The sensation produced by Princess Myakaya's speeches was always
unique, and the secret of the sensation she produced lay in the
fact that though she spoke not always appropriately, as now, she
said simple things with some sense in them. In the society in
which she lived such plain statements produced the effect of the
wittiest epigram. Princess Myakaya could never see why it had
that effect, but she knew it had, and took advantage of it.
As everyone had been listening while Princess Myakaya spoke, and
so the conversation around the ambassador's wife had dropped,
Princess Betsy tried to bring the whole party together, and
turned to the ambassador's wife.
"Will you really not have tea? You should come over here by us."
"No, we're very happy here," the ambassador's wife responded with
a smile, and she went on with the conversation that had been
"It was a very agreeable conversation. They were criticizing the
Karenins, husband and wife.
"Anna is quite changed since her stay in Moscow. There's
something strange about her," said her friend.
"The great change is that she brought back with her the shadow of
Alexey Vronsky," said the ambassador's wife.
"Well, what of it? There's a fable of Grimm's about a man
without a shadow, a man who's lost his shadow. And that's his
punishment for something. I never could understand how it was a
punishment. But a woman must dislike being without a shadow."
"Yes, but women with a shadow usually come to a bad end," said
"Bad luck to your tongue!" said Princess Myakaya suddenly.
"Madame Karenina's a splendid woman. I don't like her husband,
but I like her very much."
"Why don't you like her husband? He's such a remarkable man,"
said the ambassador's wife. "My husband says there are few
statesmen like him in Europe."