Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary

Levin arrives at the Zoological Gardens at four o’clock and walks the path to the skating area. The more he tries to compose himself, the more breathless he gets. An acquaintance calls his name but Levin does not even recognize him as he moves closer to the ice rink. As soon as he sees the skaters he recognizes the one he came to see because he feels his heart constrict.

Kitty is talking to another lady and there is nothing about her which particularly distinguishes her from anyone else in the crowd; for Levin, though, she is as striking and noticeable as a rose among thorns. Where she stands is holy ground to Levin, and he wonders if he dares to approach her. In fact, for a moment he considers retreating, but he regains control of himself as he sees others near her and begins to think he, too, might approach her. He begins to walk.

Everyone connected to her seems to him to be happy and content, blissful even. As Levin walks by, Kitty’s cousin Nikolay Shtcherbatsky is sitting on a bench lacing his skates and calls to Levin to put his skates on and join him. Kitty begins skating uncertainly over to them. As she glides close to the bench, she smiles and nods at Levin as she clutches Nikolay’s arm. “She is more splendid” that Levin had even imagined her to be.

Ever since their childhoods, Levin has been struck by the serene and truthful look in her eyes and her smile which never failed to soften and enchant him. Now she gives him her hand and asks if he has been here long, thanking him as he hands her the handkerchief she dropped. Levin is so struck by her and the moment that he cannot even speak one coherent sentence in his confusion and embarrassment. He finally manages to praise her skating, but she reminds him that he is the one who has the reputation of being a superb skater. He had no intention of skating...

(The entire section is 528 words.)