Anna Karenina (Part 7 – Chapter 26-30)
Never before had a day been passed in quarrel. Today was the first time. And this was not a quarrel. It was the open acknowledgment of complete coldness. Was it possible to glance at her as he had glanced when he came into the room for the guarantee?–to look at her, see her heart was breaking with despair, and go out without a word with that face of callous composure? He was not merely cold to her, he hated her because he loved another woman–that was clear.
And remembering all the cruel words he had said, Anna supplied, too, the words that he had unmistakably wished to say and could have said to her, and she grew more and more exasperated.
“I won’t prevent you,” he might say. “You can go where you like. You were unwilling to be divorced from your husband, no doubt so that you might go back to him. Go back to him. If you want money, I’ll give it to you. How many roubles do you want?”
All the most cruel words that a brutal man could say, he said to her in her imagination, and she could not forgive him for them, as though he had actually said them.
“But didn’t he only yesterday swear he loved me, he, a truthful and sincere man? Haven’t I despaired for nothing many times already?” she said to herself afterwards.
All that day, except for the visit to Wilson’s, which occupied two hours, Anna spent in doubts whether everything were over or whether there were still hope of reconciliation, whether she should go away at once or see him once more. She was expecting him the whole day, and in the evening, as she went to her own room, leaving a message for him that her head ached, she said to herself, “If he comes in spite of what the maid says, it means that he loves me still. If not, it means that all is over, and then I will decide what I’m to do!…”
In the evening she heard the rumbling of his carriage stop at the entrance, his ring, his steps and his conversation with the servant; he believed what was told him, did not care to find out more, and went to his own room. So then everything was over.
And death rose clearly and vividly before her mind as the sole means of bringing back love for her in his heart, of punishing him and of gaining the victory in that strife which the evil spirit in possession of her heart was waging with him.
Now nothing mattered: going or not going to Vozdvizhenskoe, getting or not getting a divorce from her husband–all that did not matter. The one thing that mattered was punishing him. When she poured herself out her usual dose of opium, and thought that she had only to drink off the whole bottle to die, it seemed to her so simple and easy, that she began musing with enjoyment on how he would suffer, and repent and love her memory when it would be too late. She lay in bed with open eyes, by the light of a single burned-down candle, gazing at the carved cornice of the ceiling and at the shadow of the screen that covered part of it, while she vividly pictured to herself how he would feel when she would be no more, when she would be only a memory to him. “How could I say such cruel things to her?” he would say. “How could I go out of the room without saying anything to her? But now she is no more. She has gone away from us forever. She is….” Suddenly the shadow of the screen wavered, pounced on the whole cornice, the whole ceiling; other shadows from the other side swooped to meet it, for an instant the shadows flitted back, but then with fresh swiftness they darted forward, wavered, commingled, and all was darkness. “Death!” she thought. And such horror came upon her that for a long while she could not realize where she was, and for a long while her trembling hands could not find the matches and light another candle, instead of the one that had burned down and gone out. “No, anything–only to live! Why, I love him! Why, he loves me! This has been before and will pass,” she said, feeling that tears of joy at the return to life were trickling down her cheeks. And to escape from her panic she went hurriedly to his room.
He was asleep there, and sleeping soundly. She went up to him, and holding the light above his face, she gazed a long while at him. Now when he was asleep, she loved him so that at the sight of him she could not keep back tears of tenderness. But she knew that if he waked up he would look at her with cold eyes, convinced that he was right, and that before telling him of her love, she would have to prove to him that he had been wrong in his treatment of her. Without waking him, she went back, and after a second dose of opium she fell towards morning into a heavy, incomplete sleep, during which she never quite lost consciousness.
In the morning she was waked by a horrible nightmare, which had recurred several times in her dreams, even before her connection with Vronsky. A little old man with unkempt beard was doing something bent down over some iron, muttering meaningless French words, and she, as she always did in this nightmare (it was what made the horror of it), felt that this peasant was taking no notice of her, but was doing something horrible with the iron– over her. And she waked up in a cold sweat.
When she got up, the previous day came back to her as though veiled in mist.
