Anna karenina, p.30
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       Anna Karenina, p.30

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 30

  The raging tempest rushed whistling between the wheels of the carriages,about the scaffolding, and round the corner of the station. Thecarriages, posts, people, everything that was to be seen was coveredwith snow on one side, and was getting more and more thickly covered.For a moment there would come a lull in the storm, but then it wouldswoop down again with such onslaughts that it seemed impossible to standagainst it. Meanwhile men ran to and fro, talking merrily together,their steps crackling on the platform as they continually opened andclosed the big doors. The bent shadow of a man glided by at her feet,and she heard sounds of a hammer upon iron. "Hand over that telegram!"came an angry voice out of the stormy darkness on the other side. "Thisway! No. 28!" several different voices shouted again, and muffledfigures ran by covered with snow. Two gentlemen with lighted cigarettespassed by her. She drew one more deep breath of the fresh air, and hadjust put her hand out of her muff to take hold of the door post and getback into the carriage, when another man in a military overcoat, quiteclose beside her, stepped between her and the flickering light of thelamp post. She looked round, and the same instant recognized Vronsky'sface. Putting his hand to the peak of his cap, he bowed to her andasked, Was there anything she wanted? Could he be of any service to her?She gazed rather a long while at him without answering, and, in spite ofthe shadow in which he was standing, she saw, or fancied she saw, boththe expression of his face and his eyes. It was again that expression ofreverential ecstasy which had so worked upon her the day before. Morethan once she had told herself during the past few days, and again onlya few moments before, that Vronsky was for her only one of the hundredsof young men, forever exactly the same, that are met everywhere, thatshe would never allow herself to bestow a thought upon him. But now atthe first instant of meeting him, she was seized by a feeling of joyfulpride. She had no need to ask why he had come. She knew as certainly asif he had told her that he was here to be where she was.

  "I didn't know you were going. What are you coming for?" she said,letting fall the hand with which she had grasped the door post. Andirrepressible delight and eagerness shone in her face.

  "What am I coming for?" he repeated, looking straight into her eyes."You know that I have come to be where you are," he said; "I can't helpit."

  At that moment the wind, as it were, surmounting all obstacles, sent thesnow flying from the carriage roofs, and clanked some sheet of iron ithad torn off, while the hoarse whistle of the engine roared in front,plaintively and gloomily. All the awfulness of the storm seemed to hermore splendid now. He had said what her soul longed to hear, though shefeared it with her reason. She made no answer, and in her face he sawconflict.

  "Forgive me, if you dislike what I said," he said humbly.

  He had spoken courteously, deferentially, yet so firmly, so stubbornly,that for a long while she could make no answer.

  "It's wrong, what you say, and I beg you, if you're a good man, toforget what you've said, as I forget it," she said at last.

  "Not one word, not one gesture of yours shall I, could I, everforget..."

  "Enough, enough!" she cried trying assiduously to give a sternexpression to her face, into which he was gazing greedily. And clutchingat the cold door post, she clambered up the steps and got rapidly intothe corridor of the carriage. But in the little corridor she paused,going over in her imagination what had happened. Though she could notrecall her own words or his, she realized instinctively that themomentary conversation had brought them fearfully closer; and she waspanic-stricken and blissful at it. After standing still a few seconds,she went into the carriage and sat down in her place. The overstrainedcondition which had tormented her before did not only come back, but wasintensified, and reached such a pitch that she was afraid every minutethat something would snap within her from the excessive tension. She didnot sleep all night. But in that nervous tension, and in the visionsthat filled her imagination, there was nothing disagreeable or gloomy:on the contrary there was something blissful, glowing, and exhilarating.Towards morning Anna sank into a doze, sitting in her place, and whenshe waked it was daylight and the train was near Petersburg. At oncethoughts of home, of husband and of son, and the details of that day andthe following came upon her.

  At Petersburg, as soon as the train stopped and she got out, the firstperson that attracted her attention was her husband. "Oh, mercy! why dohis ears look like that?" she thought, looking at his frigid andimposing figure, and especially the ears that struck her at the momentas propping up the brim of his round hat. Catching sight of her, he cameto meet her, his lips falling into their habitual sarcastic smile, andhis big, tired eyes looking straight at her. An unpleasant sensationgripped at her heart when she met his obstinate and weary glance, asthough she had expected to see him different. She was especially struckby the feeling of dissatisfaction with herself that she experienced onmeeting him. That feeling was an intimate, familiar feeling, like aconsciousness of hypocrisy, which she experienced in her relations withher husband. But hitherto she had not taken note of the feeling, now shewas clearly and painfully aware of it.

  "Yes, as you see, your tender spouse, as devoted as the first year aftermarriage, burned with impatience to see you," he said in his deliberate,high-pitched voice, and in that tone which he almost always took withher, a tone of jeering at anyone who should say in earnest what he said.

  "Is Seryozha quite well?" she asked.

  "And is this all the reward," said he, "for my ardor? He's quitewell..."

 

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