Yes, thats some one from the railway station, he thought, just the time to be here from the Moscow train. Who could it be? What if its brother Nikolay? He did say: May be Ill go to the waters, or may be Ill come down to you. He felt dismayed and vexed for the first minute that his brother Nikolays presence should come to disturb his happy mood of spring. But he felt ashamed of the feeling, and at once he opened, as it were, the arms of his soul, and with a softened feeling of joy and expectation, now he hoped with all his heart that it was his brother. He pricked up his horse, and riding out from behind the acacias he saw a hired three-horse sledge from the railway station, and a gentleman in a fur coat. It was not his brother. Oh, if it were only some nice person one could talk to a little! he thought.
Well, you didnt expect me, eh? said Stepan Arkadyevitch, getting out of the sledge, splashed with mud on the bridge of his nose, on his cheek, and on his eyebrows, but radiant with health and good spirits. Ive come to see you in the first place, he said, embracing and kissing him, to have some stand-shooting second, and to sell the forest at Ergushovo third.
Levin led his friend to the room set apart for visitors, where Stepan Arkadyevitchs things were carried alsoa bag, a gun in a case, a satchel for cigars. Leaving him there to wash and change his clothes, Levin went off to the counting-house to speak about the ploughing and clover. Agafea Mihalovna, always very anxious for the credit of the house, met him in the hall with inquiries about dinner.
Well, I am glad I managed to get away to you! Now I shall understand what the mysterious business is that you are always absorbed in here. No, really, I envy you. What a house, how nice it all is! So bright, so cheerful! said Stepan Arkadyevitch, forgetting that it was not always spring and fine weather like that day. And your nurse is simply charming! A pretty maid in an apron might be even more agreeable, perhaps; but for your severe monastic style it does very well.
Not one word did Stepan Arkadyevitch say in reference to Kitty and the Shtcherbatskys; he merely gave him greetings from his wife. Levin was grateful to him for his delicacy, and was very glad of his visitor. As always happened with him during his solitude, a mass of ideas and feelings had been accumulating within him, which he could not communicate to those about him. And now he poured out upon Stepan Arkadyevitch his poetic joy in the spring, and his failures and plans for the land, and his thoughts and criticisms on the books he had been reading, and the idea of his own book, the basis of which really was, though he was unaware of it himself, a criticism of all the old books on agriculture. Stepan Arkadyevitch, always charming, understanding everything at the slightest reference, was particularly charming on this visit, and Levin noticed in him a special tenderness, as it were, and a new tone of respect that flattered him.
The efforts of Agafea Mihalovna and the cook, that the dinner should be particularly good, only ended in the two famished friends attacking the preliminary course, eating a great deal of bread-and-butter, salt goose and salted mushrooms, and in Levins finally ordering the soup to be served without the accompaniment of little pies, with which the cook had particularly meant to impress their visitor. But though Stepan Arkadyevitch was accustomed to very different dinners, he thought everything excellent: the herb-brandy, and the bread, and the butter, and above all the salt goose and the mushrooms, and the nettle soup, and the chicken in white sauce, and the white Crimean wineeverything was superb and delicious.
Splendid, splendid! he said, lighting a fat cigar after the roast. I feel as if, coming to you, I had landed on a peaceful shore after the noise and jolting of a steamer. And so you maintain that the labourer himself is an element to be studied and to regulate the choice of methods in agriculture. Of course, Im an ignorant outsider; but I should fancy theory and its application will have its influence on the labourer too.
Yes, but wait a bit. Im not talking of political economy. Im talking of the science of agriculture. It ought to be like the natural sciences, and to observe given phenomena and the labourer in his economic, ethnographical
Stepan Arkadyevitch, going down, carefully took the canvas cover off his varnished gun-case with his own hands, and opening it, began to get ready his expensive new-fashioned gun. Kouzma, who already scented a big tip, never left Stepan Arkadyevitchs side, and put him on both his stockings and boots, a task which Stepan Arkadyevitch readily left him.
No, wed better drive, said Stepan Arkadyevitch, getting into the trap. He sat down, tucked the tiger-skin rug round him, and lighted a cigar. How is it you dont smoke? A cigar is a sort of thing, not exactly a pleasure, but the crown and outward sign of pleasure. Come, this is life! How splendid it is! This is how I should like to live!
Levin was grateful to Oblonsky for noticing, with his never-failing tact, that he dreaded conversation about the Shtcherbatskys, and so saying nothing about them. But now Levin was longing to find out what was tormenting him so yet he had not the courage to begin.
You dont admit, I know, that one can be fond of new rolls when one has had ones rations of breadto your mind its a crime; but I dont count life as life without love, he said, taking Levins question in his own way. What am I to do? Im made that way. And really, one does so little harm to any one, and gives oneself so much pleasure
Yes, my boy, there is! There, do you see, you know the type of Ossians women Women, such as one sees in dreams Well, these women are sometimes to be met in reality and these women are terrible. Woman, dont you know, is such a subject that however much you study it, its always perfectly new.