Part 1, Chapter 25 Summary
Nikolay has trouble stringing several thoughts together, but Levin is not really listening anyway. He is looking at his brother and feeling sorrier for him as Nikolay talks about a new venture which is clearly nothing more than a diversion to save himself from self-contempt. Nikolay finishes his speech with a diatribe against the social system which treats workers as beasts and gives all profits to the merchants and landowners. Levin simply nods in agreement when Nikolay stops for breath.
The three of them are founding a locksmith association in a village where all profits and productions will be shared in common. Levin sighs, which exasperates Nikolay into a tirade against both Levin’s and Sergey Ivanovitch’s aristocratic views. The latter uses his intellect to “justify existing evils.” Soon Nikolay’s ranting has intensified into a screaming tirade ending with a demand that Levin quit looking down on him and go away. Levin has not disputed a thing Nikolay said and quietly says so.
Just then, Masha returns. She quickly goes to Nikolay and whispers something in his ear. Nikolay is calmer now, but he is still upset by the article Sergey Ivanovitch has written, saying it is full of self-deceptive lies. He asks Kritsky if he has read the article; he has not. The man claims that others will find it too academic and scholarly to understand, but he simply does not want to waste his time reading such rubbish, as he knows where all its weaknesses lie. No one speaks.
Finally Kritsky deliberately rises, puts on his cap, and leaves. He has barely left when Nikolay smiles and winks and says he understands that Kritsky is no good, either—just as the man re-enters the room. While Nikolay speaks with him, Levin talks privately with Masha. She has been with Nikolay for a year and his health has worsened because he drinks too much vodka. He returns to see them talking quietly and his comments begin to escalate again until they sit down to eat and he drinks some vodka. Now he is more pleasant.
Nikolay asks his brother about life in...
(The entire section is 546 words.)