Meanwhile, Kitty and her mother are at a spa town in Germany. The social hierarchy among the international vacationers is extremely crystallized, and once the pecking order has been firmly established, Kitty is bored with it. She is intrigued by a Russian girl named Varenka, who has the physical qualities of beauty but lacks Kitty’s restrained fire of life. Kitty idolizes Varenka because she is always busy doing things for others.
Kitty does not care about the superficial trappings of society; instead, she wants to get to know people for who they are. Animation hidden just under the surface is an extremely important characteristic in Tolstoy’s descriptions. Kitty sees a care for others and a purpose in Varenka’s life that she feels her own lacks.
Another Russian couple arrives at the spa, and although Kitty likes them from afar, she is repulsed when she discovers who they are: Nikolai, Levin’s brother, and Marya, the prostitute he treats as a wife.
Although Kitty imagines the best in people, she is extremely uncomfortable when Levin’s ne’er-do-well brother and disreputable mistress arrive.