FictionForest

PART SEVEN : Chapter 11

Leo TolstoyAug 25, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

Light off Small Medium Large

“What a marvelous, sweet and
unhappy woman!” he was thinking, as he stepped
out into the frosty air with Stepan Arkadyevitch.

“Well, didn’t I tell you?”
said Stepan Arkadyevitch, seeing that Levin had been
completely won over.

“Yes,” said Levin dreamily,
“an extraordinary woman!  It’s not
her cleverness, but she has such wonderful depth of
feeling.  I’m awfully sorry for her!”

“Now, please God, everything
will soon be settled.  Well, well, don’t
be hard on people in future,” said Stepan Arkadyevitch,
opening the carriage door.  “Good-bye; we
don’t go the same way.”

Still thinking of Anna, of everything,
even the simplest phrase in their conversation with
her, and recalling the minutest changes in her expression,
entering more and more into her position, and feeling
sympathy for her, Levin reached home.

At home Kouzma told Levin that Katerina
Alexandrovna was quite well, and that her sisters
had not long been gone, and he handed him two letters. 
Levin read them at once in the hall, that he might
not over look them later.  One was from Sokolov,
his bailiff.  Sokolov wrote that the corn could
not be sold, that it was fetching only five and a
half roubles, and that more than that could not be
got for it.  The other letter was from his sister. 
She scolded him for her business being still unsettled.

“Well, we must sell it at five
and a half if we can’t get more,” Levin
decided the first question, which had always before
seemed such a weighty one, with extraordinary facility
on the spot.  “It’s extraordinary
how all one’s time is taken up here,” he
thought, considering the second letter.  He felt
himself to blame for not having got done what his
sister had asked him to do for her.  “Today,
again, I’ve not been to the court, but today
I’ve certainly not had time.”  And
resolving that he would not fail to do it next day,
he went up to his wife.  As he went in, Levin
rapidly ran through mentally the day he had spent. 
All the events of the day were conversations, conversations
he had heard and taken part in.  All the conversations
were upon subjects which, if he had been alone at
home, he would never have taken up, but here they
were very interesting.  And all these conversations
were right enough, only in two places there was something
not quite right.  One was what he had said about
the carp, the other was something not “quite
the thing” in the tender sympathy he was feeling
for Anna.

Levin found his wife low-spirited
and dull.  The dinner of the three sisters had
gone off very well, but then they had waited and waited
for him, all of them had felt dull, the sisters had
departed, and she had been left alone.

“Well, and what have you been
doing?” she asked him, looking straight into
his eyes, which shone with rather a suspicious brightness. 
But that she might not prevent his telling her everything,
she concealed her close scrutiny of him, and with an
approving smile listened to his account of how he had
spent the evening.

“Well, I’m very glad I
met Vronsky.  I felt quite at ease and natural
with him.  You understand, I shall try not to
see him, but I’m glad that this awkwardness
is all over,” he said, and remembering that
by way of trying not to see him, he had immediately
gone to call on Anna, he blushed.  “We talk
about the peasants drinking; I don’t know which
drinks most, the peasantry or our own class; the peasants
do on holidays, but…”

But Kitty took not the slightest interest
in discussing the drinking habits of the peasants. 
She saw that he blushed, and she wanted to know why.

“Well, and then where did you go?”

“Stiva urged me awfully to go and see Anna Arkadyevna.”

And as he said this, Levin blushed
even more, and his doubts as to whether he had done
right in going to see Anna were settled once for all. 
He knew now that he ought not to have done so.

Kitty’s eyes opened in a curious
way and gleamed at Anna’s name, but controlling
herself with an effort, she concealed her emotion
and deceived him.

“Oh!” was all she said.

“I’m sure you won’t
be angry at my going.  Stiva begged me to, and
Dolly wished it,” Levin went on.

“Oh, no!” she said, but
he saw in her eyes a constraint that boded him no
good.

“She is a very sweet, very,
very unhappy, good woman,” he said, telling
her about Anna, her occupations, and what she had told
him to say to her.

“Yes, of course, she is very
much to be pitied,” said Kitty, when he had
finished.  “Whom was your letter from?”

He told her, and believing in her
calm tone, he went to change his coat.

Coming back, he found Kitty in the
same easy chair.  When he went up to her, she
glanced at him and broke into sobs.

“What? what is it?” he
asked, knowing beforehand what.

“You’re in love with that
hateful woman; she has bewitched you!  I saw it
in your eyes.  Yes, yes!  What can it all
lead to?  You were drinking at the club, drinking
and gambling, and then you went…to her of all people! 
No, we must go away….  I shall go away tomorrow.”

It was a long while before Levin could
soothe his wife.  At last he succeeded in calming
her, only by confessing that a feeling of pity, in
conjunction with the wine he had drunk, had been too
much for him, that he had succumbed to Anna’s
artful influence, and that he would avoid her. 
One thing he did with more sincerity confess to was
that living so long in Moscow, a life of nothing but
conversation, eating and drinking, he was degenerating. 
They talked till three o’clock in the morning. 
Only at three o’clock were they sufficiently
reconciled to be able to go to sleep.

 

Leave a Reply