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Anna Karenina 36


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to be parted." Madame Karenina stood quite still, holding herself very erect, and her eyes were smiling. "Anna Arkadyevna," the countess said in explanation to her son, "has a little son eight years old, I believe, and she has never been parted from him before, and she keeps fretting over leaving him." "Yes, the countess and I have been talking all the time, I of my son and she of hers," said Madame Karenina, and again a smile lighted up her face, a caressing smile intended for him. "I am afraid that you must have been dreadfully bored," he said, promptly catching the ball of coquetry she had flung him. But apparently she did not care to pursue the conversation in that strain, and she turned to the old countess. "Thank you so much. The time has passed so quickly. Good-bye, countess." "Good-bye, my love," answered the countess. "Let me have a kiss of your pretty face. I speak plainly, at my age, and I tell you simply that Ive lost my heart to you." Stereotyped as the phrase was, Madame Karenina obviously believed it and was delighted by it. She flushed, bent down slightly, and put her cheek to the countesss lips, drew herself up again, and with the same smile fluttering between her lips and her eyes, she gave her hand to Vronsky. He pressed the little hand she gave him, and was delighted, as though at something special, by the energetic squeeze with which she freely and vigorously shook his hand. She went out with the rapid step which bore her rather fully-developed figure with such strange lightness. "Very charming," said the countess. That was just what her son was thinking. His eyes followed her till her graceful figure was out of sight, and then the smile remained on his face. He saw out of the window how she went up to her brother, put her arm in his, and began telling him something eagerly, obviously something that had nothing to do with him, Vronsky, and at that he felt annoyed. "Well, maman, are you perfectly well?" he repeated, turning to his mother. "Everything has been delightful. Alexander has been very good, and Marie has grown very pretty. Shes very interesting." And she began telling him again of what interested her most--the christening of her grandson, for which she had been staying in Petersburg, and the special favor shown her elder son by the Tsar. "Heres Lavrenty," said Vronsky, looking out of the window; "now we can go, if you like." The old butler who had traveled with the countess, came to the carriage to announce that everything was ready, and the countess got up to go. "Come; theres not such a crowd now," said Vronsky. The maid took a handbag and the lap dog, the butler and a porter the other baggage. Vronsky gave his mother his arm; but just as they were getting out of the carriage several men ran suddenly by with panic-stricken faces. The station-master, too, ran by in his extraordinary colored cap. Obviously something unusual had happened. The crowd who had left the train were running back again. "What?... What?... Where?... Flung himself!... Crushed!..." was heard among the crowd. Stepan Arkadyevitch, with his sister on his arm, turned back. They too looked scared, and stopped at the carriage door to avoid the crowd. The ladies got in, while Vronsky and Stepan Arkadyevitch followed the crowd to find out details of the disaster. A guard, either drunk or too much muffled up in the bitter frost, had not heard the train moving back, and had been crushed. Before Vronsky and Oblonsky came back the ladies heard the facts from the butler. Oblonsky and Vronsky had both seen the mutilated corpse. Oblonsky was evidently upset. He frowned and seemed ready to cry. "Ah, how awful! Ah, Anna, if you had seen it! Ah, how awful!" he said. Vronsky did not speak; his handsome face was serious, but perfectly composed. "Oh, if you had seen it, countess," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "And his wife was there.... It was awful to see her!.... She flung herself on the body. They say he was the only support of an immense family. How awful!" "Couldnt one do anything for her?" said Madame Karenina in an agitated whisper. Vronsky glanced at her, and immediately got out of the carriage. "Ill be back directly, maman," he remarked, turning round in the doorway. When he came back a few minutes later, Stepan Arkadyevitch was already in

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