Part 5, Chapter 30 Summary
Seryozha’s tutor, Vassily Lukitch, is just growing alert enough to realize that the boy’s mother (whom he had heard about but never seen) is here with her son. Lukitch is unsure whether he should stay or go, or if he should let Alexey Alexandrovitch know his wife is here. He decides just to do his duty and go get the boy up for the day. When he opens the door and overhears part of their quiet conversation and sees their embraces, the tutor changes his mind and decides to give them ten more minutes alone.
The rest of the household is in a state of excitement, for they have all heard that their former mistress has come home. Alexey Alexandrovitch is in the habit of going to the nursery to see his son at nine o’clock each day, and it is nearly that time. The entire staff knows they must do something to prevent their master from meeting his estranged wife. The former nurse arrives to wish Seryozha a happy birthday; when she hears the problem, she says she will try to remove Anna Karenina before their master goes to the nursery.
When she walks into the room, the nurse hears Seryozha telling his mother all about his latest adventures with great animation. His mother is looking at his face, noting every expression he makes, listening to the sound of his voice, and touching his hand; but she is not paying attention to anything her son is saying. All Anna Karenina can think is that she must go and she must leave her beloved son. Though she hears the tutor and the nurse, she is like one made of stone, incapable of speaking or moving. Finally the nurse greets her former mistress.
The two women share an emotional reunion, which thrills Seryozha until he sees the nurse talking privately to Anna Karenina and the look of dread and shame on his mother’s face. She refuses to say good-bye and asks him not to forget her. Later she will think of many things she could have said, but Seryozha knows...
(The entire section is 550 words.)