Anna Karenina HTML version

Chapter II.2
Soon after the doctor, Dolly had arrived. She knew that there was to be a
consultation that day, and though she was only just up after her confinement (she
had another baby, a little girl, born at the end of the winter), though she had
trouble and anxiety enough of her own, she had left her tiny baby and a sick
child, to come and hear Kitty's fate, which was to be decided that day.
"Well, well?" she said, coming into the drawing room, without taking off her hat.
"You're all in good spirits. Good news, then?"
They tried to tell her what the doctor had said, but it appeared that though the
doctor had talked distinctly enough and at great length, it was utterly impossible
to report what he had said. The only point of interest was that it was settled they
should go abroad.
Dolly could not help sighing. Her dearest friend, her sister, was going away. And
her life was not a cheerful one. Her relations with Stepan Arkadyevitch after their
reconciliation had become humiliating. The union Anna had cemented turned out
to be of no solid character, and family harmony was breaking down again at the
same point. There had been nothing definite, but Stepan Arkadyevitch was
hardly ever at home; money, too, was hardly ever forthcoming, and Dolly was
continually tortured by suspicions of infidelity, which she tried to dismiss,
dreading the agonies of jealousy she had been through already. The first
onslaught of jealousy, once lived through, could never come back again, and
even the discovery of infidelities could never now affect her as it had the first
time. Such a discovery now would only mean breaking up family habits, and she
let herself be deceived, despising him and still more herself, for the weakness.
Besides this, the care of her large family was a constant worry to her: first, the
nursing of her young baby did not go well, then the nurse had gone away, now
one of the children had fallen ill.
"Well, how are all of you?" asked her mother.
"Ah, mamma, we have plenty of troubles of our own. Lili is ill, And I'm afraid it's
scarlatina. I have come here now to hear about Kitty, And then I shall shut myself
up entirely, if--God forbid--it should be scarlatina."
The old prince too had come in from his study after the doctor's departure, and
after presenting his cheek to Dolly, and saying a few words to her, he turned to
his wife:
"How have you settled it? you're going? Well, and what do you mean to do with