“There was a quarrel. Just what has happened several times. I said I had a headache, and he did not come in to see me. Tomorrow we’re going away; I must see him and get ready for the journey,” she said to herself. And learning that he was in his study, she went down to him. As she passed through the drawing room she heard a carriage stop at the entrance, and looking out of the window she saw the carriage, from which a young girl in a lilac hat was leaning out giving some direction to the footman ringing the bell. After a parley in the hall, someone came upstairs, and Vronsky’s steps could be heard passing the drawing room. He went rapidly downstairs. Anna went again to the window. She saw him come out onto the steps without his hat and go up to the carriage. The young girl in the lilac hat handed him a parcel. Vronsky, smiling, said something to her. The carriage drove away, he ran rapidly upstairs again.
The mists that had shrouded everything in her soul parted suddenly. The feelings of yesterday pierced the sick heart with a fresh pang. She could not understand now how she could have lowered herself by spending a whole day with him in his house. she went into his room to announce her determination.
“That was Madame Sorokina and her daughter. They came and brought me the money and the deeds from maman. I couldn’t get them yesterday. How is your head, better?” he said quietly, not wishing to see and to understand the gloomy and solemn expression of her face.
She looked silently, intently at him, standing in the middle of the room. He glanced at her, frowned for a moment, and went on reading a letter. She turned, and went deliberately out of the room. He still might have turned her back, but she had reached the door, he was still silent, and the only sound audible was the rustling of the note paper as he turned it.
“Oh, by the way,” he said at the very moment she was in the doorway, “we’re going tomorrow for certain, aren’t we?”
“You, but not I,” she said, turning round to him.
“Anna, we can’t go on like this…”
“You, but not I,” she repeated.
“This is getting unbearable!”
“You…you will be sorry for this,” she said, and went out.
Frightened by the desperate expression with which these words were uttered, he jumped up and would have run after her, but on second thoughts he sat down and scowled, setting his teeth. This vulgar–as he thought it–threat of something vague exasperated him. “I’ve tried everything,” he thought; “the only thing left is not to pay attention,” and he began to get ready to drive into town, and again to his mother’s to get her signature to the deeds.
She heard the sound of his steps about the study and the dining room. At the drawing room he stood still. But he did not turn in to see her, he merely gave an order that the horse should be given to Voytov if he came while he was away. Then she heard the carriage brought round, the door opened, and he came out again. But he went back into the porch again, and someone was running upstairs. It was the valet running up for his gloves that had been forgotten. She went to the window and saw him take the gloves without looking, and touching the coachman on the back he said something to him. Then without looking up at the window he settled himself in his usual attitude in the carriage, with his legs crossed, and drawing on his gloves he vanished round the corner.
“He has gone! It is over!” Anna said to herself, standing at the window; and in answer to this statement the impression of the darkness when the candle had flickered out, and of her fearful dream mingling into one, filled her heart with cold terror.
“No, that cannot be!” she cried, and crossing the room she rang the bell. She was so afraid now of being alone, that without waiting for the servant to come in, she went out to meet him.
“Iquire where the count has gone,” she said. The servant answered that the count had gone to the stable.
“His honor left word that if you cared to drive out, the carriage would be back immediately.”
“Very good. Wait a minute. I’ll write a note at once. Send Mihail with the note to the stables. Make haste.”
She sat down and wrote:
“I was wrong. Come back home; I must explain. For God’s sake come! I’m afraid.”
She sealed it up and gave it to the servant.
She was afraid of being left alone now; she followed the servant out of the room, and went to the nursery.
“Why, this isn’t it, this isn’t he! Where are his blue eyes, his sweet, shy smile?” was her first thought when she saw her chubby rosy little girl with her black, curly hair instead of Seryozha, whom in the tangle of her ideas she had expected to see in the nursery. The little girl sitting at the table was obstinately and violently battering on it with a cork, and staring aimlessly at her mother with her pitch-black eyes. Answering the English nurse that she was quite well, and that she was going to the country tomorrow, Anna sat down by the little girl and began spinning the cork to show her. But the child’s loud, ringing laugh, and the motion of her eyebrows, recalled Vronsky so vividly that she got up hurriedly, restraining her sobs, and went away. “Can it be all over? No, it cannot be!” she thought. “He will come back. But how can he explain that smile, that excitement after he had been talking to her? But even if he doesn’t explain, I will believe. If I don’t believe, there’s only one thing left for me, and I can’t.”
