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Chapter 4


Alexey Alexandrovitch, after meeting Vronsky on his own steps,
drove, as he had intended, to the Italian opera. He sat
through two acts there, and saw everyone he had wanted to see.
On returning home, he carefully scrutinized the hat stand, and
noticing that there was not a military overcoat there, he went,
as usual, to his own room. But, contrary to his usual habits, he
did not go to bed, he walked up and down his study till three
o'clock in the morning. The feeling of furious anger with his
wife, who would not observe the proprieties and keep to the one
stipulation he had laid on her, not to receive her lover in her
own home, gave him no peace. She had not complied with his
request, and he was bound to punish her and carry out his
threat--obtain a divorce and take away his son. He knew all the
difficulties connected with this course, but he had said he would
do it, and now he must carry out his threat. Countess Lidia
Ivanovna had hinted that this was the best way out of his
position, and of late the obtaining of divorces had been brought
to such perfection that Alexey Alexandrovitch saw a possibility
of overcoming the formal difficulties. Misfortunes never come
singly, and the affairs of the reorganization of the native
tribes, and of the irrigation of the lands of the Zaraisky
province, had brought such official worries upon Alexey
Alexandrovitch that he had been of late in a continual condition
of extreme irritability.

He did not sleep the whole night, and his fury, growing in a sort
of vast, arithmetical progression, reached its highest limits in
the morning. He dressed in haste, and as though carrying his cup
full of wrath, and fearing to spill any over, fearing to lose
with his wrath the energy necessary for the interview with his
wife, he went into her room directly he heard she was up.

Anna, who had thought she knew her husband so well, was amazed at
his appearance when he went in to her. His brow was lowering,
and his eyes stared darkly before him, avoiding her eyes; his
mouth was tightly and contemptuously shut. In his walk, in his
gestures, in the sound of his voice there was a determination and
firmness such as his wife had never seen in him. He went into
her room, and without greeting her, walked straight up to her
writing-table, and taking her keys, opened a drawer.

"What do you want?" she cried.

"Your lover's letters," he said.

"They're not here," she said, shutting the drawer; but from that
action he saw he had guessed right, and roughly pushing away her
hand, he quickly snatched a portfolio in which he knew she used
to put her most important papers. She tried to pull the
portfolio away, but he pushed her back.

"Sit down! I have to speak to you," he said, putting the
portfolio under his arm, and squeezing it so tightly with his
elbow that his shoulder stood up. Amazed and intimidated, she
gazed at him in silence.

"I told you that I would not allow you to receive your lover in
this house."

"I had to see him to..."

She stopped, not finding a reason.

"I do not enter into the details of why a woman wants to see her
lover."

"I meant, I only..." she said, flushing hotly. This coarseness
of his angered her, and gave her courage. "Surely you must feel
how easy it is for you to insult me?" she said.

"An honest man and an honest woman may be insulted, but to tell a
thief he's a thief is simply la constatation d'un fait."

"This cruelty is something new I did not know in you."

"You call it cruelty for a husband to give his wife liberty,
giving her the honorable protection of his name, simply on the
condition of observing the proprieties: is that cruelty?"

"It's worse than cruel--it's base, if you want to know!" Anna
cried, in a rush of hatred, and getting up, she was going away.

"No!" he shrieked in his shrill voice, which pitched a note
higher than usual even, and his big hands clutching her by the
arm so violently that red marks were left from the bracelet he
was squeezing, he forcibly sat her down in her place.

"Base! If you care to use that word, what is base is to forsake
husband and child for a lover, while you eat your husband's
bread!"

She bowed her head. She did not say what she had said the
evening before to her lover, that HE was her husband, and her
husband was superfluous; she did not even think that. She felt
all the justice of his words, and only said softly:

"You cannot describe my position as worse than I feel it to be
myself; but what are you saying all this for?"

"What am I saying it for? what for?" he went on, as angrily.
"That you may know that since you have not carried out my wishes
in regard to observing outward decorum, I will take measures to
put an end to this state of things."

"Soon, very soon, it will end, anyway," she said; and again, at
the thought of death near at hand and now desired, tears came
into her eyes.

