`I think' said Anna, playing with the glove she had taken off, `I think... if there are as many minds as there are heads, then surely there must be as many kinds of love as there are hearts.'

Vronsky was gazing at Anna, and with a heart sinking was waiting for what she would say. He sighed as after a danger escaped when she had uttered these words.

Anna suddenly turned to him.

`Oh, I have had a letter from Moscow. They write me that Kitty Shcherbatskaia's very ill.'

`Really?' said Vronsky, knitting his brows.

Anna looked sternly at him.

`That doesn't interest you?'

`On the contrary, it does - very much. What is it, exactly, that they write you, if may know?' he asked.

Anna got up and went to Betsy.

`Give me a cup of tea,' she said, pausing behind her chair.

While Betsy was pouring out the tea, Vronsky walked up to Anna.

`What is it they write you?' he repeated.

`I often think men have no understanding of what is dishonorable, though they're forever talking of it,' said Anna, without answering him. `I've wanted to tell you something for a long while,' she added, and, moving a few steps away, she sat down at a corner table which held albums.

`I don't quite understand the significance of your words,' he said, handing her the cup.

She glanced towards the sofa beside her, and he instantly sat down.

`Yes, I've wanted to tell you,' she said, without looking at him. `Your action was wrong - wrong, very wrong.'

`Do you suppose I don't know that I've acted wrongly? But who was the cause of my doing so?'

`Why do you say that to me?' she said looking at him sternly.

`You know why,' he answered, boldly and joyously, meeting her glance and without dropping his eyes.

It was not he, but she, who became confused.

`That merely proves you have no heart,' she said. But her eyes said that she knew he had a heart, and that was why she was afraid of him.

`What you spoke of just now was a mistake, and not love.'

`Remember that I have forbidden you to utter that word, that detestable word,' said Anna, with a shudder. But at once she felt that by that very word `forbidden' she had shown that she acknowledged certain rights over him, and by that very fact was encouraging him to speak of love. `I have long meant to tell you this,' she went on, looking resolutely into his eyes, and all aflame from the burning flush on her cheeks. `I've come here purposely this evening, knowing I should meet you. I have come to tell you that this must end. I have never blushed before anyone, and you force me to feel guilty of something.'

He looked at her and was struck by a new spiritual beauty in her face.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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