"I assume that a salary is the price paid for a commodity, and it
ought to conform with the law of supply and demand. If the
salary is fixed without any regard for that law, as, for
instance, when I see two engineers leaving college together, both
equally well trained and efficient, and one getting forty
thousand while the other is satisfied with two; or when I see
lawyers and hussars, having no special qualifications, appointed
directors of banking companies with immense salaries, I conclude
that the salary is not fixed in accordance with the law of supply
and demand, but simply through personal interest. And this is an
abuse of great gravity in itself, and one that reacts injuriously
on the government service. I consider..."
Stepan Arkadyevitch made haste to interrupt his brother-in-law.
"Yes; but you must agree that it's a new institution of undoubted
utility that's being started. After all, you know, it's a
growing thing! What they lay particular stress on is the thing
being carried on honestly," said Stepan Arkadyevitch with
But the Moscow significance of the word "honest" was lost on
"Honesty is only a negative qualification," he said.
"Well, you'll do me a great service, anyway," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, "by putting in a word to Pomorsky--just in the way
"But I fancy it's more in Volgarinov's hands," said Alexey
"Volgarinov has fully assented, as far as he's concerned," said
Stepan Arkadyevitch, turning red. Stepan Arkadyevitch reddened
at the mention of that name, because he had been that morning at
the Jew Volgarinov's, and the visit had left an unpleasant
Stepan Arkadyevitch believed most positively that the committee
in which he was trying to get an appointment was a new, genuine,
and honest public body, but that morning when Volgarinov had--
intentionally, beyond a doubt--kept him two hours waiting with
other petitioners in his waiting room, he had suddenly felt
Whether he was uncomfortable that he, a descendant of Rurik,
Prince Oblonsky, had been kept for two hours waiting to see a
Jew, or that for the first time in his life he was not following
the example of his ancestors in serving the government, but was
turning off into a new career, anyway he was very uncomfortable.
During those two hours in Volgarinov's waiting room Stepan
Arkadyevitch, stepping jauntily about the room, pulling his
whiskers, entering into conversation with the other petitioners,
and inventing an epigram on his position, assiduously concealed
from others, and even from himself, the feeling he was
But all the time he was uncomfortable and angry, he could not
have said why--whether because he could not get his epigram just
right, or from some other reason. When at last Volgarinov had
received him with exaggerated politeness and unmistakable triumph
at his humiliation, and had all but refused the favor asked of
him, Stepan Arkadyevitch had made haste to forget it all as soon
as possible. And now, at the mere recollection, he blushed.
"Now there is something I want to talk about, and you know what
it is. About Anna," Stepan Arkadyevitch said, pausing for a
brief space, and shaking off the unpleasant impression.
As soon as Oblonsky uttered Anna's name, the face of Alexey
Alexandrovitch was completely transformed; all the life was gone
out of it, and it looked weary and dead.
"What is it exactly that you want from me?" he said, moving in
his chair and snapping his pince-nez.
"A definite settlement, Alexey Alexandrovitch, some settlement of
the position. I'm appealing to you" ("not as an injured
husband," Stepan Arkadyevitch was going to say, but afraid of
wrecking his negotiation by this, he changed the words) "not as a
statesman" (which did not sound a propos), "but simply as a man,
and a good-hearted man and a Christian. You must have pity on
her," he said.
"That is, in what way precisely?" Karenin said softly.
"Yes, pity on her. If you had seen her as I have!--I have been
spending all the winter with her--you would have pity on her.
Her position is awful, simply awful!"
"I had imagined," answered Alexey Alexandrovitch in a higher,
almost shrill voice, "that Anna Arkadyevna had everything she had
desired for herself."
"Oh, Alexey Alexandrovitch, for heaven's sake, don't let us
indulge in recriminations! What is past is past, and you know
what she wants and is waiting for--divorce."
"But I believe Anna Arkadyevna refuses a divorce, if I make it a
condition to leave me my son. I replied in that sense, and
supposed that the matter was ended. I consider it at an end,"
shrieked Alexey Alexandrovitch.
"But, for heaven's sake, don't get hot!" said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, touching his brother-in-law's knee. "The matter is
not ended. If you will allow me to recapitulate, it was like
this: when you parted, you were as magnanimous as could possibly
be; you were ready to give her everything--freedom, divorce even.
She appreciated that. No, don't think that. She did appreciate
it--to such a degree that at the first moment, feeling how she
had wronged you, she did not consider and could not consider
everything. She gave up everything. But experience, time, have
shown that her position is unbearable, impossible."
"The life of Anna Arkadyevna can have no interest for me," Alexey
Alexandrovitch put in, lifting his eyebrows.
"Allow me to disbelieve that," Stepan Arkadyevitch replied
gently. "Her position is intolerable for her, and of no benefit
to anyone whatever. She has deserved it, you will say. She
knows that and asks you for nothing; she says plainly that she
dare not ask you. But I, all of us, her relatives, all who love
her, beg you, entreat you. Why should she suffer? Who is any
the better for it?"
"Excuse me, you seem to put me in the position of the guilty
party," observed Alexey Alexandrovitch.
"Oh, no, oh, no, not at all! please understand me," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, touching his hand again, as though feeling sure
this physical contact would soften his brother-in-law. "All I
say is this: her position is intolerable, and it might be
alleviated by you, and you will lose nothing by it. I will
arrange it all for you, so that you'll not notice it. You did
promise it, you know."
"The promise was given before. And I had supposed that the
question of my son had settled the matter. Besides, I had hoped
that Anna Arkadyevna had enough generosity..." Alexey
Alexandrovitch articulated with difficulty, his lips twitching
and his face white.
"She leaves it all to your generosity. She begs, she implores
one thing of you--to extricate her from the impossible position
in which she is placed. She does not ask for her son now.
Alexey Alexandrovitch, you are a good man. Put yourself in her
position for a minute. The question of divorce for her in her
position is a question of life and death. If you had not
promised it once, she would have reconciled herself to her
position, she would have gone on living in the country. But you
promised it, and she wrote to you, and moved to Moscow. And here
she's been for six months in Moscow, where every chance meeting
cuts her to the heart, every day expecting an answer. Why, it's
like keeping a condemned criminal for six months with the rope
round his neck, promising him perhaps death, perhaps mercy. Have
pity on her, and I will undertake to arrange everything. Vos
"I am not talking about that, about that..." Alexey
Alexandrovitch interrupted with disgust. "But, perhaps, I
promised what I had no right to promise."
"So you go back from your promise?"
"I have never refused to do all that is possible, but I want time
to consider how much of what I promised is possible."
"No, Alexey Alexandrovitch!" cried Oblonsky, jumping up, "I won't
believe that! She's unhappy as only an unhappy woman can be, and
you cannot refuse in such..."
"As much of what I promised as is possible. Vous professez
d'etre libre penseur. But I as a believer cannot, in a matter of
such gravity, act in opposition to the Christian law."
"But in Christian societies and among us, as far as I'm aware,
divorce is allowed," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Divorce is
sanctioned even by our church. And we see..."
"It is allowed, but not in the sense..."
"Alexey Alexandrovitch, you are not like yourself," said
Oblonsky, after a brief pause. "Wasn't it you (and didn't we all
appreciate it in you?) who forgave everything, and moved simply
by Christian feeling was ready to make any sacrifice? You said
yourself: if a man take thy coat, give him thy cloak also, and
"I beg," said Alexey Alexandrovitch shrilly, getting suddenly
onto his feet, his face white and his jaws twitching, "I beg you
to drop this...to drop...this subject!"
"Oh, no! Oh, forgive me, forgive me if I have wounded you," said
Stepan Arkadyevitch, holding out his hand with a smile of
embarrassment; "but like a messenger I have simply performed the
commission given me."
Alexey Alexandrovitch gave him his hand, pondered a little, and
"I must think it over and seek for guidance. The day after
tomorrow I will give you a final answer," he said, after
considering a moment.
Stepan Arkadyevitch was about to go away when Korney came in to
"Who's Sergey Alexyevitch?" Stepan Arkadyevitch was beginning,
but he remembered immediately.
"Ah, Seryozha!" he said aloud. "Sergey Alexeitch! I thought it
was the director of a department. Anna asked me to see him too,"
And he recalled the timid, piteous expression with which Anna had
said to him at parting: "Anyway, you will see him. Find out
exactly where he is, who is looking after him. And Stiva...if
it were possible! Could it be possible?" Stepan Arkadyevitch
knew what was meant by that "if it were possible,"--if it were
possible to arrange the divorce so as to let her have her son....
