Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
coarse, brutal propensities--wicked children.
She could not talk or think of anything else, and she could not
speak to Levin of her misery.
Levin saw she was unhappy and tried to comfort her, saying that
it showed nothing bad, that all children fight; but, even as he
said it, he was thinking in his heart: "No, I wont be
artificial and talk French with my children; but my children
wont be like that. All one has to do is not spoil children, not
to distort their nature, and theyll be delightful. No, my
children wont be like that."
He said good-bye and drove away, and she did not try to keep him.
In the middle of July the elder of the village on Levins
sisters estate, about fifteen miles from Pokrovskoe, came to
Levin to report on how things were going there and on the hay.
The chief source of income on his sisters estate was from the
riverside meadows. In former years the hay had been bought by
the peasants for twenty roubles the three acres. When Levin took
over the management of the estate, he thought on examining the
grasslands that they were worth more, and he fixed the price at
twenty-five roubles the three acres. The peasants would not give
that price, and, as Levin suspected, kept off other purchasers.
Then Levin had driven over himself, and arranged to have the
grass cut, partly by hired labor, partly at a payment of a
certain proportion of the crop. His own peasants put every
hindrance they could in the way of this new arrangement, but it
was carried out, and the first year the meadows had yielded a
profit almost double. The previous year--which was the third
year--the peasants had maintained the same opposition to the
arrangement, and the hay had been cut on the same system. This
year the peasants were doing all the mowing for a third of the
hay crop, and the village elder had come now to announce that the
hay had been cut, and that, fearing rain, they had invited the
counting-house clerk over, had divided the crop in his presence,
and had raked together eleven stacks as the owners share. From
the vague answers to his question how much hay had been cut on
the principal meadow, from the hurry of the village elder who had
made the division, not asking leave, from the whole tone of the
peasant, Levin perceived that there was something wrong in the
division of the hay, and made up his mind to drive over himself
to look into the matter.
Arriving for dinner at the village, and leaving his horse at the
cottage of an old friend of his, the husband of his brothers
wet-nurse, Levin went to see the old man in his bee-house,
wanting to find out from him the truth about the hay.
Parmenitch, a talkative, comely old man, gave Levin a very warm
welcome, showed him all he was doing, told him everything about
his bees and the swarms of that year; but gave vague and
unwilling answers to Levins inquiries about the mowing. This
confirmed Levin still more in his suspicions. He went to the
hay fields and examined the stacks. The haystacks could not
possibly contain fifty wagon-loads each, and to convict the
peasants Levin ordered the wagons that had carried the hay to be
brought up directly, to lift one stack, and carry it into the
barn. There turned out to be only thirty-two loads in the stack.
In spite of the village elders assertions about the
compressibility of hay, and its having settled down in the
stacks, and his swearing that everything had been done in the
fear of God, Levin stuck to his point that the hay had been
divided without his orders, and that, therefore, he would not
accept that hay as fifty loads to a stack. After a prolonged
dispute the matter was decided by the peasants taking these
eleven stacks, reckoning them as fifty loads each. The arguments
and the division of the haycocks lasted the whole afternoon.
When the last of the hay had been divided, Levin, intrusting the
superintendence of the rest to the counting-house clerk, sat down
on a haycock marked off by a stake of willow, and looked
admiringly at the meadow swarming with peasants.
In front of him, in the bend of the river beyond the marsh, moved
a bright-colored line of peasant women, and the scattered hay was
being rapidly formed
Anna Karenina page 155 Anna Karenina page 157