Now, involuntarily it seemed, he cut more and more deeply into
the soil like a plough, so that he could not be drawn out without
turning aside the furrow.
To live the same family life as his father and forefathers--that
is, in the same condition of culture--and to bring up his
children in the same, was incontestably necessary. It was as
necessary as dining when one was hungry. And to do this, just as
it was necessary to cook dinner, it was necessary to keep the
mechanism of agriculture at Pokrovskoe going so as to yield an
income. Just as incontestably as it was necessary to repay a
debt was it necessary to keep the property in such a condition
that his son, when he received it as a heritage, would say "thank
you" to his father as Levin had said "thank you" to his
grandfather for all he built and planted. And to do this it was
necessary to look after the land himself, not to let it, and to
breed cattle, manure the fields, and plant timber.
It was impossible not to look after the affairs of Sergey
Ivanovitch, of his sister, of the peasants who came to him for
advice and were accustomed to do so--as impossible as to fling
down a child one is carrying in one's arms. It was necessary to
look after the comfort of his sister-in-law and her children, and
of his wife and baby, and it was impossible not to spend with
them at least a short time each day.
And all this, together with shooting and his new bee-keeping,
filled up the whole of Levin's life, which had no meaning at all
for him, when he began to think.
But besides knowing thoroughly what he had to do, Levin knew in
just the same way HOW he had to do it all, and what was more
important than the rest.