In the slanting evening shadows cast by the baggage piled up on
the platform, Vronsky in his long overcoat and slouch hat, with
his hands in his pockets, strode up and down, like a wild beast
in a cage, turning sharply after twenty paces. Sergey Ivanovitch
fancied, as he approached him, that Vronsky saw him but was
pretending not to see. This did not affect Sergey Ivanovitch in
the slightest. He was above all personal considerations with
At that moment Sergey Ivanovitch looked upon Vronsky as a man
taking an important part in a great cause, and Koznishev thought
it his duty to encourage him and express his approval. He went
up to him.
Vronsky stood still, looked intently at him, recognized him, and
going a few steps forward to meet him, shook hands with him very
"Possibly you didn't wish to see me," said Sergey Ivanovitch,
"but couldn't I be of use to you?"
"There's no one I should less dislike seeing than you," said
Vronsky. "Excuse me; and there's nothing in life for me to
"I quite understand, and I merely meant to offer you my
services," said Sergey Ivanovitch, scanning Vronsky's face, full
of unmistakable suffering. "Wouldn't it be of use to you to have
a letter to Ristitch--to Milan?"
"Oh, no!" Vronsky said, seeming to understand him with
difficulty. "If you don't mind, let's walk on. It's so stuffy
among the carriages. A letter? No, thank you; to meet death one
needs no letters of introduction. Nor for the Turks..." he said,
with a smile that was merely of the lips. His eyes still kept
their look of angry suffering.
"Yes; but you might find it easier to get into relations, which
are after all essential, with anyone prepared to see you. But
that's as you like. I was very glad to hear of your intention.
There have been so many attacks made on the volunteers, and a man
like you raises them in public estimation."