The old prince is getting crankier and his health is declining. He teases Marya mercilessly, about religion and her nephew. She of course, believes to love is to suffer, so she's completely fine with it.
The second part of the chapter is her letter to Julie Karagin, speaking of loss and god, and believing she is now seeing the reason for losses. I love that even in her 'humble" piety she's thinking she's got it all figured out. What is apparent, addressing a rumor at the end of the letter, is that she doesn't believe Andrei would ever marry anyone like Natasha, and she does not wish it. Trouble.
2 months ago