Stepan Arkadyevitch saw now that it was no good to dream of that,
but still he was glad to see his nephew.
Alexey Alexandrovitch reminded his brother-in-law that they never
spoke to the boy of his mother, and he begged him not to mention
a single word about her.
"He was very ill after that interview with his mother, which we
had not foreseen," said Alexey Alexandrovitch. "Ideed, we
feared for his life. But with rational treatment, and
sea-bathing in the summer, he regained his strength, and now, by
the doctor's advice, I have let him go to school. And certainly
the companionship of school has had a good effect on him, and he
is perfectly well, and making good progress."
"What a fine fellow he's grown! He's not Seryozha now, but quite
full-fledged Sergey Alexeitch!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch,
smiling, as he looked at the handsome, broad-shouldered lad in
blue coat and long trousers, who walked in alertly and
confidently. The boy looked healthy and good-humored. He bowed
to his uncle as to a stranger, but recognizing him, he blushed
and turned hurriedly away from him, as though offended and
irritated at something. The boy went up to his father and handed
him a note of the marks he had gained in school.
"Well, that's very fair," said his father, "you can go."
"He's thinner and taller, and has grown out of being a child into
a boy; I like that," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Do you remember
The boy looked back quickly at his uncle.
"Yes, mon oncle," he answered, glancing at his father, and again
he looked downcast.
His uncle called him to him, and took his hand.
"Well, and how are you getting on?" he said, wanting to talk to
him, and not knowing what to say.
The boy, blushing and making no answer, cautiously drew his hand
away. As soon as Stepan Arkadyevitch let go his hand, he glanced
doubtfully at his father, and like a bird set free, he darted out
of the room.
A year had passed since the last time Seryozha had seen his
mother. Since then he had heard nothing more of her. And in the
course of that year he had gone to school, and made friends among
his schoolfellows. The dreams and memories of his mother, which
had made him ill after seeing her, did not occupy his thoughts
now. When they came back to him, he studiously drove them away,
regarding them as shameful and girlish, below the dignity of a
boy and a schoolboy. He knew that his father and mother were
separated by some quarrel, he knew that he had to remain with his
father, and he tried to get used to that idea.
He disliked seeing his uncle, so like his mother, for it called
up those memories of which he was ashamed. He disliked it all
the more as from some words he had caught as he waited at the
study door, and still more from the faces of his father and
uncle, he guessed that they must have been talking of his mother.
And to avoid condemning the father with whom he lived and on whom
he was dependent, and, above all, to avoid giving way to
sentimentality, which he considered so degrading, Seryozha tried
not to look at his uncle who had come to disturb his peace of
mind, and not to think of what he recalled to him.
But when Stepan Arkadyevitch, going out after him, saw him on the
stairs, and calling to him, asked him how he spent his playtime
at school, Seryozha talked more freely to him away from his
"We have a railway now," he said in answer to his uncle's
question. "It's like this, do you see: two sit on a bench--
they're the passengers; and one stands up straight on the bench.
And all are harnessed to it by their arms or by their belts, and
they run through all the rooms--the doors are left open
beforehand. Well, and it's pretty hard work being the
"That's the one that stands?" Stepan Arkadyevitch inquired,
"Yes, you want pluck for it, and cleverness too, especially when
they stop all of a sudden, or someone falls down."
"Yes, that must be a serious matter," said Stepan Arkadyevitch,
watching with mournful interest the eager eyes, like his
mother's; not childish now--no longer fully innocent. And though
he had promised Alexey Alexandrovitch not to speak of Anna, he
could not restrain himself.
"Do you remember your mother?" he asked suddenly.
"No, I don't," Seryozha said quickly. He blushed crimson, and
his face clouded over. And his uncle could get nothing more out
of him. His tutor found his pupil on the staircase half an hour
later, and for a long while he could not make out whether he was
ill-tempered or crying.
"What is it? I expect you hurt yourself when you fell down?"
said the tutor. "I told you it was a dangerous game. And we
shall have to speak to the director."
"If I had hurt myself, nobody should have found it out, that's
"Well, what is it, then?"
"Leave me alone! If I remember, or if I don't remember?...what
business is it of his? Why should I remember? Leave me in
peace!" he said, addressing not his tutor, but the whole world.
Stepan Arkadyevitch, as usual, did not waste his time in
Petersburg. In Petersburg, besides business, his sister's
divorce, and his coveted appointment, he wanted, as he always
did, to freshen himself up, as he said, after the mustiness of
In spite of its cafes chantants and its omnibuses, Moscow was yet
a stagnant bog. Stepan Arkadyevitch always felt it. After
living for some time in Moscow, especially in close relations
with his family, he was conscious of a depression of spirits.
After being a long time in Moscow without a change, he reached a
point when he positively began to be worrying himself over his
wife's ill-humor and reproaches, over his children's health and
education, and the petty details of his official work; even the
fact of being in debt worried him. But he had only to go and
stay a little while in Petersburg, in the circle there in which
he moved, where people lived--really lived--instead of vegetating
as in Moscow, and all such ideas vanished and melted away at
once, like wax before the fire. His wife?... Only that day he
had been talking to Prince Tchetchensky. Prince Tchetchensky had
a wife and family, grown-up pages in the corps,...and he had
another illegitimate family of children also. Though the first
family was very nice too, Prince Tchetchensky felt happier in his
second family; and he used to take his eldest son with him to
his second family, and told Stepan Arkadyevitch that he thought
it good for his son, enlarging his ideas. What would have been
said to that in Moscow?
His children? In Petersburg children did not prevent their
parents from enjoying life. The children were brought up in
schools, and there was no trace of the wild idea that prevailed
in Moscow, in Lvov's household, for instance, that all the
luxuries of life were for the children, while the parents have
nothing but work and anxiety. Here people understood that a man
is in duty bound to live for himself, as every man of culture
His official duties? Official work here was not the stiff,
hopeless drudgery that it was in Moscow. Here there was some
interest in official life. A chance meeting, a service rendered,
a happy phrase, a knack of facetious mimicry, and a man's career
might be made in a trice. So it had been with Bryantsev, whom
Stepan Arkadyevitch had met the previous day, and who was one of
the highest functionaries in government now. There was some
interest in official work like that.
The Petersburg attitude on pecuniary matters had an especially
soothing effect on Stepan Arkadyevitch. Bartnyansky, who must
spend at least fifty thousand to judge by the style he lived in,
had made an interesting comment the day before on that subject.
As they were talking before dinner, Stepan Arkadyevitch said to
"You're friendly, I fancy, with Mordvinsky; you might do me a
favor: say a word to him, please, for me. There's an appointment
I should like to get--secretary of the agency..."
"Oh, I shan't remember all that, if you tell it to me.... But
what possesses you to have to do with railways and Jews?... Take
it as you will, it's a low business."
Stepan Arkadyevitch did not say to Bartnyansky that it was a
"growing thing"--Bartnyansky would not have understood that.
"I want the money, I've nothing to live on."
"You're living, aren't you?"
"Yes, but in debt."
"Are you, though? Heavily?" said Bartnyansky sympathetically.
"Very heavily: twenty thousand."
Bartnyansky broke into good-humored laughter.
"Oh, lucky fellow!" said he. "My debts mount up to a million and
a half, and I've nothing, and still I can live, as you see!"
And Stepan Arkadyevitch saw the correctness of this view not in
words only but in actual fact. Zhivahov owed three hundred
thousand, and hadn't a farthing to bless himself with, and he
lived, and in style too! Count Krivtsov was considered a
hopeless case by everyone, and yet he kept two mistresses.
Petrovsky had run through five millions, and still lived in just
the same style, and was even a manager in the financial
department with a salary of twenty thousand. But besides this,
Petersburg had physically an agreeable effect on Stepan
Arkadyevitch. It made him younger. In Moscow he sometimes found
a gray hair in his head, dropped asleep after dinner, stretched,
walked slowly upstairs, breathing heavily, was bored by the
society of young women, and did not dance at balls. In
Petersburg he always felt ten years younger.
His experience in Petersburg was exactly what had been described
to him on the previous day by Prince Pyotr Oblonsky, a man of
sixty, who had just come back from abroad:
"We don't know the way to live here," said Pyotr Oblonsky. "I
spent the summer in Baden, and you wouldn't believe it, I felt
quite a young man. At a glimpse of a pretty woman, my
thoughts.... One dines and drinks a glass of wine, and feels
strong and ready for anything. I came home to Russia--had to see
my wife, and, what's more, go to my country place; and there,
you'd hardly believe it, in a fortnight I'd got into a dressing
gown and given up dressing for dinner. Needn't say I had no
thoughts left for pretty women. I became quite an old gentleman.
