Chapter 17

Stepan Arkadyevich went upstairs with his pocket bulging with notes which the merchant had paid him for three months in advance. The business of the forest was over, the money in his pocket; their shooting had been excellent, and Stepan Arkadyevich was in the happiest frame of mind, and therefore felt especially anxious to dissipate the ill-humor that had come upon Levin. He wanted to finish the day at supper as pleasantly as it had been begun.

Levin certainly was out of humor, and, in spite of all his desire to be affectionate and cordial to his charming guest, he could not control his mood. The aftereffects of the intoxication of the news that Kitty was not married had gradually begun to work upon him.

Kitty was not married, and was ill, and ill from love for a man who had slighted her. This offense, as it were, rebounded upon him. Vronsky had slighted her, and she had slighted him, Levin. Consequently Vronsky had the right to despise Levin, and therefore he was his enemy. But all this Levin did not think of. He vaguely felt that there was something in it insulting to him, and he was not angry now at what had disturbed him, but he fell foul of everything that presented itself. The stupid sale of the forest, the fraud practised upon Oblonsky and concluded in his house, exasperated him.

`Well, finished?' he said, meeting Stepan Arkadyevich upstairs. `Would you like supper?'

`Well, I wouldn't say no to it. What an appetite I get in the country! Wonderful! Why didn't you offer Riabinin something?'

`Oh, damn him!'

`Still, how you do treat him!' said Oblonsky. `You didn't even shake hands with him. Why not shake hands with him?'

`Because I don't shake hands with a waiter, and a waiter's a hundred times better than he is.'

`What a reactionist you are, really! What about the amalgamation of classes?' said Oblonsky.

`Anyone who likes it is welcome to it, but it sickens me.'

`You're a downright reactionist, I see.'

`Really. I have never considered what I am. I am Konstantin Levin, and nothing else.'

`And Konstantin Levin very much out of temper,' said Stepan Arkadyevich, smiling.

`Yes, I am out of temper, and do you know why? Because - excuse me - of your stupid sale....'

Stepan Arkadyevich frowned good-humoredly, like one who feels himself teased and attacked for no fault of his own.

`Come, enough about that!' he said. `When did anybody ever sell anything without being told immediately after the sale, ``It was worth much more'? But when one wants to sell, no one will give anything.... No, I see you've a grudge against that unlucky Riabinin.'

`Maybe I have. And do you know why? You'll say again that I'm a reactionist, or some other terrible word; but all the same it does annoy and anger me to see on all sides the impoverishing of the nobility to which I belong, and, in spite of the amalgamation of classes, I'm glad to belong. And their impoverishment is not due to living in luxury - that would be nothing; living in good style - that's the proper thing for noblemen: it's only the nobles who know how to do it. Now, the peasants about us buy land, and I don't mind that. The gentleman does nothing, while the peasant works and supplants the idle man. That's as it should be. And I welcome the peasant. But I do mind seeing the process of impoverishment from a sort of - I don't know what to call it - innocence. Here a Polish lessee bought for half its value a magnificent

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