Part 6 out of 22
"Has your master come?" he asked a gardener.
"No, sir. The mistress is at home. But will you please go to
the frond door; there are servants there," the gardener answered.
"They'll open the door."
"No, I'll go in from the garden."
And feeling satisfied that she was alone, and wanting to take her
by surprise, since he had not promised to be there today, and she
would certainly not expect him to come before the races, he
walked, holding his sword and stepping cautiously over the sandy
path, bordered with flowers, to the terrace that looked out upon
the garden. Vronsky forgot now all that he had thought on the
way of the hardships and difficulties of their position. He
thought of nothing but that he would see her directly, not in
imagination, but living, all of her, as she was in reality. He
was just going in, stepping on his whole foot so as not to creak,
up the worn steps of the terrace, when he suddenly remembered
what he always forgot, and what caused the most torturing side of
his relations with her, her son with his questioning--hostile,
as he fancied--eyes.
This boy was more often than anyone else a check upon their
freedom. When he was present, both Vronsky and Anna did not
merely avoid speaking of anything that they could not have
repeated before everyone; they did not even allow themselves to
refer by hints to anything the boy did not understand. They had
made no agreement about this, it had settled itself. They would
have felt it wounding themselves to deceive the child. In his
presence they talked like acquaintances. But in spite of this
caution, Vronsky often saw the child's intent, bewildered glance
fixed upon him, and a strange shyness, uncertainty, at one time
friendliness, at another, coldness and reserve, in the boy's
manner to him; as though the child felt that between this man and
his mother there existed some important bond, the significance of
which he could not understand.
As a fact, the boy did feel that he could not understand this
relation, and he tried painfully, and was not able to make clear
to himself what feeling he ought to have for this man. With a
child's keen instinct for every manifestation of feeling, he saw
distinctly that his father, his governess, his nurse,--all did
not merely dislike Vronsky, but looked on him with horror and
aversion, though they never said anything about him, while his
mother looked on him as her greatest friend.
"What does it mean? Who is he? How ought I to love him? If I
don't know, it's my fault; either I'm stupid or a naughty boy,"
thought the child. And this was what caused his dubious,
inquiring, sometimes hostile, expression, and the shyness and
uncertainty which Vronsky found so irksome. This child's
presence always and infallibly called up in Vronsky that strange
feeling of inexplicable loathing which he had experienced of
late. This child's presence called up both in Vronsky and in
Anna a feeling akin to the feeling of a sailor who sees by the
compass that the direction in which he is swiftly moving is far
from the right one, but that to arrest his motion is not in his
power, that every instant is carrying him further and further
away, and that to admit to himself his deviation from the right
direction is the same as admitting his certain ruin.
This child, with his innocent outlook upon life, was the compass
that showed them the point to which they had departed from what
they knew, but did not want to know.
This time Seryozha was not at home, and she was completely alone.
She was sitting on the terrace waiting for the return of her son,
who had gone out for his walk and been caught in the rain. She
had sent a manservant and a maid out to look for him. Dressed
in a white gown, deeply embroidered, she was sitting in a corner
of the terrace behind some flowers, and did not hear him.
Bending her curly black head, she pressed her forehead against a
cool watering pot that stood on the parapet, and both her lovely
hands, with the rings he knew so well, clasped the pot. The
beauty of her whole figure, her head, her neck, her hands, struck
Vronsky every time as something new and unexpected. He stood
still, gazing at her in ecstasy. But, directly he would have
made a step to come nearer to her, she was aware of his presence,
pushed away the watering pot, and turned her flushed face towards
"What's the matter? You are ill?" he said to her in French,
going up to her. He would have run to her, but remembering that
there might be spectators, he looked round towards the balcony
door, and reddened a little, as he always reddened, feeling that
he had to be afraid and be on his guard.
"No, I'm quite well," she said, getting up and pressing his
outstretched hand tightly. "I did not expect...thee."
"Mercy! what cold hands!" he said.
"You startled me," she said. "I'm alone, and expecting
Seryozha; he's out for a walk; they'll come in from this side."
But, in spite of her efforts to be calm, her lips were quivering.
"Forgive me for coming, but I couldn't pass the day without
seeing you," he went on, speaking French, as he always did to
avoid using the stiff Russian plural form, so impossibly frigid
between them, and the dangerously intimate singular.
"Forgive you? I'm so glad!"
"But you're ill or worried," he went on, not letting go her hands
and bending over her. "What were you thinking of?"
"Always the same thing," she said, with a smile.
She spoke the truth. If ever at any moment she had been asked
what she was thinking of, she could have answered truly: of the
same thing, of her happiness and her unhappiness. She was
thinking, just when he came upon her of this: why was it, she
wondered, that to others, to Betsy (she knew of her secret
connection with Tushkevitch) it was all easy, while to her it was
such torture? Today this thought gained special poignancy from
certain other considerations. She asked him about the races. He
answered her questions, and, seeing that she was agitated, trying
to calm her, he began telling her in the simplest tone the
details of his preparations for the races.
"Tell him or not tell him?" she thought, looking into his quiet,
affectionate eyes. "He is so happy, so absorbed in his races
that he won't understand as he ought, he won't understand all the
gravity of this fact to us."
"But you haven't told me what you were thinking of when I came
in," he said, interrupting his narrative; "please tell me!"
She did not answer, and, bending her head a little, she looked
inquiringly at him from under her brows, her eyes shining under
their long lashes. Her hand shook as it played with a leaf she
had picked. He saw it, and his face expressed that utter
subjection, that slavish devotion, which had done so much to win
"I see something has happened. Do you suppose I can be at peace,
knowing you have a trouble I am not sharing? Tell me, for God's
sake," he repeated imploringly.
"Yes, I shan't be able to forgive him if he does not realize all
the gravity of it. Better not tell; why put him to the proof?"
she thought, still staring at him in the same way, and feeling
the hand that held the leaf was trembling more and more.
"For God's sake!" he repeated, taking her hand.
"Shall I tell you?"
"Yes, yes, yes . . ."
"I'm with child," she said, softly and deliberately. The leaf in
her hand shook more violently, but she did not take her eyes off
him, watching how he would take it. He turned white, would have
said something, but stopped; he dropped her hand, and his head
sank on his breast. "Yes, he realizes all the gravity of it,"
she thought, and gratefully she pressed his hand.
But she was mistaken in thinking he realized the gravity of the
fact as she, a woman, realized it. On hearing it, he felt come
upon him with tenfold intensity that strange feeling of loathing
of someone. But at the same time, he felt that the turning-point
he had been longing for had come now; that it was impossible to
go on concealing things from her husband, and it was inevitable
in one way or another that they should soon put an end to their
unnatural position. But, besides that, her emotion physically
affected him in the same way. He looked at her with a look of
submissive tenderness, kissed her hand, got up, and, in silence,
paced up and down the terrace.
"Yes," he said, going up to her resolutely. "Neither you nor I
have looked on our relations as a passing amusement, and now our
fate is sealed. It is absolutely necessary to put an end"--he
looked round as he spoke--"to the deception in which we are
"Put an end? How put an end, Alexey?" she said softly.
She was calmer now, and her face lighted up with a tender smile.
"Leave your husband and make our life one."
"It is one as it is," she answered, scarcely audibly.
"Yes, but altogether; altogether."
"But how, Alexey, tell me how?" she said in melancholy mockery at
the hopelessness of her own position. "Is there any way out of
such a position? Am I not the wife of my husband?"
"There is a way out of every position. We must take our line,"
he said. "Anything's better than the position in which you're
living. Of course, I see how you torture yourself over
everything--the world and your son and your husband."
"Oh, not over my husband," she said, with a quiet smile. "I
don't know him, I don't think of him. He doesn't exist."
"You're not speaking sincerely. I know you. You worry about him
"Oh, he doesn't even know," she said, and suddenly a hot flush
came over her face; her cheeks, her brow, her neck crimsoned, and
tears of shame came into her eyes. "But we won't talk of him."
Vronsky had several times already, though not so resolutely as
now, tried to bring her to consider their position, and every
time he had been confronted by the same superficiality and
triviality with which she met his appeal now. It was as though
there were something in this which she could not or would not
face, as though directly she began to speak of this, she, the
real Anna, retreated somehow into herself, and another strange
and unaccountable woman came out, whom he did not love, and whom
he feared, and who was in opposition to him. But today he was
resolved to have it out.
"Whether he knows or not," said Vronsky, in his usual quiet and
resolute tone, "that's nothing to do with us. We cannot...you
cannot stay like this, especially now."
"What's to be done, according to you?" she asked with the same
frivolous irony. She who had so feared he would take her
condition too lightly was now vexed with him for deducing from it
the necessity of taking some step.
"Tell him everything, and leave him."
"Very well, let us suppose I do that," she said. "Do you know
what the result of that would be? I can tell you it all
beforehand," and a wicked light gleamed in her eyes, that had
been so soft a minute before. "'Eh, you love another man, and
have entered into criminal intrigues with him?'" (Mimicking her
husband, she threw an emphasis on the word "criminal," as Alexey
Alexandrovitch did.) "'I warned you of the results in the
religious, the civil, and the domestic relation. You have not
listened to me. Now In cannot let you disgrace my name,--'"
"and my son," she had meant to say, but about her son she could
not jest,--"'disgrace my name, and'--and more in the same
style," she added. "In general terms, he'll say in his official
manner, and with all distinctness and precision, that he cannot
let me go, but will take all measures in his power to prevent
scandal. And he will calmly and punctually act in accordance
with his words. That's what will happen. He's not a man, but a
machine, and a spiteful machine when he's angry," she added,
recalling Alexey Alexandrovitch as she spoke, with all the
peculiarities of his figure and manner of speaking, and reckoning
against him every defect she could find in him, softening nothing
for the great wrong she herself was doing him.
