The princess saw that in the evenings Kitty read a French
testament that Madame Stahl had given her--a thing she had never
done before; that she avoided society acquaintances and
associated with the sick people who were under Varenka's
protection, and especially one poor family, that of a sick
painter, Petrov. Kitty was unmistakably proud of playing the
part of a sister of mercy in that family. All this was well
enough, and the princess had nothing to say against it,
especially as Petrov's wife was a perfectly nice sort of woman,
and that the German princess, noticing Kitty's devotion, praised
her, calling her an angel of consolation. All this would have
been very well, if there had been no exaggeration. But the
princess saw that her daughter was rushing into extremes, and so
indeed she told her.
"Il ne faut jamais rien outrer," she said to her.
Her daughter made her no reply, only in her heart she thought
that one could not talk about exaggeration where Christianity was
concerned. What exaggeration could there be in the practice of a
doctrine wherein one was bidden to turn the other cheek when one
was smitten, and give one's cloak if one's coat were taken? But
the princess disliked this exaggeration, and disliked even more
the fact that she felt her daughter did not care to show her all
her heart. Kitty did in fact conceal her new views and feelings
from her mother. She concealed them not because she did not
respect or did not love her mother, but simply because she was
her mother. She would have revealed them to anyone sooner than
to her mother.
"How is it Anna Pavlovna's not been to see us for so long?" the
princess said one day of Madame Petrova. "I've asked her, but
she seems put out about something."
"No, I've not noticed it, maman," said Kitty, flushing hotly.
"Is it long since you went to see them?"
"We're meaning to make an expedition to the mountains tomorrow,"
"Well, you can go," answered the princess, gazing at her
daughter's embarrassed face and trying to guess the cause of her