Charged with this commission, Betsy had gone to Anna, and brought him back a negative reply.
The applicability or non-applicability of the Christian precept to his own case was too difficult a question to be discussed lightly, and this question had long ago been answered by Alexey Alexandrovitch in the negative.
Well, I do act negatively on that idea, so far as not trying to increase the difference of position existing between him and me.
"Can it be that it’s only possible to be just negatively?" he was asking himself.
What they had said in the conversation, that he acted justly only in a negative sense, absorbed his thoughts.
"Is it really only negative?" he repeated to himself.
"Honesty is only a negative qualification," he said.
Chapter 6 During the time of the children’s tea the grown-up people sat in the balcony and talked as though nothing had happened, though they all, especially Sergey Ivanovitch and Varenka, were very well aware that there had happened an event which, though negative, was of very great importance.