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Anna Karenina 168

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

leaving out the allusion to generosity, and sealed it up. Another letter had to be written to Vronsky. "I have told my husband," she wrote, and she sat a long while unable to write more. It was so coarse, so unfeminine. "And what more am I to write to him?" she said to herself. Again a flush of shame spread over her face; she recalled his composure, and a feeling of anger against him impelled her to tear the sheet with the phrase she had written into tiny bits. "No need of anything," she said to herself, and closing her blotting-case she went upstairs, told the governess and the servants that she was going that day to Moscow, and at once set to work to pack up her things. Chapter 16 All the rooms of the summer villa were full of porters, gardeners, and footmen going to and fro carrying out things. Cupboards and chests were open; twice they had sent to the shop for cord; pieces of newspaper were tossing about on the floor. Two trunks, some bags and strapped-up rugs, had been carried down into the hall. The carriage and two hired cabs were waiting at the steps. Anna, forgetting her inward agitation in the work of packing, was standing at a table in her boudoir, packing her traveling bag, when Annushka called her attention to the rattle of some carriage driving up. Anna looked out of the window and saw Alexey Alexandrovitchs courier on the steps, ringing at the front door bell. "Run and find out what it is," she said, and with a calm sense of being prepared for anything, she sat down in a low chair, folding her hands on her knees. A footman brought in a thick packet directed in Alexey Alexandrovitchs hand. "The courier has orders to wait for an answer," he said. "Very well," she said, and as soon as he had left the room she tore open the letter with trembling fingers. A roll of unfolded notes done up in a wrapper fell out of it. She disengaged the letter and began reading it at the end. "Preparations shall be made for your arrival here...I attach particular significance to compliance..." she read. She ran on, then back, read it all through, and once more read the letter all through again from the beginning. When she had finished, she felt that she was cold all over, and that a fearful calamity, such as she had not expected, had burst upon her. In the morning she had regretted that she had spoken to her husband, and wished for nothing so much as that those words could be unspoken. And here this letter regarded them as unspoken, and gave her what she had wanted. But now this letter seemed to her more awful than anything she had been able to conceive. "Hes right!" she said; "of course, hes always right; hes a Christian, hes generous! Yes, vile, base creature! And no one understands it except me, and no one ever will; and I cant explain it. They say hes so religious, so high-principled, so upright, so clever; but they dont see what Ive seen. They dont know how he has crushed my life for eight years, crushed everything that was living in me--he has not once even thought that Im a live woman who must have love. They dont know how at every step hes humiliated me, and been just as pleased with himself. Havent I striven, striven with all my strength, to find something to give meaning to my life? Havent I struggled to love him, to love my son when I could not love my husband? But the time came when I knew that I couldnt cheat myself any longer, that I was alive, that I was not to blame, that God has made me so that I must love and live. And now what does he do? If hed killed me, if hed killed him, I could have borne anything, I could have forgiven anything; but, no, he.... How was it I didnt guess what he would do? Hes doing just whats characteristic of his mean character. Hell keep himself in the right, while me, in my ruin, hell drive still lower to worse ruin yet..." She recalled the words from the letter. "You can conjecture what awaits you and your son...." "Thats a threat to take away my child,

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