"Well, what of it? I've not given up thinking of death," said
Levin. "It's true that it's high time I was dead; and that all
this is nonsense. It's the truth I'm telling you. I do value
my idea and my work awfully; but in reality only consider this:
all this world of ours is nothing but a speck of mildew, which
has grown up on a tiny planet. And for us to suppose we can have
something great--ideas, work--it's all dust and ashes."
"But all that's as old as the hills, my boy!"
"It is old; but do you know, when you grasp this fully, then
somehow everything becomes of no consequence. When you
understand that you will die tomorrow, if not today, and nothing
will be left, then everything is so unimportant! And I consider
my idea very important, but it turns out really to be as
unimportant too, even if it were carried out, as doing for that
bear. So one goes on living, amusing oneself with hunting, with
work--anything so as not to think of death!"
Stepan Arkadyevitch smiled a subtle affectionate smile as he
listened to Levin.
"Well, of course! Here you've come round to my point. Do you
remember you attacked me for seeking enjoyment in life? Don't be
so severe, O moralist!"
"No; all the same, what's fine in life is..." Levin hesitated--
"oh, I don't know. All I know is that we shall soon be dead."
"Why so soon?"
"And do you know, there's less charm in life, when one thinks of
death, but there's more peace."
"On the contrary, the finish is always the best. But I must be
going," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, getting up for the tenth time.
"Oh, no, stay a bit!" said Levin, keeping him. "Now, when shall
we see each other again? I'm going tomorrow."