The narrow room, in which they were smoking and taking refreshment, was full of noblemen. The excitement grew more intense, and every face betrayed some uneasiness. The excitement was specially keen for the leaders of each party, who knew every detail, and had reckoned up every vote. They were the generals organizing the approaching battle. The rest, like the rank and file before an engagement, though they were getting ready for the fight, sought for other distractions in the interval. Some were lunching, standing at the bar, or sitting at the table; others were walking up and down the long room, smoking cigarettes, and talking with friends whom they had not seen for a long while. .bvlgari rings replica.
Levin did not care to eat, and he was not a smoker; he did not want to join his own friends - that is Sergei Ivanovich, Stepan Arkadyevich, Sviiazhsky, and the rest, because Vronsky in his equerry's uniform was standing with them in eager conversation. Levin had seen him already at the meeting on the previous day, and he had studiously avoided him, not caring to greet him. He went to the window and sat down, scanning the groups, and listening to what was being said around him. He felt depressed, especially because everyone else was, as he saw, eager, anxious, and interested, and he alone, with an old, toothless little man with mumbling lips, wearing a naval uniform who sat beside him, had no interest in it, and nothing to do. .Replica Christian Louboutin.
`He's such a blackguard! I have told him so, but it makes no difference. Only think of it! He couldn't collect it in three years!' he heard vigorously uttered by a stoop-shouldered, short country gentleman, who had pomaded hair hanging over his embroidered collar, and new boots obviously put on for the occasion, with heels that tapped energetically as he spoke. Casting a displeased glance at Levin, this gentleman sharply turned his back. .bvlgari rings replica.
`Yes, it's a dirty business, there's no denying,' another puny landowner assented in a high voice. .Replica Christian Louboutin.
Next, a whole crowd of country gentlemen, surrounding a stout general, hurriedly came near Levin. These persons were unmistakably seeking a place where they could talk without being overheard. .Giuseppe Zanotti Replica.
`How dare he say I had his breeches stolen! Pawned them for drink, I expect. Damn the fellow - Prince indeed! He'd better not say it - that's swinish!' .Cartier Juste Un Clou Replica.
`But excuse me! They take their stand on the act,' was being said in another group; `the wife must be registered as a noble.' .cartier love ring replica.
`Oh, damn your acts! I speak from my heart. We're all gentlemen, aren't we? Have trust in us.' .cartier love bracelet replica.
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Another group was following a nobleman who was shouting something in a loud voice; it was one of the three intoxicated gentlemen. .bvlgari rings replica.
`I always advised Marya Semionovna to let for a fair rent, for she can never save a profit,' he heard a pleasant voice say. The speaker was a country gentleman with white mustache, wearing the regimental uniform of an old general staff officer. It was the very landowner Levin had met at Sviiazhsky's. He knew him at once. The landowner too stared at Levin, and they exchanged greetings. .cartier love bracelet replica.
`Very glad to see you! To be sure! I remember you very well. Last year at our district marshal's, Nikolai Ivanovich's.' .bvlgari rings replica.
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`All Russia's here - gentlemen of the bedchamber, and everything short of the ministry.' He pointed to the imposing figure of Stepan Arkadyevich in white trousers and his court uniform, walking by with a general. .cartier love bracelet replica.
`I ought to own that I don't very well understand the drift of the provincial elections,' said Levin. .hermes bracelet replica.
The landowner looked at him.
`Why, what is there to understand? There's no meaning in it at all. It's a decaying institution that goes on running only by the force of inertia. Just look, the very uniforms tell you that it's an assembly of justices of the peace, permanent members of the boards, and so on, but not of noblemen.'
`Then why do you come?' asked Levin.
`From habit, nothing else. Then, too, one must keep up connections. It's a moral obligation of a sort. And then, to tell the truth, there are one's own interests. My son-in-law wants to run as a permanent member; they're not rich people, and he must be brought forward. These gentlemen, now - what do they come for?' he said, pointing to the venomous gentleman, who was talking at the high table.
`That's the new generation of nobility.'
`New it may be, but nobility it isn't. They're landed proprietors - but we're the landowners. As noblemen, they're cutting their own throats.'
`But you say it's an institution that's served its time.'
`That it may be, but still, it ought to be treated a little more respectfully. Snetkov, now... We may be of use, or we may not, but we're the growth of a thousand years. If we're laying out a garden, planning one before the house, you know, and there you've a tree that's stood for centuries in the very spot... Old and gnarled it may be, and yet you don't cut down the old fellow to make room for the flowerbeds, but lay out your beds so as to take advantage of the tree. You won't grow him again in a year,' he said cautiously, and he immediately changed the conversation. `Well, and how is your estate doing?'
`Oh, not very well. I make about five per cent.'
`Yes, but you don't reckon your own work. Aren't you worth something too? I'll tell you my own case. Before I took to seeing after the land, I had a salary of three thousand roubles from the service. Now I do more work than I did in the service, and, like you, I get five per cent on the land, and thank God for that. But one's work is thrown in for nothing.'
`Then why do you do it, if it's a clear loss?'
`Oh, well, one does it! What would you have? It's habit, and one knows it's as it should be. And what's more,' the landowner went on, leaning on the window and chatting on, `my son, I must tell you, has no taste for it. There's no doubt he'll be a savant. So there'll be no one to keep it up. And yet one does it. Here this year I've planted an orchard.'
`Yes, yes,' said Levin, `that's perfectly true. I always feel there's no real balance of gain in my work on the land, and yet one does it.... It's a sort of duty one feels to the land.'
`But I tell you what,' the landowner pursued; `a neighbor of mine, a merchant, was at my place. We walked about the fields and the park. ``No,' said he, ``Stepan Vassilyevich - everything's well looked after but your garden's neglected.' But, as a fact, it's well kept up. ``To my thinking, I'd cut down the linden trees. Only do it when they're running sap. Here's a thousand lindens, and each would make two good bundles of bast. And nowadays that bast's worth something. And you'd cut down the lot of the linden shells.''
`And with what he made he'd buy up livestock, or buy some land for a trifle, and let it out to the peasants,' Levin added, smiling. He had evidently more than once come across those commercial calculations. `And he'd make his fortune. But you and I must thank God if we keep what we've got and leave it to our children.'
`You're married, I've heard?' said the landowner.
`Yes,' Levin answered, with proud satisfaction. `Yes, all this is rather strange,' he went on. `So we live on without any reckoning, as though we were the vestals of antiquity, set to guard a sacred fire or something.'
The landowner chuckled under his white mustaches.
`There are some among us, too, like our friend Nikolai Ivanovich, or Count Vronsky, who's settled here lately - they try to set up an agronomic industry; but so far it leads to nothing but making away with capital.'
`But why is it we don't do like the merchants? Why don't we cut down our parks for bast?' said Levin, returning to a thought that had struck him.
`Why, as you said, to guard the fire. Besides, that's not work for a nobleman. And our work as noblemen isn't done here at the elections, but yonder, each in his own nook. There's a class instinct, too, of what one ought and oughtn't to do. There are the peasants, too - I wonder at them sometimes; any good peasant tries to take all the land he can. However bad the land is, he'll work it. Without a reckoning too. At a simple loss.'
`Just as we do,' said Levin. `Very, very glad to have met you,' he added, seeing Sviiazhsky approaching him.
`And here we've met for the first time since we met at your place,' said the landowner to Sviiazhsky, `and we've had a good talk, too.'
`Well, have you been attacking the new order of things?' said Sviiazhsky with a smile.
`That we're bound to do.'
`You've been relieving your feelings.'
? Leo Tolstoy