Chapter 3

`You met him?' she asked, when they had sat down at the table in the lamplight. `You're punished, you see, for being late.'

`Yes; but how was it? Wasn't he to be at the Council?'

`He had been and come back, and was going out somewhere again. But that doesn't matter. Don't talk about it. Where have you been? With the Prince still?'

She knew every detail of his existence. He was going to say that he had been up all night and had dropped asleep, but looking at her thrilled and rapturous face, he was ashamed. And he said he had had to report on the Prince's departure.

`But it's over now? He is gone?'

`Thank God it's over! You wouldn't believe how insufferable it's been for me.'

`Why so? Isn't it the life all of you - all young men - always lead?' she said, knitting her brows; and, taking up the crochet work that was lying on the table, she began drawing the hook out of it, without looking at Vronsky.

`I gave that life up long ago,' said he, wondering at the change in her face, and trying to divine its meaning. `And I confess,' he said, with a smile, showing his thick, white teeth, `this week I've been, as it were, looking at myself in a glass, seeing that life, and I didn't like it.'

She held the work in her hands, but did not crochet, and looked at him with strange, shining, and hostile eyes.

`This morning Liza came to see me - they're not afraid to call on me, in spite of the Countess Lidia Ivanovna,' she put in - `and she told me about your Athenian evening. How loathsome!'

`I was just going to say...'

She interrupted him.

`It was that Thérèse you used to know?'

`I was just saying...'

`How disgusting you are, you men! How is it you can't understand that a woman can never forget that,' she said, getting more and more angry, and so letting him see the cause of her irritation, `especially a woman who cannot know your life? What do I know? What have I ever known?' she said. `Only what you tell me. And how do I know whether you tell me the truth?...'

`Anna, you hurt me. Don't you trust me? Haven't I told you that I haven't a thought I wouldn't lay bare to you?'

`Yes, yes,' she said, evidently trying to suppress her jealous thoughts. `But if only you knew how wretched I am! I believe you, I believe you.... What were you saying?'

But he could not at once recall what he had been going to say. These fits of jealousy, which of late had been more and more frequent with her, horrified him, and however much he tried to disguise the fact, made him feel cold to her, although he knew the cause of her jealousy was her love for him. How often he had told himself that her love was happiness; and now she loved him as a woman can love when love has outweighed for her all the good things of life - and he was much further from happiness than when he had followed her from Moscow. Then he had thought himself unhappy, but happiness was before him; now he felt that the best happiness was already left behind. She was utterly unlike what

  By PanEris using Melati.

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