resolution from the remotest corner of his brain, and mastered it thoroughly. Its meaning ran: `If it's a trick, then calm contempt and departure. If truth, do what is seemly.'
The porter opened the door before Alexei Alexandrovich rang. The porter, Kapitonich, looked queer in an old coat, without a tie, and in slippers.
`How is your mistress?'
`She was confined yesterday, successfully.'
Alexei Alexandrovich stopped short and turned white. He felt distinctly now how intensely he had longed for her death.
`And how is she?'
Kornei in his morning apron ran downstairs.
`Very ill,' he answered. `There was a consultation yesterday, and the doctor's here now.'
`Take my things,' said Alexei Alexandrovich, and, feeling some relief at the news that there was still hope of her death, he went into the hall.
On the hatstand there was a military overcoat. Alexei Alexandrovich noticed it and asked:
`Who is here?'
`The doctor, the midwife, and Count Vronsky.'
Alexei Alexandrovich went into the inner rooms.
In the drawing room there was no one; at the sound of his steps the midwife came out of Anna's boudoir, in a cap with lilac ribbons.
She went up to Alexei Alexandrovich, and with the familiarity given by the approach of death took him by the arm and drew him toward the bedroom.
`Thank God you've come! She keeps on talking about you, and nothing but you,' she said.
`Make haste with the ice!' the doctor's peremptory voice came from the bedroom.
Alexei Alexandrovich went into the boudoir. At her table, sitting sideways in a low chair, was Vronsky, his face hidden in his hands, weeping. He jumped up at the doctor's voice, took his hands from his face, and saw Alexei Alexandrovich. Seeing the husband, he was so overwhelmed that he sat down again, drawing his head into his shoulders, as if he wanted to disappear; but he made an effort over himself, got up and said:
`She is dying. The doctors say there is no hope. I am entirely in your power, only let me be here... though I am at your disposal. I...'
Alexei Alexandrovich, seeing Vronsky's tears, felt a rush of that nervous emotion always produced in him by the sight of other people's sufferings, and, turning away his face, he moved hurriedly to the door, without hearing the rest of the words. From the bedroom came the sound of Anna's voice saying something. Her voice was lively, animated, with exceedingly distinct intonations. Alexei Alexandrovich went into the bedroom, and walked up to the bed. She was lying with her face turned toward him. Her cheeks were flushed crimson, her eyes glittered, her little white hands thrust out from the cuffs of her dressing gown were playing with the quilt, twisting it about. It seemed as though she were not only well and blooming,
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