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Title: Anna Karenina
Author: Tolstoy, Leo, graf, 1828-1910
Language: English
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                             Anna Karenina

                             by Leo Tolstoy

                    Translated by Constance Garnett


Chapter 1

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own

Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys’ house. The wife had
discovered that the husband was carrying on an intrigue with a French
girl, who had been a governess in their family, and she had announced to
her husband that she could not go on living in the same house with him.
This position of affairs had now lasted three days, and not only the
husband and wife themselves, but all the members of their family and
household, were painfully conscious of it. Every person in the house
felt that there was no sense in their living together, and that the
stray people brought together by chance in any inn had more in common
with one another than they, the members of the family and household of
the Oblonskys. The wife did not leave her own room, the husband had not
been at home for three days. The children ran wild all over the house;
the English governess quarreled with the housekeeper, and wrote to a
friend asking her to look out for a new situation for her; the man-cook
had walked off the day before just at dinner time; the kitchen-maid, and
the coachman had given warning.

Three days after the quarrel, Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky—Stiva,
as he was called in the fashionable world—woke up at his usual hour,
that is, at eight o’clock in the morning, not in his wife’s bedroom, but
on the leather-covered sofa in his study. He turned over his stout,
well-cared-for person on the springy sofa, as though he would sink into
a long sleep again; he vigorously embraced the pillow on the other side
and buried his face in it; but all at once he jumped up, sat up on the
sofa, and opened his eyes.

"Yes, yes, how was it now?" he thought, going over his dream. "Now, how
was it? To be sure! Alabin was giving a dinner at Darmstadt; no, not
Darmstadt, but something American. Yes, but then, Darmstadt was in
America. Yes, Alabin was giving a dinner on glass tables, and the tables
sang, _Il mio tesoro_—not _Il mio tesoro_ though, but something better,
and there were some sort of little decanters on the table, and they were
women, too," he remembered.

Stepan Arkadyevitch’s eyes twinkled gaily, and he pondered with a smile.
"Yes, it was nice, very nice. There was a great deal more that was
delightful, only there’s no putting it into words, or even expressing it
in one’s thoughts awake." And noticing a gleam of light peeping in
beside one of the serge curtains, he cheerfully dropped his feet over
the edge of the sofa, and felt about with them for his slippers, a
present on his last birthday, worked for him by his wife on gold-colored
morocco. And, as he had done every day for the last nine years, he
stretched out his hand, without getting up, towards the place where his
dressing-gown always hung in his bedroom. And thereupon he suddenly
remembered that he was not sleeping in his wife’s room, but in his
study, and why: the smile vanished from his face, he knitted his brows.

"Ah, ah, ah! Oo!..." he muttered, recalling everything that had
happened. And again every detail of his quarrel with his wife was
present to his imagination, all the hopelessness of his position, and
worst of all, his own fault.

"Yes, she won’t forgive me, and she can’t forgive me. And the most awful
thing about it is that it’s all my fault—all my fault, though I’m not to
blame. That’s the point of the whole situation," he reflected. "Oh, oh,
oh!" he kept repeating in despair, as he remembered the acutely painful
sensations caused him by this quarrel.

Most unpleasant of all was the first minute when, on coming, happy and
good-humored, from the theater, with a huge pear in his hand for his
wife, he had not found his wife in the drawing-room, to his surprise had
not found her in the study either, and saw her at last in her bedroom
with the unlucky letter that revealed everything in her hand.

She, his Dolly, forever fussing and worrying over household details, and
limited in her ideas, as he considered, was sitting perfectly still with
the letter in her hand, looking at him with an expression of horror,
despair, and indignation.

"What’s this? this?" she asked, pointing to the letter.

And at this recollection, Stepan Arkadyevitch, as is so often the case,
was not so much annoyed at the fact itself as at the way in which he had
met his wife’s words.

There happened to him at that instant what does happen to people when
they are unexpectedly caught in something very disgraceful. He did not
succeed in adapting his face to the position in which he was placed
towards his wife by the discovery of his fault. Instead of being hurt,
denying, defending himself, begging forgiveness, instead of remaining
indifferent even—anything would have been better than what he did do—his
face utterly involuntarily (reflex spinal action, reflected Stepan
Arkadyevitch, who was fond of physiology)—utterly involuntarily assumed
its habitual, good-humored, and therefore idiotic smile.

This idiotic smile he could not forgive himself. Catching sight of that
smile, Dolly shuddered as though at physical pain, broke out with her
characteristic heat into a flood of cruel words, and rushed out of the
room. Since then she had refused to see her husband.

"It’s that idiotic smile that’s to blame for it all," thought Stepan

"But what’s to be done? What’s to be done?" he said to himself in
despair, and found no answer.

Chapter 2

Stepan Arkadyevitch was a truthful man in his relations with himself. He
was incapable of deceiving himself and persuading himself that he
repented of his conduct. He could not at this date repent of the fact
that he, a handsome, susceptible man of thirty-four, was not in love
with his wife, the mother of five living and two dead children, and only
a year younger than himself. All he repented of was that he had not
succeeded better in hiding it from his wife. But he felt all the
difficulty of his position and was sorry for his wife, his children, and
himself. Possibly he might have managed to conceal his sins better from
his wife if he had anticipated that the knowledge of them would have had
such an effect on her. He had never clearly thought out the subject, but
he had vaguely conceived that his wife must long ago have suspected him
of being unfaithful to her, and shut her eyes to the fact. He had even
supposed that she, a worn-out woman no longer young or good-looking, and
in no way remarkable or interesting, merely a good mother, ought from a
sense of fairness to take an indulgent view. It had turned out quite the
other way.

"Oh, it’s awful! oh dear, oh dear! awful!" Stepan Arkadyevitch kept
repeating to himself, and he could think of nothing to be done. "And how
well things were going up till now! how well we got on! She was
contented and happy in her children; I never interfered with her in
anything; I let her manage the children and the house just as she liked.
It’s true it’s bad _her_ having been a governess in our house. That’s
bad! There’s something common, vulgar, in flirting with one’s governess.
But what a governess!" (He vividly recalled the roguish black eyes of
Mlle. Roland and her smile.) "But after all, while she was in the house,
I kept myself in hand. And the worst of it all is that she’s already ...
it seems as if ill-luck would have it so! Oh, oh! But what, what is to
be done?"

There was no solution, but that universal solution which life gives to
all questions, even the most complex and insoluble. That answer is: one
must live in the needs of the day—that is, forget oneself. To forget
himself in sleep was impossible now, at least till nighttime; he could
not go back now to the music sung by the decanter-women; so he must
forget himself in the dream of daily life.

"Then we shall see," Stepan Arkadyevitch said to himself, and getting up
he put on a gray dressing-gown lined with blue silk, tied the tassels in
a knot, and, drawing a deep breath of air into his broad, bare chest, he
walked to the window with his usual confident step, turning out his feet
that carried his full frame so easily. He pulled up the blind and rang
the bell loudly. It was at once answered by the appearance of an old
friend, his valet, Matvey, carrying his clothes, his boots, and a
telegram. Matvey was followed by the barber with all the necessaries for

"Are there any papers from the office?" asked Stepan Arkadyevitch,
taking the telegram and seating himself at the looking-glass.

"On the table," replied Matvey, glancing with inquiring sympathy at his
master; and, after a short pause, he added with a sly smile, "They’ve
sent from the carriage-jobbers."

Stepan Arkadyevitch made no reply, he merely glanced at Matvey in the
looking-glass. In the glance, in which their eyes met in the
looking-glass, it was clear that they understood one another. Stepan
Arkadyevitch’s eyes asked: "Why do you tell me that? don’t you know?"

Matvey put his hands in his jacket pockets, thrust out one leg, and
gazed silently, good-humoredly, with a faint smile, at his master.

"I told them to come on Sunday, and till then not to trouble you or
themselves for nothing," he said. He had obviously prepared the sentence

Stepan Arkadyevitch saw Matvey wanted to make a joke and attract
attention to himself. Tearing open the telegram, he read it through,
guessing at the words, misspelt as they always are in telegrams, and his
face brightened.

"Matvey, my sister Anna Arkadyevna will be here tomorrow," he said,
checking for a minute the sleek, plump hand of the barber, cutting a
pink path through his long, curly whiskers.

"Thank God!" said Matvey, showing by this response that he, like his
master, realized the significance of this arrival—that is, that Anna
Arkadyevna, the sister he was so fond of, might bring about a
reconciliation between husband and wife.

"Alone, or with her husband?" inquired Matvey.

Stepan Arkadyevitch could not answer, as the barber was at work on his
upper lip, and he raised one finger. Matvey nodded at the looking-glass.

"Alone. Is the room to be got ready upstairs?"

"Inform Darya Alexandrovna: where she orders."

"Darya Alexandrovna?" Matvey repeated, as though in doubt.

"Yes, inform her. Here, take the telegram; give it to her, and then do
what she tells you."

"You want to try it on," Matvey understood, but he only said, "Yes sir."

Stepan Arkadyevitch was already washed and combed and ready to be
dressed, when Matvey, stepping deliberately in his creaky boots, came
back into the room with the telegram in his hand. The barber had gone.

"Darya Alexandrovna told me to inform you that she is going away. Let
him do—that is you—do as he likes," he said, laughing only with his
eyes, and putting his hands in his pockets, he watched his master with
his head on one side. Stepan Arkadyevitch was silent a minute. Then a
good-humored and rather pitiful smile showed itself on his handsome

"Eh, Matvey?" he said, shaking his head.

"It’s all right, sir; she will come round," said Matvey.

"Come round?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do you think so? Who’s there?" asked Stepan Arkadyevitch, hearing the
rustle of a woman’s dress at the door.

"It’s I," said a firm, pleasant, woman’s voice, and the stern,
pockmarked face of Matrona Philimonovna, the nurse, was thrust in at the

"Well, what is it, Matrona?" queried Stepan Arkadyevitch, going up to
her at the door.

Although Stepan Arkadyevitch was completely in the wrong as regards his
wife, and was conscious of this himself, almost every one in the house
(even the nurse, Darya Alexandrovna’s chief ally) was on his side.

"Well, what now?" he asked disconsolately.

"Go to her, sir; own your fault again. Maybe God will aid you. She is
suffering so, it’s sad to see her; and besides, everything in the house
is topsy-turvy. You must have pity, sir, on the children. Beg her
forgiveness, sir. There’s no help for it! One must take the

"But she won’t see me."

"You do your part. God is merciful; pray to God, sir, pray to God."

"Come, that’ll do, you can go," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, blushing
suddenly. "Well now, do dress me." He turned to Matvey and threw off his
dressing-gown decisively.

Matvey was already holding up the shirt like a horse’s collar, and,
blowing off some invisible speck, he slipped it with obvious pleasure
over the well-groomed body of his master.

Chapter 3

When he was dressed, Stepan Arkadyevitch sprinkled some scent on
himself, pulled down his shirt-cuffs, distributed into his pockets his
cigarettes, pocketbook, matches, and watch with its double chain and
seals, and shaking out his handkerchief, feeling himself clean,
fragrant, healthy, and physically at ease, in spite of his unhappiness,
he walked with a slight swing on each leg into the dining-room, where
coffee was already waiting for him, and beside the coffee, letters and
papers from the office.

He read the letters. One was very unpleasant, from a merchant who was
buying a forest on his wife’s property. To sell this forest was
absolutely essential; but at present, until he was reconciled with his
wife, the subject could not be discussed. The most unpleasant thing of
all was that his pecuniary interests should in this way enter into the
question of his reconciliation with his wife. And the idea that he might
be led on by his interests, that he might seek a reconciliation with his
wife on account of the sale of the forest—that idea hurt him.

When he had finished his letters, Stepan Arkadyevitch moved the
office-papers close to him, rapidly looked through two pieces of
business, made a few notes with a big pencil, and pushing away the
papers, turned to his coffee. As he sipped his coffee, he opened a still
damp morning paper, and began reading it.

Stepan Arkadyevitch took in and read a liberal paper, not an extreme
one, but one advocating the views held by the majority. And in spite of
the fact that science, art, and politics had no special interest for
him, he firmly held those views on all these subjects which were held by
the majority and by his paper, and he only changed them when the
majority changed them—or, more strictly speaking, he did not change
them, but they imperceptibly changed of themselves within him.

Stepan Arkadyevitch had not chosen his political opinions or his views;
these political opinions and views had come to him of themselves, just
as he did not choose the shapes of his hat and coat, but simply took
those that were being worn. And for him, living in a certain
society—owing to the need, ordinarily developed at years of discretion,
for some degree of mental activity—to have views was just as
indispensable as to have a hat. If there was a reason for his preferring
liberal to conservative views, which were held also by many of his
circle, it arose not from his considering liberalism more rational, but
from its being in closer accordance with his manner of life. The liberal
party said that in Russia everything is wrong, and certainly Stepan
Arkadyevitch had many debts and was decidedly short of money. The
liberal party said that marriage is an institution quite out of date,
and that it needs reconstruction; and family life certainly afforded
Stepan Arkadyevitch little gratification, and forced him into lying and
hypocrisy, which was so repulsive to his nature. The liberal party said,
or rather allowed it to be understood, that religion is only a curb to
keep in check the barbarous classes of the people; and Stepan
Arkadyevitch could not get through even a short service without his legs
aching from standing up, and could never make out what was the object of
all the terrible and high-flown language about another world when life
might be so very amusing in this world. And with all this, Stepan
Arkadyevitch, who liked a joke, was fond of puzzling a plain man by
saying that if he prided himself on his origin, he ought not to stop at
Rurik and disown the first founder of his family—the monkey. And so
Liberalism had become a habit of Stepan Arkadyevitch’s, and he liked his
newspaper, as he did his cigar after dinner, for the slight fog it
diffused in his brain. He read the leading article, in which it was
maintained that it was quite senseless in our day to raise an outcry
that radicalism was threatening to swallow up all conservative elements,
and that the government ought to take measures to crush the
revolutionary hydra; that, on the contrary, "in our opinion the danger
lies not in that fantastic revolutionary hydra, but in the obstinacy of
traditionalism clogging progress," etc., etc. He read another article,
too, a financial one, which alluded to Bentham and Mill, and dropped
some innuendoes reflecting on the ministry. With his characteristic
quickwittedness he caught the drift of each innuendo, divined whence it
came, at whom and on what ground it was aimed, and that afforded him, as
it always did, a certain satisfaction. But today that satisfaction was
embittered by Matrona Philimonovna’s advice and the unsatisfactory state
of the household. He read, too, that Count Beist was rumored to have
left for Wiesbaden, and that one need have no more gray hair, and of the
sale of a light carriage, and of a young person seeking a situation; but
these items of information did not give him, as usual, a quiet, ironical
gratification. Having finished the paper, a second cup of coffee and a
roll and butter, he got up, shaking the crumbs of the roll off his
waistcoat; and, squaring his broad chest, he smiled joyously: not
because there was anything particularly agreeable in his mind—the joyous
smile was evoked by a good digestion.

But this joyous smile at once recalled everything to him, and he grew

Two childish voices (Stepan Arkadyevitch recognized the voices of
Grisha, his youngest boy, and Tanya, his eldest girl) were heard outside
the door. They were carrying something, and dropped it.

"I told you not to sit passengers on the roof," said the little girl in
English; "there, pick them up!"

"Everything’s in confusion," thought Stepan Arkadyevitch; "there are the
children running about by themselves." And going to the door, he called
them. They threw down the box, that represented a train, and came in to
their father.

The little girl, her father’s favorite, ran up boldly, embraced him, and
hung laughingly on his neck, enjoying as she always did the smell of
scent that came from his whiskers. At last the little girl kissed his
face, which was flushed from his stooping posture and beaming with
tenderness, loosed her hands, and was about to run away again; but her
father held her back.

"How is mamma?" he asked, passing his hand over his daughter’s smooth,
soft little neck. "Good morning," he said, smiling to the boy, who had
come up to greet him. He was conscious that he loved the boy less, and
always tried to be fair; but the boy felt it, and did not respond with a
smile to his father’s chilly smile.

"Mamma? She is up," answered the girl.

Stepan Arkadyevitch sighed. "That means that she’s not slept again all
night," he thought.

"Well, is she cheerful?"

The little girl knew that there was a quarrel between her father and
mother, and that her mother could not be cheerful, and that her father
must be aware of this, and that he was pretending when he asked about it
so lightly. And she blushed for her father. He at once perceived it, and
blushed too.

"I don’t know," she said. "She did not say we must do our lessons, but
she said we were to go for a walk with Miss Hoole to grandmamma’s."

"Well, go, Tanya, my darling. Oh, wait a minute, though," he said, still
holding her and stroking her soft little hand.

He took off the mantelpiece, where he had put it yesterday, a little box
of sweets, and gave her two, picking out her favorites, a chocolate and
a fondant.

"For Grisha?" said the little girl, pointing to the chocolate.

"Yes, yes." And still stroking her little shoulder, he kissed her on the
roots of her hair and neck, and let her go.

"The carriage is ready," said Matvey; "but there’s some one to see you
with a petition."

"Been here long?" asked Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"Half an hour."

"How many times have I told you to tell me at once?"

"One must let you drink your coffee in peace, at least," said Matvey, in
the affectionately gruff tone with which it was impossible to be angry.

"Well, show the person up at once," said Oblonsky, frowning with

The petitioner, the widow of a staff captain Kalinin, came with a
request impossible and unreasonable; but Stepan Arkadyevitch, as he
generally did, made her sit down, heard her to the end attentively
without interrupting her, and gave her detailed advice as to how and to
whom to apply, and even wrote her, in his large, sprawling, good and
legible hand, a confident and fluent little note to a personage who
might be of use to her. Having got rid of the staff captain’s widow,
Stepan Arkadyevitch took his hat and stopped to recollect whether he had
forgotten anything. It appeared that he had forgotten nothing except
what he wanted to forget—his wife.

"Ah, yes!" He bowed his head, and his handsome face assumed a harassed
expression. "To go, or not to go!" he said to himself; and an inner
voice told him he must not go, that nothing could come of it but
falsity; that to amend, to set right their relations was impossible,
because it was impossible to make her attractive again and able to
inspire love, or to make him an old man, not susceptible to love. Except
deceit and lying nothing could come of it now; and deceit and lying were
opposed to his nature.

"It must be some time, though: it can’t go on like this," he said,
trying to give himself courage. He squared his chest, took out a
cigarette, took two whiffs at it, flung it into a mother-of-pearl
ashtray, and with rapid steps walked through the drawing room, and
opened the other door into his wife’s bedroom.

Chapter 4

Darya Alexandrovna, in a dressing jacket, and with her now scanty, once
luxuriant and beautiful hair fastened up with hairpins on the nape of
her neck, with a sunken, thin face and large, startled eyes, which
looked prominent from the thinness of her face, was standing among a
litter of all sorts of things scattered all over the room, before an
open bureau, from which she was taking something. Hearing her husband’s
steps, she stopped, looking towards the door, and trying assiduously to
give her features a severe and contemptuous expression. She felt she was
afraid of him, and afraid of the coming interview. She was just
attempting to do what she had attempted to do ten times already in these
last three days—to sort out the children’s things and her own, so as to
take them to her mother’s—and again she could not bring herself to do
this; but now again, as each time before, she kept saying to herself,
"that things cannot go on like this, that she must take some step" to
punish him, put him to shame, avenge on him some little part at least of
the suffering he had caused her. She still continued to tell herself
that she should leave him, but she was conscious that this was
impossible; it was impossible because she could not get out of the habit
of regarding him as her husband and loving him. Besides this, she
realized that if even here in her own house she could hardly manage to
look after her five children properly, they would be still worse off
where she was going with them all. As it was, even in the course of
these three days, the youngest was unwell from being given unwholesome
soup, and the others had almost gone without their dinner the day
before. She was conscious that it was impossible to go away; but,
cheating herself, she went on all the same sorting out her things and
pretending she was going.

Seeing her husband, she dropped her hands into the drawer of the bureau
as though looking for something, and only looked round at him when he
had come quite up to her. But her face, to which she tried to give a
severe and resolute expression, betrayed bewilderment and suffering.

"Dolly!" he said in a subdued and timid voice. He bent his head towards
his shoulder and tried to look pitiful and humble, but for all that he
was radiant with freshness and health. In a rapid glance she scanned his
figure that beamed with health and freshness. "Yes, he is happy and
content!" she thought; "while I.... And that disgusting good nature,
which every one likes him for and praises—I hate that good nature of
his," she thought. Her mouth stiffened, the muscles of the cheek
contracted on the right side of her pale, nervous face.

"What do you want?" she said in a rapid, deep, unnatural voice.

"Dolly!" he repeated, with a quiver in his voice. "Anna is coming

"Well, what is that to me? I can’t see her!" she cried.

"But you must, really, Dolly..."

"Go away, go away, go away!" she shrieked, not looking at him, as though
this shriek were called up by physical pain.

Stepan Arkadyevitch could be calm when he thought of his wife, he could
hope that she would _come round_, as Matvey expressed it, and could
quietly go on reading his paper and drinking his coffee; but when he saw
her tortured, suffering face, heard the tone of her voice, submissive to
fate and full of despair, there was a catch in his breath and a lump in
his throat, and his eyes began to shine with tears.

"My God! what have I done? Dolly! For God’s sake!.... You know...." He
could not go on; there was a sob in his throat.

She shut the bureau with a slam, and glanced at him.

"Dolly, what can I say?.... One thing: forgive... Remember, cannot nine
years of my life atone for an instant...."

She dropped her eyes and listened, expecting what he would say, as it
were beseeching him in some way or other to make her believe

"—instant of passion?" he said, and would have gone on, but at that
word, as at a pang of physical pain, her lips stiffened again, and again
the muscles of her right cheek worked.

"Go away, go out of the room!" she shrieked still more shrilly, "and
don’t talk to me of your passion and your loathsomeness."

She tried to go out, but tottered, and clung to the back of a chair to
support herself. His face relaxed, his lips swelled, his eyes were
swimming with tears.

"Dolly!" he said, sobbing now; "for mercy’s sake, think of the children;
they are not to blame! I am to blame, and punish me, make me expiate my
fault. Anything I can do, I am ready to do anything! I am to blame, no
words can express how much I am to blame! But, Dolly, forgive me!"

She sat down. He listened to her hard, heavy breathing, and he was
unutterably sorry for her. She tried several times to begin to speak,
but could not. He waited.

"You remember the children, Stiva, to play with them; but I remember
them, and know that this means their ruin," she said—obviously one of
the phrases she had more than once repeated to herself in the course of
the last few days.

She had called him "Stiva," and he glanced at her with gratitude, and
moved to take her hand, but she drew back from him with aversion.

"I think of the children, and for that reason I would do anything in the
world to save them, but I don’t myself know how to save them. By taking
them away from their father, or by leaving them with a vicious
father—yes, a vicious father.... Tell me, after what ... has happened,
can we live together? Is that possible? Tell me, eh, is it possible?"
she repeated, raising her voice, "after my husband, the father of my
children, enters into a love affair with his own children’s governess?"

"But what could I do? what could I do?" he kept saying in a pitiful
voice, not knowing what he was saying, as his head sank lower and lower.

"You are loathsome to me, repulsive!" she shrieked, getting more and
more heated. "Your tears mean nothing! You have never loved me; you have
neither heart nor honorable feeling! You are hateful to me, disgusting,
a stranger—yes, a complete stranger!" With pain and wrath she uttered
the word so terrible to herself—_stranger_.

He looked at her, and the fury expressed in her face alarmed and amazed
him. He did not understand how his pity for her exasperated her. She saw
in him sympathy for her, but not love. "No, she hates me. She will not
forgive me," he thought.

"It is awful! awful!" he said.

At that moment in the next room a child began to cry; probably it had
fallen down. Darya Alexandrovna listened, and her face suddenly

She seemed to be pulling herself together for a few seconds, as though
she did not know where she was, and what she was doing, and getting up
rapidly, she moved towards the door.

"Well, she loves my child," he thought, noticing the change of her face
at the child’s cry, "my child: how can she hate me?"

"Dolly, one word more," he said, following her.

"If you come near me, I will call in the servants, the children! They
may all know you are a scoundrel! I am going away at once, and you may
live here with your mistress!"

And she went out, slamming the door.

Stepan Arkadyevitch sighed, wiped his face, and with a subdued tread
walked out of the room. "Matvey says she will come round; but how? I
don’t see the least chance of it. Ah, oh, how horrible it is! And how
vulgarly she shouted," he said to himself, remembering her shriek and
the words—"scoundrel" and "mistress." "And very likely the maids were
listening! Horribly vulgar! horrible!" Stepan Arkadyevitch stood a few
seconds alone, wiped his face, squared his chest, and walked out of the

It was Friday, and in the dining room the German watchmaker was winding
up the clock. Stepan Arkadyevitch remembered his joke about this
punctual, bald watchmaker, "that the German was wound up for a whole
lifetime himself, to wind up watches," and he smiled. Stepan
Arkadyevitch was fond of a joke: "And maybe she will come round! That’s
a good expression, ‘_come round,_’" he thought. "I must repeat that."

"Matvey!" he shouted. "Arrange everything with Darya in the sitting room
for Anna Arkadyevna," he said to Matvey when he came in.

"Yes, sir."

Stepan Arkadyevitch put on his fur coat and went out onto the steps.

"You won’t dine at home?" said Matvey, seeing him off.

"That’s as it happens. But here’s for the housekeeping," he said, taking
ten roubles from his pocketbook. "That’ll be enough."

"Enough or not enough, we must make it do," said Matvey, slamming the
carriage door and stepping back onto the steps.

Darya Alexandrovna meanwhile having pacified the child, and knowing from
the sound of the carriage that he had gone off, went back again to her
bedroom. It was her solitary refuge from the household cares which
crowded upon her directly she went out from it. Even now, in the short
time she had been in the nursery, the English governess and Matrona
Philimonovna had succeeded in putting several questions to her, which
did not admit of delay, and which only she could answer: "What were the
children to put on for their walk? Should they have any milk? Should not
a new cook be sent for?"

"Ah, let me alone, let me alone!" she said, and going back to her
bedroom she sat down in the same place as she had sat when talking to
her husband, clasping tightly her thin hands with the rings that slipped
down on her bony fingers, and fell to going over in her memory all the
conversation. "He has gone! But has he broken it off with her?" she
thought. "Can it be he sees her? Why didn’t I ask him! No, no,
reconciliation is impossible. Even if we remain in the same house, we
are strangers—strangers forever!" She repeated again with special
significance the word so dreadful to her. "And how I loved him! my God,
how I loved him!.... How I loved him! And now don’t I love him? Don’t I
love him more than before? The most horrible thing is," she began, but
did not finish her thought, because Matrona Philimonovna put her head in
at the door.

"Let us send for my brother," she said; "he can get a dinner anyway, or
we shall have the children getting nothing to eat till six again, like

"Very well, I will come directly and see about it. But did you send for
some new milk?"

And Darya Alexandrovna plunged into the duties of the day, and drowned
her grief in them for a time.

Chapter 5

Stepan Arkadyevitch had learned easily at school, thanks to his
excellent abilities, but he had been idle and mischievous, and therefore
was one of the lowest in his class. But in spite of his habitually
dissipated mode of life, his inferior grade in the service, and his
comparative youth, he occupied the honorable and lucrative position of
president of one of the government boards at Moscow. This post he had
received through his sister Anna’s husband, Alexey Alexandrovitch
Karenin, who held one of the most important positions in the ministry to
whose department the Moscow office belonged. But if Karenin had not got
his brother-in-law this berth, then through a hundred other
personages—brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, and aunts—Stiva Oblonsky
would have received this post, or some other similar one, together with
the salary of six thousand absolutely needful for him, as his affairs,
in spite of his wife’s considerable property, were in an embarrassed

Half Moscow and Petersburg were friends and relations of Stepan
Arkadyevitch. He was born in the midst of those who had been and are the
powerful ones of this world. One-third of the men in the government, the
older men, had been friends of his father’s, and had known him in
petticoats; another third were his intimate chums, and the remainder
were friendly acquaintances. Consequently the distributors of earthly
blessings in the shape of places, rents, shares, and such, were all his
friends, and could not overlook one of their own set; and Oblonsky had
no need to make any special exertion to get a lucrative post. He had
only not to refuse things, not to show jealousy, not to be quarrelsome
or take offense, all of which from his characteristic good nature he
never did. It would have struck him as absurd if he had been told that
he would not get a position with the salary he required, especially as
he expected nothing out of the way; he only wanted what the men of his
own age and standing did get, and he was no worse qualified for
performing duties of the kind than any other man.

Stepan Arkadyevitch was not merely liked by all who knew him for his
good humor, but for his bright disposition, and his unquestionable
honesty. In him, in his handsome, radiant figure, his sparkling eyes,
black hair and eyebrows, and the white and red of his face, there was
something which produced a physical effect of kindliness and good humor
on the people who met him. "Aha! Stiva! Oblonsky! Here he is!" was
almost always said with a smile of delight on meeting him. Even though
it happened at times that after a conversation with him it seemed that
nothing particularly delightful had happened, the next day, and the
next, every one was just as delighted at meeting him again.

After filling for three years the post of president of one of the
government boards at Moscow, Stepan Arkadyevitch had won the respect, as
well as the liking, of his fellow-officials, subordinates, and
superiors, and all who had had business with him. The principal
qualities in Stepan Arkadyevitch which had gained him this universal
respect in the service consisted, in the first place, of his extreme
indulgence for others, founded on a consciousness of his own
shortcomings; secondly, of his perfect liberalism—not the liberalism he
read of in the papers, but the liberalism that was in his blood, in
virtue of which he treated all men perfectly equally and exactly the
same, whatever their fortune or calling might be; and thirdly—the most
important point—his complete indifference to the business in which he
was engaged, in consequence of which he was never carried away, and
never made mistakes.

On reaching the offices of the board, Stepan Arkadyevitch, escorted by a
deferential porter with a portfolio, went into his little private room,
put on his uniform, and went into the boardroom. The clerks and copyists
all rose, greeting him with good-humored deference. Stepan Arkadyevitch
moved quickly, as ever, to his place, shook hands with his colleagues,
and sat down. He made a joke or two, and talked just as much as was
consistent with due decorum, and began work. No one knew better than
Stepan Arkadyevitch how to hit on the exact line between freedom,
simplicity, and official stiffness necessary for the agreeable conduct
of business. A secretary, with the good-humored deference common to
every one in Stepan Arkadyevitch’s office, came up with papers, and
began to speak in the familiar and easy tone which had been introduced
by Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"We have succeeded in getting the information from the government
department of Penza. Here, would you care?...."

"You’ve got them at last?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, laying his finger
on the paper. "Now, gentlemen...."

And the sitting of the board began.

"If they knew," he thought, bending his head with a significant air as
he listened to the report, "what a guilty little boy their president was
half an hour ago." And his eyes were laughing during the reading of the
report. Till two o’clock the sitting would go on without a break, and at
two o’clock there would be an interval and luncheon.

It was not yet two, when the large glass doors of the boardroom suddenly
opened and someone came in.

All the officials sitting on the further side under the portrait of the
Tsar and the eagle, delighted at any distraction, looked round at the
door; but the doorkeeper standing at the door at once drove out the
intruder, and closed the glass door after him.

When the case had been read through, Stepan Arkadyevitch got up and
stretched, and by way of tribute to the liberalism of the times took out
a cigarette in the boardroom and went into his private room. Two of the
members of the board, the old veteran in the service, Nikitin, and the
_Kammerjunker Grinevitch_, went in with him.

"We shall have time to finish after lunch," said Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"To be sure we shall!" said Nikitin.

"A pretty sharp fellow this Fomin must be," said Grinevitch of one of
the persons taking part in the case they were examining.

Stepan Arkadyevitch frowned at Grinevitch’s words, giving him thereby to
understand that it was improper to pass judgment prematurely, and made
him no reply.

"Who was that came in?" he asked the doorkeeper.

"Someone, your excellency, crept in without permission directly my back
was turned. He was asking for you. I told him: when the members come
out, then...."

"Where is he?"

"Maybe he’s gone into the passage, but here he comes anyway. That is
he," said the doorkeeper, pointing to a strongly built, broad-shouldered
man with a curly beard, who, without taking off his sheepskin cap, was
running lightly and rapidly up the worn steps of the stone staircase.
One of the members going down—a lean official with a portfolio—stood out
of his way and looked disapprovingly at the legs of the stranger, then
glanced inquiringly at Oblonsky.

Stepan Arkadyevitch was standing at the top of the stairs. His
good-naturedly beaming face above the embroidered collar of his uniform
beamed more than ever when he recognized the man coming up.

"Why, it’s actually you, Levin, at last!" he said with a friendly
mocking smile, scanning Levin as he approached. "How is it you have
deigned to look me up in this den?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, and not
content with shaking hands, he kissed his friend. "Have you been here

"I have just come, and very much wanted to see you," said Levin, looking
shyly and at the same time angrily and uneasily around.

"Well, let’s go into my room," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, who knew his
friend’s sensitive and irritable shyness, and, taking his arm, he drew
him along, as though guiding him through dangers.

Stepan Arkadyevitch was on familiar terms with almost all his
acquaintances, and called almost all of them by their Christian names:
old men of sixty, boys of twenty, actors, ministers, merchants, and
adjutant-generals, so that many of his intimate chums were to be found
at the extreme ends of the social ladder, and would have been very much
surprised to learn that they had, through the medium of Oblonsky,
something in common. He was the familiar friend of everyone with whom he
took a glass of champagne, and he took a glass of champagne with
everyone, and when in consequence he met any of his disreputable chums,
as he used in joke to call many of his friends, in the presence of his
subordinates, he well knew how, with his characteristic tact, to
diminish the disagreeable impression made on them. Levin was not a
disreputable chum, but Oblonsky, with his ready tact, felt that Levin
fancied he might not care to show his intimacy with him before his
subordinates, and so he made haste to take him off into his room.

Levin was almost of the same age as Oblonsky; their intimacy did not
rest merely on champagne. Levin had been the friend and companion of his
early youth. They were fond of one another in spite of the difference of
their characters and tastes, as friends are fond of one another who have
been together in early youth. But in spite of this, each of them—as is
often the way with men who have selected careers of different
kinds—though in discussion he would even justify the other’s career, in
his heart despised it. It seemed to each of them that the life he led
himself was the only real life, and the life led by his friend was a
mere phantasm. Oblonsky could not restrain a slight mocking smile at the
sight of Levin. How often he had seen him come up to Moscow from the
country where he was doing something, but what precisely Stepan
Arkadyevitch could never quite make out, and indeed he took no interest
in the matter. Levin arrived in Moscow always excited and in a hurry,
rather ill at ease and irritated by his own want of ease, and for the
most part with a perfectly new, unexpected view of things. Stepan
Arkadyevitch laughed at this, and liked it. In the same way Levin in his
heart despised the town mode of life of his friend, and his official
duties, which he laughed at, and regarded as trifling. But the
difference was that Oblonsky, as he was doing the same as every one did,
laughed complacently and good-humoredly, while Levin laughed without
complacency and sometimes angrily.

"We have long been expecting you," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, going into
his room and letting Levin’s hand go as though to show that here all
danger was over. "I am very, very glad to see you," he went on. "Well,
how are you? Eh? When did you come?"

Levin was silent, looking at the unknown faces of Oblonsky’s two
companions, and especially at the hand of the elegant Grinevitch, which
had such long white fingers, such long yellow filbert-shaped nails, and
such huge shining studs on the shirt-cuff, that apparently they absorbed
all his attention, and allowed him no freedom of thought. Oblonsky
noticed this at once, and smiled.

"Ah, to be sure, let me introduce you," he said. "My colleagues: Philip
Ivanitch Nikitin, Mihail Stanislavitch Grinevitch"—and turning to
Levin—"a district councilor, a modern district councilman, a gymnast who
lifts thirteen stone with one hand, a cattle-breeder and sportsman, and
my friend, Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin, the brother of Sergey
Ivanovitch Koznishev."

"Delighted," said the veteran.

"I have the honor of knowing your brother, Sergey Ivanovitch," said
Grinevitch, holding out his slender hand with its long nails.

Levin frowned, shook hands coldly, and at once turned to Oblonsky.
Though he had a great respect for his half-brother, an author well known
to all Russia, he could not endure it when people treated him not as
Konstantin Levin, but as the brother of the celebrated Koznishev.

"No, I am no longer a district councilor. I have quarreled with them
all, and don’t go to the meetings any more," he said, turning to

"You’ve been quick about it!" said Oblonsky with a smile. "But how?

"It’s a long story. I will tell you some time," said Levin, but he began
telling him at once. "Well, to put it shortly, I was convinced that
nothing was really done by the district councils, or ever could be," he
began, as though some one had just insulted him. "On one side it’s a
plaything; they play at being a parliament, and I’m neither young enough
nor old enough to find amusement in playthings; and on the other side"
(he stammered) "it’s a means for the coterie of the district to make
money. Formerly they had wardships, courts of justice, now they have the
district council—not in the form of bribes, but in the form of unearned
salary," he said, as hotly as though someone of those present had
opposed his opinion.

"Aha! You’re in a new phase again, I see—a conservative," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch. "However, we can go into that later."

"Yes, later. But I wanted to see you," said Levin, looking with hatred
at Grinevitch’s hand.

Stepan Arkadyevitch gave a scarcely perceptible smile.

"How was it you used to say you would never wear European dress again?"
he said, scanning his new suit, obviously cut by a French tailor. "Ah! I
see: a new phase."

Levin suddenly blushed, not as grown men blush, slightly, without being
themselves aware of it, but as boys blush, feeling that they are
ridiculous through their shyness, and consequently ashamed of it and
blushing still more, almost to the point of tears. And it was so strange
to see this sensible, manly face in such a childish plight, that
Oblonsky left off looking at him.

"Oh, where shall we meet? You know I want very much to talk to you,"
said Levin.

Oblonsky seemed to ponder.

"I’ll tell you what: let’s go to Gurin’s to lunch, and there we can
talk. I am free till three."

"No," answered Levin, after an instant’s thought, "I have got to go on
somewhere else."

"All right, then, let’s dine together."

"Dine together? But I have nothing very particular, only a few words to
say, and a question I want to ask you, and we can have a talk

"Well, say the few words, then, at once, and we’ll gossip after dinner."

"Well, it’s this," said Levin; "but it’s of no importance, though."

His face all at once took an expression of anger from the effort he was
making to surmount his shyness.

"What are the Shtcherbatskys doing? Everything as it used to be?" he

Stepan Arkadyevitch, who had long known that Levin was in love with his
sister-in-law, Kitty, gave a hardly perceptible smile, and his eyes
sparkled merrily.

"You said a few words, but I can’t answer in a few words, because....
Excuse me a minute..."

A secretary came in, with respectful familiarity and the modest
consciousness, characteristic of every secretary, of superiority to his
chief in the knowledge of their business; he went up to Oblonsky with
some papers, and began, under pretense of asking a question, to explain
some objection. Stepan Arkadyevitch, without hearing him out, laid his
hand genially on the secretary’s sleeve.

"No, you do as I told you," he said, softening his words with a smile,
and with a brief explanation of his view of the matter he turned away
from the papers, and said: "So do it that way, if you please, Zahar

The secretary retired in confusion. During the consultation with the
secretary Levin had completely recovered from his embarrassment. He was
standing with his elbows on the back of a chair, and on his face was a
look of ironical attention.

"I don’t understand it, I don’t understand it," he said.

"What don’t you understand?" said Oblonsky, smiling as brightly as ever,
and picking up a cigarette. He expected some queer outburst from Levin.

"I don’t understand what you are doing," said Levin, shrugging his
shoulders. "How can you do it seriously?"

"Why not?"

"Why, because there’s nothing in it."

"You think so, but we’re overwhelmed with work."

"On paper. But, there, you’ve a gift for it," added Levin.

"That’s to say, you think there’s a lack of something in me?"

"Perhaps so," said Levin. "But all the same I admire your grandeur, and
am proud that I’ve a friend in such a great person. You’ve not answered
my question, though," he went on, with a desperate effort looking
Oblonsky straight in the face.

"Oh, that’s all very well. You wait a bit, and you’ll come to this
yourself. It’s very nice for you to have over six thousand acres in the
Karazinsky district, and such muscles, and the freshness of a girl of
twelve; still you’ll be one of us one day. Yes, as to your question,
there is no change, but it’s a pity you’ve been away so long."

"Oh, why so?" Levin queried, panic-stricken.

"Oh, nothing," responded Oblonsky. "We’ll talk it over. But what’s
brought you up to town?"

"Oh, we’ll talk about that, too, later on," said Levin, reddening again
up to his ears.

"All right. I see," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "I should ask you to come
to us, you know, but my wife’s not quite the thing. But I tell you what;
if you want to see them, they’re sure now to be at the Zoological
Gardens from four to five. Kitty skates. You drive along there, and I’ll
come and fetch you, and we’ll go and dine somewhere together."

"Capital. So good-bye till then."

"Now mind, you’ll forget, I know you, or rush off home to the country!"
Stepan Arkadyevitch called out laughing.

"No, truly!"

And Levin went out of the room, only when he was in the doorway
remembering that he had forgotten to take leave of Oblonsky’s

"That gentleman must be a man of great energy," said Grinevitch, when
Levin had gone away.

"Yes, my dear boy," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, nodding his head, "he’s a
lucky fellow! Over six thousand acres in the Karazinsky district;
everything before him; and what youth and vigor! Not like some of us."

"You have a great deal to complain of, haven’t you, Stepan

"Ah, yes, I’m in a poor way, a bad way," said Stepan Arkadyevitch with a
heavy sigh.

Chapter 6

When Oblonsky asked Levin what had brought him to town, Levin blushed,
and was furious with himself for blushing, because he could not answer,
"I have come to make your sister-in-law an offer," though that was
precisely what he had come for.

The families of the Levins and the Shtcherbatskys were old, noble Moscow
families, and had always been on intimate and friendly terms. This
intimacy had grown still closer during Levin’s student days. He had both
prepared for the university with the young Prince Shtcherbatsky, the
brother of Kitty and Dolly, and had entered at the same time with him.
In those days Levin used often to be in the Shtcherbatskys’ house, and
he was in love with the Shtcherbatsky household. Strange as it may
appear, it was with the household, the family, that Konstantin Levin was
in love, especially with the feminine half of the household. Levin did
not remember his own mother, and his only sister was older than he was,
so that it was in the Shtcherbatskys’ house that he saw for the first
time that inner life of an old, noble, cultivated, and honorable family
of which he had been deprived by the death of his father and mother. All
the members of that family, especially the feminine half, were pictured
by him, as it were, wrapped about with a mysterious poetical veil, and
he not only perceived no defects whatever in them, but under the
poetical veil that shrouded them he assumed the existence of the
loftiest sentiments and every possible perfection. Why it was the three
young ladies had one day to speak French, and the next English; why it
was that at certain hours they played by turns on the piano, the sounds
of which were audible in their brother’s room above, where the students
used to work; why they were visited by those professors of French
literature, of music, of drawing, of dancing; why at certain hours all
the three young ladies, with Mademoiselle Linon, drove in the coach to
the Tversky boulevard, dressed in their satin cloaks, Dolly in a long
one, Natalia in a half-long one, and Kitty in one so short that her
shapely legs in tightly-drawn red stockings were visible to all
beholders; why it was they had to walk about the Tversky boulevard
escorted by a footman with a gold cockade in his hat—all this and much
more that was done in their mysterious world he did not understand, but
he was sure that everything that was done there was very good, and he
was in love precisely with the mystery of the proceedings.

In his student days he had all but been in love with the eldest, Dolly,
but she was soon married to Oblonsky. Then he began being in love with
the second. He felt, as it were, that he had to be in love with one of
the sisters, only he could not quite make out which. But Natalia, too,
had hardly made her appearance in the world when she married the
diplomat Lvov. Kitty was still a child when Levin left the university.
Young Shtcherbatsky went into the navy, was drowned in the Baltic, and
Levin’s relations with the Shtcherbatskys, in spite of his friendship
with Oblonsky, became less intimate. But when early in the winter of
this year Levin came to Moscow, after a year in the country, and saw the
Shtcherbatskys, he realized which of the three sisters he was indeed
destined to love.

One would have thought that nothing could be simpler than for him, a man
of good family, rather rich than poor, and thirty-two years old, to make
the young Princess Shtcherbatskaya an offer of marriage; in all
likelihood he would at once have been looked upon as a good match. But
Levin was in love, and so it seemed to him that Kitty was so perfect in
every respect that she was a creature far above everything earthly; and
that he was a creature so low and so earthly that it could not even be
conceived that other people and she herself could regard him as worthy
of her.

After spending two months in Moscow in a state of enchantment, seeing
Kitty almost every day in society, into which he went so as to meet her,
he abruptly decided that it could not be, and went back to the country.

Levin’s conviction that it could not be was founded on the idea that in
the eyes of her family he was a disadvantageous and worthless match for
the charming Kitty, and that Kitty herself could not love him. In her
family’s eyes he had no ordinary, definite career and position in
society, while his contemporaries by this time, when he was thirty-two,
were already, one a colonel, and another a professor, another director
of a bank and railways, or president of a board like Oblonsky. But he
(he knew very well how he must appear to others) was a country
gentleman, occupied in breeding cattle, shooting game, and building
barns; in other words, a fellow of no ability, who had not turned out
well, and who was doing just what, according to the ideas of the world,
is done by people fit for nothing else.

The mysterious, enchanting Kitty herself could not love such an ugly
person as he conceived himself to be, and, above all, such an ordinary,
in no way striking person. Moreover, his attitude to Kitty in the
past—the attitude of a grown-up person to a child, arising from his
friendship with her brother—seemed to him yet another obstacle to love.
An ugly, good-natured man, as he considered himself, might, he supposed,
be liked as a friend; but to be loved with such a love as that with
which he loved Kitty, one would need to be a handsome and, still more, a
distinguished man.

He had heard that women often did care for ugly and ordinary men, but he
did not believe it, for he judged by himself, and he could not himself
have loved any but beautiful, mysterious, and exceptional women.

But after spending two months alone in the country, he was convinced
that this was not one of those passions of which he had had experience
in his early youth; that this feeling gave him not an instant’s rest;
that he could not live without deciding the question, would she or would
she not be his wife, and that his despair had arisen only from his own
imaginings, that he had no sort of proof that he would be rejected. And
he had now come to Moscow with a firm determination to make an offer,
and get married if he were accepted. Or ... he could not conceive what
would become of him if he were rejected.

Chapter 7

On arriving in Moscow by a morning train, Levin had put up at the house
of his elder half-brother, Koznishev. After changing his clothes he went
down to his brother’s study, intending to talk to him at once about the
object of his visit, and to ask his advice; but his brother was not
alone. With him there was a well-known professor of philosophy, who had
come from Harkov expressly to clear up a difference that had arisen
between them on a very important philosophical question. The professor
was carrying on a hot crusade against materialists. Sergey Koznishev had
been following this crusade with interest, and after reading the
professor’s last article, he had written him a letter stating his
objections. He accused the professor of making too great concessions to
the materialists. And the professor had promptly appeared to argue the
matter out. The point in discussion was the question then in vogue: Is
there a line to be drawn between psychological and physiological
phenomena in man? and if so, where?

Sergey Ivanovitch met his brother with the smile of chilly friendliness
he always had for everyone, and introducing him to the professor, went
on with the conversation.

A little man in spectacles, with a narrow forehead, tore himself from
the discussion for an instant to greet Levin, and then went on talking
without paying any further attention to him. Levin sat down to wait till
the professor should go, but he soon began to get interested in the
subject under discussion.

Levin had come across the magazine articles about which they were
disputing, and had read them, interested in them as a development of the
first principles of science, familiar to him as a natural science
student at the university. But he had never connected these scientific
deductions as to the origin of man as an animal, as to reflex action,
biology, and sociology, with those questions as to the meaning of life
and death to himself, which had of late been more and more often in his

As he listened to his brother’s argument with the professor, he noticed
that they connected these scientific questions with those spiritual
problems, that at times they almost touched on the latter; but every
time they were close upon what seemed to him the chief point, they
promptly beat a hasty retreat, and plunged again into a sea of subtle
distinctions, reservations, quotations, allusions, and appeals to
authorities, and it was with difficulty that he understood what they
were talking about.

"I cannot admit it," said Sergey Ivanovitch, with his habitual
clearness, precision of expression, and elegance of phrase. "I cannot in
any case agree with Keiss that my whole conception of the external world
has been derived from perceptions. The most fundamental idea, the idea
of existence, has not been received by me through sensation; indeed,
there is no special sense-organ for the transmission of such an idea."

"Yes, but they—Wurt, and Knaust, and Pripasov—would answer that your
consciousness of existence is derived from the conjunction of all your
sensations, that that consciousness of existence is the result of your
sensations. Wurt, indeed, says plainly that, assuming there are no
sensations, it follows that there is no idea of existence."

"I maintain the contrary," began Sergey Ivanovitch.

But here it seemed to Levin that just as they were close upon the real
point of the matter, they were again retreating, and he made up his mind
to put a question to the professor.

"According to that, if my senses are annihilated, if my body is dead, I
can have no existence of any sort?" he queried.

The professor, in annoyance, and, as it were, mental suffering at the
interruption, looked round at the strange inquirer, more like a bargeman
than a philosopher, and turned his eyes upon Sergey Ivanovitch, as
though to ask: What’s one to say to him? But Sergey Ivanovitch, who had
been talking with far less heat and one-sidedness than the professor,
and who had sufficient breadth of mind to answer the professor, and at
the same time to comprehend the simple and natural point of view from
which the question was put, smiled and said:

"That question we have no right to answer as yet."

"We have not the requisite data," chimed in the professor, and he went
back to his argument. "No," he said; "I would point out the fact that
if, as Pripasov directly asserts, perception is based on sensation, then
we are bound to distinguish sharply between these two conceptions."

Levin listened no more, and simply waited for the professor to go.

Chapter 8

When the professor had gone, Sergey Ivanovitch turned to his brother.

"Delighted that you’ve come. For some time, is it? How’s your farming
getting on?"

Levin knew that his elder brother took little interest in farming, and
only put the question in deference to him, and so he only told him about
the sale of his wheat and money matters.

Levin had meant to tell his brother of his determination to get married,
and to ask his advice; he had indeed firmly resolved to do so. But after
seeing his brother, listening to his conversation with the professor,
hearing afterwards the unconsciously patronizing tone in which his
brother questioned him about agricultural matters (their mother’s
property had not been divided, and Levin took charge of both their
shares), Levin felt that he could not for some reason begin to talk to
him of his intention of marrying. He felt that his brother would not
look at it as he would have wished him to.

"Well, how is your district council doing?" asked Sergey Ivanovitch, who
was greatly interested in these local boards and attached great
importance to them.

"I really don’t know."

"What! Why, surely you’re a member of the board?"

"No, I’m not a member now; I’ve resigned," answered Levin, "and I no
longer attend the meetings."

"What a pity!" commented Sergey Ivanovitch, frowning.

Levin in self-defense began to describe what took place in the meetings
in his district.

"That’s how it always is!" Sergey Ivanovitch interrupted him. "We
Russians are always like that. Perhaps it’s our strong point, really,
the faculty of seeing our own shortcomings; but we overdo it, we comfort
ourselves with irony which we always have on the tip of our tongues. All
I say is, give such rights as our local self-government to any other
European people—why, the Germans or the English would have worked their
way to freedom from them, while we simply turn them into ridicule."

"But how can it be helped?" said Levin penitently. "It was my last
effort. And I did try with all my soul. I can’t. I’m no good at it."

"It’s not that you’re no good at it," said Sergey Ivanovitch; "it is
that you don’t look at it as you should."

"Perhaps not," Levin answered dejectedly.

"Oh! do you know brother Nikolay’s turned up again?"

This brother Nikolay was the elder brother of Konstantin Levin, and
half-brother of Sergey Ivanovitch; a man utterly ruined, who had
dissipated the greater part of his fortune, was living in the strangest
and lowest company, and had quarreled with his brothers.

"What did you say?" Levin cried with horror. "How do you know?"

"Prokofy saw him in the street."

"Here in Moscow? Where is he? Do you know?" Levin got up from his chair,
as though on the point of starting off at once.

"I am sorry I told you," said Sergey Ivanovitch, shaking his head at his
younger brother’s excitement. "I sent to find out where he is living,
and sent him his IOU to Trubin, which I paid. This is the answer he sent

And Sergey Ivanovitch took a note from under a paper-weight and handed
it to his brother.

Levin read in the queer, familiar handwriting: "I humbly beg you to
leave me in peace. That’s the only favor I ask of my gracious
brothers.—Nikolay Levin."

Levin read it, and without raising his head stood with the note in his
hands opposite Sergey Ivanovitch.

There was a struggle in his heart between the desire to forget his
unhappy brother for the time, and the consciousness that it would be
base to do so.

"He obviously wants to offend me," pursued Sergey Ivanovitch; "but he
cannot offend me, and I should have wished with all my heart to assist
him, but I know it’s impossible to do that."

"Yes, yes," repeated Levin. "I understand and appreciate your attitude
to him; but I shall go and see him."

"If you want to, do; but I shouldn’t advise it," said Sergey Ivanovitch.
"As regards myself, I have no fear of your doing so; he will not make
you quarrel with me; but for your own sake, I should say you would do
better not to go. You can’t do him any good; still, do as you please."

"Very likely I can’t do any good, but I feel—especially at such a
moment—but that’s another thing—I feel I could not be at peace."

"Well, that I don’t understand," said Sergey Ivanovitch. "One thing I do
understand," he added; "it’s a lesson in humility. I have come to look
very differently and more charitably on what is called infamous since
brother Nikolay has become what he is ... you know what he did..."

"Oh, it’s awful, awful!" repeated Levin.

After obtaining his brother’s address from Sergey Ivanovitch’s footman,
Levin was on the point of setting off at once to see him, but on second
thought he decided to put off his visit till the evening. The first
thing to do to set his heart at rest was to accomplish what he had come
to Moscow for. From his brother’s Levin went to Oblonsky’s office, and
on getting news of the Shtcherbatskys from him, he drove to the place
where he had been told he might find Kitty.

Chapter 9

At four o’clock, conscious of his throbbing heart, Levin stepped out of
a hired sledge at the Zoological Gardens, and turned along the path to
the frozen mounds and the skating ground, knowing that he would
certainly find her there, as he had seen the Shtcherbatskys’ carriage at
the entrance.

It was a bright, frosty day. Rows of carriages, sledges, drivers, and
policemen were standing in the approach. Crowds of well-dressed people,
with hats bright in the sun, swarmed about the entrance and along the
well-swept little paths between the little houses adorned with carving
in the Russian style. The old curly birches of the gardens, all their
twigs laden with snow, looked as though freshly decked in sacred

He walked along the path towards the skating-ground, and kept saying to
himself—"You mustn’t be excited, you must be calm. What’s the matter
with you? What do you want? Be quiet, stupid," he conjured his heart.
And the more he tried to compose himself, the more breathless he found
himself. An acquaintance met him and called him by his name, but Levin
did not even recognize him. He went towards the mounds, whence came the
clank of the chains of sledges as they slipped down or were dragged up,
the rumble of the sliding sledges, and the sounds of merry voices. He
walked on a few steps, and the skating-ground lay open before his eyes,
and at once, amidst all the skaters, he knew her.

He knew she was there by the rapture and the terror that seized on his
heart. She was standing talking to a lady at the opposite end of the
ground. There was apparently nothing striking either in her dress or her
attitude. But for Levin she was as easy to find in that crowd as a rose
among nettles. Everything was made bright by her. She was the smile that
shed light on all round her. "Is it possible I can go over there on the
ice, go up to her?" he thought. The place where she stood seemed to him
a holy shrine, unapproachable, and there was one moment when he was
almost retreating, so overwhelmed was he with terror. He had to make an
effort to master himself, and to remind himself that people of all sorts
were moving about her, and that he too might come there to skate. He
walked down, for a long while avoiding looking at her as at the sun, but
seeing her, as one does the sun, without looking.

On that day of the week and at that time of day people of one set, all
acquainted with one another, used to meet on the ice. There were crack
skaters there, showing off their skill, and learners clinging to chairs
with timid, awkward movements, boys, and elderly people skating with
hygienic motives. They seemed to Levin an elect band of blissful beings
because they were here, near her. All the skaters, it seemed, with
perfect self-possession, skated towards her, skated by her, even spoke
to her, and were happy, quite apart from her, enjoying the capital ice
and the fine weather.

Nikolay Shtcherbatsky, Kitty’s cousin, in a short jacket and tight
trousers, was sitting on a garden seat with his skates on. Seeing Levin,
he shouted to him:

"Ah, the first skater in Russia! Been here long? First-rate ice—do put
your skates on."

"I haven’t got my skates," Levin answered, marveling at this boldness
and ease in her presence, and not for one second losing sight of her,
though he did not look at her. He felt as though the sun were coming
near him. She was in a corner, and turning out her slender feet in their
high boots with obvious timidity, she skated towards him. A boy in
Russian dress, desperately waving his arms and bowed down to the ground,
overtook her. She skated a little uncertainly; taking her hands out of
the little muff that hung on a cord, she held them ready for emergency,
and looking towards Levin, whom she had recognized, she smiled at him,
and at her own fears. When she had got round the turn, she gave herself
a push off with one foot, and skated straight up to Shtcherbatsky.
Clutching at his arm, she nodded smiling to Levin. She was more splendid
than he had imagined her.

When he thought of her, he could call up a vivid picture of her to
himself, especially the charm of that little fair head, so freely set on
the shapely girlish shoulders, and so full of childish brightness and
good humor. The childishness of her expression, together with the
delicate beauty of her figure, made up her special charm, and that he
fully realized. But what always struck him in her as something unlooked
for, was the expression of her eyes, soft, serene, and truthful, and
above all, her smile, which always transported Levin to an enchanted
world, where he felt himself softened and tender, as he remembered
himself in some days of his early childhood.

"Have you been here long?" she said, giving him her hand. "Thank you,"
she added, as he picked up the handkerchief that had fallen out of her

"I? I’ve not long ... yesterday ... I mean today ... I arrived,"
answered Levin, in his emotion not at once understanding her question.
"I was meaning to come and see you," he said; and then, recollecting
with what intention he was trying to see her, he was promptly overcome
with confusion and blushed.

"I didn’t know you could skate, and skate so well."

She looked at him earnestly, as though wishing to make out the cause of
his confusion.

"Your praise is worth having. The tradition is kept up here that you are
the best of skaters," she said, with her little black-gloved hand
brushing a grain of hoarfrost off her muff.

"Yes, I used once to skate with passion; I wanted to reach perfection."

"You do everything with passion, I think," she said smiling. "I should
so like to see how you skate. Put on skates, and let us skate together."

"Skate together! Can that be possible?" thought Levin, gazing at her.

"I’ll put them on directly," he said.

And he went off to get skates.

"It’s a long while since we’ve seen you here, sir," said the attendant,
supporting his foot, and screwing on the heel of the skate. "Except you,
there’s none of the gentlemen first-rate skaters. Will that be all
right?" said he, tightening the strap.

"Oh, yes, yes; make haste, please," answered Levin, with difficulty
restraining the smile of rapture which would overspread his face. "Yes,"
he thought, "this now is life, this is happiness! _Together,_ she said;
_let us skate together!_ Speak to her now? But that’s just why I’m
afraid to speak—because I’m happy now, happy in hope, anyway.... And
then?.... But I must! I must! I must! Away with weakness!"

Levin rose to his feet, took off his overcoat, and scurrying over the
rough ice round the hut, came out on the smooth ice and skated without
effort, as it were, by simple exercise of will, increasing and
slackening speed and turning his course. He approached with timidity,
but again her smile reassured him.

She gave him her hand, and they set off side by side, going faster and
faster, and the more rapidly they moved the more tightly she grasped his

"With you I should soon learn; I somehow feel confidence in you," she
said to him.

"And I have confidence in myself when you are leaning on me," he said,
but was at once panic-stricken at what he had said, and blushed. And
indeed, no sooner had he uttered these words, when all at once, like the
sun going behind a cloud, her face lost all its friendliness, and Levin
detected the familiar change in her expression that denoted the working
of thought; a crease showed on her smooth brow.

"Is there anything troubling you?—though I’ve no right to ask such a
question," he added hurriedly.

"Oh, why so?.... No, I have nothing to trouble me," she responded
coldly; and she added immediately: "You haven’t seen Mlle. Linon, have

"Not yet."

"Go and speak to her, she likes you so much."

"What’s wrong? I have offended her. Lord help me!" thought Levin, and he
flew towards the old Frenchwoman with the gray ringlets, who was sitting
on a bench. Smiling and showing her false teeth, she greeted him as an
old friend.

"Yes, you see we’re growing up," she said to him, glancing towards
Kitty, "and growing old. _Tiny bear_ has grown big now!" pursued the
Frenchwoman, laughing, and she reminded him of his joke about the three
young ladies whom he had compared to the three bears in the English
nursery tale. "Do you remember that’s what you used to call them?"

He remembered absolutely nothing, but she had been laughing at the joke
for ten years now, and was fond of it.

"Now, go and skate, go and skate. Our Kitty has learned to skate nicely,
hasn’t she?"

When Levin darted up to Kitty her face was no longer stern; her eyes
looked at him with the same sincerity and friendliness, but Levin
fancied that in her friendliness there was a certain note of deliberate
composure. And he felt depressed. After talking a little of her old
governess and her peculiarities, she questioned him about his life.

"Surely you must be dull in the country in the winter, aren’t you?" she

"No, I’m not dull, I am very busy," he said, feeling that she was
holding him in check by her composed tone, which he would not have the
force to break through, just as it had been at the beginning of the

"Are you going to stay in town long?" Kitty questioned him.

"I don’t know," he answered, not thinking of what he was saying. The
thought that if he were held in check by her tone of quiet friendliness
he would end by going back again without deciding anything came into his
mind, and he resolved to make a struggle against it.

"How is it you don’t know?"

"I don’t know. It depends upon you," he said, and was immediately
horror-stricken at his own words.

Whether it was that she had heard his words, or that she did not want to
hear them, she made a sort of stumble, twice struck out, and hurriedly
skated away from him. She skated up to Mlle. Linon, said something to
her, and went towards the pavilion where the ladies took off their

"My God! what have I done! Merciful God! help me, guide me," said Levin,
praying inwardly, and at the same time, feeling a need of violent
exercise, he skated about describing inner and outer circles.

At that moment one of the young men, the best of the skaters of the day,
came out of the coffee-house in his skates, with a cigarette in his
mouth. Taking a run, he dashed down the steps in his skates, crashing
and bounding up and down. He flew down, and without even changing the
position of his hands, skated away over the ice.

"Ah, that’s a new trick!" said Levin, and he promptly ran up to the top
to do this new trick.

"Don’t break your neck! it needs practice!" Nikolay Shtcherbatsky
shouted after him.

Levin went to the steps, took a run from above as best he could, and
dashed down, preserving his balance in this unwonted movement with his
hands. On the last step he stumbled, but barely touching the ice with
his hand, with a violent effort recovered himself, and skated off,

"How splendid, how nice he is!" Kitty was thinking at that time, as she
came out of the pavilion with Mlle. Linon, and looked towards him with a
smile of quiet affection, as though he were a favorite brother. "And can
it be my fault, can I have done anything wrong? They talk of flirtation.
I know it’s not he that I love; but still I am happy with him, and he’s
so jolly. Only, why did he say that?..." she mused.

Catching sight of Kitty going away, and her mother meeting her at the
steps, Levin, flushed from his rapid exercise, stood still and pondered
a minute. He took off his skates, and overtook the mother and daughter
at the entrance of the gardens.

"Delighted to see you," said Princess Shtcherbatskaya. "On Thursdays we
are home, as always."

"Today, then?"

"We shall be pleased to see you," the princess said stiffly.

This stiffness hurt Kitty, and she could not resist the desire to smooth
over her mother’s coldness. She turned her head, and with a smile said:

"Good-bye till this evening."

At that moment Stepan Arkadyevitch, his hat cocked on one side, with
beaming face and eyes, strode into the garden like a conquering hero.
But as he approached his mother-in-law, he responded in a mournful and
crestfallen tone to her inquiries about Dolly’s health. After a little
subdued and dejected conversation with his mother-in-law, he threw out
his chest again, and put his arm in Levin’s.

"Well, shall we set off?" he asked. "I’ve been thinking about you all
this time, and I’m very, very glad you’ve come," he said, looking him in
the face with a significant air.

"Yes, come along," answered Levin in ecstasy, hearing unceasingly the
sound of that voice saying, "Good-bye till this evening," and seeing the
smile with which it was said.

"To the England or the Hermitage?"

"I don’t mind which."

"All right, then, the England," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, selecting that
restaurant because he owed more there than at the Hermitage, and
consequently considered it mean to avoid it. "Have you got a sledge?
That’s first-rate, for I sent my carriage home."

The friends hardly spoke all the way. Levin was wondering what that
change in Kitty’s expression had meant, and alternately assuring himself
that there was hope, and falling into despair, seeing clearly that his
hopes were insane, and yet all the while he felt himself quite another
man, utterly unlike what he had been before her smile and those words,
"Good-bye till this evening."

Stepan Arkadyevitch was absorbed during the drive in composing the menu
of the dinner.

"You like turbot, don’t you?" he said to Levin as they were arriving.

"Eh?" responded Levin. "Turbot? Yes, I’m _awfully_ fond of turbot."

Chapter 10

When Levin went into the restaurant with Oblonsky, he could not help
noticing a certain peculiarity of expression, as it were, a restrained
radiance, about the face and whole figure of Stepan Arkadyevitch.
Oblonsky took off his overcoat, and with his hat over one ear walked
into the dining room, giving directions to the Tatar waiters, who were
clustered about him in evening coats, bearing napkins. Bowing to right
and left to the people he met, and here as everywhere joyously greeting
acquaintances, he went up to the sideboard for a preliminary appetizer
of fish and vodka, and said to the painted Frenchwoman decked in
ribbons, lace, and ringlets, behind the counter, something so amusing
that even that Frenchwoman was moved to genuine laughter. Levin for his
part refrained from taking any vodka simply because he felt such a
loathing of that Frenchwoman, all made up, it seemed, of false hair,
_poudre de riz,_ and _vinaigre de toilette_. He made haste to move away
from her, as from a dirty place. His whole soul was filled with memories
of Kitty, and there was a smile of triumph and happiness shining in his

"This way, your excellency, please. Your excellency won’t be disturbed
here," said a particularly pertinacious, white-headed old Tatar with
immense hips and coat-tails gaping widely behind. "Walk in, your
excellency," he said to Levin; by way of showing his respect to Stepan
Arkadyevitch, being attentive to his guest as well.

Instantly flinging a fresh cloth over the round table under the bronze
chandelier, though it already had a table cloth on it, he pushed up
velvet chairs, and came to a standstill before Stepan Arkadyevitch with
a napkin and a bill of fare in his hands, awaiting his commands.

"If you prefer it, your excellency, a private room will be free
directly; Prince Golistin with a lady. Fresh oysters have come in."

"Ah! oysters."

Stepan Arkadyevitch became thoughtful.

"How if we were to change our program, Levin?" he said, keeping his
finger on the bill of fare. And his face expressed serious hesitation.
"Are the oysters good? Mind now."

"They’re Flensburg, your excellency. We’ve no Ostend."

"Flensburg will do, but are they fresh?"

"Only arrived yesterday."

"Well, then, how if we were to begin with oysters, and so change the
whole program? Eh?"

"It’s all the same to me. I should like cabbage soup and porridge better
than anything; but of course there’s nothing like that here."

"_Porridge à la Russe,_ your honor would like?" said the Tatar, bending
down to Levin, like a nurse speaking to a child.

"No, joking apart, whatever you choose is sure to be good. I’ve been
skating, and I’m hungry. And don’t imagine," he added, detecting a look
of dissatisfaction on Oblonsky’s face, "that I shan’t appreciate your
choice. I am fond of good things."

"I should hope so! After all, it’s one of the pleasures of life," said
Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Well, then, my friend, you give us two—or better
say three—dozen oysters, clear soup with vegetables...."

"_Printanière,_" prompted the Tatar. But Stepan Arkadyevitch apparently
did not care to allow him the satisfaction of giving the French names of
the dishes.

"With vegetables in it, you know. Then turbot with thick sauce, then ...
roast beef; and mind it’s good. Yes, and capons, perhaps, and then

The Tatar, recollecting that it was Stepan Arkadyevitch’s way not to
call the dishes by the names in the French bill of fare, did not repeat
them after him, but could not resist rehearsing the whole menu to
himself according to the bill:—"_Soupe printanière, turbot, sauce
Beaumarchais, poulard à l’estragon, macédoine de fruits_ ... etc.," and
then instantly, as though worked by springs, laying down one bound bill
of fare, he took up another, the list of wines, and submitted it to
Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"What shall we drink?"

"What you like, only not too much. Champagne," said Levin.

"What! to start with? You’re right though, I dare say. Do you like the
white seal?"

"_Cachet blanc,_" prompted the Tatar.

"Very well, then, give us that brand with the oysters, and then we’ll

"Yes, sir. And what table wine?"

"You can give us Nuits. Oh, no, better the classic Chablis."

"Yes, sir. And _your_ cheese, your excellency?"

"Oh, yes, Parmesan. Or would you like another?"

"No, it’s all the same to me," said Levin, unable to suppress a smile.

And the Tatar ran off with flying coat-tails, and in five minutes darted
in with a dish of opened oysters on mother-of-pearl shells, and a bottle
between his fingers.

Stepan Arkadyevitch crushed the starchy napkin, tucked it into his
waistcoat, and settling his arms comfortably, started on the oysters.

"Not bad," he said, stripping the oysters from the pearly shell with a
silver fork, and swallowing them one after another. "Not bad," he
repeated, turning his dewy, brilliant eyes from Levin to the Tatar.

Levin ate the oysters indeed, though white bread and cheese would have
pleased him better. But he was admiring Oblonsky. Even the Tatar,
uncorking the bottle and pouring the sparkling wine into the delicate
glasses, glanced at Stepan Arkadyevitch, and settled his white cravat
with a perceptible smile of satisfaction.

"You don’t care much for oysters, do you?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch,
emptying his wine glass, "or you’re worried about something. Eh?"

He wanted Levin to be in good spirits. But it was not that Levin was not
in good spirits; he was ill at ease. With what he had in his soul, he
felt sore and uncomfortable in the restaurant, in the midst of private
rooms where men were dining with ladies, in all this fuss and bustle;
the surroundings of bronzes, looking glasses, gas, and waiters—all of it
was offensive to him. He was afraid of sullying what his soul was
brimful of.

"I? Yes, I am; but besides, all this bothers me," he said. "You can’t
conceive how queer it all seems to a country person like me, as queer as
that gentleman’s nails I saw at your place..."

"Yes, I saw how much interested you were in poor Grinevitch’s nails,"
said Stepan Arkadyevitch, laughing.

"It’s too much for me," responded Levin. "Do try, now, and put yourself
in my place, take the point of view of a country person. We in the
country try to bring our hands into such a state as will be most
convenient for working with. So we cut our nails; sometimes we turn up
our sleeves. And here people purposely let their nails grow as long as
they will, and link on small saucers by way of studs, so that they can
do nothing with their hands."

Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled gaily.

"Oh, yes, that’s just a sign that he has no need to do coarse work. His
work is with the mind..."

"Maybe. But still it’s queer to me, just as at this moment it seems
queer to me that we country folks try to get our meals over as soon as
we can, so as to be ready for our work, while here are we trying to drag
out our meal as long as possible, and with that object eating

"Why, of course," objected Stepan Arkadyevitch. "But that’s just the aim
of civilization—to make everything a source of enjoyment."

"Well, if that’s its aim, I’d rather be a savage."

"And so you are a savage. All you Levins are savages."

Levin sighed. He remembered his brother Nikolay, and felt ashamed and
sore, and he scowled; but Oblonsky began speaking of a subject which at
once drew his attention.

"Oh, I say, are you going tonight to our people, the Shtcherbatskys’, I
mean?" he said, his eyes sparkling significantly as he pushed away the
empty rough shells, and drew the cheese towards him.

"Yes, I shall certainly go," replied Levin; "though I fancied the
princess was not very warm in her invitation."

"What nonsense! That’s her manner.... Come, boy, the soup!.... That’s
her manner—_grande dame,_" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "I’m coming, too,
but I have to go to the Countess Bonina’s rehearsal. Come, isn’t it true
that you’re a savage? How do you explain the sudden way in which you
vanished from Moscow? The Shtcherbatskys were continually asking me
about you, as though I ought to know. The only thing I know is that you
always do what no one else does."

"Yes," said Levin, slowly and with emotion, "you’re right. I am a
savage. Only, my savageness is not in having gone away, but in coming
now. Now I have come..."

"Oh, what a lucky fellow you are!" broke in Stepan Arkadyevitch, looking
into Levin’s eyes.


    "I know a gallant steed by tokens sure,
    And by his eyes I know a youth in love,"

declaimed Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Everything is before you."

"Why, is it over for you already?"

"No; not over exactly, but the future is yours, and the present is mine,
and the present—well, it’s not all that it might be."

"How so?"

"Oh, things go wrong. But I don’t want to talk of myself, and besides I
can’t explain it all," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Well, why have you
come to Moscow, then?.... Hi! take away!" he called to the Tatar.

"You guess?" responded Levin, his eyes like deep wells of light fixed on
Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"I guess, but I can’t be the first to talk about it. You can see by that
whether I guess right or wrong," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, gazing at
Levin with a subtle smile.

"Well, and what have you to say to me?" said Levin in a quivering voice,
feeling that all the muscles of his face were quivering too. "How do you
look at the question?"

Stepan Arkadyevitch slowly emptied his glass of Chablis, never taking
his eyes off Levin.

"I?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, "there’s nothing I desire so much as
that—nothing! It would be the best thing that could be."

"But you’re not making a mistake? You know what we’re speaking of?" said
Levin, piercing him with his eyes. "You think it’s possible?"

"I think it’s possible. Why not possible?"

"No! do you really think it’s possible? No, tell me all you think! Oh,
but if ... if refusal’s in store for me!... Indeed I feel sure..."

"Why should you think that?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, smiling at his

"It seems so to me sometimes. That will be awful for me, and for her

"Oh, well, anyway there’s nothing awful in it for a girl. Every girl’s
proud of an offer."

"Yes, every girl, but not she."

Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled. He so well knew that feeling of Levin’s,
that for him all the girls in the world were divided into two classes:
one class—all the girls in the world except her, and those girls with
all sorts of human weaknesses, and very ordinary girls: the other
class—she alone, having no weaknesses of any sort and higher than all

"Stay, take some sauce," he said, holding back Levin’s hand as it pushed
away the sauce.

Levin obediently helped himself to sauce, but would not let Stepan
Arkadyevitch go on with his dinner.

"No, stop a minute, stop a minute," he said. "You must understand that
it’s a question of life and death for me. I have never spoken to any one
of this. And there’s no one I could speak of it to, except you. You know
we’re utterly unlike each other, different tastes and views and
everything; but I know you’re fond of me and understand me, and that’s
why I like you awfully. But for God’s sake, be quite straightforward
with me."

"I tell you what I think," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, smiling. "But I’ll
say more: my wife is a wonderful woman..." Stepan Arkadyevitch sighed,
remembering his position with his wife, and, after a moment’s silence,
resumed—"She has a gift of foreseeing things. She sees right through
people; but that’s not all; she knows what will come to pass, especially
in the way of marriages. She foretold, for instance, that Princess
Shahovskaya would marry Brenteln. No one would believe it, but it came
to pass. And she’s on your side."

"How do you mean?"

"It’s not only that she likes you—she says that Kitty is certain to be
your wife."

At these words Levin’s face suddenly lighted up with a smile, a smile
not far from tears of emotion.

"She says that!" cried Levin. "I always said she was exquisite, your
wife. There, that’s enough, enough said about it," he said, getting up
from his seat.

"All right, but do sit down."

But Levin could not sit down. He walked with his firm tread twice up and
down the little cage of a room, blinked his eyelids that his tears might
not fall, and only then sat down to the table.

"You must understand," said he, "it’s not love. I’ve been in love, but
it’s not that. It’s not my feeling, but a sort of force outside me has
taken possession of me. I went away, you see, because I made up my mind
that it could never be, you understand, as a happiness that does not
come on earth; but I’ve struggled with myself, I see there’s no living
without it. And it must be settled."

"What did you go away for?"

"Ah, stop a minute! Ah, the thoughts that come crowding on one! The
questions one must ask oneself! Listen. You can’t imagine what you’ve
done for me by what you said. I’m so happy that I’ve become positively
hateful; I’ve forgotten everything. I heard today that my brother
Nikolay ... you know, he’s here ... I had even forgotten him. It seems
to me that he’s happy too. It’s a sort of madness. But one thing’s
awful.... Here, you’ve been married, you know the feeling ... it’s awful
that we—old—with a past ... not of love, but of sins ... are brought all
at once so near to a creature pure and innocent; it’s loathsome, and
that’s why one can’t help feeling oneself unworthy."

"Oh, well, you’ve not many sins on your conscience."

"Alas! all the same," said Levin, "when with loathing I go over my life,
I shudder and curse and bitterly regret it.... Yes."

"What would you have? The world’s made so," said Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"The one comfort is like that prayer, which I always liked: ‘Forgive me
not according to my unworthiness, but according to Thy lovingkindness.’
That’s the only way she can forgive me."

Chapter 11

Levin emptied his glass, and they were silent for a while.

"There’s one other thing I ought to tell you. Do you know Vronsky?"
Stepan Arkadyevitch asked Levin.

"No, I don’t. Why do you ask?"

"Give us another bottle," Stepan Arkadyevitch directed the Tatar, who
was filling up their glasses and fidgeting round them just when he was
not wanted.

"Why you ought to know Vronsky is that he’s one of your rivals."

"Who’s Vronsky?" said Levin, and his face was suddenly transformed from
the look of childlike ecstasy which Oblonsky had just been admiring to
an angry and unpleasant expression.

"Vronsky is one of the sons of Count Kirill Ivanovitch Vronsky, and one
of the finest specimens of the gilded youth of Petersburg. I made his
acquaintance in Tver when I was there on official business, and he came
there for the levy of recruits. Fearfully rich, handsome, great
connections, an aide-de-camp, and with all that a very nice,
good-natured fellow. But he’s more than simply a good-natured fellow, as
I’ve found out here—he’s a cultivated man, too, and very intelligent;
he’s a man who’ll make his mark."

Levin scowled and was dumb.

"Well, he turned up here soon after you’d gone, and as I can see, he’s
over head and ears in love with Kitty, and you know that her mother..."

"Excuse me, but I know nothing," said Levin, frowning gloomily. And
immediately he recollected his brother Nikolay and how hateful he was to
have been able to forget him.

"You wait a bit, wait a bit," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, smiling and
touching his hand. "I’ve told you what I know, and I repeat that in this
delicate and tender matter, as far as one can conjecture, I believe the
chances are in your favor."

Levin dropped back in his chair; his face was pale.

"But I would advise you to settle the thing as soon as may be," pursued
Oblonsky, filling up his glass.

"No, thanks, I can’t drink any more," said Levin, pushing away his
glass. "I shall be drunk.... Come, tell me how are you getting on?" he
went on, obviously anxious to change the conversation.

"One word more: in any case I advise you to settle the question soon.
Tonight I don’t advise you to speak," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Go
round tomorrow morning, make an offer in due form, and God bless you..."

"Oh, do you still think of coming to me for some shooting? Come next
spring, do," said Levin.

Now his whole soul was full of remorse that he had begun this
conversation with Stepan Arkadyevitch. A feeling such as his was
profaned by talk of the rivalry of some Petersburg officer, of the
suppositions and the counsels of Stepan Arkadyevitch.

Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled. He knew what was passing in Levin’s soul.

"I’ll come some day," he said. "But women, my boy, they’re the pivot
everything turns upon. Things are in a bad way with me, very bad. And
it’s all through women. Tell me frankly now," he pursued, picking up a
cigar and keeping one hand on his glass; "give me your advice."

"Why, what is it?"

"I’ll tell you. Suppose you’re married, you love your wife, but you’re
fascinated by another woman..."

"Excuse me, but I’m absolutely unable to comprehend how ... just as I
can’t comprehend how I could now, after my dinner, go straight to a
baker’s shop and steal a roll."

Stepan Arkadyevitch’s eyes sparkled more than usual.

"Why not? A roll will sometimes smell so good one can’t resist it."

    "Himmlisch ist’s, wenn ich bezwungen
    Meine irdische Begier;
    Aber doch wenn’s nich gelungen
    Hatt’ ich auch recht huebsch Plaisir!"

As he said this, Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled subtly. Levin, too, could
not help smiling.

"Yes, but joking apart," resumed Stepan Arkadyevitch, "you must
understand that the woman is a sweet, gentle loving creature, poor and
lonely, and has sacrificed everything. Now, when the thing’s done, don’t
you see, can one possibly cast her off? Even supposing one parts from
her, so as not to break up one’s family life, still, can one help
feeling for her, setting her on her feet, softening her lot?"

"Well, you must excuse me there. You know to me all women are divided
into two classes ... at least no ... truer to say: there are women and
there are ... I’ve never seen exquisite fallen beings, and I never shall
see them, but such creatures as that painted Frenchwoman at the counter
with the ringlets are vermin to my mind, and all fallen women are the

"But the Magdalen?"

"Ah, drop that! Christ would never have said those words if He had known
how they would be abused. Of all the Gospel those words are the only
ones remembered. However, I’m not saying so much what I think, as what I
feel. I have a loathing for fallen women. You’re afraid of spiders, and
I of these vermin. Most likely you’ve not made a study of spiders and
don’t know their character; and so it is with me."

"It’s very well for you to talk like that; it’s very much like that
gentleman in Dickens who used to fling all difficult questions over his
right shoulder. But to deny the facts is no answer. What’s to be
done—you tell me that, what’s to be done? Your wife gets older, while
you’re full of life. Before you’ve time to look round, you feel that you
can’t love your wife with love, however much you may esteem her. And
then all at once love turns up, and you’re done for, done for," Stepan
Arkadyevitch said with weary despair.

Levin half smiled.

"Yes, you’re done for," resumed Oblonsky. "But what’s to be done?"

"Don’t steal rolls."

Stepan Arkadyevitch laughed outright.

"Oh, moralist! But you must understand, there are two women; one insists
only on her rights, and those rights are your love, which you can’t give
her; and the other sacrifices everything for you and asks for nothing.
What are you to do? How are you to act? There’s a fearful tragedy in

"If you care for my profession of faith as regards that, I’ll tell you
that I don’t believe there was any tragedy about it. And this is why. To
my mind, love ... both the sorts of love, which you remember Plato
defines in his Banquet, served as the test of men. Some men only
understand one sort, and some only the other. And those who only know
the non-platonic love have no need to talk of tragedy. In such love
there can be no sort of tragedy. ‘I’m much obliged for the
gratification, my humble respects’—that’s all the tragedy. And in
platonic love there can be no tragedy, because in that love all is clear
and pure, because..."

At that instant Levin recollected his own sins and the inner conflict he
had lived through. And he added unexpectedly:

"But perhaps you are right. Very likely ... I don’t know, I don’t know."

"It’s this, don’t you see," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, "you’re very much
all of a piece. That’s your strong point and your failing. You have a
character that’s all of a piece, and you want the whole of life to be of
a piece too—but that’s not how it is. You despise public official work
because you want the reality to be invariably corresponding all the
while with the aim—and that’s not how it is. You want a man’s work, too,
always to have a defined aim, and love and family life always to be
undivided—and that’s not how it is. All the variety, all the charm, all
the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow."

Levin sighed and made no reply. He was thinking of his own affairs, and
did not hear Oblonsky.

And suddenly both of them felt that though they were friends, though
they had been dining and drinking together, which should have drawn them
closer, yet each was thinking only of his own affairs, and they had
nothing to do with one another. Oblonsky had more than once experienced
this extreme sense of aloofness, instead of intimacy, coming on after
dinner, and he knew what to do in such cases.

"Bill!" he called, and he went into the next room where he promptly came
across an aide-de-camp of his acquaintance and dropped into conversation
with him about an actress and her protector. And at once in the
conversation with the aide-de-camp Oblonsky had a sense of relaxation
and relief after the conversation with Levin, which always put him to
too great a mental and spiritual strain.

When the Tatar appeared with a bill for twenty-six roubles and odd
kopecks, besides a tip for himself, Levin, who would another time have
been horrified, like any one from the country, at his share of fourteen
roubles, did not notice it, paid, and set off homewards to dress and go
to the Shtcherbatskys’ there to decide his fate.

Chapter 12

The young Princess Kitty Shtcherbatskaya was eighteen. It was the first
winter that she had been out in the world. Her success in society had
been greater than that of either of her elder sisters, and greater even
than her mother had anticipated. To say nothing of the young men who
danced at the Moscow balls being almost all in love with Kitty, two
serious suitors had already this first winter made their appearance:
Levin, and immediately after his departure, Count Vronsky.

Levin’s appearance at the beginning of the winter, his frequent visits,
and evident love for Kitty, had led to the first serious conversations
between Kitty’s parents as to her future, and to disputes between them.
The prince was on Levin’s side; he said he wished for nothing better for
Kitty. The princess for her part, going round the question in the manner
peculiar to women, maintained that Kitty was too young, that Levin had
done nothing to prove that he had serious intentions, that Kitty felt no
great attraction to him, and other side issues; but she did not state
the principal point, which was that she looked for a better match for
her daughter, and that Levin was not to her liking, and she did not
understand him. When Levin had abruptly departed, the princess was
delighted, and said to her husband triumphantly: "You see I was right."
When Vronsky appeared on the scene, she was still more delighted,
confirmed in her opinion that Kitty was to make not simply a good, but a
brilliant match.

In the mother’s eyes there could be no comparison between Vronsky and
Levin. She disliked in Levin his strange and uncompromising opinions and
his shyness in society, founded, as she supposed, on his pride and his
queer sort of life, as she considered it, absorbed in cattle and
peasants. She did not very much like it that he, who was in love with
her daughter, had kept coming to the house for six weeks, as though he
were waiting for something, inspecting, as though he were afraid he
might be doing them too great an honor by making an offer, and did not
realize that a man, who continually visits at a house where there is a
young unmarried girl, is bound to make his intentions clear. And
suddenly, without doing so, he disappeared. "It’s as well he’s not
attractive enough for Kitty to have fallen in love with him," thought
the mother.

Vronsky satisfied all the mother’s desires. Very wealthy, clever, of
aristocratic family, on the highroad to a brilliant career in the army
and at court, and a fascinating man. Nothing better could be wished for.

Vronsky openly flirted with Kitty at balls, danced with her, and came
continually to the house, consequently there could be no doubt of the
seriousness of his intentions. But, in spite of that, the mother had
spent the whole of that winter in a state of terrible anxiety and

Princess Shtcherbatskaya had herself been married thirty years ago, her
aunt arranging the match. Her husband, about whom everything was well
known before hand, had come, looked at his future bride, and been looked
at. The match-making aunt had ascertained and communicated their mutual
impression. That impression had been favorable. Afterwards, on a day
fixed beforehand, the expected offer was made to her parents, and
accepted. All had passed very simply and easily. So it seemed, at least,
to the princess. But over her own daughters she had felt how far from
simple and easy is the business, apparently so commonplace, of marrying
off one’s daughters. The panics that had been lived through, the
thoughts that had been brooded over, the money that had been wasted, and
the disputes with her husband over marrying the two elder girls, Darya
and Natalia! Now, since the youngest had come out, she was going through
the same terrors, the same doubts, and still more violent quarrels with
her husband than she had over the elder girls. The old prince, like all
fathers indeed, was exceedingly punctilious on the score of the honor
and reputation of his daughters. He was irrationally jealous over his
daughters, especially over Kitty, who was his favorite. At every turn he
had scenes with the princess for compromising her daughter. The princess
had grown accustomed to this already with her other daughters, but now
she felt that there was more ground for the prince’s touchiness. She saw
that of late years much was changed in the manners of society, that a
mother’s duties had become still more difficult. She saw that girls of
Kitty’s age formed some sort of clubs, went to some sort of lectures,
mixed freely in men’s society; drove about the streets alone, many of
them did not curtsey, and, what was the most important thing, all the
girls were firmly convinced that to choose their husbands was their own
affair, and not their parents’. "Marriages aren’t made nowadays as they
used to be," was thought and said by all these young girls, and even by
their elders. But how marriages were made now, the princess could not
learn from any one. The French fashion—of the parents arranging their
children’s future—was not accepted; it was condemned. The English
fashion of the complete independence of girls was also not accepted, and
not possible in Russian society. The Russian fashion of match-making by
the offices of intermediate persons was for some reason considered
unseemly; it was ridiculed by every one, and by the princess herself.
But how girls were to be married, and how parents were to marry them, no
one knew. Everyone with whom the princess had chanced to discuss the
matter said the same thing: "Mercy on us, it’s high time in our day to
cast off all that old-fashioned business. It’s the young people have to
marry; and not their parents; and so we ought to leave the young people
to arrange it as they choose." It was very easy for anyone to say that
who had no daughters, but the princess realized that in the process of
getting to know each other, her daughter might fall in love, and fall in
love with someone who did not care to marry her or who was quite unfit
to be her husband. And, however much it was instilled into the princess
that in our times young people ought to arrange their lives for
themselves, she was unable to believe it, just as she would have been
unable to believe that, at any time whatever, the most suitable
playthings for children five years old ought to be loaded pistols. And
so the princess was more uneasy over Kitty than she had been over her
elder sisters.

Now she was afraid that Vronsky might confine himself to simply flirting
with her daughter. She saw that her daughter was in love with him, but
tried to comfort herself with the thought that he was an honorable man,
and would not do this. But at the same time she knew how easy it is,
with the freedom of manners of today, to turn a girl’s head, and how
lightly men generally regard such a crime. The week before, Kitty had
told her mother of a conversation she had with Vronsky during a mazurka.
This conversation had partly reassured the princess; but perfectly at
ease she could not be. Vronsky had told Kitty that both he and his
brother were so used to obeying their mother that they never made up
their minds to any important undertaking without consulting her. "And
just now, I am impatiently awaiting my mother’s arrival from Petersburg,
as peculiarly fortunate," he told her.

Kitty had repeated this without attaching any significance to the words.
But her mother saw them in a different light. She knew that the old lady
was expected from day to day, that she would be pleased at her son’s
choice, and she felt it strange that he should not make his offer
through fear of vexing his mother. However, she was so anxious for the
marriage itself, and still more for relief from her fears, that she
believed it was so. Bitter as it was for the princess to see the
unhappiness of her eldest daughter, Dolly, on the point of leaving her
husband, her anxiety over the decision of her youngest daughter’s fate
engrossed all her feelings. Today, with Levin’s reappearance, a fresh
source of anxiety arose. She was afraid that her daughter, who had at
one time, as she fancied, a feeling for Levin, might, from extreme sense
of honor, refuse Vronsky, and that Levin’s arrival might generally
complicate and delay the affair so near being concluded.

"Why, has he been here long?" the princess asked about Levin, as they
returned home.

"He came today, mamma."

"There’s one thing I want to say..." began the princess, and from her
serious and alert face, Kitty guessed what it would be.

"Mamma," she said, flushing hotly and turning quickly to her, "please,
please don’t say anything about that. I know, I know all about it."

She wished for what her mother wished for, but the motives of her
mother’s wishes wounded her.

"I only want to say that to raise hopes..."

"Mamma, darling, for goodness’ sake, don’t talk about it. It’s so
horrible to talk about it."

"I won’t," said her mother, seeing the tears in her daughter’s eyes;
"but one thing, my love; you promised me you would have no secrets from
me. You won’t?"

"Never, mamma, none," answered Kitty, flushing a little, and looking her
mother straight in the face, "but there’s no use in my telling you
anything, and I ... I ... if I wanted to, I don’t know what to say or
how ... I don’t know..."

"No, she could not tell an untruth with those eyes," thought the mother,
smiling at her agitation and happiness. The princess smiled that what
was taking place just now in her soul seemed to the poor child so
immense and so important.

Chapter 13

After dinner, and till the beginning of the evening, Kitty was feeling a
sensation akin to the sensation of a young man before a battle. Her
heart throbbed violently, and her thoughts would not rest on anything.

She felt that this evening, when they would both meet for the first
time, would be a turning point in her life. And she was continually
picturing them to herself, at one moment each separately, and then both
together. When she mused on the past, she dwelt with pleasure, with
tenderness, on the memories of her relations with Levin. The memories of
childhood and of Levin’s friendship with her dead brother gave a special
poetic charm to her relations with him. His love for her, of which she
felt certain, was flattering and delightful to her; and it was pleasant
for her to think of Levin. In her memories of Vronsky there always
entered a certain element of awkwardness, though he was in the highest
degree well-bred and at ease, as though there were some false note—not
in Vronsky, he was very simple and nice, but in herself, while with
Levin she felt perfectly simple and clear. But, on the other hand,
directly she thought of the future with Vronsky, there arose before her
a perspective of brilliant happiness; with Levin the future seemed

When she went upstairs to dress, and looked into the looking-glass, she
noticed with joy that it was one of her good days, and that she was in
complete possession of all her forces,—she needed this so for what lay
before her: she was conscious of external composure and free grace in
her movements.

At half-past seven she had only just gone down into the drawing room,
when the footman announced, "Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin." The
princess was still in her room, and the prince had not come in. "So it
is to be," thought Kitty, and all the blood seemed to rush to her heart.
She was horrified at her paleness, as she glanced into the
looking-glass. At that moment she knew beyond doubt that he had come
early on purpose to find her alone and to make her an offer. And only
then for the first time the whole thing presented itself in a new,
different aspect; only then she realized that the question did not
affect her only—with whom she would be happy, and whom she loved—but
that she would have that moment to wound a man whom she liked. And to
wound him cruelly. What for? Because he, dear fellow, loved her, was in
love with her. But there was no help for it, so it must be, so it would
have to be.

"My God! shall I myself really have to say it to him?" she thought. "Can
I tell him I don’t love him? That will be a lie. What am I to say to
him? That I love someone else? No, that’s impossible. I’m going away,
I’m going away."

She had reached the door, when she heard his step. "No! it’s not honest.
What have I to be afraid of? I have done nothing wrong. What is to be,
will be! I’ll tell the truth. And with him one can’t be ill at ease.
Here he is," she said to herself, seeing his powerful, shy figure, with
his shining eyes fixed on her. She looked straight into his face, as
though imploring him to spare her, and gave her hand.

"It’s not time yet; I think I’m too early," he said glancing round the
empty drawing room. When he saw that his expectations were realized,
that there was nothing to prevent him from speaking, his face became

"Oh, no," said Kitty, and sat down at the table.

"But this was just what I wanted, to find you alone," he began, not
sitting down, and not looking at her, so as not to lose courage.

"Mamma will be down directly. She was very much tired.... Yesterday..."

She talked on, not knowing what her lips were uttering, and not taking
her supplicating and caressing eyes off him.

He glanced at her; she blushed, and ceased speaking.

"I told you I did not know whether I should be here long ... that it
depended on you..."

She dropped her head lower and lower, not knowing herself what answer
she should make to what was coming.

