Now she was afraid that Vronsky might confine himself to simply
flirting with her daughter. She saw that her daughter was in
love with him, but tried to comfort herself with the thought that
he was an honorable man, and would not do this. But at the same
time she knew how easy it is, with the freedom of manners of
today, to turn a girl's head, and how lightly men generally
regard such a crime. The week before, Kitty had told her mother
of a conversation she had with Vronsky during a mazurka. This
conversation had partly reassured the princess; but perfectly at
ease she could not be. Vronsky had told Kitty that both he and
his brother were so used to obeying their mother that they never
made up their minds to any important undertaking without
consulting her. "And just now, I am impatiently awaiting my
mother's arrival from Petersburg, as peculiarly fortunate," he
Kitty had repeated this without attaching any significance to the
words. But her mother saw them in a different light. She knew
that the old lady was expected from day to day, that she would be
pleased at her son's choice, and she felt it strange that he
should not make his offer through fear of vexing his mother.
However, she was so anxious for the marriage itself, and still
more for relief from her fears, that she believed it was so.
Bitter as it was for the princess to see the unhappiness of her
eldest daughter, Dolly, on the point of leaving her husband, her
anxiety over the decision of her youngest daughter's fate
engrossed all her feelings. Today, with Levin's reappearance, a
fresh source of anxiety arose. She was afraid that her daughter,
who had at one time, as she fancied, a feeling for Levin, might,
from extreme sense of honor, refuse Vronsky, and that Levin's
arrival might generally complicate and delay the affair so near
"Why, has be been here long?" the princess asked about Levin, as
they returned home.
"He came today, mamma."
"There's one thing I want to say..." began the princess, and from
her serious and alert face, Kitty guessed what it would be.