"But, Anna," said Vronsky, in a soft and persuasive voice, trying
to soothe her, "we absolutely must, anyway, tell him, and then be
guided by the line he takes."
"What, run away?"
"And why not run away? I don't see how we can keep on like this.
And not for my sake--I see that you suffer."
"Yes, run away, and become your mistress," she said angrily.
"Anna," he said, with reproachful tenderness.
"Yes," she went on, "become your mistress, and complete the ruin
Again she would have said "my son," but she could not utter that
Vronsky could not understand how she, with her strong and
truthful nature, could endure this state of deceit, and not long
to get out of it. But he did not suspect that the chief cause of
it was the word--son, which she could not bring herself to
pronounce. When she thought of her son, and his future attitude
to his mother, who had abandoned his father, she felt such terror
at what she had done, that she could not face it; but, like a
woman, could only try to comfort herself with lying assurances
that everything would remain as it always had been, and that it
was possible to forget the fearful question of how it would be
with her son.
"I beg you, I entreat you," she said suddenly, taking his hand,
and speaking in quite a different tone, sincere and tender,
"never speak to me of that!"
"Never. Leave it to me. I know all the baseness, all the horror
of my position; but it's not so easy to arrange as you think.
And leave it to me, and do what I say. Never speak to me of it.
Do you promise me?...No, no, promise!..."
"I promise everything, but I can't be at peace, especially after
what you have told me. I can't be at peace, when you can't be at
"I?" she repeated. "Yes, I am worried sometimes; but that will
pass, if you will never talk about this. When you talk about
it--it's only then it worries me."
"I don't understand," he said.
"I know," she interrupted him, "how hard it is for your truthful
nature to lie, and I grieve for you. I often think that you have
ruined your whole life for me."
"I was just thinking the very same thing," he said; "how could
you sacrifice everything for my sake? I can't forgive myself
that you're unhappy!"
"I unhappy?" she said, coming closer to him, and looking at him
with an ecstatic smile of love. "I am like a hungry man who has
been given food. He may be cold, and dressed in rags, and
ashamed, but he is not unhappy. I unhappy? No, this is my
She could hear the sound of her son's voice coming towards them,
and glancing swiftly round the terrace, she got up impulsively.
Her eyes glowed with the fire he knew so well; with a rapid
movement she raised her lovely hands, covered with rings, took
his head, looked a long look into his face, and, putting up her
face with smiling, parted lips, swiftly kissed his mouth and both
eyes, and pushed him away. She would have gone, but he held her
"When?" he murmured in a whisper, gazing in ecstasy at her.
"Tonight, at one o'clock," she whispered, and, with a heavy
sigh, she walked with her light, swift step to meet her son.
Seryozha had been caught by the rain in the big garden, and he
and his nurse had taken shelter in an arbor.
"Well, au revoir," she said to Vronsky. "I must soon be getting
ready for the races. Betsy promised to fetch me."
Vronsky, looking at his watch, went away hurriedly.
When Vronsky looked at his watch on the Karenins' balcony, he was
so greatly agitated and lost in his thoughts that he saw the
figures on the watch's face, but could not take in what time it
was. He came out on to the highroad and walked, picking his way
carefully through the mud, to his carriage. He was so completely
absorbed in his feeling for Anna, that he did not even think what
o'clock it was, and whether he had time to go to Bryansky's. He
had left him, as often happens, only the external faculty of
memory, that points out each step one has to take, one after the
other. He went up to his coachman, who was dozing on the box in
the shadow, already lengthening, of a thick limetree; he admired
the shifting clouds of midges circling over the hot horses, and,
waking the coachman, he jumped into the carriage, and told him to
drive to Bryansky's. It was only after driving nearly five miles
that he had sufficiently recovered himself to look at his watch,
and realize that it was half-past five, and he was late.
There were several races fixed for that day: the Mounted Guards'
race, then the officers' mile-and-a-half race, then the
three-mile race, and then the race for which he was entered. He
could still be in time for his race, but if he went to Bryansky's
he could only just be in time, and he would arrive when the whole
of the court would be in their places. That would be a pity.
But he had promised Bryansky to come, and so he decided to drive
on, telling the coachman not to spare the horses.
He reached Bryansky's, spent five minutes there, and galloped
back. This rapid drive calmed him. All that was painful in his
relations with Anna, all the feeling of indefiniteness left by
their conversation, had slipped out of his mind. He was thinking
now with pleasure and excitement of the race, of his being
anyhow, in time, and now and then the thought of the blissful
interview awaiting him that night flashed across his imagination
like a flaming light.
The excitement of the approaching race gained upon him as he
drove further and further into the atmosphere of the races,
overtaking carriages driving up from the summer villas or out of
At his quarters no one was left at home; all were at the races,
and his valet was looking out for him at the gate. While he was
changing his clothes, his valet told him that the second race had
begun already, that a lot of gentlemen had been to ask for him,
and a boy had twice run up from the stables. Dressing without
hurry (he never hurried himself, and never lost his
self-possession), Vronsky drove to the sheds. From the sheds he
could see a perfect sea of carriages, and people on foot,
soldiers surrounding the race course, and pavilions swarming with
people. The second race was apparently going on, for just as he
went into the sheds he heard a bell ringing. Going towards the
stable, he met the white-legged chestnut, Mahotin's Gladiator,
being led to the race-course in a blue forage horsecloth, with
what looked like huge ears edged with blue.
"Where's Cord?" he asked the stable-boy.
"In the stable, putting on the saddle."
In the open horse-box stood Frou-Frou, saddled ready. They were
just going to lead her out.
"I'm not too late?"
"All right! All right!" said the Englishman; "don't upset
Vronsky once more took in in one glance the exquisite lines of
his favorite mare; who was quivering all over, and with an effort
he tore himself from the sight of her, and went out of the
stable. He went towards the pavilions at the most favorable
moment for escaping attention. The mile-and-a-half race was just
finishing, and all eyes were fixed on the horse-guard in front
and the light hussar behind, urging their horses on with a last
effort close to the winning post. From the center and outside of
the ring all were crowding to the winning post, and a group of
soldiers and officers of the horse-guards were shouting loudly
their delight at the expected triumph of their officer and
comrade. Vronsky moved into the middle of the crowd unnoticed,
almost at the very moment when the bell rang at the finish of the
race, and the tall, mudspattered horse-guard who came in first,
bending over the saddle, let go the reins of his panting gray
horse that looked dark with sweat.
The horse, stiffening out its legs, with an effort stopped its
rapid course, and the officer of the horse-guards looked round
him like a man waking up from a heavy sleep, and just managed to
smile. A crowd of friends and outsiders pressed round him.
Vronsky intentionally avoided that select crowd of the upper
world, which was moving and talking with discreet freedom before
the pavilions. He knew that Madame Karenina was there, and
Betsy, and his brother's wife, and he purposely did not go near
them for fear of something distracting his attention. But he was
continually met and stopped by acquaintances, who told him about
the previous races, and kept asking him why he was so late.
At the time when the racers had to go to the pavilion to receive
the prizes, and all attention was directed to that point,
Vronsky's elder brother, Alexander, a colonel with heavy fringed
epaulets, came up to him. He was not tall, though as broadly
built as Alexey, and handsomer and rosier than he; he had a red
nose, and an open, drunken-looking face.
"Did you get my note?" he said. "There's never any finding you."
Alexander Vronsky, in spite of the dissolute life, and in
especial the drunken habits, for which he was notorious, was
quite one of the court circle.
Now, as he talked to his brother of a matter bound to be
exceedingly disagreeable to him, knowing that the eyes of many
people might be fixed upon him, he kept a smiling countenance, as
though he were jesting with his brother about something of little
"I got it, and I really can't make out what YOU are worrying
yourself about," said Alexey.
"I'm worrying myself because the remark has just been made to me
that you weren't here, and that you were seen in Peterhof on
"There are matters which only concern those directly interested
in them, and the matter you are so worried about is..."
"Yes, but if so, you may as well cut the service...."
"I beg you not to meddle, and that's all I have to say."
Alexey Vronsky's frowning face turned white, and his prominent
lower jaw quivered, which happened rarely with him. Being a man
of very warm heart, he was seldom angry; but when he was angry,
and when his chin quivered, then, as Alexander Vronsky knew, he
was dangerous. Alexander Vronsky smiled gaily.
"I only wanted to give you Mother's letter. Answer it and don't
worry about anything just before the race. Bonne chance," he
added, smiling and he moved away from him. But after him another
friendly greeting brought Vronsky to a standstill.
"So you won't recognize your friends! How are you, mon cher?"
said Stepan Arkadyevitch, as conspicuously brilliant in the midst
of all the Petersburg brilliance as he was in Moscow, his face
rosy, and his whiskers sleek and glossy. "I came up yesterday,
and I'm delighted that I shall see your triumph. When shall we
"Come tomorrow to the messroom," said Vronsky, and squeezing
him by the sleeve of his coat, with apologies, he moved away to
the center of the race course, where the horses were being led
for the great steeplechase.
The horses who had run in the last race were being led home,
steaming and exhausted, by the stable-boys, and one after another
the fresh horses for the coming race made their appearance, for
the most part English racers, wearing horsecloths, and looking
with their drawn-up bellies like strange, huge birds. On the
right was led in Frou-Frou, lean and beautiful, lifting up her
elastic, rather long pasterns, as though moved by springs. Not
far from her they were taking the rug off the lop-eared
Gladiator. The strong, exquisite, perfectly correct lines of the
stallion, with his superb hind-quarters and excessively short
pasterns almost over his hoofs, attracted Vronsky's attention in
spite of himself. He would have gone up to his mare, but he was
again detained by an acquaintance.