"That it depended on you," he repeated. "I meant to say ... I meant to
say ... I came for this ... to be my wife!" he brought out, not knowing
what he was saying; but feeling that the most terrible thing was said,
he stopped short and looked at her...

She was breathing heavily, not looking at him. She was feeling ecstasy.
Her soul was flooded with happiness. She had never anticipated that the
utterance of love would produce such a powerful effect on her. But it
lasted only an instant. She remembered Vronsky. She lifted her clear,
truthful eyes, and seeing his desperate face, she answered hastily:

"That cannot be ... forgive me."

A moment ago, and how close she had been to him, of what importance in
his life! And how aloof and remote from him she had become now!

"It was bound to be so," he said, not looking at her.

He bowed, and was meaning to retreat.

Chapter 14

But at that very moment the princess came in. There was a look of horror
on her face when she saw them alone, and their disturbed faces. Levin
bowed to her, and said nothing. Kitty did not speak nor lift her eyes.
"Thank God, she has refused him," thought the mother, and her face
lighted up with the habitual smile with which she greeted her guests on
Thursdays. She sat down and began questioning Levin about his life in
the country. He sat down again, waiting for other visitors to arrive, in
order to retreat unnoticed.

Five minutes later there came in a friend of Kitty’s, married the
preceding winter, Countess Nordston.

She was a thin, sallow, sickly, and nervous woman, with brilliant black
eyes. She was fond of Kitty, and her affection for her showed itself, as
the affection of married women for girls always does, in the desire to
make a match for Kitty after her own ideal of married happiness; she
wanted her to marry Vronsky. Levin she had often met at the
Shtcherbatskys’ early in the winter, and she had always disliked him.
Her invariable and favorite pursuit, when they met, consisted in making
fun of him.

"I do like it when he looks down at me from the height of his grandeur,
or breaks off his learned conversation with me because I’m a fool, or is
condescending to me. I like that so; to see him condescending! I am so
glad he can’t bear me," she used to say of him.

She was right, for Levin actually could not bear her, and despised her
for what she was proud of and regarded as a fine characteristic—her
nervousness, her delicate contempt and indifference for everything
coarse and earthly.

The Countess Nordston and Levin got into that relation with one another
not seldom seen in society, when two persons, who remain externally on
friendly terms, despise each other to such a degree that they cannot
even take each other seriously, and cannot even be offended by each

The Countess Nordston pounced upon Levin at once.

"Ah, Konstantin Dmitrievitch! So you’ve come back to our corrupt
Babylon," she said, giving him her tiny, yellow hand, and recalling what
he had chanced to say early in the winter, that Moscow was a Babylon.
"Come, is Babylon reformed, or have you degenerated?" she added,
glancing with a simper at Kitty.

"It’s very flattering for me, countess, that you remember my words so
well," responded Levin, who had succeeded in recovering his composure,
and at once from habit dropped into his tone of joking hostility to the
Countess Nordston. "They must certainly make a great impression on you."

"Oh, I should think so! I always note them all down. Well, Kitty, have
you been skating again?..."

And she began talking to Kitty. Awkward as it was for Levin to withdraw
now, it would still have been easier for him to perpetrate this
awkwardness than to remain all the evening and see Kitty, who glanced at
him now and then and avoided his eyes. He was on the point of getting
up, when the princess, noticing that he was silent, addressed him.

"Shall you be long in Moscow? You’re busy with the district council,
though, aren’t you, and can’t be away for long?"

"No, princess, I’m no longer a member of the council," he said. "I have
come up for a few days."

"There’s something the matter with him," thought Countess Nordston,
glancing at his stern, serious face. "He isn’t in his old argumentative
mood. But I’ll draw him out. I do love making a fool of him before
Kitty, and I’ll do it."

"Konstantin Dmitrievitch," she said to him, "do explain to me, please,
what’s the meaning of it. You know all about such things. At home in our
village of Kaluga all the peasants and all the women have drunk up all
they possessed, and now they can’t pay us any rent. What’s the meaning
of that? You always praise the peasants so."

At that instant another lady came into the room, and Levin got up.

"Excuse me, countess, but I really know nothing about it, and can’t tell
you anything," he said, and looked round at the officer who came in
behind the lady.

"That must be Vronsky," thought Levin, and, to be sure of it, glanced at
Kitty. She had already had time to look at Vronsky, and looked round at
Levin. And simply from the look in her eyes, that grew unconsciously
brighter, Levin knew that she loved that man, knew it as surely as if
she had told him so in words. But what sort of a man was he? Now,
whether for good or for ill, Levin could not choose but remain; he must
find out what the man was like whom she loved.

There are people who, on meeting a successful rival, no matter in what,
are at once disposed to turn their backs on everything good in him, and
to see only what is bad. There are people, on the other hand, who desire
above all to find in that lucky rival the qualities by which he has
outstripped them, and seek with a throbbing ache at heart only what is
good. Levin belonged to the second class. But he had no difficulty in
finding what was good and attractive in Vronsky. It was apparent at the
first glance. Vronsky was a squarely built, dark man, not very tall,
with a good-humored, handsome, and exceedingly calm and resolute face.
Everything about his face and figure, from his short-cropped black hair
and freshly shaven chin down to his loosely fitting, brand-new uniform,
was simple and at the same time elegant. Making way for the lady who had
come in, Vronsky went up to the princess and then to Kitty.

As he approached her, his beautiful eyes shone with a specially tender
light, and with a faint, happy, and modestly triumphant smile (so it
seemed to Levin), bowing carefully and respectfully over her, he held
out his small broad hand to her.

Greeting and saying a few words to everyone, he sat down without once
glancing at Levin, who had never taken his eyes off him.

"Let me introduce you," said the princess, indicating Levin. "Konstantin
Dmitrievitch Levin, Count Alexey Kirillovitch Vronsky."

Vronsky got up and, looking cordially at Levin, shook hands with him.

"I believe I was to have dined with you this winter," he said, smiling
his simple and open smile; "but you had unexpectedly left for the

"Konstantin Dmitrievitch despises and hates town and us townspeople,"
said Countess Nordston.

"My words must make a deep impression on you, since you remember them so
well," said Levin, and, suddenly conscious that he had said just the
same thing before, he reddened.

Vronsky looked at Levin and Countess Nordston, and smiled.

"Are you always in the country?" he inquired. "I should think it must be
dull in the winter."

"It’s not dull if one has work to do; besides, one’s not dull by
oneself," Levin replied abruptly.

"I am fond of the country," said Vronsky, noticing, and affecting not to
notice, Levin’s tone.

"But I hope, count, you would not consent to live in the country
always," said Countess Nordston.

"I don’t know; I have never tried for long. I experienced a queer
feeling once," he went on. "I never longed so for the country, Russian
country, with bast shoes and peasants, as when I was spending a winter
with my mother in Nice. Nice itself is dull enough, you know. And
indeed, Naples and Sorrento are only pleasant for a short time. And it’s
just there that Russia comes back to me most vividly, and especially the
country. It’s as though..."

He talked on, addressing both Kitty and Levin, turning his serene,
friendly eyes from one to the other, and saying obviously just what came
into his head.

Noticing that Countess Nordston wanted to say something, he stopped
short without finishing what he had begun, and listened attentively to

The conversation did not flag for an instant, so that the princess, who
always kept in reserve, in case a subject should be lacking, two heavy
guns—the relative advantages of classical and of modern education, and
universal military service—had not to move out either of them, while
Countess Nordston had not a chance of chaffing Levin.

Levin wanted to, and could not, take part in the general conversation;
saying to himself every instant, "Now go," he still did not go, as
though waiting for something.

The conversation fell upon table-turning and spirits, and Countess
Nordston, who believed in spiritualism, began to describe the marvels
she had seen.

"Ah, countess, you really must take me, for pity’s sake do take me to
see them! I have never seen anything extraordinary, though I am always
on the lookout for it everywhere," said Vronsky, smiling.

"Very well, next Saturday," answered Countess Nordston. "But you,
Konstantin Dmitrievitch, do you believe in it?" she asked Levin.

"Why do you ask me? You know what I shall say."

"But I want to hear your opinion."

"My opinion," answered Levin, "is only that this table-turning simply
proves that educated society—so called—is no higher than the peasants.
They believe in the evil eye, and in witchcraft and omens, while we..."

"Oh, then you don’t believe in it?"

"I can’t believe in it, countess."

"But if I’ve seen it myself?"

"The peasant women too tell us they have seen goblins."

"Then you think I tell a lie?"

And she laughed a mirthless laugh.

"Oh, no, Masha, Konstantin Dmitrievitch said he could not believe in
it," said Kitty, blushing for Levin, and Levin saw this, and, still more
exasperated, would have answered, but Vronsky with his bright frank
smile rushed to the support of the conversation, which was threatening
to become disagreeable.

"You do not admit the conceivability at all?" he queried. "But why not?
We admit the existence of electricity, of which we know nothing. Why
should there not be some new force, still unknown to us, which..."

"When electricity was discovered," Levin interrupted hurriedly, "it was
only the phenomenon that was discovered, and it was unknown from what it
proceeded and what were its effects, and ages passed before its
applications were conceived. But the spiritualists have begun with
tables writing for them, and spirits appearing to them, and have only
later started saying that it is an unknown force."

Vronsky listened attentively to Levin, as he always did listen,
obviously interested in his words.

"Yes, but the spiritualists say we don’t know at present what this force
is, but there is a force, and these are the conditions in which it acts.
Let the scientific men find out what the force consists in. No, I don’t
see why there should not be a new force, if it..."

"Why, because with electricity," Levin interrupted again, "every time
you rub tar against wool, a recognized phenomenon is manifested, but in
this case it does not happen every time, and so it follows it is not a
natural phenomenon."

Feeling probably that the conversation was taking a tone too serious for
a drawing room, Vronsky made no rejoinder, but by way of trying to
change the conversation, he smiled brightly, and turned to the ladies.

"Do let us try at once, countess," he said; but Levin would finish
saying what he thought.

"I think," he went on, "that this attempt of the spiritualists to
explain their marvels as some sort of new natural force is most futile.
They boldly talk of spiritual force, and then try to subject it to
material experiment."

Every one was waiting for him to finish, and he felt it.

"And I think you would be a first-rate medium," said Countess Nordston;
"there’s something enthusiastic in you."

Levin opened his mouth, was about to say something, reddened, and said

"Do let us try table-turning at once, please," said Vronsky. "Princess,
will you allow it?"

And Vronsky stood up, looking for a little table.

Kitty got up to fetch a table, and as she passed, her eyes met Levin’s.
She felt for him with her whole heart, the more because she was pitying
him for suffering of which she was herself the cause. "If you can
forgive me, forgive me," said her eyes, "I am so happy."

"I hate them all, and you, and myself," his eyes responded, and he took
up his hat. But he was not destined to escape. Just as they were
arranging themselves round the table, and Levin was on the point of
retiring, the old prince came in, and after greeting the ladies,
addressed Levin.

"Ah!" he began joyously. "Been here long, my boy? I didn’t even know you
were in town. Very glad to see you." The old prince embraced Levin, and
talking to him did not observe Vronsky, who had risen, and was serenely
waiting till the prince should turn to him.

Kitty felt how distasteful her father’s warmth was to Levin after what
had happened. She saw, too, how coldly her father responded at last to
Vronsky’s bow, and how Vronsky looked with amiable perplexity at her
father, as though trying and failing to understand how and why anyone
could be hostilely disposed towards him, and she flushed.

"Prince, let us have Konstantin Dmitrievitch," said Countess Nordston;
"we want to try an experiment."

"What experiment? Table-turning? Well, you must excuse me, ladies and
gentlemen, but to my mind it is better fun to play the ring game," said
the old prince, looking at Vronsky, and guessing that it had been his
suggestion. "There’s some sense in that, anyway."

Vronsky looked wonderingly at the prince with his resolute eyes, and,
with a faint smile, began immediately talking to Countess Nordston of
the great ball that was to come off next week.

"I hope you will be there?" he said to Kitty. As soon as the old prince
turned away from him, Levin went out unnoticed, and the last impression
he carried away with him of that evening was the smiling, happy face of
Kitty answering Vronsky’s inquiry about the ball.

Chapter 15

At the end of the evening Kitty told her mother of her conversation with
Levin, and in spite of all the pity she felt for Levin, she was glad at
the thought that she had received an _offer_. She had no doubt that she
had acted rightly. But after she had gone to bed, for a long while she
could not sleep. One impression pursued her relentlessly. It was Levin’s
face, with his scowling brows, and his kind eyes looking out in dark
dejection below them, as he stood listening to her father, and glancing
at her and at Vronsky. And she felt so sorry for him that tears came
into her eyes. But immediately she thought of the man for whom she had
given him up. She vividly recalled his manly, resolute face, his noble
self-possession, and the good nature conspicuous in everything towards
everyone. She remembered the love for her of the man she loved, and once
more all was gladness in her soul, and she lay on the pillow, smiling
with happiness. "I’m sorry, I’m sorry; but what could I do? It’s not my
fault," she said to herself; but an inner voice told her something else.
Whether she felt remorse at having won Levin’s love, or at having
refused him, she did not know. But her happiness was poisoned by doubts.
"Lord, have pity on us; Lord, have pity on us; Lord, have pity on us!"
she repeated to herself, till she fell asleep.

Meanwhile there took place below, in the prince’s little library, one of
the scenes so often repeated between the parents on account of their
favorite daughter.

"What? I’ll tell you what!" shouted the prince, waving his arms, and at
once wrapping his squirrel-lined dressing-gown round him again. "That
you’ve no pride, no dignity; that you’re disgracing, ruining your
daughter by this vulgar, stupid match-making!"

"But, really, for mercy’s sake, prince, what have I done?" said the
princess, almost crying.

She, pleased and happy after her conversation with her daughter, had
gone to the prince to say good-night as usual, and though she had no
intention of telling him of Levin’s offer and Kitty’s refusal, still she
hinted to her husband that she fancied things were practically settled
with Vronsky, and that he would declare himself so soon as his mother
arrived. And thereupon, at those words, the prince had all at once flown
into a passion, and began to use unseemly language.

"What have you done? I’ll tell you what. First of all, you’re trying to
catch an eligible gentleman, and all Moscow will be talking of it, and
with good reason. If you have evening parties, invite everyone, don’t
pick out the possible suitors. Invite all the young bucks. Engage a
piano player, and let them dance, and not as you do things nowadays,
hunting up good matches. It makes me sick, sick to see it, and you’ve
gone on till you’ve turned the poor wench’s head. Levin’s a thousand
times the better man. As for this little Petersburg swell, they’re
turned out by machinery, all on one pattern, and all precious rubbish.
But if he were a prince of the blood, my daughter need not run after

"But what have I done?"

"Why, you’ve..." The prince was crying wrathfully.

"I know if one were to listen to you," interrupted the princess, "we
should never marry our daughter. If it’s to be so, we’d better go into
the country."

"Well, and we had better."

"But do wait a minute. Do I try and catch them? I don’t try to catch
them in the least. A young man, and a very nice one, has fallen in love
with her, and she, I fancy..."

"Oh, yes, you fancy! And how if she really is in love, and he’s no more
thinking of marriage than I am!... Oh, that I should live to see it! Ah!
spiritualism! Ah! Nice! Ah! the ball!" And the prince, imagining that he
was mimicking his wife, made a mincing curtsey at each word. "And this
is how we’re preparing wretchedness for Kitty; and she’s really got the
notion into her head..."

"But what makes you suppose so?"

"I don’t suppose; I know. We have eyes for such things, though
women-folk haven’t. I see a man who has serious intentions, that’s
Levin: and I see a peacock, like this feather-head, who’s only amusing

"Oh, well, when once you get an idea into your head!..."

"Well, you’ll remember my words, but too late, just as with Dolly."

"Well, well, we won’t talk of it," the princess stopped him,
recollecting her unlucky Dolly.

"By all means, and good night!"

And signing each other with the cross, the husband and wife parted with
a kiss, feeling that they each remained of their own opinion.

The princess had at first been quite certain that that evening had
settled Kitty’s future, and that there could be no doubt of Vronsky’s
intentions, but her husband’s words had disturbed her. And returning to
her own room, in terror before the unknown future, she, too, like Kitty,
repeated several times in her heart, "Lord, have pity; Lord, have pity;
Lord, have pity."

Chapter 16

Vronsky had never had a real home life. His mother had been in her youth
a brilliant society woman, who had had during her married life, and
still more afterwards, many love affairs notorious in the whole
fashionable world. His father he scarcely remembered, and he had been
educated in the Corps of Pages.

Leaving the school very young as a brilliant officer, he had at once got
into the circle of wealthy Petersburg army men. Although he did go more
or less into Petersburg society, his love affairs had always hitherto
been outside it.

In Moscow he had for the first time felt, after his luxurious and coarse
life at Petersburg, all the charm of intimacy with a sweet and innocent
girl of his own rank, who cared for him. It never even entered his head
that there could be any harm in his relations with Kitty. At balls he
danced principally with her. He was a constant visitor at their house.
He talked to her as people commonly do talk in society—all sorts of
nonsense, but nonsense to which he could not help attaching a special
meaning in her case. Although he said nothing to her that he could not
have said before everybody, he felt that she was becoming more and more
dependent upon him, and the more he felt this, the better he liked it,
and the tenderer was his feeling for her. He did not know that his mode
of behavior in relation to Kitty had a definite character, that it is
courting young girls with no intention of marriage, and that such
courting is one of the evil actions common among brilliant young men
such as he was. It seemed to him that he was the first who had
discovered this pleasure, and he was enjoying his discovery.

If he could have heard what her parents were saying that evening, if he
could have put himself at the point of view of the family and have heard
that Kitty would be unhappy if he did not marry her, he would have been
greatly astonished, and would not have believed it. He could not believe
that what gave such great and delicate pleasure to him, and above all to
her, could be wrong. Still less could he have believed that he ought to

Marriage had never presented itself to him as a possibility. He not only
disliked family life, but a family, and especially a husband was, in
accordance with the views general in the bachelor world in which he
lived, conceived as something alien, repellant, and, above all,

But though Vronsky had not the least suspicion what the parents were
saying, he felt on coming away from the Shtcherbatskys’ that the secret
spiritual bond which existed between him and Kitty had grown so much
stronger that evening that some step must be taken. But what step could
and ought to be taken he could not imagine.

"What is so exquisite," he thought, as he returned from the
Shtcherbatskys’, carrying away with him, as he always did, a delicious
feeling of purity and freshness, arising partly from the fact that he
had not been smoking for a whole evening, and with it a new feeling of
tenderness at her love for him—"what is so exquisite is that not a word
has been said by me or by her, but we understand each other so well in
this unseen language of looks and tones, that this evening more clearly
than ever she told me she loves me. And how secretly, simply, and most
of all, how trustfully! I feel myself better, purer. I feel that I have
a heart, and that there is a great deal of good in me. Those sweet,
loving eyes! When she said: ‘Indeed I do...’

"Well, what then? Oh, nothing. It’s good for me, and good for her." And
he began wondering where to finish the evening.

He passed in review of the places he might go to. "Club? a game of
bezique, champagne with Ignatov? No, I’m not going. _Château des
Fleurs_; there I shall find Oblonsky, songs, the cancan. No, I’m sick of
it. That’s why I like the Shtcherbatskys’, that I’m growing better. I’ll
go home." He went straight to his room at Dussot’s Hotel, ordered
supper, and then undressed, and as soon as his head touched the pillow,
fell into a sound sleep.

Chapter 17

Next day at eleven o’clock in the morning Vronsky drove to the station
of the Petersburg railway to meet his mother, and the first person he
came across on the great flight of steps was Oblonsky, who was expecting
his sister by the same train.

"Ah! your excellency!" cried Oblonsky, "whom are you meeting?"

"My mother," Vronsky responded, smiling, as everyone did who met
Oblonsky. He shook hands with him, and together they ascended the steps.
"She is to be here from Petersburg today."

"I was looking out for you till two o’clock last night. Where did you go
after the Shtcherbatskys’?"

"Home," answered Vronsky. "I must own I felt so well content yesterday
after the Shtcherbatskys’ that I didn’t care to go anywhere."

    "I know a gallant steed by tokens sure,
    And by his eyes I know a youth in love,"

declaimed Stepan Arkadyevitch, just as he had done before to Levin.

Vronsky smiled with a look that seemed to say that he did not deny it,
but he promptly changed the subject.

"And whom are you meeting?" he asked.

"I? I’ve come to meet a pretty woman," said Oblonsky.

"You don’t say so!"

"_Honi soit qui mal y pense!_ My sister Anna."

"Ah! that’s Madame Karenina," said Vronsky.

"You know her, no doubt?"

"I think I do. Or perhaps not ... I really am not sure," Vronsky
answered heedlessly, with a vague recollection of something stiff and
tedious evoked by the name Karenina.

"But Alexey Alexandrovitch, my celebrated brother-in-law, you surely
must know. All the world knows him."

"I know him by reputation and by sight. I know that he’s clever,
learned, religious somewhat.... But you know that’s not ... _not in my
line,_" said Vronsky in English.

"Yes, he’s a very remarkable man; rather a conservative, but a splendid
man," observed Stepan Arkadyevitch, "a splendid man."

"Oh, well, so much the better for him," said Vronsky smiling. "Oh,
you’ve come," he said, addressing a tall old footman of his mother’s,
standing at the door; "come here."

Besides the charm Oblonsky had in general for everyone, Vronsky had felt
of late specially drawn to him by the fact that in his imagination he
was associated with Kitty.

"Well, what do you say? Shall we give a supper on Sunday for the
_diva?_" he said to him with a smile, taking his arm.

"Of course. I’m collecting subscriptions. Oh, did you make the
acquaintance of my friend Levin?" asked Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"Yes; but he left rather early."

"He’s a capital fellow," pursued Oblonsky. "Isn’t he?"

"I don’t know why it is," responded Vronsky, "in all Moscow
people—present company of course excepted," he put in jestingly,
"there’s something uncompromising. They are all on the defensive, lose
their tempers, as though they all want to make one feel something..."

"Yes, that’s true, it is so," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, laughing

"Will the train soon be in?" Vronsky asked a railway official.

"The train’s signaled," answered the man.

The approach of the train was more and more evident by the preparatory
bustle in the station, the rush of porters, the movement of policemen
and attendants, and people meeting the train. Through the frosty vapor
could be seen workmen in short sheepskins and soft felt boots crossing
the rails of the curving line. The hiss of the boiler could be heard on
the distant rails, and the rumble of something heavy.

"No," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, who felt a great inclination to tell
Vronsky of Levin’s intentions in regard to Kitty. "No, you’ve not got a
true impression of Levin. He’s a very nervous man, and is sometimes out
of humor, it’s true, but then he is often very nice. He’s such a true,
honest nature, and a heart of gold. But yesterday there were special
reasons," pursued Stepan Arkadyevitch, with a meaning smile, totally
oblivious of the genuine sympathy he had felt the day before for his
friend, and feeling the same sympathy now, only for Vronsky. "Yes, there
were reasons why he could not help being either particularly happy or
particularly unhappy."

Vronsky stood still and asked directly: "How so? Do you mean he made
your _belle-soeur_ an offer yesterday?"

"Maybe," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "I fancied something of the sort
yesterday. Yes, if he went away early, and was out of humor too, it must
mean it.... He’s been so long in love, and I’m very sorry for him."

"So that’s it! I should imagine, though, she might reckon on a better
match," said Vronsky, drawing himself up and walking about again,
"though I don’t know him, of course," he added. "Yes, that is a hateful
position! That’s why most fellows prefer to have to do with Klaras. If
you don’t succeed with them it only proves that you’ve not enough cash,
but in this case one’s dignity’s at stake. But here’s the train."

The engine had already whistled in the distance. A few instants later
the platform was quivering, and with puffs of steam hanging low in the
air from the frost, the engine rolled up, with the lever of the middle
wheel rhythmically moving up and down, and the stooping figure of the
engine-driver covered with frost. Behind the tender, setting the
platform more and more slowly swaying, came the luggage van with a dog
whining in it. At last the passenger carriages rolled in, oscillating
before coming to a standstill.

A smart guard jumped out, giving a whistle, and after him one by one the
impatient passengers began to get down: an officer of the guards,
holding himself erect, and looking severely about him; a nimble little
merchant with a satchel, smiling gaily; a peasant with a sack over his

Vronsky, standing beside Oblonsky, watched the carriages and the
passengers, totally oblivious of his mother. What he had just heard
about Kitty excited and delighted him. Unconsciously he arched his
chest, and his eyes flashed. He felt himself a conqueror.

"Countess Vronskaya is in that compartment," said the smart guard, going
up to Vronsky.

The guard’s words roused him, and forced him to think of his mother and
his approaching meeting with her. He did not in his heart respect his
mother, and without acknowledging it to himself, he did not love her,
though in accordance with the ideas of the set in which he lived, and
with his own education, he could not have conceived of any behavior to
his mother not in the highest degree respectful and obedient, and the
more externally obedient and respectful his behavior, the less in his
heart he respected and loved her.

Chapter 18

Vronsky followed the guard to the carriage, and at the door of the
compartment he stopped short to make room for a lady who was getting

With the insight of a man of the world, from one glance at this lady’s
appearance Vronsky classified her as belonging to the best society. He
begged pardon, and was getting into the carriage, but felt he must
glance at her once more; not that she was very beautiful, not on account
of the elegance and modest grace which were apparent in her whole
figure, but because in the expression of her charming face, as she
passed close by him, there was something peculiarly caressing and soft.
As he looked round, she too turned her head. Her shining gray eyes, that
looked dark from the thick lashes, rested with friendly attention on his
face, as though she were recognizing him, and then promptly turned away
to the passing crowd, as though seeking someone. In that brief look
Vronsky had time to notice the suppressed eagerness which played over
her face, and flitted between the brilliant eyes and the faint smile
that curved her red lips. It was as though her nature were so brimming
over with something that against her will it showed itself now in the
flash of her eyes, and now in her smile. Deliberately she shrouded the
light in her eyes, but it shone against her will in the faintly
perceptible smile.

Vronsky stepped into the carriage. His mother, a dried-up old lady with
black eyes and ringlets, screwed up her eyes, scanning her son, and
smiled slightly with her thin lips. Getting up from the seat and handing
her maid a bag, she gave her little wrinkled hand to her son to kiss,
and lifting his head from her hand, kissed him on the cheek.

"You got my telegram? Quite well? Thank God."

"You had a good journey?" said her son, sitting down beside her, and
involuntarily listening to a woman’s voice outside the door. He knew it
was the voice of the lady he had met at the door.

"All the same I don’t agree with you," said the lady’s voice.

"It’s the Petersburg view, madame."

"Not Petersburg, but simply feminine," she responded.

"Well, well, allow me to kiss your hand."

"Good-bye, Ivan Petrovitch. And could you see if my brother is here, and
send him to me?" said the lady in the doorway, and stepped back again
into the compartment.

"Well, have you found your brother?" said Countess Vronskaya, addressing
the lady.

Vronsky understood now that this was Madame Karenina.

"Your brother is here," he said, standing up. "Excuse me, I did not know
you, and, indeed, our acquaintance was so slight," said Vronsky, bowing,
"that no doubt you do not remember me."

"Oh, no," said she, "I should have known you because your mother and I
have been talking, I think, of nothing but you all the way." As she
spoke she let the eagerness that would insist on coming out show itself
in her smile. "And still no sign of my brother."

"Do call him, Alexey," said the old countess. Vronsky stepped out onto
the platform and shouted:

"Oblonsky! Here!"

Madame Karenina, however, did not wait for her brother, but catching
sight of him she stepped out with her light, resolute step. And as soon
as her brother had reached her, with a gesture that struck Vronsky by
its decision and its grace, she flung her left arm around his neck, drew
him rapidly to her, and kissed him warmly. Vronsky gazed, never taking
his eyes from her, and smiled, he could not have said why. But
recollecting that his mother was waiting for him, he went back again
into the carriage.

"She’s very sweet, isn’t she?" said the countess of Madame Karenina.
"Her husband put her with me, and I was delighted to have her. We’ve
been talking all the way. And so you, I hear ... _vous filez le parfait
amour. Tant mieux, mon cher, tant mieux._"

"I don’t know what you are referring to, maman," he answered coldly.
"Come, maman, let us go."

Madame Karenina entered the carriage again to say good-bye to the

"Well, countess, you have met your son, and I my brother," she said.
"And all my gossip is exhausted. I should have nothing more to tell

"Oh, no," said the countess, taking her hand. "I could go all around the
world with you and never be dull. You are one of those delightful women
in whose company it’s sweet to be silent as well as to talk. Now please
don’t fret over your son; you can’t expect never to be parted."

Madame Karenina stood quite still, holding herself very erect, and her
eyes were smiling.

"Anna Arkadyevna," the countess said in explanation to her son, "has a
little son eight years old, I believe, and she has never been parted
from him before, and she keeps fretting over leaving him."

"Yes, the countess and I have been talking all the time, I of my son and
she of hers," said Madame Karenina, and again a smile lighted up her
face, a caressing smile intended for him.

"I am afraid that you must have been dreadfully bored," he said,
promptly catching the ball of coquetry she had flung him. But apparently
she did not care to pursue the conversation in that strain, and she
turned to the old countess.

"Thank you so much. The time has passed so quickly. Good-bye, countess."

"Good-bye, my love," answered the countess. "Let me have a kiss of your
pretty face. I speak plainly, at my age, and I tell you simply that I’ve
lost my heart to you."

Stereotyped as the phrase was, Madame Karenina obviously believed it and
was delighted by it. She flushed, bent down slightly, and put her cheek
to the countess’s lips, drew herself up again, and with the same smile
fluttering between her lips and her eyes, she gave her hand to Vronsky.
He pressed the little hand she gave him, and was delighted, as though at
something special, by the energetic squeeze with which she freely and
vigorously shook his hand. She went out with the rapid step which bore
her rather fully-developed figure with such strange lightness.

"Very charming," said the countess.

That was just what her son was thinking. His eyes followed her till her
graceful figure was out of sight, and then the smile remained on his
face. He saw out of the window how she went up to her brother, put her
arm in his, and began telling him something eagerly, obviously something
that had nothing to do with him, Vronsky, and at that he felt annoyed.

"Well, maman, are you perfectly well?" he repeated, turning to his

"Everything has been delightful. Alexander has been very good, and Marie
has grown very pretty. She’s very interesting."

And she began telling him again of what interested her most—the
christening of her grandson, for which she had been staying in
Petersburg, and the special favor shown her elder son by the Tsar.

"Here’s Lavrenty," said Vronsky, looking out of the window; "now we can
go, if you like."

The old butler who had traveled with the countess, came to the carriage
to announce that everything was ready, and the countess got up to go.

"Come; there’s not such a crowd now," said Vronsky.

The maid took a handbag and the lap dog, the butler and a porter the
other baggage. Vronsky gave his mother his arm; but just as they were
getting out of the carriage several men ran suddenly by with
panic-stricken faces. The station-master, too, ran by in his
extraordinary colored cap. Obviously something unusual had happened. The
crowd who had left the train were running back again.

"What?... What?... Where?... Flung himself!... Crushed!..." was heard
among the crowd. Stepan Arkadyevitch, with his sister on his arm, turned
back. They too looked scared, and stopped at the carriage door to avoid
the crowd.

The ladies got in, while Vronsky and Stepan Arkadyevitch followed the
crowd to find out details of the disaster.

A guard, either drunk or too much muffled up in the bitter frost, had
not heard the train moving back, and had been crushed.

Before Vronsky and Oblonsky came back the ladies heard the facts from
the butler.

Oblonsky and Vronsky had both seen the mutilated corpse. Oblonsky was
evidently upset. He frowned and seemed ready to cry.

"Ah, how awful! Ah, Anna, if you had seen it! Ah, how awful!" he said.

Vronsky did not speak; his handsome face was serious, but perfectly

"Oh, if you had seen it, countess," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "And his
wife was there.... It was awful to see her!.... She flung herself on the
body. They say he was the only support of an immense family. How awful!"

"Couldn’t one do anything for her?" said Madame Karenina in an agitated

Vronsky glanced at her, and immediately got out of the carriage.

"I’ll be back directly, maman," he remarked, turning round in the

When he came back a few minutes later, Stepan Arkadyevitch was already
in conversation with the countess about the new singer, while the
countess was impatiently looking towards the door, waiting for her son.

"Now let us be off," said Vronsky, coming in. They went out together.
Vronsky was in front with his mother. Behind walked Madame Karenina with
her brother. Just as they were going out of the station the
station-master overtook Vronsky.

"You gave my assistant two hundred roubles. Would you kindly explain for
whose benefit you intend them?"

"For the widow," said Vronsky, shrugging his shoulders. "I should have
thought there was no need to ask."

"You gave that?" cried Oblonsky, behind, and, pressing his sister’s
hand, he added: "Very nice, very nice! Isn’t he a splendid fellow?
Good-bye, countess."

And he and his sister stood still, looking for her maid.

When they went out the Vronsky’s carriage had already driven away.
People coming in were still talking of what happened.

"What a horrible death!" said a gentleman, passing by. "They say he was
cut in two pieces."

"On the contrary, I think it’s the easiest—instantaneous," observed

"How is it they don’t take proper precautions?" said a third.

Madame Karenina seated herself in the carriage, and Stepan Arkadyevitch
saw with surprise that her lips were quivering, and she was with
difficulty restraining her tears.

"What is it, Anna?" he asked, when they had driven a few hundred yards.

"It’s an omen of evil," she said.

"What nonsense!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "You’ve come, that’s the
chief thing. You can’t conceive how I’m resting my hopes on you."

"Have you known Vronsky long?" she asked.

"Yes. You know we’re hoping he will marry Kitty."

"Yes?" said Anna softly. "Come now, let us talk of you," she added,
tossing her head, as though she would physically shake off something
superfluous oppressing her. "Let us talk of your affairs. I got your
letter, and here I am."

"Yes, all my hopes are in you," said Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"Well, tell me all about it."

And Stepan Arkadyevitch began to tell his story.

On reaching home Oblonsky helped his sister out, sighed, pressed her
hand, and set off to his office.

Chapter 19

When Anna went into the room, Dolly was sitting in the little
drawing-room with a white-headed fat little boy, already like his
father, giving him a lesson in French reading. As the boy read, he kept
twisting and trying to tear off a button that was nearly off his jacket.
His mother had several times taken his hand from it, but the fat little
hand went back to the button again. His mother pulled the button off and
put it in her pocket.

"Keep your hands still, Grisha," she said, and she took up her work, a
coverlet she had long been making. She always set to work on it at
depressed moments, and now she knitted at it nervously, twitching her
fingers and counting the stitches. Though she had sent word the day
before to her husband that it was nothing to her whether his sister came
or not, she had made everything ready for her arrival, and was expecting
her sister-in-law with emotion.

Dolly was crushed by her sorrow, utterly swallowed up by it. Still she
did not forget that Anna, her sister-in-law, was the wife of one of the
most important personages in Petersburg, and was a Petersburg _grande
dame_. And, thanks to this circumstance, she did not carry out her
threat to her husband—that is to say, she remembered that her
sister-in-law was coming. "And, after all, Anna is in no wise to blame,"
thought Dolly. "I know nothing of her except the very best, and I have
seen nothing but kindness and affection from her towards myself." It was
true that as far as she could recall her impressions at Petersburg at
the Karenins’, she did not like their household itself; there was
something artificial in the whole framework of their family life. "But
why should I not receive her? If only she doesn’t take it into her head
to console me!" thought Dolly. "All consolation and counsel and
Christian forgiveness, all that I have thought over a thousand times,
and it’s all no use."

All these days Dolly had been alone with her children. She did not want
to talk of her sorrow, but with that sorrow in her heart she could not
talk of outside matters. She knew that in one way or another she would
tell Anna everything, and she was alternately glad at the thought of
speaking freely, and angry at the necessity of speaking of her
humiliation with her, his sister, and of hearing her ready-made phrases
of good advice and comfort. She had been on the lookout for her,
glancing at her watch every minute, and, as so often happens, let slip
just that minute when her visitor arrived, so that she did not hear the

Catching a sound of skirts and light steps at the door, she looked
round, and her care-worn face unconsciously expressed not gladness, but
wonder. She got up and embraced her sister-in-law.

"What, here already!" she said as she kissed her.

"Dolly, how glad I am to see you!"

"I am glad, too," said Dolly, faintly smiling, and trying by the
expression of Anna’s face to find out whether she knew. "Most likely she
knows," she thought, noticing the sympathy in Anna’s face. "Well, come
along, I’ll take you to your room," she went on, trying to defer as long
as possible the moment of confidences.

"Is this Grisha? Heavens, how he’s grown!" said Anna; and kissing him,
never taking her eyes off Dolly, she stood still and flushed a little.
"No, please, let us stay here."

She took off her kerchief and her hat, and catching it in a lock of her
black hair, which was a mass of curls, she tossed her head and shook her
hair down.

"You are radiant with health and happiness!" said Dolly, almost with

"I?.... Yes," said Anna. "Merciful heavens, Tanya! You’re the same age
as my Seryozha," she added, addressing the little girl as she ran in.
She took her in her arms and kissed her. "Delightful child, delightful!
Show me them all."

She mentioned them, not only remembering the names, but the years,
months, characters, illnesses of all the children, and Dolly could not
but appreciate that.

"Very well, we will go to them," she said. "It’s a pity Vassya’s

After seeing the children, they sat down, alone now, in the drawing
room, to coffee. Anna took the tray, and then pushed it away from her.

"Dolly," she said, "he has told me."

Dolly looked coldly at Anna; she was waiting now for phrases of
conventional sympathy, but Anna said nothing of the sort.

"Dolly, dear," she said, "I don’t want to speak for him to you, nor to
try to comfort you; that’s impossible. But, darling, I’m simply sorry,
sorry from my heart for you!"

Under the thick lashes of her shining eyes tears suddenly glittered. She
moved nearer to her sister-in-law and took her hand in her vigorous
little hand. Dolly did not shrink away, but her face did not lose its
frigid expression. She said:

"To comfort me’s impossible. Everything’s lost after what has happened,
everything’s over!"

And directly she had said this, her face suddenly softened. Anna lifted
the wasted, thin hand of Dolly, kissed it and said:

"But, Dolly, what’s to be done, what’s to be done? How is it best to act
in this awful position—that’s what you must think of."

"All’s over, and there’s nothing more," said Dolly. "And the worst of
all is, you see, that I can’t cast him off: there are the children, I am
tied. And I can’t live with him! it’s a torture to me to see him."

"Dolly, darling, he has spoken to me, but I want to hear it from you:
tell me about it."

Dolly looked at her inquiringly.

Sympathy and love unfeigned were visible on Anna’s face.

"Very well," she said all at once. "But I will tell you it from the
beginning. You know how I was married. With the education mamma gave us
I was more than innocent, I was stupid. I knew nothing. I know they say
men tell their wives of their former lives, but Stiva"—she corrected
herself—"Stepan Arkadyevitch told me nothing. You’ll hardly believe it,
but till now I imagined that I was the only woman he had known. So I
lived eight years. You must understand that I was so far from suspecting
infidelity, I regarded it as impossible, and then—try to imagine it—with
such ideas, to find out suddenly all the horror, all the
loathsomeness.... You must try and understand me. To be fully convinced
of one’s happiness, and all at once..." continued Dolly, holding back
her sobs, "to get a letter ... his letter to his mistress, my governess.
No, it’s too awful!" She hastily pulled out her handkerchief and hid her
face in it. "I can understand being carried away by feeling," she went
on after a brief silence, "but deliberately, slyly deceiving me ... and
with whom?... To go on being my husband together with her ... it’s
awful! You can’t understand..."

"Oh, yes, I understand! I understand! Dolly, dearest, I do understand,"
said Anna, pressing her hand.

"And do you imagine he realizes all the awfulness of my position?" Dolly
resumed. "Not the slightest! He’s happy and contented."

"Oh, no!" Anna interposed quickly. "He’s to be pitied, he’s weighed down
by remorse..."

"Is he capable of remorse?" Dolly interrupted, gazing intently into her
sister-in-law’s face.

"Yes. I know him. I could not look at him without feeling sorry for him.
We both know him. He’s good-hearted, but he’s proud, and now he’s so
humiliated. What touched me most..." (and here Anna guessed what would
touch Dolly most) "he’s tortured by two things: that he’s ashamed for
the children’s sake, and that, loving you—yes, yes, loving you beyond
everything on earth," she hurriedly interrupted Dolly, who would have
answered—"he has hurt you, pierced you to the heart. ‘No, no, she cannot
forgive me,’ he keeps saying."

Dolly looked dreamily away beyond her sister-in-law as she listened to
her words.

"Yes, I can see that his position is awful; it’s worse for the guilty
than the innocent," she said, "if he feels that all the misery comes
from his fault. But how am I to forgive him, how am I to be his wife
again after her? For me to live with him now would be torture, just
because I love my past love for him..."

And sobs cut short her words. But as though of set design, each time she
was softened she began to speak again of what exasperated her.

"She’s young, you see, she’s pretty," she went on. "Do you know, Anna,
my youth and my beauty are gone, taken by whom? By him and his children.
I have worked for him, and all I had has gone in his service, and now of
course any fresh, vulgar creature has more charm for him. No doubt they
talked of me together, or, worse still, they were silent. Do you

Again her eyes glowed with hatred.

"And after that he will tell me.... What! can I believe him? Never! No,
everything is over, everything that once made my comfort, the reward of
my work, and my sufferings.... Would you believe it, I was teaching
Grisha just now: once this was a joy to me, now it is a torture. What
have I to strive and toil for? Why are the children here? What’s so
awful is that all at once my heart’s turned, and instead of love and
tenderness, I have nothing but hatred for him; yes, hatred. I could kill

"Darling Dolly, I understand, but don’t torture yourself. You are so
distressed, so overwrought, that you look at many things mistakenly."

Dolly grew calmer, and for two minutes both were silent.

"What’s to be done? Think for me, Anna, help me. I have thought over
everything, and I see nothing."

Anna could think of nothing, but her heart responded instantly to each
word, to each change of expression of her sister-in-law.

"One thing I would say," began Anna. "I am his sister, I know his
character, that faculty of forgetting everything, everything" (she waved
her hand before her forehead), "that faculty for being completely
carried away, but for completely repenting too. He cannot believe it, he
cannot comprehend now how he can have acted as he did."

"No; he understands, he understood!" Dolly broke in. "But I ... you are
forgetting me ... does it make it easier for me?"

"Wait a minute. When he told me, I will own I did not realize all the
awfulness of your position. I saw nothing but him, and that the family
was broken up. I felt sorry for him, but after talking to you, I see it,
as a woman, quite differently. I see your agony, and I can’t tell you
how sorry I am for you! But, Dolly, darling, I fully realize your
sufferings, only there is one thing I don’t know; I don’t know ... I
don’t know how much love there is still in your heart for him. That you
know—whether there is enough for you to be able to forgive him. If there
is, forgive him!"

"No," Dolly was beginning, but Anna cut her short, kissing her hand once

"I know more of the world than you do," she said. "I know how men like
Stiva look at it. You speak of his talking of you with her. That never
happened. Such men are unfaithful, but their home and wife are sacred to
them. Somehow or other these women are still looked on with contempt by
them, and do not touch on their feeling for their family. They draw a
sort of line that can’t be crossed between them and their families. I
don’t understand it, but it is so."

"Yes, but he has kissed her..."

"Dolly, hush, darling. I saw Stiva when he was in love with you. I
remember the time when he came to me and cried, talking of you, and all
the poetry and loftiness of his feeling for you, and I know that the
longer he has lived with you the loftier you have been in his eyes. You
know we have sometimes laughed at him for putting in at every word:
‘Dolly’s a marvelous woman.’ You have always been a divinity for him,
and you are that still, and this has not been an infidelity of the

"But if it is repeated?"

"It cannot be, as I understand it..."

"Yes, but could you forgive it?"

"I don’t know, I can’t judge.... Yes, I can," said Anna, thinking a
moment; and grasping the position in her thought and weighing it in her
inner balance, she added: "Yes, I can, I can, I can. Yes, I could
forgive it. I could not be the same, no; but I could forgive it, and
forgive it as though it had never been, never been at all..."

"Oh, of course," Dolly interposed quickly, as though saying what she had
more than once thought, "else it would not be forgiveness. If one
forgives, it must be completely, completely. Come, let us go; I’ll take
you to your room," she said, getting up, and on the way she embraced
Anna. "My dear, how glad I am you came. It has made things better, ever
so much better."

Chapter 20

The whole of that day Anna spent at home, that’s to say at the
Oblonskys’, and received no one, though some of her acquaintances had
already heard of her arrival, and came to call the same day. Anna spent
the whole morning with Dolly and the children. She merely sent a brief
note to her brother to tell him that he must not fail to dine at home.
"Come, God is merciful," she wrote.

Oblonsky did dine at home: the conversation was general, and his wife,
speaking to him, addressed him as "Stiva," as she had not done before.
In the relations of the husband and wife the same estrangement still
remained, but there was no talk now of separation, and Stepan
Arkadyevitch saw the possibility of explanation and reconciliation.

Immediately after dinner Kitty came in. She knew Anna Arkadyevna, but
only very slightly, and she came now to her sister’s with some
trepidation, at the prospect of meeting this fashionable Petersburg
lady, whom everyone spoke so highly of. But she made a favorable
impression on Anna Arkadyevna—she saw that at once. Anna was
unmistakably admiring her loveliness and her youth: before Kitty knew
where she was she found herself not merely under Anna’s sway, but in
love with her, as young girls do fall in love with older and married
women. Anna was not like a fashionable lady, nor the mother of a boy of
eight years old. In the elasticity of her movements, the freshness and
the unflagging eagerness which persisted in her face, and broke out in
her smile and her glance, she would rather have passed for a girl of
twenty, had it not been for a serious and at times mournful look in her
eyes, which struck and attracted Kitty. Kitty felt that Anna was
perfectly simple and was concealing nothing, but that she had another
higher world of interests inaccessible to her, complex and poetic.

After dinner, when Dolly went away to her own room, Anna rose quickly
and went up to her brother, who was just lighting a cigar.

"Stiva," she said to him, winking gaily, crossing him and glancing
towards the door, "go, and God help you."

He threw down the cigar, understanding her, and departed through the

When Stepan Arkadyevitch had disappeared, she went back to the sofa
where she had been sitting, surrounded by the children. Either because
the children saw that their mother was fond of this aunt, or that they
felt a special charm in her themselves, the two elder ones, and the
younger following their lead, as children so often do, had clung about
their new aunt since before dinner, and would not leave her side. And it
had become a sort of game among them to sit a close as possible to their
aunt, to touch her, hold her little hand, kiss it, play with her ring,
or even touch the flounce of her skirt.

"Come, come, as we were sitting before," said Anna Arkadyevna, sitting
down in her place.

And again Grisha poked his little face under her arm, and nestled with
his head on her gown, beaming with pride and happiness.

"And when is your next ball?" she asked Kitty.

"Next week, and a splendid ball. One of those balls where one always
enjoys oneself."

"Why, are there balls where one always enjoys oneself?" Anna said, with
tender irony.

"It’s strange, but there are. At the Bobrishtchevs’ one always enjoys
oneself, and at the Nikitins’ too, while at the Mezhkovs’ it’s always
dull. Haven’t you noticed it?"

"No, my dear, for me there are no balls now where one enjoys oneself,"
said Anna, and Kitty detected in her eyes that mysterious world which
was not open to her. "For me there are some less dull and tiresome."

"How can _you_ be dull at a ball?"

"Why should not _I_ be dull at a ball?" inquired Anna.

Kitty perceived that Anna knew what answer would follow.

"Because you always look nicer than anyone."

Anna had the faculty of blushing. She blushed a little, and said:

"In the first place it’s never so; and secondly, if it were, what
difference would it make to me?"

"Are you coming to this ball?" asked Kitty.

"I imagine it won’t be possible to avoid going. Here, take it," she said
to Tanya, who was pulling the loosely-fitting ring off her white,
slender-tipped finger.

"I shall be so glad if you go. I should so like to see you at a ball."

"Anyway, if I do go, I shall comfort myself with the thought that it’s a
pleasure to you ... Grisha, don’t pull my hair. It’s untidy enough
without that," she said, putting up a straying lock, which Grisha had
been playing with.

"I imagine you at the ball in lilac."

"And why in lilac precisely?" asked Anna, smiling. "Now, children, run
along, run along. Do you hear? Miss Hoole is calling you to tea," she
said, tearing the children from her, and sending them off to the dining

"I know why you press me to come to the ball. You expect a great deal of
this ball, and you want everyone to be there to take part in it."

"How do you know? Yes."

"Oh! what a happy time you are at," pursued Anna. "I remember, and I
know that blue haze like the mist on the mountains in Switzerland. That
mist which covers everything in that blissful time when childhood is
just ending, and out of that vast circle, happy and gay, there is a path
growing narrower and narrower, and it is delightful and alarming to
enter the ballroom, bright and splendid as it is.... Who has not been
through it?"

Kitty smiled without speaking. "But how did she go through it? How I
should like to know all her love story!" thought Kitty, recalling the
unromantic appearance of Alexey Alexandrovitch, her husband.

"I know something. Stiva told me, and I congratulate you. I liked him so
much," Anna continued. "I met Vronsky at the railway station."

"Oh, was he there?" asked Kitty, blushing. "What was it Stiva told you?"

"Stiva gossiped about it all. And I should be so glad ... I traveled
yesterday with Vronsky’s mother," she went on; "and his mother talked
without a pause of him, he’s her favorite. I know mothers are partial,

"What did his mother tell you?"

"Oh, a great deal! And I know that he’s her favorite; still one can see
how chivalrous he is.... Well, for instance, she told me that he had
wanted to give up all his property to his brother, that he had done
something extraordinary when he was quite a child, saved a woman out of
the water. He’s a hero, in fact," said Anna, smiling and recollecting
the two hundred roubles he had given at the station.

But she did not tell Kitty about the two hundred roubles. For some
reason it was disagreeable to her to think of it. She felt that there
was something that had to do with her in it, and something that ought
not to have been.

"She pressed me very much to go and see her," Anna went on; "and I shall
be glad to go to see her tomorrow. Stiva is staying a long while in
Dolly’s room, thank God," Anna added, changing the subject, and getting
up, Kitty fancied, displeased with something.

"No, I’m first! No, I!" screamed the children, who had finished tea,
running up to their Aunt Anna.

"All together," said Anna, and she ran laughing to meet them, and
embraced and swung round all the throng of swarming children, shrieking
with delight.

Chapter 21

Dolly came out of her room to the tea of the grown-up people. Stepan
Arkadyevitch did not come out. He must have left his wife’s room by the
other door.

"I am afraid you’ll be cold upstairs," observed Dolly, addressing Anna;
"I want to move you downstairs, and we shall be nearer."

"Oh, please, don’t trouble about me," answered Anna, looking intently
into Dolly’s face, trying to make out whether there had been a
reconciliation or not.

"It will be lighter for you here," answered her sister-in-law.

"I assure you that I sleep everywhere, and always like a marmot."

"What’s the question?" inquired Stepan Arkadyevitch, coming out of his
room and addressing his wife.

From his tone both Kitty and Anna knew that a reconciliation had taken

"I want to move Anna downstairs, but we must hang up blinds. No one
knows how to do it; I must see to it myself," answered Dolly addressing

"God knows whether they are fully reconciled," thought Anna, hearing her
tone, cold and composed.

"Oh, nonsense, Dolly, always making difficulties," answered her husband.
"Come, I’ll do it all, if you like..."

"Yes, they must be reconciled," thought Anna.

"I know how you do everything," answered Dolly. "You tell Matvey to do
what can’t be done, and go away yourself, leaving him to make a muddle
of everything," and her habitual, mocking smile curved the corners of
Dolly’s lips as she spoke.

"Full, full reconciliation, full," thought Anna; "thank God!" and
rejoicing that she was the cause of it, she went up to Dolly and kissed

"Not at all. Why do you always look down on me and Matvey?" said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, smiling hardly perceptibly, and addressing his wife.

The whole evening Dolly was, as always, a little mocking in her tone to
her husband, while Stepan Arkadyevitch was happy and cheerful, but not
so as to seem as though, having been forgiven, he had forgotten his

At half-past nine o’clock a particularly joyful and pleasant family
conversation over the tea-table at the Oblonskys’ was broken up by an
apparently simple incident. But this simple incident for some reason
struck everyone as strange. Talking about common acquaintances in
Petersburg, Anna got up quickly.

"She is in my album," she said; "and, by the way, I’ll show you my
Seryozha," she added, with a mother’s smile of pride.

Towards ten o’clock, when she usually said good-night to her son, and
often before going to a ball put him to bed herself, she felt depressed
at being so far from him; and whatever she was talking about, she kept
coming back in thought to her curly-headed Seryozha. She longed to look
at his photograph and talk of him. Seizing the first pretext, she got
up, and with her light, resolute step went for her album. The stairs up
to her room came out on the landing of the great warm main staircase.

Just as she was leaving the drawing room, a ring was heard in the hall.

"Who can that be?" said Dolly.

"It’s early for me to be fetched, and for anyone else it’s late,"
observed Kitty.

"Sure to be someone with papers for me," put in Stepan Arkadyevitch.
When Anna was passing the top of the staircase, a servant was running up
to announce the visitor, while the visitor himself was standing under a
lamp. Anna glancing down at once recognized Vronsky, and a strange
feeling of pleasure and at the same time of dread of something stirred
in her heart. He was standing still, not taking off his coat, pulling
something out of his pocket. At the instant when she was just facing the
stairs, he raised his eyes, caught sight of her, and into the expression
of his face there passed a shade of embarrassment and dismay. With a
slight inclination of her head she passed, hearing behind her Stepan
Arkadyevitch’s loud voice calling him to come up, and the quiet, soft,
and composed voice of Vronsky refusing.

When Anna returned with the album, he was already gone, and Stepan
Arkadyevitch was telling them that he had called to inquire about the
dinner they were giving next day to a celebrity who had just arrived.
"And nothing would induce him to come up. What a queer fellow he is!"
added Stepan Arkadyevitch.

Kitty blushed. She thought that she was the only person who knew why he
had come, and why he would not come up. "He has been at home," she
thought, "and didn’t find me, and thought I should be here, but he did
not come up because he thought it late, and Anna’s here."

All of them looked at each other, saying nothing, and began to look at
Anna’s album.

There was nothing either exceptional or strange in a man’s calling at
half-past nine on a friend to inquire details of a proposed dinner party
and not coming in, but it seemed strange to all of them. Above all, it
seemed strange and not right to Anna.

Chapter 22

The ball was only just beginning as Kitty and her mother walked up the
great staircase, flooded with light, and lined with flowers and footmen
in powder and red coats. From the rooms came a constant, steady hum, as
from a hive, and the rustle of movement; and while on the landing
between trees they gave last touches to their hair and dresses before
the mirror, they heard from the ballroom the careful, distinct notes of
the fiddles of the orchestra beginning the first waltz. A little old man
in civilian dress, arranging his gray curls before another mirror, and
diffusing an odor of scent, stumbled against them on the stairs, and
stood aside, evidently admiring Kitty, whom he did not know. A beardless
youth, one of those society youths whom the old Prince Shtcherbatsky
called "young bucks," in an exceedingly open waistcoat, straightening
his white tie as he went, bowed to them, and after running by, came back
to ask Kitty for a quadrille. As the first quadrille had already been
given to Vronsky, she had to promise this youth the second. An officer,
buttoning his glove, stood aside in the doorway, and stroking his
mustache, admired rosy Kitty.

Although her dress, her coiffure, and all the preparations for the ball
had cost Kitty great trouble and consideration, at this moment she
walked into the ballroom in her elaborate tulle dress over a pink slip
as easily and simply as though all the rosettes and lace, all the minute
details of her attire, had not cost her or her family a moment’s
attention, as though she had been born in that tulle and lace, with her
hair done up high on her head, and a rose and two leaves on the top of

When, just before entering the ballroom, the princess, her mother, tried
to turn right side out of the ribbon of her sash, Kitty had drawn back a
little. She felt that everything must be right of itself, and graceful,
and nothing could need setting straight.

It was one of Kitty’s best days. Her dress was not uncomfortable
anywhere; her lace berthe did not droop anywhere; her rosettes were not
crushed nor torn off; her pink slippers with high, hollowed-out heels
did not pinch, but gladdened her feet; and the thick rolls of fair
chignon kept up on her head as if they were her own hair. All the three
buttons buttoned up without tearing on the long glove that covered her
hand without concealing its lines. The black velvet of her locket
nestled with special softness round her neck. That velvet was delicious;
at home, looking at her neck in the looking glass, Kitty had felt that
that velvet was speaking. About all the rest there might be a doubt, but
the velvet was delicious. Kitty smiled here too, at the ball, when she
glanced at it in the glass. Her bare shoulders and arms gave Kitty a
sense of chill marble, a feeling she particularly liked. Her eyes
sparkled, and her rosy lips could not keep from smiling from the
consciousness of her own attractiveness. She had scarcely entered the
ballroom and reached the throng of ladies, all tulle, ribbons, lace, and
flowers, waiting to be asked to dance—Kitty was never one of that
throng—when she was asked for a waltz, and asked by the best partner,
the first star in the hierarchy of the ballroom, a renowned director of
dances, a married man, handsome and well-built, Yegorushka Korsunsky. He
had only just left the Countess Bonina, with whom he had danced the
first half of the waltz, and, scanning his kingdom—that is to say, a few
couples who had started dancing—he caught sight of Kitty, entering, and
flew up to her with that peculiar, easy amble which is confined to
directors of balls. Without even asking her if she cared to dance, he
put out his arm to encircle her slender waist. She looked round for
someone to give her fan to, and their hostess, smiling to her, took it.

"How nice you’ve come in good time," he said to her, embracing her
waist; "such a bad habit to be late." Bending her left hand, she laid it
on his shoulder, and her little feet in their pink slippers began
swiftly, lightly, and rhythmically moving over the slippery floor in
time to the music.

"It’s a rest to waltz with you," he said to her, as they fell into the
first slow steps of the waltz. "It’s exquisite—such lightness,
precision." He said to her the same thing he said to almost all his
partners whom he knew well.

She smiled at his praise, and continued to look about the room over his
shoulder. She was not like a girl at her first ball, for whom all faces
in the ballroom melt into one vision of fairyland. And she was not a
girl who had gone the stale round of balls till every face in the
ballroom was familiar and tiresome. But she was in the middle stage
between these two; she was excited, and at the same time she had
sufficient self-possession to be able to observe. In the left corner of
the ballroom she saw the cream of society gathered together.
There—incredibly naked—was the beauty Lidi, Korsunsky’s wife; there was
the lady of the house; there shone the bald head of Krivin, always to be
found where the best people were. In that direction gazed the young men,
not venturing to approach. There, too, she descried Stiva, and there she
saw the exquisite figure and head of Anna in a black velvet gown. And
_he_ was there. Kitty had not seen him since the evening she refused
Levin. With her long-sighted eyes, she knew him at once, and was even
aware that he was looking at her.

"Another turn, eh? You’re not tired?" said Korsunsky, a little out of

"No, thank you!"

"Where shall I take you?"

"Madame Karenina’s here, I think ... take me to her."

"Wherever you command."

And Korsunsky began waltzing with measured steps straight towards the
group in the left corner, continually saying, "Pardon, mesdames, pardon,
pardon, mesdames"; and steering his course through the sea of lace,
tulle, and ribbon, and not disarranging a feather, he turned his partner
sharply round, so that her slim ankles, in light transparent stockings,
were exposed to view, and her train floated out in fan shape and covered
Krivin’s knees. Korsunsky bowed, set straight his open shirt front, and
gave her his arm to conduct her to Anna Arkadyevna. Kitty, flushed, took
her train from Krivin’s knees, and, a little giddy, looked round,
seeking Anna. Anna was not in lilac, as Kitty had so urgently wished,
but in a black, low-cut, velvet gown, showing her full throat and
shoulders, that looked as though carved in old ivory, and her rounded
arms, with tiny, slender wrists. The whole gown was trimmed with
Venetian guipure. On her head, among her black hair—her own, with no
false additions—was a little wreath of pansies, and a bouquet of the
same in the black ribbon of her sash among white lace. Her coiffure was
not striking. All that was noticeable was the little wilful tendrils of
her curly hair that would always break free about her neck and temples.
Round her well-cut, strong neck was a thread of pearls.

Kitty had been seeing Anna every day; she adored her, and had pictured
her invariably in lilac. But now seeing her in black, she felt that she
had not fully seen her charm. She saw her now as someone quite new and
surprising to her. Now she understood that Anna could not have been in
lilac, and that her charm was just that she always stood out against her
attire, that her dress could never be noticeable on her. And her black
dress, with its sumptuous lace, was not noticeable on her; it was only
the frame, and all that was seen was she—simple, natural, elegant, and
at the same time gay and eager.

She was standing holding herself, as always, very erect, and when Kitty
drew near the group she was speaking to the master of the house, her
head slightly turned towards him.

"No, I don’t throw stones," she was saying, in answer to something,
"though I can’t understand it," she went on, shrugging her shoulders,
and she turned at once with a soft smile of protection towards Kitty.
With a flying, feminine glance she scanned her attire, and made a
movement of her head, hardly perceptible, but understood by Kitty,
signifying approval of her dress and her looks. "You came into the room
dancing," she added.

"This is one of my most faithful supporters," said Korsunsky, bowing to
Anna Arkadyevna, whom he had not yet seen. "The princess helps to make
balls happy and successful. Anna Arkadyevna, a waltz?" he said, bending
down to her.

"Why, have you met?" inquired their host.

"Is there anyone we have not met? My wife and I are like white
wolves—everyone knows us," answered Korsunsky. "A waltz, Anna

"I don’t dance when it’s possible not to dance," she said.

"But tonight it’s impossible," answered Korsunsky.

At that instant Vronsky came up.

"Well, since it’s impossible tonight, let us start," she said, not
noticing Vronsky’s bow, and she hastily put her hand on Korsunsky’s

"What is she vexed with him about?" thought Kitty, discerning that Anna
had intentionally not responded to Vronsky’s bow. Vronsky went up to
Kitty reminding her of the first quadrille, and expressing his regret
that he had not seen her all this time. Kitty gazed in admiration at
Anna waltzing, and listened to him. She expected him to ask her for a
waltz, but he did not, and she glanced wonderingly at him. He flushed
slightly, and hurriedly asked her to waltz, but he had only just put his
arm round her waist and taken the first step when the music suddenly
stopped. Kitty looked into his face, which was so close to her own, and
long afterwards—for several years after—that look, full of love, to
which he made no response, cut her to the heart with an agony of shame.

"_Pardon! pardon!_ Waltz! waltz!" shouted Korsunsky from the other side
of the room, and seizing the first young lady he came across he began
dancing himself.

Chapter 23

Vronsky and Kitty waltzed several times round the room. After the first
waltz Kitty went to her mother, and she had hardly time to say a few
words to Countess Nordston when Vronsky came up again for the first
quadrille. During the quadrille nothing of any significance was said:
there was disjointed talk between them of the Korsunskys, husband and
wife, whom he described very amusingly, as delightful children at forty,
and of the future town theater; and only once the conversation touched
her to the quick, when he asked her about Levin, whether he was here,
and added that he liked him so much. But Kitty did not expect much from
the quadrille. She looked forward with a thrill at her heart to the
mazurka. She fancied that in the mazurka everything must be decided. The
fact that he did not during the quadrille ask her for the mazurka did
not trouble her. She felt sure she would dance the mazurka with him as
she had done at former balls, and refused five young men, saying she was
engaged for the mazurka. The whole ball up to the last quadrille was for
Kitty an enchanted vision of delightful colors, sounds, and motions. She
only sat down when she felt too tired and begged for a rest. But as she
was dancing the last quadrille with one of the tiresome young men whom
she could not refuse, she chanced to be vis-a-vis with Vronsky and Anna.
She had not been near Anna again since the beginning of the evening, and
now again she saw her suddenly quite new and surprising. She saw in her
the signs of that excitement of success she knew so well in herself; she
saw that she was intoxicated with the delighted admiration she was
exciting. She knew that feeling and knew its signs, and saw them in
Anna; saw the quivering, flashing light in her eyes, and the smile of
happiness and excitement unconsciously playing on her lips, and the
deliberate grace, precision, and lightness of her movements.

"Who?" she asked herself. "All or one?" And not assisting the harassed
young man she was dancing with in the conversation, the thread of which
he had lost and could not pick up again, she obeyed with external
liveliness the peremptory shouts of Korsunsky starting them all into the
_grand rond_, and then into the _châine_, and at the same time she kept
watch with a growing pang at her heart. "No, it’s not the admiration of
the crowd has intoxicated her, but the adoration of one. And that one?
can it be he?" Every time he spoke to Anna the joyous light flashed into
her eyes, and the smile of happiness curved her red lips. she seemed to
make an effort to control herself, to try not to show these signs of
delight, but they came out on her face of themselves. "But what of him?"
Kitty looked at him and was filled with terror. What was pictured so
clearly to Kitty in the mirror of Anna’s face she saw in him. What had
become of his always self-possessed resolute manner, and the carelessly
serene expression of his face? Now every time he turned to her, he bent
his head, as though he would have fallen at her feet, and in his eyes
there was nothing but humble submission and dread. "I would not offend
you," his eyes seemed every time to be saying, "but I want to save
myself, and I don’t know how." On his face was a look such as Kitty had
never seen before.

They were speaking of common acquaintances, keeping up the most trivial
conversation, but to Kitty it seemed that every word they said was
determining their fate and hers. And strange it was that they were
actually talking of how absurd Ivan Ivanovitch was with his French, and
how the Eletsky girl might have made a better match, yet these words had
all the while consequence for them, and they were feeling just as Kitty
did. The whole ball, the whole world, everything seemed lost in fog in
Kitty’s soul. Nothing but the stern discipline of her bringing-up
supported her and forced her to do what was expected of her, that is, to
dance, to answer questions, to talk, even to smile. But before the
mazurka, when they were beginning to rearrange the chairs and a few
couples moved out of the smaller rooms into the big room, a moment of
despair and horror came for Kitty. She had refused five partners, and
now she was not dancing the mazurka. She had not even a hope of being
asked for it, because she was so successful in society that the idea
would never occur to anyone that she had remained disengaged till now.
She would have to tell her mother she felt ill and go home, but she had
not the strength to do this. She felt crushed. She went to the furthest
end of the little drawing room and sank into a low chair. Her light,
transparent skirts rose like a cloud about her slender waist; one bare,
thin, soft, girlish arm, hanging listlessly, was lost in the folds of
her pink tunic; in the other she held her fan, and with rapid, short
strokes fanned her burning face. But while she looked like a butterfly,
clinging to a blade of grass, and just about to open its rainbow wings
for fresh flight, her heart ached with a horrible despair.

"But perhaps I am wrong, perhaps it was not so?" And again she recalled
all she had seen.

"Kitty, what is it?" said Countess Nordston, stepping noiselessly over
the carpet towards her. "I don’t understand it."

Kitty’s lower lip began to quiver; she got up quickly.

"Kitty, you’re not dancing the mazurka?"

"No, no," said Kitty in a voice shaking with tears.

"He asked her for the mazurka before me," said Countess Nordston,
knowing Kitty would understand who were "he" and "her." "She said: ‘Why,
aren’t you going to dance it with Princess Shtcherbatskaya?’"

"Oh, I don’t care!" answered Kitty.

No one but she herself understood her position; no one knew that she had
just refused the man whom perhaps she loved, and refused him because she
had put her faith in another.

Countess Nordston found Korsunsky, with whom she was to dance the
mazurka, and told him to ask Kitty.

Kitty danced in the first couple, and luckily for her she had not to
talk, because Korsunsky was all the time running about directing the
figure. Vronsky and Anna sat almost opposite her. She saw them with her
long-sighted eyes, and saw them, too, close by, when they met in the
figures, and the more she saw of them the more convinced was she that
her unhappiness was complete. She saw that they felt themselves alone in
that crowded room. And on Vronsky’s face, always so firm and
independent, she saw that look that had struck her, of bewilderment and
humble submissiveness, like the expression of an intelligent dog when it
has done wrong.

Anna smiled, and her smile was reflected by him. She grew thoughtful,
and he became serious. Some supernatural force drew Kitty’s eyes to
Anna’s face. She was fascinating in her simple black dress, fascinating
were her round arms with their bracelets, fascinating was her firm neck
with its thread of pearls, fascinating the straying curls of her loose
hair, fascinating the graceful, light movements of her little feet and
hands, fascinating was that lovely face in its eagerness, but there was
something terrible and cruel in her fascination.

Kitty admired her more than ever, and more and more acute was her
suffering. Kitty felt overwhelmed, and her face showed it. When Vronsky
saw her, coming across her in the mazurka, he did not at once recognize
her, she was so changed.

"Delightful ball!" he said to her, for the sake of saying something.

"Yes," she answered.

In the middle of the mazurka, repeating a complicated figure, newly
invented by Korsunsky, Anna came forward into the center of the circle,
chose two gentlemen, and summoned a lady and Kitty. Kitty gazed at her
in dismay as she went up. Anna looked at her with drooping eyelids, and
smiled, pressing her hand. But, noticing that Kitty only responded to
her smile by a look of despair and amazement, she turned away from her,
and began gaily talking to the other lady.

"Yes, there is something uncanny, devilish and fascinating in her,"
Kitty said to herself.

Anna did not mean to stay to supper, but the master of the house began
to press her to do so.

"Nonsense, Anna Arkadyevna," said Korsunsky, drawing her bare arm under
the sleeve of his dress coat, "I’ve such an idea for a _cotillion! Un

And he moved gradually on, trying to draw her along with him. Their host
smiled approvingly.

"No, I am not going to stay," answered Anna, smiling, but in spite of
her smile, both Korsunsky and the master of the house saw from her
resolute tone that she would not stay.

"No; why, as it is, I have danced more at your ball in Moscow than I
have all the winter in Petersburg," said Anna, looking round at Vronsky,
who stood near her. "I must rest a little before my journey."

"Are you certainly going tomorrow then?" asked Vronsky.

"Yes, I suppose so," answered Anna, as it were wondering at the boldness
of his question; but the irrepressible, quivering brilliance of her eyes
and her smile set him on fire as she said it.

Anna Arkadyevna did not stay to supper, but went home.

Chapter 24

"Yes, there is something in me hateful, repulsive," thought Levin, as he
came away from the Shtcherbatskys’, and walked in the direction of his
brother’s lodgings. "And I don’t get on with other people. Pride, they
say. No, I have no pride. If I had any pride, I should not have put
myself in such a position." And he pictured to himself Vronsky, happy,
good-natured, clever, and self-possessed, certainly never placed in the
awful position in which he had been that evening. "Yes, she was bound to
choose him. So it had to be, and I cannot complain of anyone or
anything. I am myself to blame. What right had I to imagine she would
care to join her life to mine? Who am I and what am I? A nobody, not
wanted by any one, nor of use to anybody." And he recalled his brother
Nikolay, and dwelt with pleasure on the thought of him. "Isn’t he right
that everything in the world is base and loathsome? And are we fair in
our judgment of brother Nikolay? Of course, from the point of view of
Prokofy, seeing him in a torn cloak and tipsy, he’s a despicable person.
But I know him differently. I know his soul, and know that we are like
him. And I, instead of going to seek him out, went out to dinner, and
came here." Levin walked up to a lamppost, read his brother’s address,
which was in his pocketbook, and called a sledge. All the long way to
his brother’s, Levin vividly recalled all the facts familiar to him of
his brother Nikolay’s life. He remembered how his brother, while at the
university, and for a year afterwards, had, in spite of the jeers of his
companions, lived like a monk, strictly observing all religious rites,
services, and fasts, and avoiding every sort of pleasure, especially
women. And afterwards, how he had all at once broken out: he had
associated with the most horrible people, and rushed into the most
senseless debauchery. He remembered later the scandal over a boy, whom
he had taken from the country to bring up, and, in a fit of rage, had so
violently beaten that proceedings were brought against him for
unlawfully wounding. Then he recalled the scandal with a sharper, to
whom he had lost money, and given a promissory note, and against whom he
had himself lodged a complaint, asserting that he had cheated him. (This
was the money Sergey Ivanovitch had paid.) Then he remembered how he had
spent a night in the lockup for disorderly conduct in the street. He
remembered the shameful proceedings he had tried to get up against his
brother Sergey Ivanovitch, accusing him of not having paid him his share
of his mother’s fortune, and the last scandal, when he had gone to a
western province in an official capacity, and there had got into trouble
for assaulting a village elder.... It was all horribly disgusting, yet
to Levin it appeared not at all in the same disgusting light as it
inevitably would to those who did not know Nikolay, did not know all his
story, did not know his heart.

Levin remembered that when Nikolay had been in the devout stage, the
period of fasts and monks and church services, when he was seeking in
religion a support and a curb for his passionate temperament, everyone,
far from encouraging him, had jeered at him, and he, too, with the
others. They had teased him, called him Noah and Monk; and, when he had
broken out, no one had helped him, but everyone had turned away from him
with horror and disgust.

Levin felt that, in spite of all the ugliness of his life, his brother
Nikolay, in his soul, in the very depths of his soul, was no more in the
wrong than the people who despised him. He was not to blame for having
been born with his unbridled temperament and his somehow limited
intelligence. But he had always wanted to be good. "I will tell him
everything, without reserve, and I will make him speak without reserve,
too, and I’ll show him that I love him, and so understand him," Levin
resolved to himself, as, towards eleven o’clock, he reached the hotel of
which he had the address.

"At the top, 12 and 13," the porter answered Levin’s inquiry.

"At home?"

"Sure to be at home."

The door of No. 12 was half open, and there came out into the streak of
light thick fumes of cheap, poor tobacco, and the sound of a voice,
unknown to Levin; but he knew at once that his brother was there; he
heard his cough.

As he went in the door, the unknown voice was saying:

"It all depends with how much judgment and knowledge the thing’s done."

Konstantin Levin looked in at the door, and saw that the speaker was a
young man with an immense shock of hair, wearing a Russian jerkin, and
that a pockmarked woman in a woolen gown, without collar or cuffs, was
sitting on the sofa. His brother was not to be seen. Konstantin felt a
sharp pang at his heart at the thought of the strange company in which
his brother spent his life. No one had heard him, and Konstantin, taking
off his galoshes, listened to what the gentleman in the jerkin was
saying. He was speaking of some enterprise.

"Well, the devil flay them, the privileged classes," his brother’s voice
responded, with a cough. "Masha! get us some supper and some wine if
there’s any left; or else go and get some."

The woman rose, came out from behind the screen, and saw Konstantin.

"There’s some gentleman, Nikolay Dmitrievitch," she said.

"Whom do you want?" said the voice of Nikolay Levin, angrily.

"It’s I," answered Konstantin Levin, coming forward into the light.

"Who’s _I_?" Nikolay’s voice said again, still more angrily. He could be
heard getting up hurriedly, stumbling against something, and Levin saw,
facing him in the doorway, the big, scared eyes, and the huge, thin,
stooping figure of his brother, so familiar, and yet astonishing in its
weirdness and sickliness.

He was even thinner than three years before, when Konstantin Levin had
seen him last. He was wearing a short coat, and his hands and big bones
seemed huger than ever. His hair had grown thinner, the same straight
mustaches hid his lips, the same eyes gazed strangely and naively at his

"Ah, Kostya!" he exclaimed suddenly, recognizing his brother, and his
eyes lit up with joy. But the same second he looked round at the young
man, and gave the nervous jerk of his head and neck that Konstantin knew
so well, as if his neckband hurt him; and a quite different expression,
wild, suffering, and cruel, rested on his emaciated face.

"I wrote to you and Sergey Ivanovitch both that I don’t know you and
don’t want to know you. What is it you want?"

He was not at all the same as Konstantin had been fancying him. The
worst and most tiresome part of his character, what made all relations
with him so difficult, had been forgotten by Konstantin Levin when he
thought of him, and now, when he saw his face, and especially that
nervous twitching of his head, he remembered it all.

"I didn’t want to see you for anything," he answered timidly. "I’ve
simply come to see you."

His brother’s timidity obviously softened Nikolay. His lips twitched.

"Oh, so that’s it?" he said. "Well, come in; sit down. Like some supper?
Masha, bring supper for three. No, stop a minute. Do you know who this
is?" he said, addressing his brother, and indicating the gentleman in
the jerkin: "This is Mr. Kritsky, my friend from Kiev, a very remarkable
man. He’s persecuted by the police, of course, because he’s not a

And he looked round in the way he always did at everyone in the room.
Seeing that the woman standing in the doorway was moving to go, he
shouted to her, "Wait a minute, I said." And with the inability to
express himself, the incoherence that Konstantin knew so well, he began,
with another look round at everyone, to tell his brother Kritsky’s
story: how he had been expelled from the university for starting a
benefit society for the poor students and Sunday schools; and how he had
afterwards been a teacher in a peasant school, and how he had been
driven out of that too, and had afterwards been condemned for something.

"You’re of the Kiev university?" said Konstantin Levin to Kritsky, to
break the awkward silence that followed.

"Yes, I was of Kiev," Kritsky replied angrily, his face darkening.

"And this woman," Nikolay Levin interrupted him, pointing to her, "is
the partner of my life, Marya Nikolaevna. I took her out of a bad
house," and he jerked his neck saying this; "but I love her and respect
her, and any one who wants to know me," he added, raising his voice and
knitting his brows, "I beg to love her and respect her. She’s just the
same as my wife, just the same. So now you know whom you’ve to do with.
And if you think you’re lowering yourself, well, here’s the floor,
there’s the door."

And again his eyes traveled inquiringly over all of them.

"Why I should be lowering myself, I don’t understand."

"Then, Masha, tell them to bring supper; three portions, spirits and
wine.... No, wait a minute.... No, it doesn’t matter.... Go along."

Chapter 25

"So you see," pursued Nikolay Levin, painfully wrinkling his forehead
and twitching.

It was obviously difficult for him to think of what to say and do.

"Here, do you see?"... He pointed to some sort of iron bars, fastened
together with strings, lying in a corner of the room. "Do you see that?
That’s the beginning of a new thing we’re going into. It’s a productive

Konstantin scarcely heard him. He looked into his sickly, consumptive
face, and he was more and more sorry for him, and he could not force
himself to listen to what his brother was telling him about the
association. He saw that this association was a mere anchor to save him
from self-contempt. Nikolay Levin went on talking:

"You know that capital oppresses the laborer. The laborers with us, the
peasants, bear all the burden of labor, and are so placed that however
much they work they can’t escape from their position of beasts of
burden. All the profits of labor, on which they might improve their
position, and gain leisure for themselves, and after that education, all
the surplus values are taken from them by the capitalists. And society’s
so constituted that the harder they work, the greater the profit of the
merchants and landowners, while they stay beasts of burden to the end.
And that state of things must be changed," he finished up, and he looked
questioningly at his brother.

"Yes, of course," said Konstantin, looking at the patch of red that had
come out on his brother’s projecting cheek bones.

"And so we’re founding a locksmiths’ association, where all the
production and profit and the chief instruments of production will be in

"Where is the association to be?" asked Konstantin Levin.

"In the village of Vozdrem, Kazan government."

"But why in a village? In the villages, I think, there is plenty of work
as it is. Why a locksmiths’ association in a village?"

"Why? Because the peasants are just as much slaves as they ever were,
and that’s why you and Sergey Ivanovitch don’t like people to try and
get them out of their slavery," said Nikolay Levin, exasperated by the

Konstantin Levin sighed, looking meanwhile about the cheerless and dirty
room. This sigh seemed to exasperate Nikolay still more.

"I know your and Sergey Ivanovitch’s aristocratic views. I know that he
applies all the power of his intellect to justify existing evils."

"No; and what do you talk of Sergey Ivanovitch for?" said Levin,

"Sergey Ivanovitch? I’ll tell you what for!" Nikolay Levin shrieked
suddenly at the name of Sergey Ivanovitch. "I’ll tell you what for....
But what’s the use of talking? There’s only one thing.... What did you
come to me for? You look down on this, and you’re welcome to,—and go
away, in God’s name go away!" he shrieked, getting up from his chair.
"And go away, and go away!"

"I don’t look down on it at all," said Konstantin Levin timidly. "I
don’t even dispute it."

At that instant Marya Nikolaevna came back. Nikolay Levin looked round
angrily at her. She went quickly to him, and whispered something.

"I’m not well; I’ve grown irritable," said Nikolay Levin, getting calmer
and breathing painfully; "and then you talk to me of Sergey Ivanovitch
and his article. It’s such rubbish, such lying, such self-deception.
What can a man write of justice who knows nothing of it? Have you read
his article?" he asked Kritsky, sitting down again at the table, and
moving back off half of it the scattered cigarettes, so as to clear a

"I’ve not read it," Kritsky responded gloomily, obviously not desiring
to enter into the conversation.

"Why not?" said Nikolay Levin, now turning with exasperation upon

"Because I didn’t see the use of wasting my time over it."

"Oh, but excuse me, how did you know it would be wasting your time? That
article’s too deep for many people—that’s to say it’s over their heads.
But with me, it’s another thing; I see through his ideas, and I know
where its weakness lies."

Everyone was mute. Kritsky got up deliberately and reached his cap.

"Won’t you have supper? All right, good-bye! Come round tomorrow with
the locksmith."

Kritsky had hardly gone out when Nikolay Levin smiled and winked.

"He’s no good either," he said. "I see, of course..."

But at that instant Kritsky, at the door, called him...

"What do you want now?" he said, and went out to him in the passage.
Left alone with Marya Nikolaevna, Levin turned to her.

"Have you been long with my brother?" he said to her.

"Yes, more than a year. Nikolay Dmitrievitch’s health has become very
poor. Nikolay Dmitrievitch drinks a great deal," she said.

"That is ... how does he drink?"

"Drinks vodka, and it’s bad for him."

"And a great deal?" whispered Levin.

"Yes," she said, looking timidly towards the doorway, where Nikolay
Levin had reappeared.

"What were you talking about?" he said, knitting his brows, and turning
his scared eyes from one to the other. "What was it?"

"Oh, nothing," Konstantin answered in confusion.

"Oh, if you don’t want to say, don’t. Only it’s no good your talking to
her. She’s a wench, and you’re a gentleman," he said with a jerk of the
neck. "You understand everything, I see, and have taken stock of
everything, and look with commiseration on my shortcomings," he began
again, raising his voice.

"Nikolay Dmitrievitch, Nikolay Dmitrievitch," whispered Marya
Nikolaevna, again going up to him.

"Oh, very well, very well!... But where’s the supper? Ah, here it is,"
he said, seeing a waiter with a tray. "Here, set it here," he added
angrily, and promptly seizing the vodka, he poured out a glassful and
drank it greedily. "Like a drink?" he turned to his brother, and at once
became better humored.

"Well, enough of Sergey Ivanovitch. I’m glad to see you, anyway. After
all’s said and done, we’re not strangers. Come, have a drink. Tell me
what you’re doing," he went on, greedily munching a piece of bread, and
pouring out another glassful. "How are you living?"

"I live alone in the country, as I used to. I’m busy looking after the
land," answered Konstantin, watching with horror the greediness with
which his brother ate and drank, and trying to conceal that he noticed

"Why don’t you get married?"

"It hasn’t happened so," Konstantin answered, reddening a little.

"Why not? For me now ... everything’s at an end! I’ve made a mess of my
life. But this I’ve said, and I say still, that if my share had been
given me when I needed it, my whole life would have been different."

Konstantin made haste to change the conversation.

"Do you know your little Vanya’s with me, a clerk in the countinghouse
at Pokrovskoe."

Nikolay jerked his neck, and sank into thought.

"Yes, tell me what’s going on at Pokrovskoe. Is the house standing
still, and the birch trees, and our schoolroom? And Philip the gardener,
is he living? How I remember the arbor and the seat! Now mind and don’t
alter anything in the house, but make haste and get married, and make
everything as it used to be again. Then I’ll come and see you, if your
wife is nice."

"But come to me now," said Levin. "How nicely we would arrange it!"

"I’d come and see you if I were sure I should not find Sergey

"You wouldn’t find him there. I live quite independently of him."

"Yes, but say what you like, you will have to choose between me and
him," he said, looking timidly into his brother’s face.

This timidity touched Konstantin.

"If you want to hear my confession of faith on the subject, I tell you
that in your quarrel with Sergey Ivanovitch I take neither side. You’re
both wrong. You’re more wrong externally, and he inwardly."

"Ah, ah! You see that, you see that!" Nikolay shouted joyfully.

"But I personally value friendly relations with you more because..."

"Why, why?"

Konstantin could not say that he valued it more because Nikolay was
unhappy, and needed affection. But Nikolay knew that this was just what
he meant to say, and scowling he took up the vodka again.

"Enough, Nikolay Dmitrievitch!" said Marya Nikolaevna, stretching out
her plump, bare arm towards the decanter.

"Let it be! Don’t insist! I’ll beat you!" he shouted.

Marya Nikolaevna smiled a sweet and good-humored smile, which was at
once reflected on Nikolay’s face, and she took the bottle.

"And do you suppose she understands nothing?" said Nikolay. "She
understands it all better than any of us. Isn’t it true there’s
something good and sweet in her?"

"Were you never before in Moscow?" Konstantin said to her, for the sake
of saying something.

"Only you mustn’t be polite and stiff with her. It frightens her. No one
ever spoke to her so but the justices of the peace who tried her for
trying to get out of a house of ill-fame. Mercy on us, the senselessness
in the world!" he cried suddenly. "These new institutions, these
justices of the peace, rural councils, what hideousness it all is!"

And he began to enlarge on his encounters with the new institutions.

Konstantin Levin heard him, and the disbelief in the sense of all public
institutions, which he shared with him, and often expressed, was
distasteful to him now from his brother’s lips.

"In another world we shall understand it all," he said lightly.

"In another world! Ah, I don’t like that other world! I don’t like it,"
he said, letting his scared eyes rest on his brother’s eyes. "Here one
would think that to get out of all the baseness and the mess, one’s own
and other people’s, would be a good thing, and yet I’m afraid of death,
awfully afraid of death." He shuddered. "But do drink something. Would
you like some champagne? Or shall we go somewhere? Let’s go to the
Gypsies! Do you know I have got so fond of the Gypsies and Russian

His speech had begun to falter, and he passed abruptly from one subject
to another. Konstantin with the help of Masha persuaded him not to go
out anywhere, and got him to bed hopelessly drunk.

Masha promised to write to Konstantin in case of need, and to persuade
Nikolay Levin to go and stay with his brother.

Chapter 26

In the morning Konstantin Levin left Moscow, and towards evening he
reached home. On the journey in the train he talked to his neighbors
about politics and the new railways, and, just as in Moscow, he was
overcome by a sense of confusion of ideas, dissatisfaction with himself,
shame of something or other. But when he got out at his own station,
when he saw his one-eyed coachman, Ignat, with the collar of his coat
turned up; when, in the dim light reflected by the station fires, he saw
his own sledge, his own horses with their tails tied up, in their
harness trimmed with rings and tassels; when the coachman Ignat, as he
put in his luggage, told him the village news, that the contractor had
arrived, and that Pava had calved,—he felt that little by little the
confusion was clearing up, and the shame and self-dissatisfaction were
passing away. He felt this at the mere sight of Ignat and the horses;
but when he had put on the sheepskin brought for him, had sat down
wrapped up in the sledge, and had driven off pondering on the work that
lay before him in the village, and staring at the side-horse, that had
been his saddle-horse, past his prime now, but a spirited beast from the
Don, he began to see what had happened to him in quite a different
light. He felt himself, and did not want to be any one else. All he
wanted now was to be better than before. In the first place he resolved
that from that day he would give up hoping for any extraordinary
happiness, such as marriage must have given him, and consequently he
would not so disdain what he really had. Secondly, he would never again
let himself give way to low passion, the memory of which had so tortured
him when he had been making up his mind to make an offer. Then
remembering his brother Nikolay, he resolved to himself that he would
never allow himself to forget him, that he would follow him up, and not
lose sight of him, so as to be ready to help when things should go ill
with him. And that would be soon, he felt. Then, too, his brother’s talk
of communism, which he had treated so lightly at the time, now made him
think. He considered a revolution in economic conditions nonsense. But
he always felt the injustice of his own abundance in comparison with the
poverty of the peasants, and now he determined that so as to feel quite
in the right, though he had worked hard and lived by no means
luxuriously before, he would now work still harder, and would allow
himself even less luxury. And all this seemed to him so easy a conquest
over himself that he spent the whole drive in the pleasantest daydreams.
With a resolute feeling of hope in a new, better life, he reached home
before nine o’clock at night.

The snow of the little quadrangle before the house was lit up by a light
in the bedroom windows of his old nurse, Agafea Mihalovna, who performed
the duties of housekeeper in his house. She was not yet asleep. Kouzma,
waked up by her, came sidling sleepily out onto the steps. A setter
bitch, Laska, ran out too, almost upsetting Kouzma, and whining, turned
round about Levin’s knees, jumping up and longing, but not daring, to
put her forepaws on his chest.

"You’re soon back again, sir," said Agafea Mihalovna.

"I got tired of it, Agafea Mihalovna. With friends, one is well; but at
home, one is better," he answered, and went into his study.

The study was slowly lit up as the candle was brought in. The familiar
details came out: the stag’s horns, the bookshelves, the looking-glass,
the stove with its ventilator, which had long wanted mending, his
father’s sofa, a large table, on the table an open book, a broken ash
tray, a manuscript book with his handwriting. As he saw all this, there
came over him for an instant a doubt of the possibility of arranging the
new life, of which he had been dreaming on the road. All these traces of
his life seemed to clutch him, and to say to him: "No, you’re not going
to get away from us, and you’re not going to be different, but you’re
going to be the same as you’ve always been; with doubts, everlasting
dissatisfaction with yourself, vain efforts to amend, and falls, and
everlasting expectation, of a happiness which you won’t get, and which
isn’t possible for you."

This the things said to him, but another voice in his heart was telling
him that he must not fall under the sway of the past, and that one can
do anything with oneself. And hearing that voice, he went into the
corner where stood his two heavy dumbbells, and began brandishing them
like a gymnast, trying to restore his confident temper. There was a
creak of steps at the door. He hastily put down the dumbbells.

The bailiff came in, and said everything, thank God, was doing well; but
informed him that the buckwheat in the new drying machine had been a
little scorched. This piece of news irritated Levin. The new drying
machine had been constructed and partly invented by Levin. The bailiff
had always been against the drying machine, and now it was with
suppressed triumph that he announced that the buckwheat had been
scorched. Levin was firmly convinced that if the buckwheat had been
scorched, it was only because the precautions had not been taken, for
which he had hundreds of times given orders. He was annoyed, and
reprimanded the bailiff. But there had been an important and joyful
event: Pava, his best cow, an expensive beast, bought at a show, had

"Kouzma, give me my sheepskin. And you tell them to take a lantern. I’ll
come and look at her," he said to the bailiff.

The cowhouse for the more valuable cows was just behind the house.
Walking across the yard, passing a snowdrift by the lilac tree, he went
into the cowhouse. There was the warm, steamy smell of dung when the
frozen door was opened, and the cows, astonished at the unfamiliar light
of the lantern, stirred on the fresh straw. He caught a glimpse of the
broad, smooth, black and piebald back of Hollandka. Berkoot, the bull,
was lying down with his ring in his lip, and seemed about to get up, but
thought better of it, and only gave two snorts as they passed by him.
Pava, a perfect beauty, huge as a hippopotamus, with her back turned to
them, prevented their seeing the calf, as she sniffed her all over.

Levin went into the pen, looked Pava over, and lifted the red and
spotted calf onto her long, tottering legs. Pava, uneasy, began lowing,
but when Levin put the calf close to her she was soothed, and, sighing
heavily, began licking her with her rough tongue. The calf, fumbling,
poked her nose under her mother’s udder, and stiffened her tail out

"Here, bring the light, Fyodor, this way," said Levin, examining the
calf. "Like the mother! though the color takes after the father; but
that’s nothing. Very good. Long and broad in the haunch. Vassily
Fedorovitch, isn’t she splendid?" he said to the bailiff, quite
forgiving him for the buckwheat under the influence of his delight in
the calf.

"How could she fail to be? Oh, Semyon the contractor came the day after
you left. You must settle with him, Konstantin Dmitrievitch," said the
bailiff. "I did inform you about the machine."

This question was enough to take Levin back to all the details of his
work on the estate, which was on a large scale, and complicated. He went
straight from the cowhouse to the counting house, and after a little
conversation with the bailiff and Semyon the contractor, he went back to
the house and straight upstairs to the drawing room.

Chapter 27

The house was big and old-fashioned, and Levin, though he lived alone,
had the whole house heated and used. He knew that this was stupid, he
knew that it was positively not right, and contrary to his present new
plans, but this house was a whole world to Levin. It was the world in
which his father and mother had lived and died. They had lived just the
life that to Levin seemed the ideal of perfection, and that he had
dreamed of beginning with his wife, his family.

Levin scarcely remembered his mother. His conception of her was for him
a sacred memory, and his future wife was bound to be in his imagination
a repetition of that exquisite, holy ideal of a woman that his mother
had been.

He was so far from conceiving of love for woman apart from marriage that
he positively pictured to himself first the family, and only secondarily
the woman who would give him a family. His ideas of marriage were,
consequently, quite unlike those of the great majority of his
acquaintances, for whom getting married was one of the numerous facts of
social life. For Levin it was the chief affair of life, on which its
whole happiness turned. And now he had to give up that.

When he had gone into the little drawing room, where he always had tea,
and had settled himself in his armchair with a book, and Agafea
Mihalovna had brought him tea, and with her usual, "Well, I’ll stay a
while, sir," had taken a chair in the window, he felt that, however
strange it might be, he had not parted from his daydreams, and that he
could not live without them. Whether with her, or with another, still it
would be. He was reading a book, and thinking of what he was reading,
and stopping to listen to Agafea Mihalovna, who gossiped away without
flagging, and yet with all that, all sorts of pictures of family life
and work in the future rose disconnectedly before his imagination. He
felt that in the depth of his soul something had been put in its place,
settled down, and laid to rest.

He heard Agafea Mihalovna talking of how Prohor had forgotten his duty
to God, and with the money Levin had given him to buy a horse, had been
drinking without stopping, and had beaten his wife till he’d half killed
her. He listened, and read his book, and recalled the whole train of
ideas suggested by his reading. It was Tyndall’s _Treatise on Heat_. He
recalled his own criticisms of Tyndall of his complacent satisfaction in
the cleverness of his experiments, and for his lack of philosophic
insight. And suddenly there floated into his mind the joyful thought:
"In two years’ time I shall have two Dutch cows; Pava herself will
perhaps still be alive, a dozen young daughters of Berkoot and the three
others—how lovely!"

He took up his book again. "Very good, electricity and heat are the same
thing; but is it possible to substitute the one quantity for the other
in the equation for the solution of any problem? No. Well, then what of
it? The connection between all the forces of nature is felt
instinctively.... It’s particulary nice if Pava’s daughter should be a
red-spotted cow, and all the herd will take after her, and the other
three, too! Splendid! To go out with my wife and visitors to meet the
herd.... My wife says, ‘Kostya and I looked after that calf like a
child.’ ‘How can it interest you so much?’ says a visitor. ‘Everything
that interests him, interests me.’ But who will she be?" And he
remembered what had happened at Moscow.... "Well, there’s nothing to be
done.... It’s not my fault. But now everything shall go on in a new way.
It’s nonsense to pretend that life won’t let one, that the past won’t
let one. One must struggle to live better, much better."... He raised
his head, and fell to dreaming. Old Laska, who had not yet fully
digested her delight at his return, and had run out into the yard to
bark, came back wagging her tail, and crept up to him, bringing in the
scent of fresh air, put her head under his hand, and whined plaintively,
asking to be stroked.

