Levin jumped up, and with a peremptory whisper made her go out.

`I'm setting off,' he said again.

`Why do you think so?' said Levin, so as to say something.

`Because I'm setting off,' he repeated, as though he had a liking for the phrase. `It's the end.'

Marya Nikolaevna went up to him.

`You had better lie down; you'd be easier,' she said.

`I shall lie down soon enough,' he pronounced slowly, `when I'm dead,' he said sarcastically, wrathfully. `Well, you can put me down if you like.'

Levin laid his brother on his back, sat down beside him, and gazed at his face, holding his breath. The dying man lay with closed eyes, but the muscles twitched from time to time on his forehead, as with one thinking deeply and intensely. Levin involuntarily thought with him of what it was that was happening to him now, but in spite of all his mental efforts to keep him company, he saw by the expression of that calm, stern face, and by the playing muscle above his brow, that for the dying man there was growing clearer and clearer all that was still as dark as ever for Levin.

`Yes, yes, so,' the dying man articulated slowly at intervals. `Wait a little.' He was silent again. `Right!' he pronounced all at once reassuringly, as though all were solved for him. `O Lord!' he murmured, and sighed deeply.

Marya Nikolaevna felt his feet. `They're getting cold,' she whispered.

For a long while, a very long while, it seemed to Levin, the sick man lay motionless. But he was still alive, and from time to time he sighed. Levin by now was exhausted from mental strain. He felt that with no mental effort could he understand what it was that was right. He felt that he could not follow the dying man's thinking. He could not even think of the problem of death itself, but, with no will of his own, thoughts kept coming to him of what he had to do next - closing the dead man's eyes, dressing him, ordering the coffin. And, strange to say, he felt utterly cold, and was not conscious of sorrow nor of loss, less still of pity for his brother. If he had any feeling for his brother at that moment, it was rather envy for the knowledge the dying man had now, which he could not have.

A long time more he sat over him so, continually expecting the end. But the end did not come. The door opened and Kitty appeared. Levin got up to stop her. But at the moment he was getting up, he caught the sound of the dying man stirring.

`Don't go away,' said Nikolai and held out his hand. Levin gave him his, and angrily waved to his wife to go away.

With the dying man's hand in his hand, he sat for half an hour, an hour, another hour. He did not think of death at all now. He wondered what Kitty was doing; who lived in the next room; whether the doctor lived in a house of his own. He longed for food and for sleep. He cautiously drew away his hand and felt the feet. The feet were cold, but the sick man was still breathing. Levin tried once more to move away on tiptoe, but the sick man stirred again and said: `Don't go.'

The dawn came; the sick man's condition was unchanged. Levin stealthily withdrew his hand, and, without looking at the dying man, went off to his own room and went to sleep. When he woke up, instead of news of his brother's death which he expected, he learned that the sick man had returned to his earlier condition. He had begun sitting up again, coughing, had begun eating again, talking again, and again had ceased to talk of death, again had begun to express hope of his recovery, and had become more irritable and gloomier than ever. No one, neither his brother nor Kitty, could soothe him. He was angry

  By PanEris using Melati.

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