"You should have listened to me," Levin answered with annoyance.
"I said: Put the lines and then fit in the steps. Now there's
no setting it right. Do as I told you, and make a new
The point was that in the lodge that was being built the
carpenter had spoiled the staircase, fitting it together without
calculating the space it was to fill, so that the steps were all
sloping when it was put in place. Now the carpenter wanted,
keeping the same staircase, to add three steps.
"It will be much better."
"But where's your staircase coming out with its three steps?"
"Why, upon my word, sir," the carpenter said with a contemptuous
smile. "It comes out right at the very spot. It starts, so to
speak," he said, with a persuasive gesture; "it comes down, and
comes down, and comes out."
"But three steps will add to the length too...where is it to
"Why, to be sure, it'll start from the bottom and go up and go
up, and come out so," the carpenter said obstinately and
"It'll reach the ceiling and the wall."
"Upon my word! Why, it'll go up, and up, and come out like
Levin took out a ramrod and began sketching him the staircase in
"There, do you see?"
"As your honor likes," said the carpenter, with a sudden gleam in
his eyes, obviously understanding the thing at last. "It seems
it'll be best to make a new one."
"Well, then, do it as you're told," Levin shouted, seating
himself in the wagonette. "Down! Hold the dogs, Philip!"