The old prince and Sergey Ivanovitch got into the trap and drove
off; the rest of the party hastened homewards on foot.
But the storm-clouds, turning white and then black, moved down so
quickly that they had to quicken their pace to get home before
the rain. The foremost clouds, lowering and black as soot-laden
smoke, rushed with extraordinary swiftness over the sky. They
were still two hundred paces from home and a gust of wind had
already blown up, and every second the downpour might be looked
The children ran ahead with frightened and gleeful shrieks.
Darya Alexandrovna, struggling painfully with her skirts that
clung round her legs, was not walking, but running, her eyes
fixed on the children. The men of the party, holding their hats
on, strode with long steps beside her. They were just at the
steps when a big drop fell splashing on the edge of the iron
guttering. The children and their elders after them ran into the
shelter of the house, talking merrily.
"Katerina Alexandrovna?" Levin asked of Agafea Mihalovna, who met
them with kerchiefs and rugs in the hall.
"We thought she was with you," she said.
"In the copse, he must be, and the nurse with him."
Levin snatched up the rugs and ran towards the copse.
In that brief interval of time the storm clouds had moved on,
covering the sun so completely that it was dark as an eclipse.
Stubbornly, as though insisting on its rights, the wind stopped
Levin, and tearing the leaves and flowers off the lime trees and
stripping the white birch branches into strange unseemly
nakedness, it twisted everything on one side--acacias, flowers,
burdocks, long grass, and tall tree-tops. The peasant girls
working in the garden ran shrieking into shelter in the servants'
quarters. The streaming rain had already flung its white veil
over all the distant forest and half the fields close by, and was
rapidly swooping down upon the copse. The wet of the rain
spurting up in tiny drops could be smelt in the air.