"It will end sooner than you and your lover have planned! If you
must have the satisfaction of animal passion..."

"Alexey Alexandrovitch! I won't say it's not generous, but it's
not like a gentleman to strike anyone who's down."

"Yes, you only think of yourself! But the sufferings of a man
who was your husband have no interest for you. You don't care
that his whole life is ruined, that he is thuff...thuff..."

Alexey Alexandrovitch was speaking so quickly that he stammered,
and was utterly unable to articulate the word "suffering." In
the end he pronounced it "thuffering." She wanted to laugh, and
was immediately ashamed that anything could amuse her at such a
moment. And for the first time, for an instant, she felt for
him, put herself in his place, and was sorry for him. But what
could she say or do? Her head sank, and she sat silent. He too
was silent for some time, and then began speaking in a frigid,
less shrill voice, emphasizing random words that had no
significance.

"I came to tell you..." he said.

She glanced at him. "No, it was my fancy," she thought,
recalling the expression of his face when he stumbled over the
word "suffering." "No; can a man with those dull eyes, with that
self-satisfied complacency, feel anything?"

"I cannot change anything," she whispered.

"I have come to tell you that I am going tomorrow to Moscow, and
shall not return again to this house, and you will receive notice
of what I decide through the lawyer into whose hands I shall
intrust the task of getting a divorce. My son is going to my
sister's," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, with an effort recalling
what he had meant to say about his son.

"You take Seryozha to hurt me," she said, looking at him from
under her brows. "You do not love him.... Leave me Seryozha!"

"Yes, I have lost even my affection for my son, because he is
associated with the repulsion I feel for you. But still I
shall take him. Goodbye!"

And he was going away, but now she detained him.

"Alexey Alexandrovitch, leave me Seryozha!" she whispered once
more. "I have nothing else to say. Leave Seryozha till my...I
shall soon be confined; leave him!"

Alexey Alexandrovitch flew into a rage, and, snatching his hand
from her, he went out of the room without a word.Chapter 4


Alexey Alexandrovitch, after meeting Vronsky on his own steps,
drove, as he had intended, to the Italian opera. He sat
through two acts there, and saw everyone he had wanted to see.
On returning home, he carefully scrutinized the hat stand, and
noticing that there was not a military overcoat there, he went,
as usual, to his own room. But, contrary to his usual habits, he
did not go to bed, he walked up and down his study till three
o'clock in the morning. The feeling of furious anger with his
wife, who would not observe the proprieties and keep to the one
stipulation he had laid on her, not to receive her lover in her
own home, gave him no peace. She had not complied with his
request, and he was bound to punish her and carry out his
threat--obtain a divorce and take away his son. He knew all the
difficulties connected with this course, but he had said he would
do it, and now he must carry out his threat. Countess Lidia
Ivanovna had hinted that this was the best way out of his
position, and of late the obtaining of divorces had been brought
to such perfection that Alexey Alexandrovitch saw a possibility
of overcoming the formal difficulties. Misfortunes never come
singly, and the affairs of the reorganization of the native
tribes, and of the irrigation of the lands of the Zaraisky
province, had brought such official worries upon Alexey
Alexandrovitch that he had been of late in a continual condition
of extreme irritability.

He did not sleep the whole night, and his fury, growing in a sort
of vast, arithmetical progression, reached its highest limits in
the morning. He dressed in haste, and as though carrying his cup
full of wrath, and fearing to spill any over, fearing to lose
with his wrath the energy necessary for the interview with his
wife, he went into her room directly he heard she was up.

Anna, who had thought she knew her husband so well, was amazed at
his appearance when he went in to her. His brow was lowering,
and his eyes stared darkly before him, avoiding her eyes; his
mouth was tightly and contemptuously shut. In his walk, in his
gestures, in the sound of his voice there was a determination and
firmness such as his wife had never seen in him. He went into
her room, and without greeting her, walked straight up to her
writing-table, and taking her keys, opened a drawer.

"What do you want?" she cried.

"Your lover's letters," he said.

