`Why grieve? The old man has grandchildren enough as it is. It was only a trouble. No working, nor nothing. Only a tie.'

This answer had struck Darya Alexandrovna as revolting in spite of the good-natured and pleasing face of the young woman; but now she could not help recalling these words. In those cynical words there was indeed a grain of truth.

`Yes, in general,' thought Darya Alexandrovna, looking back over her whole existence during those fifteen years of her married life, `pregnancy, sickness, mental incapacity, indifference to everything - and, most of all, hideousness. Kitty, young and pretty as she is, even Kitty has lost her looks; and I, when I'm with child, become hideous, I know it. The birth, the agony, the hideous agonies, that last moment... Then the nursing, the sleepless nights, the fearful pains...'

Darya Alexandrovna shuddered at the mere recollection of the pain from sore breasts which she had suffered with almost every child. `Then the children's illnesses, that everlasting apprehension; then bringing them up; evil propensities' (she thought of little Masha's crime among the raspberries), `education, Latin - it's all so incomprehensible and difficult. And, on the top of it all, the death of these children.' And there rose again before her imagination the cruel memory that always tore her mother's heart, of the death of her last little baby, who had died of croup; his funeral, the callous indifference of all at the little pink coffin, and her own torn heart, and her lonely anguish at the sight of the pale little brow with the curls falling on temples, and the open, wondering little mouth seen in the coffin at the moment when it was being covered with the little pink lid with a gallooned cross on it.

`And all this - what's it for? What is to come of it all? This: I'm wasting my life, never having a moment's peace, either with child, or nursing a child, forever irritable, peevish, wretched myself and worrying others, repulsive to my husband, while the children are growing up unhappy, badly educated and penniless. Even now, if it weren't for spending the summer at the Levins', I don't know how we should be managing to live. Of course Kostia and Kitty have so much tact that we don't feel it; but it can't go on. They'll have children, they won't be able to keep us; it's a drag on them as it is. How is papa, who has hardly anything left for himself, to help us? So that I can't even bring the children up by myself, and may find it hard with the help of other people, at the cost of humiliation. Why, even if we suppose the greatest good luck, that the children don't die, and I bring them up somehow. At the very best they'll simply be decent people. That's all I can hope for. And to gain simply that - what agonies, what toil!... One's whole life ruined!' Again she recalled what the young peasant woman had said, and again she was revolted at the thought; but she could not help admitting that there was a grain of brutal truth in the words.

`Is it far now, Mikhaila?' Darya Alexandrovna asked the countinghouse clerk, to turn her mind from thoughts that were frightening her.

`From this village, they say, it's seven verstas.'

The carriage drove along the village street and onto a bridge. On the bridge was a crowd of peasant women with coils of ties for the sheaves on their shoulders, cheerfully chattering. They stood still on the bridge, staring inquisitively at the carriage. All the faces turned to Darya Alexandrovna looked to her healthy and happy, making her envious of their enjoyment of life. `They're all living, they're all enjoying life,' Darya Alexandrovna still mused when she had passed the peasant women and was driving uphill again at a trot, seated comfortably on the soft springs of the old carriage, `while I, let out, as it were from prison, from the world of worries that fret me to death, am only looking about me now for an instant. They all live; those peasant women, and my sister Natalie, and Varenka, and Anna, whom I am going to see - all, but not I.'

`And they attack Anna. What for? Am I any better? I have, at any rate, a husband I love - not as I should like to love him - still, I do love him; while Anna never loved hers. How is she to blame? She wants to live. God has put that in our hearts. Very likely I should have done the same. Even to this day I don't feel sure I did right in listening to her at that terrible time when she came to me in Moscow. I ought then

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