families are all alike; every unhappy family is
unhappy in its own way.
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
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
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.
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
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
idiotic smile that's to blame for it all," thought
to be done? What's to be done?" he said to himself
in despair, and found no answer.
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.
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
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.
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
any papers from the office?" asked Stepan
Arkadyevitch, taking the telegram and seating
himself at the looking-glass.
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
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?"
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 beforehand.
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
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,
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.
with her husband?" inquired Matvey.
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.
the room to be got ready upstairs?"
Alexandrovna: where she orders."
Alexandrovna?" Matvey repeated, as though in doubt.
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,
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.
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 face.
he said, shaking his head.
right, sir; she will come round," said Matvey.
"Do you think
so? Who's there?" asked Stepan Arkadyevitch, hearing
the rustle of a woman's dress at the door.
said a firm, pleasant, woman's voice, and the stern,
pockmarked face of Matrona Philimonovna, the nurse,
was thrust in at the doorway.
is it, Matrona?" queried Stepan Arkadyevitch, going
up to her at the door.
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.
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 consequences..."
won't see me."
"You do your
part. God is merciful; pray to God, sir, pray to
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
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
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.
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
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
not because there was anything particularly
agreeable in his mind--the joyous smile was evoked
by a good digestion.
joyous smile at once recalled everything to him, and
he grew thoughtful.
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!"
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
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
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
She is up," answered the girl.
Arkadyevitch sighed. "That means that she's not
slept again all night," he thought.
"Well, is she
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.
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."
Tanya, my darling. Oh, wait a minute, though," he
said, still holding her and stroking her soft little
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.
said the little girl, pointing to the chocolate.
And still stroking her little shoulder, he kissed
her on the roots of her hair and neck, and let her
is ready," said Matvey; "but there's some one to see
you with a petition."
long?" asked Stepan Arkadyevitch.
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.
the person up at once," said Oblonsky, frowning with
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
repeated, with a quiver in his voice. "Anna is
is that to me?
I can't see her!" she cried.
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.
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
She shut the
bureau with a slam, and glanced at him.
can I say?.... One thing: forgive...Remember, cannot
nine years of my life atone for an instant...."
her eyes and listened, expecting what he would say,
as it were beseeching him in some way or other to
make her believe differently.
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
"Go away, go
out of the room!" she shrieked still more shrilly,
"and don't talk to me of your passion and your
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.
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
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
moment in the next room a child began to cry;
probably it had fallen down. Darya Alexandrovna
listened, and her face suddenly softened.
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
loves my child," he thought, noticing the change of
her face at the child's cry, "my child: how can she
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.
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 room.
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."
he shouted. "Arrange everything with Darya in
the sitting room for Anna Arkadyevna," he said to
Matvey when he came in.
Arkadyevitch put on his fur coat and went out onto
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
not enough, we must make it do," said Matvey,
slamming the carriage door and stepping back onto
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
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
No, no, reconciliation is impossible. Even if
we remain in the same house, we are
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 yesterday."
"Very well, I
will come directly and see about it. But did you
send for some new milk?"
Alexandrovna plunged into the duties of the day, and
drowned her grief in them for a time.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
succeeded in getting the information from the
government department of Penza. Here, would you
them at last?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, laying his
finger on the paper. "Now, gentlemen...."
sitting of the board began.
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
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.
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.
have time to finish after lunch," said Stepan
"To be sure
we shall!" said Nikitin.
sharp fellow this Fomin must be," said Grinevitch of
one of the persons taking part in the case they were
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.
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..."
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.
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.
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 long?"
"I have just
come, and very much wanted to see you," said Levin,
looking shyly and at the same time angrily and
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.
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.
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
When did you come?"
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
said the veteran.
"I have the
honor of knowing your brother, Sergey Ivanovitch,"
said Grinevitch, holding out his slender hand with
its long nails.
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
"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 Oblonsky.
quick about it!" said Oblonsky with a smile. "But
"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
You're in a new phase again, I see--a
conservative," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "However,
we can go into that later."
But I wanted to see you," said Levin, looking with
hatred at Grinevitch's hand.
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."
