Yet, elevated as Madame Stahl's character was, touching as was
her story, and exalted and moving as was her speech, Kitty could
not help detecting in her some traits which perplexed her. She
noticed that when questioning her about her family, Madame Stahl
had smiled contemptuously, which was not in accord with Christian
meekness. She noticed, too, that when she had found a Catholic
priest with her, Madame Stahl had studiously kept her face in the
shadow of the lamp-shade and had smiled in a peculiar way.
Trivial as these two observations were, they perplexed her, and
she had her doubts as to Madame Stahl. But on the other hand
Varenka, alone in the world, without friends or relations, with a
melancholy disappointment in the past, desiring nothing,
regretting nothing, was just that perfection of which Kitty dared
hardly dream. In Varenka she realized that one has but to forget
oneself and love others, and one will be calm, happy, and noble.
And that was what Kitty longed to be. Seeing now clearly what
was the most important, Kitty was not satisfied with being
enthusiastic over it; she at once gave herself up with her whole
soul to the new life that was opening to her. From Varenka's
accounts of the doings of Madame Stahl and other people whom she
mentioned, Kitty had already constructed the plan of her own
future life. She would, like Madame Stahl's niece, Aline, of
whom Varenka had talked to her a great deal, seek out those who
were in trouble, wherever she might be living, help them as far
as she could, give them the Gospel, read the Gospel to the sick,
the criminals, to the dying. The idea of reading the Gospel to
criminals, as Aline did, particularly fascinated Kitty. But all
these were secret dreams, of which Kitty did not talk either to
her mother or to Varenka.
While awaiting the time for carrying out her plans on a large
scale, however, Kitty, even then at the springs, where there were
so many people ill and unhappy, readily found a chance for
practicing her new principles in imitation of Varenka.
At first the princess noticed nothing but that Kitty was much
under the influence of her engouement, as she called it, for
Madame Stahl, and still more for Varenka. She saw that Kitty did
not merely imitate Varenka in her conduct, but unconsciously
imitated her in her manner of walking, of talking, of blinking
her eyes. But later on the princess noticed that, apart from
this adoration, some kind of serious spiritual change was taking
place in her daughter.