Before Betsy had time to walk out of the drawing-room, she was
met in the doorway by Stepan Arkadyevitch, who had just come from
Yeliseev's, where a consignment of fresh oysters had been
"Ah! princess! what a delightful meeting!" he began. "I've been
to see you."
"A meeting for one minute, for I'm going," said Betsy, smiling
and putting on her glove.
"Don't put on your glove yet, princess; let me kiss your hand.
There's nothing I'm so thankful to the revival of the old
fashions for as the kissing the hand." He kissed Betsy's hand.
"When shall we see each other?"
"You don't deserve it," answered Betsy, smiling.
"Oh, yes, I deserve a great deal, for I've become a most serious
person. I don't only manage my own affairs, but other people's
too," he said with a significant expression.
"Oh, I'm so glad!" answered Betsy, at once understanding that he
was speaking of Anna. And going back into the drawing room, they
stood in a corner. "He's killing her," said Betsy in a whisper
full of meaning. "It's impossible, impossible..."
"I'm so glad you think so," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, shaking his
head with a serious and sympathetically distressed expression,
"that's what I've come to Petersburg for."
"The whole town's talking of it," she said. "It's an impossible
position. She pines and pines away. He doesn't understand that
she's one of those women who can't trifle with their feelings.
One of two things! either let him take her away, act with
energy, or give her a divorce. This is stifling her."
"Yes, yes...just so..." Oblonsky said, sighing. "That's what
I've come for. At least not solely for that...I've been made a
Kammerherr; of course, one has to say thank you. But the chief
thing was having to settle this."