Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 19 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

Start Your Free Trial

Download Anna Karenina Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Part 4, Chapter 19 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch had not expected to find his wife genuinely repentant, to forgive her—and to see her live through her illness. Two months afterward, he realizes his mistake in not being prepared for such contingencies, but until that moment at Anna Karenina’s bedside, he had not known his own heart. In forgiving her and Vronsky, Alexey Alexandrovitch was relieved of the burden of his own guilt, shame, weakness, and suffering, and he experienced a spiritual peace he had never before known. The very source of his suffering, hate, and judgment had become the source of his simple spiritual joy.

After hearing of Vronsky’s attempted suicide, Alexey Alexandrovitch pities the man even more. Alexey Alexandrovitch has more feelings for his son than ever before and is ashamed at having taken too little interest in Seryozha. At first, Alexey Alexandrovitch is moved to compassion for the tiny baby, which is not his and has been virtually cast aside during her mother’s illness. The infant undoubtedly would have died if he had not taken an interest in her. For several hours each day, Alexey Alexandrovitch goes to the nursery and simply sits and looks at the child in fascination, not realizing the fondness he is developing for her.

As time passes, however, Alexey Alexandrovitch realizes he will not be allowed to maintain the simple sense of peace for which he so longs. Once the fear of death is gone, Anna Karenina begins to feel ill at ease with him and cannot look at him directly; she seems to want to tell him something but does not dare.

Near the end of February, baby Anna falls ill, and after spending the morning with her in the nursery, Alexey Alexandrovitch sends for the doctor. When he arrives home after work, Alexey Alexandrovitch discovers Princess Betsy Tverskaya is there, and he immediately escapes to the nursery. In the past few months, he has found that women have taken a peculiar interest in his situation, and their mocking superiority is unpleasant to him.

He spends a moment with Seryozha before asking about the baby’s health, because he can hear her cries in the next room. The doctor...

(The entire section is 556 words.)