Part 21 out of 22
"What do you say? What!..." she said to the rosy, good-humored
Mihail, as he handed her back her note.
"Why, then, he has never received it!" she thought.
"Go with this note to Countess Vronskaya's place, you know? and
bring an answer back immediately," she said to the messenger.
"And I, what am I going to do?" she thought. "Yes, I'm going to
Dolly's, that's true or else I shall go out of my mind. Yes, and
I can telegraph, too." And she wrote a telegram. "I absolutely
must talk to you; come at once." After sending off the telegram,
she went to dress. When she was dressed and in her hat, she
glanced again into the eyes of the plump, comfortable-looking
Annushka. There was unmistakable sympathy in those good-natured
little gray eyes.
"Annushka, dear, what am I to do?" said Anna, sobbing and sinking
helplessly into a chair.
"Why fret yourself so, Anna Arkadyevna? Why, there's nothing out
of the way. You drive out a little, and it'll cheer you up,"
said the maid.
"Yes, I'm going," said Anna, rousing herself and getting up.
"And if there's a telegram while I'm away, send it on to Darya
Alexandrovna's...but no, I shall be back myself."
"Yes, I mustn't think, I must do something, drive somewhere, and
most of all, get out of this house," she said, feeling with
terror the strange turmoil going on in her own heart, and she
made haste to go out and get into the carriage.
"Where to?" asked Pyotr before getting onto the bow
"To Znamenka, the Oblonskys'."
It was bright and sunny. A fine rain had been falling all the
morning, and now it had not long cleared up. The iron roofs, the
flags of the roads, the flints of the pavements, the wheels and
leather, the brass and the tinplate of the carriages--all
glistened brightly in the May sunshine. It was three o'clock,
and the very liveliest time in the streets.
As she sat in a corner of the comfortable carriage, that hardly
swayed on its supple springs, while the grays trotted swiftly, in
the midst of the unceasing rattle of wheels and the changing
impressions in the pure air, Anna ran over the events of the last
days, and she saw her position quite differently from how it had
seemed at home. Now the thought of death seemed no longer so
terrible and so clear to her, and death itself no longer seemed
so inevitable. Now she blamed herself for the humiliation to
which she had lowered herself. "I entreat him to forgive me. I
have given in to him. I have owned myself in fault. What for?
Can't I live without him?" And leaving unanswered the question
how she was going to live without him, she fell to reading the
signs on the shops. "Office and warehouse. Dental surgeon.
Yes, I'll tell Dolly all about it. She doesn't like Vronsky. I
shall be sick and ashamed, but I'll tell her. She loves me, and
I'll follow her advice. I won't give in to him; I won't let him
train me as he pleases. Filippov, bun shop. They say they send
their dough to Petersburg. The Moscow water is so good for it.
Ah, the springs at Mitishtchen, and the pancakes!"
And she remembered how, long, long ago, when she was a girl of
seventeen, she had gone with her aunt to Troitsa. "Riding, too.
Was that really me, with red hands? How much that seemed to me
then splendid and out of reach has become worthless, while what
I had then has gone out of my reach forever! Could I ever have
believed then that I could come to such humiliation? How
conceited and self-satisfied he will be when he gets my note!
But I will show him.... How horrid that paint smells! Why is it
they're always painting and building? Modes et robes," she read.
A man bowed to her. It was Annushka's husband. "Our parasites";
she remembered how Vronsky had said that. "Our? Why our?
What's so awful is that one can't tear up the past by its roots.
One can't tear it out, but one can hide one's memory of it. And
I'll hide it." And then she thought of her past with Alexey
Alexandrovitch, of how she had blotted the memory of it out of
her life. "Dolly will think I'm leaving my second husband, and
so I certainly must be in the wrong. As if I cared to be right!
I can't help it!" she said, and she wanted to cry. But at once
she fell to wondering what those two girls could be smiling
about. "Love, most likely. They don't know how dreary it is,
how low.... The boulevard and the children. Three boys running,
playing at horses. Seryozha! And I'm losing everything and not
getting him back. Yes, I'm losing everything, if he doesn't
return. Perhaps he was late for the train and has come back by
now. Longing for humiliation again!" she said to herself. "No,
I'll go to Dolly, and say straight out to her, I'm unhappy, I
deserve this, I'm to blame, but still I'm unhappy, help me.
These horses, this carriage--how loathsome I am to myself in this
carriage--all his; but I won't see them again."
Thinking over the words in which she would tell Dolly, and
mentally working her heart up to great bitterness, Anna went
"Is there anyone with her?" she asked in the hall.
"Katerina Alexandrovna Levin," answered the footman.
"Kitty! Kitty, whom Vronsky was in love with!" thought Anna,
"the girl he thinks of with love. He's sorry he didn't marry
her. But me he thinks of with hatred, and is sorry he had
anything to do with me."
The sisters were having a consultation about nursing when Anna
called. Dolly went down alone to see the visitor who had
interrupted their conversation.
"Well, so you've not gone away yet? I meant to have come to
you," she said; "I had a letter from Stiva today."
"We had a telegram too," answered Anna, looking round for Kitty.
"He writes that he can't make out quite what Alexey
Alexandrovitch wants, but he won't go away without a decisive
"I thought you had someone with you. Can I see the letter?"
"Yes; Kitty," said Dolly, embarrassed. "She stayed in the
nursery. She has been very ill."
"So I heard. May I see the letter?"
"I'll get it directly. But he doesn't refuse; on the contrary,
Stiva has hopes," said Dolly, stopping in the doorway.
"I haven't, and indeed I don't wish it," said Anna.
"What's this? Does Kitty consider it degrading to meet me?"
thought Anna when she was alone. "Perhaps she's right, too. But
it's not for her, the girl who was in love with Vronsky, it's not
for her to show me that, even if it is true. I know that in my
position I can't be received by any decent woman. I knew that
from the first moment I sacrificed everything to him. And this
is my reward! Oh, how I hate him! And what did I come here for?
I'm worse here, more miserable." She heard from the next room
the sisters' voices in consultation. "And what am I going to say
to Dolly now? Amuse Kitty by the sight of my wretchedness,
submit to her patronizing? No; and besides, Dolly wouldn't
understand. And it would be no good my telling her. It would
only be interesting to see Kitty, to show her how I despise
everyone and everything, how nothing matters to me now."
Dolly came in with the letter. Anna read it and handed it back
"I knew all that," she said, "and it doesn't interest me in the
"Oh, why so? On the contrary, I have hopes," said Dolly, looking
inquisitively at Anna. She had never seen her in such a
strangely irritable condition. "When are you going away?" she
Anna, half-closing her eyes, looked straight before her and did
"Why does Kitty shrink from me?" she said, looking at the door
and flushing red.
"Oh, what nonsense! She's nursing, and things aren't going right
with her, and I've been advising her.... She's delighted.
She'll be here in a minute," said Dolly awkwardly, not clever at
lying. "Yes, here she is."
Hearing that Anna had called, Kitty had wanted not to appear, but
Dolly persuaded her. Rallying her forces, Kitty went in, walked
up to her, blushing, and shook hands.
"I am so glad to see you," she said with a trembling voice.
Kitty had been thrown into confusion by the inward conflict
between her antagonism to this bad woman and her desire to be
nice to her. But as soon as she saw Anna's lovely and attractive
face, all feeling of antagonism disappeared.
"I should not have been surprised if you had not cared to meet
me. I'm used to everything. You have been ill? Yes, you are
changed," said Anna.
Kitty felt that Anna was looking at her with hostile eyes. She
ascribed this hostility to the awkward position in which Anna,
who had once patronized her, must feel with her now, and she felt
sorry for her.
They talked of Kitty's illness, of the baby, of Stiva, but it was
obvious that nothing interested Anna.
"I came to say good-bye to you," she said, getting up.
"Oh, when are you going?"
But again not answering, Anna turned to Kitty.
"Yes, I am very glad to have seen you," she said with a smile.
"I have heard so much of you from everyone, even from your
husband. He came to see me, and I liked him exceedingly," she
said, unmistakably with malicious intent. "Where is he?"
"He has gone back to the country," said Kitty, blushing.
"Remember me to him, be sure you do."
"I'll be sure to!" Kitty said naively, looking compassionately
into her eyes.
"So good-bye, Dolly." And kissing Dolly and shaking hands with
Kitty, Anna went out hurriedly.
"She's just the same and just as charming! She's very lovely!"
said Kitty, when she was alone with her sister. "But there's
something piteous about her. Awfully piteous!"
"Yes, there's something unusual about her today," said Dolly.
"When I went with her into the hall, I fancied she was almost
Anna got into the carriage again in an even worse frame of mind
than when she set out from home. To her previous tortures was
added now that sense of mortification and of being an outcast
which she had felt so distinctly on meeting Kitty.
"Where to? Home?" asked Pyotr.
"Yes, home," she said, not even thinking now where she was going.
"How they looked at me as something dreadful, incomprehensible,
and curious! What can he be telling the other with such warmth?"
she thought, staring at two men who walked by. "Can one ever
tell anyone what one is feeling? I meant to tell Dolly, and it's
a good thing I didn't tell her. How pleased she would have been
at my misery! She would have concealed it, but her chief feeling
would have been delight at my being punished for the happiness
she envied me for. Kitty, she would have been even more pleased.
How I can see through her! She knows I was more than usually
sweet to her husband. And she's jealous and hates me. And she
despises me. In her eyes I'm an immoral woman. If I were an
immoral woman I could have made her husband fall in love with me
...if I'd cared to. And, indeed, I did care to. There's someone
who's pleased with himself," she thought, as she saw a fat,
rubicund gentleman coming towards her. He took her for an
acquaintance, and lifted his glossy hat above his bald, glossy
head, and then perceived his mistake. "He thought he knew me.
