Anna karenina, p.238
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       Anna Karenina, p.238

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 18

  During the whole of that day, in the extremely different conversationsin which he took part, only as it were with the top layer of his mind,in spite of the disappointment of not finding the change he expected inhimself, Levin had been all the while joyfully conscious of the fulnessof his heart.

  After the rain it was too wet to go for a walk; besides, the stormclouds still hung about the horizon, and gathered here and there, blackand thundery, on the rim of the sky. The whole party spent the rest ofthe day in the house.

  No more discussions sprang up; on the contrary, after dinner every onewas in the most amiable frame of mind.

  At first Katavasov amused the ladies by his original jokes, which alwayspleased people on their first acquaintance with him. Then SergeyIvanovitch induced him to tell them about the very interestingobservations he had made on the habits and characteristics of commonhouseflies, and their life. Sergey Ivanovitch, too, was in good spirits,and at tea his brother drew him on to explain his views of the future ofthe Eastern question, and he spoke so simply and so well, that everyonelistened eagerly.

  Kitty was the only one who did not hear it all--she was summoned to giveMitya his bath.

  A few minutes after Kitty had left the room she sent for Levin to cometo the nursery.

  Leaving his tea, and regretfully interrupting the interestingconversation, and at the same time uneasily wondering why he had beensent for, as this only happened on important occasions, Levin went tothe nursery.

  Although he had been much interested by Sergey Ivanovitch's views of thenew epoch in history that would be created by the emancipation of fortymillions of men of Slavonic race acting with Russia, a conception quitenew to him, and although he was disturbed by uneasy wonder at being sentfor by Kitty, as soon as he came out of the drawing room and was alone,his mind reverted at once to the thoughts of the morning. And all thetheories of the significance of the Slav element in the history of theworld seemed to him so trivial compared with what was passing in his ownsoul, that he instantly forgot it all and dropped back into the sameframe of mind that he had been in that morning.

  He did not, as he had done at other times, recall the whole train ofthought--that he did not need. He fell back at once into the feelingwhich had guided him, which was connected with those thoughts, and hefound that feeling in his soul even stronger and more definite thanbefore. He did not, as he had had to do with previous attempts to findcomforting arguments, need to revive a whole chain of thought to findthe feeling. Now, on the contrary, the feeling of joy and peace waskeener than ever, and thought could not keep pace with feeling.

  He walked across the terrace and looked at two stars that had come outin the darkening sky, and suddenly he remembered. "Yes, looking at thesky, I thought that the dome that I see is not a deception, and then Ithought something, I shirked facing something," he mused. "But whateverit was, there can be no disproving it! I have but to think, and all willcome clear!"

  Just as he was going into the nursery he remembered what it was he hadshirked facing. It was that if the chief proof of the Divinity was Hisrevelation of what is right, how is it this revelation is confined tothe Christian church alone? What relation to this revelation have thebeliefs of the Buddhists, Mohammedans, who preached and did good too?

  It seemed to him that he had an answer to this question; but he had nottime to formulate it to himself before he went into the nursery.

  Kitty was standing with her sleeves tucked up over the baby in the bath.Hearing her husband's footstep, she turned towards him, summoning him toher with her smile. With one hand she was supporting the fat baby thatlay floating and sprawling on its back, while with the other shesqueezed the sponge over him.

  "Come, look, look!" she said, when her husband came up to her. "AgafeaMihalovna's right. He knows us!"

  Mitya had on that day given unmistakable, incontestable signs ofrecognizing all his friends.

  As soon as Levin approached the bath, the experiment was tried, and itwas completely successful. The cook, sent for with this object, bentover the baby. He frowned and shook his head disapprovingly. Kitty bentdown to him, he gave her a beaming smile, propped his little hands onthe sponge and chirruped, making such a queer little contented soundwith his lips, that Kitty and the nurse were not alone in theiradmiration. Levin, too, was surprised and delighted.

  The baby was taken out of the bath, drenched with water, wrapped intowels, dried, and after a piercing scream, handed to his mother.

  "Well, I am glad you are beginning to love him," said Kitty to herhusband, when she had settled herself comfortably in her usual place,with the baby at her breast. "I am so glad! It had begun to distress me.You said you had no feeling for him."

  "No; did I say that? I only said I was disappointed."

  "What! disappointed in him?"

  "Not disappointed in him, but in my own feeling; I had expected more. Ihad expected a rush of new delightful emotion to come as a surprise. Andthen instead of that--disgust, pity..."

  She listened attentively, looking at him over the baby, while she putback on her slender fingers the rings she had taken off while givingMitya his bath.

  "And most of all, at there being far more apprehension and pity thanpleasure. Today, after that fright during the storm, I understand how Ilove him."

  Kitty's smile was radiant.

  "Were you very much frightened?" she said. "So was I too, but I feel itmore now that it's over. I'm going to look at the oak. How niceKatavasov is! And what a happy day we've had altogether. And you're sonice with Sergey Ivanovitch, when you care to be.... Well, go back tothem. It's always so hot and steamy here after the bath."

 
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