The rain did not last long, and by the time Vronsky arrived, his
shaft-horse trotting at full speed and dragging the trace-horses
galloping through the mud, with their reins hanging loose, the
sun had peeped out again, the roofs of the summer villas and the
old limetrees in the gardens on both sides of the principal
streets sparkled with wet brilliance, and from the twigs came a
pleasant drip and from the roofs rushing streams of water. He
thought no more of the shower spoiling the race course, but was
rejoicing now that--thanks to the rain--he would be sure to
find her at home and alone, as he knew that Alexey
Alexandrovitch, who had lately returned from a foreign watering
place, had not moved from Petersburg.
Hoping to find her alone, Vronsky alighted, as he always did, to
avoid attracting attention, before crossing the bridge, and
walked to the house. He did not go up the steps to the street
door, but went into the court.
"Has your master come?" he asked a gardener.
"No, sir. The mistress is at home. But will you please go to
the frond door; there are servants there," the gardener answered.
"They'll open the door."
"No, I'll go in from the garden."
And feeling satisfied that she was alone, and wanting to take her
by surprise, since he had not promised to be there today, and she
would certainly not expect him to come before the races, he
walked, holding his sword and stepping cautiously over the sandy
path, bordered with flowers, to the terrace that looked out upon
the garden. Vronsky forgot now all that he had thought on the
way of the hardships and difficulties of their position. He
thought of nothing but that he would see her directly, not in
imagination, but living, all of her, as she was in reality. He
was just going in, stepping on his whole foot so as not to creak,
up the worn steps of the terrace, when he suddenly remembered
what he always forgot, and what caused the most torturing side of
his relations with her, her son with his questioning--hostile,
as he fancied--eyes.