Sappho laughed still more festively.
"Not just now," said she.
"Oh, all right, I'll have it later."
"Very well, very well. Oh, yes." She turned suddenly to
Princess Betsy: "I am a nice person...I positively forgot it...
I've brought you a visitor. And here he comes." The unexpected
young visitor, whom Sappho had invited, and whom she had
forgotten, was, however, a personage of such consequence that, in
spite of his youth, both the ladies rose on his entrance.
He was a new admirer of Sappho's. He now dogged her footsteps,
Soon after Prince Kaluzhsky arrived, and Liza Merkalova with
Stremov. Liza Merkalova was a thin brunette, with an Oriental,
languid type of face, and--as everyone used to say--exquisite
enigmatic eyes. The tone of her dark dress (Anna immediately
observed and appreciated the fact) was in perfect harmony with
her style of beauty. Liza was as soft and enervated as Sappho
was smart and abrupt.
But to Anna's taste Liza was far more attractive. Betsy had said
to Anna that she had adopted the pose of an innocent child, but
when Anna saw her, she felt that this was not the truth. She
really was both innocent and corrupt, but a sweet and passive
woman. It is true that her tone was the same as Sappho's; that
like Sappho, she had two men, one young and one old, tacked onto
her, and devouring her with their eyes. But there was something
in her higher than what surrounded her. There was in her the
glow of the real diamond among glass imitations. This glow shone
out in her exquisite, truly enigmatic eyes. The weary, and at
the same time passionate, glance of those eyes, encircled by dark
rings, impressed one by its perfect sincerity. Everyone looking
into those eyes fancied he knew her wholly, and knowing her,
could not but love her. At the sight of Anna, her whole face
lighted up at once with a smile of delight.
"Ah, how glad I am to see you!" she said, going up to her.
"Yesterday at the races all I wanted was to get to you, but
you'd gone away. I did so want to see you, yesterday especially.