Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 8 Summary

Leo Tolstoy

Part 7, Chapter 8 Summary

Levin feels particularly at ease as he is leaving and he is met by his father-in-law who wants to show him the club. Prince Shtcherbatsky knows Levin is looking around and seeing many old men who have been coming to the club for years. The name for such men, those who have made the club their primary source of socialization and amusement in their later years, is shlupik, and the prince tells Levin a humorous story about one of them.

As they talk and greet old friends, Levin and Shtcherbatsky walk through all the rooms. There are rooms for playing cards, chess, and billiards, and other rooms are dedicated to reading or intellectual conversation. One of the prince’s card party comes to retrieve him, so Levin sits in on a conversation for a short time until he prepares to leave. He sees Stepan Arkadyevitch talking with Vronsky and hurries to get past them, but he is stopped by his brother-in-law who has tears glistening in his eyes. This is common for Stepan Arkadyevitch when he has been drinking or when he is touched. Now it is both, and he wants his two dear friends to become great friends of one another because they are both “splendid fellows.”

Vronsky and Levin warmly shake hands, and Stepan Arkadyevitch wants to celebrate their new friendship. He orders a bottle of champagne; however, though they all desire this grand friendship, the two men have nothing to talk about and both of them feel it. Stepan Arkadyevitch wants Levin to meet his sister and Vronsky’s lover, Anna Karenina.

Vronsky cannot leave because his friend Yashvin will need him later to restrain him in his card-playing, so the three men also play cards. After the mental fatigue of his morning, Levin is enjoying this interlude of sociability and repose. He is thankful that the hostilities with Vronsky are over, and his feeling of calm repose is strong. After their game, Stepan Arkadyevitch wants to take Levin to meet Anna Karenina. Levin had promised to attend the Society of Agriculture meeting with Sviazhsky, but he goes with his brother-in-law instead. Stepan Arkadyevitch asks the waiter to see if his carriage has arrived yet.

Levin goes to the card table and pays his bill of forty roubles, an amount mysteriously determined by a little old waiter standing at the counter. Swinging his arms, Levin walks through the rooms on his way out of the building.