Anna karenina, p.29
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       Anna Karenina, p.29

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 29

  "Come, it's all over, and thank God!" was the first thought that came toAnna Arkadyevna, when she had said good-bye for the last time to herbrother, who had stood blocking up the entrance to the carriage till thethird bell rang. She sat down on her lounge beside Annushka, and lookedabout her in the twilight of the sleeping-carriage. "Thank God! tomorrowI shall see Seryozha and Alexey Alexandrovitch, and my life will go onin the old way, all nice and as usual."

  Still in the same anxious frame of mind, as she had been all that day,Anna took pleasure in arranging herself for the journey with great care.With her little deft hands she opened and shut her little red bag, tookout a cushion, laid it on her knees, and carefully wrapping up her feet,settled herself comfortably. An invalid lady had already lain down tosleep. Two other ladies began talking to Anna, and a stout elderly ladytucked up her feet, and made observations about the heating of thetrain. Anna answered a few words, but not foreseeing any entertainmentfrom the conversation, she asked Annushka to get a lamp, hooked it ontothe arm of her seat, and took from her bag a paper knife and an Englishnovel. At first her reading made no progress. The fuss and bustle weredisturbing; then when the train had started, she could not helplistening to the noises; then the snow beating on the left window andsticking to the pane, and the sight of the muffled guard passing by,covered with snow on one side, and the conversations about the terriblesnowstorm raging outside, distracted her attention. Farther on, it wascontinually the same again and again: the same shaking and rattling, thesame snow on the window, the same rapid transitions from steaming heatto cold, and back again to heat, the same passing glimpses of the samefigures in the twilight, and the same voices, and Anna began to read andto understand what she read. Annushka was already dozing, the red bag onher lap, clutched by her broad hands, in gloves, of which one was torn.Anna Arkadyevna read and understood, but it was distasteful to her toread, that is, to follow the reflection of other people's lives. She hadtoo great a desire to live herself. If she read that the heroine of thenovel was nursing a sick man, she longed to move with noiseless stepsabout the room of a sick man; if she read of a member of Parliamentmaking a speech, she longed to be delivering the speech; if she read ofhow Lady Mary had ridden after the hounds, and had provoked hersister-in-law, and had surprised everyone by her boldness, she toowished to be doing the same. But there was no chance of doing anything;and twisting the smooth paper knife in her little hands, she forcedherself to read.

  The hero of the novel was already almost reaching his English happiness,a baronetcy and an estate, and Anna was feeling a desire to go with himto the estate, when she suddenly felt that _he_ ought to feel ashamed,and that she was ashamed of the same thing. But what had he to beashamed of? "What have I to be ashamed of?" she asked herself in injuredsurprise. She laid down the book and sank against the back of the chair,tightly gripping the paper cutter in both hands. There was nothing. Shewent over all her Moscow recollections. All were good, pleasant. Sheremembered the ball, remembered Vronsky and his face of slavishadoration, remembered all her conduct with him: there was nothingshameful. And for all that, at the same point in her memories, thefeeling of shame was intensified, as though some inner voice, just atthe point when she thought of Vronsky, were saying to her, "Warm, verywarm, hot." "Well, what is it?" she said to herself resolutely, shiftingher seat in the lounge. "What does it mean? Am I afraid to look itstraight in the face? Why, what is it? Can it be that between me andthis officer boy there exist, or can exist, any other relations thansuch as are common with every acquaintance?" She laughed contemptuouslyand took up her book again; but now she was definitely unable to followwhat she read. She passed the paper knife over the window pane, thenlaid its smooth, cool surface to her cheek, and almost laughed aloud atthe feeling of delight that all at once without cause came over her. Shefelt as though her nerves were strings being strained tighter andtighter on some sort of screwing peg. She felt her eyes opening widerand wider, her fingers and toes twitching nervously, something withinoppressing her breathing, while all shapes and sounds seemed in theuncertain half-light to strike her with unaccustomed vividness. Momentsof doubt were continually coming upon her, when she was uncertainwhether the train were going forwards or backwards, or were standingstill altogether; whether it were Annushka at her side or a stranger."What's that on the arm of the chair, a fur cloak or some beast? Andwhat am I myself? Myself or some other woman?" She was afraid of givingway to this delirium. But something drew her towards it, and she couldyield to it or resist it at will. She got up to rouse herself, andslipped off her plaid and the cape of her warm dress. For a moment sheregained her self-possession, and realized that the thin peasant who hadcome in wearing a long overcoat, with buttons missing from it, was thestoveheater, that he was looking at the thermometer, that it was thewind and snow bursting in after him at the door; but then everythinggrew blurred again.... That peasant with the long waist seemed to begnawing something on the wall, the old lady began stretching her legsthe whole length of the carriage, and filling it with a black cloud;then there was a fearful shrieking and banging, as though someone werebeing torn to pieces; then there was a blinding dazzle of red firebefore her eyes and a wall seemed to rise up and hide everything. Annafelt as though she were sinking down. But it was not terrible, butdelightful. The voice of a man muffled up and covered with snow shoutedsomething in her ear. She got up and pulled herself together; sherealized that they had reached a station and that this was the guard.She asked Annushka to hand her the cape she had taken off and her shawl,put them on and moved towards the door.

  "Do you wish to get out?" asked Annushka.

  "Yes, I want a little air. It's very hot in here." And she opened thedoor. The driving snow and the wind rushed to meet her and struggledwith her over the door. But she enjoyed the struggle.

  She opened the door and went out. The wind seemed as though lying inwait for her; with gleeful whistle it tried to snatch her up and bearher off, but she clung to the cold door post, and holding her skirt gotdown onto the platform and under the shelter of the carriages. The windhad been powerful on the steps, but on the platform, under the lee ofthe carriages, there was a lull. With enjoyment she drew deep breaths ofthe frozen, snowy air, and standing near the carriage looked about theplatform and the lighted station.

 
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