In October there were the provincial elections in the Kashinsky
province, where were the estates of Vronsky, Sviazhsky,
Koznishev, Oblonsky, and a small part of Levin's land.
These elections were attracting public attention from several
circumstances connected with them, and also from the people
taking part in them. There had been a great deal of talk about
them, and great preparations were being made for them. Persons
who never attended the elections were coming from Moscow, from
Petersburg, and from abroad to attend these. Vronsky had long
before promised Sviazhsky to go to them. Before the elections
Sviazhsky, who often visited Vozdvizhenskoe, drove over to fetch
Vronsky. On the day before there had been almost a quarrel
between Vronsky and Anna over this proposed expedition. It was
the very dullest autumn weather, which is so dreary in the
country, and so, preparing himself for a struggle, Vronsky, with
a hard and cold expression, informed Anna of his departure as he
had never spoken to her before. But, to his surprise, Anna
accepted the information with great composure, and merely asked
when he would be back. He looked intently at her, at a loss to
explain this composure. She smiled at his look. He knew that
way she had of withdrawing into herself, and knew that it only
happened when she had determined upon something without letting
him know her plans. He was afraid of this; but he was so anxious
to avoid a scene that he kept up appearances, and half sincerely
believed in what he longed to believe in--her reasonableness.
"I hope you won't be dull?"
"I hope not," said Anna. "I got a box of books yesterday from
Gautier's. No, I shan't be dull."
"She's trying to take that tone, and so much the better," he
thought, "or else it would be the same thing over and over
And he set off for the elections without appealing to her for a
candid explanation. It was the first time since the beginning of
their intimacy that he had parted from her without a full
explanation. From one point of view this troubled him, but on
the other side he felt that it was better so. "At first there
will be, as this time, something undefined kept back, and then
she will get used to it. I any case I can give up anything for
her, but not my masculine independence," he thought.