of their souls, turning a light upon them, as it were. But there was nothing interesting in them, and she pursued her thought.

`Yes, I'm very much worried, and that's why reason was given me, to escape; so then, one must escape: why not put out the light when there's nothing more to look at, when it's sickening to look at it all? But how? Why did the conductor run along the footboard, why are they shrieking, those young men in that train? Why are they talking, why are they laughing? It's all falsehood, all lying, all humbug, all cruelty!...'

When the train came into the station, Anna got out into the crowd of passengers, and moving apart from them as if they were lepers, she stood on the platform, trying to think what she had come here for, and what she meant to do. Everything that had seemed to her possible before was now so difficult to consider, especially in this noisy crowd of hideous people who would not leave her alone. At one moment porters ran up to her proffering their services, then young men clacking their heels on the planks of the platform and talking loudly, stared at her, then people meeting her dodged past on the wrong side. Remembering that she had meant to go on farther if there was no answer, she stopped a porter and asked if her coachman were not here with a note from Count Vronsky.

`Count Vronsky? They sent up here from the Vronskys just this minute, to meet Princess Sorokina and her daughter. And what is the coachman like?'

Just as she was talking to the porter, the coachman Mikhail, red and cheerful in his smart blue coat and chain, evidently proud of having so successfully performed his commission, came up to her and gave her a letter. She broke it open, and her heart ached before she had read it.

`I am very sorry your note did not reach me. I will be home at ten,' Vronsky had written carelessly.

`Yes, that's what I expected!' she said to herself with an evil smile.

`Very good, you can go home now,' she said softly, addressing Mikhail. She spoke softly because the rapidity of her heart's beating hindered her breathing. `No, I won't let Thee make me miserable,' she thought menacingly, addressing not him, not herself, but the power that made her suffer, and she walked along the platform.

Two maidservants walking along the platform turned their heads, staring at her and making some remarks about her dress. `Real,' they said of the lace she was wearing. The young men would not leave her in peace. Again they passed by, peering into her face, and with a laugh shouting something in an unnatural voice. The stationmaster coming up asked her whether she was going by the train. A boy selling kvass never took his eyes off her. `My God! Where am I to go?' she thought, going farther and farther along the platform. At the end she stopped. Some ladies and children, who had come to meet a gentleman in spectacles, paused in their loud laughter and talking, and stared at her as she reached them. She quickened her pace and walked away from them to the edge of the platform. A goods train was coming in. The platform began to sway, and she fancied she was in the train again.

And all at once she thought of the man crushed by the train the day she had first met Vronsky, and she knew what she had to do. With a rapid, light step she went down the steps that led from the platform to the rails and stopped quite near the approaching train. She looked at the lower part of the carriages, at the screws and chains, and the tall cast-iron wheel of the first carriage slowly moving up, and tried to measure the middle between the front and back wheels, and the very minute when that middle point would be opposite her.

`There,' she said to herself, looking into the shadow of the carriage, at the sand and coal dust which covered the sleepers - `there, in the very middle, and I will punish him and escape from everyone and from myself.'

She tried to fling herself below the wheels of the first car as it reached her; but the red bag which she tried to drop out of her hand delayed her, and she was too late; she missed the middle of the car. She

  By PanEris using Melati.

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