Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 27 Summary

Leo Tolstoy

Part 2, Chapter 27 Summary

Anna Karenina is preparing for the races when she hears a carriage outside and sees that her husband has arrived. She is immediately afraid he intends to spend the night and rushes to greet him and his friend with a radiant smile, despite the deceitfulness in her heart, and asks if he is planning to spend the night. He tells her he will not interrupt her plans to attend the races with Betsy and will walk to the races.

Anna Karenina orders tea for all three of them and asks someone to tell Seryozha that his father is here. Though she speaks naturally, she is speaking too much and too fast and can see it on her visitor’s face. He goes to the terrace, and the Karenins speak privately for a few moments.

She tells him he does not look well, and he explains the doctor’s recommendation. Anna Karenina suggests, with the same peculiar brilliance and rapidity, that he take a break from all his work and come to the villa with her. Alexey Alexandrovitch does not attach any significance to her tone and does not take her offer particularly seriously. There is nothing at all remarkable in their conversation, but ever after whenever Anna Karenina remembers this brief interlude she does so with “an agonizing pang of shame.”

If he had been looking for it, Alexey Alexandrovitch would have noticed the look of confusion and timidity on his son’s face when he enters the room. But he is not looking and he does not see. Since his father now calls him “young man” and since he is unsure whether Vronsky is a friend or an enemy, Seryozha avoids his father when possible. When Alexey Alexandrovitch holds his son by the shoulder, Anna Karenina can see the boy’s misery, even to the point of tears.

She finally gets up and frees her son and kisses him as she takes him out to the terrace before rejoining her husband. Looking at her watch, Anna Karenina suggests that it is nearly time to leave for the races. Alexey Alexandrovitch says he, too, must go but needs to give her some money first. His wife blushes and wants to refuse the money but cannot; then she asks him if he will be coming home after the races. He will.

Princess Tverskaya drives up in her elegant English carriage, and Anna Karenina kisses her son good-bye and holds her hand out to her husband, telling him it was good of him to come. He kisses her hand and says it will be delightful when he comes back for tea after the races; however, once she is out of his sight, Anna Karenina shudders with repulsion at the thought of his lips touching her hand.