"I positively don't understand," said Anna, shrugging her
shoulders--"He doesn't care," she thought. "But other people
noticed it, and that's what upsets him."--"You're not well,
Alexey Alexandrovitch," she added, and she got up, and would have
gone towards the door; but he moved forward as though he would
His face was ugly and forbidding, as Anna had never seen him.
She stopped, and bending her head back and on one side, began
with her rapid hand taking out her hairpins.
"Well, I'm listening to what's to come," she said, calmly and
ironically; "and indeed I listened with interest, for I should
like to understand what's the matter."
She spoke, and marveled at the confident, calm, and natural tone
in which she was speaking, and the choice of the words she used.
"To enter into all the details of your feelings I have no right,
and besides, I regard that as useless and even harmful," began
Alexey Alexandrovitch. "Ferreting in one's soul, one often
ferrets out something that might have lain there unnoticed. Your
feelings are an affair of your own conscience; but I am in duty
bound to you, to myself, and to God, to point out to you your
duties. Our life has been joined, not by man, but by God. That
union can only be severed by a crime, and a crime of that nature
brings its own chastisement."
"I don't understand a word. And, oh dear! how sleepy I am,
unluckily," she said, rapidly passing her hand through her hair,
feeling for the remaining hairpins.
"Anna, for God's sake don't speak like that!" he said gently.
"Perhaps I am mistaken, but believe me, what I say, I say as much
for myself as for you. I am your husband, and I love you."
For an instant her face fell, and the mocking gleam in her eyes
died away; but the word love threw her into revolt again. She
thought: "Love? Can he love? If he hadn't heard there was such
a thing as love, he would never have used the word. He doesn't
even know what love is."