Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 10 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 1, Chapter 10 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch works the restaurant as he would a social gathering, making himself at home and others at ease. Levin refrains from having any vodka and is glowing with happiness. The two men are treated like royalty by the staff and Levin allows the other man to order for them both, as he knows his more rustic tastes will be ridiculed here. Though he knows exactly what he wants, Stepan Arkadyevitch refuses to call the dishes by their proper French names.

As they eat, Stepan Arkadyevitch can see that Levin is a bit ill at ease. When he asks about it, Levin explains that life in the city, including the rich foods and fancy manners surrounding them here, makes him uncomfortable. He prefers to be a savage if this is being civilized, and Stepan Arkadyevitch good-naturedly tells him all his relatives are savages. Levin is ashamed when he thinks of Nikolay, but Stepan Arkadyevitch turns the conversation to something more pleasant.

Levin will be going to the Shtcherbatskys’ tonight, though the invitation from Kitty’s mother was not particularly welcoming. Stepan Arkadyevitch reminds him that this is simply her way, that his mother-in-law always plays the grande dame. After Levin left, the entire family always used to ask Stepan Arkadyevitch about him, as if he would know. The only thing he could tell them is that Levin always “does what no one else does.” Levin agrees, bemoaning ever having come to the city, but Stepan Arkadyevitch congratulates him and calls him a “lucky fellow.”

He envies the younger man for being at the beginning of love, for he knows that “things go wrong” and love does not always last. Without ever really speaking the words, the two men discuss Levin’s prospect for success in his quest for Kitty’s hand in marriage. Stepan Arkadyevitch is thrilled with the idea and believes it is, indeed, possible. Levin is afraid a refusal is the only thing waiting for him, something awful for both himself and for Kitty. Stepan Arkadyevitch reminds him that women are proud of any...

(The entire section is 544 words.)