Next day Betsy herself came to him in the morning, and announced that she had heard through Oblonsky, as a positive fact, that Alexei Alexandrovich had agreed to a divorce, and that therefore Vronsky could see Anna.

Without even troubling himself to see Betsy out of his flat, forgetting all his resolutions, without asking when he could see her or where her husband was, Vronsky drove straight to the Karenins'. He ran up the stairs, seeing no one and nothing, and with a rapid step, almost breaking into a run, he went into her room. And without considering, without noticing whether there was anyone in the room or not, he flung his arms round her, and began to cover with kisses her face, her hands, her neck.

Anna had been preparing herself for this meeting, had thought what she would say to him, but she did not succeed in saying anything; his passion mastered her. She tried to calm him, to calm herself, but it was too late. His feeling infected her. Her lips trembled so that for a long while she could say nothing.

`Yes, you have conquered me, and I am yours,' she said at last, pressing his hands to her bosom.

`So it had to be,' he said. `So long as we live, it must be so. I know it now.'

`That's true,' she said, getting whiter and whiter, and embracing his head. `Still, there is something terrible in it after all that has happened.'

`It will all pass, it will all pass; we shall be so happy. Our love, if it only could be stronger, will be strengthened by there being something terrible in it,' he said, lifting his head and showing his strong teeth in a smile.

And she could not but respond with a smile - not to his words, but to the love in his eyes. She took his hand and stroked her chilled cheeks and cropped head with it.

`I don't know you with this short hair. You've grown so pretty. A boy. But how pale you are!'

`Yes, I'm very weak,' she said, smiling. And her lips began trembling again.

`We'll go to Italy; you will get strong,' he said.

`Can it be possible we could be like husband and wife, alone, our own family?' she said, looking close into his eyes.

`It only seems strange to me that it can ever have been otherwise.'

`Stiva says that he has agreed to everything, but I can't accept his magnanimity,' she said, looking dreamily past Vronsky's face. `I don't want a divorce; it's all the same to me now. Only I don't know what he will decide about Seriozha.'

He could not conceive how at this moment of their meeting she could remember and think of her son, of divorce. What did it all matter?

`Don't speak of that, don't think of it,' he said, turning her hand in his, and trying to draw her attention to him; but still she did not look at him.

`Oh, why didn't I die! It would have been better,' she said, and, without sobbing, tears flowed down both her cheeks; but she tried to smile, so as not to wound him.

To decline the flattering and dangerous appointment at Tashkend would have been, Vronsky had till then considered, disgraceful and impossible. But now, without an instant's consideration, he declined it, and observing dissatisfaction in the upper quarters at this step, he immediately retired from the army.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.