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Page:Complete Works of Count Tolstoy - 02.djvu/90

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72
A MORNING OF A LANDED PROPRIETOR

day he might expect the arrival of the agrarian court in order to take an invoice of the estate, since he had allowed payments on the mortgage to lapse, in his preoccupation with all kinds of new farm undertakings.

And suddenly, just as vividly as before, came to him the picture of his walk through the forest, and the dream of a country life; and just as vividly stood before him his student room in Moscow, in which he used to stay up late at night, by one candle, with his classmate and adored sixteen-year-old friend. They read and recited for hours in succession some tiresome notes of civil law, and, after finishing them, sent for supper, pooled on a bottle of champagne, and talked of the future that was in store for them. How differently the future had presented itself to a young student! Then the future was full of enjoyment, of varied activities, of splendid successes, and incontestably led both of them to the highest good in the world, as it then was understood by them, — to fame!

"He is walking, and rapidly walking, on that road," thought Nekhlyúdov of his friend, " and I — "

At this time he had arrived at the entrance of the house, where ten or more peasants and domestics stood, waiting for the master with all kinds of requests, and he had to turn from his dreams to the reality before him.

Here was a ragged, dishevelled, and blood-stained peasant woman who complained in tears of her father-in-law, who, she said, wanted to kill her; here were two brothers who had been for two years quarrelling about the division of their farm, and who looked upon each other with desperate malice; here was also an unshaven, gray-haired servant, with hands quivering from intoxication, whom his son, the gardener, had brought to the master, to complain of his dissolute conduct; here was a peasant who had driven his wife out of the house because she had not worked all the spring; here was also that sick woman, his wife, who sat, sobbing and saying nothing, on the