"Well, I'm very, very glad to see you," said Levin, with a
genuine smile of childlike delight.
Levin let his friend to the room set apart for visitors, where
Stepan Arkadyevitch's things were carried also--a bag, a gun in
a case, a satchel for cigars. Leaving him there to wash and
change his clothes, Levin went off to the counting house to speak
about the ploughing and clover. Agafea Mihalovna, always very
anxious for the credit of the house, met him in the hall with
inquiries about dinner.
"Do just as you like, only let it be as soon as possible," he
said, and went to the bailiff.
When he came back, Stepan Arkadyevitch, washed and combed, came
out of his room with a beaming smile, and they went upstairs
"Well, I am glad I managed to get away to you! Now I shall
understand what the mysterious business is that you are always
absorbed in here. No, really, I envy you. What a house, how
nice it all is! So bright, so cheerful!" said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, forgetting that it was not always spring and fine
weather like that day. "And your nurse is simply charming! A
pretty maid in an apron might be even more agreeable, perhaps;
but for your severe monastic style it does very well."
Stepan Arkadyevitch told him many interesting pieces of news;
especially interesting to Levin was the news that his brother,
Sergey Ivanovitch, was intending to pay him a visit in the
Not one word did Stepan Arkadyevitch say in reference to Kitty
and the Shtcherbatskys; he merely gave him greetings from his
wife. Levin was grateful to him for his delicacy and was very
glad of his visitor. As always happened with him during his
solitude, a mass of ideas and feelings had been accumulating
within him, which he could not communicate to those about him.
And now he poured out upon Stepan Arkadyevitch his poetic joy in
the spring, and his failures and plans for the land, and his
thoughts and criticisms on the books he had been reading, and the
idea of his own book, the basis of which really was, though he
was unaware of it himself, a criticism of all the old books on
agriculture. Stepan Arkadyevitch, always charming, understanding
everything at the slightest reference, was particularly charming
on this visit, and Levin noticed in him a special tenderness, as
it were, and a new tone of respect that flattered him.