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.
shall we meet? You know I want very much to talk to
you," said Levin.
seemed to ponder.
you what: let's go to Gurin's to lunch, and there we
can talk. I am free till three."
answered Levin, after an instant's thought, "I have
got to go on somewhere else."
then, let's dine together."
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 afterwards."
the few words, then, at once, and we'll gossip after
this," said Levin; "but it's of no importance,
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?"
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..."
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
"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 Nikititch."
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.
understand it, I don't understand it," he said.
you understand?" said Oblonsky, smiling as brightly
as ever, and picking up a cigarette. He expected
some queer outburst from Levin.
understand what you are doing," said Levin,
shrugging his shoulders. "How can you do it
there's nothing in it."
so, but we're overwhelmed with work."
But, there, you've a gift for it," added Levin.
say, you think there's a lack of something in me?"
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.
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.
nothing," responded Oblonsky. "We'll talk it over.
But what's brought you up to town?"
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."
good-bye till then."
you'll forget, I know you, or rush off home to the
Stepan Arkadyevitch called out laughing.
went out of the room, only when he was in the
doorway remembering that he had forgotten to take
leave of Oblonsky's colleagues.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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 mind.
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.
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."
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."
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.
that, if my senses are annihilated, if my body is
dead, I can have no existence of any sort?" he
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:
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
listened no more, and simply waited for the
professor to go.
the professor had gone, Sergey Ivanovitch turned to
that you've come. For some time, is it? How's your
farming getting on?"
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.
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.
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."
pity!" commented Sergey Ivanovitch, frowning.
self-defense began to describe what took place in
the meetings in his district.
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
"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."
that you're no good at it," said Sergey Ivanovitch;
"it is that you don't look at it as you should."
not," Levin answered dejectedly.
"Oh! do you
know brother Nikolay's turned up again?"
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?"
him in the street."
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
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."
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.
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."
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."
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..."
awful, awful!" repeated Levin.
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.
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 vestments.
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.
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.
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:
first skater in Russia!
Been here long?
First-rate ice--do put your skates on."
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
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
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 muff.
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.
know you could skate, and skate so well."
She looked at
him earnestly, as though wishing to make out the
cause of his confusion.
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
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."
Can that be possible?" thought Levin, gazing
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.
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
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!
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 hand.
"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.
anything troubling you?--though I've no right to ask
such a question," he added hurriedly.
so?.... No, I have nothing to trouble me," she
responded coldly; and she added immediately: "You
haven't seen Mlle. Linon, have you?"
"Go and speak
to her, she likes you so much."
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
"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?"
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?"
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.
must be dull in the country in the winter, aren't
you?" she said.
"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 winter.
going to stay in town long?" Kitty questioned him.
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?"
know. It depends upon you," he said, and was
immediately horror-stricken at his own words.
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 skates.
"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.
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
"Ah, that's a
new trick!" said Levin, and he promptly ran up to
the top to do this new trick.
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, laughing.
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
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.
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.
see you," said Princess Shtcherbatskaya. "On
Thursdays we are home, as always."
"We shall be
pleased to see you," the princess said stiffly.
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:
till this evening."
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.
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
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.
England or the Hermitage?"
"I don't mind
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
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."
Arkadyevitch was absorbed during the drive in
composing the menu of the dinner.
turbot, don't you?" he said to Levin as they were
responded Levin. "Turbot? Yes, I'm _awfully_ fond of
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
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.
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
prefer it, your excellency, a private room will be
free directly; Prince Golistin with a lady. Fresh
oysters have come in."
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?
Flensburg, your excellency. We've no Ostend."
will do, but are they fresh?"
how if we were to begin with oysters, and so change
the whole program?
"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."
la Russe,_ your honor would like?" said the Tatar,
bending down to Levin, like a nurse speaking to a
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."
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..."
prompted the Tatar. But Stepan Arkadyevitch
apparently did not care to allow him the
satisfaction of giving the French names of the
vegetables in it, you know. Then turbot with thick
sauce, then...roast beef; and mind it's good. Yes,
and capons, perhaps, and then sweets."
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.
like, only not too much.
Champagne," said Levin.
You're right though, I dare say. Do you like
the white seal?"
blanc,_" prompted the Tatar.
then, give us that brand with the oysters, and then
And what table wine?"
