Anna Karenina HTML version

Chapter I.31
Vronsky had not even tried to sleep all that night. He sat in his armchair, looking
straight before him or scanning the people who got in and out. If he had indeed
on previous occasions struck and impressed people who did not know him by his
air of unhesitating composure, he seemed now more haughty and self-
possessed than ever. He looked at people as if they were things. A nervous
young man, a clerk in a law court, sitting opposite him, hated him for that look.
The young man asked him for a light, and entered into conversation with him,
and even pushed against him, to make him feel that he was not a thing, but a
person. But Vronsky gazed at him exactly as he did at the lamp, and the young
man made a wry face, feeling that he was losing his self-possession under the
oppression of this refusal to recognize him as a person.
Vronsky saw nothing and no one. He felt himself a king, not because he believed
that he had made an impression on Anna--he did not yet believe that,--but
because the impression she had made on him gave him happiness and pride.
What would come if it all he did not know, he did not even think. He felt that all
his forces, hitherto dissipated, wasted, were centered on one thing, and bent with
fearful energy on one blissful goal. And he was happy at it. He knew only that he
had told her the truth, that he had come where she was, that all the happiness of
his life, the only meaning in life for him, now lay in seeing and hearing her. And
when he got out of the carriage at Bologova to get some seltzer water, and
caught sight of Anna, involuntarily his first word had told her just what he thought.
And he was glad he had told her it, that she knew it now and was thinking of it.
He did not sleep all night. When he was back in the carriage, he kept unceasingly
going over every position in which he had seen her, every word she had uttered,
and before his fancy, making his heart faint with emotion, floated pictures of a
possible future.
When he got out of the train at Petersburg, he felt after his sleepless night as
keen and fresh as after a cold bath. He paused near his compartment, waiting for
her to get out. "Once more," he said to himself, smiling unconsciously, "once
more I shall see her walk, her face; she will say something, turn her head,
glance, smile, maybe." But before he caught sight of her, he saw her husband,
whom the station-master was deferentially escorting through the crowd. "Ah, yes!
The husband." Only now for the first time did Vronsky realize clearly the fact that
there was a person attached to her, a husband. He knew that she had a
husband, but had hardly believed in his existence, and only now fully believed in
him, with his head and shoulders, and his legs clad in black trousers; especially
when he saw this husband calmly take her arm with a sense of property.