She looked at her watch. Twenty minutes had passed. “By now he has received the note and is coming back. Not long, ten minutes more…. But what if he doesn’t come? No, that cannot be. He mustn’t see me with tear-stained eyes. I’ll go and wash. Yes, yes; did I do my hair or not?” she asked herself. And she could not remember. She felt her head with her hand. “Yes, my hair has been done, but when I did it I can’t in the least remember.” She could not believe the evidence of her hand, and went up to the pier glass to see whether she really had done her hair. She certainly had, but she could not think when she had done it. “Who’s that?” she thought, looking in the looking glass at the swollen face with strangely glittering eyes, that looked in a scared way at her. “Why, it’s I!” she suddenly understood, and looking round, she seemed all at once to feel his kisses on her, and twitched her shoulders, shuddering. Then she lifted her hand to her lips and kissed it.
“What is it? Why, I’m going out of my mind!” and she went into her bedroom, where Annushka was tidying the room.
“Annushka,” she said, coming to a standstill before her, and she stared at the maid, not knowing what to say to her.
“You meant to go and see Darya Alexandrovna,” said the girl, as though she understood.
“Darya Alexandrovna? Yes, I’ll go.”
“Fifteen minutes there, fifteen minutes back. He’s coming, he’ll be here soon.” She took out her watch and looked at it. “But how could he go away, leaving me in such a state? How can he live, without making it up with me?” She went to the window and began looking into the street. Judging by the time, he might be back now. But her calculations might be wrong, and she began once more to recall when he had started and to count the minutes.
At the moment when she had moved away to the big clock to compare it with her watch, someone drove up. Glancing out of the window, she saw his carriage. But no one came upstairs, and voices could be heard below. It was the messenger who had come back in the carriage. She went down to him.
“We didn’t catch the count. The count had driven off on the lower city road.”
“What do you say? What!…” she said to the rosy, good-humored Mihail, as he handed her back her note.
“Why, then, he has never received it!” she thought.
“Go with this note to Countess Vronskaya’s place, you know? and bring an answer back immediately,” she said to the messenger.
“And I, what am I going to do?” she thought. “Yes, I’m going to Dolly’s, that’s true or else I shall go out of my mind. Yes, and I can telegraph, too.” And she wrote a telegram. “I absolutely must talk to you; come at once.” After sending off the telegram, she went to dress. When she was dressed and in her hat, she glanced again into the eyes of the plump, comfortable-looking Annushka. There was unmistakable sympathy in those good-natured little gray eyes.
“Annushka, dear, what am I to do?” said Anna, sobbing and sinking helplessly into a chair.
“Why fret yourself so, Anna Arkadyevna? Why, there’s nothing out of the way. You drive out a little, and it’ll cheer you up,” said the maid.
“Yes, I’m going,” said Anna, rousing herself and getting up. “And if there’s a telegram while I’m away, send it on to Darya Alexandrovna’s…but no, I shall be back myself.”
“Yes, I mustn’t think, I must do something, drive somewhere, and most of all, get out of this house,” she said, feeling with terror the strange turmoil going on in her own heart, and she made haste to go out and get into the carriage.
“Where to?” asked Pyotr before getting onto the bow
“To Znamenka, the Oblonskys’.”
It was bright and sunny. A fine rain had been falling all the morning, and now it had not long cleared up. The iron roofs, the flags of the roads, the flints of the pavements, the wheels and leather, the brass and the tinplate of the carriages–all glistened brightly in the May sunshine. It was three o’clock, and the very liveliest time in the streets.
As she sat in a corner of the comfortable carriage, that hardly swayed on its supple springs, while the grays trotted swiftly, in the midst of the unceasing rattle of wheels and the changing impressions in the pure air, Anna ran over the events of the last days, and she saw her position quite differently from how it had seemed at home. Now the thought of death seemed no longer so terrible and so clear to her, and death itself no longer seemed so inevitable. Now she blamed herself for the humiliation to which she had lowered herself. “I entreat him to forgive me. I have given in to him. I have owned myself in fault. What for? Can’t I live without him?” And leaving unanswered the question how she was going to live without him, she fell to reading the signs on the shops. “Office and warehouse. Dental surgeon. Yes, I’ll tell Dolly all about it. She doesn’t like Vronsky. I shall be sick and ashamed, but I’ll tell her. She loves me, and I’ll follow her advice. I won’t give in to him; I won’t let him train me as he pleases. Filippov, bun shop. They say they send their dough to Petersburg. The Moscow water is so good for it. Ah, the springs at Mitishtchen, and the pancakes!”
