Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 6 Summary

Leo Tolstoy

Part 8, Chapter 6 Summary

Sergey Ivanovitch did not telegraph his brother regarding his arrival, for he did not know exactly when he would be leaving Moscow. When he and Katavasov arrive, covered with dust and grime, Levin is not home but Kitty recognizes her brother-in-law and leaves her father and sister to go greet him. Though she scolds him for not letting them know he was coming, she is obviously happy to see him.

Sergey Ivanovitch explains that he was too busy to be sure when he could leave and that this way, she did not need to interrupt her peaceful life worrying about his coming. He introduces Kitty to Katavasov and assures her they enjoyed their ride through the countryside. Levin is out working on the farm, but Kitty knows he will be delighted that the men have arrived. Katavasov is glad to be in a place where all the conversation is not centered on the war; when he asks Kitty what her husband thinks about it, she is a little embarrassed and says she supposes he thinks the same as everybody else.

After Kitty sends for Levin, settles her guests, and gives orders for lunch, she runs back to the patio to tell her father who has arrived. When she tells him it is Sergey Ivanovitch and Katavasov, a professor, the old prince complains that they will be boring. Kitty defends them, though her father is rather teasing her. Kitty asks her sister Dolly to entertain their guests and tells her that the men saw Stepan Arkadyevitch at the train station. Kitty then goes to feed her son, Mitya.

Kitty’s connection to her son is preternaturally close; for example, she knows he is crying before she ever arrives at the nursery. It is a healthy scream, hungry and impatient. She asks for her son to be brought quickly so she can nurse him, but the nurse is hindered by a hovering Agafea Mihalovna. She is never far from the nursery, and today she delays the nurse so she can straighten him up a bit before taking the boy to his mother; the result is a few moments of frustration for both mother and son, but soon he is calmed and being fed properly.

The housekeeper insists that the baby recognizes her, but Kitty dismisses the idea. In her heart, though, Kitty is sure that he knows not only the housekeeper but understands everything. In fact, he knows and understands things others do not know, things she has come to understand only through him. To everyone else, even his father, Mitya is a mere physical being; for Kitty, her son is a mortal being with whom she has already had a long spiritual connection.