[lit-ideas] Re: Speaking of weapons technology...

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2006 22:21:48 -0800


Have inherited one of those grim-reaper scythes, and may give it a shot next summer.


The longer Levin mowed, the oftener he felt the moments of unconsciousness in
which it seemed not his hands that swung the scythe, but the scythe mowing of
itself, a body full of life and consciousness of its own, and as though by
magic, without thinking of it, the work turned out regular and well-finished of
itself. These were the most blissful moments.

 It was only hard work when he had to break off the motion, which had become
unconscious, and to think; when he had to mow round a hillock or a tuft of
sorrel. The old man did this easily. When a hillock came he changed his action,
and at one time with the heel, and at another with the tip of his scythe,
clipped the hillock round both sides with short strokes. And while he did this
he kept looking about and watching what came into his view: at one moment he
picked a wild berry and ate it or offered it to Levin, then he flung away a
twig with the blade of the scythe, then he looked at a quail's nest, from which
the bird flew just under the scythe, or caught a snake that crossed his path,
and lifting it on the scythe as though on a fork showed it to Levin and threw
it away.

For both Levin and the young peasant behind him, such changes of position were
difficult. Both of them, repeating over and over again the same strained
movement, were in a perfect frenzy of toil, and were incapable of shifting
their position and at the same time watching what was before them.

 Levin did not notice how time was passing. If he had been asked how long he
had been working he would have said half an hour?and it was getting on for
dinner-time. As they were walking back over the cut grass, the old man called
Levin's attention to the little girls and boys who were coming from different
directions, hardly visible through the long grass, and along the road towards
the mowers, carrying sacks of bread dragging at their little hands and pitchers
of the sour rye-beer, with cloths wrapped round them.

Forwarded by Robert Paul

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