"It was jolly of you to make up your mind to come," he said to
"I've been meaning to a long while. Now we shall have some
discussion, we'll see to that. Have you been reading Spencer?"
"No, I've not finished reading him," said Levin. "But I don't
need him now."
"How's that? that's interesting. Why so?"
"I mean that I'm fully convinced that the solution of the
problems that interest me I shall never find in him and his like.
But Katavasov's serene and good-humored expression suddenly
struck him, and he felt such tenderness for his own happy mood,
which he was unmistakably disturbing by this conversation, that
he remembered his resolution and stopped short.
"But we'll talk later on," he added. "If we're going to the
bee house, it's this way, along this little path," he said,
addressing them all.
Going along the narrow path to a little uncut meadow covered on
one side with thick clumps of brilliant heart's-ease among which
stood up here and there tall, dark green tufts of hellebore,
Levin settled his guests in the dense, cool shade of the young
aspens on a bench and some stumps purposely put there for
visitors to the bee house who might be afraid of the bees, and he
went off himself to the hut to get bread, cucumbers, and fresh
honey, to regale them with.
Trying to make his movements as deliberate as possible, and
listening to the bees that buzzed more and more frequently past
him, he walked along the little path to the hut. In the very
entry one bee hummed angrily, caught in his beard, but he
carefully extricated it. Going into the shady outer room, he
took down from the wall his veil, that hung on a peg, and putting
it on, and thrusting his hands into his pockets, he went into the
fenced-in bee-garden, where there stood in the midst of a closely
mown space in regular rows, fastened with bast on posts, all the
hives he knew so well, the old stocks, each with its own history,
and along the fences the younger swarms hived that year. In
front of the openings of the hives, it made his eyes giddy to
watch the bees and drones whirling round and round about the same
spot, while among them the working bees flew in and out with
spoils or in search of them, always in the same direction into
the wood to the flowering lime trees and back to the hives.