"There, who’d have thought it?" said Agafea Mihalovna. "The dog now ...
why, she understands that her master’s come home, and that he’s

"Why low-spirited?"

"Do you suppose I don’t see it, sir? It’s high time I should know the
gentry. Why, I’ve grown up from a little thing with them. It’s nothing,
sir, so long as there’s health and a clear conscience."

Levin looked intently at her, surprised at how well she knew his

"Shall I fetch you another cup?" said she, and taking his cup she went

Laska kept poking her head under his hand. He stroked her, and she
promptly curled up at his feet, laying her head on a hindpaw. And in
token of all now being well and satisfactory, she opened her mouth a
little, smacked her lips, and settling her sticky lips more comfortably
about her old teeth, she sank into blissful repose. Levin watched all
her movements attentively.

"That’s what I’ll do," he said to himself; "that’s what I’ll do!
Nothing’s amiss.... All’s well."

Chapter 28

After the ball, early next morning, Anna Arkadyevna sent her husband a
telegram that she was leaving Moscow the same day.

"No, I must go, I must go"; she explained to her sister-in-law the
change in her plans in a tone that suggested that she had to remember so
many things that there was no enumerating them: "no, it had really
better be today!"

Stepan Arkadyevitch was not dining at home, but he promised to come and
see his sister off at seven o’clock.

Kitty, too, did not come, sending a note that she had a headache. Dolly
and Anna dined alone with the children and the English governess.
Whether it was that the children were fickle, or that they had acute
senses, and felt that Anna was quite different that day from what she
had been when they had taken such a fancy to her, that she was not now
interested in them,—but they had abruptly dropped their play with their
aunt, and their love for her, and were quite indifferent that she was
going away. Anna was absorbed the whole morning in preparations for her
departure. She wrote notes to her Moscow acquaintances, put down her
accounts, and packed. Altogether Dolly fancied she was not in a placid
state of mind, but in that worried mood, which Dolly knew well with
herself, and which does not come without cause, and for the most part
covers dissatisfaction with self. After dinner, Anna went up to her room
to dress, and Dolly followed her.

"How queer you are today!" Dolly said to her.

"I? Do you think so? I’m not queer, but I’m nasty. I am like that
sometimes. I keep feeling as if I could cry. It’s very stupid, but it’ll
pass off," said Anna quickly, and she bent her flushed face over a tiny
bag in which she was packing a nightcap and some cambric handkerchiefs.
Her eyes were particularly bright, and were continually swimming with
tears. "In the same way I didn’t want to leave Petersburg, and now I
don’t want to go away from here."

"You came here and did a good deed," said Dolly, looking intently at

Anna looked at her with eyes wet with tears.

"Don’t say that, Dolly. I’ve done nothing, and could do nothing. I often
wonder why people are all in league to spoil me. What have I done, and
what could I do? In your heart there was found love enough to

"If it had not been for you, God knows what would have happened! How
happy you are, Anna!" said Dolly. "Everything is clear and good in your

"Every heart has its own _skeletons_, as the English say."

"You have no sort of _skeleton_, have you? Everything is so clear in

"I have!" said Anna suddenly, and, unexpectedly after her tears, a sly,
ironical smile curved her lips.

"Come, he’s amusing, anyway, your _skeleton_, and not depressing," said
Dolly, smiling.

"No, he’s depressing. Do you know why I’m going today instead of
tomorrow? It’s a confession that weighs on me; I want to make it to
you," said Anna, letting herself drop definitely into an armchair, and
looking straight into Dolly’s face.

And to her surprise Dolly saw that Anna was blushing up to her ears, up
to the curly black ringlets on her neck.

"Yes," Anna went on. "Do you know why Kitty didn’t come to dinner? She’s
jealous of me. I have spoiled ... I’ve been the cause of that ball being
a torture to her instead of a pleasure. But truly, truly, it’s not my
fault, or only my fault a little bit," she said, daintily drawling the
words "a little bit."

"Oh, how like Stiva you said that!" said Dolly, laughing.

Anna was hurt.

"Oh no, oh no! I’m not Stiva," she said, knitting her brows. "That’s why
I’m telling you, just because I could never let myself doubt myself for
an instant," said Anna.

But at the very moment she was uttering the words, she felt that they
were not true. She was not merely doubting herself, she felt emotion at
the thought of Vronsky, and was going away sooner than she had meant,
simply to avoid meeting him.

"Yes, Stiva told me you danced the mazurka with him, and that he..."

"You can’t imagine how absurdly it all came about. I only meant to be
matchmaking, and all at once it turned out quite differently. Possibly
against my own will..."

She crimsoned and stopped.

"Oh, they feel it directly?" said Dolly.

"But I should be in despair if there were anything serious in it on his
side," Anna interrupted her. "And I am certain it will all be forgotten,
and Kitty will leave off hating me."

"All the same, Anna, to tell you the truth, I’m not very anxious for
this marriage for Kitty. And it’s better it should come to nothing, if
he, Vronsky, is capable of falling in love with you in a single day."

"Oh, heavens, that would be too silly!" said Anna, and again a deep
flush of pleasure came out on her face, when she heard the idea, that
absorbed her, put into words. "And so here I am going away, having made
an enemy of Kitty, whom I liked so much! Ah, how sweet she is! But
you’ll make it right, Dolly? Eh?"

Dolly could scarcely suppress a smile. She loved Anna, but she enjoyed
seeing that she too had her weaknesses.

"An enemy? That can’t be."

"I did so want you all to care for me, as I do for you, and now I care
for you more than ever," said Anna, with tears in her eyes. "Ah, how
silly I am today!"

She passed her handkerchief over her face and began dressing.

At the very moment of starting Stepan Arkadyevitch arrived, late, rosy
and good-humored, smelling of wine and cigars.

Anna’s emotionalism infected Dolly, and when she embraced her
sister-in-law for the last time, she whispered: "Remember, Anna, what
you’ve done for me—I shall never forget. And remember that I love you,
and shall always love you as my dearest friend!"

"I don’t know why," said Anna, kissing her and hiding her tears.

"You understood me, and you understand. Good-bye, my darling!"

Chapter 29

"Come, it’s all over, and thank God!" was the first thought that came to
Anna Arkadyevna, when she had said good-bye for the last time to her
brother, who had stood blocking up the entrance to the carriage till the
third bell rang. She sat down on her lounge beside Annushka, and looked
about her in the twilight of the sleeping-carriage. "Thank God! tomorrow
I shall see Seryozha and Alexey Alexandrovitch, and my life will go on
in the old way, all nice and as usual."

Still in the same anxious frame of mind, as she had been all that day,
Anna took pleasure in arranging herself for the journey with great care.
With her little deft hands she opened and shut her little red bag, took
out a cushion, laid it on her knees, and carefully wrapping up her feet,
settled herself comfortably. An invalid lady had already lain down to
sleep. Two other ladies began talking to Anna, and a stout elderly lady
tucked up her feet, and made observations about the heating of the
train. Anna answered a few words, but not foreseeing any entertainment
from the conversation, she asked Annushka to get a lamp, hooked it onto
the arm of her seat, and took from her bag a paper knife and an English
novel. At first her reading made no progress. The fuss and bustle were
disturbing; then when the train had started, she could not help
listening to the noises; then the snow beating on the left window and
sticking to the pane, and the sight of the muffled guard passing by,
covered with snow on one side, and the conversations about the terrible
snowstorm raging outside, distracted her attention. Farther on, it was
continually the same again and again: the same shaking and rattling, the
same snow on the window, the same rapid transitions from steaming heat
to cold, and back again to heat, the same passing glimpses of the same
figures in the twilight, and the same voices, and Anna began to read and
to understand what she read. Annushka was already dozing, the red bag on
her lap, clutched by her broad hands, in gloves, of which one was torn.
Anna Arkadyevna read and understood, but it was distasteful to her to
read, that is, to follow the reflection of other people’s lives. She had
too great a desire to live herself. If she read that the heroine of the
novel was nursing a sick man, she longed to move with noiseless steps
about the room of a sick man; if she read of a member of Parliament
making a speech, she longed to be delivering the speech; if she read of
how Lady Mary had ridden after the hounds, and had provoked her
sister-in-law, and had surprised everyone by her boldness, she too
wished to be doing the same. But there was no chance of doing anything;
and twisting the smooth paper knife in her little hands, she forced
herself to read.

The hero of the novel was already almost reaching his English happiness,
a baronetcy and an estate, and Anna was feeling a desire to go with him
to the estate, when she suddenly felt that _he_ ought to feel ashamed,
and that she was ashamed of the same thing. But what had he to be
ashamed of? "What have I to be ashamed of?" she asked herself in injured
surprise. She laid down the book and sank against the back of the chair,
tightly gripping the paper cutter in both hands. There was nothing. She
went over all her Moscow recollections. All were good, pleasant. She
remembered the ball, remembered Vronsky and his face of slavish
adoration, remembered all her conduct with him: there was nothing
shameful. And for all that, at the same point in her memories, the
feeling of shame was intensified, as though some inner voice, just at
the point when she thought of Vronsky, were saying to her, "Warm, very
warm, hot." "Well, what is it?" she said to herself resolutely, shifting
her seat in the lounge. "What does it mean? Am I afraid to look it
straight in the face? Why, what is it? Can it be that between me and
this officer boy there exist, or can exist, any other relations than
such as are common with every acquaintance?" She laughed contemptuously
and took up her book again; but now she was definitely unable to follow
what she read. She passed the paper knife over the window pane, then
laid its smooth, cool surface to her cheek, and almost laughed aloud at
the feeling of delight that all at once without cause came over her. She
felt as though her nerves were strings being strained tighter and
tighter on some sort of screwing peg. She felt her eyes opening wider
and wider, her fingers and toes twitching nervously, something within
oppressing her breathing, while all shapes and sounds seemed in the
uncertain half-light to strike her with unaccustomed vividness. Moments
of doubt were continually coming upon her, when she was uncertain
whether the train were going forwards or backwards, or were standing
still altogether; whether it were Annushka at her side or a stranger.
"What’s that on the arm of the chair, a fur cloak or some beast? And
what am I myself? Myself or some other woman?" She was afraid of giving
way to this delirium. But something drew her towards it, and she could
yield to it or resist it at will. She got up to rouse herself, and
slipped off her plaid and the cape of her warm dress. For a moment she
regained her self-possession, and realized that the thin peasant who had
come in wearing a long overcoat, with buttons missing from it, was the
stoveheater, that he was looking at the thermometer, that it was the
wind and snow bursting in after him at the door; but then everything
grew blurred again.... That peasant with the long waist seemed to be
gnawing something on the wall, the old lady began stretching her legs
the whole length of the carriage, and filling it with a black cloud;
then there was a fearful shrieking and banging, as though someone were
being torn to pieces; then there was a blinding dazzle of red fire
before her eyes and a wall seemed to rise up and hide everything. Anna
felt as though she were sinking down. But it was not terrible, but
delightful. The voice of a man muffled up and covered with snow shouted
something in her ear. She got up and pulled herself together; she
realized that they had reached a station and that this was the guard.
She asked Annushka to hand her the cape she had taken off and her shawl,
put them on and moved towards the door.

"Do you wish to get out?" asked Annushka.

"Yes, I want a little air. It’s very hot in here." And she opened the
door. The driving snow and the wind rushed to meet her and struggled
with her over the door. But she enjoyed the struggle.

She opened the door and went out. The wind seemed as though lying in
wait for her; with gleeful whistle it tried to snatch her up and bear
her off, but she clung to the cold door post, and holding her skirt got
down onto the platform and under the shelter of the carriages. The wind
had been powerful on the steps, but on the platform, under the lee of
the carriages, there was a lull. With enjoyment she drew deep breaths of
the frozen, snowy air, and standing near the carriage looked about the
platform and the lighted station.

Chapter 30

The raging tempest rushed whistling between the wheels of the carriages,
about the scaffolding, and round the corner of the station. The
carriages, posts, people, everything that was to be seen was covered
with snow on one side, and was getting more and more thickly covered.
For a moment there would come a lull in the storm, but then it would
swoop down again with such onslaughts that it seemed impossible to stand
against it. Meanwhile men ran to and fro, talking merrily together,
their steps crackling on the platform as they continually opened and
closed the big doors. The bent shadow of a man glided by at her feet,
and she heard sounds of a hammer upon iron. "Hand over that telegram!"
came an angry voice out of the stormy darkness on the other side. "This
way! No. 28!" several different voices shouted again, and muffled
figures ran by covered with snow. Two gentlemen with lighted cigarettes
passed by her. She drew one more deep breath of the fresh air, and had
just put her hand out of her muff to take hold of the door post and get
back into the carriage, when another man in a military overcoat, quite
close beside her, stepped between her and the flickering light of the
lamp post. She looked round, and the same instant recognized Vronsky’s
face. Putting his hand to the peak of his cap, he bowed to her and
asked, Was there anything she wanted? Could he be of any service to her?
She gazed rather a long while at him without answering, and, in spite of
the shadow in which he was standing, she saw, or fancied she saw, both
the expression of his face and his eyes. It was again that expression of
reverential ecstasy which had so worked upon her the day before. More
than once she had told herself during the past few days, and again only
a few moments before, that Vronsky was for her only one of the hundreds
of young men, forever exactly the same, that are met everywhere, that
she would never allow herself to bestow a thought upon him. But now at
the first instant of meeting him, she was seized by a feeling of joyful
pride. She had no need to ask why he had come. She knew as certainly as
if he had told her that he was here to be where she was.

"I didn’t know you were going. What are you coming for?" she said,
letting fall the hand with which she had grasped the door post. And
irrepressible delight and eagerness shone in her face.

"What am I coming for?" he repeated, looking straight into her eyes.
"You know that I have come to be where you are," he said; "I can’t help

At that moment the wind, as it were, surmounting all obstacles, sent the
snow flying from the carriage roofs, and clanked some sheet of iron it
had torn off, while the hoarse whistle of the engine roared in front,
plaintively and gloomily. All the awfulness of the storm seemed to her
more splendid now. He had said what her soul longed to hear, though she
feared it with her reason. She made no answer, and in her face he saw

"Forgive me, if you dislike what I said," he said humbly.

He had spoken courteously, deferentially, yet so firmly, so stubbornly,
that for a long while she could make no answer.

"It’s wrong, what you say, and I beg you, if you’re a good man, to
forget what you’ve said, as I forget it," she said at last.

"Not one word, not one gesture of yours shall I, could I, ever

"Enough, enough!" she cried trying assiduously to give a stern
expression to her face, into which he was gazing greedily. And clutching
at the cold door post, she clambered up the steps and got rapidly into
the corridor of the carriage. But in the little corridor she paused,
going over in her imagination what had happened. Though she could not
recall her own words or his, she realized instinctively that the
momentary conversation had brought them fearfully closer; and she was
panic-stricken and blissful at it. After standing still a few seconds,
she went into the carriage and sat down in her place. The overstrained
condition which had tormented her before did not only come back, but was
intensified, and reached such a pitch that she was afraid every minute
that something would snap within her from the excessive tension. She did
not sleep all night. But in that nervous tension, and in the visions
that filled her imagination, there was nothing disagreeable or gloomy:
on the contrary there was something blissful, glowing, and exhilarating.
Towards morning Anna sank into a doze, sitting in her place, and when
she waked it was daylight and the train was near Petersburg. At once
thoughts of home, of husband and of son, and the details of that day and
the following came upon her.

At Petersburg, as soon as the train stopped and she got out, the first
person that attracted her attention was her husband. "Oh, mercy! why do
his ears look like that?" she thought, looking at his frigid and
imposing figure, and especially the ears that struck her at the moment
as propping up the brim of his round hat. Catching sight of her, he came
to meet her, his lips falling into their habitual sarcastic smile, and
his big, tired eyes looking straight at her. An unpleasant sensation
gripped at her heart when she met his obstinate and weary glance, as
though she had expected to see him different. She was especially struck
by the feeling of dissatisfaction with herself that she experienced on
meeting him. That feeling was an intimate, familiar feeling, like a
consciousness of hypocrisy, which she experienced in her relations with
her husband. But hitherto she had not taken note of the feeling, now she
was clearly and painfully aware of it.

"Yes, as you see, your tender spouse, as devoted as the first year after
marriage, burned with impatience to see you," he said in his deliberate,
high-pitched voice, and in that tone which he almost always took with
her, a tone of jeering at anyone who should say in earnest what he said.

"Is Seryozha quite well?" she asked.

"And is this all the reward," said he, "for my ardor? He’s quite

Chapter 31

Vronsky had not even tried to sleep all that night. He sat in his
armchair, looking straight before him or scanning the people who got in
and out. If he had indeed on previous occasions struck and impressed
people who did not know him by his air of unhesitating composure, he
seemed now more haughty and self-possessed than ever. He looked at
people as if they were things. A nervous young man, a clerk in a law
court, sitting opposite him, hated him for that look. The young man
asked him for a light, and entered into conversation with him, and even
pushed against him, to make him feel that he was not a thing, but a
person. But Vronsky gazed at him exactly as he did at the lamp, and the
young man made a wry face, feeling that he was losing his
self-possession under the oppression of this refusal to recognize him as
a person.

Vronsky saw nothing and no one. He felt himself a king, not because he
believed that he had made an impression on Anna—he did not yet believe
that,—but because the impression she had made on him gave him happiness
and pride.

What would come of it all he did not know, he did not even think. He
felt that all his forces, hitherto dissipated, wasted, were centered on
one thing, and bent with fearful energy on one blissful goal. And he was
happy at it. He knew only that he had told her the truth, that he had
come where she was, that all the happiness of his life, the only meaning
in life for him, now lay in seeing and hearing her. And when he got out
of the carriage at Bologova to get some seltzer water, and caught sight
of Anna, involuntarily his first word had told her just what he thought.
And he was glad he had told her it, that she knew it now and was
thinking of it. He did not sleep all night. When he was back in the
carriage, he kept unceasingly going over every position in which he had
seen her, every word she had uttered, and before his fancy, making his
heart faint with emotion, floated pictures of a possible future.

When he got out of the train at Petersburg, he felt after his sleepless
night as keen and fresh as after a cold bath. He paused near his
compartment, waiting for her to get out. "Once more," he said to
himself, smiling unconsciously, "once more I shall see her walk, her
face; she will say something, turn her head, glance, smile, maybe." But
before he caught sight of her, he saw her husband, whom the
station-master was deferentially escorting through the crowd. "Ah, yes!
The husband." Only now for the first time did Vronsky realize clearly
the fact that there was a person attached to her, a husband. He knew
that she had a husband, but had hardly believed in his existence, and
only now fully believed in him, with his head and shoulders, and his
legs clad in black trousers; especially when he saw this husband calmly
take her arm with a sense of property.

Seeing Alexey Alexandrovitch with his Petersburg face and severely
self-confident figure, in his round hat, with his rather prominent
spine, he believed in him, and was aware of a disagreeable sensation,
such as a man might feel tortured by thirst, who, on reaching a spring,
should find a dog, a sheep, or a pig, who has drunk of it and muddied
the water. Alexey Alexandrovitch’s manner of walking, with a swing of
the hips and flat feet, particularly annoyed Vronsky. He could recognize
in no one but himself an indubitable right to love her. But she was
still the same, and the sight of her affected him the same way,
physically reviving him, stirring him, and filling his soul with
rapture. He told his German valet, who ran up to him from the second
class, to take his things and go on, and he himself went up to her. He
saw the first meeting between the husband and wife, and noted with a
lover’s insight the signs of slight reserve with which she spoke to her
husband. "No, she does not love him and cannot love him," he decided to

At the moment when he was approaching Anna Arkadyevna he noticed too
with joy that she was conscious of his being near, and looked round, and
seeing him, turned again to her husband.

"Have you passed a good night?" he asked, bowing to her and her husband
together, and leaving it up to Alexey Alexandrovitch to accept the bow
on his own account, and to recognize it or not, as he might see fit.

"Thank you, very good," she answered.

Her face looked weary, and there was not that play of eagerness in it,
peeping out in her smile and her eyes; but for a single instant, as she
glanced at him, there was a flash of something in her eyes, and although
the flash died away at once, he was happy for that moment. She glanced
at her husband to find out whether he knew Vronsky. Alexey
Alexandrovitch looked at Vronsky with displeasure, vaguely recalling who
this was. Vronsky’s composure and self-confidence here struck, like a
scythe against a stone, upon the cold self-confidence of Alexey

"Count Vronsky," said Anna.

"Ah! We are acquainted, I believe," said Alexey Alexandrovitch
indifferently, giving his hand.

"You set off with the mother and you return with the son," he said,
articulating each syllable, as though each were a separate favor he was

"You’re back from leave, I suppose?" he said, and without waiting for a
reply, he turned to his wife in his jesting tone: "Well, were a great
many tears shed at Moscow at parting?"

By addressing his wife like this he gave Vronsky to understand that he
wished to be left alone, and, turning slightly towards him, he touched
his hat; but Vronsky turned to Anna Arkadyevna.

"I hope I may have the honor of calling on you," he said.

Alexey Alexandrovitch glanced with his weary eyes at Vronsky.

"Delighted," he said coldly. "On Mondays we’re at home. Most fortunate,"
he said to his wife, dismissing Vronsky altogether, "that I should just
have half an hour to meet you, so that I can prove my devotion," he went
on in the same jesting tone.

"You lay too much stress on your devotion for me to value it much," she
responded in the same jesting tone, involuntarily listening to the sound
of Vronsky’s steps behind them. "But what has it to do with me?" she
said to herself, and she began asking her husband how Seryozha had got
on without her.

"Oh, capitally! Mariette says he has been very good, And ... I must
disappoint you ... but he has not missed you as your husband has. But
once more _merci,_ my dear, for giving me a day. Our dear _Samovar_ will
be delighted." (He used to call the Countess Lidia Ivanovna, well known
in society, a samovar, because she was always bubbling over with
excitement.) "She has been continually asking after you. And, do you
know, if I may venture to advise you, you should go and see her today.
You know how she takes everything to heart. Just now, with all her own
cares, she’s anxious about the Oblonskys being brought together."

The Countess Lidia Ivanovna was a friend of her husband’s, and the
center of that one of the coteries of the Petersburg world with which
Anna was, through her husband, in the closest relations.

"But you know I wrote to her?"

"Still she’ll want to hear details. Go and see her, if you’re not too
tired, my dear. Well, Kondraty will take you in the carriage, while I go
to my committee. I shall not be alone at dinner again," Alexey
Alexandrovitch went on, no longer in a sarcastic tone. "You wouldn’t
believe how I’ve missed..." And with a long pressure of her hand and a
meaning smile, he put her in her carriage.

Chapter 32

The first person to meet Anna at home was her son. He dashed down the
stairs to her, in spite of the governess’s call, and with desperate joy
shrieked: "Mother! mother!" Running up to her, he hung on her neck.

"I told you it was mother!" he shouted to the governess. "I knew!"

And her son, like her husband, aroused in Anna a feeling akin to
disappointment. She had imagined him better than he was in reality. She
had to let herself drop down to the reality to enjoy him as he really
was. But even as he was, he was charming, with his fair curls, his blue
eyes, and his plump, graceful little legs in tightly pulled-up
stockings. Anna experienced almost physical pleasure in the sensation of
his nearness, and his caresses, and moral soothing, when she met his
simple, confiding, and loving glance, and heard his naïve questions.
Anna took out the presents Dolly’s children had sent him, and told her
son what sort of little girl was Tanya at Moscow, and how Tanya could
read, and even taught the other children.

"Why, am I not so nice as she?" asked Seryozha.

"To me you’re nicer than anyone in the world."

"I know that," said Seryozha, smiling.

Anna had not had time to drink her coffee when the Countess Lidia
Ivanovna was announced. The Countess Lidia Ivanovna was a tall, stout
woman, with an unhealthily sallow face and splendid, pensive black eyes.
Anna liked her, but today she seemed to be seeing her for the first time
with all her defects.

"Well, my dear, so you took the olive branch?" inquired Countess Lidia
Ivanovna, as soon as she came into the room.

"Yes, it’s all over, but it was all much less serious than we had
supposed," answered Anna. "My _belle-soeur_ is in general too hasty."

But Countess Lidia Ivanovna, though she was interested in everything
that did not concern her, had a habit of never listening to what
interested her; she interrupted Anna:

"Yes, there’s plenty of sorrow and evil in the world. I am so worried

"Oh, why?" asked Anna, trying to suppress a smile.

"I’m beginning to be weary of fruitlessly championing the truth, and
sometimes I’m quite unhinged by it. The Society of the Little Sisters"
(this was a religiously-patriotic, philanthropic institution) "was going
splendidly, but with these gentlemen it’s impossible to do anything,"
added Countess Lidia Ivanovna in a tone of ironical submission to
destiny. "They pounce on the idea, and distort it, and then work it out
so pettily and unworthily. Two or three people, your husband among them,
understand all the importance of the thing, but the others simply drag
it down. Yesterday Pravdin wrote to me..."

Pravdin was a well-known Panslavist abroad, and Countess Lidia Ivanovna
described the purport of his letter.

Then the countess told her of more disagreements and intrigues against
the work of the unification of the churches, and departed in haste, as
she had that day to be at the meeting of some society and also at the
Slavonic committee.

"It was all the same before, of course; but why was it I didn’t notice
it before?" Anna asked herself. "Or has she been very much irritated
today? It’s really ludicrous; her object is doing good; she a Christian,
yet she’s always angry; and she always has enemies, and always enemies
in the name of Christianity and doing good."

After Countess Lidia Ivanovna another friend came, the wife of a chief
secretary, who told her all the news of the town. At three o’clock she
too went away, promising to come to dinner. Alexey Alexandrovitch was at
the ministry. Anna, left alone, spent the time till dinner in assisting
at her son’s dinner (he dined apart from his parents) and in putting her
things in order, and in reading and answering the notes and letters
which had accumulated on her table.

The feeling of causeless shame, which she had felt on the journey, and
her excitement, too, had completely vanished. In the habitual conditions
of her life she felt again resolute and irreproachable.

She recalled with wonder her state of mind on the previous day. "What
was it? Nothing. Vronsky said something silly, which it was easy to put
a stop to, and I answered as I ought to have done. To speak of it to my
husband would be unnecessary and out of the question. To speak of it
would be to attach importance to what has no importance." She remembered
how she had told her husband of what was almost a declaration made her
at Petersburg by a young man, one of her husband’s subordinates, and how
Alexey Alexandrovitch had answered that every woman living in the world
was exposed to such incidents, but that he had the fullest confidence in
her tact, and could never lower her and himself by jealousy. "So then
there’s no reason to speak of it? And indeed, thank God, there’s nothing
to speak of," she told herself.

Chapter 33

Alexey Alexandrovitch came back from the meeting of the ministers at
four o’clock, but as often happened, he had not time to come in to her.
He went into his study to see the people waiting for him with petitions,
and to sign some papers brought him by his chief secretary. At dinner
time (there were always a few people dining with the Karenins) there
arrived an old lady, a cousin of Alexey Alexandrovitch, the chief
secretary of the department and his wife, and a young man who had been
recommended to Alexey Alexandrovitch for the service. Anna went into the
drawing room to receive these guests. Precisely at five o’clock, before
the bronze Peter the First clock had struck the fifth stroke, Alexey
Alexandrovitch came in, wearing a white tie and evening coat with two
stars, as he had to go out directly after dinner. Every minute of Alexey
Alexandrovitch’s life was portioned out and occupied. And to make time
to get through all that lay before him every day, he adhered to the
strictest punctuality. "Unhasting and unresting," was his motto. He came
into the dining hall, greeted everyone, and hurriedly sat down, smiling
to his wife.

"Yes, my solitude is over. You wouldn’t believe how uncomfortable" (he
laid stress on the word _uncomfortable_) "it is to dine alone."

At dinner he talked a little to his wife about Moscow matters, and, with
a sarcastic smile, asked her after Stepan Arkadyevitch; but the
conversation was for the most part general, dealing with Petersburg
official and public news. After dinner he spent half an hour with his
guests, and again, with a smile, pressed his wife’s hand, withdrew, and
drove off to the council. Anna did not go out that evening either to the
Princess Betsy Tverskaya, who, hearing of her return, had invited her,
nor to the theater, where she had a box for that evening. She did not go
out principally because the dress she had reckoned upon was not ready.
Altogether, Anna, on turning, after the departure of her guests, to the
consideration of her attire, was very much annoyed. She was generally a
mistress of the art of dressing well without great expense, and before
leaving Moscow she had given her dressmaker three dresses to transform.
The dresses had to be altered so that they could not be recognized, and
they ought to have been ready three days before. It appeared that two
dresses had not been done at all, while the other one had not been
altered as Anna had intended. The dressmaker came to explain, declaring
that it would be better as she had done it, and Anna was so furious that
she felt ashamed when she thought of it afterwards. To regain her
serenity completely she went into the nursery, and spent the whole
evening with her son, put him to bed herself, signed him with the cross,
and tucked him up. She was glad she had not gone out anywhere, and had
spent the evening so well. She felt so light-hearted and serene, she saw
so clearly that all that had seemed to her so important on her railway
journey was only one of the common trivial incidents of fashionable
life, and that she had no reason to feel ashamed before anyone else or
before herself. Anna sat down at the hearth with an English novel and
waited for her husband. Exactly at half-past nine she heard his ring,
and he came into the room.

"Here you are at last!" she observed, holding out her hand to him.

He kissed her hand and sat down beside her.

"Altogether then, I see your visit was a success," he said to her.

"Oh, yes," she said, and she began telling him about everything from the
beginning: her journey with Countess Vronskaya, her arrival, the
accident at the station. Then she described the pity she had felt, first
for her brother, and afterwards for Dolly.

"I imagine one cannot exonerate such a man from blame, though he is your
brother," said Alexey Alexandrovitch severely.

Anna smiled. She knew that he said that simply to show that family
considerations could not prevent him from expressing his genuine
opinion. She knew that characteristic in her husband, and liked it.

"I am glad it has all ended so satisfactorily, and that you are back
again," he went on. "Come, what do they say about the new act I have got
passed in the council?"

Anna had heard nothing of this act, and she felt conscience-stricken at
having been able so readily to forget what was to him of such

"Here, on the other hand, it has made a great sensation," he said, with
a complacent smile.

She saw that Alexey Alexandrovitch wanted to tell her something pleasant
to him about it, and she brought him by questions to telling it. With
the same complacent smile he told her of the ovations he had received in
consequence of the act he had passed.

"I was very, very glad. It shows that at last a reasonable and steady
view of the matter is becoming prevalent among us."

Having drunk his second cup of tea with cream, and bread, Alexey
Alexandrovitch got up, and was going towards his study.

"And you’ve not been anywhere this evening? You’ve been dull, I expect?"
he said.

"Oh, no!" she answered, getting up after him and accompanying him across
the room to his study. "What are you reading now?" she asked.

"Just now I’m reading Duc de Lille, _Poésie des Enfers,_" he answered.
"A very remarkable book."

Anna smiled, as people smile at the weaknesses of those they love, and,
putting her hand under his, she escorted him to the door of the study.
She knew his habit, that had grown into a necessity, of reading in the
evening. She knew, too, that in spite of his official duties, which
swallowed up almost the whole of his time, he considered it his duty to
keep up with everything of note that appeared in the intellectual world.
She knew, too, that he was really interested in books dealing with
politics, philosophy, and theology, that art was utterly foreign to his
nature; but, in spite of this, or rather, in consequence of it, Alexey
Alexandrovitch never passed over anything in the world of art, but made
it his duty to read everything. She knew that in politics, in
philosophy, in theology, Alexey Alexandrovitch often had doubts, and
made investigations; but on questions of art and poetry, and, above all,
of music, of which he was totally devoid of understanding, he had the
most distinct and decided opinions. He was fond of talking about
Shakespeare, Raphael, Beethoven, of the significance of new schools of
poetry and music, all of which were classified by him with very
conspicuous consistency.

"Well, God be with you," she said at the door of the study, where a
shaded candle and a decanter of water were already put by his armchair.
"And I’ll write to Moscow."

He pressed her hand, and again kissed it.

"All the same he’s a good man; truthful, good-hearted, and remarkable in
his own line," Anna said to herself going back to her room, as though
she were defending him to someone who had attacked him and said that one
could not love him. "But why is it his ears stick out so strangely? Or
has he had his hair cut?"

Precisely at twelve o’clock, when Anna was still sitting at her writing
table, finishing a letter to Dolly, she heard the sound of measured
steps in slippers, and Alexey Alexandrovitch, freshly washed and combed,
with a book under his arm, came in to her.

"It’s time, it’s time," said he, with a meaning smile, and he went into
their bedroom.

"And what right had he to look at him like that?" thought Anna,
recalling Vronsky’s glance at Alexey Alexandrovitch.

Undressing, she went into the bedroom; but her face had none of the
eagerness which, during her stay in Moscow, had fairly flashed from her
eyes and her smile; on the contrary, now the fire seemed quenched in
her, hidden somewhere far away.

Chapter 34

When Vronsky went to Moscow from Petersburg, he had left his large set
of rooms in Morskaia to his friend and favorite comrade Petritsky.

Petritsky was a young lieutenant, not particularly well-connected, and
not merely not wealthy, but always hopelessly in debt. Towards evening
he was always drunk, and he had often been locked up after all sorts of
ludicrous and disgraceful scandals, but he was a favorite both of his
comrades and his superior officers. On arriving at twelve o’clock from
the station at his flat, Vronsky saw, at the outer door, a hired
carriage familiar to him. While still outside his own door, as he rang,
he heard masculine laughter, the lisp of a feminine voice, and
Petritsky’s voice. "If that’s one of the villains, don’t let him in!"
Vronsky told the servant not to announce him, and slipped quietly into
the first room. Baroness Shilton, a friend of Petritsky’s, with a rosy
little face and flaxen hair, resplendent in a lilac satin gown, and
filling the whole room, like a canary, with her Parisian chatter, sat at
the round table making coffee. Petritsky, in his overcoat, and the
cavalry captain Kamerovsky, in full uniform, probably just come from
duty, were sitting each side of her.

"Bravo! Vronsky!" shouted Petritsky, jumping up, scraping his chair.
"Our host himself! Baroness, some coffee for him out of the new coffee
pot. Why, we didn’t expect you! Hope you’re satisfied with the ornament
of your study," he said, indicating the baroness. "You know each other,
of course?"

"I should think so," said Vronsky, with a bright smile, pressing the
baroness’s little hand. "What next! I’m an old friend."

"You’re home after a journey," said the baroness, "so I’m flying. Oh,
I’ll be off this minute, if I’m in the way."

"You’re home, wherever you are, baroness," said Vronsky. "How do you do,
Kamerovsky?" he added, coldly shaking hands with Kamerovsky.

"There, you never know how to say such pretty things," said the
baroness, turning to Petritsky.

"No; what’s that for? After dinner I say things quite as good."

"After dinner there’s no credit in them? Well, then, I’ll make you some
coffee, so go and wash and get ready," said the baroness, sitting down
again, and anxiously turning the screw in the new coffee pot. "Pierre,
give me the coffee," she said, addressing Petritsky, whom she called
Pierre as a contraction of his surname, making no secret of her
relations with him. "I’ll put it in."

"You’ll spoil it!"

"No, I won’t spoil it! Well, and your wife?" said the baroness suddenly,
interrupting Vronsky’s conversation with his comrade. "We’ve been
marrying you here. Have you brought your wife?"

"No, baroness. I was born a Bohemian, and a Bohemian I shall die."

"So much the better, so much the better. Shake hands on it."

And the baroness, detaining Vronsky, began telling him, with many jokes,
about her last new plans of life, asking his advice.

"He persists in refusing to give me a divorce! Well, what am I to do?"
(_He_ was her husband.) "Now I want to begin a suit against him. What do
you advise? Kamerovsky, look after the coffee; it’s boiling over. You
see, I’m engrossed with business! I want a lawsuit, because I must have
my property. Do you understand the folly of it, that on the pretext of
my being unfaithful to him," she said contemptuously, "he wants to get
the benefit of my fortune."

Vronsky heard with pleasure this light-hearted prattle of a pretty
woman, agreed with her, gave her half-joking counsel, and altogether
dropped at once into the tone habitual to him in talking to such women.
In his Petersburg world all people were divided into utterly opposed
classes. One, the lower class, vulgar, stupid, and, above all,
ridiculous people, who believe that one husband ought to live with the
one wife whom he has lawfully married; that a girl should be innocent, a
woman modest, and a man manly, self-controlled, and strong; that one
ought to bring up one’s children, earn one’s bread, and pay one’s debts;
and various similar absurdities. This was the class of old-fashioned and
ridiculous people. But there was another class of people, the real
people. To this class they all belonged, and in it the great thing was
to be elegant, generous, plucky, gay, to abandon oneself without a blush
to every passion, and to laugh at everything else.

For the first moment only, Vronsky was startled after the impression of
a quite different world that he had brought with him from Moscow. But
immediately as though slipping his feet into old slippers, he dropped
back into the light-hearted, pleasant world he had always lived in.

The coffee was never really made, but spluttered over every one, and
boiled away, doing just what was required of it—that is, providing much
cause for much noise and laughter, and spoiling a costly rug and the
baroness’s gown.

"Well now, good-bye, or you’ll never get washed, and I shall have on my
conscience the worst sin a gentleman can commit. So you would advise a
knife to his throat?"

"To be sure, and manage that your hand may not be far from his lips.
He’ll kiss your hand, and all will end satisfactorily," answered

"So at the Francais!" and, with a rustle of her skirts, she vanished.

Kamerovsky got up too, and Vronsky, not waiting for him to go, shook
hands and went off to his dressing room.

While he was washing, Petritsky described to him in brief outlines his
position, as far as it had changed since Vronsky had left Petersburg. No
money at all. His father said he wouldn’t give him any and pay his
debts. His tailor was trying to get him locked up, and another fellow,
too, was threatening to get him locked up. The colonel of the regiment
had announced that if these scandals did not cease he would have to
leave. As for the baroness, he was sick to death of her, especially
since she’d taken to offering continually to lend him money. But he had
found a girl—he’d show her to Vronsky—a marvel, exquisite, in the strict
Oriental style, "genre of the slave Rebecca, don’t you know." He’d had a
row, too, with Berkoshov, and was going to send seconds to him, but of
course it would come to nothing. Altogether everything was supremely
amusing and jolly. And, not letting his comrade enter into further
details of his position, Petritsky proceeded to tell him all the
interesting news. As he listened to Petritsky’s familiar stories in the
familiar setting of the rooms he had spent the last three years in,
Vronsky felt a delightful sense of coming back to the careless
Petersburg life that he was used to.

"Impossible!" he cried, letting down the pedal of the washing basin in
which he had been sousing his healthy red neck. "Impossible!" he cried,
at the news that Laura had flung over Fertinghof and had made up to
Mileev. "And is he as stupid and pleased as ever? Well, and how’s

"Oh, there is a tale about Buzulukov—simply lovely!" cried Petritsky.
"You know his weakness for balls, and he never misses a single court
ball. He went to a big ball in a new helmet. Have you seen the new
helmets? Very nice, lighter. Well, so he’s standing.... No, I say, do

"I am listening," answered Vronsky, rubbing himself with a rough towel.

"Up comes the Grand Duchess with some ambassador or other, and, as
ill-luck would have it, she begins talking to him about the new helmets.
The Grand Duchess positively wanted to show the new helmet to the
ambassador. They see our friend standing there." (Petritsky mimicked how
he was standing with the helmet.) "The Grand Duchess asked him to give
her the helmet; he doesn’t give it to her. What do you think of that?
Well, every one’s winking at him, nodding, frowning—give it to her, do!
He doesn’t give it to her. He’s mute as a fish. Only picture it!...
Well, the ... what’s his name, whatever he was ... tries to take the
helmet from him ... he won’t give it up!... He pulls it from him, and
hands it to the Grand Duchess. ‘Here, your Highness,’ says he, ‘is the
new helmet.’ She turned the helmet the other side up, And—just picture
it!—plop went a pear and sweetmeats out of it, two pounds of
sweetmeats!... He’d been storing them up, the darling!"

Vronsky burst into roars of laughter. And long afterwards, when he was
talking of other things, he broke out into his healthy laugh, showing
his strong, close rows of teeth, when he thought of the helmet.

Having heard all the news, Vronsky, with the assistance of his valet,
got into his uniform, and went off to report himself. He intended, when
he had done that, to drive to his brother’s and to Betsy’s and to pay
several visits with a view to beginning to go into that society where he
might meet Madame Karenina. As he always did in Petersburg, he left home
not meaning to return till late at night.


Chapter 1

At the end of the winter, in the Shtcherbatskys’ house, a consultation
was being held, which was to pronounce on the state of Kitty’s health
and the measures to be taken to restore her failing strength. She had
been ill, and as spring came on she grew worse. The family doctor gave
her cod liver oil, then iron, then nitrate of silver, but as the first
and the second and the third were alike in doing no good, and as his
advice when spring came was to go abroad, a celebrated physician was
called in. The celebrated physician, a very handsome man, still
youngish, asked to examine the patient. He maintained, with peculiar
satisfaction, it seemed, that maiden modesty is a mere relic of
barbarism, and that nothing could be more natural than for a man still
youngish to handle a young girl naked. He thought it natural because he
did it every day, and felt and thought, as it seemed to him, no harm as
he did it and consequently he considered modesty in the girl not merely
as a relic of barbarism, but also as an insult to himself.

There was nothing for it but to submit, since, although all the doctors
had studied in the same school, had read the same books, and learned the
same science, and though some people said this celebrated doctor was a
bad doctor, in the princess’s household and circle it was for some
reason accepted that this celebrated doctor alone had some special
knowledge, and that he alone could save Kitty. After a careful
examination and sounding of the bewildered patient, dazed with shame,
the celebrated doctor, having scrupulously washed his hands, was
standing in the drawing room talking to the prince. The prince frowned
and coughed, listening to the doctor. As a man who had seen something of
life, and neither a fool nor an invalid, he had no faith in medicine,
and in his heart was furious at the whole farce, specially as he was
perhaps the only one who fully comprehended the cause of Kitty’s
illness. "Conceited blockhead!" he thought, as he listened to the
celebrated doctor’s chatter about his daughter’s symptoms. The doctor
was meantime with difficulty restraining the expression of his contempt
for this old gentleman, and with difficulty condescending to the level
of his intelligence. He perceived that it was no good talking to the old
man, and that the principal person in the house was the mother. Before
her he decided to scatter his pearls. At that instant the princess came
into the drawing room with the family doctor. The prince withdrew,
trying not to show how ridiculous he thought the whole performance. The
princess was distracted, and did not know what to do. She felt she had
sinned against Kitty.

"Well, doctor, decide our fate," said the princess. "Tell me

"Is there hope?" she meant to say, but her lips quivered, and she could
not utter the question. "Well, doctor?"

"Immediately, princess. I will talk it over with my colleague, and then
I will have the honor of laying my opinion before you."

"So we had better leave you?"

"As you please."

The princess went out with a sigh.

When the doctors were left alone, the family doctor began timidly
explaining his opinion, that there was a commencement of tuberculous
trouble, but ... and so on. The celebrated doctor listened to him, and
in the middle of his sentence looked at his big gold watch.

"Yes," said he. "But..."

The family doctor respectfully ceased in the middle of his observations.

"The commencement of the tuberculous process we are not, as you are
aware, able to define; till there are cavities, there is nothing
definite. But we may suspect it. And there are indications;
malnutrition, nervous excitability, and so on. The question stands thus:
in presence of indications of tuberculous process, what is to be done to
maintain nutrition?"

"But, you know, there are always moral, spiritual causes at the back in
these cases," the family doctor permitted himself to interpolate with a
subtle smile.

"Yes, that’s an understood thing," responded the celebrated physician,
again glancing at his watch. "Beg pardon, is the Yausky bridge done yet,
or shall I have to drive around?" he asked. "Ah! it is. Oh, well, then I
can do it in twenty minutes. So we were saying the problem may be put
thus: to maintain nutrition and to give tone to the nerves. The one is
in close connection with the other, one must attack both sides at once."

"And how about a tour abroad?" asked the family doctor.

"I’ve no liking for foreign tours. And take note: if there is an early
stage of tuberculous process, of which we cannot be certain, a foreign
tour will be of no use. What is wanted is means of improving nutrition,
and not for lowering it." And the celebrated doctor expounded his plan
of treatment with Soden waters, a remedy obviously prescribed primarily
on the ground that they could do no harm.

The family doctor listened attentively and respectfully.

"But in favor of foreign travel I would urge the change of habits, the
removal from conditions calling up reminiscences. And then the mother
wishes it," he added.

"Ah! Well, in that case, to be sure, let them go. Only, those German
quacks are mischievous.... They ought to be persuaded.... Well, let them
go then."

He glanced once more at his watch.

"Oh! time’s up already," And he went to the door. The celebrated doctor
announced to the princess (a feeling of what was due from him dictated
his doing so) that he ought to see the patient once more.

"What! another examination!" cried the mother, with horror.

"Oh, no, only a few details, princess."

"Come this way."

And the mother, accompanied by the doctor, went into the drawing room to
Kitty. Wasted and flushed, with a peculiar glitter in her eyes, left
there by the agony of shame she had been put through, Kitty stood in the
middle of the room. When the doctor came in she flushed crimson, and her
eyes filled with tears. All her illness and treatment struck her as a
thing so stupid, ludicrous even! Doctoring her seemed to her as absurd
as putting together the pieces of a broken vase. Her heart was broken.
Why would they try to cure her with pills and powders? But she could not
grieve her mother, especially as her mother considered herself to blame.

"May I trouble you to sit down, princess?" the celebrated doctor said to

He sat down with a smile, facing her, felt her pulse, and again began
asking her tiresome questions. She answered him, and all at once got up,

"Excuse me, doctor, but there is really no object in this. This is the
third time you’ve asked me the same thing."

The celebrated doctor did not take offense.

"Nervous irritability," he said to the princess, when Kitty had left the
room. "However, I had finished..."

And the doctor began scientifically explaining to the princess, as an
exceptionally intelligent woman, the condition of the young princess,
and concluded by insisting on the drinking of the waters, which were
certainly harmless. At the question: Should they go abroad? the doctor
plunged into deep meditation, as though resolving a weighty problem.
Finally his decision was pronounced: they were to go abroad, but to put
no faith in foreign quacks, and to apply to him in any need.

It seemed as though some piece of good fortune had come to pass after
the doctor had gone. The mother was much more cheerful when she went
back to her daughter, and Kitty pretended to be more cheerful. She had
often, almost always, to be pretending now.

"Really, I’m quite well, mamma. But if you want to go abroad, let’s go!"
she said, and trying to appear interested in the proposed tour, she
began talking of the preparations for the journey.

Chapter 2

Soon after the doctor, Dolly had arrived. She knew that there was to be
a consultation that day, and though she was only just up after her
confinement (she had another baby, a little girl, born at the end of the
winter), though she had trouble and anxiety enough of her own, she had
left her tiny baby and a sick child, to come and hear Kitty’s fate,
which was to be decided that day.

"Well, well?" she said, coming into the drawing room, without taking off
her hat. "You’re all in good spirits. Good news, then?"

They tried to tell her what the doctor had said, but it appeared that
though the doctor had talked distinctly enough and at great length, it
was utterly impossible to report what he had said. The only point of
interest was that it was settled they should go abroad.

Dolly could not help sighing. Her dearest friend, her sister, was going
away. And her life was not a cheerful one. Her relations with Stepan
Arkadyevitch after their reconciliation had become humiliating. The
union Anna had cemented turned out to be of no solid character, and
family harmony was breaking down again at the same point. There had been
nothing definite, but Stepan Arkadyevitch was hardly ever at home;
money, too, was hardly ever forthcoming, and Dolly was continually
tortured by suspicions of infidelity, which she tried to dismiss,
dreading the agonies of jealousy she had been through already. The first
onslaught of jealousy, once lived through, could never come back again,
and even the discovery of infidelities could never now affect her as it
had the first time. Such a discovery now would only mean breaking up
family habits, and she let herself be deceived, despising him and still
more herself, for the weakness. Besides this, the care of her large
family was a constant worry to her: first, the nursing of her young baby
did not go well, then the nurse had gone away, now one of the children
had fallen ill.

"Well, how are all of you?" asked her mother.

"Ah, mamma, we have plenty of troubles of our own. Lili is ill, and I’m
afraid it’s scarlatina. I have come here now to hear about Kitty, and
then I shall shut myself up entirely, if—God forbid—it should be

The old prince too had come in from his study after the doctor’s
departure, and after presenting his cheek to Dolly, and saying a few
words to her, he turned to his wife:

"How have you settled it? you’re going? Well, and what do you mean to do
with me?"

"I suppose you had better stay here, Alexander," said his wife.

"That’s as you like."

"Mamma, why shouldn’t father come with us?" said Kitty. "It would be
nicer for him and for us too."

The old prince got up and stroked Kitty’s hair. She lifted her head and
looked at him with a forced smile. It always seemed to her that he
understood her better than anyone in the family, though he did not say
much about her. Being the youngest, she was her father’s favorite, and
she fancied that his love gave him insight. When now her glance met his
blue kindly eyes looking intently at her, it seemed to her that he saw
right through her, and understood all that was not good that was passing
within her. Reddening, she stretched out towards him expecting a kiss,
but he only patted her hair and said:

"These stupid chignons! There’s no getting at the real daughter. One
simply strokes the bristles of dead women. Well, Dolinka," he turned to
his elder daughter, "what’s your young buck about, hey?"

"Nothing, father," answered Dolly, understanding that her husband was
meant. "He’s always out; I scarcely ever see him," she could not resist
adding with a sarcastic smile.

"Why, hasn’t he gone into the country yet—to see about selling that

"No, he’s still getting ready for the journey."

"Oh, that’s it!" said the prince. "And so am I to be getting ready for a
journey too? At your service," he said to his wife, sitting down. "And I
tell you what, Katia," he went on to his younger daughter, "you must
wake up one fine day and say to yourself: Why, I’m quite well, and
merry, and going out again with father for an early morning walk in the
frost. Hey?"

What her father said seemed simple enough, yet at these words Kitty
became confused and overcome like a detected criminal. "Yes, he sees it
all, he understands it all, and in these words he’s telling me that
though I’m ashamed, I must get over my shame." She could not pluck up
spirit to make any answer. She tried to begin, and all at once burst
into tears, and rushed out of the room.

"See what comes of your jokes!" the princess pounced down on her
husband. "You’re always..." she began a string of reproaches.

The prince listened to the princess’s scolding rather a long while
without speaking, but his face was more and more frowning.

"She’s so much to be pitied, poor child, so much to be pitied, and you
don’t feel how it hurts her to hear the slightest reference to the cause
of it. Ah! to be so mistaken in people!" said the princess, and by the
change in her tone both Dolly and the prince knew she was speaking of
Vronsky. "I don’t know why there aren’t laws against such base,
dishonorable people."

"Ah, I can’t bear to hear you!" said the prince gloomily, getting up
from his low chair, and seeming anxious to get away, yet stopping in the
doorway. "There are laws, madam, and since you’ve challenged me to it,
I’ll tell you who’s to blame for it all: you and you, you and nobody
else. Laws against such young gallants there have always been, and there
still are! Yes, if there has been nothing that ought not to have been,
old as I am, I’d have called him out to the barrier, the young dandy.
Yes, and now you physic her and call in these quacks."

The prince apparently had plenty more to say, but as soon as the
princess heard his tone she subsided at once, and became penitent, as
she always did on serious occasions.

"Alexander, Alexander," she whispered, moving to him and beginning to

As soon as she began to cry the prince too calmed down. He went up to

"There, that’s enough, that’s enough! You’re wretched too, I know. It
can’t be helped. There’s no great harm done. God is merciful ...
thanks..." he said, not knowing what he was saying, as he responded to
the tearful kiss of the princess that he felt on his hand. And the
prince went out of the room.

Before this, as soon as Kitty went out of the room in tears, Dolly, with
her motherly, family instincts, had promptly perceived that here a
woman’s work lay before her, and she prepared to do it. She took off her
hat, and, morally speaking, tucked up her sleeves and prepared for
action. While her mother was attacking her father, she tried to restrain
her mother, so far as filial reverence would allow. During the prince’s
outburst she was silent; she felt ashamed for her mother, and tender
towards her father for so quickly being kind again. But when her father
left them she made ready for what was the chief thing needful—to go to
Kitty and console her.

"I’d been meaning to tell you something for a long while, mamma: did you
know that Levin meant to make Kitty an offer when he was here the last
time? He told Stiva so."

"Well, what then? I don’t understand..."

"So did Kitty perhaps refuse him?... She didn’t tell you so?"

"No, she has said nothing to me either of one or the other; she’s too
proud. But I know it’s all on account of the other."

"Yes, but suppose she has refused Levin, and she wouldn’t have refused
him if it hadn’t been for the other, I know. And then, he has deceived
her so horribly."

It was too terrible for the princess to think how she had sinned against
her daughter, and she broke out angrily.

"Oh, I really don’t understand! Nowadays they will all go their own way,
and mothers haven’t a word to say in anything, and then..."

"Mamma, I’ll go up to her."

"Well, do. Did I tell you not to?" said her mother.

Chapter 3

When she went into Kitty’s little room, a pretty, pink little room, full
of knick-knacks in _vieux saxe,_ as fresh, and pink, and white, and gay
as Kitty herself had been two months ago, Dolly remembered how they had
decorated the room the year before together, with what love and gaiety.
Her heart turned cold when she saw Kitty sitting on a low chair near the
door, her eyes fixed immovably on a corner of the rug. Kitty glanced at
her sister, and the cold, rather ill-tempered expression of her face did
not change.

"I’m just going now, and I shall have to keep in and you won’t be able
to come to see me," said Dolly, sitting down beside her. "I want to talk
to you."

"What about?" Kitty asked swiftly, lifting her head in dismay.

"What should it be, but your trouble?"

"I have no trouble."

"Nonsense, Kitty. Do you suppose I could help knowing? I know all about
it. And believe me, it’s of so little consequence.... We’ve all been
through it."

Kitty did not speak, and her face had a stern expression.

"He’s not worth your grieving over him," pursued Darya Alexandrovna,
coming straight to the point.

"No, because he has treated me with contempt," said Kitty, in a breaking
voice. "Don’t talk of it! Please, don’t talk of it!"

"But who can have told you so? No one has said that. I’m certain he was
in love with you, and would still be in love with you, if it hadn’t...

"Oh, the most awful thing of all for me is this sympathizing!" shrieked
Kitty, suddenly flying into a passion. She turned round on her chair,
flushed crimson, and rapidly moving her fingers, pinched the clasp of
her belt first with one hand and then with the other. Dolly knew this
trick her sister had of clenching her hands when she was much excited;
she knew, too, that in moments of excitement Kitty was capable of
forgetting herself and saying a great deal too much, and Dolly would
have soothed her, but it was too late.

"What, what is it you want to make me feel, eh?" said Kitty quickly.
"That I’ve been in love with a man who didn’t care a straw for me, and
that I’m dying of love for him? And this is said to me by my own sister,
who imagines that ... that ... that she’s sympathizing with me!... I
don’t want these condolences and humbug!"

"Kitty, you’re unjust."

"Why are you tormenting me?"

"But I ... quite the contrary ... I see you’re unhappy..."

But Kitty in her fury did not hear her.

"I’ve nothing to grieve over and be comforted about. I am too proud ever
to allow myself to care for a man who does not love me."

"Yes, I don’t say so either.... Only one thing. Tell me the truth," said
Darya Alexandrovna, taking her by the hand: "tell me, did Levin speak to

The mention of Levin’s name seemed to deprive Kitty of the last vestige
of self-control. She leaped up from her chair, and flinging her clasp on
the ground, she gesticulated rapidly with her hands and said:

"Why bring Levin in too? I can’t understand what you want to torment me
for. I’ve told you, and I say it again, that I have some pride, and
never, _never_ would I do as you’re doing—go back to a man who’s
deceived you, who has cared for another woman. I can’t understand it!
You may, but I can’t!"

And saying these words she glanced at her sister, and seeing that Dolly
sat silent, her head mournfully bowed, Kitty, instead of running out of
the room as she had meant to do, sat down near the door, and hid her
face in her handkerchief.

The silence lasted for two minutes: Dolly was thinking of herself. That
humiliation of which she was always conscious came back to her with a
peculiar bitterness when her sister reminded her of it. She had not
looked for such cruelty in her sister, and she was angry with her. But
suddenly she heard the rustle of a skirt, and with it the sound of
heart-rending, smothered sobbing, and felt arms about her neck. Kitty
was on her knees before her.

"Dolinka, I am so, so wretched!" she whispered penitently. And the sweet
face covered with tears hid itself in Darya Alexandrovna’s skirt.

As though tears were the indispensable oil, without which the machinery
of mutual confidence could not run smoothly between the two sisters, the
sisters after their tears talked, not of what was uppermost in their
minds, but, though they talked of outside matters, they understood each
other. Kitty knew that the words she had uttered in anger about her
husband’s infidelity and her humiliating position had cut her poor
sister to the heart, but that she had forgiven her. Dolly for her part
knew all she had wanted to find out. She felt certain that her surmises
were correct; that Kitty’s misery, her inconsolable misery, was due
precisely to the fact that Levin had made her an offer and she had
refused him, and Vronsky had deceived her, and that she was fully
prepared to love Levin and to detest Vronsky. Kitty said not a word of
that; she talked of nothing but her spiritual condition.

"I have nothing to make me miserable," she said, getting calmer; "but
can you understand that everything has become hateful, loathsome, coarse
to me, and I myself most of all? You can’t imagine what loathsome
thoughts I have about everything."

"Why, whatever loathsome thoughts can you have?" asked Dolly, smiling.

"The most utterly loathsome and coarse: I can’t tell you. It’s not
unhappiness, or low spirits, but much worse. As though everything that
was good in me was all hidden away, and nothing was left but the most
loathsome. Come, how am I to tell you?" she went on, seeing the puzzled
look in her sister’s eyes. "Father began saying something to me just
now.... It seems to me he thinks all I want is to be married. Mother
takes me to a ball: it seems to me she only takes me to get me married
off as soon as may be, and be rid of me. I know it’s not the truth, but
I can’t drive away such thoughts. Eligible suitors, as they call them—I
can’t bear to see them. It seems to me they’re taking stock of me and
summing me up. In old days to go anywhere in a ball dress was a simple
joy to me, I admired myself; now I feel ashamed and awkward. And then!
The doctor.... Then..." Kitty hesitated; she wanted to say further that
ever since this change had taken place in her, Stepan Arkadyevitch had
become insufferably repulsive to her, and that she could not see him
without the grossest and most hideous conceptions rising before her

"Oh, well, everything presents itself to me, in the coarsest, most
loathsome light," she went on. "That’s my illness. Perhaps it will pass

"But you mustn’t think about it."

"I can’t help it. I’m never happy except with the children at your

"What a pity you can’t be with me!"

"Oh, yes, I’m coming. I’ve had scarlatina, and I’ll persuade mamma to
let me."

Kitty insisted on having her way, and went to stay at her sister’s and
nursed the children all through the scarlatina, for scarlatina it turned
out to be. The two sisters brought all the six children successfully
through it, but Kitty was no better in health, and in Lent the
Shtcherbatskys went abroad.

Chapter 4

The highest Petersburg society is essentially one: in it everyone knows
everyone else, everyone even visits everyone else. But this great set
has its subdivisions. Anna Arkadyevna Karenina had friends and close
ties in three different circles of this highest society. One circle was
her husband’s government official set, consisting of his colleagues and
subordinates, brought together in the most various and capricious
manner, and belonging to different social strata. Anna found it
difficult now to recall the feeling of almost awe-stricken reverence
which she had at first entertained for these persons. Now she knew all
of them as people know one another in a country town; she knew their
habits and weaknesses, and where the shoe pinched each one of them. She
knew their relations with one another and with the head authorities,
knew who was for whom, and how each one maintained his position, and
where they agreed and disagreed. But the circle of political, masculine
interests had never interested her, in spite of countess Lidia
Ivanovna’s influence, and she avoided it.

Another little set with which Anna was in close relations was the one by
means of which Alexey Alexandrovitch had made his career. The center of
this circle was the Countess Lidia Ivanovna. It was a set made up of
elderly, ugly, benevolent, and godly women, and clever, learned, and
ambitious men. One of the clever people belonging to the set had called
it "the conscience of Petersburg society." Alexey Alexandrovitch had the
highest esteem for this circle, and Anna with her special gift for
getting on with everyone, had in the early days of her life in
Petersburg made friends in this circle also. Now, since her return from
Moscow, she had come to feel this set insufferable. It seemed to her
that both she and all of them were insincere, and she felt so bored and
ill at ease in that world that she went to see the Countess Lidia
Ivanovna as little as possible.

The third circle with which Anna had ties was preeminently the
fashionable world—the world of balls, of dinners, of sumptuous dresses,
the world that hung on to the court with one hand, so as to avoid
sinking to the level of the demi-monde. For the demi-monde the members
of that fashionable world believed that they despised, though their
tastes were not merely similar, but in fact identical. Her connection
with this circle was kept up through Princess Betsy Tverskaya, her
cousin’s wife, who had an income of a hundred and twenty thousand
roubles, and who had taken a great fancy to Anna ever since she first
came out, showed her much attention, and drew her into her set, making
fun of Countess Lidia Ivanovna’s coterie.

"When I’m old and ugly I’ll be the same," Betsy used to say; "but for a
pretty young woman like you it’s early days for that house of charity."

Anna had at first avoided as far as she could Princess Tverskaya’s
world, because it necessitated an expenditure beyond her means, and
besides in her heart she preferred the first circle. But since her visit
to Moscow she had done quite the contrary. She avoided her
serious-minded friends, and went out into the fashionable world. There
she met Vronsky, and experienced an agitating joy at those meetings. She
met Vronsky specially often at Betsy’s for Betsy was a Vronsky by birth
and his cousin. Vronsky was everywhere where he had any chance of
meeting Anna, and speaking to her, when he could, of his love. She gave
him no encouragement, but every time she met him there surged up in her
heart that same feeling of quickened life that had come upon her that
day in the railway carriage when she saw him for the first time. She was
conscious herself that her delight sparkled in her eyes and curved her
lips into a smile, and she could not quench the expression of this

At first Anna sincerely believed that she was displeased with him for
daring to pursue her. Soon after her return from Moscow, on arriving at
a _soirée_ where she had expected to meet him, and not finding him
there, she realized distinctly from the rush of disappointment that she
had been deceiving herself, and that this pursuit was not merely not
distasteful to her, but that it made the whole interest of her life.

A celebrated singer was singing for the second time, and all the
fashionable world was in the theater. Vronsky, seeing his cousin from
his stall in the front row, did not wait till the entr’acte, but went to
her box.

"Why didn’t you come to dinner?" she said to him. "I marvel at the
second sight of lovers," she added with a smile, so that no one but he
could hear; "_she wasn’t there_. But come after the opera."

Vronsky looked inquiringly at her. She nodded. He thanked her by a
smile, and sat down beside her.

"But how I remember your jeers!" continued Princess Betsy, who took a
peculiar pleasure in following up this passion to a successful issue.
"What’s become of all that? You’re caught, my dear boy."

"That’s my one desire, to be caught," answered Vronsky, with his serene,
good-humored smile. "If I complain of anything it’s only that I’m not
caught enough, to tell the truth. I begin to lose hope."

"Why, whatever hope can you have?" said Betsy, offended on behalf of her
friend. "_Entendons nous...._" But in her eyes there were gleams of
light that betrayed that she understood perfectly and precisely as he
did what hope he might have.

"None whatever," said Vronsky, laughing and showing his even rows of
teeth. "Excuse me," he added, taking an opera glass out of her hand, and
proceeding to scrutinize, over her bare shoulder, the row of boxes
facing them. "I’m afraid I’m becoming ridiculous."

He was very well aware that he ran no risk of being ridiculous in the
eyes of Betsy or any other fashionable people. He was very well aware
that in their eyes the position of an unsuccessful lover of a girl, or
of any woman free to marry, might be ridiculous. But the position of a
man pursuing a married woman, and, regardless of everything, staking his
life on drawing her into adultery, has something fine and grand about
it, and can never be ridiculous; and so it was with a proud and gay
smile under his mustaches that he lowered the opera glass and looked at
his cousin.

"But why was it you didn’t come to dinner?" she said, admiring him.

"I must tell you about that. I was busily employed, and doing what, do
you suppose? I’ll give you a hundred guesses, a thousand ... you’d never
guess. I’ve been reconciling a husband with a man who’d insulted his
wife. Yes, really!"

"Well, did you succeed?"


"You really must tell me about it," she said, getting up. "Come to me in
the next _entr’acte._"

"I can’t; I’m going to the French theater."

"From Nilsson?" Betsy queried in horror, though she could not herself
have distinguished Nilsson’s voice from any chorus girl’s.

"Can’t help it. I’ve an appointment there, all to do with my mission of

"‘Blessed are the peacemakers; theirs is the kingdom of heaven,’" said
Betsy, vaguely recollecting she had heard some similar saying from
someone. "Very well, then, sit down, and tell me what it’s all about."

And she sat down again.

Chapter 5

"This is rather indiscreet, but it’s so good it’s an awful temptation to
tell the story," said Vronsky, looking at her with his laughing eyes.
"I’m not going to mention any names."

"But I shall guess, so much the better."

"Well, listen: two festive young men were driving—"

"Officers of your regiment, of course?"

"I didn’t say they were officers,—two young men who had been lunching."

"In other words, drinking."

"Possibly. They were driving on their way to dinner with a friend in the
most festive state of mind. And they beheld a pretty woman in a hired
sledge; she overtakes them, looks round at them, and, so they fancy
anyway, nods to them and laughs. They, of course, follow her. They
gallop at full speed. To their amazement, the fair one alights at the
entrance of the very house to which they were going. The fair one darts
upstairs to the top story. They get a glimpse of red lips under a short
veil, and exquisite little feet."

"You describe it with such feeling that I fancy you must be one of the

"And after what you said, just now! Well, the young men go in to their
comrade’s; he was giving a farewell dinner. There they certainly did
drink a little too much, as one always does at farewell dinners. And at
dinner they inquire who lives at the top in that house. No one knows;
only their host’s valet, in answer to their inquiry whether any ‘young
ladies’ are living on the top floor, answered that there were a great
many of them about there. After dinner the two young men go into their
host’s study, and write a letter to the unknown fair one. They compose
an ardent epistle, a declaration in fact, and they carry the letter
upstairs themselves, so as to elucidate whatever might appear not
perfectly intelligible in the letter."

"Why are you telling me these horrible stories? Well?"

"They ring. A maid-servant opens the door, they hand her the letter, and
assure the maid that they’re both so in love that they’ll die on the
spot at the door. The maid, stupefied, carries in their messages. All at
once a gentleman appears with whiskers like sausages, as red as a
lobster, announces that there is no one living in the flat except his
wife, and sends them both about their business."

"How do you know he had whiskers like sausages, as you say?"

"Ah, you shall hear. I’ve just been to make peace between them."

"Well, and what then?"

"That’s the most interesting part of the story. It appears that it’s a
happy couple, a government clerk and his lady. The government clerk
lodges a complaint, and I became a mediator, and such a mediator!... I
assure you Talleyrand couldn’t hold a candle to me."

"Why, where was the difficulty?"

"Ah, you shall hear.... We apologize in due form: we are in despair, we
entreat forgiveness for the unfortunate misunderstanding. The government
clerk with the sausages begins to melt, but he, too, desires to express
his sentiments, and as soon as ever he begins to express them, he begins
to get hot and say nasty things, and again I’m obliged to trot out all
my diplomatic talents. I allowed that their conduct was bad, but I urged
him to take into consideration their heedlessness, their youth; then,
too, the young men had only just been lunching together. ‘You
understand. They regret it deeply, and beg you to overlook their
misbehavior.’ The government clerk was softened once more. ‘I consent,
count, and am ready to overlook it; but you perceive that my wife—my
wife’s a respectable woman—has been exposed to the persecution, and
insults, and effrontery of young upstarts, scoundrels....’ And you must
understand, the young upstarts are present all the while, and I have to
keep the peace between them. Again I call out all my diplomacy, and
again as soon as the thing was about at an end, our friend the
government clerk gets hot and red, and his sausages stand on end with
wrath, and once more I launch out into diplomatic wiles."

"Ah, he must tell you this story!" said Betsy, laughing, to a lady who
came into her box. "He has been making me laugh so."

"Well, _bonne chance_!" she added, giving Vronsky one finger of the hand
in which she held her fan, and with a shrug of her shoulders she
twitched down the bodice of her gown that had worked up, so as to be
duly naked as she moved forward towards the footlights into the light of
the gas, and the sight of all eyes.

Vronsky drove to the French theater, where he really had to see the
colonel of his regiment, who never missed a single performance there. He
wanted to see him, to report on the result of his mediation, which had
occupied and amused him for the last three days. Petritsky, whom he
liked, was implicated in the affair, and the other culprit was a capital
fellow and first-rate comrade, who had lately joined the regiment, the
young Prince Kedrov. And what was most important, the interests of the
regiment were involved in it too.

Both the young men were in Vronsky’s company. The colonel of the
regiment was waited upon by the government clerk, Venden, with a
complaint against his officers, who had insulted his wife. His young
wife, so Venden told the story—he had been married half a year—was at
church with her mother, and suddenly overcome by indisposition, arising
from her interesting condition, she could not remain standing, she drove
home in the first sledge, a smart-looking one, she came across. On the
spot the officers set off in pursuit of her; she was alarmed, and
feeling still more unwell, ran up the staircase home. Venden himself, on
returning from his office, heard a ring at their bell and voices, went
out, and seeing the intoxicated officers with a letter, he had turned
them out. He asked for exemplary punishment.

"Yes, it’s all very well," said the colonel to Vronsky, whom he had
invited to come and see him. "Petritsky’s becoming impossible. Not a
week goes by without some scandal. This government clerk won’t let it
drop, he’ll go on with the thing."

Vronsky saw all the thanklessness of the business, and that there could
be no question of a duel in it, that everything must be done to soften
the government clerk, and hush the matter up. The colonel had called in
Vronsky just because he knew him to be an honorable and intelligent man,
and, more than all, a man who cared for the honor of the regiment. They
talked it over, and decided that Petritsky and Kedrov must go with
Vronsky to Venden’s to apologize. The colonel and Vronsky were both
fully aware that Vronsky’s name and rank would be sure to contribute
greatly to the softening of the injured husband’s feelings.

And these two influences were not in fact without effect; though the
result remained, as Vronsky had described, uncertain.

On reaching the French theater, Vronsky retired to the foyer with the
colonel, and reported to him his success, or non-success. The colonel,
thinking it all over, made up his mind not to pursue the matter further,
but then for his own satisfaction proceeded to cross-examine Vronsky
about his interview; and it was a long while before he could restrain
his laughter, as Vronsky described how the government clerk, after
subsiding for a while, would suddenly flare up again, as he recalled the
details, and how Vronsky, at the last half word of conciliation,
skillfully maneuvered a retreat, shoving Petritsky out before him.

"It’s a disgraceful story, but killing. Kedrov really can’t fight the
gentleman! Was he so awfully hot?" he commented, laughing. "But what do
you say to Claire today? She’s marvelous," he went on, speaking of a new
French actress. "However often you see her, every day she’s different.
It’s only the French who can do that."

Chapter 6

Princess Betsy drove home from the theater, without waiting for the end
of the last act. She had only just time to go into her dressing room,
sprinkle her long, pale face with powder, rub it, set her dress to
rights, and order tea in the big drawing room, when one after another
carriages drove up to her huge house in Bolshaia Morskaia. Her guests
stepped out at the wide entrance, and the stout porter, who used to read
the newspapers in the mornings behind the glass door, to the edification
of the passers-by, noiselessly opened the immense door, letting the
visitors pass by him into the house.

Almost at the same instant the hostess, with freshly arranged coiffure
and freshened face, walked in at one door and her guests at the other
door of the drawing room, a large room with dark walls, downy rugs, and
a brightly lighted table, gleaming with the light of candles, white
cloth, silver samovar, and transparent china tea things.

The hostess sat down at the table and took off her gloves. Chairs were
set with the aid of footmen, moving almost imperceptibly about the room;
the party settled itself, divided into two groups: one round the samovar
near the hostess, the other at the opposite end of the drawing room,
round the handsome wife of an ambassador, in black velvet, with sharply
defined black eyebrows. In both groups conversation wavered, as it
always does, for the first few minutes, broken up by meetings,
greetings, offers of tea, and as it were, feeling about for something to
rest upon.

"She’s exceptionally good as an actress; one can see she’s studied
Kaulbach," said a diplomatic attache in the group round the ambassador’s
wife. "Did you notice how she fell down?..."

"Oh, please, don’t let us talk about Nilsson! No one can possibly say
anything new about her," said a fat, red-faced, flaxen-headed lady,
without eyebrows and chignon, wearing an old silk dress. This was
Princess Myakaya, noted for her simplicity and the roughness of her
manners, and nicknamed _enfant terrible_. Princess Myakaya, sitting in
the middle between the two groups, and listening to both, took part in
the conversation first of one and then of the other. "Three people have
used that very phrase about Kaulbach to me today already, just as though
they had made a compact about it. And I can’t see why they liked that
remark so."

The conversation was cut short by this observation, and a new subject
had to be thought of again.

"Do tell me something amusing but not spiteful," said the ambassador’s
wife, a great proficient in the art of that elegant conversation called
by the English, _small talk_. She addressed the attache, who was at a
loss now what to begin upon.

"They say that that’s a difficult task, that nothing’s amusing that
isn’t spiteful," he began with a smile. "But I’ll try. Get me a subject.
It all lies in the subject. If a subject’s given me, it’s easy to spin
something round it. I often think that the celebrated talkers of the
last century would have found it difficult to talk cleverly now.
Everything clever is so stale..."

"That has been said long ago," the ambassador’s wife interrupted him,

The conversation began amiably, but just because it was too amiable, it
came to a stop again. They had to have recourse to the sure,
never-failing topic—gossip.

"Don’t you think there’s something Louis Quinze about Tushkevitch?" he
said, glancing towards a handsome, fair-haired young man, standing at
the table.

"Oh, yes! He’s in the same style as the drawing room and that’s why it
is he’s so often here."

This conversation was maintained, since it rested on allusions to what
could not be talked of in that room—that is to say, of the relations of
Tushkevitch with their hostess.

Round the samovar and the hostess the conversation had been meanwhile
vacillating in just the same way between three inevitable topics: the
latest piece of public news, the theater, and scandal. It, too, came
finally to rest on the last topic, that is, ill-natured gossip.

"Have you heard the Maltishtcheva woman—the mother, not the daughter—has
ordered a costume in _diable rose_ color?"

"Nonsense! No, that’s too lovely!"

"I wonder that with her sense—for she’s not a fool, you know—that she
doesn’t see how funny she is."

Everyone had something to say in censure or ridicule of the luckless
Madame Maltishtcheva, and the conversation crackled merrily, like a
burning faggot-stack.

The husband of Princess Betsy, a good-natured fat man, an ardent
collector of engravings, hearing that his wife had visitors, came into
the drawing room before going to his club. Stepping noiselessly over the
thick rugs, he went up to Princess Myakaya.

"How did you like Nilsson?" he asked.

"Oh, how can you steal upon anyone like that! How you startled me!" she
responded. "Please don’t talk to me about the opera; you know nothing
about music. I’d better meet you on your own ground, and talk about your
majolica and engravings. Come now, what treasure have you been buying
lately at the old curiosity shops?"

"Would you like me to show you? But you don’t understand such things."

"Oh, do show me! I’ve been learning about them at those—what’s their
names?... the bankers ... they’ve some splendid engravings. They showed
them to us."

"Why, have you been at the Schützburgs?" asked the hostess from the

"Yes, _ma chère_. They asked my husband and me to dinner, and told us
the sauce at that dinner cost a hundred pounds," Princess Myakaya said,
speaking loudly, and conscious everyone was listening; "and very nasty
sauce it was, some green mess. We had to ask them, and I made them sauce
for eighteen pence, and everybody was very much pleased with it. I can’t
run to hundred-pound sauces."

"She’s unique!" said the lady of the house.

"Marvelous!" said someone.

The sensation produced by Princess Myakaya’s speeches was always unique,
and the secret of the sensation she produced lay in the fact that though
she spoke not always appropriately, as now, she said simple things with
some sense in them. In the society in which she lived such plain
statements produced the effect of the wittiest epigram. Princess Myakaya
could never see why it had that effect, but she knew it had, and took
advantage of it.

As everyone had been listening while Princess Myakaya spoke, and so the
conversation around the ambassador’s wife had dropped, Princess Betsy
tried to bring the whole party together, and turned to the ambassador’s

"Will you really not have tea? You should come over here by us."

"No, we’re very happy here," the ambassador’s wife responded with a
smile, and she went on with the conversation that had been begun.

It was a very agreeable conversation. They were criticizing the
Karenins, husband and wife.

"Anna is quite changed since her stay in Moscow. There’s something
strange about her," said her friend.

"The great change is that she brought back with her the shadow of Alexey
Vronsky," said the ambassador’s wife.

"Well, what of it? There’s a fable of Grimm’s about a man without a
shadow, a man who’s lost his shadow. And that’s his punishment for
something. I never could understand how it was a punishment. But a woman
must dislike being without a shadow."

"Yes, but women with a shadow usually come to a bad end," said Anna’s

"Bad luck to your tongue!" said Princess Myakaya suddenly. "Madame
Karenina’s a splendid woman. I don’t like her husband, but I like her
very much."

"Why don’t you like her husband? He’s such a remarkable man," said the
ambassador’s wife. "My husband says there are few statesmen like him in

"And my husband tells me just the same, but I don’t believe it," said
Princess Myakaya. "If our husbands didn’t talk to us, we should see the
facts as they are. Alexey Alexandrovitch, to my thinking, is simply a
fool. I say it in a whisper ... but doesn’t it really make everything
clear? Before, when I was told to consider him clever, I kept looking
for his ability, and thought myself a fool for not seeing it; but
directly I said, _he’s a fool,_ though only in a whisper, everything’s
explained, isn’t it?"

"How spiteful you are today!"

"Not a bit. I’d no other way out of it. One of the two had to be a fool.
And, well, you know one can’t say that of oneself."

"‘No one is satisfied with his fortune, and everyone is satisfied with
his wit.’" The attaché repeated the French saying.

"That’s just it, just it," Princess Myakaya turned to him. "But the
point is that I won’t abandon Anna to your mercies. She’s so nice, so
charming. How can she help it if they’re all in love with her, and
follow her about like shadows?"

"Oh, I had no idea of blaming her for it," Anna’s friend said in

"If no one follows us about like a shadow, that’s no proof that we’ve
any right to blame her."

And having duly disposed of Anna’s friend, the Princess Myakaya got up,
and together with the ambassador’s wife, joined the group at the table,
where the conversation was dealing with the king of Prussia.

"What wicked gossip were you talking over there?" asked Betsy.

"About the Karenins. The princess gave us a sketch of Alexey
Alexandrovitch," said the ambassador’s wife with a smile, as she sat
down at the table.

"Pity we didn’t hear it!" said Princess Betsy, glancing towards the
door. "Ah, here you are at last!" she said, turning with a smile to
Vronsky, as he came in.

Vronsky was not merely acquainted with all the persons whom he was
meeting here; he saw them all every day; and so he came in with the
quiet manner with which one enters a room full of people from whom one
has only just parted.

"Where do I come from?" he said, in answer to a question from the
ambassador’s wife. "Well, there’s no help for it, I must confess. From
the _opera bouffé_. I do believe I’ve seen it a hundred times, and
always with fresh enjoyment. It’s exquisite! I know it’s disgraceful,
but I go to sleep at the opera, and I sit out the _opera bouffé_ to the
last minute, and enjoy it. This evening..."

He mentioned a French actress, and was going to tell something about
her; but the ambassador’s wife, with playful horror, cut him short.

"Please don’t tell us about that horror."

"All right, I won’t especially as everyone knows those horrors."

"And we should all go to see them if it were accepted as the correct
thing, like the opera," chimed in Princess Myakaya.

Chapter 7

Steps were heard at the door, and Princess Betsy, knowing it was Madame
Karenina, glanced at Vronsky. He was looking towards the door, and his
face wore a strange new expression. Joyfully, intently, and at the same
time timidly, he gazed at the approaching figure, and slowly he rose to
his feet. Anna walked into the drawing room. Holding herself extremely
erect, as always, looking straight before her, and moving with her
swift, resolute, and light step, that distinguished her from all other
society women, she crossed the short space to her hostess, shook hands
with her, smiled, and with the same smile looked around at Vronsky.
Vronsky bowed low and pushed a chair up for her.

She acknowledged this only by a slight nod, flushed a little, and
frowned. But immediately, while rapidly greeting her acquaintances, and
shaking the hands proffered to her, she addressed Princess Betsy:

"I have been at Countess Lidia’s, and meant to have come here earlier,
but I stayed on. Sir John was there. He’s very interesting."

"Oh, that’s this missionary?"

"Yes; he told us about the life in India, most interesting things."

The conversation, interrupted by her coming in, flickered up again like
the light of a lamp being blown out.

"Sir John! Yes, Sir John; I’ve seen him. He speaks well. The Vlassieva
girl’s quite in love with him."

"And is it true the younger Vlassieva girl’s to marry Topov?"

"Yes, they say it’s quite a settled thing."

"I wonder at the parents! They say it’s a marriage for love."

"For love? What antediluvian notions you have! Can one talk of love in
these days?" said the ambassador’s wife.

"What’s to be done? It’s a foolish old fashion that’s kept up still,"
said Vronsky.

"So much the worse for those who keep up the fashion. The only happy
marriages I know are marriages of prudence."

"Yes, but then how often the happiness of these prudent marriages flies
away like dust just because that passion turns up that they have refused
to recognize," said Vronsky.

"But by marriages of prudence we mean those in which both parties have
sown their wild oats already. That’s like scarlatina—one has to go
through it and get it over."

"Then they ought to find out how to vaccinate for love, like smallpox."

"I was in love in my young days with a deacon," said the Princess
Myakaya. "I don’t know that it did me any good."

"No; I imagine, joking apart, that to know love, one must make mistakes
and then correct them," said Princess Betsy.

"Even after marriage?" said the ambassador’s wife playfully.

"‘It’s never too late to mend.’" The attaché repeated the English

"Just so," Betsy agreed; "one must make mistakes and correct them. What
do you think about it?" she turned to Anna, who, with a faintly
perceptible resolute smile on her lips, was listening in silence to the

"I think," said Anna, playing with the glove she had taken off, "I think
... of so many men, so many minds, certainly so many hearts, so many
kinds of love."

Vronsky was gazing at Anna, and with a fainting heart waiting for what
she would say. He sighed as after a danger escaped when she uttered
these words.

Anna suddenly turned to him.

"Oh, I have had a letter from Moscow. They write me that Kitty
Shtcherbatskaya’s very ill."

"Really?" said Vronsky, knitting his brows.

Anna looked sternly at him.

"That doesn’t interest you?"

"On the contrary, it does, very much. What was it exactly they told you,
if I may know?" he questioned.

Anna got up and went to Betsy.

"Give me a cup of tea," she said, standing at her table.

While Betsy was pouring out the tea, Vronsky went up to Anna.

"What is it they write to you?" he repeated.

"I often think men have no understanding of what’s not honorable though
they’re always talking of it," said Anna, without answering him. "I’ve
wanted to tell you so a long while," she added, and moving a few steps
away, she sat down at a table in a corner covered with albums.

"I don’t quite understand the meaning of your words," he said, handing
her the cup.

She glanced towards the sofa beside her, and he instantly sat down.

"Yes, I have been wanting to tell you," she said, not looking at him.
"You behaved wrongly, very wrongly."

"Do you suppose I don’t know that I’ve acted wrongly? But who was the
cause of my doing so?"

"What do you say that to me for?" she said, glancing severely at him.

"You know what for," he answered boldly and joyfully, meeting her glance
and not dropping his eyes.

Not he, but she, was confused.

"That only shows you have no heart," she said. But her eyes said that
she knew he had a heart, and that was why she was afraid of him.

"What you spoke of just now was a mistake, and not love."

"Remember that I have forbidden you to utter that word, that hateful
word," said Anna, with a shudder. But at once she felt that by that very
word "forbidden" she had shown that she acknowledged certain rights over
him, and by that very fact was encouraging him to speak of love. "I have
long meant to tell you this," she went on, looking resolutely into his
eyes, and hot all over from the burning flush on her cheeks. "I’ve come
on purpose this evening, knowing I should meet you. I have come to tell
you that this must end. I have never blushed before anyone, and you
force me to feel to blame for something."

He looked at her and was struck by a new spiritual beauty in her face.

"What do you wish of me?" he said simply and seriously.

"I want you to go to Moscow and ask for Kitty’s forgiveness," she said.

"You don’t wish that?" he said.

He saw she was saying what she forced herself to say, not what she
wanted to say.

"If you love me, as you say," she whispered, "do so that I may be at

His face grew radiant.

"Don’t you know that you’re all my life to me? But I know no peace, and
I can’t give it to you; all myself—and love ... yes. I can’t think of
you and myself apart. You and I are one to me. And I see no chance
before us of peace for me or for you. I see a chance of despair, of
wretchedness ... or I see a chance of bliss, what bliss!... Can it be
there’s no chance of it?" he murmured with his lips; but she heard.

She strained every effort of her mind to say what ought to be said. But
instead of that she let her eyes rest on him, full of love, and made no

"It’s come!" he thought in ecstasy. "When I was beginning to despair,
and it seemed there would be no end—it’s come! She loves me! She owns

"Then do this for me: never say such things to me, and let us be
friends," she said in words; but her eyes spoke quite differently.

"Friends we shall never be, you know that yourself. Whether we shall be
the happiest or the wretchedest of people—that’s in your hands."

She would have said something, but he interrupted her.

"I ask one thing only: I ask for the right to hope, to suffer as I do.
But if even that cannot be, command me to disappear, and I disappear.
You shall not see me if my presence is distasteful to you."

"I don’t want to drive you away."

"Only don’t change anything, leave everything as it is," he said in a
shaky voice. "Here’s your husband."

At that instant Alexey Alexandrovitch did in fact walk into the room
with his calm, awkward gait.

Glancing at his wife and Vronsky, he went up to the lady of the house,
and sitting down for a cup of tea, began talking in his deliberate,
always audible voice, in his habitual tone of banter, ridiculing

"Your Rambouillet is in full conclave," he said, looking round at all
the party; "the graces and the muses."

But Princess Betsy could not endure that tone of his—"sneering," as she
called it, using the English word, and like a skillful hostess she at
once brought him into a serious conversation on the subject of universal
conscription. Alexey Alexandrovitch was immediately interested in the
subject, and began seriously defending the new imperial decree against
Princess Betsy, who had attacked it.

Vronsky and Anna still sat at the little table.

"This is getting indecorous," whispered one lady, with an expressive
glance at Madame Karenina, Vronsky, and her husband.

"What did I tell you?" said Anna’s friend.

But not only those ladies, almost everyone in the room, even the
Princess Myakaya and Betsy herself, looked several times in the
direction of the two who had withdrawn from the general circle, as
though that were a disturbing fact. Alexey Alexandrovitch was the only
person who did not once look in that direction, and was not diverted
from the interesting discussion he had entered upon.

Noticing the disagreeable impression that was being made on everyone,
Princess Betsy slipped someone else into her place to listen to Alexey
Alexandrovitch, and went up to Anna.

"I’m always amazed at the clearness and precision of your husband’s
language," she said. "The most transcendental ideas seem to be within my
grasp when he’s speaking."

"Oh, yes!" said Anna, radiant with a smile of happiness, and not
understanding a word of what Betsy had said. She crossed over to the big
table and took part in the general conversation.

Alexey Alexandrovitch, after staying half an hour, went up to his wife
and suggested that they should go home together. But she answered, not
looking at him, that she was staying to supper. Alexey Alexandrovitch
made his bows and withdrew.

The fat old Tatar, Madame Karenina’s coachman, was with difficulty
holding one of her pair of grays, chilled with the cold and rearing at
the entrance. A footman stood opening the carriage door. The hall porter
stood holding open the great door of the house. Anna Arkadyevna, with
her quick little hand, was unfastening the lace of her sleeve, caught in
the hook of her fur cloak, and with bent head listening to the words
Vronsky murmured as he escorted her down.

"You’ve said nothing, of course, and I ask nothing," he was saying; "but
you know that friendship’s not what I want: that there’s only one
happiness in life for me, that word that you dislike so ... yes,

"Love," she repeated slowly, in an inner voice, and suddenly, at the
very instant she unhooked the lace, she added, "Why I don’t like the
word is that it means too much to me, far more than you can understand,"
and she glanced into his face. "_Au revoir!_"

She gave him her hand, and with her rapid, springy step she passed by
the porter and vanished into the carriage.

Her glance, the touch of her hand, set him aflame. He kissed the palm of
his hand where she had touched it, and went home, happy in the sense
that he had got nearer to the attainment of his aims that evening than
during the last two months.

Chapter 8

Alexey Alexandrovitch had seen nothing striking or improper in the fact
that his wife was sitting with Vronsky at a table apart, in eager
conversation with him about something. But he noticed that to the rest
of the party this appeared something striking and improper, and for that
reason it seemed to him too to be improper. He made up his mind that he
must speak of it to his wife.

On reaching home Alexey Alexandrovitch went to his study, as he usually
did, seated himself in his low chair, opened a book on the Papacy at the
place where he had laid the paper-knife in it, and read till one
o’clock, just as he usually did. But from time to time he rubbed his
high forehead and shook his head, as though to drive away something. At
his usual time he got up and made his toilet for the night. Anna
Arkadyevna had not yet come in. With a book under his arm he went
upstairs. But this evening, instead of his usual thoughts and
meditations upon official details, his thoughts were absorbed by his
wife and something disagreeable connected with her. Contrary to his
usual habit, he did not get into bed, but fell to walking up and down
the rooms with his hands clasped behind his back. He could not go to
bed, feeling that it was absolutely needful for him first to think
thoroughly over the position that had just arisen.

When Alexey Alexandrovitch had made up his mind that he must talk to his
wife about it, it had seemed a very easy and simple matter. But now,
when he began to think over the question that had just presented itself,
it seemed to him very complicated and difficult.

Alexey Alexandrovitch was not jealous. Jealousy according to his notions
was an insult to one’s wife, and one ought to have confidence in one’s
wife. Why one ought to have confidence—that is to say, complete
conviction that his young wife would always love him—he did not ask
himself. But he had no experience of lack of confidence, because he had
confidence in her, and told himself that he ought to have it. Now,
though his conviction that jealousy was a shameful feeling and that one
ought to feel confidence, had not broken down, he felt that he was
standing face to face with something illogical and irrational, and did
not know what was to be done. Alexey Alexandrovitch was standing face to
face with life, with the possibility of his wife’s loving someone other
than himself, and this seemed to him very irrational and
incomprehensible because it was life itself. All his life Alexey
Alexandrovitch had lived and worked in official spheres, having to do
with the reflection of life. And every time he had stumbled against life
itself he had shrunk away from it. Now he experienced a feeling akin to
that of a man who, while calmly crossing a precipice by a bridge, should
suddenly discover that the bridge is broken, and that there is a chasm
below. That chasm was life itself, the bridge that artificial life in
which Alexey Alexandrovitch had lived. For the first time the question
presented itself to him of the possibility of his wife’s loving someone
else, and he was horrified at it.

He did not undress, but walked up and down with his regular tread over
the resounding parquet of the dining room, where one lamp was burning,
over the carpet of the dark drawing room, in which the light was
reflected on the big new portrait of himself hanging over the sofa, and
across her boudoir, where two candles burned, lighting up the portraits
of her parents and woman friends, and the pretty knick-knacks of her
writing table, that he knew so well. He walked across her boudoir to the
bedroom door, and turned back again. At each turn in his walk,
especially at the parquet of the lighted dining room, he halted and said
to himself, "Yes, this I must decide and put a stop to; I must express
my view of it and my decision." And he turned back again. "But express
what—what decision?" he said to himself in the drawing room, and he
found no reply. "But after all," he asked himself before turning into
the boudoir, "what has occurred? Nothing. She was talking a long while
with him. But what of that? Surely women in society can talk to whom
they please. And then, jealousy means lowering both myself and her," he
told himself as he went into her boudoir; but this dictum, which had
always had such weight with him before, had now no weight and no meaning
at all. And from the bedroom door he turned back again; but as he
entered the dark drawing room some inner voice told him that it was not
so, and that if others noticed it that showed that there was something.
And he said to himself again in the dining room, "Yes, I must decide and
put a stop to it, and express my view of it..." And again at the turn in
the drawing room he asked himself, "Decide how?" And again he asked
himself, "What had occurred?" and answered, "Nothing," and recollected
that jealousy was a feeling insulting to his wife; but again in the
drawing room he was convinced that something had happened. His thoughts,
like his body, went round a complete circle, without coming upon
anything new. He noticed this, rubbed his forehead, and sat down in her

There, looking at her table, with the malachite blotting case lying at
the top and an unfinished letter, his thoughts suddenly changed. He
began to think of her, of what she was thinking and feeling. For the
first time he pictured vividly to himself her personal life, her ideas,
her desires, and the idea that she could and should have a separate life
of her own seemed to him so alarming that he made haste to dispel it. It
was the chasm which he was afraid to peep into. To put himself in
thought and feeling in another person’s place was a spiritual exercise
not natural to Alexey Alexandrovitch. He looked on this spiritual
exercise as a harmful and dangerous abuse of the fancy.

"And the worst of it all," thought he, "is that just now, at the very
moment when my great work is approaching completion" (he was thinking of
the project he was bringing forward at the time), "when I stand in need
of all my mental peace and all my energies, just now this stupid worry
should fall foul of me. But what’s to be done? I’m not one of those men
who submit to uneasiness and worry without having the force of character
to face them.

"I must think it over, come to a decision, and put it out of my mind,"
he said aloud.

"The question of her feelings, of what has passed and may be passing in
her soul, that’s not my affair; that’s the affair of her conscience, and
falls under the head of religion," he said to himself, feeling
consolation in the sense that he had found to which division of
regulating principles this new circumstance could be properly referred.

