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Anna Karenina 316

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

said Vronsky, and he ran upstairs towards his brothers box. The old countess, Vronskys mother, with her steel-gray curls, was in his brothers box. Varya with the young Princess Sorokina met him in the corridor. Leaving the Princess Sorokina with her mother, Varya held out her hand to her brother-in-law, and began immediately to speak of what interested him. She was more excited than he had ever seen her. "I think its mean and hateful, and Madame Kartasova had no right to do it. Madame Karenina..." she began. "But what is it? I dont know." "What? youve not heard?" "You know I should be the last person to hear of it." "There isnt a more spiteful creature than that Madame Kartasova!" "But what did she do?" "My husband told me.... She has insulted Madame Karenina. Her husband began talking to her across the box, and Madame Kartasova made a scene. She said something aloud, he says, something insulting, and went away." "Count, your maman is asking for you," said the young Princess Sorokina, peeping out of the door of the box. "Ive been expecting you all the while," said his mother, smiling sarcastically. "You were nowhere to be seen." Her son saw that she could not suppress a smile of delight. "Good evening, maman. I have come to you," he said coldly. "Why arent you going to _faire la cour a Madame Karenina_?" she went on, when Princess Sorokina had moved away. "_Elle fait sensation. On oublie la Patti pour elle_." "Maman, I have asked you not to say anything to me of that," he answered, scowling. "Im only saying what everyones saying." Vronsky made no reply, and saying a few words to Princess Sorokina, he went away. At the door he met his brother. "Ah, Alexey!" said his brother. "How disgusting! Idiot of a woman, nothing else.... I wanted to go straight to her. Lets go together." Vronsky did not hear him. With rapid steps he went downstairs; he felt that he must do something, but he did not know what. Anger with her for having put herself and him in such a false position, together with pity for her suffering, filled his heart. He went down, and made straight for Annas box. At her box stood Stremov, talking to her. "There are no more tenors. _Le moule en est brise!_" Vronsky bowed to her and stopped to greet Stremov. "You came in late, I think, and have missed the best song," Anna said to Vronsky, glancing ironically, he thought, at him. "I am a poor judge of music," he said, looking sternly at her. "Like Prince Yashvin," she said smiling, "who considers that Patti sings too loud." "Thank you," she said, her little hand in its long glove taking the playbill Vronsky picked up, and suddenly at that instant her lovely face quivered. She got up and went into the interior of the box. Noticing in the next act that her box was empty, Vronsky, rousing indignant "hushes" in the silent audience, went out in the middle of a solo and drove home. Anna was already at home. When Vronsky went up to her, she was in the same dress as she had worn at the theater. She was sitting in the first armchair against the wall, looking straight before her. She looked at him, and at once resumed her former position. "Anna," he said. "You, you are to blame for everything!" she cried, with tears of despair and hatred in her voice, getting up. "I begged, I implored you not to go, I knew it would be unpleasant...." "Unpleasant!" she cried--"hideous! As long as I live I shall never forget it. She said it was a disgrace to sit beside me." "A silly womans chatter," he said: "but why risk it, why provoke?..." "I hate your calm. You ought not to have brought me to this. If you had loved me..." "Anna! How does the question of my love come in?" "Oh, if you loved me, as I love, if you were tortured as I am!..." she said, looking at him with an expression of terror. He was sorry for her, and angry notwithstanding. He assured her of his love because he saw that this was the only means of soothing her, and he did not reproach her in words, but in his heart he reproached her. And the asseverations of his love, which seemed to him so vulgar that he was ashamed to utter them, she drank in eagerly,

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