Part 1, Chapter 17 Summary
The next morning, Vronsky sees Oblonsky at the St. Petersburg rail station. Vronsky is there to meet his mother, and Oblonsky is there to meet his sister, Anna Karenina. Oblonsky asks the younger man where he went after his visit to the Shtcherbatskys’, and Vronsky tells him the truth: that he felt so good after the visit that he was uninterested in going anywhere else. Oblonsky teases him about being in love. Vronsky smiles without comment and changes the subject.
Vronsky remembers something “stiff and tedious” associated with the name Karenina, but he does know her husband, Alexey Alexandrovitch, by reputation and by sight. The celebrated man is known to be a learned and somewhat religious man, something with which Vronsky has little experience.
Knowing Vronsky was at the Shtcherbatskys’, Oblonsky asks if Vronsky met his friend Levin, who is an excellent young man. Vronsky said he did, indeed, meet Levin, but he left rather early. One thing Vronsky has noticed about men in Moscow is that they all seem rather uncompromising and on the defensive, as if they somehow want to make others feel something. With a laugh, Oblonsky agrees. The train approaches with a rumble and there is a rush of workers, policemen, attendants, and people meeting the train.
Oblonsky suddenly feels the urge to let Vronsky know about Levin’s intentions, and he says that Levin is generally a fine young man with a good heart, though he does have a tendency toward nervousness. Yesterday, however, he had a special reason beyond his control for being either particularly happy or particularly unhappy. (Oblonsky is oblivious to the fact that he felt a distinct sympathy for Levin the day before and feels the same sympathy today, only for Vronsky.)
Vronsky is struck motionless and asks if Levin made an offer to Kitty. Oblonsky says he thought that was Levin’s intention, and the fact that he was in an ill humor and...
(The entire section is 503 words.)