Chapter 29

Everyone was loudly expressing disapprobation, everyone was repeating a phrase someone had uttered: `The lions and gladiators will be the next thing,' and everyone was feeling horrified; so that when Vronsky fell to the ground, and Anna moaned aloud, there was nothing very much out of the way in it. But afterward a change came over Anna's face which really went beyond decorum. She utterly lost her head. She began fluttering like a caged bird, at one moment wanting to get up and move away, and at the next turning to Betsy.

`Let us go, let us go!' she said.

But Betsy did not hear her. She was bending down, talking to a general who had come up to her.

Alexei Alexandrovich went up to Anna and courteously offered her his arm.

`Let us go, if you like,' he said in French, but Anna was listening to the general and did not notice her husband.

`He's broken his leg too, so they say,' the general was saying. `This surpasses everything.'

Without answering her husband, Anna lifted her opera glass and gazed toward the place where Vronsky had fallen; but it was so far off, and there was such a crowd of people about it, that she could make out nothing. She put down the opera glass, and would have moved away, but at that moment an officer galloped up and made some announcement to the Czar. Anna craned forward, listening.

`Stiva! Stiva!' she cried to her brother.

But her brother did not hear her. Again she would have moved away.

`Once more I offer you my arm if you want to be going,' said Alexei Alexandrovich, reaching for her hand.

She drew back from him with aversion, and without looking at his face answered:

`No, no, leave me alone - I'll stay.'

She saw now that from the place of Vronsky's accident an officer was running across the course toward the pavilion. Betsy waved her handkerchief to him. The officer brought the news that the rider was not killed, but that the back of the horse had been broken.

On hearing this Anna sat down hurriedly, and hid her face in her fan. Alexei Alexandrovich saw that she was weeping, and could not control her tears, nor even the sobs that were shaking her bosom. Alexei Alexandrovich stood so as to screen her, giving her time to recover herself.

`For the third time I offer you my arm,' he said to her after a short interval, turning to her. Anna gazed at him and did not know what to say. Princess Betsy came to her rescue.

`No, Alexei Alexandrovich; I brought Anna and I promised to take her home,' put in Betsy.

`Excuse me, Princess,' he said smiling courteously, but looking her very firmly in the face, `but I see that Anna's not very well, and I wish her to come home with me.'

Anna looked about her in a frightened way, got up submissively, and laid her hand on her husband's arm.

`I'll send to him and find out, and let you know,' Betsy whispered to her.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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