Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
from Karenin a definite answer on the
question of divorce. And begging fifty roubles from Dolly, he
set off for Petersburg.
Stepan Arkadyevitch sat in Karenins study listening to his
report on the causes of the unsatisfactory position of Russian
finance, and only waiting for the moment when he would finish to
speak about his own business or about Anna.
"Yes, thats very true," he said, when Alexey Alexandrovitch took
off the pince-nez, without which he could not read now, and
looked inquiringly at his former brother-in-law, "thats very
true in particular cases, but still the principle of our day is
"Yes, but I lay down another principle, embracing the principle
of freedom," said Alexey Alexandrovitch, with emphasis on the
word "embracing," and he put on his pince-nez again, so as to
read the passage in which this statement was made. And turning
over the beautifully written, wide-margined manuscript, Alexey
Alexandrovitch read aloud over again the conclusive passage.
"I dont advocate protection for the sake of private interests,
but for the public weal, and for the lower and upper classes
equally," he said, looking over his pince-nez at Oblonsky. "But
_they_ cannot grasp that, _they_ are taken up now with personal
interests, and carried away by phrases."
Stepan Arkadyevitch knew that when Karenin began to talk of what
_they_ were doing and thinking, the persons who would not accept
his report and were the cause of everything wrong in Russia, that
it was coming near the end. And so now he eagerly abandoned the
principle of free-trade, and fully agreed. Alexey Alexandrovitch
paused, thoughtfully turning over the pages of his manuscript.
"Oh, by the way," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, "I wanted to ask
you, some time when you see Pomorsky, to drop him a hint that I
should be very glad to get that new appointment of secretary of
the committee of the amalgamated agency of the southern railways
and banking companies." Stepan Arkadyevitch was familiar by now
with the title of the post he coveted, and he brought it out
rapidly without mistake.
Alexey Alexandrovitch questioned him as to the duties of this new
committee, and pondered. He was considering whether the new
committee would not be acting in some way contrary to the views
he had been advocating. But as the influence of the new
committee was of a very complex nature, and his views were of
very wide application, he could not decide this straight off, and
taking off his pince-nez, he said:
"Of course, I can mention it to him; but what is your reason
precisely for wishing to obtain the appointment?"
"Its a good salary, rising to nine thousand, and my means..."
"Nine thousand!" repeated Alexey Alexandrovitch, and he frowned.
The high figure of the salary made him reflect that on that side
Stepan Arkadyevitchs proposed position ran counter to the main
tendency of his own projects of reform, which always leaned
"I consider, and I have embodied my views in a note on the
subject, that in our day these immense salaries are evidence of
the unsound economic _assiette_ of our finances."
"But whats to be done?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Suppose a
bank director gets ten thousand--well, hes worth it; or an
engineer gets twenty thousand--after all, its a growing thing,
"I assume that a salary is the price paid for a commodity, and it
ought to conform with the law of supply and demand. If the
salary is fixed without any regard for that law, as, for
instance, when I see two engineers leaving college together, both
equally well trained and efficient, and one getting forty
thousand while the other is satisfied with two; or when I see
lawyers and hussars, having no special qualifications, appointed
directors of banking companies with immense salaries, I conclude
that the salary is not fixed in accordance with the law of supply
and demand, but simply through personal interest. And this is an
abuse of great gravity in itself, and one that reacts injuriously
on the government service. I consider..."
Stepan Arkadyevitch made haste to interrupt his brother-in-law.
"Yes; but you must agree that its a new institution of undoubted
utility thats being started. After all, you know, its a
growing thing! What they lay particular stress on is the thing
being carried on honestly," said Stepan Arkadyevitch with
But the Moscow significance of the word "honest" was lost on
"Honesty is only a negative qualification," he said.
"Well, youll do me a great service, anyway," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, "by putting in a word to Pomorsky--just
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