"Oh, no!" she answered, getting up after him and accompanying him
across the room to his study. "What are you reading now?" she
"Just now I'm reading Duc de Likke, Poesie des Enfers," he
answered. "A very remarkable book."
Anna smiled, as people smile at the weaknesses of those they
love, and, putting her hand under his, she escorted him to the
door of the study. She knew his habit, that had grown into a
necessity, of reading in the evening. She knew, too, that in
spite of his official duties, which swallowed up almost the whole
of his time, he considered it his duty to keep up with everything
of note that appeared in the intellectual world. She knew, too,
that he was really interested in books dealing with politics,
philosophy, and theology, that art was utterly foreign to his
nature; but, in spite of this, or rather, in consequence of it,
Alexey Alexandrovitch never passed over anything in the world of
art, but made it his duty to read everything. She knew that in
politics, in philosophy, in theology, Alexey Alexandrovitch often
had doubts, and made investigations; but on questions of art and
poetry, and, above all, of music, of which he was totally devoid
of understanding, he had the most distinct and decided opinions.
He was fond of talking about Shakespeare, Raphael, Beethoven, of
the significance of new schools of poetry and music, all of which
were classified by him with very conspicuous consistency.
"Well, God be with you," she said at the door of the study, where
a shaded candle and a decanter of water were already put by his
armchair. "And I'll write to Moscow."
He pressed her hand, and again kissed it.
"All the same he's a good man; truthful, good-hearted, and
remarkable in his own line," Anna said to herself going back to
her room, as though she were defending him to someone who had
attacked him and said that one could not love him. "But why is
it his ears stick out so strangely? Or has he had his hair cut?"