Part 4, Chapter 9 Summary
Stepan Arkadyevitch gets home late, and several guests have already arrived. Two of Moscow’s intellectuals are there, men who are respected for their character and intelligence but who do not agree on any opinion. One of them is Levin’s brother, Sergey Ivanovitch. Also in attendance are Prince Shtcherbatsky, a young Shtcherbatsky cousin, Turovtsin (a family friend), Kitty, and Alexey Alexandrovitch. It is clear to Stepan Arkadyevitch that his wife is too worried about the children to be an effective hostess, and all of his guests are uncomfortable.
In moments he has made introductions, started conversations, and offered compliments to his guests, and the entire tone of the gathering has changed to one of liveliness and sociability. The only guest who has not arrived is Levin, and Stepan Arkadyevitch meets him when he enters the dining room to send a coachman to procure better port and wine for the evening.
Levin asks his host who is here, and when he hears Kitty’s name, he is filled with both delight and dread at the thought of seeing her. His breath fails him and he cannot speak a word. When he follows Stepan Arkadyevitch into the room, Kitty sees him immediately and is so delighted and confused that she alternates between blushing and turning white, feeling as if she might faint. Darya Alexandrovna watches it all and fears her sister is going to cry. Levin finally approaches her, bowing and holding out his hand without speaking. Except for a slight moisture in her eyes and the quiver of her lips, Kitty’s smile is calm as she greets him and presses his hand with her cold one.
He says he saw her as she rode in her coach to visit her sister, feeling as if he might “sob with the rapture which was flooding his heart.” He begins to believe that he might have a chance to win her. Stepan Arkadyevitch interrupts to introduce Levin to Alexey Alexandrovitch. Soon there is a discussion about the “Russification” of Poland and, of course, there is no consensus. Soon Levin is again talking to Kitty.
While there is nothing extraordinary about their conversation, he is enchanted by every word and...
(The entire section is 559 words.)