The Prince, Kitty’s father, comes to visit Kitty and the Princess at the spa town. Unlike Kitty’s mother, who tries to act Continental while abroad, the prince deliberately emphasizes his Russian habits. At first, Kitty’s father is jealous of her new friendships, but he is soon delighted that her friends are making her happy.
Kitty’s mother fancies herself among the elite of European society, whereas her father thinks the trappings of Continental ways are ridiculous and wants to be Russian. The idea of the importance of Russians staying connected to Russian tradition and culture is important in the novel.
Kitty’s father first meets Varenka and likes her. He then meets Petrov and his wife. Petrov awkwardly asks Kitty why she hadn’t come to visit the day before, and he and his wife argue. The prince and Kitty then see Madame Stahl. Kitty’s father has known Madame Stahl for a long time. He tells Kitty that Madame Stahl is less purely devout than she seems; also, Madame Stahl isn’t a real invalid, but just has stumpy legs and hides them in a wheelchair. Kitty’s idealized version of Madame Stahl dissolves with her father’s revelations, and she sees through her.
Kitty’s father is just as charmed by Varenka’s goodness as the rest of his family is. Petrov and his wife argue; clearly the wife is jealous of Kitty. When the prince reveals more of Madame Stahl’s past to Kitty, her idealism is shattered in much the same way that Vronsky's inattention to her shattered her idealism about love. Kitty is growing up.