"Do you know I've been thinking about you," said Sergey
Ivanovitch. "It's beyond everything what's being done in the
district, according to what this doctor tells me. He's a very
intelligent fellow. And as I've told you before, I tell you
again: it's not right for you not to go to the meetings, and
altogether to keep out of the district business. If decent
people won't go into it, of course it's bound to go all wrong.
We pay the money, and it all goes in salaries, and there are no
schools, nor district nurses, nor midwives, nor drugstores--
"Well, I did try, you know," Levin said slowly and unwillingly.
"I can't! and so there's no help for it."
"But why can't you? I must own I can't make it out.
Idifference, incapacity--I won't admit; surely it's not simply
"None of those things. I've tried, and I see I can do nothing,"
He had hardly grasped what his brother was saying. Looking
towards the plough land across the river, he made out something
black, but he could not distinguish whether it was a horse or the
bailiff on horseback.
"Why is it you can do nothing? You made an attempt and didn't
succeed, as you think, and you give in. How can you have so
"Self-respect!" said Levin, stung to the quick by his brother's
words; "I don't understand. If they'd told me at college that
other people understood the integral calculus, and I didn't,
then pride would have come in. But in this case one wants first
to be convinced that one has certain qualifications for this sort
of business, and especially that all this business is of great
"What! do you mean to say it's not of importance?" said Sergey
Ivanovitch, stung to the quick too at his brother's considering
anything of no importance that interested him, and still more at
his obviously paying little attention to what he was saying.