`Ah, the young man! He's grown. Really, he's getting quite a man. How are you, young man?'

And he gave his hand to the scared child.

Seriozha had been shy of his father before, and now, ever since Alexei Alexandrovich had taken to calling him `young man,' and since that insolvable question had occurred to him as to whether Vronsky were friend or foe, he avoided his father. He looked round toward his mother, as though seeking refuge. It was only with his mother that he was at ease. Meanwhile, Alexei Alexandrovich was holding his son by the shoulder, while he was speaking to the governess, and Seriozha was so miserably uncomfortable that Anna saw he was on the point of tears.

Anna, who had flushed a little the instant her son had come in, noticing that Seriozha was uncomfortable, got up hurriedly, took Alexei Alexandrovich's hand from her son's shoulder, and, kissing the boy, led him out onto the terrace, and quickly came back.

`It's time to start, though,' said she, glancing at her watch. `How is it Betsy doesn't come?...'

`Yes,' said Alexei Alexandrovich, and, getting up, he folded his hands and cracked his fingers. `I've come to bring you some money, too - for nightingales, we know, can't live on fairy tales,' he said. `You want it, I expect?'

`No, I don't... Yes, I do,' she said, without looking at him, and crimsoning to the roots of her hair. `But you'll come back here after the races, I suppose?'

`Oh, yes!' answered Alexei Alexandrovich. `And here's the glory of Peterhof - Princess Tverskaia,' he added, looking out of the window at the English harnessed carriage, with the tiny seats placed extremely high. `What elegance! Charming! Well, let us be starting too, then.'

Princess Tverskaia did not get out of her carriage, but her liveryman, in spatterdashes, a cape and black high hat, jumped off at the entrance.

`I'm going; good-by!' said Anna, and, kissing her son, she went up to Alexei Alexandrovich and held out her hand to him. `It was ever so lovely of you to come.'

Alexei Alexandrovich kissed her hand.

`Well, au revoir, then! You'll come back for some tea - that'll be delightful!' she said, and went out, radiant and gay. But as soon as he was out of sight, she became aware of the spot on her hand that his lips had touched, and she shuddered with repulsion.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
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.