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Chapter 14


Levin looked before him and saw a herd of cattle, then he caught
sight of his trap with Raven in the shafts, and the coachman,
who, driving up to the herd, said something to the herdsman.
Then he heard the rattle of the wheels and the snort of the sleek
horse close by him. But he was so buried in his thoughts that he
did not even wonder why the coachman had come for him.

He only thought of that when the coachman had driven quite up to
him and shouted to him. "The mistress sent me. Your brother has
come, and some gentleman with him."

Levin got into the trap and took the reins. As though just
roused out of sleep, for a long while Levin could not collect his
faculties. He stared at the sleek horse flecked with lather
between his haunches and on his neck, where the harness rubbed,
stared at Ivan the coachman sitting beside him, and remembered
that he was expecting his brother, thought that his wife was most
likely uneasy at his long absence, and tried to guess who was the
visitor who had come with his brother. And his brother and his
wife and the unknown guest seemed to him now quite different from
before. He fancied that now his relations with all men would be
different.

"With my brother there will be none of that aloofness there
always used to be between us, there will be no disputes; with
Kitty there shall never be quarrels; with the visitor, whoever he
may be, I will be friendly and nice; with the servants, with
Ivan, it will all be different."

Pulling the stiff rein and holding in the good horse that snorted
with impatience and seemed begging to be let go, Levin looked
round at Ivan sitting beside him, not knowing what to do with his
unoccupied hand, continually pressing down his shirt as it puffed
out, and he tried to find something to start a conversation about
with him. He would have said that Ivan had pulled the
saddle-girth up too high, but that was like blame, and he longed
for friendly, warm talk. Nothing else occurred to him.

"Your honor must keep to the right and mind that stump," said the
coachman, pulling the rein Levin held.

"Please don't touch and don't teach me!" said Levin, angered by
this interference. Now, as always, interference made him angry,
and he felt sorrowfully at once how mistaken had been his
supposition that his spiritual condition could immediately change
him in contact with reality.

He was not a quarter of a mile from home when he saw Grisha and
Tanya running to meet him.

"Uncle Kostya! mamma's coming, and grandfather, and Sergey
Ivanovitch, and someone else," they said, clambering up into the
trap.

"Who is he?"

"An awfully terrible person! And he does like this with his
arms," said Tanya, getting up in the trap and mimicking
Katavasov.

"Old or young?" asked Levin, laughing, reminded of someone, he
did not know whom, by Tanya's performance.

"Oh, I hope it's not a tiresome person!" thought Levin.

As soon as he turned, at a bend in the road, and saw the party
coming, Levin recognized Katavasov in a straw hat, walking along
swinging his arms just as Tanya had shown him. Katavasov was
very fond of discussing metaphysics, having derived his notions
from natural science writers who had never studied metaphysics,
and in Moscow Levin had had many arguments with him of late.

And one of these arguments, in which Katavasov had obviously
considered that he came off victorious, was the first thing Levin
thought of as he recognized him.

"No, whatever I do, I won't argue and give utterance to my ideas
lightly," he thought.

Getting out of the trap and greeting his brother and Katavasov,
Levin asked about his wife.

"She has taken Mitya to Kolok" (a copse near the house). "She
meant to have him out there because it's so hot indoors," said
Dolly. Levin had always advised his wife not to take the baby to
the wood, thinking it unsafe, and he was not pleased to hear
this.

"She rushes about from place to place with him," said the prince,
smiling. "I advised her to try putting him in the ice cellar."

"She meant to come to the bee house. She thought you would be
there. We are going there," said Dolly.

"Well, and what are you doing?" said Sergey Ivanovitch, falling
back from the rest and walking beside him.

"Oh, nothing special. Busy as usual with the land," answered
Levin. "Well, and what about you? Come for long? We have been
expecting you for such a long time."

"Only for a fortnight. I've a great deal to do in Moscow."

At these words the brothers" eyes met, and Levin, in spite of the
desire he always had, stronger than ever just now, to be on
affectionate and still more open terms with his brother, felt an
awkwardness in looking at him. He dropped his eyes and did not
know what to say.

Casting over the subjects of conversation that would be pleasant
to Sergey Ivanovitch, and would keep him off the subject of the
Servian war and the Slavonic question, at which he had hinted by
the allusion to what he had to do in Moscow, Levin began to talk
of Sergey Ivanovitch's book.

"Well, have there been reviews of your book?" he asked.

Sergey Ivanovitch smiled at the intentional character of the
question.

"No one is interested in that now, and I less than anyone," he
said. "Just look, Darya Alexandrovna, we shall have a shower,"
he added, pointing with a sunshade at the white rain clouds that
showed above the aspen tree-tops.

And these words were enough to reestablish again between the
brothers that tone--hardly hostile, but chilly--which Levin had
been so longing to avoid.

Levin went up to Katavasov.

"It was jolly of you to make up your mind to come," he said to
him.

"I've been meaning to a long while. Now we shall have some
discussion, we'll see to that. Have you been reading Spencer?"

"No, I've not finished reading him," said Levin. "But I don't
need him now."

"How's that? that's interesting. Why so?"

"I mean that I'm fully convinced that the solution of the
problems that interest me I shall never find in him and his like.
Now..."

But Katavasov's serene and good-humored expression suddenly
struck him, and he felt such tenderness for his own happy mood,
which he was unmistakably disturbing by this conversation, that
he remembered his resolution and stopped short.

"But we'll talk later on," he added. "If we're going to the
bee house, it's this way, along this little path," he said,
addressing them all.

Going along the narrow path to a little uncut meadow covered on
one side with thick clumps of brilliant heart's-ease among which
stood up here and there tall, dark green tufts of hellebore,
Levin settled his guests in the dense, cool shade of the young
aspens on a bench and some stumps purposely put there for
visitors to the bee house who might be afraid of the bees, and he
went off himself to the hut to get bread, cucumbers, and fresh
honey, to regale them with.

Trying to make his movements as deliberate as possible, and
listening to the bees that buzzed more and more frequently past
him, he walked along the little path to the hut. In the very
entry one bee hummed angrily, caught in his beard, but he
carefully extricated it. Going into the shady outer room, he
took down from the wall his veil, that hung on a peg, and putting
it on, and thrusting his hands into his pockets, he went into the
fenced-in bee-garden, where there stood in the midst 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.



Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Category:
Fiction - Russian literature
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