Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 31 Summary

Leo Tolstoy

Part 2, Chapter 31 Summary

It has been raining all day and the invalids are walking inside the boardwalk. Kitty is walking with her mother and the colonel, trying to avoid Levin who is walking on the other side. Varenka is walking with a blind Frenchwoman, and each time she and Kitty pass they exchange friendly glances. Finally she asks her mother for permission to speak to Mademoiselle Varenka, and the princess agrees to find out more about her and meet her first, though she is not sure what Kitty is attracted to in the girl.

Levin is coming towards them, speaking loudly and angrily to his German doctor. The princess and Kitty turn to go back when suddenly the conversation has turned to shouting. Levin has stopped and is shouting at the doctor, and the doctor is equally animated. As a crowd gathers around them, Kitty and her mother quickly walk away while the colonel joins the crowd to see what is happening.

Soon he joins the women and tells them there is nothing worse than meeting Russians abroad. Levin was shouting at the doctor because he is unhappy with the treatment he has been given and was waving his walking stick at the physician. Varenka intervened and took Levin by the arm, walking him away from the doctor. Kitty tells her mother that is why she wants to meet her.

The next day, Kitty sees Varenka doing for Levin and his companion the same kinds of things she has been doing for the other invalids. Seeing this, Kitty is even more adamant that her mother make the necessary introductions so she can spend time with her. Princess Shtcherbatsky makes several inquiries and can see no harm (though little good, either) in meeting her, so she introduces herself to Mademoiselle Varenka.

Kitty is not around for the meeting, and the princess commends the woman on her handling of Levin’s outrageous behavior and learns that Levin is going away soon. After just a moment of conversation with her, the princess understands Kitty’s interest in Varenka. Just then Kitty arrives and is thrilled to see her mother talking to her potential new friend. When the princess introduces them, Kitty blushes with pleasure and presses her new friend’s hand without speaking. Varenka smiles a soft and rather mournful smile and says she has wanted to meet Kitty, as well. Varenka is called away by two Russian girls who are children of an invalid.