"I don't, I don't believe it!" Dolly said, trying to catch his
glance that avoided her.
"One cannot disbelieve facts, Darya Alexandrovna," said he, with
an emphasis on the word "facts."
"But what has she done?" said Darya Alexandrovna. "What
precisely has she done?"
"She has forsaken her duty, and deceived her husband. That's
what she has done," said he.
"No, no, it can't be! No, for God's sake, you are mistaken,"
said Dolly, putting her hands to her temples and closing her
Alexey Alexandrovitch smiled coldly, with his lips alone, meaning
to signify to her and himself the firmness of his conviction; but
this warm defense, though it could not shake him, reopened his
wound. He began to speak with greater heat.
"It is extremely difficult to be mistaken when a wife herself
informs her husband of the fact--informs him that eight years of
her life, and a son, all that's a mistake, and that she wants to
begin life again," he said angrily, with a snort.
"Anna and sin--I cannot connect them, I cannot believe it!"
"Darya Alexandrovna," he said, now looking straight into Dolly's
kindly, troubled face, and feeling that his tongue was being
loosened in spite of himself, "I would give a great deal for
doubt to be still possible. When I doubted, I was miserable, but
it was better than now. When I doubted, I had hope; but now
there is no hope, and still I doubt of everything. I am in such
doubt of everything that I even hate my son, and sometimes do not
believe he is my son. I am very unhappy."
He had no need to say that. Darya Alexandrovna had seen that as
soon as he glanced into her face; and she felt sorry for him, and
her faith in the innocence of her friend began to totter.