Well, he knows me as well as anyone in the world knows me. I
don't know myself. I know my appetites, as the French say. They
want that dirty ice cream, that they do know for certain," she
thought, looking at two boys stopping an ice cream seller, who
took a barrel off his head and began wiping his perspiring face
with a towel. "We all want what is sweet and nice. If not
sweetmeats, then a dirty ice. And Kitty's the same--if not
Vronsky, then Levin. And she envies me, and hates me. And we
all hate each other. I Kitty, Kitty me. Yes, that's the truth.
'Tiutkin, coiffeur.' Je me fais coiffer par Tiutkin.... I'll
tell him that when he comes," she thought and smiled. But the
same instant she remembered that she had no one now to tell
anything amusing to. "And there's nothing amusing, nothing
mirthful, really. It's all hateful. They're singing for
vespers, and how carefully that merchant crosses himself! as if
he were afraid of missing something. Why these churches and this
singing and this humbug? Simply to conceal that we all hate each
other like these cab drivers who are abusing each other so
angrily. Yashvin says, 'He wants to strip me of my shirt, and I
him of his.' Yes, that's the truth!"
She was plunged in these thoughts, which so engrossed her that
she left off thinking of her own position, when the carriage drew
up at the steps of her house. It was only when she saw the
porter running out to meet her that she remembered she had sent
the note and the telegram.
"Is there an answer?" she inquired.
"I'll see this minute," answered the porter, and glancing into
his room, he took out and gave her the thin square envelope of a
telegram. "I can't come before ten o'clock.--Vronsky," she
"And hasn't the messenger come back?"
"No," answered the porter.
"Then, since it's so, I know what I must do," she said, and
feeling a vague fury and craving for revenge rising up within
her, she ran upstairs. "I'll go to him myself. Before going
away forever, I'll tell him all. Never have I hated anyone as I
hate that man!" she thought. Seeing his hat on the rack, she
shuddered with aversion. She did not consider that his telegram
was an answer to her telegram and that he had not yet received
her note. She pictured him to herself as talking calmly to his
mother and Princess Sorokina and rejoicing at her sufferings.
"Yes, I must go quickly," she said, not knowing yet where she was
going. She longed to get away as quickly as possible from the
feelings she had gone through in that awful house. The servants,
the walls, the things in that house--all aroused repulsion and
hatred in her and lay like a weight upon her.
"Yes, I must go to the railway station, and if he's not there,
then go there and catch him." Anna looked at the railway
timetable in the newspapers. An evening train went at two
minutes past eight. "Yes, I shall be in time." She gave orders
for the other horses to be put in the carriage, and packed in a
traveling-bag the things needed for a few days. She knew she
would never come back here again.
Among the plans that came into her head she vaguely determined
that after what would happen at the station or at the countess's
house, she would go as far as the first town on the Nizhni road
and stop there.
Dinner was on the table; she went up, but the smell of the bread
and cheese was enough to make her feel that all food was
disgusting. She ordered the carriage and went out. The house
threw a shadow now right across the street, but it was a bright
evening and still warm in the sunshine. Annushka, who came down
with her things, and Pyotr, who put the things in the carriage,
and the coachman, evidently out of humor, were all hateful to
her, and irritated her by their words and actions.
"I don't want you, Pyotr."
"But how about the ticket?"
"Well, as you like, it doesn't matter," she said crossly.
Pyotr jumped on the box, and putting his arms akimbo, told the
coachman to drive to the booking-office.
"Here it is again! Again I understand it all!" Anna said to
herself, as soon as the carriage had started and swaying lightly,
rumbled over the tiny cobbles of the paved road, and again one
impression followed rapidly upon another.
"Yes; what was the last thing I thought of so clearly?" she tried
to recall it. "'Tiutkin, coiffeur?'--no, not that. Yes, of what
Yashvin says, the struggle for existence and hatred is the one
thing that holds men together. No, it's a useless journey you're
making," she said, mentally addressing a party in a coach and
four, evidently going for an excursion into the country. "And
the dog you're taking with you will be no help to you. You can't
get away from yourselves." Turning her eyes in the direction
Pyotr had turned to look, she saw a factory hand almost dead
drunk, with hanging head, being led away by a policeman. "Come,
he's found a quicker way," she thought. "Count Vronsky and I did
not find that happiness either, though we expected so much from
it." And now for the first time Anna turned that glaring light
in which she was seeing everything on to her relations with him,
which she had hitherto avoided thinking about. "What was it he
sought in me? Not love so much as the satisfaction of vanity."
She remembered his words, the expression of his face, that
recalled an abject setter-dog, in the early days of their
connection. And everything now confirmed this. "Yes, there was
the triumph of success in him. Of course there was love too, but
the chief element was the pride of success. He boasted of me.
Now that's over. There's nothing to be proud of. Not to be
proud of, but to be ashamed of. He has taken from me all he
could, and now I am no use to him. He is weary of me and is
trying not to be dishonorable in his behavior to me. He let that
out yesterday--he wants divorce and marriage so as to burn his
ships. He loves me, but how? The zest is gone, as the English
say. That fellow wants everyone to admire him and is very much
pleased with himself," she thought, looking at a red-faced clerk,
riding on a riding school horse. "Yes, there's not the same
flavor about me for him now. If I go away from him, at the
bottom of his heart he will be glad."
This was not mere supposition, she saw it distinctly in the
piercing light, which revealed to her now the meaning of life and
"My love keeps growing more passionate and egoistic, while his is
waning and waning, and that's why we're drifting apart." She
went on musing. "And there's no help for it. He is everything
for me, and I want him more and more to give himself up to me
entirely. And he wants more and more to get away from me. We
walked to meet each other up to the time of our love, and then we
have been irresistibly drifting in different directions. And
there's no altering that. He tells me I'm insanely jealous, and
I have told myself that I am insanely jealous; but it's not true.
I'm not jealous, but I'm unsatisfied. But..." she opened her
lips, and shifted her place in the carriage in the excitement,
aroused by the thought that suddenly struck her. "If I could be
anything but a mistress, passionately caring for nothing but his
caresses; but I can't and I don't care to be anything else. And
by that desire I rouse aversion in him, and he rouses fury in me,
and it cannot be different. Don't I know that he wouldn't
deceive me, that he has no schemes about Princess Sorokina, that
he's not in love with Kitty, that he won't desert me! I know all
that, but it makes it no better for me. If without loving me,
from DUTY he'll be good and kind to me, without what I want,
that's a thousand times worse than unkindness! That's--hell!
And that's just how it is. For a long while now he hasn't loved
me. And where love ends, hate begins. I don't know these
streets at all. Hills it seems, and still houses, and houses
.... And in the houses always people and people.... How many of
them, no end, and all hating each other! Come, let me try and
think what I want, to make me happy. Well? Suppose I am
divorced, and Alexey Alexandrovitch lets me have Seryozha, and I
marry Vronsky." Thinking of Alexey Alexandrovitch, she at once
pictured him with extraordinary vividness as though he were alive
before her, with his mild, lifeless, dull eyes, the blue veins in
his white hands, his intonations and the cracking of his fingers,
and remembering the feeling which had existed between them, and
which was also called love, she shuddered with loathing. "Well,
I'm divorced, and become Vronsky's wife. Well, will Kitty cease
looking at me as she looked at me today? No. And will Seryozha
leave off asking and wondering about my two husbands? And is
there any new feeling I can awaken between Vronsky and me? Is
there possible, if not happiness, some sort of ease from misery?
No, no!" she answered now without the slightest hesitation.
"Impossible! We are drawn apart by life, and I make his
unhappiness, and he mine, and there's no altering him or me.
Every attempt has been made, the screw has come unscrewed. Oh, a
beggar woman with a baby. She thinks I'm sorry for her. Aren't
we all flung into the world only to hate each other, and so to
torture ourselves and each other? Schoolboys coming--laughing
Seryozha?" she thought. "I thought, too, that I loved him, and
used to be touched by my own tenderness. But I have lived
without him, I gave him up for another love, and did not regret
the exchange till that love was satisfied." And with loathing
she thought of what she meant by that love. And the clearness
with which she saw life now, her own and all men's, was a
pleasure to her. "It's so with me and Pyotr, and the coachman,
Fyodor, and that merchant, and all the people living along the
Volga, where those placards invite one to go, and everywhere and
always," she thought when she had driven under the low-pitched
roof of the Nizhigorod station, and the porters ran to meet her.
"A ticket to Obiralovka?" said Pyotr.
She had utterly forgotten where and why she was going, and only
by a great effort she understood the question.
"Yes," she said, handing him her purse, and taking a little red
bag in her hand, she got out of the carriage.
Making her way through the crowd to the first-class waiting-room,
she gradually recollected all the details of her position, and
the plans between which she was hesitating. And again at the old
sore places, hope and then despair poisoned the wounds of her
tortured, fearfully throbbing heart. As she sat on the
star-shaped sofa waiting for the train, she gazed with aversion
at the people coming and going (they were all hateful to her),
and thought how she would arrive at the station, would write him
a note, and what she would write to him, and how he was at this
moment complaining to his mother of his position, not
understanding her sufferings, and how she would go into the room,
and what she would say to him. Then she thought that life might
still be happy, and how miserably she loved and hated him, and
how fearfully her heart was beating.
A bell rang, some young men, ugly and impudent, and at the same
time careful of the impression they were making, hurried by.
