She heard Vronsky's abrupt ring and hurriedly dried her tears--
not only dried her tears, but sat down by a lamp and opened a
book, affecting composure. She wanted to show him that she was
displeased that he had not come home as he had promised--
displeased only, and not on any account to let him see her
distress, and least of all, her self-pity. She might pity
herself, but he must not pity her. She did not want strife, she
blamed him for wanting to quarrel, but unconsciously put herself
into an attitude of antagonism.
"Well, you've not been dull?" he said, eagerly and
good-humoredly, going up to her. "What a terrible passion it
"No, I've not been dull; I've learned long ago not to be dull.
Stiva has been here and Levin."
"Yes, they meant to come and see you. Well, how did you like
Levin?" he said, sitting down beside her.
"Very much. They have not long been gone. What was Yashvin
"He was winning--seventeen thousand. I got him away. He had
really started home, but he went back again, and now he's
"Then what did you stay for?" she asked, suddenly lifting her
eyes to him. The expression of her face was cold and ungracious.
"You told Stiva you were staying on to get Yashvin away. And you
have left him there."
The same expression of cold readiness for the conflict appeared
on his face too.
"In the first place, I did not ask him to give you any message;
and secondly, I never tell lies. But what's the chief point, I
wanted to stay, and I stayed," he said, frowning. "Anna, what
is it for, why will you?" he said after a moment's silence,
bending over towards her, and he opened his hand, hoping she
would lay hers in it.
She was glad of this appeal for tenderness. But some strange
force of evil would not let her give herself up to her feelings,
as though the rules of warfare would not permit her to surrender.