Part 1, Chapter 19 Summary
When Anna Karenina arrives in Darya Alexandrovna’s room, her sister-in-law is dealing with her youngest son and nervously knitting a coverlet. She has prepared for Anna Karenina’s arrival, despite her depressed state, because she has no reason to blame her for her brother’s behavior and she has never been anything but kind and gracious to her—despite her impression that there was something artificial in Anna Karenina’s family life. Darya Alexandrovna is torn between the need to talk to someone about her problems and sharing her humiliation with her husband’s sister.
Anna Karenina’s greeting is warm, but she is in no hurry to have a private discussion just yet; instead she meets all the children and remembers them by name as well as particulars about each one. When the women are finally alone, Anna Karenina simply says that her brother told her what happened and she is so very sorry for her. Tears glisten in her eyes, and she asks what Darya Alexandrovna is feeling and thinking: “sympathy and love unfeigned” are written on her face.
Darya Alexandrovna explains that when she married her husband she had no idea, in her innocence, that there had ever been other women in his life. Infidelity was something she never thought possible and then, after eight years of thinking that her marriage was perfectly sound, she was confronted with his affair with a governess. She was mortified that he could have gone on being a husband to her while carrying on with another woman, and she tells Anna Karenina that she cannot understand the torment. On the contrary, Anna Karenina says she does understand and then speaks for her brother.
He is a good-natured but proud man, and he is ashamed for the children’s sake but also because he has hurt the woman he loves—a sentiment Anna Karenina guesses will move her sister-in-law, and it does, for a moment. Then she wails in her...
(The entire section is 504 words.)