Pyotr, too, crossed the room in his livery and top-boots, with
his dull, animal face, and came up to her to take her to the
train. Some noisy men were quiet as she passed them on the
platform, and one whispered something about her to another--
something vile, no doubt. She stepped up on the high step, and
sat down in a carriage by herself on a dirty seat that had been
white. Her bag lay beside her, shaken up and down by the
springiness of the seat. With a foolish smile Pyotr raised his
hat, with its colored band, at the window, in token of farewell;
an impudent conductor slammed the door and the latch. A
grotesque-looking lady wearing a bustle (Anna mentally undressed
the woman, and was appalled at her hideousness), and a little
girl laughing affectedly ran down the platform.
"Katerina Andreevna, she's got them all, ma tante!" cried the
"Even the child's hideous and affected," thought Anna. To avoid
seeing anyone, she got up quickly and seated herself at the
opposite window of the empty carriage. A misshapen-looking
peasant covered with dirt, in a cap from which his tangled hair
stuck out all round, passed by that window, stooping down to the
carriage wheels. "There's something familiar about that hideous
peasant," thought Anna. And remembering her dream, she moved
away to the opposite door, shaking with terror. The conductor
opened the door and let in a man and his wife.
"Do you wish to get out?"
Anna made no answer. The conductor and her two fellow-passengers
did not notice under her veil her panic-stricken face. She went
back to her corner and sat down. The couple seated themselves on
the opposite side, and intently but surreptitiously scrutinized
her clothes. Both husband and wife seemed repulsive to Anna.
The husband asked, would she allow him to smoke, obviously not
with a view to smoking but to getting into conversation with her.
Receiving her assent, he said to his wife in French something
about caring less to smoke than to talk. They made inane and
affected remarks to one another, entirely for her benefit. Anna
saw clearly that they were sick of each other, and hated each
other. And no one could have helped hating such miserable
A second bell sounded, and was followed by moving of luggage,
noise, shouting and laughter. It was so clear to Anna that there
was nothing for anyone to be glad of, that this laughter
irritated her agonizingly, and she would have liked to stop up
her ears not to hear it. At last the third bell rang, there was
a whistle and a hiss of steam, and a clank of chains, and the man
in her carriage crossed himself. "It would be interesting to ask
him what meaning he attaches to that," thought Anna, looking
angrily at him. She looked past the lady out of the window at
the people who seemed whirling by as they ran beside the train or
stood on the platform. The train, jerking at regular intervals
at the junctions of the rails, rolled by the platform, past a
stone wall, a signal-box, past other trains; the wheels, moving
more smoothly and evenly, resounded with a slight clang on the
rails. The window was lighted up by the bright evening sun, and
a slight breeze fluttered the curtain. Anna forgot her fellow
passengers, and to the light swaying of the train she fell to
thinking again, as she breathed the fresh air.
"Yes, what did I stop at? That I couldn't conceive a position in
which life would not be a misery, that we are all created to be
miserable, and that we all know it, and all invent means of
deceiving each other. And when one sees the truth, what is one
"That's what reason is given man for, to escape from what worries
him," said the lady in French, lisping affectedly, and obviously
pleased with her phrase.
The words seemed an answer to Anna's thoughts.
"To escape from what worries him," repeated Anna. And glancing
at the red-checked husband and the thin wife, she saw that the
sickly wife considered herself misunderstood, and the husband
deceived her and encouraged her in that idea of herself. Anna
seemed to see all their history and all the crannies of their
souls, as it were turning a light upon them. But there was
nothing interesting in them, and she pursued her thought.
"Yes, I'm very much worried, and that's what reason was given me
for, to escape; so then one must escape: why not put out the
light when there's nothing more to look at, when it's sickening
to look at it all? But how? Why did the conductor run along the
footboard, why are they shrieking, those young men in that train?
why are they talking, why are they laughing? It's all falsehood,
all lying, all humbug, all cruelty!..."
When the train came into the station, Anna got out into the crowd
of passengers, and moving apart from them as if they were lepers,
she stood on the platform, trying to think what she had come here
for, and what she meant to do. Everything that had seemed to her
possible before was now so difficult to consider, especially in
this noisy crowd of hideous people who would not leave her alone.
One moment porters ran up to her proffering their services, then
young men, clacking their heels on the planks of the platform and
talking loudly, stared at her; people meeting her dodged past on
the wrong side. Remembering that she had meant to go on further
if there were no answer, she stopped a porter and asked if her
coachman were not here with a note from Count Vronsky.
"Count Vronsky? They sent up here from the Vronskys just this
minute, to meet Princess Sorokina and her daughter. And what is
the coachman like?"
Just as she was talking to the porter, the coachman Mihail, red
and cheerful in his smart blue coat and chain, evidently proud of
having so successfully performed his commission, came up to her
and gave her a letter. She broke it open, and her heart ached
before she had read it.
"I am very sorry your note did not reach me. I will be home at
ten," Vronsky had written carelessly....
"Yes, that's what I expected!" she said to herself with an evil
"Very good, you can go home then," she said softly, addressing
Mihail. She spoke softly because the rapidity of her heart's
beating hindered her breathing. "No, I won't let you make me
miserable," she thought menacingly, addressing not him, not
herself, but the power that made her suffer, and she walked along
Two maidservants walking along the platform turned their heads,
staring at her and making some remarks about her dress. "Real,"
they said of the lace she was wearing. The young men would not
leave her in peace. Again they passed by, peering into her face,
and with a laugh shouting something in an unnatural voice. The
station-master coming up asked her whether she was going by
train. A boy selling kvas never took his eyes off her. "My God!
where am I to go?" she thought, going farther and farther along
the platform. At the end she stopped. Some ladies and children,
who had come to meet a gentleman in spectacles, paused in their
loud laughter and talking, and stared at her as she reached them.
She quickened her pace and walked away from them to the edge of
the platform. A luggage train was coming in. The platform began
to sway, and she fancied she was in the train again.
And all at once she thought of the man crushed by the train the
day she had first met Vronsky, and she knew what she had to do.
With a rapid, light step she went down the steps that led from
the tank to the rails and stopped quite near the approaching
She looked at the lower part of the carriages, at the screws and
chains and the tall cast-iron wheel of the first carriage slowly
moving up, and trying to measure the middle between the front and
back wheels, and the very minute when that middle point would be
"There," she said to herself, looking into the shadow of the
carriage, at the sand and coal dust which covered the sleepers--
"there, in the very middle, and I will punish him and escape
from everyone and from myself."
She tried to fling herself below the wheels of the first carriage
as it reached her; but the red bag which she tried to drop out of
her hand delayed her, and she was too late; she missed the
moment. She had to wait for the next carriage. A feeling such
as she had known when about to take the first plunge in bathing
came upon her, and she crossed herself. That familiar gesture
brought back into her soul a whole series of girlish and childish
memories, and suddenly the darkness that had covered everything
for her was torn apart, and life rose up before her for an
instant with all its bright past joys. But she did not take her
eyes from the wheels of the second carriage. And exactly at the
moment when the space between the wheels came opposite her, she
dropped the red bag, and drawing her head back into her
shoulders, fell on her hands under the carriage, and lightly, as
though she would rise again at once, dropped on to her knees.
And at the same instant she was terror-stricken at what she was
doing. "Where am I? What am I doing? What for?" she tried to
get up, to drop backwards; but something huge and merciless
struck her on the head and rolled her on her back. "Lord,
forgive me all!" she said, feeling it impossible to struggle. A
peasant muttering something was working at the iron above her.
And the light by which she had read the book filled with
troubles, falsehoods, sorrow, and evil, flared up more brightly
than ever before, lighted up for her all that had been in
darkness, flickered, began to grow dim, and was quenched forever.
Almost two months had passed. The hot summer was half over, but
Sergey Ivanovitch was only just preparing to leave Moscow.
Sergey Ivanovitch's life had not been uneventful during this
time. A year ago he had finished his book, the fruit of six
years' labor, "Sketch of a Survey of the Principles and Forms of
Government in Europe and Russia." Several sections of this book
and its introduction had appeared in periodical publications, and
other parts had been read by Sergey Ivanovitch to persons of his
circle, so that the leading ideas of the work could not be
completely novel to the public. But still Sergey Ivanovitch had
expected that on its appearance his book would be sure to make a
serious impression on society, and if it did not cause a
revolution in social science it would, at any rate, make a great
stir in the scientific world.
After the most conscientious revision the book had last year been
published, and had been distributed among the booksellers.
Though he asked no one about it, reluctantly and with feigned
indifference answered his friends' inquiries as to how the book
was going, and did not even inquire of the booksellers how the
book was selling, Sergey Ivanovitch was all on the alert, with
strained attention, watching for the first impression his book
would make in the world and in literature.
But a week passed, a second, a third, and in society no
impression whatever could be detected. His friends who were
specialists and savants, occasionally--unmistakably from
politeness--alluded to it. The rest of his acquaintances, not
interested in a book on a learned subject, did not talk of it at
all. And society generally--just now especially absorbed in
other things--was absolutely indifferent. In the press, too, for
a whole month there was not a word about his book.
Sergey Ivanovitch had calculated to a nicety the time necessary
for writing a review, but a month passed, and a second, and still
there was silence.
Only in the Northern Beetle, in a comic article on the singer
Drabanti, who had lost his voice, there was a contemptuous
allusion to Koznishev's book, suggesting that the book had been
long ago seen through by everyone, and was a subject of general
At last in the third month a critical article appeared in a
serious review. Sergey Ivanovitch knew the author of the
article. He had met him once at Golubtsov's.
The author of the article was a young man, an invalid, very bold
as a writer, but extremely deficient in breeding and shy in
In spite of his absolute contempt for the author, it was with
complete respect that Sergey Ivanovitch set about reading the
article. The article was awful.
