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Anna Karenina 359


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Anna Karenina

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understanding all the difficulty of the position, you still love her and want to be a help to her. Have I understood you rightly?" he asked, looking round at her. "Oh, yes," answered Darya Alexandrovna, putting down her sunshade, "but..." "No," he broke in, and unconsciously, oblivious of the awkward position into which he was putting his companion, he stopped abruptly, so that she had to stop short too. "No one feels more deeply and intensely than I do all the difficulty of Annas position; and that you may well understand, if you do me the honor of supposing I have any heart. I am to blame for that position, and that is why I feel it." "I understand," said Darya Alexandrovna, involuntarily admiring the sincerity and firmness with which he said this. "But just because you feel yourself responsible, you exaggerate it, I am afraid," she said. "Her position in the world is difficult, I can well understand." "In the world it is hell!" he brought out quickly, frowning darkly. "You cant imagine moral sufferings greater than what she went through in Petersburg in that fortnight...and I beg you to believe it." "Yes, but here, so long as neither Anna...nor you miss society..." "Society!" he said contemptuously, "how could I miss society?" "So far--and it may be so always--you are happy and at peace. I see in Anna that she is happy, perfectly happy, she has had time to tell me so much already," said Darya Alexandrovna, smiling; and involuntarily, as she said this, at the same moment a doubt entered her mind whether Anna really were happy. But Vronsky, it appeared, had no doubts on that score. "Yes, yes," he said, "I know that she has revived after all her sufferings; she is happy. She is happy in the present. But I?... I am afraid of what is before us...I beg your pardon, you would like to walk on?" "No, I dont mind." "Well, then, let us sit here." Darya Alexandrovna sat down on a garden seat in a corner of the avenue. He stood up facing her. "I see that she is happy," he repeated, and the doubt whether she were happy sank more deeply into Darya Alexandrovnas mind. "But can it last? Whether we have acted rightly or wrongly is another question, but the die is cast," he said, passing from Russian to French, "and we are bound together for life. We are united by all the ties of love that we hold most sacred. We have a child, we may have other children. But the law and all the conditions of our position are such that thousands of complications arise which she does not see and does not want to see. And that one can well understand. But I cant help seeing them. My daughter is by law not my daughter, but Karenins. I cannot bear this falsity!" he said, with a vigorous gesture of refusal, and he looked with gloomy inquiry towards Darya Alexandrovna. She made no answer, but simply gazed at him. He went on: "One day a son may be born, my son, and he will be legally a Karenin; he will not be the heir of my name nor of my property, and however happy we may be in our home life and however many children we may have, there will be no real tie between us. They will be Karenins. You can understand the bitterness and horror of this position! I have tried to speak of this to Anna. It irritates her. She does not understand, and to her I cannot speak plainly of all this. Now look at another side. I am happy, happy in her love, but I must have occupation. I have found occupation, and am proud of what I am doing and consider it nobler than the pursuits of my former companions at court and in the army. And most certainly I would not change the work I am doing for theirs. I am working here, settled in my own place, and I am happy and contented, and we need nothing more to make us happy. I love my work here. _Ce nest pas un pis-aller,_ on the contrary..." Darya Alexandrovna noticed that at this point in his explanation he grew confused, and she did not quite understand this digression, but she felt that having once begun to speak of matters near his heart,

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