Agathya Mikhailovna, seeing that it was coming to a quarrel, gently put down her cup and withdrew. Kitty did not even notice her. The tone in which her husband had said the last words offended her, especially because he evidently did not believe what she had said.

`I tell you, that if you go, I shall come with you; I shall certainly come,' she said hastily and wrathfully. `Why out of the question? Why do you say it's out of the question?'

`Because it'll be going God knows where, by all sorts of roads and to all sorts of hotels.... You would be a hindrance to me,' said Levin, trying to be cool.

`Not at all. I don't want anything. Where you can go, I can...'

`Well, for one thing then, because this woman's there whom you can't meet.'

`I don't know and don't care to know who's there and what. I know that my husband's brother is dying, and my husband is going to him, and I go with my husband so that...'

`Kitty! Don't get angry. But just think a little: this is a matter of such importance that I can't bear to think that you should bring in a feeling of weakness, of dislike to being left alone. Come, you'll be dull alone, so go and stay at Moscow a little.'

`There, you always ascribe base, vile motives to me,' she said with tears of wrath and wounded pride. `I didn't mean anything - it wasn't weakness, it wasn't anything.... I feel that it's my duty to be with my husband when he's in trouble, but you try on purpose to hurt me, you try on purpose not to understand....'

`No; this is awful! To be such a slave!' cried Levin, getting up, and unable to restrain his vexation any longer. But at the same second he felt that he was beating himself.

`Then why did you marry? You could have been free. Why did you, if you regret it?' she said, getting up and running away into the drawing room.

When he went to her, she was sobbing.

He began to speak, trying to find words not to dissuade but simply to soothe her. But she did not heed him, and would not agree to anything. He bent down to her and took her hand, which resisted him. He kissed her hand, kissed her hair, kissed her hand again - still she was silent. But when he took her face in both his hands, and said `Kitty!' she suddenly collected herself, still shed some tears, and they were reconciled.

It was decided that they should go together the next day. Levin told his wife that he believed she wanted to go simply in order to be of use, agreed that Marya Nikolaevna's being with his brother did not make her going improper, but he set off dissatisfied, at the bottom of his heart, both with her and with himself. He was dissatisfied with her for being unable to make up her mind to let him go when it was necessary (and how strange it was for him to think that he, so lately hardly daring to believe in such happiness as the possibility of her loving him - now was unhappy because she loved him too much!), and he was dissatisfied with himself for not showing more strength of will. Even greater was the feeling of disagreement at the bottom of his heart as to her not needing to consider the woman who was with his brother, and he thought with horror of all the contingencies they might meet with. The mere idea of his wife, his Kitty, being in the same room with a common wench, set him shuddering with horror and loathing.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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