"Oh, there's Karenin!" said the acquaintance with whom he was
chatting. "He's looking for his wife, and she's in the middle of
the pavilion. Didn't you see her?"
"No," answered Vronsky, and without even glancing round towards
the pavilion where his friend was pointing out Madame Karenina,
he went up to his mare.
Vronsky had not had time to look at the saddle, about which he
had to give some direction, when the competitors were summoned to
the pavilion to receive their numbers and places in the row at
starting. Seventeen officers, looking serious and severe, many
with pale faces, met together in the pavilion and drew the
numbers. Vronsky drew the number seven. The cry was heard:
Feeling that with the others riding in the race, he was the
center upon which all eyes were fastened, Vronsky walked up to
his mare in that state of nervous tension in which he usually
became deliberate and composed in his movements. Cord, in honor
of the races, had put on his best clothes, a black coat buttoned
up, a stiffly starched collar, which propped up his cheeks, a
round black hat, and top boots. He was calm and dignified as
ever, and was with his own hands holding Frou-Frou by both reins,
standing straight in front of her. Frou-Frou was still trembling
as though in a fever. Her eye, full of fire, glanced sideways at
Vronsky. Vronsky slipped his finger under the saddle-girth. The
mare glanced aslant at him, drew up her lip, and twitched her
ear. The Englishman puckered up his lips, intending to indicate
a smile that anyone should verify his saddling.
"Get up; you won't feel so excited."
Vronsky looked round for the last time at his rivals. He knew
that he would not see them during the race. Two were already
riding forward to the point from which they were to start.
Galtsin, a friend of Vronsky's and one of his more formidable
rivals, was moving round a bay horse that would not let him
mount. A little light hussar in tight riding breeches rode off
at a gallop, crouched up like a cat on the saddle, in imitation
of English jockeys. Prince Kuzovlev sat with a white face on his
thoroughbred mare from the Grabovsky stud, while an English groom
led her by the bridle. Vronsky and all his comrades knew
Kuzovlev and his peculiarity of "weak nerves" and terrible
vanity. They knew that he was afraid of everything, afraid of
riding a spirited horse. But now, just because it was terrible,
because people broke their necks, and there was a doctor standing
at each obstacle, and an ambulance with a cross on it, and a
sister of mercy, he had made up his mind to take part in the
race. Their eyes met, and Vronsky gave him a friendly and
encouraging nod. Only one he did not see, his chief rival,
Mahotin on Gladiator.
"Don't be in a hurry," said Cord to Vronsky, "and remember one
thing: don't hold her in at the fences, and don't urge her on;
let her go as she likes."
"All right, all right," said Vronsky, taking the reins.
"If you can, lead the race; but don't lose heart till the last
minute, even if you're behind."
Before the mare had time to move, Vronsky stepped with an agile,
vigorous movement into the steel-toothed stirrup, and lightly and
firmly seated himself on the creaking leather of the saddle.
Getting his right foot in the stirrup, he smoothed the double
reins, as he always did, between his fingers, and Cord let go.
As though she did not know which foot to put first, Frou-Frou
started, dragging at the reins with her long neck, and as though
she were on springs, shaking her rider from side to side. Cord
quickened his step, following him. The excited mare, trying to
shake off her rider first on one side and then the other, pulled
at the reins, and Vronsky tried in vain with voice and hand to
They were just reaching the dammed-up stream on their way to the
starting point. Several of the riders were in front and several
behind, when suddenly Vronsky heard the sound of a horse
galloping in the mud behind him, and he was overtaken by Mahotin
on his white-legged, lop-eared Gladiator. Mahotin smiled,
showing his long teeth, but Vronsky looked angrily at him. He
did not like him, and regarded him now as his most formidable
rival. He was angry with him for galloping past and exciting his
mare. Frou-Frou started into a gallop, her left foot forward,
made two bounds, and fretting at the tightened reins, passed into
a jolting trot, bumping her rider up and down. Cord, too,
scowled, and followed Vronsky almost at a trot.
There were seventeen officers in all riding in this race. The
race course was a large three-mile ring of the form of an ellipse
in front of the pavilion. On this course nine obstacles had been
arranged: the stream, a big and solid barrier five feet high,
just before the pavilion, a dry ditch, a ditch full of water, a
precipitous slope, an Irish barricade (one of the most difficult
obstacles, consisting of a mound fenced with brushwood, beyond
which was a ditch out of sight for the horses, so that the horse
had to clear both obstacles or might be killed); then two more
ditches filled with water, and one dry one; and the end of the
race was just facing the pavilion. But the race began not in the
ring, but two hundred yards away from it, and in that part of the
course was the first obstacle, a dammed-up stream, seven feet in
breadth, which the racers could leap or wade through as they
Three times they were ranged ready to start, but each time some
horse thrust itself out of line, and they had to begin again.
The umpire who was starting them, Colonel Sestrin, was beginning
to lose his temper, when at last for the fourth time he shouted
"Away!" and the racers started.
Every eye, every opera glass, was turned on the brightly colored
group of riders at the moment they were in line to start.
"They're off! They're starting!" was heard on all sides after
the hush of expectation.
And little groups and solitary figures among the public began
running from place to place to get a better view. In the very
first minute the close group of horsemen drew out, and it could
be seen that they were approaching the stream in two's and
three's and one behind another. To the spectators it seemed as
though they had all started simultaneously, but to the racers
there were seconds of difference that had great value to them.
Frou-Frou, excited and over-nervous, had lost the first moment,
and several horses had started before her, but before reaching
the stream, Vronsky, who was holding in the mare with all his
force as she tugged at the bridle, easily overtook three, and
there were left in front of him Mahotin's chestnut Gladiator,
whose hind-quarters were moving lightly and rhythmically up and
down exactly in front of Vronsky, and in front of all, the dainty
mare Diana bearing Kuzovlev more dead than alive.
For the first instant Vronsky was not master either of himself or
his mare. Up to the first obstacle, the stream, he could not
guide the motions of his mare.
Gladiator and Diana came up to it together and almost at the same
instant; simultaneously they rose above the stream and flew
across to the other side; Frou-Frou darted after them, as if
flying; but at the very moment when Vronsky felt himself in the
air, he suddenly saw almost under his mare's hoofs Kuzovlev, who
was floundering with Diana on the further side of the stream.
(Kuzovlev had let go the reins as he took the leap, and the mare
had sent him flying over her head.) Those details Vronsky learned
later; at the moment all he saw was that just under him, where
Frou-Frou must alight, Diana's legs or head might be in the way.
But Frou-Frou drew up her legs and back in the very act of
leaping, like a falling cat, and, clearing the other mare,
alighted beyond her.
"O the darling!" thought Vronsky.
After crossing the stream Vronsky had complete control of his
mare, and began holding her in, intending to cross the great
barrier behind Mahotin, and to try to overtake him in the clear
ground of about five hundred yards that followed it.
The great barrier stood just in front of the imperial pavilion.
The Tsar and the whole court and crowds of people were all gazing
at them--at him, and Mahotin a length ahead of him, as they drew
near the "devil," as the solid barrier was called. Vronsky was
aware of those eyes fastened upon him from all sides, but he saw
nothing except the ears and neck of his own mare, the ground
racing to meet him, and the back and white legs of Gladiator
beating time swiftly before him, and keeping always the same
distance ahead. Gladiator rose, with no sound of knocking
against anything. With a wave of his short tail he disappeared
from Vronsky's sight.
"Bravo!" cried a voice.
At the same instant, under Vronsky's eyes, right before him
flashed the palings of the barrier. Without the slightest change
in her action his mare flew over it; the palings vanished, and he
heard only a crash behind him. The mare, excited by Gladiator's
keeping ahead, had risen too soon before the barrier, and grazed
it with her hind hoofs. But her pace never changed, and Vronsky,
feeling a spatter of mud in his face, realized that he was once
more the same distance from Gladiator. Once more he perceived in
front of him the same back and short tail, and again the same
swiftly moving white legs that got no further away.
At the very moment when Vronsky thought that now was the time to
overtake Mahotin, Frou-Frou herself, understanding his thoughts,
without any incitement on his part, gained ground considerably,
and began getting alongside of Mahotin on the most favorable
side, close to the inner cord. Mahotin would not let her pass
that side. Vronsky had hardly formed the thought that he could
perhaps pass on the outer side, when Frou-Frou shifted her pace
and began overtaking him on the other side. Frou-Frou's
shoulder, beginning by now to be dark with sweat, was even with
Gladiator's back. For a few lengths they moved evenly. But
before the obstacle they were approaching, Vronsky began working
at the reins, anxious to avoid having to take the outer circle,
and swiftly passed Mahotin just upon the declivity. He caught a
glimpse of his mud-stained face as he flashed by. He even
fancied that he smiled. Vronsky passed Mahotin, but he was
immediately aware of him close upon him, and he never ceased
hearing the even-thudding hoofs and the rapid and still quite
fresh breathing of Gladiator.
The next two obstacles, the water course and the barrier, were
easily crossed, but Vronsky began to hear the snorting and thud
of Gladiator closer upon him. He urged on his mare, and to his
delight felt that she easily quickened her pace, and the thud of
Gladiator's hoofs was again heard at the same distance away.
Vronsky was at the head of the race, just as he wanted to be and
as Cord had advised, and now he felt sure of being the winner.
