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Anna Karenina 201

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

dreary?" said Agafea Mihalovna. "Come, why do you stay on at home? You ought to go to some warm springs, especially now youre ready for the journey." "Well, I am going away the day after tomorrow, Agafea Mihalovna; I must finish my work." "There, there, your work, you say! As if you hadnt done enough for the peasants! Why, as tis, theyre saying, Your master will be getting some honor from the Tsar for it. Indeed and it is a strange thing; why need you worry about the peasants?" "Im not worrying about them; Im doing it for my own good." Agafea Mihalovna knew every detail of Levins plans for his land. Levin often put his views before her in all their complexity, and not uncommonly he argued with her and did not agree with her comments. But on this occasion she entirely misinterpreted what he had said. "Of ones souls salvation we all know and must think before all else," she said with a sigh. "Parfen Denisitch now, for all he was no scholar, he died a death that God grant every one of us the like," she said, referring to a servant who had died recently. "Took the sacrament and all." "Thats not what I mean," said he. "I mean that Im acting for my own advantage. Its all the better for me if the peasants do their work better." "Well, whatever you do, if hes a lazy good-for-nought, everythingll be at sixes and sevens. If he has a conscience, hell work, and if not, theres no doing anything." "Oh, come, you say yourself Ivan has begun looking after the cattle better." "All I say is," answered Agafea Mihalovna, evidently not speaking at random, but in strict sequence of idea, "that you ought to get married, thats what I say." Agafea Mihalovnas allusion to the very subject he had only just been thinking about, hurt and stung him. Levin scowled, and without answering her, he sat down again to his work, repeating to himself all that he had been thinking of the real significance of that work. Only at intervals he listened in the stillness to the click of Agafea Mihalovnas needles, and recollecting what he did not want to remember, he frowned again. At nine oclock they heard the bell and the faint vibration of a carriage over the mud. "Well, heres visitors come to us, and you wont be dull," said Agafea Mihalovna, getting up and going to the door. But Levin overtook her. His work was not going well now, and he was glad of a visitor, whoever it might be. Chapter 31 Running halfway down the staircase, Levin caught a sound he knew, a familiar cough in the hall. But he heard it indistinctly through the sound of his own footsteps, and hoped he was mistaken. Then he caught sight of a long, bony, familiar figure, and now it seemed there was no possibility of mistake; and yet he still went on hoping that this tall man taking off his fur cloak and coughing was not his brother Nikolay. Levin loved his brother, but being with him was always a torture. Just now, when Levin, under the influence of the thoughts that had come to him, and Agafea Mihalovnas hint, was in a troubled and uncertain humor, the meeting with his brother that he had to face seemed particularly difficult. Instead of a lively, healthy visitor, some outsider who would, he hoped, cheer him up in his uncertain humor, he had to see his brother, who knew him through and through, who would call forth all the thoughts nearest his heart, would force him to show himself fully. And that he was not disposed to do. Angry with himself for so base a feeling, Levin ran into the hall; as soon as he had seen his brother close, this feeling of selfish disappointment vanished instantly and was replaced by pity. Terrible as his brother Nikolay had been before in his emaciation and sickliness, now he looked still more emaciated, still more wasted. He was a skeleton covered with skin. He stood in the hall, jerking his long thin neck, and pulling the scarf off it, and smiled a strange and pitiful smile. When he saw that smile, submissive and humble, Levin felt something clutching at his throat. "You see, Ive come to you," said Nikolay in a thick voice, never for one second taking his eyes off his brothers face. "Ive been meaning to a long

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