"He said that he was unhappy on your account and his own.
Perhaps you will say that it's egoism, but what a legitimate and
noble egoism. He wants first of all to legitimize his daughter,
and to be your husband, to have a legal right to you."
"What wife, what slave can be so utterly a slave as I, in my
position?" she put in gloomily.
"The chief thing he desires...he desires that you should not
"That's impossible. Well?"
"Well, and the most legitimate desire--he wishes that your
children should have a name."
"What children?" Anna said, not looking at Dolly, and half
closing her eyes.
"Annie and those to come..."
"He need not trouble on that score; I shall have no more
"How can you tell that you won't?"
"I shall not, because I don't wish it." And, in spite of all her
emotion, Anna smiled, as she caught the naive expression of
curiosity, wonder, and horror on Dolly's face.
"The doctor told me after my illness..."
"Impossible!" said Dolly, opening her eyes wide.
For her this was one of those discoveries the consequences and
deductions from which are so immense that all that one feels for
the first instant is that it is impossible to take it all in, and
that one will have to reflect a great, great deal upon it.
This discovery, suddenly throwing light on all those families of
one or two children, which had hitherto been so incomprehensible
to her, aroused so many ideas, reflections, and contradictory
emotions, that she had nothing to say, and simply gazed with
wide-open eyes of wonder at Anna. This was the very thing she
had been dreaming of, but now learning that it was possible, she
was horrified. She felt that it was too simple a solution of too
complicated a problem.