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Anna Karenina 459


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Anna Karenina

War And Peace




of a closely mown space in regular rows, fastened with bast on posts, all the hives he knew so well, the old stocks, each with its own history, and along the fences the younger swarms hived that year. In front of the openings of the hives, it made his eyes giddy to watch the bees and drones whirling round and round about the same spot, while among them the working bees flew in and out with spoils or in search of them, always in the same direction into the wood to the flowering lime trees and back to the hives. His ears were filled with the incessant hum in various notes, now the busy hum of the working bee flying quickly off, then the blaring of the lazy drone, and the excited buzz of the bees on guard protecting their property from the enemy and preparing to sting. On the farther side of the fence the old bee-keeper was shaving a hoop for a tub, and he did not see Levin. Levin stood still in the midst of the beehives and did not call him. He was glad of a chance to be alone to recover from the influence of ordinary actual life, which had already depressed his happy mood. He thought that he had already had time to lose his temper with Ivan, to show coolness to his brother, and to talk flippantly with Katavasov. "Can it have been only a momentary mood, and will it pass and leave no trace?" he thought. But the same instant, going back to his mood, he felt with delight that something new and important had happened to him. Real life had only for a time overcast the spiritual peace he had found, but it was still untouched within him. Just as the bees, whirling round him, now menacing him and distracting his attention, prevented him from enjoying complete physical peace, forced him to restrain his movements to avoid them, so had the petty cares that had swarmed about him from the moment he got into the trap restricted his spiritual freedom; but that lasted only so long as he was among them. Just as his bodily strength was still unaffected, in spite of the bees, so too was the spiritual strength that he had just become aware of. Chapter 15 "Do you know, Kostya, with whom Sergey Ivanovitch traveled on his way here?" said Dolly, doling out cucumbers and honey to the children; "with Vronsky! Hes going to Servia." "And not alone; hes taking a squadron out with him at his own expense," said Katavasov. "Thats the right thing for him," said Levin. "Are volunteers still going out then?" he added, glancing at Sergey Ivanovitch. Sergey Ivanovitch did not answer. He was carefully with a blunt knife getting a live bee covered with sticky honey out of a cup full of white honeycomb. "I should think so! You should have seen what was going on at the station yesterday!" said Katavasov, biting with a juicy sound into a cucumber. "Well, what is one to make of it? For mercys sake, do explain to me, Sergey Ivanovitch, where are all those volunteers going, whom are they fighting with?" asked the old prince, unmistakably taking up a conversation that had sprung up in Levins absence. "With the Turks," Sergey Ivanovitch answered, smiling serenely, as he extricated the bee, dark with honey and helplessly kicking, and put it with the knife on a stout aspen leaf. "But who has declared war on the Turks?--Ivan Ivanovitch Ragozov and Countess Lidia Ivanovna, assisted by Madame Stahl?" "No one has declared war, but people sympathize with their neighbors sufferings and are eager to help them," said Sergey Ivanovitch. "But the prince is not speaking of help," said Levin, coming to the assistance of his father-in-law, "but of war. The prince says that private persons cannot take part in war without the permission of the government." "Kostya, mind, thats a bee! Really, theyll sting us!" said Dolly, waving away a wasp. "But thats not a bee, its a wasp," said Levin. "Well now, well, whats your own theory?" Katavasov said to Levin with a smile, distinctly challenging him to a discussion. "Why have not private persons the right to do so?" "Oh, my theorys this: war is on one side such a beastly, cruel, and awful thing, that no one man, not to speak of a Christian, can individually take upon himself the responsibility of beginning wars; that can only be done by a government, which is called upon to

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