His attitude to the husband was the clearest of all. From the
moment that Anna loved Vronsky, he had regarded his own right
over her as the one thing unassailable. Her husband was simply a
superfluous and tiresome person. No doubt he was in a pitiable
position, but how could that be helped? The one thing the
husband had a right to was to demand satisfaction with a weapon
in his hand, and Vronsky was prepared for this at any minute.
But of late new inner relations had arisen between him and her,
which frightened Vronsky by their indefiniteness. Only the day
before she had told him that she was with child. And he felt
that this fact and what she expected of him called for something
not fully defined in that code of principles by which he had
hitherto steered his course in life. And he had been indeed
caught unawares, and at the first moment when she spoke to him of
her position, his heart had prompted him to beg her to leave her
husband. He had said that, but now thinking things over he saw
clearly that it would be better to manage to avoid that; and at
the same time, as he told himself so, he was afraid whether it
was not wrong.
"If I told her to leave her husband, that must mean uniting her
life with mine; am I prepared for that? How can I take her away
now, when I have no money? Supposing I could arrange.... But
how can I take her away while I'm in the service? If I say
that I ought to be prepared to do it, that is, I ought to have
the money and to retire from the army."
And he grew thoughtful. The question whether to retire from the
service or not brought him to the other and perhaps the chief
though hidden interest of his life, of which none knew but he.