"Well, God help you!" said Betsy.
After accompanying Betsy to the outside hall, once more kissing
her hand above the glove, at the point where the pulse beats, and
murmuring to her such unseemly nonsense that she did not know
whether to laugh or be angry, Stepan Arkadyevitch went to his
sister. He found her in tears.
Although he happened to be bubbling over with good spirits,
Stepan Arkadyevitch immediately and quite naturally fell into the
sympathetic, poetically emotional tone which harmonized with her
mood. He asked her how she was, and how she had spent the
"Very, very miserably. Today and this morning and all past days
and days to come," she said.
"I think you're giving way to pessimism. You must rouse
yourself, you must look life in the face. I know it's hard,
"I have heard it said that women love men even for their vices,"
Anna began suddenly, "but I hate him for his virtues. I can't
live with him. Do you understand? the sight of him has a
physical effect on me, it makes me beside myself. I can't, I
can't live with him. What am I to do? I have been unhappy, and
used to think one couldn't be more unhappy, but the awful state
of things I am going through now, I could never have conceived.
Would you believe it, that knowing he's a good man, a splendid
man, that I'm not worth his little finger, still I hate him. I
hate him for his generosity. And there's nothing left for me
She would have said death, but Stepan Arkadyevitch would not let
"You are ill and overwrought," he said; "believe me, you're
exaggerating dreadfully. There's nothing so terrible in it."
And Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled. No one else in Stepan
Arkadyevitch's place, having to do with such despair, would have
ventured to smile (the smile would have seemed brutal); but in
his smile there was so much of sweetness and almost feminine
tenderness that his smile did not wound, but softened and
soothed. His gentle, soothing words and smiles were as soothing
and softening as almond oil. And Anna soon felt this.