They all change for dinner, though Dolly is already wearing her best dress. The dinner is extremely luxurious and formal. Dolly realizes that all of these elaborate preparations have taken a great deal of work, and she shrewdly recognizes that it is Vronsky, not Anna, who makes all the household arrangements, whereas Anna is the hostess who guides the conversation. Anna has added a certain flirtatiousness and false babyishness to her actions, which displeases Dolly.
Just as the men and women have separate spheres at Levin’s estate, so Vronsky and Anna take different roles to maintain various aspects of Vronsky’s estate, but the division of labor here is not based on warm, family groupings, but on appearance and affectation. Vronsky takes care of all the household practicalities, whereas Anna—not unlike her brother, Oblonsky—maintains the social atmosphere..
When the conversation turns to Levin, Dolly defends him. Vronsky has many responsibilities in government, to Anna’s chagrin. Dolly feels uncomfortable during dinner; she also feels awkward when they play lawn tennis, as it seems like a fake activity, rather than a natural amusement.
Tolstoy emphasizes the contrast between the lawn tennis at Vronsky’s and organic activities like mushroom hunting at Levin’s estate.