"And so," Alexey Alexandrovitch said to himself, "questions as to her
feelings, and so on, are questions for her conscience, with which I can
have nothing to do. My duty is clearly defined. As the head of the
family, I am a person bound in duty to guide her, and consequently, in
part the person responsible; I am bound to point out the danger I
perceive, to warn her, even to use my authority. I ought to speak
plainly to her." And everything that he would say tonight to his wife
took clear shape in Alexey Alexandrovitch’s head. Thinking over what he
would say, he somewhat regretted that he should have to use his time and
mental powers for domestic consumption, with so little to show for it,
but, in spite of that, the form and contents of the speech before him
shaped itself as clearly and distinctly in his head as a ministerial

"I must say and express fully the following points: first, exposition of
the value to be attached to public opinion and to decorum; secondly,
exposition of religious significance of marriage; thirdly, if need be,
reference to the calamity possibly ensuing to our son; fourthly,
reference to the unhappiness likely to result to herself." And,
interlacing his fingers, Alexey Alexandrovitch stretched them, and the
joints of the fingers cracked. This trick, a bad habit, the cracking of
his fingers, always soothed him, and gave precision to his thoughts, so
needful to him at this juncture.

There was the sound of a carriage driving up to the front door. Alexey
Alexandrovitch halted in the middle of the room.

A woman’s step was heard mounting the stairs. Alexey Alexandrovitch,
ready for his speech, stood compressing his crossed fingers, waiting to
see if the crack would not come again. One joint cracked.

Already, from the sound of light steps on the stairs, he was aware that
she was close, and though he was satisfied with his speech, he felt
frightened of the explanation confronting him...

Chapter 9

Anna came in with hanging head, playing with the tassels of her hood.
Her face was brilliant and glowing; but this glow was not one of
brightness; it suggested the fearful glow of a conflagration in the
midst of a dark night. On seeing her husband, Anna raised her head and
smiled, as though she had just waked up.

"You’re not in bed? What a wonder!" she said, letting fall her hood, and
without stopping, she went on into the dressing room. "It’s late, Alexey
Alexandrovitch," she said, when she had gone through the doorway.

"Anna, it’s necessary for me to have a talk with you."

"With me?" she said, wonderingly. She came out from behind the door of
the dressing room, and looked at him. "Why, what is it? What about?" she
asked, sitting down. "Well, let’s talk, if it’s so necessary. But it
would be better to get to sleep."

Anna said what came to her lips, and marveled, hearing herself, at her
own capacity for lying. How simple and natural were her words, and how
likely that she was simply sleepy! She felt herself clad in an
impenetrable armor of falsehood. She felt that some unseen force had
come to her aid and was supporting her.

"Anna, I must warn you," he began.

"Warn me?" she said. "Of what?"

She looked at him so simply, so brightly, that anyone who did not know
her as her husband knew her could not have noticed anything unnatural,
either in the sound or the sense of her words. But to him, knowing her,
knowing that whenever he went to bed five minutes later than usual, she
noticed it, and asked him the reason; to him, knowing that every joy,
every pleasure and pain that she felt she communicated to him at once;
to him, now to see that she did not care to notice his state of mind,
that she did not care to say a word about herself, meant a great deal.
He saw that the inmost recesses of her soul, that had always hitherto
lain open before him, were closed against him. More than that, he saw
from her tone that she was not even perturbed at that, but as it were
said straight out to him: "Yes, it’s shut up, and so it must be, and
will be in future." Now he experienced a feeling such as a man might
have, returning home and finding his own house locked up. "But perhaps
the key may yet be found," thought Alexey Alexandrovitch.

"I want to warn you," he said in a low voice, "that through
thoughtlessness and lack of caution you may cause yourself to be talked
about in society. Your too animated conversation this evening with Count
Vronsky" (he enunciated the name firmly and with deliberate emphasis)
"attracted attention."

He talked and looked at her laughing eyes, which frightened him now with
their impenetrable look, and, as he talked, he felt all the uselessness
and idleness of his words.

"You’re always like that," she answered, as though completely
misapprehending him, and of all he had said only taking in the last
phrase. "One time you don’t like my being dull, and another time you
don’t like my being lively. I wasn’t dull. Does that offend you?"

Alexey Alexandrovitch shivered, and bent his hands to make the joints

"Oh, please, don’t do that, I do so dislike it," she said.

"Anna, is this you?" said Alexey Alexandrovitch, quietly making an
effort over himself, and restraining the motion of his fingers.

"But what is it all about?" she said, with such genuine and droll
wonder. "What do you want of me?"

Alexey Alexandrovitch paused, and rubbed his forehead and his eyes. He
saw that instead of doing as he had intended—that is to say, warning his
wife against a mistake in the eyes of the world—he had unconsciously
become agitated over what was the affair of her conscience, and was
struggling against the barrier he fancied between them.

"This is what I meant to say to you," he went on coldly and composedly,
"and I beg you to listen to it. I consider jealousy, as you know, a
humiliating and degrading feeling, and I shall never allow myself to be
influenced by it; but there are certain rules of decorum which cannot be
disregarded with impunity. This evening it was not I observed it, but
judging by the impression made on the company, everyone observed that
your conduct and deportment were not altogether what could be desired."

"I positively don’t understand," said Anna, shrugging her shoulders—"He
doesn’t care," she thought. "But other people noticed it, and that’s
what upsets him."—"You’re not well, Alexey Alexandrovitch," she added,
and she got up, and would have gone towards the door; but he moved
forward as though he would stop her.

His face was ugly and forbidding, as Anna had never seen him. She
stopped, and bending her head back and on one side, began with her rapid
hand taking out her hairpins.

"Well, I’m listening to what’s to come," she said, calmly and
ironically; "and indeed I listen with interest, for I should like to
understand what’s the matter."

She spoke, and marveled at the confident, calm, and natural tone in
which she was speaking, and the choice of the words she used.

"To enter into all the details of your feelings I have no right, and
besides, I regard that as useless and even harmful," began Alexey
Alexandrovitch. "Ferreting in one’s soul, one often ferrets out
something that might have lain there unnoticed. Your feelings are an
affair of your own conscience; but I am in duty bound to you, to myself,
and to God, to point out to you your duties. Our life has been joined,
not by man, but by God. That union can only be severed by a crime, and a
crime of that nature brings its own chastisement."

"I don’t understand a word. And, oh dear! how sleepy I am, unluckily,"
she said, rapidly passing her hand through her hair, feeling for the
remaining hairpins.

"Anna, for God’s sake don’t speak like that!" he said gently. "Perhaps I
am mistaken, but believe me, what I say, I say as much for myself as for
you. I am your husband, and I love you."

For an instant her face fell, and the mocking gleam in her eyes died
away; but the word _love_ threw her into revolt again. She thought:
"Love? Can he love? If he hadn’t heard there was such a thing as love,
he would never have used the word. He doesn’t even know what love is."

"Alexey Alexandrovitch, really I don’t understand," she said. "Define
what it is you find..."

"Pardon, let me say all I have to say. I love you. But I am not speaking
of myself; the most important persons in this matter are our son and
yourself. It may very well be, I repeat, that my words seem to you
utterly unnecessary and out of place; it may be that they are called
forth by my mistaken impression. In that case, I beg you to forgive me.
But if you are conscious yourself of even the smallest foundation for
them, then I beg you to think a little, and if your heart prompts you,
to speak out to me..."

Alexey Alexandrovitch was unconsciously saying something utterly unlike
what he had prepared.

"I have nothing to say. And besides," she said hurriedly, with
difficulty repressing a smile, "it’s really time to be in bed."

Alexey Alexandrovitch sighed, and, without saying more, went into the

When she came into the bedroom, he was already in bed. His lips were
sternly compressed, and his eyes looked away from her. Anna got into her
bed, and lay expecting every minute that he would begin to speak to her
again. She both feared his speaking and wished for it. But he was
silent. She waited for a long while without moving, and had forgotten
about him. She thought of that other; she pictured him, and felt how her
heart was flooded with emotion and guilty delight at the thought of him.
Suddenly she heard an even, tranquil snore. For the first instant Alexey
Alexandrovitch seemed, as it were, appalled at his own snoring, and
ceased; but after an interval of two breathings the snore sounded again,
with a new tranquil rhythm.

"It’s late, it’s late," she whispered with a smile. A long while she
lay, not moving, with open eyes, whose brilliance she almost fancied she
could herself see in the darkness.

Chapter 10

From that time a new life began for Alexey Alexandrovitch and for his
wife. Nothing special happened. Anna went out into society, as she had
always done, was particularly often at Princess Betsy’s, and met Vronsky
everywhere. Alexey Alexandrovitch saw this, but could do nothing. All
his efforts to draw her into open discussion she confronted with a
barrier which he could not penetrate, made up of a sort of amused
perplexity. Outwardly everything was the same, but their inner relations
were completely changed. Alexey Alexandrovitch, a man of great power in
the world of politics, felt himself helpless in this. Like an ox with
head bent, submissively he awaited the blow which he felt was lifted
over him. Every time he began to think about it, he felt that he must
try once more, that by kindness, tenderness, and persuasion there was
still hope of saving her, of bringing her back to herself, and every day
he made ready to talk to her. But every time he began talking to her, he
felt that the spirit of evil and deceit, which had taken possession of
her, had possession of him too, and he talked to her in a tone quite
unlike that in which he had meant to talk. Involuntarily he talked to
her in his habitual tone of jeering at anyone who should say what he was
saying. And in that tone it was impossible to say what needed to be said
to her.

Chapter 11

That which for Vronsky had been almost a whole year the one absorbing
desire of his life, replacing all his old desires; that which for Anna
had been an impossible, terrible, and even for that reason more
entrancing dream of bliss, that desire had been fulfilled. He stood
before her, pale, his lower jaw quivering, and besought her to be calm,
not knowing how or why.

"Anna! Anna!" he said with a choking voice, "Anna, for pity’s sake!..."

But the louder he spoke, the lower she dropped her once proud and gay,
now shame-stricken head, and she bowed down and sank from the sofa where
she was sitting, down on the floor, at his feet; she would have fallen
on the carpet if he had not held her.

"My God! Forgive me!" she said, sobbing, pressing his hands to her

She felt so sinful, so guilty, that nothing was left her but to
humiliate herself and beg forgiveness; and as now there was no one in
her life but him, to him she addressed her prayer for forgiveness.
Looking at him, she had a physical sense of her humiliation, and she
could say nothing more. He felt what a murderer must feel, when he sees
the body he has robbed of life. That body, robbed by him of life, was
their love, the first stage of their love. There was something awful and
revolting in the memory of what had been bought at this fearful price of
shame. Shame at their spiritual nakedness crushed her and infected him.
But in spite of all the murderer’s horror before the body of his victim,
he must hack it to pieces, hide the body, must use what he has gained by
his murder.

And with fury, as it were with passion, the murderer falls on the body,
and drags it and hacks at it; so he covered her face and shoulders with
kisses. She held his hand, and did not stir. "Yes, these kisses—that is
what has been bought by this shame. Yes, and one hand, which will always
be mine—the hand of my accomplice." She lifted up that hand and kissed
it. He sank on his knees and tried to see her face; but she hid it, and
said nothing. At last, as though making an effort over herself, she got
up and pushed him away. Her face was still as beautiful, but it was only
the more pitiful for that.

"All is over," she said; "I have nothing but you. Remember that."

"I can never forget what is my whole life. For one instant of this

"Happiness!" she said with horror and loathing and her horror
unconsciously infected him. "For pity’s sake, not a word, not a word

She rose quickly and moved away from him.

"Not a word more," she repeated, and with a look of chill despair,
incomprehensible to him, she parted from him. She felt that at that
moment she could not put into words the sense of shame, of rapture, and
of horror at this stepping into a new life, and she did not want to
speak of it, to vulgarize this feeling by inappropriate words. But later
too, and the next day and the third day, she still found no words in
which she could express the complexity of her feelings; indeed, she
could not even find thoughts in which she could clearly think out all
that was in her soul.

She said to herself: "No, just now I can’t think of it, later on, when I
am calmer." But this calm for thought never came; every time the thought
rose of what she had done and what would happen to her, and what she
ought to do, a horror came over her and she drove those thoughts away.

"Later, later," she said—"when I am calmer."

But in dreams, when she had no control over her thoughts, her position
presented itself to her in all its hideous nakedness. One dream haunted
her almost every night. She dreamed that both were her husbands at once,
that both were lavishing caresses on her. Alexey Alexandrovitch was
weeping, kissing her hands, and saying, "How happy we are now!" And
Alexey Vronsky was there too, and he too was her husband. And she was
marveling that it had once seemed impossible to her, was explaining to
them, laughing, that this was ever so much simpler, and that now both of
them were happy and contented. But this dream weighed on her like a
nightmare, and she awoke from it in terror.

Chapter 12

In the early days after his return from Moscow, whenever Levin shuddered
and grew red, remembering the disgrace of his rejection, he said to
himself: "This was just how I used to shudder and blush, thinking myself
utterly lost, when I was plucked in physics and did not get my remove;
and how I thought myself utterly ruined after I had mismanaged that
affair of my sister’s that was entrusted to me. And yet, now that years
have passed, I recall it and wonder that it could distress me so much.
It will be the same thing too with this trouble. Time will go by and I
shall not mind about this either."

But three months had passed and he had not left off minding about it;
and it was as painful for him to think of it as it had been those first
days. He could not be at peace because after dreaming so long of family
life, and feeling himself so ripe for it, he was still not married, and
was further than ever from marriage. He was painfully conscious himself,
as were all about him, that at his years it is not well for man to be
alone. He remembered how before starting for Moscow he had once said to
his cowman Nikolay, a simple-hearted peasant, whom he liked talking to:
"Well, Nikolay! I mean to get married," and how Nikolay had promptly
answered, as of a matter on which there could be no possible doubt: "And
high time too, Konstantin Demitrievitch." But marriage had now become
further off than ever. The place was taken, and whenever he tried to
imagine any of the girls he knew in that place, he felt that it was
utterly impossible. Moreover, the recollection of the rejection and the
part he had played in the affair tortured him with shame. However often
he told himself that he was in no wise to blame in it, that
recollection, like other humiliating reminiscences of a similar kind,
made him twinge and blush. There had been in his past, as in every
man’s, actions, recognized by him as bad, for which his conscience ought
to have tormented him; but the memory of these evil actions was far from
causing him so much suffering as those trivial but humiliating
reminiscences. These wounds never healed. And with these memories was
now ranged his rejection and the pitiful position in which he must have
appeared to others that evening. But time and work did their part.
Bitter memories were more and more covered up by the incidents—paltry in
his eyes, but really important—of his country life. Every week he
thought less often of Kitty. He was impatiently looking forward to the
news that she was married, or just going to be married, hoping that such
news would, like having a tooth out, completely cure him.

Meanwhile spring came on, beautiful and kindly, without the delays and
treacheries of spring,—one of those rare springs in which plants,
beasts, and man rejoice alike. This lovely spring roused Levin still
more, and strengthened him in his resolution of renouncing all his past
and building up his lonely life firmly and independently. Though many of
the plans with which he had returned to the country had not been carried
out, still his most important resolution—that of purity—had been kept by
him. He was free from that shame, which had usually harassed him after a
fall; and he could look everyone straight in the face. In February he
had received a letter from Marya Nikolaevna telling him that his brother
Nikolay’s health was getting worse, but that he would not take advice,
and in consequence of this letter Levin went to Moscow to his brother’s
and succeeded in persuading him to see a doctor and to go to a
watering-place abroad. He succeeded so well in persuading his brother,
and in lending him money for the journey without irritating him, that he
was satisfied with himself in that matter. In addition to his farming,
which called for special attention in spring, and in addition to
reading, Levin had begun that winter a work on agriculture, the plan of
which turned on taking into account the character of the laborer on the
land as one of the unalterable data of the question, like the climate
and the soil, and consequently deducing all the principles of scientific
culture, not simply from the data of soil and climate, but from the data
of soil, climate, and a certain unalterable character of the laborer.
Thus, in spite of his solitude, or in consequence of his solitude, his
life was exceedingly full. Only rarely he suffered from an unsatisfied
desire to communicate his stray ideas to someone besides Agafea
Mihalovna. With her indeed he not infrequently fell into discussion upon
physics, the theory of agriculture, and especially philosophy;
philosophy was Agafea Mihalovna’s favorite subject.

Spring was slow in unfolding. For the last few weeks it had been
steadily fine frosty weather. In the daytime it thawed in the sun, but
at night there were even seven degrees of frost. There was such a frozen
surface on the snow that they drove the wagons anywhere off the roads.
Easter came in the snow. Then all of a sudden, on Easter Monday, a warm
wind sprang up, storm clouds swooped down, and for three days and three
nights the warm, driving rain fell in streams. On Thursday the wind
dropped, and a thick gray fog brooded over the land as though hiding the
mysteries of the transformations that were being wrought in nature.
Behind the fog there was the flowing of water, the cracking and floating
of ice, the swift rush of turbid, foaming torrents; and on the following
Monday, in the evening, the fog parted, the storm clouds split up into
little curling crests of cloud, the sky cleared, and the real spring had
come. In the morning the sun rose brilliant and quickly wore away the
thin layer of ice that covered the water, and all the warm air was
quivering with the steam that rose up from the quickened earth. The old
grass looked greener, and the young grass thrust up its tiny blades; the
buds of the guelder-rose and of the currant and the sticky birch-buds
were swollen with sap, and an exploring bee was humming about the golden
blossoms that studded the willow. Larks trilled unseen above the velvety
green fields and the ice-covered stubble-land; peewits wailed over the
low lands and marshes flooded by the pools; cranes and wild geese flew
high across the sky uttering their spring calls. The cattle, bald in
patches where the new hair had not grown yet, lowed in the pastures; the
bowlegged lambs frisked round their bleating mothers. Nimble children
ran about the drying paths, covered with the prints of bare feet. There
was a merry chatter of peasant women over their linen at the pond, and
the ring of axes in the yard, where the peasants were repairing ploughs
and harrows. The real spring had come.

Chapter 13

Levin put on his big boots, and, for the first time, a cloth jacket,
instead of his fur cloak, and went out to look after his farm, stepping
over streams of water that flashed in the sunshine and dazzled his eyes,
and treading one minute on ice and the next into sticky mud.

Spring is the time of plans and projects. And, as he came out into the
farmyard, Levin, like a tree in spring that knows not what form will be
taken by the young shoots and twigs imprisoned in its swelling buds,
hardly knew what undertakings he was going to begin upon now in the farm
work that was so dear to him. But he felt that he was full of the most
splendid plans and projects. First of all he went to the cattle. The
cows had been let out into their paddock, and their smooth sides were
already shining with their new, sleek, spring coats; they basked in the
sunshine and lowed to go to the meadow. Levin gazed admiringly at the
cows he knew so intimately to the minutest detail of their condition,
and gave orders for them to be driven out into the meadow, and the
calves to be let into the paddock. The herdsman ran gaily to get ready
for the meadow. The cowherd girls, picking up their petticoats, ran
splashing through the mud with bare legs, still white, not yet brown
from the sun, waving brush wood in their hands, chasing the calves that
frolicked in the mirth of spring.

After admiring the young ones of that year, who were particularly
fine—the early calves were the size of a peasant’s cow, and Pava’s
daughter, at three months old, was as big as a yearling—Levin gave
orders for a trough to be brought out and for them to be fed in the
paddock. But it appeared that as the paddock had not been used during
the winter, the hurdles made in the autumn for it were broken. He sent
for the carpenter, who, according to his orders, ought to have been at
work at the thrashing machine. But it appeared that the carpenter was
repairing the harrows, which ought to have been repaired before Lent.
This was very annoying to Levin. It was annoying to come upon that
everlasting slovenliness in the farm work against which he had been
striving with all his might for so many years. The hurdles, as he
ascertained, being not wanted in winter, had been carried to the
cart-horses’ stable; and there broken, as they were of light
construction, only meant for feeding calves. Moreover, it was apparent
also that the harrows and all the agricultural implements, which he had
directed to be looked over and repaired in the winter, for which very
purpose he had hired three carpenters, had not been put into repair, and
the harrows were being repaired when they ought to have been harrowing
the field. Levin sent for his bailiff, but immediately went off himself
to look for him. The bailiff, beaming all over, like everyone that day,
in a sheepskin bordered with astrachan, came out of the barn, twisting a
bit of straw in his hands.

"Why isn’t the carpenter at the thrashing machine?"

"Oh, I meant to tell you yesterday, the harrows want repairing. Here
it’s time they got to work in the fields."

"But what were they doing in the winter, then?"

"But what did you want the carpenter for?"

"Where are the hurdles for the calves’ paddock?"

"I ordered them to be got ready. What would you have with those
peasants!" said the bailiff, with a wave of his hand.

"It’s not those peasants but this bailiff!" said Levin, getting angry.
"Why, what do I keep you for?" he cried. But, bethinking himself that
this would not help matters, he stopped short in the middle of a
sentence, and merely sighed. "Well, what do you say? Can sowing begin?"
he asked, after a pause.

"Behind Turkin tomorrow or the next day they might begin."

"And the clover?"

"I’ve sent Vassily and Mishka; they’re sowing. Only I don’t know if
they’ll manage to get through; it’s so slushy."

"How many acres?"

"About fifteen."

"Why not sow all?" cried Levin.

That they were only sowing the clover on fifteen acres, not on all the
forty-five, was still more annoying to him. Clover, as he knew, both
from books and from his own experience, never did well except when it
was sown as early as possible, almost in the snow. And yet Levin could
never get this done.

"There’s no one to send. What would you have with such a set of
peasants? Three haven’t turned up. And there’s Semyon..."

"Well, you should have taken some men from the thatching."

"And so I have, as it is."

"Where are the peasants, then?"

"Five are making compôte" (which meant compost), "four are shifting the
oats for fear of a touch of mildew, Konstantin Dmitrievitch."

Levin knew very well that "a touch of mildew" meant that his English
seed oats were already ruined. Again they had not done as he had

"Why, but I told you during Lent to put in pipes," he cried.

"Don’t put yourself out; we shall get it all done in time."

Levin waved his hand angrily, went into the granary to glance at the
oats, and then to the stable. The oats were not yet spoiled. But the
peasants were carrying the oats in spades when they might simply let
them slide down into the lower granary; and arranging for this to be
done, and taking two workmen from there for sowing clover, Levin got
over his vexation with the bailiff. Indeed, it was such a lovely day
that one could not be angry.

"Ignat!" he called to the coachman, who, with his sleeves tucked up, was
washing the carriage wheels, "saddle me..."

"Which, sir?"

"Well, let it be Kolpik."

"Yes, sir."

While they were saddling his horse, Levin again called up the bailiff,
who was hanging about in sight, to make it up with him, and began
talking to him about the spring operations before them, and his plans
for the farm.

The wagons were to begin carting manure earlier, so as to get all done
before the early mowing. And the ploughing of the further land to go on
without a break so as to let it ripen lying fallow. And the mowing to be
all done by hired labor, not on half-profits. The bailiff listened
attentively, and obviously made an effort to approve of his employer’s
projects. But still he had that look Levin knew so well that always
irritated him, a look of hopelessness and despondency. That look said:
"That’s all very well, but as God wills."

Nothing mortified Levin so much as that tone. But it was the tone common
to all the bailiffs he had ever had. They had all taken up that attitude
to his plans, and so now he was not angered by it, but mortified, and
felt all the more roused to struggle against this, as it seemed,
elemental force continually ranged against him, for which he could find
no other expression than "as God wills."

"If we can manage it, Konstantin Dmitrievitch," said the bailiff.

"Why ever shouldn’t you manage it?"

"We positively must have another fifteen laborers. And they don’t turn
up. There were some here today asking seventy roubles for the summer."

Levin was silent. Again he was brought face to face with that opposing
force. He knew that however much they tried, they could not hire more
than forty—thirty-seven perhaps or thirty-eight—laborers for a
reasonable sum. Some forty had been taken on, and there were no more.
But still he could not help struggling against it.

"Send to Sury, to Tchefirovka; if they don’t come we must look for

"Oh, I’ll send, to be sure," said Vassily Fedorovitch despondently. "But
there are the horses, too, they’re not good for much."

"We’ll get some more. I know, of course," Levin added laughing, "you
always want to do with as little and as poor quality as possible; but
this year I’m not going to let you have things your own way. I’ll see to
everything myself."

"Why, I don’t think you take much rest as it is. It cheers us up to work
under the master’s eye..."

"So they’re sowing clover behind the Birch Dale? I’ll go and have a look
at them," he said, getting on to the little bay cob, Kolpik, who was led
up by the coachman.

"You can’t get across the streams, Konstantin Dmitrievitch," the
coachman shouted.

"All right, I’ll go by the forest."

And Levin rode through the slush of the farmyard to the gate and out
into the open country, his good little horse, after his long inactivity,
stepping out gallantly, snorting over the pools, and asking, as it were,
for guidance. If Levin had felt happy before in the cattle pens and
farmyard, he felt happier yet in the open country. Swaying rhythmically
with the ambling paces of his good little cob, drinking in the warm yet
fresh scent of the snow and the air, as he rode through his forest over
the crumbling, wasted snow, still left in parts, and covered with
dissolving tracks, he rejoiced over every tree, with the moss reviving
on its bark and the buds swelling on its shoots. When he came out of the
forest, in the immense plain before him, his grass fields stretched in
an unbroken carpet of green, without one bare place or swamp, only
spotted here and there in the hollows with patches of melting snow. He
was not put out of temper even by the sight of the peasants’ horses and
colts trampling down his young grass (he told a peasant he met to drive
them out), nor by the sarcastic and stupid reply of the peasant Ipat,
whom he met on the way, and asked, "Well, Ipat, shall we soon be
sowing?" "We must get the ploughing done first, Konstantin
Dmitrievitch," answered Ipat. The further he rode, the happier he
became, and plans for the land rose to his mind each better than the
last; to plant all his fields with hedges along the southern borders, so
that the snow should not lie under them; to divide them up into six
fields of arable and three of pasture and hay; to build a cattle yard at
the further end of the estate, and to dig a pond and to construct
movable pens for the cattle as a means of manuring the land. And then
eight hundred acres of wheat, three hundred of potatoes, and four
hundred of clover, and not one acre exhausted.

Absorbed in such dreams, carefully keeping his horse by the hedges, so
as not to trample his young crops, he rode up to the laborers who had
been sent to sow clover. A cart with the seed in it was standing, not at
the edge, but in the middle of the crop, and the winter corn had been
torn up by the wheels and trampled by the horse. Both the laborers were
sitting in the hedge, probably smoking a pipe together. The earth in the
cart, with which the seed was mixed, was not crushed to powder, but
crusted together or adhering in clods. Seeing the master, the laborer,
Vassily, went towards the cart, while Mishka set to work sowing. This
was not as it should be, but with the laborers Levin seldom lost his
temper. When Vassily came up, Levin told him to lead the horse to the

"It’s all right, sir, it’ll spring up again," responded Vassily.

"Please don’t argue," said Levin, "but do as you’re told."

"Yes, sir," answered Vassily, and he took the horse’s head. "What a
sowing, Konstantin Dmitrievitch," he said, hesitating; "first rate. Only
it’s a work to get about! You drag a ton of earth on your shoes."

"Why is it you have earth that’s not sifted?" said Levin.

"Well, we crumble it up," answered Vassily, taking up some seed and
rolling the earth in his palms.

Vassily was not to blame for their having filled up his cart with
unsifted earth, but still it was annoying.

Levin had more than once already tried a way he knew for stifling his
anger, and turning all that seemed dark right again, and he tried that
way now. He watched how Mishka strode along, swinging the huge clods of
earth that clung to each foot; and getting off his horse, he took the
sieve from Vassily and started sowing himself.

"Where did you stop?"

Vassily pointed to the mark with his foot, and Levin went forward as
best he could, scattering the seed on the land. Walking was as difficult
as on a bog, and by the time Levin had ended the row he was in a great
heat, and he stopped and gave up the sieve to Vassily.

"Well, master, when summer’s here, mind you don’t scold me for these
rows," said Vassily.

"Eh?" said Levin cheerily, already feeling the effect of his method.

"Why, you’ll see in the summer time. It’ll look different. Look you
where I sowed last spring. How I did work at it! I do my best,
Konstantin Dmitrievitch, d’ye see, as I would for my own father. I don’t
like bad work myself, nor would I let another man do it. What’s good for
the master’s good for us too. To look out yonder now," said Vassily,
pointing, "it does one’s heart good."

"It’s a lovely spring, Vassily."

"Why, it’s a spring such as the old men don’t remember the like of. I
was up home; an old man up there has sown wheat too, about an acre of
it. He was saying you wouldn’t know it from rye."

"Have you been sowing wheat long?"

"Why, sir, it was you taught us the year before last. You gave me two
measures. We sold about eight bushels and sowed a rood."

"Well, mind you crumble up the clods," said Levin, going towards his
horse, "and keep an eye on Mishka. And if there’s a good crop you shall
have half a rouble for every acre."

"Humbly thankful. We are very well content, sir, as it is."

Levin got on his horse and rode towards the field where was last year’s
clover, and the one which was ploughed ready for the spring corn.

The crop of clover coming up in the stubble was magnificent. It had
survived everything, and stood up vividly green through the broken
stalks of last year’s wheat. The horse sank in up to the pasterns, and
he drew each hoof with a sucking sound out of the half-thawed ground.
Over the ploughland riding was utterly impossible; the horse could only
keep a foothold where there was ice, and in the thawing furrows he sank
deep in at each step. The ploughland was in splendid condition; in a
couple of days it would be fit for harrowing and sowing. Everything was
capital, everything was cheering. Levin rode back across the streams,
hoping the water would have gone down. And he did in fact get across,
and startled two ducks. "There must be snipe too," he thought, and just
as he reached the turning homewards he met the forest keeper, who
confirmed his theory about the snipe.

Levin went home at a trot, so as to have time to eat his dinner and get
his gun ready for the evening.

Chapter 14

As he rode up to the house in the happiest frame of mind, Levin heard
the bell ring at the side of the principal entrance of the house.

"Yes, that’s someone from the railway station," he thought, "just the
time to be here from the Moscow train ... Who could it be? What if it’s
brother Nikolay? He did say: ‘Maybe I’ll go to the waters, or maybe I’ll
come down to you.’" He felt dismayed and vexed for the first minute,
that his brother Nikolay’s presence should come to disturb his happy
mood of spring. But he felt ashamed of the feeling, and at once he
opened, as it were, the arms of his soul, and with a softened feeling of
joy and expectation, now he hoped with all his heart that it was his
brother. He pricked up his horse, and riding out from behind the acacias
he saw a hired three-horse sledge from the railway station, and a
gentleman in a fur coat. It was not his brother. "Oh, if it were only
some nice person one could talk to a little!" he thought.

"Ah," cried Levin joyfully, flinging up both his hands. "Here’s a
delightful visitor! Ah, how glad I am to see you!" he shouted,
recognizing Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"I shall find out for certain whether she’s married, or when she’s going
to be married," he thought. And on that delicious spring day he felt
that the thought of her did not hurt him at all.

"Well, you didn’t expect me, eh?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, getting out
of the sledge, splashed with mud on the bridge of his nose, on his
cheek, and on his eyebrows, but radiant with health and good spirits.
"I’ve come to see you in the first place," he said, embracing and
kissing him, "to have some stand-shooting second, and to sell the forest
at Ergushovo third."

"Delightful! What a spring we’re having! How ever did you get along in a

"In a cart it would have been worse still, Konstantin Dmitrievitch,"
answered the driver, who knew him.

"Well, I’m very, very glad to see you," said Levin, with a genuine smile
of childlike delight.

Levin led his friend to the room set apart for visitors, where Stepan
Arkadyevitch’s things were carried also—a bag, a gun in a case, a
satchel for cigars. Leaving him there to wash and change his clothes,
Levin went off to the counting house to speak about the ploughing and
clover. Agafea Mihalovna, always very anxious for the credit of the
house, met him in the hall with inquiries about dinner.

"Do just as you like, only let it be as soon as possible," he said, and
went to the bailiff.

When he came back, Stepan Arkadyevitch, washed and combed, came out of
his room with a beaming smile, and they went upstairs together.

"Well, I am glad I managed to get away to you! Now I shall understand
what the mysterious business is that you are always absorbed in here.
No, really, I envy you. What a house, how nice it all is! So bright, so
cheerful!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, forgetting that it was not always
spring and fine weather like that day. "And your nurse is simply
charming! A pretty maid in an apron might be even more agreeable,
perhaps; but for your severe monastic style it does very well."

Stepan Arkadyevitch told him many interesting pieces of news; especially
interesting to Levin was the news that his brother, Sergey Ivanovitch,
was intending to pay him a visit in the summer.

Not one word did Stepan Arkadyevitch say in reference to Kitty and the
Shtcherbatskys; he merely gave him greetings from his wife. Levin was
grateful to him for his delicacy and was very glad of his visitor. As
always happened with him during his solitude, a mass of ideas and
feelings had been accumulating within him, which he could not
communicate to those about him. And now he poured out upon Stepan
Arkadyevitch his poetic joy in the spring, and his failures and plans
for the land, and his thoughts and criticisms on the books he had been
reading, and the idea of his own book, the basis of which really was,
though he was unaware of it himself, a criticism of all the old books on
agriculture. Stepan Arkadyevitch, always charming, understanding
everything at the slightest reference, was particularly charming on this
visit, and Levin noticed in him a special tenderness, as it were, and a
new tone of respect that flattered him.

The efforts of Agafea Mihalovna and the cook, that the dinner should be
particularly good, only ended in the two famished friends attacking the
preliminary course, eating a great deal of bread and butter, salt goose
and salted mushrooms, and in Levin’s finally ordering the soup to be
served without the accompaniment of little pies, with which the cook had
particularly meant to impress their visitor. But though Stepan
Arkadyevitch was accustomed to very different dinners, he thought
everything excellent: the herb brandy, and the bread, and the butter,
and above all the salt goose and the mushrooms, and the nettle soup, and
the chicken in white sauce, and the white Crimean wine—everything was
superb and delicious.

"Splendid, splendid!" he said, lighting a fat cigar after the roast. "I
feel as if, coming to you, I had landed on a peaceful shore after the
noise and jolting of a steamer. And so you maintain that the laborer
himself is an element to be studied and to regulate the choice of
methods in agriculture. Of course, I’m an ignorant outsider; but I
should fancy theory and its application will have its influence on the
laborer too."

"Yes, but wait a bit. I’m not talking of political economy, I’m talking
of the science of agriculture. It ought to be like the natural sciences,
and to observe given phenomena and the laborer in his economic,

At that instant Agafea Mihalovna came in with jam.

"Oh, Agafea Mihalovna," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, kissing the tips of
his plump fingers, "what salt goose, what herb brandy!... What do you
think, isn’t it time to start, Kostya?" he added.

Levin looked out of the window at the sun sinking behind the bare
tree-tops of the forest.

"Yes, it’s time," he said. "Kouzma, get ready the trap," and he ran

Stepan Arkadyevitch, going down, carefully took the canvas cover off his
varnished gun case with his own hands, and opening it, began to get
ready his expensive new-fashioned gun. Kouzma, who already scented a big
tip, never left Stepan Arkadyevitch’s side, and put on him both his
stockings and boots, a task which Stepan Arkadyevitch readily left him.

"Kostya, give orders that if the merchant Ryabinin comes ... I told him
to come today, he’s to be brought in and to wait for me..."

"Why, do you mean to say you’re selling the forest to Ryabinin?"

"Yes. Do you know him?"

"To be sure I do. I have had to do business with him, ‘positively and

Stepan Arkadyevitch laughed. "Positively and conclusively" were the
merchant’s favorite words.

"Yes, it’s wonderfully funny the way he talks. She knows where her
master’s going!" he added, patting Laska, who hung about Levin, whining
and licking his hands, his boots, and his gun.

The trap was already at the steps when they went out.

"I told them to bring the trap round; or would you rather walk?"

"No, we’d better drive," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, getting into the
trap. He sat down, tucked the tiger-skin rug round him, and lighted a
cigar. "How is it you don’t smoke? A cigar is a sort of thing, not
exactly a pleasure, but the crown and outward sign of pleasure. Come,
this is life! How splendid it is! This is how I should like to live!"

"Why, who prevents you?" said Levin, smiling.

"No, you’re a lucky man! You’ve got everything you like. You like
horses—and you have them; dogs—you have them; shooting—you have it;
farming—you have it."

"Perhaps because I rejoice in what I have, and don’t fret for what I
haven’t," said Levin, thinking of Kitty.

Stepan Arkadyevitch comprehended, looked at him, but said nothing.

Levin was grateful to Oblonsky for noticing, with his never-failing
tact, that he dreaded conversation about the Shtcherbatskys, and so
saying nothing about them. But now Levin was longing to find out what
was tormenting him so, yet he had not the courage to begin.

"Come, tell me how things are going with you," said Levin, bethinking
himself that it was not nice of him to think only of himself.

Stepan Arkadyevitch’s eyes sparkled merrily.

"You don’t admit, I know, that one can be fond of new rolls when one has
had one’s rations of bread—to your mind it’s a crime; but I don’t count
life as life without love," he said, taking Levin’s question his own
way. "What am I to do? I’m made that way. And really, one does so little
harm to anyone, and gives oneself so much pleasure..."

"What! is there something new, then?" queried Levin.

"Yes, my boy, there is! There, do you see, you know the type of Ossian’s
women.... Women, such as one sees in dreams.... Well, these women are
sometimes to be met in reality ... and these women are terrible. Woman,
don’t you know, is such a subject that however much you study it, it’s
always perfectly new."

"Well, then, it would be better not to study it."

"No. Some mathematician has said that enjoyment lies in the search for
truth, not in the finding it."

Levin listened in silence, and in spite of all the efforts he made, he
could not in the least enter into the feelings of his friend and
understand his sentiments and the charm of studying such women.

Chapter 15

The place fixed on for the stand-shooting was not far above a stream in
a little aspen copse. On reaching the copse, Levin got out of the trap
and led Oblonsky to a corner of a mossy, swampy glade, already quite
free from snow. He went back himself to a double birch tree on the other
side, and leaning his gun on the fork of a dead lower branch, he took
off his full overcoat, fastened his belt again, and worked his arms to
see if they were free.

Gray old Laska, who had followed them, sat down warily opposite him and
pricked up her ears. The sun was setting behind a thick forest, and in
the glow of sunset the birch trees, dotted about in the aspen copse,
stood out clearly with their hanging twigs, and their buds swollen
almost to bursting.

From the thickest parts of the copse, where the snow still remained,
came the faint sound of narrow winding threads of water running away.
Tiny birds twittered, and now and then fluttered from tree to tree.

In the pauses of complete stillness there came the rustle of last year’s
leaves, stirred by the thawing of the earth and the growth of the grass.

"Imagine! One can hear and see the grass growing!" Levin said to
himself, noticing a wet, slate-colored aspen leaf moving beside a blade
of young grass. He stood, listened, and gazed sometimes down at the wet
mossy ground, sometimes at Laska listening all alert, sometimes at the
sea of bare tree tops that stretched on the slope below him, sometimes
at the darkening sky, covered with white streaks of cloud.

A hawk flew high over a forest far away with slow sweep of its wings;
another flew with exactly the same motion in the same direction and
vanished. The birds twittered more and more loudly and busily in the
thicket. An owl hooted not far off, and Laska, starting, stepped
cautiously a few steps forward, and putting her head on one side, began
to listen intently. Beyond the stream was heard the cuckoo. Twice she
uttered her usual cuckoo call, and then gave a hoarse, hurried call and
broke down.

"Imagine! the cuckoo already!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, coming out from
behind a bush.

"Yes, I hear it," answered Levin, reluctantly breaking the stillness
with his voice, which sounded disagreeable to himself. "Now it’s

Stepan Arkadyevitch’s figure again went behind the bush, and Levin saw
nothing but the bright flash of a match, followed by the red glow and
blue smoke of a cigarette.

"Tchk! tchk!" came the snapping sound of Stepan Arkadyevitch cocking his

"What’s that cry?" asked Oblonsky, drawing Levin’s attention to a
prolonged cry, as though a colt were whinnying in a high voice, in play.

"Oh, don’t you know it? That’s the hare. But enough talking! Listen,
it’s flying!" almost shrieked Levin, cocking his gun.

They heard a shrill whistle in the distance, and in the exact time, so
well known to the sportsman, two seconds later—another, a third, and
after the third whistle the hoarse, guttural cry could be heard.

Levin looked about him to right and to left, and there, just facing him
against the dusky blue sky above the confused mass of tender shoots of
the aspens, he saw the flying bird. It was flying straight towards him;
the guttural cry, like the even tearing of some strong stuff, sounded
close to his ear; the long beak and neck of the bird could be seen, and
at the very instant when Levin was taking aim, behind the bush where
Oblonsky stood, there was a flash of red lightning: the bird dropped
like an arrow, and darted upwards again. Again came the red flash and
the sound of a blow, and fluttering its wings as though trying to keep
up in the air, the bird halted, stopped still an instant, and fell with
a heavy splash on the slushy ground.

"Can I have missed it?" shouted Stepan Arkadyevitch, who could not see
for the smoke.

"Here it is!" said Levin, pointing to Laska, who with one ear raised,
wagging the end of her shaggy tail, came slowly back as though she would
prolong the pleasure, and as it were smiling, brought the dead bird to
her master. "Well, I’m glad you were successful," said Levin, who, at
the same time, had a sense of envy that he had not succeeded in shooting
the snipe.

"It was a bad shot from the right barrel," responded Stepan
Arkadyevitch, loading his gun. "Sh... it’s flying!"

The shrill whistles rapidly following one another were heard again. Two
snipe, playing and chasing one another, and only whistling, not crying,
flew straight at the very heads of the sportsmen. There was the report
of four shots, and like swallows the snipe turned swift somersaults in
the air and vanished from sight.

The stand-shooting was capital. Stepan Arkadyevitch shot two more birds
and Levin two, of which one was not found. It began to get dark. Venus,
bright and silvery, shone with her soft light low down in the west
behind the birch trees, and high up in the east twinkled the red lights
of Arcturus. Over his head Levin made out the stars of the Great Bear
and lost them again. The snipe had ceased flying; but Levin resolved to
stay a little longer, till Venus, which he saw below a branch of birch,
should be above it, and the stars of the Great Bear should be perfectly
plain. Venus had risen above the branch, and the ear of the Great Bear
with its shaft was now all plainly visible against the dark blue sky,
yet still he waited.

"Isn’t it time to go home?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch.

It was quite still now in the copse, and not a bird was stirring.

"Let’s stay a little while," answered Levin.

"As you like."

They were standing now about fifteen paces from one another.

"Stiva!" said Levin unexpectedly; "how is it you don’t tell me whether
your sister-in-law’s married yet, or when she’s going to be?"

Levin felt so resolute and serene that no answer, he fancied, could
affect him. But he had never dreamed of what Stepan Arkadyevitch

"She’s never thought of being married, and isn’t thinking of it; but
she’s very ill, and the doctors have sent her abroad. They’re positively
afraid she may not live."

"What!" cried Levin. "Very ill? What is wrong with her? How has she...?"

While they were saying this, Laska, with ears pricked up, was looking
upwards at the sky, and reproachfully at them.

"They have chosen a time to talk," she was thinking. "It’s on the
wing.... Here it is, yes, it is. They’ll miss it," thought Laska.

But at that very instant both suddenly heard a shrill whistle which, as
it were, smote on their ears, and both suddenly seized their guns and
two flashes gleamed, and two bangs sounded at the very same instant. The
snipe flying high above instantly folded its wings and fell into a
thicket, bending down the delicate shoots.

"Splendid! Together!" cried Levin, and he ran with Laska into the
thicket to look for the snipe.

"Oh, yes, what was it that was unpleasant?" he wondered. "Yes, Kitty’s
ill.... Well, it can’t be helped; I’m very sorry," he thought.

"She’s found it! Isn’t she a clever thing?" he said, taking the warm
bird from Laska’s mouth and packing it into the almost full game bag.
"I’ve got it, Stiva!" he shouted.

Chapter 16

On the way home Levin asked all details of Kitty’s illness and the
Shtcherbatskys’ plans, and though he would have been ashamed to admit
it, he was pleased at what he heard. He was pleased that there was still
hope, and still more pleased that she should be suffering who had made
him suffer so much. But when Stepan Arkadyevitch began to speak of the
causes of Kitty’s illness, and mentioned Vronsky’s name, Levin cut him

"I have no right whatever to know family matters, and, to tell the
truth, no interest in them either."

Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled hardly perceptibly, catching the
instantaneous change he knew so well in Levin’s face, which had become
as gloomy as it had been bright a minute before.

"Have you quite settled about the forest with Ryabinin?" asked Levin.

"Yes, it’s settled. The price is magnificent; thirty-eight thousand.
Eight straight away, and the rest in six years. I’ve been bothering
about it for ever so long. No one would give more."

"Then you’ve as good as given away your forest for nothing," said Levin

"How do you mean for nothing?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch with a
good-humored smile, knowing that nothing would be right in Levin’s eyes

"Because the forest is worth at least a hundred and fifty roubles the
acre," answered Levin.

"Oh, these farmers!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch playfully. "Your tone of
contempt for us poor townsfolk!... But when it comes to business, we do
it better than anyone. I assure you I have reckoned it all out," he
said, "and the forest is fetching a very good price—so much so that I’m
afraid of this fellow’s crying off, in fact. You know it’s not
‘timber,’" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, hoping by this distinction to
convince Levin completely of the unfairness of his doubts. "And it won’t
run to more than twenty-five yards of fagots per acre, and he’s giving
me at the rate of seventy roubles the acre."

Levin smiled contemptuously. "I know," he thought, "that fashion not
only in him, but in all city people, who, after being twice in ten years
in the country, pick up two or three phrases and use them in season and
out of season, firmly persuaded that they know all about it. ‘_Timber,
run to so many yards the acre._’ He says those words without
understanding them himself."

"I wouldn’t attempt to teach you what you write about in your office,"
said he, "and if need arose, I should come to you to ask about it. But
you’re so positive you know all the lore of the forest. It’s difficult.
Have you counted the trees?"

"How count the trees?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, laughing, still trying
to draw his friend out of his ill-temper. "Count the sands of the sea,
number the stars. Some higher power might do it."

"Oh, well, the higher power of Ryabinin can. Not a single merchant ever
buys a forest without counting the trees, unless they get it given them
for nothing, as you’re doing now. I know your forest. I go there every
year shooting, and your forest’s worth a hundred and fifty roubles an
acre paid down, while he’s giving you sixty by installments. So that in
fact you’re making him a present of thirty thousand."

"Come, don’t let your imagination run away with you," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch piteously. "Why was it none would give it, then?"

"Why, because he has an understanding with the merchants; he’s bought
them off. I’ve had to do with all of them; I know them. They’re not
merchants, you know: they’re speculators. He wouldn’t look at a bargain
that gave him ten, fifteen per cent profit, but holds back to buy a
rouble’s worth for twenty kopecks."

"Well, enough of it! You’re out of temper."

"Not the least," said Levin gloomily, as they drove up to the house.

At the steps there stood a trap tightly covered with iron and leather,
with a sleek horse tightly harnessed with broad collar-straps. In the
trap sat the chubby, tightly belted clerk who served Ryabinin as
coachman. Ryabinin himself was already in the house, and met the friends
in the hall. Ryabinin was a tall, thinnish, middle-aged man, with
mustache and a projecting clean-shaven chin, and prominent muddy-looking
eyes. He was dressed in a long-skirted blue coat, with buttons below the
waist at the back, and wore high boots wrinkled over the ankles and
straight over the calf, with big galoshes drawn over them. He rubbed his
face with his handkerchief, and wrapping round him his coat, which sat
extremely well as it was, he greeted them with a smile, holding out his
hand to Stepan Arkadyevitch, as though he wanted to catch something.

"So here you are," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, giving him his hand.
"That’s capital."

"I did not venture to disregard your excellency’s commands, though the
road was extremely bad. I positively walked the whole way, but I am here
at my time. Konstantin Dmitrievitch, my respects"; he turned to Levin,
trying to seize his hand too. But Levin, scowling, made as though he did
not notice his hand, and took out the snipe. "Your honors have been
diverting yourselves with the chase? What kind of bird may it be, pray?"
added Ryabinin, looking contemptuously at the snipe: "a great delicacy,
I suppose." And he shook his head disapprovingly, as though he had grave
doubts whether this game were worth the candle.

"Would you like to go into my study?" Levin said in French to Stepan
Arkadyevitch, scowling morosely. "Go into my study; you can talk there."

"Quite so, where you please," said Ryabinin with contemptuous dignity,
as though wishing to make it felt that others might be in difficulties
as to how to behave, but that he could never be in any difficulty about

On entering the study Ryabinin looked about, as his habit was, as though
seeking the holy picture, but when he had found it, he did not cross
himself. He scanned the bookcases and bookshelves, and with the same
dubious air with which he had regarded the snipe, he smiled
contemptuously and shook his head disapprovingly, as though by no means
willing to allow that this game were worth the candle.

"Well, have you brought the money?" asked Oblonsky. "Sit down."

"Oh, don’t trouble about the money. I’ve come to see you to talk it

"What is there to talk over? But do sit down."

"I don’t mind if I do," said Ryabinin, sitting down and leaning his
elbows on the back of his chair in a position of the intensest
discomfort to himself. "You must knock it down a bit, prince. It would
be too bad. The money is ready conclusively to the last farthing. As to
paying the money down, there’ll be no hitch there."

Levin, who had meanwhile been putting his gun away in the cupboard, was
just going out of the door, but catching the merchant’s words, he

"Why, you’ve got the forest for nothing as it is," he said. "He came to
me too late, or I’d have fixed the price for him."

Ryabinin got up, and in silence, with a smile, he looked Levin down and

"Very close about money is Konstantin Dmitrievitch," he said with a
smile, turning to Stepan Arkadyevitch; "there’s positively no dealing
with him. I was bargaining for some wheat of him, and a pretty price I
offered too."

"Why should I give you my goods for nothing? I didn’t pick it up on the
ground, nor steal it either."

"Mercy on us! nowadays there’s no chance at all of stealing. With the
open courts and everything done in style, nowadays there’s no question
of stealing. We are just talking things over like gentlemen. His
excellency’s asking too much for the forest. I can’t make both ends meet
over it. I must ask for a little concession."

"But is the thing settled between you or not? If it’s settled, it’s
useless haggling; but if it’s not," said Levin, "I’ll buy the forest."

The smile vanished at once from Ryabinin’s face. A hawklike, greedy,
cruel expression was left upon it. With rapid, bony fingers he
unbuttoned his coat, revealing a shirt, bronze waistcoat buttons, and a
watch chain, and quickly pulled out a fat old pocketbook.

"Here you are, the forest is mine," he said, crossing himself quickly,
and holding out his hand. "Take the money; it’s my forest. That’s
Ryabinin’s way of doing business; he doesn’t haggle over every
half-penny," he added, scowling and waving the pocketbook.

"I wouldn’t be in a hurry if I were you," said Levin.

"Come, really," said Oblonsky in surprise. "I’ve given my word, you

Levin went out of the room, slamming the door. Ryabinin looked towards
the door and shook his head with a smile.

"It’s all youthfulness—positively nothing but boyishness. Why, I’m
buying it, upon my honor, simply, believe me, for the glory of it, that
Ryabinin, and no one else, should have bought the copse of Oblonsky. And
as to the profits, why, I must make what God gives. In God’s name. If
you would kindly sign the title-deed..."

Within an hour the merchant, stroking his big overcoat neatly down, and
hooking up his jacket, with the agreement in his pocket, seated himself
in his tightly covered trap, and drove homewards.

"Ugh, these gentlefolks!" he said to the clerk. "They—they’re a nice

"That’s so," responded the clerk, handing him the reins and buttoning
the leather apron. "But I can congratulate you on the purchase, Mihail

"Well, well..."

Chapter 17

Stepan Arkadyevitch went upstairs with his pocket bulging with notes,
which the merchant had paid him for three months in advance. The
business of the forest was over, the money in his pocket; their shooting
had been excellent, and Stepan Arkadyevitch was in the happiest frame of
mind, and so he felt specially anxious to dissipate the ill-humor that
had come upon Levin. He wanted to finish the day at supper as pleasantly
as it had been begun.

Levin certainly was out of humor, and in spite of all his desire to be
affectionate and cordial to his charming visitor, he could not control
his mood. The intoxication of the news that Kitty was not married had
gradually begun to work upon him.

Kitty was not married, but ill, and ill from love for a man who had
slighted her. This slight, as it were, rebounded upon him. Vronsky had
slighted her, and she had slighted him, Levin. Consequently Vronsky had
the right to despise Levin, and therefore he was his enemy. But all this
Levin did not think out. He vaguely felt that there was something in it
insulting to him, and he was not angry now at what had disturbed him,
but he fell foul of everything that presented itself. The stupid sale of
the forest, the fraud practiced upon Oblonsky and concluded in his
house, exasperated him.

"Well, finished?" he said, meeting Stepan Arkadyevitch upstairs. "Would
you like supper?"

"Well, I wouldn’t say no to it. What an appetite I get in the country!
Wonderful! Why didn’t you offer Ryabinin something?"

"Oh, damn him!"

"Still, how you do treat him!" said Oblonsky. "You didn’t even shake
hands with him. Why not shake hands with him?"

"Because I don’t shake hands with a waiter, and a waiter’s a hundred
times better than he is."

"What a reactionist you are, really! What about the amalgamation of
classes?" said Oblonsky.

"Anyone who likes amalgamating is welcome to it, but it sickens me."

"You’re a regular reactionist, I see."

"Really, I have never considered what I am. I am Konstantin Levin, and
nothing else."

"And Konstantin Levin very much out of temper," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, smiling.

"Yes, I am out of temper, and do you know why? Because—excuse me—of your
stupid sale..."

Stepan Arkadyevitch frowned good-humoredly, like one who feels himself
teased and attacked for no fault of his own.

"Come, enough about it!" he said. "When did anybody ever sell anything
without being told immediately after the sale, ‘It was worth much more’?
But when one wants to sell, no one will give anything.... No, I see
you’ve a grudge against that unlucky Ryabinin."

"Maybe I have. And do you know why? You’ll say again that I’m a
reactionist, or some other terrible word; but all the same it does annoy
and anger me to see on all sides the impoverishing of the nobility to
which I belong, and, in spite of the amalgamation of classes, I’m glad
to belong. And their impoverishment is not due to extravagance—that
would be nothing; living in good style—that’s the proper thing for
noblemen; it’s only the nobles who know how to do it. Now the peasants
about us buy land, and I don’t mind that. The gentleman does nothing,
while the peasant works and supplants the idle man. That’s as it ought
to be. And I’m very glad for the peasant. But I do mind seeing the
process of impoverishment from a sort of—I don’t know what to call
it—innocence. Here a Polish speculator bought for half its value a
magnificent estate from a young lady who lives in Nice. And there a
merchant will get three acres of land, worth ten roubles, as security
for the loan of one rouble. Here, for no kind of reason, you’ve made
that rascal a present of thirty thousand roubles."

"Well, what should I have done? Counted every tree?"

"Of course, they must be counted. You didn’t count them, but Ryabinin
did. Ryabinin’s children will have means of livelihood and education,
while yours maybe will not!"

"Well, you must excuse me, but there’s something mean in this counting.
We have our business and they have theirs, and they must make their
profit. Anyway, the thing’s done, and there’s an end of it. And here
come some poached eggs, my favorite dish. And Agafea Mihalovna will give
us that marvelous herb-brandy..."

Stepan Arkadyevitch sat down at the table and began joking with Agafea
Mihalovna, assuring her that it was long since he had tasted such a
dinner and such a supper.

"Well, you do praise it, anyway," said Agafea Mihalovna, "but Konstantin
Dmitrievitch, give him what you will—a crust of bread—he’ll eat it and
walk away."

Though Levin tried to control himself, he was gloomy and silent. He
wanted to put one question to Stepan Arkadyevitch, but he could not
bring himself to the point, and could not find the words or the moment
in which to put it. Stepan Arkadyevitch had gone down to his room,
undressed, again washed, and attired in a nightshirt with goffered
frills, he had got into bed, but Levin still lingered in his room,
talking of various trifling matters, and not daring to ask what he
wanted to know.

"How wonderfully they make this soap," he said gazing at a piece of soap
he was handling, which Agafea Mihalovna had put ready for the visitor
but Oblonsky had not used. "Only look; why, it’s a work of art."

"Yes, everything’s brought to such a pitch of perfection nowadays," said
Stepan Arkadyevitch, with a moist and blissful yawn. "The theater, for
instance, and the entertainments ... a—a—a!" he yawned. "The electric
light everywhere ... a—a—a!"

"Yes, the electric light," said Levin. "Yes. Oh, and where’s Vronsky
now?" he asked suddenly, laying down the soap.

"Vronsky?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, checking his yawn; "he’s in
Petersburg. He left soon after you did, and he’s not once been in Moscow
since. And do you know, Kostya, I’ll tell you the truth," he went on,
leaning his elbow on the table, and propping on his hand his handsome
ruddy face, in which his moist, good-natured, sleepy eyes shone like
stars. "It’s your own fault. You took fright at the sight of your rival.
But, as I told you at the time, I couldn’t say which had the better
chance. Why didn’t you fight it out? I told you at the time that...." He
yawned inwardly, without opening his mouth.

"Does he know, or doesn’t he, that I did make an offer?" Levin wondered,
gazing at him. "Yes, there’s something humbugging, diplomatic in his
face," and feeling he was blushing, he looked Stepan Arkadyevitch
straight in the face without speaking.

"If there was anything on her side at the time, it was nothing but a
superficial attraction," pursued Oblonsky. "His being such a perfect
aristocrat, don’t you know, and his future position in society, had an
influence not with her, but with her mother."

Levin scowled. The humiliation of his rejection stung him to the heart,
as though it were a fresh wound he had only just received. But he was at
home, and the walls of home are a support.

"Stay, stay," he began, interrupting Oblonsky. "You talk of his being an
aristocrat. But allow me to ask what it consists in, that aristocracy of
Vronsky or of anybody else, beside which I can be looked down upon? You
consider Vronsky an aristocrat, but I don’t. A man whose father crawled
up from nothing at all by intrigue, and whose mother—God knows whom she
wasn’t mixed up with.... No, excuse me, but I consider myself
aristocratic, and people like me, who can point back in the past to
three or four honorable generations of their family, of the highest
degree of breeding (talent and intellect, of course that’s another
matter), and have never curried favor with anyone, never depended on
anyone for anything, like my father and my grandfather. And I know many
such. You think it mean of me to count the trees in my forest, while you
make Ryabinin a present of thirty thousand; but you get rents from your
lands and I don’t know what, while I don’t and so I prize what’s come to
me from my ancestors or been won by hard work.... We are aristocrats,
and not those who can only exist by favor of the powerful of this world,
and who can be bought for twopence halfpenny."

"Well, but whom are you attacking? I agree with you," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, sincerely and genially; though he was aware that in the
class of those who could be bought for twopence halfpenny Levin was
reckoning him too. Levin’s warmth gave him genuine pleasure. "Whom are
you attacking? Though a good deal is not true that you say about
Vronsky, but I won’t talk about that. I tell you straight out, if I were
you, I should go back with me to Moscow, and..."

"No; I don’t know whether you know it or not, but I don’t care. And I
tell you—I did make an offer and was rejected, and Katerina Alexandrovna
is nothing now to me but a painful and humiliating reminiscence."

"What ever for? What nonsense!"

"But we won’t talk about it. Please forgive me, if I’ve been nasty,"
said Levin. Now that he had opened his heart, he became as he had been
in the morning. "You’re not angry with me, Stiva? Please don’t be
angry," he said, and smiling, he took his hand.

"Of course not; not a bit, and no reason to be. I’m glad we’ve spoken
openly. And do you know, stand-shooting in the morning is unusually
good—why not go? I couldn’t sleep the night anyway, but I might go
straight from shooting to the station."


Chapter 18

Although all Vronsky’s inner life was absorbed in his passion, his
external life unalterably and inevitably followed along the old
accustomed lines of his social and regimental ties and interests. The
interests of his regiment took an important place in Vronsky’s life,
both because he was fond of the regiment, and because the regiment was
fond of him. They were not only fond of Vronsky in his regiment, they
respected him too, and were proud of him; proud that this man, with his
immense wealth, his brilliant education and abilities, and the path open
before him to every kind of success, distinction, and ambition, had
disregarded all that, and of all the interests of life had the interests
of his regiment and his comrades nearest to his heart. Vronsky was aware
of his comrades’ view of him, and in addition to his liking for the
life, he felt bound to keep up that reputation.

It need not be said that he did not speak of his love to any of his
comrades, nor did he betray his secret even in the wildest drinking
bouts (though indeed he was never so drunk as to lose all control of
himself). And he shut up any of his thoughtless comrades who attempted
to allude to his connection. But in spite of that, his love was known to
all the town; everyone guessed with more or less confidence at his
relations with Madame Karenina. The majority of the younger men envied
him for just what was the most irksome factor in his love—the exalted
position of Karenin, and the consequent publicity of their connection in

The greater number of the young women, who envied Anna and had long been
weary of hearing her called _virtuous_, rejoiced at the fulfillment of
their predictions, and were only waiting for a decisive turn in public
opinion to fall upon her with all the weight of their scorn. They were
already making ready their handfuls of mud to fling at her when the
right moment arrived. The greater number of the middle-aged people and
certain great personages were displeased at the prospect of the
impending scandal in society.

Vronsky’s mother, on hearing of his connection, was at first pleased at
it, because nothing to her mind gave such a finishing touch to a
brilliant young man as a _liaison_ in the highest society; she was
pleased, too, that Madame Karenina, who had so taken her fancy, and had
talked so much of her son, was, after all, just like all other pretty
and well-bred women,—at least according to the Countess Vronskaya’s
ideas. But she had heard of late that her son had refused a position
offered him of great importance to his career, simply in order to remain
in the regiment, where he could be constantly seeing Madame Karenina.
She learned that great personages were displeased with him on this
account, and she changed her opinion. She was vexed, too, that from all
she could learn of this connection it was not that brilliant, graceful,
worldly _liaison_ which she would have welcomed, but a sort of
Wertherish, desperate passion, so she was told, which might well lead
him into imprudence. She had not seen him since his abrupt departure
from Moscow, and she sent her elder son to bid him come to see her.

This elder son, too, was displeased with his younger brother. He did not
distinguish what sort of love his might be, big or little, passionate or
passionless, lasting or passing (he kept a ballet girl himself, though
he was the father of a family, so he was lenient in these matters), but
he knew that this love affair was viewed with displeasure by those whom
it was necessary to please, and therefore he did not approve of his
brother’s conduct.

Besides the service and society, Vronsky had another great
interest—horses; he was passionately fond of horses.

That year races and a steeplechase had been arranged for the officers.
Vronsky had put his name down, bought a thoroughbred English mare, and
in spite of his love affair, he was looking forward to the races with
intense, though reserved, excitement...

These two passions did not interfere with one another. On the contrary,
he needed occupation and distraction quite apart from his love, so as to
recruit and rest himself from the violent emotions that agitated him.

Chapter 19

On the day of the races at Krasnoe Selo, Vronsky had come earlier than
usual to eat beefsteak in the common messroom of the regiment. He had no
need to be strict with himself, as he had very quickly been brought down
to the required light weight; but still he had to avoid gaining flesh,
and so he eschewed farinaceous and sweet dishes. He sat with his coat
unbuttoned over a white waistcoat, resting both elbows on the table, and
while waiting for the steak he had ordered he looked at a French novel
that lay open on his plate. He was only looking at the book to avoid
conversation with the officers coming in and out; he was thinking.

He was thinking of Anna’s promise to see him that day after the races.
But he had not seen her for three days, and as her husband had just
returned from abroad, he did not know whether she would be able to meet
him today or not, and he did not know how to find out. He had had his
last interview with her at his cousin Betsy’s summer villa. He visited
the Karenins’ summer villa as rarely as possible. Now he wanted to go
there, and he pondered the question how to do it.

"Of course I shall say Betsy has sent me to ask whether she’s coming to
the races. Of course, I’ll go," he decided, lifting his head from the
book. And as he vividly pictured the happiness of seeing her, his face
lighted up.

"Send to my house, and tell them to have out the carriage and three
horses as quick as they can," he said to the servant, who handed him the
steak on a hot silver dish, and moving the dish up he began eating.

From the billiard room next door came the sound of balls knocking, of
talk and laughter. Two officers appeared at the entrance-door: one, a
young fellow, with a feeble, delicate face, who had lately joined the
regiment from the Corps of Pages; the other, a plump, elderly officer,
with a bracelet on his wrist, and little eyes, lost in fat.

Vronsky glanced at them, frowned, and looking down at his book as though
he had not noticed them, he proceeded to eat and read at the same time.

"What? Fortifying yourself for your work?" said the plump officer,
sitting down beside him.

"As you see," responded Vronsky, knitting his brows, wiping his mouth,
and not looking at the officer.

"So you’re not afraid of getting fat?" said the latter, turning a chair
round for the young officer.

"What?" said Vronsky angrily, making a wry face of disgust, and showing
his even teeth.

"You’re not afraid of getting fat?"

"Waiter, sherry!" said Vronsky, without replying, and moving the book to
the other side of him, he went on reading.

The plump officer took up the list of wines and turned to the young

"You choose what we’re to drink," he said, handing him the card, and
looking at him.

"Rhine wine, please," said the young officer, stealing a timid glance at
Vronsky, and trying to pull his scarcely visible mustache. Seeing that
Vronsky did not turn round, the young officer got up.

"Let’s go into the billiard room," he said.

The plump officer rose submissively, and they moved towards the door.

At that moment there walked into the room the tall and well-built
Captain Yashvin. Nodding with an air of lofty contempt to the two
officers, he went up to Vronsky.

"Ah! here he is!" he cried, bringing his big hand down heavily on his
epaulet. Vronsky looked round angrily, but his face lighted up
immediately with his characteristic expression of genial and manly

"That’s it, Alexey," said the captain, in his loud baritone. "You must
just eat a mouthful, now, and drink only one tiny glass."

"Oh, I’m not hungry."

"There go the inseparables," Yashvin dropped, glancing sarcastically at
the two officers who were at that instant leaving the room. And he bent
his long legs, swathed in tight riding breeches, and sat down in the
chair, too low for him, so that his knees were cramped up in a sharp

"Why didn’t you turn up at the Red Theater yesterday? Numerova wasn’t at
all bad. Where were you?"

"I was late at the Tverskoys’," said Vronsky.

"Ah!" responded Yashvin.

Yashvin, a gambler and a rake, a man not merely without moral
principles, but of immoral principles, Yashvin was Vronsky’s greatest
friend in the regiment. Vronsky liked him both for his exceptional
physical strength, which he showed for the most part by being able to
drink like a fish, and do without sleep without being in the slightest
degree affected by it; and for his great strength of character, which he
showed in his relations with his comrades and superior officers,
commanding both fear and respect, and also at cards, when he would play
for tens of thousands and however much he might have drunk, always with
such skill and decision that he was reckoned the best player in the
English Club. Vronsky respected and liked Yashvin particularly because
he felt Yashvin liked him, not for his name and his money, but for
himself. And of all men he was the only one with whom Vronsky would have
liked to speak of his love. He felt that Yashvin, in spite of his
apparent contempt for every sort of feeling, was the only man who could,
so he fancied, comprehend the intense passion which now filled his whole
life. Moreover, he felt certain that Yashvin, as it was, took no delight
in gossip and scandal, and interpreted his feeling rightly, that is to
say, knew and believed that this passion was not a jest, not a pastime,
but something more serious and important.

Vronsky had never spoken to him of his passion, but he was aware that he
knew all about it, and that he put the right interpretation on it, and
he was glad to see that in his eyes.

"Ah! yes," he said, to the announcement that Vronsky had been at the
Tverskoys’; and his black eyes shining, he plucked at his left mustache,
and began twisting it into his mouth, a bad habit he had.

"Well, and what did you do yesterday? Win anything?" asked Vronsky.

"Eight thousand. But three don’t count; he won’t pay up."

"Oh, then you can afford to lose over me," said Vronsky, laughing.
(Yashvin had bet heavily on Vronsky in the races.)

"No chance of my losing. Mahotin’s the only one that’s risky."

And the conversation passed to forecasts of the coming race, the only
thing Vronsky could think of just now.

"Come along, I’ve finished," said Vronsky, and getting up he went to the
door. Yashvin got up too, stretching his long legs and his long back.

"It’s too early for me to dine, but I must have a drink. I’ll come along
directly. Hi, wine!" he shouted, in his rich voice, that always rang out
so loudly at drill, and set the windows shaking now.

"No, all right," he shouted again immediately after. "You’re going home,
so I’ll go with you."

And he walked out with Vronsky.

Chapter 20

Vronsky was staying in a roomy, clean, Finnish hut, divided into two by
a partition. Petritsky lived with him in camp too. Petritsky was asleep
when Vronsky and Yashvin came into the hut.

"Get up, don’t go on sleeping," said Yashvin, going behind the partition
and giving Petritsky, who was lying with ruffled hair and with his nose
in the pillow, a prod on the shoulder.

Petritsky jumped up suddenly onto his knees and looked round.

"Your brother’s been here," he said to Vronsky. "He waked me up, damn
him, and said he’d look in again." And pulling up the rug he flung
himself back on the pillow. "Oh, do shut up, Yashvin!" he said, getting
furious with Yashvin, who was pulling the rug off him. "Shut up!" He
turned over and opened his eyes. "You’d better tell me what to drink;
such a nasty taste in my mouth, that..."

"Brandy’s better than anything," boomed Yashvin. "Tereshtchenko! brandy
for your master and cucumbers," he shouted, obviously taking pleasure in
the sound of his own voice.

"Brandy, do you think? Eh?" queried Petritsky, blinking and rubbing his
eyes. "And you’ll drink something? All right then, we’ll have a drink
together! Vronsky, have a drink?" said Petritsky, getting up and
wrapping the tiger-skin rug round him. He went to the door of the
partition wall, raised his hands, and hummed in French, "There was a
king in Thule." "Vronsky, will you have a drink?"

"Go along," said Vronsky, putting on the coat his valet handed to him.

"Where are you off to?" asked Yashvin. "Oh, here are your three horses,"
he added, seeing the carriage drive up.

"To the stables, and I’ve got to see Bryansky, too, about the horses,"
said Vronsky.

Vronsky had as a fact promised to call at Bryansky’s, some eight miles
from Peterhof, and to bring him some money owing for some horses; and he
hoped to have time to get that in too. But his comrades were at once
aware that he was not only going there.

Petritsky, still humming, winked and made a pout with his lips, as
though he would say: "Oh, yes, we know your Bryansky."

"Mind you’re not late!" was Yashvin’s only comment; and to change the
conversation: "How’s my roan? is he doing all right?" he inquired,
looking out of the window at the middle one of the three horses, which
he had sold Vronsky.

"Stop!" cried Petritsky to Vronsky as he was just going out. "Your
brother left a letter and a note for you. Wait a bit; where are they?"

Vronsky stopped.

"Well, where are they?"

"Where are they? That’s just the question!" said Petritsky solemnly,
moving his forefinger upwards from his nose.

"Come, tell me; this is silly!" said Vronsky smiling.

"I have not lighted the fire. Here somewhere about."

"Come, enough fooling! Where is the letter?"

"No, I’ve forgotten really. Or was it a dream? Wait a bit, wait a bit!
But what’s the use of getting in a rage. If you’d drunk four bottles
yesterday as I did you’d forget where you were lying. Wait a bit, I’ll

Petritsky went behind the partition and lay down on his bed.

"Wait a bit! This was how I was lying, and this was how he was standing.
Yes—yes—yes.... Here it is!"—and Petritsky pulled a letter out from
under the mattress, where he had hidden it.

Vronsky took the letter and his brother’s note. It was the letter he was
expecting—from his mother, reproaching him for not having been to see
her—and the note was from his brother to say that he must have a little
talk with him. Vronsky knew that it was all about the same thing. "What
business is it of theirs!" thought Vronsky, and crumpling up the letters
he thrust them between the buttons of his coat so as to read them
carefully on the road. In the porch of the hut he was met by two
officers; one of his regiment and one of another.

Vronsky’s quarters were always a meeting place for all the officers.

"Where are you off to?"

"I must go to Peterhof."

"Has the mare come from Tsarskoe?"

"Yes, but I’ve not seen her yet."

"They say Mahotin’s Gladiator’s lame."

"Nonsense! But however are you going to race in this mud?" said the

"Here are my saviors!" cried Petritsky, seeing them come in. Before him
stood the orderly with a tray of brandy and salted cucumbers. "Here’s
Yashvin ordering me to drink a pick-me-up."

"Well, you did give it to us yesterday," said one of those who had come
in; "you didn’t let us get a wink of sleep all night."

"Oh, didn’t we make a pretty finish!" said Petritsky. "Volkov climbed
onto the roof and began telling us how sad he was. I said: ‘Let’s have
music, the funeral march!’ He fairly dropped asleep on the roof over the
funeral march."

"Drink it up; you positively must drink the brandy, and then seltzer
water and a lot of lemon," said Yashvin, standing over Petritsky like a
mother making a child take medicine, "and then a little champagne—just a
small bottle."

"Come, there’s some sense in that. Stop a bit, Vronsky. We’ll all have a

"No; good-bye all of you. I’m not going to drink today."

"Why, are you gaining weight? All right, then we must have it alone.
Give us the seltzer water and lemon."

"Vronsky!" shouted someone when he was already outside.


"You’d better get your hair cut, it’ll weigh you down, especially at the

Vronsky was in fact beginning, prematurely, to get a little bald. He
laughed gaily, showing his even teeth, and pulling his cap over the thin
place, went out and got into his carriage.

"To the stables!" he said, and was just pulling out the letters to read
them through, but he thought better of it, and put off reading them so
as not to distract his attention before looking at the mare. "Later!"

Chapter 21

The temporary stable, a wooden shed, had been put up close to the race
course, and there his mare was to have been taken the previous day. He
had not yet seen her there.

During the last few days he had not ridden her out for exercise himself,
but had put her in the charge of the trainer, and so now he positively
did not know in what condition his mare had arrived yesterday and was
today. He had scarcely got out of his carriage when his groom, the
so-called "stable boy," recognizing the carriage some way off, called
the trainer. A dry-looking Englishman, in high boots and a short jacket,
clean-shaven, except for a tuft below his chin, came to meet him,
walking with the uncouth gait of jockey, turning his elbows out and
swaying from side to side.

"Well, how’s Frou-Frou?" Vronsky asked in English.

"All right, sir," the Englishman’s voice responded somewhere in the
inside of his throat. "Better not go in," he added, touching his hat.
"I’ve put a muzzle on her, and the mare’s fidgety. Better not go in,
it’ll excite the mare."

"No, I’m going in. I want to look at her."

"Come along, then," said the Englishman, frowning, and speaking with his
mouth shut, and, with swinging elbows, he went on in front with his
disjointed gait.

They went into the little yard in front of the shed. A stable boy,
spruce and smart in his holiday attire, met them with a broom in his
hand, and followed them. In the shed there were five horses in their
separate stalls, and Vronsky knew that his chief rival, Gladiator, a
very tall chestnut horse, had been brought there, and must be standing
among them. Even more than his mare, Vronsky longed to see Gladiator,
whom he had never seen. But he knew that by the etiquette of the race
course it was not merely impossible for him to see the horse, but
improper even to ask questions about him. Just as he was passing along
the passage, the boy opened the door into the second horse-box on the
left, and Vronsky caught a glimpse of a big chestnut horse with white
legs. He knew that this was Gladiator, but, with the feeling of a man
turning away from the sight of another man’s open letter, he turned
round and went into Frou-Frou’s stall.

"The horse is here belonging to Mak... Mak... I never can say the name,"
said the Englishman, over his shoulder, pointing his big finger and
dirty nail towards Gladiator’s stall.

"Mahotin? Yes, he’s my most serious rival," said Vronsky.

"If you were riding him," said the Englishman, "I’d bet on you."

"Frou-Frou’s more nervous; he’s stronger," said Vronsky, smiling at the
compliment to his riding.

"In a steeplechase it all depends on riding and on pluck," said the

Of pluck—that is, energy and courage—Vronsky did not merely feel that he
had enough; what was of far more importance, he was firmly convinced
that no one in the world could have more of this "pluck" than he had.

"Don’t you think I want more thinning down?"

"Oh, no," answered the Englishman. "Please, don’t speak loud. The mare’s
fidgety," he added, nodding towards the horse-box, before which they
were standing, and from which came the sound of restless stamping in the

He opened the door, and Vronsky went into the horse-box, dimly lighted
by one little window. In the horse-box stood a dark bay mare, with a
muzzle on, picking at the fresh straw with her hoofs. Looking round him
in the twilight of the horse-box, Vronsky unconsciously took in once
more in a comprehensive glance all the points of his favorite mare.
Frou-Frou was a beast of medium size, not altogether free from reproach,
from a breeder’s point of view. She was small-boned all over; though her
chest was extremely prominent in front, it was narrow. Her hind-quarters
were a little drooping, and in her fore-legs, and still more in her
hind-legs, there was a noticeable curvature. The muscles of both hind-
and fore-legs were not very thick; but across her shoulders the mare was
exceptionally broad, a peculiarity specially striking now that she was
lean from training. The bones of her legs below the knees looked no
thicker than a finger from in front, but were extraordinarily thick seen
from the side. She looked altogether, except across the shoulders, as it
were, pinched in at the sides and pressed out in depth. But she had in
the highest degree the quality that makes all defects forgotten: that
quality was _blood_, the blood _that tells_, as the English expression
has it. The muscles stood up sharply under the network of sinews,
covered with the delicate, mobile skin, soft as satin, and they were
hard as bone. Her clean-cut head, with prominent, bright, spirited eyes,
broadened out at the open nostrils, that showed the red blood in the
cartilage within. About all her figure, and especially her head, there
was a certain expression of energy, and, at the same time, of softness.
She was one of those creatures which seem only not to speak because the
mechanism of their mouth does not allow them to.

To Vronsky, at any rate, it seemed that she understood all he felt at
that moment, looking at her.

Directly Vronsky went towards her, she drew in a deep breath, and,
turning back her prominent eye till the white looked bloodshot, she
started at the approaching figures from the opposite side, shaking her
muzzle, and shifting lightly from one leg to the other.

"There, you see how fidgety she is," said the Englishman.

"There, darling! There!" said Vronsky, going up to the mare and speaking
soothingly to her.

But the nearer he came, the more excited she grew. Only when he stood by
her head, she was suddenly quieter, while the muscles quivered under her
soft, delicate coat. Vronsky patted her strong neck, straightened over
her sharp withers a stray lock of her mane that had fallen on the other
side, and moved his face near her dilated nostrils, transparent as a
bat’s wing. She drew a loud breath and snorted out through her tense
nostrils, started, pricked up her sharp ear, and put out her strong,
black lip towards Vronsky, as though she would nip hold of his sleeve.
But remembering the muzzle, she shook it and again began restlessly
stamping one after the other her shapely legs.

"Quiet, darling, quiet!" he said, patting her again over her
hind-quarters; and with a glad sense that his mare was in the best
possible condition, he went out of the horse-box.

The mare’s excitement had infected Vronsky. He felt that his heart was
throbbing, and that he, too, like the mare, longed to move, to bite; it
was both dreadful and delicious.

"Well, I rely on you, then," he said to the Englishman; "half-past six
on the ground."

"All right," said the Englishman. "Oh, where are you going, my lord?" he
asked suddenly, using the title "my lord," which he had scarcely ever
used before.

Vronsky in amazement raised his head, and stared, as he knew how to
stare, not into the Englishman’s eyes, but at his forehead, astounded at
the impertinence of his question. But realizing that in asking this the
Englishman had been looking at him not as an employer, but as a jockey,
he answered:

"I’ve got to go to Bryansky’s; I shall be home within an hour."

"How often I’m asked that question today!" he said to himself, and he
blushed, a thing which rarely happened to him. The Englishman looked
gravely at him; and, as though he, too, knew where Vronsky was going, he

"The great thing’s to keep quiet before a race," said he; "don’t get out
of temper or upset about anything."

"All right," answered Vronsky, smiling; and jumping into his carriage,
he told the man to drive to Peterhof.

Before he had driven many paces away, the dark clouds that had been
threatening rain all day broke, and there was a heavy downpour of rain.

"What a pity!" thought Vronsky, putting up the roof of the carriage. "It
was muddy before, now it will be a perfect swamp." As he sat in solitude
in the closed carriage, he took out his mother’s letter and his
brother’s note, and read them through.

Yes, it was the same thing over and over again. Everyone, his mother,
his brother, everyone thought fit to interfere in the affairs of his
heart. This interference aroused in him a feeling of angry hatred—a
feeling he had rarely known before. "What business is it of theirs? Why
does everybody feel called upon to concern himself about me? And why do
they worry me so? Just because they see that this is something they
can’t understand. If it were a common, vulgar, worldly intrigue, they
would have left me alone. They feel that this is something different,
that this is not a mere pastime, that this woman is dearer to me than
life. And this is incomprehensible, and that’s why it annoys them.
Whatever our destiny is or may be, we have made it ourselves, and we do
not complain of it," he said, in the word _we_ linking himself with
Anna. "No, they must needs teach us how to live. They haven’t an idea of
what happiness is; they don’t know that without our love, for us there
is neither happiness nor unhappiness—no life at all," he thought.

He was angry with all of them for their interference just because he
felt in his soul that they, all these people, were right. He felt that
the love that bound him to Anna was not a momentary impulse, which would
pass, as worldly intrigues do pass, leaving no other traces in the life
of either but pleasant or unpleasant memories. He felt all the torture
of his own and her position, all the difficulty there was for them,
conspicuous as they were in the eye of all the world, in concealing
their love, in lying and deceiving; and in lying, deceiving, feigning,
and continually thinking of others, when the passion that united them
was so intense that they were both oblivious of everything else but
their love.

He vividly recalled all the constantly recurring instances of inevitable
necessity for lying and deceit, which were so against his natural bent.
He recalled particularly vividly the shame he had more than once
detected in her at this necessity for lying and deceit. And he
experienced the strange feeling that had sometimes come upon him since
his secret love for Anna. This was a feeling of loathing for
something—whether for Alexey Alexandrovitch, or for himself, or for the
whole world, he could not have said. But he always drove away this
strange feeling. Now, too, he shook it off and continued the thread of
his thoughts.

"Yes, she was unhappy before, but proud and at peace; and now she cannot
be at peace and feel secure in her dignity, though she does not show it.
Yes, we must put an end to it," he decided.

And for the first time the idea clearly presented itself that it was
essential to put an end to this false position, and the sooner the
better. "Throw up everything, she and I, and hide ourselves somewhere
alone with our love," he said to himself.

Chapter 22

The rain did not last long, and by the time Vronsky arrived, his
shaft-horse trotting at full speed and dragging the trace-horses
galloping through the mud, with their reins hanging loose, the sun had
peeped out again, the roofs of the summer villas and the old limetrees
in the gardens on both sides of the principal streets sparkled with wet
brilliance, and from the twigs came a pleasant drip and from the roofs
rushing streams of water. He thought no more of the shower spoiling the
race course, but was rejoicing now that—thanks to the rain—he would be
sure to find her at home and alone, as he knew that Alexey
Alexandrovitch, who had lately returned from a foreign watering place,
had not moved from Petersburg.

Hoping to find her alone, Vronsky alighted, as he always did, to avoid
attracting attention, before crossing the bridge, and walked to the
house. He did not go up the steps to the street door, but went into the

"Has your master come?" he asked a gardener.

"No, sir. The mistress is at home. But will you please go to the front
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

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

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 him.

"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 her.

"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 living."

"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 too."

"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."

Chapter 23

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

"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 I 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 of..."

Again she would have said "my son," but she could not utter that word.

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!"

"But, Anna..."

"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 peace...."

"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

"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 unhappiness...."

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 back.

"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.

Chapter 24

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 high road 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 Petersburg.

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 yourself!"

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

"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

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 moment.

"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 Monday."

"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 meet?"

"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: "Mount!"

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 soothe her.

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.

Chapter 25

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 preferred.

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

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 twos and threes 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

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

"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 flown 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 I done!"

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.

Chapter 26

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 previous years.

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

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 doctor.

"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 the

"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 races.

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.

Chapter 27

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

"There’s no hurry," said Anna. "Would you like tea?"

She rang.

"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 other.

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

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 black hat, darted out at the entrance.

"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.

Chapter 28

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 him.

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 saying:

"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 superficial."

"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 prize-fighting 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 single circus."

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

"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.

Chapter 29

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 his

"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, listening.

"Stiva! Stiva!" she cried to her brother.

But her brother did not hear her. Again she would have moved away.

"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 face

"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

"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

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. In 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 say.

"I am obliged to tell you," he began.

"So now we are to have it out," she thought, and she felt frightened.

"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 coachman.

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 the

He waited for her to answer, but she was silent, looking straight before

"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 what 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 him all!"

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."

Chapter 30

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

_Fürst_ 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 Fürstin,
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.

Chapter 31

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 turn-down brim, was walking up and down the whole length of the
arcade with a blind Frenchwoman, and, every time she met Kitty, they
exchanged friendly glances.

"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-soeur_," 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

"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

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 end?"

"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 about

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 _protégés_. She went up to them, entered
into conversation with them, and served as interpreter for the woman,
who could not speak any foreign language.

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

Choosing a time when her daughter had gone to the spring, while Varenka
had stopped outside the baker’s, the princess went up to her.

"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 answered

"What a good deed you did yesterday to our poor compatriot!" said the

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

"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 little again.

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 friend.

"Well, see, Kitty, your intense desire to make friends with
Mademoiselle. . ."

"Varenka," Varenka put in smiling, "that’s what everyone calls me."

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.

Chapter 32

The particulars which the princess had learned in regard to Varenka’s
past and her relations with Madame Stahl were as follows:

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

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 inquiry.

"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

"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 you!"

"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

"In 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?"

"Of course not; I never said a word, but he knew it. No, no, there are
looks, there are ways; I can’t forget it, if I live a hundred years."

"Why so? I don’t understand. The whole point is whether you love him now
or not," said Varenka, who called everything by its name.

"I hate him; I can’t forgive myself."

"Why, what for?"

"The shame, the humiliation!"

"Oh! if everyone were as sensitive as you are!" said Varenka. "There
isn’t a girl who hasn’t been through the same. And it’s all so

"Why, what is important?" said Kitty, looking into her face with
inquisitive wonder.

"Oh, there’s so much that’s important," said Varenka, smiling.

"Why, what?"

"Oh, so much that’s more important," answered Varenka, not knowing what
to say. But at that instant they heard the princess’s voice from the
window. "Kitty, it’s cold! Either get a shawl, or come indoors."

"It really is time to go in!" said Varenka, getting up. "I have to go on
to Madame Berthe’s; she asked me to."

Kitty held her by the hand, and with passionate curiosity and entreaty
her eyes asked her: "What is it, what is this of such importance that
gives you such tranquillity? You know, tell me!" But Varenka did not
even know what Kitty’s eyes were asking her. She merely thought that she
had to go to see Madame Berthe too that evening, and to make haste home
in time for _maman’s_ tea at twelve o’clock. She went indoors, collected
her music, and saying good-bye to everyone, was about to go.

"Allow me to see you home," said the colonel.

"Yes, how can you go alone at night like this?" chimed in the princess.
"Anyway, I’ll send Parasha."

Kitty saw that Varenka could hardly restrain a smile at the idea that
she needed an escort.

"No, I always go about alone and nothing ever happens to me," she said,
taking her hat. And kissing Kitty once more, without saying what was
important, she stepped out courageously with the music under her arm and
vanished into the twilight of the summer night, bearing away with her
her secret of what was important and what gave her the calm and dignity
so much to be envied.

Chapter 33

Kitty made the acquaintance of Madame Stahl too, and this acquaintance,
together with her friendship with Varenka, did not merely exercise a
great influence on her, it also comforted her in her mental distress.
She found this comfort through a completely new world being opened to
her by means of this acquaintance, a world having nothing in common with
her past, an exalted, noble world, from the height of which she could
contemplate her past calmly. It was revealed to her that besides the
instinctive life to which Kitty had given herself up hitherto there was
a spiritual life. This life was disclosed in religion, but a religion
having nothing in common with that one which Kitty had known from
childhood, and which found expression in litanies and all-night services
at the Widow’s Home, where one might meet one’s friends, and in learning
by heart Slavonic texts with the priest. This was a lofty, mysterious
religion connected with a whole series of noble thoughts and feelings,
which one could do more than merely believe because one was told to,
which one could love.

Kitty found all this out not from words. Madame Stahl talked to Kitty as
to a charming child that one looks on with pleasure as on the memory of
one’s youth, and only once she said in passing that in all human sorrows
nothing gives comfort but love and faith, and that in the sight of
Christ’s compassion for us no sorrow is trifling—and immediately talked
of other things. But in every gesture of Madame Stahl, in every word, in
every heavenly—as Kitty called it—look, and above all in the whole story
of her life, which she heard from Varenka, Kitty recognized that
something "that was important," of which, till then, she had known

Yet, elevated as Madame Stahl’s character was, touching as was her
story, and exalted and moving as was her speech, Kitty could not help
detecting in her some traits which perplexed her. She noticed that when
questioning her about her family, Madame Stahl had smiled
contemptuously, which was not in accord with Christian meekness. She
noticed, too, that when she had found a Catholic priest with her, Madame
Stahl had studiously kept her face in the shadow of the lamp-shade and
had smiled in a peculiar way. Trivial as these two observations were,
they perplexed her, and she had her doubts as to Madame Stahl. But on
the other hand Varenka, alone in the world, without friends or
relations, with a melancholy disappointment in the past, desiring
nothing, regretting nothing, was just that perfection of which Kitty
dared hardly dream. In Varenka she realized that one has but to forget
oneself and love others, and one will be calm, happy, and noble. And
that was what Kitty longed to be. Seeing now clearly what was _the most
important_, Kitty was not satisfied with being enthusiastic over it; she
at once gave herself up with her whole soul to the new life that was
opening to her. From Varenka’s accounts of the doings of Madame Stahl
and other people whom she mentioned, Kitty had already constructed the
plan of her own future life. She would, like Madame Stahl’s niece,
Aline, of whom Varenka had talked to her a great deal, seek out those
who were in trouble, wherever she might be living, help them as far as
she could, give them the Gospel, read the Gospel to the sick, to
criminals, to the dying. The idea of reading the Gospel to criminals, as
Aline did, particularly fascinated Kitty. But all these were secret
dreams, of which Kitty did not talk either to her mother or to Varenka.

While awaiting the time for carrying out her plans on a large scale,
however, Kitty, even then at the springs, where there were so many
people ill and unhappy, readily found a chance for practicing her new
principles in imitation of Varenka.

At first the princess noticed nothing but that Kitty was much under the
influence of her _engouement_, as she called it, for Madame Stahl, and
still more for Varenka. She saw that Kitty did not merely imitate
Varenka in her conduct, but unconsciously imitated her in her manner of
walking, of talking, of blinking her eyes. But later on the princess
noticed that, apart from this adoration, some kind of serious spiritual
change was taking place in her daughter.

The princess saw that in the evenings Kitty read a French testament that
Madame Stahl had given her—a thing she had never done before; that she
avoided society acquaintances and associated with the sick people who
were under Varenka’s protection, and especially one poor family, that of
a sick painter, Petrov. Kitty was unmistakably proud of playing the part
of a sister of mercy in that family. All this was well enough, and the
princess had nothing to say against it, especially as Petrov’s wife was
a perfectly nice sort of woman, and that the German princess, noticing
Kitty’s devotion, praised her, calling her an angel of consolation. All
this would have been very well, if there had been no exaggeration. But
the princess saw that her daughter was rushing into extremes, and so
indeed she told her.

"_Il ne faut jamais rien outrer_," she said to her.

Her daughter made her no reply, only in her heart she thought that one
could not talk about exaggeration where Christianity was concerned. What
exaggeration could there be in the practice of a doctrine wherein one
was bidden to turn the other cheek when one was smitten, and give one’s
cloak if one’s coat were taken? But the princess disliked this
exaggeration, and disliked even more the fact that she felt her daughter
did not care to show her all her heart. Kitty did in fact conceal her
new views and feelings from her mother. She concealed them not because
she did not respect or did not love her mother, but simply because she
was her mother. She would have revealed them to anyone sooner than to
her mother.

"How is it Anna Pavlovna’s not been to see us for so long?" the princess
said one day of Madame Petrova. "I’ve asked her, but she seems put out
about something."

"No, I’ve not noticed it, maman," said Kitty, flushing hotly.

"Is it long since you went to see them?"

"We’re meaning to make an expedition to the mountains tomorrow,"
answered Kitty.

"Well, you can go," answered the princess, gazing at her daughter’s
embarrassed face and trying to guess the cause of her embarrassment.

That day Varenka came to dinner and told them that Anna Pavlovna had
changed her mind and given up the expedition for the morrow. And the
princess noticed again that Kitty reddened.

"Kitty, haven’t you had some misunderstanding with the Petrovs?" said
the princess, when they were left alone. "Why has she given up sending
the children and coming to see us?"

Kitty answered that nothing had happened between them, and that she
could not tell why Anna Pavlovna seemed displeased with her. Kitty
answered perfectly truly. She did not know the reason Anna Pavlovna had
changed to her, but she guessed it. She guessed at something which she
could not tell her mother, which she did not put into words to herself.
It was one of those things which one knows but which one can never speak
of even to oneself, so terrible and shameful would it be to be mistaken.

Again and again she went over in her memory all her relations with the
family. She remembered the simple delight expressed on the round,
good-humored face of Anna Pavlovna at their meetings; she remembered
their secret confabulations about the invalid, their plots to draw him
away from the work which was forbidden him, and to get him out-of-doors;
the devotion of the youngest boy, who used to call her "my Kitty," and
would not go to bed without her. How nice it all was! Then she recalled
the thin, terribly thin figure of Petrov, with his long neck, in his
brown coat, his scant, curly hair, his questioning blue eyes that were
so terrible to Kitty at first, and his painful attempts to seem hearty
and lively in her presence. She recalled the efforts she had made at
first to overcome the repugnance she felt for him, as for all
consumptive people, and the pains it had cost her to think of things to
say to him. She recalled the timid, softened look with which he gazed at
her, and the strange feeling of compassion and awkwardness, and later of
a sense of her own goodness, which she had felt at it. How nice it all
was! But all that was at first. Now, a few days ago, everything was
suddenly spoiled. Anna Pavlovna had met Kitty with affected cordiality,
and had kept continual watch on her and on her husband.

Could that touching pleasure he showed when she came near be the cause
of Anna Pavlovna’s coolness?

"Yes," she mused, "there was something unnatural about Anna Pavlovna,
and utterly unlike her good nature, when she said angrily the day before
yesterday: ‘There, he will keep waiting for you; he wouldn’t drink his
coffee without you, though he’s grown so dreadfully weak.’"

"Yes, perhaps, too, she didn’t like it when I gave him the rug. It was
all so simple, but he took it so awkwardly, and was so long thanking me,
that I felt awkward too. And then that portrait of me he did so well.
And most of all that look of confusion and tenderness! Yes, yes, that’s
it!" Kitty repeated to herself with horror. "No, it can’t be, it
oughtn’t to be! He’s so much to be pitied!" she said to herself directly

This doubt poisoned the charm of her new life.

Chapter 34

Before the end of the course of drinking the waters, Prince
Shtcherbatsky, who had gone on from Carlsbad to Baden and Kissingen to
Russian friends—to get a breath of Russian air, as he said—came back to
his wife and daughter.

