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Anna Karenina 88

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

his bailiff, but immediately went off himself to look for him. The bailiff, beaming all over, like everyone that day, in a sheepskin bordered with astrachan, came out of the barn, twisting a bit of straw in his hands. "Why isnt the carpenter at the thrashing machine?" "Oh, I meant to tell you yesterday, the harrows want repairing. Here its time they got to work in the fields." "But what were they doing in the winter, then?" "But what did you want the carpenter for?" "Where are the hurdles for the calves paddock?" "I ordered them to be got ready. What would you have with those peasants!" said the bailiff, with a wave of his hand. "Its not those peasants but this bailiff!" said Levin, getting angry. "Why, what do I keep you for?" he cried. But, bethinking himself that this would not help matters, he stopped short in the middle of a sentence, and merely sighed. "Well, what do you say? Can sowing begin?" he asked, after a pause. "Behind Turkin tomorrow or the next day they might begin." "And the clover?" "Ive sent Vassily and Mishka; theyre sowing. Only I dont know if theyll manage to get through; its so slushy." "How many acres?" "About fifteen." "Why not sow all?" cried Levin. That they were only sowing the clover on fifteen acres, not on all the forty-five, was still more annoying to him. Clover, as he knew, both from books and from his own experience, never did well except when it was sown as early as possible, almost in the snow. And yet Levin could never get this done. "Theres no one to send. What would you have with such a set of peasants? Three havent turned up. And theres Semyon..." "Well, you should have taken some men from the thatching." "And so I have, as it is." "Where are the peasants, then?" "Five are making compote" (which meant compost), "four are shifting the oats for fear of a touch of mildew, Konstantin Dmitrievitch." Levin knew very well that "a touch of mildew" meant that his English seed oats were already ruined. Again they had not done as he had ordered. "Why, but I told you during Lent to put in pipes," he cried. "Dont put yourself out; we shall get it all done in time." Levin waved his hand angrily, went into the granary to glance at the oats, and then to the stable. The oats were not yet spoiled. But the peasants were carrying the oats in spades when they might simply let them slide down into the lower granary; and arranging for this to be done, and taking two workmen from there for sowing clover, Levin got over his vexation with the bailiff. Indeed, it was such a lovely day that one could not be angry. "Ignat!" he called to the coachman, who, with his sleeves tucked up, was washing the carriage wheels, "saddle me..." "Which, sir?" "Well, let it be Kolpik." "Yes, sir." While they were saddling his horse, Levin again called up the bailiff, who was hanging about in sight, to make it up with him, and began talking to him about the spring operations before them, and his plans for the farm. The wagons were to begin carting manure earlier, so as to get all done before the early mowing. And the ploughing of the further land to go on without a break so as to let it ripen lying fallow. And the mowing to be all done by hired labor, not on half-profits. The bailiff listened attentively, and obviously made an effort to approve of his employers projects. But still he had that look Levin knew so well that always irritated him, a look of hopelessness and despondency. That look said: "Thats all very well, but as God wills." Nothing mortified Levin so much as that tone. But it was the tone common to all the bailiffs he had ever had. They had all taken up that attitude to his plans, and so now he was not angered by it, but mortified, and felt all the more roused to struggle against this, as it seemed, elemental force continually ranged against him, for which he could find no other expression than "as God wills." "If we can manage it, Konstantin Dmitrievitch," said the bailiff. "Why ever shouldnt you manage it?" "We positively must have another fifteen laborers. And they dont turn up. There were some here today asking seventy roubles for the summer." Levin was silent. Again he

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