Part 6, Chapter 22 Summary
Anna Karenina wonders what Dolly and Vronsky talked about but does not ask. They do not have time to talk before dinner. The meal in the dining room and everything about both the room and the meal are even more sumptuous and modern than the rest of the house. As a good household manager, Dolly scrutinizes every detail. None of the men she knows, including her husband, would ever even consider such a thing, believing that it all simply happened without any cost or trouble to themselves. The organization and attention to details in this household is maintained by Vronsky.
Anna Karenina’s only obligation is conducting the conversation. This is a rather difficult task given the diversity of people at the table, but she demonstrates her usual naturalness and tact and even seems to be enjoying herself. She deftly ensures that every person at the table has a chance to discuss something they know. Dolly notes her hostess’s coquettishness and finds it unpleasant.
The conversation never ceases, bouncing quickly from one subject to the next, and is full of stinging barbs; Dolly is once terribly wounded by a comment and wonders later if she caused anyone else to feel as she did. Sviazhsky begins talking of Levin’s odd belief that machinery has had pernicious effects on Russian agriculture. Vronsky says he has not met Levin but is sure the man has not seen the best machines at work. Veslovsky mocks Levin for his antiquated views but Dolly defends Levin, saying that he is a cultivated man who could answer these charges if he were here.
Sviazhsky says he is Levin’s friend but even he thinks Levin is a bit crazy, believing that councils and boards are useless and taking part in nothing. Vronsky dismisses this as Russian apathy and says he is grateful to have been named a justice of the peace for his district. It is one of the only ways he can pay for the advantages of being a landowner. Dolly finds it strange that both Vronsky and Levin clearly believe they are right, but she loves Levin and supports his view.
Anna Karenina says she thinks there may be too many...
(The entire section is 551 words.)