Part 7, Chapter 6 Summary
Levin is unlucky, for the Countess Bola is at home when he goes to call on her. In the drawing room are two of the countess’s daughters and a Moscow colonel whom Levin knows. After greeting them, Levin sits uncomfortably beside the sofa with his hat on his knees. He and the colonel discuss Kitty’s health, the death of a society woman, and the concert. When the countess arrives, they talk about the same things.
Because he does not care what anyone in this room thinks of him, he begins repeating everything they had undoubtedly already heard hundreds of time about the characteristics of the young opera star who is so much the rage at the moment. When he finally falls silent, the colonel talks about opera and culture. Finally the colonel makes one final comment, laughs, and noisily departs. Levin also rises to leave, but he can see by the countess’s face that it is not yet time for him to go. He must stay two minutes more, so he sits down again.
Because all he can think about is how ridiculous this entire proceeding is, Levin has nothing to contribute to the conversation. When the countess asks if he is going to the public meeting, he says he promised to pick up his sister-in-law from it but will not be attending it himself. There is a silence, and then the countess exchanges a look with her daughters. Levin is sure that is a sign that the time has come, so he rises to leave. The countess asks him to give her best wishes to his wife, and Levin is now almost free.
As the porter hands him his coat, he asks Levin to write his name and address in a big, handsomely bound book. Even as he thinks that this is all such a ridiculous custom and he feels stupid and ashamed at his poor showing, he immediately signs and leaves. His only consolation is knowing that this is something everyone in society does.
Levin drives to the public meeting where he is to pick up Natalia. Almost everyone from high society is at the meeting, and Levin...
(The entire section is 542 words.)