He saw that something had happened, and that the interview would
not be a joyous one. In her presence he had no will of his own:
without knowing the grounds of her distress, he already felt the
same distress unconsciously passing over him.
"What is it? what?" he asked her, squeezing her hand with his
elbow, and trying to read her thoughts in her face.
She walked on a few steps in silence, gathering up her courage;
then suddenly she stopped.
"I did not tell you yesterday," she began, breathing quickly and
painfully, "that coming home with Alexey Alexandrovitch I told
him everything...told him I could not be his wife, that...and
told him everything."
He heard her, unconsciously bending his whole figure down to her
as though hoping in this way to soften the hardness of her
position for her. But directly she had said this he suddenly
drew himself up, and a proud and hard expression came over his
"Yes, yes, that's better, a thousand times better! I know how
painful it was," he said. But she was not listening to his
words, she was reading his thoughts from the expression of his
face. She could not guess that that expression arose from the
first idea that presented itself to Vronsky--that a duel was now
inevitable. The idea of a duel had never crossed her mind, and
so she put a different interpretation on this passing expression
When she got her husband's letter, she knew then at the bottom of
her heart that everything would go on in the old way, that she
would not have the strength of will to forego her position, to
abandon her son, and to join her lover. The morning spent at
Princess Tverskaya's had confirmed her still more in this. But
this interview was still of the utmost gravity for her. She
hoped that this interview would transform her position, and save
her. If on hearing this news he were to say to her resolutely,
passionately, without an instant's wavering: "Throw up everything
and come with me!" she would give up her son and go away with
him. But this news had not produced what she had expected in
him; he simply seemed as though he were resenting some affront.