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conversation with the countess about the new singer, while the countess was impatiently looking towards the door, waiting for her son. "Now let us be off," said Vronsky, coming in. They went out together. Vronsky was in front with his mother. Behind walked Madame Karenina with her brother. Just as they were going out of the station the station-master overtook Vronsky. "You gave my assistant two hundred roubles. Would you kindly explain for whose benefit you intend them?" "For the widow," said Vronsky, shrugging his shoulders. "I should have thought there was no need to ask." "You gave that?" cried Oblonsky, behind, and, pressing his sisters hand, he added: "Very nice, very nice! Isnt he a splendid fellow? Good-bye, countess." And he and his sister stood still, looking for her maid. When they went out the Vronskys carriage had already driven away. People coming in were still talking of what happened. "What a horrible death!" said a gentleman, passing by. "They say he was cut in two pieces." "On the contrary, I think its the easiest--instantaneous," observed another. "How is it they dont take proper precautions?" said a third. Madame Karenina seated herself in the carriage, and Stepan Arkadyevitch saw with surprise that her lips were quivering, and she was with difficulty restraining her tears. "What is it, Anna?" he asked, when they had driven a few hundred yards. "Its an omen of evil," she said. "What nonsense!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Youve come, thats the chief thing. You cant conceive how Im resting my hopes on you." "Have you known Vronsky long?" she asked. "Yes. You know were hoping he will marry Kitty." "Yes?" said Anna softly. "Come now, let us talk of you," she added, tossing her head, as though she would physically shake off something superfluous oppressing her. "Let us talk of your affairs. I got your letter, and here I am." "Yes, all my hopes are in you," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Well, tell me all about it." And Stepan Arkadyevitch began to tell his story. On reaching home Oblonsky helped his sister out, sighed, pressed her hand, and set off to his office. Chapter 19 When Anna went into the room, Dolly was sitting in the little drawing-room with a white-headed fat little boy, already like his father, giving him a lesson in French reading. As the boy read, he kept twisting and trying to tear off a button that was nearly off his jacket. His mother had several times taken his hand from it, but the fat little hand went back to the button again. His mother pulled the button off and put it in her pocket. "Keep your hands still, Grisha," she said, and she took up her work, a coverlet she had long been making. She always set to work on it at depressed moments, and now she knitted at it nervously, twitching her fingers and counting the stitches. Though she had sent word the day before to her husband that it was nothing to her whether his sister came or not, she had made everything ready for her arrival, and was expecting her sister-in-law with emotion. Dolly was crushed by her sorrow, utterly swallowed up by it. Still she did not forget that Anna, her sister-in-law, was the wife of one of the most important personages in Petersburg, and was a Petersburg _grande dame_. And, thanks to this circumstance, she did not carry out her threat to her husband--that is to say, she remembered that her sister-in-law was coming. "And, after all, Anna is in no wise to blame," thought Dolly. "I know nothing of her except the very best, and I have seen nothing but kindness and affection from her towards myself." It was true that as far as she could recall her impressions at Petersburg at the Karenins, she did not like their household itself; there was something artificial in the whole framework of their family life. "But why should I not receive her? If only she doesnt take it into her head to console me!" thought Dolly. "All consolation and counsel and Christian forgiveness, all that I have thought over a thousand times, and its all no use." All these days Dolly had been alone with her children. She did not want to talk of her sorrow, but with that sorrow in her heart she could not talk of outside matters. She knew that in one way or another she would tell Anna everything, and she was alternately glad at the thought of

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