The critic had undoubtedly put an interpretation upon the book
which could not possibly be put on it. But he had selected
quotations so adroitly that for people who had not read the book
(and obviously scarcely anyone had read it) it seemed absolutely
clear that the whole book was nothing but a medley of high-flown
phrases, not even--as suggested by marks of interrogation--used
appropriately, and that the author of the book was a person
absolutely without knowledge of the subject. And all this was so
wittingly done that Sergey Ivanovitch would not have disowned
such wit himself. But that was just what was so awful.
In spite of the scrupulous conscientiousness with which Sergey
Ivanovitch verified the correctness of the critic's arguments, he
did not for a minute stop to ponder over the faults and mistakes
which were ridiculed; but unconsciously he began immediately
trying to recall every detail of his meeting and conversation
with the author of the article.
"Didn't I offend him in some way?" Sergey Ivanovitch wondered.
And remembering that when they met he had corrected the young man
about something he had said that betrayed ignorance, Sergey
Ivanovitch found the clue to explain the article.
This article was followed by a deadly silence about the book both
in the press and in conversation, and Sergey Ivanovitch saw that
his six years' task, toiled at with such love and labor, had
gone, leaving no trace.
Sergey Ivanovitch's position was still more difficult from the
fact that, since he had finished his book, he had had no more
literary work to do, such as had hitherto occupied the greater
part of his time.
Sergey Ivanovitch was clever, cultivated, healthy, and energetic,
and he did not know what use to make of his energy.
Conversations in drawing rooms, in meetings, assemblies, and
committees--everywhere where talk was possible--took up part of
his time. But being used for years to town life, he did not
waste all his energies in talk, as his less experienced younger
brother did, when he was in Moscow. He had a great deal of
leisure and intellectual energy still to dispose of.
Fortunately for him, at this period so difficult for him from the
failure of his book, the various public questions of the
dissenting sects, of the American alliance, of the Samara famine,
of exhibitions, and of spiritualism, were definitely replaced in
public interest by the Slavonic question, which had hitherto
rather languidly interested society, and Sergey Ivanovitch, who
had been one of the first to raise this subject, threw himself
into it heart and soul.
In the circle to which Sergey Ivanovitch belonged, nothing was
talked of or written about just now but the Servian War.
Everything that the idle crowd usually does to kill time was done
now for the benefit of the Slavonic States. Balls, concerts,
dinners, matchboxes, ladies' dresses, beer, restaurants--
everything testified to sympathy with the Slavonic peoples.
From much of what was spoken and written on the subject, Sergey
Ivanovitch differed on various points. He saw that the Slavonic
question had become one of those fashionable distractions which
succeed one another in providing society with an object and an
occupation. He saw, too, that a great many people were taking up
the subject from motives of self-interest and self-advertisement.
He recognized that the newspapers published a great deal that was
superfluous and exaggerated, with the sole aim of attracting
attention and outbidding one another. He saw that in this
general movement those who thrust themselves most forward and
shouted the loudest were men who had failed and were smarting
under a sense of injury--generals without armies, ministers not
in the ministry, journalists not on any paper, party leaders
without followers. He saw that there was a great deal in it that
was frivolous and absurd. But he saw and recognized an
unmistakable growing enthusiasm, uniting all classes, with which
it was impossible not to sympathize. The massacre of men who
were fellow Christians, and of the same Slavonic race, excited
sympathy for the sufferers and indignation against the
oppressors. And the heroism of the Servians and Montenegrins
struggling for a great cause begot in the whole people a longing
to help their brothers not in word but in deed.
But in this there was another aspect that rejoiced Sergey
Ivanovitch. That was the manifestation of public opinion. The
public had definitely expressed its desire. The soul of the
people had, as Sergey Ivanovitch said, found expression. And the
more he worked in this cause, the more incontestable it seemed to
him that it was a cause destined to assume vast dimensions, to
create an epoch.
He threw himself heart and soul into the service of this great
cause, and forgot to think about his book. His whole time now
was engrossed by it, so that he could scarcely manage to answer
all the letters and appeals addressed to him. He worked the
whole spring and part of the summer, and it was only in July that
he prepared to go away to his brother's in the country.
He was going both to rest for a fortnight, and in the very heart
of the people, in the farthest wilds of the country, to enjoy the
sight of that uplifting of the spirit of the people, of which,
like all residents in the capital and big towns, he was fully
persuaded. Katavasov had long been meaning to carry out his
promise to stay with Levin, and so he was going with him.
Sergey Ivanovitch and Katavasov had only just reached the station
of the Kursk line, which was particularly busy and full of
people that day, when, looking round for the groom who was
following with their things, they saw a party of volunteers
driving up in four cabs. Ladies met them with bouquets of
flowers, and followed by the rushing crowd they went into the
One of the ladies, who had met the volunteers, came out of the
hall and addressed Sergey Ivanovitch.
"You too come to see them off?" she asked in French.
"No, I'm going away myself, princess. To my brother's for a
holiday. Do you always see them of?" said Sergey Ivanovitch with
a hardly perceptible smile.
"Oh, that would be impossible!" answered the princess. "Is it
true that eight hundred have been sent from us already?
Malvinsky wouldn't believe me."
"More than eight hundred. If you reckon those who have been sent
not directly from Moscow, over a thousand," answered Sergey
"There! That's just what I said!" exclaimed the lady. "And it's
true too, I suppose, that more than a million has been
"What do you say to today's telegram? Beaten the Turks again."
"Yes, so I saw," answered Sergey Ivanovitch. They were speaking
of the last telegram stating that the Turks had been for three
days in succession beaten at all points and put to flight, and
that tomorrow a decisive engagement was expected.
"Ah, by the way, a splendid young fellow has asked leave to go,
and they've made some difficulty, I don't know why. I meant to
ask you; I know him; please write a note about his case. He's
being sent by Countess Lidia Ivanovna."
Sergey Ivanovitch asked for all the details the princess knew
about the young man, and going into the first-class waiting-room,
wrote a note to the person on whom the granting of leave of
absence depended, and handed it to the princess.
"You know Count Vronsky, the notorious one...is going by this
train?" said the princess with a smile full of triumph and
meaning, when he found her again and gave her the letter.
"I had heard he was going, but I did not know when. By this
"I've seen him. He's here: there's only his mother seeing him
off. It's the best thing, anyway, that he could do."
"Oh, yes, of course."
While they were talking the crowd streamed by them into the
dining room. They went forward too, and heard a gentleman with a
glass in his hand delivering a loud discourse to the volunteers.
"In the service of religion, humanity, and our brothers," the
gentleman said, his voice growing louder and louder; "to this
great cause mother Moscow dedicates you with her blessing.
Jivio!" he concluded, loudly and tearfully.
Everyone shouted Jivio! and a fresh crowd dashed into the hall,
almost carrying the princess off her legs.
"Ah, princess! that was something like!" said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, suddenly appearing in the middle of the crowd and
beaming upon them with a delighted smile. "Capitally, warmly
said, wasn't it? Bravo! And Sergey Ivanovitch! Why, you ought
to have said something--just a few words, you know, to encourage
them; you do that so well," he added with a soft, respectful, and
discreet smile, moving Sergey Ivanovitch forward a little by the
"No, I'm just off."
"To the country, to my brother's," answered Sergey Ivanovitch.
"Then you'll see my wife. I've written to her, but you'll see
her first. Please tell her that they've seen me and that it's
'all right,' as the English say. She'll understand. Oh, and be
so good as to tell her I'm appointed secretary of the
committee.... But she'll understand! You know, les petites
miseres de la vie humaine," he said, as it were apologizing to
the princess. "And Princess Myakaya--not Liza, but Bibish--is
sending a thousand guns and twelve nurses. Did I tell you?"
"Yes, I heard so," answered Koznishev indifferently.
"It's a pity you're going away," said Stepan Arkadyevitch.
"Tomorrow we're giving a dinner to two who're setting off--
Dimer-Bartnyansky from Petersburg and our Veslovsky, Grisha.
They're both going. Veslovsky's only lately married. There's a
fine fellow for you! Eh, princess?" he turned to the lady.
The princess looked at Koznishev without replying. But the fact
that Sergey Ivanovitch and the princess seemed anxious to get rid
of him did not in the least disconcert Stepan Arkadyevitch.
Smiling, he stared at the feather in the princess's hat, and then
about him as though he were going to pick something up. Seeing a
lady approaching with a collecting box, he beckoned her up and
put in a five-rouble note.
"I can never see these collecting boxes unmoved while I've money
in my pocket," he said. "And how about today's telegram? Fine
chaps those Montenegrins!"
"You don't say so!" he cried, when the princess told him that
Vronsky was going by this train. For an instant Stepan
Arkadyevitch's face looked sad, but a minute later, when,
stroking his mustaches and swinging as he walked, he went into
the hall where Vronsky was, he had completely forgotten his own
despairing sobs over his sister's corpse, and he saw in Vronsky
only a hero and an old friend.
"With all his faults one can't refuse to do him justice," said
the princess to Sergey Ivanovitch as soon as Stepan Arkadyevitch
had left them. "What a typically Russian, Slav nature! Only,
I'm afraid it won't be pleasant for Vronsky to see him. Say what
you will, I'm touched by that man's fate. Do talk to him a
little on the way," said the princess.
"Yes, perhaps, if it happens so."
"I never liked him. But this atones for a great deal. He's not
merely going himself, he's taking a squadron at his own expense."
"Yes, so I heard."
A bell sounded. Everyone crowded to the doors. "Here he is!" said
the princess, indicating Vronsky, who with his mother on his arm
walked by, wearing a long overcoat and wide-brimmed black hat.
Oblonsky was walking beside him, talking eagerly of something.
