Anna karenina, p.215
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       Anna Karenina, p.215

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 26

  Never before had a day been passed in quarrel. Today was the first time.And this was not a quarrel. It was the open acknowledgment of completecoldness. Was it possible to glance at her as he had glanced when hecame into the room for the guarantee?--to look at her, see her heart wasbreaking with despair, and go out without a word with that face ofcallous composure? He was not merely cold to her, he hated her becausehe loved another woman--that was clear.

  And remembering all the cruel words he had said, Anna supplied, too, thewords that he had unmistakably wished to say and could have said to her,and she grew more and more exasperated.

  "I won't prevent you," he might say. "You can go where you like. Youwere unwilling to be divorced from your husband, no doubt so that youmight go back to him. Go back to him. If you want money, I'll give it toyou. How many roubles do you want?"

  All the most cruel words that a brutal man could say, he said to her inher imagination, and she could not forgive him for them, as though hehad actually said them.

  "But didn't he only yesterday swear he loved me, he, a truthful andsincere man? Haven't I despaired for nothing many times already?" shesaid to herself afterwards.

  All that day, except for the visit to Wilson's, which occupied twohours, Anna spent in doubts whether everything were over or whetherthere were still hope of reconciliation, whether she should go away atonce or see him once more. She was expecting him the whole day, and inthe evening, as she went to her own room, leaving a message for him thather head ached, she said to herself, "If he comes in spite of what themaid says, it means that he loves me still. If not, it means that all isover, and then I will decide what I'm to do!..."

  In the evening she heard the rumbling of his carriage stop at theentrance, his ring, his steps and his conversation with the servant; hebelieved what was told him, did not care to find out more, and went tohis own room. So then everything was over.

  And death rose clearly and vividly before her mind as the sole means ofbringing back love for her in his heart, of punishing him and of gainingthe victory in that strife which the evil spirit in possession of herheart was waging with him.

  Now nothing mattered: going or not going to Vozdvizhenskoe, getting ornot getting a divorce from her husband--all that did not matter. The onething that mattered was punishing him. When she poured herself out herusual dose of opium, and thought that she had only to drink off thewhole bottle to die, it seemed to her so simple and easy, that she beganmusing with enjoyment on how he would suffer, and repent and love hermemory when it would be too late. She lay in bed with open eyes, by thelight of a single burned-down candle, gazing at the carved cornice ofthe ceiling and at the shadow of the screen that covered part of it,while she vividly pictured to herself how he would feel when she wouldbe no more, when she would be only a memory to him. "How could I saysuch cruel things to her?" he would say. "How could I go out of the roomwithout saying anything to her? But now she is no more. She has goneaway from us forever. She is...." Suddenly the shadow of the screenwavered, pounced on the whole cornice, the whole ceiling; other shadowsfrom the other side swooped to meet it, for an instant the shadowsflitted back, but then with fresh swiftness they darted forward,wavered, commingled, and all was darkness. "Death!" she thought. Andsuch horror came upon her that for a long while she could not realizewhere she was, and for a long while her trembling hands could not findthe matches and light another candle, instead of the one that had burneddown and gone out. "No, anything--only to live! Why, I love him! Why, heloves me! This has been before and will pass," she said, feeling thattears of joy at the return to life were trickling down her cheeks. Andto escape from her panic she went hurriedly to his room.

  He was asleep there, and sleeping soundly. She went up to him, andholding the light above his face, she gazed a long while at him. Nowwhen he was asleep, she loved him so that at the sight of him she couldnot keep back tears of tenderness. But she knew that if he waked up hewould look at her with cold eyes, convinced that he was right, and thatbefore telling him of her love, she would have to prove to him that hehad been wrong in his treatment of her. Without waking him, she wentback, and after a second dose of opium she fell towards morning into aheavy, incomplete sleep, during which she never quite lostconsciousness.

  In the morning she was waked by a horrible nightmare, which had recurredseveral times in her dreams, even before her connection with Vronsky. Alittle old man with unkempt beard was doing something bent down oversome iron, muttering meaningless French words, and she, as she alwaysdid in this nightmare (it was what made the horror of it), felt thatthis peasant was taking no notice of her, but was doing somethinghorrible with the iron--over her. And she waked up in a cold sweat.

  When she got up, the previous day came back to her as though veiled inmist.

  "There was a quarrel. Just what has happened several times. I said I hada headache, and he did not come in to see me. Tomorrow we're going away;I must see him and get ready for the journey," she said to herself. Andlearning that he was in his study, she went down to him. As she passedthrough the drawing room she heard a carriage stop at the entrance, andlooking out of the window she saw the carriage, from which a young girlin a lilac hat was leaning out giving some direction to the footmanringing the bell. After a parley in the hall, someone came upstairs, andVronsky's steps could be heard passing the drawing room. He went rapidlydownstairs. Anna went again to the window. She saw him come out onto thesteps without his hat and go up to the carriage. The young girl in thelilac hat handed him a parcel. Vronsky, smiling, said something to her.The carriage drove away, he ran rapidly upstairs again.

  The mists that had shrouded everything in her soul parted suddenly. Thefeelings of yesterday pierced the sick heart with a fresh pang. Shecould not understand now how she could have lowered herself by spendinga whole day with him in his house. She went into his room to announceher determination.

  "That was Madame Sorokina and her daughter. They came and brought me themoney and the deeds from maman. I couldn't get them yesterday. How isyour head, better?" he said quietly, not wishing to see and tounderstand the gloomy and solemn expression of her face.

  She looked silently, intently at him, standing in the middle of theroom. He glanced at her, frowned for a moment, and went on reading aletter. She turned, and went deliberately out of the room. He stillmight have turned her back, but she had reached the door, he was stillsilent, and the only sound audible was the rustling of the note paper ashe turned it.

  "Oh, by the way," he said at the very moment she was in the doorway,"we're going tomorrow for certain, aren't we?"

  "You, but not I," she said, turning round to him.

  "Anna, we can't go on like this..."

  "You, but not I," she repeated.

  "This is getting unbearable!"

  "You ... you will be sorry for this," she said, and went out.

  Frightened by the desperate expression with which these words wereuttered, he jumped up and would have run after her, but on secondthoughts he sat down and scowled, setting his teeth. This vulgar--as hethought it--threat of something vague exasperated him. "I've triedeverything," he thought; "the only thing left is not to pay attention,"and he began to get ready to drive into town, and again to his mother'sto get her signature to the deeds.

  She heard the sound of his steps about the study and the dining room. Atthe drawing room he stood still. But he did not turn in to see her, hemerely gave an order that the horse should be given to Voytov if he camewhile he was away. Then she heard the carriage brought round, the dooropened, and he came out again. But he went back into the porch again,and someone was running upstairs. It was the valet running up for hisgloves that had been forgotten. She went to the window and saw him takethe gloves without looking, and touching the coachman on the back hesaid something to him. Then without looking up at the window he settledhimself in his usual attitude in the carriage, with his legs crossed,and drawing on his gloves he vanished round the corner.

 
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