And she remembered how, long, long ago, when she was a girl of seventeen, she had gone with her aunt to Troitsa. “Riding, too. Was that really me, with red hands? How much that seemed to me then splendid and out of reach has become worthless, while what I had then has gone out of my reach forever! Could I ever have believed then that I could come to such humiliation? How conceited and self-satisfied he will be when he gets my note! But I will show him…. How horrid that paint smells! Why is it they’re always painting and building? Modes et robes,” she read. A man bowed to her. It was Annushka’s husband. “Our parasites”; she remembered how Vronsky had said that. “Our? Why our? What’s so awful is that one can’t tear up the past by its roots. One can’t tear it out, but one can hide one’s memory of it. And I’ll hide it.” And then she thought of her past with Alexey Alexandrovitch, of how she had blotted the memory of it out of her life. “Dolly will think I’m leaving my second husband, and so I certainly must be in the wrong. As if I cared to be right! I can’t help it!” she said, and she wanted to cry. But at once she fell to wondering what those two girls could be smiling about. “Love, most likely. They don’t know how dreary it is, how low…. The boulevard and the children. Three boys running, playing at horses. Seryozha! And I’m losing everything and not getting him back. Yes, I’m losing everything, if he doesn’t return. Perhaps he was late for the train and has come back by now. Longing for humiliation again!” she said to herself. “No, I’ll go to Dolly, and say straight out to her, I’m unhappy, I deserve this, I’m to blame, but still I’m unhappy, help me. These horses, this carriage–how loathsome I am to myself in this carriage–all his; but I won’t see them again.”
Thinking over the words in which she would tell Dolly, and mentally working her heart up to great bitterness, Anna went upstairs.
“Is there anyone with her?” she asked in the hall.
“Katerina Alexandrovna Levin,” answered the footman.
“Kitty! Kitty, whom Vronsky was in love with!” thought Anna, “the girl he thinks of with love. He’s sorry he didn’t marry her. But me he thinks of with hatred, and is sorry he had anything to do with me.”
The sisters were having a consultation about nursing when Anna called. Dolly went down alone to see the visitor who had interrupted their conversation.
“Well, so you’ve not gone away yet? I meant to have come to you,” she said; “I had a letter from Stiva today.”
“We had a telegram too,” answered Anna, looking round for Kitty.
“He writes that he can’t make out quite what Alexey Alexandrovitch wants, but he won’t go away without a decisive answer.”
“I thought you had someone with you. Can I see the letter?”
“Yes; Kitty,” said Dolly, embarrassed. “She stayed in the nursery. She has been very ill.”
“So I heard. May I see the letter?”
“I’ll get it directly. But he doesn’t refuse; on the contrary, Stiva has hopes,” said Dolly, stopping in the doorway.
“I haven’t, and indeed I don’t wish it,” said Anna.
“What’s this? Does Kitty consider it degrading to meet me?” thought Anna when she was alone. “Perhaps she’s right, too. But it’s not for her, the girl who was in love with Vronsky, it’s not for her to show me that, even if it is true. I know that in my position I can’t be received by any decent woman. I knew that from the first moment I sacrificed everything to him. And this is my reward! Oh, how I hate him! And what did I come here for? I’m worse here, more miserable.” She heard from the next room the sisters’ voices in consultation. “And what am I going to say to Dolly now? Amuse Kitty by the sight of my wretchedness, submit to her patronizing? No; and besides, Dolly wouldn’t understand. And it would be no good my telling her. It would only be interesting to see Kitty, to show her how I despise everyone and everything, how nothing matters to me now.”
Dolly came in with the letter. Anna read it and handed it back in silence.
“I knew all that,” she said, “and it doesn’t interest me in the least.”
