"So you consider it must be ended?" Alexey Alexandrovitch
interrupted him. "But how?" he added, with a gesture of his
hands before his eyes not usual with him. "I see no possible way
out of it."
"There is some way of getting out of every position," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, standing up and becoming more cheerful. "There was
a time when you thought of breaking off.... If you are convinced
now that you cannot make each other happy..."
"Happiness may be variously understood. But suppose that I agree
to everything, that I want nothing: what way is there of getting
out of our position?"
"If you care to know my opinion," said Stepan Arkadyevitch with
the same smile of softening, almond-oil tenderness with which he
had been talking to Anna. His kindly smile was so winning that
Alexey Alexandrovitch, feeling his own weakness and unconsciously
swayed by it, was ready to believe what Stepan Arkadyevitch was
"She will never speak out about it. But one thing is possible,
one thing she might desire," he went on: "that is the cessation
of your relations and all memories associated with them. To my
thinking, in your position what's essential is the formation of a
new attitude to one another. And that can only rest on a basis
of freedom on both sides."
"Divorce," Alexey Alexandrovitch interrupted, in a tone of
"Yes, I imagine that divorce--yes, divorce," Stepan Arkadyevitch
repeated, reddening. "That is from every point of view the most
rational course for married people who find themselves in the
position you are in. What can be done if married people find
that life is impossible for them together? That may always
Alexey Alexandrovitch sighed heavily and closed his eyes.
"There's only one point to be considered: is either of the
parties desirous of forming new ties? If not, it is very
simple," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, feeling more and more free