While preparing for the party in which she knows she will likely receive a marriage proposal, Kitty is compared to a young man preparing for battle. Levin sits down with Kitty and proposes to her. Love floods through her for a moment, but then she remembers Vronsky and says, “It cannot be...forgive me.”
Tolstoy likens the preparations of a woman getting ready for marriage to a soldier approaching war. Although Kitty is instinctively filled with love when Levin proposes, she believes that she is in love with Vronsky, so she refuses him.