Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 14 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 3, Chapter 14 Summary

As he rides to St. Petersburg, Alexey Alexandrovitch composes in his mind the letter he will write his wife regarding his decision to maintain their relationship as if nothing has changed. In his study, he writes the letter in French, using the impersonal pronoun vous to avoid the question of how to address her. He writes that their life must go on as it has in the past for the good of the entire family. He says he is convinced that she has repented and will now forget about any events that happened in the past. He threatens her with dire consequences for her son if she does not comply. He expects her to return to St. Petersburg no later than Tuesday.

As Alexey Alexandrovitch rereads his letter, he is pleased with it; it expresses no reproach, and it includes no harsh words. He arranges to have it delivered to Anna Karenina at the summer villa tomorrow. Then he orders tea and stares at the painting of his wife. Soon his attention turns to a complication in his career.

One of Alexey Alexandrovitch’s greatest qualifications for public office, one on which he has based his entire career, is his contempt for the rules of government. Whenever possible, he circumvents the red tape and restrictions and makes direct contact with the parties involved for greater effectiveness. His efficient approach eliminates paperwork, correspondence, and wasted time. In this case, the famous Commission of the 2nd of June had launched an inquiry into the irrigation of land in the Zaraisky province, a matter which had begun with one of Alexey Alexandrovitch’s predecessors in his department; now he must deal with it.

The irrigation plan has been unproductive and a colossal waste of money, which Alexey Alexandrovitch recognized shortly after taking his office. Although he wanted to take action against the Board of Irrigation early in his career, he knew it would have been imprudent to upset so many special interests. Later in his career, he had simply forgotten about the matter, even though he was on quite friendly terms with at least one member of the board. When it had been brought to his attention, Alexey Alexandrovitch had ordered an investigation of the Irrigation Board. However, he feels resentful that his department had been singled out for scrutiny when there are so...

(The entire section is 585 words.)