THE PRINCE communicated his good-humour to his own family and his friends, and even to the German landlord in whose rooms the Shtcherbatskys were staying. On coming back with Kitty from the springs, the prince, who had asked the colonel, and Marya Yevgenyevna, and Varenka all to come and have coffee with them, gave orders for a table and chairs to be taken into the garden under the chestnut-tree, and lunch to be laid there. The landlord and the servants, too, grew brisker under the influence of his good spirits. They knew his open-handedness; and half an hour later the invalid doctor from Hamburg, who lived on the top floor, looked enviously out of window at the merry party of healthy Russians assembled under the chestnut-tree. In the trembling circles of shadow cast by the leaves, at a table, covered with a white cloth, and set with coffee-pot, bread- and-butter, cheese, and cold game, sat the princess in a high cap with lilac ribbons, distributing cups and bread-and-butter. At the other end sat the prince, eating heartily, and talking loudly and merrily. The prince had spread out near him his purchases, carved boxes, and knick-knacks, paperknives of all sorts, of which he bought a heap at every watering-place, and bestowed them upon every one, including Lieschen, the servant-girl, and the landlord, with whom he jested in his comically bad German, assuring him that it was not the water had cured Kitty, but his splendid cookery, especially his plumsoup.
The princess laughed at her husband for his Russian ways, but she was more lively and good-humoured than she had been all the while she had been at the waters. The colonel smiled, as he always did, at the princes jokes, but as far as regards Europe, of which he believed himself to be making a careful study, he took the princesss side. The simple-hearted Marya Yevgenyevna simply roared with laughter at everything absurd the prince said, and his jokes made Varenka helpless with feeble but infectious laughter, which was something Kitty had never seen before.
Kitty was glad of all this, but she could not be light-hearted. She could not solve the problem her father had unconsciously set her by his good-humoured view of her friends, and of the life that had so attracted her. To this doubt there was joined the change in her relations with the Petrovs, which had been so conspicuously and unpleasantly marked that morning. Every one was good-humoured, but Kitty could not feel good-humoured, and this increased her distress. She felt a feeling such as she had known in childhood, when she had been shut in her room as a punishment, and had heard her sisters merry laughter outside.
But what is there interesting about it? Theyre all as pleased as brass halfpence. Theyve conquered everybody, and why am I to be pleased at that? I havent conquered any one; and Im obliged to take off my own boots, yes, and put them away too; in the morning, get up and dress at once, and go to the dining-room to drink bad tea! How different it is at home! You get up in no haste, you get cross, grumble a little, and come round again. Youve time to think things over, and no hurry.
Time, indeed, that depends! Why, theres time one would give a month of for sixpence, and time you wouldnt give half an hour of for any money. Isnt that so, Katinka? What is it? why are you so depressed?
Well, and for some reason Anna Pavlovna told him that he didnt want to go because you are here. Of course, that was nonsense; but there was a dispute over itover you. You know how irritable these sick people are.
It serves me right, because it was all sham; because it was all done on purpose, and not from the heart. What business had I to interfere with outsiders? And so its come about that Im a cause of quarrel, and that Ive done what nobody asked me to do. Because it was all a sham! a sham! a sham!
I dont talk about you, not about you at all. Youre perfection. Yes, yes, I know youre all perfection; but what am I to do if Im bad? This would never have been if I werent bad. So let me be what I am, I wont be a sham. What have I to do with Anna Pavlovna? Let them go their way, and me go mine. I cant be different. And yet its not that, its not that.
Shes still here, she thought. What am I to say to her? Oh dear! what have I done, what have I said? Why was I rude to her? What am I to do? What am I to say to her? thought Kitty, and she stopped in the doorway.
Peace was made. But with her fathers coming all the world in which she had been living was transformed for Kitty. She did not give up everything she had learned, but she became aware that she had deceived herself in supposing she could be what she wanted to be. Her eyes were, it seemed, opened, she felt all the difficulty of maintaining herself without hypocrisy and self-conceit on the pinnacle to which she had wished to mount. Moreover she became aware of all the dreariness of the world of sorrow, of sick and dying people, in which she had been living. The efforts she had made to like it seemed to her intolerable, and she felt a longing to get back quickly into the fresh air, to Russia, to Ergushovo, where, as she knew from letters, her sister Dolly had already gone with her children.