SERGEY IVANOVITCH had not telegraphed to his brother to send to meet him, as he did not know when he should be able to leave Moscow. Levin was not at home when Katavasov and Sergey Ivanovitch in a fly hired at the station drove up to the steps of the Pokrovskoe house, as black as niggers from the dust of the road. Kitty, sitting on the balcony with her father and sister, recognised her brother-in-law, and ran down to meet him.
We drove here capitally, and have not put you out, answered Sergey Ivanovitch. Im so dirty, Im afraid to touch you. Ive been so busy, I didnt know when I should be able to tear myself away. And so youre still as ever enjoying your peaceful, quiet happiness, he said, smiling, out of the reach of the current in your peaceful backwater. Heres our friend Fyodor Vassilievitch has succeeded in getting here at last.
Busy as ever with his farming. It really is a peaceful backwater, said Katavasov; while we in town think of nothing but the Servian war. Well, how does our friend look at it? Hes sure not to think like other people.
Oh, I dont know, like everybody else, Kitty answered, a little embarrassed, looking round at Sergey Ivanovitch. Ill send to fetch him. Papas staying with us. Hes only just come home from abroad.
And making arrangements to send for Levin and for the guests to wash, one in his room and the other in what had been Dollys, and giving orders for their luncheon, Kitty ran out on to the balcony, enjoying the freedom and rapidity of movement, of which she had been deprived during the months of her pregnancy.
You go to them, darling, said Kitty to her sister, and entertain them. They saw Stiva at the station; he was quite well. And I must run to Mitya. As ill-luck would have it, I havent fed him since tea. Hes awake now, and sure to be screaming. And feeling a rush of milk, she hurried to the nursery.
She knew he was crying before she reached the nursery. And he was indeed crying. She heard him and hastened. But the faster she went, the louder he screamed. It was a fine healthy scream, hungry and impatient.
Has he been screaming long, nurse, very long? said Kitty hurriedly, seating herself on a chair, and preparing to give the baby the breast. But give me him quickly. Oh, nurse, how tiresome you are! There, tie the cap afterwards, do!
But you cant manage so, maam, said Agafea Mihalovna, who was almost always to be found in the nursery. He must be put straight. A-oo! a-oo! she chanted over him, paying no attention to the mother.
What makes you think he knows you? she added, with a sidelong glance at the babys eyes, that peered roguishly, as she fancied, from under his cap, at his rhythmically puffing cheeks, and the little red-palmed hand he was waving.
She smiled because, though she said he could not know her, in her heart she was sure that he knew not merely Agafea Mihalovna, but that he knew and understood everything, and knew and understood a great deal too that no one else knew, and that she, his mother, had learned and come to understand only through him. To Agafea Mihalovna, to the nurse, to his grandfather, to his father even, Mitya was a living being, requiring only material care, but for his mother he had long been a moral being, with whom there had been a whole series of spiritual relations already.