`And confess there is a feeling that you want to jump out of the window, like Gogol's bridegroom?'

`Of course there is, but he won't confess,' said Katavassov, and he broke into loud laughter.

`Oh, well, the window's open.... Let's start off this instant to Tver! There's a big she-bear; one can go right up to the lair. Seriously, let's go by the five o'clock! And here let them do what they like,' said Chirikov smiling.

`Well, now, on my honor,' said Levin smiling, `I can't find in my heart that feeling of regret for my freedom.'

`Yes, there's such a chaos in your heart just now that you can't find anything there,' said Katavassov. `Wait a bit, when you set it to rights a little, you'll find it!'

`No; if so, I should have felt a little, apart from my feeling' (he could not say `love' before them) `and happiness, a certain regret at losing my freedom.... On the contrary, I am glad at the very loss of my freedom.'

`Awful! It's a hopeless case!' said Katavassov. `Well, let's drink to his recovery, or wish that a hundredth part of his dreams may be realized - and that would be happiness such as never has been seen on earth!'

Soon after dinner the guests went away to dress in time for the wedding.

When he was left alone, and recalled the conversation of these bachelor friends, Levin asked himself: Had he in his heart that regret for his freedom of which they had spoken? He smiled at the question. `Freedom! What is freedom for? Happiness is only in loving and wishing her wishes, thinking her thoughts; that is to say, not freedom at all - that's happiness!'

`But do I know her thoughts, her wishes, her feelings?' some voice suddenly whispered to him. The smile died away from his face, and he grew thoughtful. And suddenly a strange feeling came upon him. There came over him a dread and doubt - doubt of everything.

`What if she does not love me? What if she's marrying me simply to be married? What if she doesn't see herself what she's doing?' he asked himself. `She may come to her senses, and only when she is being married realize that she does not and cannot love me.' And strange, most evil thoughts of her began to come to him. He was jealous of Vronsky, as he had been a year ago, as though the evening he had seen her with Vronsky had been yesterday. He suspected she had not told him everything.

He jumped up quickly. `No, this can't go on!' he said to himself in despair. `I'll go to her; I'll ask her; I'll say for the last time: We are free, and hadn't we better stay so? Anything's better than endless misery, disgrace, unfaithfulness!' With despair in his heart and bitter anger against all men, against himself, against her, he went out of the hotel and drove to her house.

He found her in one of the rear rooms. She was sitting on a chest and making some arrangements with her maid, sorting over heaps of dresses of different colors, spread on the backs of chairs and on the floor.

`Ah!' she cried, seeing him, and beaming with delight. `Kostia! Konstantin Dmitrievich!' (These latter days she used these names almost alternately.) `I didn't expect you! I'm going through my girlish wardrobe to see what's for whom....'

`Oh! That's very lovely!' he said gloomily, looking at the maid.

`You can go, Duniasha, I'll call you presently,' said Kitty. `Kostia, what's the matter?' she asked, definitely adopting this familiar name as soon as the maid had gone out. She noticed his strange face, agitated and gloomy, and a panic came over her.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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