`But perhaps I am wrong - perhaps it was not so?' And again she recalled all she had seen.
`Kitty, what is it?' said Countess Nordstone, stepping noiselessly over the carpet toward her. `I don't understand it.'
Kitty's lower lip began to quiver; she got up quickly.
`Kitty, you're not dancing the mazurka?'
`No, no,' said Kitty in a voice shaking with tears.
`He asked her for the mazurka in my presence,' said Countess Nordstone, knowing Kitty would understand who he and her were. `She said: ``Why, aren't you going to dance it with Princess Shcherbatskaia?'''
`Oh, it doesn't matter to me!' answered Kitty.
No one but she herself understood her position; no one knew that she had refused yesterday the man whom perhaps she loved, and refused him because she had put her faith in another.
Countess Nordstone found Korsunsky, with whom she was to dance the mazurka, and told him to ask Kitty.
Kitty danced in the first couple, and luckily for her she had not to talk because Korsunsky was all the time running about, overseeing his demesne. Vronsky and Anna were sitting almost opposite her. She saw them with her farsighted eyes, and saw them, too, close by when they met in the figures, and the more she saw of them the more convinced was she that her unhappiness was consummated. She saw that they felt themselves alone in this crowded room. And on Vronsky's face, always so firm and independent, she saw the look that had struck her, of bewilderment and humble submissiveness, like the expression of an intelligent dog when it has done wrong.
Anna smiled - and her smile was reflected by him. She grew thoughtful - and he became serious. Some supernatural force drew Kitty's eyes to Anna's face. She was charming in her simple black dress; charming were her round arms with their bracelets; charming was her firm neck with its thread of pearls; charming the straying curls of her loose hair; charming the graceful, light movements of her little feet and hands, charming was that lovely face in its animation - yet there was something terrible and cruel in her charm.
Kitty admired her more than ever, and more and more acute did her suffering grow. Kitty felt crushed, and her face showed it. When Vronsky caught sight of her, coming upon her in the mazurka, he did not at once recognize her, so changed was she.
`Delightful ball!' he said to her, merely for the sake of saying something.
`Yes,' she answered.
In the middle of the mazurka, repeating a complicated figure, newly invented by Korsunsky, Anna came forward into the center of the circle, chose two gentlemen, and summoned Kitty and another lady. Kitty gazed at her in dismay as she went up. Anna looked at her with drooping eyelids, and smiled, pressing her hand. But, noticing that Kitty only responded to her smile by a look of despair and amazement, she turned away from her, and began gaily talking to the other lady.
`Yes, there is something uncanny, devilish and charming about her,' said Kitty to herself.
Anna did not want to stay for supper, but the master of the house began urging her.
`Nonsense, Anna Arkadyevna,' said Korsunsky placing her bare hand upon his coat sleeve. `I've such an idea for a cotillon! Un bijou!'
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|