Vronsky was frowning and looking straight before him, as though
he did not hear what Stepan Arkadyevitch was saying.
Probably on Oblonsky's pointing them out, he looked round in the
direction where the princess and Sergey Ivanovitch were standing,
and without speaking lifted his hat. His face, aged and worn by
suffering, looked stony.
Going onto the platform, Vronsky left his mother and disappeared
into a compartment.
On the platform there rang out "God save the Tsar," then shouts
of "hurrah!" and "jivio!" One of the volunteers, a tall, very
young man with a hollow chest, was particularly conspicuous,
bowing and waving his felt hat and a nosegay over his head. Then
two officers emerged, bowing too, and a stout man with a big
beard, wearing a greasy forage cap.
Saying good-bye to the princess, Sergey Ivanovitch was joined by
Katavasov; together they got into a carriage full to overflowing,
and the train started.
At Tsaritsino station the train was met by a chorus of young men
singing "Hail to Thee!" Again the volunteers bowed and poked
their heads out, but Sergey Ivanovitch paid no attention to them.
He had had so much to do with the volunteers that the type was
familiar to him and did not interest him. Katavasov, whose
scientific work had prevented his having a chance of observing
them hitherto, was very much interested in them and questioned
Sergey Ivanovitch advised him to go into the second-class and
talk to them himself. At the next station Katavasov acted on
At the first stop he moved into the second-class and made the
acquaintance of the volunteers. They were sitting in a corner of
the carriage, talking loudly and obviously aware that the
attention of the passengers and Katavasov as he got in was
concentrated upon them. More loudly than all talked the tall,
hollow-chested young man. He was unmistakably tipsy, and was
relating some story that had occurred at his school. Facing him
sat a middle-aged officer in the Austrian military jacket of the
Guards uniform. He was listening with a smile to the hollow-
chested youth, and occasionally pulling him up. The third, in an
artillery uniform, was sitting on a box beside them. A fourth
Entering into conversation with the youth, Katavasov learned that
he was a wealthy Moscow merchant who had run through a large
fortune before he was two-and-twenty. Katavasov did not like
him, because he was unmanly and effeminate and sickly. He was
obviously convinced, especially now after drinking, that he was
performing a heroic action, and he bragged of it in the most
The second, the retired officer, made an unpleasant impression
too upon Katavasov. He was, it seemed, a man who had tried
everything. He had been on a railway, had been a land-steward,
and had started factories, and he talked, quite without
necessity, of all he had done, and used learned expressions quite
The third, the artilleryman, on the contrary, struck Katavasov
very favorably. He was a quiet, modest fellow, unmistakably
impressed by the knowledge of the officer and the heroic
self-sacrifice of the merchant and saying nothing about himself.
When Katavasov asked him what had impelled him to go to Servia,
he answered modestly:
"Oh, well, everyone's going. The Servians want help, too. I'm
sorry for them."
"Yes, you artillerymen especially are scarce there," said
"Oh, I wasn't long in the artillery, maybe they'll put me into
the infantry or the cavalry."
"Into the infantry when they need artillery more than anything?"
said Katavasov, fancying from the artilleryman's apparent age
that he must have reached a fairly high grade.
"I wasn't long in the artillery; I'm a cadet retired," he said,
and he began to explain how he had failed in his examination.
All of this together made a disagreeable impression on Katavasov,
and when the volunteers got out at a station for a drink,
Katavasov would have liked to compare his unfavorable impression
in conversation with someone. There was an old man in the
carriage, wearing a military overcoat, who had been listening all
the while to Katavasov's conversation with the volunteers. When
they were left alone, Katavasov addressed him.
"What different positions they come from, all those fellows who
are going off there," Katavasov said vaguely, not wishing to
express his own opinion, and at the same time anxious to find out
the old man's views.
The old man was an officer who had served on two campaigns. He
knew what makes a soldier, and judging by the appearance and the
talk of those persons, by the swagger with which they had
recourse to the bottle on the journey, he considered them poor
soldiers. Moreover, he lived in a district town, and he was
longing to tell how one soldier had volunteered from his town, a
drunkard and a thief whom no one would employ as a laborer. But
knowing by experience that in the present condition of the public
temper it was dangerous to express an opinion opposed to the
general one, and especially to criticize the volunteers
unfavorably, he too watched Katavasov without committing himself.
"Well, men are wanted there," he said, laughing with his eyes.
And they fell to talking of the last war news, and each concealed
from the other his perplexity as to the engagement expected next
day, since the Turks had been beaten, according to the latest
news, at all points. And so they parted, neither giving
expression to his opinion.
Katavasov went back to his own carriage, and with reluctant
hypocrisy reported to Sergey Ivanovitch his observations of the
volunteers, from which it would appear that they were capital
At a big station at a town the volunteers were again greeted with
shouts and singing, again men and women with collecting boxes
appeared, and provincial ladies brought bouquets to the
volunteers and followed them into the refreshment room; but all
this was on a much smaller and feebler scale than in Moscow.
While the train was stopping at the provincial town, Sergey
Ivanovitch did not go to the refreshment room, but walked up and
down the platform.
The first time he passed Vronsky's compartment he noticed that
the curtain was drawn over the window; but as he passed it the
second time he saw the old countess at the window. She beckoned
"I'm going, you see, taking him as far as Kursk," she said.
"Yes, so I heard," said Sergey Ivanovitch, standing at her window
and peeping in. "What a noble act on his part!" he added,
noticing that Vronsky was not in the compartment.
"Yes, after his misfortune, what was there for him to do?"
"What a terrible thing it was!" said Sergey Ivanovitch.
"Ah, what I have been through! But do get in.... Ah, what I
have been through!" she repeated, when Sergey Ivanovitch had got
in and sat down beside her. "You can't conceive it! For six
weeks he did not speak to anyone, and would not touch food
except when I implored him. And not for one minute could we
leave him alone. We took away everything he could have used
against himself. We lived on the ground floor, but there was no
reckoning on anything. You know, of course, that he had shot
himself once already on her account," she said, and the old
lady's eyelashes twitched at the recollection. "Yes, hers was
the fitting end for such a woman. Even the death she chose was
low and vulgar."
"It's not for us to judge, countess," said Sergey Ivanovitch;
"but I can understand that it has been very hard for you."
"Ah, don't speak of it! I was staying on my estate, and he was
with me. A note was brought him. He wrote an answer and sent it
off. We hadn't an idea that she was close by at the station. I
the evening I had only just gone to my room, when my Mary told me
a lady had thrown herself under the train. Something seemed to
strike me at once. I knew it was she. The first thing I said
was, he was not to be told. But they'd told him already. His
coachman was there and saw it all. When I ran into his room, he
was beside himself--it was fearful to see him. He didn't say a
word, but galloped off there. I don't know to this day what
happened there, but he was brought back at death's door. I
shouldn't have known him. Prostration complete, the doctor said.
And that was followed almost by madness. Oh, why talk of it!"
said the countess with a wave of her hand. "It was an awful
time! No, say what you will, she was a bad woman. Why, what is
the meaning of such desperate passions? It was all to show
herself something out of the way. Well, and that she did do.
She brought herself to ruin and two good men--her husband and my
"And what did her husband do?" asked Sergey Ivanovitch.
"He has taken her daughter. Alexey was ready to agree to
anything at first. Now it worries him terribly that he should
have given his own child away to another man. But he can't take
back his word. Karenin came to the funeral. But we tried to
prevent his meeting Alexey. For him, for her husband, it was
easier, anyway. She had set him free. But my poor son was
utterly given up to her. He had thrown up everything, his
career, me, and even then she had no mercy on him, but of set
purpose she made his ruin complete. No, say what you will, her
very death was the death of a vile woman, of no religious
feeling. God forgive me, but I can't help hating the memory of
her, when I look at my son's misery!"
"But how is he now?"
"It was a blessing from Providence for us--this Servian war. I'm
old, and I don't understand the rights and wrongs of it, but it's
come as a providential blessing to him. Of course for me, as his
mother, it's terrible; and what's worse, they say, ce n'est pas
tres bien vu a Petersbourg. But it can't be helped! It was the
one thing that could rouse him. Yashvin--a friend of his--he had
lost all he had at cards and he was going to Servia. He came to
see him and persuaded him to go. Now it's an interest for him.
Do please talk to him a little. I want to distract his mind.
He's so low-spirited. And as bad luck would have it, he has
toothache too. But he'll be delighted to see you. Please do
talk to him; he's walking up and down on that side."
Sergey Ivanovitch said he would be very glad to, and crossed over
to the other side of the station.
In the slanting evening shadows cast by the baggage piled up on
the platform, Vronsky in his long overcoat and slouch hat, with
his hands in his pockets, strode up and down, like a wild beast
in a cage, turning sharply after twenty paces. Sergey Ivanovitch
fancied, as he approached him, that Vronsky saw him but was
pretending not to see. This did not affect Sergey Ivanovitch in
the slightest. He was above all personal considerations with
At that moment Sergey Ivanovitch looked upon Vronsky as a man
taking an important part in a great cause, and Koznishev thought
it his duty to encourage him and express his approval. He went
up to him.
Vronsky stood still, looked intently at him, recognized him, and
going a few steps forward to meet him, shook hands with him very
"Possibly you didn't wish to see me," said Sergey Ivanovitch,
"but couldn't I be of use to you?"
"There's no one I should less dislike seeing than you," said
Vronsky. "Excuse me; and there's nothing in life for me to
"I quite understand, and I merely meant to offer you my
services," said Sergey Ivanovitch, scanning Vronsky's face, full
of unmistakable suffering. "Wouldn't it be of use to you to have
a letter to Ristitch--to Milan?"