There was nothing left for me but to think of my eternal
salvation. I went off to Paris--I was as right as could be at
Stepan Arkadyevitch felt exactly the difference that Pyotr
Oblonsky described. In Moscow he degenerated so much that if he
had had to be there for long together, he might in good earnest
have come to considering his salvation; in Petersburg he felt
himself a man of the world again.
Between Princess Betsy Tverskaya and Stepan Arkadyevitch there
had long existed rather curious relations. Stepan Arkadyevitch
always flirted with her in jest, and used to say to her, also in
jest, the most unseemly things, knowing that nothing delighted
her so much. The day after his conversation with Karenin, Stepan
Arkadyevitch went to see her, and felt so youthful that in this
jesting flirtation and nonsense he recklessly went so far that he
did not know how to extricate himself, as unluckily he was so far
from being attracted by her that he thought her positively
disagreeable. What made it hard to change the conversation was
the fact that he was very attractive to her. So that he was
considerably relieved at the arrival of Princess Myakaya, which
cut short their tete-a-tete.
"Ah, so you're here!" said she when she saw him. "Well, and what
news of your poor sister? You needn't look at me like that," she
added. "Ever since they've all turned against her, all those
who're a thousand times worse than she, I've thought she did a
very fine thing. I can't forgive Vronsky for not letting me know
when she was in Petersburg. I'd have gone to see her and gone
about with her everywhere. Please give her my love. Come, tell
me about her."
"Yes, her position is very difficult; she..." began Stepan
Arkadyevitch, in the simplicity of his heart accepting as
sterling coin Princess Myakaya's words "tell me about her."
Princess Myakaya interrupted him immediately, as she always did,
and began talking herself.
"She's done what they all do, except me--only they hide it. But
she wouldn't be deceitful, and she did a fine thing. And she did
better still in throwing up that crazy brother-in-law of yours.
You must excuse me. Everybody used to say he was so clever, so
very clever; I was the only one that said he was a fool. Now
that he's so thick with Lidia Ivanovna and Landau, they all say
he's crazy, and I should prefer not to agree with everybody, but
this time I can't help it."
"Oh, do please explain," said Stepan Arkadyevitch; "what does it
mean? Yesterday I was seeing him on my sister's behalf, and I
asked him to give me a final answer. He gave me no answer, and
said he would think it over. But this morning, instead of an
answer, I received an invitation from Countess Lidia Ivanovna
for this evening."
"Ah, so that's it, that's it!" said Princess Myakaya gleefully,
"they're going to ask Landau what he's to say."
"Ask Landau? What for? Who or what's Landau?"
"What! you don't know Jules Landau, le fameux Jules Landau, le
clairvoyant? He's crazy too, but on him your sister's fate
depends. See what comes of living in the provinces--you know
nothing about anything. Landau, do you see, was a commis in a
shop in Paris, and he went to a doctor's; and in the doctor's
waiting room he fell asleep, and in his sleep he began giving
advice to all the patients. And wonderful advice it was! Then
the wife of Yury Meledinsky--you know, the invalid?--heard of
this Landau, and had him to see her husband. And he cured her
husband, though I can't say that I see he did him much good, for
he's just as feeble a creature as ever he was, but they believed
in him, and took him along with them and brought him to Russia.
Here there's been a general rush to him, and he's begun doctoring
everyone. He cured Countess Bezzubova, and she took such a fancy
to him that she adopted him."
"Yes, as her son. He's not Landau any more now, but Count
Bezzubov. That's neither here nor there, though; but Lidia--I'm
very fond of her, but she has a screw loose somewhere--has lost
her heart to this Landau now, and nothing is settled now in her
house or Alexey Alexandrovitch's without him, and so your
sister's fate is now in the hands of Landau, alias Count
After a capital dinner and a great deal of cognac drunk at
Bartnyansky's, Stepan Arkadyevitch, only a little later than the
appointed time, went in to Countess Lidia Ivanovna's.
"Who else is with the countess?--a Frenchman?" Stepan
Arkadyevitch asked the hall porter, as he glanced at the familiar
overcoat of Alexey Alexandrovitch and a queer, rather
artless-looking overcoat with clasps.
"Alexey Alexandrovitch Karenin and Count Bezzubov," the porter
"Princess Myakaya guessed right," thought Stepan Arkadyevitch, as
he went upstairs. "Curious! It would be quite as well, though,
to get on friendly terms with her. She has immense influence.
If she would say a word to Pomorsky, the thing would be a
It was still quite light out-of-doors, but in Countess Lidia
Ivanovna's little drawing room the blinds were drawn and the
lamps lighted. At a round table under a lamp sat the countess
and Alexey Alexandrovitch, talking softly. A short, thinnish
man, very pale and handsome, with feminine hips and knock-kneed
legs, with fine brilliant eyes and long hair lying on the collar
of his coat, was standing at the end of the room gazing at the
portraits on the wall. After greeting the lady of the house and
Alexey Alexandrovitch, Stepan Arkadyevitch could not resist
glancing once more at the unknown man.
"Monsieur Landau!" the countess addressed him with a softness and
caution that impressed Oblonsky. And she introduced them.
Landau looked round hurriedly, came up, and smiling, laid his
moist, lifeless hand in Stepan Arkadyevitch's outstretched hand
and immediately walked away and fell to gazing at the portraits
again. The countess and Alexey Alexandrovitch looked at each
"I am very glad to see you, particularly today," said Countess
Lidia Ivanovna, pointing Stepan Arkadyevitch to a seat beside
"I introduced you to him as Landau," she said in a soft voice,
glancing at the Frenchman and again immediately after at Alexey
Alexandrovitch, "but he is really Count Bezzubov, as you're
probably aware. Only he does not like the title."
"Yes, I heard so," answered Stepan Arkadyevitch; "they say he
completely cured Countess Bezzubova."
"She was here today, poor thing!" the countess said, turning to
Alexey Alexandrovitch. "This separation is awful for her. It's
such a blow to her!"
"And he positively is going?" queried Alexey Alexandrovitch.
"Yes, he's going to Paris. He heard a voice yesterday," said
Countess Lidia Ivanovna, looking at Stepan Arkadyevitch.
"Ah, a voice!" repeated Oblonsky, feeling that he must be as
circumspect as he possibly could in this society, where something
peculiar was going on, or was to go on, to which he had not the
A moment's silence followed, after which Countess Lidia Ivanovna,
as though approaching the main topic of conversation, said with a
fine smile to Oblonsky:
"I've known you for a long while, and am very glad to make a
closer acquaintance with you. Les amis de nos amis sont nos
amis. But to be a true friend, one must enter into the spiritual
state of one's friend, and I fear that you are not doing so in
the case of Alexey Alexandrovitch. You understand what I mean?"
she said, lifting her fine pensive eyes.
"In part, countess, I understand the position of Alexey
Alexandrovitch..." said Oblonsky. Having no clear idea what they
were talking about, he wanted to confine himself to generalities.
"The change is not in his external position," Countess Lidia
Ivanovna said sternly, following with eyes of love the figure of
Alexey Alexandrovitch as he got up and crossed over to Landau;
"his heart is changed, a new heart has been vouchsafed him, and
I fear you don't fully apprehend the change that has taken place
"Oh, well, in general outlines I can conceive the change. We
have always been friendly, and now..." said Stepan Arkadyevitch,
responding with a sympathetic glance to the expression of the
countess, and mentally balancing the question with which of the
two ministers she was most intimate, so as to know about which to
ask her to speak for him.
"The change that has taken place in him cannot lessen his love
for his neighbors; on the contrary, that change can only
intensify love in his heart. But I am afraid you do not
understand me. Won't you have some tea?" she said, with her eyes
indicating the footman, who was handing round tea on a tray.
"Not quite, countess. Of course, his misfortune..."
"Yes, a misfortune which has proved the highest happiness, when
his heart was made new, was filled full of it," she said, gazing
with eyes full of love at Stepan Arkadyevitch.
"I do believe I might ask her to speak to both of them," thought
"Oh, of course, countess," he said; "but I imagine such changes
are a matter so private that no one, even the most intimate
friend, would care to speak of them."
