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Anna Karenina 38

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

speaking freely, and angry at the necessity of speaking of her humiliation with her, his sister, and of hearing her ready-made phrases of good advice and comfort. She had been on the lookout for her, glancing at her watch every minute, and, as so often happens, let slip just that minute when her visitor arrived, so that she did not hear the bell. Catching a sound of skirts and light steps at the door, she looked round, and her care-worn face unconsciously expressed not gladness, but wonder. She got up and embraced her sister-in-law. "What, here already!" she said as she kissed her. "Dolly, how glad I am to see you!" "I am glad, too," said Dolly, faintly smiling, and trying by the expression of Annas face to find out whether she knew. "Most likely she knows," she thought, noticing the sympathy in Annas face. "Well, come along, Ill take you to your room," she went on, trying to defer as long as possible the moment of confidences. "Is this Grisha? Heavens, how hes grown!" said Anna; and kissing him, never taking her eyes off Dolly, she stood still and flushed a little. "No, please, let us stay here." She took off her kerchief and her hat, and catching it in a lock of her black hair, which was a mass of curls, she tossed her head and shook her hair down. "You are radiant with health and happiness!" said Dolly, almost with envy. "I?.... Yes," said Anna. "Merciful heavens, Tanya! Youre the same age as my Seryozha," she added, addressing the little girl as she ran in. She took her in her arms and kissed her. "Delightful child, delightful! Show me them all." She mentioned them, not only remembering the names, but the years, months, characters, illnesses of all the children, and Dolly could not but appreciate that. "Very well, we will go to them," she said. "Its a pity Vassyas asleep." After seeing the children, they sat down, alone now, in the drawing room, to coffee. Anna took the tray, and then pushed it away from her. "Dolly," she said, "he has told me." Dolly looked coldly at Anna; she was waiting now for phrases of conventional sympathy, but Anna said nothing of the sort. "Dolly, dear," she said, "I dont want to speak for him to you, nor to try to comfort you; thats impossible. But, darling, Im simply sorry, sorry from my heart for you!" Under the thick lashes of her shining eyes tears suddenly glittered. She moved nearer to her sister-in-law and took her hand in her vigorous little hand. Dolly did not shrink away, but her face did not lose its frigid expression. She said: "To comfort mes impossible. Everythings lost after what has happened, everythings over!" And directly she had said this, her face suddenly softened. Anna lifted the wasted, thin hand of Dolly, kissed it and said: "But, Dolly, whats to be done, whats to be done? How is it best to act in this awful position--thats what you must think of." "Alls over, and theres nothing more," said Dolly. "And the worst of all is, you see, that I cant cast him off: there are the children, I am tied. And I cant live with him! its a torture to me to see him." "Dolly, darling, he has spoken to me, but I want to hear it from you: tell me about it." Dolly looked at her inquiringly. Sympathy and love unfeigned were visible on Annas face. "Very well," she said all at once. "But I will tell you it from the beginning. You know how I was married. With the education mamma gave us I was more than innocent, I was stupid. I knew nothing. I know they say men tell their wives of their former lives, but Stiva"--she corrected herself--"Stepan Arkadyevitch told me nothing. Youll hardly believe it, but till now I imagined that I was the only woman he had known. So I lived eight years. You must understand that I was so far from suspecting infidelity, I regarded it as impossible, and then-- try to imagine it--with such ideas, to find out suddenly all the horror, all the loathsomeness.... You must try and understand me. To be fully convinced of ones happiness, and all at once..." continued Dolly, holding back her sobs, "to get a letter...his letter to his mistress, my governess. No, its too awful!" She hastily pulled out her handkerchief

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