"Oh, capitally! Mariette says he has been very good, And...I
must disappoint you...but he has not missed you as your husband
has. But once more merci, my dear, for giving me a day. Our
dear Samovar will be delighted." (He used to call the Countess
Lidia Ivanovna, well known in society, a samovar, because she was
always bubbling over with excitement.) "She has been continually
asking after you. And, do you know, if I may venture to advise
you, you should go and see her today. You know how she takes
everything to heart. Just now, with all her own cares, she's
anxious about the Oblonskys being brought together."
The Countess Lidia Ivanovna was a friend of her husband's, and
the center of that one of the coteries of the Petersburg world
with which Anna was, through her husband, in the closest
"But you know I wrote to her?"
"Still she'll want to hear details. Go and see her, if you're
not too tired, my dear. Well, Kondraty will take you in the
carriage, while I go to my committee. I shall not be alone at
dinner again," Alexey Alexandrovitch went on, no longer in a
sarcastic tone. "You wouldn't believe how I've missed..." And
with a long pressure of her hand and a meaning smile, he put her
in her carriage.