`Ah!' said Vronsky, with sympathy. `Let's go in.'

And with the habit common among Russians, instead of saying in Russian what he wanted to keep from the servants, he began to speak in French.

`Do you know Madame Karenina? We are traveling together. I am going to see her now,' he said in French, carefully scrutinizing Golenishchev's face.

`Ah, I did not know' (though he did know), Golenishchev answered carelessly. `Have you been here long?' he added.

`Three days,' Vronsky answered, once more scrutinizing his friend's face intently.

`Yes, he's a decent fellow, and will look at the thing properly,' Vronsky said to himself, catching the significance of Golenishchev's face and the change of subject. `I can introduce him to Anna - he looks at it properly.'

During the three months that Vronsky had spent abroad with Anna, he had always on meeting new people asked himself how the new person would look at his relations with Anna, and for the most part, in men, he had met with the `proper' way of looking at it. But if he had been asked, and those who looked at it `properly' had been asked exactly how they did look at it, both he and they would have been greatly puzzled to answer.

In reality, those who in Vronsky's opinion had the `proper' view had no sort of view at all, but behaved in general as well-bred persons do behave in regard to all the complex and insoluble problems with which life is encompassed on all sides; they behaved with propriety, avoiding allusions and unpleasant questions. They assumed an air of fully comprehending the import and force of the situation, of accepting and even approving of it, but of considering it superfluous and uncalled-for to put all this into words.

Vronsky at once divined that Golenishchev was of this class, and therefore was doubly pleased to see him. And, in fact, Golenishchev's manner to Madame Karenina, when he was taken to call on her, was all that Vronsky could have desired. Obviously without the slightest effort he steered clear of all subjects which might lead to embarrassment.

He had never met Anna before, and was struck by her beauty, and, still more, by the naturalness with which she accepted her position. She blushed when Vronsky brought in Golenishchev, and he was extremely charmed by this childish blush overspreading her candid and handsome face. But what he liked particularly was the way in which at once, as though on purpose, so that there might be no misunderstanding with an outsider, she called Vronsky simply Alexei, and said they were moving into a house they had just taken - what was here called a palazzo. Golenishchev liked this direct and simple attitude to her own position. Looking at Anna's manner of simplehearted, spirited gaiety, and knowing Alexei Alexandrovich and Vronsky, Golenishchev fancied that he understood her perfectly. He fancied that he understood what she was utterly unable to understand: how it was that, having made her husband wretched, having abandoned him and her son and lost her good name, she yet felt full of spirits, gaiety, and happiness.

`It's in the guidebook,' said Golenishchev, referring to the palazzo Vronsky had taken. `There's a first-rate Tintoretto there. One of his latest period.'

`I tell you what: it's a lovely day, let's go and have another look at it,' said Vronsky, addressing Anna.

`I shall be very glad to; I'll go and put on my hat. Would you say it's hot?' she said, stopping short in the doorway and looking inquiringly at Vronsky. And again a vivid flush overspread her face.

Vronsky saw from her eyes that she did not know on what terms he cared to be with Golenishchev, and so was afraid of not behaving as he would wish.

He bestowed a long, tender look at her.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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