"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.
"Forgive me, if you dislike what I said," he said humbly.
He had spoken courteously, deferentially, yet so firmly, so
stubbornly, that for a long while she could make no answer.
"It's wrong, what you say, and I beg you, if you're a good man,
to forget what you've said, as I forget it," she said at last.
"Not one word, not one gesture of yours shall I, could I, ever
"Enough, enough!" she cried trying assiduously to give a stern
expression to her face, into which he was gazing greedily. And
clutching at the cold door post, she clambered up the steps and
got rapidly into the corridor of the carriage. But in the little
corridor she paused, going over in her imagination what had
happened. Though she could not recall her own words or his, she
realized instinctively that the momentary conversation had
brought them fearfully closer; and she was panic-stricken and
blissful at it. After standing still a few seconds, she went
into the carriage and sat down in her place. The overstrained
condition which had tormented her before did not only come back,
but was intensified, and reached such a pitch that she was afraid
every minute that something would snap within her from the
excessive tension. She did not sleep all night. But in that
nervous tension, and in the visions that filled her imagination,
there was nothing disagreeable or gloomy: on the contrary there
was something blissful, glowing, and exhilarating. Towards
morning Anna sank into a doze, sitting in her place, and when she
waked it was daylight and the train was near Petersburg. At once
thoughts of home, of husband and of son, and the details of that
day and the following came upon her.