Part 6, Chapter 17 Summary
The carriage nears Vronsky’s family estate and is met by working peasants who give them the final directions. Dolly learns that many visitors arrived at the manor house yesterday and more are to come. Though the peasants ask her business, she does not tell them. Vronsky and Anna Karenina are home, and the carriage continues to their house.
The coachman is about to make the required turn when he is stopped by a peasant directing his attention to some approaching riders moving at a walking pace. They are Vronsky with a jockey, Anna Karenina and Veslovsky on horseback, and Princess Varvara and Sviazhsky in a small carriage; they have been to see a new reaping machine. Dolly is impressed by her sister-in-law. Anna Karenina is walking in front of the group with Veslovsky and she looks magnificent.
For a moment it seems improper that Anna Karenina should be riding a horse, something Dolly associates with youth, flirtation, and frivolity and which are unbecoming for a woman in Anna Karenina’s position. As she draws closer, though, Dolly sees that she is elegant yet simple, quiet, and dignified. In attitude and dress, nothing could have been more natural than Anna Karenina on horseback.
Veslovsky looks pleased with his own appearance, and Dolly cannot suppress a good-natured smile at the sight of him. Vronsky is keeping his dark bay horse reined in, and the others are following. A joyful smile comes to Anna Karenina’s face when she recognizes her sister-in-law huddled in a corner of the old carriage, and she prods her horse into a gallop. When she reaches the carriage, she dismounts without assistance and runs to meet Dolly and embrace her warmly.
Vronsky smiles and says Dolly would not believe how glad they are to see her, and his words have a peculiar significance. Veslovsky greets her next, and Anna Karenina points out Princess Varvara as the coach approaches. Dolly’s face betrays her dissatisfaction at the woman’s presence. She is Stepan Arkadyevitch’s aunt; Dolly has known her for a long time and does not...
(The entire section is 530 words.)