Vronsky had several times already, though not so resolutely as
now, tried to bring her to consider their position, and every
time he had been confronted by the same superficiality and
triviality with which she met his appeal now. It was as though
there were something in this which she could not or would not
face, as though directly she began to speak of this, she, the
real Anna, retreated somehow into herself, and another strange
and unaccountable woman came out, whom he did not love, and whom
he feared, and who was in opposition to him. But today he was
resolved to have it out.
"Whether he knows or not," said Vronsky, in his usual quiet and
resolute tone, "that's nothing to do with us. We cannot...you
cannot stay like this, especially now."
"What's to be done, according to you?" she asked with the same
frivolous irony. She who had so feared he would take her
condition too lightly was now vexed with him for deducing from it
the necessity of taking some step.
"Tell him everything, and leave him."
"Very well, let us suppose I do that," she said. "Do you know
what the result of that would be? I can tell you it all
beforehand," and a wicked light gleamed in her eyes, that had
been so soft a minute before. "'Eh, you love another man, and
have entered into criminal intrigues with him?'" (Mimicking her
husband, she threw an emphasis on the word "criminal," as Alexey
Alexandrovitch did.) " 'I warned you of the results in the
religious, the civil, and the domestic relation. You have not
listened to me. Now In cannot let you disgrace my name,--'"
"and my son," she had meant to say, but about her son she could
not jest,--"'disgrace my name, and'--and more in the same
style," she added. "In general terms, he'll say in his official
manner, and with all distinctness and precision, that he cannot
let me go, but will take all measures in his power to prevent
scandal. And he will calmly and punctually act in accordance
with his words. That's what will happen. He's not a man, but a
machine, and a spiteful machine when he's angry," she added,
recalling Alexey Alexandrovitch as she spoke, with all the
peculiarities of his figure and manner of speaking, and reckoning
against him every defect she could find in him, softening nothing
for the great wrong she herself was doing him.