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Anna Karenina 203

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

but the end of all his thoughts was the same-- death. Death, the inevitable end of all, for the first time presented itself to him with irresistible force. And death, which was here in this loved brother, groaning half asleep and from habit calling without distinction on God and the devil, was not so remote as it had hitherto seemed to him. It was in himself too, he felt that. If not today, tomorrow, if not tomorrow, in thirty years, wasnt it all the same! And what was this inevitable death--he did not know, had never thought about it, and what was more, had not the power, had not the courage to think about it. "I work, I want to do something, but I had forgotten it must all end; I had forgotten--death." He sat on his bed in the darkness, crouched up, hugging his knees, and holding his breath from the strain of thought, he pondered. But the more intensely he thought, the clearer it became to him that it was indubitably so, that in reality, looking upon life, he had forgotten one little fact--that death will come, and all ends; that nothing was even worth beginning, and that there was no helping it anyway. Yes, it was awful, but it was so. "But I am alive still. Now whats to be done? whats to be done?" he said in despair. He lighted a candle, got up cautiously and went to the looking-glass, and began looking at his face and hair. Yes, there were gray hairs about his temples. He opened his mouth. His back teeth were beginning to decay. He bared his muscular arms. Yes, there was strength in them. But Nikolay, who lay there breathing with what was left of lungs, had had a strong, healthy body too. And suddenly he recalled how they used to go to bed together as children, and how they only waited till Fyodor Bogdanitch was out of the room to fling pillows at each other and laugh, laugh irrepressibly, so that even their awe of Fyodor Bogdanitch could not check the effervescing, overbrimming sense of life and happiness. "And now that bent, hollow chest...and I, not knowing what will become of me, or wherefore..." "K...ha! K...ha! Damnation! Why do you keep fidgeting, why dont you go to sleep?" his brothers voice called to him. "Oh, I dont know, Im not sleepy." "I have had a good sleep, Im not in a sweat now. Just see, feel my shirt; its not wet, is it?" Levin felt, withdrew behind the screen, and put out the candle, but for a long while he could not sleep. The question how to live had hardly begun to grow a little clearer to him, when a new, insoluble question presented itself--death. "Why, hes dying--yes, hell die in the spring, and how help him? What can I say to him? What do I know about it? Id even forgotten that it was at all." Chapter 32 Levin had long before made the observation that when one is uncomfortable with people from their being excessively amenable and meek, one is apt very soon after to find things intolerable from their touchiness and irritability. He felt that this was how it would be with his brother. And his brother Nikolays gentleness did in fact not last out for long. The very next morning he began to be irritable, and seemed doing his best to find fault with his brother, attacking him on his tenderest points. Levin felt himself to blame, and could not set things right. He felt that if they had both not kept up appearances, but had spoken, as it is called, from the heart--that is to say, had said only just what they were thinking and feeling--they would simply have looked into each others faces, and Konstantin could only have said, "Youre dying, youre dying!" and Nikolay could only have answered, "I know Im dying, but Im afraid, Im afraid, Im afraid!" And they could have said nothing more, if they had said only what was in their hearts. But life like that was impossible, and so Konstantin tried to do what he had been trying to do all his life, and never could learn to do, though, as far as he could observe, many people knew so well how to do it, and without it there was no living at all. He tried to say what

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