The Devil

The Devil by Leo Tolstoy Read Free Book Online

Book: The Devil by Leo Tolstoy Read Free Book Online
Authors: Leo Tolstoy
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    “You will drop her, you’ll be sure to drop her. You want to destroy her. You have no conscience!”
    “But I am carrying her excellently.”
    “I do not want to watch you killing my daughter, and I can’t.” And she ran round the bend in the alley.
    “Never mind, it will pass,” said Liza, smiling.
    “Yes, if only it does not have consequences like last time.”
    “No. I am not speaking of that. That is all right. I mean mamma. You are tired. Rest a bit.”
    But though he found it heavy, Yevgeny carried his burden proudly and gladly to the house and did not hand her over to the housemaid and the man-cook whom Varvara Alexeevna had found and sent to meet them. He carried her to the bedroom and put her on the bed.
    “Now go away,” she said, and drawing his hand to her she kissed it. “Annushka and I will manage all right.”
    Marya Pavlovna also ran in from her rooms in the wing. They undressed Liza and laid her on the bed.Yevgeny sat in the drawing room with a book in his hand, waiting. Varvara Alexeevna went past him with such a reproachfully gloomy air that he felt alarmed.
    “Well, how is it?” he asked.
    “How is it? What’s the good of asking? It is probably what you wanted when you made your wife jump over the ditch.”
    “Varvara Alexeevna!” he cried. “This is impossible. If you want to torment people and to poison their life”—he wanted to say— “then go elsewhere to do it,” but restrained himself. “How is it that it does not hurt you?”
    “It is too late now.” And shaking her cap in a triumphant manner she passed out by the door.
    The fall had really been a bad one; Liza’s foot had twisted awkwardly and there was danger of her having another miscarriage. Everyone knew that there was nothing to be done but that she must just lie quietly, yet all the same they decided to send for a doctor.
    “Dear Nikolay Semyonich,” wrote Yevgeny to the doctor, “you have always been so kind to us that I hope you will not refuse to come to my wife’s assistance. She …” and so on. Having written the letter he went to the stables to arrange about the horses and the carriage. Horses had to be got ready to bring the doctor and others to take him back. When an estate is not run on a large scale, such things cannot be quickly decided but have to be considered. Having arranged it all and dispatched the coachman, it was past nine before he gotback to the house. His wife was lying down, and said that she felt perfectly well and had no pain. But Varvara Alexeevna was sitting with a lamp screened from Liza by some sheets of music and knitting a large red coverlet, with a mien that said that after what had happened peace was impossible, but that she at any rate would do her duty no matter what anyone else did.
    Yevgeny noticed this, but, to appear as if he had not done so, tried to assume a cheerful and tranquil air and told how he had chosen the horses and how capitally the mare, Kabushka, had galloped as left trace-horse in the troika.
    “Yes, of course, it is just the time to exercise the horses when help is needed. Probably the doctor will also be thrown into the ditch,” remarked Varvara Alexeevna, examining her knitting from under her pince-nez and moving it close up to the lamp.
    “But you know we had to send one way or another, and I made the best arrangement I could.”
    “Yes, I remember very well how your horses galloped with me under the arch of the gateway.” This was a longstanding fancy of hers, and Yevgeny now was injudicious enough to remark that that was not quite what had happened.
    “It is not for nothing that I have always said, and have often remarked to the prince, that it is hardest of all to live with people who are untruthful and insincere. I can endure anything except that.”
    “Well, if anyone has to suffer more than another, it is certainly I,” said Yevgeny. “But you …”
    “Yes, it is evident.”
    “What?”
    “Nothing, I am only counting my

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