Part 6, Chapter 16 Summary
Darya Alexandrovitch is going to visit Anna Karenina, though she knows it might be hurtful to Levin and Kitty who are justified in not wanting anything to do with Vronsky. In order to be independent of them for this journey, Dolly arranges to hire horses from the village. When Levin hears this, he is distraught that she did not tell him and insists that she take his horses. Finally she agrees to accept his offer. Levin is aware of Dolly’s financial stresses, and he is not sure the village horses would get her there safely. In truth, providing four horses and their relays is a strain on his resources, as he has to provide horses for both Kitty’s mother and the midwife; however, he feels he must do it.
Dolly leaves before daybreak, comfortable in Levin’s carriage and accompanied by the counting-house clerk for greater security. They stop at an inn to change horses and continue their journey. Dolly’s life is so noisy and busy that she rarely has time to think. Now all her suppressed thoughts swarm her, many of which she has never had before, and they are strange even to her.
Her first thought is for her children. After worrying about their current condition, her thoughts turn to her children’s futures. She is not as concerned for the girls, but she worries about the boys. For now she is free to teach them, since Stepan Arkadyevitch is not reliable, but she wonders what would happen if she once again became pregnant.
Dolly thinks that having another child would be a terrible burden. The serving woman at the inn told her she had just buried her infant daughter and she felt free. While this philosophy was at first revolting to her, upon reflection Dolly understands it. She shudders to think of all the misery being pregnant and having children have caused her over the past fifteen years of her marriage; she also mourns the loss of her last baby who died of croup.
Dolly wonders what all of this pain has been for and if she has wasted her life. It has made her “forever irritable, peevish,...
(The entire section is 554 words.)