Part 1, Chapter 18 Summary
On his way to his mother’s compartment, Vronsky passes a woman striking enough to make him look at her again once he passes her. She is obviously a woman of the best society but is not particularly beautiful; however, there is a light in her eyes which, when she looks back at him and then promptly away again, displays a “suppressed eagerness” which also shows in her faint smile. It as if she tries to shroud the brilliance in her eyes but it shows nonetheless.
When Vronsky steps into the carriage, his “dried-up” old mother smiles at him tightly and squints at him with her black eyes. He asks about her journey, but he is listening to a voice outside of the carriage which he knows must belong to the woman he just passed. She asks about her brother before stepping back into the carriage, and Vronsky realizes the woman is Madame Karenina. He tells her that her brother is at the station and then introduces himself. With her eager smile, she says she knows him quite well, after spending the entire trip talking about him with his mother.
Vronsky steps onto the platform and calls Oblonsky. Anna Karenina does not wait for him to get to her but rushes out to greet him in a warm embrace. Though he could not explain why, Vronsky is mesmerized by her until he finally turns back to his mother who taunts him for being in some kind of love triangle. Anna Karenina returns to the compartment to say farewell to his mother. Vronskaya tells her not to fret about the son from whom she has never been parted, and she tells her she has “lost her heart” to her. Vronsky knows this is an empty phrase to his mother, but the younger woman is gracious and allows the woman to kiss her cheek. She shakes Vronsky’s hand with an energetic squeeze which he perceives as being somewhat special and then she is gone. Both mother and son find her charming.
His mother begins talking about her grandson’s christening and her oldest son’s finding favor with the Tsar...
(The entire section is 552 words.)