Anna karenina, p.88
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       Anna Karenina, p.88

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 19

  In spite of Vronsky's apparently frivolous life in society, he was a manwho hated irregularity. In early youth in the Corps of Pages, he hadexperienced the humiliation of a refusal, when he had tried, being indifficulties, to borrow money, and since then he had never once puthimself in the same position again.

  In order to keep his affairs in some sort of order, he used about fivetimes a year (more or less frequently, according to circumstances) toshut himself up alone and put all his affairs into definite shape. Thishe used to call his day of reckoning or _faire la lessive_.

  On waking up the day after the races, Vronsky put on a white linen coat,and without shaving or taking his bath, he distributed about the tablemoneys, bills, and letters, and set to work. Petritsky, who knew he wasill-tempered on such occasions, on waking up and seeing his comrade atthe writing-table, quietly dressed and went out without getting in hisway.

  Every man who knows to the minutest details all the complexity of theconditions surrounding him, cannot help imagining that the complexity ofthese conditions, and the difficulty of making them clear, is somethingexceptional and personal, peculiar to himself, and never supposes thatothers are surrounded by just as complicated an array of personalaffairs as he is. So indeed it seemed to Vronsky. And not without inwardpride, and not without reason, he thought that any other man would longago have been in difficulties, would have been forced to somedishonorable course, if he had found himself in such a difficultposition. But Vronsky felt that now especially it was essential for himto clear up and define his position if he were to avoid getting intodifficulties.

  What Vronsky attacked first as being the easiest was his pecuniaryposition. Writing out on note paper in his minute hand all that he owed,he added up the amount and found that his debts amounted to seventeenthousand and some odd hundreds, which he left out for the sake ofclearness. Reckoning up his money and his bank book, he found that hehad left one thousand eight hundred roubles, and nothing coming inbefore the New Year. Reckoning over again his list of debts, Vronskycopied it, dividing it into three classes. In the first class he put thedebts which he would have to pay at once, or for which he must in anycase have the money ready so that on demand for payment there could notbe a moment's delay in paying. Such debts amounted to about fourthousand: one thousand five hundred for a horse, and two thousand fivehundred as surety for a young comrade, Venovsky, who had lost that sumto a cardsharper in Vronsky's presence. Vronsky had wanted to pay themoney at the time (he had that amount then), but Venovsky and Yashvinhad insisted that they would pay and not Vronsky, who had not played.That was so far well, but Vronsky knew that in this dirty business,though his only share in it was undertaking by word of mouth to besurety for Venovsky, it was absolutely necessary for him to have the twothousand five hundred roubles so as to be able to fling it at theswindler, and have no more words with him. And so for this first andmost important division he must have four thousand roubles. The secondclass--eight thousand roubles--consisted of less important debts. Thesewere principally accounts owing in connection with his race horses, tothe purveyor of oats and hay, the English saddler, and so on. He wouldhave to pay some two thousand roubles on these debts too, in order to bequite free from anxiety. The last class of debts--to shops, to hotels,to his tailor--were such as need not be considered. So that he needed atleast six thousand roubles for current expenses, and he only had onethousand eight hundred. For a man with one hundred thousand roubles ofrevenue, which was what everyone fixed as Vronsky's income, such debts,one would suppose, could hardly be embarrassing; but the fact was thathe was far from having one hundred thousand. His father's immenseproperty, which alone yielded a yearly income of two hundred thousand,was left undivided between the brothers. At the time when the elderbrother, with a mass of debts, married Princess Varya Tchirkova, thedaughter of a Decembrist without any fortune whatever, Alexey had givenup to his elder brother almost the whole income from his father'sestate, reserving for himself only twenty-five thousand a year from it.Alexey had said at the time to his brother that that sum would besufficient for him until he married, which he probably never would do.And his brother, who was in command of one of the most expensiveregiments, and was only just married, could not decline the gift. Hismother, who had her own separate property, had allowed Alexey every yeartwenty thousand in addition to the twenty-five thousand he had reserved,and Alexey had spent it all. Of late his mother, incensed with him onaccount of his love affair and his leaving Moscow, had given up sendinghim the money. And in consequence of this, Vronsky, who had been in thehabit of living on the scale of forty-five thousand a year, having onlyreceived twenty thousand that year, found himself now in difficulties.To get out of these difficulties, he could not apply to his mother formoney. Her last letter, which he had received the day before, hadparticularly exasperated him by the hints in it that she was quite readyto help him to succeed in the world and in the army, but not to lead alife which was a scandal to all good society. His mother's attempt tobuy him stung him to the quick and made him feel colder than ever toher. But he could not draw back from the generous word when it was onceuttered, even though he felt now, vaguely foreseeing certaineventualities in his intrigue with Madame Karenina, that this generousword had been spoken thoughtlessly, and that even though he were notmarried he might need all the hundred thousand of income. But it wasimpossible to draw back. He had only to recall his brother's wife, toremember how that sweet, delightful Varya sought, at every convenientopportunity, to remind him that she remembered his generosity andappreciated it, to grasp the impossibility of taking back his gift. Itwas as impossible as beating a woman, stealing, or lying. One thing onlycould and ought to be done, and Vronsky determined upon it without aninstant's hesitation: to borrow money from a money-lender, ten thousandroubles, a proceeding which presented no difficulty, to cut down hisexpenses generally, and to sell his race horses. Resolving on this, hepromptly wrote a note to Rolandak, who had more than once sent to himwith offers to buy horses from him. Then he sent for the Englishman andthe money-lender, and divided what money he had according to theaccounts he intended to pay. Having finished this business, he wrote acold and cutting answer to his mother. Then he took out of his notebookthree notes of Anna's, read them again, burned them, and rememberingtheir conversation on the previous day, he sank into meditation.

 
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