Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
attention to what he was saying.
"I dont think it important; it does not take hold of me, I
cant help it," answered Levin, making out that what he saw was
the bailiff, and that the bailiff seemed to be letting the
peasants go off the ploughed land. They were turning the plough
over. "Can they have finished ploughing?" he wondered.
"Come, really though," said the elder brother, with a frown on
his handsome, clever face, "theres a limit to everything. Its
very well to be original and genuine, and to dislike everything
conventional--I know all about that; but really, what youre
saying either has no meaning, or it has a very wrong meaning.
How can you think it a matter of no importance whether the
peasant, whom you love as you assert..."
"I never did assert it," thought Konstantin Levin.
"...dies without help? The ignorant peasant-women starve the
children, and the people stagnate in darkness, and are helpless
in the hands of every village clerk, while you have at your
disposal a means of helping them, and dont help them because to
your mind its of no importance."
And Sergey Ivanovitch put before him the alternative: either you
are so undeveloped that you cant see all that you can do, or you
wont sacrifice your ease, your vanity, or whatever it is, to do
Konstantin Levin felt that there was no course open to him but to
submit, or to confess to a lack of zeal for the public good. And
this mortified him and hurt his feelings.
"Its both," he said resolutely: "I dont see that it was
"What! was it impossible, if the money were properly laid out, to
provide medical aid?"
"Impossible, as it seems to me.... For the three thousand square
miles of our district, what with our thaws, and the storms, and
the work in the fields, I dont see how it is possible to
provide medical aid all over. And besides, I dont believe in
"Oh, well, thats unfair...I can quote to you thousands of
instances.... But the schools, anyway."
"Why have schools?"
"What do you mean? Can there be two opinions of the advantage of
education? If its a good thing for you, its a good thing for
Konstantin Levin felt himself morally pinned against a wall, and
so he got hot, and unconsciously blurted out the chief cause of
his indifference to public business.
"Perhaps it may all be very good; but why should I worry myself
about establishing dispensaries which I shall never make use of,
and schools to which I shall never send my children, to which
even the peasants dont want to send their children, and to which
Ive no very firm faith that they ought to send them?" said he.
Sergey Ivanovitch was for a minute surprised at this unexpected
view of the subject; but he promptly made a new plan of attack.
He was silent for a little, drew out a hook, threw it in again,
and turned to his brother smiling.
"Come, now.... In the first place, the dispensary is needed. We
ourselves sent for the district doctor for Agafea Mihalovna."
"Oh, well, but I fancy her wrist will never be straight again."
"That remains to be proved.... Next, the peasant who can read
and write is as a workman of more use and value to you."
"No, you can ask anyone you like," Konstantin Levin answered
with decision, "the man that can read and write is much inferior
as a workman. And mending the highroads is an impossibility; and
as soon as they put up bridges theyre stolen."
"Still, thats not the point," said Sergey Ivanovitch, frowning.
He disliked contradiction, and still more, arguments that were
continually skipping from one thing to another, introducing new
and disconnected points, so that there was no knowing to which to
reply. "Do you admit that education is a benefit for the
"Yes, I admit it," said Levin without thinking, and he was
conscious immediately that he had said what he did not think. He
felt that if he admitted that, it would be proved that he had
been talking meaningless rubbish. How it would be proved he
could not tell, but he knew that this would inevitably be
logically proved to him, and he awaited the proofs.
The argument turned out to be far simpler than he had expected.
"If you admit that it is a benefit," said Sergey Ivanovitch,
"then, as an honest man, you cannot help caring about it and
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