When the professor had gone, Sergey Ivanovitch turned to his
"Delighted that you've come. For some time, is it? How's your
farming getting on?"
Levin knew that his elder brother took little interest in
farming, and only put the question in deference to him, and so he
only told him about the sale of his wheat and money matters.
Levin had meant to tell his brother of his determination to get
married, and to ask his advice; he had indeed firmly resolved to
do so. But after seeing his brother, listening to his
conversation with the professor, hearing afterwards the
unconsciously patronizing tone in which his brother questioned
him about agricultural matters (their mother's property had not
been divided, and Levin took charge of both their shares), Levin
felt that he could not for some reason begin to talk to him of
his intention of marrying. He felt that his brother would not
look at it as he would have wished him to.
"Well, how is your district council doing?" asked Sergey
Ivanovitch, who was greatly interested in these local boards and
attached great importance to them.
"I really don't know."
"What! Why, surely you're a member of the board?"
"No, I'm not a member now; I've resigned," answered Levin, "and I
no longer attend the meetings."
"What a pity!" commented Sergey Ivanovitch, frowning.
Levin in self-defense began to describe what took place in the
meetings in his district.
"That's how it always is!" Sergey Ivanovitch interrupted him.
"We Russians are always like that. Perhaps it's our strong
point, really, the faculty of seeing our own shortcomings; but we
overdo it, we comfort ourselves with irony which we always have
on the tip of our tongues. All I say is, give such rights as our
local self-government to any other European people--why, the
Germans or the English would have worked their way to freedom
from them, while we simply turn them into ridicule."