For the first minute it seemed to her unsuitable for Anna to be on horseback. The conception of riding on horseback for a lady was, in Darva Alexandrovna's mind, associated with ideas of youthful flirtation and frivolity, which, in her opinion, was unbecoming in Anna's position. But when she had scrutinized her, seeing her closer, she was at once reconciled to her riding. In spite of her elegance, everything was so simple, quiet and dignified in the attitude, the dress and the movements of Anna, that nothing could have been more natural.
By the side of Anna, on a hot-looking gray cavalry horse, was Vassenka Veslovsky in his Scotch cap with floating ribbons, his stout legs stretched out in front, obviously pleased with his own appearance. Darya Alexandrovna could not suppress a good-humored smile as she recognized him. Behind rode Vronsky on a dark bay mare, obviously heated from galloping. He was holding her in, pulling at the reins.
After him rode a little man in the dress of a jockey. Sviiazhsky and Princess Varvara in a new charabanc with a big, raven-black trotting horse, overtook the party on horseback.
Anna's face suddenly beamed with a joyful smile at the instant when, in the little figure huddled in a corner of the old carriage, she recognized Dolly. She uttered a cry, started in the saddle, and set her horse into a gallop. On reaching the carriage she jumped off without assistance, and, holding up her riding habit, she ran up to greet Dolly.
`I thought it was you and dared not think it. How delightful! You can't fancy how glad I am!' she said, at one moment pressing her face against Dolly and kissing her, and at the next holding her off and examining her with a smile. `Here's a delightful surprise, Alexei!' she said, looking round at Vronsky, who had dismounted, and was walking toward them.
Vronsky, taking off his tall gray hat, went up to Dolly.
`You wouldn't believe how glad we are to see you,' he said, giving peculiar significance to the words, and showing his strong white teeth in a smile.
Vassenka Veslovsky, without getting off his horse, took off his cap and greeted the visitor by gleefully waving the ribbons over his head.
`That's Princess Varvara,' Anna said in reply to a glance of inquiry from Dolly as the charabanc drove up.
`Ah!' said Darya Alexandrovna, and unconsciously her face betrayed her dissatisfaction.
Princess Varvara was her husband's aunt, and she had long known her, and did not respect her. She knew that Princess Varvara had passed her whole life toadying to her rich relations, but that she should now be sponging on Vronsky, a man who was nothing to her, mortified Dolly on account of her kinship with her husband. Anna noticed Dolly's expression, and was disconcerted by it. She blushed, dropped her riding habit, and stumbled over it.
Darya Alexandrovna went up to the charabanc and coldly greeted Princess Varvara. Sviiazhsky, too, she knew. He inquired how his queer friend with the young wife was, and running his eyes over the ill- matched horses and the carriage with its patched mudguards, proposed to the ladies that they should get into the charabanc.
`And I'll get in this vehicle,' he said. `The horse is quiet, and the Princess drives capitally.'
`No, stay as you were,' said Anna, coming up, `and we'll go in the carriage,' and, taking Dolly's arm, she drew her away.
Darya Alexandrovna's eyes were fairly dazzled by the elegant carriage of a pattern she had never seen before, the splendid horses, and the elegant and gorgeous people surrounding her. But what struck her
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