Fiodor, black with the dust that clung to his moist face, shouted something in response, but still went on doing as Levin did not want him to.

Levin, going up to the machine, moved Fiodor aside, and began feeding the machine himself.

Working on till the peasants' dinner hour, which was not long in coming, he went out of the barn with Fiodor and fell into talk with him, stopping beside a neat yellow sheaf of rye laid on the threshing floor for seed.

Fiodor came from a village at some distance from the one in which Levin had once allotted land to his co-operative association. Now it had been let to the innkeeper.

Levin talked to Fiodor about this land and asked whether Platon, a well-to-do peasant of good character belonging to the same village, would not take the land for the coming year.

`It's a high rent; it wouldn't pay Platon, Konstantin Dmitrich,' answered the peasant, picking the ears off his sweat-drenched shirt.

`But how does Kirillov make it pay?'

`Mitukha!' (So the peasant called the innkeeper in a tone of contempt.) `You may be sure he'll make it pay, Konstantin Dmitrich! He'll get his share, however he has to squeeze to get it! He's no mercy on a peasant. But Uncle Fokanich' (so he called the old peasant Platon) - `do you suppose he'd flay the skin off a man? Where there's debt, he'll let anyone off. And he'll suffer losses. He's human, too.'

`But why will he let anyone off?'

`Oh, well, of course, folks are different. One man lives for his own wants and nothing else, like Mitukha, thinking only of filling his belly; but Fokanich is a righteous old man. He lives for his soul. He does not forget God.'

`How does he think of God? How does he live for his soul?' Levin almost shouted.

`Why, to be sure, in truth, in God's way. Folks are different. Take you, now - you wouldn't wrong a man...'

`Yes, yes - good-by!' said Levin, breathless with excitement, and turning round he took his stick and walked quickly away toward home. At the peasant's words that Fokanich lived for his soul, in truth, in God's way, undefined but significant ideas seemed to burst forth, as though they had been locked up, and, all of them striving toward one goal, they thronged whirling through his head, blinding him with their light.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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