"There's nothing wonderful in it."
"Anyway, he's better," they said in a whisper, smiling to one
This self-deception was not of long duration. The sick man fell
into a quiet sleep, but he was waked up half an hour later by his
cough. And all at once every hope vanished in those about him
and in himself. The reality of his suffering crushed all hopes
in Levin and Kitty and in the sick man himself, leaving no doubt,
no memory even of past hopes.
Without referring to what he had believed in half an hour before,
as though ashamed even to recall it, he asked for iodine to
inhale in a bottle covered with perforated paper. Levin gave him
the bottle, and the same look of passionate hope with which he
had taken the sacrament was now fastened on his brother,
demanding from him the confirmation of the doctor's words that
inhaling iodine worked wonders.
"Is Katya not here?" he gasped, looking round while Levin
reluctantly assented to the doctor's words. "No; so I can say
it.... It was for her sake I went through that farce. She's so
sweet; but you and I can't deceive ourselves. This is what I
believe in," he said, and, squeezing the bottle in his bony hand,
he began breathing over it.
At eight o'clock in the evening Levin and his wife were drinking
tea in their room when Marya Nikolaevna ran in to them
breathlessly. She was pale, and her lips were quivering. "He is
dying!" she whispered. "I'm afraid will die this minute."
Both of them ran to him. He was sitting raised up with one elbow
on the bed, his long back bent, and his head hanging low.
"How do you feel?" Levin asked in a whisper, after a silence.
"I feel I'm setting off," Nikolay said with difficulty, but with
extreme distinctness, screwing the words out of himself. He did
not raise his head, but simply turned his eyes upwards, without
their reaching his brother's face. "Katya, go away!" he added.