"Well, how shall I say?... In my heart I really care for nothing
whatever but that you should not stumble--see? Oh, but really
you mustn't skip about like that!" he cried, breaking off to
scold her for too agile a movement in stepping over a branch that
lay in the path. "But when I think about myself, and compare
myself with others, especially with my brother, I feel I'm a poor
"But in what way?" Kitty pursued with the same smile. "Don't you
too work for others? What about your co-operative settlement,
and your work on the estate, and your book?..."
"Oh, but I feel, and particularly just now--it's your fault," he
said, pressing her hand--"that all that doesn't count. I do it
in a way halfheartedly. If I could care for all that as I care
for you!... Instead of that, I do it in these days like a task
that is set me."
"Well, what would you say about papa?" asked Kitty. "Is he a
poor creature then, as he does nothing for the public good?"
"He?--no! But then one must have the simplicity, the
straightforwardness, the goodness of your father: and I haven't
got that. I do nothing, and I fret about it. It's all your
doing. Before there was you--and THIS too," he added with a
glance towards her waist that she understood-- "I put all my
energies into work; now I can't, and I'm ashamed; I do it just as
though it were a task set me, I'm pretending...."
"Well, but would you like to change this minute with Sergey
Ivanovitch?" said Kitty. "Would you like to do this work for the
general good, and to love the task set you, as he does, and
"Of course not," said Levin. "But I'm so happy that I don't
understand anything. So you think he'll make her an offer
today?" he added after a brief silence.