"But why are you going? Do stay a little."
Levin stayed to tea; but his good-humor had vanished, and he felt
ill at ease.
After tea he went out into the hall to order his horses to be put
in, and, when he came back, he found Darya Alexandrovna greatly
disturbed, with a troubled face, and tears in her eyes. While
Levin had been outside, an incident had occurred which had
utterly shattered all the happiness she had been feeling that
day, and her pride in her children. Grisha and Tanya had been
fighting over a ball. Darya Alexandrovna, hearing a scream in
the nursery, ran in and saw a terrible sight. Tanya was pulling
Grisha's hair, while he, with a face hideous with rage, was
beating her with his fists wherever he could get at her.
Something snapped in Darya Alexandrovna's heart when she saw
this. It was as if darkness had swooped down upon her life; she
felt that these children of hers, that she was so proud of, were
not merely most ordinary, but positively bad, ill-bred children,
with coarse, brutal propensities--wicked children.
She could not talk or think of anything else, and she could not
speak to Levin of her misery.
Levin saw she was unhappy and tried to comfort her, saying that
it showed nothing bad, that all children fight; but, even as he
said it, he was thinking in his heart: "No, I won't be
artificial and talk French with my children; but my children
won't be like that. All one has to do is not spoil children, not
to distort their nature, and they'll be delightful. No, my
children won't be like that."
He said good-bye and drove away, and she did not try to keep him.