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Anna Karenina 183

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

tell her. Having read the letter, he raised his eyes to her, and there was no determination in them. She saw at once that he had been thinking about it before by himself. She knew that whatever he might say to her, he would not say all he thought. And she knew that her last hope had failed her. This was not what she had been reckoning on. "You see the sort of man he is," she said, with a shaking voice; "he..." "Forgive me, but I rejoice at it," Vronsky interrupted. "For Gods sake, let me finish!" he added, his eyes imploring her to give him time to explain his words. "I rejoice, because things cannot, cannot possibly remain as he supposes." "Why cant they?" Anna said, restraining her tears, and obviously attaching no sort of consequence to what he said. She felt that her fate was sealed. Vronsky meant that after the duel--inevitable, he thought-- things could not go on as before, but he said something different. "It cant go on. I hope that now you will leave him. I hope"-- he was confused, and reddened--"that you will let me arrange and plan our life. Tomorrow..." he was beginning. She did not let him go on. "But my child!" she shrieked. "You see what he writes! I should have to leave him, and I cant and wont do that." "But, for Gods sake, which is better?--leave your child, or keep up this degrading position?" "To whom is it degrading?" "To all, and most of all to you." "You say degrading...dont say that. Those words have no meaning for me," she said in a shaking voice. She did not want him now to say what was untrue. She had nothing left her but his love, and she wanted to love him. "Dont you understand that from the day I loved you everything has changed for me? For me there is one thing, and one thing only--your love. If thats mine, I feel so exalted, so strong, that nothing can be humiliating to me. I am proud of my position, because...proud of being... proud...." She could not say what she was proud of. Tears of shame and despair choked her utterance. She stood still and sobbed. He felt, too, something swelling in his throat and twitching in his nose, and for the first time in his life he felt on the point of weeping. He could not have said exactly what it was touched him so. He felt sorry for her, and he felt he could not help her, and with that he knew that he was to blame for her wretchedness, and that he had done something wrong. "Is not a divorce possible?" he said feebly. She shook her head, not answering. "Couldnt you take your son, and still leave him?" "Yes; but it all depends on him. Now I must go to him," she said shortly. Her presentiment that all would again go on in the old way had not deceived her. "On Tuesday I shall be in Petersburg, and everything can be settled." "Yes," she said. "But dont let us talk any more of it." Annas carriage, which she had sent away, and ordered to come back to the little gate of the Vrede garden, drove up. Anna said good-bye to Vronsky, and drove home. Chapter 23 On Monday there was the usual sitting of the Commission of the 2nd of June. Alexey Alexandrovitch walked into the hall where the sitting was held, greeted the members and the president, as usual, and sat down in his place, putting his hand on the papers laid ready before him. Among these papers lay the necessary evidence and a rough outline of the speech he intended to make. But he did not really need these documents. He remembered every point, and did not think it necessary to go over in his memory what he would say. He knew that when the time came, and when he saw his enemy facing him, and studiously endeavoring to assume an expression of indifference, his speech would flow of itself better than he could prepare it now. He felt that the import of his speech was of such magnitude that every word of it would have weight. Meantime, as he listened to the usual report, he had the most innocent and inoffensive air. No one, looking at his white hands, with

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