"On the contrary! We ought to speak freely and help one
"Yes, undoubtedly so, but there is such a difference of
convictions, and besides..." said Oblonsky with a soft smile.
"There can be no difference where it is a question of holy
"Oh, no, of course; but..." and Stepan Arkadyevitch paused in
confusion. He understood at last that they were talking of
"I fancy he will fall asleep immediately," said Alexey
Alexandrovitch in a whisper full of meaning, going up to Lidia
Stepan Arkadyevitch looked round. Landau was sitting at the
window, leaning on his elbow and the back of his chair, his head
drooping. Noticing that all eyes were turned on him he raised
his head and smiled a smile of childlike artlessness.
"Don't take any notice," said Lidia Ivanovna, and she lightly
moved a chair up for Alexey Alexandrovitch. "I have observed..."
she was beginning, when a footman came into the room with a
letter. Lidia Ivanovna rapidly ran her eyes over the note, and
excusing herself, wrote an answer with extraordinary rapidity,
handed it to the man, and came back to the table. "I have
observed," she went on, "that Moscow people, especially the men,
are more indifferent to religion than anyone."
"Oh, no, countess, I thought Moscow people had the reputation of
being the firmest in the faith," answered Stepan Arkadyevitch.
"But as far as I can make out, you are unfortunately one of the
indifferent ones," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, turning to him
with a weary smile.
"How anyone can be indifferent!" said Lidia Ivanovna.
"I am not so much indifferent on that subject as I am waiting in
suspense," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, with his most deprecating
smile. "I hardly think that the time for such questions has come
yet for me."
Alexey Alexandrovitch and Lidia Ivanovna looked at each other.
"We can never tell whether the time has come for us or not," said
Alexey Alexandrovitch severely. "We ought not to think whether
we are ready or not ready. God's grace is not guided by human
considerations: sometimes it comes not to those that strive for
it, and comes to those that are unprepared, like Saul."
"No, I believe it won't be just yet," said Lidia Ivanovna, who
had been meanwhile watching the movements of the Frenchman.
Landau got up and came to them.
"Do you allow me to listen?" he asked.
"Oh, yes; I did not want to disturb you," said Lidia Ivanovna,
gazing tenderly at him; "sit here with us."
"One has only not to close one's eyes to shut out the light,"
Alexey Alexandrovitch went on.
"Ah, if you knew the happiness we know, feeling His presence ever
in our hearts!" said Countess Lidia Ivanovna with a rapturous
"But a man may feel himself unworthy sometimes to rise to that
height," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, conscious of hypocrisy in
admitting this religious height, but at the same time unable to
bring himself to acknowledge his free-thinking views before a
person who, by a single word to Pomorsky, might procure him the
"That is, you mean that sin keeps him back?" said Lidia Ivanovna.
"But that is a false idea. There is no sin for believers, their
sin has been atoned for. Pardon," she added, looking at the
footman, who came in again with another letter. She read it and
gave a verbal answer: "Tomorrow at the Grand Duchess's, say."
"For the believer sin is not," she went on.
"Yes, but faith without works is dead," said Stepan Arkadyevitch,
recalling the phrase from the catechism, and only by his smile
clinging to his independence.
"There you have it--from the epistle of St. James," said Alexey
Alexandrovitch, addressing Lidia Ivanovna, with a certain
reproachfulness in his tone. It was unmistakably a subject they
had discussed more than once before. "What harm has been done by
the false interpretation of that passage! Nothing holds men back
from belief like that misinterpretation. 'I have not works, so I
cannot believe,' though all the while that is not said. But the
very opposite is said."
"Striving for God, saving the soul by fasting," said Countess
Lidia Ivanovna, with disgusted contempt, "those are the crude
ideas of our monks.... Yet that is nowhere said. It is far
simpler and easier," she added, looking at Oblonsky with the same
encouraging smile with which at court she encouraged youthful
maids of honor, disconcerted by the new surroundings of the
"We are saved by Christ who suffered for us. We are saved by
faith," Alexey Alexandrovitch chimed in, with a glance of
approval at her words.
"Vous comprenez l'anglais?" asked Lidia Ivanovna, and receiving a
reply in the affirmative, she got up and began looking through a
shelf of books.
"I want to read him 'Safe and Happy,' or 'Under the Wing,'" she
said, looking inquiringly at Karenin. And finding the book, and
sitting down again in her place, she opened it. "It's very
short. In it is described the way by which faith can be reached,
and the happiness, above all earthly bliss, with which it fills
the soul. The believer cannot be unhappy because he is not
alone. But you will see." She was just settling herself to read
when the footman came in again. "Madame Borozdina? Tell her,
tomorrow at two o'clock. Yes," she said, putting her finger in
the place in the book, and gazing before her with her fine
pensive eyes, "that is how true faith acts. You know Marie
Sanina? You know about her trouble? She lost her only child.
She was in despair. And what happened? She found this
comforter, and she thanks God now for the death of her child.
Such is the happiness faith brings!"
"Oh, yes, that is most..." said Stepan Arkadyevitch, glad they
were going to read, and let him have a chance to collect his
faculties. "No, I see I'd better not ask her about anything
today," he thought. "If only I can get out of this without
putting my foot in it!"
"It will be dull for you," said Countess Lidia Ivanovna,
addressing Landau; "you don't know English, but it's short."
"Oh, I shall understand," said Landau, with the same smile, and
he closed his eyes. Alexey Alexandrovitch and Lidia Ivanovna
exchanged meaningful glances, and the reading began.
Stepan Arkadyevitch felt completely nonplussed by the strange
talk which he was hearing for the first time. The complexity of
Petersburg, as a rule, had a stimulating effect on him, rousing
him out of his Moscow stagnation. But he liked these
complications, and understood them only in the circles he knew
and was at home in. In these unfamiliar surroundings he was
puzzled and disconcerted, and could not get his bearings. As he
listened to Countess Lidia Ivanovna, aware of the beautiful,
artless--or perhaps artful, he could not decide which--eyes of
Landau fixed upon him, Stepan Arkadyevitch began to be conscious
of a peculiar heaviness in his head.
The most incongruous ideas were in confusion in his head. "Marie
Sanina is glad her child's dead.... How good a smoke would be
now!... To be saved, one need only believe, and the monks
don't know how the thing's to be done, but Countess Lidia
Ivanovna does know.... And why is my head so heavy? Is it the
cognac, or all this being so queer? Anyway, I fancy I've done
nothing unsuitable so far. But anyway, it won't do to ask her
now. They say they make one say one's prayers. I only hope
they won't make me! That'll be too imbecile. And what stuff it
is she's reading! but she has a good accent. Landau--Bezzubov--
what's he Bezzubov for?" All at once Stepan Arkadyevitch became
aware that his lower jaw was uncontrollably forming a yawn. He
pulled his whiskers to cover the yawn, and shook himself
together. But soon after he became aware that he was dropping
asleep and on the very point of snoring. He recovered himself at
the very moment when the voice of Countess Lidia Ivanovna was
saying "he's asleep." Stepan Arkadyevitch started with dismay,
feeling guilty and caught. But he was reassured at once by
seeing that the words "he's asleep" referred not to him, but to
Landau. The Frenchman was asleep as well as Stepan Arkadyevitch.
But Stepan Arkadyevitch's being asleep would have offended them,
as he thought (though even this, he thought, might not be so, as
everything seemed so queer), while Landau's being asleep
delighted them extremely, especially Countess Lidia Ivanovna.
"Mon ami," said Lidia Ivanovna, carefully holding the folds of
her silk gown so as not to rustle, and in her excitement calling
Karenin not Alexey Alexandrovitch, but "mon ami," "donnez-lui la
main. Vous voyez? Sh!" she hissed at the footman as he came in
again. "Not at home."
The Frenchman was asleep, or pretending to be asleep, with his
head on the back of his chair, and his moist hand, as it lay on
his knee, made faint movements, as though trying to catch
something. Alexey Alexandrovitch got up, tried to move
carefully, but stumbled against the table, went up and laid his
hand in the Frenchman's hand. Stepan Arkadyevitch got up too,
and opening his eyes wide, trying to wake himself up if he were
asleep, he looked first at one and then at the other. It was all
real. Stepan Arkadyevitch felt that his head was getting worse
"Que la personne qui est arrivee la derniere, celle qui demande,
qu'elle sorte! Qu'elle sorte!" articulated the Frenchman,
without opening his eyes.
"Vous m'excuserez, mais vous voyez.... Revenez vers dix heures,
encore mieux demain."