His excitement, his delight, and his tenderness for Frou-Frou
grew keener and keener. He longed to look round again, but he
did not dare do this, and tried to be cool and not to urge on his
mare so to keep the same reserve of force in her as he felt that
Gladiator still kept. There remained only one obstacle, the most
difficult; if he could cross it ahead of the others he would come
in first. He was flying towards the Irish barricade, Frou-Frou
and he both together saw the barricade in the distance, and both
the man and the mare had a moment's hesitation. He saw the
uncertainty in the mare's ears and lifted the whip, but at the
same time felt that his fears were groundless; the mare knew what
was wanted. She quickened her pace and rose smoothly, just as he
had fancied she would, and as she left the ground gave herself up
to the force of her rush, which carried her far beyond the ditch;
and with the same rhythm, without effort, with the same leg
forward, Frou-Frou fell back into her pace again.
"Bravo, Vronsky!" he heard shouts from a knot of men--he knew
they were his friends in the regiment--who were standing at the
obstacle. He could not fail to recognize Yashvin's voice though
he did not see him.
"O my sweet!" he said inwardly to Frou-Frou, as he listened for
what was happening behind. "He's cleared it!" he thought,
catching the thud of Gladiator's hoofs behind him. There
remained only the last ditch, filled with water and five feet
wide. Vronsky did not even look at it, but anxious to get in a
long way first began sawing away at the reins, lifting the mare's
head and letting it go in time with her paces. He felt that the
mare was at her very last reserve of strength; not her neck and
shoulders merely were wet, but the sweat was standing in drops on
her mane, her head, her sharp ears, and her breath came in short,
sharp gasps. But he knew that she had strength left more than
enough for the remaining five hundred yards. It was only from
feeling himself nearer the ground and from the peculiar
smoothness of his motion that Vronsky knew how greatly the mare
had quickened her pace. She flew over the ditch as though not
noticing it. She flew over it like a bird; but at the same
instant Vronsky, to his horror, felt that he had failed to keep
up with the mare's pace, that he had, he did not know how, made a
fearful, unpardonable mistake, in recovering his seat in the
saddle. All at once his position had shifted and he knew that
something awful had happened. He could not yet make out what had
happened, when the white legs of a chestnut horse flashed by
close to him, and Mahotin passed at a swift gallop. Vronsky was
touching the ground with one foot, and his mare was sinking on
that foot. He just had time to free his leg when she fell on one
side, gasping painfully, and, making vain efforts to rise with
her delicate, soaking neck, she fluttered on the ground at his
feet like a shot bird. The clumsy movement made by Vronsky had
broken her back. But that he only knew much later. At that
moment he knew only that Mahotin had down swiftly by, while he
stood staggering alone on the muddy, motionless ground, and
Frou-Frou lay gasping before him, bending her head back and
gazing at him with her exquisite eyes. Still unable to realize
what had happened, Vronsky tugged at his mare's reins. Again she
struggled all over like a fish, and her shoulders setting the
saddle heaving, she rose on her front legs but unable to lift her
back, she quivered all over and again fell on her side. With a
face hideous with passion, his lower jaw trembling, and his
cheeks white, Vronsky kicked her with his heel in the stomach and
again fell to tugging at the rein. She did not stir, but
thrusting her nose into the ground, she simply gazed at her
master with her speaking eyes.
"A--a--a!" groaned Vronsky, clutching at his head. "Ah! what
have I done!" he cried. "The race lost! And my fault! shameful,
unpardonable! And the poor darling, ruined mare! Ah! what have
A crowd of men, a doctor and his assistant, the officers of his
regiment, ran up to him. To his misery he felt that he was whole
and unhurt. The mare had broken her back, and it was decided to
shoot her. Vronsky could not answer questions, could not speak
to anyone. He turned, and without picking up his cap that had
fallen off, walked away from the race course, not knowing where
he was going. He felt utterly wretched. For the first time in
his life he knew the bitterest sort of misfortune, misfortune
beyond remedy, and caused by his own fault.
Yashvin overtook him with his cap, and led him home, and half an
hour later Vronsky had regained his self-possession. But the
memory of that race remained for long in his heart, the cruelest
and bitterest memory of his life.
The external relations of Alexey Alexandrovitch and his wife had
remained unchanged. The sole difference lay in the fact that he
was more busily occupied than ever. As in former years, at the
beginning of the spring he had gone to a foreign watering-place
for the sake of his health, deranged by the winter's work that
every year grew heavier. And just as always he returned in July
and at once fell to work as usual with increased energy. As
usual, too, his wife had moved for the summer to a villa out of
town, while he remained in Petersburg. From the date of their
conversation after the party at Princess Tverskaya's he had never
spoken again to Anna of his suspicions and his jealousies, and
that habitual tone of his bantering mimicry was the most
convenient tone possible for his present attitude to his wife.
He was a little colder to his wife. He simply seemed to be
slightly displeased with her for that first midnight
conversation, which she had repelled. In his attitude to her
there was a shade of vexation, but nothing more. "You would not
be open with me," he seemed to say, mentally addressing her; "so
much the worse for you. Now you may beg as you please, but I
won't be open with you. So much the worse for you!" he said
mentally, like a man who, after vainly attempting to extinguish a
fire, should fly in a rage with his vain efforts and say, "Oh,
very well then! you shall burn for this!" This man, so subtle
and astute in official life, did not realize all the
senselessness of such an attitude to his wife. He did not
realize it, because it was too terrible to him to realize his
actual position, and he shut down and locked and sealed up in his
heart that secret place where lay hid his feelings towards his
family, that is, his wife and son. He who had been such a
careful father, had from the end of that winter become peculiarly
frigid to his son, and adopted to him just the same bantering
tone he used with his wife. "Aha, young man!" was the greeting
with which he met him.
Alexey Alexandrovitch asserted and believed that he had never in
any previous year had so much official business as that year.
But he was not aware that he sought work for himself that year,
that this was one of the means for keeping shut that secret place
where lay hid his feelings towards his wife and son and his
thoughts about them, which became more terrible the longer they
lay there. If anyone had had the right to ask Alexey
Alexandrovitch what he thought of his wife's behavior, the mild
and peaceable Alexey Alexandrovitch would have made no answer,
but he would have been greatly angered with any man who should
question him on that subject. For this reason there positively
came into Alexey Alexandrovitch's face a look of haughtiness and
severity whenever anyone inquired after his wife's health.
Alexey Alexandrovitch did not want to think at all about his
wife's behavior, and he actually succeeded in not thinking about
it at all.
Alexey Alexandrovitch's permanent summer villa was in Peterhof,
and the Countess Lidia Ivanovna used as a rule to spend the
summer there, close to Anna, and constantly seeing her. That
year Countess Lidia Ivanovna declined to settle in Peterhof, was
not once at Anna Arkadyevna's, and in conversation with Alexey
Alexandrovitch hinted at the unsuitability of Anna's close
intimacy with Betsy and Vronsky. Alexey Alexandrovitch sternly
cut her short, roundly declaring his wife to be above suspicion,
and from that time began to avoid Countess Lidia Ivanovna. He
did not want to see, and did not see, that many people in society
cast dubious glances on his wife, he did not want to understand,
and did not understand, why his wife had so particularly insisted
on staying at Tsarskoe, where Betsy was staying, and not far from
the camp of Vronsky's regiment. He did not allow himself to
think about it, and he did not think about it; but all the same
though he never admitted it to himself, and had no proofs, not
even suspicious evidence, in the bottom of his heart he knew
beyond all doubt that he was a deceived husband, and he was
profoundly miserable about it.
How often during those eight years of happy life with his wife
Alexey Alexandrovitch had looked at other men's faithless wives
and other deceived husbands and asked himself: "How can people
descend to that? how is it they don't put an end to such a
hideous position?" But now, when the misfortune had come upon
himself, he was so far from thinking of putting an end to the
position that he would not recognize it at all, would not
recognize it just because it was too awful, too unnatural.
Since his return from abroad Alexey Alexandrovitch had twice been
at their country villa. Once he dined there, another time he
spent the evening there with a party of friends, but he had not
once stayed the night there, as it had been his habit to do in
The day of the races had been a very busy day for Alexey
Alexandrovitch; but when mentally sketching out the day in the
morning, he made up his mind to go to their country house to see
his wife immediately after dinner, and from there to the races,
which all the Court were to witness, and at which he was bound to
be present. He was going to see his wife, because he had
determined to see her once a week to keep up appearances. And
besides, on that day, as it was the fifteenth, he had to give his
wife some money for her expenses, according to their usual
With his habitual control over his thoughts, though he thought
all this about his wife, he did not let his thoughts stray
further in regard to her.
That morning was a very full one for Alexey Alexandrovitch. The
evening before, Countess Lidia Ivanovna had sent him a pamphlet
by a celebrated traveler in China, who was staying in Petersburg,
and with it she enclosed a note begging him to see the traveler
himself, as he was an extremely interesting person from various
points of view, and likely to be useful. Alexey Alexandrovitch
had not had time to read the pamphlet through in the evening, and
finished it in the morning. Then people began arriving with
petitions, and there came the reports, interviews, appointments,
dismissals, apportionment of rewards, pensions, grants, notes,
the workaday round, as Alexey Alexandrovitch called it, that
always took up so much time. Then there was private business of
his own, a visit from the doctor and the steward who managed his
property. The steward did not take up much time. He simply gave
Alexey Alexandrovitch the money he needed together with a brief
statement of the position of his affairs, which was not
altogether satisfactory, as it had happened that during that
year, owing to increased expenses, more had been paid out than
usual, and there was a deficit. But the doctor, a celebrated
Petersburg doctor, who was an intimate acquaintance of Alexey
Alexandrovitch, took up a great deal of time. Alexey
Alexandrovitch had not expected him that day, and was surprised
at his visit, and still more so when the doctor questioned him
very carefully about his health, listened to his breathing, and
tapped at his liver. Alexey Alexandrovitch did not know that his
friend Lidia Ivanovna, noticing that he was not as well as usual
that year, had begged the doctor to go and examine him. "Do this
for my sake," the Countess Lidia Ivanovna had said to him.
