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Anna Karenina 167


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Anna Karenina

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had to do now. She needed consolation. She must be calm, and get out of this insufferable position. The thought of immediate action binding her to her son, of going away somewhere with him, gave her this consolation. She dressed quickly, went downstairs, and with resolute steps walked into the drawing room, where she found, as usual, waiting for her, the coffee, Seryozha, and his governess. Seryozha, all in white, with his back and head bent, was standing at a table under a looking-glass, and with an expression of intense concentration which she knew well, and in which he resembled his father, he was doing something to the flowers he carried. The governess had a particularly severe expression. Seryozha screamed shrilly, as he often did, "Ah, mamma!" and stopped, hesitating whether to go to greet his mother and put down the flowers, or to finish making the wreath and go with the flowers. The governess, after saying good-morning, began a long and detailed account of Seryozhas naughtiness, but Anna did not hear her; she was considering whether she would take her with her or not. "No, I wont take her," she decided. "Ill go alone with my child." "Yes, its very wrong," said Anna, and taking her son by the shoulder she looked at him, not severely, but with a timid glance that bewildered and delighted the boy, and she kissed him. "Leave him to me," she said to the astonished governess, and not letting go of her son, she sat down at the table, where coffee was set ready for her. "Mamma! I...I...didnt..." he said, trying to make out from her expression what was in store for him in regard to the peaches. "Seryozha," she said, as soon as the governess had left the room, "that was wrong, but youll never do it again, will you?... You love me?" She felt that the tears were coming into her eyes. "Can I help loving him?" she said to herself, looking deeply into his scared and at the same time delighted eyes. "And can he ever join his father in punishing me? Is it possible he will not feel for me?" Tears were already flowing down her face, and to hide them she got up abruptly and almost ran out on to the terrace. After the thunder showers of the last few days, cold, bright weather had set in. The air was cold in the bright sun that filtered through the freshly washed leaves. She shivered, both from the cold and from the inward horror which had clutched her with fresh force in the open air. "Run along, run along to Mariette," she said to Seryozha, who had followed her out, and she began walking up and down on the straw matting of the terrace. "Can it be that they wont forgive me, wont understand how it all couldnt be helped?" she said to herself. Standing still, and looking at the tops of the aspen trees waving in the wind, with their freshly washed, brightly shining leaves in the cold sunshine, she knew that they would not forgive her, that everyone and everything would be merciless to her now as was that sky, that green. And again she felt that everything was split in two in her soul. "I mustnt, mustnt think," she said to herself. "I must get ready. To go where? When? Whom to take with me? Yes, to Moscow by the evening train. Annushka and Seryozha, and only the most necessary things. But first I must write to them both." She went quickly indoors into her boudoir, sat down at the table, and wrote to her husband:--"After what has happened, I cannot remain any longer in your house. I am going away, and taking my son with me. I dont know the law, and so I dont know with which of the parents the son should remain; but I take him with me because I cannot live without him. Be generous, leave him to me." Up to this point she wrote rapidly and naturally, but the appeal to his generosity, a quality she did not recognize in him, and the necessity of winding up the letter with something touching, pulled her up. "Of my fault and my remorse I cannot speak, because..." She stopped again, finding no connection in her ideas. "No," she said to herself, "theres no need of anything," and tearing up the letter, she wrote it again,

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