"Oh, no!" Vronsky said, seeming to understand him with
difficulty. "If you don't mind, let's walk on. It's so stuffy
among the carriages. A letter? No, thank you; to meet death one
needs no letters of introduction. Nor for the Turks..." he said,
with a smile that was merely of the lips. His eyes still kept
their look of angry suffering.
"Yes; but you might find it easier to get into relations, which
are after all essential, with anyone prepared to see you. But
that's as you like. I was very glad to hear of your intention.
There have been so many attacks made on the volunteers, and a man
like you raises them in public estimation."
"My use as a man," said Vronsky, "is that life's worth nothing to
me. And that I've enough bodily energy to cut my way into their
ranks, and to trample on them or fall--I know that. I'm glad
there's something to give my life for, for it's not simply
useless but loathsome to me. Anyone's welcome to it." And his
jaw twitched impatiently from the incessant gnawing toothache,
that prevented him from even speaking with a natural expression.
"You will become another man, I predict," said Sergey
Ivanovitch, feeling touched. "To deliver one's brother-men from
bondage is an aim worth death and life. God grant you success
outwardly--and inwardly peace," he added, and he held out his
hand. Vronsky warmly pressed his outstretched hand.
"Yes, as a weapon I may be of some use. But as a man, I'm a
wreck," he jerked out.
He could hardly speak for the throbbing ache in his strong teeth,
that were like rows of ivory in his mouth. He was silent, and
his eyes rested on the wheels of the tender, slowly and smoothly
rolling along the rails.
And all at once a different pain, not an ache, but an inner
trouble, that set his whole being in anguish, made him for an
instant forget his toothache. As he glanced at the tender and
the rails, under the influence of the conversation with a friend
he had not met since his misfortune, he suddenly recalled
HER--that is, what was left of her when he had run like one
distraught into the cloak room of the railway station--on the
table, shamelessly sprawling out among strangers, the
bloodstained body so lately full of life; the head unhurt
dropping back with its weight of hair, and the curling tresses
about the temples, and the exquisite face, with red, half-opened
mouth, the strange, fixed expression, piteous on the lips and
awful in the still open eyes, that seemed to utter that fearful
phrase--that he would be sorry for it--that she had said when
they were quarreling.
And he tried to think of her as she was when he met her the first
time, at a railway station too, mysterious, exquisite, loving,
seeking and giving happiness, and not cruelly revengeful as he
remembered her on that last moment. He tried to recall his best
moments with her, but those moments were poisoned forever. He
could only think of her as triumphant, successful in her menace
of a wholly useless remorse never to be effaced. He lost all
consciousness of toothache, and his face worked with sobs.
Passing twice up and down beside the baggage in silence and
regaining his self-possession, he addressed Sergey Ivanovitch
"You have had no telegrams since yesterday's? Yes, driven back
for a third time, but a decisive engagement expected for
And after talking a little more of King Milan's proclamation, and
the immense effect it might have, they parted, going to their
carriages on hearing the second bell.
Sergey Ivanovitch had not telegraphed to his brother to send to
meet him, as he did not know when he should be able to leave
Moscow. Levin was not at home when Katavasov and Sergey
Ivanovitch in a fly hired at the station drove up to the steps of
the Pokrovskoe house, as black as Moors from the dust of the
road. Kitty, sitting on the balcony with her father and sister,
recognized her brother-in-law, and ran down to meet him.
"What a shame not to have let us know," she said, giving her hand
to Sergey Ivanovitch, and putting her forehead up for him to
"We drove here capitally, and have not put you out," answered
Sergey Ivanovitch. "I'm so dirty. I'm afraid to touch you.
I've been so busy, I didn't know when I should be able to tear
myself away. And so you're still as ever enjoying your peaceful,
quiet happiness," he said, smiling, "out of the reach of the
current in your peaceful backwater. Here's our friend Fyodor
Vassilievitch who has succeeded in getting here at last."
"But I'm not a negro, I shall look like a human being when I
wash," said Katavasov in his jesting fashion, and he shook hands
and smiled, his teeth flashing white in his black face.
"Kostya will be delighted. He has gone to his settlement. It's
time he should be home."
"Busy as ever with his farming. It really is a peaceful
backwater," said Katavasov; "while we in town think of nothing
but the Servian war. Well, how does our friend look at it? He's
sure not to think like other people."
"Oh, I don't know, like everybody else," Kitty answered, a little
embarrassed, looking round at Sergey Ivanovitch. "I'll send to
fetch him. Papa's staying with us. He's only just come home
And making arrangements to send for Levin and for the guests to
wash, one in his room and the other in what had been Dolly's, and
giving orders for their luncheon, Kitty ran out onto the balcony,
enjoying the freedom, and rapidity of movement, of which she had
been deprived during the months of her pregnancy.
"It's Sergey Ivanovitch and Katavasov, a professor," she said.
"Oh, that's a bore in this heat," said the prince.
"No, papa, he's very nice, and Kostya's very fond of him," Kitty
said, with a deprecating smile, noticing the irony on her
"Oh, I didn't say anything."
"You go to them, darling," said Kitty to her sister, "and
entertain them. They saw Stiva at the station; he was quite
well. And I must run to Mitya. As ill-luck would have it, I
haven't fed him since tea. He's awake now, and sure to be
screaming." And feeling a rush of milk, she hurried to the
This was not a mere guess; her connection with the child was
still so close, that she could gauge by the flow of her milk his
need of food, and knew for certain he was hungry.
She knew he was crying before she reached the nursery. And he
was indeed crying. She heard him and hastened. But the faster
she went, the louder he screamed. It was a fine healthy scream,
hungry and impatient.
"Has he been screaming long, nurse, very long?" said Kitty
hurriedly, seating herself on a chair, and preparing to give the
baby the breast. "But give me him quickly. Oh, nurse, how
tiresome you are! There, tie the cap afterwards, dol"
The baby's greedy scream was passing into sobs.
"But you can't manage so, ma'am," said Agafea Mihalovna, who was
almost always to be found in the nursery. "He must be put
straight. A-oo! a-oo!" she chanted over him, paying no attention
to the mother.
The nurse brought the baby to his mother. Agafea Mihalovna
followed him with a face dissolving with tenderness.
"He knows me, he knows me. In God's faith, Katerina
Alexandrovna, ma'am, he knew me!" Agafea Mihalovna cried above
the baby's screams.
But Kitty did not hear her words. Her impatience kept growing,
like the baby's.
Their impatience hindered things for a while. The baby could not
get hold of the breast right, and was furious.
At last, after despairing, breathless screaming, and vain
sucking, things went right, and mother and child felt
simultaneously soothed, and both subsided into calm.
"But poor darling, he's all in perspiration!" said Kitty in a
whisper, touching the baby.
"What makes you think he knows you?" she added, with a sidelong
glance at the baby's eyes, that peered roguishly, as she fancied,
from under his cap, at his rhythmically puffing cheeks, and the
little red-palmed hand he was waving.
"Impossible! If he knew anyone, he would have known me," said
Kitty, in response to Agafea Mihalovna's statement, and she
She smiled because, though she said he could not know her, in her
heart she was sure that he knew not merely Agafea Mihalovna, but
that he knew and understood everything, and knew and understood a
great deal too that no one else knew, and that she, his mother,
had learned and come to understand only through him. To Agafea
Mihalovna, to the nurse, to his grandfather, to his father even,
Mitya was a living being, requiring only materiel care, but for
his mother he had long been a mortal being, with whom there had
been a whole series of spiritual relations already.
"When he wakes up, please God, you shall see for yourself. Then
when I do like this, he simply beams on me, the darling! Simply
beams like a sunny day!" said Agafea Mihalovna.
"Well, well then we shall see," whispered Kitty. "But now go
away, he's going to sleep."
Agafea Mihalovna went out on tiptoe; the nurse let down the
blind, chased a fly out from under the muslin canopy of the crib,
and a bumblebee struggling on the window-frame, and sat down
waving a faded branch of birch over the mother and the baby.
"How hot it is! if God would send a drop of rain," she said.
"Yes, yes, sh--sh--sh--" was all Kitty answered, rocking a
little, and tenderly squeezing the plump little arm, with rolls
of fat at the wrist, which Mitya still waved feebly as he opened
and shut his eyes. That hand worried Kitty; she longed to kiss
the little hand, but was afraid to for fear of waking the baby.
At last the little hand ceased waving, and the eyes closed. Only
from time to time, as he went on sucking, the baby raised his
long, curly eyelashes and peeped at his mother with wet eyes,
that looked black in the twilight. The nurse had left off
fanning, and was dozing. From above came the peals of the old
prince's voice, and the chuckle of Katavasov.
"They have got into talk without me," thought Kitty, "but still
it's vexing that Kostya's out. He's sure to have gone to the
bee house again. Though it's a pity he's there so often, still
I'm glad. It distracts his mind. He's become altogether happier
and better now than in the spring. He used to be so gloomy and
worried that I felt frightened for him. And how absurd he is!"
she whispered, smiling.
She knew what worried her husband. It was his unbelief.
Although, if she had been asked whether she supposed that in the
future life, if he did not believe, he would be damned, she would
have had to admit that he would be damned, his unbelief did not
cause her unhappiness. And she, confessing that for an
unbeliever there can be no salvation, and loving her husband's
soul more than anything in the world, thought with a smile of his
unbelief, and told herself that he was absurd.
"What does he keep reading philosophy of some sort for all this
year?" she wondered. "If it's all written in those books, he can
understand them. If it's all wrong, why does he read them? He
says himself that he would like to believe. Then why is it he
doesn't believe? Surely from his thinking so much? And he
thinks so much from being solitary. He's always alone, alone.
