All I knew was that something had happened that made her dreadfully miserable, and that she begged me never to speak of it. And if she would not tell me, she would certainly not speak of it to any one else. But what did pass between you? Tell me.
Yes, I understand it all now, said Darya Alexandrovna. You cant understand it; for you men, who are free and make your own choice, its always clear whom you love. But a girls in a position of suspense, with all a womans or maidens modesty, a girl who sees you men from afar, who takes everything on trust,a girl may have, and often has, such a feeling that she cannot tell what to say.
No, the heart does speak; but just consider: you men have views about a girl, you come to the house, you make friends, you criticise, you wait to see if you have found what you love, and then, when you are sure you love her, you make an offer
Anyway you make an offer, when your love is ripe or when the balance has completely turned between the two you are choosing from. But a girl is not asked. She is expected to make her choice, and yet she cannot choose, she can only answer yes or no.
Ah, pride, pride! said Darya Alexandrovna, as though despising him for the baseness of this feeling in comparison with that other feeling which only women know. At the time when you made Kitty an offer she was just in a position in which she could not answer. She was in doubt. Doubt between you and Vronsky. Him she was seeing every day, and you she had not seen for a long while. Supposing she had been older, I, for instance, in her place could have felt no doubt. I always disliked him, and so it has turned out.
Darya Alexandrovna, he said dryly, I appreciate your confidence in me; I believe you are making a mistake. But whether I am right or wrong, that pride you so despise makes any thought of Katerina Alexandrovna out of the question for me,you understand, utterly out of the question.
I will only say one thing more: you know that I am speaking of my sister, whom I love as I love my own children. I dont say she cared for you, all I meant to say is that her refusal at that moment proves nothing.
I dont know! said Levin, jumping up. If you only knew how you are hurting me. Its just as if a child of yours were dead, and they were to say to you, He would have been like this and like that, and he might have lived, and how happy you would have been in him. But hes dead, dead, dead, dead!
How absurd you are! said Darya Alexandrovna, looking with mournful tenderness at Levins excitement. Yes, I see it all more and more clearly, she went on musingly. So you wont come to see us, then, when Kittys here?
You are very, very absurd, repeated Darya Alexandrovna, looking with tenderness into his face. Very well then, let it be as though we had not spoken of this. What have you come for, Tanya? she said in French to the little girl who had come in.
The little girl tried to say it in French, but could not remember the French for spade; the mother prompted her, and then told her in French where to look for the spade. And this made a disagreeable impression on Levin.
Everything in Darya Alexandrovnas house and children struck him now as by no means so charming as a little while before. And what does she talk French with the children for? he thought; how unnatural and false it is! And the children feel it so. Learning French and unlearning sincerity, he thought to himself, unaware that Darya Alexandrovna had thought all that over twenty times already, and yet, even at the cost of some loss of sincerity, believed it necessary to teach her children French in that way.
After tea he went out into the hall to order his horses to be put in, and, when he came back, he found Darya Alexandrovna greatly disturbed, with a troubled face, and tears in her eyes. While Levin had been outside, an incident had occurred which had utterly shattered all the happiness she had been feeling that day, and her pride in her children. Grisha and Tanya had been fighting over a ball. Darya Alexandrovna, hearing a scream in the nursery, ran in and saw a terrible sight. Tanya was pulling Grishas hair, while he, with a face hideous with rage, was beating her with his fists wherever he could get at her. Something snapped in Darya Alexandrovnas heart when she saw this. It was as if darkness had swooped down upon her life; she felt that these children of hers, that she was so proud of, were not merely most ordinary, but positively bad, ill-bred children, with coarse, brutal propensitieswicked children.
Levin saw she was unhappy and tried to comfort her, saying that it showed nothing bad, that all children fight; but, even as he said it, he was thinking in his heart: No, I wont be artificial and talk French with my children; but my children wont be like that. All one has to do is not to spoil children, not to distort their nature, and theyll be delightful. No, my children wont be like that.