فصل 04

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فصل 04

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Chapter four

Forgiveness

Karenin returned to his lonely hotel room. There he found a telegram waiting for him from Anna.

The telegram read:

I am dying: I beg you to come. I shall die easier with your forgiveness.

“Is this some kind of a trick?” asked Karenin. “But if she really is dying and I refuse to see her, it would be very cruel. I must return home.”

Karenin knew that Anna was going to give birth to Vronsky’s child soon. He guessed that Anna’s health was poor because of the coming childbirth.

When he arrived home, a servant opened the door for him.

“How is my wife?” asked Karenin.

“She gave birth to a daughter yesterday,” replied the servant. “But she is very sick today. The doctors are worried.”

Karenin noticed a strange hat and coat hanging in the hallway. “Who is here now?” he asked.

The servant hesitated for just a second. “Count Vronsky.”

Karenin went upstairs and found Vronsky sitting outside his wife’s bedroom. Vronsky had his face buried in his hands. He looked up at the sound of Karenin’s approach.

“She is dying,” he said. “The doctors say there is no hope. Let me stay here.”

Karenin turned away without speaking. He went into Anna’s room. She lay on her side, facing the door with shining eyes.

“Come here, Alexi,” she said. “I do not have much time. The fever will come back, and I will die soon.”

Karenin knelt down beside Anna’s bed. He took her warm hand in his own and put his other hand on her forehead. He could feel the fever burning like a furnace under her pale, white skin.

“Stay a little, Alexi,” said Anna. “There is something I must tell you. There is another woman inside of me. I am afraid of her. She is the one who fell in love with that man. I’m not that woman. I am my true self now, I’m dying. I know I am. There is only one thing that I want - forgive me. Please forgive me completely.”

A warm feeling of love, compassion, and forgiveness filled Karenin. He laid his head on Anna’s chest, which burned like fire through her shirt, and he cried.

Anna saw Vronsky standing at the door.

“Why doesn’t he come in?” she said. “Come in! Come in! Alexi, give him your hand.”

Vronsky came in and stood by Anna’s bed.

“Give him your hand,” said Anna to her husband. “Forgive him.”

Karenin held out his hand, not even trying to stop the tears that flowed down his cheeks.

“Thank God. Thank God!” cried Anna. “Now everything is done. I can die now. Oh, God, when will the pain end?”

Later, the doctor came and told Karenin that almost all patients with Anna’s condition died. He did not expect her to live through the night. However, the next morning, Anna’s condition had not changed. The doctor said there might be some hope.

Karenin went into the small room where Vronsky had sat up all night. He took a chair opposite his rival.

“I had decided on a divorce because I wanted to punish her and you,” said Karenin. “When I got her telegram, I came home with many feelings. I admit I even wanted her to die. But… I saw her, and I forgave her. My duty is clear: I should stay with her, and 1 will. If she wants to see you, I will let you know. However, I think it is best that you leave now.”

Vronsky could not understand how Karenin could be so calm and forgiving. Now he seemed like a noble gentleman: kind, honorable, and a better man than Vronsky. As he made his way from Karenin’s house to his own home, Vronsky felt a deep sense of shame, humiliation, and guilt.

He tried to sleep, but he could not. He had recently been offered an important position in Tashkent, but this was nothing to him now. Anna was gone, and he had been shamed by her husband.

“Am I going mad?” he thought to himself. “This is how people commit suicide.”

Vronsky went to his desk and took out a pistol. Then he pointed it at his chest and fired. As he sank to the floor, he felt no pain. He saw the blood on the carpet and realized he had shot himself.

“Fool!” he thought. “I missed!”

Then everything went black. His servant, who had heard the shot, ran in the room. Seeing the situation, he ran for the doctor. Vronsky was laid on the bed with a serious wound to his chest, but his heart still beat strongly.

Karenin had completely forgiven Anna. He pitied Vronsky, especially after he heard that Vronsky had tried to kill himself. He also pitied his son Seriozha, in whom he had not shown much interest. As time went by, Anna became better. Karenin noticed that she was afraid of him and would avoid him if possible. Since becoming well, Anna had forgotten what she had said to Karenin. She wanted to see Vronsky, who was recovering. However, she felt a deep shame whenever she thought of her husband. Finally, she sent for her brother Oblonsky.

When Oblonsky met Anna, he said, “I know it’s hard, but you must cheer up. Nothing is so terrible to make you unhappy all the time.”

“No, Stiva,” said Anna. “I am lost. But my misery is not over yet… and the end will be terrible.”

“You had the bad luck of falling in love with a man who was not your husband. Your husband forgave you, but can you continue living with him? Do you want to? Does he want to?”

“I don’t know,” said Anna. “I have no idea what he wants.”

“Then let me sort this out for you,” said Oblonsky. “He’s miserable; you’re miserable. What good can come out of this situation? A divorce would solve everything. I will go to him now and arrange for a divorce.”

Oblonsky found Karenin sitting at his desk in his study.

“I hope I’m not disturbing you,” said Oblonsky as he entered the room. “I wanted to talk with you about my sister”

“I can think of nothing else,” sighed Karenin. “Look, I have just written her this note.”

Karenin handed Oblonsky a short note that read:

I can see that you are not comfortable being around me. I promised you that I would forgive you with all my heart when I saw you at the time of your illness. My only desire was that you would income a good wife again. But now I see that it’s impossible. Tell me what will make you happy and give you peace; whatever you ask, I will grant.

Oblonsky read the note with wonder. He was amazed at how generous Karenin was.

“I have to know what she wants,” said Karenin.

“Well, that is simple,” replied Oblonsky. “She wants a divorce. And this way, you both can have your freedom.”

“All right!” exclaimed Karenin. “If she desires it, I will give her a divorce, even if she takes away my son.”

Oblonsky smiled gently. “Believe me, she will appreciate your generosity. I am only doing my best to help you and her.”

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