"I will do it for the sake of Russia, countess," replied the
"A priceless man!" said the Countess Lidia Ivanovna.
The doctor was extremely dissatisfied with Alexey Alexandrovitch.
He found the liver considerably enlarged, and the digestive
powers weakened, while the course of mineral waters had been
quite without effect. He prescribed more physical exercise as
far as possible, and as far as possible less mental strain, and
above all no worry--in other words, just what was as much out of
Alexey Alexandrovitch's power as abstaining from breathing. Then
he withdrew, leaving in Alexey Alexandrovitch an unpleasant sense
that something was wrong with him, and that there was no chance
of curing it.
As he was coming away, the doctor chanced to meet on the
staircase an acquaintance of his, Sludin, who was secretary of
Alexey Alexandrovitch's department. They had been comrades at
the university, and though they rarely met, they thought highly
of each other and were excellent friends, and so there was no one
to whom the doctor would have given his opinion of a patient so
freely as to Sludin.
"How glad I am you've been seeing him!" said Sludin. "He's not
well, and I fancy.... Well, what do you think of him?"
"I'll tell you," said the doctor, beckoning over Sludin's head to
his coachman to bring the carriage round. "It's just this," said
the doctor, taking a finger of his kid glove in his white hands
and pulling it, "if you don't strain the strings, and then try to
break them, you'll find it a difficult job; but strain a string
to its very utmost, and the mere weight of one finger on the
strained string will snap it. And with his close assiduity, his
conscientious devotion to his work, he's strained to the utmost;
and there's some outside burden weighing on him, and not a light
one," concluded the doctor, raising his eyebrows significantly.
"Will you be at the races?" he added, as he sank into his seat in
"Yes, yes, to be sure; it does waste a lot of time," the doctor
responded vaguely to some reply of Sludin's he had not caught.
Directly after the doctor, who had taken up so much time, came
the celebrated traveler, and Alexey Alexandrovitch, by means of
the pamphlet he had only just finished reading and his previous
acquaintance with the subject, impressed the traveler by the
depth of his knowledge of the subject and the breadth and
enlightenment of his view of it.
At the same time as the traveler there was announced a provincial
marshal of nobility on a visit to Petersburg, with whom Alexey
Alexandrovitch had to have some conversation. After his
departure, he had to finish the daily routine of business with
his secretary, and then he still had to drive round to call on a
certain great personage on a matter of grave and serious import.
Alexey Alexandrovitch only just managed to be back by five
o'clock, his dinner-hour, and after dining with his secretary, he
invited him to drive with him to his country villa and to the
Though he did not acknowledge it to himself, Alexey
Alexandrovitch always tried nowadays to secure the presence of a
third person in his interviews with his wife.
Anna was upstairs, standing before the looking glass, and, with
Annushka's assistance, pinning the last ribbon on her gown when
she heard carriage wheels crunching the gravel at the entrance.
"It's too early for Betsy," she thought, and glancing out of the
window she caught sight of the carriage and the black hat of
Alexey Alexandrovitch, and the ears that she knew so well
sticking up each side of it. "How unlucky! Can he be going to
stay the night?" she wondered, and the thought of all that might
come of such a chance struck her as so awful and terrible that,
without dwelling on it for a moment, she went down to meet him
with a bright and radiant face; and conscious of the presence of
that spirit of falsehood and deceit in herself that she had come
to know of late, she abandoned herself to that spirit and began
talking, hardly knowing what she was saying.
"Ah, how nice of you!" she said, giving her husband her hand, and
greeting Sludin, who was like one of the family, with a smile.
"You're staying the night, I hope?" was the first word the spirit
of falsehood prompted her to utter; "and now we'll go together.
Only it's a pity I've promised Betsy. She's coming for me."
Alexey Alexandrovitch knit his brows at Betsy's name.
"Oh, I'm not going to separate the inseparables," he said in his
usual bantering tone. "I'm going with Mihail Vassilievitch. I'm
ordered exercise by the doctors too. I'll walk, and fancy myself
at the springs again."
"There's no hurry," said Anna. "Would you like tea?"
"Bring in tea, and tell Seryozha that Alexey Alexandrovitch is
here. Well, tell me, how have you been? Mihail Vassilievitch,
you've not been to see me before. Look how lovely it is out on
the terrace," she said, turning first to one and then to the
She spoke very simply and naturally, but too much and too fast.
She was the more aware of this from noticing in the inquisitive
look Mihail Vassilievitch turned on her that he was, as it were,
keeping watch on her.
Mihail Vassilievitch promptly went out on the terrace.
She sat down beside her husband.
"You don't look quite well," she said.
"Yes," he said; "the doctor's been with me today and wasted an
hour of my time. I feel that some one of our friends must have
sent him: my health's so precious, it seems."
"No; what did he say?"
She questioned him about his health and what he had been doing,
and tried to persuade him to take a rest and come out to her.
All this she said brightly, rapidly, and with a peculiar
brilliance in her eyes. But Alexey Alexandrovitch did not now
attach any special significance to this tone of hers. He heard
only her words and gave them only the direct sense they bore.
And he answered simply, though jestingly. There was nothing
remarkable in all this conversation, but never after could Anna
recall this brief scene without an agonizing pang of shame.
Seryozha came in preceded by his governess. If Alexey
Alexandrovitch had allowed himself to observe he would have
noticed the timid and bewildered eyes with which Seryozha glanced
first at his father and then at his mother. But he would not see
anything, and he did not see it.
"Ah, the young man! He's grown. Really, he's getting quite a
man. How are you, young man?"
And he gave his hand to the scared child. Seryozha had been shy
of his father before, and now, ever since Alexey Alexandrovitch
had taken to calling him young man, and since that insoluble
question had occurred to him whether Vronsky were a friend or a
foe, he avoided his father. He looked round towards his mother
as though seeking shelter. It was only with his mother that he
was at ease. Meanwhile, Alexey Alexandrovitch was holding his
son by the shoulder while he was speaking to the governess, and
Seryozha was so miserably uncomfortable that Anna saw he was on
the point of tears.
Anna, who had flushed a little the instant her son came in,
noticing that Seryozha was uncomfortable, got up hurriedly, took
Alexey Alexandrovitch's hand from her son's shoulder, and kissing
the boy, led him out onto the terrace, and quickly came back.
"It's time to start, though," said she, glancing at her watch.
"How is it Betsy doesn't come?..."
"Yes," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, and getting up, he folded his
hands and cracked his fingers. "I've come to bring you some
money, too, for nightingales, we know, can't live on fairy
tales," he said. "You want it, I expect?"
"No, I don't...yes, I do," she said, not looking at him, and
crimsoning to the roots of her hair. "But you'll come back here
after the races, I suppose?"
"Oh, yes!" answered Alexey Alexandrovitch. "And here's the glory
of Peterhof, Princess Tverskaya," he added, looking out of the
window at the elegant English carriage with the tiny seats placed
extremely high. "What elegance! Charming! Well, let us be
starting too, then."
Princess Tverskaya did not get out of her carriage, but her
groom, in high boots, a cape, and block hat, darted out at the
"I'm going; good-bye!" said Anna, and kissing her son, she went
up to Alexey Alexandrovitch and held out her hand to him. "It
was ever so nice of you to come."
Alexey Alexandrovitch kissed her hand.
"Well, au revoir, then! You'll come back for some tea; that's
delightful!" she said, and went out, gay and radiant. But as
soon as she no longer saw him, she was aware of the spot on her
hand that his lips had touched, and she shuddered with repulsion.
When Alexey Alexandrovitch reached the race-course, Anna was
already sitting in the pavilion beside Betsy, in that pavilion
where all the highest society had gathered. She caught sight of
her husband in the distance. Two men, her husband and her lover,
were the two centers of her existence, and unaided by her
external senses she was aware of their nearness. She was aware
of her husband approaching a long way off, and she could not help
following him in the surging crowd in the midst of which he was
moving. She watched his progress towards the pavilion, saw him
now responding condescendingly to an ingratiating bow, now
exchanging friendly, nonchalant greetings with his equals, now
assiduously trying to catch the eye of some great one of this
world, and taking off his big round hat that squeezed the tips of
his ears. All these ways of his she knew, and all were hateful
to her. "Nothing but ambition, nothing but the desire to get on,
that's all there is in his soul," she thought; "as for these
lofty ideals, love of culture, religion, they are only so many
tools for getting on."
From his glances towards the ladies' pavilion (he was staring
straight at her, but did not distinguish his wife in the sea of
muslin, ribbons, feathers, parasols and flowers) she saw that he
was looking for her, but she purposely avoided noticing him.
"Alexey Alexandrovitch!" Princess Betsy called to him; "I'm sure
you don't see your wife: here she is."
He smiled his chilly smile.
"There's so much splendor here that one's eyes are dazzled," he
said, and he went into the pavilion. He smiled to his wife as a
man should smile on meeting his wife after only just parting from
her, and greeted the princess and other acquaintances, giving to
each what was due--that is to say, jesting with the ladies and
dealing out friendly greetings among the men. Below, near the
pavilion, was standing an adjutant-general of whom Alexey
Alexandrovitch had a high opinion, noted for his intelligence and
culture. Alexey Alexandrovitch entered into conversation with
There was an interval between the races, and so nothing hindered
conversation. The adjutant-general expressed his disapproval of
races. Alexey Alexandrovitch replied defending them. Anna heard
his high, measured tones, not losing one word, and every word
struck her as false, and stabbed her ears with pain.
