Anna karenina, p.202
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       Anna Karenina, p.202

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 13

  There are no conditions to which a man cannot become used, especially ifhe sees that all around him are living in the same way. Levin could nothave believed three months before that he could have gone quietly tosleep in the condition in which he was that day, that leading anaimless, irrational life, living too beyond his means, after drinking toexcess (he could not call what happened at the club anything else),forming inappropriately friendly relations with a man with whom his wifehad once been in love, and a still more inappropriate call upon a womanwho could only be called a lost woman, after being fascinated by thatwoman and causing his wife distress--he could still go quietly to sleep.But under the influence of fatigue, a sleepless night, and the wine hehad drunk, his sleep was sound and untroubled.

  At five o'clock the creak of a door opening waked him. He jumped up andlooked round. Kitty was not in bed beside him. But there was a lightmoving behind the screen, and he heard her steps.

  "What is it?... what is it?" he said, half-asleep. "Kitty! What is it?"

  "Nothing," she said, coming from behind the screen with a candle in herhand. "I felt unwell," she said, smiling a particularly sweet andmeaning smile.

  "What? has it begun?" he said in terror. "We ought to send..." andhurriedly he reached after his clothes.

  "No, no," she said, smiling and holding his hand. "It's sure to benothing. I was rather unwell, only a little. It's all over now."

  And getting into bed, she blew out the candle, lay down and was still.Though he thought her stillness suspicious, as though she were holdingher breath, and still more suspicious the expression of peculiartenderness and excitement with which, as she came from behind thescreen, she said "nothing," he was so sleepy that he fell asleep atonce. Only later he remembered the stillness of her breathing, andunderstood all that must have been passing in her sweet, precious heartwhile she lay beside him, not stirring, in anticipation of the greatestevent in a woman's life. At seven o'clock he was waked by the touch ofher hand on his shoulder, and a gentle whisper. She seemed strugglingbetween regret at waking him, and the desire to talk to him.

  "Kostya, don't be frightened. It's all right. But I fancy.... We oughtto send for Lizaveta Petrovna."

  The candle was lighted again. She was sitting up in bed, holding someknitting, which she had been busy upon during the last few days.

  "Please, don't be frightened, it's all right. I'm not a bit afraid," shesaid, seeing his scared face, and she pressed his hand to her bosom andthen to her lips.

  He hurriedly jumped up, hardly awake, and kept his eyes fixed on her, ashe put on his dressing gown; then he stopped, still looking at her. Hehad to go, but he could not tear himself from her eyes. He thought heloved her face, knew her expression, her eyes, but never had he seen itlike this. How hateful and horrible he seemed to himself, thinking ofthe distress he had caused her yesterday. Her flushed face, fringed withsoft curling hair under her night cap, was radiant with joy and courage.

  Though there was so little that was complex or artificial in Kitty'scharacter in general, Levin was struck by what was revealed now, whensuddenly all disguises were thrown off and the very kernel of her soulshone in her eyes. And in this simplicity and nakedness of her soul,she, the very woman he loved in her, was more manifest than ever. Shelooked at him, smiling; but all at once her brows twitched, she threw upher head, and going quickly up to him, clutched his hand and pressedclose up to him, breathing her hot breath upon him. She was in pain andwas, as it were, complaining to him of her suffering. And for the firstminute, from habit, it seemed to him that he was to blame. But in hereyes there was a tenderness that told him that she was far fromreproaching him, that she loved him for her sufferings. "If not I, whois to blame for it?" he thought unconsciously, seeking someoneresponsible for this suffering for him to punish; but there was no oneresponsible. She was suffering, complaining, and triumphing in hersufferings, and rejoicing in them, and loving them. He saw thatsomething sublime was being accomplished in her soul, but what? He couldnot make it out. It was beyond his understanding.

  "I have sent to mamma. You go quickly to fetch Lizaveta Petrovna ...Kostya!... Nothing, it's over."

  She moved away from him and rang the bell.

  "Well, go now; Pasha's coming. I am all right."

  And Levin saw with astonishment that she had taken up the knitting shehad brought in in the night and begun working at it again.

  As Levin was going out of one door, he heard the maid-servant come in atthe other. He stood at the door and heard Kitty giving exact directionsto the maid, and beginning to help her move the bedstead.

  He dressed, and while they were putting in his horses, as a hired sledgewas not to be seen yet, he ran again up to the bedroom, not on tiptoe,it seemed to him, but on wings. Two maid-servants were carefully movingsomething in the bedroom.

  Kitty was walking about knitting rapidly and giving directions.

  "I'm going for the doctor. They have sent for Lizaveta Petrovna, butI'll go on there too. Isn't there anything wanted? Yes, shall I go toDolly's?"

  She looked at him, obviously not hearing what he was saying.

  "Yes, yes. Do go," she said quickly, frowning and waving her hand tohim.

  He had just gone into the drawing room, when suddenly a plaintive moansounded from the bedroom, smothered instantly. He stood still, and for along while he could not understand.

  "Yes, that is she," he said to himself, and clutching at his head he randownstairs.

  "Lord have mercy on us! pardon us! aid us!" he repeated the words thatfor some reason came suddenly to his lips. And he, an unbeliever,repeated these words not with his lips only. At that instant he knewthat all his doubts, even the impossibility of believing with hisreason, of which he was aware in himself, did not in the least hinderhis turning to God. All of that now floated out of his soul like dust.To whom was he to turn if not to Him in whose hands he felt himself, hissoul, and his love?

  The horse was not yet ready, but feeling a peculiar concentration of hisphysical forces and his intellect on what he had to do, he started offon foot without waiting for the horse, and told Kouzma to overtake him.

  At the corner he met a night cabman driving hurriedly. In the littlesledge, wrapped in a velvet cloak, sat Lizaveta Petrovna with a kerchiefround her head. "Thank God! thank God!" he said, overjoyed to recognizeher little fair face which wore a peculiarly serious, even sternexpression. Telling the driver not to stop, he ran along beside her.

  "For two hours, then? Not more?" she inquired. "You should let PyotrDmitrievitch know, but don't hurry him. And get some opium at thechemist's."

  "So you think that it may go on well? Lord have mercy on us and helpus!" Levin said, seeing his own horse driving out of the gate. Jumpinginto the sledge beside Kouzma, he told him to drive to the doctor's.

 

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