Anna gives a servant a note to Vronsky, telling him that she is to blame and asking him to come back. She goes to the nursery and, in her confusion, is startled to see Annie instead of Seryozha. Anna waits for Vronsky to return, her frenzy mounting; she decides to fix her hair, and when she looks in the mirror, she doesn’t recognize herself.
Anna’s inability to recognize her own face in the mirror demonstrates not only that Anna is losing her mind, she is also becoming a person who is not herself, or, rather, not the person who she was at the start of the novel: the charismatic, self-possessed, caring woman whose beauty shone from within has become a brittle, hollow husk of her former self.
Anna’s maid reminds Anna that she had wanted to go to Dolly’s, but Anna is still distracted, waiting for Vronsky. The servant returns, holding Anna’s note: he had been unable to catch Vronsky. She instructs him to take the note to Vronsky’s mother’s country estate. Anna also writes a telegram to Vronsky saying that she must talk to him and that he must return. The main advises Anna to go and visit Dolly.
Anna sends Vronsky a flurry of messages to try to get him to return, but this volley of futile notes is yet another reminder from Tolstoy not to trust the written word: if Anna and Vronsky can’t communicate to each other subverbally, they do not have a true bond.