Part 2, Chapter 30 Summary
The Shtcherbatskys have established their place in the little German town with special healing waters. Another visitor to the waters is a German princess, and Kitty’s mother is desperate to present Kitty to her. She does so the day after they arrive, and Kitty makes a low and graceful curtsy before the princess, wearing an elegant dress from Paris. The princess says she hopes Kitty will soon have more color in her cheeks, making her face even prettier.
The family also makes the acquaintance of an English lady, a German countess and her wounded war-hero son, a Swedish intellectual, and Monsieur Canut and his sister. Most of the time, though, the Shtcherbatskys are in the company of a lady from Moscow, Marya Yevgenyevna Rtischeva and her daughter. Kitty dislikes the daughter because, like her, her illness is due to a failed love affair. Also among the group is a Moscow colonel whom Kitty has known since childhood and is now a ridiculous figure she cannot avoid.
Once the newness of the place has worn off, Kitty grows bored, especially after her father leaves and she is left alone with her mother. She takes no interest in her surroundings or in the people she knows. Instead, she spends her time creating noble and marvelous characters for the people she sees but does not know. Kitty makes guesses about who they are, how they are related to one another, and what kind of people they are.
One such person is a Russian girl who has come to the waters with an invalid Russian lady named Madame Stahl. Stahl belongs to the highest society (Kitty’s mother knew her long ago) but is so ill she cannot walk and rarely even makes an appearance in her invalid carriage. The girl is friendly to all the invalids and naturally looks after them, and Kitty has gathered that she is not related to Stahl. Everyone calls her Mademoiselle Varenka, and Kitty feels an inexplicable attraction to her. When their eyes happen to meet, Kitty senses the girl feels the same about her.
Mademoiselle Varenka is rather ageless, and she is not particularly pretty. Kitty thinks of her as a “fine flower,” no longer blooming and...
(The entire section is 552 words.)