Part 5, Chapter 25 Summary
Alexey Alexandrovitch is waiting for Lidia Ivanovna in her boudoir. When she enters they have tea, and then with some trepidation and great blushing the countess shows him the letter she received from Anna Karenina. After he reads it, Alexey Alexandrovitch sits for a long while in silence. Finally he says he does not think he has the right to refuse his wife’s request.
The countess exclaims that he sees no evil in anyone; he assures her that all he sees in this is evil. His face shows irresolution, however, and it is clear he is seeking her support and guidance in this matter which he does not completely understand. The countess is adamant that there are limits to everything and cannot understand what drives women to immorality. She is perplexed by Anna Karenina’s nerve and cruelty in returning to St. Petersburg. The longer she knows Alexey Alexandrovitch, the more she recognizes his good character and his wife’s baseness.
Alexey Alexandrovitch is clearly pleased with his role as the wronged party in this matter and says he cannot be an accuser since he has forgiven Anna Karenina everything and cannot deprive her of the one thing she loves—her son. The countess reminds him that Seryozha believes his mother is dead. The boy asks God for mercy on his mother’s soul and forgiveness for her sins, which is how it should be; what will he think if he is now asked to meet with her again. Alexey Alexandrovitch agrees with her.
Lidia Ivanovna prays silently for several moments and then offers her best advice: do not allow Anna Karenina to see her son. The countess can see that he is suffering at the thought of seeing his wife again, and it would be even worse torture for his son. She believes that if there were a trace of mercy left in Anna Karenina, she would not ask for something so selfish. The countess offers to write the letter for him, and he consents.
The letter is short and claims that it is best for Seryozha if she does not see him and that she should interpret her husband’s...
(The entire section is 547 words.)