He can't talk about it all to us. I fancy he'll be glad of these
visitors, especially Katavasov. He likes discussions with them,"
she thought, and passed instantly to the consideration of where
it would be more convenient to put Katavasov, to sleep alone or
to share Sergey Ivanovitch's room. And then an idea suddenly
struck her, which made her shudder and even disturb Mitya, who
glanced severely at her. "I do believe the laundress hasn't sent
the washing yet, and all the best sheets are in use. If I don't
see to it, Agafea Mihalovna will give Sergey Ivanovitch the wrong
sheets," and at the very idea of this the blood rushed to Kitty's
"Yes, I will arrange it," she decided, and going back to her
former thoughts, she remembered that some spiritual question of
importance had been interrupted, and she began to recall what.
"Yes, Kostya, an unbeliever," she thought again with a smile.
"Well, an unbeliever then! Better let him always be one than
like Madame Stahl, or what I tried to be in those days abroad.
No, he won't ever sham anything."
And a recent instance of his goodness rose vividly to her mind.
A fortnight ago a penitent letter had come from Stepan
Arkadyevitch to Dolly. He besought her to save his honor, to
sell her estate to pay his debts. Dolly was in despair, she
detested her husband, despised him, pitied him, resolved on a
separation, resolved to refuse, but ended by agreeing to sell
part of her property. After that, with an irrepressible smile of
tenderness, Kitty recalled her husband's shamefaced
embarrassment, his repeated awkward efforts to approach the
subject, and how at last, having thought of the one means of
helping Dolly without wounding her pride, he had suggested to
Kitty--what had not occurred to her before--that she should give
up her share of the property.
"He an unbeliever indeed! With his heart, his dread of offending
anyone, even a child! Everything for others, nothing for
himself. Sergey Ivanovitch simply considers it as Kostya's duty
to be his steward. And it's the same with his sister. Now Dolly
and her children are under his guardianship; all these peasants
who come to him every day, as though he were bound to be at their
"Yes, only be like your father, only like him," she said, handing
Mitya over to the nurse, and putting her lips to his cheek.
Ever since, by his beloved brother's deathbed, Levin had first
glanced into the questions of life and death in the light of
these new convictions, as he called them, which had during the
period from his twentieth to his thirty-fourth year imperceptibly
replaced his childish and youthful beliefs--he had been stricken
with horror, not so much of death, as of life, without any
knowledge of whence, and why, and how, and what it was. The
physical organization, its decay, the indestructibility of
matter, the law of the conservation of energy, evolution, were
the words which usurped the place of his old belief. These words
and the ideas associated with them were very well for
intellectual purposes. But for life they yielded nothing, and
Levin felt suddenly like a man who has changed his warm fur cloak
for a muslin garment, and going for the first time into the frost
is immediately convinced, not by reason, but by his whole nature
that he is as good as naked, and that he must infallibly perish
From that moment, though he did not distinctly face it, and still
went on living as before, Levin had never lost this sense of
terror at his lack of knowledge.
He vaguely felt, too, that what he called his new convictions
were not merely lack of knowledge, but that they were part of a
whole order of ideas, in which no knowledge of what he needed was
At first, marriage, with the new joys and duties bound up with
it, had completely crowded out these thoughts. But of late,
while he was staying in Moscow after his wife's confinement, with
nothing to do, the question that clamored for solution had more
and more often, more and more insistently, haunted Levin's mind.
The question was summed up for him thus: "If I do not accept the
answers Christianity gives to the problems of my life, what
answers do I accept?" And in the whole arsenal of his
convictions, so far from finding any satisfactory answers, he was
utterly unable to find anything at all like an answer.
He was in the position of a man seeking food in toy shops and
Istinctively, unconsciously, with every book, with every
conversation, with every man he met, he was on the lookout for
light on these questions and their solution.
What puzzled and distracted him above everything was that the
majority of men of his age and circle had, like him, exchanged
their old beliefs for the same new convictions, and yet saw
nothing to lament in this, and were perfectly satisfied and
serene. So that, apart from the principal question, Levin was
tortured by other questions too. Were these people sincere? he
asked himself, or were they playing a part? or was it that they
understood the answers science gave to these problems in some
different, clearer sense than he did? And he assiduously studied
both these men's opinions and the books which treated of these
One fact he had found out since these questions had engrossed his
mind, was that he had been quite wrong in supposing from the
recollections of the circle of his young days at college, that
religion had outlived its day, and that it was now practically
non-existent. All the people nearest to him who were good in
their lives were believers. The old prince, and Lvov, whom he
liked so much, and Sergey Ivanovitch, and all the women believed,
and his wife believed as simply as he had believed in his
earliest childhood, and ninety-nine hundredths of the Russian
people, all the working people for whose life he felt the deepest
Another fact of which he became convinced, after reading many
scientific books, was that the men who shared his views had no
other construction to put on them, and that they gave no
explanation of the questions which he felt he could not live
without answering, but simply ignored their existence and
attempted to explain other questions of no possible interest to
him, such as the evolution of organisms, the materialistic theory
of consciousness, and so forth.
Moreover, during his wife's confinement, something had happened
that seemed extraordinary to him. He, an unbeliever, had fallen
into praying, and at the moment he prayed, he believed. But that
moment had passed, and he could not make his state of mind at
that moment fit into the rest of his life.
He could not admit that at that moment he knew the truth, and
that now he was wrong; for as soon as he began thinking calmly
about it, it all fell to pieces. He could not admit that he was
mistaken then, for his spiritual condition then was precious to
him, and to admit that it was a proof of weakness would have been
to desecrate those moments. He was miserably divided against
himself, and strained all his spiritual forces to the utmost to
escape from this condition.
These doubts fretted and harassed him, growing weaker or stronger
from time to time, but never leaving him. He read and thought,
and the more he read and the more he thought, the further he felt
from the aim he was pursuing.
Of late in Moscow and in the country, since he had become
convinced that he would find no solution in the materialists, he
had read and reread thoroughly Plato, Spinoza, Kant, Schelling,
Hegel, and Schopenhauer, the philosophers who gave a
non-materialistic explanation of life.
Their ideas seemed to him fruitful when he was reading or was
himself seeking arguments to refute other theories, especially
those of the materialists; but as soon as he began to read or
sought fat himself a solution of problems, the same thing always
happened. As long as he followed the fixed definition of obscure
words such as SPIRIT, WILL, FREEDOM, ESSENCE, purposely letting
himself go into the snare of words the philosophers set for him,
he seemed to comprehend something. But he had only to forget the
artificial train of reasoning, and to turn from life itself to
what had satisfied him while thinking in accordance with the
fixed definitions, and all this artificial edifice fell to pieces
at once like a house of cards, and it became clear that the
edifice had been built up out of those transposed words, apart
from anything in life more important than reason.
At one time, reading Schopenhauer, he put in place of his will
the word love, and for a couple of days this new philosophy
charmed him, till he removed a little away from it. But then,
when he turned from life itself to glance at it again, it fell
away too, and proved to be the same muslin garment with no warmth
His brother Sergey Ivanovitch advised him to read the theological
works of Homiakov. Levin read the second volume of Homiakov's
works, and in spite of the elegant, epigrammatic, argumentative
style which at first repelled him, he was impressed by the
doctrine of the church he found in them. He was struck at first
by the idea that the apprehension of divine truths had not been
vouchsafed to man, but to a corporation of men bound together by
love--to the church. What delighted him was the thought how much
easier it was to believe in a still existing living church,
embracing all the beliefs of men, and having God at its head, and
therefore holy and infallible, and from it to accept the faith in
God, in the creation, the fall, the redemption, than to begin
with God, a mysterious, far-away God, the creation, etc. But
afterwards, on reading a Catholic writer's history of the church,
and then a Greek orthodox writer's history of the church, and
seeing that the two churches, in their very conception
infallible, each deny the authority of the other, Homiakov's
doctrine of the church lost all its charm for him, and this
edifice crumbled into dust like the philosophers' edifices.
All that spring he was not himself, and went through fearful
moments of horror.
"Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life's impossible;
and that I can't know, and so I can't live," Levin said to
"In infinite time, in infinite matter, in infinite space, is
formed a bubble-organism, and that bubble lasts a while and
bursts, and that bubble is Me."
It was an agonizing error, but it was the sole logical result of
ages of human thought in that direction.
This was the ultimate belief on which all the systems elaborated
by human thought in almost all their ramifications rested. It
was the prevalent conviction, and of all other explanations Levin
had unconsciously, not knowing when or how, chosen it, as anyway
the clearest, and made it his own.
But it was not merely a falsehood, it was the cruel jeer of some
wicked power, some evil, hateful power, to whom one could not
He must escape from this power. And the means of escape every
man had in his own hands. He had but to cut short this
dependence on evil. And there was one means--death.
And Levin, a happy father and husband, in perfect health, was
several times so near suicide that he hid the cord that he might
not be tempted to hang himself, and was afraid to go out with his
gun for fear of shooting himself.
But Levin did not shoot himself, and did not hang himself; he
went on living.
When Levin thought what he was and what he was living for, he
could find no answer to the questions and was reduced to despair,
but he left off questioning himself about it. It seemed as
though he knew both what he was and for what he was living, for
he acted and lived resolutely and without hesitation. Indeed, in
these latter days he was far more decided and unhesitating in
life than he had ever been.
