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Anna Karenina 185


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she said. "No, you did quite, quite right to come," he said, and was silent again. Seeing that he was powerless to begin the conversation, she began herself. "Alexey Alexandrovitch," she said, looking at him and not dropping her eyes under his persistent gaze at her hair, "Im a guilty woman, Im a bad woman, but I am the same as I was, as I told you then, and I have come to tell you that I can change nothing." "I have asked you no question about that," he said, all at once, resolutely and with hatred looking her straight in the face; "that was as I had supposed." Under the influence of anger he apparently regained complete possession of all his faculties. "But as I told you then, and have written to you," he said in a thin, shrill voice, "I repeat now, that I am not bound to know this. I ignore it. Not all wives are so kind as you, to be in such a hurry to communicate such agreeable news to their husbands." He laid special emphasis on the word "agreeable." "I shall ignore it so long as the world knows nothing of it, so long as my name is not disgraced. And so I simply inform you that our relations must be just as they have always been, and that only in the event of your compromising me I shall be obliged to take steps to secure my honor." "But our relations cannot be the same as always," Anna began in a timid voice, looking at him with dismay. When she saw once more those composed gestures, heard that shrill, childish, and sarcastic voice, her aversion for him extinguished her pity for him, and she felt only afraid, but at all costs she wanted to make clear her position. "I cannot be your wife while I..." she began. He laughed a cold and malignant laugh. "The manner of life you have chosen is reflected, I suppose, in your ideas. I have too much respect or contempt, or both...I respect your past and despise your present...that I was far from the interpretation you put on my words." Anna sighed and bowed her head. "Though indeed I fail to comprehend how, with the independence you show," he went on, getting hot, "--announcing your infidelity to your husband and seeing nothing reprehensible in it, apparently--you can see anything reprehensible in performing a wifes duties in relation to your husband." "Alexey Alexandrovitch! What is it you want of me?" "I want you not to meet that man here, and to conduct yourself so that neither the world nor the servants can reproach you...not to see him. Thats not much, I think. And in return you will enjoy all the privileges of a faithful wife without fulfilling her duties. Thats all I have to say to you. Now its time for me to go. Im not dining at home." He got up and moved towards the door. Anna got up too. Bowing in silence, he let her pass before him. Chapter 24 The night spent by Levin on the haycock did not pass without result for him. The way in which he had been managing his land revolted him and had lost all attraction for him. In spite of the magnificent harvest, never had there been, or, at least, never it seemed to him, had there been so many hindrances and so many quarrels between him and the peasants as that year, and the origin of these failures and this hostility was now perfectly comprehensible to him. The delight he had experienced in the work itself, and the consequent greater intimacy with the peasants, the envy he felt of them, of their life, the desire to adopt that life, which had been to him that night not a dream but an intention, the execution of which he had thought out in detail --all this had so transformed his view of the farming of the land as he had managed it, that he could not take his former interest in it, and could not help seeing that unpleasant relation between him and the workpeople which was the foundation of it all. The herd of improved cows such as Pava, the whole land ploughed over and enriched, the nine level fields surrounded with hedges, the two hundred and forty acres heavily manured, the seed sown in drills, and all the rest of it--it was all splendid if only the work had been done for themselves, or

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