When Vronsky looked at his watch on the Karenins' balcony, he was
so greatly agitated and lost in his thoughts that he saw the
figures on the watch's face, but could not take in what time it
was. He came out on to the highroad and walked, picking his way
carefully through the mud, to his carriage. He was so completely
absorbed in his feeling for Anna, that he did not even think what
o'clock it was, and whether he had time to go to Bryansky's. He
had left him, as often happens, only the external faculty of
memory, that points out each step one has to take, one after the
other. He went up to his coachman, who was dozing on the box in
the shadow, already lengthening, of a thick limetree; he admired
the shifting clouds of midges circling over the hot horses, and,
waking the coachman, he jumped into the carriage, and told him to
drive to Bryansky's. It was only after driving nearly five miles
that he had sufficiently recovered himself to look at his watch,
and realize that it was half-past five, and he was late.
There were several races fixed for that day: the Mounted Guards'
race, then the officers' mile-and-a-half race, then the
three-mile race, and then the race~for which he was entered. He
could still be in time for his race, but if he went to Bryansky's
he could only just be in time, and he would arrive when the whole
of the court would be in their places. That would be a pity.
But he had promised Bryansky to come, and so he decided to drive
on, telling the coachman not to spare the horses.
He reached Bryansky's, spent five minutes there, and galloped
back. This rapid drive calmed him. All that was painful in his
relations with Anna, all the feeling of indefiniteness left by
their conversation, had slipped out of his mind. He was thinking
now with pleasure and excitement of the race, of his being
anyhow, in time, and now and then the thought of the blissful
interview awaiting him that night flashed across his imagination
like a flaming light.
The excitement of the approaching race gained upon him as he
drove further and further into the atmosphere of the races,
overtaking carriages driving up from the summer villas or out of