When he went back to the country at the beginning of June, he
went back also to his usual pursuits. The management of the
estate, his relations with the peasants and the neighbors, the
care of his household, the management of his sister's and
brother's property, of which he had the direction, his relations
with his wife and kindred, the care of his child, and the new
bee-keeping hobby he had taken up that spring, filled all his
These things occupied him now, not because he justified them to
himself by any sort of general principles, as he had done in
former days; on the contrary, disappointed by the failure of his
former efforts for the general welfare, and too much occupied
with his own thought and the mass of business with which he was
burdened from all sides, he had completely given up thinking of
the general good, and he busied himself with all this work simply
because it seemed to him that he must do what he was doing--that
he could not do otherwise. In former days--almost from
childhood, and increasingly up to full manhood--when he had tried
to do anything that would be good for all, for humanity, for
Russia, for the whole village, he had noticed that the idea of it
had been pleasant, but the work itself had always been
incoherent, that then he had never had a full conviction of its
absolute necessity, and that the work that had begun by seeming
so great, had grown less and less, till it vanished into nothing.
But now, since his marriage, when he had begun to confine himself
more and more to living for himself, though he experienced no
delight at all at the thought of the work he was doing, he felt a
complete conviction of its necessity, saw that it succeeded far
better than in old days, and that it kept on growing more and
Now, involuntarily it seemed, he cut more and more deeply into
the soil like a plough, so that he could not be drawn out without
turning aside the furrow.
To live the same family life as his father and forefathers--that
is, in the same condition of culture--and to bring up his
children in the same, was incontestably necessary. It was as
necessary as dining when one was hungry. And to do this, just as
it was necessary to cook dinner, it was necessary to keep the
mechanism of agriculture at Pokrovskoe going so as to yield an
income. Just as incontestably as it was necessary to repay a
debt was it necessary to keep the property in such a condition
that his son, when he received it as a heritage, would say "thank
you" to his father as Levin had said "thank you" to his
grandfather for all he built and planted. And to do this it was
necessary to look after the land himself, not to let it, and to
breed cattle, manure the fields, and plant timber.
It was impossible not to look after the affairs of Sergey
Ivanovitch, of his sister, of the peasants who came to him for
advice and were accustomed to do so--as impossible as to fling
down a child one is carrying in one's arms. It was necessary to
look after the comfort of his sister-in-law and her children, and
of his wife and baby, and it was impossible not to spend with
them at least a short time each day.
And all this, together with shooting and his new bee-keeping,
filled up the whole of Levin's life, which had no meaning at all
for him, when he began to think.
But besides knowing thoroughly what he had to do, Levin knew in
just the same way HOW he had to do it all, and what was more
important than the rest.
He knew he must hire laborers as cheaply as possible; but to hire
men under bond, paying them in advance at less than the current
rate of wages, was what he must not do, even though it was very
profitable. Selling straw to the peasants in times of scarcity
of provender was what he might do, even though he felt sorry for
them; but the tavern and the pothouse must be put down, though
they were a source of income. Felling timber must be punished as
severely as possible, but he could not exact forfeits for cattle
being driven onto his fields; and though it annoyed the keeper
and made the peasants not afraid to graze their cattle on his
land, he could not keep their cattle as a punishment.
To Pyotr, who was paying a money-lender 10 per cent a month, he
must lend a sum of money to set him free. But he could not let
off peasants who did not pay their rent, nor let them fall into
arrears. It was impossible to overlook the bailiff's not having
mown the meadows and letting the hay spoil; and it was equally
impossible to mow those acres where a young copse had been
planted. It was impossible to excuse a laborer who had gone home
in the busy season because his father was dying, however sorry he
might feel for him, and he must subtract from his pay those
costly months of idleness. But it was impossible not to allow
monthly rations to the old servants who were of no use for
Levin knew that when he got home he must first of all go to his
wife, who was unwell, and that the peasants who had been waiting
for three hours to see him could wait a little longer. He knew
too that, regardless of all the pleasure he felt in taking a
swarm, he must forego that pleasure, and leave the old man to see
to the bees alone, while he talked to the peasants who had come
after him to the bee-house.
Whether he were acting rightly or wrongly he did not know, and
far from trying to prove that he was, nowadays he avoided all
thought or talk about it.
Reasoning had brought him to doubt, and prevented him from seeing
what he ought to do and what he ought not. When he did not
think, but simply lived, he was continually aware of the presence
of an infallible judge in his soul, determining which of two
possible courses of action was the better and which was the
worse, and as soon as he did not act rightly, he was at once
aware of it.
So he lived, not knowing and not seeing any chance of knowing
what he was and what he was living for, and harassed at this lack
of knowledge to such a point that he was afraid of suicide, and
yet firmly laying down his own individual definite path in life.
The day on which Sergey Ivanovitch came to Pokrovskoe was one of
Levin's most painful days. It was the very busiest working time,
when all the peasantry show an extraordinary intensity of
self-sacrifice in labor, such as is never shown in any other
conditions of life, and would be highly esteemed if the men who
showed these qualities themselves thought highly of them, and if
it were not repeated every year, and if the results of this
intense labor were not so simple.
To reap and bind the rye and oats and to carry it, to mow the
meadows, turn over the fallows, thrash the seed and sow the
winter corn--all this seems so simple and ordinary; but to
succeed in getting through it all everyone in the village, from
the old man to the young child, must toil incessantly for three
or four weeks, three times as hard as usual, living on rye-beer,
onions, and black bread, thrashing and carrying the sheaves at
night, and not giving more than two or three hours in the
twenty-four to sleep. And every year this is done all over
Having lived the greater part of his life in the country and in
the closest relations with the peasants, Levin always felt in
this busy time that he was infected by this general quickening of
energy in the people.
In the early morning he rode over to the first sowing of the rye,
and to the oats, which were being carried to the stacks, and
returning home at the time his wife and sister-in-law were
getting up, he drank coffee with them and walked to the farm,
where a new thrashing machine was to be set working to get ready
He was standing in the cool granary, still fragrant with the
leaves of the hazel branches interlaced on the freshly peeled
aspen beams of the new thatch roof. He gazed through the open
door in which the dry bitter dust of the thrashing whirled and
played, at the grass of the thrashing floor in the sunlight and
the fresh straw that had been brought in from the barn, then at
the speckly-headed, white-breasted swallows that flew chirping in
under the roof and, fluttering their wings, settled in the
crevices of the doorway, then at the peasants bustling in the
dark, dusty barn, and he thought strange thoughts.
"Why is it all being done?" he thought. "Why am I standing here,
making them work? What are they all so busy for, trying to show
their zeal before me? What is that old Matrona, my old friend,
toiling for? (I doctored her, when the beam fell on her in the
fire)" he thought, looking at a thin old woman who was raking up
the grain, moving painfully with her bare, sun-blackened feet
over the uneven, rough floor. "Then she recovered, but today or
tomorrow or in ten years she won't; they'll bury her, and
nothing will be left either of her or of that smart girl in the
red jacket, who with that skillful, soft action shakes the ears
out of their husks. They'll bury her and this piebald horse, and
very soon too," he thought, gazing at the heavily moving, panting
horse that kept walking up the wheel that turned under him. "And
they will bury her and Fyodor the thrasher with his curly beard
full of chaff and his shirt torn on his white shoulders--they
will bury him. He's untying the sheaves, and giving orders, and
shouting to the women, and quickly setting straight the strap on
the moving wheel. And what's more, it's not them alone--me
they'll bury too, and nothing will be left. What for?"
He thought this, and at the same time looked at his watch to
reckon how much they thrashed in an hour. He wanted to know this
so as to judge by it the task to set for the day.
"It'll soon be one, and they're only beginning the third sheaf,"
thought Levin. He went up to the man that was feeding the
machine, and shouting over the roar of the machine he told him to
put it in more slowly. "You put in too much at a time, Fyodor.
Do you see--it gets choked, that's why it isn't getting on. Do
Fyodor, black with the dust that clung to his moist face, shouted
something in response, but still went on doing it as Levin did
not want him to.
Levin, going up to the machine, moved Fyodor aside, and began
feeding the corn in himself. Working on till the peasants'
dinner hour, which was not long in coming, he went out of the
barn with Fyodor and fell into talk with him, stopping beside a
neat yellow sheaf of rye laid on the thrashing floor for seed.
Fyodor came from a village at some distance from the one in which
Levin had once allotted land to his cooperative association. Now
it had been let to a former house porter.
Levin talked to Fyodor about this land and asked whether Platon,
a well-to-do peasant of good character belonging to the same
village, would not take the land for the coming year.
"It's a high rent; it wouldn't pay Platon, Konstantin
Dmitrievitch," answered the peasant, picking the ears off his
"But how does Kirillov make it pay?"
"Mituh!" (so the peasant called the house porter, in a tone of
contempt), "you may be sure he'll make it pay, Konstantin
Dmitrievitch! He'll get his share, however he has to squeeze to
get it! He's no mercy on a Christian. But Uncle Fokanitch" (so
he called the old peasant Platon), "do you suppose he'd flay the
skin off a man? Where there's debt, he'll let anyone off. And
he'll not wring the last penny out. He's a man too."
"But why will he let anyone off?"
"Oh, well, of course, folks are different. One man lives for his
own wants and nothing else, like Mituh, he only thinks of filling
his belly, but Fokanitch is a righteous man. He lives for his
soul. He does not forget God."
"How thinks of God? How does he live for his soul?" Levin almost
"Why, to be sure, in truth, in God's way. Folks are different.
Take you now, you wouldn't wrong a man...."
"Yes, yes, good-bye!" said Levin, breathless with excitement, and
turning round he took his stick and walked quickly away towards
home. At the peasant's words that Fokanitch lived for his soul,
in truth, in God's way, undefined but significant ideas seemed to
burst out as though they had been locked up, and all striving
towards one goal, they thronged whirling through his head,
blinding him with their light.
Levin strode along the highroad, absorbed not so much in his