Dont put on your glove yet, princess; let me kiss your hand. Theres nothing Im so thankful to the revival of the old fashions for as the kissing the hand. He kissed Betsys hand. When shall we see each other?
Oh, Im so glad! answered Betsy, at once understanding that he was speaking of Anna. And going back into the drawing-room, they stood in a corner. Hes killing her, said Betsy in a whisper full of meaning. Its impossible, impossible
The whole towns talking of it, she said. Its an impossible position. She pines and pines away. He doesnt understand that shes one of those women who cant trifle with their feelings. One of two things: either let him take her away, act with energy, or give her a divorce. This is stifling her.
Yes, yes just so Oblonsky said, sighing. Thats what Ive come for. At least not solely for that Ive been made a kammer-herr; of course, one has to say thank you. But the chief thing was having to settle this.
After accompanying Betsy to the outside hall, once more kissing her hand above the glove, at the point where the pulse beats, and murmuring to her such unseemly nonsense that she did not know whether to laugh or be angry, Stepan Arkadyevitch went to his sister. He found her in tears.
Although he happened to be bubbling over with good spirits, Stepan Arkadyevitch immediately and quite naturally fell into the sympathetic, poetically emotional tone which harmonised with her mood. He asked her how she was, and how she had spent the morning.
I have heard it said that women love men even for their vices, Anna began suddenly, but I hate him for his virtues. I cant live with him. Do you understand? the sight of him has a physical effect on me, it makes me beside myself. I cant, I cant live with him. What am I to do? I have been unhappy, and used to think one couldnt be more unhappy, but the awful state of things I am going through now, I could never have conceived. Would you believe it, that knowing hes a good man, a splendid man, that Im not worth his little finger, still I hate him. I hate him for his generosity. And theres nothing left for me but
And Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled. No one else in Stepan Arkadyevitchs place, having to do with such despair, would have ventured to smile (the smile would have seemed brutal); but in his smile there was so much of sweetness and almost feminine tenderness that his smile did not wound, but softened and soothed. His gentle, soothing words and smiles were as soothing and softening as almond oil. And Anna soon felt this.
No, Stiva, she said, Im lost, lost! worse than lost! I cant say yet that all is over; on the contrary, I feel that its not over. Im an overstrained string that must snap. But its not ended yet and it will have a fearful end.
Not at all, he said. Listen to me. You cant see your own position as I can. Let me tell you candidly my opinion. Again he smiled discreetly his almond-oil smile. Ill begin from the beginning. You married a man twenty years older than yourself. You married him without love and not knowing what love was. It was a mistake, lets admit.
But I repeat, its an accomplished fact. Then you had, let us say, the misfortune to love a man not your husband. That was a misfortune; but that, too, is an accomplished fact. And your husband knew it and forgave it. He stopped at each sentence, waiting for her to object, but she made no answer. Thats so. Now the question is: can you go on living with your husband? Do you wish it? Does he wish it?
But he sees this and knows it. And do you suppose it weighs on him any less than on you? Youre wretched, hes wretched, and what good can come of it? while divorce would solve the whole difficulty. With some effort Stepan Arkadyevitch brought out his central idea, and looked significantly at her.
She said nothing, and shook her cropped head in dissent. But from the look in her face, that suddenly brightened into its old beauty, he saw that if she did not desire this, it was simply because it seemed to her unattainable happiness.
Im awfully sorry for you! And how happy I should be if I could arrange things! said Stepan Arkadyevitch, smiling more boldly. Dont speak, dont say a word! God grant only that I may speak as I feel. Im going to him.