Part 4, Chapter 7 Summary
It is Sunday, and Stepan Arkadyevitch attends a ballet rehearsal at the Grand Theater; afterward, he gives one of the dancers the coral necklace he had promised her the night before. He kisses her and promises to come for the last act of tonight’s ballet performance and to take her to dinner afterward. By noon, he is at the hotel where he has to see three people: Levin, who has recently returned from his travels abroad; the recently appointed head of his department; and Alexey Alexandrovitch, whom he must ensure comes home with him to dinner.
Stepan Arkadyevitch enjoys dining out, but he enjoys hosting a dinner even more. Tonight he and his wife will host several people, including Levin and Kitty Shtcherbatsky as well as two famous personages: Sergey Koznishev, a Moscow philosopher, and Alexey Alexandrovitch. The money from the second installment payment for the forest land was not yet exhausted, and relations between Stepan Arkadyevitch and his wife have been pleasant lately, so he is in good spirits; only two slightly unpleasant thoughts are on his mind. First, the fact that Alexey Alexandrovitch had not contacted them and was so cold to them yesterday led Stepan Arkadyevitch to believe that the rumors he has heard about the Karenins must be true. Second, his new superior has a reputation for being a terrible person, someone who works long and hard and expects the same from his subordinates. Yet Stepan Arkadyevitch is an optimist and believes everything will turn out all right.
He visits Levin first and finds him with a peasant, measuring a bearskin. The men visit for an hour, and Levin tells Stepan Arkadyevitch about his visits to the manufacturing towns of Germany, Prussia, France, and England. He learned many things but is still consumed with the prospect of imminent death. While he values his work, he believes it is nothing but a "speck of mildew" on a "tiny planet." All ideas, even great ones, are nothing but "dust and...
(The entire section is 503 words.)