Part 6, Chapter 31 Summary
The newly elected marshal and his faction dine with Vronsky that night. Vronsky had come to the elections because he was bored and needed to assert his independence from Anna Karenina. He also wanted to repay Sviazhsky for all his help in his district election; he did not expect to find the elections so exhilarating and now knows he would be quite good at this business.
Vronsky is new to the province, but already he has obtained a certain influence among his peers. His success is due to his wealth and reputation; to the fact that he has borrowed a fine house in town and brought his excellent cook with him; and to his long-time friendship (they were schoolmates) with the governor. But more importantly, it is his direct, equable manner with everyone which has dispelled the impression his peers had of him as being haughty. With the exception of Levin (whom he thinks is a “whimsical gentleman”), Vronsky is aware that he has won the majority as his adherents.
He had also played a significant role in getting Nevyedovsky elected, and now at his celebration of their victory, Vronsky experiences an “agreeable sense of triumph.” If he is able to be married during the next three years, he can even envision himself standing for marshal of the province. Everyone at the table is rejoicing at today’s success. Stepan Arkadyevitch is, as always, most happy about having a sumptuous meal.
Throughout the meal, the men all refer to Nevyedovsky as “our marshal” or “your excellency,” and they all say it with great pleasure. Though he tries to be indifferent to the attention, Nevyedovsky is delighted at the attention and the deference. After dinner, several of the men sent telegrams to those interested in the outcome of the election. Stepan Arkadyevitch makes a great show of sending a telegram to his wife. (When she receives it, Dolly rues the wasted expense on something she cares nothing about but knows her husband is fond of the grand gesture, especially after a good meal.)
The men enjoy themselves immensely, especially Vronsky who had not expected to find...
(The entire section is 551 words.)