At tea, Kitty reads a letter from Dolly. Levin has a letter from Marya, Nikolai’s on-again mistress, saying that Nikolai is very ill. Levin is determined to go to Moscow at once. Kitty wants to go with him. Levin thinks she will be a hindrance and wants to shield her from the evil ways of Nikolai’s mistress, but Kitty insists, and, to Levin’s displeasure, it is decided that she will go.
Neither Levin nor Kitty is the head of the household—they have equal power, as was symbolized during their marriage ceremony, when they stepped on the pink silk at the same time. As such, when Nikolai is in distress and Levin must go to him, it is unthinkable to Kitty, as Levin’s partner, that she should not accompany him. Levin at this point, though, thinks that a woman is not up to facing such difficulties.