Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 15 Summary

Leo Tolstoy

Part 4, Chapter 15 Summary

The streets are empty as Levin arrives at the Shtcherbatsky residence; it is clear everyone is still asleep. He walks back to his hotel and orders coffee in his room. He tries to drink the coffee and eat the roll he was served, but it is as if his mouth does not quite know what to do anymore. He goes back outside for a walk and reaches the Shtcherbatskys’ for the second time at nine o’clock. The family is just rising, so Levin has to endure another two hours, at least.

That entire night and morning, Levin has felt himself living perfectly unconsciously, far above the conditions of normal material life. He has not eaten or slept for two days, and he had spent the night nearly undressed in the freezing night air, yet he feels stronger than he ever has. He feels independent of his body, moves without effort, and believes he can do anything. Levin spends his two hours waiting in the street, looking repeatedly at his watch and gazing around him. Once again, Levin returns to his hotel, setting his watch on the table before him so he will know when it is noon. The time finally passes and Levin hires a sledge to take him to his destination, and both the driver and his horse are magnificent in Levin’s eyes.

The Shtcherbatskys’ hall porter greets Levin cordially and says it has been a long time since Levin has been here for a visit. Levin understands the subtext of the porter’s kind words and smiles, figuring even the servants know there is something auspicious about this day and this visit.

Levin has barely entered when he hears the rustle of Kitty’s skirts, and a “joyful terror” fills him at the thought of her nearness. Kitty seems to float as if drawn to him by some unseen force. Levin sees nothing but her clear, truthful eyes, frightened by the same blissful love that floods his own heart. In a moment, she is close enough to place her hands on his shoulders.

Kitty has done her part, and he puts his arms around her and kisses her. She has not slept all night and has been waiting to tell him that her parents are thrilled with the news of their impending marriage and are happy in her happiness. She takes him to see her mother, and Levin cannot speak; every time he tries, he feels tears of happiness welling up in his eyes.

The meeting with her parents is full of tears and happiness, and the prince says he has always hoped this day would come. Levin feels a new love for Kitty’s father when he sees how much he and Kitty care for one another.