Anna Karenina HTML version

Chapter I.24
"Yes, there is something in be hatful, repulsive," thought Levin, as he came away
from the Shtcherbatskys', and walked in the direction of his brother's lodgings.
"And I don't get on with other people. Pride, they say. No, I have no pride. If I had
any pride, I should not have put myself in such a position." And he pictured to
himself Vronsky, happy, good-natured, clever, and self-possessed, certainly
never placed in the awful position in which he had been that evening. "Yes, she
was bound to choose him. So it had to be, and I cannot complain of anyone or
anything. I am myself to blame. What right had I to imagine she would care to
join her life to mine? Whom am I and what am I? A nobody, not wanted by any
one, nor of use to anybody." And he recalled his brother Nikolay, and dwelt with
pleasure on the thought of him. "Isn't he right that everything in the world is base
and loathsome? And are we fair in our judgment of brother Nikolay? Of course,
from the point of view of Prokofy, seeing him in a torn cloak and tipsy, he's a
despicable person. But I know him differently. I know his soul, and know that we
are like him. And I, instead of going to seek him out, went out to dinner, and
came here." Levin walked up to a lamppost, read his brother's address, which
was in his pocketbook, and called a sledge. All the long way to his brother's,
Levin vividly recalled all the facts familiar to him of his brother Nikolay's life. He
remembered how his brother, while at the university, and for a year afterwards,
had, in spite of the jeers of his companions, lived like a monk, strictly observing
all religious rites, services, and fasts, and avoiding every sort of pleasure,
especially women. And afterwards, how he had all at once broken out: he had
associated with the most horrible people, and rushed into the most senseless
debauchery. He remembered later the scandal over a boy, whom he had taken
from the country to bring up, and, in a fit of rage, had so violently beaten that
proceedings were brought against him for unlawfully wounding. Then he recalled
the scandal with a sharper, to whom he had lost money, and given a promissory
note, and against whom he had himself lodged a complaint, asserting that he had
cheated him. (This was the money Sergey Ivanovitch had paid.) Then he
remembered how he had spent a night in the lockup for disorderly conduct in the
street. He remembered the shameful proceedings he had tried to get up against
his brother Sergey Ivanovitch, accusing him of not having paid him his share of
his mother's fortune, and the last scandal, when he had gone to a western
province in an official capacity, and there had got into trouble for assaulting a
village elder.... It was all horribly disgusting, yet to Levin it appeared not at all in
the same disgusting light as it inevitably would to those who did not know
Nikolay, did not know all his story, did not know his heart.
Levin remembered that when Nikolay had been in the devout stage, the period of
fasts and monks and church services, when he was seeking in religion a support
and a curb for his passionate temperament, everyone, far from encouraging him,
had jeered at him, and he, too, with the others. They had teased him, called him