"Qu'elle sorte!" repeated the Frenchman impatiently.
"C'est moi, n'est-ce pas?" And receiving an answer in the
affirmative, Stepan Arkadyevitch, forgetting the favor he had
meant to ask of Lidia Ivanovna, and forgetting his sister's
affairs, caring for nothing, but filled with the sole desire to
get away as soon as possible, went out on tiptoe and ran out into
the street as though from a plague-stricken house. For a long
while he chatted and joked with his cab-driver, trying to recover
At the French theater where he arrived for the last act, and
afterwards at the Tatar restaurant after his champagne, Stepan
Arkadyevitch felt a little refreshed in the atmosphere he was
used to. But still he felt quite unlike himself all that
On getting home to Pyotr Oblonsky's, where he was staying, Stepan
Arkadyevitch found a note from Betsy. She wrote to him that she
was very anxious to finish their interrupted conversation, and
begged him to come next day. He had scarcely read this note, and
frowned at its contents, when he heard below the ponderous tramp
of the servants, carrying something heavy.
Stepan Arkadyevitch went out to look. It was the rejuvenated
Pyotr Oblonsky. He was so drunk that he could not walk upstairs;
but he told them to set him on his legs when he saw Stepan
Arkadyevitch, and clinging to him, walked with him into his room
and there began telling him how he had spent the evening, and
fell asleep doing so.
Stepan Arkadyevitch was in very low spirits, which happened
rarely with him, and for a long while he could not go to sleep.
Everything he could recall to his mind, everything was
disgusting; but most disgusting of all, as if it were something
shameful, was the memory of the evening he had spent at Countess
Next day he received from Alexey Alexandrovitch a final answer,
refusing to grant Anna's divorce, and he understood that this
decision was based on what the Frenchman had said in his real or
In order to carry through any undertaking in family life, there
must necessarily be either complete division between the husband
and wife, or loving agreement. When the relations of a couple
are vacillating and neither one thing nor the other, no sort of
enterprise can be undertaken.
Many families remain for years in the same place, though both
husband and wife are sick of it, simply because there is neither
complete division nor agreement between them.
Both Vronsky and Anna felt life in Moscow insupportable in the
heat and dust, when the spring sunshine was followed by the glare
of summer, and all the trees in the boulevards had long since
been in full leaf, and the leaves were covered with dust. But
they did not go back to Vozdvizhenskoe, as they had arranged to
do long before; they went on staying in Moscow, though they both
loathed it, because of late there had been no agreement between
The irritability that kept them apart had no external cause, and
all efforts to come to an understanding intensified it, instead
of removing it. It was an inner irritation, grounded in her mind
on the conviction that his love had grown less; in his, on regret
that he had put himself for her sake in a difficult position,
which she, instead of lightening, made still more difficult.
Neither of them gave full utterance to their sense of grievance,
but they considered each other in the wrong, and tried on every
pretext to prove this to one another.
In her eyes the whole of him, with all his habits, ideas,
desires, with all his spiritual and physical temperament, was one
thing--love for women, and that love, she felt, ought to be
entirely concentrated on her alone. That love was less;
consequently, as she reasoned, he must have transferred part of
his love to other women or to another woman--and she was jealous.
She was jealous not of any particular woman but of the decrease
of his love. Not having got an object for her jealousy, she was
on the lookout for it. At the slightest hint she transferred her
jealousy from one object to another. At one time she was jealous
of those low women with whom he might so easily renew his old
bachelor ties; then she was jealous of the society women he might
meet; then she was jealous of the imaginary girl whom he might
want to marry, for whose sake he would break with her. And this
last form of jealousy tortured her most of all, especially as he
had unwarily told her, in a moment of frankness, that his mother
knew him so little that she had had the audacity to try and
persuade him to marry the young Princess Sorokina.
And being jealous of him, Anna was indignant against him and
found grounds for indignation in everything. For everything that
was difficult in her position she blamed him. The agonizing
condition of suspense she had passed in Moscow, the tardiness and
indecision of Alexey Alexandrovitch, her solitude--she put it all
down to him. If he had loved her he would have seen all the
bitterness of her position, and would have rescued her from it.
For her being in Moscow and not in the country, he was to blame
too. He could not live buried in the country as she would have
liked to do. He must have society, and he had put her in this
awful position, the bitterness of which he would not see. And
again, it was his fault that she was forever separated from her
Even the rare moments of tenderness that came from time to time
did not soothe her; in his tenderness now she saw a shade of
complacency, of self-confidence, which had not been of old and
which exasperated her.
It was dusk. Anna was alone, and waiting for him to come back
from a bachelor dinner. She walked up and down in his study (the
room where the noise from the street was least heard), and
thought over every detail of their yesterday's quarrel. Going
back from the well-remembered, offensive words of the quarrel to
what had been the ground of it, she arrived at last at its
origin. For a long while she could hardly believe that their
dissension had arisen from a conversation so inoffensive, of so
little moment to either. But so it actually had been. It all
arose from his laughing at the girls' high schools, declaring
they were useless, while she defended them. He had spoken
slightingly of women's education in general, and had said that
Hannah, Anna's English protegee, had not the slightest need to
know anything of physics.
This irritated Anna. She saw in this a contemptuous reference to
her occupations. And she bethought her of a phrase to pay him
back for the pain he had given her. "I don't expect you to
understand me, my feelings, as anyone who loved me might, but
simple delicacy I did expect," she said.
And he had actually flushed with vexation, and had said something
unpleasant. She could not recall her answer, but at that point,
with an unmistakable desire to wound her too, he had said:
"I feel no interest in your infatuation over this girl, that's
true, because I see it's unnatural."
The cruelty with which he shattered the world she had built up
for herself so laboriously to enable her to endure her hard life,
the injustice with which he had accused her of affectation, of
artificiality, aroused her.
"I am very sorry that nothing but what's coarse and material is
comprehensible and natural to you," she said and walked out of
When he had come in to her yesterday evening, they had not
referred to the quarrel, but both felt that the quarrel had been
smoothed over, but was not at an end.
Today he had not been at home all day, and she felt so lonely
and wretched in being on bad terms with him that she wanted to
forget it all, to forgive him, and be reconciled with him; she
wanted to throw the blame on herself and to justify him.
"I am myself to blame. I'm irritable, I'm insanely jealous. I
will make it up with him, and we'll go away to the country; there
I shall be more at peace."
"Unnatural!" she suddenly recalled the word that had stung her
most of all, not so much the word itself as the intent to wound
her with which it was said. "I know what he meant; he meant--
unnatural, not loving my own daughter, to love another person's
child. What does he know of love for children, of my love for
Seryozha, whom I've sacrificed for him? But that wish to wound
me! No, he loves another woman, it must be so."
And perceiving that, while trying to regain her peace of mind,
she had gone round the same circle that she had been round so
often before, and had come back to her former state of
exasperation, she was horrified at herself. "Can it be
impossible? Can it be beyond me to control myself?" she said to
herself, and began again from the beginning. "He's truthful,
he's honest, he loves me. I love him, and in a few days the
divorce will come. What more do I want? I want peace of mind
and trust, and I will take the blame on myself. Yes, now when he
comes in, I will tell him I was wrong, though I was not wrong,
and we will go away tomorrow."
And to escape thinking any more, and being overcome by
irritability, she rang, and ordered the boxes to be brought up
for packing their things for the country.
At ten o'clock Vronsky came in.
"Well, was it nice?" she asked, coming out to meet him with a
penitent and meek expression.
"Just as usual," he answered, seeing at a glance that she was in
One of her good moods. He was used by now to these transitions,
and he was particularly glad to see it today, as he was in a
specially good humor himself.
"What do I see? Come, that's good!" he said, pointing to the
boxes in the passage.
"Yes, we must go. I went out for a drive, and it was so fine I
longed to be in the country. There's nothing to keep you, is
"It's the one thing I desire. I'll be back directly, and we'll
talk it over; I only want to change my coat. Order some tea."
And he went into his room.
There was something mortifying in the way he had said "Come,
that's good," as one says to a child when it leaves off being
naughty, and still more mortifying was the contrast between her
penitent and his self-confident tone; and for one instant she
felt the lust of strife rising up in her again, but making an
effort she conquered it, and met Vronsky as good-humoredly as
When he came in she told him, partly repeating phrases she had
prepared beforehand, how she had spent the day, and her plans for
"You know it came to me almost like an inspiration," she said.
