Anna Karenina eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,033 pages of information about Anna Karenina.
he talked to them, simply trying to reconcile and soften their differences.  He was not in the least interested in what he said himself, and even less so in what they said; all he wanted was that they and everyone should be happy and contented.  He knew now the one thing of importance; and that one thing was at first there, in the drawing room, and then began moving across and came to a standstill at the door.  Without turning round he felt the eyes fixed on him, and the smile, and he could not help turning round.  She was standing in the doorway with Shtcherbatsky, looking at him.

“I thought you were going towards the piano,” said he, going up to her.  “That’s something I miss in the country—­music.”

“No; we only came to fetch you and thank you,” she said, rewarding him with a smile that was like a gift, “for coming.  What do they want to argue for?  No one ever convinces anyone, you know.”

“Yes; that’s true,” said Levin; “it generally happens that one argues warmly simply because one can’t make out what one’s opponent wants to prove.”

Levin had often noticed in discussions between the most intelligent people that after enormous efforts, and an enormous expenditure of logical subtleties and words, the disputants finally arrived at being aware that what they had so long been struggling to prove to one another had long ago, from the beginning of the argument, been known to both, but that they liked different things, and would not define what they liked for fear of its being attacked.  He had often had the experience of suddenly in a discussion grasping what it was his opponent liked and at once liking it too, and immediately he found himself agreeing, and then all arguments fell away as useless.  Sometimes, too, he had experienced the opposite, expressing at last what he liked himself, which he was devising arguments to defend, and, chancing to express it well and genuinely, he had found his opponent at once agreeing and ceasing to dispute his position.  He tried to say this.

She knitted her brow, trying to understand.  But directly he began to illustrate his meaning, she understood at once.

“I know:  one must find out what he is arguing for, what is precious to him, then one can...”

She had completely guessed and expressed his badly expressed idea.  Levin smiled joyfully; he was struck by this transition from the confused, verbose discussion with Pestsov and his brother to this laconic, clear, almost wordless communication of the most complex ideas.

Shtcherbatsky moved away from them, and Kitty, going up to a card table, sat down, and, taking up the chalk, began drawing diverging circles over the new green cloth.

They began again on the subject that had been started at dinner—­ the liberty and occupations of women.  Levin was of the opinion of Darya Alexandrovna that a girl who did not marry should find a woman’s duties in a family.  He supported this view by the fact that no family can get on without women to help; that in every family, poor or rich, there are and must be nurses, either relations or hired.

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Project Gutenberg
Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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