"You can give
us Nuits. Oh, no, better the classic Chablis."
And _your_ cheese, your excellency?"
Parmesan. Or would you like another?"
"No, it's all
the same to me," said Levin, unable to suppress a
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
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
care much for oysters, do you?" said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, emptying his wine glass, "or you're
worried about something. Eh?"
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.
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.
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."
Arkadyevitch smiled gaily.
that's just a sign that he has no need to do coarse
work. His work is with the mind..."
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
course," objected Stepan Arkadyevitch. "But that's
just the aim of civilization--to make everything a
source of enjoyment."
that's its aim, I'd rather be a savage."
"And so you
are a savage. All you Levins are savages."
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
"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."
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."
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.
know a gallant steed by tokens sure,
And by his eyes I know a youth in love,"
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
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.
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.
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
Arkadyevitch slowly emptied his glass of Chablis,
never taking his eyes off Levin.
Stepan Arkadyevitch, "there's nothing I desire so
much as that--nothing! It would be the best thing
that could be."
not making a mistake?
You know what we're speaking of?" said Levin,
piercing him with his eyes. "You think it's
"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..."
you think that?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch, smiling
at his excitement.
"It seems so
to me sometimes. That will be awful for me, and for
anyway there's nothing awful in it for a girl. Every
girl's proud of an offer."
girl, but not she."
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 humanity.
some sauce," he said, holding back Levin's hand as
it pushed away the sauce.
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
"How do you
only that she likes you--she says that Kitty is
certain to be your wife."
words Levin's face suddenly lighted up with a smile,
a smile not far from tears of emotion.
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.
but do sit down."
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.
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
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."
you've not many sins on your conscience."
the same," said Levin, "when with loathing I go over
my life, I shudder and curse and bitterly regret
The world's made so," said Stepan
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."
emptied his glass, and they were silent for a while.
other thing I ought to tell you. Do you know
Vronsky?" Stepan Arkadyevitch asked Levin.
"No, I don't.
Why do you ask?"
another bottle," Stepan Arkadyevitch directed the
Tatar, who was filling up their glasses and
fidgeting round them just when he was not wanted.
ought to know Vronsky is that he's one of your
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
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."
and was dumb.
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..."
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
"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."
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.
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.
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
"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.
Arkadyevitch smiled. He knew what was passing in
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
"Why, what is
you. Suppose you're married, you love your wife, but
you're fascinated by another woman..."
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
Arkadyevitch's eyes sparkled more than usual.
A roll will sometimes smell so good one can't
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.
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
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 same."
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."
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
done for," resumed Oblonsky. "But what's to be
Arkadyevitch laughed outright.
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
"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,
instant Levin recollected his own sins and the inner
conflict he had lived through. And he added
you are right. Very likely...I don't know, I don't
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."
and made no reply. He was thinking of his own
affairs, and did not hear Oblonsky.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 agitation.
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.
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.
thing I want to say..." began the princess, and from
her serious and alert face, Kitty guessed what it
said, flushing hotly and turning quickly to her,
"please, please don't say anything about that. I
know, I know all about it."
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..."
darling, for goodness' sake, don't talk about it.
It's so horrible to talk about it."
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?"
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..."
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.
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
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 misty.
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.
seven she had only just gone down into the drawing
room, when the footman announced, "Konstantin
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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.
be down directly. She was very much tired....
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..."
her head lower and lower, not knowing herself what
answer she should make to what was coming.
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...
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
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
"It was bound
to be so," he said, not looking at her.
He bowed, and
was meaning to retreat.
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
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.
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.
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 other.
Nordston pounced upon Levin at once.
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
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
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
princess, I'm no longer a member of the council," he
said. "I have come up for a few days."
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."
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."
instant another lady came into the room, and Levin
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.
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.
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.
saying a few words to everyone, he sat down without
once glancing at Levin, who had never taken his eyes
introduce you," said the princess, indicating Levin.
"Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin, Count Alexey
up and, looking cordially at Levin, shook hands with
"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 country."
Dmitrievitch despises and hates town and us
townspeople," said Countess Nordston.
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.
looked at Levin and Countess Nordston, and smiled.
always in the country?" he inquired. "I should think
it must be dull in the winter."
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.
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.