“Oh, why so? On the contrary, I have hopes,” said Dolly, looking inquisitively at Anna. She had never seen her in such a strangely irritable condition. “When are you going away?” she asked.
Anna, half-closing her eyes, looked straight before her and did not answer.
“Why does Kitty shrink from me?” she said, looking at the door and flushing red.
“Oh, what nonsense! She’s nursing, and things aren’t going right with her, and I’ve been advising her…. She’s delighted. She’ll be here in a minute,” said Dolly awkwardly, not clever at lying. “Yes, here she is.”
Hearing that Anna had called, Kitty had wanted not to appear, but Dolly persuaded her. Rallying her forces, Kitty went in, walked up to her, blushing, and shook hands.
“I am so glad to see you,” she said with a trembling voice.
Kitty had been thrown into confusion by the inward conflict between her antagonism to this bad woman and her desire to be nice to her. But as soon as she saw Anna’s lovely and attractive face, all feeling of antagonism disappeared.
“I should not have been surprised if you had not cared to meet me. I’m used to everything. You have been ill? Yes, you are changed,” said Anna.
Kitty felt that Anna was looking at her with hostile eyes. She ascribed this hostility to the awkward position in which Anna, who had once patronized her, must feel with her now, and she felt sorry for her.
They talked of Kitty’s illness, of the baby, of Stiva, but it was obvious that nothing interested Anna.
“I came to say good-bye to you,” she said, getting up.
“Oh, when are you going?”
But again not answering, Anna turned to Kitty.
“Yes, I am very glad to have seen you,” she said with a smile. “I have heard so much of you from everyone, even from your husband. He came to see me, and I liked him exceedingly,” she said, unmistakably with malicious intent. “Where is he?”
“He has gone back to the country,” said Kitty, blushing.
“Remember me to him, be sure you do.”
“I’ll be sure to!” Kitty said naively, looking compassionately into her eyes.
“So good-bye, Dolly.” And kissing Dolly and shaking hands with Kitty, Anna went out hurriedly.
“She’s just the same and just as charming! She’s very lovely!” said Kitty, when she was alone with her sister. “But there’s something piteous about her. Awfully piteous!”
“Yes, there’s something unusual about her today,” said Dolly. “When I went with her into the hall, I fancied she was almost crying.”
Anna got into the carriage again in an even worse frame of mind than when she set out from home. To her previous tortures was added now that sense of mortification and of being an outcast which she had felt so distinctly on meeting Kitty.
“Where to? Home?” asked Pyotr.
“Yes, home,” she said, not even thinking now where she was going.
“How they looked at me as something dreadful, incomprehensible, and curious! What can he be telling the other with such warmth?” she thought, staring at two men who walked by. “Can one ever tell anyone what one is feeling? I meant to tell Dolly, and it’s a good thing I didn’t tell her. How pleased she would have been at my misery! She would have concealed it, but her chief feeling would have been delight at my being punished for the happiness she envied me for. Kitty, she would have been even more pleased. How I can see through her! She knows I was more than usually sweet to her husband. And she’s jealous and hates me. And she despises me. In her eyes I’m an immoral woman. If I were an immoral woman I could have made her husband fall in love with me …if I’d cared to. And, indeed, I did care to. There’s someone who’s pleased with himself,” she thought, as she saw a fat, rubicund gentleman coming towards her. He took her for an acquaintance, and lifted his glossy hat above his bald, glossy head, and then perceived his mistake. “He thought he knew me. Well, he knows me as well as anyone in the world knows me. I don’t know myself. I know my appetites, as the French say. They want that dirty ice cream, that they do know for certain,” she thought, looking at two boys stopping an ice cream seller, who took a barrel off his head and began wiping his perspiring face with a towel. “We all want what is sweet and nice. If not sweetmeats, then a dirty ice. And Kitty’s the same–if not Vronsky, then Levin. And she envies me, and hates me. And we all hate each other. I Kitty, Kitty me. Yes, that’s the truth. ‘Tiutkin, coiffeur.’ Je me fais coiffer par Tiutkin…. I’ll tell him that when he comes,” she thought and smiled. But the same instant she remembered that she had no one now to tell anything amusing to. “And there’s nothing amusing, nothing mirthful, really. It’s all hateful. They’re singing for vespers, and how carefully that merchant crosses himself! as if he were afraid of missing something. Why these churches and this singing and this humbug? Simply to conceal that we all hate each other like these cab drivers who are abusing each other so angrily. Yashvin says, ‘He wants to strip me of my shirt, and I him of his.’ Yes, that’s the truth!”
