"You talk of the education of character. You can't imagine how
difficult that is! You have hardly succeeded in combating one
tendency when others crop up, and the struggle begins again. If
one had not a support in religion--you remember we talked about
that--no father could bring children up relying on his own
strength alone without that help."
This subject, which always interested Levin, was cut short by the
entrance of the beauty Natalia Alexandrovna, dressed to go out.
"I didn't know you were here," she said, unmistakably feeling no
regret, but a positive pleasure, in interrupting this
conversation on a topic she had heard so much of that she was by
now weary of it. "Well, how is Kitty? I am dining with you
today. I tell you what, Arseny," she turned to her husband, "you
take the carriage."
And the husband and wife began to discuss their arrangements for
the day. As the husband had to drive to meet someone on official
business, while the wife had to go to the concert and some public
meeting of a committee on the Eastern Question, there was a great
deal to consider and settle. Levin had to take part in their
plans as one of themselves. It was settled that Levin should go
with Natalia to the concert and the meeting, and that from there
they should send the carriage to the office for Arseny, and he
should call for her and take her to Kitty's; or that, if he had
not finished his work, he should send the carriage back and Levin
would go with her.
"He's spoiling me," Lvov said to his wife, "he assures me that
our children are splendid, when I know how much that's bad there
is in them."
"Arseny goes to extremes, I always say," said his wife. "If you
look for perfection, you will never be satisfied. And it's true,
as papa says,-- that when we were brought up there was one
extreme--we were kept in the basement, while our parents lived in
the best rooms; now it's just the other way--the parents are in
the wash house, while the children are in the best rooms.
Parents now are not expected to live at all, but to exist
altogether for their children."