"Why wait here for the divorce? Won't it be just the same in the
country? I can't wait any longer! I don't want to go on hoping,
I don't want to hear anything about the divorce. I have made up
my mind it shall not have any more influence on my life. Do you
"Oh, yes!" he said, glancing uneasily at her excited face.
"What did you do? Who was there?" she said, after a pause.
Vronsky mentioned the names of the guests. "The dinner was
first rate, and the boat race, and it was all pleasant enough,
but in Moscow they can never do anything without something
ridicule. A lady of a sort appeared on the scene, teacher of
swimming to the Queen of Sweden, and gave us an exhibition of her
"How? did she swim?" asked Anna, frowning.
"In an absurd red costume de natation; she was old and hideous
too. So when shall we go?"
"What an absurd fancy! Why, did she swim in some special way,
then?" said Anna, not answering.
"There was absolutely nothing in it. That's just what I say, it
was awfully stupid. Well, then, when do you think of going?"
Anna shook her head as though trying to drive away some
"When? Why, the sooner the better! By tomorrow we shan't be
ready. The day after tomorrow."
"Yes...oh, no, wait a minute! The day after to-morrow's Sunday,
I have to be at maman's," said Vronsky, embarrassed, because as
soon as he uttered his mother's name he was aware of her intent,
suspicious eyes. His embarrassment confirmed her suspicion. She
flushed hotly and drew away from him. It was now not the Queen
of Sweden's swimming-mistress who filled Anna's imagination, but
the young Princess Sorokina. She was staying in a village near
Moscow with Countess Vronskaya.
"Can't you go tomorrow?" she said.
"Well, no! The deeds and the money for the business I'm going
there for I can't get by tomorrow," he answered.
"If so, we won't go at all."
"But why so?"
"I shall not go later. Monday or never!"
"What for?" said Vronsky, as though in amazement. "Why, there's
no meaning in it!"
"There's no meaning in it to you, because you care nothing for
me. You don't care to understand my life. The one thing that I
cared for here was Hannah. You say it's affectation. Why, you
said yesterday that I don't love my daughter, that I love this
English girl, that it's unnatural. I should like to know what
life there is for me that could be natural!"
For an instant she had a clear vision of what she was doing, and
was horrified at how she had fallen away from her resolution.
But even though she knew it was her own ruin, she could not
restrain herself, could not keep herself from proving to him that
he was wrong, could not give way to him.
"I never said that; I said I did not sympathize with this sudden
"How is it, though you boast of your straightforwardness, you
don't tell the truth?"
"I never boast, and I never tell lies," he said slowly,
restraining his rising anger. "It's a great pity if you can't
"Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should
be. And if you don't love me any more, it would be better and
more honest to say so."
"No, this is becoming unbearable!" cried Vronsky, getting up from
his chair; and stopping short, facing her, he said, speaking
deliberately: "What do you try my patience for?" looking as
though he might have said much more, but was restraining himself.
"It has limits."
"What do you mean by that?" she cried, looking with terror at the
undisguised hatred in his whole face, and especially in his
cruel, menacing eyes.
"I mean to say..." he was beginning, but he checked himself. "I
must ask what it is you want of me?"
"What can I want? All I can want is that you should not desert
me, as you think of doing," she said, understanding all he had
not uttered. "But that I don't want; that's secondary. I want
love, and there is none. So then all is over."
She turned towards the door.
"Stop! sto--op!" said Vronsky, with no change in the gloomy lines
of his brows, though he held her by the hand. "What is it all
about? I said that we must put off going for three days, and on
that you told me I was lying, that I was not an honorable man."
"Yes, and I repeat that the man who reproaches me with having
sacrificed everything for me," she said, recalling the words of a
still earlier quarrel, "that he's worse than a dishonorable man--
he's a heartless man."
"Oh, there are limits to endurance!" he cried, and hastily let go
"He hates me, that's clear," she thought, and in silence, without
looking round, she walked with faltering steps out of the room.
"He loves another woman, that's even clearer," she said to
herself as she went into her own room. "I want love, and there
is none. So, then, all is over." She repeated the words she had
said, "and it must be ended."
"But how?" she asked herself, and she sat down in a low chair
before the looking glass.
Thoughts of where she would go now, whether to the aunt who had
brought her up, to Dolly, or simply alone abroad, and of what he
was doing now alone in his study; whether this was the final
quarrel, or whether reconciliation were still possible; and of
what all her old friends at Petersburg would say of her now; and
of how Alexey Alexandrovitch would look at it, and many other
ideas of what would happen now after this rupture, came into her
head; but she did not give herself up to them with all her heart.
At the bottom of her heart was some obscure idea that alone
interested her, but she could not get clear sight of it.
Thinking once more of Alexey Alexandrovitch, she recalled the
time of her illness after her confinement, and the feeling which
never left her at that time. "Why didn't I die?" and the words
and the feeling of that time came back to her. And all at once
she knew what was in her soul. Yes, it was that idea which alone
solved all. "Yes, to die!... And the shame and disgrace of
Alexey Alexandrovitch and of Seryozha, and my awful shame, it
will all be saved by death. To die! and he will feel remorse;
will be sorry; will love me; he will suffer on my account." With
the trace of a smile of commiseration for herself she sat down in
the armchair, taking off and putting on the rings on her left
hand, vividly picturing from different sides his feelings after
Approaching footsteps--his steps--distracted her attention. As
though absorbed in the arrangement of her rings, she did not even
turn to him.
He went up to her, and taking her by the hand, said softly:
"Anna, we'll go the day after tomorrow, if you like. I agree
She did not speak.
"What is it?" he urged.
"You know," she said, and at the same instant, unable to restrain
herself any longer, she burst into sobs.
"Cast me off!" she articulated between her sobs. "I'll go away
tomorrow...I'll do more. What am I? An immoral woman! A stone
round your neck. I don't want to make you wretched, I don't want
to! I'll set you free. You don't love me; you love someone
Vronsky besought her to be calm, and declared that there was no
trace of foundation for her jealousy; that he had never ceased,
and never would cease, to love her; that he loved her more than
"Anna, why distress yourself and me so?" he said to her, kissing
her hands. There was tenderness now in his face, and she fancied
she caught the sound of tears in his voice, and she felt them wet
on her hand. And instantly Anna's despairing jealousy changed to
a despairing passion of tenderness. She put her arms round him,
and covered with kisses his head, his neck, his hands.
Feeling that the reconciliation was complete, Anna set eagerly to
to work in the morning preparing for their departure. Though it
was not settled whether they should go on Monday or Tuesday, as
they had each given way to the other, Anna packed busily, feeling
absolutely indifferent whether they went a day earlier or later.
She was standing in her room over an open box, taking things out
of it, when he came in to see her earlier than usually, dressed
to go out.
"I'm going off at once to see maman; she can send me the money by
Yegorov. And I shall be ready to go tomorrow," he said.
Though she was in such a good mood, the thought of his visit to
his mother's gave her a pang.
"No, I shan't be ready by then myself," she said; and at once
reflected, "so then it was possible to arrange to do as I
wished." "No, do as you meant to do. Go into the dining room,
I'm coming directly. It's only to turn out those things that
aren't wanted," she said, putting something more on the heap of
frippery that lay in Annushka's arms.
Vronsky was eating his beefsteak when she came into the dining-
"You wouldn't believe how distasteful these rooms have become to
me," she said, sitting down beside him to her coffee. "There's
nothing more awful than these chambres garnies. There's no
individuality in them, no soul. These clocks, and curtains, and,
worst of all, the wallpapers--they're a nightmare. I think of
Vozdvizhenskoe as the promised land. You're not sending the
horses off yet?"
"No, they will come after us. Where are you going to?"
"I wanted to go to Wilson's to take some dresses to her. So it's
really to be tomorrow?" she said in a cheerful voice; but
suddenly her face changed.
Vronsky's valet came in to ask him to sign a receipt for a
telegram from Petersburg. There was nothing out of the way in
Vronsky's getting a telegram, but he said, as though anxious to
conceal something from her, that the receipt was in his study,
and he turned hurriedly to her.
"By tomorrow, without fail, I will finish it all."
"From whom is the telegram?" she asked, not hearing him.
"From Stiva," he answered reluctantly.
"Why didn't you show it to me? What secret can there be between
Stiva and me?"
Vronsky called the valet back, and told him to bring the
"I didn't want to show it to you, because Stiva has such a
passion for telegraphing: why telegraph when nothing is settled?"
"About the divorce?"
