Anna karenina, p.45
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       Anna Karenina, p.45

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 11

  That which for Vronsky had been almost a whole year the one absorbingdesire of his life, replacing all his old desires; that which for Annahad been an impossible, terrible, and even for that reason moreentrancing dream of bliss, that desire had been fulfilled. He stoodbefore her, pale, his lower jaw quivering, and besought her to be calm,not knowing how or why.

  "Anna! Anna!" he said with a choking voice, "Anna, for pity's sake!..."

  But the louder he spoke, the lower she dropped her once proud and gay,now shame-stricken head, and she bowed down and sank from the sofa whereshe was sitting, down on the floor, at his feet; she would have fallenon the carpet if he had not held her.

  "My God! Forgive me!" she said, sobbing, pressing his hands to herbosom.

  She felt so sinful, so guilty, that nothing was left her but tohumiliate herself and beg forgiveness; and as now there was no one inher life but him, to him she addressed her prayer for forgiveness.Looking at him, she had a physical sense of her humiliation, and shecould say nothing more. He felt what a murderer must feel, when he seesthe body he has robbed of life. That body, robbed by him of life, wastheir love, the first stage of their love. There was something awful andrevolting in the memory of what had been bought at this fearful price ofshame. Shame at their spiritual nakedness crushed her and infected him.But in spite of all the murderer's horror before the body of his victim,he must hack it to pieces, hide the body, must use what he has gained byhis murder.

  And with fury, as it were with passion, the murderer falls on the body,and drags it and hacks at it; so he covered her face and shoulders withkisses. She held his hand, and did not stir. "Yes, these kisses--that iswhat has been bought by this shame. Yes, and one hand, which will alwaysbe mine--the hand of my accomplice." She lifted up that hand and kissedit. He sank on his knees and tried to see her face; but she hid it, andsaid nothing. At last, as though making an effort over herself, she gotup and pushed him away. Her face was still as beautiful, but it was onlythe more pitiful for that.

  "All is over," she said; "I have nothing but you. Remember that."

  "I can never forget what is my whole life. For one instant of thishappiness..."

  "Happiness!" she said with horror and loathing and her horrorunconsciously infected him. "For pity's sake, not a word, not a wordmore."

  She rose quickly and moved away from him.

  "Not a word more," she repeated, and with a look of chill despair,incomprehensible to him, she parted from him. She felt that at thatmoment she could not put into words the sense of shame, of rapture, andof horror at this stepping into a new life, and she did not want tospeak of it, to vulgarize this feeling by inappropriate words. But latertoo, and the next day and the third day, she still found no words inwhich she could express the complexity of her feelings; indeed, shecould not even find thoughts in which she could clearly think out allthat was in her soul.

  She said to herself: "No, just now I can't think of it, later on, when Iam calmer." But this calm for thought never came; every time the thoughtrose of what she had done and what would happen to her, and what sheought to do, a horror came over her and she drove those thoughts away.

  "Later, later," she said--"when I am calmer."

  But in dreams, when she had no control over her thoughts, her positionpresented itself to her in all its hideous nakedness. One dream hauntedher almost every night. She dreamed that both were her husbands at once,that both were lavishing caresses on her. Alexey Alexandrovitch wasweeping, kissing her hands, and saying, "How happy we are now!" AndAlexey Vronsky was there too, and he too was her husband. And she wasmarveling that it had once seemed impossible to her, was explaining tothem, laughing, that this was ever so much simpler, and that now both ofthem were happy and contented. But this dream weighed on her like anightmare, and she awoke from it in terror.

 

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