And without letting Levin finish explaining his idea, Metrov began expounding to him the special point of his own theory.

In what the point of his theory lay, Levin did not understand, because he did not take the trouble to understand. He saw that Metrov, like other people, in spite of his own article, in which he had attacked the current theory of political economy, looked at the position of the Russian peasant simply from the point of view of capital, wages, and rent. He would indeed have been obliged to admit that in the eastern - much the larger - part of Russia rent was as yet nil, that for nine-tenths of the eighty millions of the Russian peasants wages took the form simply of food provided for themselves, and that capital does not so far exist except in the form of the most primitive tools. Yet it was only from that point of view that he considered every laborer, though in many points he differed from the economists and had his own theory of the wage fund, which he expounded to Levin.

Levin listened reluctantly, and at first made objections. He would have liked to interrupt Metrov, to explain his own thought, which in his opinion would have rendered further exposition of Metrov's theories superfluous. But later on, feeling convinced that they looked at the matter so differently, that they could never understand one another, he did not even oppose his statements, but simply listened. Although what Metrov was saying was by now utterly devoid of interest for him, he yet experienced a certain satisfaction in listening to him. It flattered his vanity that such a learned man should explain his ideas to him so eagerly, with such intensity and confidence in Levin's understanding of the subject, sometimes with a mere hint referring him to a whole aspect of the subject. He put this down to his own credit, unaware that Metrov, who had already discussed his theory over and over again with all his intimate friends, talked of it with special eagerness to every new person, and in general was eager to talk to anyone of any subject that interested him, even if still obscure to himself.

`We are late though,' said Katavassov, looking at his watch directly Metrov had finished his discourse.

`Yes, there's a meeting of the Society of Amateurs today in commemoration of the fifty-year jubilee of Svintich,' said Katavassov in answer to Levin's inquiry. `Piotr Ivanovich and I were going. I've promised to deliver an address on his labors in zoology. Come along with us, it's very interesting.'

`Yes, and it's really time to start,' said Metrov. `Come with us, and from there, if you care to, come to my place. I should very much like to hear your work.'

`Oh, no! It's no good yet - it's unfinished. But I shall be very glad to go to the meeting.'

`I say, my dear, have you heard? He has handed in a minority report,' Katavassov called from the other room, where he was putting on his dress coat.

And a conversation sprang up on the university question.

The university question was a very important event that winter in Moscow. Three old professors in the council had not accepted the opinion of the younger professors. The young ones had registered a separate resolution. This resolution, in the judgment of some people, was monstrous, in the judgment of others it was the simplest and most just thing to do, and the professors were split into two parties.

One party, to which Katavassov belonged, saw in the opposite party a scoundrelly betrayal and treachery, while the opposite party saw in them childishness and lack of respect for the authorities. Levin, though he did not belong to the university, had several times already during his stay in Moscow heard and talked about this matter, and had his own opinion on the subject. He took part in the conversation that was continued in the street, as all three walked to the old buildings of the university.

The meeting had already begun. Round the cloth-covered table, at which Katavassov and Metrov seated themselves, there were some half-dozen persons, and one of these was bending close over a manuscript, reading something aloud. Levin sat down in one of the empty chairs that were standing round the table,

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