Chapter 27

`He has gone! It is the end!' Anna said to herself, standing at the window; and in answer to this question the impression of the darkness when the candle had flickered out and of her fearful dream, mingling into one, filled her heart with cold terror.

`No, that cannot be!' she cried, and crossing the room she rang the bell. She was afraid now of being alone, that, without waiting for the servant to come in, she went out to meet him.

`Inquire where the Count has gone,' she said.

The servant answered that the Count had gone to the stable.

`His Honor left word that if you cared to drive out, the carriage would be back immediately.'

`Very good. Wait a minute. I'll write a note at once. Send Mikhail with the note to the stables. Make haste.'

She sat down and wrote:

`I was wrong. Come back home; I must explain. For God's sake come! I'm afraid.'

She sealed it up and gave it to the servant.

She was afraid of being left alone now; she followed the servant out of the room, and went to the nursery.

`Why, this isn't it - this isn't he! Where are his blue eyes, his sweet, shy smile?' was her first thought when she saw her chubby, rosy little girl, with her black, curly hair, instead of Seriozha, whom in the tangle of her ideas she had expected to see in the nursery. The little girl sitting at the table was obstinately and violently battering on it with a cork, and staring aimlessly at her mother with her pitch-black eyes. Answering the English nurse that she was quite well, and that she was going to the country tomorrow, Anna sat down by the little girl and began spinning the cork to show her. But the child's loud, ringing laugh, and the motion of her eyebrows, recalled Vronsky so vividly that she got up hurriedly, restraining her sobs, and went away. `Can it be all over? No, it cannot be!' she thought. `He will come back. But how can he explain that smile, that excitement after he had been talking to her? But even if he doesn't explain, I will believe. If I don't believe, there's only one thing left for me... and I can't do it.'

She looked at her watch. Twenty minutes had passed. `By now he has received the note and is coming back. Not long, ten minutes more.... But what if he doesn't come? No, that cannot be. He mustn't see me with tear-stained eyes. I'll go and wash. Yes, yes; did I do my hair or not?' she asked herself. And she could not remember. She felt her head with her hand. `Yes, my hair has been done, but when I did it I can't in the least remember.' She could not believe the evidence of her hand, and went up to the pier glass to see whether she really had done her hair. She certainly had, but she could not think when she had done it. `Who's that?' she thought, looking in the looking glass at the swollen face with strangely glittering eyes, that looked in a scared way at her. `Why, it's I!' she suddenly understood, and, looking round, she seemed all at once to feel his kisses on her, and twitched her shoulders, shuddering. Then she lifted her hand to her lips and kissed it.

`What is it? Why, I'm going out of my mind!' And she went into her bedroom, where Annushka was tidying the room.

`Annushka,' she said, coming to a standstill before her, and she stared at the maid, not knowing what to say to her.

`You meant to go and see Darya Alexandrovna,' said the maid, as though she understood.

`Darya Alexandrovna? Yes, I'll go.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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