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Before dinner, Anna leaves Dolly to change, which Dolly thinks is rather funny, because she has already worn her best dress.
Dolly cleans up a little with the help of the maid, whereas Anna comes into the room wearing her third beautiful dress of the day.
Anna notes that her life is rather formal, in a sort of condescending way.
Dinner is a grand affair.
Dolly, as the head of a household, looks at all the details with a hostess's eye. She knows that none of these wonderful details is effortless. After some speculation, Dolly realizes that Vronsky is responsible for all the magnificence. Anna is as oblivious as the rest of the guests to all the effort that such a grand dinner requires.
Anna does, however, direct the flow of the conversation to involve everyone from the estate manager to the architect, both of whom occupy a lower social stratum than the rest of the aristocratic guests.
Dolly notes an unfavorable new trait in Anna of youthful coquetry.
Veslovsky flirts with Anna, who looks displeased but does not put a stop to it.
Vronsky doesn't seem to mind at all, but rather encourages it.
Later the conversation turns to Levin and his antipathy for public service. The general opinion is unfavorable, although Dolly sticks up for him. She worries later that she may have been too rude.
Vronsky has many new governmental posts, which Dolly can tell that Anna doesn't wholeheartedly support.
Dolly feels ill at ease at dinner. To her, all that opulence was better suited for a ball or formal dinner parties, not the small and intimate group that gathered that night.
After dinner, they all play lawn tennis, which Dolly also feels uncomfortable doing. It seems artificial and contrived.
Dolly would really like just to go to bed, but she knows that Anna will be coming in to see her soon.