"The most utterly loathsome and coarse: I can't tell you. It's
not unhappiness, or low spirits, but much worse. As though
everything that was good in me was all hidden away, and nothing
was left but the most loathsome. Come, how am I to tell you?"
she went on, seeing the puzzled look in her sister's eyes.
"Father began saying something to me just now.... It seems to me
he thinks all I want is to be married. Mother takes me to a
ball: it seems to me she only takes me to get me married off as
soon as may be, and be rid of me. I know it's not the truth, but
I can't drive away such thoughts. Eligible suitors, as they call
them--I can't bear to see them. It seems to me they're taking
stock of me and summing me up. In old days to go anywhere in a
ball dress was a simple joy to me, I admired myself; now I feel
ashamed and awkward. And then! The doctor.... Then..." Kitty
hesitated; she wanted to say further that ever since this change
had taken place in her, Stepan Arkadyevitch had become
insufferably repulsive to her, and that she could not see him
without the grossest and most hideous conceptions rising before
"Oh, well, everything presents itself to me, in the coarsest,
most loathsome light," she went on. "That's my illness. Perhaps
it will pass off."
"But you mustn't think about it."
"I can't help it. I'm never happy except with the children at
"What a pity you can't be with me!"
"Oh, yes, I'm coming. I've had scarlatina, and I'll persuade
mamma to let me."
Kitty insisted on having her way, and went to stay at her
sister's and nursed the children all through the scarlatina, for
scarlatina it turned out to be. The two sisters brought all the
six children successfully through it, but Kitty was no better in
health, and in Lent the Shtcherbatskys went abroad.