Steps were heard at the door, and Princess Betsy, knowing it was Madame
Karenina, glanced at Vronsky. He was looking towards the door, and his face
wore a strange new expression. Joyfully, intently, and at the same time timidly,
he gazed at the approaching figure, and slowly he rose to his feet. Anna walked
into the drawing room. Holding herself extremely erect, as always, looking
straight before her, and moving with her swift, resolute, and light step, that
distinguished her from all other society women, she crossed the short space to
her hostess, shook hands with her, smiled, and with the same smile looked
around at Vronsky. Vronsky bowed low and pushed a chair up for her.
She acknowledged this only by a slight nod, flushed a little, and frowned. But
immediately, while rapidly greeting her acquaintances, and shaking the hands
proffered to her, she addressed Princess Betsy:
"I have been at Countess Lidia's, and meant to have come here earlier, but I
stayed on. Sir John was there. He's very interesting."
"Oh, that's this missionary?"
"Yes; he told us about the life in India, most interesting things."
The conversation, interrupted by her coming in, flickered up again like the light of
a lamp being blown out.
"Sir John! Yes, Sir John; I've seen him. He speaks well. The Vlassieva girl's quite
in love with him."
"And is it true the younger Vlassieva girl's to marry Topov?"
"Yes, they say it's quite a settled thing."
"I wonder at the parents! They say it's a marriage for love."
"For love? What antediluvian notions you have! Can one talk of love in these
days?" said the ambassador's wife.
"What's to be done? It's a foolish old fashion that's kept up still," said Vronsky.
"So much the worse for those who keep up the fashion. The only happy
marriages I know are marriages of prudence."