Anna Karenina eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,033 pages of information about Anna Karenina.

But Kitty thought, and felt, and acted quite differently.  On seeing the sick man, she pitied him.  And pity in her womanly heart did not arouse at all that feeling of horror and loathing that it aroused in her husband, but a desire to act, to find out all the details of his state, and to remedy them.  And since she had not the slightest doubt that it was her duty to help him, she had no doubt either that it was possible, and immediately set to work.  The very details, the mere thought of which reduced her husband to terror, immediately engaged her attention.  She sent for the doctor, sent to the chemist’s, set the maid who had come with her and Marya Nikolaevna to sweep and dust and scrub; she herself washed up something, washed out something else, laid something under the quilt.  Something was by her directions brought into the sick-room, something else was carried out.  She herself went several times to her room, regardless of the men she met in the corridor, got out and brought in sheets, pillow cases, towels, and shirts.

The waiter, who was busy with a party of engineers dining in the dining hall, came several times with an irate countenance in answer to her summons, and could not avoid carrying out her orders, as she gave them with such gracious insistence that there was no evading her.  Levin did not approve of all this; he did not believe it would be of any good to the patient.  Above all, he feared the patient would be angry at it.  But the sick man, though he seemed and was indifferent about it, was not angry, but only abashed, and on the whole as it were interested in what she was doing with him.  Coming back from the doctor to whom Kitty had sent him, Levin, on opening the door, came upon the sick man at the instant when, by Kitty’s directions, they were changing his linen.  The long white ridge of his spine, with the huge, prominent shoulder blades and jutting ribs and vertebrae, was bare, and Marya Nikolaevna and the waiter were struggling with the sleeve of the night shirt, and could not get the long, limp arm into it.  Kitty, hurriedly closing the door after Levin, was not looking that way; but the sick man groaned, and she moved rapidly towards him.

“Make haste,” she said.

“Oh, don’t you come,” said the sick man angrily.  “I’ll do it my myself....”

“What say?” queried Marya Nikolaevna.  But Kitty heard and saw he was ashamed and uncomfortable at being naked before her.

“I’m not looking, I’m not looking!” she said, putting the arm in.  “Marya Nikolaevna, you come this side, you do it,” she added.

“Please go for me, there’s a little bottle in my small bag,” she said, turning to her husband, “you know, in the side pocket; bring it, please, and meanwhile they’ll finish clearing up here.”

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Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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