When Anna went into the room, Dolly was sitting in the little drawing-room with a white-headed fat little boy, already like his father, giving him a lesson in French reading.
Still she did not forget that Anna, her sister-in-law, was the wife of one of the most important personages in Petersburg, and was a Petersburg grande dame.
She knew that in one way or another she would tell Anna everything, and she was alternately glad at the thought of speaking freely, and angry at the necessity of speaking of her humiliation with her, his sister, and of hearing her ready-made phrases of good advice and comfort.
"I am glad, too," said Dolly, faintly smiling, and trying by the expression of Anna's face to find out whether she knew.
Heavens, how he's grown!" said Anna; and kissing him, never taking her eyes off Dolly, she stood still and flushed a little.
Anna took the tray, and then pushed it away from her.
Anna Pavlovna's drawing room was gradually filling.
To each new arrival Anna Pavlovna said, "You have not yet seen my aunt," or "You do not know my aunt?" and very gravely conducted him or her to a little old lady, wearing large bows of ribbon in her cap, who had come sailing in from another room as soon as the guests began to arrive; and slowly turning her eyes from the visitor to her aunt, Anna Pavlovna mentioned each one's name and then left them.
Each visitor performed the ceremony of greeting this old aunt whom not one of them knew, not one of them wanted to know, and not one of them cared about; Anna Pavlovna observed these greetings with mournful and solemn interest and silent approval.
"Soyez tranquille, Lise, you will always be prettier than anyone else," replied Anna Pavlovna.
"What a delightful woman this little princess is!" said Prince Vasili to Anna Pavlovna.
Anna Pavlovna greeted him with the nod she accorded to the lowest hierarchy in her drawing room.