`Do you know this Mikhailov?'

`I have met him. But he's a queer fish, and quite without breeding. You know, one of those savage new people one is forever coming across nowadays; one of those freethinkers, you know, who are reared d'emblee in theories of atheism, negation, and materialism. In former days,' said Golenishchev, not observing, or not willing to observe, that both Anna and Vronsky wanted to speak, `in former days the freethinker was a man who had been brought up in ideas of religion, law, and morality, and only through conflict and struggle came to free thought; but now there has sprung up a new type of native freethinker who grows up without even having heard of principles of morality or of religion, of the existence of authorities, who grows up directly in ideas of negation in everything, that is to say, a savage. Well, he's of that class. He's the son, it appears, of some Moscow butler, and has never had any sort of bringing-up. When he got into the academy and made his reputation he tried, as he's no fool, to educate himself. And he turned to what seemed to him the very source of culture - the magazines. In old times, you see, a man who wanted to educate himself - a Frenchman, for instance - would have set to work to study all the classics: theologians and tragedians and historians and philosophers, and, you see, all the intellectual work that came in his way. But in our day he goes straight for the literature of negation, very quickly assimilates all the extracts of the science of negation, and he's all set. And that's not all - twenty years ago he would have found in that literature traces of conflict with authorities, with the creeds of the ages; he would have perceived from this conflict that there was something else; but now he comes at once upon a literature in which the old creeds do not even furnish matter for discussion, but it is stated baldly that there is nothing else; just evolution, natural selection, the struggle for existence - and that's all. In my article I've...'

`I tell you what,' said Anna, who had for a long while been exchanging wary glances with Vronsky, and knew that he was not in the least interested in the education of this artist, but was simply absorbed by the idea of assisting him, and ordering a portrait of him; `I tell you what,' she said, resolutely interrupting Golenishchev, who was still talking away, `let's go and see him!'

Golenishchev recovered his self-possession and readily agreed. But, as the artist lived in a remote ward of the town, it was decided to take a carriage.

An hour later Anna, with Golenishchev by her side and Vronsky on the front seat of the carriage, facing them, drove up to an ugly new house in a remote ward. On learning from the porter's wife, who came out to them, that Mikhailov saw visitors at his studio, but that at that moment he was in his lodging only a couple of steps off, they sent her to him with their cards, asking permission to see his pictures.

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