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Anna Karenina 288

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

sick man fell into a quiet sleep, but he was waked up half an hour later by his cough. And all at once every hope vanished in those about him and in himself. The reality of his suffering crushed all hopes in Levin and Kitty and in the sick man himself, leaving no doubt, no memory even of past hopes. Without referring to what he had believed in half an hour before, as though ashamed even to recall it, he asked for iodine to inhale in a bottle covered with perforated paper. Levin gave him the bottle, and the same look of passionate hope with which he had taken the sacrament was now fastened on his brother, demanding from him the confirmation of the doctors words that inhaling iodine worked wonders. "Is Katya not here?" he gasped, looking round while Levin reluctantly assented to the doctors words. "No; so I can say it.... It was for her sake I went through that farce. Shes so sweet; but you and I cant deceive ourselves. This is what I believe in," he said, and, squeezing the bottle in his bony hand, he began breathing over it. At eight oclock in the evening Levin and his wife were drinking tea in their room when Marya Nikolaevna ran in to them breathlessly. She was pale, and her lips were quivering. "He is dying!" she whispered. "Im afraid will die this minute." Both of them ran to him. He was sitting raised up with one elbow on the bed, his long back bent, and his head hanging low. "How do you feel?" Levin asked in a whisper, after a silence. "I feel Im setting off," Nikolay said with difficulty, but with extreme distinctness, screwing the words out of himself. He did not raise his head, but simply turned his eyes upwards, without their reaching his brothers face. "Katya, go away!" he added. Levin jumped up, and with a peremptory whisper made her go out. "Im setting off," he said again. "Why do you think so?" said Levin, so as to say something. "Because Im setting off," he repeated, as though he had a liking for the phrase. "Its the end." Marya Nikolaevna went up to him. "You had better lie down; youd be easier," she said. "I shall lie down soon enough," he pronounced slowly, "when Im dead," he said sarcastically, wrathfully. "Well, you can lay me down if you like." Levin laid his brother on his back, sat down beside him, and gazed at his face, holding his breath. The dying man lay with closed eyes, but the muscles twitched from time to time on his forehead, as with one thinking deeply and intensely. Levin involuntarily thought with him of what it was that was happening to him now, but in spite of all his mental efforts to go along with him he saw by the expression of that calm, stern face that for the dying man all was growing clearer and clearer that was still as dark as ever for Levin. "Yes, yes, so," the dying man articulated slowly at intervals. "Wait a little." He was silent. "Right!" he pronounced all at once reassuringly, as though all were solved for him. "O Lord!" he murmured, and sighed deeply. Marya Nikolaevna felt his feet. "Theyre getting cold," she whispered. For a long while, a very long while it seemed to Levin, the sick man lay motionless. But he was still alive, and from time to time he sighed. Levin by now was exhausted from mental strain. He felt that, with no mental effort, could he understand what it was that was _right_. He could not even think of the problem of death itself, but with no will of his own thoughts kept coming to him of what he had to do next; closing the dead mans eyes, dressing him, ordering the coffin. And, strange to say, he felt utterly cold, and was not conscious of sorrow nor of loss, less still of pity for his brother. If he had any feeling for his brother at that moment, it was envy for the knowledge the dying man had now that he could not have. A long time more he sat over him so, continually expecting the end. But the end did not come. The door opened and Kitty appeared. Levin got up to stop her. But at the moment he was getting up, he caught the

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