"No, I think the princess is tired, and horses don't interest
her," Vronsky said to Anna, who wanted to go on to the stables,
where Sviazhsky wished to see the new stallion. "You go on,
while I escort the princess home, and we'll have a little talk,"
he said, "if you would like that?" he added, turning to her.
"I know nothing about horses, and I shall be delighted,"
answered Darya Alexandrovna, rather astonished.
She saw by Vronsky's face that he wanted something from her. She
was not mistaken. As soon as they had passed through the little
gate back into the garden, he looked in the direction Anna had
taken, and having made sure that she could neither hear nor see
them, he began:
"You guess that I have something I want to say to you," he said,
looking at her with laughing eyes. "I am not wrong in believing
you to be a friend of Anna's." He took off his hat, and taking
out his handkerchief, wiped his head, which was growing bald.
Darya Alexandrovna made no answer, and merely stared at him with
dismay. When she was left alone with him, she suddenly felt
afraid; his laughing eyes and stern expression scared her.
The most diverse suppositions as to what he was about to speak of
to her flashed into her brain. "He is going to beg me to come to
stay with them with the children, and I shall have to refuse; or
to create a set will receive Anna in Moscow.... Or isn't it
Vassenka Veslovsky and his relations with Anna? Or perhaps about
Kitty, that he feels he was to blame?" All her conjectures were
unpleasant, but she did not guess what he really wanted to talk
about to her.
"You have so much influence with Anna, she is so fond of you," he
said; "do help me."
Darya Alexandrovna looked with timid inquiry into his energetic
face, which under the lime-trees was continually being lighted up
in patches by the sunshine, and then passing into complete shadow
again. She waited for him to say more, but he walked in silence
beside her, scratching with his cane in the gravel.