Part 6, Chapter 11 Summary
Veslovsky is waiting for them at the peasant hut where Levin usually stays. He has been fed and given drink by the happy peasants, and Veslovsky is still marveling at their generosity to him. The hut is filthy with the mud and stench of the marsh, but the hunters eat their tea and eat their supper with great relish. After washing, they go to the hay barn which has been readied for them. Though it is dusk, none of them is ready to sleep.
Stepan Arkadyevitch tells them about a delightful hunting trip he participated in last summer. It was lavish party hosted by a well known capitalist who made his fortune by speculation in railway stocks. Levin wonders how such people do not disgust his brother-in-law, for such sumptuousness is the same as the early Russian monopolists. They all obtained their excessive wealth by dishonorable means; and when the people show them contempt, these wealthy elitists simply buy their approval.
Stepan Arkadyevitch says he does not consider such men to be any more dishonest than any other wealthy merchant or nobleman. They all earned their money by their work and their intelligence. Levin argues that speculation is not work, at least not work like that of peasants of learned men. Stepan Arkadyevitch claims that their activities produce results, in this case the railway system.
Levin agrees that such men are useful, but he still believes that amassing huge fortunes without labor is evil. Banks, too, are evil in that they earn profit without work. Stepan Arkadyevitch asks if it dishonest that he makes more money than his chief clerk, a man who knows more about his work than Stepan Arkadyevitch does. The same is true of Levin, the landowner, and his peasants who will never earn what he does despite the fact that it is they who do the work. Levin agrees that it is unfair, but Stepan Arkadyevitch interrupts to say that Levin believes it but does not give the peasants any property. A kind of rivalry has been brooding between the brothers-in-law, a “secret...
(The entire section is 532 words.)