Chapter 41 – The Lively Youth (2)
When Patsy looked to her, Anna knew that this ‘good seat’ was at her side.
“Good day, Mrs. Karenin.” Although Vronsky was just thirteen, he looked quite handsome.
His eyes were deeply set, hiding his colored eyes. They appeared like some type of glass ball, crisp and clean, holding a bright radiance. He looked at Anna with a sort of high-spirited gaze only seen in youths. In it, was also an unhidden admiration.
Anna returned his smile. ‘Sure enough, the people of this period mature early. And strangely enough, there are some weird people in this circle.’ She thought to herself.
“Alright, our tea party is about to begin now.” Patsy curved her lips in a charming smile as she spoke.
A young man seated next to her whispered in her ear, making her giggle with her face behind her fan. Anna found this strange but didn’t pay it much thought. They were laughing with Vronsky’s sister, who had gotten married a year ago. She was pretty too, Anna noted.
“My dear, how was the honeymoon?” The Duchess of Miyahki asked Anna.
She had liked Anna the moment she had seen her, not only because of her beauty, but also her personality. The Duchess of Miyahki didn’t dislike pretty women. In fact, she admired them. But she disliked dictating women. If there was but one in this circle, she might not like coming here again.
“How could you ask this question?” An Ambassador’s wife stated. She had a pair of delicate brows, her eyelashes as dark as a crow’s wings. She was tall and sat upright. Her rosy lips were slanted into a pitying angle.
“Having to mix both honeymoon and business, undoubtedly, it must’ve been unfortunate.”
The Ambassador’s wife pretended to care as she remarked. Unfortunately, she couldn’t hide her envy. She had once thought that she was the most outstanding of the group. She had a noble background, and her appearance was exquisite, but she had an incurable flaw; pettiness. She was unhappy because Anna was more attractive than herself, causing her to now ungraciously humiliate her.
The Ambassador’s wife had heard her husband speak of Karenin. Even if her husband viewed him highly, what difference did that make? In the end, he was a man that didn’t understand romance in the slightest. Marrying a type of man who could even bring his work on a honeymoon didn’t make one feel happy or blessed in the slightest.
Anna didn’t show any signs of awkwardness. On the contrary, she raised her lips into a smile: “I don’t think it was unfortunate in any way.”
Almost everyone immediately stopped speaking. The Ambassador’s wife looked a bit stiff.
Anna didn’t drop her smile as she steadfastly upheld her husband’s name and continued, “My husband is extremely dedicated to his work. Even as an officer’s wife, I’m not good with governmental affairs, I don’t know any of those negotiating skills, and can’t be as diligent as him in my work. But at least, when he’s dedicating himself to our government, and fulfilling the duties of his office, I can be by his side to support him. Now that I think of it, it seems like a person like me who hasn’t done anything at all, can also gain a trifle of his favor, and be considered as someone who has given something for their country.”
“Beautifully spoken, my dear.” The Duchess of Miyahki clapped her hands, and some others clapped with her. Among them, even Vronsky was looking at Anna with a sort of respect in his eyes.
The applause seemed to be like a slap on the face as it echoed around the Ambassador’s wife. A blush emerged on her pale face.
“My husband says that Nelson will come next week for a performance. They all say that her singing is quite good, and she is extremely proficient in the musical arts. So, I wanted to hear your opinion, and decide if it is well worth my spectating.” Anna eagerly asked the Ambassador’s wife to extend an olive branch to her.
The Ambassador’s wife was taken aback. She looked at Anna’s earnest expression, and suddenly felt even more embarrassed. At this time, out of remorse, she decided to give her best and most detailed opinion, to make up for her previous words of envy.
Everyone listened to the Ambassador’s wife as she remarked on the Queen of Russian Opera; Anna did as well. She took a sip of tea and seemed to be nothing but smiles. When the Ambassador’s wife looked towards her, she returned an admiring look. In not even half of an hour, she had easily resolved this little quarrel among them.
They continued making conversation. The subjects switched too hurriedly, and Anna didn’t continue being the center of attention. She became the best listener and speaker.
After a while, she went to the powder room. Shetidied her clothes and when she came out again, passing by the turning corner, she heard a low voice of conversation. She didn’t stay to eavesdrop, avoiding any unnecessary troubles.
Shereturned to the living room and took a look around. She found that Patsy and the young man who sat next to her were missing. While she was thinking about this, Patsy returned.
Not long after, Vronsky’s sister got up to go to the makeup room. The two women touched their earlobes in silent communication. Vronsky’s sister cheeks were blushed as she left. Patsy went to where the Duchess of Miyahki was, making small talk with her.
Anna turned her gaze, and much to her surprise, found that Vronsky had been looking at her.
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