Anna Karenina eBook

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

“Well, I on the contrary expected less—­I’ll own frankly.  But I’m glad, very glad.  I’m ambitious; that’s my weakness, and I confess to it.”

“Perhaps you wouldn’t confess to it if you hadn’t been successful,” said Vronsky.

“I don’t suppose so,” said Serpuhovskoy, smiling again.  “I won’t say life wouldn’t be worth living without it, but it would be dull.  Of course I may be mistaken, but I fancy I have a certain capacity for the line I’ve chosen, and that power of any sort in my hands, if it is to be, will be better than in the hands of a good many people I know,” said Serpuhovskoy, with beaming consciousness of success; “and so the nearer I get to it, the better pleased I am.”

“Perhaps that is true for you, but not for everyone.  I used to think so too, but here I live and think life worth living not only for that.”

“There it’s out! here it comes!” said Serpuhovskoy, laughing.  “Ever since I heard about you, about your refusal, I began....  Of course, I approved of what you did.  But there are ways of doing everything.  And I think your action was good in itself, but you didn’t do it quite in the way you ought to have done.”

“What’s done can’t be undone, and you know I never go back on what I’ve done.  And besides, I’m very well off.”

“Very well off—­for the time.  But you’re not satisfied with that.  I wouldn’t say this to your brother.  He’s a nice child, like our host here.  There he goes!” he added, listening to the roar of “hurrah!”—­“and he’s happy, but that does not satisfy you.”

“I didn’t say it did satisfy me.”

“Yes, but that’s not the only thing.  Such men as you are wanted.”

“By whom?”

“By whom?  By society, by Russia.  Russia needs men; she needs a party, or else everything goes and will go to the dogs.”

“How do you mean?  Bertenev’s party against the Russian communists?”

“No,” said Serpuhovskoy, frowning with vexation at being suspected of such an absurdity. “Tout ca est une blague.  That’s always been and always will be.  There are no communists.  But intriguing people have to invent a noxious, dangerous party.  It’s an old trick.  No, what’s wanted is a powerful party of independent men like you and me.”

“But why so?” Vronsky mentioned a few men who were in power.  “Why aren’t they independent men?”

“Simply because they have not, or have not had from birth, an independent fortune; they’ve not had a name, they’ve not been close to the sun and center as we have.  They can be bought either by money or by favor.  And they have to find a support for themselves in inventing a policy.  And they bring forward some notion, some policy that they don’t believe in, that does harm; and the whole policy is really only a means to a government house and so much income. Cela n’est pas plus fin que ca, when you get a peep at their cards.  I may be inferior to them, stupider perhaps, though I don’t see why I should be inferior to them.  But you and I have one important advantage over them for certain, in being more difficult to buy.  And such men are more needed than ever.”

Project Gutenberg
Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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