8 After Tragedy

Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy

Stepan Arkadyevitch sighed, wiped his face, and with a subdued tread walked out of the room. "Matvey says she will come round; but now? I don't see the least chance of it. Ah, oh, how horrible it is! And how vulgarly she shouted, "he said to himself, remembering her shriek and the words - "scoundrel" and "mistress".

"And very likely the maids were listening! Horribly vulgar! horrible!" Stepan Arkadyevitch stood a few seconds alone, wiped his face, squared his chest, and walked out of the room.

It was Friday, and in the dining room the German watchmaker was winding up the clock. Stepan Arkadyevitch remembered his joke about this punctual, bald watchmaker, "that the German was wound up for a whole lifetime himself, to wind up matches", and he smiled. Stepan Arkadyevitch was fond of a joke: "And maybe she will come round!" That's a good expression, "come around", he thought. "I must repeat that".

"Matvey!" he shouted. "Arrange everything with Darya in the sitting room for Anna Arkadyevna", he said to Matvey when he came in.

"Yes,sir".

Stepan Arkadyevitch put on his fur coat and went out onto the steps.

"You won't dine at home?" said Matvey, seeing him off.

"That's as it happens. But here's for the housekeeping", he said, taking ten Roubles* from his pocketbook, "That'll be enough".

"Enough or not enough, we must make it do", said Matvey, slamming the carriage door and stepping back onto the steps.

Darya Alexandrovna meanwhile having pacified the child, and knowing from the sound of the carriage that he gone off, went back again to her bedroom. It was her solitary refuge from the household cares which crowded upon her directly she went out from it. Even now, in the short time she had been in the nursery, the English governess and Matrona Philimonovna had succeeded in putting several questions to her, which did not admit of delay, and which only she could answer: "What were the children to put on for their walk? Should they have any milk? Should now a new cook be sent for?"

"Ah, let me alone, let me alone!" she said, and going back to her bedroom she sat down in the same place as she had sat when talking to her husband, clasping tightly her thin hands with the rings that slipped down on her bony fingers, and fell to going over in her memory all the conversation.

"He has gone! But has he broken it off with her?" she thought.

"Can it be he sees her?" Why didn't I ask him! No, no, reconciliation is impossible. Even if we remain in the same house, we are strangers - strangers forever!" She repeated again with special significance the word so dreadful to her. "And how I loved him! My God, how I loved him!... How I loved him! And now don't I love him? Don't I love him more than before? The most horrible thing is", she began, but did not finish her thought, because Matrona Philimonovna put her head in at the door.


"Let us send for my brother", she said; "he can get a dinner anyway, or we shall have the children getting nothing to eat till six again, like yesterday".

"Very well, I will come directly and see about it. But did you send for some new milk?"

And Darya Alexandrovna plunged into the dusties of the day, and drowned her grief in them for a time.

Stepan Arkadyevitch had learned easily at school, thanks to his excellent abilities, but he had been idle and mischievous, and therefore was one of the lowest in his class. But in spite of his habitually dissipatedmode of life, her inferior grade in the service, and his comparative youth, he occupied the honorable and lucrative position of president of one of the government boards at Moscow. This post he had received through his sister Anna's husband, Alexey Alexandrovitch Karenin, who held one of the most important positions in the ministry to whose department the Moscow office belonged. But if Karenin had not got his brotherin-law his berth, then through a hundred other personages - brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, and aunts - Stiva Oblonsky would have received this post, or some other similar one, together with the salary of six thousand absolutely needful for him, as his affairs, in spite of his wife's considerable property, were in am embarrassed condition.