Anna karenina, p.224
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       Anna Karenina, p.224

           graf Leo Tolstoy

  Chapter 4

  While the train was stopping at the provincial town, Sergey Ivanovitchdid not go to the refreshment room, but walked up and down the platform.

  The first time he passed Vronsky's compartment he noticed that thecurtain was drawn over the window; but as he passed it the second timehe saw the old countess at the window. She beckoned to Koznishev.

  "I'm going, you see, taking him as far as Kursk," she said.

  "Yes, so I heard," said Sergey Ivanovitch, standing at her window andpeeping in. "What a noble act on his part!" he added, noticing thatVronsky was not in the compartment.

  "Yes, after his misfortune, what was there for him to do?"

  "What a terrible thing it was!" said Sergey Ivanovitch.

  "Ah, what I have been through! But do get in.... Ah, what I have beenthrough!" she repeated, when Sergey Ivanovitch had got in and sat downbeside her. "You can't conceive it! For six weeks he did not speak toanyone, and would not touch food except when I implored him. And not forone minute could we leave him alone. We took away everything he couldhave used against himself. We lived on the ground floor, but there wasno reckoning on anything. You know, of course, that he had shot himselfonce already on her account," she said, and the old lady's eyelashestwitched at the recollection. "Yes, hers was the fitting end for such awoman. Even the death she chose was low and vulgar."

  "It's not for us to judge, countess," said Sergey Ivanovitch; "but I canunderstand that it has been very hard for you."

  "Ah, don't speak of it! I was staying on my estate, and he was with me.A note was brought him. He wrote an answer and sent it off. We hadn't anidea that she was close by at the station. In the evening I had onlyjust gone to my room, when my Mary told me a lady had thrown herselfunder the train. Something seemed to strike me at once. I knew it wasshe. The first thing I said was, he was not to be told. But they'd toldhim already. His coachman was there and saw it all. When I ran into hisroom, he was beside himself--it was fearful to see him. He didn't say aword, but galloped off there. I don't know to this day what happenedthere, but he was brought back at death's door. I shouldn't have knownhim. _Prostration complete,_ the doctor said. And that was followedalmost by madness. Oh, why talk of it!" said the countess with a wave ofher hand. "It was an awful time! No, say what you will, she was a badwoman. Why, what is the meaning of such desperate passions? It was allto show herself something out of the way. Well, and that she did do. Shebrought herself to ruin and two good men--her husband and my unhappyson."

  "And what did her husband do?" asked Sergey Ivanovitch.

  "He has taken her daughter. Alexey was ready to agree to anything atfirst. Now it worries him terribly that he should have given his ownchild away to another man. But he can't take back his word. Karenin cameto the funeral. But we tried to prevent his meeting Alexey. For him, forher husband, it was easier, anyway. She had set him free. But my poorson was utterly given up to her. He had thrown up everything, hiscareer, me, and even then she had no mercy on him, but of set purposeshe made his ruin complete. No, say what you will, her very death wasthe death of a vile woman, of no religious feeling. God forgive me, butI can't help hating the memory of her, when I look at my son's misery!"

  "But how is he now?"

  "It was a blessing from Providence for us--this Servian war. I'm old,and I don't understand the rights and wrongs of it, but it's come as aprovidential blessing to him. Of course for me, as his mother, it'sterrible; and what's worse, they say, _ce n'est pas tres bien vu aPetersbourg_. But it can't be helped! It was the one thing that couldrouse him. Yashvin--a friend of his--he had lost all he had at cards andhe was going to Servia. He came to see him and persuaded him to go. Nowit's an interest for him. Do please talk to him a little. I want todistract his mind. He's so low-spirited. And as bad luck would have it,he has toothache too. But he'll be delighted to see you. Please do talkto him; he's walking up and down on that side."

  Sergey Ivanovitch said he would be very glad to, and crossed over to theother side of the station.

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