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Chapter 15


At the end of the evening Kitty told her mother of her
conversation with Levin, and in spite of all the pity she felt
for Levin, she was glad at the thought that she had received an
OFFER. She had no doubt that she had acted rightly. But after
she had gone to bed, for a long while she could not sleep. One
impression pursued her relentlessly. It was Levin's face, with
his scowling brows, and his kind eyes looking out in dark
dejection below them, as he stood listening to her father, and
glancing at her and at Vronsky. And she felt so sorry for him
that tears came into her eyes. But immediately she thought of
the man for whom she had given him up. She vividly recalled his
manly, resolute face, his noble self-possession, and the
good nature conspicuous in everything towards everyone. She
remembered the love for her of the man she loved, and once more
all was gladness in her soul, and she lay on the pillow, smiling
with happiness. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry; but what could I do?
It's not my fault," she said to herself; but an inner voice told
her something else. Whether she felt remorse at having won
Levin's love, or at having refused him, she did not know. But
her happiness was poisoned by doubts. "Lord, have pity on us;
Lord, have pity on us; Lord, have pity on us!" she repeated to
herself, till she fell asleep.

Meanwhile there took place below, in the prince's little library,
one of the scenes so often repeated between the parents on
account of their favorite daughter.

"What? I'll tell you what!" shouted the prince, waving his arms,
and at once wrapping his squirrel-lined dressing-gown round him
again. "That you've no pride, no dignity; that you're
disgracing, ruining your daughter by this vulgar, stupid
match-making!"

"But, really, for mercy's sake, prince, what have I done?" said
the princess, almost crying.

She, pleased and happy after her conversation with her daughter,
had gone to the prince to say good-night as usual, and though
she had no intention of telling him of Levin's offer and Kitty's
refusal, still she hinted to her husband that she fancied things
were practically settled with Vronsky, and that he would declare
himself so soon as his mother arrived. And thereupon, at those
words, the prince had all at once flown into a passion, and began
to use unseemly language.

"What have you done? I'll tell you what. First of all, you're
trying to catch an eligible gentleman, and all Moscow will be
talking of it, and with good reason. If you have evening
parties, invite everyone, don't pick out the possible suitors.
Invite all the young bucks. Engage a piano player, and let them
dance, and not as you do things nowadays, hunting up good
matches. It makes me sick, sick to see it, and you've gone on
till you've turned the poor wench's head. Levin's a thousand
times the better man. As for this little Petersburg swell,
they're turned out by machinery, all on one pattern, and all
precious rubbish. But if he were a prince of the blood, my
daughter need not run after anyone."

"But what have I done?"

"Why, you've..." The prince was crying wrathfully.

"I know if one were to listen to you," interrupted the princess,
"we should never marry our daughter. If it's to be so, we'd
better go into the country."

"Well, and we had better."

"But do wait a minute. Do I try and catch them? I don't try to
catch them in the least. A young man, and a very nice one, has
fallen in love with her, and she, I fancy..."

"Oh, yes, you fancy! And how if she really is in love, and he's
no more thinking of marriage than I am!... Oh, that I should
live to see it! Ah! spiritualism! Ah! Nice! Ah! the ball!"
And the prince, imagining that he was mimicking his wife, made a
mincing curtsey at each word. "And this is how we're preparing
wretchedness for Kitty; and she's really got the notion into her
head..."

"But what makes you suppose so?"

"I don't suppose; I know. We have eyes for such things, though
women-folk haven't. I see a man who has serious intentions,
that's Levin: and I see a peacock, like this feather-head, who's
only amusing himself."

"Oh, well, when once you get an idea into your head!..."

"Well, you'll remember my words, but too late, just as with
Dolly."

"Well, well, we won't talk of it," the princess stopped him,
recollecting her unlucky Dolly.

"By all means, and good night!"

And signing each other with the cross, the husband and wife
parted with a kiss, feeling that they each remained of their own
opinion.

The princess had at first been quite certain that that evening
had settled Kitty's future, and theat there could be no doubt of
Vronsky's intentions, but her husband's words had disturbed her.
And returning to her own room, in terror before the unknown
future, she, too, like Kitty, repeated several times in her
heart, "Lord, have pity; Lord, have pity; Lord, have pity."



Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Category:
Fiction - Russian literature
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