We now return to Levin in the country. After his transformative experience out on the haystack, Levin now feels completely disappointed with farming. That moment when he wanted to become a peasant has left him feeling, perversely, even more at odds with the peasants who are working for him: he's disgusted by their resistance to his reforms.
He has profitable innovations he wants to implement, but the laborers want to work as easily as possible, with lots of breaks and without having to think too hard. They don't want to alter the way they've been farming.
Making everything worse is the presence of Kitty Shcherbatsky less than twenty miles away. Still, he refuses to go and see her. He doesn't want to be Kitty's fallback plan—it would be terrible for her to accept him as her husband just because Vronsky didn't want her.
Dolly tries to engineer a meeting between the two by sending over a request to Levin for a sidesaddle that she knows he has. He sends the saddle over without going himself, and he's furious with Dolly for trying to arrange a meeting between Kitty and himself when he's sure that Kitty doesn't want to see him.
To take his mind off his troubles, Levin decides to visit his friend Sviyazhsky. He has excellent snipe marshes, and Levin had long ago promised to go shooting with him.