Anna karenina, p.15
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       Anna Karenina, p.15

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 15

  At the end of the evening Kitty told her mother of her conversation withLevin, and in spite of all the pity she felt for Levin, she was glad atthe thought that she had received an _offer_. She had no doubt that shehad acted rightly. But after she had gone to bed, for a long while shecould not sleep. One impression pursued her relentlessly. It was Levin'sface, with his scowling brows, and his kind eyes looking out in darkdejection below them, as he stood listening to her father, and glancingat her and at Vronsky. And she felt so sorry for him that tears cameinto her eyes. But immediately she thought of the man for whom she hadgiven him up. She vividly recalled his manly, resolute face, his nobleself-possession, and the good nature conspicuous in everything towardseveryone. She remembered the love for her of the man she loved, and oncemore all was gladness in her soul, and she lay on the pillow, smilingwith happiness. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry; but what could I do? It's not myfault," she said to herself; but an inner voice told her something else.Whether she felt remorse at having won Levin's love, or at havingrefused him, she did not know. But her happiness was poisoned by doubts."Lord, have pity on us; Lord, have pity on us; Lord, have pity on us!"she repeated to herself, till she fell asleep.

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

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

  "But, really, for mercy's sake, prince, what have I done?" said theprincess, almost crying.

  She, pleased and happy after her conversation with her daughter, hadgone to the prince to say good-night as usual, and though she had nointention of telling him of Levin's offer and Kitty's refusal, still shehinted to her husband that she fancied things were practically settledwith Vronsky, and that he would declare himself so soon as his motherarrived. And thereupon, at those words, the prince had all at once flowninto a passion, and began to use unseemly language.

  "What have you done? I'll tell you what. First of all, you're trying tocatch an eligible gentleman, and all Moscow will be talking of it, andwith good reason. If you have evening parties, invite everyone, don'tpick out the possible suitors. Invite all the young bucks. Engage apiano 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'vegone on till you've turned the poor wench's head. Levin's a thousandtimes the better man. As for this little Petersburg swell, they'returned 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 afteranyone."

  "But what have I done?"

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

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

  "Well, and we had better."

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

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

  "But what makes you suppose so?"

  "I don't suppose; I know. We have eyes for such things, thoughwomen-folk haven't. I see a man who has serious intentions, that'sLevin: and I see a peacock, like this feather-head, who's only amusinghimself."

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

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

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

  "By all means, and good night!"

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

  The princess had at first been quite certain that that evening hadsettled Kitty's future, and that there could be no doubt of Vronsky'sintentions, but her husband's words had disturbed her. And returning toher 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."

 
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