Part 6, Chapter 26 Summary
Levin leaves for Moscow in September for Kitty’s confinement. After a month of being there with little to do, his brother Sergey Ivanovitch, who owns property in Kashinsky province, invites him to attend the provincial elections. Levin has other business to conduct along the way, but he does not want to leave Kitty in her condition. He agrees only after Kitty urges him to go and after she purchases him, on her own, the proper nobleman’s uniform.
He spends six days doing his business; it is impossible to get anything accomplished quickly because all the district officials are consumed with preparations for the elections. It is a long, frustrating experience for Levin; however, he has changed since he has been married. Now he reasons that while he may not understand why procedures have to be so difficult and are often fruitless, he tells himself he does not know all the circumstances and things probably must be as they are.
In the elections, too, Levin tries to find some significance, though it is puzzling to him that honest and excellent men are so consumed by something so unimportant to him. Sergey Ivanovitch tries to explain to him the choice the men must make. The marshal of the province controls many important matters, deciding how things should be done with schools, money, and land—and all in great numbers and quantities. The current marshal is a nobleman of the old school, always taking the side of the nobility and antagonistic to the spread of popular education. Though he is good-hearted, he has no concept of the more modern needs of today, and these elections will decide if he stays or if the district elects a man of contemporary ideas.
Levin’s brother tells him what is needed is a fresh and capable man who will frame his policy so as to move more toward self-government than nobility. This is a wealthy province, and it is hoped that what happens here will act as the model for provinces throughout the country. The plan is to elect either Sviazhsky or, even better, Nevyedovsky, a university professor and a friend of Sergey Ivanovitch.
The governor opens the...
(The entire section is 554 words.)