Part 6, Chapter 2 Summary
The old princess and her two daughters are on the terrace while the others are out hunting for mushrooms. They enjoy sitting there after dinner where they knit and sew baby clothes, a task which is keeping them all busy these days. This afternoon, Agafea Mihalovna is also making jam on the terrace. She has to do this job in the ladies’ presence because she refused to make jam using the method which Kitty always used in her home. Now, to prove that the method works, in their presence the housekeeper is angrily stirring the raspberries over the charcoal stove and hoping they would not cook properly.
While the jam is being made and the women are watching stealthily, they talk about what gifts they give their servants. The old princess says she always buys her maids dresses, made of cheap material, of course. Dolly says her husband believes it is better to give money, but Kitty interrupts to say that money is out of the question and they appreciate an actual gift. After checking on the jam, the women continue their conversation (in French, so they will not be understood). Kitty hopes the matter of Varenka will be decided today. Dolly teases her about being an extraordinary matchmaker, but her mother is not convinced. Sergey Ivanovitch can still make a fine match anywhere in Russia, even though he is getting older, and the old princess wonders if he could do better than Varenka.
Kitty argues that Varenka is charming in every way, and Sergey Ivanovitch is in the enviable position of being able to marry for love rather than money or position. All he needs is a good, sweet, restful wife; she thinks that Varenka is perfect for him because she loves him. The subject then turns to how a man makes an offer, and just the thought makes Dolly smile at her own betrothal. When the daughters ask how their father asked for her hand in marriage, the old princess beamed with remembered pleasure. She says it was no different then than it is now: “it was...
(The entire section is 524 words.)