When the three-mile steeplechase was beginning, she bent forward
and gazed with fixed eyes at Vronsky as he went up to his horse
and mounted, and at the same time she heard that loathsome,
never-ceasing voice of her husband. She was in an agony of
terror for Vronsky, but a still greater agony was the
never-ceasing, as it seemed to her, stream of her husband's
shrill voice with its familiar intonations.
"I'm a wicked woman, a lost woman," she thought; "but I don't
like lying, I can't endure falsehood, while as for HIM (her
husband) it's the breath of his life--falsehood. He knows all
about it, he sees it all; what does he care if he can talk so
calmly? If he were to kill me, if he were to kill Vronsky, I
might respect him. No, all he wants is falsehood and propriety,"
Anna said to herself, not considering exactly what it was she
wanted of her husband, and how she would have liked to see him
behave. She did not understand either that Alexey
Alexandrovitch's peculiar loquacity that day, so exasperating to
her, was merely the expression of his inward distress and
uneasiness. As a child that has been hurt skips about, putting
all his muscles into movement to drown the pain, in the same way
Alexey Alexandrovitch needed mental exercise to drown the
thoughts of his wife that in her presence and in Vronsky's, and
with the continual iteration of his name, would force themselves
on his attention. And it was as natural for him to talk well and
cleverly, as it is natural for a child to skip about. He was
"Danger in the races of officers, of cavalry men, is an essential
element in the race. If England can point to the most brilliant
feats of cavalry in military history, it is simply owing to the
fact that she has historically developed this force both in
beasts and in men. Sport has, in my opinion, a great value, and
as is always the case, we see nothing but what is most
"It's not superficial," said Princess Tverskaya. "One of the
officers, they say, has broken two ribs."
Alexey Alexandrovitch smiled his smile, which uncovered his
teeth, but revealed nothing more.
"We'll admit, princess, that that's not superficial," he said,
"but internal. But that's not the point," and he turned again to
the general with whom he was talking seriously; "we mustn't
forget that those who are taking part in the race are military
men, who have chosen that career, and one must allow that every
calling has its disagreeable side. It forms an integral part of
the duties of an officer. Low sports, such as prizefighting or
Spanish bull-fights, are a sign of barbarity. But specialized
trials of skill are a sign of development."
"No, I shan't come another time; it's too upsetting," said
Princess Betsy. "Isn't it, Anna?"
"It is upsetting, but one can't tear oneself away," said another
lady. "If I'd been a Roman woman I should never have missed a
Anna said nothing, and keeping her opera glass up, gazed always
at the same spot.
At that moment a tall general walked through the pavilion.
Breaking off what he was saying, Alexey Alexandrovitch got up
hurriedly, though with dignity, and bowed low to the general.
"You're not racing?" the officer asked, chaffing him.
"My race is a harder one," Alexey Alexandrovitch responded
And though the answer meant nothing, the general looked as though
he had heard a witty remark from a witty man, and fully relished
la pointe de la sauce.
"There are two aspects," Alexey Alexandrovitch resumed: "those
who take part and those who look on; and love for such spectacles
is an unmistakable proof of a low degree of development in the
spectator, I admit, but..."
"Princess, bets!" sounded Stepan Arkadyevitch's voice from
below, addressing Betsy. "Who's your favorite?"
"Anna and I are for Kuzovlev," replied Betsy.
"I'm for Vronsky. A pair of gloves?"
"But it is a pretty sight, isn't it?"
Alexey Alexandrovitch paused while there was talking about him,
but he began again directly.
"I admit that manly sports do not..." he was continuing.
But at that moment the racers started, and all conversation
ceased. Alexey Alexandrovitch too was silent, and everyone stood
up and turned towards the stream. Alexey Alexandrovitch took no
interest in the race, and so he did not watch the racers, but
fell listlessly to scanning the spectators with his weary eyes.
His eyes rested upon Anna.
Her face was white and set. She was obviously seeing nothing and
no one but one man. Her hand had convulsively clutched her fan,
and she held her breath. He looked at her and hastily turned
away, scrutinizing other faces.
"But here's this lady too, and others very much moved as well;
it's very natural," Alexey Alexandrovitch told himself. He tried
not to look at her, but unconsciously his eyes were drawn to her.
He examined that face again, trying not to read what was so
plainly written on it, and against his own will, with horror read
on it what he did not want to know.
The first fall--Kuzovlev's, at the stream--agitated everyone,
but Alexey Alexandrovitch saw distinctly on Anna's pale,
triumphant face that the man she was watching had not fallen.
When, after Mahotin and Vronsky had cleared the worst barrier,
the next officer had been thrown straight on his head at it and
fatally injured, and a shudder of horror passed over the whole
public, Alexey Alexandrovitch saw that Anna did not even notice
it, and had some difficulty in realizing what they were talking
of about her. But more and more often, and with greater
persistence, he watched her. Anna, wholly engrossed as she was
with the race, became aware of her husband's cold eyes fixed
upon her from one side.
She glanced round for an instant, looked inquiringly at him, and
with a slight frown turned away again.
"Ah, I don't care!" she seemed to say to him, and she did not
once glance at him again.
The race was an unlucky one, and of the seventeen officers who
rode in it more than half were thrown and hurt. Towards the end
of the race everyone was in a state of agitation, which was
intensified by the fact that the Tsar was displeased.
Everyone was loudly expressing disapprobation, everyone was
repeating a phrase some one had uttered--"The lions and
gladiators will be the next thing," and everyone was feeling
horrified; so that when Vronsky fell to the ground, and Anna
moaned aloud, there was nothing very out of the way in it. But
afterwards a change came over Anna's face which really was beyond
decorum. She utterly lost her head. She began fluttering like a
caged bird, at one moment would have got up and moved away, at
the next turned to Betsy.
"Let us go, let us go!" she said.
But Betsy did not hear her. She was bending down, talking to a
general who had come up to her.
Alexey Alexandrovitch went up to Anna and courteously offered her
"Let us go, if you like," he said in French, but Anna was
listening to the general and did not notice her husband.
"He's broken his leg too, so they say," the general was saying.
"This is beyond everything."
Without answering her husband, Anna lifted her opera glass and
gazed towards the place where Vronsky had fallen; but it was so
far off, and there was such a crowd of people about it, that she
could make out nothing. She laid down the opera glass, and would
have moved away, but at that moment an officer galloped up and
made some announcement to the Tsar. Anna craned forward,
"Stiva! Stiva!" she cried to her brother.
But her brother did not hear her. Again she would have moved
"Once more I offer you my arm if you want to be going," said
Alexey Alexandrovitch, reaching towards her hand.
She drew back from him with aversion, and without looking in his
"No, no, let me be, I'll stay."
She saw now that from the place of Vronsky's accident an officer
was running across the course towards the pavilion. Betsy waved
her handkerchief to him. The officer brought the news that the
rider was not killed, but the horse had broken its back.
On hearing this Anna sat down hurriedly, and hid her face in her
fan. Alexey Alexandrovitch saw that she was weeping, and could
not control her tears, nor even the sobs that were shaking her
bosom. Alexey Alexandrovitch stood so as to screen her, giving
her time to recover herself.
"For the third time I offer you my arm," he said to her after a
little time, turning to her. Anna gazed at him and did not know
what to say. Princess Betsy came to her rescue.
"No, Alexey Alexandrovitch; I brought Anna and I promised to take
her home," put in Betsy.
"Excuse me, princess," he said, smiling courteously but looking
her very firmly in the face, "but I see that Anna's not very
well, and I wish her to come home with me."
Anna looked about her in a frightened way, got up submissively,
and laid her hand on her husband's arm.
"I'll send to him and find out, and let you know," Betsy
whispered to her.
As they left the pavilion, Alexey Alexandrovitch, as always,
talked to those he met, and Anna had, as always, to talk and
answer; but she was utterly beside herself, and moved hanging on
her husband's arm as though in a dream.
"Is he killed or not? Is it true? Will he come or not? Shall I
see him today?" she was thinking.
She took her seat in her husband's carriage in silence, and in
silence drove out of the crowd of carriages. I spite of all he
had seen, Alexey Alexandrovitch still did not allow himself to
consider his wife's real condition. He merely saw the outward
symptoms. He saw that she was behaving unbecomingly, and
considered it his duty to tell her so. But it was very difficult
for him not to say more, to tell her nothing but that. He opened
his mouth to tell her she had behaved unbecomingly, but he could
not help saying something utterly different.
"What an inclination we all have, though, for these cruel
spectacles," he said. "I observe..."
"Eh? I don't understand," said Anna contemptuously.
He was offended, and at once began to say what he had meant to
"I am obliged to tell you," he began.
"So now we are to have it out," she thought, and she felt
"I am obliged to tell you that your behavior has been unbecoming
today," he said to her in French.
"In what way has my behavior been unbecoming?" she said aloud,
turning her head swiftly and looking him straight in the face,
not with the bright expression that seemed covering something,
but with a look of determination, under which she concealed with
difficulty the dismay she was feeling.
"Mind," he said, pointing to the open window opposite the
He got up and pulled up the window.
"What did you consider unbecoming?" she repeated.
"The despair you were unable to conceal at the accident to one of
He waited for her to answer, but she was silent, looking straight
"I have already begged you so to conduct yourself in society that
even malicious tongues can find nothing to say against you.
There was a time when I spoke of your inward attitude, but I am
not speaking of that now. Now I speak only of your external
attitude. You have behaved improperly, and I would wish it not
to occur again."
She did not hear half of what he was saying; she felt
panic-stricken before him, and was thinking whether it was true
that Vronsky was not killed. Was it of him they were speaking
when they said the rider was unhurt, but the horse had broken its
back? She merely smiled with a pretense of irony when he
finished, and made no reply, because she had not heard what he
said. Alexey Alexandrovitch had begun to speak boldly, but as he
realized plainly what he was speaking of, the dismay she was
feeling infected him too. He saw the smile, and a strange
misapprehension came over him.
