The porter opened the door before Alexey Alexandrovitch rang. The porter, Kapitonitch, looked queer in an old coat, without a tie, and in slippers.
“How is your mistress?”
“A successful confinement yesterday.”
Alexey Alexandrovitch stopped short and turned white. He felt distinctly now how intensely he had longed for her death.
“And how is she?”
Korney in his morning apron ran downstairs.
“Very ill,” he answered. “There was a consultation yesterday, and the doctor’s here now.”
“Take my things,” said Alexey Alexandrovitch, and feeling some relief at the news that there was still hope of her death, he went into the hall.
On the hatstand there was a military overcoat. Alexey Alexandrovitch noticed it and asked:
“Who is here?”
“The doctor, the midwife, and Count Vronsky.”
Alexey Alexandrovitch went into the inner rooms.
In the drawing room there was no one; at the sound of his steps there came out of her boudoir the midwife in a cap with lilac ribbons.
She went up to Alexey Alexandrovitch, and with the familiarity given by the approach of death took him by the arm and drew him towards the bedroom.
“Thank God you’ve come! She keeps on about you and nothing but you,” she said.
“Make haste with the ice!” the doctor’s peremptory voice said from the bedroom.
Alexey Alexandrovitch went into her boudoir.
At the table, sitting sideways in a low chair, was Vronsky, his face hidden in his hands, weeping. He jumped up at the doctor’s voice, took his hands from his face, and saw Alexey Alexandrovitch. Seeing the husband, he was so overwhelmed that he sat down again, drawing his head down to his shoulders, as if he wanted to disappear; but he made an effort over himself, got up and said:
“She is dying. The doctors say there is no hope. I am entirely in your power, only let me be here...though I am at your disposal. I...”
Alexey Alexandrovitch, seeing Vronsky’s tears, felt a rush of that nervous emotion always produced in him by the sight of other people’s suffering, and turning away his face, he moved hurriedly to the door, without hearing the rest of his words. From the bedroom came the sound of Anna’s voice saying something. Her voice was lively, eager, with exceedingly distinct intonations. Alexey