"But, for heaven's sake, don't get hot!" said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, touching his brother-in-law's knee. "The matter is
not ended. If you will allow me to recapitulate, it was like
this: when you parted, you were as magnanimous as could possibly
be; you were ready to give her everything--freedom, divorce even.
She appreciated that. No, don't think that. She did appreciate
it--to such a degree that at the first moment, feeling how she
had wronged you, she did not consider and could not consider
everything. She gave up everything. But experience, time, have
shown that her position is unbearable, impossible."
"The life of Anna Arkadyevna can have no interest for me," Alexey
Alexandrovitch put in, lifting his eyebrows.
"Allow me to disbelieve that," Stepan Arkadyevitch replied
gently. "Her position is intolerable for her, and of no benefit
to anyone whatever. She has deserved it, you will say. She
knows that and asks you for nothing; she says plainly that she
dare not ask you. But I, all of us, her relatives, all who love
her, beg you, entreat you. Why should she suffer? Who is any
the better for it?"
"Excuse me, you seem to put me in the position of the guilty
party," observed Alexey Alexandrovitch.
"Oh, no, oh, no, not at all! please understand me," said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, touching his hand again, as though feeling sure
this physical contact would soften his brother-in-law. "All I
say is this: her position is intolerable, and it might be
alleviated by you, and you will lose nothing by it. I will
arrange it all for you, so that you'll not notice it. You did
promise it, you know."
"The promise was given before. And I had supposed that the
question of my son had settled the matter. Besides, I had hoped
that Anna Arkadyevna had enough generosity..." Alexey
Alexandrovitch articulated with difficulty, his lips twitching
and his face white.