Levin had on this visit to town seen a great deal of his old
friend at the university, Professor Katavasov, whom he had not
seen since his marriage. He liked in Katavasov the clearness and
simplicity of his conception of life. Levin thought that the
clearness of Katavasov's conception of life was due to the
poverty of his nature; Katavasov thought that the
disconnectedness of Levin's ideas was due to his lack of
intellectual discipline; but Levin enjoyed Katavasov's clearness,
and Katavasov enjoyed the abundance of Levin's untrained ideas,
and they liked to meet and to discuss.
Levin had read Katavasov some parts of his book, and he had liked
them. On the previous day Katavasov had met Levin at a public
lecture and told him that the celebrated Metrov, whose article
Levin had so much liked, was in Moscow, that he had been much
interested by what Katavasov had told him about Levin's work, and
that he was coming to see him tomorrow at eleven, and would be
very glad to make Levin's acquaintance.
"You're positively a reformed character, I'm glad to see," said
Katavasov, meeting Levin in the little drawing room. "I heard
the bell and thought: Impossible that it can be he at the exact
time!... Well, what do you say to the Montenegrins now? They're
a race of warriors."
"Why, what's happened?" asked Levin.
Katavasov in a few words told him the last piece of news from the
war, and going into his study, introduced Levin to a short,
thick-set man of pleasant appearance. This was Metrov. The
conversation touched for a brief space on politics and on how
recent events were looked at in the higher spheres in Petersburg.
Metrov repeated a saying that had reached him through a most
trustworthy source, reported as having been uttered on this
subject by the Tsar and one of the ministers. Katavasov had
heard also on excellent authority that the Tsar had said
something quite different. Levin tried to imagine circumstances
in which both sayings might have been uttered, and the
conversation on that topic dropped.