Countess Nordston wanted to say something, he
stopped short without finishing what he had begun,
and listened attentively to her.
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.
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
conversation fell upon table-turning and spirits,
and Countess Nordston, who believed in spiritualism,
began to describe the marvels she had seen.
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.
next Saturday," answered Countess Nordston. "But
you, Konstantin Dmitrievitch, do you believe in it?"
she asked Levin.
"Why do you
You know what I shall say."
"But I want
to hear your 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?"
believe in it, countess."
"But if I've
seen it myself?"
women too tell us they have seen goblins."
think I tell a lie?"
laughed a mirthless laugh.
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..."
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."
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..."
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
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
"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
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."
his mouth, was about to say something, reddened, and
"Do let us
try table-turning at once, please," said Vronsky.
"Princess, will you allow it?"
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.
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.
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.
us have Konstantin Dmitrievitch," said Countess
Nordston; "we want to try an experiment."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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!"
for mercy's sake, prince, what have I done?" said
the princess, almost crying.
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
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 anyone."
have I done?"
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
"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
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! 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..."
makes you suppose so?"
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
when once you get an idea into your head!..."
remember my words, but too late, just as with
we won't talk of it," the princess stopped him,
recollecting her unlucky Dolly.
means, and good night!"
each other with the cross, the husband and wife
parted with a kiss, feeling that they each remained
of their own opinion.
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."
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.
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
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
ov 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 marry.
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, ridiculous.
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
"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,
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...'
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.
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.
excellency!" cried Oblonsky, "whom are you meeting?"
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
looking out for you till two o'clock last night.
Where did you go after the Shtcherbatskys'?"
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,"
Stepan Arkadyevitch, just as he had done before to
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.
qui mal y pense!_ My sister Anna."
Madame Karenina," said Vronsky.
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
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
"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."
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
do you say? Shall we give a supper on Sunday for the
_diva?_" he said to him with a smile, taking his
I'm collecting subscriptions. Oh, did you make the
acquaintance of my friend Levin?" asked Stepan
"Yes; but he
left rather early."
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
true, it is so," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, laughing
train soon be in?" Vronsky asked a railway official.
signaled," answered the man.
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.
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."
still and asked directly: "How so? Do you mean he
made your _belle-soeur_ an offer yesterday?"
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."
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."
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
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 shoulder.
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.
Vronskaya is in that compartment," said the smart
guard, going up to Vronsky.
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
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 out.
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.
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
"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.
Petersburg view, madame."
Petersburg, but simply feminine," she responded.
allow me to kiss your hand."
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
you found your brother?" said Countess Vronskaya,
addressing the lady.
understood now that this was Madame Karenina.
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."
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:
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.
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."
Karenina entered the carriage again to say good-bye
to the countess.
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 you."
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
Karenina stood quite still, holding herself very
erect, and her eyes were smiling.
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."
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
"Thank you so
much. The time has passed so quickly. Good-bye,
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."
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.
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.
are you perfectly well?" he repeated, turning to his
has been delightful. Alexander has been very good,
and Marie has grown very pretty. She's very
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.
Lavrenty," said Vronsky, looking out of the window;
"now we can go, if you like."
butler who had traveled with the countess, came to
the carriage to announce that everything was ready,
and the countess got up to go.
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?... 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
got in, while Vronsky and Stepan Arkadyevitch
followed the crowd to find out details of the
either drunk or too much muffled up in the bitter
frost, had not heard the train moving back, and had
Vronsky and Oblonsky came back the ladies heard the
facts from the butler.
Vronsky had both seen the mutilated corpse. Oblonsky
was evidently upset. He frowned and seemed ready to
Ah, Anna, if you had seen it!
Ah, how awful!" he said.
not speak; his handsome face was serious, but
"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
do anything for her?" said Madame Karenina in an
glanced at her, and immediately got out of the
"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?"
widow," said Vronsky, shrugging his shoulders. "I
should have thought there was no need to ask."
that?" cried Oblonsky, behind, and, pressing his
sister's hand, he added: "Very nice, very nice!
