Anna hadn’t anticipated the strong effect that seeing Seryozha would have on her. Her love for her daughter is weak in comparison. She knows that she and her son are bound together physically and spiritually. She takes out an album of photographs of her son. She thinks of Vronsky, and though she feels a surge of love, she is also angry that he has left her alone. When Vronsky writes back that a prince is visiting, Anna worries that Vronsky doesn’t love her anymore.
Anna’s bond with Annie is nothing in comparison to her bond with Seryozha, suggesting also that her relationship with Vronsky rests on tenuous grounds. She does not trust Vronsky implicitly and instinctively; rather, she feels as though she must work all the time to keep him close to her, rather than believing that there is an inherent force tying them together.
When Vronsky and the guest arrive, Vronsky looks at the pictures of Seryozha, but Anna quickly takes the pictures away. Anna invites the prince to dinner. Anna asks Vronsky when they will leave Petersburg, and he says that they will soon––life is painful there for him as well, he says.
Anna’s visit with her son reawakens the strong bond she feels for him; though she has tried to replace this bond with affection for her daughter, her love for Annie is like that of a child with a doll, not a mother with a daughter. Her family life with Vronsky and Annie appears lovely from the outside, but is weak within. It is a show, something put on, not a deep connection.