Chapter 28

It was bright and sunny. A fine rain had been falling all the morning, and now it had not long cleared up. The iron roofs, the flags of the sidewalks, the cobbles of the pavements, the wheels and leather, the brass and the tinplate of the carriages - all glistened brightly in the May sunshine. It was three o'clock, and the very liveliest time in the streets.

As she sat in a corner of the comfortable carriage that hardly swayed on its supple springs, while the grays trotted swiftly, in the midst of the unceasing rattle of wheels and the changing impressions in the pure air, Anna ran over the events of the last days, and she saw her position quite differently from what it had seemed at home. Now the thought of death seemed no longer so terrible and so clear to her, and death itself no longer seemed so inevitable. Now she blamed herself for the humiliation to which she had lowered herself. `I entreat him to forgive me. I have given in to him. I have owned myself in fault. What for? Can't I live without him?' And leaving unanswered the question how she was going to live without him, she fell to reading the signs on the shops. `Office and warehouse. Dental surgeon. Yes, I'll tell Dolly all about it. She doesn't like Vronsky. I shall be sick and ashamed, but I'll tell her everything. She loves me, and I'll follow her advice. I won't give in to him; I won't let him train me as he pleases. Filippov, ``Kalaches.' They say he sends his dough to Peterburg. The Moscow water is so good for it. And the wells at Mitishchy, and the pancakes.' And she remembered how, long, long ago, when she was a girl of seventeen, she had gone with her aunt to Troitsa. `By horses at that time. Was that really me, with red hands? How much of that which seemed to me then splendid and out of reach has become worthless, while what I had then has gone out of my reach forever! Could I ever have believed then that I could come to such humiliation? How proud and satisfied he will be when he gets my note! But I will show him.... How horrid that paint smells! Why is it they're always painting and building? Modes et robes!' she read. A man bowed to her. It was Annushka's husband. `Our parasites,' - she remembered how Vronsky had said that. `Our? Why our? What's so awful is that one can't tear up the past by its roots. One can't tear it out, but one can hide one's memory of it. And I'll hide it.' And then she thought of her past with Alexei Alexandrovich, of how she had blotted it out of her memory. `Dolly will think I'm leaving my second husband, and so I certainly must be in the wrong. As if I cared to be right! I can't help it!' she said, and she wanted to cry. But at once she fell to wondering what those two girls could be smiling about. `Love, most likely. They don't know how dreary it is, how low.... The boulevard and the children. Three boys running, playing at horses. Seriozha! And I'm losing everything and not getting him back. Yes, I'm losing everything, if he doesn't return. Perhaps he was late for the train and has come back by now. Longing for humiliation again!' she said to herself. `No, I'll go to Dolly, and say straight out to her: I'm unhappy, I deserve this, I'm to blame, but still I'm unhappy, help me. These horses, this carriage - how loathsome I am to myself in this carriage - all his; but I won't see them again.'

Thinking over the words in which she would tell Dolly, and intentionally working her heart up to great bitterness, Anna went upstairs.

`Is there anyone with her?' she asked in the hall.

`Katerina Alexandrovna Levina,' answered the footman.

`Kitty! Kitty, whom Vronsky was in love with!' thought Anna. `The girl he thinks of with love. He's sorry he didn't marry her. But me he thinks of with hatred, and is sorry he had anything to do with me.'

The sisters were having a consultation about nursing when Anna called. Dolly went down alone to see the visitor who had interrupted their conversation.

`Well, so you've not gone away yet? I meant to have come to you,' she said; `I had a letter from Stiva today.'

`We had a telegram too,' answered Anna, looking round for Kitty.

`He writes that he can't make out quite what Alexei Alexandrovich wants, but he won't go away without a decisive answer.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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