She was plunged in these thoughts, which so engrossed her that she left off thinking of her own position, when the carriage drew up at the steps of her house. It was only when she saw the porter running out to meet her that she remembered she had sent the note and the telegram
“Is there an answer?” she inquired.
“I’ll see this minute,” answered the porter, and glancing into his room, he took out and gave her the thin square envelope of a telegram. “I can’t come before ten o’clock.–Vronsky,” she read.
“And hasn’t the messenger come back?”
“No,” answered the porter.
“Then, since it’s so, I know what I must do,” she said, and feeling a vague fury and craving for revenge rising up within her, she ran upstairs. “I’ll go to him myself. Before going away forever, I’ll tell him all. Never have I hated anyone as I hate that man!” she thought. Seeing his hat on the rack, she shuddered with aversion. She did not consider that his telegram was an answer to her telegram and that he had not yet received her note. She pictured him to herself as talking calmly to his mother and Princess Sorokina and rejoicing at her sufferings. “Yes, I must go quickly,” she said, not knowing yet where she was going. She longed to get away as quickly as possible from the feelings she had gone through in that awful house. The servants, the walls, the things in that house–all aroused repulsion and hatred in her and lay like a weight upon her.
“Yes, I must go to the railway station, and if he’s not there, then go there and catch him.” Anna looked at the railway timetable in the newspapers. An evening train went at two minutes past eight. “Yes, I shall be in time.” She gave orders for the other horses to be put in the carriage, and packed in a traveling-bag the things needed for a few days. She knew she would never come back here again.
Among the plans that came into her head she vaguely determined that after what would happen at the station or at the countess’s house, she would go as far as the first town on the Nizhni road and stop there.
Dinner was on the table; she went up, but the smell of the bread and cheese was enough to make her feel that all food was disgusting. She ordered the carriage and went out. The house threw a shadow now right across the street, but it was a bright evening and still warm in the sunshine. Annushka, who came down with her things, and Pyotr, who put the things in the carriage, and the coachman, evidently out of humor, were all hateful to her, and irritated her by their words and actions.
“I don’t want you, Pyotr.”
“But how about the ticket?”
“Well, as you like, it doesn’t matter,” she said crossly.
Pyotr jumped on the box, and putting his arms akimbo, told the coachman to drive to the booking-office.
“Here it is again! Again I understand it all!” Anna said to herself, as soon as the carriage had started and swaying lightly, rumbled over the tiny cobbles of the paved road, and again one impression followed rapidly upon another.
“Yes; what was the last thing I thought of so clearly?” she tried to recall it. “‘Tiutkin, coiffeur?’–no, not that. Yes, of what Yashvin says, the struggle for existence and hatred is the one thing that holds men together. No, it’s a useless journey you’re making,” she said, mentally addressing a party in a coach and four, evidently going for an excursion into the country. “And the dog you’re taking with you will be no help to you. You can’t get away from yourselves.” Turning her eyes in the direction Pyotr had turned to look, she saw a factory hand almost dead drunk, with hanging head, being led away by a policeman. “Come, he’s found a quicker way,” she thought. “Count Vronsky and I did not find that happiness either, though we expected so much from it.” And now for the first time Anna turned that glaring light in which she was seeing everything on to her relations with him, which she had hitherto avoided thinking about. “What was it he sought in me? Not love so much as the satisfaction of vanity.” She remembered his words, the expression of his face, that recalled an abject setter-dog, in the early days of their connection. And everything now confirmed this. “Yes, there was the triumph of success in him. Of course there was love too, but the chief element was the pride of success. He boasted of me. Now that’s over. There’s nothing to be proud of. Not to be proud of, but to be ashamed of. He has taken from me all he could, and now I am no use to him. He is weary of me and is trying not to be dishonorable in his behavior to me. He let that out yesterday–he wants divorce and marriage so as to burn his ships. He loves me, but how? The zest is gone, as the English say. That fellow wants everyone to admire him and is very much pleased with himself,” she thought, looking at a red-faced clerk, riding on a riding school horse. “Yes, there’s not the same flavor about me for him now. If I go away from him, at the bottom of his heart he will be glad.”