The views of the prince and of the princess on life abroad were
completely opposed. The princess thought everything delightful, and in
spite of her established position in Russian society, she tried abroad
to be like a European fashionable lady, which she was not—for the simple
reason that she was a typical Russian gentlewoman; and so she was
affected, which did not altogether suit her. The prince, on the
contrary, thought everything foreign detestable, got sick of European
life, kept to his Russian habits, and purposely tried to show himself
abroad less European than he was in reality.

The prince returned thinner, with the skin hanging in loose bags on his
cheeks, but in the most cheerful frame of mind. His good humor was even
greater when he saw Kitty completely recovered. The news of Kitty’s
friendship with Madame Stahl and Varenka, and the reports the princess
gave him of some kind of change she had noticed in Kitty, troubled the
prince and aroused his habitual feeling of jealousy of everything that
drew his daughter away from him, and a dread that his daughter might
have got out of the reach of his influence into regions inaccessible to
him. But these unpleasant matters were all drowned in the sea of
kindliness and good humor which was always within him, and more so than
ever since his course of Carlsbad waters.

The day after his arrival the prince, in his long overcoat, with his
Russian wrinkles and baggy cheeks propped up by a starched collar, set
off with his daughter to the spring in the greatest good humor.

It was a lovely morning: the bright, cheerful houses with their little
gardens, the sight of the red-faced, red-armed, beer-drinking German
waitresses, working away merrily, did the heart good. But the nearer
they got to the springs the oftener they met sick people; and their
appearance seemed more pitiable than ever among the everyday conditions
of prosperous German life. Kitty was no longer struck by this contrast.
The bright sun, the brilliant green of the foliage, the strains of the
music were for her the natural setting of all these familiar faces, with
their changes to greater emaciation or to convalescence, for which she
watched. But to the prince the brightness and gaiety of the June
morning, and the sound of the orchestra playing a gay waltz then in
fashion, and above all, the appearance of the healthy attendants, seemed
something unseemly and monstrous, in conjunction with these slowly
moving, dying figures gathered together from all parts of Europe. In
spite of his feeling of pride and, as it were, of the return of youth,
with his favorite daughter on his arm, he felt awkward, and almost
ashamed of his vigorous step and his sturdy, stout limbs. He felt almost
like a man not dressed in a crowd.

"Present me to your new friends," he said to his daughter, squeezing her
hand with his elbow. "I like even your horrid Soden for making you so
well again. Only it’s melancholy, very melancholy here. Who’s that?"

Kitty mentioned the names of all the people they met, with some of whom
she was acquainted and some not. At the entrance of the garden they met
the blind lady, Madame Berthe, with her guide, and the prince was
delighted to see the old Frenchwoman’s face light up when she heard
Kitty’s voice. She at once began talking to him with French exaggerated
politeness, applauding him for having such a delightful daughter,
extolling Kitty to the skies before her face, and calling her a
treasure, a pearl, and a consoling angel.

"Well, she’s the second angel, then," said the prince, smiling. "she
calls Mademoiselle Varenka angel number one."

"Oh! Mademoiselle Varenka, she’s a real angel, allez," Madame Berthe

In the arcade they met Varenka herself. She was walking rapidly towards
them carrying an elegant red bag.

"Here is papa come," Kitty said to her.

Varenka made—simply and naturally as she did everything—a movement
between a bow and a curtsey, and immediately began talking to the
prince, without shyness, naturally, as she talked to everyone.

"Of course I know you; I know you very well," the prince said to her
with a smile, in which Kitty detected with joy that her father liked her
friend. "Where are you off to in such haste?"

"Maman’s here," she said, turning to Kitty. "She has not slept all
night, and the doctor advised her to go out. I’m taking her her work."

"So that’s angel number one?" said the prince when Varenka had gone on.

Kitty saw that her father had meant to make fun of Varenka, but that he
could not do it because he liked her.

"Come, so we shall see all your friends," he went on, "even Madame
Stahl, if she deigns to recognize me."

"Why, did you know her, papa?" Kitty asked apprehensively, catching the
gleam of irony that kindled in the prince’s eyes at the mention of
Madame Stahl.

"I used to know her husband, and her too a little, before she’d joined
the Pietists."

"What is a Pietist, papa?" asked Kitty, dismayed to find that what she
prized so highly in Madame Stahl had a name.

"I don’t quite know myself. I only know that she thanks God for
everything, for every misfortune, and thanks God too that her husband
died. And that’s rather droll, as they didn’t get on together."

"Who’s that? What a piteous face!" he asked, noticing a sick man of
medium height sitting on a bench, wearing a brown overcoat and white
trousers that fell in strange folds about his long, fleshless legs. This
man lifted his straw hat, showed his scanty curly hair and high
forehead, painfully reddened by the pressure of the hat.

"That’s Petrov, an artist," answered Kitty, blushing. "And that’s his
wife," she added, indicating Anna Pavlovna, who, as though on purpose,
at the very instant they approached walked away after a child that had
run off along a path.

"Poor fellow! and what a nice face he has!" said the prince. "Why don’t
you go up to him? He wanted to speak to you."

"Well, let us go, then," said Kitty, turning round resolutely. "How are
you feeling today?" she asked Petrov.

Petrov got up, leaning on his stick, and looked shyly at the prince.

"This is my daughter," said the prince. "Let me introduce myself."

The painter bowed and smiled, showing his strangely dazzling white

"We expected you yesterday, princess," he said to Kitty. He staggered as
he said this, and then repeated the motion, trying to make it seem as if
it had been intentional.

"I meant to come, but Varenka said that Anna Pavlovna sent word you were
not going."

"Not going!" said Petrov, blushing, and immediately beginning to cough,
and his eyes sought his wife. "Anita! Anita!" he said loudly, and the
swollen veins stood out like cords on his thin white neck.

Anna Pavlovna came up.

"So you sent word to the princess that we weren’t going!" he whispered
to her angrily, losing his voice.

"Good morning, princess," said Anna Pavlovna, with an assumed smile
utterly unlike her former manner. "Very glad to make your acquaintance,"
she said to the prince. "You’ve long been expected, prince."

"What did you send word to the princess that we weren’t going for?" the
artist whispered hoarsely once more, still more angrily, obviously
exasperated that his voice failed him so that he could not give his
words the expression he would have liked to.

"Oh, mercy on us! I thought we weren’t going," his wife answered

"What, when...." He coughed and waved his hand. The prince took off his
hat and moved away with his daughter.

"Ah! ah!" he sighed deeply. "Oh, poor things!"

"Yes, papa," answered Kitty. "And you must know they’ve three children,
no servant, and scarcely any means. He gets something from the Academy,"
she went on briskly, trying to drown the distress that the queer change
in Anna Pavlovna’s manner to her had aroused in her.

"Oh, here’s Madame Stahl," said Kitty, indicating an invalid carriage,
where, propped on pillows, something in gray and blue was lying under a
sunshade. This was Madame Stahl. Behind her stood the gloomy,
healthy-looking German workman who pushed the carriage. Close by was
standing a flaxen-headed Swedish count, whom Kitty knew by name. Several
invalids were lingering near the low carriage, staring at the lady as
though she were some curiosity.

The prince went up to her, and Kitty detected that disconcerting gleam
of irony in his eyes. He went up to Madame Stahl, and addressed her with
extreme courtesy and affability in that excellent French that so few
speak nowadays.

"I don’t know if you remember me, but I must recall myself to thank you
for your kindness to my daughter," he said, taking off his hat and not
putting it on again.

"Prince Alexander Shtcherbatsky," said Madame Stahl, lifting upon him
her heavenly eyes, in which Kitty discerned a look of annoyance.
"Delighted! I have taken a great fancy to your daughter."

"You are still in weak health?"

"Yes; I’m used to it," said Madame Stahl, and she introduced the prince
to the Swedish count.

"You are scarcely changed at all," the prince said to her. "It’s ten or
eleven years since I had the honor of seeing you."

"Yes; God sends the cross and sends the strength to bear it. Often one
wonders what is the goal of this life?... The other side!" she said
angrily to Varenka, who had rearranged the rug over her feet not to her

"To do good, probably," said the prince with a twinkle in his eye.

"That is not for us to judge," said Madame Stahl, perceiving the shade
of expression on the prince’s face. "So you will send me that book, dear
count? I’m very grateful to you," she said to the young Swede.

"Ah!" cried the prince, catching sight of the Moscow colonel standing
near, and with a bow to Madame Stahl he walked away with his daughter
and the Moscow colonel, who joined them.

"That’s our aristocracy, prince!" the Moscow colonel said with ironical
intention. He cherished a grudge against Madame Stahl for not making his

"She’s just the same," replied the prince.

"Did you know her before her illness, prince—that’s to say before she
took to her bed?"

"Yes. She took to her bed before my eyes," said the prince.

"They say it’s ten years since she has stood on her feet."

"She doesn’t stand up because her legs are too short. She’s a very bad

"Papa, it’s not possible!" cried Kitty.

"That’s what wicked tongues say, my darling. And your Varenka catches it
too," he added. "Oh, these invalid ladies!"

"Oh, no, papa!" Kitty objected warmly. "Varenka worships her. And then
she does so much good! Ask anyone! Everyone knows her and Aline Stahl."

"Perhaps so," said the prince, squeezing her hand with his elbow; "but
it’s better when one does good so that you may ask everyone and no one

Kitty did not answer, not because she had nothing to say, but because
she did not care to reveal her secret thoughts even to her father. But,
strange to say, although she had so made up her mind not to be
influenced by her father’s views, not to let him into her inmost
sanctuary, she felt that the heavenly image of Madame Stahl, which she
had carried for a whole month in her heart, had vanished, never to
return, just as the fantastic figure made up of some clothes thrown down
at random vanishes when one sees that it is only some garment lying
there. All that was left was a woman with short legs, who lay down
because she had a bad figure, and worried patient Varenka for not
arranging her rug to her liking. And by no effort of the imagination
could Kitty bring back the former Madame Stahl.

Chapter 35

The prince communicated his good humor to his own family and his
friends, and even to the German landlord in whose rooms the
Shtcherbatskys were staying.

On coming back with Kitty from the springs, the prince, who had asked
the colonel, and Marya Yevgenyevna, and Varenka all to come and have
coffee with them, gave orders for a table and chairs to be taken into
the garden under the chestnut tree, and lunch to be laid there. The
landlord and the servants, too, grew brisker under the influence of his
good spirits. They knew his open-handedness; and half an hour later the
invalid doctor from Hamburg, who lived on the top floor, looked
enviously out of the window at the merry party of healthy Russians
assembled under the chestnut tree. In the trembling circles of shadow
cast by the leaves, at a table, covered with a white cloth, and set with
coffeepot, bread-and-butter, cheese, and cold game, sat the princess in
a high cap with lilac ribbons, distributing cups and bread-and-butter.
At the other end sat the prince, eating heartily, and talking loudly and
merrily. The prince had spread out near him his purchases, carved boxes,
and knick-knacks, paper-knives of all sorts, of which he bought a heap
at every watering-place, and bestowed them upon everyone, including
Lieschen, the servant girl, and the landlord, with whom he jested in his
comically bad German, assuring him that it was not the water had cured
Kitty, but his splendid cookery, especially his plum soup. The princess
laughed at her husband for his Russian ways, but she was more lively and
good-humored than she had been all the while she had been at the waters.
The colonel smiled, as he always did, at the prince’s jokes, but as far
as regards Europe, of which he believed himself to be making a careful
study, he took the princess’s side. The simple-hearted Marya Yevgenyevna
simply roared with laughter at everything absurd the prince said, and
his jokes made Varenka helpless with feeble but infectious laughter,
which was something Kitty had never seen before.

Kitty was glad of all this, but she could not be light-hearted. She
could not solve the problem her father had unconsciously set her by his
goodhumored view of her friends, and of the life that had so attracted
her. To this doubt there was joined the change in her relations with the
Petrovs, which had been so conspicuously and unpleasantly marked that
morning. Everyone was good humored, but Kitty could not feel good
humored, and this increased her distress. She felt a feeling such as she
had known in childhood, when she had been shut in her room as a
punishment, and had heard her sisters’ merry laughter outside.

"Well, but what did you buy this mass of things for?" said the princess,
smiling, and handing her husband a cup of coffee.

"One goes for a walk, one looks in a shop, and they ask you to buy.
‘_Erlaucht, Durchlaucht?_’ Directly they say ‘_Durchlaucht_,’ I can’t
hold out. I lose ten thalers."

"It’s simply from boredom," said the princess.

"Of course it is. Such boredom, my dear, that one doesn’t know what to
do with oneself."

"How can you be bored, prince? There’s so much that’s interesting now in
Germany," said Marya Yevgenyevna.

"But I know everything that’s interesting: the plum soup I know, and the
pea sausages I know. I know everything."

"No, you may say what you like, prince, there’s the interest of their
institutions," said the colonel.

"But what is there interesting about it? They’re all as pleased as brass
halfpence. They’ve conquered everybody, and why am I to be pleased at
that? I haven’t conquered anyone; and I’m obliged to take off my own
boots, yes, and put them away too; in the morning, get up and dress at
once, and go to the dining room to drink bad tea! How different it is at
home! You get up in no haste, you get cross, grumble a little, and come
round again. You’ve time to think things over, and no hurry."

"But time’s money, you forget that," said the colonel.

"Time, indeed, that depends! Why, there’s time one would give a month of
for sixpence, and time you wouldn’t give half an hour of for any money.
Isn’t that so, Katinka? What is it? why are you so depressed?"

"I’m not depressed."

"Where are you off to? Stay a little longer," he said to Varenka.

"I must be going home," said Varenka, getting up, and again she went off
into a giggle. When she had recovered, she said good-bye, and went into
the house to get her hat.

Kitty followed her. Even Varenka struck her as different. She was not
worse, but different from what she had fancied her before.

"Oh, dear! it’s a long while since I’ve laughed so much!" said Varenka,
gathering up her parasol and her bag. "How nice he is, your father!"

Kitty did not speak.

"When shall I see you again?" asked Varenka.

"Mamma meant to go and see the Petrovs. Won’t you be there?" said Kitty,
to try Varenka.

"Yes," answered Varenka. "They’re getting ready to go away, so I
promised to help them pack."

"Well, I’ll come too, then."

"No, why should you?"

"Why not? why not? why not?" said Kitty, opening her eyes wide, and
clutching at Varenka’s parasol, so as not to let her go. "No, wait a
minute; why not?"

"Oh, nothing; your father has come, and besides, they will feel awkward
at your helping."

"No, tell me why you don’t want me to be often at the Petrovs’. You
don’t want me to—why not?"

"I didn’t say that," said Varenka quietly.

"No, please tell me!"

"Tell you everything?" asked Varenka.

"Everything, everything!" Kitty assented.

"Well, there’s really nothing of any consequence; only that Mihail
Alexeyevitch" (that was the artist’s name) "had meant to leave earlier,
and now he doesn’t want to go away," said Varenka, smiling.

"Well, well!" Kitty urged impatiently, looking darkly at Varenka.

"Well, and for some reason Anna Pavlovna told him that he didn’t want to
go because you are here. Of course, that was nonsense; but there was a
dispute over it—over you. You know how irritable these sick people are."

Kitty, scowling more than ever, kept silent, and Varenka went on
speaking alone, trying to soften or soothe her, and seeing a storm
coming—she did not know whether of tears or of words.

"So you’d better not go.... You understand; you won’t be offended?..."

"And it serves me right! And it serves me right!" Kitty cried quickly,
snatching the parasol out of Varenka’s hand, and looking past her
friend’s face.

Varenka felt inclined to smile, looking at her childish fury, but she
was afraid of wounding her.

"How does it serve you right? I don’t understand," she said.

"It serves me right, because it was all sham; because it was all done on
purpose, and not from the heart. What business had I to interfere with
outsiders? And so it’s come about that I’m a cause of quarrel, and that
I’ve done what nobody asked me to do. Because it was all a sham! a sham!
a sham!..."

"A sham! with what object?" said Varenka gently.

"Oh, it’s so idiotic! so hateful! There was no need whatever for me....
Nothing but sham!" she said, opening and shutting the parasol.

"But with what object?"

"To seem better to people, to myself, to God; to deceive everyone. No!
now I won’t descend to that. I’ll be bad; but anyway not a liar, a

"But who is a cheat?" said Varenka reproachfully. "You speak as if..."

But Kitty was in one of her gusts of fury, and she would not let her

"I don’t talk about you, not about you at all. You’re perfection. Yes,
yes, I know you’re all perfection; but what am I to do if I’m bad? This
would never have been if I weren’t bad. So let me be what I am. I won’t
be a sham. What have I to do with Anna Pavlovna? Let them go their way,
and me go mine. I can’t be different.... And yet it’s not that, it’s not

"What is not that?" asked Varenka in bewilderment.

"Everything. I can’t act except from the heart, and you act from
principle. I liked you simply, but you most likely only wanted to save
me, to improve me."

"You are unjust," said Varenka.

"But I’m not speaking of other people, I’m speaking of myself."

"Kitty," they heard her mother’s voice, "come here, show papa your

Kitty, with a haughty air, without making peace with her friend, took
the necklace in a little box from the table and went to her mother.

"What’s the matter? Why are you so red?" her mother and father said to
her with one voice.

"Nothing," she answered. "I’ll be back directly," and she ran back.

"She’s still here," she thought. "What am I to say to her? Oh, dear!
what have I done, what have I said? Why was I rude to her? What am I to
do? What am I to say to her?" thought Kitty, and she stopped in the

Varenka in her hat and with the parasol in her hands was sitting at the
table examining the spring which Kitty had broken. She lifted her head.

"Varenka, forgive me, do forgive me," whispered Kitty, going up to her.
"I don’t remember what I said. I..."

"I really didn’t mean to hurt you," said Varenka, smiling.

Peace was made. But with her father’s coming all the world in which she
had been living was transformed for Kitty. She did not give up
everything she had learned, but she became aware that she had deceived
herself in supposing she could be what she wanted to be. Her eyes were,
it seemed, opened; she felt all the difficulty of maintaining herself
without hypocrisy and self-conceit on the pinnacle to which she had
wished to mount. Moreover, she became aware of all the dreariness of the
world of sorrow, of sick and dying people, in which she had been living.
The efforts she had made to like it seemed to her intolerable, and she
felt a longing to get back quickly into the fresh air, to Russia, to
Ergushovo, where, as she knew from letters, her sister Dolly had already
gone with her children.

But her affection for Varenka did not wane. As she said good-bye, Kitty
begged her to come to them in Russia.

"I’ll come when you get married," said Varenka.

"I shall never marry."

"Well, then, I shall never come."

"Well, then, I shall be married simply for that. Mind now, remember your
promise," said Kitty.

The doctor’s prediction was fulfilled. Kitty returned home to Russia
cured. She was not so gay and thoughtless as before, but she was serene.
Her Moscow troubles had become a memory to her.


Chapter 1

Sergey Ivanovitch Koznishev wanted a rest from mental work, and instead
of going abroad as he usually did, he came towards the end of May to
stay in the country with his brother. In his judgment the best sort of
life was a country life. He had come now to enjoy such a life at his
brother’s. Konstantin Levin was very glad to have him, especially as he
did not expect his brother Nikolay that summer. But in spite of his
affection and respect for Sergey Ivanovitch, Konstantin Levin was
uncomfortable with his brother in the country. It made him
uncomfortable, and it positively annoyed him to see his brother’s
attitude to the country. To Konstantin Levin the country was the
background of life, that is of pleasures, endeavors, labor. To Sergey
Ivanovitch the country meant on one hand rest from work, on the other a
valuable antidote to the corrupt influences of town, which he took with
satisfaction and a sense of its utility. To Konstantin Levin the country
was good first because it afforded a field for labor, of the usefulness
of which there could be no doubt. To Sergey Ivanovitch the country was
particularly good, because there it was possible and fitting to do
nothing. Moreover, Sergey Ivanovitch’s attitude to the peasants rather
piqued Konstantin. Sergey Ivanovitch used to say that he knew and liked
the peasantry, and he often talked to the peasants, which he knew how to
do without affectation or condescension, and from every such
conversation he would deduce general conclusions in favor of the
peasantry and in confirmation of his knowing them. Konstantin Levin did
not like such an attitude to the peasants. To Konstantin the peasant was
simply the chief partner in their common labor, and in spite of all the
respect and the love, almost like that of kinship, he had for the
peasant—sucked in probably, as he said himself, with the milk of his
peasant nurse—still as a fellow-worker with him, while sometimes
enthusiastic over the vigor, gentleness, and justice of these men, he
was very often, when their common labors called for other qualities,
exasperated with the peasant for his carelessness, lack of method,
drunkenness, and lying. If he had been asked whether he liked or didn’t
like the peasants, Konstantin Levin would have been absolutely at a loss
what to reply. He liked and did not like the peasants, just as he liked
and did not like men in general. Of course, being a good-hearted man, he
liked men rather than he disliked them, and so too with the peasants.
But like or dislike "the people" as something apart he could not, not
only because he lived with "the people," and all his interests were
bound up with theirs, but also because he regarded himself as a part of
"the people," did not see any special qualities or failings
distinguishing himself and "the people," and could not contrast himself
with them. Moreover, although he had lived so long in the closest
relations with the peasants, as farmer and arbitrator, and what was
more, as adviser (the peasants trusted him, and for thirty miles round
they would come to ask his advice), he had no definite views of "the
people," and would have been as much at a loss to answer the question
whether he knew "the people" as the question whether he liked them. For
him to say he knew the peasantry would have been the same as to say he
knew men. He was continually watching and getting to know people of all
sorts, and among them peasants, whom he regarded as good and interesting
people, and he was continually observing new points in them, altering
his former views of them and forming new ones. With Sergey Ivanovitch it
was quite the contrary. Just as he liked and praised a country life in
comparison with the life he did not like, so too he liked the peasantry
in contradistinction to the class of men he did not like, and so too he
knew the peasantry as something distinct from and opposed to men
generally. In his methodical brain there were distinctly formulated
certain aspects of peasant life, deduced partly from that life itself,
but chiefly from contrast with other modes of life. He never changed his
opinion of the peasantry and his sympathetic attitude towards them.

In the discussions that arose between the brothers on their views of the
peasantry, Sergey Ivanovitch always got the better of his brother,
precisely because Sergey Ivanovitch had definite ideas about the
peasant—his character, his qualities, and his tastes. Konstantin Levin
had no definite and unalterable idea on the subject, and so in their
arguments Konstantin was readily convicted of contradicting himself.

In Sergey Ivanovitch’s eyes his younger brother was a capital fellow,
_with his heart in the right place_ (as he expressed it in French), but
with a mind which, though fairly quick, was too much influenced by the
impressions of the moment, and consequently filled with contradictions.
With all the condescension of an elder brother he sometimes explained to
him the true import of things, but he derived little satisfaction from
arguing with him because he got the better of him too easily.

Konstantin Levin regarded his brother as a man of immense intellect and
culture, as generous in the highest sense of the word, and possessed of
a special faculty for working for the public good. But in the depths of
his heart, the older he became, and the more intimately he knew his
brother, the more and more frequently the thought struck him that this
faculty of working for the public good, of which he felt himself utterly
devoid, was possibly not so much a quality as a lack of something—not a
lack of good, honest, noble desires and tastes, but a lack of vital
force, of what is called heart, of that impulse which drives a man to
choose someone out of the innumerable paths of life, and to care only
for that one. The better he knew his brother, the more he noticed that
Sergey Ivanovitch, and many other people who worked for the public
welfare, were not led by an impulse of the heart to care for the public
good, but reasoned from intellectual considerations that it was a right
thing to take interest in public affairs, and consequently took interest
in them. Levin was confirmed in this generalization by observing that
his brother did not take questions affecting the public welfare or the
question of the immortality of the soul a bit more to heart than he did
chess problems, or the ingenious construction of a new machine.

Besides this, Konstantin Levin was not at his ease with his brother,
because in summer in the country Levin was continually busy with work on
the land, and the long summer day was not long enough for him to get
through all he had to do, while Sergey Ivanovitch was taking a holiday.
But though he was taking a holiday now, that is to say, he was doing no
writing, he was so used to intellectual activity that he liked to put
into concise and eloquent shape the ideas that occurred to him, and
liked to have someone to listen to him. His most usual and natural
listener was his brother. And so in spite of the friendliness and
directness of their relations, Konstantin felt an awkwardness in leaving
him alone. Sergey Ivanovitch liked to stretch himself on the grass in
the sun, and to lie so, basking and chatting lazily.

"You wouldn’t believe," he would say to his brother, "what a pleasure
this rural laziness is to me. Not an idea in one’s brain, as empty as a

But Konstantin Levin found it dull sitting and listening to him,
especially when he knew that while he was away they would be carting
dung onto the fields not ploughed ready for it, and heaping it all up
anyhow; and would not screw the shares in the ploughs, but would let
them come off and then say that the new ploughs were a silly invention,
and there was nothing like the old Andreevna plough, and so on.

"Come, you’ve done enough trudging about in the heat," Sergey Ivanovitch
would say to him.

"No, I must just run round to the counting-house for a minute," Levin
would answer, and he would run off to the fields.

Chapter 2

Early in June it happened that Agafea Mihalovna, the old nurse and
housekeeper, in carrying to the cellar a jar of mushrooms she had just
pickled, slipped, fell, and sprained her wrist. The district doctor, a
talkative young medical student, who had just finished his studies, came
to see her. He examined the wrist, said it was not broken, was delighted
at a chance of talking to the celebrated Sergey Ivanovitch Koznishev,
and to show his advanced views of things told him all the scandal of the
district, complaining of the poor state into which the district council
had fallen. Sergey Ivanovitch listened attentively, asked him questions,
and, roused by a new listener, he talked fluently, uttered a few keen
and weighty observations, respectfully appreciated by the young doctor,
and was soon in that eager frame of mind his brother knew so well, which
always, with him, followed a brilliant and eager conversation. After the
departure of the doctor, he wanted to go with a fishing rod to the
river. Sergey Ivanovitch was fond of angling, and was, it seemed, proud
of being able to care for such a stupid occupation.

Konstantin Levin, whose presence was needed in the plough land and
meadows, had come to take his brother in the trap.

It was that time of the year, the turning-point of summer, when the
crops of the present year are a certainty, when one begins to think of
the sowing for next year, and the mowing is at hand; when the rye is all
in ear, though its ears are still light, not yet full, and it waves in
gray-green billows in the wind; when the green oats, with tufts of
yellow grass scattered here and there among it, droop irregularly over
the late-sown fields; when the early buckwheat is already out and hiding
the ground; when the fallow lands, trodden hard as stone by the cattle,
are half ploughed over, with paths left untouched by the plough; when
from the dry dung-heaps carted onto the fields there comes at sunset a
smell of manure mixed with meadow-sweet, and on the low-lying lands the
riverside meadows are a thick sea of grass waiting for the mowing, with
blackened heaps of the stalks of sorrel among it.

It was the time when there comes a brief pause in the toil of the fields
before the beginning of the labors of harvest—every year recurring,
every year straining every nerve of the peasants. The crop was a
splendid one, and bright, hot summer days had set in with short, dewy

The brothers had to drive through the woods to reach the meadows. Sergey
Ivanovitch was all the while admiring the beauty of the woods, which
were a tangled mass of leaves, pointing out to his brother now an old
lime tree on the point of flowering, dark on the shady side, and
brightly spotted with yellow stipules, now the young shoots of this
year’s saplings brilliant with emerald. Konstantin Levin did not like
talking and hearing about the beauty of nature. Words for him took away
the beauty of what he saw. He assented to what his brother said, but he
could not help beginning to think of other things. When they came out of
the woods, all his attention was engrossed by the view of the fallow
land on the upland, in parts yellow with grass, in parts trampled and
checkered with furrows, in parts dotted with ridges of dung, and in
parts even ploughed. A string of carts was moving across it. Levin
counted the carts, and was pleased that all that were wanted had been
brought, and at the sight of the meadows his thoughts passed to the
mowing. He always felt something special moving him to the quick at the
hay-making. On reaching the meadow Levin stopped the horse.

The morning dew was still lying on the thick undergrowth of the grass,
and that he might not get his feet wet, Sergey Ivanovitch asked his
brother to drive him in the trap up to the willow tree from which the
carp was caught. Sorry as Konstantin Levin was to crush down his mowing
grass, he drove him into the meadow. The high grass softly turned about
the wheels and the horse’s legs, leaving its seeds clinging to the wet
axles and spokes of the wheels. His brother seated himself under a bush,
arranging his tackle, while Levin led the horse away, fastened him up,
and walked into the vast gray-green sea of grass unstirred by the wind.
The silky grass with its ripe seeds came almost to his waist in the
dampest spots.

Crossing the meadow, Konstantin Levin came out onto the road, and met an
old man with a swollen eye, carrying a skep on his shoulder.

"What? taken a stray swarm, Fomitch?" he asked.

"No, indeed, Konstantin Dmitrich! All we can do to keep our own! This is
the second swarm that has flown away.... Luckily the lads caught them.
They were ploughing your field. They unyoked the horses and galloped
after them."

"Well, what do you say, Fomitch—start mowing or wait a bit?"

"Eh, well. Our way’s to wait till St. Peter’s Day. But you always mow
sooner. Well, to be sure, please God, the hay’s good. There’ll be plenty
for the beasts."

"What do you think about the weather?"

"That’s in God’s hands. Maybe it will be fine."

Levin went up to his brother.

Sergey Ivanovitch had caught nothing, but he was not bored, and seemed
in the most cheerful frame of mind. Levin saw that, stimulated by his
conversation with the doctor, he wanted to talk. Levin, on the other
hand, would have liked to get home as soon as possible to give orders
about getting together the mowers for next day, and to set at rest his
doubts about the mowing, which greatly absorbed him.

"Well, let’s be going," he said.

"Why be in such a hurry? Let’s stay a little. But how wet you are! Even
though one catches nothing, it’s nice. That’s the best thing about every
part of sport, that one has to do with nature. How exquisite this steely
water is!" said Sergey Ivanovitch. "These riverside banks always remind
me of the riddle—do you know it? ‘The grass says to the water: we quiver
and we quiver.’"

"I don’t know the riddle," answered Levin wearily.

Chapter 3

"Do you know, I’ve been thinking about you," said Sergey Ivanovitch.
"It’s beyond everything what’s being done in the district, according to
what this doctor tells me. He’s a very intelligent fellow. And as I’ve
told you before, I tell you again: it’s not right for you not to go to
the meetings, and altogether to keep out of the district business. If
decent people won’t go into it, of course it’s bound to go all wrong. We
pay the money, and it all goes in salaries, and there are no schools,
nor district nurses, nor midwives, nor drugstores—nothing."

"Well, I did try, you know," Levin said slowly and unwillingly. "I
can’t! and so there’s no help for it."

"But why can’t you? I must own I can’t make it out. Indifference,
incapacity—I won’t admit; surely it’s not simply laziness?"

"None of those things. I’ve tried, and I see I can do nothing," said

He had hardly grasped what his brother was saying. Looking towards the
plough land across the river, he made out something black, but he could
not distinguish whether it was a horse or the bailiff on horseback.

"Why is it you can do nothing? You made an attempt and didn’t succeed,
as you think, and you give in. How can you have so little self-respect?"

"Self-respect!" said Levin, stung to the quick by his brother’s words;
"I don’t understand. If they’d told me at college that other people
understood the integral calculus, and I didn’t, then pride would have
come in. But in this case one wants first to be convinced that one has
certain qualifications for this sort of business, and especially that
all this business is of great importance."

"What! do you mean to say it’s not of importance?" said Sergey
Ivanovitch, stung to the quick too at his brother’s considering anything
of no importance that interested him, and still more at his obviously
paying little attention to what he was saying.

"I don’t think it important; it does not take hold of me, I can’t help
it," answered Levin, making out that what he saw was the bailiff, and
that the bailiff seemed to be letting the peasants go off the ploughed
land. They were turning the plough over. "Can they have finished
ploughing?" he wondered.

"Come, really though," said the elder brother, with a frown on his
handsome, clever face, "there’s a limit to everything. It’s very well to
be original and genuine, and to dislike everything conventional—I know
all about that; but really, what you’re saying either has no meaning, or
it has a very wrong meaning. How can you think it a matter of no
importance whether the peasant, whom you love as you assert..."

"I never did assert it," thought Konstantin Levin.

"... dies without help? The ignorant peasant-women starve the children,
and the people stagnate in darkness, and are helpless in the hands of
every village clerk, while you have at your disposal a means of helping
them, and don’t help them because to your mind it’s of no importance."

And Sergey Ivanovitch put before him the alternative: either you are so
undeveloped that you can’t see all that you can do, or you won’t
sacrifice your ease, your vanity, or whatever it is, to do it.

Konstantin Levin felt that there was no course open to him but to
submit, or to confess to a lack of zeal for the public good. And this
mortified him and hurt his feelings.

"It’s both," he said resolutely: "I don’t see that it was possible..."

"What! was it impossible, if the money were properly laid out, to
provide medical aid?"

"Impossible, as it seems to me.... For the three thousand square miles
of our district, what with our thaws, and the storms, and the work in
the fields, I don’t see how it is possible to provide medical aid all
over. And besides, I don’t believe in medicine."

"Oh, well, that’s unfair ... I can quote to you thousands of
instances.... But the schools, anyway."

"Why have schools?"

"What do you mean? Can there be two opinions of the advantage of
education? If it’s a good thing for you, it’s a good thing for

Konstantin Levin felt himself morally pinned against a wall, and so he
got hot, and unconsciously blurted out the chief cause of his
indifference to public business.

"Perhaps it may all be very good; but why should I worry myself about
establishing dispensaries which I shall never make use of, and schools
to which I shall never send my children, to which even the peasants
don’t want to send their children, and to which I’ve no very firm faith
that they ought to send them?" said he.

Sergey Ivanovitch was for a minute surprised at this unexpected view of
the subject; but he promptly made a new plan of attack. He was silent
for a little, drew out a hook, threw it in again, and turned to his
brother smiling.

"Come, now.... In the first place, the dispensary is needed. We
ourselves sent for the district doctor for Agafea Mihalovna."

"Oh, well, but I fancy her wrist will never be straight again."

"That remains to be proved.... Next, the peasant who can read and write
is as a workman of more use and value to you."

"No, you can ask anyone you like," Konstantin Levin answered with
decision, "the man that can read and write is much inferior as a
workman. And mending the highroads is an impossibility; and as soon as
they put up bridges they’re stolen."

"Still, that’s not the point," said Sergey Ivanovitch, frowning. He
disliked contradiction, and still more, arguments that were continually
skipping from one thing to another, introducing new and disconnected
points, so that there was no knowing to which to reply. "Do you admit
that education is a benefit for the people?"

"Yes, I admit it," said Levin without thinking, and he was conscious
immediately that he had said what he did not think. He felt that if he
admitted that, it would be proved that he had been talking meaningless
rubbish. How it would be proved he could not tell, but he knew that this
would inevitably be logically proved to him, and he awaited the proofs.

The argument turned out to be far simpler than he had expected.

"If you admit that it is a benefit," said Sergey Ivanovitch, "then, as
an honest man, you cannot help caring about it and sympathizing with the
movement, and so wishing to work for it."

"But I still do not admit this movement to be just," said Konstantin
Levin, reddening a little.

"What! But you said just now..."

"That’s to say, I don’t admit it’s being either good or possible."

"That you can’t tell without making the trial."

"Well, supposing that’s so," said Levin, though he did not suppose so at
all, "supposing that is so, still I don’t see, all the same, what I’m to
worry myself about it for."

"How so?"

"No; since we are talking, explain it to me from the philosophical point
of view," said Levin.

"I can’t see where philosophy comes in," said Sergey Ivanovitch, in a
tone, Levin fancied, as though he did not admit his brother’s right to
talk about philosophy. And that irritated Levin.

"I’ll tell you, then," he said with heat, "I imagine the mainspring of
all our actions is, after all, self-interest. Now in the local
institutions I, as a nobleman, see nothing that could conduce to my
prosperity, and the roads are not better and could not be better; my
horses carry me well enough over bad ones. Doctors and dispensaries are
no use to me. An arbitrator of disputes is no use to me. I never appeal
to him, and never shall appeal to him. The schools are no good to me,
but positively harmful, as I told you. For me the district institutions
simply mean the liability to pay fourpence halfpenny for every three
acres, to drive into the town, sleep with bugs, and listen to all sorts
of idiocy and loathsomeness, and self-interest offers me no inducement."

"Excuse me," Sergey Ivanovitch interposed with a smile, "self-interest
did not induce us to work for the emancipation of the serfs, but we did
work for it."

"No!" Konstantin Levin broke in with still greater heat; "the
emancipation of the serfs was a different matter. There self-interest
did come in. One longed to throw off that yoke that crushed us, all
decent people among us. But to be a town councilor and discuss how many
dustmen are needed, and how chimneys shall be constructed in the town in
which I don’t live—to serve on a jury and try a peasant who’s stolen a
flitch of bacon, and listen for six hours at a stretch to all sorts of
jabber from the counsel for the defense and the prosecution, and the
president cross-examining my old half-witted Alioshka, ‘Do you admit,
prisoner in the dock, the fact of the removal of the bacon?’ ‘Eh?’"

Konstantin Levin had warmed to his subject, and began mimicking the
president and the half-witted Alioshka: it seemed to him that it was all
to the point.

But Sergey Ivanovitch shrugged his shoulders.

"Well, what do you mean to say, then?"

"I simply mean to say that those rights that touch me ... my interest, I
shall always defend to the best of my ability; that when they made raids
on us students, and the police read our letters, I was ready to defend
those rights to the utmost, to defend my rights to education and
freedom. I can understand compulsory military service, which affects my
children, my brothers, and myself, I am ready to deliberate on what
concerns me; but deliberating on how to spend forty thousand roubles of
district council money, or judging the half-witted Alioshka—I don’t
understand, and I can’t do it."

Konstantin Levin spoke as though the floodgates of his speech had burst
open. Sergey Ivanovitch smiled.

"But tomorrow it’ll be your turn to be tried; would it have suited your
tastes better to be tried in the old criminal tribunal?"

"I’m not going to be tried. I shan’t murder anybody, and I’ve no need of
it. Well, I tell you what," he went on, flying off again to a subject
quite beside the point, "our district self-government and all the rest
of it—it’s just like the birch branches we stick in the ground on
Trinity Day, for instance, to look like a copse which has grown up of
itself in Europe, and I can’t gush over these birch branches and believe
in them."

Sergey Ivanovitch merely shrugged his shoulders, as though to express
his wonder how the birch branches had come into their argument at that
point, though he did really understand at once what his brother meant.

"Excuse me, but you know one really can’t argue in that way," he

But Konstantin Levin wanted to justify himself for the failing, of which
he was conscious, of lack of zeal for the public welfare, and he went

"I imagine," he said, "that no sort of activity is likely to be lasting
if it is not founded on self-interest, that’s a universal principle, a
philosophical principle," he said, repeating the word "philosophical"
with determination, as though wishing to show that he had as much right
as any one else to talk of philosophy.

Sergey Ivanovitch smiled. "He too has a philosophy of his own at the
service of his natural tendencies," he thought.

"Come, you’d better let philosophy alone," he said. "The chief problem
of the philosophy of all ages consists just in finding the indispensable
connection which exists between individual and social interests. But
that’s not to the point; what is to the point is a correction I must
make in your comparison. The birches are not simply stuck in, but some
are sown and some are planted, and one must deal carefully with them.
It’s only those peoples that have an intuitive sense of what’s of
importance and significance in their institutions, and know how to value
them, that have a future before them—it’s only those peoples that one
can truly call historical."

And Sergey Ivanovitch carried the subject into the regions of
philosophical history where Konstantin Levin could not follow him, and
showed him all the incorrectness of his view.

"As for your dislike of it, excuse my saying so, that’s simply our
Russian sloth and old serf-owner’s ways, and I’m convinced that in you
it’s a temporary error and will pass."

Konstantin was silent. He felt himself vanquished on all sides, but he
felt at the same time that what he wanted to say was unintelligible to
his brother. Only he could not make up his mind whether it was
unintelligible because he was not capable of expressing his meaning
clearly, or because his brother would not or could not understand him.
But he did not pursue the speculation, and without replying, he fell to
musing on a quite different and personal matter.

Sergey Ivanovitch wound up the last line, untied the horse, and they
drove off.

Chapter 4

The personal matter that absorbed Levin during his conversation with his
brother was this. Once in a previous year he had gone to look at the
mowing, and being made very angry by the bailiff he had recourse to his
favorite means for regaining his temper,—he took a scythe from a peasant
and began mowing.

He liked the work so much that he had several times tried his hand at
mowing since. He had cut the whole of the meadow in front of his house,
and this year ever since the early spring he had cherished a plan for
mowing for whole days together with the peasants. Ever since his
brother’s arrival, he had been in doubt whether to mow or not. He was
loath to leave his brother alone all day long, and he was afraid his
brother would laugh at him about it. But as he drove into the meadow,
and recalled the sensations of mowing, he came near deciding that he
would go mowing. After the irritating discussion with his brother, he
pondered over this intention again.

"I must have physical exercise, or my temper’ll certainly be ruined," he
thought, and he determined he would go mowing, however awkward he might
feel about it with his brother or the peasants.

Towards evening Konstantin Levin went to his counting house, gave
directions as to the work to be done, and sent about the village to
summon the mowers for the morrow, to cut the hay in Kalinov meadow, the
largest and best of his grass lands.

"And send my scythe, please, to Tit, for him to set it, and bring it
round tomorrow. I shall maybe do some mowing myself too," he said,
trying not to be embarrassed.

The bailiff smiled and said: "Yes, sir."

At tea the same evening Levin said to his brother:

"I fancy the fine weather will last. Tomorrow I shall start mowing."

"I’m so fond of that form of field labor," said Sergey Ivanovitch.

"I’m awfully fond of it. I sometimes mow myself with the peasants, and
tomorrow I want to try mowing the whole day."

Sergey Ivanovitch lifted his head, and looked with interest at his

"How do you mean? Just like one of the peasants, all day long?"

"Yes, it’s very pleasant," said Levin.

"It’s splendid as exercise, only you’ll hardly be able to stand it,"
said Sergey Ivanovitch, without a shade of irony.

"I’ve tried it. It’s hard work at first, but you get into it. I dare say
I shall manage to keep it up..."

"Really! what an idea! But tell me, how do the peasants look at it? I
suppose they laugh in their sleeves at their master’s being such a queer

"No, I don’t think so; but it’s so delightful, and at the same time such
hard work, that one has no time to think about it."

"But how will you do about dining with them? To send you a bottle of
Lafitte and roast turkey out there would be a little awkward."

"No, I’ll simply come home at the time of their noonday rest."

Next morning Konstantin Levin got up earlier than usual, but he was
detained giving directions on the farm, and when he reached the mowing
grass the mowers were already at their second row.

From the uplands he could get a view of the shaded cut part of the
meadow below, with its grayish ridges of cut grass, and the black heaps
of coats, taken off by the mowers at the place from which they had
started cutting.

Gradually, as he rode towards the meadow, the peasants came into sight,
some in coats, some in their shirts mowing, one behind another in a long
string, swinging their scythes differently. He counted forty-two of

They were mowing slowly over the uneven, low-lying parts of the meadow,
where there had been an old dam. Levin recognized some of his own men.
Here was old Yermil in a very long white smock, bending forward to swing
a scythe; there was a young fellow, Vaska, who had been a coachman of
Levin’s, taking every row with a wide sweep. Here, too, was Tit, Levin’s
preceptor in the art of mowing, a thin little peasant. He was in front
of all, and cut his wide row without bending, as though playing with the

Levin got off his mare, and fastening her up by the roadside went to
meet Tit, who took a second scythe out of a bush and gave it to him.

"It’s ready, sir; it’s like a razor, cuts of itself," said Tit, taking
off his cap with a smile and giving him the scythe.

Levin took the scythe, and began trying it. As they finished their rows,
the mowers, hot and good-humored, came out into the road one after
another, and, laughing a little, greeted the master. They all stared at
him, but no one made any remark, till a tall old man, with a wrinkled,
beardless face, wearing a short sheepskin jacket, came out into the road
and accosted him.

"Look’ee now, master, once take hold of the rope there’s no letting it
go!" he said, and Levin heard smothered laughter among the mowers.

"I’ll try not to let it go," he said, taking his stand behind Tit, and
waiting for the time to begin.

"Mind’ee," repeated the old man.

Tit made room, and Levin started behind him. The grass was short close
to the road, and Levin, who had not done any mowing for a long while,
and was disconcerted by the eyes fastened upon him, cut badly for the
first moments, though he swung his scythe vigorously. Behind him he
heard voices:

"It’s not set right; handle’s too high; see how he has to stoop to it,"
said one.

"Press more on the heel," said another.

"Never mind, he’ll get on all right," the old man resumed.

"He’s made a start.... You swing it too wide, you’ll tire yourself
out.... The master, sure, does his best for himself! But see the grass
missed out! For such work us fellows would catch it!"

The grass became softer, and Levin, listening without answering,
followed Tit, trying to do the best he could. They moved a hundred
paces. Tit kept moving on, without stopping, not showing the slightest
weariness, but Levin was already beginning to be afraid he would not be
able to keep it up: he was so tired.

He felt as he swung his scythe that he was at the very end of his
strength, and was making up his mind to ask Tit to stop. But at that
very moment Tit stopped of his own accord, and stooping down picked up
some grass, rubbed his scythe, and began whetting it. Levin straightened
himself, and drawing a deep breath looked round. Behind him came a
peasant, and he too was evidently tired, for he stopped at once without
waiting to mow up to Levin, and began whetting his scythe. Tit sharpened
his scythe and Levin’s, and they went on. The next time it was just the
same. Tit moved on with sweep after sweep of his scythe, not stopping
nor showing signs of weariness. Levin followed him, trying not to get
left behind, and he found it harder and harder: the moment came when he
felt he had no strength left, but at that very moment Tit stopped and
whetted the scythes.

So they mowed the first row. And this long row seemed particularly hard
work to Levin; but when the end was reached and Tit, shouldering his
scythe, began with deliberate stride returning on the tracks left by his
heels in the cut grass, and Levin walked back in the same way over the
space he had cut, in spite of the sweat that ran in streams over his
face and fell in drops down his nose, and drenched his back as though he
had been soaked in water, he felt very happy. What delighted him
particularly was that now he knew he would be able to hold out.

His pleasure was only disturbed by his row not being well cut. "I will
swing less with my arm and more with my whole body," he thought,
comparing Tit’s row, which looked as if it had been cut with a line,
with his own unevenly and irregularly lying grass.

The first row, as Levin noticed, Tit had mowed specially quickly,
probably wishing to put his master to the test, and the row happened to
be a long one. The next rows were easier, but still Levin had to strain
every nerve not to drop behind the peasants.

He thought of nothing, wished for nothing, but not to be left behind the
peasants, and to do his work as well as possible. He heard nothing but
the swish of scythes, and saw before him Tit’s upright figure mowing
away, the crescent-shaped curve of the cut grass, the grass and flower
heads slowly and rhythmically falling before the blade of his scythe,
and ahead of him the end of the row, where would come the rest.

Suddenly, in the midst of his toil, without understanding what it was or
whence it came, he felt a pleasant sensation of chill on his hot, moist
shoulders. He glanced at the sky in the interval for whetting the
scythes. A heavy, lowering storm cloud had blown up, and big raindrops
were falling. Some of the peasants went to their coats and put them on;
others—just like Levin himself—merely shrugged their shoulders, enjoying
the pleasant coolness of it.

Another row, and yet another row, followed—long rows and short rows,
with good grass and with poor grass. Levin lost all sense of time, and
could not have told whether it was late or early now. A change began to
come over his work, which gave him immense satisfaction. In the midst of
his toil there were moments during which he forgot what he was doing,
and it came all easy to him, and at those same moments his row was
almost as smooth and well cut as Tit’s. But so soon as he recollected
what he was doing, and began trying to do better, he was at once
conscious of all the difficulty of his task, and the row was badly mown.

On finishing yet another row he would have gone back to the top of the
meadow again to begin the next, but Tit stopped, and going up to the old
man said something in a low voice to him. They both looked at the sun.
"What are they talking about, and why doesn’t he go back?" thought
Levin, not guessing that the peasants had been mowing no less than four
hours without stopping, and it was time for their lunch.

"Lunch, sir," said the old man.

"Is it really time? That’s right; lunch, then."

Levin gave his scythe to Tit, and together with the peasants, who were
crossing the long stretch of mown grass, slightly sprinkled with rain,
to get their bread from the heap of coats, he went towards his house.
Only then he suddenly awoke to the fact that he had been wrong about the
weather and the rain was drenching his hay.

"The hay will be spoiled," he said.

"Not a bit of it, sir; mow in the rain, and you’ll rake in fine
weather!" said the old man.

Levin untied his horse and rode home to his coffee. Sergey Ivanovitch
was only just getting up. When he had drunk his coffee, Levin rode back
again to the mowing before Sergey Ivanovitch had had time to dress and
come down to the dining room.

Chapter 5

After lunch Levin was not in the same place in the string of mowers as
before, but stood between the old man who had accosted him jocosely, and
now invited him to be his neighbor, and a young peasant, who had only
been married in the autumn, and who was mowing this summer for the first

The old man, holding himself erect, moved in front, with his feet turned
out, taking long, regular strides, and with a precise and regular action
which seemed to cost him no more effort than swinging one’s arms in
walking, as though it were in play, he laid down the high, even row of
grass. It was as though it were not he but the sharp scythe of itself
swishing through the juicy grass.

Behind Levin came the lad Mishka. His pretty, boyish face, with a twist
of fresh grass bound round his hair, was all working with effort; but
whenever anyone looked at him he smiled. He would clearly have died
sooner than own it was hard work for him.

Levin kept between them. In the very heat of the day the mowing did not
seem such hard work to him. The perspiration with which he was drenched
cooled him, while the sun, that burned his back, his head, and his arms,
bare to the elbow, gave a vigor and dogged energy to his labor; and more
and more often now came those moments of unconsciousness, when it was
possible not to think what one was doing. The scythe cut of itself.
These were happy moments. Still more delightful were the moments when
they reached the stream where the rows ended, and the old man rubbed his
scythe with the wet, thick grass, rinsed its blade in the fresh water of
the stream, ladled out a little in a tin dipper, and offered Levin a

"What do you say to my home-brew, eh? Good, eh?" said he, winking.

And truly Levin had never drunk any liquor so good as this warm water
with green bits floating in it, and a taste of rust from the tin dipper.
And immediately after this came the delicious, slow saunter, with his
hand on the scythe, during which he could wipe away the streaming sweat,
take deep breaths of air, and look about at the long string of mowers
and at what was happening around in the forest and the country.

The longer Levin mowed, the oftener he felt the moments of
unconsciousness in which it seemed not his hands that swung the scythe,
but the scythe mowing of itself, a body full of life and consciousness
of its own, and as though by magic, without thinking of it, the work
turned out regular and well-finished of itself. These were the most
blissful moments.

It was only hard work when he had to break off the motion, which had
become unconscious, and to think; when he had to mow round a hillock or
a tuft of sorrel. The old man did this easily. When a hillock came he
changed his action, and at one time with the heel, and at another with
the tip of his scythe, clipped the hillock round both sides with short
strokes. And while he did this he kept looking about and watching what
came into his view: at one moment he picked a wild berry and ate it or
offered it to Levin, then he flung away a twig with the blade of the
scythe, then he looked at a quail’s nest, from which the bird flew just
under the scythe, or caught a snake that crossed his path, and lifting
it on the scythe as though on a fork showed it to Levin and threw it

For both Levin and the young peasant behind him, such changes of
position were difficult. Both of them, repeating over and over again the
same strained movement, were in a perfect frenzy of toil, and were
incapable of shifting their position and at the same time watching what
was before them.

Levin did not notice how time was passing. If he had been asked how long
he had been working he would have said half an hour—and it was getting
on for dinner time. As they were walking back over the cut grass, the
old man called Levin’s attention to the little girls and boys who were
coming from different directions, hardly visible through the long grass,
and along the road towards the mowers, carrying sacks of bread dragging
at their little hands and pitchers of the sour rye-beer, with cloths
wrapped round them.

"Look’ee, the little emmets crawling!" he said, pointing to them, and he
shaded his eyes with his hand to look at the sun. They mowed two more
rows; the old man stopped.

"Come, master, dinner time!" he said briskly. And on reaching the stream
the mowers moved off across the lines of cut grass towards their pile of
coats, where the children who had brought their dinners were sitting
waiting for them. The peasants gathered into groups—those further away
under a cart, those nearer under a willow bush.

Levin sat down by them; he felt disinclined to go away.

All constraint with the master had disappeared long ago. The peasants
got ready for dinner. Some washed, the young lads bathed in the stream,
others made a place comfortable for a rest, untied their sacks of bread,
and uncovered the pitchers of rye-beer. The old man crumbled up some
bread in a cup, stirred it with the handle of a spoon, poured water on
it from the dipper, broke up some more bread, and having seasoned it
with salt, he turned to the east to say his prayer.

"Come, master, taste my sop," said he, kneeling down before the cup.

The sop was so good that Levin gave up the idea of going home. He dined
with the old man, and talked to him about his family affairs, taking the
keenest interest in them, and told him about his own affairs and all the
circumstances that could be of interest to the old man. He felt much
nearer to him than to his brother, and could not help smiling at the
affection he felt for this man. When the old man got up again, said his
prayer, and lay down under a bush, putting some grass under his head for
a pillow, Levin did the same, and in spite of the clinging flies that
were so persistent in the sunshine, and the midges that tickled his hot
face and body, he fell asleep at once and only waked when the sun had
passed to the other side of the bush and reached him. The old man had
been awake a long while, and was sitting up whetting the scythes of the
younger lads.

Levin looked about him and hardly recognized the place, everything was
so changed. The immense stretch of meadow had been mown and was
sparkling with a peculiar fresh brilliance, with its lines of already
sweet-smelling grass in the slanting rays of the evening sun. And the
bushes about the river had been cut down, and the river itself, not
visible before, now gleaming like steel in its bends, and the moving,
ascending, peasants, and the sharp wall of grass of the unmown part of
the meadow, and the hawks hovering over the stripped meadow—all was
perfectly new. Raising himself, Levin began considering how much had
been cut and how much more could still be done that day.

The work done was exceptionally much for forty-two men. They had cut the
whole of the big meadow, which had, in the years of serf labor, taken
thirty scythes two days to mow. Only the corners remained to do, where
the rows were short. But Levin felt a longing to get as much mowing done
that day as possible, and was vexed with the sun sinking so quickly in
the sky. He felt no weariness; all he wanted was to get his work done
more and more quickly and as much done as possible.

"Could you cut Mashkin Upland too?—what do you think?" he said to the
old man.

"As God wills, the sun’s not high. A little vodka for the lads?"

At the afternoon rest, when they were sitting down again, and those who
smoked had lighted their pipes, the old man told the men that "Mashkin
Upland’s to be cut—there’ll be some vodka."

"Why not cut it? Come on, Tit! We’ll look sharp! We can eat at night.
Come on!" cried voices, and eating up their bread, the mowers went back
to work.

"Come, lads, keep it up!" said Tit, and ran on ahead almost at a trot.

"Get along, get along!" said the old man, hurrying after him and easily
overtaking him, "I’ll mow you down, look out!"

And young and old mowed away, as though they were racing with one
another. But however fast they worked, they did not spoil the grass, and
the rows were laid just as neatly and exactly. The little piece left
uncut in the corner was mown in five minutes. The last of the mowers
were just ending their rows while the foremost snatched up their coats
onto their shoulders, and crossed the road towards Mashkin Upland.

The sun was already sinking into the trees when they went with their
jingling dippers into the wooded ravine of Mashkin Upland. The grass was
up to their waists in the middle of the hollow, soft, tender, and
feathery, spotted here and there among the trees with wild heart’s-ease.

After a brief consultation—whether to take the rows lengthwise or
diagonally—Prohor Yermilin, also a renowned mower, a huge, black-haired
peasant, went on ahead. He went up to the top, turned back again and
started mowing, and they all proceeded to form in line behind him, going
downhill through the hollow and uphill right up to the edge of the
forest. The sun sank behind the forest. The dew was falling by now; the
mowers were in the sun only on the hillside, but below, where a mist was
rising, and on the opposite side, they mowed into the fresh, dewy shade.
The work went rapidly. The grass cut with a juicy sound, and was at once
laid in high, fragrant rows. The mowers from all sides, brought closer
together in the short row, kept urging one another on to the sound of
jingling dippers and clanging scythes, and the hiss of the whetstones
sharpening them, and good-humored shouts.

Levin still kept between the young peasant and the old man. The old man,
who had put on his short sheepskin jacket, was just as good-humored,
jocose, and free in his movements. Among the trees they were continually
cutting with their scythes the so-called "birch mushrooms," swollen fat
in the succulent grass. But the old man bent down every time he came
across a mushroom, picked it up and put it in his bosom. "Another
present for my old woman," he said as he did so.

Easy as it was to mow the wet, soft grass, it was hard work going up and
down the steep sides of the ravine. But this did not trouble the old
man. Swinging his scythe just as ever, and moving his feet in their big,
plaited shoes with firm, little steps, he climbed slowly up the steep
place, and though his breeches hanging out below his smock, and his
whole frame trembled with effort, he did not miss one blade of grass or
one mushroom on his way, and kept making jokes with the peasants and
Levin. Levin walked after him and often thought he must fall, as he
climbed with a scythe up a steep cliff where it would have been hard
work to clamber without anything. But he climbed up and did what he had
to do. He felt as though some external force were moving him.

Chapter 6

Mashkin Upland was mown, the last row finished, the peasants had put on
their coats and were gaily trudging home. Levin got on his horse and,
parting regretfully from the peasants, rode homewards. On the hillside
he looked back; he could not see them in the mist that had risen from
the valley; he could only hear rough, good-humored voices, laughter, and
the sound of clanking scythes.

Sergey Ivanovitch had long ago finished dinner, and was drinking iced
lemon and water in his own room, looking through the reviews and papers
which he had only just received by post, when Levin rushed into the
room, talking merrily, with his wet and matted hair sticking to his
forehead, and his back and chest grimed and moist.

"We mowed the whole meadow! Oh, it is nice, delicious! And how have you
been getting on?" said Levin, completely forgetting the disagreeable
conversation of the previous day.

"Mercy! what do you look like!" said Sergey Ivanovitch, for the first
moment looking round with some dissatisfaction. "And the door, do shut
the door!" he cried. "You must have let in a dozen at least."

Sergey Ivanovitch could not endure flies, and in his own room he never
opened the window except at night, and carefully kept the door shut.

"Not one, on my honor. But if I have, I’ll catch them. You wouldn’t
believe what a pleasure it is! How have you spent the day?"

"Very well. But have you really been mowing the whole day? I expect
you’re as hungry as a wolf. Kouzma has got everything ready for you."

"No, I don’t feel hungry even. I had something to eat there. But I’ll go
and wash."

"Yes, go along, go along, and I’ll come to you directly," said Sergey
Ivanovitch, shaking his head as he looked at his brother. "Go along,
make haste," he added smiling, and gathering up his books, he prepared
to go too. He, too, felt suddenly good-humored and disinclined to leave
his brother’s side. "But what did you do while it was raining?"

"Rain? Why, there was scarcely a drop. I’ll come directly. So you had a
nice day too? That’s first-rate." And Levin went off to change his

Five minutes later the brothers met in the dining room. Although it
seemed to Levin that he was not hungry, and he sat down to dinner simply
so as not to hurt Kouzma’s feelings, yet when he began to eat the dinner
struck him as extraordinarily good. Sergey Ivanovitch watched him with a

"Oh, by the way, there’s a letter for you," said he. "Kouzma, bring it
down, please. And mind you shut the doors."

The letter was from Oblonsky. Levin read it aloud. Oblonsky wrote to him
from Petersburg: "I have had a letter from Dolly; she’s at Ergushovo,
and everything seems going wrong there. Do ride over and see her,
please; help her with advice; you know all about it. She will be so glad
to see you. She’s quite alone, poor thing. My mother-in-law and all of
them are still abroad."

"That’s capital! I will certainly ride over to her," said Levin. "Or
we’ll go together. She’s such a splendid woman, isn’t she?"

"They’re not far from here, then?"

"Twenty-five miles. Or perhaps it is thirty. But a capital road.
Capital, we’ll drive over."

"I shall be delighted," said Sergey Ivanovitch, still smiling. The sight
of his younger brother’s appearance had immediately put him in a good

"Well, you have an appetite!" he said, looking at his dark-red, sunburnt
face and neck bent over the plate.

"Splendid! You can’t imagine what an effectual remedy it is for every
sort of foolishness. I want to enrich medicine with a new word:

"Well, but you don’t need it, I should fancy."

"No, but for all sorts of nervous invalids."

"Yes, it ought to be tried. I had meant to come to the mowing to look at
you, but it was so unbearably hot that I got no further than the forest.
I sat there a little, and went on by the forest to the village, met your
old nurse, and sounded her as to the peasants’ view of you. As far as I
can make out, they don’t approve of this. She said: ‘It’s not a
gentleman’s work.’ Altogether, I fancy that in the people’s ideas there
are very clear and definite notions of certain, as they call it,
‘gentlemanly’ lines of action. And they don’t sanction the gentry’s
moving outside bounds clearly laid down in their ideas."

"Maybe so; but anyway it’s a pleasure such as I have never known in my
life. And there’s no harm in it, you know. Is there?" answered Levin. "I
can’t help it if they don’t like it. Though I do believe it’s all right.

"Altogether," pursued Sergey Ivanovitch, "you’re satisfied with your

"Quite satisfied. We cut the whole meadow. And such a splendid old man I
made friends with there! You can’t fancy how delightful he was!"

"Well, so you’re content with your day. And so am I. First, I solved two
chess problems, and one a very pretty one—a pawn opening. I’ll show it
you. And then—I thought over our conversation yesterday."

"Eh! our conversation yesterday?" said Levin, blissfully dropping his
eyelids and drawing deep breaths after finishing his dinner, and
absolutely incapable of recalling what their conversation yesterday was

"I think you are partly right. Our difference of opinion amounts to
this, that you make the mainspring self-interest, while I suppose that
interest in the common weal is bound to exist in every man of a certain
degree of advancement. Possibly you are right too, that action founded
on material interest would be more desirable. You are altogether, as the
French say, too _primesautière_ a nature; you must have intense,
energetic action, or nothing."

Levin listened to his brother and did not understand a single word, and
did not want to understand. He was only afraid his brother might ask him
some question which would make it evident he had not heard.

"So that’s what I think it is, my dear boy," said Sergey Ivanovitch,
touching him on the shoulder.

"Yes, of course. But, do you know? I won’t stand up for my view,"
answered Levin, with a guilty, childlike smile. "Whatever was it I was
disputing about?" he wondered. "Of course, I’m right, and he’s right,
and it’s all first-rate. Only I must go round to the counting house and
see to things." He got up, stretching and smiling. Sergey Ivanovitch
smiled too.

"If you want to go out, let’s go together," he said, disinclined to be
parted from his brother, who seemed positively breathing out freshness
and energy. "Come, we’ll go to the counting house, if you have to go

"Oh, heavens!" shouted Levin, so loudly that Sergey Ivanovitch was quite

"What, what is the matter?"

"How’s Agafea Mihalovna’s hand?" said Levin, slapping himself on the
head. "I’d positively forgotten her even."

"It’s much better."

"Well, anyway I’ll run down to her. Before you’ve time to get your hat
on, I’ll be back."

And he ran downstairs, clattering with his heels like a spring-rattle.

Chapter 7

Stephan Arkadyevitch had gone to Petersburg to perform the most natural
and essential official duty—so familiar to everyone in the government
service, though incomprehensible to outsiders—that duty, but for which
one could hardly be in government service, of reminding the ministry of
his existence—and having, for the due performance of this rite, taken
all the available cash from home, was gaily and agreeably spending his
days at the races and in the summer villas. Meanwhile Dolly and the
children had moved into the country, to cut down expenses as much as
possible. She had gone to Ergushovo, the estate that had been her dowry,
and the one where in spring the forest had been sold. It was nearly
forty miles from Levin’s Pokrovskoe. The big, old house at Ergushovo had
been pulled down long ago, and the old prince had had the lodge done up
and built on to. Twenty years before, when Dolly was a child, the lodge
had been roomy and comfortable, though, like all lodges, it stood
sideways to the entrance avenue, and faced the south. But by now this
lodge was old and dilapidated. When Stepan Arkadyevitch had gone down in
the spring to sell the forest, Dolly had begged him to look over the
house and order what repairs might be needed. Stepan Arkadyevitch, like
all unfaithful husbands indeed, was very solicitous for his wife’s
comfort, and he had himself looked over the house, and given
instructions about everything that he considered necessary. What he
considered necessary was to cover all the furniture with cretonne, to
put up curtains, to weed the garden, to make a little bridge on the
pond, and to plant flowers. But he forgot many other essential matters,
the want of which greatly distressed Darya Alexandrovna later on.

In spite of Stepan Arkadyevitch’s efforts to be an attentive father and
husband, he never could keep in his mind that he had a wife and
children. He had bachelor tastes, and it was in accordance with them
that he shaped his life. On his return to Moscow he informed his wife
with pride that everything was ready, that the house would be a little
paradise, and that he advised her most certainly to go. His wife’s
staying away in the country was very agreeable to Stepan Arkadyevitch
from every point of view: it did the children good, it decreased
expenses, and it left him more at liberty. Darya Alexandrovna regarded
staying in the country for the summer as essential for the children,
especially for the little girl, who had not succeeded in regaining her
strength after the scarlatina, and also as a means of escaping the petty
humiliations, the little bills owing to the wood-merchant, the
fishmonger, the shoemaker, which made her miserable. Besides this, she
was pleased to go away to the country because she was dreaming of
getting her sister Kitty to stay with her there. Kitty was to be back
from abroad in the middle of the summer, and bathing had been prescribed
for her. Kitty wrote that no prospect was so alluring as to spend the
summer with Dolly at Ergushovo, full of childish associations for both
of them.

The first days of her existence in the country were very hard for Dolly.
She used to stay in the country as a child, and the impression she had
retained of it was that the country was a refuge from all the
unpleasantness of the town, that life there, though not luxurious—Dolly
could easily make up her mind to that—was cheap and comfortable; that
there was plenty of everything, everything was cheap, everything could
be got, and children were happy. But now coming to the country as the
head of a family, she perceived that it was all utterly unlike what she
had fancied.

The day after their arrival there was a heavy fall of rain, and in the
night the water came through in the corridor and in the nursery, so that
the beds had to be carried into the drawing room. There was no kitchen
maid to be found; of the nine cows, it appeared from the words of the
cowherd-woman that some were about to calve, others had just calved,
others were old, and others again hard-uddered; there was not butter nor
milk enough even for the children. There were no eggs. They could get no
fowls; old, purplish, stringy cocks were all they had for roasting and
boiling. Impossible to get women to scrub the floors—all were
potato-hoeing. Driving was out of the question, because one of the
horses was restive, and bolted in the shafts. There was no place where
they could bathe; the whole of the river-bank was trampled by the cattle
and open to the road; even walks were impossible, for the cattle strayed
into the garden through a gap in the hedge, and there was one terrible
bull, who bellowed, and therefore might be expected to gore somebody.
There were no proper cupboards for their clothes; what cupboards there
were either would not close at all, or burst open whenever anyone passed
by them. There were no pots and pans; there was no copper in the
washhouse, nor even an ironing-board in the maids’ room.

Finding instead of peace and rest all these, from her point of view,
fearful calamities, Darya Alexandrovna was at first in despair. She
exerted herself to the utmost, felt the hopelessness of the position,
and was every instant suppressing the tears that started into her eyes.
The bailiff, a retired quartermaster, whom Stepan Arkadyevitch had taken
a fancy to and had appointed bailiff on account of his handsome and
respectful appearance as a hall-porter, showed no sympathy for Darya
Alexandrovna’s woes. He said respectfully, "nothing can be done, the
peasants are such a wretched lot," and did nothing to help her.

The position seemed hopeless. But in the Oblonskys’ household, as in all
families indeed, there was one inconspicuous but most valuable and
useful person, Marya Philimonovna. She soothed her mistress, assured her
that everything would _come round_ (it was her expression, and Matvey
had borrowed it from her), and without fuss or hurry proceeded to set to
work herself. She had immediately made friends with the bailiff’s wife,
and on the very first day she drank tea with her and the bailiff under
the acacias, and reviewed all the circumstances of the position. Very
soon Marya Philimonovna had established her club, so to say, under the
acacias, and there it was, in this club, consisting of the bailiff’s
wife, the village elder, and the counting house clerk, that the
difficulties of existence were gradually smoothed away, and in a week’s
time everything actually had come round. The roof was mended, a kitchen
maid was found—a crony of the village elder’s—hens were bought, the cows
began giving milk, the garden hedge was stopped up with stakes, the
carpenter made a mangle, hooks were put in the cupboards, and they
ceased to burst open spontaneously, and an ironing-board covered with
army cloth was placed across from the arm of a chair to the chest of
drawers, and there was a smell of flatirons in the maids’ room.

"Just see, now, and you were quite in despair," said Marya Philimonovna,
pointing to the ironing-board. They even rigged up a bathing-shed of
straw hurdles. Lily began to bathe, and Darya Alexandrovna began to
realize, if only in part, her expectations, if not of a peaceful, at
least of a comfortable, life in the country. Peaceful with six children
Darya Alexandrovna could not be. One would fall ill, another might
easily become so, a third would be without something necessary, a fourth
would show symptoms of a bad disposition, and so on. Rare indeed were
the brief periods of peace. But these cares and anxieties were for Darya
Alexandrovna the sole happiness possible. Had it not been for them, she
would have been left alone to brood over her husband who did not love
her. And besides, hard though it was for the mother to bear the dread of
illness, the illnesses themselves, and the grief of seeing signs of evil
propensities in her children—the children themselves were even now
repaying her in small joys for her sufferings. Those joys were so small
that they passed unnoticed, like gold in sand, and at bad moments she
could see nothing but the pain, nothing but sand; but there were good
moments too when she saw nothing but the joy, nothing but gold.

Now in the solitude of the country, she began to be more and more
frequently aware of those joys. Often, looking at them, she would make
every possible effort to persuade herself that she was mistaken, that
she as a mother was partial to her children. All the same, she could not
help saying to herself that she had charming children, all six of them
in different ways, but a set of children such as is not often to be met
with, and she was happy in them, and proud of them.

Chapter 8

Towards the end of May, when everything had been more or less
satisfactorily arranged, she received her husband’s answer to her
complaints of the disorganized state of things in the country. He wrote
begging her forgiveness for not having thought of everything before, and
promised to come down at the first chance. This chance did not present
itself, and till the beginning of June Darya Alexandrovna stayed alone
in the country.

On the Sunday in St. Peter’s week Darya Alexandrovna drove to mass for
all her children to take the sacrament. Darya Alexandrovna in her
intimate, philosophical talks with her sister, her mother, and her
friends very often astonished them by the freedom of her views in regard
to religion. She had a strange religion of transmigration of souls all
her own, in which she had firm faith, troubling herself little about the
dogmas of the Church. But in her family she was strict in carrying out
all that was required by the Church—and not merely in order to set an
example, but with all her heart in it. The fact that the children had
not been at the sacrament for nearly a year worried her extremely, and
with the full approval and sympathy of Marya Philimonovna she decided
that this should take place now in the summer.

For several days before, Darya Alexandrovna was busily deliberating on
how to dress all the children. Frocks were made or altered and washed,
seams and flounces were let out, buttons were sewn on, and ribbons got
ready. One dress, Tanya’s, which the English governess had undertaken,
cost Darya Alexandrovna much loss of temper. The English governess in
altering it had made the seams in the wrong place, had taken up the
sleeves too much, and altogether spoilt the dress. It was so narrow on
Tanya’s shoulders that it was quite painful to look at her. But Marya
Philimonovna had the happy thought of putting in gussets, and adding a
little shoulder-cape. The dress was set right, but there was nearly a
quarrel with the English governess. On the morning, however, all was
happily arranged, and towards ten o’clock—the time at which they had
asked the priest to wait for them for the mass—the children in their new
dresses, with beaming faces, stood on the step before the carriage
waiting for their mother.

To the carriage, instead of the restive Raven, they had harnessed,
thanks to the representations of Marya Philimonovna, the bailiff’s
horse, Brownie, and Darya Alexandrovna, delayed by anxiety over her own
attire, came out and got in, dressed in a white muslin gown.

Darya Alexandrovna had done her hair, and dressed with care and
excitement. In the old days she had dressed for her own sake to look
pretty and be admired. Later on, as she got older, dress became more and
more distasteful to her. She saw that she was losing her good looks. But
now she began to feel pleasure and interest in dress again. Now she did
not dress for her own sake, not for the sake of her own beauty, but
simply that as the mother of those exquisite creatures she might not
spoil the general effect. And looking at herself for the last time in
the looking-glass she was satisfied with herself. She looked nice. Not
nice as she would have wished to look nice in old days at a ball, but
nice for the object which she now had in view.

In the church there was no one but the peasants, the servants and their
women-folk. But Darya Alexandrovna saw, or fancied she saw, the
sensation produced by her children and her. The children were not only
beautiful to look at in their smart little dresses, but they were
charming in the way they behaved. Aliosha, it is true, did not stand
quite correctly; he kept turning round, trying to look at his little
jacket from behind; but all the same he was wonderfully sweet. Tanya
behaved like a grownup person, and looked after the little ones. And the
smallest, Lily, was bewitching in her naïve astonishment at everything,
and it was difficult not to smile when, after taking the sacrament, she
said in English, "Please, some more."

On the way home the children felt that something solemn had happened,
and were very sedate.

Everything went happily at home too; but at lunch Grisha began
whistling, and, what was worse, was disobedient to the English
governess, and was forbidden to have any tart. Darya Alexandrovna would
not have let things go so far on such a day had she been present; but
she had to support the English governess’s authority, and she upheld her
decision that Grisha should have no tart. This rather spoiled the
general good humor. Grisha cried, declaring that Nikolinka had whistled
too, and he was not punished, and that he wasn’t crying for the tart—he
didn’t care—but at being unjustly treated. This was really too tragic,
and Darya Alexandrovna made up her mind to persuade the English
governess to forgive Grisha, and she went to speak to her. But on the
way, as she passed the drawing room, she beheld a scene, filling her
heart with such pleasure that the tears came into her eyes, and she
forgave the delinquent herself.

The culprit was sitting at the window in the corner of the drawing room;
beside him was standing Tanya with a plate. On the pretext of wanting to
give some dinner to her dolls, she had asked the governess’s permission
to take her share of tart to the nursery, and had taken it instead to
her brother. While still weeping over the injustice of his punishment,
he was eating the tart, and kept saying through his sobs, "Eat yourself;
let’s eat it together ... together."

Tanya had at first been under the influence of her pity for Grisha, then
of a sense of her noble action, and tears were standing in her eyes too;
but she did not refuse, and ate her share.

On catching sight of their mother they were dismayed, but, looking into
her face, they saw they were not doing wrong. They burst out laughing,
and, with their mouths full of tart, they began wiping their smiling
lips with their hands, and smearing their radiant faces all over with
tears and jam.

"Mercy! Your new white frock! Tanya! Grisha!" said their mother, trying
to save the frock, but with tears in her eyes, smiling a blissful,
rapturous smile.

The new frocks were taken off, and orders were given for the little
girls to have their blouses put on, and the boys their old jackets, and
the wagonette to be harnessed; with Brownie, to the bailiff’s annoyance,
again in the shafts, to drive out for mushroom picking and bathing. A
roar of delighted shrieks arose in the nursery, and never ceased till
they had set off for the bathing-place.

They gathered a whole basketful of mushrooms; even Lily found a birch
mushroom. It had always happened before that Miss Hoole found them and
pointed them out to her; but this time she found a big one quite of
herself, and there was a general scream of delight, "Lily has found a

Then they reached the river, put the horses under the birch trees, and
went to the bathing-place. The coachman, Terenty, fastened the horses,
who kept whisking away the flies, to a tree, and, treading down the
grass, lay down in the shade of a birch and smoked his shag, while the
never-ceasing shrieks of delight of the children floated across to him
from the bathing-place.

Though it was hard work to look after all the children and restrain
their wild pranks, though it was difficult too to keep in one’s head and
not mix up all the stockings, little breeches, and shoes for the
different legs, and to undo and to do up again all the tapes and
buttons, Darya Alexandrovna, who had always liked bathing herself, and
believed it to be very good for the children, enjoyed nothing so much as
bathing with all the children. To go over all those fat little legs,
pulling on their stockings, to take in her arms and dip those little
naked bodies, and to hear their screams of delight and alarm, to see the
breathless faces with wide-open, scared, and happy eyes of all her
splashing cherubs, was a great pleasure to her.

When half the children had been dressed, some peasant women in holiday
dress, out picking herbs, came up to the bathing-shed and stopped shyly.
Marya Philimonovna called one of them and handed her a sheet and a shirt
that had dropped into the water for her to dry them, and Darya
Alexandrovna began to talk to the women. At first they laughed behind
their hands and did not understand her questions, but soon they grew
bolder and began to talk, winning Darya Alexandrovna’s heart at once by
the genuine admiration of the children that they showed.

"My, what a beauty! as white as sugar," said one, admiring Tanitchka,
and shaking her head; "but thin..."

"Yes, she has been ill."

"And so they’ve been bathing you too," said another to the baby.

"No; he’s only three months old," answered Darya Alexandrovna with

"You don’t say so!"

"And have you any children?"

"I’ve had four; I’ve two living—a boy and a girl. I weaned her last

"How old is she?"

"Why, two years old."

"Why did you nurse her so long?"

"It’s our custom; for three fasts..."

And the conversation became most interesting to Darya Alexandrovna. What
sort of time did she have? What was the matter with the boy? Where was
her husband? Did it often happen?

Darya Alexandrovna felt disinclined to leave the peasant women, so
interesting to her was their conversation, so completely identical were
all their interests. What pleased her most of all was that she saw
clearly what all the women admired more than anything was her having so
many children, and such fine ones. The peasant women even made Darya
Alexandrovna laugh, and offended the English governess, because she was
the cause of the laughter she did not understand. One of the younger
women kept staring at the Englishwoman, who was dressing after all the
rest, and when she put on her third petticoat she could not refrain from
the remark, "My, she keeps putting on and putting on, and she’ll never
have done!" she said, and they all went off into roars.

Chapter 9

On the drive home, as Darya Alexandrovna, with all her children round
her, their heads still wet from their bath, and a kerchief tied over her
own head, was getting near the house, the coachman said, "There’s some
gentleman coming: the master of Pokrovskoe, I do believe."

Darya Alexandrovna peeped out in front, and was delighted when she
recognized in the gray hat and gray coat the familiar figure of Levin
walking to meet them. She was glad to see him at any time, but at this
moment she was specially glad he should see her in all her glory. No one
was better able to appreciate her grandeur than Levin.

Seeing her, he found himself face to face with one of the pictures of
his daydream of family life.

"You’re like a hen with your chickens, Darya Alexandrovna."

"Ah, how glad I am to see you!" she said, holding out her hand to him.

"Glad to see me, but you didn’t let me know. My brother’s staying with
me. I got a note from Stiva that you were here."

"From Stiva?" Darya Alexandrovna asked with surprise.

"Yes; he writes that you are here, and that he thinks you might allow me
to be of use to you," said Levin, and as he said it he became suddenly
embarrassed, and, stopping abruptly, he walked on in silence by the
wagonette, snapping off the buds of the lime trees and nibbling them. He
was embarrassed through a sense that Darya Alexandrovna would be annoyed
by receiving from an outsider help that should by rights have come from
her own husband. Darya Alexandrovna certainly did not like this little
way of Stepan Arkadyevitch’s of foisting his domestic duties on others.
And she was at once aware that Levin was aware of this. It was just for
this fineness of perception, for this delicacy, that Darya Alexandrovna
liked Levin.

"I know, of course," said Levin, "that that simply means that you would
like to see me, and I’m exceedingly glad. Though I can fancy that, used
to town housekeeping as you are, you must feel in the wilds here, and if
there’s anything wanted, I’m altogether at your disposal."

"Oh, no!" said Dolly. "At first things were rather uncomfortable, but
now we’ve settled everything capitally—thanks to my old nurse," she
said, indicating Marya Philimonovna, who, seeing that they were speaking
of her, smiled brightly and cordially to Levin. She knew him, and knew
that he would be a good match for her young lady, and was very keen to
see the matter settled.

"Won’t you get in, sir, we’ll make room this side!" she said to him.

"No, I’ll walk. Children, who’d like to race the horses with me?" The
children knew Levin very little, and could not remember when they had
seen him, but they experienced in regard to him none of that strange
feeling of shyness and hostility which children so often experience
towards hypocritical, grown-up people, and for which they are so often
and miserably punished. Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the
cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children
recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be
disguised. Whatever faults Levin had, there was not a trace of hypocrisy
in him, and so the children showed him the same friendliness that they
saw in their mother’s face. On his invitation, the two elder ones at
once jumped out to him and ran with him as simply as they would have
done with their nurse or Miss Hoole or their mother. Lily, too, began
begging to go to him, and her mother handed her to him; he sat her on
his shoulder and ran along with her.

"Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, Darya Alexandrovna!" he said, smiling
good-humoredly to the mother; "there’s no chance of my hurting or
dropping her."

And, looking at his strong, agile, assiduously careful and needlessly
wary movements, the mother felt her mind at rest, and smiled gaily and
approvingly as she watched him.

Here, in the country, with children, and with Darya Alexandrovna, with
whom he was in sympathy, Levin was in a mood not infrequent with him, of
childlike light-heartedness that she particularly liked in him. As he
ran with the children, he taught them gymnastic feats, set Miss Hoole
laughing with his queer English accent, and talked to Darya Alexandrovna
of his pursuits in the country.

After dinner, Darya Alexandrovna, sitting alone with him on the balcony,
began to speak of Kitty.

"You know, Kitty’s coming here, and is going to spend the summer with

"Really," he said, flushing, and at once, to change the conversation, he
said: "Then I’ll send you two cows, shall I? If you insist on a bill you
shall pay me five roubles a month; but it’s really too bad of you."

"No, thank you. We can manage very well now."

"Oh, well, then, I’ll have a look at your cows, and if you’ll allow me,
I’ll give directions about their food. Everything depends on their

And Levin, to turn the conversation, explained to Darya Alexandrovna the
theory of cow-keeping, based on the principle that the cow is simply a
machine for the transformation of food into milk, and so on.

He talked of this, and passionately longed to hear more of Kitty, and,
at the same time, was afraid of hearing it. He dreaded the breaking up
of the inward peace he had gained with such effort.

"Yes, but still all this has to be looked after, and who is there to
look after it?" Darya Alexandrovna responded, without interest.

She had by now got her household matters so satisfactorily arranged,
thanks to Marya Philimonovna, that she was disinclined to make any
change in them; besides, she had no faith in Levin’s knowledge of
farming. General principles, as to the cow being a machine for the
production of milk, she looked on with suspicion. It seemed to her that
such principles could only be a hindrance in farm management. It all
seemed to her a far simpler matter: all that was needed, as Marya
Philimonovna had explained, was to give Brindle and Whitebreast more
food and drink, and not to let the cook carry all the kitchen slops to
the laundry maid’s cow. That was clear. But general propositions as to
feeding on meal and on grass were doubtful and obscure. And, what was
most important, she wanted to talk about Kitty.

Chapter 10

"Kitty writes to me that there’s nothing she longs for so much as quiet
and solitude," Dolly said after the silence that had followed.

"And how is she—better?" Levin asked in agitation.

"Thank God, she’s quite well again. I never believed her lungs were

"Oh, I’m very glad!" said Levin, and Dolly fancied she saw something
touching, helpless, in his face as he said this and looked silently into
her face.

"Let me ask you, Konstantin Dmitrievitch," said Darya Alexandrovna,
smiling her kindly and rather mocking smile, "why is it you are angry
with Kitty?"

"I? I’m not angry with her," said Levin.

"Yes, you are angry. Why was it you did not come to see us nor them when
you were in Moscow?"

"Darya Alexandrovna," he said, blushing up to the roots of his hair, "I
wonder really that with your kind heart you don’t feel this. How it is
you feel no pity for me, if nothing else, when you know..."

"What do I know?"

"You know I made an offer and that I was refused," said Levin, and all
the tenderness he had been feeling for Kitty a minute before was
replaced by a feeling of anger for the slight he had suffered.

"What makes you suppose I know?"

"Because everybody knows it..."

"That’s just where you are mistaken; I did not know it, though I had
guessed it was so."

"Well, now you know it."

"All I knew was that something had happened that made her dreadfully
miserable, and that she begged me never to speak of it. And if she would
not tell me, she would certainly not speak of it to anyone else. But
what did pass between you? Tell me."

"I have told you."

"When was it?"

"When I was at their house the last time."

"Do you know that," said Darya Alexandrovna, "I am awfully, awfully
sorry for her. You suffer only from pride...."

"Perhaps so," said Levin, "but..."

She interrupted him.

"But she, poor girl ... I am awfully, awfully sorry for her. Now I see
it all."

"Well, Darya Alexandrovna, you must excuse me," he said, getting up.
"Good-bye, Darya Alexandrovna, till we meet again."

"No, wait a minute," she said, clutching him by the sleeve. "Wait a
minute, sit down."

"Please, please, don’t let us talk of this," he said, sitting down, and
at the same time feeling rise up and stir within his heart a hope he had
believed to be buried.

"If I did not like you," she said, and tears came into her eyes; "if I
did not know you, as I do know you . . ."

The feeling that had seemed dead revived more and more, rose up and took
possession of Levin’s heart.

"Yes, I understand it all now," said Darya Alexandrovna. "You can’t
understand it; for you men, who are free and make your own choice, it’s
always clear whom you love. But a girl’s in a position of suspense, with
all a woman’s or maiden’s modesty, a girl who sees you men from afar,
who takes everything on trust,—a girl may have, and often has, such a
feeling that she cannot tell what to say."

"Yes, if the heart does not speak..."

"No, the heart does speak; but just consider: you men have views about a
girl, you come to the house, you make friends, you criticize, you wait
to see if you have found what you love, and then, when you are sure you
love her, you make an offer...."

"Well, that’s not quite it."

"Anyway you make an offer, when your love is ripe or when the balance
has completely turned between the two you are choosing from. But a girl
is not asked. She is expected to make her choice, and yet she cannot
choose, she can only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no.’"

"Yes, to choose between me and Vronsky," thought Levin, and the dead
thing that had come to life within him died again, and only weighed on
his heart and set it aching.

"Darya Alexandrovna," he said, "that’s how one chooses a new dress or
some purchase or other, not love. The choice has been made, and so much
the better.... And there can be no repeating it."

"Ah, pride, pride!" said Darya Alexandrovna, as though despising him for
the baseness of this feeling in comparison with that other feeling which
only women know. "At the time when you made Kitty an offer she was just
in a position in which she could not answer. She was in doubt. Doubt
between you and Vronsky. Him she was seeing every day, and you she had
not seen for a long while. Supposing she had been older ... I, for
instance, in her place could have felt no doubt. I always disliked him,
and so it has turned out."

Levin recalled Kitty’s answer. She had said: "_No, that cannot be_..."

"Darya Alexandrovna," he said dryly, "I appreciate your confidence in
me; I believe you are making a mistake. But whether I am right or wrong,
that pride you so despise makes any thought of Katerina Alexandrovna out
of the question for me,—you understand, utterly out of the question."

"I will only say one thing more: you know that I am speaking of my
sister, whom I love as I love my own children. I don’t say she cared for
you, all I meant to say is that her refusal at that moment proves

"I don’t know!" said Levin, jumping up. "If you only knew how you are
hurting me. It’s just as if a child of yours were dead, and they were to
say to you: He would have been like this and like that, and he might
have lived, and how happy you would have been in him. But he’s dead,
dead, dead!..."

"How absurd you are!" said Darya Alexandrovna, looking with mournful
tenderness at Levin’s excitement. "Yes, I see it all more and more
clearly," she went on musingly. "So you won’t come to see us, then, when
Kitty’s here?"

"No, I shan’t come. Of course I won’t avoid meeting Katerina
Alexandrovna, but as far as I can, I will try to save her the annoyance
of my presence."

"You are very, very absurd," repeated Darya Alexandrovna, looking with
tenderness into his face. "Very well then, let it be as though we had
not spoken of this. What have you come for, Tanya?" she said in French
to the little girl who had come in.

"Where’s my spade, mamma?"

"I speak French, and you must too."

The little girl tried to say it in French, but could not remember the
French for spade; the mother prompted her, and then told her in French
where to look for the spade. And this made a disagreeable impression on

Everything in Darya Alexandrovna’s house and children struck him now as
by no means so charming as a little while before. "And what does she
talk French with the children for?" he thought; "how unnatural and false
it is! And the children feel it so: Learning French and unlearning
sincerity," he thought to himself, unaware that Darya Alexandrovna had
thought all that over twenty times already, and yet, even at the cost of
some loss of sincerity, believed it necessary to teach her children
French in that way.

"But why are you going? Do stay a little."

Levin stayed to tea; but his good-humor had vanished, and he felt ill at

After tea he went out into the hall to order his horses to be put in,
and, when he came back, he found Darya Alexandrovna greatly disturbed,
with a troubled face, and tears in her eyes. While Levin had been
outside, an incident had occurred which had utterly shattered all the
happiness she had been feeling that day, and her pride in her children.
Grisha and Tanya had been fighting over a ball. Darya Alexandrovna,
hearing a scream in the nursery, ran in and saw a terrible sight. Tanya
was pulling Grisha’s hair, while he, with a face hideous with rage, was
beating her with his fists wherever he could get at her. Something
snapped in Darya Alexandrovna’s heart when she saw this. It was as if
darkness had swooped down upon her life; she felt that these children of
hers, that she was so proud of, were not merely most ordinary, but
positively bad, ill-bred children, with coarse, brutal
propensities—wicked children.

She could not talk or think of anything else, and she could not speak to
Levin of her misery.

Levin saw she was unhappy and tried to comfort her, saying that it
showed nothing bad, that all children fight; but, even as he said it, he
was thinking in his heart: "No, I won’t be artificial and talk French
with my children; but my children won’t be like that. All one has to do
is not spoil children, not to distort their nature, and they’ll be
delightful. No, my children won’t be like that."

He said good-bye and drove away, and she did not try to keep him.

Chapter 11

In the middle of July the elder of the village on Levin’s sister’s
estate, about fifteen miles from Pokrovskoe, came to Levin to report on
how things were going there and on the hay. The chief source of income
on his sister’s estate was from the riverside meadows. In former years
the hay had been bought by the peasants for twenty roubles the three
acres. When Levin took over the management of the estate, he thought on
examining the grasslands that they were worth more, and he fixed the
price at twenty-five roubles the three acres. The peasants would not
give that price, and, as Levin suspected, kept off other purchasers.
Then Levin had driven over himself, and arranged to have the grass cut,
partly by hired labor, partly at a payment of a certain proportion of
the crop. His own peasants put every hindrance they could in the way of
this new arrangement, but it was carried out, and the first year the
meadows had yielded a profit almost double. The previous year—which was
the third year—the peasants had maintained the same opposition to the
arrangement, and the hay had been cut on the same system. This year the
peasants were doing all the mowing for a third of the hay crop, and the
village elder had come now to announce that the hay had been cut, and
that, fearing rain, they had invited the counting-house clerk over, had
divided the crop in his presence, and had raked together eleven stacks
as the owner’s share. From the vague answers to his question how much
hay had been cut on the principal meadow, from the hurry of the village
elder who had made the division, not asking leave, from the whole tone
of the peasant, Levin perceived that there was something wrong in the
division of the hay, and made up his mind to drive over himself to look
into the matter.

Arriving for dinner at the village, and leaving his horse at the cottage
of an old friend of his, the husband of his brother’s wet-nurse, Levin
went to see the old man in his bee-house, wanting to find out from him
the truth about the hay. Parmenitch, a talkative, comely old man, gave
Levin a very warm welcome, showed him all he was doing, told him
everything about his bees and the swarms of that year; but gave vague
and unwilling answers to Levin’s inquiries about the mowing. This
confirmed Levin still more in his suspicions. He went to the hay fields
and examined the stacks. The haystacks could not possibly contain fifty
wagon-loads each, and to convict the peasants Levin ordered the wagons
that had carried the hay to be brought up directly, to lift one stack,
and carry it into the barn. There turned out to be only thirty-two loads
in the stack. In spite of the village elder’s assertions about the
compressibility of hay, and its having settled down in the stacks, and
his swearing that everything had been done in the fear of God, Levin
stuck to his point that the hay had been divided without his orders, and
that, therefore, he would not accept that hay as fifty loads to a stack.
After a prolonged dispute the matter was decided by the peasants taking
these eleven stacks, reckoning them as fifty loads each. The arguments
and the division of the haycocks lasted the whole afternoon. When the
last of the hay had been divided, Levin, intrusting the superintendence
of the rest to the counting-house clerk, sat down on a haycock marked
off by a stake of willow, and looked admiringly at the meadow swarming
with peasants.

In front of him, in the bend of the river beyond the marsh, moved a
bright-colored line of peasant women, and the scattered hay was being
rapidly formed into gray winding rows over the pale green stubble. After
the women came the men with pitchforks, and from the gray rows there
were growing up broad, high, soft haycocks. To the left, carts were
rumbling over the meadow that had been already cleared, and one after
another the haycocks vanished, flung up in huge forkfuls, and in their
place there were rising heavy cartloads of fragrant hay hanging over the
horses’ hind-quarters.

"What weather for haying! What hay it’ll be!" said an old man, squatting
down beside Levin. "It’s tea, not hay! It’s like scattering grain to the
ducks, the way they pick it up!" he added, pointing to the growing
haycocks. "Since dinnertime they’ve carried a good half of it."

"The last load, eh?" he shouted to a young peasant, who drove by,
standing in the front of an empty cart, shaking the cord reins.

"The last, dad!" the lad shouted back, pulling in the horse, and,
smiling, he looked round at a bright, rosy-checked peasant girl who sat
in the cart smiling too, and drove on.

"Who’s that? Your son?" asked Levin.

"My baby," said the old man with a tender smile.

"What a fine fellow!"

"The lad’s all right."

"Married already?"

"Yes, it’s two years last St. Philip’s day."

"Any children?"

"Children indeed! Why, for over a year he was innocent as a babe
himself, and bashful too," answered the old man. "Well, the hay! It’s as
fragrant as tea!" he repeated, wishing to change the subject.

Levin looked more attentively at Ivan Parmenov and his wife. They were
loading a haycock onto the cart not far from him. Ivan Parmenov was
standing on the cart, taking, laying in place, and stamping down the
huge bundles of hay, which his pretty young wife deftly handed up to
him, at first in armfuls, and then on the pitchfork. The young wife
worked easily, merrily, and dexterously. The close-packed hay did not
once break away off her fork. First she gathered it together, stuck the
fork into it, then with a rapid, supple movement leaned the whole weight
of her body on it, and at once with a bend of her back under the red
belt she drew herself up, and arching her full bosom under the white
smock, with a smart turn swung the fork in her arms, and flung the
bundle of hay high onto the cart. Ivan, obviously doing his best to save
her every minute of unnecessary labor, made haste, opening his arms to
clutch the bundle and lay it in the cart. As she raked together what was
left of the hay, the young wife shook off the bits of hay that had
fallen on her neck, and straightening the red kerchief that had dropped
forward over her white brow, not browned like her face by the sun, she
crept under the cart to tie up the load. Ivan directed her how to fasten
the cord to the cross-piece, and at something she said he laughed aloud.
In the expressions of both faces was to be seen vigorous, young, freshly
awakened love.