Isn't he a splendid fellow? Good-bye,
And he and
his sister stood still, looking for her maid.
went out the Vronsky's carriage had already driven
away. People coming in were still talking of what
horrible death!" said a gentleman, passing by. "They
say he was cut in two pieces."
contrary, I think it's the easiest--instantaneous,"
"How is it
they don't take proper precautions?" said a third.
Karenina seated herself in the carriage, and Stepan
Arkadyevitch saw with surprise that her lips were
quivering, and she was with difficulty restraining
"What is it,
Anna?" he asked, when they had driven a few hundred
"It's an omen
of evil," she said.
nonsense!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "You've come,
that's the chief thing. You can't conceive how I'm
resting my hopes on you."
known Vronsky long?" she asked.
we're hoping he will marry Kitty."
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.
me all about it."
Arkadyevitch began to tell his story.
home Oblonsky helped his sister out, sighed, pressed
her hand, and set off to his office.
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.
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.
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."
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 bell.
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.
already!" she said as she kissed her.
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.
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.
radiant with health and happiness!" said Dolly,
almost with envy.
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
Show me them all."
them, not only remembering the names, but the years,
months, characters, illnesses of all the children,
and Dolly could not but appreciate that.
we will go to them," she said. "It's a pity Vassya's
the children, they sat down, alone now, in the
drawing room, to coffee. Anna took the tray, and
then pushed it away from her.
said, "he has told me."
coldly at Anna; she was waiting now for phrases of
conventional sympathy, but Anna said nothing of the
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
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:
me's impossible. Everything's lost after what has
happened, everything's over!"
she had said this, her face suddenly softened. Anna
lifted the wasted, thin hand of Dolly, kissed it and
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
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."
darling, he has spoken to me, but I want to hear it
from you: tell me about it."
at her inquiringly.
love unfeigned were visible on Anna's face.
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
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."
Anna interposed quickly. "He's to be pitied, he's
weighed down by remorse..."
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
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
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.
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 understand?"
eyes glowed with hatred.
that he will tell me.... What! can I believe him?
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 him."
Dolly, I understand, but don't torture yourself. You
are so distressed, so overwrought, that you look at
many things mistakenly."
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."
think of nothing, but her heart responded instantly
to each word, to each change of expression of her
"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."
understands, he understood!" Dolly broke in. "But
I...you are forgetting me...does it make it easier
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!"
was beginning, but Anna cut her short, kissing her
hand once more.
"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..."
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
be, as I understand it..."
could you forgive it?"
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..."
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
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.
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.
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.
when Dolly went away to her own room, Anna rose
quickly and went up to her brother, who was just
lighting a cigar.
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
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.
as we were sitting before," said Anna Arkadyevna,
sitting down in her place.
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.
and a splendid ball. One of those balls where one
always enjoys oneself."
there balls where one always enjoys oneself?" Anna
said, with tender irony.
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
"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."
_you_ be dull at a ball?"
not _I_ be dull at a ball?" inquired Anna.
perceived that Anna knew what answer would follow.
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?"
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
"I shall be
so glad if you go. I should so like to see you at a
"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
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 room.
"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
"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?"
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.
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
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
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
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!" screamed the children, who had finished tea,
running up to their Aunt Anna.
together," said Anna, and she ran laughing to meet
them, and embraced and swung round all the throng of
swarming children, shrieking with delight.
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
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."
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
"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 him.
whether they are fully reconciled," thought Anna,
hearing her tone, cold and composed.
nonsense, Dolly, always making difficulties,"
answered her husband. "Come, I'll do it all, if you
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.
reconciliation, full," thought Anna; "thank God!"
and rejoicing that she was the cause of it, she went
up to Dolly and kissed her.
"Not at all.
Why do you always look down on me and Matvey?" said
Stepan Arkadyevitch, smiling hardly perceptibly, and
addressing his wife.
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
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
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
"Who can that
be?" said Dolly.
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
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.
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
All of them
looked at each other, saying nothing, and began to
look at Anna's album.
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.
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.
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 it.
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
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.
turn, eh? You're not tired?" said Korsunsky, a
little out of breath.
I take you?"
Karenina's here, I think...take me to her."
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.
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.
