Simon Griffee
Design consulting, art direction, photography.

Anna and Vronsky

Published 2011 January 23

‘Yes, I’ve wanted to tell you,’ she said without looking at him. ‘You acted badly — very, very badly.’ ‘Don’t I know that I acted badly? But who was the cause of my acting so?’ ‘Why do you say that to me?’ she said, glancing sternly at him. ‘You know why,’ he replied boldly and joyfully, meeting her eyes and continuing to look. It was not he but she who became embarrassed. ‘That proves only that you have no heart,’ she said. But her eyes said that she knew he did have a heart, and because of it she was afraid of him. ‘What you were just talking about was a mistake, and not love.’ ‘Remember, I forbade you to utter that word, that vile word,’ Anna said with a shudder; but she felt at once that by this one word ‘forbade’ she showed that she acknowledged having certain rights over him and hereby encouraging him to speak of love. ‘I’ve long wanted to tell you that,’ she went on, looking resolutely into his eyes, and all aflame with the blush that burned her face, ‘and tonight I came on purpose, knowing that I would meet you. I came to tell you that this must end. I have never blushed before anyone, but you make me feel guilty of something.’ He looked at her, struck by the new, spiritual beauty of her face. ‘What do you want of me?’ he said simply and seriously. ‘I want you to go to Moscow and ask Kitty’s forgiveness,’ she said, and a little light flickered in her eyes. He saw that she was saying what she forced herself to say, and not what she wanted. ‘If you love me as you say you do,’ she whispered, ‘make it so that I am at peace.’ His face lit up. ‘Don’t you know that you are my whole life? But I know no peace and cannot give you any. All of myself, my love…yes. I cannot think of you and myself separately. You and I are one for me. And I do not see any possibility of peace ahead either for me or for you. I see the possibility of despair, of unhappiness…or I see the possibility of happiness, such happiness![](…Isn’t it possible?’ he added with his lips only; but she heard him. She strained all the forces of her mind to say what she ought to say; but instead she rested her eyes on him, filled with love, and made no answer. ‘There it is)’ he thought with rapture. ‘When I was already in despair, and when it seemed there would be no end — there it is! She loves me. She’s confessed it.’ ‘Then do this for me, never say these words to me, and let us be friends,’ she said in words; but her eyes were saying something quite different. ‘We won’t be friends, you know that yourself. And whether we will be the happiest or the unhappiest of people — is in your power.’ She wanted to say something, but he interrupted her. ‘I beg for only one thing, I beg for the right to hope, to be tormented, as I am now; but if that, too, is impossible, order me to disappear, and I will disappear. You will not see me, if my presence is painful for you.’ ‘I don’t want to drive you away.’ ‘Just don’t change anything. Leave everything as it is,’ he said in a trembling voice. ‘Here is your husband.’

— Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Part Two, VII