"Ah, don't speak of it! I was staying on my estate, and he was
with me. A note was brought him. He wrote an answer and sent it
off. We hadn't an idea that she was close by at the station. I
the evening I had only just gone to my room, when my Mary told me
a lady had thrown herself under the train. Something seemed to
strike me at once. I knew it was she. The first thing I said
was, he was not to be told. But they'd told him already. His
coachman was there and saw it all. When I ran into his room, he
was beside himself--it was fearful to see him. He didn't say a
word, but galloped off there. I don't know to this day what
happened there, but he was brought back at death's door. I
shouldn't have known him. Prostration complete, the doctor said.
And that was followed almost by madness. Oh, why talk of it!"
said the countess with a wave of her hand. "It was an awful
time! No, say what you will, she was a bad woman. Why, what is
the meaning of such desperate passions? It was all to show
herself something out of the way. Well, and that she did do.
She brought herself to ruin and two good men--her husband and my
"And what did her husband do?" asked Sergey Ivanovitch.
"He has taken her daughter. Alexey was ready to agree to
anything at first. Now it worries him terribly that he should
have given his own child away to another man. But he can't take
back his word. Karenin came to the funeral. But we tried to
prevent his meeting Alexey. For him, for her husband, it was
easier, anyway. She had set him free. But my poor son was
utterly given up to her. He had thrown up everything, his
career, me, and even then she had no mercy on him, but of set
purpose she made his ruin complete. No, say what you will, her
very death was the death of a vile woman, of no religious
feeling. God forgive me, but I can't help hating the memory of
her, when I look at my son's misery!"
"But how is he now?"