The bailiff came in, and said that everything, thank God, was well, but also informed him that the buckwheat in the new drying machine had been a little scorched. This piece of news irritated Levin. The new drying machine had been constructed and partly invented by Levin. The bailiff had always been against this drying machine, and now it was with suppressed triumph that he announced that the buckwheat had been scorched. Levin was firmly convinced that if the buckwheat had been scorched it was only because precautions had not been taken, for which he had hundreds of times given orders. He was annoyed, and reprimanded the bailiff. But there had been an important and joyful event: Pava, his best cow, an expensive beast, bought at a show, had calved.

`Kouzma, give me my sheepskin coat. And you, do tell them to fetch a lantern - I'm going to have a look at her,' he said to the bailiff.

The cowhouse for the more valuable cows was just behind the house. Walking across the yard, passing a snowdrift by the lilac tree, he went into the cowhouse. There came a warm, steamy smell of dung when the frozen door was opened, and the cows, astonished at the unfamiliar light of the lantern, stirred on their fresh straw. He caught a glimpse of the broad, smooth, black and piebald back of a Dutch cow. Berkoot, the bull, was lying down with his ring in his lip, and seemed about to get up, but thought better of it, and only gave two snorts as they passed by him. Pava, the reddish beauty, huge as a hippopotamus, with her back turned to them, screened her calf from the arrivals and sniffed it all over.

Levin went into the stall, looked Pava over, and hefted the reddish and red-dappled calf up on its unsteady, spindly legs. Pava, uneasy, began lowing, but when Levin put the calf close to her she was soothed, and, sighing heavily, began licking her with her rough tongue. The calf fumbling, poked its nose under its mother's groin, and twirled its tiny tail.

`Bring the light here, Fiodor - bring the lantern here,' said Levin, examining the heifer. `Like the dam! though the color takes after the sire. A perfect beauty! Long, and broad in the haunch. Isn't she a beauty now, Vassilii Fiodorovich?' he addressed the bailiff, quite forgiving him for the buckwheat under the influence of his delight in the heifer.

`What bad blood could she take after? - Semion the contractor came the day after you left. You must settle with him, Konstantin Dmitrich,' said the bailiff. `And I have already told you about the machine.'

This matter alone was enough to bring Levin back to all the details of his estate, which was on a large scale, and complicated. He went straight from the cowhouse to the countinghouse, and, after a short talk with the bailiff and Semion the contractor, he went back to the house and straight upstairs to the drawing room.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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