Anna Karenina eBook

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

There are no conditions to which a man cannot become used, especially if he sees that all around him are living in the same way.  Levin could not have believed three months before that he could have gone quietly to sleep in the condition in which he was that day, that leading an aimless, irrational life, living too beyond his means, after drinking to excess (he could not call what happened at the club anything else), forming inappropriately friendly relations with a man with whom his wife had once been in love, and a still more inappropriate call upon a woman who could only be called a lost woman, after being fascinated by that woman and causing his wife distress—­he could still go quietly to sleep.  But under the influence of fatigue, a sleepless night, and the wine he had drunk, his sleep was sound and untroubled.

At five o’clock the creak of a door opening waked him.  He jumped up and looked round.  Kitty was not in bed beside him.  But there was a light moving behind the screen, and he heard her steps.

“What is it?...what is it?” he said, half-asleep.  “Kitty!  What is it?”

“Nothing,” she said, coming from behind the screen with a candle in her hand.  “I felt unwell,” she said, smiling a particularly sweet and meaning smile.

“What? has it begun?” he said in terror.  “We ought to send...” and hurriedly he reached after his clothes.

“No, no,” she said, smiling and holding his hand.  “It’s sure to be nothing.  I was rather unwell, only a little.  It’s all over now.”

And getting into bed, she blew out the candle, lay down and was still.  Though he thought her stillness suspicious, as though she were holding her breath, and still more suspicious the expression of peculiar tenderness and excitement with which, as she came from behind the screen, she said “nothing,” he was so sleepy that he fell asleep at once.  Only later he remembered the stillness of her breathing, and understood all that must have been passing in her sweet, precious heart while she lay beside him, not stirring, in anticipation of the greatest event in a woman’s life.  At seven o’clock he was waked by the touch of her hand on his shoulder, and a gentle whisper.  She seemed struggling between regret at waking him, and the desire to talk to him.

“Kostya, don’t be frightened.  It’s all right.  But I fancy....  We ought to send for Lizaveta Petrovna.”

The candle was lighted again.  She was sitting up in bed, holding some knitting, which she had been busy upon during the last few days.

“Please, don’t be frightened, it’s all right.  I’m not a bit afraid,” she said, seeing his scared face, and she pressed his hand to her bosom and then to her lips.

He hurriedly jumped up, hardly awake, and kept his eyes fixed on her, as he put on his dressing gown; then he stopped, still looking at her.  He had to go, but he could not tear himself from her eyes.  He thought he loved her face, knew her expression, her eyes, but never had he seen it like this.  How hateful and horrible he seemed to himself, thinking of the distress he had caused her yesterday.  Her flushed face, fringed with soft curling hair under her night cap, was radiant with joy and courage.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Anna Karenina from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.