The raging tempest rushed whistling between the wheels of the carriages, about
the scaffolding, and round the corner of the station. The carriages, posts, people,
everything that was to be seen was covered with snow on one side, and was
getting more and more thickly covered. For a moment there would come a lull in
the storm, but then it would swoop down again with such onslaughts that it
seemed impossible to stand against it. Meanwhile men ran to and fro, talking
merrily together, their steps crackling on the platform as they continually opened
and closed the big doors. The bent shadow of a man glided by at her feet, and
she heard sounds of a hammer upon iron. "Hand over that telegram!" came an
angry voice out of the stormy darkness on the other side. "This way! No. 28!"
several different voices shouted again, and muffled figures ran by covered with
snow. Two gentleman with lighted cigarettes passed by her. She drew one more
deep breath of the fresh air, and had just put he hand out of her muff to take hold
of the door post and get back into the carriage, when another man in a military
overcoat, quite close beside her, stepped between her and the flickering light of
the lamp post. She looked round, and the same instant recognized Vronsky's
face. Putting his hand to the peak of his cap, he bowed to her and asked, Was
there anything she wanted? Could he be of any service to her? She gazed rather
a long while at him without answering, and, in spite of the shadow in which he
was standing, she saw, or fancied she saw, both the expression of his face and
his eyes. It was again that expression of reverential ecstasy which had so worked
upon her the day before. More than once she had told herself during the past few
days, and again only a few moments before, that Vronsky was for her only one of
the hundreds of young men, forever exactly the same, that are met everywhere,
that she would never allow herself to bestow a thought upon him. But now at the
first instant of meeting him, she was seized by a feeling of joyful pride. She had
no need to ask why he had come. she knew as certainly as if he had told her that
he was here to be where she was.
"I didn't know you were going. What are you coming for?" she said, letting fall the
hand with which she had grasped the door post. And irrepressible delight and
eagerness shone in her face.
"What am I coming for?" he repeated, looking straight into her eyes. "You know
that I have come to be where you are," he said; "I can't help it."
At that moment the wind, as it were, surmounting all obstacles, sent the snow
flying from the carriage roofs, and clanked some sheet of iron it had torn off,
while the hoarse whistle of the engine roared in front, plaintively and gloomily. All
the awfulness of the storm seemed to her more splendid now. He had said what
her soul longed to hear, though she feared it with her reason. She made no
answer, and in her face he saw conflict.