"You have come to see us, you, the only woman of Anna's former
friends--I don't count Princess Varvara--but I know that you have
done this not because you regard our position as normal, but
because, understanding all the difficulty of the position, you
still love her and want to be a help to her. Have I understood
you rightly?" he asked, looking round at her.
"Oh, yes," answered Darya Alexandrovna, putting down her
"No," he broke in, and unconsciously, oblivious of the awkward
position into which he was putting his companion, he stopped
abruptly, so that she had to stop short too. "No one feels more
deeply and intensely than I do all the difficulty of Anna's
position; and that you may well understand, if you do me the
honor of supposing I have any heart. I am to blame for that
position, and that is why I feel it."
"I understand," said Darya Alexandrovna, involuntarily admiring
the sincerity and firmness with which he said this. "But just
because you feel yourself responsible, you exaggerate it, I am
afraid," she said. "Her position in the world is difficult, I
can well understand."
"In the world it is hell!" he brought out quickly, frowning
darkly. "You can't imagine moral sufferings greater than what
she went through in Petersburg in that fortnight...and I beg you
to believe it."
"Yes, but here, so long as neither Anna...nor you miss
"Society!" he said contemptuously, "how could I miss society?"
"So far--and it may be so always--you are happy and at peace. I
see in Anna that she is happy, perfectly happy, she has had time
to tell me so much already," said Darya Alexandrovna, smiling;
and involuntarily, as she said this, at the same moment a doubt
entered her mind whether Anna really were happy.
But Vronsky, it appeared, had no doubts on that score.