“But do you know you are preparing trouble for yourself,” said Stepan Arkadyevitch, finding his cap and getting up.
“Do you suppose I don’t see the line you’ve taken up with your wife? I heard how it’s a question of the greatest consequence, whether or not you’re to be away for a couple of days’ shooting. That’s all very well as an idyllic episode, but for your whole life that won’t answer. A man must be independent; he has his masculine interests. A man has to be manly,” said Oblonsky, opening the door.
“In what way? To go running after servant girls?” said Levin.
“Why not, if it amuses him? Ca ne tire pas a consequence. It won’t do my wife any harm, and it’ll amuse me. The great thing is to respect the sanctity of the home. There should be nothing in the home. But don’t tie your own hands.”
“Perhaps so,” said Levin dryly, and he turned on his side. “Tomorrow, early, I want to go shooting, and I won’t wake anyone, and shall set off at daybreak.”
“Messieurs, venez vite!” they heard the voice of Veslovsky coming back. “Charmante! I’ve made such a discovery. Charmante! a perfect Gretchen, and I’ve already made friends with her. Really, exceedingly pretty,” he declared in a tone of approval, as though she had been made pretty entirely on his account, and he was expressing his satisfaction with the entertainment that had been provided for him.
Levin pretended to be asleep, while Oblonsky, putting on his slippers, and lighting a cigar, walked out of the barn, and soon their voices were lost.
For a long while Levin could not get to sleep. He heard the horses munching hay, then he heard the peasant and his elder boy getting ready for the night, and going off for the night watch with the beasts, then he heard the soldier arranging his bed on the other side of the barn, with his nephew, the younger son of their peasant host. He heard the boy in his shrill little voice telling his uncle what he thought about the dogs, who seemed to him huge and terrible creatures, and asking what the dogs were going to hunt next day, and the soldier in a husky, sleepy voice, telling him the sportsmen were going in the morning to the marsh, and would shoot with their guns; and then, to check the boy’s questions, he said, “Go to sleep, Vaska; go to sleep, or you’ll catch it,” and soon after he began snoring himself, and everything was still. He could only hear the snort of the horses, and the guttural cry of a snipe.
“Is it really only negative?” he repeated to himself. “Well, what of it? It’s not my fault.” And he began thinking about the next day.
“Tomorrow I’ll go out early, and I’ll make a point of keeping cool. There are lots of snipe; and there are grouse too. When I come back there’ll be the note from Kitty. Yes, Stiva may be right, I’m not manly with her, I’m tied to her apron-strings.... Well, it can’t be helped! Negative again....”