Part 5, Chapter 24 Summary
The official reception has ended and people are openly making comments about Alexey Alexandrovitch. Some say he looks older, some say he looks happier than he has ever looked; all either find fault with him or laugh at him. The man himself is blocking the exit of a member of the Imperial Council, explaining his new financial project point by point. Alexey Alexandrovitch keeps talking for fear the man should escape and he will be left alone in the crowd.
Almost at the same time Anna Karenina left him, Alexey Alexandrovitch experienced the most bitter moment in the life of an official—though he is the only one who does not know it. It is the moment when his upward career comes to a complete stop. Everyone around him recognizes the change, but Alexey Alexandrovitch is unaware that his career is over. Though he still holds a position of consequence and sits on many commissions and committees, he is a man from whom nothing is expected because his time is over.
Everything Alexey Alexandrovitch says or proposes is dismissed as something redundant and most unnecessary. He is not aware that he has been cut off from direct participation in governmental activity and now sees the defects of others more clearly than ever; unfortunately, this knowledge and his sense of duty compel him to point out solutions for these problems. Soon after Anna Karenina left, he began writing the first of a now endless series of notes on the new judicial procedure. Not only does Alexey Alexandrovitch not discern his hopeless position in the official world, he is even more satisfied than ever with his own activity. The man to whom he is now talking is unmistakably impatient, but that does not bother Alexey Alexandrovitch; only when the man is able to slip away does he quit talking. Left alone, he looks down and collects his thoughts before looking casually around him and looks toward the door where he hopes to meet Countess Lidia Ivanovna.
Moving forward and bowing with his “customary air of weariness and dignity,” Alexey Alexandrovitch is stopped and...
(The entire section is 539 words.)