Chapter 12

The load was tied on. Ivan jumped down and took the quiet, sleek horse
by the bridle. The young wife flung the rake up on the load, and with a
bold step, swinging her arms, she went to join the women, who were
forming a ring for the haymakers’ dance. Ivan drove off to the road and
fell into line with the other loaded carts. The peasant women, with
their rakes on their shoulders, gay with bright flowers, and chattering
with ringing, merry voices, walked behind the hay cart. One wild
untrained female voice broke into a song, and sang it alone through a
verse, and then the same verse was taken up and repeated by half a
hundred strong healthy voices, of all sorts, coarse and fine, singing in

The women, all singing, began to come close to Levin, and he felt as
though a storm were swooping down upon him with a thunder of merriment.
The storm swooped down, enveloped him and the haycock on which he was
lying, and the other haycocks, and the wagon-loads, and the whole meadow
and distant fields all seemed to be shaking and singing to the measures
of this wild merry song with its shouts and whistles and clapping. Levin
felt envious of this health and mirthfulness; he longed to take part in
the expression of this joy of life. But he could do nothing, and had to
lie and look on and listen. When the peasants, with their singing, had
vanished out of sight and hearing, a weary feeling of despondency at his
own isolation, his physical inactivity, his alienation from this world,
came over Levin.

Some of the very peasants who had been most active in wrangling with him
over the hay, some whom he had treated with contumely, and who had tried
to cheat him, those very peasants had greeted him goodhumoredly, and
evidently had not, were incapable of having any feeling of rancor
against him, any regret, any recollection even of having tried to
deceive him. All that was drowned in a sea of merry common labor. God
gave the day, God gave the strength. And the day and the strength were
consecrated to labor, and that labor was its own reward. For whom the
labor? What would be its fruits? These were idle considerations—beside
the point.

Often Levin had admired this life, often he had a sense of envy of the
men who led this life; but today for the first time, especially under
the influence of what he had seen in the attitude of Ivan Parmenov to
his young wife, the idea presented itself definitely to his mind that it
was in his power to exchange the dreary, artificial, idle, and
individualistic life he was leading for this laborious, pure, and
socially delightful life.

The old man who had been sitting beside him had long ago gone home; the
people had all separated. Those who lived near had gone home, while
those who came from far were gathered into a group for supper, and to
spend the night in the meadow. Levin, unobserved by the peasants, still
lay on the haycock, and still looked on and listened and mused. The
peasants who remained for the night in the meadow scarcely slept all the
short summer night. At first there was the sound of merry talk and
laughing all together over the supper, then singing again and laughter.

All the long day of toil had left no trace in them but lightness of
heart. Before the early dawn all was hushed. Nothing was to be heard but
the night sounds of the frogs that never ceased in the marsh, and the
horses snorting in the mist that rose over the meadow before the
morning. Rousing himself, Levin got up from the haycock, and looking at
the stars, he saw that the night was over.

"Well, what am I going to do? How am I to set about it?" he said to
himself, trying to express to himself all the thoughts and feelings he
had passed through in that brief night. All the thoughts and feelings he
had passed through fell into three separate trains of thought. One was
the renunciation of his old life, of his utterly useless education. This
renunciation gave him satisfaction, and was easy and simple. Another
series of thoughts and mental images related to the life he longed to
live now. The simplicity, the purity, the sanity of this life he felt
clearly, and he was convinced he would find in it the content, the
peace, and the dignity, of the lack of which he was so miserably
conscious. But a third series of ideas turned upon the question how to
effect this transition from the old life to the new. And there nothing
took clear shape for him. "Have a wife? Have work and the necessity of
work? Leave Pokrovskoe? Buy land? Become a member of a peasant
community? Marry a peasant girl? How am I to set about it?" he asked
himself again, and could not find an answer. "I haven’t slept all night,
though, and I can’t think it out clearly," he said to himself. "I’ll
work it out later. One thing’s certain, this night has decided my fate.
All my old dreams of home life were absurd, not the real thing," he told
himself. "It’s all ever so much simpler and better..."

"How beautiful!" he thought, looking at the strange, as it were,
mother-of-pearl shell of white fleecy cloudlets resting right over his
head in the middle of the sky. "How exquisite it all is in this
exquisite night! And when was there time for that cloud-shell to form?
Just now I looked at the sky, and there was nothing in it—only two white
streaks. Yes, and so imperceptibly too my views of life changed!"

He went out of the meadow and walked along the highroad towards the
village. A slight wind arose, and the sky looked gray and sullen. The
gloomy moment had come that usually precedes the dawn, the full triumph
of light over darkness.

Shrinking from the cold, Levin walked rapidly, looking at the ground.
"What’s that? Someone coming," he thought, catching the tinkle of bells,
and lifting his head. Forty paces from him a carriage with four horses
harnessed abreast was driving towards him along the grassy road on which
he was walking. The shaft-horses were tilted against the shafts by the
ruts, but the dexterous driver sitting on the box held the shaft over
the ruts, so that the wheels ran on the smooth part of the road.

This was all Levin noticed, and without wondering who it could be, he
gazed absently at the coach.

In the coach was an old lady dozing in one corner, and at the window,
evidently only just awake, sat a young girl holding in both hands the
ribbons of a white cap. With a face full of light and thought, full of a
subtle, complex inner life, that was remote from Levin, she was gazing
beyond him at the glow of the sunrise.

At the very instant when this apparition was vanishing, the truthful
eyes glanced at him. She recognized him, and her face lighted up with
wondering delight.

He could not be mistaken. There were no other eyes like those in the
world. There was only one creature in the world that could concentrate
for him all the brightness and meaning of life. It was she. It was
Kitty. He understood that she was driving to Ergushovo from the railway
station. And everything that had been stirring Levin during that
sleepless night, all the resolutions he had made, all vanished at once.
He recalled with horror his dreams of marrying a peasant girl. There
only, in the carriage that had crossed over to the other side of the
road, and was rapidly disappearing, there only could he find the
solution of the riddle of his life, which had weighed so agonizingly
upon him of late.

She did not look out again. The sound of the carriage-springs was no
longer audible, the bells could scarcely be heard. The barking of dogs
showed the carriage had reached the village, and all that was left was
the empty fields all round, the village in front, and he himself
isolated and apart from it all, wandering lonely along the deserted

He glanced at the sky, expecting to find there the cloud shell he had
been admiring and taking as the symbol of the ideas and feelings of that
night. There was nothing in the sky in the least like a shell. There, in
the remote heights above, a mysterious change had been accomplished.
There was no trace of shell, and there was stretched over fully half the
sky an even cover of tiny and ever tinier cloudlets. The sky had grown
blue and bright; and with the same softness, but with the same
remoteness, it met his questioning gaze.

"No," he said to himself, "however good that life of simplicity and toil
may be, I cannot go back to it. I love _her_."

Chapter 13

None but those who were most intimate with Alexey Alexandrovitch knew
that, while on the surface the coldest and most reasonable of men, he
had one weakness quite opposed to the general trend of his character.
Alexey Alexandrovitch could not hear or see a child or woman crying
without being moved. The sight of tears threw him into a state of
nervous agitation, and he utterly lost all power of reflection. The
chief secretary of his department and his private secretary were aware
of this, and used to warn women who came with petitions on no account to
give way to tears, if they did not want to ruin their chances. "He will
get angry, and will not listen to you," they used to say. And as a fact,
in such cases the emotional disturbance set up in Alexey Alexandrovitch
by the sight of tears found expression in hasty anger. "I can do
nothing. Kindly leave the room!" he would commonly cry in such cases.

When returning from the races Anna had informed him of her relations
with Vronsky, and immediately afterwards had burst into tears, hiding
her face in her hands, Alexey Alexandrovitch, for all the fury aroused
in him against her, was aware at the same time of a rush of that
emotional disturbance always produced in him by tears. Conscious of it,
and conscious that any expression of his feelings at that minute would
be out of keeping with the position, he tried to suppress every
manifestation of life in himself, and so neither stirred nor looked at
her. This was what had caused that strange expression of deathlike
rigidity in his face which had so impressed Anna.

When they reached the house he helped her to get out of the carriage,
and making an effort to master himself, took leave of her with his usual
urbanity, and uttered that phrase that bound him to nothing; he said
that tomorrow he would let her know his decision.

His wife’s words, confirming his worst suspicions, had sent a cruel pang
to the heart of Alexey Alexandrovitch. That pang was intensified by the
strange feeling of physical pity for her set up by her tears. But when
he was all alone in the carriage Alexey Alexandrovitch, to his surprise
and delight, felt complete relief both from this pity and from the
doubts and agonies of jealousy.

He experienced the sensations of a man who has had a tooth out after
suffering long from toothache. After a fearful agony and a sense of
something huge, bigger than the head itself, being torn out of his jaw,
the sufferer, hardly able to believe in his own good luck, feels all at
once that what has so long poisoned his existence and enchained his
attention, exists no longer, and that he can live and think again, and
take interest in other things besides his tooth. This feeling Alexey
Alexandrovitch was experiencing. The agony had been strange and
terrible, but now it was over; he felt that he could live again and
think of something other than his wife.

"No honor, no heart, no religion; a corrupt woman. I always knew it and
always saw it, though I tried to deceive myself to spare her," he said
to himself. And it actually seemed to him that he always had seen it: he
recalled incidents of their past life, in which he had never seen
anything wrong before—now these incidents proved clearly that she had
always been a corrupt woman. "I made a mistake in linking my life to
hers; but there was nothing wrong in my mistake, and so I cannot be
unhappy. It’s not I that am to blame," he told himself, "but she. But I
have nothing to do with her. She does not exist for me..."

Everything relating to her and her son, towards whom his sentiments were
as much changed as towards her, ceased to interest him. The only thing
that interested him now was the question of in what way he could best,
with most propriety and comfort for himself, and thus with most justice,
extricate himself from the mud with which she had spattered him in her
fall, and then proceed along his path of active, honorable, and useful

"I cannot be made unhappy by the fact that a contemptible woman has
committed a crime. I have only to find the best way out of the difficult
position in which she has placed me. And I shall find it," he said to
himself, frowning more and more. "I’m not the first nor the last." And
to say nothing of historical instances dating from the "Fair Helen" of
Menelaus, recently revived in the memory of all, a whole list of
contemporary examples of husbands with unfaithful wives in the highest
society rose before Alexey Alexandrovitch’s imagination. "Daryalov,
Poltavsky, Prince Karibanov, Count Paskudin, Dram.... Yes, even Dram,
such an honest, capable fellow ... Semyonov, Tchagin, Sigonin," Alexey
Alexandrovitch remembered. "Admitting that a certain quite irrational
_ridicule_ falls to the lot of these men, yet I never saw anything but a
misfortune in it, and always felt sympathy for it," Alexey
Alexandrovitch said to himself, though indeed this was not the fact, and
he had never felt sympathy for misfortunes of that kind, but the more
frequently he had heard of instances of unfaithful wives betraying their
husbands, the more highly he had thought of himself. "It is a misfortune
which may befall anyone. And this misfortune has befallen me. The only
thing to be done is to make the best of the position."

And he began passing in review the methods of proceeding of men who had
been in the same position that he was in.

"Daryalov fought a duel...."

The duel had particularly fascinated the thoughts of Alexey
Alexandrovitch in his youth, just because he was physically a coward,
and was himself well aware of the fact. Alexey Alexandrovitch could not
without horror contemplate the idea of a pistol aimed at himself, and
had never made use of any weapon in his life. This horror had in his
youth set him pondering on dueling, and picturing himself in a position
in which he would have to expose his life to danger. Having attained
success and an established position in the world, he had long ago
forgotten this feeling; but the habitual bent of feeling reasserted
itself, and dread of his own cowardice proved even now so strong that
Alexey Alexandrovitch spent a long while thinking over the question of
dueling in all its aspects, and hugging the idea of a duel, though he
was fully aware beforehand that he would never under any circumstances
fight one.

"There’s no doubt our society is still so barbarous (it’s not the same
in England) that very many"—and among these were those whose opinion
Alexey Alexandrovitch particularly valued—"look favorably on the duel;
but what result is attained by it? Suppose I call him out," Alexey
Alexandrovitch went on to himself, and vividly picturing the night he
would spend after the challenge, and the pistol aimed at him, he
shuddered, and knew that he never would do it—"suppose I call him out.
Suppose I am taught," he went on musing, "to shoot; I press the
trigger," he said to himself, closing his eyes, "and it turns out I have
killed him," Alexey Alexandrovitch said to himself, and he shook his
head as though to dispel such silly ideas. "What sense is there in
murdering a man in order to define one’s relation to a guilty wife and
son? I should still just as much have to decide what I ought to do with
her. But what is more probable and what would doubtless occur—I should
be killed or wounded. I, the innocent person, should be the
victim—killed or wounded. It’s even more senseless. But apart from that,
a challenge to fight would be an act hardly honest on my side. Don’t I
know perfectly well that my friends would never allow me to fight a
duel—would never allow the life of a statesman, needed by Russia, to be
exposed to danger? Knowing perfectly well beforehand that the matter
would never come to real danger, it would amount to my simply trying to
gain a certain sham reputation by such a challenge. That would be
dishonest, that would be false, that would be deceiving myself and
others. A duel is quite irrational, and no one expects it of me. My aim
is simply to safeguard my reputation, which is essential for the
uninterrupted pursuit of my public duties." Official duties, which had
always been of great consequence in Alexey Alexandrovitch’s eyes, seemed
of special importance to his mind at this moment. Considering and
rejecting the duel, Alexey Alexandrovitch turned to divorce—another
solution selected by several of the husbands he remembered. Passing in
mental review all the instances he knew of divorces (there were plenty
of them in the very highest society with which he was very familiar),
Alexey Alexandrovitch could not find a single example in which the
object of divorce was that which he had in view. In all these instances
the husband had practically ceded or sold his unfaithful wife, and the
very party which, being in fault, had not the right to contract a fresh
marriage, had formed counterfeit, pseudo-matrimonial ties with a
self-styled husband. In his own case, Alexey Alexandrovitch saw that a
legal divorce, that is to say, one in which only the guilty wife would
be repudiated, was impossible of attainment. He saw that the complex
conditions of the life they led made the coarse proofs of his wife’s
guilt, required by the law, out of the question; he saw that a certain
refinement in that life would not admit of such proofs being brought
forward, even if he had them, and that to bring forward such proofs
would damage him in the public estimation more than it would her.

An attempt at divorce could lead to nothing but a public scandal, which
would be a perfect godsend to his enemies for calumny and attacks on his
high position in society. His chief object, to define the position with
the least amount of disturbance possible, would not be attained by
divorce either. Moreover, in the event of divorce, or even of an attempt
to obtain a divorce, it was obvious that the wife broke off all
relations with the husband and threw in her lot with the lover. And in
spite of the complete, as he supposed, contempt and indifference he now
felt for his wife, at the bottom of his heart Alexey Alexandrovitch
still had one feeling left in regard to her—a disinclination to see her
free to throw in her lot with Vronsky, so that her crime would be to her
advantage. The mere notion of this so exasperated Alexey Alexandrovitch,
that directly it rose to his mind he groaned with inward agony, and got
up and changed his place in the carriage, and for a long while after, he
sat with scowling brows, wrapping his numbed and bony legs in the fleecy

"Apart from formal divorce, One might still do like Karibanov, Paskudin,
and that good fellow Dram—that is, separate from one’s wife," he went on
thinking, when he had regained his composure. But this step too
presented the same drawback of public scandal as a divorce, and what was
more, a separation, quite as much as a regular divorce, flung his wife
into the arms of Vronsky. "No, it’s out of the question, out of the
question!" he said again, twisting his rug about him again. "I cannot be
unhappy, but neither she nor he ought to be happy."

The feeling of jealousy, which had tortured him during the period of
uncertainty, had passed away at the instant when the tooth had been with
agony extracted by his wife’s words. But that feeling had been replaced
by another, the desire, not merely that she should not be triumphant,
but that she should get due punishment for her crime. He did not
acknowledge this feeling, but at the bottom of his heart he longed for
her to suffer for having destroyed his peace of mind—his honor. And
going once again over the conditions inseparable from a duel, a divorce,
a separation, and once again rejecting them, Alexey Alexandrovitch felt
convinced that there was only one solution,—to keep her with him,
concealing what had happened from the world, and using every measure in
his power to break off the intrigue, and still more—though this he did
not admit to himself—to punish her. "I must inform her of my conclusion,
that thinking over the terrible position in which she has placed her
family, all other solutions will be worse for both sides than an
external _status quo_, and that such I agree to retain, on the strict
condition of obedience on her part to my wishes, that is to say,
cessation of all intercourse with her lover." When this decision had
been finally adopted, another weighty consideration occurred to Alexey
Alexandrovitch in support of it. "By such a course only shall I be
acting in accordance with the dictates of religion," he told himself.
"In adopting this course, I am not casting off a guilty wife, but giving
her a chance of amendment; and, indeed, difficult as the task will be to
me, I shall devote part of my energies to her reformation and

Though Alexey Alexandrovitch was perfectly aware that he could not exert
any moral influence over his wife, that such an attempt at reformation
could lead to nothing but falsity; though in passing through these
difficult moments he had not once thought of seeking guidance in
religion, yet now, when his conclusion corresponded, as it seemed to
him, with the requirements of religion, this religious sanction to his
decision gave him complete satisfaction, and to some extent restored his
peace of mind. He was pleased to think that, even in such an important
crisis in life, no one would be able to say that he had not acted in
accordance with the principles of that religion whose banner he had
always held aloft amid the general coolness and indifference. As he
pondered over subsequent developments, Alexey Alexandrovitch did not
see, indeed, why his relations with his wife should not remain
practically the same as before. No doubt, she could never regain his
esteem, but there was not, and there could not be, any sort of reason
that his existence should be troubled, and that he should suffer because
she was a bad and faithless wife. "Yes, time will pass; time, which
arranges all things, and the old relations will be reestablished,"
Alexey Alexandrovitch told himself; "so far reestablished, that is, that
I shall not be sensible of a break in the continuity of my life. She is
bound to be unhappy, but I am not to blame, and so I cannot be unhappy."

Chapter 14

As he neared Petersburg, Alexey Alexandrovitch not only adhered entirely
to his decision, but was even composing in his head the letter he would
write to his wife. Going into the porter’s room, Alexey Alexandrovitch
glanced at the letters and papers brought from his office, and directed
that they should be brought to him in his study.

"The horses can be taken out and I will see no one," he said in answer
to the porter, with a certain pleasure, indicative of his agreeable
frame of mind, emphasizing the words, "see no one."

In his study Alexey Alexandrovitch walked up and down twice, and stopped
at an immense writing-table, on which six candles had already been
lighted by the valet who had preceded him. He cracked his knuckles and
sat down, sorting out his writing appurtenances. Putting his elbows on
the table, he bent his head on one side, thought a minute, and began to
write, without pausing for a second. He wrote without using any form of
address to her, and wrote in French, making use of the plural "_vous_,"
which has not the same note of coldness as the corresponding Russian

    "At our last conversation, I notified you of my intention to
    communicate to you my decision in regard to the subject of that
    conversation. Having carefully considered everything, I am
    writing now with the object of fulfilling that promise. My
    decision is as follows. Whatever your conduct may have been, I
    do not consider myself justified in breaking the ties in which
    we are bound by a Higher Power. The family cannot be broken up
    by a whim, a caprice, or even by the sin of one of the partners
    in the marriage, and our life must go on as it has done in the
    past. This is essential for me, for you, and for our son. I am
    fully persuaded that you have repented and do repent of what has
    called forth the present letter, and that you will cooperate
    with me in eradicating the cause of our estrangement, and
    forgetting the past. In the contrary event, you can conjecture
    what awaits you and your son. All this I hope to discuss more in
    detail in a personal interview. As the season is drawing to a
    close, I would beg you to return to Petersburg as quickly as
    possible, not later than Tuesday. All necessary preparations
    shall be made for your arrival here. I beg you to note that I
    attach particular significance to compliance with this request.

                                                          A. Karenin

    "P.S.—I enclose the money which may be needed for your

He read the letter through and felt pleased with it, and especially that
he had remembered to enclose money: there was not a harsh word, not a
reproach in it, nor was there undue indulgence. Most of all, it was a
golden bridge for return. Folding the letter and smoothing it with a
massive ivory knife, and putting it in an envelope with the money, he
rang the bell with the gratification it always afforded him to use the
well arranged appointments of his writing-table.

"Give this to the courier to be delivered to Anna Arkadyevna tomorrow at
the summer villa," he said, getting up.

"Certainly, your excellency; tea to be served in the study?"

Alexey Alexandrovitch ordered tea to be brought to the study, and
playing with the massive paper-knife, he moved to his easy chair, near
which there had been placed ready for him a lamp and the French work on
Egyptian hieroglyphics that he had begun. Over the easy chair there hung
in a gold frame an oval portrait of Anna, a fine painting by a
celebrated artist. Alexey Alexandrovitch glanced at it. The unfathomable
eyes gazed ironically and insolently at him. Insufferably insolent and
challenging was the effect in Alexey Alexandrovitch’s eyes of the black
lace about the head, admirably touched in by the painter, the black hair
and handsome white hand with one finger lifted, covered with rings.
After looking at the portrait for a minute, Alexey Alexandrovitch
shuddered so that his lips quivered and he uttered the sound "brrr," and
turned away. He made haste to sit down in his easy chair and opened the
book. He tried to read, but he could not revive the very vivid interest
he had felt before in Egyptian hieroglyphics. He looked at the book and
thought of something else. He thought not of his wife, but of a
complication that had arisen in his official life, which at the time
constituted the chief interest of it. He felt that he had penetrated
more deeply than ever before into this intricate affair, and that he had
originated a leading idea—he could say it without
self-flattery—calculated to clear up the whole business, to strengthen
him in his official career, to discomfit his enemies, and thereby to be
of the greatest benefit to the government. Directly the servant had set
the tea and left the room, Alexey Alexandrovitch got up and went to the
writing-table. Moving into the middle of the table a portfolio of
papers, with a scarcely perceptible smile of self-satisfaction, he took
a pencil from a rack and plunged into the perusal of a complex report
relating to the present complication. The complication was of this
nature: Alexey Alexandrovitch’s characteristic quality as a politician,
that special individual qualification that every rising functionary
possesses, the qualification that with his unflagging ambition, his
reserve, his honesty, and with his self-confidence had made his career,
was his contempt for red tape, his cutting down of correspondence, his
direct contact, wherever possible, with the living fact, and his
economy. It happened that the famous Commission of the 2nd of June had
set on foot an inquiry into the irrigation of lands in the Zaraisky
province, which fell under Alexey Alexandrovitch’s department, and was a
glaring example of fruitless expenditure and paper reforms. Alexey
Alexandrovitch was aware of the truth of this. The irrigation of these
lands in the Zaraisky province had been initiated by the predecessor of
Alexey Alexandrovitch’s predecessor. And vast sums of money had actually
been spent and were still being spent on this business, and utterly
unproductively, and the whole business could obviously lead to nothing
whatever. Alexey Alexandrovitch had perceived this at once on entering
office, and would have liked to lay hands on the Board of Irrigation.
But at first, when he did not yet feel secure in his position, he knew
it would affect too many interests, and would be injudicious. Later on
he had been engrossed in other questions, and had simply forgotten the
Board of Irrigation. It went of itself, like all such boards, by the
mere force of inertia. (Many people gained their livelihood by the Board
of Irrigation, especially one highly conscientious and musical family:
all the daughters played on stringed instruments, and Alexey
Alexandrovitch knew the family and had stood godfather to one of the
elder daughters.) The raising of this question by a hostile department
was in Alexey Alexandrovitch’s opinion a dishonorable proceeding, seeing
that in every department there were things similar and worse, which no
one inquired into, for well-known reasons of official etiquette.
However, now that the glove had been thrown down to him, he had boldly
picked it up and demanded the appointment of a special commission to
investigate and verify the working of the Board of Irrigation of the
lands in the Zaraisky province. But in compensation he gave no quarter
to the enemy either. He demanded the appointment of another special
commission to inquire into the question of the Native Tribes
Organization Committee. The question of the Native Tribes had been
brought up incidentally in the Commission of the 2nd of June, and had
been pressed forward actively by Alexey Alexandrovitch as one admitting
of no delay on account of the deplorable condition of the native tribes.
In the commission this question had been a ground of contention between
several departments. The department hostile to Alexey Alexandrovitch
proved that the condition of the native tribes was exceedingly
flourishing, that the proposed reconstruction might be the ruin of their
prosperity, and that if there were anything wrong, it arose mainly from
the failure on the part of Alexey Alexandrovitch’s department to carry
out the measures prescribed by law. Now Alexey Alexandrovitch intended
to demand: First, that a new commission should be formed which should be
empowered to investigate the condition of the native tribes on the spot;
secondly, if it should appear that the condition of the native tribes
actually was such as it appeared to be from the official documents in
the hands of the committee, that another new scientific commission
should be appointed to investigate the deplorable condition of the
native tribes from the—(1) political, (2) administrative, (3) economic,
(4) ethnographical, (5) material, and (6) religious points of view;
thirdly, that evidence should be required from the rival department of
the measures that had been taken during the last ten years by that
department for averting the disastrous conditions in which the native
tribes were now placed; and fourthly and finally, that that department
explain why it had, as appeared from the evidence before the committee,
from No. 17,015 and 18,038, from December 5, 1863, and June 7, 1864,
acted in direct contravention of the intent of the law T... Act 18, and
the note to Act 36. A flash of eagerness suffused the face of Alexey
Alexandrovitch as he rapidly wrote out a synopsis of these ideas for his
own benefit. Having filled a sheet of paper, he got up, rang, and sent a
note to the chief secretary of his department to look up certain
necessary facts for him. Getting up and walking about the room, he
glanced again at the portrait, frowned, and smiled contemptuously. After
reading a little more of the book on Egyptian hieroglyphics, and
renewing his interest in it, Alexey Alexandrovitch went to bed at eleven
o’clock, and recollecting as he lay in bed the incident with his wife,
he saw it now in by no means such a gloomy light.

Chapter 15

Though Anna had obstinately and with exasperation contradicted Vronsky
when he told her their position was impossible, at the bottom of her
heart she regarded her own position as false and dishonorable, and she
longed with her whole soul to change it. On the way home from the races
she had told her husband the truth in a moment of excitement, and in
spite of the agony she had suffered in doing so, she was glad of it.
After her husband had left her, she told herself that she was glad, that
now everything was made clear, and at least there would be no more lying
and deception. It seemed to her beyond doubt that her position was now
made clear forever. It might be bad, this new position, but it would be
clear; there would be no indefiniteness or falsehood about it. The pain
she had caused herself and her husband in uttering those words would be
rewarded now by everything being made clear, she thought. That evening
she saw Vronsky, but she did not tell him of what had passed between her
and her husband, though, to make the position definite, it was necessary
to tell him.

When she woke up next morning the first thing that rose to her mind was
what she had said to her husband, and those words seemed to her so awful
that she could not conceive now how she could have brought herself to
utter those strange, coarse words, and could not imagine what would come
of it. But the words were spoken, and Alexey Alexandrovitch had gone
away without saying anything. "I saw Vronsky and did not tell him. At
the very instant he was going away I would have turned him back and told
him, but I changed my mind, because it was strange that I had not told
him the first minute. Why was it I wanted to tell him and did not tell
him?" And in answer to this question a burning blush of shame spread
over her face. She knew what had kept her from it, she knew that she had
been ashamed. Her position, which had seemed to her simplified the night
before, suddenly struck her now as not only not simple, but as
absolutely hopeless. She felt terrified at the disgrace, of which she
had not ever thought before. Directly she thought of what her husband
would do, the most terrible ideas came to her mind. She had a vision of
being turned out of the house, of her shame being proclaimed to all the
world. She asked herself where she should go when she was turned out of
the house, and she could not find an answer.

When she thought of Vronsky, it seemed to her that he did not love her,
that he was already beginning to be tired of her, that she could not
offer herself to him, and she felt bitter against him for it. It seemed
to her that the words that she had spoken to her husband, and had
continually repeated in her imagination, she had said to everyone, and
everyone had heard them. She could not bring herself to look those of
her own household in the face. She could not bring herself to call her
maid, and still less go downstairs and see her son and his governess.

The maid, who had been listening at her door for a long while, came into
her room of her own accord. Anna glanced inquiringly into her face, and
blushed with a scared look. The maid begged her pardon for coming in,
saying that she had fancied the bell rang. She brought her clothes and a
note. The note was from Betsy. Betsy reminded her that Liza Merkalova
and Baroness Shtoltz were coming to play croquet with her that morning
with their adorers, Kaluzhsky and old Stremov. "Come, if only as a study
in morals. I shall expect you," she finished.

Anna read the note and heaved a deep sigh.

"Nothing, I need nothing," she said to Annushka, who was rearranging the
bottles and brushes on the dressing table. "You can go. I’ll dress at
once and come down. I need nothing."

Annushka went out, but Anna did not begin dressing, and sat in the same
position, her head and hands hanging listlessly, and every now and then
she shivered all over, seemed as though she would make some gesture,
utter some word, and sank back into lifelessness again. She repeated
continually, "My God! my God!" But neither "God" nor "my" had any
meaning to her. The idea of seeking help in her difficulty in religion
was as remote from her as seeking help from Alexey Alexandrovitch
himself, although she had never had doubts of the faith in which she had
been brought up. She knew that the support of religion was possible only
upon condition of renouncing what made up for her the whole meaning of
life. She was not simply miserable, she began to feel alarm at the new
spiritual condition, never experienced before, in which she found
herself. She felt as though everything were beginning to be double in
her soul, just as objects sometimes appear double to over-tired eyes.
She hardly knew at times what it was she feared, and what she hoped for.
Whether she feared or desired what had happened, or what was going to
happen, and exactly what she longed for, she could not have said.

"Ah, what am I doing!" she said to herself, feeling a sudden thrill of
pain in both sides of her head. When she came to herself, she saw that
she was holding her hair in both hands, each side of her temples, and
pulling it. She jumped up, and began walking about.

"The coffee is ready, and mademoiselle and Seryozha are waiting," said
Annushka, coming back again and finding Anna in the same position.

"Seryozha? What about Seryozha?" Anna asked, with sudden eagerness,
recollecting her son’s existence for the first time that morning.

"He’s been naughty, I think," answered Annushka with a smile.

"In what way?"

"Some peaches were lying on the table in the corner room. I think he
slipped in and ate one of them on the sly."

The recollection of her son suddenly roused Anna from the helpless
condition in which she found herself. She recalled the partly sincere,
though greatly exaggerated, rôle of the mother living for her child,
which she had taken up of late years, and she felt with joy that in the
plight in which she found herself she had a support, quite apart from
her relation to her husband or to Vronsky. This support was her son. In
whatever position she might be placed, she could not lose her son. Her
husband might put her to shame and turn her out, Vronsky might grow cold
to her and go on living his own life apart (she thought of him again
with bitterness and reproach); she could not leave her son. She had an
aim in life. And she must act; act to secure this relation to her son,
so that he might not be taken from her. Quickly indeed, as quickly as
possible, she must take action before he was taken from her. She must
take her son and go away. Here was the one thing she had to do now. She
needed consolation. She must be calm, and get out of this insufferable
position. The thought of immediate action binding her to her son, of
going away somewhere with him, gave her this consolation.

She dressed quickly, went downstairs, and with resolute steps walked
into the drawing room, where she found, as usual, waiting for her, the
coffee, Seryozha, and his governess. Seryozha, all in white, with his
back and head bent, was standing at a table under a looking-glass, and
with an expression of intense concentration which she knew well, and in
which he resembled his father, he was doing something to the flowers he

The governess had a particularly severe expression. Seryozha screamed
shrilly, as he often did, "Ah, mamma!" and stopped, hesitating whether
to go to greet his mother and put down the flowers, or to finish making
the wreath and go with the flowers.

The governess, after saying good-morning, began a long and detailed
account of Seryozha’s naughtiness, but Anna did not hear her; she was
considering whether she would take her with her or not. "No, I won’t
take her," she decided. "I’ll go alone with my child."

"Yes, it’s very wrong," said Anna, and taking her son by the shoulder
she looked at him, not severely, but with a timid glance that bewildered
and delighted the boy, and she kissed him. "Leave him to me," she said
to the astonished governess, and not letting go of her son, she sat down
at the table, where coffee was set ready for her.

"Mamma! I ... I ... didn’t..." he said, trying to make out from her
expression what was in store for him in regard to the peaches.

"Seryozha," she said, as soon as the governess had left the room, "that
was wrong, but you’ll never do it again, will you?... You love me?"

She felt that the tears were coming into her eyes. "Can I help loving
him?" she said to herself, looking deeply into his scared and at the
same time delighted eyes. "And can he ever join his father in punishing
me? Is it possible he will not feel for me?" Tears were already flowing
down her face, and to hide them she got up abruptly and almost ran out
on to the terrace.

After the thunder showers of the last few days, cold, bright weather had
set in. The air was cold in the bright sun that filtered through the
freshly washed leaves.

She shivered, both from the cold and from the inward horror which had
clutched her with fresh force in the open air.

"Run along, run along to Mariette," she said to Seryozha, who had
followed her out, and she began walking up and down on the straw matting
of the terrace. "Can it be that they won’t forgive me, won’t understand
how it all couldn’t be helped?" she said to herself.

Standing still, and looking at the tops of the aspen trees waving in the
wind, with their freshly washed, brightly shining leaves in the cold
sunshine, she knew that they would not forgive her, that everyone and
everything would be merciless to her now as was that sky, that green.
And again she felt that everything was split in two in her soul. "I
mustn’t, mustn’t think," she said to herself. "I must get ready. To go
where? When? Whom to take with me? Yes, to Moscow by the evening train.
Annushka and Seryozha, and only the most necessary things. But first I
must write to them both." She went quickly indoors into her boudoir, sat
down at the table, and wrote to her husband:—"After what has happened, I
cannot remain any longer in your house. I am going away, and taking my
son with me. I don’t know the law, and so I don’t know with which of the
parents the son should remain; but I take him with me because I cannot
live without him. Be generous, leave him to me."

Up to this point she wrote rapidly and naturally, but the appeal to his
generosity, a quality she did not recognize in him, and the necessity of
winding up the letter with something touching, pulled her up. "Of my
fault and my remorse I cannot speak, because..."

She stopped again, finding no connection in her ideas. "No," she said to
herself, "there’s no need of anything," and tearing up the letter, she
wrote it again, leaving out the allusion to generosity, and sealed it

Another letter had to be written to Vronsky. "I have told my husband,"
she wrote, and she sat a long while unable to write more. It was so
coarse, so unfeminine. "And what more am I to write to him?" she said to
herself. Again a flush of shame spread over her face; she recalled his
composure, and a feeling of anger against him impelled her to tear the
sheet with the phrase she had written into tiny bits. "No need of
anything," she said to herself, and closing her blotting-case she went
upstairs, told the governess and the servants that she was going that
day to Moscow, and at once set to work to pack up her things.

Chapter 16

All the rooms of the summer villa were full of porters, gardeners, and
footmen going to and fro carrying out things. Cupboards and chests were
open; twice they had sent to the shop for cord; pieces of newspaper were
tossing about on the floor. Two trunks, some bags and strapped-up rugs,
had been carried down into the hall. The carriage and two hired cabs
were waiting at the steps. Anna, forgetting her inward agitation in the
work of packing, was standing at a table in her boudoir, packing her
traveling bag, when Annushka called her attention to the rattle of some
carriage driving up. Anna looked out of the window and saw Alexey
Alexandrovitch’s courier on the steps, ringing at the front door bell.

"Run and find out what it is," she said, and with a calm sense of being
prepared for anything, she sat down in a low chair, folding her hands on
her knees. A footman brought in a thick packet directed in Alexey
Alexandrovitch’s hand.

"The courier has orders to wait for an answer," he said.

"Very well," she said, and as soon as he had left the room she tore open
the letter with trembling fingers. A roll of unfolded notes done up in a
wrapper fell out of it. She disengaged the letter and began reading it
at the end. "Preparations shall be made for your arrival here ... I
attach particular significance to compliance..." she read. She ran on,
then back, read it all through, and once more read the letter all
through again from the beginning. When she had finished, she felt that
she was cold all over, and that a fearful calamity, such as she had not
expected, had burst upon her.

In the morning she had regretted that she had spoken to her husband, and
wished for nothing so much as that those words could be unspoken. And
here this letter regarded them as unspoken, and gave her what she had
wanted. But now this letter seemed to her more awful than anything she
had been able to conceive.

"He’s right!" she said; "of course, he’s always right; he’s a Christian,
he’s generous! Yes, vile, base creature! And no one understands it
except me, and no one ever will; and I can’t explain it. They say he’s
so religious, so high-principled, so upright, so clever; but they don’t
see what I’ve seen. They don’t know how he has crushed my life for eight
years, crushed everything that was living in me—he has not once even
thought that I’m a live woman who must have love. They don’t know how at
every step he’s humiliated me, and been just as pleased with himself.
Haven’t I striven, striven with all my strength, to find something to
give meaning to my life? Haven’t I struggled to love him, to love my son
when I could not love my husband? But the time came when I knew that I
couldn’t cheat myself any longer, that I was alive, that I was not to
blame, that God has made me so that I must love and live. And now what
does he do? If he’d killed me, if he’d killed him, I could have borne
anything, I could have forgiven anything; but, no, he.... How was it I
didn’t guess what he would do? He’s doing just what’s characteristic of
his mean character. He’ll keep himself in the right, while me, in my
ruin, he’ll drive still lower to worse ruin yet...."

She recalled the words from the letter. "You can conjecture what awaits
you and your son...." "That’s a threat to take away my child, and most
likely by their stupid law he can. But I know very well why he says it.
He doesn’t believe even in my love for my child, or he despises it (just
as he always used to ridicule it). He despises that feeling in me, but
he knows that I won’t abandon my child, that I can’t abandon my child,
that there could be no life for me without my child, even with him whom
I love; but that if I abandoned my child and ran away from him, I should
be acting like the most infamous, basest of women. He knows that, and
knows that I am incapable of doing that."

She recalled another sentence in the letter. "Our life must go on as it
has done in the past...." "That life was miserable enough in the old
days; it has been awful of late. What will it be now? And he knows all
that; he knows that I can’t repent that I breathe, that I love; he knows
that it can lead to nothing but lying and deceit; but he wants to go on
torturing me. I know him; I know that he’s at home and is happy in
deceit, like a fish swimming in the water. No, I won’t give him that
happiness. I’ll break through the spiderweb of lies in which he wants to
catch me, come what may. Anything’s better than lying and deceit.

"But how? My God! my God! Was ever a woman so miserable as I am?..."

"No; I will break through it, I will break through it!" she cried,
jumping up and keeping back her tears. And she went to the writing table
to write him another letter. But at the bottom of her heart she felt
that she was not strong enough to break through anything, that she was
not strong enough to get out of her old position, however false and
dishonorable it might be.

She sat down at the writing table, but instead of writing she clasped
her hands on the table, and, laying her head on them, burst into tears,
with sobs and heaving breast like a child crying. She was weeping that
her dream of her position being made clear and definite had been
annihilated forever. She knew beforehand that everything would go on in
the old way, and far worse, indeed, than in the old way. She felt that
the position in the world that she enjoyed, and that had seemed to her
of so little consequence in the morning, that this position was precious
to her, that she would not have the strength to exchange it for the
shameful position of a woman who has abandoned husband and child to join
her lover; that however much she might struggle, she could not be
stronger than herself. She would never know freedom in love, but would
remain forever a guilty wife, with the menace of detection hanging over
her at every instant; deceiving her husband for the sake of a shameful
connection with a man living apart and away from her, whose life she
could never share. She knew that this was how it would be, and at the
same time it was so awful that she could not even conceive what it would
end in. And she cried without restraint, as children cry when they are

The sound of the footman’s steps forced her to rouse herself, and,
hiding her face from him, she pretended to be writing.

"The courier asks if there’s an answer," the footman announced.

"An answer? Yes," said Anna. "Let him wait. I’ll ring."

"What can I write?" she thought. "What can I decide upon alone? What do
I know? What do I want? What is there I care for?" Again she felt that
her soul was beginning to be split in two. She was terrified again at
this feeling, and clutched at the first pretext for doing something
which might divert her thoughts from herself. "I ought to see Alexey"
(so she called Vronsky in her thoughts); "no one but he can tell me what
I ought to do. I’ll go to Betsy’s, perhaps I shall see him there," she
said to herself, completely forgetting that when she had told him the
day before that she was not going to Princess Tverskaya’s, he had said
that in that case he should not go either. She went up to the table,
wrote to her husband, "I have received your letter.—A."; and, ringing
the bell, gave it to the footman.

"We are not going," she said to Annushka, as she came in.

"Not going at all?"

"No; don’t unpack till tomorrow, and let the carriage wait. I’m going to
the princess’s."

"Which dress am I to get ready?"

Chapter 17

The croquet party to which the Princess Tverskaya had invited Anna was
to consist of two ladies and their adorers. These two ladies were the
chief representatives of a select new Petersburg circle, nicknamed, in
imitation of some imitation, _les sept merveilles du monde_. These
ladies belonged to a circle which, though of the highest society, was
utterly hostile to that in which Anna moved. Moreover, Stremov, one of
the most influential people in Petersburg, and the elderly admirer of
Liza Merkalova, was Alexey Alexandrovitch’s enemy in the political
world. From all these considerations Anna had not meant to go, and the
hints in Princess Tverskaya’s note referred to her refusal. But now Anna
was eager to go, in the hope of seeing Vronsky.

Anna arrived at Princess Tverskaya’s earlier than the other guests.

At the same moment as she entered, Vronsky’s footman, with side-whiskers
combed out like a _Kammerjunker_, went in too. He stopped at the door,
and, taking off his cap, let her pass. Anna recognized him, and only
then recalled that Vronsky had told her the day before that he would not
come. Most likely he was sending a note to say so.

As she took off her outer garment in the hall, she heard the footman,
pronouncing his "r’s" even like a _Kammerjunker_, say, "From the count
for the princess," and hand the note.

She longed to question him as to where his master was. She longed to
turn back and send him a letter to come and see her, or to go herself to
see him. But neither the first nor the second nor the third course was
possible. Already she heard bells ringing to announce her arrival ahead
of her, and Princess Tverskaya’s footman was standing at the open door
waiting for her to go forward into the inner rooms.

"The princess is in the garden; they will inform her immediately. Would
you be pleased to walk into the garden?" announced another footman in
another room.

The position of uncertainty, of indecision, was still the same as at
home—worse, in fact, since it was impossible to take any step,
impossible to see Vronsky, and she had to remain here among outsiders,
in company so uncongenial to her present mood. But she was wearing a
dress that she knew suited her. She was not alone; all around was that
luxurious setting of idleness that she was used to, and she felt less
wretched than at home. She was not forced to think what she was to do.
Everything would be done of itself. On meeting Betsy coming towards her
in a white gown that struck her by its elegance, Anna smiled at her just
as she always did. Princess Tverskaya was walking with Tushkevitch and a
young lady, a relation, who, to the great joy of her parents in the
provinces, was spending the summer with the fashionable princess.

There was probably something unusual about Anna, for Betsy noticed it at

"I slept badly," answered Anna, looking intently at the footman who came
to meet them, and, as she supposed, brought Vronsky’s note.

"How glad I am you’ve come!" said Betsy. "I’m tired, and was just
longing to have some tea before they come. You might go"—she turned to
Tushkevitch—"with Masha, and try the croquet ground over there where
they’ve been cutting it. We shall have time to talk a little over tea;
we’ll have a cozy chat, eh?" she said in English to Anna, with a smile,
pressing the hand with which she held a parasol.

"Yes, especially as I can’t stay very long with you. I’m forced to go on
to old Madame Vrede. I’ve been promising to go for a century," said
Anna, to whom lying, alien as it was to her nature, had become not
merely simple and natural in society, but a positive source of
satisfaction. Why she said this, which she had not thought of a second
before, she could not have explained. She had said it simply from the
reflection that as Vronsky would not be here, she had better secure her
own freedom, and try to see him somehow. But why she had spoken of old
Madame Vrede, whom she had to go and see, as she had to see many other
people, she could not have explained; and yet, as it afterwards turned
out, had she contrived the most cunning devices to meet Vronsky, she
could have thought of nothing better.

"No. I’m not going to let you go for anything," answered Betsy, looking
intently into Anna’s face. "Really, if I were not fond of you, I should
feel offended. One would think you were afraid my society would
compromise you. Tea in the little dining room, please," she said, half
closing her eyes, as she always did when addressing the footman.

Taking the note from him, she read it.

"Alexey’s playing us false," she said in French; "he writes that he
can’t come," she added in a tone as simple and natural as though it
could never enter her head that Vronsky could mean anything more to Anna
than a game of croquet. Anna knew that Betsy knew everything, but,
hearing how she spoke of Vronsky before her, she almost felt persuaded
for a minute that she knew nothing.

"Ah!" said Anna indifferently, as though not greatly interested in the
matter, and she went on smiling: "How can you or your friends compromise

This playing with words, this hiding of a secret, had a great
fascination for Anna, as, indeed, it has for all women. And it was not
the necessity of concealment, not the aim with which the concealment was
contrived, but the process of concealment itself which attracted her.

"I can’t be more Catholic than the Pope," she said. "Stremov and Liza
Merkalova, why, they’re the cream of the cream of society. Besides,
they’re received everywhere, and _I_"—she laid special stress on the
I—"have never been strict and intolerant. It’s simply that I haven’t the

"No; you don’t care, perhaps, to meet Stremov? Let him and Alexey
Alexandrovitch tilt at each other in the committee—that’s no affair of
ours. But in the world, he’s the most amiable man I know, and a devoted
croquet player. You shall see. And, in spite of his absurd position as
Liza’s lovesick swain at his age, you ought to see how he carries off
the absurd position. He’s very nice. Sappho Shtoltz you don’t know? Oh,
that’s a new type, quite new."

Betsy said all this, and, at the same time, from her good-humored,
shrewd glance, Anna felt that she partly guessed her plight, and was
hatching something for her benefit. They were in the little boudoir.

"I must write to Alexey though," and Betsy sat down to the table,
scribbled a few lines, and put the note in an envelope.

"I’m telling him to come to dinner. I’ve one lady extra to dinner with
me, and no man to take her in. Look what I’ve said, will that persuade
him? Excuse me, I must leave you for a minute. Would you seal it up,
please, and send it off?" she said from the door; "I have to give some

Without a moment’s thought, Anna sat down to the table with Betsy’s
letter, and, without reading it, wrote below: "It’s essential for me to
see you. Come to the Vrede garden. I shall be there at six o’clock." She
sealed it up, and, Betsy coming back, in her presence handed the note to
be taken.

At tea, which was brought them on a little tea-table in the cool little
drawing room, the cozy chat promised by Princess Tverskaya before the
arrival of her visitors really did come off between the two women. They
criticized the people they were expecting, and the conversation fell
upon Liza Merkalova.

"She’s very sweet, and I always liked her," said Anna.

"You ought to like her. She raves about you. Yesterday she came up to me
after the races and was in despair at not finding you. She says you’re a
real heroine of romance, and that if she were a man she would do all
sorts of mad things for your sake. Stremov says she does that as it is."

"But do tell me, please, I never could make it out," said Anna, after
being silent for some time, speaking in a tone that showed she was not
asking an idle question, but that what she was asking was of more
importance to her than it should have been; "do tell me, please, what
are her relations with Prince Kaluzhsky, Mishka, as he’s called? I’ve
met them so little. What does it mean?"

Betsy smiled with her eyes, and looked intently at Anna.

"It’s a new manner," she said. "They’ve all adopted that manner. They’ve
flung their caps over the windmills. But there are ways and ways of
flinging them."

"Yes, but what are her relations precisely with Kaluzhsky?"

Betsy broke into unexpectedly mirthful and irrepressible laughter, a
thing which rarely happened with her.

"You’re encroaching on Princess Myakaya’s special domain now. That’s the
question of an _enfant terrible_," and Betsy obviously tried to restrain
herself, but could not, and went off into peals of that infectious
laughter that people laugh who do not laugh often. "You’d better ask
them," she brought out, between tears of laughter.

"No; you laugh," said Anna, laughing too in spite of herself, "but I
never could understand it. I can’t understand the husband’s rôle in it."

"The husband? Liza Merkalova’s husband carries her shawl, and is always
ready to be of use. But anything more than that in reality, no one cares
to inquire. You know in decent society one doesn’t talk or think even of
certain details of the toilet. That’s how it is with this."

"Will you be at Madame Rolandak’s fête?" asked Anna, to change the

"I don’t think so," answered Betsy, and, without looking at her friend,
she began filling the little transparent cups with fragrant tea. Putting
a cup before Anna, she took out a cigarette, and, fitting it into a
silver holder, she lighted it.

"It’s like this, you see: I’m in a fortunate position," she began, quite
serious now, as she took up her cup. "I understand you, and I understand
Liza. Liza now is one of those naïve natures that, like children, don’t
know what’s good and what’s bad. Anyway, she didn’t comprehend it when
she was very young. And now she’s aware that the lack of comprehension
suits her. Now, perhaps, she doesn’t know on purpose," said Betsy, with
a subtle smile. "But, anyway, it suits her. The very same thing, don’t
you see, may be looked at tragically, and turned into a misery, or it
may be looked at simply and even humorously. Possibly you are inclined
to look at things too tragically."

"How I should like to know other people just as I know myself!" said
Anna, seriously and dreamily. "Am I worse than other people, or better?
I think I’m worse."

"_Enfant terrible, enfant terrible!_" repeated Betsy. "But here they

Chapter 18

They heard the sound of steps and a man’s voice, then a woman’s voice
and laughter, and immediately thereafter there walked in the expected
guests: Sappho Shtoltz, and a young man beaming with excess of health,
the so-called Vaska. It was evident that ample supplies of beefsteak,
truffles, and Burgundy never failed to reach him at the fitting hour.
Vaska bowed to the two ladies, and glanced at them, but only for one
second. He walked after Sappho into the drawing-room, and followed her
about as though he were chained to her, keeping his sparkling eyes fixed
on her as though he wanted to eat her. Sappho Shtoltz was a blonde
beauty with black eyes. She walked with smart little steps in
high-heeled shoes, and shook hands with the ladies vigorously like a

Anna had never met this new star of fashion, and was struck by her
beauty, the exaggerated extreme to which her dress was carried, and the
boldness of her manners. On her head there was such a superstructure of
soft, golden hair—her own and false mixed—that her head was equal in
size to the elegantly rounded bust, of which so much was exposed in
front. The impulsive abruptness of her movements was such that at every
step the lines of her knees and the upper part of her legs were
distinctly marked under her dress, and the question involuntarily rose
to the mind where in the undulating, piled-up mountain of material at
the back the real body of the woman, so small and slender, so naked in
front, and so hidden behind and below, really came to an end.

Betsy made haste to introduce her to Anna.

"Only fancy, we all but ran over two soldiers," she began telling them
at once, using her eyes, smiling and twitching away her tail, which she
flung back at one stroke all on one side. "I drove here with Vaska....
Ah, to be sure, you don’t know each other." And mentioning his surname
she introduced the young man, and reddening a little, broke into a
ringing laugh at her mistake—that is, at her having called him Vaska to
a stranger. Vaska bowed once more to Anna, but he said nothing to her.
He addressed Sappho: "You’ve lost your bet. We got here first. Pay up,"
said he, smiling.

Sappho laughed still more festively.

"Not just now," said she.

"Oh, all right, I’ll have it later."

"Very well, very well. Oh, yes." She turned suddenly to Princess Betsy:
"I am a nice person ... I positively forgot it ... I’ve brought you a
visitor. And here he comes." The unexpected young visitor, whom Sappho
had invited, and whom she had forgotten, was, however, a personage of
such consequence that, in spite of his youth, both the ladies rose on
his entrance.

He was a new admirer of Sappho’s. He now dogged her footsteps, like

Soon after Prince Kaluzhsky arrived, and Liza Merkalova with Stremov.
Liza Merkalova was a thin brunette, with an Oriental, languid type of
face, and—as everyone used to say—exquisite enigmatic eyes. The tone of
her dark dress (Anna immediately observed and appreciated the fact) was
in perfect harmony with her style of beauty. Liza was as soft and
enervated as Sappho was smart and abrupt.

But to Anna’s taste Liza was far more attractive. Betsy had said to Anna
that she had adopted the pose of an innocent child, but when Anna saw
her, she felt that this was not the truth. She really was both innocent
and corrupt, but a sweet and passive woman. It is true that her tone was
the same as Sappho’s; that like Sappho, she had two men, one young and
one old, tacked onto her, and devouring her with their eyes. But there
was something in her higher than what surrounded her. There was in her
the glow of the real diamond among glass imitations. This glow shone out
in her exquisite, truly enigmatic eyes. The weary, and at the same time
passionate, glance of those eyes, encircled by dark rings, impressed one
by its perfect sincerity. Everyone looking into those eyes fancied he
knew her wholly, and knowing her, could not but love her. At the sight
of Anna, her whole face lighted up at once with a smile of delight.

"Ah, how glad I am to see you!" she said, going up to her. "Yesterday at
the races all I wanted was to get to you, but you’d gone away. I did so
want to see you, yesterday especially. Wasn’t it awful?" she said,
looking at Anna with eyes that seemed to lay bare all her soul.

"Yes; I had no idea it would be so thrilling," said Anna, blushing.

The company got up at this moment to go into the garden.

"I’m not going," said Liza, smiling and settling herself close to Anna.
"You won’t go either, will you? Who wants to play croquet?"

"Oh, I like it," said Anna.

"There, how do you manage never to be bored by things? It’s delightful
to look at you. You’re alive, but I’m bored."

"How can you be bored? Why, you live in the liveliest set in
Petersburg," said Anna.

"Possibly the people who are not of our set are even more bored; but
we—I certainly—are not happy, but awfully, awfully bored."

Sappho smoking a cigarette went off into the garden with the two young
men. Betsy and Stremov remained at the tea-table.

"What, bored!" said Betsy. "Sappho says they did enjoy themselves
tremendously at your house last night."

"Ah, how dreary it all was!" said Liza Merkalova. "We all drove back to
my place after the races. And always the same people, always the same.
Always the same thing. We lounged about on sofas all the evening. What
is there to enjoy in that? No; do tell me how you manage never to be
bored?" she said, addressing Anna again. "One has but to look at you and
one sees, here’s a woman who may be happy or unhappy, but isn’t bored.
Tell me how you do it?"

"I do nothing," answered Anna, blushing at these searching questions.

"That’s the best way," Stremov put in. Stremov was a man of fifty,
partly gray, but still vigorous-looking, very ugly, but with a
characteristic and intelligent face. Liza Merkalova was his wife’s
niece, and he spent all his leisure hours with her. On meeting Anna
Karenina, as he was Alexey Alexandrovitch’s enemy in the government, he
tried, like a shrewd man and a man of the world, to be particularly
cordial with her, the wife of his enemy.

"‘Nothing,’" he put in with a subtle smile, "that’s the very best way. I
told you long ago," he said, turning to Liza Merkalova, "that if you
don’t want to be bored, you mustn’t think you’re going to be bored. It’s
just as you mustn’t be afraid of not being able to fall asleep, if
you’re afraid of sleeplessness. That’s just what Anna Arkadyevna has
just said."

"I should be very glad if I had said it, for it’s not only clever but
true," said Anna, smiling.

"No, do tell me why it is one can’t go to sleep, and one can’t help
being bored?"

"To sleep well one ought to work, and to enjoy oneself one ought to work

"What am I to work for when my work is no use to anybody? And I can’t
and won’t knowingly make a pretense about it."

"You’re incorrigible," said Stremov, not looking at her, and he spoke
again to Anna. As he rarely met Anna, he could say nothing but
commonplaces to her, but he said those commonplaces as to when she was
returning to Petersburg, and how fond Countess Lidia Ivanovna was of
her, with an expression which suggested that he longed with his whole
soul to please her and show his regard for her and even more than that.

Tushkevitch came in, announcing that the party were awaiting the other
players to begin croquet.

"No, don’t go away, please don’t," pleaded Liza Merkalova, hearing that
Anna was going. Stremov joined in her entreaties.

"It’s too violent a transition," he said, "to go from such company to
old Madame Vrede. And besides, you will only give her a chance for
talking scandal, while here you arouse none but such different feelings
of the highest and most opposite kind," he said to her.

Anna pondered for an instant in uncertainty. This shrewd man’s
flattering words, the naïve, childlike affection shown her by Liza
Merkalova, and all the social atmosphere she was used to,—it was all so
easy, and what was in store for her was so difficult, that she was for a
minute in uncertainty whether to remain, whether to put off a little
longer the painful moment of explanation. But remembering what was in
store for her alone at home, if she did not come to some decision,
remembering that gesture—terrible even in memory—when she had clutched
her hair in both hands—she said good-bye and went away.

Chapter 19

In spite of Vronsky’s apparently frivolous life in society, he was a man
who hated irregularity. In early youth in the Corps of Pages, he had
experienced the humiliation of a refusal, when he had tried, being in
difficulties, to borrow money, and since then he had never once put
himself in the same position again.

In order to keep his affairs in some sort of order, he used about five
times a year (more or less frequently, according to circumstances) to
shut himself up alone and put all his affairs into definite shape. This
he used to call his day of reckoning or _faire la lessive_.

On waking up the day after the races, Vronsky put on a white linen coat,
and without shaving or taking his bath, he distributed about the table
moneys, bills, and letters, and set to work. Petritsky, who knew he was
ill-tempered on such occasions, on waking up and seeing his comrade at
the writing-table, quietly dressed and went out without getting in his

Every man who knows to the minutest details all the complexity of the
conditions surrounding him, cannot help imagining that the complexity of
these conditions, and the difficulty of making them clear, is something
exceptional and personal, peculiar to himself, and never supposes that
others are surrounded by just as complicated an array of personal
affairs as he is. So indeed it seemed to Vronsky. And not without inward
pride, and not without reason, he thought that any other man would long
ago have been in difficulties, would have been forced to some
dishonorable course, if he had found himself in such a difficult
position. But Vronsky felt that now especially it was essential for him
to clear up and define his position if he were to avoid getting into

What Vronsky attacked first as being the easiest was his pecuniary
position. Writing out on note paper in his minute hand all that he owed,
he added up the amount and found that his debts amounted to seventeen
thousand and some odd hundreds, which he left out for the sake of
clearness. Reckoning up his money and his bank book, he found that he
had left one thousand eight hundred roubles, and nothing coming in
before the New Year. Reckoning over again his list of debts, Vronsky
copied it, dividing it into three classes. In the first class he put the
debts which he would have to pay at once, or for which he must in any
case have the money ready so that on demand for payment there could not
be a moment’s delay in paying. Such debts amounted to about four
thousand: one thousand five hundred for a horse, and two thousand five
hundred as surety for a young comrade, Venovsky, who had lost that sum
to a cardsharper in Vronsky’s presence. Vronsky had wanted to pay the
money at the time (he had that amount then), but Venovsky and Yashvin
had insisted that they would pay and not Vronsky, who had not played.
That was so far well, but Vronsky knew that in this dirty business,
though his only share in it was undertaking by word of mouth to be
surety for Venovsky, it was absolutely necessary for him to have the two
thousand five hundred roubles so as to be able to fling it at the
swindler, and have no more words with him. And so for this first and
most important division he must have four thousand roubles. The second
class—eight thousand roubles—consisted of less important debts. These
were principally accounts owing in connection with his race horses, to
the purveyor of oats and hay, the English saddler, and so on. He would
have to pay some two thousand roubles on these debts too, in order to be
quite free from anxiety. The last class of debts—to shops, to hotels, to
his tailor—were such as need not be considered. So that he needed at
least six thousand roubles for current expenses, and he only had one
thousand eight hundred. For a man with one hundred thousand roubles of
revenue, which was what everyone fixed as Vronsky’s income, such debts,
one would suppose, could hardly be embarrassing; but the fact was that
he was far from having one hundred thousand. His father’s immense
property, which alone yielded a yearly income of two hundred thousand,
was left undivided between the brothers. At the time when the elder
brother, with a mass of debts, married Princess Varya Tchirkova, the
daughter of a Decembrist without any fortune whatever, Alexey had given
up to his elder brother almost the whole income from his father’s
estate, reserving for himself only twenty-five thousand a year from it.
Alexey had said at the time to his brother that that sum would be
sufficient for him until he married, which he probably never would do.
And his brother, who was in command of one of the most expensive
regiments, and was only just married, could not decline the gift. His
mother, who had her own separate property, had allowed Alexey every year
twenty thousand in addition to the twenty-five thousand he had reserved,
and Alexey had spent it all. Of late his mother, incensed with him on
account of his love affair and his leaving Moscow, had given up sending
him the money. And in consequence of this, Vronsky, who had been in the
habit of living on the scale of forty-five thousand a year, having only
received twenty thousand that year, found himself now in difficulties.
To get out of these difficulties, he could not apply to his mother for
money. Her last letter, which he had received the day before, had
particularly exasperated him by the hints in it that she was quite ready
to help him to succeed in the world and in the army, but not to lead a
life which was a scandal to all good society. His mother’s attempt to
buy him stung him to the quick and made him feel colder than ever to
her. But he could not draw back from the generous word when it was once
uttered, even though he felt now, vaguely foreseeing certain
eventualities in his intrigue with Madame Karenina, that this generous
word had been spoken thoughtlessly, and that even though he were not
married he might need all the hundred thousand of income. But it was
impossible to draw back. He had only to recall his brother’s wife, to
remember how that sweet, delightful Varya sought, at every convenient
opportunity, to remind him that she remembered his generosity and
appreciated it, to grasp the impossibility of taking back his gift. It
was as impossible as beating a woman, stealing, or lying. One thing only
could and ought to be done, and Vronsky determined upon it without an
instant’s hesitation: to borrow money from a money-lender, ten thousand
roubles, a proceeding which presented no difficulty, to cut down his
expenses generally, and to sell his race horses. Resolving on this, he
promptly wrote a note to Rolandak, who had more than once sent to him
with offers to buy horses from him. Then he sent for the Englishman and
the money-lender, and divided what money he had according to the
accounts he intended to pay. Having finished this business, he wrote a
cold and cutting answer to his mother. Then he took out of his notebook
three notes of Anna’s, read them again, burned them, and remembering
their conversation on the previous day, he sank into meditation.

Chapter 20

Vronsky’s life was particularly happy in that he had a code of
principles, which defined with unfailing certitude what he ought and
what he ought not to do. This code of principles covered only a very
small circle of contingencies, but then the principles were never
doubtful, and Vronsky, as he never went outside that circle, had never
had a moment’s hesitation about doing what he ought to do. These
principles laid down as invariable rules: that one must pay a
cardsharper, but need not pay a tailor; that one must never tell a lie
to a man, but one may to a woman; that one must never cheat anyone, but
one may a husband; that one must never pardon an insult, but one may
give one and so on. These principles were possibly not reasonable and
not good, but they were of unfailing certainty, and so long as he
adhered to them, Vronsky felt that his heart was at peace and he could
hold his head up. Only quite lately in regard to his relations with
Anna, Vronsky had begun to feel that his code of principles did not
fully cover all possible contingencies, and to foresee in the future
difficulties and perplexities for which he could find no guiding clue.

His present relation to Anna and to her husband was to his mind clear
and simple. It was clearly and precisely defined in the code of
principles by which he was guided.

She was an honorable woman who had bestowed her love upon him, and he
loved her, and therefore she was in his eyes a woman who had a right to
the same, or even more, respect than a lawful wife. He would have had
his hand chopped off before he would have allowed himself by a word, by
a hint, to humiliate her, or even to fall short of the fullest respect a
woman could look for.

His attitude to society, too, was clear. Everyone might know, might
suspect it, but no one might dare to speak of it. If any did so, he was
ready to force all who might speak to be silent and to respect the
non-existent honor of the woman he loved.

His attitude to the husband was the clearest of all. From the moment
that Anna loved Vronsky, he had regarded his own right over her as the
one thing unassailable. Her husband was simply a superfluous and
tiresome person. No doubt he was in a pitiable position, but how could
that be helped? The one thing the husband had a right to was to demand
satisfaction with a weapon in his hand, and Vronsky was prepared for
this at any minute.

But of late new inner relations had arisen between him and her, which
frightened Vronsky by their indefiniteness. Only the day before she had
told him that she was with child. And he felt that this fact and what
she expected of him called for something not fully defined in that code
of principles by which he had hitherto steered his course in life. And
he had been indeed caught unawares, and at the first moment when she
spoke to him of her position, his heart had prompted him to beg her to
leave her husband. He had said that, but now thinking things over he saw
clearly that it would be better to manage to avoid that; and at the same
time, as he told himself so, he was afraid whether it was not wrong.

"If I told her to leave her husband, that must mean uniting her life
with mine; am I prepared for that? How can I take her away now, when I
have no money? Supposing I could arrange.... But how can I take her away
while I’m in the service? If I say that—I ought to be prepared to do it,
that is, I ought to have the money and to retire from the army."

And he grew thoughtful. The question whether to retire from the service
or not brought him to the other and perhaps the chief though hidden
interest of his life, of which none knew but he.

Ambition was the old dream of his youth and childhood, a dream which he
did not confess even to himself, though it was so strong that now this
passion was even doing battle with his love. His first steps in the
world and in the service had been successful, but two years before he
had made a great mistake. Anxious to show his independence and to
advance, he had refused a post that had been offered him, hoping that
this refusal would heighten his value; but it turned out that he had
been too bold, and he was passed over. And having, whether he liked or
not, taken up for himself the position of an independent man, he carried
it off with great tact and good sense, behaving as though he bore no
grudge against anyone, did not regard himself as injured in any way, and
cared for nothing but to be left alone since he was enjoying himself. In
reality he had ceased to enjoy himself as long ago as the year before,
when he went away to Moscow. He felt that this independent attitude of a
man who might have done anything, but cared to do nothing, was already
beginning to pall, that many people were beginning to fancy that he was
not really capable of anything but being a straightforward, good-natured
fellow. His connection with Madame Karenina, by creating so much
sensation and attracting general attention, had given him a fresh
distinction which soothed his gnawing worm of ambition for a while, but
a week before that worm had been roused up again with fresh force. The
friend of his childhood, a man of the same set, of the same coterie, his
comrade in the Corps of Pages, Serpuhovskoy, who had left school with
him and had been his rival in class, in gymnastics, in their scrapes and
their dreams of glory, had come back a few days before from Central
Asia, where he had gained two steps up in rank, and an order rarely
bestowed upon generals so young.

As soon as he arrived in Petersburg, people began to talk about him as a
newly risen star of the first magnitude. A schoolfellow of Vronsky’s and
of the same age, he was a general and was expecting a command, which
might have influence on the course of political events; while Vronsky,
independent and brilliant and beloved by a charming woman though he was,
was simply a cavalry captain who was readily allowed to be as
independent as ever he liked. "Of course I don’t envy Serpuhovskoy and
never could envy him; but his advancement shows me that one has only to
watch one’s opportunity, and the career of a man like me may be very
rapidly made. Three years ago he was in just the same position as I am.
If I retire, I burn my ships. If I remain in the army, I lose nothing.
She said herself she did not wish to change her position. And with her
love I cannot feel envious of Serpuhovskoy." And slowly twirling his
mustaches, he got up from the table and walked about the room. His eyes
shone particularly brightly, and he felt in that confident, calm, and
happy frame of mind which always came after he had thoroughly faced his
position. Everything was straight and clear, just as after former days
of reckoning. He shaved, took a cold bath, dressed and went out.

Chapter 21

"We’ve come to fetch you. Your _lessive_ lasted a good time today," said
Petritsky. "Well, is it over?"

"It is over," answered Vronsky, smiling with his eyes only, and twirling
the tips of his mustaches as circumspectly as though after the perfect
order into which his affairs had been brought any over-bold or rapid
movement might disturb it.

"You’re always just as if you’d come out of a bath after it," said
Petritsky. "I’ve come from Gritsky’s" (that was what they called the
colonel); "they’re expecting you."

Vronsky, without answering, looked at his comrade, thinking of something

"Yes; is that music at his place?" he said, listening to the familiar
sounds of polkas and waltzes floating across to him. "What’s the fête?"

"Serpuhovskoy’s come."

"Aha!" said Vronsky, "why, I didn’t know."

The smile in his eyes gleamed more brightly than ever.

Having once made up his mind that he was happy in his love, that he
sacrificed his ambition to it—having anyway taken up this position,
Vronsky was incapable of feeling either envious of Serpuhovskoy or hurt
with him for not coming first to him when he came to the regiment.
Serpuhovskoy was a good friend, and he was delighted he had come.

"Ah, I’m very glad!"

The colonel, Demin, had taken a large country house. The whole party
were in the wide lower balcony. In the courtyard the first objects that
met Vronsky’s eyes were a band of singers in white linen coats, standing
near a barrel of vodka, and the robust, good-humored figure of the
colonel surrounded by officers. He had gone out as far as the first step
of the balcony and was loudly shouting across the band that played
Offenbach’s quadrille, waving his arms and giving some orders to a few
soldiers standing on one side. A group of soldiers, a quartermaster, and
several subalterns came up to the balcony with Vronsky. The colonel
returned to the table, went out again onto the steps with a tumbler in
his hand, and proposed the toast, "To the health of our former comrade,
the gallant general, Prince Serpuhovskoy. Hurrah!"

The colonel was followed by Serpuhovskoy, who came out onto the steps
smiling, with a glass in his hand.

"You always get younger, Bondarenko," he said to the rosy-checked,
smart-looking quartermaster standing just before him, still youngish
looking though doing his second term of service.

It was three years since Vronsky had seen Serpuhovskoy. He looked more
robust, had let his whiskers grow, but was still the same graceful
creature, whose face and figure were even more striking from their
softness and nobility than their beauty. The only change Vronsky
detected in him was that subdued, continual radiance of beaming content
which settles on the faces of men who are successful and are sure of the
recognition of their success by everyone. Vronsky knew that radiant air,
and immediately observed it in Serpuhovskoy.

As Serpuhovskoy came down the steps he saw Vronsky. A smile of pleasure
lighted up his face. He tossed his head upwards and waved the glass in
his hand, greeting Vronsky, and showing him by the gesture that he could
not come to him before the quartermaster, who stood craning forward his
lips ready to be kissed.

"Here he is!" shouted the colonel. "Yashvin told me you were in one of
your gloomy tempers."

Serpuhovskoy kissed the moist, fresh lips of the gallant-looking
quartermaster, and wiping his mouth with his handkerchief, went up to

"How glad I am!" he said, squeezing his hand and drawing him on one

"You look after him," the colonel shouted to Yashvin, pointing to
Vronsky; and he went down below to the soldiers.

"Why weren’t you at the races yesterday? I expected to see you there,"
said Vronsky, scrutinizing Serpuhovskoy.

"I did go, but late. I beg your pardon," he added, and he turned to the
adjutant: "Please have this divided from me, each man as much as it runs
to." And he hurriedly took notes for three hundred roubles from his
pocketbook, blushing a little.

"Vronsky! Have anything to eat or drink?" asked Yashvin. "Hi, something
for the count to eat! Ah, here it is: have a glass!"

The fête at the colonel’s lasted a long while. There was a great deal of
drinking. They tossed Serpuhovskoy in the air and caught him again
several times. Then they did the same to the colonel. Then, to the
accompaniment of the band, the colonel himself danced with Petritsky.
Then the colonel, who began to show signs of feebleness, sat down on a
bench in the courtyard and began demonstrating to Yashvin the
superiority of Russia over Poland, especially in cavalry attack, and
there was a lull in the revelry for a moment. Serpuhovskoy went into the
house to the bathroom to wash his hands and found Vronsky there; Vronsky
was drenching his head with water. He had taken off his coat and put his
sunburnt, hairy neck under the tap, and was rubbing it and his head with
his hands. When he had finished, Vronsky sat down by Serpuhovskoy. They
both sat down in the bathroom on a lounge, and a conversation began
which was very interesting to both of them.

"I’ve always been hearing about you through my wife," said Serpuhovskoy.
"I’m glad you’ve been seeing her pretty often."

"She’s friendly with Varya, and they’re the only women in Petersburg I
care about seeing," answered Vronsky, smiling. He smiled because he
foresaw the topic the conversation would turn on, and he was glad of it.

"The only ones?" Serpuhovskoy queried, smiling.

"Yes; and I heard news of you, but not only through your wife," said
Vronsky, checking his hint by a stern expression of face. "I was greatly
delighted to hear of your success, but not a bit surprised. I expected
even more."

Serpuhovskoy smiled. Such an opinion of him was obviously agreeable to
him, and he did not think it necessary to conceal it.

"Well, I on the contrary expected less—I’ll own frankly. But I’m glad,
very glad. I’m ambitious; that’s my weakness, and I confess to it."

"Perhaps you wouldn’t confess to it if you hadn’t been successful," said

"I don’t suppose so," said Serpuhovskoy, smiling again. "I won’t say
life wouldn’t be worth living without it, but it would be dull. Of
course I may be mistaken, but I fancy I have a certain capacity for the
line I’ve chosen, and that power of any sort in my hands, if it is to
be, will be better than in the hands of a good many people I know," said
Serpuhovskoy, with beaming consciousness of success; "and so the nearer
I get to it, the better pleased I am."

"Perhaps that is true for you, but not for everyone. I used to think so
too, but here I live and think life worth living not only for that."

"There it’s out! here it comes!" said Serpuhovskoy, laughing. "Ever
since I heard about you, about your refusal, I began.... Of course, I
approved of what you did. But there are ways of doing everything. And I
think your action was good in itself, but you didn’t do it quite in the
way you ought to have done."

"What’s done can’t be undone, and you know I never go back on what I’ve
done. And besides, I’m very well off."

"Very well off—for the time. But you’re not satisfied with that. I
wouldn’t say this to your brother. He’s a nice child, like our host
here. There he goes!" he added, listening to the roar of "hurrah!"—"and
he’s happy, but that does not satisfy you."

"I didn’t say it did satisfy me."

"Yes, but that’s not the only thing. Such men as you are wanted."

"By whom?"

"By whom? By society, by Russia. Russia needs men; she needs a party, or
else everything goes and will go to the dogs."

"How do you mean? Bertenev’s party against the Russian communists?"

"No," said Serpuhovskoy, frowning with vexation at being suspected of
such an absurdity. "_Tout ça est une blague_. That’s always been and
always will be. There are no communists. But intriguing people have to
invent a noxious, dangerous party. It’s an old trick. No, what’s wanted
is a powerful party of independent men like you and me."

"But why so?" Vronsky mentioned a few men who were in power. "Why aren’t
they independent men?"

"Simply because they have not, or have not had from birth, an
independent fortune; they’ve not had a name, they’ve not been close to
the sun and center as we have. They can be bought either by money or by
favor. And they have to find a support for themselves in inventing a
policy. And they bring forward some notion, some policy that they don’t
believe in, that does harm; and the whole policy is really only a means
to a government house and so much income. _Cela n’est pas plus fin que
ça_, when you get a peep at their cards. I may be inferior to them,
stupider perhaps, though I don’t see why I should be inferior to them.
But you and I have one important advantage over them for certain, in
being more difficult to buy. And such men are more needed than ever."

Vronsky listened attentively, but he was not so much interested by the
meaning of the words as by the attitude of Serpuhovskoy who was already
contemplating a struggle with the existing powers, and already had his
likes and dislikes in that higher world, while his own interest in the
governing world did not go beyond the interests of his regiment. Vronsky
felt, too, how powerful Serpuhovskoy might become through his
unmistakable faculty for thinking things out and for taking things in,
through his intelligence and gift of words, so rarely met with in the
world in which he moved. And, ashamed as he was of the feeling, he felt

"Still I haven’t the one thing of most importance for that," he
answered; "I haven’t the desire for power. I had it once, but it’s

"Excuse me, that’s not true," said Serpuhovskoy, smiling.

"Yes, it is true, it is true ... now!" Vronsky added, to be truthful.

"Yes, it’s true now, that’s another thing; but that _now_ won’t last

"Perhaps," answered Vronsky.

"You say _perhaps_," Serpuhovskoy went on, as though guessing his
thoughts, "but I say _for certain_. And that’s what I wanted to see you
for. Your action was just what it should have been. I see that, but you
ought not to keep it up. I only ask you to give me carte blanche. I’m
not going to offer you my protection ... though, indeed, why shouldn’t I
protect you?—you’ve protected me often enough! I should hope our
friendship rises above all that sort of thing. Yes," he said, smiling to
him as tenderly as a woman, "give me _carte blanche_, retire from the
regiment, and I’ll draw you upwards imperceptibly."

"But you must understand that I want nothing," said Vronsky, "except
that all should be as it is."

Serpuhovskoy got up and stood facing him.

"You say that all should be as it is. I understand what that means. But
listen: we’re the same age, you’ve known a greater number of women
perhaps than I have." Serpohovskoy’s smile and gestures told Vronsky
that he mustn’t be afraid, that he would be tender and careful in
touching the sore place. "But I’m married, and believe me, in getting to
know thoroughly one’s wife, if one loves her, as someone has said, one
gets to know all women better than if one knew thousands of them."

"We’re coming directly!" Vronsky shouted to an officer, who looked into
the room and called them to the colonel.

Vronsky was longing now to hear to the end and know what Serpuhovskey
would say to him.

"And here’s my opinion for you. Women are the chief stumbling block in a
man’s career. It’s hard to love a woman and do anything. There’s only
one way of having love conveniently without its being a hindrance—that’s
marriage. How, how am I to tell you what I mean?" said Serpuhovskoy, who
liked similes. "Wait a minute, wait a minute! Yes, just as you can only
carry a _fardeau_ and do something with your hands, when the fardeau is
tied on your back, and that’s marriage. And that’s what I felt when I
was married. My hands were suddenly set free. But to drag that _fardeau_
about with you without marriage, your hands will always be so full that
you can do nothing. Look at Mazankov, at Krupov. They’ve ruined their
careers for the sake of women."

"What women!" said Vronsky, recalling the Frenchwoman and the actress
with whom the two men he had mentioned were connected.

"The firmer the woman’s footing in society, the worse it is. That’s much
the same as—not merely carrying the _fardeau_ in your arms—but tearing
it away from someone else."

"You have never loved," Vronsky said softly, looking straight before him
and thinking of Anna.

"Perhaps. But you remember what I’ve said to you. And another thing,
women are all more materialistic than men. We make something immense out
of love, but they are always _terre-à-terre_."

"Directly, directly!" he cried to a footman who came in. But the footman
had not come to call them again, as he supposed. The footman brought
Vronsky a note.

"A man brought it from Princess Tverskaya."

Vronsky opened the letter, and flushed crimson.

"My head’s begun to ache; I’m going home," he said to Serpuhovskoy.

"Oh, good-bye then. You give me _carte blanche!_"

"We’ll talk about it later on; I’ll look you up in Petersburg."

Chapter 22

It was six o’clock already, and so, in order to be there quickly, and at
the same time not to drive with his own horses, known to everyone,
Vronsky got into Yashvin’s hired fly, and told the driver to drive as
quickly as possible. It was a roomy, old-fashioned fly, with seats for
four. He sat in one corner, stretched his legs out on the front seat,
and sank into meditation.

A vague sense of the order into which his affairs had been brought, a
vague recollection of the friendliness and flattery of Serpuhovskoy, who
had considered him a man that was needed, and most of all, the
anticipation of the interview before him—all blended into a general,
joyous sense of life. This feeling was so strong that he could not help
smiling. He dropped his legs, crossed one leg over the other knee, and
taking it in his hand, felt the springy muscle of the calf, where it had
been grazed the day before by his fall, and leaning back he drew several
deep breaths.

"I’m happy, very happy!" he said to himself. He had often before had
this sense of physical joy in his own body, but he had never felt so
fond of himself, of his own body, as at that moment. He enjoyed the
slight ache in his strong leg, he enjoyed the muscular sensation of
movement in his chest as he breathed. The bright, cold August day, which
had made Anna feel so hopeless, seemed to him keenly stimulating, and
refreshed his face and neck that still tingled from the cold water. The
scent of brilliantine on his whiskers struck him as particularly
pleasant in the fresh air. Everything he saw from the carriage window,
everything in that cold pure air, in the pale light of the sunset, was
as fresh, and gay, and strong as he was himself: the roofs of the houses
shining in the rays of the setting sun, the sharp outlines of fences and
angles of buildings, the figures of passers-by, the carriages that met
him now and then, the motionless green of the trees and grass, the
fields with evenly drawn furrows of potatoes, and the slanting shadows
that fell from the houses, and trees, and bushes, and even from the rows
of potatoes—everything was bright like a pretty landscape just finished
and freshly varnished.

"Get on, get on!" he said to the driver, putting his head out of the
window, and pulling a three-rouble note out of his pocket he handed it
to the man as he looked round. The driver’s hand fumbled with something
at the lamp, the whip cracked, and the carriage rolled rapidly along the
smooth highroad.

"I want nothing, nothing but this happiness," he thought, staring at the
bone button of the bell in the space between the windows, and picturing
to himself Anna just as he had seen her last time. "And as I go on, I
love her more and more. Here’s the garden of the Vrede Villa.
Whereabouts will she be? Where? How? Why did she fix on this place to
meet me, and why does she write in Betsy’s letter?" he thought,
wondering now for the first time at it. But there was now no time for
wonder. He called to the driver to stop before reaching the avenue, and
opening the door, jumped out of the carriage as it was moving, and went
into the avenue that led up to the house. There was no one in the
avenue; but looking round to the right he caught sight of her. Her face
was hidden by a veil, but he drank in with glad eyes the special
movement in walking, peculiar to her alone, the slope of the shoulders,
and the setting of the head, and at once a sort of electric shock ran
all over him. With fresh force, he felt conscious of himself from the
springy motions of his legs to the movements of his lungs as he
breathed, and something set his lips twitching.

Joining him, she pressed his hand tightly.

"You’re not angry that I sent for you? I absolutely had to see you," she
said; and the serious and set line of her lips, which he saw under the
veil, transformed his mood at once.

"I angry! But how have you come, where from?"

"Never mind," she said, laying her hand on his, "come along, I must talk
to you."

He saw that something had happened, and that the interview would not be
a joyous one. In her presence he had no will of his own: without knowing
the grounds of her distress, he already felt the same distress
unconsciously passing over him.

"What is it? what?" he asked her, squeezing her hand with his elbow, and
trying to read her thoughts in her face.

She walked on a few steps in silence, gathering up her courage; then
suddenly she stopped.

"I did not tell you yesterday," she began, breathing quickly and
painfully, "that coming home with Alexey Alexandrovitch I told him
everything ... told him I could not be his wife, that ... and told him

He heard her, unconsciously bending his whole figure down to her as
though hoping in this way to soften the hardness of her position for
her. But directly she had said this he suddenly drew himself up, and a
proud and hard expression came over his face.

"Yes, yes, that’s better, a thousand times better! I know how painful it
was," he said. But she was not listening to his words, she was reading
his thoughts from the expression of his face. She could not guess that
that expression arose from the first idea that presented itself to
Vronsky—that a duel was now inevitable. The idea of a duel had never
crossed her mind, and so she put a different interpretation on this
passing expression of hardness.

When she got her husband’s letter, she knew then at the bottom of her
heart that everything would go on in the old way, that she would not
have the strength of will to forego her position, to abandon her son,
and to join her lover. The morning spent at Princess Tverskaya’s had
confirmed her still more in this. But this interview was still of the
utmost gravity for her. She hoped that this interview would transform
her position, and save her. If on hearing this news he were to say to
her resolutely, passionately, without an instant’s wavering: "Throw up
everything and come with me!" she would give up her son and go away with
him. But this news had not produced what she had expected in him; he
simply seemed as though he were resenting some affront.

"It was not in the least painful to me. It happened of itself," she said
irritably; "and see..." she pulled her husband’s letter out of her

"I understand, I understand," he interrupted her, taking the letter, but
not reading it, and trying to soothe her. "The one thing I longed for,
the one thing I prayed for, was to cut short this position, so as to
devote my life to your happiness."

"Why do you tell me that?" she said. "Do you suppose I can doubt it? If
I doubted..."

"Who’s that coming?" said Vronsky suddenly, pointing to two ladies
walking towards them. "Perhaps they know us!" and he hurriedly turned
off, drawing her after him into a side path.

"Oh, I don’t care!" she said. Her lips were quivering. And he fancied
that her eyes looked with strange fury at him from under the veil. "I
tell you that’s not the point—I can’t doubt that; but see what he writes
to me. Read it." She stood still again.

Again, just as at the first moment of hearing of her rupture with her
husband, Vronsky, on reading the letter, was unconsciously carried away
by the natural sensation aroused in him by his own relation to the
betrayed husband. Now while he held his letter in his hands, he could
not help picturing the challenge, which he would most likely find at
home today or tomorrow, and the duel itself, in which, with the same
cold and haughty expression that his face was assuming at this moment he
would await the injured husband’s shot, after having himself fired into
the air. And at that instant there flashed across his mind the thought
of what Serpuhovskoy had just said to him, and what he had himself been
thinking in the morning—that it was better not to bind himself—and he
knew that this thought he could not tell her.

Having read the letter, he raised his eyes to her, and there was no
determination in them. She saw at once that he had been thinking about
it before by himself. She knew that whatever he might say to her, he
would not say all he thought. And she knew that her last hope had failed
her. This was not what she had been reckoning on.

"You see the sort of man he is," she said, with a shaking voice; "he..."

"Forgive me, but I rejoice at it," Vronsky interrupted. "For God’s sake,
let me finish!" he added, his eyes imploring her to give him time to
explain his words. "I rejoice, because things cannot, cannot possibly
remain as he supposes."

"Why can’t they?" Anna said, restraining her tears, and obviously
attaching no sort of consequence to what he said. She felt that her fate
was sealed.

Vronsky meant that after the duel—inevitable, he thought—things could
not go on as before, but he said something different.

"It can’t go on. I hope that now you will leave him. I hope"—he was
confused, and reddened—"that you will let me arrange and plan our life.
Tomorrow..." he was beginning.

She did not let him go on.

"But my child!" she shrieked. "You see what he writes! I should have to
leave him, and I can’t and won’t do that."

"But, for God’s sake, which is better?—leave your child, or keep up this
degrading position?"

"To whom is it degrading?"

"To all, and most of all to you."

"You say degrading ... don’t say that. Those words have no meaning for
me," she said in a shaking voice. She did not want him now to say what
was untrue. She had nothing left her but his love, and she wanted to
love him. "Don’t you understand that from the day I loved you everything
has changed for me? For me there is one thing, and one thing only—your
love. If that’s mine, I feel so exalted, so strong, that nothing can be
humiliating to me. I am proud of my position, because ... proud of being
... proud...." She could not say what she was proud of. Tears of shame
and despair choked her utterance. She stood still and sobbed.

He felt, too, something swelling in his throat and twitching in his
nose, and for the first time in his life he felt on the point of
weeping. He could not have said exactly what it was touched him so. He
felt sorry for her, and he felt he could not help her, and with that he
knew that he was to blame for her wretchedness, and that he had done
something wrong.

"Is not a divorce possible?" he said feebly. She shook her head, not
answering. "Couldn’t you take your son, and still leave him?"

"Yes; but it all depends on him. Now I must go to him," she said
shortly. Her presentiment that all would again go on in the old way had
not deceived her.

"On Tuesday I shall be in Petersburg, and everything can be settled."

"Yes," she said. "But don’t let us talk any more of it."

Anna’s carriage, which she had sent away, and ordered to come back to
the little gate of the Vrede garden, drove up. Anna said good-bye to
Vronsky, and drove home.

Chapter 23

On Monday there was the usual sitting of the Commission of the 2nd of
June. Alexey Alexandrovitch walked into the hall where the sitting was
held, greeted the members and the president, as usual, and sat down in
his place, putting his hand on the papers laid ready before him. Among
these papers lay the necessary evidence and a rough outline of the
speech he intended to make. But he did not really need these documents.
He remembered every point, and did not think it necessary to go over in
his memory what he would say. He knew that when the time came, and when
he saw his enemy facing him, and studiously endeavoring to assume an
expression of indifference, his speech would flow of itself better than
he could prepare it now. He felt that the import of his speech was of
such magnitude that every word of it would have weight. Meantime, as he
listened to the usual report, he had the most innocent and inoffensive
air. No one, looking at his white hands, with their swollen veins and
long fingers, so softly stroking the edges of the white paper that lay
before him, and at the air of weariness with which his head drooped on
one side, would have suspected that in a few minutes a torrent of words
would flow from his lips that would arouse a fearful storm, set the
members shouting and attacking one another, and force the president to
call for order. When the report was over, Alexey Alexandrovitch
announced in his subdued, delicate voice that he had several points to
bring before the meeting in regard to the Commission for the
Reorganization of the Native Tribes. All attention was turned upon him.
Alexey Alexandrovitch cleared his throat, and not looking at his
opponent, but selecting, as he always did while he was delivering his
speeches, the first person sitting opposite him, an inoffensive little
old man, who never had an opinion of any sort in the Commission, began
to expound his views. When he reached the point about the fundamental
and radical law, his opponent jumped up and began to protest. Stremov,
who was also a member of the Commission, and also stung to the quick,
began defending himself, and altogether a stormy sitting followed; but
Alexey Alexandrovitch triumphed, and his motion was carried, three new
commissions were appointed, and the next day in a certain Petersburg
circle nothing else was talked of but this sitting. Alexey
Alexandrovitch’s success had been even greater than he had anticipated.

Next morning, Tuesday, Alexey Alexandrovitch, on waking up, recollected
with pleasure his triumph of the previous day, and he could not help
smiling, though he tried to appear indifferent, when the chief secretary
of his department, anxious to flatter him, informed him of the rumors
that had reached him concerning what had happened in the Commission.

Absorbed in business with the chief secretary, Alexey Alexandrovitch had
completely forgotten that it was Tuesday, the day fixed by him for the
return of Anna Arkadyevna, and he was surprised and received a shock of
annoyance when a servant came in to inform him of her arrival.

Anna had arrived in Petersburg early in the morning; the carriage had
been sent to meet her in accordance with her telegram, and so Alexey
Alexandrovitch might have known of her arrival. But when she arrived, he
did not meet her. She was told that he had not yet gone out, but was
busy with his secretary. She sent word to her husband that she had come,
went to her own room, and occupied herself in sorting out her things,
expecting he would come to her. But an hour passed; he did not come. She
went into the dining room on the pretext of giving some directions, and
spoke loudly on purpose, expecting him to come out there; but he did not
come, though she heard him go to the door of his study as he parted from
the chief secretary. She knew that he usually went out quickly to his
office, and she wanted to see him before that, so that their attitude to
one another might be defined.

She walked across the drawing room and went resolutely to him. When she
went into his study he was in official uniform, obviously ready to go
out, sitting at a little table on which he rested his elbows, looking
dejectedly before him. She saw him before he saw her, and she saw that
he was thinking of her.

On seeing her, he would have risen, but changed his mind, then his face
flushed hotly—a thing Anna had never seen before, and he got up quickly
and went to meet her, looking not at her eyes, but above them at her
forehead and hair. He went up to her, took her by the hand, and asked
her to sit down.

"I am very glad you have come," he said, sitting down beside her, and
obviously wishing to say something, he stuttered. Several times he tried
to begin to speak, but stopped. In spite of the fact that, preparing
herself for meeting him, she had schooled herself to despise and
reproach him, she did not know what to say to him, and she felt sorry
for him. And so the silence lasted for some time. "Is Seryozha quite
well?" he said, and not waiting for an answer, he added: "I shan’t be
dining at home today, and I have got to go out directly."

"I had thought of going to Moscow," she said.

"No, you did quite, quite right to come," he said, and was silent again.

Seeing that he was powerless to begin the conversation, she began

"Alexey Alexandrovitch," she said, looking at him and not dropping her
eyes under his persistent gaze at her hair, "I’m a guilty woman, I’m a
bad woman, but I am the same as I was, as I told you then, and I have
come to tell you that I can change nothing."

"I have asked you no question about that," he said, all at once,
resolutely and with hatred looking her straight in the face; "that was
as I had supposed." Under the influence of anger he apparently regained
complete possession of all his faculties. "But as I told you then, and
have written to you," he said in a thin, shrill voice, "I repeat now,
that I am not bound to know this. I ignore it. Not all wives are so kind
as you, to be in such a hurry to communicate such agreeable news to
their husbands." He laid special emphasis on the word "agreeable." "I
shall ignore it so long as the world knows nothing of it, so long as my
name is not disgraced. And so I simply inform you that our relations
must be just as they have always been, and that only in the event of
your compromising me I shall be obliged to take steps to secure my

"But our relations cannot be the same as always," Anna began in a timid
voice, looking at him with dismay.

When she saw once more those composed gestures, heard that shrill,
childish, and sarcastic voice, her aversion for him extinguished her
pity for him, and she felt only afraid, but at all costs she wanted to
make clear her position.

"I cannot be your wife while I...." she began.

He laughed a cold and malignant laugh.

"The manner of life you have chosen is reflected, I suppose, in your
ideas. I have too much respect or contempt, or both ... I respect your
past and despise your present ... that I was far from the interpretation
you put on my words."

Anna sighed and bowed her head.

"Though indeed I fail to comprehend how, with the independence you
show," he went on, getting hot, "—announcing your infidelity to your
husband and seeing nothing reprehensible in it, apparently—you can see
anything reprehensible in performing a wife’s duties in relation to your

"Alexey Alexandrovitch! What is it you want of me?"

"I want you not to meet that man here, and to conduct yourself so that
neither the world nor the servants can reproach you ... not to see him.
That’s not much, I think. And in return you will enjoy all the
privileges of a faithful wife without fulfilling her duties. That’s all
I have to say to you. Now it’s time for me to go. I’m not dining at
home." He got up and moved towards the door.

Anna got up too. Bowing in silence, he let her pass before him.

