Karenin is an extremely busy and punctual man. He and Anna typically dine with several people. Anna does not go out or to the theater because the dressmaker has not finished altering some dresses; instead, she spends the evening at home with her son, and feels very pleased with herself that she has spent the evening so well.
Karenin lives his life like clockwork: his business and his position in society are extremely important to him, and he follows both the letter and the spirit of the law. Rather than meet the engagements she was supposed to attend, Anna instead stays away from society and feels virtuous for having done so.
When Karenin returns home, she tells him about her journey to Moscow. Karenin says that he cannot excuse Oblonsky’s actions, even though Oblonsky is Anna’s brother, and Anna likes this feature in Karenin. Karenin reads to keep up on all the latest intellectual discussions, and Anna listens to him tell her about what he is learning. Exactly at midnight, they go to bed. Even though Anna is fond of her husband, she cannot help noticing his ears again.
Anna admires and likes Karenin’s honesty about his ethics and moral righteousness. The two are a compatible pair, even though there is little physical passion between them. Yet Anna’s sudden heightened awareness of his ears reflects her unconscious physical preference for Vronsky.