"And here's my opinion for you. Women are the chief stumbling
block in a man's career. It's hard to love a woman and do
anything. There's only one way of having love conveniently
without its being a hindrance--that's marriage. How, how am I
to tell you what I mean?" said Serpuhovskoy, who liked similes.
"Wait a minute, wait a minute! Yes, just as you can only carry a
fardeau and do something with your hands, when the fardeau is
tied on your back, and that's marriage. And that's what I felt
when I was married. My hands were suddenly set free. But to
drag that fardeau about with you without marriage, your hands
will always be so full that you can do nothing. Look at
Mazankov, at Krupov. They've ruined their careers for the sake
"What women!" said Vronsky, recalling the Frenchwoman and the
actress with whom the two men he had mentioned were connected.
"The firmer the woman's footing in society, the worse it is.
That's much the same as--not merely carrying the fardeau in your
arms--but tearing it away from someone else."
"You have never loved," Vronsky said softly, looking straight
before him and thinking of Anna.
"Perhaps. But you remember what I've said to you. And another
thing, women are all more materialistic than men. We make
something immense out of love, but they are always
"Directly, directly!" he cried to a footman who came in. But the
footman had not come to call them again, as he supposed. The
footman brought Vronsky a note.
"A man brought it from Princess Tverskaya."
Vronsky opened the letter, and flushed crimson.
"My head's begun to ache; I'm going home," he said to
"Oh, good-bye then. You give me carte blanche!"
"We'll talk about it later on; I'll look you up in Petersburg."