In this chapter we see a bit of Anna's family life. Karenin is always punctual and always busy with official matters; whenever they dine together, they always have three or four friends over. In other words, the two rarely spend much time alone in one another's company
Anna spends her time writing letters, hanging out with friends, and looking after her son.
On this particular night, Anna stays at home because the dresses she ordered aren't ready yet. She spends the evening with Seryozha, waiting until Karenin returns to her at precisely 9:30 in the evening.
After Karenin comes home, the two of them talk about what they've been doing during the day. Anna recounts her time with Dolly and Oblonsky, and Karenin sternly comments that he cannot imagine forgiving such a man as Oblonsky for his infidelity, even if he is Anna's brother. Anna admires his frankness in telling the truth even though it might pain her.
They're courteous and give each other time to speak. Anna is good at drawing her husband out and recognizing what's important to him. She knows that Oblonsky values his own ability to keep up with all that is new in the intellectual sphere, and listens to his account of what he's been reading (in this case, the Duc de Lille, Poésie des enfers. For more, see our "Shout-outs" section.)
At midnight the two of them go to bed. Anna recognizes that Karenin is a good man. Still, it must be said that Anna is significantly less engaged than on the train from Moscow. (Read: there's not a lot of passion in that bedroom.)