Part 2, Chapter 7 Summary
Anna Karenina enters the room simply and beautifully and immediately greets her hostess. As she shakes Princess Betsy’s hand, Anna Karenina finds Vronsky, who makes a low bow and pushes a chair up for her. She acknowledges the gesture with a slight nod.
Anna Karenina was delayed because she was at the countess’s house listening to a missionary to India. Soon the room begins to gossip about marriage. The consensus is that marrying for love is an old-fashioned idea, a foolish notion; most marriages today are marriages of prudence in which both parties have already “sown their wild oats.”
The group agrees that people find love only after making mistakes and correcting them, even after marriage. When Anna Karenina is asked to comment, she hedges by saying that as there are many men, many minds, and many hearts, so there must also be many kinds of love.
Anna Karenina tells Vronsky she received a letter from Moscow today and that Kitty Shtcherbatsky is very ill. She waits for his reaction, and he is concerned and wonders what her sickness is. Anna Karenina gets up for a cup of tea and he follows her, asking again what illness Kitty has. She tells him she believes men have no understanding of what is not honorable despite their always talking about it.
She has wanted to tell him for some time that his behavior toward Kitty was very wrong, but he already knows it and blames her for how he dismissed the girl. While Anna Karenina accuses him of having no heart, she is very much aware of his heart and that is why she is so afraid of him. He tells her his feelings for Kitty were a mistake, not love, and she explains that she came here this evening to tell him he has forced her to feel blame for Kitty’s illness and he must go to Kitty and ask her forgiveness.
Vronsky can see she is saying what she feels she ought to say and again expresses his love for her. Though she tries to say what she should say, Anna Karenina lets her eyes look at him with all the love she...
(The entire section is 547 words.)