She merely smiled with a pretense of irony when he finished, and made no reply, because she had not heard what he said.
"This coldness—this pretense of feeling!" she said to herself.
A secretary came in, with respectful familiarity and the modest consciousness, characteristic of every secretary, of superiority to his chief in the knowledge of their business; he went up to Oblonsky with some papers, and began, under pretense of asking a question, to explain some objection.
She would have pretended to be looking for something on the table, but ashamed of making a pretense, she looked straight in his face with cold eyes.
"Yes, now he has laid aside all pretense, and all his cold hatred for me is apparent," she thought, not hearing his words, but watching with terror the cold, cruel judge who looked mocking her out of his eyes.
He sent the men to mow some clover for hay, picking out the worst patches where the clover was overgrown with grass and weeds and of no use for seed; again and again they mowed the best acres of clover, justifying themselves by the pretense that the bailiff had told them to, and trying to pacify him with the assurance that it would be splendid hay; but he knew that it was owing to those acres being so much easier to mow.
And I can’t and won’t knowingly make a pretense about it."