"She is smiling at my suspicions. Yes, she will tell me directly
what she told me before; that there is no foundation for my
suspicions, that it's absurd."
At that moment, when the revelation of everything was hanging
over him, there was nothing he expected so much as that she would
answer mockingly as before that his suspicions were absurd and
utterly groundless. So terrible to him was that he knew that now
he was ready to believe anything. But the expression of her
face, scared and gloomy, did not now promise even deception.
"Possibly I was mistaken," said he. "If so, I beg your pardon."
"No, you were not mistaken," she said deliberately, looking
desperately into his cold face. "You were not mistaken. I was,
and I could not help being in despair. I hear you, but I am
thinking of him. I love him, I am his mistress; I can't bear
you; I'm afraid of you, and I hate you.... You can do what you
like to me."
And dropping back into the corner of the carriage, she broke into
sobs, hiding her face in her hands. Alexey Alexandrovitch did
not stir, and kept looking straight before him. But his whole
face suddenly bore the solemn rigidity of the dead, and his
expression did not change during the whole time of the drive
home. On reaching the house he turned his head to her, still
with the same expression.
"Very well! But I expect a strict observance of the external
forms of propriety till such time"--his voice shook--"as I may
take measures to secure my honor and communicate them to you."
He got out first and helped her to get out. Before the servants
he pressed her hand, took his seat in the carriage, and drove
back to Petersburg. Immediately afterwards a footman came from
Princess Betsy and brought Anna a note.
"I sent to Alexey to find out how he is, and he writes me he is
quite well and unhurt, but in despair."
"So he will be here," she thought. "What a good thing I told
She glanced at her watch. She had still three hours to wait, and
the memories of their last meeting set her blood in flame.
"My God, how light it is! It's dreadful, but I do love to see
his face, and I do love this fantastic light.... My husband!
Oh! yes.... Well, thank God! everything's over with him."
In the little German watering-place to which the Shtcherbatskys
had betaken themselves, as in all places indeed where people are
gathered together, the usual process, as it were, of the
crystallization of society went on, assigning to each member of
that society a definite and unalterable place. Just as the
particle of water in frost, definitely and unalterably, takes the
special form of the crystal of snow, so each new person that
arrived at the springs was at once placed in his special place.
Fuerst Shtcherbatsky, sammt Gemahlin und Tochter, by the
apartments they took, and from their name and from the friends
they made, were immediately crystallized into a definite place
marked out for them.
There was visiting the watering-place that year a real German
Fuerstin, in consequence of which the crystallizing process went
on more vigorously than ever. Princess Shtcherbatskaya wished,
above everything, to present her daughter to this German
princess, and the day after their arrival she duly performed this
rite. Kitty made a low and graceful curtsey in the very simple,
that is to say, very elegant frock that had been ordered her from
Paris. The German princess said, "I hope the roses will soon
come back to this pretty little face," and for the Shtcherbatskys
certain definite lines of existence were at once laid down from
which there was no departing. The Shtcherbatskys made the
acquaintance too of the family of an English Lady Somebody, and
of a German countess and her son, wounded in the last war, and of
a learned Swede, and of M. Canut and his sister. But yet
inevitably the Shtcherbatskys were thrown most into the society
of a Moscow lady, Marya Yevgenyevna Rtishtcheva and her daughter,
whom Kitty disliked, because she had fallen ill, like herself,
over a love affair, and a Moscow colonel, whom Kitty had known
from childhood, and always seen in uniform and epaulets, and who
now, with his little eyes and his open neck and flowered cravat,
was uncommonly ridiculous and tedious, because there was no
getting rid of him. When all this was so firmly established,
Kitty began to be very much bored, especially as the prince went
away to Carlsbad and she was left alone with her mother. She
took no interest in the people she knew, feeling that nothing
fresh would come of them. Her chief mental interest in the
watering-place consisted in watching and making theories about
the people she did not know. It was characteristic of Kitty that
she always imagined everything in people in the most favorable
light possible, especially so in those she did not know. And now
as she made surmises as to who people were, what were their
relations to one another, and what they were like, Kitty endowed
them with the most marvelous and noble characters, and found
confirmation of her idea in her observations.
Of these people the one that attracted her most was a Russian
girl who had come to the watering-place with an invalid Russian
lady, Madame Stahl, as everyone called her. Madame Stahl
belonged to the highest society, but she was so ill that she
could not walk, and only on exceptionally fine days made her
appearance at the springs in an invalid carriage. But it was not
so much from ill-health as from pride--so Princess
Shtcherbatskaya interpreted it--that Madame Stahl had not made
the acquaintance of anyone among the Russians there. The Russian
girl looked after Madame Stahl, and besides that, she was, as
Kitty observed, on friendly terms with all the invalids who were
seriously ill, and there were many of them at the springs, and
looked after them in the most natural way. This Russian girl was
not, as Kitty gathered, related to Madame Stahl, nor was she a
paid attendant. Madame Stahl called her Varenka, and other
people called her "Mademoiselle Varenka." Apart from the
interest Kitty took in this girl's relations with Madame Stahl
and with other unknown persons, Kitty, as often happened, felt an
inexplicable attraction to Mademoiselle Varenka, and was aware
when their eyes met that she too liked her.
Of Mademoiselle Varenka one would not say that she had passed her
first youth, but she was, as it were, a creature without youth;
she might have been taken for nineteen or for thirty. If her
features were criticized separately, she was handsome rather than
plain, in spite of the sickly hue of her face. She would have
been a good figure, too, if it had not been for her extreme
thinness and the size of her head, which was too large for her
medium height. But she was not likely to be attractive to men.
She was like a fine flower, already past its bloom and without
fragrance, though the petals were still unwithered. Moreover,
she would have been unattractive to men also from the lack of
just what Kitty had too much of--of the suppressed fire of
vitality, and the consciousness of her own attractiveness.
She always seemed absorbed in work about which there could be no
doubt, and so it seemed she could not take interest in anything
outside it. It was just this contrast with her own position that
was for Kitty the great attraction of Mademoiselle Varenka.
Kitty felt that in her, in her manner of life, she would find an
example of what she was now so painfully seeking: interest in
life, a dignity in life--apart from the worldly relations of
girls with men, which so revolted Kitty, and appeared to her now
as a shameful hawking about of goods in search of a purchaser.
The more attentively Kitty watched her unknown friend, the more
convinced she was this girl was the perfect creature she fancied
her, and the more eagerly she wished to make her acquaintance.
The two girls used to meet several times a day, and every time
they met, Kitty's eyes said: "Who are you? What are you? Are
you really the exquisite creature I imagine you to be? But for
goodness' sake don't suppose," her eyes added, "that I would
force my acquaintance on you, I simply admire you and like you."
"I like you too, and you're very, very sweet. And I should like
you better still, if I had time," answered the eyes of the
unknown girl. Kitty saw indeed, that she was always busy.
Either she was taking the children of a Russian family home from
the springs, or fetching a shawl for a sick lady, and wrapping
her up in it, or trying to interest an irritable invalid, or
selecting and buying cakes for tea for someone.
Soon after the arrival of the Shtcherbatskys there appeared in
the morning crowd at the springs two persons who attracted
universal and unfavorable attention. These were a tall man with
a stooping figure, and huge hands, in an old coat too short for
him, with black, simple, and yet terrible eyes, and a pockmarked,
kind-looking woman, very badly and tastelessly dressed.
Recognizing these persons as Russians, Kitty had already in her
imagination begun constructing a delightful and touching romance
about them. But the princess, having ascertained from the
visitors' list that this was Nikolay Levin and Marya Nikolaevna,
explained to Kitty what a bad man this Levin was, and all her
fancies about these two people vanished. Not so much from what
her mother told her, as from the fact that it was Konstantin's
brother, this pair suddenly seemed to Kitty intensely unpleasant.
This Levin, with his continual twitching of his head, aroused in
her now an irrepressible feeling of disgust.
It seemed to her that his big, terrible eyes, which persistently
pursued her, expressed a feeling of hatred and contempt, and she
tried to avoid meeting him.
It was a wet day; it had been raining all the morning, and the
invalids, with their parasols, had flocked into the arcades.
Kitty was walking there with her mother and the Moscow colonel,
smart and jaunty in his European coat, bought ready-made at
Frankfort. They were walking on one side of the arcade, trying
to avoid Levin, who was walking on the other side. Varenka, in
her dark dress, in a black hat with a turndown brim, was walking
up and down the whole length of the arcade with a blind
Frenchwoman, and, every time she met Kitty, they exchanged
"Mamma, couldn't I speak to her?" said Kitty, watching her
unknown friend, and noticing that she was going up to the spring,
and that they might come there together.
"Oh, if you want to so much, I'll find out about her first and
make her acquaintance myself," answered her mother. "What do you
see in her out of the way? A companion, she must be. If you
like, I'll make acquaintance with Madame Stahl; I used to know
her belle-seur," added the princess, lifting her head haughtily.
Kitty knew that the princess was offended that Madame Stahl had
seemed to avoid making her acquaintance. Kitty did not insist.
"How wonderfully sweet she is!" she said, gazing at Varenka just
as she handed a glass to the Frenchwoman. "Look how natural and
sweet it all is."
"It's so funny to see your engouements," said the princess. "No,
we'd better go back," she added, noticing Levin coming towards
them with his companion and a German doctor, to whom he was
talking very noisily and angrily.
They turned to go back, when suddenly they heard, not noisy talk,
but shouting. Levin, stopping short, was shouting at the doctor,
and the doctor, too, was excited. A crowd gathered about them.
