"But, Anna," said Vronsky, in a soft and persuasive voice, trying
to soothe her, "we absolutely must, anyway, tell him, and then be
guided by the line he takes."
"What, run away?"
"And why not run away? I don't see how we can keep on like this.
And not for my sake--I see that you suffer."
"Yes, run away, and become your mistress," she said angrily.
"Anna," he said, with reproachful tenderness.
"Yes," she went on, "become your mistress, and complete the ruin
Again she would have said "my son," but she could not utter that
Vronsky could not understand how she, with her strong and
truthful nature, could endure this state of deceit, and not long
to get out of it. But he did not suspect that the chief cause of
it was the word--son, which she could not bring herself to
pronounce. When she thought of her son, and his future attitude
to his mother, who had abandoned his father, she felt such terror
at what she had done, that she could not face it; but, like a
woman, could only try to comfort herself with lying assurances
that everything would remain as it always had been, and that it
was possible to forget the fearful question of how it would be
with her son.
"I beg you, I entreat you," she said suddenly, taking his hand,
and speaking in quite a different tone, sincere and tender,
"never speak to me of that!"
"Never. Leave it to me. I know all the baseness, all the horror
of my position; but it's not so easy to arrange as you think.
And leave it to me, and do what I say. Never speak to me of it.
Do you promise me?...No, no, promise!..."