Chapter 1

Princess Shcherbatskaia considered that it was out of the question for the wedding to take place before Lent, just five weeks off, since not half the trousseau could possibly be ready by that time. But she could not but agree with Levin that to fix it for after Lent would be putting it off too late, as an old aunt of Prince Shcherbatsky's was seriously ill and might die, and then the mourning would delay the wedding still longer. And therefore, deciding to divide the trousseau into two parts - a larger and a smaller trousseau - the Princess consented to have the wedding before Lent. She determined that she would get the smaller part of the trousseau all ready now, and the larger part should be sent on later, and she was much vexed with Levin because he was incapable of giving her a serious answer to the question whether he agreed to this arrangement or not. The arrangement was the more suitable as, immediately after the wedding, the newly married couple were to go to the country, where the belongings of the larger trousseau would not be wanted.

Levin still continued in the same delirious condition, in which it seemed to him that he and his happiness constituted the chief and sole aim of all existence, and that he need not now think or care about anything, that everything was being done and would be done for him by others. He had not even plans and aims for the future, he left its arrangement to others, knowing that everything would be delightful. His brother, Sergei Ivanovich, and Stepan Arkadyevich, and the Princess, guided him in doing what he had to do. All he did was to agree entirely with everything suggested to him. His brother raised money for him, the Princess advised him to leave Moscow after the wedding. Stepan Arkadyevich advised him to go abroad. He agreed to everything. `Do what you choose, if it amuses you, I'm happy, and my happiness can be no greater and no less because of anything you do,' he thought. When he told Kitty of Stepan Arkadyevich's advice that they should go abroad, he was much surprised that she did not agree to this, and had some definite requirements of her own in regard to their future. She knew Levin had work he loved in the country. She did not, as he saw, understand this work - she did not even care to understand it. But that did not prevent her from regarding it as a matter of great importance. And therefore she knew their home would be in the country, and she wanted to go not abroad where she was not going to live, but to the place where their home would be. This definitely expressed purpose astonished Levin. But since he did not care either way, he immediately asked Stepan Arkadyevich, as though it were his duty, to go down to the country and to arrange everything there to the best of his ability, with that taste of which he had so much.

`But, I say,' Stepan Arkadyevich said to him one day after he had come back from the country, where he had got everything ready for the young people's arrival, `have you a certificate of having been at confession?'

`No. But what of it?'

`You can't be married without it.'

`My, my, my!' cried Levin. `Why, I believe it's nine years since I've taken the sacrament! I never thought of it.'

`You're a pretty fellow!' said Stepan Arkadyevich laughing, `and you call me a Nihilist! But this won't do, you know. You must take the sacrament.'

`When? There are four days left now.'

Stepan Arkadyevich arranged this also, and Levin had to prepare himself for the sacrament. To Levin, as to any unbeliever who respects the beliefs of others, it was exceedingly disagreeable to be present at and to take part in church ceremonies. At this moment, in his present softened state of feeling, sensitive to everything, this inevitable act of hypocrisy was not merely painful to Levin, it seemed to him utterly impossible. Now, in the heyday of his highest glory, his fullest flower, he would have to be a liar or a blasphemer. He felt incapable of being either. But though he repeatedly plied Stepan Arkadyevich with questions as to the possibility of obtaining a certificate without actually communicating, Stepan Arkadyevich maintained that it was out of the question.

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