"I don't know what you are referring to, maman," he answered
coldly. "Come, maman, let us go."
Madame Karenina entered the carriage again to say good-bye to the
"Well, countess, you have met your son, and I my brother," she
said. "And all my gossip is exhausted. I should have nothing
more to tell you."
"Oh, no," said the countess, taking her hand. "I could go all
around the world with you and never be dull. You are one of
those delightful women in whose company it's sweet to be silent
as well as to talk. Now please don't fret over your son; you
can't expect never to be parted."
Madame Karenina stood quite still, holding herself very erect,
and her eyes were smiling.
"Anna Arkadyevna," the countess said in explanation to her son,
"has a little son eight years old, I believe, and she has never
been parted from him before, and she keeps fretting over leaving
"Yes, the countess and I have been talking all the time, I of my
son and she of hers," said Madame Karenina, and again a smile
lighted up her face, a caressing smile intended for him.
"I am afraid that you must have been dreadfully bored," he said,
promptly catching the ball of coquetry she had flung him. But
apparently she did not care to pursue the conversation in that
strain, and she turned to the old countess.
"Thank you so much. The time has passed so quickly. Good-bye,
"Good-bye, my love," answered the countess. "Let me have a kiss
of your pretty face. I speak plainly, at my age, and I tell you
simply that I've lost my heart to you."