Kitty Shcherbatsky is eighteen years old and has just been formally introduced in Moscow society. Though all the men are in love with her, Kitty’s two serious suitors are Vronsky and Levin. Kitty’s mother, Princess Shcherbatsky, strongly favors Vronsky; however, it is no longer the custom in Russian society for parents to decide matches for their children, and Kitty will choose for herself.
Though the Princess strongly favors Vronsky and is somewhat confused by Lenin’s rural, awkward ways, she cannot express her feelings too strongly, since the final decision, as is reflective of the changing times, will be made by Kitty rather than by the parents.
Princess Shcherbatsky knows that Kitty loves Vronsky and is worried that Vronsky is just flirting with Kitty. Kitty tells the Princess that Vronsky’s mother is coming soon, which seems to signify that a proposal might be on the way. The Princess is worried, however, that Kitty might accept Levin if Levin proposes.
Even though the Princess favors Vronsky, she worries that he is toying with Kitty’s heart. She hopes that Kitty will follow her own heart (i.e., wait for Vronsky) rather than accept the first proposal (i.e., Levin’s) that comes her way.