`I am trying to find means of working productively for myself and for the laborers. I want to organize...' he answered hotly.

`You don't want to organize anything; it's simply the same as you've been all your life - you want to be original, to pose as not simply exploiting the peasants, but with some idea in view.'

`Oh, all right, that's what you think - and let me alone!' answered Levin, feeling the muscles of his left cheek twitching uncontrollably.

`You've never had, and never have, convictions; all you want is to please your vanity.'

`Oh, very well; let me alone then!'

`And I will let you alone! And it's high time I did, and go to the devil with you! And I'm very sorry I ever came!'

In spite of all Levin's efforts to soothe his brother afterward, Nikolai would listen to nothing he said, declaring that it was better to part, and Konstantin saw that it was simply a case of life being unbearable to him.

Nikolai was just getting ready to go, when Konstantin went in to him again and begged him, rather unnaturally, to forgive him if he had hurt his feelings in any way.

`Ah, generosity!' said Nikolai, and he smiled. `If you want to be right, I can give you that satisfaction. You're in the right; but I'm going all the same.'

It was only just at parting that Nikolai kissed him, and said, looking with sudden strangeness and seriousness at his brother:

`Anyway, don't remember evil against me, Kostia!' and his voice quavered.

These were the only words that had been spoken sincerely between them. Levin knew that those words meant, `You see, and you know, that I'm in a bad way, and maybe we shall never see each other again.' Levin knew this, and the tears gushed from his eyes. He kissed his brother once more, but he could not speak, and knew not what to say.

Two days after his brother's departure, Levin too set off for his foreign tour. Happening to meet Shcherbatsky, Kitty's cousin, in the railway train, Levin greatly astonished him by his depression.

`What's the matter with you?' Shcherbatsky asked him.

`Oh, nothing; there's not much happiness in life.'

`Not much? You come with me to Paris instead of to Mulhouse. You shall see how to be happy.'

`No, I've done with it all. It's time I was dead.'

`Well, that's a good one!' said Shcherbatsky, laughing, `why, I'm only just getting ready to begin.'

`Yes, I thought the same not long ago, but now I know I shall soon be dead.'

Levin said what he had genuinely been thinking of late. He saw nothing but death, or an approach to death in everything. But his cherished scheme only engrossed him the more. Life had to be got through somehow, till death did come. Darkness had fallen upon everything for him; but just because of this darkness he felt that the one guiding clue in the darkness was his work, and he clutched it, and clung to it with all his strength.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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