Easy as it was to mow the wet, soft grass, it was hard work going up and down the steep sides of the ravine. But this did not trouble the old man. Swinging his scythe just as ever, and moving his feet in their big, plaited shoes with firm, little steps, he climbed slowly up the steep place, and though his breeches hanging out below his smock, and his whole frame trembled with effort, he did not miss one blade of grass or one mushroom on his way, and kept making jokes with the peasants and Levin. Levin walked after him and often thought he must fall, as he climbed with a scythe up a steep cliff where it would have been hard work to clamber without anything. But he climbed up and did what he had to do. He felt as though some external force were moving him.
Mashkin Upland was mown, the last row finished, the peasants had put on their coats and were gaily trudging home. Levin got on his horse and, parting regretfully from the peasants, rode homewards. On the hillside he looked back; he could not see them in the mist that had risen from the valley; he could only hear rough, good-humored voices, laughter, and the sound of clanking scythes.
Sergey Ivanovitch had long ago finished dinner, and was drinking iced lemon and water in his own room, looking through the reviews and papers which he had only just received by post, when Levin rushed into the room, talking merrily, with his wet and matted hair sticking to his forehead, and his back and chest grimed and moist.
“We mowed the whole meadow! Oh, it is nice, delicious! And how have you been getting on?” said Levin, completely forgetting the disagreeable conversation of the previous day.
“Mercy! what do you look like!” said Sergey Ivanovitch, for the first moment looking round with some dissatisfaction. “And the door, do shut the door!” he cried. “You must have let in a dozen at least.”
Sergey Ivanovitch could not endure flies, and in his own room he never opened the window except at night, and carefully kept the door shut.
“Not one, on my honor. But if I have, I’ll catch them. You wouldn’t believe what a pleasure it is! How have you spent the day?”
“Very well. But have you really been mowing the whole day? I expect you’re as hungry as a wolf. Kouzma has got everything ready for you.”
“No, I don’t feel hungry even. I had something to eat there. But I’ll go and wash.”
“Yes, go along, go along, and I’ll come to you directly,” said Sergey Ivanovitch, shaking his head as he looked at his brother. “Go along, make haste,” he added smiling, and gathering up his books, he prepared to go too. He, too, felt suddenly good-humored and disinclined to leave his brother’s side. “But what did you do while it was raining?”
“Rain? Why, there was scarcely a drop. I’ll come directly. So you had a nice day too? That’s first-rate.” And Levin went off to change his clothes.