FictionForest

PART SEVEN : Chapter 29

Leo TolstoyAug 26, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

Light off Small Medium Large

Anna got into the carriage again in
an even worse frame of mind than when she set out
from home.  To her previous tortures was added
now that sense of mortification and of being an outcast
which she had felt so distinctly on meeting Kitty.

“Where to?  Home?” asked Pyotr.

“Yes, home,” she said, not even thinking
now where she was going.

“How they looked at me as something
dreadful, incomprehensible, and curious!  What
can he be telling the other with such warmth?”
she thought, staring at two men who walked by. 
“Can one ever tell anyone what one is feeling? 
I meant to tell Dolly, and it’s a good thing
I didn’t tell her.  How pleased she would
have been at my misery!  She would have concealed
it, but her chief feeling would have been delight
at my being punished for the happiness she envied
me for.  Kitty, she would have been even more
pleased.  How I can see through her!  She
knows I was more than usually sweet to her husband. 
And she’s jealous and hates me.  And she
despises me.  In her eyes I’m an immoral
woman.  If I were an immoral woman I could have
made her husband fall in love with me …if I’d
cared to.  And, indeed, I did care to.  There’s
someone who’s pleased with himself,” she
thought, as she saw a fat, rubicund gentleman coming
towards her.  He took her for an acquaintance,
and lifted his glossy hat above his bald, glossy head,
and then perceived his mistake.  “He thought
he knew me.  Well, he knows me as well as anyone
in the world knows me.  I don’t know myself. 
I know my appetites, as the French say.  They
want that dirty ice cream, that they do know for certain,”
she thought, looking at two boys stopping an ice cream
seller, who took a barrel off his head and began wiping
his perspiring face with a towel.  “We
all want what is sweet and nice.  If not sweetmeats,
then a dirty ice.  And Kitty’s the same ­if
not Vronsky, then Levin.  And she envies me,
and hates me.  And we all hate each other. 
I Kitty, Kitty me.  Yes, that’s the truth.
’Tiutkin, coiffeur.’  Je me fais
coiffer par Tiutkin….
I’ll tell him that
when he comes,” she thought and smiled. 
But the same instant she remembered that she had
no one now to tell anything amusing to.  “And
there’s nothing amusing, nothing mirthful, really. 
It’s all hateful.  They’re singing
for vespers, and how carefully that merchant crosses
himself! as if he were afraid of missing something. 
Why these churches and this singing and this humbug? 
Simply to conceal that we all hate each other like
these cab drivers who are abusing each other so angrily. 
Yashvin says, ’He wants to strip me of my shirt,
and I him of his.’  Yes, that’s the
truth!”

She was plunged in these thoughts,
which so engrossed her that she left off thinking
of her own position, when the carriage drew up at
the steps of her house.  It was only when she
saw the porter running out to meet her that she remembered
she had sent the note and the telegram.

“Is there an answer?” she inquired.

“I’ll see this minute,”
answered the porter, and glancing into his room, he
took out and gave her the thin square envelope of a
telegram.  “I can’t come before ten
o’clock. ­Vronsky,” she read.

“And hasn’t the messenger come back?”

“No,” answered the porter.

“Then, since it’s so,
I know what I must do,” she said, and feeling
a vague fury and craving for revenge rising up within
her, she ran upstairs.  “I’ll go to
him myself.  Before going away forever, I’ll
tell him all.  Never have I hated anyone as I
hate that man!” she thought.  Seeing his
hat on the rack, she shuddered with aversion. 
She did not consider that his telegram was an answer
to her telegram and that he had not yet received her
note.  She pictured him to herself as talking
calmly to his mother and Princess Sorokina and rejoicing
at her sufferings.  “Yes, I must go quickly,”
she said, not knowing yet where she was going. 
She longed to get away as quickly as possible from
the feelings she had gone through in that awful house. 
The servants, the walls, the things in that house ­all
aroused repulsion and hatred in her and lay like a
weight upon her.

“Yes, I must go to the railway
station, and if he’s not there, then go there
and catch him.”  Anna looked at the railway
timetable in the newspapers.  An evening train
went at two minutes past eight.  “Yes,
I shall be in time.”  She gave orders for
the other horses to be put in the carriage, and packed
in a traveling-bag the things needed for a few days. 
She knew she would never come back here again.

Among the plans that came into her
head she vaguely determined that after what would
happen at the station or at the countess’s house,
she would go as far as the first town on the Nizhni
road and stop there.

Dinner was on the table; she went
up, but the smell of the bread and cheese was enough
to make her feel that all food was disgusting. 
She ordered the carriage and went out.  The house
threw a shadow now right across the street, but it
was a bright evening and still warm in the sunshine. 
Annushka, who came down with her things, and Pyotr,
who put the things in the carriage, and the coachman,
evidently out of humor, were all hateful to her, and
irritated her by their words and actions.

“I don’t want you, Pyotr.”

“But how about the ticket?”

“Well, as you like, it doesn’t matter,”
she said crossly.

Pyotr jumped on the box, and putting
his arms akimbo, told the coachman to drive to the
booking-office.

 

Leave a Reply