A second bell sounded, and was followed by moving of luggage,
noise, shouting and laughter. It was so clear to Anna that there
was nothing for anyone to be glad of, that this laughter
irritated her agonizingly, and she would have liked to stop up
her ears not to hear it. At last the third bell rang, there was
a whistle and a hiss of steam, and a clank of chains, and the man
in her carriage crossed himself. "It would be interesting to ask
him what meaning he attaches to that," thought Anna, looking
angrily at him. She looked past the lady out of the window at
the people who seemed whirling by as they ran beside the train or
stood on the platform. The train, jerking at regular intervals
at the junctions of the rails, rolled by the platform, past a
stone wall, a signal-box, past other trains; the wheels, moving
more smoothly and evenly, resounded with a slight clang on the
rails. The window was lighted up by the bright evening sun, and
a slight breeze fluttered the curtain. Anna forgot her fellow
passengers, and to the light swaying of the train she fell to
thinking again, as she breathed the fresh air.
"Yes, what did I stop at? That I couldn't conceive a position in
which life would not be a misery, that we are all created to be
miserable, and that we all know it, and all invent means of
deceiving each other. And when one sees the truth, what is one
"That's what reason is given man for, to escape from what worries
him," said the lady in French, lisping affectedly, and obviously
pleased with her phrase.
The words seemed an answer to Anna's thoughts.
"To escape from what worries him," repeated Anna. And glancing
at the red-checked husband and the thin wife, she saw that the
sickly wife considered herself misunderstood, and the husband
deceived her and encouraged her in that idea of herself. Anna
seemed to see all their history and all the crannies of their
souls, as it were turning a light upon them. But there was
nothing interesting in them, and she pursued her thought.