Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 8 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 4, Chapter 8 Summary

After church, Alexey Alexandrovitch spends his entire morning indoors. He has two items of business to accomplish. The first is to receive and send on to St. Petersburg a delegation from the native tribes. Though he had summoned the group, Alexey Alexandrovitch is glad he caught the delegates here because they have absolutely no idea what is expected of them.

He is horrified to discover that they naively intended to appear before the commission and outline their actual needs, report on their true condition, and ask the government for assistance. They are totally unaware that doing so would support his enemies’ contentions, so Alexey Alexandrovitch spends a long time with them and draws up an agenda to which they are to adhere rigidly. As they leave for St. Petersburg, he writes a letter to his chief supporter, Countess Lidia Ivanovna, who is a specialist in handling delegations and keeping them on the proper track.

After the deputation has left, Alexey Alexandrovitch performs his second item of business. He writes a letter to the lawyer; without the slightest hesitation, he gives him permission to pursue the divorce as he sees fit. He also encloses three notes from Vronsky that he had taken from Anna Karenina.

Alexey Alexandrovitch had left home with no intention of ever returning to his family, and after writing the matter down and making it official, he now believes in “the feasibility of its execution.” Just as he is sealing the letter, he hears his brother-in-law’s loud voice insisting on being announced by Alexey Alexandrovitch’s servant.

The servant protests that his master is not in, but Alexey Alexandrovitch decides now is a good time to explain his situation with Anna Karenina and calls the man in. Stepan Arkadyevitch is in high spirits and cheerfully says he has come to bring his guest of honor to dinner, but Alexey Alexandrovitch does not ask him to sit and abruptly announces he cannot come. He assumes he will receive cold treatment from the brother of the woman he is divorcing, but he has forgotten that Stepan Arkadyevitch has an “ocean of kindliness brimming over in his heart.”


(The entire section is 534 words.)