Anna karenina, p.13
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       Anna Karenina, p.13

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 13

  After dinner, and till the beginning of the evening, Kitty was feeling asensation akin to the sensation of a young man before a battle. Herheart throbbed violently, and her thoughts would not rest on anything.

  She felt that this evening, when they would both meet for the firsttime, would be a turning point in her life. And she was continuallypicturing them to herself, at one moment each separately, and then bothtogether. When she mused on the past, she dwelt with pleasure, withtenderness, on the memories of her relations with Levin. The memories ofchildhood and of Levin's friendship with her dead brother gave a specialpoetic charm to her relations with him. His love for her, of which shefelt certain, was flattering and delightful to her; and it was pleasantfor her to think of Levin. In her memories of Vronsky there alwaysentered a certain element of awkwardness, though he was in the highestdegree well-bred and at ease, as though there were some false note--notin Vronsky, he was very simple and nice, but in herself, while withLevin she felt perfectly simple and clear. But, on the other hand,directly she thought of the future with Vronsky, there arose before hera perspective of brilliant happiness; with Levin the future seemedmisty.

  When she went upstairs to dress, and looked into the looking-glass, shenoticed with joy that it was one of her good days, and that she was incomplete possession of all her forces,--she needed this so for what laybefore her: she was conscious of external composure and free grace inher movements.

  At half-past seven she had only just gone down into the drawing room,when the footman announced, "Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin." Theprincess was still in her room, and the prince had not come in. "So itis to be," thought Kitty, and all the blood seemed to rush to her heart.She was horrified at her paleness, as she glanced into thelooking-glass. At that moment she knew beyond doubt that he had comeearly on purpose to find her alone and to make her an offer. And onlythen for the first time the whole thing presented itself in a new,different aspect; only then she realized that the question did notaffect her only--with whom she would be happy, and whom she loved--butthat she would have that moment to wound a man whom she liked. And towound him cruelly. What for? Because he, dear fellow, loved her, was inlove with her. But there was no help for it, so it must be, so it wouldhave to be.

  "My God! shall I myself really have to say it to him?" she thought. "CanI tell him I don't love him? That will be a lie. What am I to say tohim? That I love someone else? No, that's impossible. I'm going away,I'm going away."

  She had reached the door, when she heard his step. "No! it's not honest.What have I to be afraid of? I have done nothing wrong. What is to be,will be! I'll tell the truth. And with him one can't be ill at ease.Here he is," she said to herself, seeing his powerful, shy figure, withhis shining eyes fixed on her. She looked straight into his face, asthough imploring him to spare her, and gave her hand.

  "It's not time yet; I think I'm too early," he said glancing round theempty drawing room. When he saw that his expectations were realized,that there was nothing to prevent him from speaking, his face becamegloomy.

  "Oh, no," said Kitty, and sat down at the table.

  "But this was just what I wanted, to find you alone," he began, notsitting down, and not looking at her, so as not to lose courage.

  "Mamma will be down directly. She was very much tired.... Yesterday..."

  She talked on, not knowing what her lips were uttering, and not takingher supplicating and caressing eyes off him.

  He glanced at her; she blushed, and ceased speaking.

  "I told you I did not know whether I should be here long ... that itdepended on you..."

  She dropped her head lower and lower, not knowing herself what answershe should make to what was coming.

  "That it depended on you," he repeated. "I meant to say ... I meant tosay ... I came for this ... to be my wife!" he brought out, not knowingwhat he was saying; but feeling that the most terrible thing was said,he stopped short and looked at her...

  She was breathing heavily, not looking at him. She was feeling ecstasy.Her soul was flooded with happiness. She had never anticipated that theutterance of love would produce such a powerful effect on her. But itlasted only an instant. She remembered Vronsky. She lifted her clear,truthful eyes, and seeing his desperate face, she answered hastily:

  "That cannot be ... forgive me."

  A moment ago, and how close she had been to him, of what importance inhis life! And how aloof and remote from him she had become now!

  "It was bound to be so," he said, not looking at her.

  He bowed, and was meaning to retreat.

 
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