Anna karenina, p.217
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       Anna Karenina, p.217

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 28

  It was bright and sunny. A fine rain had been falling all the morning,and now it had not long cleared up. The iron roofs, the flags of theroads, the flints of the pavements, the wheels and leather, the brassand the tinplate of the carriages--all glistened brightly in the Maysunshine. It was three o'clock, and the very liveliest time in thestreets.

  As she sat in a corner of the comfortable carriage, that hardly swayedon its supple springs, while the grays trotted swiftly, in the midst ofthe unceasing rattle of wheels and the changing impressions in the pureair, Anna ran over the events of the last days, and she saw her positionquite differently from how it had seemed at home. Now the thought ofdeath seemed no longer so terrible and so clear to her, and death itselfno longer seemed so inevitable. Now she blamed herself for thehumiliation to which she had lowered herself. "I entreat him to forgiveme. I have given in to him. I have owned myself in fault. What for?Can't I live without him?" And leaving unanswered the question how shewas going to live without him, she fell to reading the signs on theshops. "Office and warehouse. Dental surgeon. Yes, I'll tell Dolly allabout it. She doesn't like Vronsky. I shall be sick and ashamed, butI'll tell her. She loves me, and I'll follow her advice. I won't give into him; I won't let him train me as he pleases. Filippov, bun shop. Theysay they send their dough to Petersburg. The Moscow water is so good forit. Ah, the springs at Mitishtchen, and the pancakes!"

  And she remembered how, long, long ago, when she was a girl ofseventeen, she had gone with her aunt to Troitsa. "Riding, too. Was thatreally me, with red hands? How much that seemed to me then splendid andout of reach has become worthless, while what I had then has gone out ofmy reach forever! Could I ever have believed then that I could come tosuch humiliation? How conceited and self-satisfied he will be when hegets my note! But I will show him.... How horrid that paint smells! Whyis it they're always painting and building? _Modes et robes,_" she read.A man bowed to her. It was Annushka's husband. "Our parasites"; sheremembered how Vronsky had said that. "Our? Why our? What's so awful isthat one can't tear up the past by its roots. One can't tear it out, butone can hide one's memory of it. And I'll hide it." And then she thoughtof her past with Alexey Alexandrovitch, of how she had blotted thememory of it out of her life. "Dolly will think I'm leaving my secondhusband, and so I certainly must be in the wrong. As if I cared to beright! I can't help it!" she said, and she wanted to cry. But at onceshe fell to wondering what those two girls could be smiling about."Love, most likely. They don't know how dreary it is, how low.... Theboulevard and the children. Three boys running, playing at horses.Seryozha! And I'm losing everything and not getting him back. Yes, I'mlosing everything, if he doesn't return. Perhaps he was late for thetrain and has come back by now. Longing for humiliation again!" she saidto herself. "No, I'll go to Dolly, and say straight out to her, I'munhappy, I deserve this, I'm to blame, but still I'm unhappy, help me.These horses, this carriage--how loathsome I am to myself in thiscarriage--all his; but I won't see them again."

  Thinking over the words in which she would tell Dolly, and mentallyworking her heart up to great bitterness, Anna went upstairs.

  "Is there anyone with her?" she asked in the hall.

  "Katerina Alexandrovna Levin," answered the footman.

  "Kitty! Kitty, whom Vronsky was in love with!" thought Anna, "the girlhe thinks of with love. He's sorry he didn't marry her. But me he thinksof with hatred, and is sorry he had anything to do with me."

  The sisters were having a consultation about nursing when Anna called.Dolly went down alone to see the visitor who had interrupted theirconversation.

  "Well, so you've not gone away yet? I meant to have come to you," shesaid; "I had a letter from Stiva today."

  "We had a telegram too," answered Anna, looking round for Kitty.

  "He writes that he can't make out quite what Alexey Alexandrovitchwants, but he won't go away without a decisive answer."

  "I thought you had someone with you. Can I see the letter?"

  "Yes; Kitty," said Dolly, embarrassed. "She stayed in the nursery. Shehas been very ill."

  "So I heard. May I see the letter?"

  "I'll get it directly. But he doesn't refuse; on the contrary, Stiva hashopes," said Dolly, stopping in the doorway.

  "I haven't, and indeed I don't wish it," said Anna.

  "What's this? Does Kitty consider it degrading to meet me?" thought Annawhen she was alone. "Perhaps she's right, too. But it's not for her, thegirl who was in love with Vronsky, it's not for her to show me that,even if it is true. I know that in my position I can't be received byany decent woman. I knew that from the first moment I sacrificedeverything to him. And this is my reward! Oh, how I hate him! And whatdid I come here for? I'm worse here, more miserable." She heard from thenext room the sisters' voices in consultation. "And what am I going tosay to Dolly now? Amuse Kitty by the sight of my wretchedness, submit toher patronizing? No; and besides, Dolly wouldn't understand. And itwould be no good my telling her. It would only be interesting to seeKitty, to show her how I despise everyone and everything, how nothingmatters to me now."

  Dolly came in with the letter. Anna read it and handed it back insilence.

  "I knew all that," she said, "and it doesn't interest me in the least."

  "Oh, why so? On the contrary, I have hopes," said Dolly, lookinginquisitively at Anna. She had never seen her in such a strangelyirritable condition. "When are you going away?" she asked.

  Anna, half-closing her eyes, looked straight before her and did notanswer.

  "Why does Kitty shrink from me?" she said, looking at the door andflushing red.

  "Oh, what nonsense! She's nursing, and things aren't going right withher, and I've been advising her.... She's delighted. She'll be here in aminute," said Dolly awkwardly, not clever at lying. "Yes, here she is."

  Hearing that Anna had called, Kitty had wanted not to appear, but Dollypersuaded her. Rallying her forces, Kitty went in, walked up to her,blushing, and shook hands.

  "I am so glad to see you," she said with a trembling voice.

  Kitty had been thrown into confusion by the inward conflict between herantagonism to this bad woman and her desire to be nice to her. But assoon as she saw Anna's lovely and attractive face, all feeling ofantagonism disappeared.

  "I should not have been surprised if you had not cared to meet me. I'mused to everything. You have been ill? Yes, you are changed," said Anna.

  Kitty felt that Anna was looking at her with hostile eyes. She ascribedthis hostility to the awkward position in which Anna, who had oncepatronized her, must feel with her now, and she felt sorry for her.

  They talked of Kitty's illness, of the baby, of Stiva, but it wasobvious that nothing interested Anna.

  "I came to say good-bye to you," she said, getting up.

  "Oh, when are you going?"

  But again not answering, Anna turned to Kitty.

  "Yes, I am very glad to have seen you," she said with a smile. "I haveheard so much of you from everyone, even from your husband. He came tosee me, and I liked him exceedingly," she said, unmistakably withmalicious intent. "Where is he?"

  "He has gone back to the country," said Kitty, blushing.

  "Remember me to him, be sure you do."

  "I'll be sure to!" Kitty said naively, looking compassionately into hereyes.

  "So good-bye, Dolly." And kissing Dolly and shaking hands with Kitty,Anna went out hurriedly.

  "She's just the same and just as charming! She's very lovely!" saidKitty, when she was alone with her sister. "But there's somethingpiteous about her. Awfully piteous!"

  "Yes, there's something unusual about her today," said Dolly. "When Iwent with her into the hall, I fancied she was almost crying."

 

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