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
"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.
you met?" inquired their host.
anyone we have not met? My wife and I are like white
wolves--everyone knows us," answered Korsunsky. "A
waltz, Anna Arkadyevna?"
dance when it's possible not to dance," she said.
it's impossible," answered Korsunsky.
instant Vronsky came up.
it's impossible tonight, let us start," she said,
not noticing Vronsky's bow, and she hastily put her
hand on Korsunsky's shoulder.
"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
Waltz! waltz!" shouted Korsunsky from the other side
of the room, and seizing the first young lady he
came across he began dancing himself.
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.
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.
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
I am wrong, perhaps it was not so?" And again she
recalled all she had seen.
is it?" said Countess Nordston, stepping noiselessly
over the carpet towards her. "I don't understand
lip began to quiver; she got up quickly.
you're not dancing the mazurka?"
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
Nordston found Korsunsky, with whom she was to dance
the mazurka, and told him to ask Kitty.
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.
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.
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.
ball!" he said to her, for the sake of saying
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.
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.
Anna Arkadyevna," said Korsunsky, drawing her bare
arm under the sleeve of his dress coat, "I've such
an idea for a _cotillion!
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
"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."
certainly going tomorrow then?" asked Vronsky.
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.
Arkadyevna did not stay to supper, but went home.
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
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.
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.
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.
"Sure to be
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
As he went in
the door, the unknown voice was saying:
depends with how much judgment and knowledge the
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.
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."
rose, came out from behind the screen, and saw
gentleman, Nikolay Dmitrievitch," she said.
"Whom do you
want?" said the voice of Nikolay Levin, angrily.
answered Konstantin Levin, coming forward into the
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 visitor.
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.
want to see you for anything," he answered timidly.
"I've simply come to see you."
timidity obviously softened Nikolay. His lips
that's it?" he said. "Well, come in; sit down. Like
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 scoundrel."
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,
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.
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
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."
tell them to bring supper; three portions, spirits
and wine.... No, wait a minute.... No, it doesn't
matter.... Go along."
see," pursued Nikolay Levin, painfully wrinkling his
forehead and twitching.
obviously difficult for him to think of what to say
"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
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:
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.
course," said Konstantin, looking at the patch of
red that had come out on his brother's projecting
"And so we're
founding a locksmiths' association, where all the
production and profit and the chief instruments of
production will be in common."
"Where is the
association to be?" asked Konstantin Levin.
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
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
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,
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."
instant Marya Nikolaevna came back. Nikolay Levin
looked round angrily at her. She went quickly to
him, and whispered something.
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
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 space.
read it," Kritsky responded gloomily, obviously not
desiring to enter into the conversation.
said Nikolay Levin, now turning with exasperation
didn't see the use of wasting my time over it."
excuse me, how did you know it would be wasting your
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
mute. Kritsky got up deliberately and reached his
All right, good-bye!
Come round tomorrow with the locksmith."
hardly gone out when Nikolay Levin smiled and
"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.
been long with my brother?" he said to her.
than a year. Nikolay Dmitrievitch's health has
become very poor. Nikolay Dmitrievitch drinks a
great deal," she said.
is...how does he drink?"
vodka, and it's bad for him."
"And a great
deal?" whispered Levin.
said, looking timidly towards the doorway, where
Nikolay Levin had reappeared.
you talking about?" he said, knitting his brows, and
turning his scared eyes from one to the other. "What
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.
Dmitrievitch, Nikolay Dmitrievitch," whispered Marya
Nikolaevna, again going up to him.
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.
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
"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 it.
you get married?"
happened so," Konstantin answered, reddening a
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
made haste to change the conversation.
"Do you know
your little Vanya's with me, a clerk in the
countinghouse at Pokrovskoe."
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
"I'd come and
see you if I were sure I should not find Sergey
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
"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."
You see that, you see that!"
Nikolay shouted joyfully.
personally value friendly relations with you more
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.
Nikolay Dmitrievitch!" said Marya Nikolaevna,
stretching out her plump, bare arm towards the
"Let it be!
I'll beat you!" he shouted.
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?"
never before in Moscow?" Konstantin said to her, for
the sake of saying something.
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
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.
world we shall understand it all," he said lightly.
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 songs."
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.
promised to write to Konstantin in case of need, and
to persuade Nikolay Levin to go and stay with his
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.
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."
