People are singing patriotic songs as Koznyshev and Katavasov board the train. Katavasov wants to observe the volunteers, so he goes into second class to make their acquaintance. He thinks that the new volunteers are spoiled young men out for an adventure rather than people devoted to the cause. He meets a seasoned old soldier and makes vague statements about the volunteers, trying to get the veteran military man’s opinion, but the soldier, remaining carefully guarded, does not say anything negative. Katavasov reports back to Koznyshev that the volunteers are excellent fellows.
Though Russian society champions the Slavic cause and lauds volunteers as heroes, the actual young men who are on the train aren’t heroes: they’re just young gadabouts like Vronsky’s old friends in the regiment who wants to escape their debts and any embarrassments they may have caused in Russian society. Katavasov sees right through their hypocrisies, but he doesn’t spoil Koznyshev’s idealistic fantasies.