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Chapter 30

"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.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Fiction - Russian literature
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