Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
with the movement, and so wishing to work for it."
"But I still do not admit this movement to be just," said
Konstantin Levin, reddening a little.
"What! But you said just now..."
"Thats to say, I dont admit its being either good or
"That you cant tell without making the trial."
"Well, supposing thats so," said Levin, though he did not
suppose so at all, "supposing that is so, still I dont see, all
the same, what Im to worry myself about it for."
"No; since we are talking, explain it to me from the
philosophical point of view," said Levin.
"I cant see where philosophy comes in," said Sergey Ivanovitch,
in a tone, Levin fancied, as though he did not admit his
brothers right to talk about philosophy. And that irritated
"Ill tell you, then," he said with heat, "I imagine the
mainspring of all our actions is, after all, self-interest. Now
in the local institutions I, as a nobleman, see nothing that
could conduce to my prosperity, and the roads are not better and
could not be better; my horses carry me well enough over bad
ones. Doctors and dispensaries are no use to me. An arbitrator
of disputes is no use to me. I never appeal to him, and never
shall appeal to him. The schools are no good to me, but
positively harmful, as I told you. For me the district
institutions simply mean the liability to pay fourpence halfpenny
for every three acres, to drive into the town, sleep with bugs,
and listen to all sorts of idiocy and loathsomeness, and
self-interest offers me no inducement."
"Excuse me," Sergey Ivanovitch interposed with a smile,
"self-interest did not induce us to work for the emancipation of
the serfs, but we did work for it."
"No!" Konstantin Levin broke in with still greater heat; "the
emancipation of the serfs was a different matter. There
self-interest did come in. One longed to throw off that yoke
that crushed us, all decent people among us. But to be a
town councilor and discuss how many dustmen are needed, and how
chimneys shall be constructed in the town in which I dont
live--to serve on a jury and try a peasant whos stolen a flitch
of bacon, and listen for six hours at a stretch to all sorts of
jabber from the counsel for the defense and the prosecution, and
the president cross-examining my old half-witted Alioshka, Do
you admit, prisoner in the dock, the fact of the removal of the
Konstantin Levin had warmed to his subject, and began mimicking
the president and the half-witted Alioshka: it seemed to him that
it was all to the point.
But Sergey Ivanovitch shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, what do you mean to say, then?"
"I simply mean to say that those rights that touch me...my
interest, I shall always defend to the best of my ability; that
when they made raids on us students, and the police read our
letters, I was ready to defend those rights to the utmost, to
defend my rights to education and freedom. I can understand
compulsory military service, which affects my children, my
brothers, and myself, I am ready to deliberate on what concerns
me; but deliberating on how to spend forty thousand roubles of
district council money, or judging the half-witted Alioshka--I
dont understand, and I cant do it."
Konstantin Levin spoke as though the floodgates of his speech had
burst open. Sergey Ivanovitch smiled.
"But tomorrow itll be your turn to be tried; would it have
suited your tastes better to be tried in the old criminal
"Im not going to be tried. I shant murder anybody, and Ive
no need of it. Well, I tell you what," he went on, flying off
again to a subject quite beside the point, "our district
self-government and all the rest of it--its just like the
birch branches we stick in the ground on Trinity Day, for
instance, to look like a copse which has grown up of itself in
Europe, and I cant gush over these birch branches and believe
Sergey Ivanovitch merely shrugged his shoulders, as though to
express his wonder how the birch branches had come into their
argument at that point, though he did really understand at once
what his brother meant.
"Excuse me, but you know one really cant argue in that way," he
But Konstantin Levin wanted to justify himself for the failing,
of which he was conscious, of lack of zeal for the public
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