She knew every detail of his existence. He was going to say that he had been up all night and had dropped asleep, but looking at her thrilled and rapturous face, he was ashamed. And he said he had had to go to report on the princes departure.
Why so? Isnt it the life all of you, all young men, always lead? she said, knitting her brows; and taking up the crochet-work that was lying on the table, she began drawing the hook out of it, without looking at Vronsky.
I gave that life up long ago, said he, wondering at the change in her face, and trying to divine its meaning. And I confess, he said, with a smile, showing his thick, white teeth, this week Ive been, as it were, looking at myself in a glass, seeing that life, and I didnt like it.
How disgusting you are, you men! How is it you cant understand that a woman can never forget that, she said, getting more and more angry, and so letting him see the cause of her irritation, especially a woman who cannot know your life? What do I know? What have I ever known? she said, what you tell me. And how do I know whether you tell me the truth?
But he could not at once recall what he had been going to say. These fits of jealousy, which of late had been more and more frequent with her, horrified him, and however much he tried to disguise the fact, made him feel cold to her, although he knew the cause of her jealousy was her love for him. How often he had told himself that her love was happiness; and now she loved him as a woman can love when love has outweighed for her all the good things of lifeand he was much further from happiness than when he had followed her from Moscow. Then he had thought himself unhappy, but happiness was before him; now he felt that the best happiness was before him; now he felt that the best happiness was already left behind. She was utterly unlike what she had been when he first saw her. Both morally and physically she had changed for the worse. She had broadened out all over, and in her face at the time when she was speaking of the actress there was an evil expression of hatred that distorted it. He looked at her as a man looks at a faded flower he has gathered, with difficulty recognising in it the beauty for which he picked and ruined it. And in spite of this he felt that then, when his love was stronger, he could, if he had greatly wished it, have torn that love out of his heart; but now, when as at that moment it seemed to him he felt no love for her, he knew that what bound him to her could not be broken.
Well, well, what was it you were going to say about the prince? I have driven away the fiend, she added. The fiend was the name they had given her jealousy. What did you begin to tell me about the prince? Why did you find it so tiresome?
Oh, it was intolerable! he said, trying to pick up the thread of his interrupted thought. He does not improve on closer acquaintance. If you want him defined, here he is: a prime, well-fed beast such as takes medals at the cattleshows, and nothing more, he said, with a tone of vexation that interested her.
Im not defending him, its nothing to me; but I imagine, if you had not cared for those pleasures yourself, you might have got out of them. But if it affords you satisfaction to gaze at Thèrése in the attire of Eve
Yes; but I cant help it. You dont know what I have suffered waiting for you. I believe Im not jealous. Im not jealous: I believe you when youre here; but when youre away somewhere leading your life, so incomprehensible to me
She turned away from him, pulled the hook at last out of the crochet-work, and rapidly, with the help of her forefinger, began working loop after loop of the wool that was dazzling white in the lamplight, while the slender wrist moved swiftly, nervously in the embroidered cuff.
She drew a long face, and half-closing her eyes, quickly transformed her expression, folded her hands, and Vronsky suddenly saw in her beautiful face the very expression with which Alexey Alexandrovitch had bowed to him. He smiled, while she laughed gaily, with that sweet, deep laugh, which was one of her greatest charms.
I dont understand him in the least, said Vronsky. If after your avowal to him at your country house he had broken with you, if he had called me outbut this I cant understand. How can he put up with such a position? He feels it, thats evident.
Only not he. Dont I know him, the falsity in which hes utterly steeped? Could one, with any feeling, live as he is living with me? He understands nothing, and feels nothing. Could a man of any feeling live in the same house with his unfaithful wife? Could he talk to her, call her my dear?
Hes not a man, not a human beinghes a doll! No one knows him; but I know him. Oh, if Id been in his place, Id long ago have killed, have torn to pieces a wife like me. I wouldnt have said, Anna, ma chère! Hes not a man, hes an official machine. He doesnt understand that Im your wife, that hes outside, that hes superfluous Dont lets talk of him!
Youre unfair, very unfair, dearest, said Vronsky, trying to soothe her. But never mind, dont lets talk of him. Tell me what youve been doing? What is the matter? What has been wrong with you, and what did the doctor say?
Soon, soon. You say that our position is miserable, that we must put an end to it. If you knew how terrible it is to me, what I would give to be able to love you freely and boldly! I shall not torture myself and torture you with my jealousy. And it will come soon, but not as we expect.
And at the thought of how it would come, she seemed so pitiable to herself that tears came into her eyes, and she could not go on. She laid her hand on his sleeve, dazzling and white with its rings in the lamplight.
Yes, a dream, she said. Its a long while since I dreamed it. I dreamed that I ran into my bedroom, that I had to get something there, to find out something; you know how it is in dreams, she said, her eyes wide with horror; and in the bedroom, in the corner, stood something.
And the something turned round, and I saw it was a peasant with a dishevelled beard, little, and dreadful-looking. I wanted to run away, but he bent down over a sack, and was fumbling there with his hands
He was fumbling and kept talking quickly, quickly in French, you know: Il faut le battre, le fer, le broyer, le pétrir. And in my horror I tried to wake up, and woke up but woke up in the dream. And I began asking myself what it meant. And Korney said to me: In childbirth youll die, maam, youll die. And I woke up.
But all at once she stopped. The expression of her face instantaneously changed. Horror and excitement were suddenly replaced by a look of soft, solemn, blissful attention. He could not comprehend the meaning of the change. She was listening to the stirring of the new life within her.