“That’s what I’ll do,” he said to himself; “that’s what I’ll do! Nothing’s amiss.... All’s well.”
After the ball, early next morning, Anna Arkadyevna sent her husband a telegram that she was leaving Moscow the same day.
“No, I must go, I must go”; she explained to her sister-in-law the change in her plans in a tone that suggested that she had to remember so many things that there was no enumerating them: “no, it had really better be today!”
Stepan Arkadyevitch was not dining at home, but he promised to come and see his sister off at seven o’clock.
Kitty, too, did not come, sending a note that she had a headache. Dolly and Anna dined alone with the children and the English governess. Whether it was that the children were fickle, or that they had acute senses, and felt that Anna was quite different that day from what she had been when they had taken such a fancy to her, that she was not now interested in them,—but they had abruptly dropped their play with their aunt, and their love for her, and were quite indifferent that she was going away. Anna was absorbed the whole morning in preparations for her departure. She wrote notes to her Moscow acquaintances, put down her accounts, and packed. Altogether Dolly fancied she was not in a placid state of mind, but in that worried mood, which Dolly knew well with herself, and which does not come without cause, and for the most part covers dissatisfaction with self. After dinner, Anna went up to her room to dress, and Dolly followed her.
“How queer you are today!” Dolly said to her.
“I? Do you think so? I’m not queer, but I’m nasty. I am like that sometimes. I keep feeling as if I could cry. It’s very stupid, but it’ll pass off,” said Anna quickly, and she bent her flushed face over a tiny bag in which she was packing a nightcap and some cambric handkerchiefs. Her eyes were particularly bright, and were continually swimming with tears. “In the same way I didn’t want to leave Petersburg, and now I don’t want to go away from here.”
“You came here and did a good deed,” said Dolly, looking intently at her.
Anna looked at her with eyes wet with tears.
“Don’t say that, Dolly. I’ve done nothing, and could do nothing. I often wonder why people are all in league to spoil me. What have I done, and what could I do? In your heart there was found love enough to forgive...”
“If it had not been for you, God knows what would have happened! How happy you are, Anna!” said Dolly. “Everything is clear and good in your heart.”
“Every heart has its own skeletons, as the English say.”
“You have no sort of skeleton, have you? Everything is so clear in you.”
“I have!” said Anna suddenly, and, unexpectedly after her tears, a sly, ironical smile curved her lips.