"Yes; but he says he has not been able to come at anything yet.
He has promised a decisive answer in a day or two. But here it
is; read it."
With trembling hands Anna took the telegram, and read what
Vronsky had told her. At the end was added: "Little hope; but I
will do everything possible and impossible."
"I said yesterday that it's absolutely nothing to me when I get,
or whether I never get, a divorce," she said, flushing crimson.
"There was not the slightest necessity to hide it from me." "So
he may hide and does hide his correspondence with women from me,"
"Yashvin meant to come this morning with Voytov," said Vronsky;
"I believe he's won from Pyevtsov all and more than he can pay,
about sixty thousand."
"No," she said, irritated by his so obviously showing by this
change of subject that he was irritated, "why did you suppose
that this news would affect me so, that you must even try to
hide it? I said I don't want to consider it, and I should have
liked you to care as little about it as I do."
"I care about it because I like definiteness," he said.
"Definiteness is not in the form but the love," she said, more
and more irritated, not by his words, but by the tone of cool
composure in which he spoke. "What do you want it for?"
"My God! love again," he thought, frowning.
"Oh, you know what for; for your sake and your children's in the
"There won't be children in the future."
"That's a great pity," he said.
"You want it for the children's sake, but you don't think of me?"
she said, quite forgetting or not having heard that he had said,
"for your sake and the children's."
The question of the possibility of having children had long been
a subject of dispute and irritation to her. His desire to have
children she interpreted as a proof he did not prize her beauty.
"Oh, I said: for your sake. Above all for your sake," he
repeated, frowning as though in pain, "because I am certain that
the greater part of your irritability comes from the
indefiniteness of the position."
"Yes, now he has laid aside all pretense, and all his cold hatred
for me is apparent," she thought, not hearing his words, but
watching with terror the cold, cruel judge who looked mocking her
out of his eyes.
"The cause is not that," she said, "and, indeed, I don't see how
the cause of my irritability, as you call it, can be that I am
completely in your power. What indefiniteness is there in the
position? on the contrary..."
"I am very sorry that you don't care to understand," he
interrupted, obstinately anxious to give utterance to his
thought. "The indefiniteness consists in your imagining that I
"On that score you can set your mind quite at rest," she said,
and turning away from him, she began drinking her coffee.
She lifted her cup, with her little finger held apart, and put it
to her lips. After drinking a few sips she glanced at him, and
by his expression, she saw clearly that he was repelled by her
hand, and her gesture, and the sound made by her lips.
"I don't care in the least what your mother thinks, and what
match she wants to make for you," she said, putting the cup down
with a shaking hand.
"But we are not talking about that."
"Yes, that's just what we are talking about. And let me tell you
that a heartless woman, whether she's old or not old, your mother
or anyone else, is of no consequence to me, and I would not
consent to know her."
"Anna, I beg you not to speak disrespectfully of my mother."
"A woman whose heart does not tell her where her son's happiness
and honor lie has no heart."
"I repeat my request that you will not speak disrespectfully of
my mother, whom I respect," he said, raising his voice and
looking sternly at her.
She did not answer. Looking intently at him, at his face, his
hands, she recalled all the details of their reconciliation the
previous day, and his passionate caresses. "There, just such
caresses he has lavished, and will lavish, and longs to lavish on
other women!" she thought.
"You don't love your mother. That's all talk, and talk, and
talk!" she said, looking at him with hatred in her eyes.
"Even if so, you must..."
"Must decide, and I have decided," she said, and she would have
gone away, but at that moment Yashvin walked into the room. Anna
greeted him and remained.
Why, when there was a tempest in her soul, and she felt she was
standing at a turning point in her life, which might have fearful
consequences--why, at that minute, she had to keep up appearances
before an outsider, who sooner or later must know it all--she did
not know. But at once quelling the storm within her, she sat
down and began talking to their guest.
"Well, how are you getting on? Has your debt been paid you?" she
"Oh, pretty fair; I fancy I shan't get it all, but I shall get a
good half. And when are you off?" said Yashvin, looking at
Vronsky, and unmistakably guessing at a quarrel.
"The day after tomorrow, I think," said Vronsky.
"You've been meaning to go so long, though."
"But now it's quite decided," said Anna, looking Vronsky straight
in the face with a look which told him not to dream of the
possibility of reconciliation.
"Don't you feel sorry for that unlucky Pyevtsov?" she went on,
talking to Yashvin.
"I've never asked myself the question, Anna Arkadyevna, whether
I'm sorry for him or not. You see, all my fortune's here"--he
touched his breast pocket--"and just now I'm a wealthy man. But
today I'm going to the club, and I may come out a beggar. You
see, whoever sits down to play with me--he wants to leave me
without a shirt to my back, and so do I him. And so we fight it
out, and that's the pleasure of it."
"Well, but suppose you were married," said Anna, "how would it be
for your wife?"
"That's why I'm not married, and never mean to be."
"And Helsingfors?" said Vronsky, entering into the conversation
and glancing at Anna's smiling face. Meeting his eyes, Anna's
face instantly took a coldly severe expression as though she were
saying to him: "It's not forgotten. It's all the same."
"Were you really in love?" she said to Yashvin.
"Oh heavens! ever so many times! But you see, some men can play
but only so that they can always lay down their cards when the
hour of a rendezvous comes, while I can take up love, but only so
as not to be late for my cards in the evening. That's how I
"No, I didn't mean that, but the real thing." She would have
said Helsingfors, but would not repeat the word used by Vronsky.
Voytov, who was buying the horse, came in. Anna got up and went
out of the room.
Before leaving the house, Vronsky went into her room. She would
have pretended to be looking for something on the table, but
ashamed of making a pretense, she looked straight in his face
with cold eyes.
"What do you want?" she asked in French.
"To get the guarantee for Gambetta, I've sold him," he said, in a
tone which said more clearly than words, "I've no time for
discussing things, and it would lead to nothing."
"I'm not to blame in any way," he thought. "If she will punish
herself, tant pis pour elle." But as he was going he fancied
that she said something, and his heart suddenly ached with pity
"Eh, Anna?" he queried.
"I said nothing," she answered just as coldly and calmly.
"Oh, nothing, tant pis then," he thought, feeling cold again, and
he turned and went out. As he was going out he caught a glimpse
in the looking glass of her face, white, with quivering lips. He
even wanted to stop and to say some comforting word to her, but
his legs carried him out of the room before he could think what
to say. The whole of that day he spent away from home, and when
he came in late in the evening the maid told him that Anna
Arkadyevna had a headache and begged him not to go in to her.
Never before had a day been passed in quarrel. Today was the
first time. And this was not a quarrel. It was the open
acknowledgment of complete coldness. Was it possible to glance
at her as he had glanced when he came into the room for the
guarantee?--to look at her, see her heart was breaking with
despair, and go out without a word with that face of callous
composure? He was not merely cold to her, he hated her because
he loved another woman--that was clear.
And remembering all the cruel words he had said, Anna supplied,
too, the words that he had unmistakably wished to say and could
have said to her, and she grew more and more exasperated.
"I won't prevent you," he might say. "You can go where you like.
You were unwilling to be divorced from your husband, no doubt so
that you might go back to him. Go back to him. If you want
money, I'll give it to you. How many roubles do you want?"
All the most cruel words that a brutal man could say, he said to
her in her imagination, and she could not forgive him for them,
as though he had actually said them.
"But didn't he only yesterday swear he loved me, he, a truthful
and sincere man? Haven't I despaired for nothing many times
already?" she said to herself afterwards.
All that day, except for the visit to Wilson's, which occupied
two hours, Anna spent in doubts whether everything were over or
whether there were still hope of reconciliation, whether she
should go away at once or see him once more. She was expecting
him the whole day, and in the evening, as she went to her own
room, leaving a message for him that her head ached, she said to
herself, "If he comes in spite of what the maid says, it means
that he loves me still. If not, it means that all is over, and
then I will decide what I'm to do!..."
In the evening she heard the rumbling of his carriage stop at the
entrance, his ring, his steps and his conversation with the
servant; he believed what was told him, did not care to find out
more, and went to his own room. So then everything was over.
And death rose clearly and vividly before her mind as the sole
means of bringing back love for her in his heart, of punishing
him and of gaining the victory in that strife which the evil
spirit in possession of her heart was waging with him.
