"Of course you wanted to stay, and you stayed. You do everything
you want to. But what do you tell me that for? With what
object?" she said, getting more and more excited. "Does anyone
contest your rights? But you want to be right, and you're
welcome to be right."
His hand closed, he turned away, and his face wore a still more
"For you it's a matter of obstinacy," she said, watching him
intently and suddenly finding the right word for that expression
that irritated her, "simply obstinacy. For you it's a question
of whether you keep the upper hand of me, while for me...."
Again she felt sorry for herself, and she almost burst into
tears. "If you knew what it is for me! When I feel as I do now
that you are hostile, yes, hostile to me, if you knew what this
means for me! If you knew how I feel on the brink of calamity at
this instant, how afraid I am of myself!" And she turned away,
hiding her sobs.
"But what are you talking about?" he said, horrified at her
expression of despair, and again bending over her, he took her
hand and kissed it. "What is it for? Do I seek amusements
outside our home? Don't I avoid the society of women?"
"Well, yes! If that were all!" she said.
"Come, tell me what I ought to do to give you peace of mind? I
am ready to do anything to make you happy," he said, touched by
her expression of despair; "what wouldn't I do to save you from
distress of any sort, as now, Anna!" he said.
"It's nothing, nothing!" she said. "I don't know myself whether
it's the solitary life, my nerves.... Come, don't let us talk
of it. What about the race? You haven't told me!" she inquired,
trying to conceal her triumph at the victory, which had anyway
been on her side.