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by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary
Levin finds Kitty skating, and is immediately in awe of everyone at the pond who gets to be in the presence of a goddess. Nicholas Shcherbatsky, Kitty's cousin (not to be confused with Nicholas, Levin's older brother), says hello to Levin, hailing him as a champion skater and telling him to get some skates. Kitty comes over on unsteady skates, and asks Levin a few simple questions. Levin is totally flustered. Kitty compliments him by noting that everyone still talks about him as a champion skater. She suggests that the two of them skate together. Levin goes to rent some skates. Levin and Kitty go skating, and Kitty says that she could learn to be a better skater with Levin, because for some reason she trusts him. Levin replies that he trusts himself when she is with him. But this comment is a little too much for Kitty. She signals "back off" by wrinkling her forehead. Levin asks if she's okay. Kitty says she's fine and asks if Levin has seen Mademoiselle Linon yet. Levin says no, and Kitty tells him to go over and say hello. Levin worries that he's getting annoyed at Kitty, but he goes over and says hello to Mlle. Linon, who is a Frenchwoman and has apparently known Levin and the Shcherbatsky girls for quite some time. Kitty and Levin chat some more, but it's clear that Kitty is being deliberately sweet and friendly—as opposed to being sweet and friendly without thinking about it. She asks if winters are boring in the country. Levin, who continues to be irritated by Kitty's change in attitude, says that it would depend on her. Levin vents his frustration with Kitty by doing athletic skating moves. Kitty feels Levin is wonderful in a brotherly sort of way, and she also feels guilty that she may be flirting with him. But she's having such fun with him that she's probably not going to stop. Kitty meets up with her mother, and Levin joins them both. Kitty's mother informs Levin in a very chilly way that they are at home on Thursdays (read: that's the time when people are supposed to visit the Shcherbatskys). Kitty wants to make up for her mother's chilliness, so she smiles at Levin and says, " Au revoir!" (as in, she'll see him again). Oblonsky comes to take Levin to dinner; he decides on the restaurant Angleterre because he owes more money there and thinks it's wrong to avoid one's debts. Levin is so excited about Kitty's "au revoir" that his mind isn't on anything else.
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