"They're not here," she said, shutting the drawer; but from that
action he saw he had guessed right, and roughly pushing away her
hand, he quickly snatched a portfolio in which he knew she used
to put her most important papers. She tried to pull the
portfolio away, but he pushed her back.

"Sit down! I have to speak to you," he said, putting the
portfolio under his arm, and squeezing it so tightly with his
elbow that his shoulder stood up. Amazed and intimidated, she
gazed at him in silence.

"I told you that I would not allow you to receive your lover in
this house."

"I had to see him to..."

She stopped, not finding a reason.

"I do not enter into the details of why a woman wants to see her
lover."

"I meant, I only..." she said, flushing hotly. This coarseness
of his angered her, and gave her courage. "Surely you must feel
how easy it is for you to insult me?" she said.

"An honest man and an honest woman may be insulted, but to tell a
thief he's a thief is simply la constatation d'un fait."

"This cruelty is something new I did not know in you."

"You call it cruelty for a husband to give his wife liberty,
giving her the honorable protection of his name, simply on the
condition of observing the proprieties: is that cruelty?"

"It's worse than cruel--it's base, if you want to know!" Anna
cried, in a rush of hatred, and getting up, she was going away.

"No!" he shrieked in his shrill voice, which pitched a note
higher than usual even, and his big hands clutching her by the
arm so violently that red marks were left from the bracelet he
was squeezing, he forcibly sat her down in her place.

"Base! If you care to use that word, what is base is to forsake
husband and child for a lover, while you eat your husband's
bread!"

She bowed her head. She did not say what she had said the
evening before to her lover, that HE was her husband, and her
husband was superfluous; she did not even think that. She felt
all the justice of his words, and only said softly:

"You cannot describe my position as worse than I feel it to be
myself; but what are you saying all this for?"

"What am I saying it for? what for?" he went on, as angrily.
"That you may know that since you have not carried out my wishes
in regard to observing outward decorum, I will take measures to
put an end to this state of things."

"Soon, very soon, it will end, anyway," she said; and again, at
the thought of death near at hand and now desired, tears came
into her eyes.

"It will end sooner than you and your lover have planned! If you
must have the satisfaction of animal passion..."

"Alexey Alexandrovitch! I won't say it's not generous, but it's
not like a gentleman to strike anyone who's down."

"Yes, you only think of yourself! But the sufferings of a man
who was your husband have no interest for you. You don't care
that his whole life is ruined, that he is thuff...thuff..."

Alexey Alexandrovitch was speaking so quickly that he stammered,
and was utterly unable to articulate the word "suffering." In
the end he pronounced it "thuffering." She wanted to laugh, and
was immediately ashamed that anything could amuse her at such a
moment. And for the first time, for an instant, she felt for
him, put herself in his place, and was sorry for him. But what
could she say or do? Her head sank, and she sat silent. He too
was silent for some time, and then began speaking in a frigid,
less shrill voice, emphasizing random words that had no
significance.

"I came to tell you..." he said.

She glanced at him. "No, it was my fancy," she thought,
recalling the expression of his face when he stumbled over the
word "suffering." "No; can a man with those dull eyes, with that
self-satisfied complacency, feel anything?"

"I cannot change anything," she whispered.

"I have come to tell you that I am going tomorrow to Moscow, and
shall not return again to this house, and you will receive notice
of what I decide through the lawyer into whose hands I shall
intrust the task of getting a divorce. My son is going to my
sister's," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, with an effort recalling
what he had meant to say about his son.

"You take Seryozha to hurt me," she said, looking at him from
under her brows. "You do not love him.... Leave me Seryozha!"

"Yes, I have lost even my affection for my son, because he is
associated with the repulsion I feel for you. But still I
shall take him. Goodbye!"

And he was going away, but now she detained him.

"Alexey Alexandrovitch, leave me Seryozha!" she whispered once
more. "I have nothing else to say. Leave Seryozha till my...I
shall soon be confined; leave him!"

Alexey Alexandrovitch flew into a rage, and, snatching his hand
from her, he went out of the room without a word.



Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Category:
Fiction - Russian literature
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