The Awakening: The Resurrection/Chapter 16
|←Chapter 15||The Awakening: The Resurrection by
|Translated by William E. Smith in 1900. It was the subject of a 1907 Buddhist sermon entitled Fight the Good Fight with All thy Might.|
Returning from the church, Nekhludoff broke his fast with the aunts, and to repair his strength, drank some brandy and wine—a habit he acquired in the army—and going to his room immediately fell asleep with his clothes on. He was awakened by a rap at the door. By the rap he knew that it was she, so he rose, rubbing his eyes and stretching himself.
"Is it you, Katiousha? Come in," he said, rising.
She opened the door.
"You are wanted to breakfast," she said. She was in the same white dress, but without the bow in her hair.
As she looked in his eyes she brightened up, as if she had announced something unusually pleasant.
"I shall come immediately," he answered, taking a comb to rearrange his hair.
She lingered for a moment. He noticed it, and putting down the comb, he moved toward her. But at the same moment she quickly turned and walked off with her customary light and agile step along the narrow mat of the corridor.
"What a fool I am!" Nekhludoff said to himself. "Why did I not detain her?" And he ran after her.
He did not know himself what he wished of her, but it seemed to him that when she entered his room he ought to have done something that any one in his place would have done, but which he failed to do.
"Wait, Katiousha," he said.
She looked around.
"What is it?" she said, stopping.
"Nothing. I only——"
With some effort he overcame his shyness, and remembering how people generally act in such a case, he put his arm about Katiousha's waist.
She stopped and looked in his eyes.
"Don't, Ivanovich, don't," she said, blushing until her eyes filled with tears. Then with her rough, strong hands she removed his arm.
Nekhludoff released her, and for a moment felt not only awkward and ashamed, but seemed odious to himself. He should have believed in himself, but he failed to understand that this awkwardness and shame were the noblest feelings of his soul begging for recognition, and, on the contrary, it seemed to him that it was his foolishness that was speaking within him, that he ought to have done as everybody does in a similar case.
He overtook her again, again embraced her and kissed her on the neck. This kiss was entirely unlike the other two kisses. The first was given unconsciously, behind the lilac bush; the second, in the morning in church. The last one was terrible, and she felt it.
"But what are you doing?" she exclaimed in such a voice, as if he had irrecoverably destroyed something infinitely precious, and ran away from him.
He went to the dining-room. His aunts in holiday attire, the doctor and a neighbor were taking lunch standing. Everything was as usual, but a storm raged in Nekhludoff's soul. He did not understand what was said to him, his answers were inappropriate, and he was thinking only of Katiousha, recalling the sensation of the last kiss he gave her when he overtook her in the corridor. He could think of nothing else. When she entered the room, without looking at her, he felt her presence with all his being, and had to make an effort not to look at her.
After lunch he went immediately to his room, and in great agitation walked to and fro, listening to the sounds in the house and waiting to hear her steps. The animal man that dwelled in him not only raised his head, but crushed under foot the spiritual man that he was when he first arrived at the manor, and was even this very morning in church, and that terrible animal man now held sway in his soul. Although Nekhludoff was watching an opportunity to meet Katiousha that day, he did not succeed in seeing her face to face even once. She was probably avoiding him. But in the evening it happened that she had to enter a room adjoining his. The physician was to remain over night, and Katiousha had to make the bed for him. Hearing her steps, Nekhludoff, stepping on tip-toe and holding his breath, as though preparing to commit a crime, followed her into the room.
Thrusting both her hands into a white pillow-case, and taking hold of two corners of the pillow, she turned her head and looked at him smiling, but it was not the old, cheerful, happy smile, but a frightened, piteous smile. The smile seemed to tell him that what he was doing was wrong. For a moment he stood still. There was still the possibility of a struggle. Though weak, the voice of his true love to her was still heard; it spoke of her, of her feelings, of her life. The other voice reminded him of his enjoyment, his happiness. And this second voice stifled the first. He approached her with determination. And the terrible, irresistible animal feeling mastered him.
Without releasing her from his embrace, Nekhludoff seated her on the bed, and feeling that something else ought to be done, seated himself beside her.
"Dmitri Ivanovich, darling, please let me go," she said in a piteous voice. "Matriena Pavlovna is coming!" she suddenly exclaimed, tearing herself away.
Matriena Pavlovna was really approaching the door. She entered the room, holding a quilt on her arm, and, looking reproachfully at Nekhludoff, angrily rebuked Katiousha for taking the wrong quilt.
Nekhludoff went out in silence. He was not even ashamed. By the expression of Matriena Pavlovna's face he saw that she condemned him, and justly so; he knew that what he was doing was wrong, but the animal feeling, which succeeded his former feeling of pure love to her, seized him and held sole sway over him; recognizing no other feeling. He knew now what was necessary to do in order to satisfy that feeling, and was looking for means to that end.
He was out of sorts all that night. Now he would go to his aunts; now he returned to his room, or went to the perron, thinking but of one thing: how to meet her alone. But she avoided him, and Matriena Pavlovna strove not to lose sight of her.