Anna karenina, p.28
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       Anna Karenina, p.28

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 28

  After the ball, early next morning, Anna Arkadyevna sent her husband atelegram that she was leaving Moscow the same day.

  "No, I must go, I must go"; she explained to her sister-in-law thechange in her plans in a tone that suggested that she had to remember somany things that there was no enumerating them: "no, it had reallybetter be today!"

  Stepan Arkadyevitch was not dining at home, but he promised to come andsee his sister off at seven o'clock.

  Kitty, too, did not come, sending a note that she had a headache. Dollyand Anna dined alone with the children and the English governess.Whether it was that the children were fickle, or that they had acutesenses, and felt that Anna was quite different that day from what shehad been when they had taken such a fancy to her, that she was not nowinterested in them,--but they had abruptly dropped their play with theiraunt, and their love for her, and were quite indifferent that she wasgoing away. Anna was absorbed the whole morning in preparations for herdeparture. She wrote notes to her Moscow acquaintances, put down heraccounts, and packed. Altogether Dolly fancied she was not in a placidstate of mind, but in that worried mood, which Dolly knew well withherself, and which does not come without cause, and for the most partcovers dissatisfaction with self. After dinner, Anna went up to her roomto dress, and Dolly followed her.

  "How queer you are today!" Dolly said to her.

  "I? Do you think so? I'm not queer, but I'm nasty. I am like thatsometimes. I keep feeling as if I could cry. It's very stupid, but it'llpass off," said Anna quickly, and she bent her flushed face over a tinybag in which she was packing a nightcap and some cambric handkerchiefs.Her eyes were particularly bright, and were continually swimming withtears. "In the same way I didn't want to leave Petersburg, and now Idon't want to go away from here."

  "You came here and did a good deed," said Dolly, looking intently ather.

  Anna looked at her with eyes wet with tears.

  "Don't say that, Dolly. I've done nothing, and could do nothing. I oftenwonder why people are all in league to spoil me. What have I done, andwhat could I do? In your heart there was found love enough toforgive..."

  "If it had not been for you, God knows what would have happened! Howhappy you are, Anna!" said Dolly. "Everything is clear and good in yourheart."

  "Every heart has its own _skeletons_, as the English say."

  "You have no sort of _skeleton_, have you? Everything is so clear inyou."

  "I have!" said Anna suddenly, and, unexpectedly after her tears, a sly,ironical smile curved her lips.

  "Come, he's amusing, anyway, your _skeleton_, and not depressing," saidDolly, smiling.

  "No, he's depressing. Do you know why I'm going today instead oftomorrow? It's a confession that weighs on me; I want to make it toyou," said Anna, letting herself drop definitely into an armchair, andlooking straight into Dolly's face.

  And to her surprise Dolly saw that Anna was blushing up to her ears, upto the curly black ringlets on her neck.

  "Yes," Anna went on. "Do you know why Kitty didn't come to dinner? She'sjealous of me. I have spoiled ... I've been the cause of that ball beinga torture to her instead of a pleasure. But truly, truly, it's not myfault, or only my fault a little bit," she said, daintily drawling thewords "a little bit."

  "Oh, how like Stiva you said that!" said Dolly, laughing.

  Anna was hurt.

  "Oh no, oh no! I'm not Stiva," she said, knitting her brows. "That's whyI'm telling you, just because I could never let myself doubt myself foran instant," said Anna.

  But at the very moment she was uttering the words, she felt that theywere not true. She was not merely doubting herself, she felt emotion atthe thought of Vronsky, and was going away sooner than she had meant,simply to avoid meeting him.

  "Yes, Stiva told me you danced the mazurka with him, and that he..."

  "You can't imagine how absurdly it all came about. I only meant to bematchmaking, and all at once it turned out quite differently. Possiblyagainst my own will..."

  She crimsoned and stopped.

  "Oh, they feel it directly?" said Dolly.

  "But I should be in despair if there were anything serious in it on hisside," Anna interrupted her. "And I am certain it will all be forgotten,and Kitty will leave off hating me."

  "All the same, Anna, to tell you the truth, I'm not very anxious forthis marriage for Kitty. And it's better it should come to nothing, ifhe, Vronsky, is capable of falling in love with you in a single day."

  "Oh, heavens, that would be too silly!" said Anna, and again a deepflush of pleasure came out on her face, when she heard the idea, thatabsorbed her, put into words. "And so here I am going away, having madean enemy of Kitty, whom I liked so much! Ah, how sweet she is! Butyou'll make it right, Dolly? Eh?"

  Dolly could scarcely suppress a smile. She loved Anna, but she enjoyedseeing that she too had her weaknesses.

  "An enemy? That can't be."

  "I did so want you all to care for me, as I do for you, and now I carefor you more than ever," said Anna, with tears in her eyes. "Ah, howsilly I am today!"

  She passed her handkerchief over her face and began dressing.

  At the very moment of starting Stepan Arkadyevitch arrived, late, rosyand good-humored, smelling of wine and cigars.

  Anna's emotionalism infected Dolly, and when she embraced hersister-in-law for the last time, she whispered: "Remember, Anna, whatyou've done for me--I shall never forget. And remember that I love you,and shall always love you as my dearest friend!"

  "I don't know why," said Anna, kissing her and hiding her tears.

  "You understood me, and you understand. Good-bye, my darling!"

 
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