Anna karenina, p.121
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       Anna Karenina, p.121

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 20

  Alexey Alexandrovitch took leave of Betsy in the drawing room, and wentto his wife. She was lying down, but hearing his steps she sat uphastily in her former attitude, and looked in a scared way at him. Hesaw she had been crying.

  "I am very grateful for your confidence in me." He repeated gently inRussian the phrase he had said in Betsy's presence in French, and satdown beside her. When he spoke to her in Russian, using the Russian"thou" of intimacy and affection, it was insufferably irritating toAnna. "And I am very grateful for your decision. I, too, imagine thatsince he is going away, there is no sort of necessity for Count Vronskyto come here. However, if..."

  "But I've said so already, so why repeat it?" Anna suddenly interruptedhim with an irritation she could not succeed in repressing. "No sort ofnecessity," she thought, "for a man to come and say good-bye to thewoman he loves, for whom he was ready to ruin himself, and has ruinedhimself, and who cannot live without him. No sort of necessity!" shecompressed her lips, and dropped her burning eyes to his hands withtheir swollen veins. They were rubbing each other.

  "Let us never speak of it," she added more calmly.

  "I have left this question to you to decide, and I am very glad tosee..." Alexey Alexandrovitch was beginning.

  "That my wish coincides with your own," she finished quickly,exasperated at his talking so slowly while she knew beforehand all hewould say.

  "Yes," he assented; "and Princess Tverskaya's interference in the mostdifficult private affairs is utterly uncalled for. She especially..."

  "I don't believe a word of what's said about her," said Anna quickly. "Iknow she really cares for me."

  Alexey Alexandrovitch sighed and said nothing. She played nervously withthe tassel of her dressing-gown, glancing at him with that torturingsensation of physical repulsion for which she blamed herself, though shecould not control it. Her only desire now was to be rid of hisoppressive presence.

  "I have just sent for the doctor," said Alexey Alexandrovitch.

  "I am very well; what do I want the doctor for?"

  "No, the little one cries, and they say the nurse hasn't enough milk."

  "Why didn't you let me nurse her, when I begged to? Anyway" (AlexeyAlexandrovitch knew what was meant by that "anyway"), "she's a baby, andthey're killing her." She rang the bell and ordered the baby to bebrought her. "I begged to nurse her, I wasn't allowed to, and now I'mblamed for it."

  "I don't blame..."

  "Yes, you do blame me! My God! why didn't I die!" And she broke intosobs. "Forgive me, I'm nervous, I'm unjust," she said, controllingherself, "but do go away..."

  "No, it can't go on like this," Alexey Alexandrovitch said to himselfdecidedly as he left his wife's room.

  Never had the impossibility of his position in the world's eyes, and hiswife's hatred of him, and altogether the might of that mysterious brutalforce that guided his life against his spiritual inclinations, andexacted conformity with its decrees and change in his attitude to hiswife, been presented to him with such distinctness as that day. He sawclearly that all the world and his wife expected of him something, butwhat exactly, he could not make out. He felt that this was rousing inhis soul a feeling of anger destructive of his peace of mind and of allthe good of his achievement. He believed that for Anna herself it wouldbe better to break off all relations with Vronsky; but if they allthought this out of the question, he was even ready to allow theserelations to be renewed, so long as the children were not disgraced, andhe was not deprived of them nor forced to change his position. Bad asthis might be, it was anyway better than a rupture, which would put herin a hopeless and shameful position, and deprive him of everything hecared for. But he felt helpless; he knew beforehand that every one wasagainst him, and that he would not be allowed to do what seemed to himnow so natural and right, but would be forced to do what was wrong,though it seemed the proper thing to them.

 
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