Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 2 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 4, Chapter 2 Summary

After leaving the prince at the rail station and returning home, Vronsky finds a note from Anna Karenina. She writes that she is ill, unhappy, and unable to leave her house; she asks him to come see her tonight between seven o'clock and ten o'clock, while Alexey Alexandrovitch is at his council meeting. For a moment, Vronsky hesitates because her husband has strictly forbidden her to have Vronsky in his home, but he decides to go.

Vronsky has gotten his promotion to colonel, left the regimental quarters, and gotten a home by himself. That afternoon, he takes a nap and immediately he dreams; many of the disgusting scenes from the past week are melding with images of Anna Karenina in a nightmarish confusion. At the end, there is a dirty, disheveled man mumbling terrifying words in French. Vronsky wakes up in the dark, trembling with horror.

It is already eight thirty, and Vronsky is worried he will be late for his visit with Anna Karenina. He arrives at the gate of her house at ten minutes before nine, and he recognizes her carriage waiting at the entrance and assumes she is preparing to come to him. Though he thinks that would be a better idea, for he has great unease about entering this house, Vronsky gets out of his sledge and walks unashamed to the front door. As he arrives, the door opens just as a porter calls for the carriage. Vronsky has just enough time to note the surprise on the porter’s face before he comes face-to-face with Alexey Alexandrovitch.

Vronsky sees the man’s sallow face with his fixed, dull eyes focused directly upon him, and he bows at the older man. Alexey Alexandrovitch merely chews his lip for a moment, lifts his hand to his hat, and moves on toward his carriage. Vronsky hears the carriage leave and enters the hall with a scowl on his face, eyes gleaming with anger and pride. He detests his position. If Alexey Alexandrovitch would somehow stand up and fight for his honor, Vronsky could act, could express his feelings; however, he is forced to live in falseness, something he never wanted or intended...

(The entire section is 552 words.)