In September Levin moved to Moscow for Kitty's confinement. He
had spent a whole month in Moscow with nothing to do, when Sergey
Ivanovitch, who had property in the Kashinsky province, and took
great interest in the question of the approaching elections, made
ready to set off to the elections. He invited his brother, who
had a vote in the Seleznevsky district, to come with him. Levin
had, moreover, to transact in Kashin some extremely important
business relating to the wardship of land and to the receiving of
certain redemption money for his sister, who was abroad.
Levin still hesitated, but Kitty, who saw that he was bored in
Moscow, and urged him to go, on her own authority ordered him the
proper nobleman's uniform, costing seven pounds. And that seven
pounds paid for the uniform was the chief cause that finally
decided Levin to go. He went to Kashin....
Levin had been six days in Kashin, visiting the assembly each
day, and busily engaged about his sister's business, which still
dragged on. The district marshals of nobility were all occupied
with the elections, and it was impossible to get the simplest
thing done that depended upon the court of wardship. The other
matter, the payment of the sums due, was met too by difficulties.
After long negotiations over the legal details, the money was at
last ready to be paid; but the notary, a most obliging person,
could not hand over the order, because it must have the signature
of the president, and the president, though he had not given over
his duties to a deputy, was at the elections. All these worrying
negotiations, this endless going from place to place, and talking
with pleasant and excellent people, who quite saw the
unpleasantness of the petitioner's position, but were powerless
to assist him--all these efforts that yielded no result, led to a
feeling of misery in Levin akin to the mortifying helplessness
one experiences in dreams when one tries to use physical force.
He felt this frequently as he talked to his most good-natured
solicitor. This solicitor did, it seemed, everything possible,
and strained every nerve to get him out of his difficulties. "I
tell you what you might try," he said more than once; "go to
so-and-so and so-and-so," and the solicitor drew up a regular
plan for getting round the fatal point that hindered everything.
But he would add immediately, "It'll mean some delay, anyway, but
you might try it." And Levin did try, and did go. Everyone was
kind and civil, but the point evaded seemed to crop up again in
the end, and again to bar the way. What was particularly trying,
was that Levin could not make out with whom he was struggling, to
whose interest it was that his business should not be done. That
no one seemed to know; the solicitor certainly did not know. If
Levin could have understood why, just as he saw why one can only
approach the booking office of a railway station in single file,
it would not have been so vexatious and tiresome to him. But
with the hindrances that confronted him in his business, no one
could explain why they existed.