Holding his head bent down before him, and struggling with the
wind that strove to tear the wraps away from him, Levin was
moving up to the copse and had just caught sight of something
white behind the oak tree, when there was a sudden flash, the
whole earth seemed on fire, and the vault of heaven seemed
crashing overhead. Opening his blinded eyes, Levin gazed through
the thick veil of rain that separated him now from the copse, and
to his horror the first thing he saw was the green crest of the
familiar oak-tree in the middle of the copse uncannily changing
its position. "Can it have been struck?" Levin hardly had time
to think when, moving more and more rapidly, the oak tree
vanished behind the other trees, and he heard the crash of the
great tree falling upon the others.
The flash of lightning, the crash of thunder, and the
instantaneous chill that ran through him were all merged for
Levin in one sense of terror.
"My God! my God! not on them!" he said.
And though he thought at once how senseless was his prayer that
they should not have been killed by the oak which had fallen now,
he repeated it, knowing that he could do nothing better than
utter this senseless prayer.
Running up to the place where they usually went, he did not find
They were at the other end of the copse under an old lime-tree;
they were calling him. Two figures in dark dresses (they had
been light summer dresses when they started out) were standing
bending over something. It was Kitty with the nurse. The rain
was already ceasing, and it was beginning to get light when Levin
reached them. The nurse was not wet on the lower part of her
dress, but Kitty was drenched through, and her soaked clothes
clung to her. Though the rain was over, they still stood in the
same position in which they had been standing when the storm
broke. Both stood bending over a perambulator with a green
"Alive? Unhurt? Thank God!" he said, splashing with his soaked
boots through the standing water and running up to them.