Anna karenina, p.21
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       Anna Karenina, p.21


  Chapter 21

  Dolly came out of her room to the tea of the grown-up people. StepanArkadyevitch did not come out. He must have left his wife's room by theother door.

  "I am afraid you'll be cold upstairs," observed Dolly, addressing Anna;"I want to move you downstairs, and we shall be nearer."

  "Oh, please, don't trouble about me," answered Anna, looking intentlyinto Dolly's face, trying to make out whether there had been areconciliation or not.

  "It will be lighter for you here," answered her sister-in-law.

  "I assure you that I sleep everywhere, and always like a marmot."

  "What's the question?" inquired Stepan Arkadyevitch, coming out of hisroom and addressing his wife.

  From his tone both Kitty and Anna knew that a reconciliation had takenplace.

  "I want to move Anna downstairs, but we must hang up blinds. No oneknows how to do it; I must see to it myself," answered Dolly addressinghim.

  "God knows whether they are fully reconciled," thought Anna, hearing hertone, cold and composed.

  "Oh, nonsense, Dolly, always making difficulties," answered her husband."Come, I'll do it all, if you like..."

  "Yes, they must be reconciled," thought Anna.

  "I know how you do everything," answered Dolly. "You tell Matvey to dowhat can't be done, and go away yourself, leaving him to make a muddleof everything," and her habitual, mocking smile curved the corners ofDolly's lips as she spoke.

  "Full, full reconciliation, full," thought Anna; "thank God!" andrejoicing that she was the cause of it, she went up to Dolly and kissedher.

  "Not at all. Why do you always look down on me and Matvey?" said StepanArkadyevitch, smiling hardly perceptibly, and addressing his wife.

  The whole evening Dolly was, as always, a little mocking in her tone toher husband, while Stepan Arkadyevitch was happy and cheerful, but notso as to seem as though, having been forgiven, he had forgotten hisoffense.

  At half-past nine o'clock a particularly joyful and pleasant familyconversation over the tea-table at the Oblonskys' was broken up by anapparently simple incident. But this simple incident for some reasonstruck everyone as strange. Talking about common acquaintances inPetersburg, Anna got up quickly.

  "She is in my album," she said; "and, by the way, I'll show you mySeryozha," she added, with a mother's smile of pride.

  Towards ten o'clock, when she usually said good-night to her son, andoften before going to a ball put him to bed herself, she felt depressedat being so far from him; and whatever she was talking about, she keptcoming back in thought to her curly-headed Seryozha. She longed to lookat his photograph and talk of him. Seizing the first pretext, she gotup, and with her light, resolute step went for her album. The stairs upto her room came out on the landing of the great warm main staircase.

  Just as she was leaving the drawing room, a ring was heard in the hall.

  "Who can that be?" said Dolly.

  "It's early for me to be fetched, and for anyone else it's late,"observed Kitty.

  "Sure to be someone with papers for me," put in Stepan Arkadyevitch.When Anna was passing the top of the staircase, a servant was running upto announce the visitor, while the visitor himself was standing under alamp. Anna glancing down at once recognized Vronsky, and a strangefeeling of pleasure and at the same time of dread of something stirredin her heart. He was standing still, not taking off his coat, pullingsomething out of his pocket. At the instant when she was just facing thestairs, he raised his eyes, caught sight of her, and into the expressionof his face there passed a shade of embarrassment and dismay. With aslight inclination of her head she passed, hearing behind her StepanArkadyevitch's loud voice calling him to come up, and the quiet, soft,and composed voice of Vronsky refusing.

  When Anna returned with the album, he was already gone, and StepanArkadyevitch was telling them that he had called to inquire about thedinner they were giving next day to a celebrity who had just arrived."And nothing would induce him to come up. What a queer fellow he is!"added Stepan Arkadyevitch.

  Kitty blushed. She thought that she was the only person who knew why hehad come, and why he would not come up. "He has been at home," shethought, "and didn't find me, and thought I should be here, but he didnot come up because he thought it late, and Anna's here."

  All of them looked at each other, saying nothing, and began to look atAnna's album.

  There was nothing either exceptional or strange in a man's calling athalf-past nine on a friend to inquire details of a proposed dinner partyand not coming in, but it seemed strange to all of them. Above all, itseemed strange and not right to Anna.

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