Chapter 24

The night spent by Levin on the haycock did not pass without result for
him. The way in which he had been managing his land revolted him and had
lost all attraction for him. In spite of the magnificent harvest, never
had there been, or, at least, never it seemed to him, had there been so
many hindrances and so many quarrels between him and the peasants as
that year, and the origin of these failures and this hostility was now
perfectly comprehensible to him. The delight he had experienced in the
work itself, and the consequent greater intimacy with the peasants, the
envy he felt of them, of their life, the desire to adopt that life,
which had been to him that night not a dream but an intention, the
execution of which he had thought out in detail—all this had so
transformed his view of the farming of the land as he had managed it,
that he could not take his former interest in it, and could not help
seeing that unpleasant relation between him and the workpeople which was
the foundation of it all. The herd of improved cows such as Pava, the
whole land ploughed over and enriched, the nine level fields surrounded
with hedges, the two hundred and forty acres heavily manured, the seed
sown in drills, and all the rest of it—it was all splendid if only the
work had been done for themselves, or for themselves and comrades—people
in sympathy with them. But he saw clearly now (his work on a book of
agriculture, in which the chief element in husbandry was to have been
the laborer, greatly assisted him in this) that the sort of farming he
was carrying on was nothing but a cruel and stubborn struggle between
him and the laborers, in which there was on one side—his side—a
continual intense effort to change everything to a pattern he considered
better; on the other side, the natural order of things. And in this
struggle he saw that with immense expenditure of force on his side, and
with no effort or even intention on the other side, all that was
attained was that the work did not go to the liking of either side, and
that splendid tools, splendid cattle and land were spoiled with no good
to anyone. Worst of all, the energy expended on this work was not simply
wasted. He could not help feeling now, since the meaning of this system
had become clear to him, that the aim of his energy was a most unworthy
one. In reality, what was the struggle about? He was struggling for
every farthing of his share (and he could not help it, for he had only
to relax his efforts, and he would not have had the money to pay his
laborers’ wages), while they were only struggling to be able to do their
work easily and agreeably, that is to say, as they were used to doing
it. It was for his interests that every laborer should work as hard as
possible, and that while doing so he should keep his wits about him, so
as to try not to break the winnowing machines, the horse rakes, the
thrashing machines, that he should attend to what he was doing. What the
laborer wanted was to work as pleasantly as possible, with rests, and
above all, carelessly and heedlessly, without thinking. That summer
Levin saw this at every step. He sent the men to mow some clover for
hay, picking out the worst patches where the clover was overgrown with
grass and weeds and of no use for seed; again and again they mowed the
best acres of clover, justifying themselves by the pretense that the
bailiff had told them to, and trying to pacify him with the assurance
that it would be splendid hay; but he knew that it was owing to those
acres being so much easier to mow. He sent out a hay machine for
pitching the hay—it was broken at the first row because it was dull work
for a peasant to sit on the seat in front with the great wings waving
above him. And he was told, "Don’t trouble, your honor, sure, the
womenfolks will pitch it quick enough." The ploughs were practically
useless, because it never occurred to the laborer to raise the share
when he turned the plough, and forcing it round, he strained the horses
and tore up the ground, and Levin was begged not to mind about it. The
horses were allowed to stray into the wheat because not a single laborer
would consent to be night-watchman, and in spite of orders to the
contrary, the laborers insisted on taking turns for night duty, and
Ivan, after working all day long, fell asleep, and was very penitent for
his fault, saying, "Do what you will to me, your honor."

They killed three of the best calves by letting them into the clover
aftermath without care as to their drinking, and nothing would make the
men believe that they had been blown out by the clover, but they told
him, by way of consolation, that one of his neighbors had lost a hundred
and twelve head of cattle in three days. All this happened, not because
anyone felt ill-will to Levin or his farm; on the contrary, he knew that
they liked him, thought him a simple gentleman (their highest praise);
but it happened simply because all they wanted was to work merrily and
carelessly, and his interests were not only remote and incomprehensible
to them, but fatally opposed to their most just claims. Long before,
Levin had felt dissatisfaction with his own position in regard to the
land. He saw where his boat leaked, but he did not look for the leak,
perhaps purposely deceiving himself. (Nothing would be left him if he
lost faith in it.) But now he could deceive himself no longer. The
farming of the land, as he was managing it, had become not merely
unattractive but revolting to him, and he could take no further interest
in it.

To this now was joined the presence, only twenty-five miles off, of
Kitty Shtcherbatskaya, whom he longed to see and could not see. Darya
Alexandrovna Oblonskaya had invited him, when he was over there, to
come; to come with the object of renewing his offer to her sister, who
would, so she gave him to understand, accept him now. Levin himself had
felt on seeing Kitty Shtcherbatskaya that he had never ceased to love
her; but he could not go over to the Oblonskys’, knowing she was there.
The fact that he had made her an offer, and she had refused him, had
placed an insuperable barrier between her and him. "I can’t ask her to
be my wife merely because she can’t be the wife of the man she wanted to
marry," he said to himself. The thought of this made him cold and
hostile to her. "I should not be able to speak to her without a feeling
of reproach; I could not look at her without resentment; and she will
only hate me all the more, as she’s bound to. And besides, how can I
now, after what Darya Alexandrovna told me, go to see them? Can I help
showing that I know what she told me? And me to go magnanimously to
forgive her, and have pity on her! Me go through a performance before
her of forgiving, and deigning to bestow my love on her!... What induced
Darya Alexandrovna to tell me that? By chance I might have seen her,
then everything would have happened of itself; but, as it is, it’s out
of the question, out of the question!"

Darya Alexandrovna sent him a letter, asking him for a side-saddle for
Kitty’s use. "I’m told you have a side-saddle," she wrote to him; "I
hope you will bring it over yourself."

This was more than he could stand. How could a woman of any
intelligence, of any delicacy, put her sister in such a humiliating
position! He wrote ten notes, and tore them all up, and sent the saddle
without any reply. To write that he would go was impossible, because he
could not go; to write that he could not come because something
prevented him, or that he would be away, that was still worse. He sent
the saddle without an answer, and with a sense of having done something
shameful; he handed over all the now revolting business of the estate to
the bailiff, and set off next day to a remote district to see his friend
Sviazhsky, who had splendid marshes for grouse in his neighborhood, and
had lately written to ask him to keep a long-standing promise to stay
with him. The grouse-marsh, in the Surovsky district, had long tempted
Levin, but he had continually put off this visit on account of his work
on the estate. Now he was glad to get away from the neighborhood of the
Shtcherbatskys, and still more from his farm work, especially on a
shooting expedition, which always in trouble served as the best

Chapter 25

In the Surovsky district there was no railway nor service of post
horses, and Levin drove there with his own horses in his big,
old-fashioned carriage.

He stopped halfway at a well-to-do peasant’s to feed his horses. A bald,
well-preserved old man, with a broad, red beard, gray on his cheeks,
opened the gate, squeezing against the gatepost to let the three horses
pass. Directing the coachman to a place under the shed in the big,
clean, tidy yard, with charred, old-fashioned ploughs in it, the old man
asked Levin to come into the parlor. A cleanly dressed young woman, with
clogs on her bare feet, was scrubbing the floor in the new outer room.
She was frightened of the dog, that ran in after Levin, and uttered a
shriek, but began laughing at her own fright at once when she was told
the dog would not hurt her. Pointing Levin with her bare arm to the door
into the parlor, she bent down again, hiding her handsome face, and went
on scrubbing.

"Would you like the samovar?" she asked.

"Yes, please."

The parlor was a big room, with a Dutch stove, and a screen dividing it
into two. Under the holy pictures stood a table painted in patterns, a
bench, and two chairs. Near the entrance was a dresser full of crockery.
The shutters were closed, there were few flies, and it was so clean that
Levin was anxious that Laska, who had been running along the road and
bathing in puddles, should not muddy the floor, and ordered her to a
place in the corner by the door. After looking round the parlor, Levin
went out in the back yard. The good-looking young woman in clogs,
swinging the empty pails on the yoke, ran on before him to the well for

"Look sharp, my girl!" the old man shouted after her, good-humoredly,
and he went up to Levin. "Well, sir, are you going to Nikolay Ivanovitch
Sviazhsky? His honor comes to us too," he began, chatting, leaning his
elbows on the railing of the steps. In the middle of the old man’s
account of his acquaintance with Sviazhsky, the gates creaked again, and
laborers came into the yard from the fields, with wooden ploughs and
harrows. The horses harnessed to the ploughs and harrows were sleek and
fat. The laborers were obviously of the household: two were young men in
cotton shirts and caps, the two others were hired laborers in homespun
shirts, one an old man, the other a young fellow. Moving off from the
steps, the old man went up to the horses and began unharnessing them.

"What have they been ploughing?" asked Levin.

"Ploughing up the potatoes. We rent a bit of land too. Fedot, don’t let
out the gelding, but take it to the trough, and we’ll put the other in

"Oh, father, the ploughshares I ordered, has he brought them along?"
asked the big, healthy-looking fellow, obviously the old man’s son.

"There ... in the outer room," answered the old man, bundling together
the harness he had taken off, and flinging it on the ground. "You can
put them on, while they have dinner."

The good-looking young woman came into the outer room with the full
pails dragging at her shoulders. More women came on the scene from
somewhere, young and handsome, middle-aged, old and ugly, with children
and without children.

The samovar was beginning to sing; the laborers and the family, having
disposed of the horses, came in to dinner. Levin, getting his provisions
out of his carriage, invited the old man to take tea with him.

"Well, I have had some today already," said the old man, obviously
accepting the invitation with pleasure. "But just a glass for company."

Over their tea Levin heard all about the old man’s farming. Ten years
before, the old man had rented three hundred acres from the lady who
owned them, and a year ago he had bought them and rented another three
hundred from a neighboring landowner. A small part of the land—the worst
part—he let out for rent, while a hundred acres of arable land he
cultivated himself with his family and two hired laborers. The old man
complained that things were doing badly. But Levin saw that he simply
did so from a feeling of propriety, and that his farm was in a
flourishing condition. If it had been unsuccessful he would not have
bought land at thirty-five roubles the acre, he would not have married
his three sons and a nephew, he would not have rebuilt twice after
fires, and each time on a larger scale. In spite of the old man’s
complaints, it was evident that he was proud, and justly proud, of his
prosperity, proud of his sons, his nephew, his sons’ wives, his horses
and his cows, and especially of the fact that he was keeping all this
farming going. From his conversation with the old man, Levin thought he
was not averse to new methods either. He had planted a great many
potatoes, and his potatoes, as Levin had seen driving past, were already
past flowering and beginning to die down, while Levin’s were only just
coming into flower. He earthed up his potatoes with a modern plough
borrowed from a neighboring landowner. He sowed wheat. The trifling fact
that, thinning out his rye, the old man used the rye he thinned out for
his horses, specially struck Levin. How many times had Levin seen this
splendid fodder wasted, and tried to get it saved; but always it had
turned out to be impossible. The peasant got this done, and he could not
say enough in praise of it as food for the beasts.

"What have the wenches to do? They carry it out in bundles to the
roadside, and the cart brings it away."

"Well, we landowners can’t manage well with our laborers," said Levin,
handing him a glass of tea.

"Thank you," said the old man, and he took the glass, but refused sugar,
pointing to a lump he had left. "They’re simple destruction," said he.
"Look at Sviazhsky’s, for instance. We know what the land’s
like—first-rate, yet there’s not much of a crop to boast of. It’s not
looked after enough—that’s all it is!"

"But you work your land with hired laborers?"

"We’re all peasants together. We go into everything ourselves. If a
man’s no use, he can go, and we can manage by ourselves."

"Father, Finogen wants some tar," said the young woman in the clogs,
coming in.

"Yes, yes, that’s how it is, sir!" said the old man, getting up, and
crossing himself deliberately, he thanked Levin and went out.

When Levin went into the kitchen to call his coachman he saw the whole
family at dinner. The women were standing up waiting on them. The young,
sturdy-looking son was telling something funny with his mouth full of
pudding, and they were all laughing, the woman in the clogs, who was
pouring cabbage soup into a bowl, laughing most merrily of all.

Very probably the good-looking face of the young woman in the clogs had
a good deal to do with the impression of well-being this peasant
household made upon Levin, but the impression was so strong that Levin
could never get rid of it. And all the way from the old peasant’s to
Sviazhsky’s he kept recalling this peasant farm as though there were
something in this impression that demanded his special attention.

Chapter 26

Sviazhsky was the marshal of his district. He was five years older than
Levin, and had long been married. His sister-in-law, a young girl Levin
liked very much, lived in his house; and Levin knew that Sviazhsky and
his wife would have greatly liked to marry the girl to him. He knew this
with certainty, as so-called eligible young men always know it, though
he could never have brought himself to speak of it to anyone; and he
knew too that, although he wanted to get married, and although by every
token this very attractive girl would make an excellent wife, he could
no more have married her, even if he had not been in love with Kitty
Shtcherbatskaya, than he could have flown up to the sky. And this
knowledge poisoned the pleasure he had hoped to find in the visit to

On getting Sviazhsky’s letter with the invitation for shooting, Levin
had immediately thought of this; but in spite of it he had made up his
mind that Sviazhsky’s having such views for him was simply his own
groundless supposition, and so he would go, all the same. Besides, at
the bottom of his heart he had a desire to try himself, put himself to
the test in regard to this girl. The Sviazhskys’ home-life was
exceedingly pleasant, and Sviazhsky himself, the best type of man taking
part in local affairs that Levin knew, was very interesting to him.

Sviazhsky was one of those people, always a source of wonder to Levin,
whose convictions, very logical though never original, go one way by
themselves, while their life, exceedingly definite and firm in its
direction, goes its way quite apart and almost always in direct
contradiction to their convictions. Sviazhsky was an extremely advanced
man. He despised the nobility, and believed the mass of the nobility to
be secretly in favor of serfdom, and only concealing their views from
cowardice. He regarded Russia as a ruined country, rather after the
style of Turkey, and the government of Russia as so bad that he never
permitted himself to criticize its doings seriously, and yet he was a
functionary of that government and a model marshal of nobility, and when
he drove about he always wore the cockade of office and the cap with the
red band. He considered human life only tolerable abroad, and went
abroad to stay at every opportunity, and at the same time he carried on
a complex and improved system of agriculture in Russia, and with extreme
interest followed everything and knew everything that was being done in
Russia. He considered the Russian peasant as occupying a stage of
development intermediate between the ape and the man, and at the same
time in the local assemblies no one was readier to shake hands with the
peasants and listen to their opinion. He believed neither in God nor the
devil, but was much concerned about the question of the improvement of
the clergy and the maintenance of their revenues, and took special
trouble to keep up the church in his village.

On the woman question he was on the side of the extreme advocates of
complete liberty for women, and especially their right to labor. But he
lived with his wife on such terms that their affectionate childless home
life was the admiration of everyone, and arranged his wife’s life so
that she did nothing and could do nothing but share her husband’s
efforts that her time should pass as happily and as agreeably as

If it had not been a characteristic of Levin’s to put the most favorable
interpretation on people, Sviazhsky’s character would have presented no
doubt or difficulty to him: he would have said to himself, "a fool or a
knave," and everything would have seemed clear. But he could not say "a
fool," because Sviazhsky was unmistakably clever, and moreover, a highly
cultivated man, who was exceptionally modest over his culture. There was
not a subject he knew nothing of. But he did not display his knowledge
except when he was compelled to do so. Still less could Levin say that
he was a knave, as Sviazhsky was unmistakably an honest, good-hearted,
sensible man, who worked good-humoredly, keenly, and perseveringly at
his work; he was held in high honor by everyone about him, and certainly
he had never consciously done, and was indeed incapable of doing,
anything base.

Levin tried to understand him, and could not understand him, and looked
at him and his life as at a living enigma.

Levin and he were very friendly, and so Levin used to venture to sound
Sviazhsky, to try to get at the very foundation of his view of life; but
it was always in vain. Every time Levin tried to penetrate beyond the
outer chambers of Sviazhsky’s mind, which were hospitably open to all,
he noticed that Sviazhsky was slightly disconcerted; faint signs of
alarm were visible in his eyes, as though he were afraid Levin would
understand him, and he would give him a kindly, good-humored repulse.

Just now, since his disenchantment with farming, Levin was particularly
glad to stay with Sviazhsky. Apart from the fact that the sight of this
happy and affectionate couple, so pleased with themselves and everyone
else, and their well-ordered home had always a cheering effect on Levin,
he felt a longing, now that he was so dissatisfied with his own life, to
get at that secret in Sviazhsky that gave him such clearness,
definiteness, and good courage in life. Moreover, Levin knew that at
Sviazhsky’s he should meet the landowners of the neighborhood, and it
was particularly interesting for him just now to hear and take part in
those rural conversations concerning crops, laborers’ wages, and so on,
which, he was aware, are conventionally regarded as something very low,
but which seemed to him just now to constitute the one subject of
importance. "It was not, perhaps, of importance in the days of serfdom,
and it may not be of importance in England. In both cases the conditions
of agriculture are firmly established; but among us now, when everything
has been turned upside down and is only just taking shape, the question
what form these conditions will take is the one question of importance
in Russia," thought Levin.

The shooting turned out to be worse than Levin had expected. The marsh
was dry and there were no grouse at all. He walked about the whole day
and only brought back three birds, but to make up for that—he brought
back, as he always did from shooting, an excellent appetite, excellent
spirits, and that keen, intellectual mood which with him always
accompanied violent physical exertion. And while out shooting, when he
seemed to be thinking of nothing at all, suddenly the old man and his
family kept coming back to his mind, and the impression of them seemed
to claim not merely his attention, but the solution of some question
connected with them.

In the evening at tea, two landowners who had come about some business
connected with a wardship were of the party, and the interesting
conversation Levin had been looking forward to sprang up.

Levin was sitting beside his hostess at the tea table, and was obliged
to keep up a conversation with her and her sister, who was sitting
opposite him. Madame Sviazhskaya was a round-faced, fair-haired, rather
short woman, all smiles and dimples. Levin tried through her to get a
solution of the weighty enigma her husband presented to his mind; but he
had not complete freedom of ideas, because he was in an agony of
embarrassment. This agony of embarrassment was due to the fact that the
sister-in-law was sitting opposite to him, in a dress, specially put on,
as he fancied, for his benefit, cut particularly open, in the shape of a
trapeze, on her white bosom. This quadrangular opening, in spite of the
bosom’s being very white, or just because it was very white, deprived
Levin of the full use of his faculties. He imagined, probably
mistakenly, that this low-necked bodice had been made on his account,
and felt that he had no right to look at it, and tried not to look at
it; but he felt that he was to blame for the very fact of the low-necked
bodice having been made. It seemed to Levin that he had deceived
someone, that he ought to explain something, but that to explain it was
impossible, and for that reason he was continually blushing, was ill at
ease and awkward. His awkwardness infected the pretty sister-in-law too.
But their hostess appeared not to observe this, and kept purposely
drawing her into the conversation.

"You say," she said, pursuing the subject that had been started, "that
my husband cannot be interested in what’s Russian. It’s quite the
contrary; he is always in cheerful spirits abroad, but not as he is
here. Here, he feels in his proper place. He has so much to do, and he
has the faculty of interesting himself in everything. Oh, you’ve not
been to see our school, have you?"

"I’ve seen it.... The little house covered with ivy, isn’t it?"

"Yes; that’s Nastia’s work," she said, indicating her sister.

"You teach in it yourself?" asked Levin, trying to look above the open
neck, but feeling that wherever he looked in that direction he should
see it.

"Yes; I used to teach in it myself, and do teach still, but we have a
first-rate schoolmistress now. And we’ve started gymnastic exercises."

"No, thank you, I won’t have any more tea," said Levin, and conscious of
doing a rude thing, but incapable of continuing the conversation, he got
up, blushing. "I hear a very interesting conversation," he added, and
walked to the other end of the table, where Sviazhsky was sitting with
the two gentlemen of the neighborhood. Sviazhsky was sitting sideways,
with one elbow on the table, and a cup in one hand, while with the other
hand he gathered up his beard, held it to his nose and let it drop
again, as though he were smelling it. His brilliant black eyes were
looking straight at the excited country gentleman with gray whiskers,
and apparently he derived amusement from his remarks. The gentleman was
complaining of the peasants. It was evident to Levin that Sviazhsky knew
an answer to this gentleman’s complaints, which would at once demolish
his whole contention, but that in his position he could not give
utterance to this answer, and listened, not without pleasure, to the
landowner’s comic speeches.

The gentleman with the gray whiskers was obviously an inveterate
adherent of serfdom and a devoted agriculturist, who had lived all his
life in the country. Levin saw proofs of this in his dress, in the
old-fashioned threadbare coat, obviously not his everyday attire, in his
shrewd, deep-set eyes, in his idiomatic, fluent Russian, in the
imperious tone that had become habitual from long use, and in the
resolute gestures of his large, red, sunburnt hands, with an old
betrothal ring on the little finger.

Chapter 27

"If I’d only the heart to throw up what’s been set going ... such a lot
of trouble wasted ... I’d turn my back on the whole business, sell up,
go off like Nikolay Ivanovitch ... to hear _La Belle Hélène_," said the
landowner, a pleasant smile lighting up his shrewd old face.

"But you see you don’t throw it up," said Nikolay Ivanovitch Sviazhsky;
"so there must be something gained."

"The only gain is that I live in my own house, neither bought nor hired.
Besides, one keeps hoping the people will learn sense. Though, instead
of that, you’d never believe it—the drunkenness, the immorality! They
keep chopping and changing their bits of land. Not a sight of a horse or
a cow. The peasant’s dying of hunger, but just go and take him on as a
laborer, he’ll do his best to do you a mischief, and then bring you up
before the justice of the peace."

"But then you make complaints to the justice too," said Sviazhsky.

"I lodge complaints? Not for anything in the world! Such a talking, and
such a to-do, that one would have cause to regret it. At the works, for
instance, they pocketed the advance-money and made off. What did the
justice do? Why, acquitted them. Nothing keeps them in order but their
own communal court and their village elder. He’ll flog them in the good
old style! But for that there’d be nothing for it but to give it all up
and run away."

Obviously the landowner was chaffing Sviazhsky, who, far from resenting
it, was apparently amused by it.

"But you see we manage our land without such extreme measures," said he,
smiling: "Levin and I and this gentleman."

He indicated the other landowner.

"Yes, the thing’s done at Mihail Petrovitch’s, but ask him how it’s
done. Do you call that a rational system?" said the landowner, obviously
rather proud of the word "rational."

"My system’s very simple," said Mihail Petrovitch, "thank God. All my
management rests on getting the money ready for the autumn taxes, and
the peasants come to me, ‘Father, master, help us!’ Well, the peasants
are all one’s neighbors; one feels for them. So one advances them a
third, but one says: ‘Remember, lads, I have helped you, and you must
help me when I need it—whether it’s the sowing of the oats, or the
haycutting, or the harvest’; and well, one agrees, so much for each
taxpayer—though there are dishonest ones among them too, it’s true."

Levin, who had long been familiar with these patriarchal methods,
exchanged glances with Sviazhsky and interrupted Mihail Petrovitch,
turning again to the gentleman with the gray whiskers.

"Then what do you think?" he asked; "what system is one to adopt

"Why, manage like Mihail Petrovitch, or let the land for half the crop
or for rent to the peasants; that one can do—only that’s just how the
general prosperity of the country is being ruined. Where the land with
serf-labor and good management gave a yield of nine to one, on the
half-crop system it yields three to one. Russia has been ruined by the

Sviazhsky looked with smiling eyes at Levin, and even made a faint
gesture of irony to him; but Levin did not think the landowner’s words
absurd, he understood them better than he did Sviazhsky. A great deal
more of what the gentleman with the gray whiskers said to show in what
way Russia was ruined by the emancipation struck him indeed as very
true, new to him, and quite incontestable. The landowner unmistakably
spoke his own individual thought—a thing that very rarely happens—and a
thought to which he had been brought not by a desire of finding some
exercise for an idle brain, but a thought which had grown up out of the
conditions of his life, which he had brooded over in the solitude of his
village, and had considered in every aspect.

"The point is, don’t you see, that progress of every sort is only made
by the use of authority," he said, evidently wishing to show he was not
without culture. "Take the reforms of Peter, of Catherine, of Alexander.
Take European history. And progress in agriculture more than anything
else—the potato, for instance, that was introduced among us by force.
The wooden plough too wasn’t always used. It was introduced maybe in the
days before the Empire, but it was probably brought in by force. Now, in
our own day, we landowners in the serf times used various improvements
in our husbandry: drying machines and thrashing machines, and carting
manure and all the modern implements—all that we brought into use by our
authority, and the peasants opposed it at first, and ended by imitating
us. Now, by the abolition of serfdom we have been deprived of our
authority; and so our husbandry, where it had been raised to a high
level, is bound to sink to the most savage primitive condition. That’s
how I see it."

"But why so? If it’s rational, you’ll be able to keep up the same system
with hired labor," said Sviazhsky.

"We’ve no power over them. With whom am I going to work the system,
allow me to ask?"

"There it is—the labor force—the chief element in agriculture," thought

"With laborers."

"The laborers won’t work well, and won’t work with good implements. Our
laborer can do nothing but get drunk like a pig, and when he’s drunk he
ruins everything you give him. He makes the horses ill with too much
water, cuts good harness, barters the tires of the wheels for drink,
drops bits of iron into the thrashing machine, so as to break it. He
loathes the sight of anything that’s not after his fashion. And that’s
how it is the whole level of husbandry has fallen. Lands gone out of
cultivation, overgrown with weeds, or divided among the peasants, and
where millions of bushels were raised you get a hundred thousand; the
wealth of the country has decreased. If the same thing had been done,
but with care that..."

And he proceeded to unfold his own scheme of emancipation by means of
which these drawbacks might have been avoided.

This did not interest Levin, but when he had finished, Levin went back
to his first position, and, addressing Sviazhsky, and trying to draw him
into expressing his serious opinion:-‘

"That the standard of culture is falling, and that with our present
relations to the peasants there is no possibility of farming on a
rational system to yield a profit—that’s perfectly true," said he.

"I don’t believe it," Sviazhsky replied quite seriously; "all I see is
that we don’t know how to cultivate the land, and that our system of
agriculture in the serf days was by no means too high, but too low. We
have no machines, no good stock, no efficient supervision; we don’t even
know how to keep accounts. Ask any landowner; he won’t be able to tell
you what crop’s profitable, and what’s not."

"Italian bookkeeping," said the gentleman of the gray whiskers
ironically. "You may keep your books as you like, but if they spoil
everything for you, there won’t be any profit."

"Why do they spoil things? A poor thrashing machine, or your Russian
presser, they will break, but my steam press they don’t break. A
wretched Russian nag they’ll ruin, but keep good dray-horses—they won’t
ruin them. And so it is all round. We must raise our farming to a higher

"Oh, if one only had the means to do it, Nikolay Ivanovitch! It’s all
very well for you; but for me, with a son to keep at the university,
lads to be educated at the high school—how am I going to buy these

"Well, that’s what the land banks are for."

"To get what’s left me sold by auction? No, thank you."

"I don’t agree that it’s necessary or possible to raise the level of
agriculture still higher," said Levin. "I devote myself to it, and I
have means, but I can do nothing. As to the banks, I don’t know to whom
they’re any good. For my part, anyway, whatever I’ve spent money on in
the way of husbandry, it has been a loss: stock—a loss, machinery—a

"That’s true enough," the gentleman with the gray whiskers chimed in,
positively laughing with satisfaction.

"And I’m not the only one," pursued Levin. "I mix with all the
neighboring landowners, who are cultivating their land on a rational
system; they all, with rare exceptions, are doing so at a loss. Come,
tell us how does your land do—does it pay?" said Levin, and at once in
Sviazhsky’s eyes he detected that fleeting expression of alarm which he
had noticed whenever he had tried to penetrate beyond the outer chambers
of Sviazhsky’s mind.

Moreover, this question on Levin’s part was not quite in good faith.
Madame Sviazhskaya had just told him at tea that they had that summer
invited a German expert in bookkeeping from Moscow, who for a
consideration of five hundred roubles had investigated the management of
their property, and found that it was costing them a loss of three
thousand odd roubles. She did not remember the precise sum, but it
appeared that the German had worked it out to the fraction of a

The gray-whiskered landowner smiled at the mention of the profits of
Sviazhsky’s famling, obviously aware how much gain his neighbor and
marshal was likely to be making.

"Possibly it does not pay," answered Sviazhsky. "That merely proves
either that I’m a bad manager, or that I’ve sunk my capital for the
increase of my rents."

"Oh, rent!" Levin cried with horror. "Rent there may be in Europe, where
land has been improved by the labor put into it, but with us all the
land is deteriorating from the labor put into it—in other words they’re
working it out; so there’s no question of rent."

"How no rent? It’s a law."

"Then we’re outside the law; rent explains nothing for us, but simply
muddles us. No, tell me how there can be a theory of rent?..."

"Will you have some junket? Masha, pass us some junket or raspberries."
He turned to his wife. "Extraordinarily late the raspberries are lasting
this year."

And in the happiest frame of mind Sviazhsky got up and walked off,
apparently supposing the conversation to have ended at the very point
when to Levin it seemed that it was only just beginning.

Having lost his antagonist, Levin continued the conversation with the
gray-whiskered landowner, trying to prove to him that all the difficulty
arises from the fact that we don’t find out the peculiarities and habits
of our laborer; but the landowner, like all men who think independently
and in isolation, was slow in taking in any other person’s idea, and
particularly partial to his own. He stuck to it that the Russian peasant
is a swine and likes swinishness, and that to get him out of his
swinishness one must have authority, and there is none; one must have
the stick, and we have become so liberal that we have all of a sudden
replaced the stick that served us for a thousand years by lawyers and
model prisons, where the worthless, stinking peasant is fed on good soup
and has a fixed allowance of cubic feet of air.

"What makes you think," said Levin, trying to get back to the question,
"that it’s impossible to find some relation to the laborer in which the
labor would become productive?"

"That never could be so with the Russian peasantry; we’ve no power over
them," answered the landowner.

"How can new conditions be found?" said Sviazhsky. Having eaten some
junket and lighted a cigarette, he came back to the discussion. "All
possible relations to the labor force have been defined and studied," he
said. "The relic of barbarism, the primitive commune with each guarantee
for all, will disappear of itself; serfdom has been abolished—there
remains nothing but free labor, and its forms are fixed and ready made,
and must be adopted. Permanent hands, day-laborers, rammers—you can’t
get out of those forms."

"But Europe is dissatisfied with these forms."

"Dissatisfied, and seeking new ones. And will find them, in all

"That’s just what I was meaning," answered Levin. "Why shouldn’t we seek
them for ourselves?"

"Because it would be just like inventing afresh the means for
constructing railways. They are ready, invented."

"But if they don’t do for us, if they’re stupid?" said Levin.

And again he detected the expression of alarm in the eyes of Sviazhsky.

"Oh, yes; we’ll bury the world under our caps! We’ve found the secret
Europe was seeking for! I’ve heard all that; but, excuse me, do you know
all that’s been done in Europe on the question of the organization of

"No, very little."

"That question is now absorbing the best minds in Europe. The
Schulze-Delitsch movement.... And then all this enormous literature of
the labor question, the most liberal Lassalle movement ... the Mulhausen
experiment? That’s a fact by now, as you’re probably aware."

"I have some idea of it, but very vague."

"No, you only say that; no doubt you know all about it as well as I do.
I’m not a professor of sociology, of course, but it interested me, and
really, if it interests you, you ought to study it."

"But what conclusion have they come to?"

"Excuse me..."

The two neighbors had risen, and Sviazhsky, once more checking Levin in
his inconvenient habit of peeping into what was beyond the outer
chambers of his mind, went to see his guests out.

Chapter 28

Levin was insufferably bored that evening with the ladies; he was
stirred as he had never been before by the idea that the dissatisfaction
he was feeling with his system of managing his land was not an
exceptional case, but the general condition of things in Russia; that
the organization of some relation of the laborers to the soil in which
they would work, as with the peasant he had met half-way to the
Sviazhskys’, was not a dream, but a problem which must be solved. And it
seemed to him that the problem could be solved, and that he ought to try
and solve it.

After saying good-night to the ladies, and promising to stay the whole
of the next day, so as to make an expedition on horseback with them to
see an interesting ruin in the crown forest, Levin went, before going to
bed, into his host’s study to get the books on the labor question that
Sviazhsky had offered him. Sviazhsky’s study was a huge room, surrounded
by bookcases and with two tables in it—one a massive writing table,
standing in the middle of the room, and the other a round table, covered
with recent numbers of reviews and journals in different languages,
ranged like the rays of a star round the lamp. On the writing table was
a stand of drawers marked with gold lettering, and full of papers of
various sorts.

Sviazhsky took out the books, and sat down in a rocking-chair.

"What are you looking at there?" he said to Levin, who was standing at
the round table looking through the reviews.

"Oh, yes, there’s a very interesting article here," said Sviazhsky of
the review Levin was holding in his hand. "It appears," he went on, with
eager interest, "that Friedrich was not, after all, the person chiefly
responsible for the partition of Poland. It is proved..."

And with his characteristic clearness, he summed up those new, very
important, and interesting revelations. Although Levin was engrossed at
the moment by his ideas about the problem of the land, he wondered, as
he heard Sviazhsky: "What is there inside of him? And why, why is he
interested in the partition of Poland?" When Sviazhsky had finished,
Levin could not help asking: "Well, and what then?" But there was
nothing to follow. It was simply interesting that it had been proved to
be so and so. But Sviazhsky did not explain, and saw no need to explain
why it was interesting to him.

"Yes, but I was very much interested by your irritable neighbor," said
Levin, sighing. "He’s a clever fellow, and said a lot that was true."

"Oh, get along with you! An inveterate supporter of serfdom at heart,
like all of them!" said Sviazhsky.

"Whose marshal you are."

"Yes, only I marshal them in the other direction," said Sviazhsky,

"I’ll tell you what interests me very much," said Levin. "He’s right
that our system, that’s to say of rational farming, doesn’t answer, that
the only thing that answers is the money-lender system, like that
meek-looking gentleman’s, or else the very simplest.... Whose fault is

"Our own, of course. Besides, it’s not true that it doesn’t answer. It
answers with Vassiltchikov."

"A factory..."

"But I really don’t know what it is you are surprised at. The people are
at such a low stage of rational and moral development, that it’s obvious
they’re bound to oppose everything that’s strange to them. In Europe, a
rational system answers because the people are educated; it follows that
we must educate the people—that’s all."

"But how are we to educate the people?"

"To educate the people three things are needed: schools, and schools,
and schools.

"But you said yourself the people are at such a low stage of material
development: what help are schools for that?"

"Do you know, you remind me of the story of the advice given to the sick
man—You should try purgative medicine. Taken: worse. Try leeches. Tried
them: worse. Well, then, there’s nothing left but to pray to God. Tried
it: worse. That’s just how it is with us. I say political economy; you
say—worse. I say socialism: worse. Education: worse."

"But how do schools help matters?"

"They give the peasant fresh wants."

"Well, that’s a thing I’ve never understood," Levin replied with heat.
"In what way are schools going to help the people to improve their
material position? You say schools, education, will give them fresh
wants. So much the worse, since they won’t be capable of satisfying
them. And in what way a knowledge of addition and subtraction and the
catechism is going to improve their material condition, I never could
make out. The day before yesterday, I met a peasant woman in the evening
with a little baby, and asked her where she was going. She said she was
going to the wise woman; her boy had screaming fits, so she was taking
him to be doctored. I asked, ‘Why, how does the wise woman cure
screaming fits?’ ‘She puts the child on the hen-roost and repeats some

"Well, you’re saying it yourself! What’s wanted to prevent her taking
her child to the hen-roost to cure it of screaming fits is just..."
Sviazhsky said, smiling good-humoredly.

"Oh, no!" said Levin with annoyance; "that method of doctoring I merely
meant as a simile for doctoring the people with schools. The people are
poor and ignorant—that we see as surely as the peasant woman sees the
baby is ill because it screams. But in what way this trouble of poverty
and ignorance is to be cured by schools is as incomprehensible as how
the hen-roost affects the screaming. What has to be cured is what makes
him poor."

"Well, in that, at least, you’re in agreement with Spencer, whom you
dislike so much. He says, too, that education may be the consequence of
greater prosperity and comfort, of more frequent washing, as he says,
but not of being able to read and write..."

"Well, then, I’m very glad—or the contrary, very sorry, that I’m in
agreement with Spencer; only I’ve known it a long while. Schools can do
no good; what will do good is an economic organization in which the
people will become richer, will have more leisure—and then there will be

"Still, all over Europe now schools are obligatory."

"And how far do you agree with Spencer yourself about it?" asked Levin.

But there was a gleam of alarm in Sviazhsky’s eyes, and he said smiling:

"No; that screaming story is positively capital! Did you really hear it

Levin saw that he was not to discover the connection between this man’s
life and his thoughts. Obviously he did not care in the least what his
reasoning led him to; all he wanted was the process of reasoning. And he
did not like it when the process of reasoning brought him into a blind
alley. That was the only thing he disliked, and avoided by changing the
conversation to something agreeable and amusing.

All the impressions of the day, beginning with the impression made by
the old peasant, which served, as it were, as the fundamental basis of
all the conceptions and ideas of the day, threw Levin into violent
excitement. This dear good Sviazhsky, keeping a stock of ideas simply
for social purposes, and obviously having some other principles hidden
from Levin, while with the crowd, whose name is legion, he guided public
opinion by ideas he did not share; that irascible country gentleman,
perfectly correct in the conclusions that he had been worried into by
life, but wrong in his exasperation against a whole class, and that the
best class in Russia; his own dissatisfaction with the work he had been
doing, and the vague hope of finding a remedy for all this—all was
blended in a sense of inward turmoil, and anticipation of some solution
near at hand.

Left alone in the room assigned him, lying on a spring mattress that
yielded unexpectedly at every movement of his arm or his leg, Levin did
not fall asleep for a long while. Not one conversation with Sviazhsky,
though he had said a great deal that was clever, had interested Levin;
but the conclusions of the irascible landowner required consideration.
Levin could not help recalling every word he had said, and in
imagination amending his own replies.

"Yes, I ought to have said to him: You say that our husbandry does not
answer because the peasant hates improvements, and that they must be
forced on him by authority. If no system of husbandry answered at all
without these improvements, you would be quite right. But the only
system that does answer is where laborer is working in accordance with
his habits, just as on the old peasant’s land half-way here. Your and
our general dissatisfaction with the system shows that either we are to
blame or the laborers. We have gone our way—the European way—a long
while, without asking ourselves about the qualities of our labor force.
Let us try to look upon the labor force not as an abstract force, but as
the _Russian peasant_ with his instincts, and we shall arrange our
system of culture in accordance with that. Imagine, I ought to have said
to him, that you have the same system as the old peasant has, that you
have found means of making your laborers take an interest in the success
of the work, and have found the happy mean in the way of improvements
which they will admit, and you will, without exhausting the soil, get
twice or three times the yield you got before. Divide it in halves, give
half as the share of labor, the surplus left you will be greater, and
the share of labor will be greater too. And to do this one must lower
the standard of husbandry and interest the laborers in its success. How
to do this?—that’s a matter of detail; but undoubtedly it can be done."

This idea threw Levin into a great excitement. He did not sleep half the
night, thinking over in detail the putting of his idea into practice. He
had not intended to go away next day, but he now determined to go home
early in the morning. Besides, the sister-in-law with her low-necked
bodice aroused in him a feeling akin to shame and remorse for some
utterly base action. Most important of all—he must get back without
delay: he would have to make haste to put his new project to the
peasants before the sowing of the winter wheat, so that the sowing might
be undertaken on a new basis. He had made up his mind to revolutionize
his whole system.

Chapter 29

The carrying out of Levin’s plan presented many difficulties; but he
struggled on, doing his utmost, and attained a result which, though not
what he desired, was enough to enable him, without self-deception, to
believe that the attempt was worth the trouble. One of the chief
difficulties was that the process of cultivating the land was in full
swing, that it was impossible to stop everything and begin it all again
from the beginning, and the machine had to be mended while in motion.

When on the evening that he arrived home he informed the bailiff of his
plans, the latter with visible pleasure agreed with what he said so long
as he was pointing out that all that had been done up to that time was
stupid and useless. The bailiff said that he had said so a long while
ago, but no heed had been paid him. But as for the proposal made by
Levin—to take a part as shareholder with his laborers in each
agricultural undertaking—at this the bailiff simply expressed a profound
despondency, and offered no definite opinion, but began immediately
talking of the urgent necessity of carrying the remaining sheaves of rye
the next day, and of sending the men out for the second ploughing, so
that Levin felt that this was not the time for discussing it.

On beginning to talk to the peasants about it, and making a proposition
to cede them the land on new terms, he came into collision with the same
great difficulty that they were so much absorbed by the current work of
the day, that they had not time to consider the advantages and
disadvantages of the proposed scheme.

The simple-hearted Ivan, the cowherd, seemed completely to grasp Levin’s
proposal—that he should with his family take a share of the profits of
the cattle-yard—and he was in complete sympathy with the plan. But when
Levin hinted at the future advantages, Ivan’s face expressed alarm and
regret that he could not hear all he had to say, and he made haste to
find himself some task that would admit of no delay: he either snatched
up the fork to pitch the hay out of the pens, or ran to get water or to
clear out the dung.

Another difficulty lay in the invincible disbelief of the peasant that a
landowner’s object could be anything else than a desire to squeeze all
he could out of them. They were firmly convinced that his real aim
(whatever he might say to them) would always be in what he did not say
to them. And they themselves, in giving their opinion, said a great deal
but never said what was their real object. Moreover (Levin felt that the
irascible landowner had been right) the peasants made their first and
unalterable condition of any agreement whatever that they should not be
forced to any new methods of tillage of any kind, nor to use new
implements. They agreed that the modern plough ploughed better, that the
scarifier did the work more quickly, but they found thousands of reasons
that made it out of the question for them to use either of them; and
though he had accepted the conviction that he would have to lower the
standard of cultivation, he felt sorry to give up improved methods, the
advantages of which were so obvious. But in spite of all these
difficulties he got his way, and by autumn the system was working, or at
least so it seemed to him.

At first Levin had thought of giving up the whole farming of the land
just as it was to the peasants, the laborers, and the bailiff on new
conditions of partnership; but he was very soon convinced that this was
impossible, and determined to divide it up. The cattle-yard, the garden,
hay fields, and arable land, divided into several parts, had to be made
into separate lots. The simple-hearted cowherd, Ivan, who, Levin
fancied, understood the matter better than any of them, collecting
together a gang of workers to help him, principally of his own family,
became a partner in the cattle-yard. A distant part of the estate, a
tract of waste land that had lain fallow for eight years, was with the
help of the clever carpenter, Fyodor Ryezunov, taken by six families of
peasants on new conditions of partnership, and the peasant Shuraev took
the management of all the vegetable gardens on the same terms. The
remainder of the land was still worked on the old system, but these
three associated partnerships were the first step to a new organization
of the whole, and they completely took up Levin’s time.

It is true that in the cattle-yard things went no better than before,
and Ivan strenuously opposed warm housing for the cows and butter made
of fresh cream, affirming that cows require less food if kept cold, and
that butter is more profitable made from sour cream, and he asked for
wages just as under the old system, and took not the slightest interest
in the fact that the money he received was not wages but an advance out
of his future share in the profits.

It is true that Fyodor Ryezunov’s company did not plough over the ground
twice before sowing, as had been agreed, justifying themselves on the
plea that the time was too short. It is true that the peasants of the
same company, though they had agreed to work the land on new conditions,
always spoke of the land, not as held in partnership, but as rented for
half the crop, and more than once the peasants and Ryezunov himself said
to Levin, "If you would take a rent for the land, it would save you
trouble, and we should be more free." Moreover the same peasants kept
putting off, on various excuses, the building of a cattleyard and barn
on the land as agreed upon, and delayed doing it till the winter.

It is true that Shuraev would have liked to let out the kitchen gardens
he had undertaken in small lots to the peasants. He evidently quite
misunderstood, and apparently intentionally misunderstood, the
conditions upon which the land had been given to him.

Often, too, talking to the peasants and explaining to them all the
advantages of the plan, Levin felt that the peasants heard nothing but
the sound of his voice, and were firmly resolved, whatever he might say,
not to let themselves be taken in. He felt this especially when he
talked to the cleverest of the peasants, Ryezunov, and detected the
gleam in Ryezunov’s eyes which showed so plainly both ironical amusement
at Levin, and the firm conviction that, if any one were to be taken in,
it would not be he, Ryezunov. But in spite of all this Levin thought the
system worked, and that by keeping accounts strictly and insisting on
his own way, he would prove to them in the future the advantages of the
arrangement, and then the system would go of itself.

These matters, together with the management of the land still left on
his hands, and the indoor work over his book, so engrossed Levin the
whole summer that he scarcely ever went out shooting. At the end of
August he heard that the Oblonskys had gone away to Moscow, from their
servant who brought back the side-saddle. He felt that in not answering
Darya Alexandrovna’s letter he had by his rudeness, of which he could
not think without a flush of shame, burned his ships, and that he would
never go and see them again. He had been just as rude with the
Sviazhskys, leaving them without saying good-bye. But he would never go
to see them again either. He did not care about that now. The business
of reorganizing the farming of his land absorbed him as completely as
though there would never be anything else in his life. He read the books
lent him by Sviazhsky, and copying out what he had not got, he read both
the economic and socialistic books on the subject, but, as he had
anticipated, found nothing bearing on the scheme he had undertaken. In
the books on political economy—in Mill, for instance, whom he studied
first with great ardor, hoping every minute to find an answer to the
questions that were engrossing him—he found laws deduced from the
condition of land culture in Europe; but he did not see why these laws,
which did not apply in Russia, must be general. He saw just the same
thing in the socialistic books: either they were the beautiful but
impracticable fantasies which had fascinated him when he was a student,
or they were attempts at improving, rectifying the economic position in
which Europe was placed, with which the system of land tenure in Russia
had nothing in common. Political economy told him that the laws by which
the wealth of Europe had been developed, and was developing, were
universal and unvarying. Socialism told him that development along these
lines leads to ruin. And neither of them gave an answer, or even a hint,
in reply to the question what he, Levin, and all the Russian peasants
and landowners, were to do with their millions of hands and millions of
acres, to make them as productive as possible for the common weal.

Having once taken the subject up, he read conscientiously everything
bearing on it, and intended in the autumn to go abroad to study land
systems on the spot, in order that he might not on this question be
confronted with what so often met him on various subjects. Often, just
as he was beginning to understand the idea in the mind of anyone he was
talking to, and was beginning to explain his own, he would suddenly be
told: "But Kauffmann, but Jones, but Dubois, but Michelli? You haven’t
read them: they’ve thrashed that question out thoroughly."

He saw now distinctly that Kauffmann and Michelli had nothing to tell
him. He knew what he wanted. He saw that Russia has splendid land,
splendid laborers, and that in certain cases, as at the peasant’s on the
way to Sviazhsky’s, the produce raised by the laborers and the land is
great—in the majority of cases when capital is applied in the European
way the produce is small, and that this simply arises from the fact that
the laborers want to work and work well only in their own peculiar way,
and that this antagonism is not incidental but invariable, and has its
roots in the national spirit. He thought that the Russian people whose
task it was to colonize and cultivate vast tracts of unoccupied land,
consciously adhered, till all their land was occupied, to the methods
suitable to their purpose, and that their methods were by no means so
bad as was generally supposed. And he wanted to prove this theoretically
in his book and practically on his land.

Chapter 30

At the end of September the timber had been carted for building the
cattleyard on the land that had been allotted to the association of
peasants, and the butter from the cows was sold and the profits divided.
In practice the system worked capitally, or, at least, so it seemed to
Levin. In order to work out the whole subject theoretically and to
complete his book, which, in Levin’s daydreams, was not merely to effect
a revolution in political economy, but to annihilate that science
entirely and to lay the foundation of a new science of the relation of
the people to the soil, all that was left to do was to make a tour
abroad, and to study on the spot all that had been done in the same
direction, and to collect conclusive evidence that all that had been
done there was not what was wanted. Levin was only waiting for the
delivery of his wheat to receive the money for it and go abroad. But the
rains began, preventing the harvesting of the corn and potatoes left in
the fields, and putting a stop to all work, even to the delivery of the

The mud was impassable along the roads; two mills were carried away, and
the weather got worse and worse.

On the 30th of September the sun came out in the morning, and hoping for
fine weather, Levin began making final preparations for his journey. He
gave orders for the wheat to be delivered, sent the bailiff to the
merchant to get the money owing him, and went out himself to give some
final directions on the estate before setting off.

Having finished all his business, soaked through with the streams of
water which kept running down the leather behind his neck and his
gaiters, but in the keenest and most confident temper, Levin returned
homewards in the evening. The weather had become worse than ever towards
evening; the hail lashed the drenched mare so cruelly that she went
along sideways, shaking her head and ears; but Levin was all right under
his hood, and he looked cheerfully about him at the muddy streams
running under the wheels, at the drops hanging on every bare twig, at
the whiteness of the patch of unmelted hailstones on the planks of the
bridge, at the thick layer of still juicy, fleshy leaves that lay heaped
up about the stripped elm-tree. In spite of the gloominess of nature
around him, he felt peculiarly eager. The talks he had been having with
the peasants in the further village had shown that they were beginning
to get used to their new position. The old servant to whose hut he had
gone to get dry evidently approved of Levin’s plan, and of his own
accord proposed to enter the partnership by the purchase of cattle.

"I have only to go stubbornly on towards my aim, and I shall attain my
end," thought Levin; "and it’s something to work and take trouble for.
This is not a matter of myself individually; the question of the public
welfare comes into it. The whole system of culture, the chief element in
the condition of the people, must be completely transformed. Instead of
poverty, general prosperity and content; instead of hostility, harmony
and unity of interests. In short, a bloodless revolution, but a
revolution of the greatest magnitude, beginning in the little circle of
our district, then the province, then Russia, the whole world. Because a
just idea cannot but be fruitful. Yes, it’s an aim worth working for.
And its being me, Kostya Levin, who went to a ball in a black tie, and
was refused by the Shtcherbatskaya girl, and who was intrinsically such
a pitiful, worthless creature—that proves nothing; I feel sure Franklin
felt just as worthless, and he too had no faith in himself, thinking of
himself as a whole. That means nothing. And he too, most likely, had an
Agafea Mihalovna to whom he confided his secrets."

Musing on such thoughts Levin reached home in the darkness.

The bailiff, who had been to the merchant, had come back and brought
part of the money for the wheat. An agreement had been made with the old
servant, and on the road the bailiff had learned that everywhere the
corn was still standing in the fields, so that his one hundred and sixty
shocks that had not been carried were nothing in comparison with the
losses of others.

After dinner Levin was sitting, as he usually did, in an easy chair with
a book, and as he read he went on thinking of the journey before him in
connection with his book. Today all the significance of his book rose
before him with special distinctness, and whole periods ranged
themselves in his mind in illustration of his theories. "I must write
that down," he thought. "That ought to form a brief introduction, which
I thought unnecessary before." He got up to go to his writing table, and
Laska, lying at his feet, got up too, stretching and looking at him as
though to inquire where to go. But he had not time to write it down, for
the head peasants had come round, and Levin went out into the hall to

After his levee, that is to say, giving directions about the labors of
the next day, and seeing all the peasants who had business with him,
Levin went back to his study and sat down to work.

Laska lay under the table; Agafea Mihalovna settled herself in her place
with her stocking.

After writing for a little while, Levin suddenly thought with
exceptional vividness of Kitty, her refusal, and their last meeting. He
got up and began walking about the room.

"What’s the use of being dreary?" said Agafea Mihalovna. "Come, why do
you stay on at home? You ought to go to some warm springs, especially
now you’re ready for the journey."

"Well, I am going away the day after tomorrow, Agafea Mihalovna; I must
finish my work."

"There, there, your work, you say! As if you hadn’t done enough for the
peasants! Why, as ’tis, they’re saying, ‘Your master will be getting
some honor from the Tsar for it.’ Indeed and it is a strange thing; why
need you worry about the peasants?"

"I’m not worrying about them; I’m doing it for my own good."

Agafea Mihalovna knew every detail of Levin’s plans for his land. Levin
often put his views before her in all their complexity, and not
uncommonly he argued with her and did not agree with her comments. But
on this occasion she entirely misinterpreted what he had said.

"Of one’s soul’s salvation we all know and must think before all else,"
she said with a sigh. "Parfen Denisitch now, for all he was no scholar,
he died a death that God grant every one of us the like," she said,
referring to a servant who had died recently. "Took the sacrament and

"That’s not what I mean," said he. "I mean that I’m acting for my own
advantage. It’s all the better for me if the peasants do their work

"Well, whatever you do, if he’s a lazy good-for-nought, everything’ll be
at sixes and sevens. If he has a conscience, he’ll work, and if not,
there’s no doing anything."

"Oh, come, you say yourself Ivan has begun looking after the cattle

"All I say is," answered Agafea Mihalovna, evidently not speaking at
random, but in strict sequence of idea, "that you ought to get married,
that’s what I say."

Agafea Mihalovna’s allusion to the very subject he had only just been
thinking about, hurt and stung him. Levin scowled, and without answering
her, he sat down again to his work, repeating to himself all that he had
been thinking of the real significance of that work. Only at intervals
he listened in the stillness to the click of Agafea Mihalovna’s needles,
and recollecting what he did not want to remember, he frowned again.

At nine o’clock they heard the bell and the faint vibration of a
carriage over the mud.

"Well, here’s visitors come to us, and you won’t be dull," said Agafea
Mihalovna, getting up and going to the door. But Levin overtook her. His
work was not going well now, and he was glad of a visitor, whoever it
might be.

Chapter 31

Running halfway down the staircase, Levin caught a sound he knew, a
familiar cough in the hall. But he heard it indistinctly through the
sound of his own footsteps, and hoped he was mistaken. Then he caught
sight of a long, bony, familiar figure, and now it seemed there was no
possibility of mistake; and yet he still went on hoping that this tall
man taking off his fur cloak and coughing was not his brother Nikolay.

Levin loved his brother, but being with him was always a torture. Just
now, when Levin, under the influence of the thoughts that had come to
him, and Agafea Mihalovna’s hint, was in a troubled and uncertain humor,
the meeting with his brother that he had to face seemed particularly
difficult. Instead of a lively, healthy visitor, some outsider who
would, he hoped, cheer him up in his uncertain humor, he had to see his
brother, who knew him through and through, who would call forth all the
thoughts nearest his heart, would force him to show himself fully. And
that he was not disposed to do.

Angry with himself for so base a feeling, Levin ran into the hall; as
soon as he had seen his brother close, this feeling of selfish
disappointment vanished instantly and was replaced by pity. Terrible as
his brother Nikolay had been before in his emaciation and sickliness,
now he looked still more emaciated, still more wasted. He was a skeleton
covered with skin.

He stood in the hall, jerking his long thin neck, and pulling the scarf
off it, and smiled a strange and pitiful smile. When he saw that smile,
submissive and humble, Levin felt something clutching at his throat.

"You see, I’ve come to you," said Nikolay in a thick voice, never for
one second taking his eyes off his brother’s face. "I’ve been meaning to
a long while, but I’ve been unwell all the time. Now I’m ever so much
better," he said, rubbing his beard with his big thin hands.

"Yes, yes!" answered Levin. And he felt still more frightened when,
kissing him, he felt with his lips the dryness of his brother’s skin and
saw close to him his big eyes, full of a strange light.

A few weeks before, Konstantin Levin had written to his brother that
through the sale of the small part of the property, that had remained
undivided, there was a sum of about two thousand roubles to come to him
as his share.

Nikolay said that he had come now to take this money and, what was more
important, to stay a while in the old nest, to get in touch with the
earth, so as to renew his strength like the heroes of old for the work
that lay before him. In spite of his exaggerated stoop, and the
emaciation that was so striking from his height, his movements were as
rapid and abrupt as ever. Levin led him into his study.

His brother dressed with particular care—a thing he never used to
do—combed his scanty, lank hair, and, smiling, went upstairs.

He was in the most affectionate and good-humored mood, just as Levin
often remembered him in childhood. He even referred to Sergey Ivanovitch
without rancor. When he saw Agafea Mihalovna, he made jokes with her and
asked after the old servants. The news of the death of Parfen Denisitch
made a painful impression on him. A look of fear crossed his face, but
he regained his serenity immediately.

"Of course he was quite old," he said, and changed the subject. "Well,
I’ll spend a month or two with you, and then I’m off to Moscow. Do you
know, Myakov has promised me a place there, and I’m going into the
service. Now I’m going to arrange my life quite differently," he went
on. "You know I got rid of that woman."

"Marya Nikolaevna? Why, what for?"

"Oh, she was a horrid woman! She caused me all sorts of worries." But he
did not say what the annoyances were. He could not say that he had cast
off Marya Nikolaevna because the tea was weak, and, above all, because
she would look after him, as though he were an invalid.

"Besides, I want to turn over a new leaf completely now. I’ve done silly
things, of course, like everyone else, but money’s the last
consideration; I don’t regret it. So long as there’s health, and my
health, thank God, is quite restored."

Levin listened and racked his brains, but could think of nothing to say.
Nikolay probably felt the same; he began questioning his brother about
his affairs; and Levin was glad to talk about himself, because then he
could speak without hypocrisy. He told his brother of his plans and his

His brother listened, but evidently he was not interested by it.

These two men were so akin, so near each other, that the slightest
gesture, the tone of voice, told both more than could be said in words.

Both of them now had only one thought—the illness of Nikolay and the
nearness of his death—which stifled all else. But neither of them dared
to speak of it, and so whatever they said—not uttering the one thought
that filled their minds—was all falsehood. Never had Levin been so glad
when the evening was over and it was time to go to bed. Never with any
outside person, never on any official visit had he been so unnatural and
false as he was that evening. And the consciousness of this
unnaturalness, and the remorse he felt at it, made him even more
unnatural. He wanted to weep over his dying, dearly loved brother, and
he had to listen and keep on talking of how he meant to live.

As the house was damp, and only one bedroom had been kept heated, Levin
put his brother to sleep in his own bedroom behind a screen.

His brother got into bed, and whether he slept or did not sleep, tossed
about like a sick man, coughed, and when he could not get his throat
clear, mumbled something. Sometimes when his breathing was painful, he
said, "Oh, my God!" Sometimes when he was choking he muttered angrily,
"Ah, the devil!" Levin could not sleep for a long while, hearing him.
His thoughts were of the most various, but the end of all his thoughts
was the same—death. Death, the inevitable end of all, for the first time
presented itself to him with irresistible force. And death, which was
here in this loved brother, groaning half asleep and from habit calling
without distinction on God and the devil, was not so remote as it had
hitherto seemed to him. It was in himself too, he felt that. If not
today, tomorrow, if not tomorrow, in thirty years, wasn’t it all the
same! And what was this inevitable death—he did not know, had never
thought about it, and what was more, had not the power, had not the
courage to think about it.

"I work, I want to do something, but I had forgotten it must all end; I
had forgotten—death."

He sat on his bed in the darkness, crouched up, hugging his knees, and
holding his breath from the strain of thought, he pondered. But the more
intensely he thought, the clearer it became to him that it was
indubitably so, that in reality, looking upon life, he had forgotten one
little fact—that death will come, and all ends; that nothing was even
worth beginning, and that there was no helping it anyway. Yes, it was
awful, but it was so.

"But I am alive still. Now what’s to be done? what’s to be done?" he
said in despair. He lighted a candle, got up cautiously and went to the
looking-glass, and began looking at his face and hair. Yes, there were
gray hairs about his temples. He opened his mouth. His back teeth were
beginning to decay. He bared his muscular arms. Yes, there was strength
in them. But Nikolay, who lay there breathing with what was left of
lungs, had had a strong, healthy body too. And suddenly he recalled how
they used to go to bed together as children, and how they only waited
till Fyodor Bogdanitch was out of the room to fling pillows at each
other and laugh, laugh irrepressibly, so that even their awe of Fyodor
Bogdanitch could not check the effervescing, overbrimming sense of life
and happiness. "And now that bent, hollow chest ... and I, not knowing
what will become of me, or wherefore..."

"K...ha! K...ha! Damnation! Why do you keep fidgeting, why don’t you go
to sleep?" his brother’s voice called to him.

"Oh, I don’t know, I’m not sleepy."

"I have had a good sleep, I’m not in a sweat now. Just see, feel my
shirt; it’s not wet, is it?"

Levin felt, withdrew behind the screen, and put out the candle, but for
a long while he could not sleep. The question how to live had hardly
begun to grow a little clearer to him, when a new, insoluble question
presented itself—death.

"Why, he’s dying—yes, he’ll die in the spring, and how help him? What
can I say to him? What do I know about it? I’d even forgotten that it
was at all."

Chapter 32

Levin had long before made the observation that when one is
uncomfortable with people from their being excessively amenable and
meek, one is apt very soon after to find things intolerable from their
touchiness and irritability. He felt that this was how it would be with
his brother. And his brother Nikolay’s gentleness did in fact not last
out for long. The very next morning he began to be irritable, and seemed
doing his best to find fault with his brother, attacking him on his
tenderest points.

Levin felt himself to blame, and could not set things right. He felt
that if they had both not kept up appearances, but had spoken, as it is
called, from the heart—that is to say, had said only just what they were
thinking and feeling—they would simply have looked into each other’s
faces, and Konstantin could only have said, "You’re dying, you’re
dying!" and Nikolay could only have answered, "I know I’m dying, but I’m
afraid, I’m afraid, I’m afraid!" And they could have said nothing more,
if they had said only what was in their hearts. But life like that was
impossible, and so Konstantin tried to do what he had been trying to do
all his life, and never could learn to do, though, as far as he could
observe, many people knew so well how to do it, and without it there was
no living at all. He tried to say what he was not thinking, but he felt
continually that it had a ring of falsehood, that his brother detected
him in it, and was exasperated at it.

The third day Nikolay induced his brother to explain his plan to him
again, and began not merely attacking it, but intentionally confounding
it with communism.

"You’ve simply borrowed an idea that’s not your own, but you’ve
distorted it, and are trying to apply it where it’s not applicable."

"But I tell you it’s nothing to do with it. They deny the justice of
property, of capital, of inheritance, while I do not deny this chief
stimulus." (Levin felt disgusted himself at using such expressions, but
ever since he had been engrossed by his work, he had unconsciously come
more and more frequently to use words not Russian.) "All I want is to
regulate labor."

"Which means, you’ve borrowed an idea, stripped it of all that gave it
its force, and want to make believe that it’s something new," said
Nikolay, angrily tugging at his necktie.

"But my idea has nothing in common..."

"That, anyway," said Nikolay Levin, with an ironical smile, his eyes
flashing malignantly, "has the charm of—what’s one to call
it?—geometrical symmetry, of clearness, of definiteness. It may be a
Utopia. But if once one allows the possibility of making of all the past
a _tabula rasa_—no property, no family—then labor would organize itself.
But you gain nothing..."

"Why do you mix things up? I’ve never been a communist."

"But I have, and I consider it’s premature, but rational, and it has a
future, just like Christianity in its first ages."

"All that I maintain is that the labor force ought to be investigated
from the point of view of natural science; that is to say, it ought to
be studied, its qualities ascertained..."

"But that’s utter waste of time. That force finds a certain form of
activity of itself, according to the stage of its development. There
have been slaves first everywhere, then metayers; and we have the
half-crop system, rent, and day laborers. What are you trying to find?"

Levin suddenly lost his temper at these words, because at the bottom of
his heart he was afraid that it was true—true that he was trying to hold
the balance even between communism and the familiar forms, and that this
was hardly possible.

"I am trying to find means of working productively for myself and for
the laborers. I want to organize..." he answered hotly.

"You don’t want to organize anything; it’s simply just as you’ve been
all your life, that you want to be original to pose as not exploiting
the peasants simply, but with some idea in view."

"Oh, all right, that’s what you think—and let me alone!" answered Levin,
feeling the muscles of his left cheek twitching uncontrollably.

"You’ve never had, and never have, convictions; all you want is to
please your vanity."

"Oh, very well; then let me alone!"

"And I will let you alone! and it’s high time I did, and go to the devil
with you! and I’m very sorry I ever came!"

In spite of all Levin’s efforts to soothe his brother afterwards,
Nikolay would listen to nothing he said, declaring that it was better to
part, and Konstantin saw that it simply was that life was unbearable to

Nikolay was just getting ready to go, when Konstantin went in to him
again and begged him, rather unnaturally, to forgive him if he had hurt
his feelings in any way.

"Ah, generosity!" said Nikolay, and he smiled. "If you want to be right,
I can give you that satisfaction. You’re in the right; but I’m going all
the same."

It was only just at parting that Nikolay kissed him, and said, looking
with sudden strangeness and seriousness at his brother:

"Anyway, don’t remember evil against me, Kostya!" and his voice
quivered. These were the only words that had been spoken sincerely
between them. Levin knew that those words meant, "You see, and you know,
that I’m in a bad way, and maybe we shall not see each other again."
Levin knew this, and the tears gushed from his eyes. He kissed his
brother once more, but he could not speak, and knew not what to say.

Three days after his brother’s departure, Levin too set off for his
foreign tour. Happening to meet Shtcherbatsky, Kitty’s cousin, in the
railway train, Levin greatly astonished him by his depression.

"What’s the matter with you?" Shtcherbatsky asked him.

"Oh, nothing; there’s not much happiness in life."

"Not much? You come with me to Paris instead of to Mulhausen. You shall
see how to be happy."

"No, I’ve done with it all. It’s time I was dead."

"Well, that’s a good one!" said Shtcherbatsky, laughing; "why, I’m only
just getting ready to begin."

"Yes, I thought the same not long ago, but now I know I shall soon be

Levin said what he had genuinely been thinking of late. He saw nothing
but death or the advance towards death in everything. But his cherished
scheme only engrossed him the more. Life had to be got through somehow
till death did come. Darkness had fallen upon everything for him; but
just because of this darkness he felt that the one guiding clue in the
darkness was his work, and he clutched it and clung to it with all his


Chapter 1

The Karenins, husband and wife, continued living in the same house, met
every day, but were complete strangers to one another. Alexey
Alexandrovitch made it a rule to see his wife every day, so that the
servants might have no grounds for suppositions, but avoided dining at
home. Vronsky was never at Alexey Alexandrovitch’s house, but Anna saw
him away from home, and her husband was aware of it.

The position was one of misery for all three; and not one of them would
have been equal to enduring this position for a single day, if it had
not been for the expectation that it would change, that it was merely a
temporary painful ordeal which would pass over. Alexey Alexandrovitch
hoped that this passion would pass, as everything does pass, that
everyone would forget about it, and his name would remain unsullied.
Anna, on whom the position depended, and for whom it was more miserable
than for anyone, endured it because she not merely hoped, but firmly
believed, that it would all very soon be settled and come right. She had
not the least idea what would settle the position, but she firmly
believed that something would very soon turn up now. Vronsky, against
his own will or wishes, followed her lead, hoped too that something,
apart from his own action, would be sure to solve all difficulties.

In the middle of the winter Vronsky spent a very tiresome week. A
foreign prince, who had come on a visit to Petersburg, was put under his
charge, and he had to show him the sights worth seeing. Vronsky was of
distinguished appearance; he possessed, moreover, the art of behaving
with respectful dignity, and was used to having to do with such grand
personages—that was how he came to be put in charge of the prince. But
he felt his duties very irksome. The prince was anxious to miss nothing
of which he would be asked at home, had he seen that in Russia? And on
his own account he was anxious to enjoy to the utmost all Russian forms
of amusement. Vronsky was obliged to be his guide in satisfying both
these inclinations. The mornings they spent driving to look at places of
interest; the evenings they passed enjoying the national entertainments.
The prince rejoiced in health exceptional even among princes. By
gymnastics and careful attention to his health he had brought himself to
such a point that in spite of his excess in pleasure he looked as fresh
as a big glossy green Dutch cucumber. The prince had traveled a great
deal, and considered one of the chief advantages of modern facilities of
communication was the accessibility of the pleasures of all nations.

He had been in Spain, and there had indulged in serenades and had made
friends with a Spanish girl who played the mandolin. In Switzerland he
had killed chamois. In England he had galloped in a red coat over hedges
and killed two hundred pheasants for a bet. In Turkey he had got into a
harem; in India he had hunted on an elephant, and now in Russia he
wished to taste all the specially Russian forms of pleasure.

Vronsky, who was, as it were, chief master of the ceremonies to him, was
at great pains to arrange all the Russian amusements suggested by
various persons to the prince. They had race horses, and Russian
pancakes and bear hunts and three-horse sledges, and gypsies and
drinking feasts, with the Russian accompaniment of broken crockery. And
the prince with surprising ease fell in with the Russian spirit, smashed
trays full of crockery, sat with a gypsy girl on his knee, and seemed to
be asking—what more, and does the whole Russian spirit consist in just

In reality, of all the Russian entertainments the prince liked best
French actresses and ballet dancers and white-seal champagne. Vronsky
was used to princes, but, either because he had himself changed of late,
or that he was in too close proximity to the prince, that week seemed
fearfully wearisome to him. The whole of that week he experienced a
sensation such as a man might have set in charge of a dangerous madman,
afraid of the madman, and at the same time, from being with him, fearing
for his own reason. Vronsky was continually conscious of the necessity
of never for a second relaxing the tone of stern official
respectfulness, that he might not himself be insulted. The prince’s
manner of treating the very people who, to Vronsky’s surprise, were
ready to descend to any depths to provide him with Russian amusements,
was contemptuous. His criticisms of Russian women, whom he wished to
study, more than once made Vronsky crimson with indignation. The chief
reason why the prince was so particularly disagreeable to Vronsky was
that he could not help seeing himself in him. And what he saw in this
mirror did not gratify his self-esteem. He was a very stupid and very
self-satisfied and very healthy and very well-washed man, and nothing
else. He was a gentleman—that was true, and Vronsky could not deny it.
He was equable and not cringing with his superiors, was free and
ingratiating in his behavior with his equals, and was contemptuously
indulgent with his inferiors. Vronsky was himself the same, and regarded
it as a great merit to be so. But for this prince he was an inferior,
and his contemptuous and indulgent attitude to him revolted him.

"Brainless beef! can I be like that?" he thought.

Be that as it might, when, on the seventh day, he parted from the
prince, who was starting for Moscow, and received his thanks, he was
happy to be rid of his uncomfortable position and the unpleasant
reflection of himself. He said good-bye to him at the station on their
return from a bear hunt, at which they had had a display of Russian
prowess kept up all night.

Chapter 2

When he got home, Vronsky found there a note from Anna. She wrote, "I am
ill and unhappy. I cannot come out, but I cannot go on longer without
seeing you. Come in this evening. Alexey Alexandrovitch goes to the
council at seven and will be there till ten." Thinking for an instant of
the strangeness of her bidding him come straight to her, in spite of her
husband’s insisting on her not receiving him, he decided to go.

Vronsky had that winter got his promotion, was now a colonel, had left
the regimental quarters, and was living alone. After having some lunch,
he lay down on the sofa immediately, and in five minutes memories of the
hideous scenes he had witnessed during the last few days were confused
together and joined on to a mental image of Anna and of the peasant who
had played an important part in the bear hunt, and Vronsky fell asleep.
He waked up in the dark, trembling with horror, and made haste to light
a candle. "What was it? What? What was the dreadful thing I dreamed?
Yes, yes; I think a little dirty man with a disheveled beard was
stooping down doing something, and all of a sudden he began saying some
strange words in French. Yes, there was nothing else in the dream," he
said to himself. "But why was it so awful?" He vividly recalled the
peasant again and those incomprehensible French words the peasant had
uttered, and a chill of horror ran down his spine.

"What nonsense!" thought Vronsky, and glanced at his watch.

It was half-past eight already. He rang up his servant, dressed in
haste, and went out onto the steps, completely forgetting the dream and
only worried at being late. As he drove up to the Karenins’ entrance he
looked at his watch and saw it was ten minutes to nine. A high, narrow
carriage with a pair of grays was standing at the entrance. He
recognized Anna’s carriage. "She is coming to me," thought Vronsky, "and
better she should. I don’t like going into that house. But no matter; I
can’t hide myself," he thought, and with that manner peculiar to him
from childhood, as of a man who has nothing to be ashamed of, Vronsky
got out of his sledge and went to the door. The door opened, and the
hall porter with a rug on his arm called the carriage. Vronsky, though
he did not usually notice details, noticed at this moment the amazed
expression with which the porter glanced at him. In the very doorway
Vronsky almost ran up against Alexey Alexandrovitch. The gas jet threw
its full light on the bloodless, sunken face under the black hat and on
the white cravat, brilliant against the beaver of the coat. Karenin’s
fixed, dull eyes were fastened upon Vronsky’s face. Vronsky bowed, and
Alexey Alexandrovitch, chewing his lips, lifted his hand to his hat and
went on. Vronsky saw him without looking round get into the carriage,
pick up the rug and the opera-glass at the window and disappear. Vronsky
went into the hall. His brows were scowling, and his eyes gleamed with a
proud and angry light in them.

"What a position!" he thought. "If he would fight, would stand up for
his honor, I could act, could express my feelings; but this weakness or
baseness.... He puts me in the position of playing false, which I never
meant and never mean to do."

Vronsky’s ideas had changed since the day of his conversation with Anna
in the Vrede garden. Unconsciously yielding to the weakness of Anna—who
had surrendered herself up to him utterly, and simply looked to him to
decide her fate, ready to submit to anything—he had long ceased to think
that their tie might end as he had thought then. His ambitious plans had
retreated into the background again, and feeling that he had got out of
that circle of activity in which everything was definite, he had given
himself entirely to his passion, and that passion was binding him more
and more closely to her.

He was still in the hall when he caught the sound of her retreating
footsteps. He knew she had been expecting him, had listened for him, and
was now going back to the drawing room.

"No," she cried, on seeing him, and at the first sound of her voice the
tears came into her eyes. "No; if things are to go on like this, the end
will come much, much too soon."

"What is it, dear one?"

"What? I’ve been waiting in agony for an hour, two hours ... No, I won’t
... I can’t quarrel with you. Of course you couldn’t come. No, I won’t."
She laid her two hands on his shoulders, and looked a long while at him
with a profound, passionate, and at the same time searching look. She
was studying his face to make up for the time she had not seen him. She
was, every time she saw him, making the picture of him in her
imagination (incomparably superior, impossible in reality) fit with him
as he really was.

Chapter 3

"You met him?" she asked, when they had sat down at the table in the
lamplight. "You’re punished, you see, for being late."

"Yes; but how was it? Wasn’t he to be at the council?"

"He had been and come back, and was going out somewhere again. But
that’s no matter. Don’t talk about it. Where have you been? With the
prince still?"

She knew every detail of his existence. He was going to say that he had
been up all night and had dropped asleep, but looking at her thrilled
and rapturous face, he was ashamed. And he said he had had to go to
report on the prince’s departure.

"But it’s over now? He is gone?"

"Thank God it’s over! You wouldn’t believe how insufferable it’s been
for me."

"Why so? Isn’t it the life all of you, all young men, always lead?" she
said, knitting her brows; and taking up the crochet work that was lying
on the table, she began drawing the hook out of it, without looking at

"I gave that life up long ago," said he, wondering at the change in her
face, and trying to divine its meaning. "And I confess," he said, with a
smile, showing his thick, white teeth, "this week I’ve been, as it were,
looking at myself in a glass, seeing that life, and I didn’t like it."

She held the work in her hands, but did not crochet, and looked at him
with strange, shining, and hostile eyes.

"This morning Liza came to see me—they’re not afraid to call on me, in
spite of the Countess Lidia Ivanovna," she put in—"and she told me about
your Athenian evening. How loathsome!"

"I was just going to say..."

She interrupted him. "It was that Thèrése you used to know?"

"I was just saying..."

"How disgusting you are, you men! How is it you can’t understand that a
woman can never forget that," she said, getting more and more angry, and
so letting him see the cause of her irritation, "especially a woman who
cannot know your life? What do I know? What have I ever known?" she
said, "what you tell me. And how do I know whether you tell me the

"Anna, you hurt me. Don’t you trust me? Haven’t I told you that I
haven’t a thought I wouldn’t lay bare to you?"

"Yes, yes," she said, evidently trying to suppress her jealous thoughts.
"But if only you knew how wretched I am! I believe you, I believe
you.... What were you saying?"

But he could not at once recall what he had been going to say. These
fits of jealousy, which of late had been more and more frequent with
her, horrified him, and however much he tried to disguise the fact, made
him feel cold to her, although he knew the cause of her jealousy was her
love for him. How often he had told himself that her love was happiness;
and now she loved him as a woman can love when love has outweighed for
her all the good things of life—and he was much further from happiness
than when he had followed her from Moscow. Then he had thought himself
unhappy, but happiness was before him; now he felt that the best
happiness was already left behind. She was utterly unlike what she had
been when he first saw her. Both morally and physically she had changed
for the worse. She had broadened out all over, and in her face at the
time when she was speaking of the actress there was an evil expression
of hatred that distorted it. He looked at her as a man looks at a faded
flower he has gathered, with difficulty recognizing in it the beauty for
which he picked and ruined it. And in spite of this he felt that then,
when his love was stronger, he could, if he had greatly wished it, have
torn that love out of his heart; but now, when as at that moment it
seemed to him he felt no love for her, he knew that what bound him to
her could not be broken.

"Well, well, what was it you were going to say about the prince? I have
driven away the fiend," she added. The fiend was the name they had given
her jealousy. "What did you begin to tell me about the prince? Why did
you find it so tiresome?"

"Oh, it was intolerable!" he said, trying to pick up the thread of his
interrupted thought. "He does not improve on closer acquaintance. If you
want him defined, here he is: a prime, well-fed beast such as takes
medals at the cattle shows, and nothing more," he said, with a tone of
vexation that interested her.

"No; how so?" she replied. "He’s seen a great deal, anyway; he’s

"It’s an utterly different culture—their culture. He’s cultivated, one
sees, simply to be able to despise culture, as they despise everything
but animal pleasures."

"But don’t you all care for these animal pleasures?" she said, and again
he noticed a dark look in her eyes that avoided him.

"How is it you’re defending him?" he said, smiling.

"I’m not defending him, it’s nothing to me; but I imagine, if you had
not cared for those pleasures yourself, you might have got out of them.
But if it affords you satisfaction to gaze at Thèrése in the attire of

"Again, the devil again," Vronsky said, taking the hand she had laid on
the table and kissing it.

"Yes; but I can’t help it. You don’t know what I have suffered waiting
for you. I believe I’m not jealous. I’m not jealous: I believe you when
you’re here; but when you’re away somewhere leading your life, so
incomprehensible to me..."

She turned away from him, pulled the hook at last out of the crochet
work, and rapidly, with the help of her forefinger, began working loop
after loop of the wool that was dazzling white in the lamplight, while
the slender wrist moved swiftly, nervously in the embroidered cuff.

"How was it, then? Where did you meet Alexey Alexandrovitch?" Her voice
sounded in an unnatural and jarring tone.

"We ran up against each other in the doorway."

"And he bowed to you like this?"

She drew a long face, and half-closing her eyes, quickly transformed her
expression, folded her hands, and Vronsky suddenly saw in her beautiful
face the very expression with which Alexey Alexandrovitch had bowed to
him. He smiled, while she laughed gaily, with that sweet, deep laugh,
which was one of her greatest charms.

"I don’t understand him in the least," said Vronsky. "If after your
avowal to him at your country house he had broken with you, if he had
called me out—but this I can’t understand. How can he put up with such a
position? He feels it, that’s evident."

"He?" she said sneeringly. "He’s perfectly satisfied."

"What are we all miserable for, when everything might be so happy?"

"Only not he. Don’t I know him, the falsity in which he’s utterly
steeped?... Could one, with any feeling, live as he is living with me?
He understands nothing, and feels nothing. Could a man of any feeling
live in the same house with his unfaithful wife? Could he talk to her,
call her ‘my dear’?"

And again she could not help mimicking him: "‘Anna, _ma chère_; Anna,

"He’s not a man, not a human being—he’s a doll! No one knows him; but I
know him. Oh, if I’d been in his place, I’d long ago have killed, have
torn to pieces a wife like me. I wouldn’t have said, ‘Anna, _ma chère_’!
He’s not a man, he’s an official machine. He doesn’t understand that I’m
your wife, that he’s outside, that he’s superfluous.... Don’t let’s talk
of him!..."

"You’re unfair, very unfair, dearest," said Vronsky, trying to soothe
her. "But never mind, don’t let’s talk of him. Tell me what you’ve been
doing? What is the matter? What has been wrong with you, and what did
the doctor say?"

She looked at him with mocking amusement. Evidently she had hit on other
absurd and grotesque aspects in her husband and was awaiting the moment
to give expression to them.

But he went on:

"I imagine that it’s not illness, but your condition. When will it be?"

The ironical light died away in her eyes, but a different smile, a
consciousness of something, he did not know what, and of quiet
melancholy, came over her face.

"Soon, soon. You say that our position is miserable, that we must put an
end to it. If you knew how terrible it is to me, what I would give to be
able to love you freely and boldly! I should not torture myself and
torture you with my jealousy.... And it will come soon, but not as we

And at the thought of how it would come, she seemed so pitiable to
herself that tears came into her eyes, and she could not go on. She laid
her hand on his sleeve, dazzling and white with its rings in the

"It won’t come as we suppose. I didn’t mean to say this to you, but
you’ve made me. Soon, soon, all will be over, and we shall all, all be
at peace, and suffer no more."

"I don’t understand," he said, understanding her.

"You asked when? Soon. And I shan’t live through it. Don’t interrupt
me!" and she made haste to speak. "I know it; I know for certain. I
shall die; and I’m very glad I shall die, and release myself and you."

Tears dropped from her eyes; he bent down over her hand and began
kissing it, trying to hide his emotion, which, he knew, had no sort of
grounds, though he could not control it.

"Yes, it’s better so," she said, tightly gripping his hand. "That’s the
only way, the only way left us."

He had recovered himself, and lifted his head.

"How absurd! What absurd nonsense you are talking!"

"No, it’s the truth."

"What, what’s the truth?"

"That I shall die. I have had a dream."

"A dream?" repeated Vronsky, and instantly he recalled the peasant of
his dream.

"Yes, a dream," she said. "It’s a long while since I dreamed it. I
dreamed that I ran into my bedroom, that I had to get something there,
to find out something; you know how it is in dreams," she said, her eyes
wide with horror; "and in the bedroom, in the corner, stood something."

"Oh, what nonsense! How can you believe..."

But she would not let him interrupt her. What she was saying was too
important to her.

"And the something turned round, and I saw it was a peasant with a
disheveled beard, little, and dreadful looking. I wanted to run away,
but he bent down over a sack, and was fumbling there with his hands..."

She showed how he had moved his hands. There was terror in her face. And
Vronsky, remembering his dream, felt the same terror filling his soul.

"He was fumbling and kept talking quickly, quickly in French, you know:
_Il faut le battre, le fer, le brayer, le pétrir_.... And in my horror I
tried to wake up, and woke up ... but woke up in the dream. And I began
asking myself what it meant. And Korney said to me: ‘In childbirth
you’ll die, ma’am, you’ll die....’ And I woke up."

"What nonsense, what nonsense!" said Vronsky; but he felt himself that
there was no conviction in his voice.

"But don’t let’s talk of it. Ring the bell, I’ll have tea. And stay a
little now; it’s not long I shall..."

But all at once she stopped. The expression of her face instantaneously
changed. Horror and excitement were suddenly replaced by a look of soft,
solemn, blissful attention. He could not comprehend the meaning of the
change. She was listening to the stirring of the new life within her.

Chapter 4

Alexey Alexandrovitch, after meeting Vronsky on his own steps, drove, as
he had intended, to the Italian opera. He sat through two acts there,
and saw everyone he had wanted to see. On returning home, he carefully
scrutinized the hat stand, and noticing that there was not a military
overcoat there, he went, as usual, to his own room. But, contrary to his
usual habit, he did not go to bed, he walked up and down his study till
three o’clock in the morning. The feeling of furious anger with his
wife, who would not observe the proprieties and keep to the one
stipulation he had laid on her, not to receive her lover in her own
home, gave him no peace. She had not complied with his request, and he
was bound to punish her and carry out his threat—obtain a divorce and
take away his son. He knew all the difficulties connected with this
course, but he had said he would do it, and now he must carry out his
threat. Countess Lidia Ivanovna had hinted that this was the best way
out of his position, and of late the obtaining of divorces had been
brought to such perfection that Alexey Alexandrovitch saw a possibility
of overcoming the formal difficulties. Misfortunes never come singly,
and the affairs of the reorganization of the native tribes, and of the
irrigation of the lands of the Zaraisky province, had brought such
official worries upon Alexey Alexandrovitch that he had been of late in
a continual condition of extreme irritability.

He did not sleep the whole night, and his fury, growing in a sort of
vast, arithmetical progression, reached its highest limits in the
morning. He dressed in haste, and as though carrying his cup full of
wrath, and fearing to spill any over, fearing to lose with his wrath the
energy necessary for the interview with his wife, he went into her room
directly he heard she was up.

Anna, who had thought she knew her husband so well, was amazed at his
appearance when he went in to her. His brow was lowering, and his eyes
stared darkly before him, avoiding her eyes; his mouth was tightly and
contemptuously shut. In his walk, in his gestures, in the sound of his
voice there was a determination and firmness such as his wife had never
seen in him. He went into her room, and without greeting her, walked
straight up to her writing-table, and taking her keys, opened a drawer.

"What do you want?" she cried.

"Your lover’s letters," he said.

"They’re not here," she said, shutting the drawer; but from that action
he saw he had guessed right, and roughly pushing away her hand, he
quickly snatched a portfolio in which he knew she used to put her most
important papers. She tried to pull the portfolio away, but he pushed
her back.

"Sit down! I have to speak to you," he said, putting the portfolio under
his arm, and squeezing it so tightly with his elbow that his shoulder
stood up. Amazed and intimidated, she gazed at him in silence.

"I told you that I would not allow you to receive your lover in this

"I had to see him to..."

She stopped, not finding a reason.

"I do not enter into the details of why a woman wants to see her lover."

"I meant, I only..." she said, flushing hotly. This coarseness of his
angered her, and gave her courage. "Surely you must feel how easy it is
for you to insult me?" she said.

"An honest man and an honest woman may be insulted, but to tell a thief
he’s a thief is simply _la constatation d’un fait_."

"This cruelty is something new I did not know in you."

"You call it cruelty for a husband to give his wife liberty, giving her
the honorable protection of his name, simply on the condition of
observing the proprieties: is that cruelty?"

"It’s worse than cruel—it’s base, if you want to know!" Anna cried, in a
rush of hatred, and getting up, she was going away.

"No!" he shrieked, in his shrill voice, which pitched a note higher than
usual even, and his big hands clutching her by the arm so violently that
red marks were left from the bracelet he was squeezing, he forcibly sat
her down in her place.

"Base! If you care to use that word, what is base is to forsake husband
and child for a lover, while you eat your husband’s bread!"

She bowed her head. She did not say what she had said the evening before
to her lover, that _he_ was her husband, and her husband was
superfluous; she did not even think that. She felt all the justice of
his words, and only said softly:

"You cannot describe my position as worse than I feel it to be myself;
but what are you saying all this for?"

"What am I saying it for? what for?" he went on, as angrily. "That you
may know that since you have not carried out my wishes in regard to
observing outward decorum, I will take measures to put an end to this
state of things."

"Soon, very soon, it will end, anyway," she said; and again, at the
thought of death near at hand and now desired, tears came into her eyes.

"It will end sooner than you and your lover have planned! If you must
have the satisfaction of animal passion..."

"Alexey Alexandrovitch! I won’t say it’s not generous, but it’s not like
a gentleman to strike anyone who’s down."

"Yes, you only think of yourself! But the sufferings of a man who was
your husband have no interest for you. You don’t care that his whole
life is ruined, that he is thuff ... thuff..."

Alexey Alexandrovitch was speaking so quickly that he stammered, and was
utterly unable to articulate the word "suffering." In the end he
pronounced it "thuffering." She wanted to laugh, and was immediately
ashamed that anything could amuse her at such a moment. And for the
first time, for an instant, she felt for him, put herself in his place,
and was sorry for him. But what could she say or do? Her head sank, and
she sat silent. He too was silent for some time, and then began speaking
in a frigid, less shrill voice, emphasizing random words that had no
special significance.

"I came to tell you..." he said.

She glanced at him. "No, it was my fancy," she thought, recalling the
expression of his face when he stumbled over the word "suffering." "No;
can a man with those dull eyes, with that self-satisfied complacency,
feel anything?"

"I cannot change anything," she whispered.

"I have come to tell you that I am going tomorrow to Moscow, and shall
not return again to this house, and you will receive notice of what I
decide through the lawyer into whose hands I shall intrust the task of
getting a divorce. My son is going to my sister’s," said Alexey
Alexandrovitch, with an effort recalling what he had meant to say about
his son.

"You take Seryozha to hurt me," she said, looking at him from under her
brows. "You do not love him.... Leave me Seryozha!"

"Yes, I have lost even my affection for my son, because he is associated
with the repulsion I feel for you. But still I shall take him. Goodbye!"

And he was going away, but now she detained him.

"Alexey Alexandrovitch, leave me Seryozha!" she whispered once more. "I
have nothing else to say. Leave Seryozha till my ... I shall soon be
confined; leave him!"

Alexey Alexandrovitch flew into a rage, and, snatching his hand from
her, he went out of the room without a word.

Chapter 5

The waiting-room of the celebrated Petersburg lawyer was full when
Alexey Alexandrovitch entered it. Three ladies—an old lady, a young
lady, and a merchant’s wife—and three gentlemen—one a German banker with
a ring on his finger, the second a merchant with a beard, and the third
a wrathful-looking government clerk in official uniform, with a cross on
his neck—had obviously been waiting a long while already. Two clerks
were writing at tables with scratching pens. The appurtenances of the
writing-tables, about which Alexey Alexandrovitch was himself very
fastidious, were exceptionally good. He could not help observing this.
One of the clerks, without getting up, turned wrathfully to Alexey
Alexandrovitch, half closing his eyes. "What are you wanting?"

He replied that he had to see the lawyer on some business.

"He is engaged," the clerk responded severely, and he pointed with his
pen at the persons waiting, and went on writing.

"Can’t he spare time to see me?" said Alexey Alexandrovitch.

"He has no time free; he is always busy. Kindly wait your turn."

"Then I must trouble you to give him my card," Alexey Alexandrovitch
said with dignity, seeing the impossibility of preserving his incognito.

The clerk took the card and, obviously not approving of what he read on
it, went to the door.

Alexey Alexandrovitch was in principle in favor of the publicity of
legal proceedings, though for some higher official considerations he
disliked the application of the principle in Russia, and disapproved of
it, as far as he could disapprove of anything instituted by authority of
the Emperor. His whole life had been spent in administrative work, and
consequently, when he did not approve of anything, his disapproval was
softened by the recognition of the inevitability of mistakes and the
possibility of reform in every department. In the new public law courts
he disliked the restrictions laid on the lawyers conducting cases. But
till then he had had nothing to do with the law courts, and so had
disapproved of their publicity simply in theory; now his disapprobation
was strengthened by the unpleasant impression made on him in the
lawyer’s waiting room.

"Coming immediately," said the clerk; and two minutes later there did
actually appear in the doorway the large figure of an old solicitor who
had been consulting with the lawyer himself.

The lawyer was a little, squat, bald man, with a dark, reddish beard,
light-colored long eyebrows, and an overhanging brow. He was attired as
though for a wedding, from his cravat to his double watch-chain and
varnished boots. His face was clever and manly, but his dress was
dandified and in bad taste.

"Pray walk in," said the lawyer, addressing Alexey Alexandrovitch; and,
gloomily ushering Karenin in before him, he closed the door.

"Won’t you sit down?" He indicated an armchair at a writing table
covered with papers. He sat down himself, and, rubbing his little hands
with short fingers covered with white hairs, he bent his head on one
side. But as soon as he was settled in this position a moth flew over
the table. The lawyer, with a swiftness that could never have been
expected of him, opened his hands, caught the moth, and resumed his
former attitude.

"Before beginning to speak of my business," said Alexey Alexandrovitch,
following the lawyer’s movements with wondering eyes, "I ought to
observe that the business about which I have to speak to you is to be
strictly private."

The lawyer’s overhanging reddish mustaches were parted in a scarcely
perceptible smile.

"I should not be a lawyer if I could not keep the secrets confided to
me. But if you would like proof..."

Alexey Alexandrovitch glanced at his face, and saw that the shrewd, gray
eyes were laughing, and seemed to know all about it already.

"You know my name?" Alexey Alexandrovitch resumed.

"I know you and the good"—again he caught a moth—"work you are doing,
like every Russian," said the lawyer, bowing.

Alexey Alexandrovitch sighed, plucking up his courage. But having once
made up his mind he went on in his shrill voice, without timidity—or
hesitation, accentuating here and there a word.

"I have the misfortune," Alexey Alexandrovitch began, "to have been
deceived in my married life, and I desire to break off all relations
with my wife by legal means—that is, to be divorced, but to do this so
that my son may not remain with his mother."

The lawyer’s gray eyes tried not to laugh, but they were dancing with
irrepressible glee, and Alexey Alexandrovitch saw that it was not simply
the delight of a man who has just got a profitable job: there was
triumph and joy, there was a gleam like the malignant gleam he saw in
his wife’s eyes.

"You desire my assistance in securing a divorce?"

"Yes, precisely so; but I ought to warn you that I may be wasting your
time and attention. I have come simply to consult you as a preliminary
step. I want a divorce, but the form in which it is possible is of great
consequence to me. It is very possible that if that form does not
correspond with my requirements I may give up a legal divorce."

"Oh, that’s always the case," said the lawyer, "and that’s always for
you to decide."

He let his eyes rest on Alexey Alexandrovitch’s feet, feeling that he
might offend his client by the sight of his irrepressible amusement. He
looked at a moth that flew before his nose, and moved his hands, but did
not catch it from regard for Alexey Alexandrovitch’s position.

"Though in their general features our laws on this subject are known to
me," pursued Alexey Alexandrovitch, "I should be glad to have an idea of
the forms in which such things are done in practice."

"You would be glad," the lawyer, without lifting his eyes, responded,
adopting, with a certain satisfaction, the tone of his client’s remarks,
"for me to lay before you all the methods by which you could secure what
you desire?"

And on receiving an assuring nod from Alexey Alexandrovitch, he went on,
stealing a glance now and then at Alexey Alexandrovitch’s face, which
was growing red in patches.

"Divorce by our laws," he said, with a slight shade of disapprobation of
our laws, "is possible, as you are aware, in the following cases....
Wait a little!" he called to a clerk who put his head in at the door,
but he got up all the same, said a few words to him, and sat down again.
"... In the following cases: physical defect in the married parties,
desertion without communication for five years," he said, crooking a
short finger covered with hair, "adultery" (this word he pronounced with
obvious satisfaction), "subdivided as follows" (he continued to crook
his fat fingers, though the three cases and their subdivisions could
obviously not be classified together): "physical defect of the husband
or of the wife, adultery of the husband or of the wife." As by now all
his fingers were used up, he uncrooked all his fingers and went on:
"This is the theoretical view; but I imagine you have done me the honor
to apply to me in order to learn its application in practice. And
therefore, guided by precedents, I must inform you that in practice
cases of divorce may all be reduced to the following—there’s no physical
defect, I may assume, nor desertion?..."

Alexey Alexandrovitch bowed his head in assent.

"—May be reduced to the following: adultery of one of the married
parties, and the detection in the fact of the guilty party by mutual
agreement, and failing such agreement, accidental detection. It must be
admitted that the latter case is rarely met with in practice," said the
lawyer, and stealing a glance at Alexey Alexandrovitch he paused, as a
man selling pistols, after enlarging on the advantages of each weapon,
might await his customer’s choice. But Alexey Alexandrovitch said
nothing, and therefore the lawyer went on: "The most usual and simple,
the sensible course, I consider, is adultery by mutual consent. I should
not permit myself to express it so, speaking with a man of no
education," he said, "but I imagine that to you this is comprehensible."

