Just as usual, he answered, seeing at a glance that she was in one of her good moods. He was used by now to these transitions, and he was particularly glad to see it to-day, as he was in a specially good humour himself.
There was something mortifying in the way he had said Come, thats good, as one says to a child when it leaves off being naughty, and still more mortifying was the contrast between her penitent and his self-confident tone; and for one instant she felt the lust of strife rising up in her again, but making an effort she conquered it, and met Vronsky as good humouredly as before.
You know it came to me almost like an inspiration, she said. Why wait here for the divorce? Wont it be just the same in the country? I cant wait any longer! I dont want to go on hoping, I dont want to hear anything about the divorce. I have made up my mind it shall not have any more influence on my life. Do you agree?
Vronsky mentioned the names of the guests. The dinner was first-rate, and the boat race, and it was all pleasant enough, but in Moscow they can never do anything without something ridicule. A lady of a sort appeared on the scene, teacher of swimming to the Queen of Sweden, and gave us an exhibition of her skill.
Yes oh no, wait a minute! The day after to-morrows Sunday, I have to be at mamans, said Vronsky, embarrassed, because as soon as he uttered his mothers name he was aware of her intent, suspicious eyes. His embarrassment confirmed her suspicion. She flushed hotly and drew away from him. It was now not the Queen of Swedens swimming-mistress who filled Annas imagination, but the young Princess Sorokin. She was staying in a village near Moscow with Countess Vronsky.
Theres no meaning in it to you, because you care nothing for me. You dont care to understand my life. The one thing that I cared for here was Hannah. You say its affectation. Why, you said yesterday that I dont love my daughter, that I love this English girl, that its unnatural. I should like to know what life there is for me that could be natural!
For an instant she had a clear vision of what she was doing, and was horrified at how she had fallen away from her resolution. But even though she knew it was her own ruin, she could not restrain herself, could not keep herself from proving to him that he was wrong, could not give way to him.
No, this is becoming unbearable! cried Vronsky, getting up from his chair; and stopping short, facing her he said, speaking deliberately: What do you try my patience for? looking as though he might have said much more, but was restraining himself. It has limits.
What I can want? All I can want is that you should not desert me, as you think of doing, she said, understanding all he had not uttered. But that I dont want; thats secondary. I want love, and there is none. So then all is over.
Stop! sto-op! said Vronsky, with no change in the gloomy lines of his brows, though he held her by the hand. What is it all about? I said that we must put off going for three days, and on that you told me I was lying, that I was not an honourable man.
Yes, and I repeat that the man who reproaches me with having sacrificed everything for me, she said, recalling the words of a still earlier quarrel, that hes worse than a dishonourable manhes a heartless man.
He hates me, thats clear, she thought, and in silence, without looking round, she walked with faltering steps out of the room. He loves another woman, thats even clearer, she said to herself as she went into her own room. I want love, and there is none. So, then, all is over. She repeated the words she had said, and it must be ended.
Thoughts of where she would go now, whether to the aunt who had brought her up, to Dolly, or simply alone abroad, and of what he was doing now alone in his study; whether this was the final quarrel, or whether reconciliation were still possible; and of what all her old friends at Petersburg would say of her now; and of how Alexey Alexandrovitch would look at it, and many other ideas of what would happen now after the rupture, came into her head; but she did not give herself up to them with all her heart. At the bottom of her heart was some obscure idea that alone interested her, but she could not get clear sight of it. Thinking once more of Alexey Alexandrovitch, she recalled the time of her illness after her confinement, and the feeling which never left her at that time. Why didnt I die? and the words and the feeling of that time came back to her. And all at once she knew what was in her soul. Yes, it was that idea which alone solved all. Yes, to die! And the shame and disgrace of Alexey Alexandrovitch and of Seryozha, and my awful shame, it will all be saved by death. To die! and he will feel remorse; will be sorry; will love me; he will suffer on my account.
With the trace of a smile of commiseration for herself she sat down in the armchair, taking off and putting on the rings on her left hand, vividly picturing from different sides his feelings after her death.
Cast me off! she articulated between her sobs. Ill go away to-morrow Ill do more. What am I? An immoral woman! A stone round your neck. I dont want to make you wretched; I dont want to! Ill set you free. You dont love me; you love some one else!
Anna, why distress yourself and me so? he said to her, kissing her hands. There was tenderness now in his face, and she fancied she caught the sound of tears in his voice, and she felt them wet on her hand. And instantly Annas despairing jealousy changed to a despairing passion of tenderness. She put her arms round him, and covered with kisses his head, his neck, his hands.