Anna Karenina eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,311 pages of information about Anna Karenina.

“For God’s sake!” he repeated, taking her hand.

“Shall I tell you?”

“Yes, yes, yes . . .”

“I’m with child,” she said, softly and deliberately.  The leaf in her hand shook more violently, but she did not take her eyes off him, watching how he would take it.  He turned white, would have said something, but stopped; he dropped her hand, and his head sank on his breast.  “Yes, he realizes all the gravity of it,” she thought, and gratefully she pressed his hand.

But she was mistaken in thinking he realized the gravity of the fact as she, a woman, realized it.  On hearing it, he felt come upon him with tenfold intensity that strange feeling of loathing of someone.  But at the same time, he felt that the turning-point he had been longing for had come now; that it was impossible to go on concealing things from her husband, and it was inevitable in one way or another that they should soon put an end to their unnatural position.  But, besides that, her emotion physically affected him in the same way.  He looked at her with a look of submissive tenderness, kissed her hand, got up, and, in silence, paced up and down the terrace.

“Yes,” he said, going up to her resolutely.  “Neither you nor I have looked on our relations as a passing amusement, and now our fate is sealed.  It is absolutely necessary to put an end”—­he looked round as he spoke—­“to the deception in which we are living.”

“Put an end?  How put an end, Alexey?” she said softly.

She was calmer now, and her face lighted up with a tender smile.

“Leave your husband and make our life one.”

“It is one as it is,” she answered, scarcely audibly.

“Yes, but altogether; altogether.”

“But how, Alexey, tell me how?” she said in melancholy mockery at the hopelessness of her own position.  “Is there any way out of such a position?  Am I not the wife of my husband?”

“There is a way out of every position.  We must take our line,” he said.  “Anything’s better than the position in which you’re living.  Of course, I see how you torture yourself over everything—­the world and your son and your husband.”

“Oh, not over my husband,” she said, with a quiet smile.  “I don’t know him, I don’t think of him.  He doesn’t exist.”

“You’re not speaking sincerely.  I know you.  You worry about him too.”

“Oh, he doesn’t even know,” she said, and suddenly a hot flush came over her face; her cheeks, her brow, her neck crimsoned, and tears of shame came into her eyes.  “But we won’t talk of him.”

Chapter 23

Vronsky had several times already, though not so resolutely as now, tried to bring her to consider their position, and every time he had been confronted by the same superficiality and triviality with which she met his appeal now.  It was as though there were something in this which she could not or would not face, as though directly she began to speak of this, she, the real Anna, retreated somehow into herself, and another strange and unaccountable woman came out, whom he did not love, and whom he feared, and who was in opposition to him.  But today he was resolved to have it out.

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Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.