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
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 calved.
me my sheepskin. And you tell them to take a
lantern. I'll come and look at her," he said to the
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
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 straight.
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.
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."
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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.
have thought it?" said Agafea Mihalovna. "The dog
now...why, she understands that her master's come
home, and that he's low-spirited."
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."
intently at her, surprised at how well she knew his
fetch you another cup?" said she, and taking his cup
she went out.
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
I'll do," he said to himself; "that's what I'll do!
Nothing's amiss.... All's well."
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
Arkadyevitch was not dining at home, but he promised
to come and see his sister off at seven o'clock.
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.
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."
here and did a good deed," said Dolly, looking
intently at her.
at her with eyes wet with tears.
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 heart."
has its own _skeletons_, as the English say."
"You have no
sort of _skeleton_, have you? Everything is so clear
said Anna suddenly, and, unexpectedly after her
tears, a sly, ironical smile curved her lips.
amusing, anyway, your _skeleton_, and not
depressing," said Dolly, smiling.
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.
went on. "Do you know why Kitty didn't come to
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.
"Oh no, oh
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.
told me you danced the mazurka with him, and that
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..."
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."
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
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?"
scarcely suppress a smile. She loved Anna, but she
enjoyed seeing that she too had her weaknesses.
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!"
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
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.
understood me, and you understand. Good-bye, my
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 it."
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 conflict.
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
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.
word, not one gesture of yours shall I, could I,
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.
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.
quite well?" she asked.
"And is this
all the reward," said he, "for my ardor? He's quite
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 himself.
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.
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.
very good," she answered.
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
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 bestowing.
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
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.
Alexandrovitch glanced with his weary eyes at
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.
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
(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
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?"
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.
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:
Running up to her, he hung on her neck.
"I told you
it was mother!" he shouted to the governess. "I
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
"Why, am I
not so nice as she?" asked Seryozha.
"To me you're
nicer than anyone in the world."
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.
dear, so you took the olive branch?" inquired
Countess Lidia Ivanovna, as soon as she came into
all over, but it was all much less serious than we
had supposed," answered Anna. "My _belle-soeur_ is
in general too hasty."
Lidia Ivanovna, though she was interested in
everything that did not concern her, had a habit of
never listening to what interested her; she
plenty of sorrow and evil in the world. I am so
asked Anna, trying to suppress a smile.
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
Pravdin was a
well-known Panslavist abroad, and Countess Lidia
Ivanovna described the purport of his letter.
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
"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."
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
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.
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.
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
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
"Here you are
at last!" she observed, holding out her hand to him.
He kissed her
hand and sat down beside her.
then, I see your visit was a success," he said to
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.
one cannot exonerate such a man from blame, though
he is your brother," said Alexey Alexandrovitch
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?"
heard nothing of this act, And she felt
conscience-stricken at having been able so readily
to forget what was to him of such importance.
"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
his second cup of tea with cream, and bread, Alexey
Alexandrovitch got up, and was going towards his
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."
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
"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."
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?"
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," said he, with a meaning smile, and he
went into their bedroom.
right had he to look at him like that?" thought
Anna, recalling Vronsky's glance at Alexey
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.
Vronsky went to Moscow from Petersburg, he had left
his large set of rooms in Morskaia to his friend and
favorite comrade Petritsky.
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
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?"
think so," said Vronsky, with a bright smile,
pressing the baroness's little hand. "What next!
I'm an old friend."
after a journey," said the baroness, "so I'm flying.
Oh, I'll be off this minute, if I'm in the way."
wherever you are, baroness," said Vronsky. "How do
you do, Kamerovsky?" he added, coldly shaking hands
never know how to say such pretty things," said the
baroness, turning to Petritsky.
After dinner I say things quite as good."
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."
"No, I won't
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?"
baroness. I was born a Bohemian, and a Bohemian I
"So much the
better, so much the better. Shake hands on it."
baroness, detaining Vronsky, began telling him, with
many jokes, about her last new plans of life, asking
in refusing to give me a divorce! Well, what am I to
(_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
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.
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
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 Vronsky.
"So at the
Francais!" and, with a rustle of her skirts, she
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.
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
"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 listen."
listening," answered Vronsky, rubbing himself with a
"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!"
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.
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.