Dolly and Oblonsky’s country house has fallen apart due to lack of money and attention, Dolly and the children are spending the summer with Kitty and Levin. Kitty is pregnant. Kitty and Dolly’s mother, as well as Kitty’s friend Varenka, are also staying at the estate, as is Levin’s half-brother, Koznyshev. Koznyshev and Varenka go mushroom hunting, which makes Kitty and Dolly delighted.
Dolly and Oblonsky’s ruined country estate is symbolic of their marriage, which has been shown to be built on shaky foundations; Kitty and Levin have a stronger relationship. Koznyshev asks Varenka to go mushroom-hunting, which Kitty and Dolly see as nearly akin to a proposal.