The princess and Kitty beat a hasty retreat, while the colonel
joined the crowd to find out what was the matter.
A few minutes later the colonel overtook them.
"What was it?" inquired the princess.
"Scandalous and disgraceful!" answered the colonel. "The one
thing to be dreaded is meeting Russians abroad. That tall
gentleman was abusing the doctor, flinging all sorts of insults
at him because he wasn't treating him quite as he liked, and he
began waving his stick at him. It's simply a scandal!"
"Oh, how unpleasant!" said the princess. "Well, and how did it
"Luckily at that point that...the one in the mushroom hat...
intervened. A Russian lady, I think she is," said the colonel.
"Mademoiselle Varenka?" asked Kitty.
"Yes, yes. She came to the rescue before anyone; she took the
man by the arm and led him away."
"There, mamma," said Kitty; "you wonder that I'm enthusiastic
The next day, as she watched her unknown friend, Kitty noticed
that Mademoiselle Varenka was already on the same terms with
Levin and his companion as with her other proteges. She went up
to them, entered into conversation with them, and served as
interpreter for the woman, who could not speak any foreign
Kitty began to entreat her mother still more urgently to let her
make friends with Varenka. And, disagreeable as it was to the
princess to seem to take the first step in wishing to make the
acquaintance of Madame Stahl, who thought fit to give herself
airs, she made inquiries about Varenka, and, having ascertained
particulars about her tending to prove that there could be no
harm though little good in the acquaintance, she herself
approached Varenka and made acquaintance with her.
Choosing a time when her daughter had gone to the spring, while
Varenka had stopped outside the baker's, the princess went up to
"Allow me to make your acquaintance," she said, with her
dignified smile. "My daughter has lost her heart to you," she
said. "Possibly you do not know me. I am..."
"That feeling is more than reciprocal, princess," Varenka
"What a good deed you did yesterday to our poor compatriot!" said
Varenka flushed a little. "I don't remember. I don't think I
did anything," she said.
"Why, you saved that Levin from disagreeable consequences."
"Yes, sa compagne called me, and I tried to pacify him, he's
very ill and was dissatisfied with the doctor. I'm used to
looking after such invalids."
"Yes, I've heard you live at Mentone with your aunt--I think--
Madame Stahl: I used to know her belle-soeur."
"No, she's not my aunt. I call her mamma, but I am not related
to her; I was brought up by her," answered Varenka, flushing a
This was so simply said, and so sweet was the truthful and candid
expression of her face, that the princess saw why Kitty had taken
such a fancy to Varenka.
"Well, and what's this Levin going to do?" asked the princess.
"He's going away," answered Varenka.
At that instant Kitty came up from the spring beaming with
delight that her mother had become acquainted with her unknown
"Well, see, Kitty, your intense desire to make friends with
Mademoiselle . . ."
"Varenka," Varenka put in smiling, "that's what everyone calls
Kitty blushed with pleasure, and slowly, without speaking,
pressed her new friend's hand, which did not respond to her
pressure, but lay motionless in her hand. The hand did not
respond to her pressure, but the face of Mademoiselle Varenka
glowed with a soft, glad, though rather mournful smile, that
showed large but handsome teeth.
"I have long wished for this too," she said.
"But you are so busy."
"Oh, no, I'm not at all busy," answered Varenka, but at that
moment she had to leave her new friends because two little
Russian girls, children of an invalid, ran up to her.
"Varenka, mamma's calling!" they cried.
And Varenka went after them.
The particulars which the princess had learned in regard to
Varenka's past and her relations with Madame Stahl were as
Madame Stahl, of whom some people said that she had worried her
husband out of his life, while others said it was he who had made
her wretched by his immoral behavior, had always been a woman of
weak health and enthusiastic temperament. When, after her
separation from her husband, she gave birth to her only child,
the child had died almost immediately, and the family of Madame
Stahl, knowing her sensibility, and fearing the news would kill
her, had substituted another child, a baby born the same night
and in the same house in Petersburg, the daughter of the chief
cook of the Imperial Household. This was Varenka. Madame Stahl
learned later on that Varenka was not her own child, but she went
on bringing her up, especially as very soon afterwards Varenka
had not a relation of her own living. Madame Stahl had now been
living more than ten years continuously abroad, in the south,
never leaving her couch. And some people said that Madame Stahl
had made her social position as a philanthropic, highly religious
woman; other people said she really was at heart the highly
ethical being, living for nothing but the good of her
fellow creatures, which she represented herself to be. No one
knew what her faith was--Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox. But
one fact was indubitable--she was in amicable relations with the
highest dignitaries of all the churches and sects.
Varenka lived with her all the while abroad, and everyone who
knew Madame Stahl knew and liked Mademoiselle Varenka, as
everyone called her.
Having learned all these facts, the princess found nothing to
object to in her daughter's intimacy with Varenka, more
especially as Varenka's breeding and education were of the
best--she spoke French and English extremely well--and what was
of the most weight, brought a message from Madame Stahl
expressing her regret that she was prevented by her ill health
from making the acquaintance of the princess.
After getting to know Varenka, Kitty became more and more
fascinated by her friend, and every day she discovered new
virtues in her.
The princess, hearing that Varenka had a good voice, asked her to
come and sing to them in the evening.
"Kitty plays, and we have a piano, not a good one, it's true, but
you will give us so much pleasure," said the princess with her
affected smile, which Kitty disliked particularly just then,
because she noticed that Varenka had no inclination to sing.
Varenka came, however, in the evening and brought a roll of music
with her. The princess had invited Marya Yevgenyevna and her
daughter and the colonel.
Varenka seemed quite unaffected by there being persons present
she did not know, and she went directly to the piano. She could
not accompany herself, but she could sing music at sight very
well. Kitty, who played well, accompanied her.
"You have an extraordinary talent," the princess said to her
after Varenka had sung the first song extremely well.
Marya Yevgenyevna and her daughter expressed their thanks and
"Look," said the colonel, looking out of the window, "what an
audience has collected to listen to you." There actually was
quite a considerable crowd under the windows.
"I am very glad it gives you pleasure," Varenka answered simply.
Kitty looked with pride at her friend. She was enchanted by her
talent, and her voice and her face, but most of all by her
manner, by the way Varenka obviously thought nothing of her
singing and was quite unmoved by their praises. She seemed only
to be asking: "Am I to sing again, or is that enough?"
"If it had been I," thought Kitty, "how proud I should have been!
How delighted I should have been to see that crowd under the
windows! But she's utterly unmoved by it. Her only motive is to
avoid refusing and to please mamma. What is there in her? What
is it gives her the power to look down on everything, to be calm
independently of everything? How I should like to know it and to
learn it of her!" thought Kitty, gazing into her serene face.
The princess asked Varenka to sing again, and Varenka sang
another song, also smoothly, distinctly, and well, standing erect
at the piano and beating time on it with her thin, dark-skinned
The next song in the book was an Italian one. Kitty played the
opening bars, and looked round at Varenka.
"Let's skip that," said Varenka, flushing a little. Kitty let
her eyes rest on Varenka's face, with a look of dismay and
"Very well, the next one," she said hurriedly, turning over the
pages, and at once feeling that there was something connected
with the song.
"No," answered Varenka with a smile, laying her hand on the
music, "no, let's have that one." And she sang it just as
quietly, as coolly, and as well as the others.
When she had finished, they all thanked her again, and went off
to tea. Kitty and Varenka went out into the little garden that
adjoined the house.
"Am I right, that you have some reminiscences connected with
that song?" said Kitty. "Don't tell me," she added hastily,
"only say if I'm right."
"No, why not? I'll tell you simply," said Varenka, and, without
waiting for a reply, she went on: "Yes, it brings up memories,
once painful ones. I cared for someone once, and I used to sing
him that song."
Kitty with big, wide-open eyes gazed silently, sympathetically at
"I cared for him, and he cared for me; but his mother did not
wish it, and he married another girl. He's living now not far
from us, and I see him sometimes. You didn't think I had a
love story too," she said, and there was a faint gleam in her
handsome face of that fire which Kitty felt must once have glowed
all over her.
"I didn't think so? Why, if I were a man, I could never care for
anyone else after knowing you. Only I can't understand how he
could, to please his mother, forget you and make you unhappy; he
had no heart."
"Oh, no, he's a very good man, and I'm not unhappy; quite the
contrary, I'm very happy. Well, so we shan't be singing any more
now," she added, turning towards the house.
"How good you are! how good you are!" cried Kitty, and stopping
her, she kissed her. "If I could only be even a little like
"Why should you be like anyone? You're nice as you are," said
Varenka, smiling her gentle, weary smile.
"No, I'm not nice at all. Come, tell me.... Stop a minute,
let's sit down," said Kitty, making her sit down again beside
her. "Tell me, isn't it humiliating to think that a man has
disdained your love, that he hasn't cared for it?..."
"But he didn't disdain it; I believe he cared for me, but he was
a dutiful son..."
"Yes, but if it hadn't been on account of his mother, if it had
been his own doing?..." said Kitty, feeling she was giving away
her secret, and that her face, burning with the flush of shame,
had betrayed her already.
"I that case he would have done wrong, and I should not have
regretted him," answered Varenka, evidently realizing that they
were now talking not of her, but of Kitty.
"But the humiliation," said Kitty, "the humiliation one can never
forget, can never forget," she said, remembering her look at the
last ball during the pause in the music.
"Where is the humiliation? Why, you did nothing wrong?"
"Worse than wrong--shameful."
Varenka shook her head and laid her hand on Kitty's hand.
"Why, what is there shameful?" she said. "You didn't tell a man,
who didn't care for you, that you loved him, did you?"