Alexey Alexandrovitch was, however, so perturbed that he did not
immediately comprehend all the good sense of adultery by mutual consent,
and his eyes expressed this uncertainty; but the lawyer promptly came to
his assistance.

"People cannot go on living together—here you have a fact. And if both
are agreed about it, the details and formalities become a matter of no
importance. And at the same time this is the simplest and most certain

Alexey Alexandrovitch fully understood now. But he had religious
scruples, which hindered the execution of such a plan.

"That is out of the question in the present case," he said. "Only one
alternative is possible: undesigned detection, supported by letters
which I have."

At the mention of letters the lawyer pursed up his lips, and gave
utterance to a thin little compassionate and contemptuous sound.

"Kindly consider," he began, "cases of that kind are, as you are aware,
under ecclesiastical jurisdiction; the reverend fathers are fond of
going into the minutest details in cases of that kind," he said with a
smile, which betrayed his sympathy with the reverend fathers’ taste.
"Letters may, of course, be a partial confirmation; but detection in the
fact there must be of the most direct kind, that is, by eyewitnesses. In
fact, if you do me the honor to intrust your confidence to me, you will
do well to leave me the choice of the measures to be employed. If one
wants the result, one must admit the means."

"If it is so..." Alexey Alexandrovitch began, suddenly turning white;
but at that moment the lawyer rose and again went to the door to speak
to the intruding clerk.

"Tell her we don’t haggle over fees!" he said, and returned to Alexey

On his way back he caught unobserved another moth. "Nice state my rep
curtains will be in by the summer!" he thought, frowning.

"And so you were saying?..." he said.

"I will communicate my decision to you by letter," said Alexey
Alexandrovitch, getting up, and he clutched at the table. After standing
a moment in silence, he said: "From your words I may consequently
conclude that a divorce may be obtained? I would ask you to let me know
what are your terms."

"It may be obtained if you give me complete liberty of action," said the
lawyer, not answering his question. "When can I reckon on receiving
information from you?" he asked, moving towards the door, his eyes and
his varnished boots shining.

"In a week’s time. Your answer as to whether you will undertake to
conduct the case, and on what terms, you will be so good as to
communicate to me."

"Very good."

The lawyer bowed respectfully, let his client out of the door, and, left
alone, gave himself up to his sense of amusement. He felt so mirthful
that, contrary to his rules, he made a reduction in his terms to the
haggling lady, and gave up catching moths, finally deciding that next
winter he must have the furniture covered with velvet, like Sigonin’s.

Chapter 6

Alexey Alexandrovitch had gained a brilliant victory at the sitting of
the Commission of the 17th of August, but in the sequel this victory cut
the ground from under his feet. The new commission for the inquiry into
the condition of the native tribes in all its branches had been formed
and despatched to its destination with an unusual speed and energy
inspired by Alexey Alexandrovitch. Within three months a report was
presented. The condition of the native tribes was investigated in its
political, administrative, economic, ethnographic, material, and
religious aspects. To all these questions there were answers admirably
stated, and answers admitting no shade of doubt, since they were not a
product of human thought, always liable to error, but were all the
product of official activity. The answers were all based on official
data furnished by governors and heads of churches, and founded on the
reports of district magistrates and ecclesiastical superintendents,
founded in their turn on the reports of parochial overseers and parish
priests; and so all of these answers were unhesitating and certain. All
such questions as, for instance, of the cause of failure of crops, of
the adherence of certain tribes to their ancient beliefs, etc.—questions
which, but for the convenient intervention of the official machine, are
not, and cannot be solved for ages—received full, unhesitating solution.
And this solution was in favor of Alexey Alexandrovitch’s contention.
But Stremov, who had felt stung to the quick at the last sitting, had,
on the reception of the commission’s report, resorted to tactics which
Alexey Alexandrovitch had not anticipated. Stremov, carrying with him
several members, went over to Alexey Alexandrovitch’s side, and not
contenting himself with warmly defending the measure proposed by
Karenin, proposed other more extreme measures in the same direction.
These measures, still further exaggerated in opposition to what was
Alexey Alexandrovitch’s fundamental idea, were passed by the commission,
and then the aim of Stremov’s tactics became apparent. Carried to an
extreme, the measures seemed at once to be so absurd that the highest
authorities, and public opinion, and intellectual ladies, and the
newspapers, all at the same time fell foul of them, expressing their
indignation both with the measures and their nominal father, Alexey
Alexandrovitch. Stremov drew back, affecting to have blindly followed
Karenin, and to be astounded and distressed at what had been done. This
meant the defeat of Alexey Alexandrovitch. But in spite of failing
health, in spite of his domestic griefs, he did not give in. There was a
split in the commission. Some members, with Stremov at their head,
justified their mistake on the ground that they had put faith in the
commission of revision, instituted by Alexey Alexandrovitch, and
maintained that the report of the commission was rubbish, and simply so
much waste paper. Alexey Alexandrovitch, with a following of those who
saw the danger of so revolutionary an attitude to official documents,
persisted in upholding the statements obtained by the revising
commission. In consequence of this, in the higher spheres, and even in
society, all was chaos, and although everyone was interested, no one
could tell whether the native tribes really were becoming impoverished
and ruined, or whether they were in a flourishing condition. The
position of Alexey Alexandrovitch, owing to this, and partly owing to
the contempt lavished on him for his wife’s infidelity, became very
precarious. And in this position he took an important resolution. To the
astonishment of the commission, he announced that he should ask
permission to go himself to investigate the question on the spot. And
having obtained permission, Alexey Alexandrovitch prepared to set off to
these remote provinces.

Alexey Alexandrovitch’s departure made a great sensation, the more so as
just before he started he officially returned the posting-fares allowed
him for twelve horses, to drive to his destination.

"I think it very noble," Betsy said about this to the Princess Myakaya.
"Why take money for posting-horses when everyone knows that there are
railways everywhere now?"

But Princess Myakaya did not agree, and the Princess Tverskaya’s opinion
annoyed her indeed.

"It’s all very well for you to talk," said she, "when you have I don’t
know how many millions; but I am very glad when my husband goes on a
revising tour in the summer. It’s very good for him and pleasant
traveling about, and it’s a settled arrangement for me to keep a
carriage and coachman on the money."

On his way to the remote provinces Alexey Alexandrovitch stopped for
three days at Moscow.

The day after his arrival he was driving back from calling on the
governor-general. At the crossroads by Gazetoy Place, where there are
always crowds of carriages and sledges, Alexey Alexandrovitch suddenly
heard his name called out in such a loud and cheerful voice that he
could not help looking round. At the corner of the pavement, in a short,
stylish overcoat and a low-crowned fashionable hat, jauntily askew, with
a smile that showed a gleam of white teeth and red lips, stood Stepan
Arkadyevitch, radiant, young, and beaming. He called him vigorously and
urgently, and insisted on his stopping. He had one arm on the window of
a carriage that was stopping at the corner, and out of the window were
thrust the heads of a lady in a velvet hat, and two children. Stepan
Arkadyevitch was smiling and beckoning to his brother-in-law. The lady
smiled a kindly smile too, and she too waved her hand to Alexey
Alexandrovitch. It was Dolly with her children.

Alexey Alexandrovitch did not want to see anyone in Moscow, and least of
all his wife’s brother. He raised his hat and would have driven on, but
Stepan Arkadyevitch told his coachman to stop, and ran across the snow
to him.

"Well, what a shame not to have let us know! Been here long? I was at
Dussot’s yesterday and saw ‘Karenin’ on the visitors’ list, but it never
entered my head that it was you," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, sticking his
head in at the window of the carriage, "or I should have looked you up.
I am glad to see you!" he said, knocking one foot against the other to
shake the snow off. "What a shame of you not to let us know!" he

"I had no time; I am very busy," Alexey Alexandrovitch responded dryly.

"Come to my wife, she does so want to see you."

Alexey Alexandrovitch unfolded the rug in which his frozen feet were
wrapped, and getting out of his carriage made his way over the snow to
Darya Alexandrovna.

"Why, Alexey Alexandrovitch, what are you cutting us like this for?"
said Dolly, smiling.

"I was very busy. Delighted to see you!" he said in a tone clearly
indicating that he was annoyed by it. "How are you?"

"Tell me, how is my darling Anna?"

Alexey Alexandrovitch mumbled something and would have gone on. But
Stepan Arkadyevitch stopped him.

"I tell you what we’ll do tomorrow. Dolly, ask him to dinner. We’ll ask
Koznishev and Pestsov, so as to entertain him with our Moscow

"Yes, please, do come," said Dolly; "we will expect you at five, or six
o’clock, if you like. How is my darling Anna? How long..."

"She is quite well," Alexey Alexandrovitch mumbled, frowning.
"Delighted!" and he moved away towards his carriage.

"You will come?" Dolly called after him.

Alexey Alexandrovitch said something which Dolly could not catch in the
noise of the moving carriages.

"I shall come round tomorrow!" Stepan Arkadyevitch shouted to him.

Alexey Alexandrovitch got into his carriage, and buried himself in it so
as neither to see nor be seen.

"Queer fish!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch to his wife, and glancing at his
watch, he made a motion of his hand before his face, indicating a caress
to his wife and children, and walked jauntily along the pavement.

"Stiva! Stiva!" Dolly called, reddening.

He turned round.

"I must get coats, you know, for Grisha and Tanya. Give me the money."

"Never mind; you tell them I’ll pay the bill!" and he vanished, nodding
genially to an acquaintance who drove by.

Chapter 7

The next day was Sunday. Stepan Arkadyevitch went to the Grand Theater
to a rehearsal of the ballet, and gave Masha Tchibisova, a pretty
dancing-girl whom he had just taken under his protection, the coral
necklace he had promised her the evening before, and behind the scenes
in the dim daylight of the theater, managed to kiss her pretty little
face, radiant over her present. Besides the gift of the necklace he
wanted to arrange with her about meeting after the ballet. After
explaining that he could not come at the beginning of the ballet, he
promised he would come for the last act and take her to supper. From the
theater Stepan Arkadyevitch drove to Ohotny Row, selected himself the
fish and asparagus for dinner, and by twelve o’clock was at Dussot’s,
where he had to see three people, luckily all staying at the same hotel:
Levin, who had recently come back from abroad and was staying there; the
new head of his department, who had just been promoted to that position,
and had come on a tour of revision to Moscow; and his brother-in-law,
Karenin, whom he must see, so as to be sure of bringing him to dinner.

Stepan Arkadyevitch liked dining, but still better he liked to give a
dinner, small, but very choice, both as regards the food and drink and
as regards the selection of guests. He particularly liked the program of
that day’s dinner. There would be fresh perch, asparagus, and _la pièce
de resistance_—first-rate, but quite plain, roast beef, and wines to
suit: so much for the eating and drinking. Kitty and Levin would be of
the party, and that this might not be obtrusively evident, there would
be a girl cousin too, and young Shtcherbatsky, and _la pièce de
resistance_ among the guests—Sergey Koznishev and Alexey Alexandrovitch.
Sergey Ivanovitch was a Moscow man, and a philosopher; Alexey
Alexandrovitch a Petersburger, and a practical politician. He was
asking, too, the well-known eccentric enthusiast, Pestsov, a liberal, a
great talker, a musician, an historian, and the most delightfully
youthful person of fifty, who would be a sauce or garnish for Koznishev
and Karenin. He would provoke them and set them off.

The second installment for the forest had been received from the
merchant and was not yet exhausted; Dolly had been very amiable and
goodhumored of late, and the idea of the dinner pleased Stepan
Arkadyevitch from every point of view. He was in the most light-hearted
mood. There were two circumstances a little unpleasant, but these two
circumstances were drowned in the sea of good-humored gaiety which
flooded the soul of Stepan Arkadyevitch. These two circumstances were:
first, that on meeting Alexey Alexandrovitch the day before in the
street he had noticed that he was cold and reserved with him, and
putting the expression of Alexey Alexandrovitch’s face and the fact that
he had not come to see them or let them know of his arrival with the
rumors he had heard about Anna and Vronsky, Stepan Arkadyevitch guessed
that something was wrong between the husband and wife.

That was one disagreeable thing. The other slightly disagreeable fact
was that the new head of his department, like all new heads, had the
reputation already of a terrible person, who got up at six o’clock in
the morning, worked like a horse, and insisted on his subordinates
working in the same way. Moreover, this new head had the further
reputation of being a bear in his manners, and was, according to all
reports, a man of a class in all respects the opposite of that to which
his predecessor had belonged, and to which Stepan Arkadyevitch had
hitherto belonged himself. On the previous day Stepan Arkadyevitch had
appeared at the office in a uniform, and the new chief had been very
affable and had talked to him as to an acquaintance. Consequently Stepan
Arkadyevitch deemed it his duty to call upon him in his non-official
dress. The thought that the new chief might not tender him a warm
reception was the other unpleasant thing. But Stepan Arkadyevitch
instinctively felt that everything would _come round_ all right.
"They’re all people, all men, like us poor sinners; why be nasty and
quarrelsome?" he thought as he went into the hotel.

"Good-day, Vassily," he said, walking into the corridor with his hat
cocked on one side, and addressing a footman he knew; "why, you’ve let
your whiskers grow! Levin, number seven, eh? Take me up, please. And
find out whether Count Anitchkin" (this was the new head) "is

"Yes, sir," Vassily responded, smiling. "You’ve not been to see us for a
long while."

"I was here yesterday, but at the other entrance. Is this number seven?"

Levin was standing with a peasant from Tver in the middle of the room,
measuring a fresh bearskin, when Stepan Arkadyevitch went in.

"What! you killed him?" cried Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Well done! A
she-bear? How are you, Arhip!"

He shook hands with the peasant and sat down on the edge of a chair,
without taking off his coat and hat.

"Come, take off your coat and stay a little," said Levin, taking his

"No, I haven’t time; I’ve only looked in for a tiny second," answered
Stepan Arkadyevitch. He threw open his coat, but afterwards did take it
off, and sat on for a whole hour, talking to Levin about hunting and the
most intimate subjects.

"Come, tell me, please, what you did abroad? Where have you been?" said
Stepan Arkadyevitch, when the peasant had gone.

"Oh, I stayed in Germany, in Prussia, in France, and in England—not in
the capitals, but in the manufacturing towns, and saw a great deal that
was new to me. And I’m glad I went."

"Yes, I knew your idea of the solution of the labor question."

"Not a bit: in Russia there can be no labor question. In Russia the
question is that of the relation of the working people to the land;
though the question exists there too—but there it’s a matter of
repairing what’s been ruined, while with us..."

Stepan Arkadyevitch listened attentively to Levin.

"Yes, yes!" he said, "it’s very possible you’re right. But I’m glad
you’re in good spirits, and are hunting bears, and working, and
interested. Shtcherbatsky told me another story—he met you—that you were
in such a depressed state, talking of nothing but death...."

"Well, what of it? I’ve not given up thinking of death," said Levin.
"It’s true that it’s high time I was dead; and that all this is
nonsense. It’s the truth I’m telling you. I do value my idea and my work
awfully; but in reality only consider this: all this world of ours is
nothing but a speck of mildew, which has grown up on a tiny planet. And
for us to suppose we can have something great—ideas, work—it’s all dust
and ashes."

"But all that’s as old as the hills, my boy!"

"It is old; but do you know, when you grasp this fully, then somehow
everything becomes of no consequence. When you understand that you will
die tomorrow, if not today, and nothing will be left, then everything is
so unimportant! And I consider my idea very important, but it turns out
really to be as unimportant too, even if it were carried out, as doing
for that bear. So one goes on living, amusing oneself with hunting, with
work—anything so as not to think of death!"

Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled a subtle affectionate smile as he listened to

"Well, of course! Here you’ve come round to my point. Do you remember
you attacked me for seeking enjoyment in life? Don’t be so severe, O

"No; all the same, what’s fine in life is..." Levin hesitated—"oh, I
don’t know. All I know is that we shall soon be dead."

"Why so soon?"

"And do you know, there’s less charm in life, when one thinks of death,
but there’s more peace."

"On the contrary, the finish is always the best. But I must be going,"
said Stepan Arkadyevitch, getting up for the tenth time.

"Oh, no, stay a bit!" said Levin, keeping him. "Now, when shall we see
each other again? I’m going tomorrow."

"I’m a nice person! Why, that’s just what I came for! You simply must
come to dinner with us today. Your brother’s coming, and Karenin, my

"You don’t mean to say he’s here?" said Levin, and he wanted to inquire
about Kitty. He had heard at the beginning of the winter that she was at
Petersburg with her sister, the wife of the diplomat, and he did not
know whether she had come back or not; but he changed his mind and did
not ask. "Whether she’s coming or not, I don’t care," he said to

"So you’ll come?"

"Of course."

"At five o’clock, then, and not evening dress."

And Stepan Arkadyevitch got up and went down below to the new head of
his department. Instinct had not misled Stepan Arkadyevitch. The
terrible new head turned out to be an extremely amenable person, and
Stepan Arkadyevitch lunched with him and stayed on, so that it was four
o’clock before he got to Alexey Alexandrovitch.

Chapter 8

Alexey Alexandrovitch, on coming back from church service, had spent the
whole morning indoors. He had two pieces of business before him that
morning; first, to receive and send on a deputation from the native
tribes which was on its way to Petersburg, and now at Moscow; secondly,
to write the promised letter to the lawyer. The deputation, though it
had been summoned at Alexey Alexandrovitch’s instigation, was not
without its discomforting and even dangerous aspect, and he was glad he
had found it in Moscow. The members of this deputation had not the
slightest conception of their duty and the part they were to play. They
naïvely believed that it was their business to lay before the commission
their needs and the actual condition of things, and to ask assistance of
the government, and utterly failed to grasp that some of their
statements and requests supported the contention of the enemy’s side,
and so spoiled the whole business. Alexey Alexandrovitch was busily
engaged with them for a long while, drew up a program for them from
which they were not to depart, and on dismissing them wrote a letter to
Petersburg for the guidance of the deputation. He had his chief support
in this affair in the Countess Lidia Ivanovna. She was a specialist in
the matter of deputations, and no one knew better than she how to manage
them, and put them in the way they should go. Having completed this
task, Alexey Alexandrovitch wrote the letter to the lawyer. Without the
slightest hesitation he gave him permission to act as he might judge
best. In the letter he enclosed three of Vronsky’s notes to Anna, which
were in the portfolio he had taken away.

Since Alexey Alexandrovitch had left home with the intention of not
returning to his family again, and since he had been at the lawyer’s and
had spoken, though only to one man, of his intention, since especially
he had translated the matter from the world of real life to the world of
ink and paper, he had grown more and more used to his own intention, and
by now distinctly perceived the feasibility of its execution.

He was sealing the envelope to the lawyer, when he heard the loud tones
of Stepan Arkadyevitch’s voice. Stepan Arkadyevitch was disputing with
Alexey Alexandrovitch’s servant, and insisting on being announced.

"No matter," thought Alexey Alexandrovitch, "so much the better. I will
inform him at once of my position in regard to his sister, and explain
why it is I can’t dine with him."

"Come in!" he said aloud, collecting his papers, and putting them in the

"There, you see, you’re talking nonsense, and he’s at home!" responded
Stepan Arkadyevitch’s voice, addressing the servant, who had refused to
let him in, and taking off his coat as he went, Oblonsky walked into the
room. "Well, I’m awfully glad I’ve found you! So I hope..." Stepan
Arkadyevitch began cheerfully.

"I cannot come," Alexey Alexandrovitch said coldly, standing and not
asking his visitor to sit down.

Alexey Alexandrovitch had thought to pass at once into those frigid
relations in which he ought to stand with the brother of a wife against
whom he was beginning a suit for divorce. But he had not taken into
account the ocean of kindliness brimming over in the heart of Stepan

Stepan Arkadyevitch opened wide his clear, shining eyes.

"Why can’t you? What do you mean?" he asked in perplexity, speaking in
French. "Oh, but it’s a promise. And we’re all counting on you."

"I want to tell you that I can’t dine at your house, because the terms
of relationship which have existed between us must cease."

"How? How do you mean? What for?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch with a smile.

"Because I am beginning an action for divorce against your sister, my
wife. I ought to have..."

But, before Alexey Alexandrovitch had time to finish his sentence,
Stepan Arkadyevitch was behaving not at all as he had expected. He
groaned and sank into an armchair.

"No, Alexey Alexandrovitch! What are you saying?" cried Oblonsky, and
his suffering was apparent in his face.

"It is so."

"Excuse me, I can’t, I can’t believe it!"

Alexey Alexandrovitch sat down, feeling that his words had not had the
effect he anticipated, and that it would be unavoidable for him to
explain his position, and that, whatever explanations he might make, his
relations with his brother-in-law would remain unchanged.

"Yes, I am brought to the painful necessity of seeking a divorce," he

"I will say one thing, Alexey Alexandrovitch. I know you for an
excellent, upright man; I know Anna—excuse me, I can’t change my opinion
of her—for a good, an excellent woman; and so, excuse me, I cannot
believe it. There is some misunderstanding," said he.

"Oh, if it were merely a misunderstanding!..."

"Pardon, I understand," interposed Stepan Arkadyevitch. "But of
course.... One thing: you must not act in haste. You must not, you must
not act in haste!"

"I am not acting in haste," Alexey Alexandrovitch said coldly, "but one
cannot ask advice of anyone in such a matter. I have quite made up my

"This is awful!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "I would do one thing, Alexey
Alexandrovitch. I beseech you, do it!" he said. "No action has yet been
taken, if I understand rightly. Before you take advice, see my wife,
talk to her. She loves Anna like a sister, she loves you, and she’s a
wonderful woman. For God’s sake, talk to her! Do me that favor, I
beseech you!"

Alexey Alexandrovitch pondered, and Stepan Arkadyevitch looked at him
sympathetically, without interrupting his silence.

"You will go to see her?"

"I don’t know. That was just why I have not been to see you. I imagine
our relations must change."

"Why so? I don’t see that. Allow me to believe that apart from our
connection you have for me, at least in part, the same friendly feeling
I have always had for you ... and sincere esteem," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, pressing his hand. "Even if your worst suppositions were
correct, I don’t—and never would—take on myself to judge either side,
and I see no reason why our relations should be affected. But now, do
this, come and see my wife."

"Well, we look at the matter differently," said Alexey Alexandrovitch
coldly. "However, we won’t discuss it."

"No; why shouldn’t you come today to dine, anyway? My wife’s expecting
you. Please, do come. And, above all, talk it over with her. She’s a
wonderful woman. For God’s sake, on my knees, I implore you!"

"If you so much wish it, I will come," said Alexey Alexandrovitch,

And, anxious to change the conversation, he inquired about what
interested them both—the new head of Stepan Arkadyevitch’s department, a
man not yet old, who had suddenly been promoted to so high a position.

Alexey Alexandrovitch had previously felt no liking for Count Anitchkin,
and had always differed from him in his opinions. But now, from a
feeling readily comprehensible to officials—that hatred felt by one who
has suffered a defeat in the service for one who has received a
promotion, he could not endure him.

"Well, have you seen him?" said Alexey Alexandrovitch with a malignant

"Of course; he was at our sitting yesterday. He seems to know his work
capitally, and to be very energetic."

"Yes, but what is his energy directed to?" said Alexey Alexandrovitch.
"Is he aiming at doing anything, or simply undoing what’s been done?
It’s the great misfortune of our government—this paper administration,
of which he’s a worthy representative."

"Really, I don’t know what fault one could find with him. His policy I
don’t know, but one thing—he’s a very nice fellow," answered Stepan
Arkadyevitch. "I’ve just been seeing him, and he’s really a capital
fellow. We lunched together, and I taught him how to make, you know that
drink, wine and oranges. It’s so cooling. And it’s a wonder he didn’t
know it. He liked it awfully. No, really he’s a capital fellow."

Stepan Arkadyevitch glanced at his watch.

"Why, good heavens, it’s four already, and I’ve still to go to
Dolgovushin’s! So please come round to dinner. You can’t imagine how you
will grieve my wife and me."

The way in which Alexey Alexandrovitch saw his brother-in-law out was
very different from the manner in which he had met him.

"I’ve promised, and I’ll come," he answered wearily.

"Believe me, I appreciate it, and I hope you won’t regret it," answered
Stepan Arkadyevitch, smiling.

And, putting on his coat as he went, he patted the footman on the head,
chuckled, and went out.

"At five o’clock, and not evening dress, please," he shouted once more,
turning at the door.

Chapter 9

It was past five, and several guests had already arrived, before the
host himself got home. He went in together with Sergey Ivanovitch
Koznishev and Pestsov, who had reached the street door at the same
moment. These were the two leading representatives of the Moscow
intellectuals, as Oblonsky had called them. Both were men respected for
their character and their intelligence. They respected each other, but
were in complete and hopeless disagreement upon almost every subject,
not because they belonged to opposite parties, but precisely because
they were of the same party (their enemies refused to see any
distinction between their views); but, in that party, each had his own
special shade of opinion. And since no difference is less easily
overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions,
they never agreed in any opinion, and had long, indeed, been accustomed
to jeer without anger, each at the other’s incorrigible aberrations.

They were just going in at the door, talking of the weather, when Stepan
Arkadyevitch overtook them. In the drawing room there were already
sitting Prince Alexander Dmitrievitch Shtcherbatsky, young
Shtcherbatsky, Turovtsin, Kitty, and Karenin.

Stepan Arkadyevitch saw immediately that things were not going well in
the drawing-room without him. Darya Alexandrovna, in her best gray silk
gown, obviously worried about the children, who were to have their
dinner by themselves in the nursery, and by her husband’s absence, was
not equal to the task of making the party mix without him. All were
sitting like so many priests’ wives on a visit (so the old prince
expressed it), obviously wondering why they were there, and pumping up
remarks simply to avoid being silent. Turovtsin—good, simple man—felt
unmistakably a fish out of water, and the smile with which his thick
lips greeted Stepan Arkadyevitch said, as plainly as words: "Well, old
boy, you have popped me down in a learned set! A drinking party now, or
the _Château des Fleurs_, would be more in my line!" The old prince sat
in silence, his bright little eyes watching Karenin from one side, and
Stepan Arkadyevitch saw that he had already formed a phrase to sum up
that politician of whom guests were invited to partake as though he were
a sturgeon. Kitty was looking at the door, calling up all her energies
to keep her from blushing at the entrance of Konstantin Levin. Young
Shtcherbatsky, who had not been introduced to Karenin, was trying to
look as though he were not in the least conscious of it. Karenin himself
had followed the Petersburg fashion for a dinner with ladies and was
wearing evening dress and a white tie. Stepan Arkadyevitch saw by his
face that he had come simply to keep his promise, and was performing a
disagreeable duty in being present at this gathering. He was indeed the
person chiefly responsible for the chill benumbing all the guests before
Stepan Arkadyevitch came in.

On entering the drawing room Stepan Arkadyevitch apologized, explaining
that he had been detained by that prince, who was always the scapegoat
for all his absences and unpunctualities, and in one moment he had made
all the guests acquainted with each other, and, bringing together Alexey
Alexandrovitch and Sergey Koznishev, started them on a discussion of the
Russification of Poland, into which they immediately plunged with
Pestsov. Slapping Turovtsin on the shoulder, he whispered something
comic in his ear, and set him down by his wife and the old prince. Then
he told Kitty she was looking very pretty that evening, and presented
Shtcherbatsky to Karenin. In a moment he had so kneaded together the
social dough that the drawing room became very lively, and there was a
merry buzz of voices. Konstantin Levin was the only person who had not
arrived. But this was so much the better, as going into the dining room,
Stepan Arkadyevitch found to his horror that the port and sherry had
been procured from Deprè, and not from Levy, and, directing that the
coachman should be sent off as speedily as possible to Levy’s, he was
going back to the drawing room.

In the dining room he was met by Konstantin Levin.

"I’m not late?"

"You can never help being late!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, taking his

"Have you a lot of people? Who’s here?" asked Levin, unable to help
blushing, as he knocked the snow off his cap with his glove.

"All our own set. Kitty’s here. Come along, I’ll introduce you to

Stepan Arkadyevitch, for all his liberal views, was well aware that to
meet Karenin was sure to be felt a flattering distinction, and so
treated his best friends to this honor. But at that instant Konstantin
Levin was not in a condition to feel all the gratification of making
such an acquaintance. He had not seen Kitty since that memorable evening
when he met Vronsky, not counting, that is, the moment when he had had a
glimpse of her on the highroad. He had known at the bottom of his heart
that he would see her here today. But to keep his thoughts free, he had
tried to persuade himself that he did not know it. Now when he heard
that she was here, he was suddenly conscious of such delight, and at the
same time of such dread, that his breath failed him and he could not
utter what he wanted to say.

"What is she like, what is she like? Like what she used to be, or like
what she was in the carriage? What if Darya Alexandrovna told the truth?
Why shouldn’t it be the truth?" he thought.

"Oh, please, introduce me to Karenin," he brought out with an effort,
and with a desperately determined step he walked into the drawing room
and beheld her.

She was not the same as she used to be, nor was she as she had been in
the carriage; she was quite different.

She was scared, shy, shame-faced, and still more charming from it. She
saw him the very instant he walked into the room. She had been expecting
him. She was delighted, and so confused at her own delight that there
was a moment, the moment when he went up to her sister and glanced again
at her, when she, and he, and Dolly, who saw it all, thought she would
break down and would begin to cry. She crimsoned, turned white,
crimsoned again, and grew faint, waiting with quivering lips for him to
come to her. He went up to her, bowed, and held out his hand without
speaking. Except for the slight quiver of her lips and the moisture in
her eyes that made them brighter, her smile was almost calm as she said:

"How long it is since we’ve seen each other!" and with desperate
determination she pressed his hand with her cold hand.

"You’ve not seen me, but I’ve seen you," said Levin, with a radiant
smile of happiness. "I saw you when you were driving from the railway
station to Ergushovo."

"When?" she asked, wondering.

"You were driving to Ergushovo," said Levin, feeling as if he would sob
with the rapture that was flooding his heart. "And how dared I associate
a thought of anything not innocent with this touching creature? And,
yes, I do believe it’s true what Darya Alexandrovna told me," he

Stepan Arkadyevitch took him by the arm and led him away to Karenin.

"Let me introduce you." He mentioned their names.

"Very glad to meet you again," said Alexey Alexandrovitch coldly,
shaking hands with Levin.

"You are acquainted?" Stepan Arkadyevitch asked in surprise.

"We spent three hours together in the train," said Levin smiling, "but
got out, just as in a masquerade, quite mystified—at least I was."

"Nonsense! Come along, please," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, pointing in
the direction of the dining room.

The men went into the dining-room and went up to a table, laid with six
sorts of spirits and as many kinds of cheese, some with little silver
spades and some without, caviar, herrings, preserves of various kinds,
and plates with slices of French bread.

The men stood round the strong-smelling spirits and salt delicacies, and
the discussion of the Russification of Poland between Koznishev,
Karenin, and Pestsov died down in anticipation of dinner.

Sergey Ivanovitch was unequaled in his skill in winding up the most
heated and serious argument by some unexpected pinch of Attic salt that
changed the disposition of his opponent. He did this now.

Alexey Alexandrovitch had been maintaining that the Russification of
Poland could only be accomplished as a result of larger measures which
ought to be introduced by the Russian government.

Pestsov insisted that one country can only absorb another when it is the
more densely populated.

Koznishev admitted both points, but with limitations. As they were going
out of the drawing room to conclude the argument, Koznishev said,

"So, then, for the Russification of our foreign populations there is but
one method—to bring up as many children as one can. My brother and I are
terribly in fault, I see. You married men, especially you, Stepan
Arkadyevitch, are the real patriots: what number have you reached?" he
said, smiling genially at their host and holding out a tiny wine glass
to him.

Everyone laughed, and Stepan Arkadyevitch with particular good humor.

"Oh, yes, that’s the best method!" he said, munching cheese and filling
the wine-glass with a special sort of spirit. The conversation dropped
at the jest.

"This cheese is not bad. Shall I give you some?" said the master of the
house. "Why, have you been going in for gymnastics again?" he asked
Levin, pinching his muscle with his left hand. Levin smiled, bent his
arm, and under Stepan Arkadyevitch’s fingers the muscles swelled up like
a sound cheese, hard as a knob of iron, through the fine cloth of the

"What biceps! A perfect Samson!"

"I imagine great strength is needed for hunting bears," observed Alexey
Alexandrovitch, who had the mistiest notions about the chase. He cut off
and spread with cheese a wafer of bread fine as a spider-web.

Levin smiled.

"Not at all. Quite the contrary; a child can kill a bear," he said, with
a slight bow moving aside for the ladies, who were approaching the

"You have killed a bear, I’ve been told!" said Kitty, trying assiduously
to catch with her fork a perverse mushroom that would slip away, and
setting the lace quivering over her white arm. "Are there bears on your
place?" she added, turning her charming little head to him and smiling.

There was apparently nothing extraordinary in what she said, but what
unutterable meaning there was for him in every sound, in every turn of
her lips, her eyes, her hand as she said it! There was entreaty for
forgiveness, and trust in him, and tenderness—soft, timid tenderness—and
promise and hope and love for him, which he could not but believe in and
which choked him with happiness.

"No, we’ve been hunting in the Tver province. It was coming back from
there that I met your _beaufrère_ in the train, or your _beaufrère’s_
brother-in-law," he said with a smile. "It was an amusing meeting."

And he began telling with droll good-humor how, after not sleeping all
night, he had, wearing an old fur-lined, full-skirted coat, got into
Alexey Alexandrovitch’s compartment.

"The conductor, forgetting the proverb, would have chucked me out on
account of my attire; but thereupon I began expressing my feelings in
elevated language, and ... you, too," he said, addressing Karenin and
forgetting his name, "at first would have ejected me on the ground of
the old coat, but afterwards you took my part, for which I am extremely

"The rights of passengers generally to choose their seats are too
ill-defined," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, rubbing the tips of his
fingers on his handkerchief.

"I saw you were in uncertainty about me," said Levin, smiling
good-naturedly, "but I made haste to plunge into intellectual
conversation to smooth over the defects of my attire." Sergey
Ivanovitch, while he kept up a conversation with their hostess, had one
ear for his brother, and he glanced askance at him. "What is the matter
with him today? Why such a conquering hero?" he thought. He did not know
that Levin was feeling as though he had grown wings. Levin knew she was
listening to his words and that she was glad to listen to him. And this
was the only thing that interested him. Not in that room only, but in
the whole world, there existed for him only himself, with enormously
increased importance and dignity in his own eyes, and she. He felt
himself on a pinnacle that made him giddy, and far away down below were
all those nice excellent Karenins, Oblonskys, and all the world.

Quite without attracting notice, without glancing at them, as though
there were no other places left, Stepan Arkadyevitch put Levin and Kitty
side by side.

"Oh, you may as well sit there," he said to Levin.

The dinner was as choice as the china, in which Stepan Arkadyevitch was
a connoisseur. The _soupe Marie-Louise_ was a splendid success; the tiny
pies eaten with it melted in the mouth and were irreproachable. The two
footmen and Matvey, in white cravats, did their duty with the dishes and
wines unobtrusively, quietly, and swiftly. On the material side the
dinner was a success; it was no less so on the immaterial. The
conversation, at times general and at times between individuals, never
paused, and towards the end the company was so lively that the men rose
from the table, without stopping speaking, and even Alexey
Alexandrovitch thawed.

Chapter 10

Pestsov liked thrashing an argument out to the end, and was not
satisfied with Sergey Ivanovitch’s words, especially as he felt the
injustice of his view.

"I did not mean," he said over the soup, addressing Alexey
Alexandrovitch, "mere density of population alone, but in conjunction
with fundamental ideas, and not by means of principles."

"It seems to me," Alexey Alexandrovitch said languidly, and with no
haste, "that that’s the same thing. In my opinion, influence over
another people is only possible to the people which has the higher
development, which..."

"But that’s just the question," Pestsov broke in in his bass.

He was always in a hurry to speak, and seemed always to put his whole
soul into what he was saying. "In what are we to make higher development
consist? The English, the French, the Germans, which is at the highest
stage of development? Which of them will nationalize the other? We see
the Rhine provinces have been turned French, but the Germans are not at
a lower stage!" he shouted. "There is another law at work there."

"I fancy that the greater influence is always on the side of true
civilization," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, slightly lifting his

"But what are we to lay down as the outward signs of true civilization?"
said Pestsov.

"I imagine such signs are generally very well known," said Alexey

"But are they fully known?" Sergey Ivanovitch put in with a subtle
smile. "It is the accepted view now that real culture must be purely
classical; but we see most intense disputes on each side of the
question, and there is no denying that the opposite camp has strong
points in its favor."

"You are for classics, Sergey Ivanovitch. Will you take red wine?" said
Stepan Arkadyevitch.

"I am not expressing my own opinion of either form of culture," Sergey
Ivanovitch said, holding out his glass with a smile of condescension, as
to a child. "I only say that both sides have strong arguments to support
them," he went on, addressing Alexey Alexandrovitch. "My sympathies are
classical from education, but in this discussion I am personally unable
to arrive at a conclusion. I see no distinct grounds for classical
studies being given a preeminence over scientific studies."

"The natural sciences have just as great an educational value," put in
Pestsov. "Take astronomy, take botany, or zoology with its system of
general principles."

"I cannot quite agree with that," responded Alexey Alexandrovitch "It
seems to me that one must admit that the very process of studying the
forms of language has a peculiarly favorable influence on intellectual
development. Moreover, it cannot be denied that the influence of the
classical authors is in the highest degree moral, while, unfortunately,
with the study of the natural sciences are associated the false and
noxious doctrines which are the curse of our day."

Sergey Ivanovitch would have said something, but Pestsov interrupted him
in his rich bass. He began warmly contesting the justice of this view.
Sergey Ivanovitch waited serenely to speak, obviously with a convincing
reply ready.

"But," said Sergey Ivanovitch, smiling subtly, and addressing Karenin,
"One must allow that to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of
classical and scientific studies is a difficult task, and the question
which form of education was to be preferred would not have been so
quickly and conclusively decided if there had not been in favor of
classical education, as you expressed it just now, its moral—disons le
mot—anti-nihilist influence."


"If it had not been for the distinctive property of anti-nihilistic
influence on the side of classical studies, we should have considered
the subject more, have weighed the arguments on both sides," said Sergey
Ivanovitch with a subtle smile, "we should have given elbow-room to both
tendencies. But now we know that these little pills of classical
learning possess the medicinal property of anti-nihilism, and we boldly
prescribe them to our patients.... But what if they had no such
medicinal property?" he wound up humorously.

At Sergey Ivanovitch’s little pills, everyone laughed; Turovtsin in
especial roared loudly and jovially, glad at last to have found
something to laugh at, all he ever looked for in listening to

Stepan Arkadyevitch had not made a mistake in inviting Pestsov. With
Pestsov intellectual conversation never flagged for an instant. Directly
Sergey Ivanovitch had concluded the conversation with his jest, Pestsov
promptly started a new one.

"I can’t agree even," said he, "that the government had that aim. The
government obviously is guided by abstract considerations, and remains
indifferent to the influence its measures may exercise. The education of
women, for instance, would naturally be regarded as likely to be
harmful, but the government opens schools and universities for women."

And the conversation at once passed to the new subject of the education
of women.

Alexey Alexandrovitch expressed the idea that the education of women is
apt to be confounded with the emancipation of women, and that it is only
so that it can be considered dangerous.

"I consider, on the contrary, that the two questions are inseparably
connected together," said Pestsov; "it is a vicious circle. Woman is
deprived of rights from lack of education, and the lack of education
results from the absence of rights. We must not forget that the
subjection of women is so complete, and dates from such ages back that
we are often unwilling to recognize the gulf that separates them from
us," said he.

"You said rights," said Sergey Ivanovitch, waiting till Pestsov had
finished, "meaning the right of sitting on juries, of voting, of
presiding at official meetings, the right of entering the civil service,
of sitting in parliament..."


"But if women, as a rare exception, can occupy such positions, it seems
to me you are wrong in using the expression ‘rights.’ It would be more
correct to say duties. Every man will agree that in doing the duty of a
juryman, a witness, a telegraph clerk, we feel we are performing duties.
And therefore it would be correct to say that women are seeking duties,
and quite legitimately. And one can but sympathize with this desire to
assist in the general labor of man."

"Quite so," Alexey Alexandrovitch assented. "The question, I imagine, is
simply whether they are fitted for such duties."

"They will most likely be perfectly fitted," said Stepan Arkadyevitch,
"when education has become general among them. We see this..."

"How about the proverb?" said the prince, who had a long while been
intent on the conversation, his little comical eyes twinkling. "I can
say it before my daughter: her hair is long, because her wit is..."

"Just what they thought of the negroes before their emancipation!" said
Pestsov angrily.

"What seems strange to me is that women should seek fresh duties," said
Sergey Ivanovitch, "while we see, unhappily, that men usually try to
avoid them."

"Duties are bound up with rights—power, money, honor; those are what
women are seeking," said Pestsov.

"Just as though I should seek the right to be a wet-nurse and feel
injured because women are paid for the work, while no one will take me,"
said the old prince.

Turovtsin exploded in a loud roar of laughter and Sergey Ivanovitch
regretted that he had not made this comparison. Even Alexey
Alexandrovitch smiled.

"Yes, but a man can’t nurse a baby," said Pestsov, "while a woman..."

"No, there was an Englishman who did suckle his baby on board ship,"
said the old prince, feeling this freedom in conversation permissible
before his own daughters.

"There are as many such Englishmen as there would be women officials,"
said Sergey Ivanovitch.

"Yes, but what is a girl to do who has no family?" put in Stepan
Arkadyevitch, thinking of Masha Tchibisova, whom he had had in his mind
all along, in sympathizing with Pestsov and supporting him.

"If the story of such a girl were thoroughly sifted, you would find she
had abandoned a family—her own or a sister’s, where she might have found
a woman’s duties," Darya Alexandrovna broke in unexpectedly in a tone of
exasperation, probably suspecting what sort of girl Stepan Arkadyevitch
was thinking of.

"But we take our stand on principle as the ideal," replied Pestsov in
his mellow bass. "Woman desires to have rights, to be independent,
educated. She is oppressed, humiliated by the consciousness of her

"And I’m oppressed and humiliated that they won’t engage me at the
Foundling," the old prince said again, to the huge delight of Turovtsin,
who in his mirth dropped his asparagus with the thick end in the sauce.

Chapter 11

Everyone took part in the conversation except Kitty and Levin. At first,
when they were talking of the influence that one people has on another,
there rose to Levin’s mind what he had to say on the subject. But these
ideas, once of such importance in his eyes, seemed to come into his
brain as in a dream, and had now not the slightest interest for him. It
even struck him as strange that they should be so eager to talk of what
was of no use to anyone. Kitty, too, should, one would have supposed,
have been interested in what they were saying of the rights and
education of women. How often she had mused on the subject, thinking of
her friend abroad, Varenka, of her painful state of dependence, how
often she had wondered about herself what would become of her if she did
not marry, and how often she had argued with her sister about it! But it
did not interest her at all. She and Levin had a conversation of their
own, yet not a conversation, but some sort of mysterious communication,
which brought them every moment nearer, and stirred in both a sense of
glad terror before the unknown into which they were entering.

At first Levin, in answer to Kitty’s question how he could have seen her
last year in the carriage, told her how he had been coming home from the
mowing along the highroad and had met her.

"It was very, very early in the morning. You were probably only just
awake. Your mother was asleep in the corner. It was an exquisite
morning. I was walking along wondering who it could be in a
four-in-hand? It was a splendid set of four horses with bells, and in a
second you flashed by, and I saw you at the window—you were sitting like
this, holding the strings of your cap in both hands, and thinking
awfully deeply about something," he said, smiling. "How I should like to
know what you were thinking about then! Something important?"

"Wasn’t I dreadfully untidy?" she wondered, but seeing the smile of
ecstasy these reminiscences called up, she felt that the impression she
had made had been very good. She blushed and laughed with delight;
"Really I don’t remember."

"How nicely Turovtsin laughs!" said Levin, admiring his moist eyes and
shaking chest.

"Have you known him long?" asked Kitty.

"Oh, everyone knows him!"

"And I see you think he’s a horrid man?"

"Not horrid, but nothing in him."

"Oh, you’re wrong! And you must give up thinking so directly!" said
Kitty. "I used to have a very poor opinion of him too, but he, he’s an
awfully nice and wonderfully good-hearted man. He has a heart of gold."

"How could you find out what sort of heart he has?"

"We are great friends. I know him very well. Last winter, soon after ...
you came to see us," she said, with a guilty and at the same time
confiding smile, "all Dolly’s children had scarlet fever, and he
happened to come and see her. And only fancy," she said in a whisper,
"he felt so sorry for her that he stayed and began to help her look
after the children. Yes, and for three weeks he stopped with them, and
looked after the children like a nurse."

"I am telling Konstantin Dmitrievitch about Turovtsin in the scarlet
fever," she said, bending over to her sister.

"Yes, it was wonderful, noble!" said Dolly, glancing towards Turovtsin,
who had become aware they were talking of him, and smiling gently to
him. Levin glanced once more at Turovtsin, and wondered how it was he
had not realized all this man’s goodness before.

"I’m sorry, I’m sorry, and I’ll never think ill of people again!" he
said gaily, genuinely expressing what he felt at the moment.

Chapter 12

Connected with the conversation that had sprung up on the rights of
women there were certain questions as to the inequality of rights in
marriage improper to discuss before the ladies. Pestsov had several
times during dinner touched upon these questions, but Sergey Ivanovitch
and Stepan Arkadyevitch carefully drew him off them.

When they rose from the table and the ladies had gone out, Pestsov did
not follow them, but addressing Alexey Alexandrovitch, began to expound
the chief ground of inequality. The inequality in marriage, in his
opinion, lay in the fact that the infidelity of the wife and the
infidelity of the husband are punished unequally, both by the law and by
public opinion. Stepan Arkadyevitch went hurriedly up to Alexey
Alexandrovitch and offered him a cigar.

"No, I don’t smoke," Alexey Alexandrovitch answered calmly, and as
though purposely wishing to show that he was not afraid of the subject,
he turned to Pestsov with a chilly smile.

"I imagine that such a view has a foundation in the very nature of
things," he said, and would have gone on to the drawing room. But at
this point Turovtsin broke suddenly and unexpectedly into the
conversation, addressing Alexey Alexandrovitch.

"You heard, perhaps, about Pryatchnikov?" said Turovtsin, warmed up by
the champagne he had drunk, and long waiting for an opportunity to break
the silence that had weighed on him. "Vasya Pryatchnikov," he said, with
a good-natured smile on his damp, red lips, addressing himself
principally to the most important guest, Alexey Alexandrovitch, "they
told me today he fought a duel with Kvitsky at Tver, and has killed

Just as it always seems that one bruises oneself on a sore place, so
Stepan Arkadyevitch felt now that the conversation would by ill luck
fall every moment on Alexey Alexandrovitch’s sore spot. He would again
have got his brother-in-law away, but Alexey Alexandrovitch himself
inquired, with curiosity:

"What did Pryatchnikov fight about?"

"His wife. Acted like a man, he did! Called him out and shot him!"

"Ah!" said Alexey Alexandrovitch indifferently, and lifting his
eyebrows, he went into the drawing room.

"How glad I am you have come," Dolly said with a frightened smile,
meeting him in the outer drawing room. "I must talk to you. Let’s sit

Alexey Alexandrovitch, with the same expression of indifference, given
him by his lifted eyebrows, sat down beside Darya Alexandrovna, and
smiled affectedly.

"It’s fortunate," said he, "especially as I was meaning to ask you to
excuse me, and to be taking leave. I have to start tomorrow."

Darya Alexandrovna was firmly convinced of Anna’s innocence, and she
felt herself growing pale and her lips quivering with anger at this
frigid, unfeeling man, who was so calmly intending to ruin her innocent

"Alexey Alexandrovitch," she said, with desperate resolution looking him
in the face, "I asked you about Anna, you made me no answer. How is

"She is, I believe, quite well, Darya Alexandrovna," replied Alexey
Alexandrovitch, not looking at her.

"Alexey Alexandrovitch, forgive me, I have no right ... but I love Anna
as a sister, and esteem her; I beg, I beseech you to tell me what is
wrong between you? what fault do you find with her?"

Alexey Alexandrovitch frowned, and almost closing his eyes, dropped his

"I presume that your husband has told you the grounds on which I
consider it necessary to change my attitude to Anna Arkadyevna?" he
said, not looking her in the face, but eyeing with displeasure
Shtcherbatsky, who was walking across the drawing room.

"I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it, I can’t believe it!" Dolly
said, clasping her bony hands before her with a vigorous gesture. She
rose quickly, and laid her hand on Alexey Alexandrovitch’s sleeve. "We
shall be disturbed here. Come this way, please."

Dolly’s agitation had an effect on Alexey Alexandrovitch. He got up and
submissively followed her to the schoolroom. They sat down to a table
covered with an oilcloth cut in slits by penknives.

"I don’t, I don’t believe it!" Dolly said, trying to catch his glance
that avoided her.

"One cannot disbelieve facts, Darya Alexandrovna," said he, with an
emphasis on the word "facts."

"But what has she done?" said Darya Alexandrovna. "What precisely has
she done?"

"She has forsaken her duty, and deceived her husband. That’s what she
has done," said he.

"No, no, it can’t be! No, for God’s sake, you are mistaken," said Dolly,
putting her hands to her temples and closing her eyes.

Alexey Alexandrovitch smiled coldly, with his lips alone, meaning to
signify to her and to himself the firmness of his conviction; but this
warm defense, though it could not shake him, reopened his wound. He
began to speak with greater heat.

"It is extremely difficult to be mistaken when a wife herself informs
her husband of the fact—informs him that eight years of her life, and a
son, all that’s a mistake, and that she wants to begin life again," he
said angrily, with a snort.

"Anna and sin—I cannot connect them, I cannot believe it!"

"Darya Alexandrovna," he said, now looking straight into Dolly’s kindly,
troubled face, and feeling that his tongue was being loosened in spite
of himself, "I would give a great deal for doubt to be still possible.
When I doubted, I was miserable, but it was better than now. When I
doubted, I had hope; but now there is no hope, and still I doubt of
everything. I am in such doubt of everything that I even hate my son,
and sometimes do not believe he is my son. I am very unhappy."

He had no need to say that. Darya Alexandrovna had seen that as soon as
he glanced into her face; and she felt sorry for him, and her faith in
the innocence of her friend began to totter.

"Oh, this is awful, awful! But can it be true that you are resolved on a

"I am resolved on extreme measures. There is nothing else for me to do."

"Nothing else to do, nothing else to do..." she replied, with tears in
her eyes. "Oh no, don’t say nothing else to do!" she said.

"What is horrible in a trouble of this kind is that one cannot, as in
any other—in loss, in death—bear one’s trouble in peace, but that one
must act," said he, as though guessing her thought. "One must get out of
the humiliating position in which one is placed; one can’t live _à

"I understand, I quite understand that," said Dolly, and her head sank.
She was silent for a little, thinking of herself, of her own grief in
her family, and all at once, with an impulsive movement, she raised her
head and clasped her hands with an imploring gesture. "But wait a
little! You are a Christian. Think of her! What will become of her, if
you cast her off?"

"I have thought, Darya Alexandrovna, I have thought a great deal," said
Alexey Alexandrovitch. His face turned red in patches, and his dim eyes
looked straight before him. Darya Alexandrovna at that moment pitied him
with all her heart. "That was what I did indeed when she herself made
known to me my humiliation; I left everything as of old. I gave her a
chance to reform, I tried to save her. And with what result? She would
not regard the slightest request—that she should observe decorum," he
said, getting heated. "One may save anyone who does not want to be
ruined; but if the whole nature is so corrupt, so depraved, that ruin
itself seems to be her salvation, what’s to be done?"

"Anything, only not divorce!" answered Darya Alexandrovna

"But what is anything?"

"No, it is awful! She will be no one’s wife, she will be lost!"

"What can I do?" said Alexey Alexandrovitch, raising his shoulders and
his eyebrows. The recollection of his wife’s last act had so incensed
him that he had become frigid, as at the beginning of the conversation.
"I am very grateful for your sympathy, but I must be going," he said,
getting up.

"No, wait a minute. You must not ruin her. Wait a little; I will tell
you about myself. I was married, and my husband deceived me; in anger
and jealousy, I would have thrown up everything, I would myself.... But
I came to myself again; and who did it? Anna saved me. And here I am
living on. The children are growing up, my husband has come back to his
family, and feels his fault, is growing purer, better, and I live on....
I have forgiven it, and you ought to forgive!"

Alexey Alexandrovitch heard her, but her words had no effect on him now.
All the hatred of that day when he had resolved on a divorce had sprung
up again in his soul. He shook himself, and said in a shrill, loud

"Forgive I cannot, and do not wish to, and I regard it as wrong. I have
done everything for this woman, and she has trodden it all in the mud to
which she is akin. I am not a spiteful man, I have never hated anyone,
but I hate her with my whole soul, and I cannot even forgive her,
because I hate her too much for all the wrong she has done me!" he said,
with tones of hatred in his voice.

"Love those that hate you...." Darya Alexandrovna whispered timorously.

Alexey Alexandrovitch smiled contemptuously. That he knew long ago, but
it could not be applied to his case.

"Love those that hate you, but to love those one hates is impossible.
Forgive me for having troubled you. Everyone has enough to bear in his
own grief!" And regaining his self-possession, Alexey Alexandrovitch
quietly took leave and went away.

Chapter 13

When they rose from table, Levin would have liked to follow Kitty into
the drawing room; but he was afraid she might dislike this, as too
obviously paying her attention. He remained in the little ring of men,
taking part in the general conversation, and without looking at Kitty,
he was aware of her movements, her looks, and the place where she was in
the drawing room.

He did at once, and without the smallest effort, keep the promise he had
made her—always to think well of all men, and to like everyone always.
The conversation fell on the village commune, in which Pestsov saw a
sort of special principle, called by him the choral principle. Levin did
not agree with Pestsov, nor with his brother, who had a special attitude
of his own, both admitting and not admitting the significance of the
Russian commune. But he talked to them, simply trying to reconcile and
soften their differences. He was not in the least interested in what he
said himself, and even less so in what they said; all he wanted was that
they and everyone should be happy and contented. He knew now the one
thing of importance; and that one thing was at first there, in the
drawing room, and then began moving across and came to a standstill at
the door. Without turning round he felt the eyes fixed on him, and the
smile, and he could not help turning round. She was standing in the
doorway with Shtcherbatsky, looking at him.

"I thought you were going towards the piano," said he, going up to her.
"That’s something I miss in the country—music."

"No; we only came to fetch you and thank you," she said, rewarding him
with a smile that was like a gift, "for coming. What do they want to
argue for? No one ever convinces anyone, you know."

"Yes; that’s true," said Levin; "it generally happens that one argues
warmly simply because one can’t make out what one’s opponent wants to

Levin had often noticed in discussions between the most intelligent
people that after enormous efforts, and an enormous expenditure of
logical subtleties and words, the disputants finally arrived at being
aware that what they had so long been struggling to prove to one another
had long ago, from the beginning of the argument, been known to both,
but that they liked different things, and would not define what they
liked for fear of its being attacked. He had often had the experience of
suddenly in a discussion grasping what it was his opponent liked and at
once liking it too, and immediately he found himself agreeing, and then
all arguments fell away as useless. Sometimes, too, he had experienced
the opposite, expressing at last what he liked himself, which he was
devising arguments to defend, and, chancing to express it well and
genuinely, he had found his opponent at once agreeing and ceasing to
dispute his position. He tried to say this.

She knitted her brow, trying to understand. But directly he began to
illustrate his meaning, she understood at once.

"I know: one must find out what he is arguing for, what is precious to
him, then one can..."

She had completely guessed and expressed his badly expressed idea. Levin
smiled joyfully; he was struck by this transition from the confused,
verbose discussion with Pestsov and his brother to this laconic, clear,
almost wordless communication of the most complex ideas.

Shtcherbatsky moved away from them, and Kitty, going up to a card table,
sat down, and, taking up the chalk, began drawing diverging circles over
the new green cloth.

They began again on the subject that had been started at dinner—the
liberty and occupations of women. Levin was of the opinion of Darya
Alexandrovna that a girl who did not marry should find a woman’s duties
in a family. He supported this view by the fact that no family can get
on without women to help; that in every family, poor or rich, there are
and must be nurses, either relations or hired.

"No," said Kitty, blushing, but looking at him all the more boldly with
her truthful eyes; "a girl may be so circumstanced that she cannot live
in the family without humiliation, while she herself..."

At the hint he understood her.

"Oh, yes," he said. "Yes, yes, yes—you’re right; you’re right!"

And he saw all that Pestsov had been maintaining at dinner of the
liberty of woman, simply from getting a glimpse of the terror of an old
maid’s existence and its humiliation in Kitty’s heart; and loving her,
he felt that terror and humiliation, and at once gave up his arguments.

A silence followed. She was still drawing with the chalk on the table.
Her eyes were shining with a soft light. Under the influence of her mood
he felt in all his being a continually growing tension of happiness.

"Ah! I’ve scribbled all over the table!" she said, and, laying down the
chalk, she made a movement as though to get up.

"What! shall I be left alone—without her?" he thought with horror, and
he took the chalk. "Wait a minute," he said, sitting down to the table.
"I’ve long wanted to ask you one thing."

He looked straight into her caressing, though frightened eyes.

"Please, ask it."

"Here," he said; and he wrote the initial letters, _w, y, t, m, i, c, n,
b, d, t, m, n, o, t_. These letters meant, "When you told me it could
never be, did that mean never, or then?" There seemed no likelihood that
she could make out this complicated sentence; but he looked at her as
though his life depended on her understanding the words. She glanced at
him seriously, then leaned her puckered brow on her hands and began to
read. Once or twice she stole a look at him, as though asking him, "Is
it what I think?"

"I understand," she said, flushing a little.

"What is this word?" he said, pointing to the n that stood for _never_.

"It means _never_," she said; "but that’s not true!"

He quickly rubbed out what he had written, gave her the chalk, and stood
up. She wrote, _t, i, c, n, a, d_.

Dolly was completely comforted in the depression caused by her
conversation with Alexey Alexandrovitch when she caught sight of the two
figures: Kitty with the chalk in her hand, with a shy and happy smile
looking upwards at Levin, and his handsome figure bending over the table
with glowing eyes fastened one minute on the table and the next on her.
He was suddenly radiant: he had understood. It meant, "Then I could not
answer differently."

He glanced at her questioningly, timidly.

"Only then?"

"Yes," her smile answered.

"And n... and now?" he asked.

"Well, read this. I’ll tell you what I should like—should like so much!"
she wrote the initial letters, i, y, c, f, a, f, w, h. This meant, "If
you could forget and forgive what happened."

He snatched the chalk with nervous, trembling fingers, and breaking it,
wrote the initial letters of the following phrase, "I have nothing to
forget and to forgive; I have never ceased to love you."

She glanced at him with a smile that did not waver.

"I understand," she said in a whisper.

He sat down and wrote a long phrase. She understood it all, and without
asking him, "Is it this?" took the chalk and at once answered.

For a long while he could not understand what she had written, and often
looked into her eyes. He was stupefied with happiness. He could not
supply the word she had meant; but in her charming eyes, beaming with
happiness, he saw all he needed to know. And he wrote three letters. But
he had hardly finished writing when she read them over her arm, and
herself finished and wrote the answer, "Yes."

"You’re playing _secrétaire_?" said the old prince. "But we must really
be getting along if you want to be in time at the theater."

Levin got up and escorted Kitty to the door.

In their conversation everything had been said; it had been said that
she loved him, and that she would tell her father and mother that he
would come tomorrow morning.

Chapter 14

When Kitty had gone and Levin was left alone, he felt such uneasiness
without her, and such an impatient longing to get as quickly, as quickly
as possible, to tomorrow morning, when he would see her again and be
plighted to her forever, that he felt afraid, as though of death, of
those fourteen hours that he had to get through without her. It was
essential for him to be with someone to talk to, so as not to be left
alone, to kill time. Stepan Arkadyevitch would have been the companion
most congenial to him, but he was going out, he said, to a _soirée_, in
reality to the ballet. Levin only had time to tell him he was happy, and
that he loved him, and would never, never forget what he had done for
him. The eyes and the smile of Stepan Arkadyevitch showed Levin that he
comprehended that feeling fittingly.

"Oh, so it’s not time to die yet?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, pressing
Levin’s hand with emotion.

"N-n-no!" said Levin.

Darya Alexandrovna too, as she said good-bye to him, gave him a sort of
congratulation, saying, "How glad I am you have met Kitty again! One
must value old friends." Levin did not like these words of Darya
Alexandrovna’s. She could not understand how lofty and beyond her it all
was, and she ought not to have dared to allude to it. Levin said
good-bye to them, but, not to be left alone, he attached himself to his

"Where are you going?"

"I’m going to a meeting."

"Well, I’ll come with you. May I?"

"What for? Yes, come along," said Sergey Ivanovitch, smiling. "What is
the matter with you today?"

"With me? Happiness is the matter with me!" said Levin, letting down the
window of the carriage they were driving in. "You don’t mind?—it’s so
stifling. It’s happiness is the matter with me! Why is it you have never

Sergey Ivanovitch smiled.

"I am very glad, she seems a nice gi..." Sergey Ivanovitch was

"Don’t say it! don’t say it!" shouted Levin, clutching at the collar of
his fur coat with both hands, and muffling him up in it. "She’s a nice
girl" were such simple, humble words, so out of harmony with his

Sergey Ivanovitch laughed outright a merry laugh, which was rare with
him. "Well, anyway, I may say that I’m very glad of it."

"That you may do tomorrow, tomorrow and nothing more! Nothing, nothing,
silence," said Levin, and muffling him once more in his fur coat, he
added: "I do like you so! Well, is it possible for me to be present at
the meeting?"

"Of course it is."

"What is your discussion about today?" asked Levin, never ceasing

They arrived at the meeting. Levin heard the secretary hesitatingly read
the minutes which he obviously did not himself understand; but Levin saw
from this secretary’s face what a good, nice, kind-hearted person he
was. This was evident from his confusion and embarrassment in reading
the minutes. Then the discussion began. They were disputing about the
misappropriation of certain sums and the laying of certain pipes, and
Sergey Ivanovitch was very cutting to two members, and said something at
great length with an air of triumph; and another member, scribbling
something on a bit of paper, began timidly at first, but afterwards
answered him very viciously and delightfully. And then Sviazhsky (he was
there too) said something too, very handsomely and nobly. Levin listened
to them, and saw clearly that these missing sums and these pipes were
not anything real, and that they were not at all angry, but were all the
nicest, kindest people, and everything was as happy and charming as
possible among them. They did no harm to anyone, and were all enjoying
it. What struck Levin was that he could see through them all today, and
from little, almost imperceptible signs knew the soul of each, and saw
distinctly that they were all good at heart. And Levin himself in
particular they were all extremely fond of that day. That was evident
from the way they spoke to him, from the friendly, affectionate way even
those he did not know looked at him.

"Well, did you like it?" Sergey Ivanovitch asked him.

"Very much. I never supposed it was so interesting! Capital! Splendid!"

Sviazhsky went up to Levin and invited him to come round to tea with
him. Levin was utterly at a loss to comprehend or recall what it was he
had disliked in Sviazhsky, what he had failed to find in him. He was a
clever and wonderfully good-hearted man.

"Most delighted," he said, and asked after his wife and sister-in-law.
And from a queer association of ideas, because in his imagination the
idea of Sviazhsky’s sister-in-law was connected with marriage, it
occurred to him that there was no one to whom he could more suitably
speak of his happiness, and he was very glad to go and see them.

Sviazhsky questioned him about his improvements on his estate,
presupposing, as he always did, that there was no possibility of doing
anything not done already in Europe, and now this did not in the least
annoy Levin. On the contrary, he felt that Sviazhsky was right, that the
whole business was of little value, and he saw the wonderful softness
and consideration with which Sviazhsky avoided fully expressing his
correct view. The ladies of the Sviazhsky household were particularly
delightful. It seemed to Levin that they knew all about it already and
sympathized with him, saying nothing merely from delicacy. He stayed
with them one hour, two, three, talking of all sorts of subjects but the
one thing that filled his heart, and did not observe that he was boring
them dreadfully, and that it was long past their bedtime.

Sviazhsky went with him into the hall, yawning and wondering at the
strange humor his friend was in. It was past one o’clock. Levin went
back to his hotel, and was dismayed at the thought that all alone now
with his impatience he had ten hours still left to get through. The
servant, whose turn it was to be up all night, lighted his candles, and
would have gone away, but Levin stopped him. This servant, Yegor, whom
Levin had noticed before, struck him as a very intelligent, excellent,
and, above all, good-hearted man.

"Well, Yegor, it’s hard work not sleeping, isn’t it?"

"One’s got to put up with it! It’s part of our work, you see. In a
gentleman’s house it’s easier; but then here one makes more."

It appeared that Yegor had a family, three boys and a daughter, a
sempstress, whom he wanted to marry to a cashier in a saddler’s shop.

Levin, on hearing this, informed Yegor that, in his opinion, in marriage
the great thing was love, and that with love one would always be happy,
for happiness rests only on oneself. Yegor listened attentively, and
obviously quite took in Levin’s idea, but by way of assent to it he
enunciated, greatly to Levin’s surprise, the observation that when he
had lived with good masters he had always been satisfied with his
masters, and now was perfectly satisfied with his employer, though he
was a Frenchman.

"Wonderfully good-hearted fellow!" thought Levin.

"Well, but you yourself, Yegor, when you got married, did you love your

"Ay! and why not?" responded Yegor.

And Levin saw that Yegor too was in an excited state and intending to
express all his most heartfelt emotions.

"My life, too, has been a wonderful one. From a child up..." he was
beginning with flashing eyes, apparently catching Levin’s enthusiasm,
just as people catch yawning.

But at that moment a ring was heard. Yegor departed, and Levin was left
alone. He had eaten scarcely anything at dinner, had refused tea and
supper at Sviazhsky’s, but he was incapable of thinking of supper. He
had not slept the previous night, but was incapable of thinking of sleep
either. His room was cold, but he was oppressed by heat. He opened both
the movable panes in his window and sat down to the table opposite the
open panes. Over the snow-covered roofs could be seen a decorated cross
with chains, and above it the rising triangle of Charles’s Wain with the
yellowish light of Capella. He gazed at the cross, then at the stars,
drank in the fresh freezing air that flowed evenly into the room, and
followed as though in a dream the images and memories that rose in his
imagination. At four o’clock he heard steps in the passage and peeped
out at the door. It was the gambler Myaskin, whom he knew, coming from
the club. He walked gloomily, frowning and coughing. "Poor, unlucky
fellow!" thought Levin, and tears came into his eyes from love and pity
for this man. He would have talked with him, and tried to comfort him,
but remembering that he had nothing but his shirt on, he changed his
mind and sat down again at the open pane to bathe in the cold air and
gaze at the exquisite lines of the cross, silent, but full of meaning
for him, and the mounting lurid yellow star. At seven o’clock there was
a noise of people polishing the floors, and bells ringing in some
servants’ department, and Levin felt that he was beginning to get
frozen. He closed the pane, washed, dressed, and went out into the

Chapter 15

The streets were still empty. Levin went to the house of the
Shtcherbatskys. The visitors’ doors were closed and everything was
asleep. He walked back, went into his room again, and asked for coffee.
The day servant, not Yegor this time, brought it to him. Levin would
have entered into conversation with him, but a bell rang for the
servant, and he went out. Levin tried to drink coffee and put some roll
in his mouth, but his mouth was quite at a loss what to do with the
roll. Levin, rejecting the roll, put on his coat and went out again for
a walk. It was nine o’clock when he reached the Shtcherbatskys’ steps
the second time. In the house they were only just up, and the cook came
out to go marketing. He had to get through at least two hours more.

All that night and morning Levin lived perfectly unconsciously, and felt
perfectly lifted out of the conditions of material life. He had eaten
nothing for a whole day, he had not slept for two nights, had spent
several hours undressed in the frozen air, and felt not simply fresher
and stronger than ever, but felt utterly independent of his body; he
moved without muscular effort, and felt as if he could do anything. He
was convinced he could fly upwards or lift the corner of the house, if
need be. He spent the remainder of the time in the street, incessantly
looking at his watch and gazing about him.

And what he saw then, he never saw again after. The children especially
going to school, the bluish doves flying down from the roofs to the
pavement, and the little loaves covered with flour, thrust out by an
unseen hand, touched him. Those loaves, those doves, and those two boys
were not earthly creatures. It all happened at the same time: a boy ran
towards a dove and glanced smiling at Levin; the dove, with a whir of
her wings, darted away, flashing in the sun, amid grains of snow that
quivered in the air, while from a little window there came a smell of
fresh-baked bread, and the loaves were put out. All of this together was
so extraordinarily nice that Levin laughed and cried with delight. Going
a long way round by Gazetny Place and Kislovka, he went back again to
the hotel, and putting his watch before him, he sat down to wait for
twelve o’clock. In the next room they were talking about some sort of
machines, and swindling, and coughing their morning coughs. They did not
realize that the hand was near twelve. The hand reached it. Levin went
out onto the steps. The sledge-drivers clearly knew all about it. They
crowded round Levin with happy faces, quarreling among themselves, and
offering their services. Trying not to offend the other sledge drivers,
and promising to drive with them too, Levin took one and told him to
drive to the Shtcherbatskys’. The sledge-driver was splendid in a white
shirt-collar sticking out over his overcoat and into his strong,
full-blooded red neck. The sledge was high and comfortable, and
altogether such a one as Levin never drove in after, and the horse was a
good one, and tried to gallop but didn’t seem to move. The driver knew
the Shtcherbatskys’ house, and drew up at the entrance with a curve of
his arm and a "Wo!" especially indicative of respect for his fare. The
Shtcherbatskys’ hall-porter certainly knew all about it. This was
evident from the smile in his eyes and the way he said:

"Well, it’s a long while since you’ve been to see us, Konstantin

Not only he knew all about it, but he was unmistakably delighted and
making efforts to conceal his joy. Looking into his kindly old eyes,
Levin realized even something new in his happiness.

"Are they up?"

"Pray walk in! Leave it here," said he, smiling, as Levin would have
come back to take his hat. That meant something.

"To whom shall I announce your honor?" asked the footman.

The footman, though a young man, and one of the new school of footmen, a
dandy, was a very kind-hearted, good fellow, and he too knew all about

"The princess ... the prince ... the young princess..." said Levin.

The first person he saw was Mademoiselle Linon. She walked across the
room, and her ringlets and her face were beaming. He had only just
spoken to her, when suddenly he heard the rustle of a skirt at the door,
and Mademoiselle Linon vanished from Levin’s eyes, and a joyful terror
came over him at the nearness of his happiness. Mademoiselle Linon was
in great haste, and leaving him, went out at the other door. Directly
she had gone out, swift, swift light steps sounded on the parquet, and
his bliss, his life, himself—what was best in himself, what he had so
long sought and longed for—was quickly, so quickly approaching him. She
did not walk, but seemed, by some unseen force, to float to him. He saw
nothing but her clear, truthful eyes, frightened by the same bliss of
love that flooded his heart. Those eyes were shining nearer and nearer,
blinding him with their light of love. She stopped still close to him,
touching him. Her hands rose and dropped onto his shoulders.

She had done all she could—she had run up to him and given herself up
entirely, shy and happy. He put his arms round her and pressed his lips
to her mouth that sought his kiss.

She too had not slept all night, and had been expecting him all the

Her mother and father had consented without demur, and were happy in her
happiness. She had been waiting for him. She wanted to be the first to
tell him her happiness and his. She had got ready to see him alone, and
had been delighted at the idea, and had been shy and ashamed, and did
not know herself what she was doing. She had heard his steps and voice,
and had waited at the door for Mademoiselle Linon to go. Mademoiselle
Linon had gone away. Without thinking, without asking herself how and
what, she had gone up to him, and did as she was doing.

"Let us go to mamma!" she said, taking him by the hand. For a long while
he could say nothing, not so much because he was afraid of desecrating
the loftiness of his emotion by a word, as that every time he tried to
say something, instead of words he felt that tears of happiness were
welling up. He took her hand and kissed it.

"Can it be true?" he said at last in a choked voice. "I can’t believe
you love me, dear!"

She smiled at that "dear," and at the timidity with which he glanced at

"Yes!" she said significantly, deliberately. "I am so happy!"

Not letting go his hands, she went into the drawing room. The princess,
seeing them, breathed quickly, and immediately began to cry and then
immediately began to laugh, and with a vigorous step Levin had not
expected, ran up to him, and hugging his head, kissed him, wetting his
cheeks with her tears.

"So it is all settled! I am glad. Love her. I am glad.... Kitty!"

"You’ve not been long settling things," said the old prince, trying to
seem unmoved; but Levin noticed that his eyes were wet when he turned to

"I’ve long, always wished for this!" said the prince, taking Levin by
the arm and drawing him towards himself. "Even when this little
feather-head fancied..."

"Papa!" shrieked Kitty, and shut his mouth with her hands.

"Well, I won’t!" he said. "I’m very, very ... plea... Oh, what a fool I

He embraced Kitty, kissed her face, her hand, her face again, and made
the sign of the cross over her.

And there came over Levin a new feeling of love for this man, till then
so little known to him, when he saw how slowly and tenderly Kitty kissed
his muscular hand.

Chapter 16

The princess sat in her armchair, silent and smiling; the prince sat
down beside her. Kitty stood by her father’s chair, still holding his
hand. All were silent.

The princess was the first to put everything into words, and to
translate all thoughts and feelings into practical questions. And all
equally felt this strange and painful for the first minute.

"When is it to be? We must have the benediction and announcement. And
when’s the wedding to be? What do you think, Alexander?"

"Here he is," said the old prince, pointing to Levin—"he’s the principal
person in the matter."

"When?" said Levin blushing. "Tomorrow; If you ask me, I should say, the
benediction today and the wedding tomorrow."

"Come, _mon cher_, that’s nonsense!"

"Well, in a week."

"He’s quite mad."

"No, why so?"

"Well, upon my word!" said the mother, smiling, delighted at this haste.
"How about the trousseau?"

"Will there really be a trousseau and all that?" Levin thought with
horror. "But can the trousseau and the benediction and all that—can it
spoil my happiness? Nothing can spoil it!" He glanced at Kitty, and
noticed that she was not in the least, not in the very least, disturbed
by the idea of the trousseau. "Then it must be all right," he thought.

"Oh, I know nothing about it; I only said what I should like," he said

"We’ll talk it over, then. The benediction and announcement can take
place now. That’s very well."

The princess went up to her husband, kissed him, and would have gone
away, but he kept her, embraced her, and, tenderly as a young lover,
kissed her several times, smiling. The old people were obviously muddled
for a moment, and did not quite know whether it was they who were in
love again or their daughter. When the prince and the princess had gone,
Levin went up to his betrothed and took her hand. He was self-possessed
now and could speak, and he had a great deal he wanted to tell her. But
he said not at all what he had to say.

"How I knew it would be so! I never hoped for it; and yet in my heart I
was always sure," he said. "I believe that it was ordained."

"And I!" she said. "Even when...." She stopped and went on again,
looking at him resolutely with her truthful eyes, "Even when I thrust
from me my happiness. I always loved you alone, but I was carried away.
I ought to tell you.... Can you forgive that?"

"Perhaps it was for the best. You will have to forgive me so much. I
ought to tell you..."

This was one of the things he had meant to speak about. He had resolved
from the first to tell her two things—that he was not chaste as she was,
and that he was not a believer. It was agonizing, but he considered he
ought to tell her both these facts.

"No, not now, later!" he said.

"Very well, later, but you must certainly tell me. I’m not afraid of
anything. I want to know everything. Now it is settled."

He added: "Settled that you’ll take me whatever I may be—you won’t give
me up? Yes?"

"Yes, yes."

Their conversation was interrupted by Mademoiselle Linon, who with an
affected but tender smile came to congratulate her favorite pupil.
Before she had gone, the servants came in with their congratulations.
Then relations arrived, and there began that state of blissful absurdity
from which Levin did not emerge till the day after his wedding. Levin
was in a continual state of awkwardness and discomfort, but the
intensity of his happiness went on all the while increasing. He felt
continually that a great deal was being expected of him—what, he did not
know; and he did everything he was told, and it all gave him happiness.
He had thought his engagement would have nothing about it like others,
that the ordinary conditions of engaged couples would spoil his special
happiness; but it ended in his doing exactly as other people did, and
his happiness being only increased thereby and becoming more and more
special, more and more unlike anything that had ever happened.

"Now we shall have sweetmeats to eat," said Mademoiselle Linon—and Levin
drove off to buy sweetmeats.

"Well, I’m very glad," said Sviazhsky. "I advise you to get the bouquets
from Fomin’s."

"Oh, are they wanted?" And he drove to Fomin’s.

His brother offered to lend him money, as he would have so many
expenses, presents to give....

"Oh, are presents wanted?" And he galloped to Foulde’s.

And at the confectioner’s, and at Fomin’s, and at Foulde’s he saw that
he was expected; that they were pleased to see him, and prided
themselves on his happiness, just as every one whom he had to do with
during those days. What was extraordinary was that everyone not only
liked him, but even people previously unsympathetic, cold, and callous,
were enthusiastic over him, gave way to him in everything, treated his
feeling with tenderness and delicacy, and shared his conviction that he
was the happiest man in the world because his betrothed was beyond
perfection. Kitty too felt the same thing. When Countess Nordston
ventured to hint that she had hoped for something better, Kitty was so
angry and proved so conclusively that nothing in the world could be
better than Levin, that Countess Nordston had to admit it, and in
Kitty’s presence never met Levin without a smile of ecstatic admiration.

The confession he had promised was the one painful incident of this
time. He consulted the old prince, and with his sanction gave Kitty his
diary, in which there was written the confession that tortured him. He
had written this diary at the time with a view to his future wife. Two
things caused him anguish: his lack of purity and his lack of faith. His
confession of unbelief passed unnoticed. She was religious, had never
doubted the truths of religion, but his external unbelief did not affect
her in the least. Through love she knew all his soul, and in his soul
she saw what she wanted, and that such a state of soul should be called
unbelieving was to her a matter of no account. The other confession set
her weeping bitterly.

Levin, not without an inner struggle, handed her his diary. He knew that
between him and her there could not be, and should not be, secrets, and
so he had decided that so it must be. But he had not realized what an
effect it would have on her, he had not put himself in her place. It was
only when the same evening he came to their house before the theater,
went into her room and saw her tear-stained, pitiful, sweet face,
miserable with suffering he had caused and nothing could undo, he felt
the abyss that separated his shameful past from her dovelike purity, and
was appalled at what he had done.

"Take them, take these dreadful books!" she said, pushing away the
notebooks lying before her on the table. "Why did you give them me? No,
it was better anyway," she added, touched by his despairing face. "But
it’s awful, awful!"

His head sank, and he was silent. He could say nothing.

"You can’t forgive me," he whispered.

"Yes, I forgive you; but it’s terrible!"

But his happiness was so immense that this confession did not shatter
it, it only added another shade to it. She forgave him; but from that
time more than ever he considered himself unworthy of her, morally bowed
down lower than ever before her, and prized more highly than ever his
undeserved happiness.

Chapter 17

Unconsciously going over in his memory the conversations that had taken
place during and after dinner, Alexey Alexandrovitch returned to his
solitary room. Darya Alexandrovna’s words about forgiveness had aroused
in him nothing but annoyance. The applicability or non-applicability of
the Christian precept to his own case was too difficult a question to be
discussed lightly, and this question had long ago been answered by
Alexey Alexandrovitch in the negative. Of all that had been said, what
stuck most in his memory was the phrase of stupid, good-natured
Turovtsin—"_Acted like a man, he did! Called him out and shot him!_"
Everyone had apparently shared this feeling, though from politeness they
had not expressed it.

"But the matter is settled, it’s useless thinking about it," Alexey
Alexandrovitch told himself. And thinking of nothing but the journey
before him, and the revision work he had to do, he went into his room
and asked the porter who escorted him where his man was. The porter said
that the man had only just gone out. Alexey Alexandrovitch ordered tea
to be sent him, sat down to the table, and taking the guidebook, began
considering the route of his journey.

"Two telegrams," said his manservant, coming into the room. "I beg your
pardon, your excellency; I’d only just that minute gone out."

Alexey Alexandrovitch took the telegrams and opened them. The first
telegram was the announcement of Stremov’s appointment to the very post
Karenin had coveted. Alexey Alexandrovitch flung the telegram down, and
flushing a little, got up and began to pace up and down the room. "_Quos
vult perdere dementat_," he said, meaning by _quos_ the persons
responsible for this appointment. He was not so much annoyed that he had
not received the post, that he had been conspicuously passed over; but
it was incomprehensible, amazing to him that they did not see that the
wordy phrase-monger Stremov was the last man fit for it. How could they
fail to see how they were ruining themselves, lowering their _prestige_
by this appointment?

"Something else in the same line," he said to himself bitterly, opening
the second telegram. The telegram was from his wife. Her name, written
in blue pencil, "Anna," was the first thing that caught his eye. "I am
dying; I beg, I implore you to come. I shall die easier with your
forgiveness," he read. He smiled contemptuously, and flung down the
telegram. That this was a trick and a fraud, of that, he thought for the
first minute, there could be no doubt.

"There is no deceit she would stick at. She was near her confinement.
Perhaps it is the confinement. But what can be their aim? To legitimize
the child, to compromise me, and prevent a divorce," he thought. "But
something was said in it: I am dying...." He read the telegram again,
and suddenly the plain meaning of what was said in it struck him.

"And if it is true?" he said to himself. "If it is true that in the
moment of agony and nearness to death she is genuinely penitent, and I,
taking it for a trick, refuse to go? That would not only be cruel, and
everyone would blame me, but it would be stupid on my part."

"Piotr, call a coach; I am going to Petersburg," he said to his servant.

Alexey Alexandrovitch decided that he would go to Petersburg and see his
wife. If her illness was a trick, he would say nothing and go away
again. If she was really in danger, and wished to see him before her
death, he would forgive her if he found her alive, and pay her the last
duties if he came too late.

All the way he thought no more of what he ought to do.

With a sense of weariness and uncleanness from the night spent in the
train, in the early fog of Petersburg Alexey Alexandrovitch drove
through the deserted Nevsky and stared straight before him, not thinking
of what was awaiting him. He could not think about it, because in
picturing what would happen, he could not drive away the reflection that
her death would at once remove all the difficulty of his position.
Bakers, closed shops, night-cabmen, porters sweeping the pavements
flashed past his eyes, and he watched it all, trying to smother the
thought of what was awaiting him, and what he dared not hope for, and
yet was hoping for. He drove up to the steps. A sledge and a carriage
with the coachman asleep stood at the entrance. As he went into the
entry, Alexey Alexandrovitch, as it were, got out his resolution from
the remotest corner of his brain, and mastered it thoroughly. Its
meaning ran: "If it’s a trick, then calm contempt and departure. If
truth, do what is proper."

The porter opened the door before Alexey Alexandrovitch rang. The
porter, Kapitonitch, looked queer in an old coat, without a tie, and in

"How is your mistress?"

"A successful confinement yesterday."

Alexey Alexandrovitch stopped short and turned white. He felt distinctly
now how intensely he had longed for her death.

"And how is she?"

Korney in his morning apron ran downstairs.

"Very ill," he answered. "There was a consultation yesterday, and the
doctor’s here now."

"Take my things," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, and feeling some relief at
the news that there was still hope of her death, he went into the hall.

On the hatstand there was a military overcoat. Alexey Alexandrovitch
noticed it and asked:

"Who is here?"

"The doctor, the midwife, and Count Vronsky."

Alexey Alexandrovitch went into the inner rooms.

In the drawing room there was no one; at the sound of his steps there
came out of her boudoir the midwife in a cap with lilac ribbons.

She went up to Alexey Alexandrovitch, and with the familiarity given by
the approach of death took him by the arm and drew him towards the

"Thank God you’ve come! She keeps on about you and nothing but you," she

"Make haste with the ice!" the doctor’s peremptory voice said from the

Alexey Alexandrovitch went into her boudoir.

At the table, sitting sideways in a low chair, was Vronsky, his face
hidden in his hands, weeping. He jumped up at the doctor’s voice, took
his hands from his face, and saw Alexey Alexandrovitch. Seeing the
husband, he was so overwhelmed that he sat down again, drawing his head
down to his shoulders, as if he wanted to disappear; but he made an
effort over himself, got up and said:

"She is dying. The doctors say there is no hope. I am entirely in your
power, only let me be here ... though I am at your disposal. I..."

Alexey Alexandrovitch, seeing Vronsky’s tears, felt a rush of that
nervous emotion always produced in him by the sight of other people’s
suffering, and turning away his face, he moved hurriedly to the door,
without hearing the rest of his words. From the bedroom came the sound
of Anna’s voice saying something. Her voice was lively, eager, with
exceedingly distinct intonations. Alexey Alexandrovitch went into the
bedroom, and went up to the bed. She was lying turned with her face
towards him. Her cheeks were flushed crimson, her eyes glittered, her
little white hands thrust out from the sleeves of her dressing gown were
playing with the quilt, twisting it about. It seemed as though she were
not only well and blooming, but in the happiest frame of mind. She was
talking rapidly, musically, and with exceptionally correct articulation
and expressive intonation.

"For Alexey—I am speaking of Alexey Alexandrovitch (what a strange and
awful thing that both are Alexey, isn’t it?)—Alexey would not refuse me.
I should forget, he would forgive.... But why doesn’t he come? He’s so
good he doesn’t know himself how good he is. Ah, my God, what agony!
Give me some water, quick! Oh, that will be bad for her, my little girl!
Oh, very well then, give her to a nurse. Yes, I agree, it’s better in
fact. He’ll be coming; it will hurt him to see her. Give her to the

"Anna Arkadyevna, he has come. Here he is!" said the midwife, trying to
attract her attention to Alexey Alexandrovitch.

"Oh, what nonsense!" Anna went on, not seeing her husband. "No, give her
to me; give me my little one! He has not come yet. You say he won’t
forgive me, because you don’t know him. No one knows him. I’m the only
one, and it was hard for me even. His eyes I ought to know—Seryozha has
just the same eyes—and I can’t bear to see them because of it. Has
Seryozha had his dinner? I know everyone will forget him. He would not
forget. Seryozha must be moved into the corner room, and Mariette must
be asked to sleep with him."

All of a sudden she shrank back, was silent; and in terror, as though
expecting a blow, as though to defend herself, she raised her hands to
her face. She had seen her husband.

"No, no!" she began. "I am not afraid of him; I am afraid of death.
Alexey, come here. I am in a hurry, because I’ve no time, I’ve not long
left to live; the fever will begin directly and I shall understand
nothing more. Now I understand, I understand it all, I see it all!"

Alexey Alexandrovitch’s wrinkled face wore an expression of agony; he
took her by the hand and tried to say something, but he could not utter
it; his lower lip quivered, but he still went on struggling with his
emotion, and only now and then glanced at her. And each time he glanced
at her, he saw her eyes gazing at him with such passionate and
triumphant tenderness as he had never seen in them.

"Wait a minute, you don’t know ... stay a little, stay!..." She stopped,
as though collecting her ideas. "Yes," she began; "yes, yes, yes. This
is what I wanted to say. Don’t be surprised at me. I’m still the
same.... But there is another woman in me, I’m afraid of her: she loved
that man, and I tried to hate you, and could not forget about her that
used to be. I’m not that woman. Now I’m my real self, all myself. I’m
dying now, I know I shall die, ask him. Even now I feel—see here, the
weights on my feet, on my hands, on my fingers. My fingers—see how huge
they are! But this will soon all be over.... Only one thing I want:
forgive me, forgive me quite. I’m terrible, but my nurse used to tell
me; the holy martyr—what was her name? She was worse. And I’ll go to
Rome; there’s a wilderness, and there I shall be no trouble to any one,
only I’ll take Seryozha and the little one.... No, you can’t forgive me!
I know, it can’t be forgiven! No, no, go away, you’re too good!" She
held his hand in one burning hand, while she pushed him away with the

The nervous agitation of Alexey Alexandrovitch kept increasing, and had
by now reached such a point that he ceased to struggle with it. He
suddenly felt that what he had regarded as nervous agitation was on the
contrary a blissful spiritual condition that gave him all at once a new
happiness he had never known. He did not think that the Christian law
that he had been all his life trying to follow, enjoined on him to
forgive and love his enemies; but a glad feeling of love and forgiveness
for his enemies filled his heart. He knelt down, and laying his head in
the curve of her arm, which burned him as with fire through the sleeve,
he sobbed like a little child. She put her arm around his head, moved
towards him, and with defiant pride lifted up her eyes.

"That is he. I knew him! Now, forgive me, everyone, forgive me!...
They’ve come again; why don’t they go away?... Oh, take these cloaks off

The doctor unloosed her hands, carefully laying her on the pillow, and
covered her up to the shoulders. She lay back submissively, and looked
before her with beaming eyes.

"Remember one thing, that I needed nothing but forgiveness, and I want
nothing more.... Why doesn’t _he_ come?" she said, turning to the door
towards Vronsky. "Do come, do come! Give him your hand."

Vronsky came to the side of the bed, and seeing Anna, again hid his face
in his hands.

"Uncover your face—look at him! He’s a saint," she said. "Oh! uncover
your face, do uncover it!" she said angrily. "Alexey Alexandrovitch, do
uncover his face! I want to see him."

Alexey Alexandrovitch took Vronsky’s hands and drew them away from his
face, which was awful with the expression of agony and shame upon it.

"Give him your hand. Forgive him."

Alexey Alexandrovitch gave him his hand, not attempting to restrain the
tears that streamed from his eyes.

"Thank God, thank God!" she said, "now everything is ready. Only to
stretch my legs a little. There, that’s capital. How badly these flowers
are done—not a bit like a violet," she said, pointing to the hangings.
"My God, my God! when will it end? Give me some morphine. Doctor, give
me some morphine! Oh, my God, my God!"

And she tossed about on the bed.

The doctors said that it was puerperal fever, and that it was
ninety-nine chances in a hundred it would end in death. The whole day
long there was fever, delirium, and unconsciousness. At midnight the
patient lay without consciousness, and almost without pulse.

The end was expected every minute.

Vronsky had gone home, but in the morning he came to inquire, and Alexey
Alexandrovitch meeting him in the hall, said: "Better stay, she might
ask for you," and himself led him to his wife’s boudoir. Towards
morning, there was a return again of excitement, rapid thought and talk,
and again it ended in unconsciousness. On the third day it was the same
thing, and the doctors said there was hope. That day Alexey
Alexandrovitch went into the boudoir where Vronsky was sitting, and
closing the door sat down opposite him.

"Alexey Alexandrovitch," said Vronsky, feeling that a statement of the
position was coming, "I can’t speak, I can’t understand. Spare me!
However hard it is for you, believe me, it is more terrible for me."

He would have risen; but Alexey Alexandrovitch took him by the hand and

"I beg you to hear me out; it is necessary. I must explain my feelings,
the feelings that have guided me and will guide me, so that you may not
be in error regarding me. You know I had resolved on a divorce, and had
even begun to take proceedings. I won’t conceal from you that in
beginning this I was in uncertainty, I was in misery; I will confess
that I was pursued by a desire to revenge myself on you and on her. When
I got the telegram, I came here with the same feelings; I will say more,
I longed for her death. But...." He paused, pondering whether to
disclose or not to disclose his feeling to him. "But I saw her and
forgave her. And the happiness of forgiveness has revealed to me my
duty. I forgive completely. I would offer the other cheek, I would give
my cloak if my coat be taken. I pray to God only not to take from me the
bliss of forgiveness!"

Tears stood in his eyes, and the luminous, serene look in them impressed

"This is my position: you can trample me in the mud, make me the
laughing-stock of the world, I will not abandon her, and I will never
utter a word of reproach to you," Alexey Alexandrovitch went on. "My
duty is clearly marked for me; I ought to be with her, and I will be. If
she wishes to see you, I will let you know, but now I suppose it would
be better for you to go away."

He got up, and sobs cut short his words. Vronsky too was getting up, and
in a stooping, not yet erect posture, looked up at him from under his
brows. He did not understand Alexey Alexandrovitch’s feeling, but he
felt that it was something higher and even unattainable for him with his
view of life.

Chapter 18

After the conversation with Alexey Alexandrovitch, Vronsky went out onto
the steps of the Karenins’ house and stood still, with difficulty
remembering where he was, and where he ought to walk or drive. He felt
disgraced, humiliated, guilty, and deprived of all possibility of
washing away his humiliation. He felt thrust out of the beaten track
along which he had so proudly and lightly walked till then. All the
habits and rules of his life that had seemed so firm, had turned out
suddenly false and inapplicable. The betrayed husband, who had figured
till that time as a pitiful creature, an incidental and somewhat
ludicrous obstacle to his happiness, had suddenly been summoned by her
herself, elevated to an awe-inspiring pinnacle, and on the pinnacle that
husband had shown himself, not malignant, not false, not ludicrous, but
kind and straightforward and large. Vronsky could not but feel this, and
the parts were suddenly reversed. Vronsky felt his elevation and his own
abasement, his truth and his own falsehood. He felt that the husband was
magnanimous even in his sorrow, while he had been base and petty in his
deceit. But this sense of his own humiliation before the man he had
unjustly despised made up only a small part of his misery. He felt
unutterably wretched now, for his passion for Anna, which had seemed to
him of late to be growing cooler, now that he knew he had lost her
forever, was stronger than ever it had been. He had seen all of her in
her illness, had come to know her very soul, and it seemed to him that
he had never loved her till then. And now when he had learned to know
her, to love her as she should be loved, he had been humiliated before
her, and had lost her forever, leaving with her nothing of himself but a
shameful memory. Most terrible of all had been his ludicrous, shameful
position when Alexey Alexandrovitch had pulled his hands away from his
humiliated face. He stood on the steps of the Karenins’ house like one
distraught, and did not know what to do.

"A sledge, sir?" asked the porter.

"Yes, a sledge."

On getting home, after three sleepless nights, Vronsky, without
undressing, lay down flat on the sofa, clasping his hands and laying his
head on them. His head was heavy. Images, memories, and ideas of the
strangest description followed one another with extraordinary rapidity
and vividness. First it was the medicine he had poured out for the
patient and spilt over the spoon, then the midwife’s white hands, then
the queer posture of Alexey Alexandrovitch on the floor beside the bed.

"To sleep! To forget!" he said to himself with the serene confidence of
a healthy man that if he is tired and sleepy, he will go to sleep at
once. And the same instant his head did begin to feel drowsy and he
began to drop off into forgetfulness. The waves of the sea of
unconsciousness had begun to meet over his head, when all at once—it was
as though a violent shock of electricity had passed over him. He started
so that he leaped up on the springs of the sofa, and leaning on his arms
got in a panic onto his knees. His eyes were wide open as though he had
never been asleep. The heaviness in his head and the weariness in his
limbs that he had felt a minute before had suddenly gone.

"You may trample me in the mud," he heard Alexey Alexandrovitch’s words
and saw him standing before him, and saw Anna’s face with its burning
flush and glittering eyes, gazing with love an