`Look'ee at the little doodlebugs crawling!' he said, pointing to them, and he shaded his eyes with his hand to look at the sun.

They mowed two more swaths; the old man stopped.

`Come, master, dinnertime!' he said decidedly. And on reaching the stream the mowers moved off across the swaths toward their pile of coats, where the children who had brought their dinners were sitting waiting for them. The peasants gathered - those who came from afar under their telegas, those who lived near under a willow bush, covered with grass.

Levin sat down by them; he felt disinclined to go away.

All constraint with the master had disappeared long ago. The peasants got ready for dinner. Some washed, the young lads bathed in the stream, others made a place comfortable for a rest, untied their sacks of bread, and uncovered the pitchers of kvass. The old man crumbled up some bread in a cup, stirred it with the handle of a spoon, poured water on it from his whetstone case, broke up some more bread, and having seasoned it with salt, he turned to the east to say his prayer.

`Come, master, taste my sop,' said he, kneeling down before the cup.

The sop was so good that Levin gave up the idea of going home for dinner. He ate with the old man, and talked to him about his family affairs, taking the keenest interest in them, and told him about his own affairs and all the circumstances that could be of interest to the old man. He felt much nearer to him than to his brother, and could not help smiling at the affection he felt for this man. When the old man got up again, said his prayer, and lay down under a bush, putting some grass under his head for a pillow, Levin did the same, and, in spite of the clinging flies that were so persistent in the sunshine, and the midges that tickled his hot face and body, he fell asleep at once and only waked when the sun had passed to the other side of the bush and reached him. The old man had been awake a long while, and was sitting up whetting the scythes of the younger lads.

Levin looked about him and hardly recognized the place, everything was so changed. The immense stretch of meadow had been mown and was sparkling with a peculiar fresh brilliance, with its lines of already sweet-smelling grass in the slanting rays of the evening sun. And the bushes about the river, mowed around, and the river itself, not visible before, now gleaming, like steel in its bends, and the moving, ascending peasants, and the sharp wall of grass of the unmown part of the meadow, and the hawks hovering over the stripped meadow - all was perfectly new. Raising himself, Levin began considering how much had been cut and how much more could still be done that day.

The work done was exceptionally great for forty-two men. They had cut the whole of the big meadow, which had, in the years of corvee, taken thirty scythes two days to mow. Only the corners remained to do, where the swaths were short. But Levin felt a longing to get as much mowing done that day as possible, and was vexed with the sun sinking so quickly in the sky. He felt no weariness; all he wanted was to get his work done more and more quickly, and as much of it as possible.

`Could we cut the Mashkin Upland too? - what do you think?' he said to the old man.

`As God wills - the sun's not high. A little vodka for the lads?'

At the afternoon rest, when they were sitting down again, and those who smoked had lighted their pipes, the old man told the men that `the Mashkin Upland's to be cut - there'll be vodka.'

`Why not cut it? Come on, Tit! We'll look sharp! We can eat at night. Come on!' voices cried out, and eating up their bread, the mowers went back to work.

`Come, lads, keep it up!' said Tit, and ran on ahead almost at a trot.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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