Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 14 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 7, Chapter 14 Summary

The doctor’s servant tells Levin the doctor was up late the night before and gave instructions not to be awakened. After some impatient waiting, Levin decides to send his carriage for another doctor while he goes to the pharmacist for the requested opium. If, by the time he returns from his errand, the doctor is not awake, Levin will bribe the servant to wake him. The apothecary is wary of giving opium to him, but Levin finally just grabs it from him and goes back to the doctor, who is still asleep. Levin deliberately bribes the footman with a ten-rouble note and the reminder that the doctor has promised to come any time he is needed and would not be happy to know he was not informed of the need. The servant goes to wake the doctor.

Only a few minutes pass and Levin hears the doctor preparing to go with him, but to the impatient father-to-be it seems like forever. When he finally does come out of his room, he is smiling and offers Levin some coffee. Levin is aghast at the calmness of the man, and the doctor says he understands and offers Levin some breakfast. After waiting as long as he can stand it, Levin extracts a promise that the doctor will arrive with the half hour and then leaves.

Levin has been up for only an hour, but in that time he has steeled himself to hold his emotions in check for the five hours (which he naively assumes will be enough time) before his child is born. When he gets home, however, he sees Kitty suffering and does not know how he will bear it.

Five hours pass, the limit of his endurance, and still the labor continues. His misery and horror grow more intense, and every other aspect of life has ceased to exist for Levin. All the ordinary things which he is asked to do, which others do as they wait, and which have little or no meaning for Levin are a surprise...

(The entire section is 520 words.)