Chapter 4

The personal matter that absorbed Levin during his conversation with his brother was this. Once, the year previous, he had gone to look at the mowing, and being made very angry by the bailiff he had had recourse to his favorite means for regaining his temper - he had taken a scythe from a peasant and begun mowing.

He liked the work so much that he had several times tried his hand at mowing since. He had cut the whole of the meadow in front of his house, and this year, ever since the early spring, he had cherished a plan for mowing for whole days together with the peasants. Ever since his brother's arrival he had been in doubt as to whether to mow or not. He was loath to leave his brother alone all day long, and he was afraid his brother would laugh at him about it. But as he drove into the meadow, and recalled the sensations of mowing, he came near deciding that he would go mowing. After the irritating discussion with his brother, he pondered over this intention again.

`I must have physical exercise, or my temper'll certainly be ruined,' he thought, and he determined he would go mowing, however awkward he might feel about it with his brother or the peasants.

Toward evening Konstantin Levin went to his countinghouse, gave directions as to the work to be done, and sent about the village to summon the mowers for the morrow, to cut the hay in Kalinov meadow, the largest and best of his grasslands.

`And send my scythe, please, to Tit, for him to set it, and bring it round tomorrow. I may do some mowing myself, too,' he said, trying not to be embarrassed.

The bailiff smiled and said:

`Yes, sir.'

At tea the same evening Levin said to his brother too.

`I fancy the fine weather will last,' said he. `Tomorrow I shall start mowing.'

`I'm so fond of that form of field labor,' said Sergei Ivanovich.

`I'm awfully fond of it. I sometimes mow myself with the peasants, and tomorrow I want to try mowing the whole day.'

Sergei Ivanovich lifted his head, and looked with curiosity at his brother.

`How do you mean? Just like one of the peasants, all day long?'

`Yes, it's very pleasant,' said Levin.

`It's splendid as exercise, only you'll hardly be able to stand it,' said Sergei Ivanovich, without a shade of irony.

`I've tried it. It's hard work at first, but you get into it. I dare say I shall manage to keep it up....'

`Oh, so that's it! But tell me, how do the peasants look at it? I suppose they laugh in their sleeves at their master's being such a queer fish?'

`No, I don't think so; but it's so delightful, and at the same time such hard work, that one has no time to think about it.'

`But how will you do about dining with them? To send you a bottle of Lafitte and roast turkey out there would be a little awkward.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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