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Anna Karenina 204


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he was not thinking, but he felt continually that it had a ring of falsehood, that his brother detected him in it, and was exasperated at it. The third day Nikolay induced his brother to explain his plan to him again, and began not merely attacking it, but intentionally confounding it with communism. "Youve simply borrowed an idea thats not your own, but youve distorted it, and are trying to apply it where its not applicable." "But I tell you its nothing to do with it. They deny the justice of property, of capital, of inheritance, while I do not deny this chief stimulus." (Levin felt disgusted himself at using such expressions, but ever since he had been engrossed by his work, he had unconsciously come more and more frequently to use words not Russian.) "All I want is to regulate labor." "Which means, youve borrowed an idea, stripped it of all that gave it its force, and want to make believe that its something new," said Nikolay, angrily tugging at his necktie. "But my idea has nothing in common..." "That, anyway," said Nikolay Levin, with an ironical smile, his eyes flashing malignantly, "has the charm of--whats one to call it?--geometrical symmetry, of clearness, of definiteness. It may be a Utopia. But if once one allows the possibility of making of all the past a _tabula rasa_--no property, no family-- then labor would organize itself. But you gain nothing..." "Why do you mix things up? Ive never been a communist." "But I have, and I consider its premature, but rational, and it has a future, just like Christianity in its first ages." "All that I maintain is that the labor force ought to be investigated from the point of view of natural science; that is to say, it ought to be studied, its qualities ascertained..." "But thats utter waste of time. That force finds a certain form of activity of itself, according to the stage of its development. There have been slaves first everywhere, then metayers; and we have the half-crop system, rent, and day laborers. What are you trying to find?" Levin suddenly lost his temper at these words, because at the bottom of his heart he was afraid that it was true--true that he was trying to hold the balance even between communism and the familiar forms, and that this was hardly possible. "I am trying to find means of working productively for myself and for the laborers. I want to organize..." he answered hotly. "You dont want to organize anything; its simply just as youve been all your life, that you want to be original to pose as not exploiting the peasants simply, but with some idea in view." "Oh, all right, thats what you think--and let me alone!" answered Levin, feeling the muscles of his left cheek twitching uncontrollably. "Youve never had, and never have, convictions; all you want is to please your vanity." "Oh, very well; then let me alone!" "And I will let you alone! and its high time I did, and go to the devil with you! and Im very sorry I ever came!" In spite of all Levins efforts to soothe his brother afterwards, Nikolay would listen to nothing he said, declaring that it was better to part, and Konstantin saw that it simply was that life was unbearable to him. Nikolay was just getting ready to go, when Konstantin went in to him again and begged him, rather unnaturally, to forgive him if he had hurt his feelings in any way. "Ah, generosity!" said Nikolay, and he smiled. "If you want to be right, I can give you that satisfaction. Youre in the right; but Im going all the same." It was only just at parting that Nikolay kissed him, and said, looking with sudden strangeness and seriousness at his brother: "Anyway, dont remember evil against me, Kostya!" and his voice quivered. These were the only words that had been spoken sincerely between them. Levin knew that those words meant, "You see, and you know, that Im in a bad way, and maybe we shall not see each other again." Levin knew this, and the tears gushed from his eyes. He kissed his brother once more, but he could not speak, and knew not what to say. Three days after his brothers departure, Levin too set off for his foreign tour. Happening to meet Shtcherbatsky, Kittys cousin, in the railway train, Levin greatly astonished him by his depression. "Whats the matter with you?" Shtcherbatsky asked him. "Oh, nothing; theres not much happiness

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