Kitty and Levin take a trip to Moscow, and after they come back, marital life is much smoother.
At this point in the novel, Levin and Kitty are in his study. Levin is working on his book, and Kitty is doing some embroidery.
Levin is writing a chapter on why Russian agriculture is unprofitable. In keeping with his thoughts on the subject throughout the novel, Levin blames Russia's increasing poverty on attempts to superimpose foreign modes of civilization on Russia's natural self-organization. He especially blames the introduction of new modes of communication, including the trains, which permits the centralization of Russia's people into a few big cities. The growth of the cities is depriving the countryside of wealth. Instead, the railways should be employed to help the uniform development of farming across the Russian countryside.
Kitty is thinking about Levin being jealous of a certain Prince Charsky who was flirting with her in Moscow. She thinks that it's foolish for him to be jealous of the Prince.
Kitty looks at the nape of Levin's neck and feels a sense of ownership over it. She feels guilty about possibly interrupting his work, but she stares at him and wills him to turn around and look at her.
He turns around, and remarks on how wonderful it is that the two of them are alone together. He wants to know her thoughts.
She tells him to continue writing, but he goes and sits next to her and asks her again what she is thinking of.
Kitty tells him that she was thinking about the nape of his neck.
Levin caresses her hair and kisses her.
Kuzma comes in to announce that tea is served.
Kitty goes off, and Levin puts his notebooks away in a portfolio that Kitty gave to him, and washes his hands in a washstand that she also had obtained.
Levin thinks about his family life and considers it weak and self-indulgent. For the past three months he hasn't done any sort of serious work. He also believes that Kitty has no serious interests at all, which he secretly condemns.
What Levin doesn't realize is that Kitty knows that she will soon be busy as a wife, mother, and mistress of the house. She's preparing herself for the life to come—building her nest.