All the rooms of the summer villa were full of porters,
gardeners, and footmen going to and fro carrying out things.
Cupboards and chests were open; twice they had sent to the shop
for cord; pieces of newspaper were tossing about on the floor.
Two trunks, some bags and strapped-up rugs, had been carried down
into the hall. The carriage and two hired cabs were waiting at
the steps. Anna, forgetting her inward agitation in the work of
packing, was standing at a table in her boudoir, packing her
traveling bag, when Annushka called her attention to the rattle
of some carriage driving up. Anna looked out of the window and
saw Alexey Alexandrovitch's courier on the steps, ringing at the
front door bell.
"Run and find out what it is," she said, and with a calm sense of
being prepared for anything, she sat down in a low chair, folding
her hands on her knees. A footman brought in a thick packet
directed in Alexey Alexandrovitch's hand.
"The courier had orders to wait for an answer," he said.
"Very well," she said, and as soon as he had left the room she
tore open the letter with trembling fingers. A roll of unfolded
notes done up in a wrapper fell out of it. She disengaged the
letter and began reading it at the end. "Preparations shall be
made for your arrival here...I attach particular significance to
compliance..." she read. She ran on, then back, read it all
through, and once more read the letter all through again from the
beginning. When she had finished, she felt that she was cold all
over, and that a fearful calamity, such as she had not expected,
had burst upon her.
In the morning she had regretted that she had spoken to her
husband, and wished for nothing so much as that those words could
be unspoken. And here this letter regarded them as unspoken, and
gave her what she had wanted. But now this letter seemed to her
more awful than anything she had been able to conceive.