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Anna Karenina 214


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fact. And if both are agreed about it, the details and formalities become a matter of no importance. And at the same time this is the simplest and most certain method." Alexey Alexandrovitch fully understood now. But he had religious scruples, which hindered the execution of such a plan. "That is out of the question in the present case," he said. "Only one alternative is possible: undesigned detection, supported by letters which I have." At the mention of letters the lawyer pursed up his lips, and gave utterance to a thin little compassionate and contemptuous sound. "Kindly consider," he began, "cases of that kind are, as you are aware, under ecclesiastical jurisdiction; the reverend fathers are fond of going into the minutest details in cases of that kind," he said with a smile, which betrayed his sympathy with the reverend fathers taste. "Letters may, of course, be a partial confirmation; but detection in the fact there must be of the most direct kind, that is, by eyewitnesses. In fact, if you do me the honor to intrust your confidence to me, you will do well to leave me the choice of the measures to be employed. If one wants the result, one must admit the means." "If it is so..." Alexey Alexandrovitch began, suddenly turning white; but at that moment the lawyer rose and again went to the door to speak to the intruding clerk. "Tell her we dont haggle over fees!" he said, and returned to Alexey Alexandrovitch. On his way back he caught unobserved another moth. "Nice state my rep curtains will be in by the summer!" he thought, frowning. "And so you were saying?..." he said. "I will communicate my decision to you by letter," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, getting up, and he clutched at the table. After standing a moment in silence, he said: "From your words I may consequently conclude that a divorce may be obtained? I would ask you to let me know what are your terms." "It may be obtained if you give me complete liberty of action," said the lawyer, not answering his question. "When can I reckon on receiving information from you?" he asked, moving towards the door, his eyes and his varnished boots shining. "In a weeks time. Your answer as to whether you will undertake to conduct the case, and on what terms, you will be so good as to communicate to me." "Very good." The lawyer bowed respectfully, let his client out of the door, and, left alone, gave himself up to his sense of amusement. He felt so mirthful that, contrary to his rules, he made a reduction in his terms to the haggling lady, and gave up catching moths, finally deciding that next winter he must have the furniture covered with velvet, like Sigonins. Chapter 6 Alexey Alexandrovitch had gained a brilliant victory at the sitting of the Commission of the 17th of August, but in the sequel this victory cut the ground from under his feet. The new commission for the inquiry into the condition of the native tribes in all its branches had been formed and despatched to its destination with an unusual speed and energy inspired by Alexey Alexandrovitch. Within three months a report was presented. The condition of the native tribes was investigated in its political, administrative, economic, ethnographic, material, and religious aspects. To all these questions there were answers admirably stated, and answers admitting no shade of doubt, since they were not a product of human thought, always liable to error, but were all the product of official activity. The answers were all based on official data furnished by governors and heads of churches, and founded on the reports of district magistrates and ecclesiastical superintendents, founded in their turn on the reports of parochial overseers and parish priests; and so all of these answers were unhesitating and certain. All such questions as, for instance, of the cause of failure of crops, of the adherence of certain tribes to their ancient beliefs, etc.-- questions which, but for the convenient intervention of the official machine, are not, and cannot be solved for ages-- received full, unhesitating solution. And this solution was in favor of Alexey Alexandrovitchs contention. But Stremov, who had felt stung to the quick at the last sitting, had, on the reception of the commissions report, resorted to tactics which Alexey Alexandrovitch had not anticipated. Stremov, carrying with him several members, went over to Alexey Alexandrovitchs side, and not contenting himself with warmly defending the measure proposed by Karenin,

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