Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 4 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 8, Chapter 4 Summary

When the train stopped in a small town, Sergey Ivanovitch does not go to the refreshment room but walks up and down the platform. The first time he walks past Vronsky’s compartment, the curtain is closed, but the second time he passes, the curtain is open and Vronsky’s mother invites him to join her. She explains that she is traveling with her son for part of the journey; Sergey Ivanovitch tells the old countess that what her son is doing is quite noble. She agrees, adding that there is little else for him to do after his great tragedy. Sergey Ivanovitch enters the cabin and sits down beside her.

The countess begins to talk about her son. For the first six weeks after Anna Karenina’s tragic death, Vronsky would not eat except when she begged him. Vronsky could not be left alone, and anything he might use to hurt himself was taken away. Though he was living on the ground floor, his family took nothing for granted, since Vronsky had already shot himself once because of her. (The old lady’s eyelashes twitch at this recollection.) The countess asserts that Anna Karenina chose a fitting death: “low and vulgar.”

Sergey Ivanovitch says it is not their place to judge, but he sympathizes with her for having to endure such misery. The countess simply continues her story about Anna Karenina’s death. While he was at the countess’s estate, Vronsky received a note from Anna Karenina, which he answered; they had no idea that she was so close to them at the train station. That evening, the countess’s maid told her a lady had thrown herself under the train, and immediately the countess knew it was her son’s lover.

The first thing she told her maid was that no one should tell Vronsky, but it was too late; Vronsky’s coachman had been there and seen everything. When the countess got to her son’s room, he was like a crazed man—“it was fearful to see him.” He did not say a word; he simply raced his horse to the train station. She still does not know what...

(The entire section is 536 words.)