Anna was upstairs, standing before the looking glass, and, with
Annushka's assistance, pinning the last ribbon on her gown when
she heard carriage wheels crunching the gravel at the entrance.
"It's too early for Betsy," she thought, and glancing out of the
window she caught sight of the carriage and the black hat of
Alexey Alexandrovitch, and the ears that she knew so well
sticking up each side of it. "How unlucky! Can he be going to
stay the night?" she wondered, and the thought of all that might
come of such a chance struck her as so awful and terrible that,
without dwelling on it for a moment, she went down to meet him
with a bright and radiant face; and conscious of the presence of
that spirit of falsehood and deceit in herself that she had come
to know of late, she abandoned herself to that spirit and began
talking, hardly knowing what she was saying.
"Ah, how nice of you!" she said, giving her husband her hand, and
greeting Sludin, who was like one of the family, with a smile.
"You're staying the night, I hope?" was the first word the spirit
of falsehood prompted her to utter; "and now we'll go together.
Only it's a pity I've promised Betsy. She's coming for me."
Alexey Alexandrovitch knit his brows at Betsy's name.
"Oh, I'm not going to separate the inseparables," he said in his
usual bantering tone. "I'm going with Mihail Vassilievitch. I'm
ordered exercise by the doctors too. I'll walk, and fancy myself
at the springs again."
"There's no hurry," said Anna. "Would you like tea?"
"Bring in tea, and tell Seryozha that Alexey Alexandrovitch is
here. Well, tell me, how have you been? Mihail Vassilievitch,
you've not been to see me before. Look how lovely it is out on
the terrace," she said, turning first to one and then to the