"What a position!" he thought. "If he would fight, would stand
up for his honor, I could act, could express my feelings; but
this weakness or baseness.... He puts me in the position of
playing false, which I never meant and never mean to do."
Vronsky's ideas had changed since the day of his conversation
with Anna in the Vrede garden. Unconsciously yielding to the
weakness of Anna--who had surrendered herself up to him utterly,
and simply looked to him to decide her fate, ready to submit to
anything--he had long ceased to think that their tie might end
as he had thought then. His ambitious plans had retreated into
the background again, and feeling that he had got out of that
circle of activity in which everything was definite, he had given
himself entirely to his passion, and that passion was binding him
more and more closely to her.
He was still in the hall when he caught the sound of her
retreating footsteps. He knew she had been expecting him, had
listened for him, and was now going back to the drawing room.
"No," she cried, on seeing him, and at the first sound of her
voice the tears came into her eyes. "No; if things are to go on
like this, the end will come much, much too soon."
"What is it, dear one?"
"What? I've been waiting in agony for an hour, two hours...No,
I won't...I can't quarrel with you. Of course you couldn't
come. No, I won't." She laid her two hands on his shoulders,
and looked a long while at him with a profound, passionate, and
at the same time searching look. She was studying his face to
make up for the time she had not seen him. She was, every time
she saw him, making the picture of him in her imagination
(incomparably superior, impossible in reality) fit with him as he