Part 5, Chapter 32 Summary
When Vronsky returns home, Anna Karenina is not there. The servants tell him that a lady came and they left together. He is unsettled that she left without leaving word about where she was going, that she has not yet returned, and that she had gone somewhere that morning without telling him anything about it. All of these things add to his recollection of her hostile tone when they last saw one another, her grabbing the pictures of her son from his hand earlier in the day, and the strange look of excitement on her face that morning. He begins thinking seriously and decides he absolutely must speak with her openly.
Anna Karenina does not return alone. She brings with her an old, unmarried aunt with whom she had been shopping. Though she does not appear to notice his agitation, Vronsky can see that there is a kind of intense concentration in her words and movements which convey her nervousness. These nervous habits once fascinated him, but now they disturb and alarm him.
The dinner table is set and they are all about to sit when Princess Betsy’s messenger arrives. On behalf of the princess, Tushkevitch begs Anna Karenina to come to her between half-past six and nine o’clock that evening. Vronsky is immediately suspicious, for these are the hours during which she would be unlikely to meet anyone in society; but Anna Karenina apologizes and says she cannot come then. If she could get a box for the opera this evening, she says she would go; and Tushkevitch says he will procure one. Anna Karenina then invites the man to dinner.
Vronsky is at a complete loss, trying to understand what his lover is doing. He wonders why she brought her old aunt home, why she invited Tushkevitch to dinner, and most amazing of all why she wants a box for tonight. She could not possibly think that she can go to the opera, where all her former circle of acquaintances would be, given her current position in society. He looks at her seriously, but she looks back at him with a mirthful,...
(The entire section is 545 words.)