On the drive home, as Darya Alexandrovna, with all her children
round her, their heads still wet from their bath, and a kerchief
tied over her own head, was getting near the house, the coachman
said, "There's some gentleman coming: the master of Pokrovskoe,
I do believe."
Darya Alexandrovna peeped out in front, and was delighted when
she recognized in the gray hat and gray coat the familiar figure
of Levin walking to meet them. She was glad to see him at any
time, but at this moment she was specially glad he should see her
in all her glory. No one was better able to appreciate her
grandeur than Levin.
Seeing her, he found himself face to face with one of the
pictures of his daydream of family life.
"You're like a hen with your chickens, Darya Alexandrovna."
"Ah, how glad I am to see you!" she said, holding out her hand
"Glad to see me, but you didn't let me know. My brother's
staying with me. I got a note from Stiva that you were here."
"From Stiva?" Darya Alexandrovna asked with surprise.
"Yes; he writes that you are here, and that he thinks you might
allow me to be of use to you," said Levin, and as he said it he
became suddenly embarrassed, and, stopping abruptly, he walked on
in silence by the wagonette, snapping off the buds of the
lime trees and nibbling them. He was embarrassed through a sense
that Darya Alexandrovna would be annoyed by receiving from an
outsider help that should by rights have come from her own
husband. Darya Alexandrovna certainly did not like this little
way of Stepan Arkadyevitch's of foisting his domestic duties on
others. And she was at once aware that Levin was aware of this.
It was just for this fineness of perception, for this delicacy,
that Darya Alexandrovna liked Levin.
"I know, of course," said Levin, "that that simply means that you
would like to see me, and I'm exceedingly glad. Though I can
fancy that, used to town housekeeping as you are, you must feel
in the wilds here, and if there's anything wanted, I'm altogether
at your disposal."