Anna Karenina eBook

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

“No, not the least!” Nikolay answered, vexed at the question.  “Tell him to send me a doctor.”

Three more days of agony followed; the sick man was still in the same condition.  The sense of longing for his death was felt by everyone now at the mere sight of him, by the waiters and the hotel-keeper and all the people staying in the hotel, and the doctor and Marya Nikolaevna and Levin and Kitty.  The sick man alone did not express this feeling, but on the contrary was furious at their not getting him doctors, and went on taking medicine and talking of life.  Only at rare moments, when the opium gave him an instant’s relief from the never-ceasing pain, he would sometimes, half asleep, utter what was ever more intense in his heart than in all the others:  “Oh, if it were only the end!” or:  “When will it be over?”

His sufferings, steadily growing more intense, did their work and prepared him for death.  There was no position in which he was not in pain, there was not a minute in which he was unconscious of it, not a limb, not a part of his body that did not ache and cause him agony.  Even the memories, the impressions, the thoughts of this body awakened in him now the same aversion as the body itself.  The sight of other people, their remarks, his own reminiscences, everything was for him a source of agony.  Those about him felt this, and instinctively did not allow themselves to move freely, to talk, to express their wishes before him.  All his life was merged in the one feeling of suffering and desire to be rid of it.

There was evidently coming over him that revulsion that would make him look upon death as the goal of his desires, as happiness.  Hitherto each individual desire, aroused by suffering or privation, such as hunger, fatigue, thirst, had been satisfied by some bodily function giving pleasure.  But now no physical craving or suffering received relief, and the effort to relieve them only caused fresh suffering.  And so all desires were merged in one—­the desire to be rid of all his sufferings and their source, the body.  But he had no words to express this desire of deliverance, and so he did not speak of it, and from habit asked for the satisfaction of desires which could not now be satisfied.  “Turn me over on the other side,” he would say, and immediately after he would ask to be turned back again as before.  “Give me some broth.  Take away the broth.  Talk of something:  why are you silent?” And directly they began to talk he would close his eyes, and would show weariness, indifference, and loathing.

On the tenth day from their arrival at the town, Kitty was unwell.  She suffered from headache and sickness, and she could not get up all the morning.

The doctor opined that the indisposition arose from fatigue and excitement, and prescribed rest.

After dinner, however, Kitty got up and went as usual with her work to the sick man.  He looked at her sternly when she came in, and smiled contemptuously when she said she had been unwell.  That day he was continually blowing his nose, and groaning piteously.

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Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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