Anna karenina, p.103
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       Anna Karenina, p.103

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 2

  When he got home, Vronsky found there a note from Anna. She wrote, "I amill and unhappy. I cannot come out, but I cannot go on longer withoutseeing you. Come in this evening. Alexey Alexandrovitch goes to thecouncil at seven and will be there till ten." Thinking for an instant ofthe strangeness of her bidding him come straight to her, in spite of herhusband's insisting on her not receiving him, he decided to go.

  Vronsky had that winter got his promotion, was now a colonel, had leftthe regimental quarters, and was living alone. After having some lunch,he lay down on the sofa immediately, and in five minutes memories of thehideous scenes he had witnessed during the last few days were confusedtogether and joined on to a mental image of Anna and of the peasant whohad played an important part in the bear hunt, and Vronsky fell asleep.He waked up in the dark, trembling with horror, and made haste to lighta candle. "What was it? What? What was the dreadful thing I dreamed?Yes, yes; I think a little dirty man with a disheveled beard wasstooping down doing something, and all of a sudden he began saying somestrange words in French. Yes, there was nothing else in the dream," hesaid to himself. "But why was it so awful?" He vividly recalled thepeasant again and those incomprehensible French words the peasant haduttered, and a chill of horror ran down his spine.

  "What nonsense!" thought Vronsky, and glanced at his watch.

  It was half-past eight already. He rang up his servant, dressed inhaste, and went out onto the steps, completely forgetting the dream andonly worried at being late. As he drove up to the Karenins' entrance helooked at his watch and saw it was ten minutes to nine. A high, narrowcarriage with a pair of grays was standing at the entrance. Herecognized Anna's carriage. "She is coming to me," thought Vronsky, "andbetter she should. I don't like going into that house. But no matter; Ican't hide myself," he thought, and with that manner peculiar to himfrom childhood, as of a man who has nothing to be ashamed of, Vronskygot out of his sledge and went to the door. The door opened, and thehall porter with a rug on his arm called the carriage. Vronsky, thoughhe did not usually notice details, noticed at this moment the amazedexpression with which the porter glanced at him. In the very doorwayVronsky almost ran up against Alexey Alexandrovitch. The gas jet threwits full light on the bloodless, sunken face under the black hat and onthe white cravat, brilliant against the beaver of the coat. Karenin'sfixed, dull eyes were fastened upon Vronsky's face. Vronsky bowed, andAlexey Alexandrovitch, chewing his lips, lifted his hand to his hat andwent on. Vronsky saw him without looking round get into the carriage,pick up the rug and the opera-glass at the window and disappear. Vronskywent into the hall. His brows were scowling, and his eyes gleamed with aproud and angry light in them.

  "What a position!" he thought. "If he would fight, would stand up forhis honor, I could act, could express my feelings; but this weakness orbaseness.... He puts me in the position of playing false, which I nevermeant and never mean to do."

  Vronsky's ideas had changed since the day of his conversation with Annain the Vrede garden. Unconsciously yielding to the weakness of Anna--whohad surrendered herself up to him utterly, and simply looked to him todecide her fate, ready to submit to anything--he had long ceased tothink that their tie might end as he had thought then. His ambitiousplans had retreated into the background again, and feeling that he hadgot out of that circle of activity in which everything was definite, hehad given himself entirely to his passion, and that passion was bindinghim more and more closely to her.

  He was still in the hall when he caught the sound of her retreatingfootsteps. He knew she had been expecting him, had listened for him, andwas now going back to the drawing room.

  "No," she cried, on seeing him, and at the first sound of her voice thetears came into her eyes. "No; if things are to go on like this, the endwill come much, much too soon."

  "What is it, dear one?"

  "What? I've been waiting in agony for an hour, two hours ... No, I won't... I can't quarrel with you. Of course you couldn't come. No, I won't."She laid her two hands on his shoulders, and looked a long while at himwith a profound, passionate, and at the same time searching look. Shewas studying his face to make up for the time she had not seen him. Shewas, every time she saw him, making the picture of him in herimagination (incomparably superior, impossible in reality) fit with himas he really was.

 
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