Part 2, Chapter 14 Summary
As Levin rides up to the house, he hears a visitor and hopes it is his brother, but it is Stepan Arkadyevitch. Levin is genuinely delighted to see him because he can now find out for certain about Kitty. His visitor has come to do some hunting and to sell the forest at Ergushavo. The host shows his guest to his room and soon they are sitting and visiting.
Stepan Arkadyevitch loves the house, exclaiming that it is bright and cheery but forgetting that it is not always so. It is this lovely spring day which places the house at its best advantage. He is anxious to try to understand what Levin finds so intriguing about the country, and he shares all the news from Moscow, including the fact that Levin’s half-brother Sergey Ivanovitch plans to visit him in the country this summer.
The one thing Stepan Arkadyevitch assiduously avoids talking about is Kitty. After so much solitude, Levin pours out all his ideas, plans, and thoughts on agriculture which he has not been able to share with those around him. Stepan Arkadyevitch is always charming, but today he is especially gracious and shows a kind of tenderness and respect that Levin finds flattering.
The cook takes special interest in preparing a meal fit for their visitor, and though it is more rustic than he is used to, Stepan Arkadyevitch finds the food sumptuous. After dinner, they talk further about the issues faced by today’s farmer. Levin believes agriculture should be seen as a science and the laborer should be factored in to any study of the issues.
The two men prepare for an afternoon of hunting, and Stepan Arkadyevitch tells the housekeeper that he is expecting Ryabinin, a local merchant, and asks her to bring him in to wait when he arrives. As they ride out to hunt, Stepan Arkadyevitch tells Levin he envies him for living such a life. He loves horses, dogs, and shooting, and here he has them all. Levin tells his guest that he could also have such a life.
Vronsky dreads learning about Kitty but is longing to discover the news; he does not have the courage to begin the conversation. When he asks about what is new with Stepan Arkadyevitch, the man “sparkles merrily” and alludes to new women in his life. He claims to have been made that way, but Levin listens in silence and knows that no matter how hard he tries he cannot understand his friend’s beliefs about women or the charm of studying women like this.