"I don't think it important; it does not take hold of me, I
can't help it," answered Levin, making out that what he saw was
the bailiff, and that the bailiff seemed to be letting the
peasants go off the ploughed land. They were turning the plough
over. "Can they have finished ploughing?" he wondered.
"Come, really though," said the elder brother, with a frown on
his handsome, clever face, "there's a limit to everything. It's
very well to be original and genuine, and to dislike everything
conventional--I know all about that; but really, what you're
saying either has no meaning, or it has a very wrong meaning.
How can you think it a matter of no importance whether the
peasant, whom you love as you assert..."
"I never did assert it," thought Konstantin Levin.
"...dies without help? The ignorant peasant-women starve the
children, and the people stagnate in darkness, and are helpless
in the hands of every village clerk, while you have at your
disposal a means of helping them, and don't help them because to
your mind it's of no importance."
And Sergey Ivanovitch put before him the alternative: either you
are so undeveloped that you can't see all that you can do, or you
won't sacrifice your ease, your vanity, or whatever it is, to do
Konstantin Levin felt that there was no course open to him but to
submit, or to confess to a lack of zeal for the public good. And
this mortified him and hurt his feelings.
"It's both," he said resolutely: "I don't see that it was
"What! was it impossible, if the money were properly laid out, to
provide medical aid?"
"Impossible, as it seems to me.... For the three thousand square
miles of our district, what with our thaws, and the storms, and
the work in the fields, I don't see how it is possible to
provide medical aid all over. And besides, I don't believe in