This was not mere supposition, she saw it distinctly in the piercing light, which revealed to her now the meaning of life and human relations.
“My love keeps growing more passionate and egoistic, while his is waning and waning, and that’s why we’re drifting apart.” She went on musing. “And there’s no help for it. He is everything for me, and I want him more and more to give himself up to me entirely. And he wants more and more to get away from me. We walked to meet each other up to the time of our love, and then we have been irresistibly drifting in different directions. And there’s no altering that. He tells me I’m insanely jealous, and I have told myself that I am insanely jealous; but it’s not true. I’m not jealous, but I’m unsatisfied. But…” she opened her lips, and shifted her place in the carriage in the excitement, aroused by the thought that suddenly struck her. “If I could be anything but a mistress, passionately caring for nothing but his caresses; but I can’t and I don’t care to be anything else. And by that desire I rouse aversion in him, and he rouses fury in me, and it cannot be different. Don’t I know that he wouldn’t deceive me, that he has no schemes about Princess Sorokina, that he’s not in love with Kitty, that he won’t desert me! I know all that, but it makes it no better for me. If without loving me, from DUTY he’ll be good and kind to me, without what I want, that’s a thousand times worse than unkindness! That’s–hell! And that’s just how it is. For a long while now he hasn’t loved me. And where love ends, hate begins. I don’t know these streets at all. Hills it seems, and still houses, and houses …. And in the houses always people and people…. How many of them, no end, and all hating each other! Come, let me try and think what I want, to make me happy. Well? Suppose I am divorced, and Alexey Alexandrovitch lets me have Seryozha, and I marry Vronsky.” Thinking of Alexey Alexandrovitch, she at once pictured him with extraordinary vividness as though he were alive before her, with his mild, lifeless, dull eyes, the blue veins in his white hands, his intonations and the cracking of his fingers, and remembering the feeling which had existed between them, and which was also called love, she shuddered with loathing. “Well, I’m divorced, and become Vronsky’s wife. Well, will Kitty cease looking at me as she looked at me today? No. And will Seryozha leave off asking and wondering about my two husbands? And is there any new feeling I can awaken between Vronsky and me? Is there possible, if not happiness, some sort of ease from misery? No, no!” she answered now without the slightest hesitation. “Impossible! We are drawn apart by life, and I make his unhappiness, and he mine, and there’s no altering him or me. Every attempt has been made, the screw has come unscrewed. Oh, a beggar woman with a baby. She thinks I’m sorry for her. Aren’t we all flung into the world only to hate each other, and so to torture ourselves and each other? Schoolboys coming–laughing Seryozha?” she thought. “I thought, too, that I loved him, and used to be touched by my own tenderness. But I have lived without him, I gave him up for another love, and did not regret the exchange till that love was satisfied.” And with loathing she thought of what she meant by that love. And the clearness with which she saw life now, her own and all men’s, was a pleasure to her. “It’s so with me and Pyotr, and the coachman, Fyodor, and that merchant, and all the people living along the Volga, where those placards invite one to go, and everywhere and always,” she thought when she had driven under the low-pitched roof of the Nizhigorod station, and the porters ran to meet her.
“A ticket to Obiralovka?” said Pyotr.
She had utterly forgotten where and why she was going, and only by a great effort she understood the question.
“Yes,” she said, handing him her purse, and taking a little red bag in her hand, she got out of the carriage.
Making her way through the crowd to the first-class waiting-room, she gradually recollected all the details of her position, and the plans between which she was hesitating. And again at the old sore places, hope and then despair poisoned the wounds of her tortured, fearfully throbbing heart. As she sat on the star-shaped sofa waiting for the train, she gazed with aversion at the people coming and going (they were all hateful to her), and thought how she would arrive at the station, would write him a note, and what she would write to him, and how he was at this moment complaining to his mother of his position, not understanding her sufferings, and how she would go into the room, and what she would say to him. Then she thought that life might still be happy, and how miserably she loved and hated him, and how fearfully her heart was beating.