On the way home Levin asked all details of Kitty's illness and
the Shtcherbatskys' plans, and though he would have been ashamed
to admit it, he was pleased at what he heard. He was pleased
that there was still hope, and still more pleased that she should
be suffering who had made him suffer so much. But when Stepan
Arkadyevitch began to speak of the causes of Kitty's illness, and
mentioned Vronsky's name, Levin cut him short.
"I have no right whatever to know family matters, and, to tell
the truth, no interest in them either."
Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled hardly perceptibly, catching the
instantaneous change he knew so well in Levin's face, which had
become as gloomy as it had been bright a minute before.
"Have you quite settled about the forest with Ryabinin?" asked
"Yes, it's settled. The price is magnificent; thirty-eight
thousand. Eight straight away, and the rest in six years. I've
been bothering about it for ever so long. No one would give
"Then you've as good as given away your forest for nothing," said
"How do you mean for nothing?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch with a
good-humored smile, knowing that nothing would be right in
Levin's eyes now.
"Because the forest is worth at least a hundred and fifty roubles
the acre," answered Levin.
"Oh, these farmers!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch playfully. "Your
tone of contempt for us poor townsfolk!... But when it comes to
business, we do it better than anyone. I assure you I have
reckoned it all out," he said, "and the forest is fetching a very
good price--so much so that I'm afraid of this fellow's crying
off, in fact. You know it's not 'timber,'" said Stepan
Arkadyevitch, hoping by this distinction to convince Levin
completely of the unfairness of his doubts. "And it won't run to
more than twenty-five yards of fagots per acre, and he's giving
me at the rate of seventy roubles the acre."