Anna Karenina eBook

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

The doctor confirmed his suppositions in regard to Kitty.  Her indisposition was a symptom that she was with child.

Chapter 21

From the moment when Alexey Alexandrovitch understood from his interviews with Betsy and with Stepan Arkadyevitch that all that was expected of him was to leave his wife in peace, without burdening her with his presence, and that his wife herself desired this, he felt so distraught that he could come to no decision of himself; he did not know himself what he wanted now, and putting himself in the hands of those who were so pleased to interest themselves in his affairs, he met everything with unqualified assent.  It was only when Anna had left his house, and the English governess sent to ask him whether she should dine with him or separately, that for the first time he clearly comprehended his position, and was appalled by it.  Most difficult of all in this position was the fact that he could not in any way connect and reconcile his past with what was now.  It was not the past when he had lived happily with his wife that troubled him.  The transition from that past to a knowledge of his wife’s unfaithfulness he had lived through miserably already; that state was painful, but he could understand it.  If his wife had then, on declaring to him her unfaithfulness, left him, he would have been wounded, unhappy, but he would not have been in the hopeless position—­incomprehensible to himself—­in which he felt himself now.  He could not now reconcile his immediate past, his tenderness, his love for his sick wife, and for the other man’s child with what was now the case, that is with the fact that, as it were, in return for all this he now found himself alone, put to shame, a laughing-stock, needed by no one, and despised by everyone.

For the first two days after his wife’s departure Alexey Alexandrovitch received applicants for assistance and his chief secretary, drove to the committee, and went down to dinner in the dining room as usual.  Without giving himself a reason for what he was doing, he strained every nerve of his being for those two days, simply to preserve an appearance of composure, and even of indifference.  Answering inquiries about the disposition of Anna Arkadyevna’s rooms and belongings, he had exercised immense self-control to appear like a man in whose eyes what had occurred was not unforeseen nor out of the ordinary course of events, and he attained his aim:  no one could have detected in him signs of despair.  But on the second day after her departure, when Korney gave him a bill from a fashionable draper’s shop, which Anna had forgotten to pay, and announced that the clerk from the shop was waiting, Alexey Alexandrovitch told him to show the clerk up.

“Excuse me, your excellency, for venturing to trouble you.  But if you direct us to apply to her excellency, would you graciously oblige us with her address?”

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Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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