Part 2, Chapter 17 Summary
Stepan Arkadyevitch is content in every way. He has money in his pockets from the sale of the forest land, and the day’s hunting had been quite successful. He now wants to dispel Levin’s ill humor so that he can end the day as pleasantly as he began it.
Levin is not mollified, however; his mood has only grown worse as the news of Kitty’s unexpected availability has “gradually begun to work on him.” It is true that Kitty is not married; however, she is ill because the man she loved instead of him slighted her. By extension, Levin now sees Vronsky as his enemy and he feels insulted by the man. That disgruntled feeling has now seeped into his dealings with Stepan Arkadyevitch and he is exasperated at the man’s foolishness in business.
When his guest comes to him in a good humor, Levin is not able to recover his own spirits enough to be pleasant and explains that it is Stepan Arkadyevitch’s “stupid sale” which has upset him. The older man frowns good-naturedly, feeling teased and attacked for something beyond his control. He explains that it is typical to hear after a sale that the product was worth much more, but in this case he believes Levin holds a grudge toward the merchant.
Levin agrees that he may have such feelings, but he is angry at the impoverishing of the nobility (a class to which he belongs) not by extravagance or hard work but by such outrageous dealings. As dinner is served, Stepan Arkadyevitch teases the housekeeper, but Levin is simply unable to dispel his gloom. There is one question he wants to ask his guest but cannot find the words or the opportunity to do so.
Finally he blurts his question, asking where Vronsky is now. Stepan Arkadyevitch says Vronsky is in St. Petersburg and has not been back, scolding Levin for not staying to fight for the woman he loved. Levin cannot tell if the man knows he made Kitty an offer, so he remains silent. Stepan Arkadyevitch adds that it was Vronsky’s position and Kitty’s mother who influenced the...
(The entire section is 542 words.)