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Anna Karenina 107

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

he came upon her, of this: why was it, she wondered, that to others, to Betsy (she knew of her secret connection with Tushkevitch) it was all easy, while to her it was such torture? Today this thought gained special poignancy from certain other considerations. She asked him about the races. He answered her questions, and, seeing that she was agitated, trying to calm her, he began telling her in the simplest tone the details of his preparations for the races. "Tell him or not tell him?" she thought, looking into his quiet, affectionate eyes. "He is so happy, so absorbed in his races that he wont understand as he ought, he wont understand all the gravity of this fact to us." "But you havent told me what you were thinking of when I came in," he said, interrupting his narrative; "please tell me!" She did not answer, and, bending her head a little, she looked inquiringly at him from under her brows, her eyes shining under their long lashes. Her hand shook as it played with a leaf she had picked. He saw it, and his face expressed that utter subjection, that slavish devotion, which had done so much to win her. "I see something has happened. Do you suppose I can be at peace, knowing you have a trouble I am not sharing? Tell me, for Gods sake," he repeated imploringly. "Yes, I shant be able to forgive him if he does not realize all the gravity of it. Better not tell; why put him to the proof?" she thought, still staring at him in the same way, and feeling the hand that held the leaf was trembling more and more. "For Gods sake!" he repeated, taking her hand. "Shall I tell you?" "Yes, yes, yes . . ." "Im with child," she said, softly and deliberately. The leaf in her hand shook more violently, but she did not take her eyes off him, watching how he would take it. He turned white, would have said something, but stopped; he dropped her hand, and his head sank on his breast. "Yes, he realizes all the gravity of it," she thought, and gratefully she pressed his hand. But she was mistaken in thinking he realized the gravity of the fact as she, a woman, realized it. On hearing it, he felt come upon him with tenfold intensity that strange feeling of loathing of someone. But at the same time, he felt that the turning-point he had been longing for had come now; that it was impossible to go on concealing things from her husband, and it was inevitable in one way or another that they should soon put an end to their unnatural position. But, besides that, her emotion physically affected him in the same way. He looked at her with a look of submissive tenderness, kissed her hand, got up, and, in silence, paced up and down the terrace. "Yes," he said, going up to her resolutely. "Neither you nor I have looked on our relations as a passing amusement, and now our fate is sealed. It is absolutely necessary to put an end"--he looked round as he spoke--"to the deception in which we are living." "Put an end? How put an end, Alexey?" she said softly. She was calmer now, and her face lighted up with a tender smile. "Leave your husband and make our life one." "It is one as it is," she answered, scarcely audibly. "Yes, but altogether; altogether." "But how, Alexey, tell me how?" she said in melancholy mockery at the hopelessness of her own position. "Is there any way out of such a position? Am I not the wife of my husband?" "There is a way out of every position. We must take our line," he said. "Anythings better than the position in which youre living. Of course, I see how you torture yourself over everything--the world and your son and your husband." "Oh, not over my husband," she said, with a quiet smile. "I dont know him, I dont think of him. He doesnt exist." "Youre not speaking sincerely. I know you. You worry about him too." "Oh, he doesnt even know," she said, and suddenly a hot flush came over her face; her cheeks, her brow, her neck crimsoned, and tears of shame came into her eyes. "But we wont talk of him." Chapter 23 Vronsky had several times already, though not so resolutely as now,

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