Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary
Though it is rather indiscreet of him, Vronsky settles in to tell his cousin a story about two young soldiers, in "a festive state of mind," driving to dinner with a friend. A woman in a sledge catches up to them, nods, and laughs—or at least it appears so to them. They follow her at full gallop until she arrives at the very place where they are to dine. The woman goes to the top story of the building, and the young men go to their comrade’s farewell dinner where they drink more than they should.
At dinner, the men ask who lives in the upstairs apartment; the valet tells them there are many young women about the place. The two friends go to their comrade’s study and compose a letter, a declaration of love, and take the letter upstairs in case their intentions were not understood.
When a maid opens the door, the friends assure her they will expire of love if their message is not delivered. The maid is stupefied but delivers their missive and their message. Soon an angry gentleman comes to the door. He says no one lives there except his wife and sends the men away immediately.
The man, who turned out to be a government clerk, subsequently filed a complaint against the two young soldiers; Vronsky had been sent to mediate. Very contrite, they begged forgiveness, but the man wanted to make his feelings known and expressed outrage at the incident. Vronsky, meanwhile, continued to act the diplomat, admitting the men’s behavior was bad but pointing out they were young and had been drinking. The clerk softened and then worked himself into an angry state once again when he thought about the insult to his respectable wife.
One of the soldiers is Petritsky, a man Vronsky likes; the other is Prince Kedrov, a new member of the regiment and a “capital fellow.” The government clerk’s official complaint says that his wife of six months had been at church with her mother when she suddenly became...
(The entire section is 517 words.)