Part 3, Chapter 22 Summary
Vronsky is eager to see Anna Karenina, and on the way he considers why he is so content with his life. His business affairs have been sorted out, Serpuhovskoy considers him the kind of man the world needs, and he is now unexpectedly going to see the woman he loves. This “joyous sense of life” is so strong in him that he cannot help smiling, knowing he loves Anna Karenina more every time he is with her. When he finally arrives at Princess Betsy’s, he sees her waiting for him and just the sight of her causes a kind of “electric shock” to run all over his body. When he gets closer, though, he sees the serious set of her mouth and realizes this will not be the joyous meeting he had anticipated.
Vronsky has no will of his own and immediately feels the same distress though he does not yet know the cause. When she finally summons the nerve to tell Vronsky that she told her husband everything yesterday, Vronsky speaks words of comfort and reassurance. His face, however, speaks something else to Anna Karenina; she cannot know that Vronsky now believes a duel to be inevitable, for such a thought has never occurred to her. When she received her husband’s letter, she feared that things would be again what they were and she would not have the strength of will to leave her husband and abandon her son; she had hoped that when Vronsky heard the news he would respond instantly with a passionate plea to leave everything and come with him. Instead he seems to be resentful of some affront.
She shows him the letter from her husband. Vronsky takes it but does not read it, speaking what he feels are soothing words to her about devoting himself to her happiness. Anna Karenina, with tears in her eyes, says she does not care if they are seen and forces him to read the letter. All Vronsky can think of as he reads is that a duel is inevitable and perhaps Serpuhovskoy was right about not binding his life to someone...
(The entire section is 540 words.)