Nevedovsky and others eat dinner that night at Vronsky's. It's a splendid and merry dinner party. It is a victory for the modern liberal party, and Vronsky is carried away by the excitement of being on the winning side of an election (because he, too, is a member of the new party).
Vronsky is pleased because he helped contribute to Nevedovsky's success. It's clear he has a budding political career.
Sviyazhsky toasts Nevedovsky and is the perfect gentleman, even though he lost. In fact, he tells his colleagues that it wasn't a failure because his party has now found a better representative.
All the men prepare to go carouse somewhere else, but Vronsky's valet brings in a letter from Anna.
It's a strange and contradictory message. She tells him that the baby is ill, and that she wants Vronsky to come, but knows it will annoy him. She wonders why Vronsky isn't already home yet.
The elections had taken longer than anticipated. Vronsky figures that the explanatory letter he sent her hadn't reached her yet. He's annoyed by her hostile tone, especially since their child is sick.
Vronsky gets on the next train home. He's struck by the difference between the merriment of the elections and the gloom that's awaiting him back at home.