Anna Karenina HTML version

Chapter I.1
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys' house. The wife had discovered
that the husband was carrying on an intrigue with a French girl, who had been a
governess in their family, and she had announced to her husband that she could
not go on living in the same house with him. This position of affairs had now
lasted three days, and not only the husband and wife themselves, but all the
members of their family and household, were painfully conscious of it. Every
person in the house felt that there was so sense in their living together, and that
the stray people brought together by chance in any inn had more in common with
one another than they, the members of the family and household of the
Oblonskys. The wife did not leave her own room, the husband had not been at
home for three days. The children ran wild all over the house; the English
governess quarreled with the housekeeper, and wrote to a friend asking her to
look out for a new situation for her; the man-cook had walked off the day before
just at dinner time; the kitchen-maid, and the coachman had given warning.
Three days after the quarrel, Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky--Stiva, as he
was called in the fashionable world-- woke up at his usual hour, that is, at eight
o'clock in the morning, not in his wife's bedroom, but on the leather-covered sofa
in his study. He turned over his stout, well-cared-for person on the springy sofa,
as though he would sink into a long sleep again; he vigorously embraced the
pillow on the other side and buried his face in it; but all at once he jumped up, sat
up on the sofa, and opened his eyes.
"Yes, yes, how was it now?" he thought, going over his dream. "Now, how was
it? To be sure! Alabin was giving a dinner at Darmstadt; no, not Darmstadt, but
something American. Yes, but then, Darmstadt was in America. Yes, Alabin was
giving a dinner on glass tables, and the tables sang, Il mio tesoro--not Il mio
tesoro though, but something better, and there were some sort of little decanters
on the table, and they were women, too," he remembered.
Stepan Arkadyevitch's eyes twinkled gaily, and he pondered with a smile. "Yes, it
was nice, very nice. There was a great deal more that was delightful, only there's
no putting it into words, or even expressing it in one's thoughts awake." And
noticing a gleam of light peeping in beside one of the serge curtains, he
cheerfully dropped his feet over the edge of the sofa, and felt about with them for
his slippers, a present on his last birthday, worked for him by his wife on gold-
colored morocco. And, as he had done every day for the last nine years, he
stretched out his hand, without getting up, towards the place where his dressing-
gown always hung in his bedroom. And thereupon he suddenly remembered that