The Devil, by Leo Tolstoy

viii

This was how they lived: he rose early, as he always had done, and went to see to the farm or the factory where work was going on, or sometimes to the fields. Towards ten o’clock he would come back for his coffee, which they had on the veranda: Mary Pavlovna, an uncle who lived with them, and Liza. After a conversation which was often very animated while they drank their coffee, they dispersed till dinner-time. At two o’clock they dined and then went for a walk or a drive. In the evening when he returned from the office they drank their evening tea and sometimes he read aloud while she worked, or when there were guests they had music or conversation. When he went away on business he wrote to his wife and received letters from her every day. Sometimes she accompanied him, and then they were particularly merry. On his name-day and on her guests assembled, and it pleased him to see how well she managed to arrange things so that everybody enjoyed coming. He saw and heard that they all admired her — the young, agreeable hostess — and he loved her still more for this.

All went excellently. She bore her pregnancy easily and, thought they were afraid, they both began making plans as to how they would bring the child up. The system of education and the arrangements were all decided by Eugene, and her only wish was to carry out his desires obediently. Eugene on his part read up medical works and intended to bring the child up according to all the precepts of science. She of course agreed to everything and made preparations, making warm and also cool “envelopes”, and preparing a cradle. Thus the second year of their marriage arrived and the second spring.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 20:04