Anna Karenina HTML version

Chapter I.26
In the morning Konstantin Levin left Moscow, and towards evening he reached
home. On the journey in the train he talked to his neighbors about politics and the
new railways, and, just as in Moscow, he was overcome by a sense of confusion
of ideas, dissatisfaction with himself, shame of something or other. But when he
got out at his own station, when he saw his one-eyed coachman, Ignat, with the
collar of his coat turned up; when, in the dim light reflected by the station fires, he
saw his own sledge, his own horses with their tails tied up, in their harness
trimmed with rings and tassels; when the coachman Ignat, as he put in his
luggage, told him the village news, that the contractor had arrived, and that Pava
had calved,--he felt that little by little the confusion was clearing up, and the
shame and self-dissatisfaction were passing away. He felt this at the mere sight
of Ignat and the horses; but when he had put on the sheepskin brought for him,
had sat down wrapped in the sledge, and had driven off pondering on the work
that lay before him in the village, and staring at the side-horse, that had been his
saddle-horse, past his prime now, but a spirited beast from the Don, he began to
see what had happened to him in quite a different light. He felt himself, and did
not want to be any one else. All he wanted now was to be better than before. In
the first place he resolved that from that day he would give up hoping for any
extraordinary happiness, such as marriage must have given him, and
consequently he would not so disdain what he really had. Secondly, he would
never again let himself give way to low passion, the memory of which had so
tortured him when he had been making up his mind to make an offer. Then
remembering his brother Nikolay, he resolved to himself that he would never
allow himself to forget him, that he would follow him up, and not lose sight of him,
so as to be ready to help when things should go ill with him. And that would be
soon, he felt. Then, too, his brother's talk of communism, which he had treated so
lightly at the time, now made him think. He considered a revolution in economic
conditions nonsense. But he always felt the injustice of his own abundance in
comparison with the poverty of the peasants, and now he determined that so as
to feel quite in the right, though he had worked hard and lived by no means
luxuriously before, he would now work still harder, and would allow himself even
less luxury. And all this seemed to him so easy a conquest over himself that he
spent the whole drive in the pleasantest daydreams. With a resolute feeling of
hope in a new, better life, he reached home before nine o'clock at night.
The snow of the little quadrangle before the house was lit up by a light in the
bedroom windows of his old nurse, Agafea Mihalovna, who performed the duties
of housekeeper in his house. She was not yet asleep. Kouzma, waked up by her,
came sidling sleepily out onto the steps. A setter bitch, Laska, ran out too, almost
upsetting Kouzma, and whining, turned round about Levin's knees, jumping up
and longing, but not daring, to put her forepaws on his chest.