eBooks Cube
 
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 the roads, the flints of the pavements, the wheels and
leather, the brass and the tinplate of the carriages--all
glistened brightly in the May sunshine. It was three o'clock,
and the very liveliest time in the streets.

As she sat in a corner of the comfortable carriage, that hardly
swayed on its supple springs, while the grays trotted swiftly, in
the midst of the unceasing rattle of wheels and the changing
impressions in the pure air, Anna ran over the events of the last
days, and she saw her position quite differently from how it had
seemed at home. Now the thought of death seemed no longer so
terrible and so clear to her, and death itself no longer seemed
so inevitable. Now she blamed herself for the humiliation to
which she had lowered herself. "I entreat him to forgive me. 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 she was going to live without him, she fell to reading the
signs on the shops. "Office and warehouse. Dental surgeon.
Yes, I'll tell Dolly all about it. She doesn't like Vronsky. I
shall be sick and ashamed, but I'll tell her. She loves me, and
I'll follow her advice. I won't give in to him; I won't let him
train me as he pleases. Filippov, bun shop. They say they send
their dough to Petersburg. The Moscow water is so good for it.
Ah, the springs at Mitishtchen, and the pancakes!"

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

Thinking over the words in which she would tell Dolly, and
mentally working 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 girl he thinks of with love. He's sorry he didn't marry
her. But me he thinks of 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 their conversation.

"Well, so you've not gone away yet? I meant to have come to
you," she said; "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
Alexandrovitch wants, 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. She has 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 has hopes," 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 Anna when she was alone. "Perhaps she's right, too. But
it's not for her, the girl 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 by any decent woman. I knew that
from the first moment I sacrificed everything to him. And this
is my reward! Oh, how I hate him! And what did I come here for?
I'm worse here, more miserable." She heard from the next room
the sisters' voices in consultation. "And what am I going to say
to Dolly now? Amuse Kitty by the sight of my wretchedness,
submit to her patronizing? No; and besides, Dolly wouldn't
understand. And it would be no good my telling her. It would
only be interesting to see Kitty, to show her how I despise
everyone and everything, how nothing matters to me now."

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

"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, looking
inquisitively at Anna. She had never seen her in such a
strangely irritable condition. "When are you going away?" she
asked.

Anna, half-closing her eyes, looked straight before her and did
not answer.

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

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

Hearing that Anna had called, Kitty had wanted not to appear, but
Dolly persuaded 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 her antagonism to this bad woman and her desire to be
nice to her. But as soon as she saw Anna's lovely and attractive
face, all feeling of antagonism disappeared.

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

Kitty felt that Anna was looking at her with hostile eyes. She
ascribed this hostility to the awkward position in which Anna,
who had once patronized 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 was
obvious 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 have heard so much of you from everyone, even from your
husband. He came to see me, and I liked him exceedingly," she
said, unmistakably with malicious 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 her eyes.

"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!"
said Kitty, when she was alone with her sister. "But there's
something piteous about her. Awfully piteous!"

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



Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Category:
Fiction - Russian literature
Nabou.com: the big site