Now nothing mattered: going or not going to Vozdvizhenskoe,
getting or not getting a divorce from her husband--all that did
not matter. The one thing that mattered was punishing him. When
she poured herself out her usual dose of opium, and thought that
she had only to drink off the whole bottle to die, it seemed to
her so simple and easy, that she began musing with enjoyment on
how he would suffer, and repent and love her memory when it would
be too late. She lay in bed with open eyes, by the light of a
single burned-down candle, gazing at the carved cornice of the
ceiling and at the shadow of the screen that covered part of it,
while she vividly pictured to herself how he would feel when she
would be no more, when she would be only a memory to him. "How
could I say such cruel things to her?" he would say. "How could
I go out of the room without saying anything to her? But now she
is no more. She has gone away from us forever. She is...."
Suddenly the shadow of the screen wavered, pounced on the whole
cornice, the whole ceiling; other shadows from the other side
swooped to meet it, for an instant the shadows flitted back, but
then with fresh swiftness they darted forward, wavered,
commingled, and all was darkness. "Death!" she thought. And
such horror came upon her that for a long while she could not
realize where she was, and for a long while her trembling hands
could not find the matches and light another candle, instead of
the one that had burned down and gone out. "No, anything--only
to live! Why, I love him! Why, he loves me! This has been
before and will pass," she said, feeling that tears of joy at the
return to life were trickling down her cheeks. And to escape
from her panic she went hurriedly to his room.
He was asleep there, and sleeping soundly. She went up to him,
and holding the light above his face, she gazed a long while at
him. Now when he was asleep, she loved him so that at the sight
of him she could not keep back tears of tenderness. But she knew
that if he waked up he would look at her with cold eyes,
convinced that he was right, and that before telling him of her
love, she would have to prove to him that he had been wrong in
his treatment of her. Without waking him, she went back, and
after a second dose of opium she fell towards morning into a
heavy, incomplete sleep, during which she never quite lost
In the morning she was waked by a horrible nightmare, which had
recurred several times in her dreams, even before her connection
with Vronsky. A little old man with unkempt beard was doing
something bent down over some iron, muttering meaningless French
words, and she, as she always did in this nightmare (it was what
made the horror of it), felt that this peasant was taking no
notice of her, but was doing something horrible with the iron--
over her. And she waked up in a cold sweat.
When she got up, the previous day came back to her as though
veiled in mist.
"There was a quarrel. Just what has happened several times. I
said I had a headache, and he did not come in to see me.
Tomorrow we're going away; I must see him and get ready for the
journey," she said to herself. And learning that he was in his
study, she went down to him. As she passed through the
drawing room she heard a carriage stop at the entrance, and
looking out of the window she saw the carriage, from which a
young girl in a lilac hat was leaning out giving some direction
to the footman ringing the bell. After a parley in the hall,
someone came upstairs, and Vronsky's steps could be heard passing
the drawing room. He went rapidly downstairs. Anna went again
to the window. She saw him come out onto the steps without his
hat and go up to the carriage. The young girl in the lilac hat
handed him a parcel. Vronsky, smiling, said something to her.
The carriage drove away, he ran rapidly upstairs again.
The mists that had shrouded everything in her soul parted
suddenly. The feelings of yesterday pierced the sick heart with
a fresh pang. She could not understand now how she could have
lowered herself by spending a whole day with him in his house.
she went into his room to announce her determination.
"That was Madame Sorokina and her daughter. They came and
brought me the money and the deeds from maman. I couldn't get
them yesterday. How is your head, better?" he said quietly, not
wishing to see and to understand the gloomy and solemn expression
of her face.
She looked silently, intently at him, standing in the middle of
the room. He glanced at her, frowned for a moment, and went on
reading a letter. She turned, and went deliberately out of the
room. He still might have turned her back, but she had reached
the door, he was still silent, and the only sound audible was the
rustling of the note paper as he turned it.
"Oh, by the way," he said at the very moment she was in the
doorway, "we're going tomorrow for certain, aren't we?"
"You, but not I," she said, turning round to him.
"Anna, we can't go on like this..."
"You, but not I," she repeated.
"This is getting unbearable!"
"You...you will be sorry for this," she said, and went out.
Frightened by the desperate expression with which these words
were uttered, he jumped up and would have run after her, but on
second thoughts he sat down and scowled, setting his teeth. This
vulgar--as he thought it--threat of something vague exasperated
him. "I've tried everything," he thought; "the only thing left
is not to pay attention," and he began to get ready to drive into
town, and again to his mother's to get her signature to the
She heard the sound of his steps about the study and the dining
room. At the drawing room he stood still. But he did not turn
in to see her, he merely gave an order that the horse should be
given to Voytov if he came while he was away. Then she heard the
carriage brought round, the door opened, and he came out again.
But he went back into the porch again, and someone was running
upstairs. It was the valet running up for his gloves that had
been forgotten. She went to the window and saw him take the
gloves without looking, and touching the coachman on the back he
said something to him. Then without looking up at the window he
settled himself in his usual attitude in the carriage, with his
legs crossed, and drawing on his gloves he vanished round the
"He has gone! It is over!" Anna said to herself, standing at the
window; and in answer to this statement the impression of the
darkness when the candle had flickered out, and of her fearful
dream mingling into one, filled her heart with cold terror.
"No, that cannot be!" she cried, and crossing the room she rang
the bell. She was so afraid now of being alone, that without
waiting for the servant to come in, she went out to meet him.
"Iquire where the count has gone," she said. The servant
answered that the count had gone to the stable.
"His honor left word that if you cared to drive out, the carriage
would be back immediately."
"Very good. Wait a minute. I'll write a note at once. Send
Mihail with the note to the stables. Make haste."
She sat down and wrote:
"I was wrong. Come back home; I must explain. For God's sake
come! I'm afraid."
She sealed it up and gave it to the servant.
She was afraid of being left alone now; she followed the servant
out of the room, and went to the nursery.
"Why, this isn't it, this isn't he! Where are his blue eyes, his
sweet, shy smile?" was her first thought when she saw her chubby
rosy little girl with her black, curly hair instead of Seryozha,
whom in the tangle of her ideas she had expected to see in the
nursery. The little girl sitting at the table was obstinately
and violently battering on it with a cork, and staring aimlessly
at her mother with her pitch-black eyes. Answering the English
nurse that she was quite well, and that she was going to the
country tomorrow, Anna sat down by the little girl and began
spinning the cork to show her. But the child's loud, ringing
laugh, and the motion of her eyebrows, recalled Vronsky so
vividly that she got up hurriedly, restraining her sobs, and went
away. "Can it be all over? No, it cannot be!" she thought. "He
will come back. But how can he explain that smile, that
excitement after he had been talking to her? But even if he
doesn't explain, I will believe. If I don't believe, there's
only one thing left for me, and I can't."
She looked at her watch. Twenty minutes had passed. "By now he
has received the note and is coming back. Not long, ten minutes
more.... But what if he doesn't come? No, that cannot be. He
mustn't see me with tear-stained eyes. I'll go and wash. Yes,
yes; did I do my hair or not?" she asked herself. And she could
not remember. She felt her head with her hand. "Yes, my hair
has been done, but when I did it I can't in the least remember."
She could not believe the evidence of her hand, and went up to
the pier glass to see whether she really had done her hair. She
certainly had, but she could not think when she had done it.
"Who's that?" she thought, looking in the looking glass at the
swollen face with strangely glittering eyes, that looked in a
scared way at her. "Why, it's I!" she suddenly understood, and
looking round, she seemed all at once to feel his kisses on her,
and twitched her shoulders, shuddering. Then she lifted her hand
to her lips and kissed it.
"What is it? Why, I'm going out of my mind!" and she went into
her bedroom, where Annushka was tidying the room.
"Annushka," she said, coming to a standstill before her, and she
stared at the maid, not knowing what to say to her.
"You meant to go and see Darya Alexandrovna," said the girl, as
though she understood.
"Darya Alexandrovna? Yes, I'll go."
"Fifteen minutes there, fifteen minutes back. He's coming, he'll
be here soon." She took out her watch and looked at it. "But
how could he go away, leaving me in such a state? How can he
live, without making it up with me?" She went to the window and
began looking into the street. Judging by the time, he might be
back now. But her calculations might be wrong, and she began
once more to recall when he had started and to count the minutes.
At the moment when she had moved away to the big clock to compare
it with her watch, someone drove up. Glancing out of the window,
she saw his carriage. But no one came upstairs, and voices could
be heard below. It was the messenger who had come back in the
carriage. She went down to him.
"We didn't catch the count. The count had driven off on the
lower city road."