Anna Karenina HTML version

Chapter I.18
Vronsky followed the guard to the carriage, and at the door of the compartment
he stopped short to make room for a lady who was getting out.
With the insight of a man of the world, from one glance at this lady's appearance
Vronsky classified her as belonging to the best society. He begged pardon, and
was getting into the carriage, but felt he must glance at her once more; not that
she was very beautiful, not on account of the elegance and modest grace which
were apparent in her whole figure, but because in the expression of her charming
face, as she passed close by him, there was something peculiarly caressing and
soft. As he looked round, she too turned her head. Her shining gray eyes, that
looked dark from the thick lashes, rested with friendly attention on his face, as
though she were recognizing him, and then promptly turned away to the passing
crowd, as though seeking someone. In that brief look Vronsky had time to notice
the suppressed eagerness which played over her face, and flitted between the
brilliant eyes and the faint smile that curved her red lips. It was as though her
nature were so brimming over with something that against her will it showed itself
now in the flash of her eyes, and now in her smile. Deliberately she shrouded the
light in her eyes, but it shone against her will in the faintly perceptible smile.
Vronsky stepped into the carriage. His mother, a dried-up old lady with black
eyes and ringlets, screwed up her eyes, scanning her son, and smiled slightly
with her thin lips. Getting up from the seat and handing her maid a bag, she gave
her little wrinkled hand to her son to kiss, and lifting his head from her hand,
kissed him on the cheek.
"You got my telegram? Quite well? Thank God."
"You had a good journey?" said her son, sitting down beside her, and
involuntarily listening to a woman's voice outside the door. He knew it was the
voice of the lady he had met at the door.
"All the same I don't agree with you," said the lady's voice.
"It's the Petersburg view, madame."
"Not Petersburg, but simply feminine," she responded.
"Well, well, allow me to kiss your hand."
"Good-bye, Ivan Petrovitch. And could you see if my brother is here, and send
him to me?" said the lady in the doorway, and stepped back again into the