"Ah, he must tell you this story!" said Betsy, laughing, to a
lady to came into her box. "He has been making me laugh so."
"Well, bonne chance!" she added, giving Vronsky one finger of the
hand in which she held her fan, and with a shrug of her shoulders
she twitched down the bodice of her gown that had worked up, so
as to be duly naked as she moved forward towards the footlights
into the light of the gas, and the sight of all eyes.
Vronsky drove to the French theater, where he really had to see
the colonel of his regiment, who never missed a single
performance there. He wanted to see him, to report on the result
of his mediation, which had occupied and amused him for the last
three days. Petritsky, whom he liked, was implicated in the
affair, and the other culprit was a capital fellow and first-rate
comrade, who had lately joined the regiment, the young Prince
Kedrov. And what was most important, the interests of the
regiment were involved in it too.
Both the young men were in Vronsky's company. The colonel of the
regiment was waited upon by the government clerk, Venden, with a
complaint against his officers, who had insulted his wife. His
young wife, so Venden told the story--he had been married half a
year--was at church with her mother, and suddenly overcome by
indisposition, arising from her interesting condition, she could
not remain standing, she drove home in the first sledge, a
smart-looking one, she came across. On the spot the officers set
off in pursuit of her; she was alarmed, and feeling still more
unwell, ran up the staircase home. Venden himself, on returning
from his office, heard a ring at their bell and voices, went out,
and seeing the intoxicated officers with a letter, he had turned
them out. He asked for exemplary punishment.
"Yes, it's all very well," said the colonel to Vronsky, whom he
had invited to come and see him. "Petritsky's becoming
impossible. Not a week goes by without some scandal. This
government clerk won't let it drop, he'll go on with the thing."