The sun shone warm, the air was balmy, the grass, where it did not get scrapped away, revived and sprang up everywhere: between the paving-stones as well aas on the narrow strips of lawn on the boulevards. The birches, the poplars, and the bird-cherry trees were unfolding their gummy and fragrant leaves, the swelling buds were bursting on the lime-trees; jackdaws, sparrows, and pigeons, filled with the joy of spring, were getting their nests ready; file warmed by the sunshine were buzzing along the walls. All were glad: the plants, the birds, the insects, and the children. But men, grown-up men and women, did not leave off cheating and tormenting themselves and each other. It was not this spring morning they thought sacred and important, not the beauty of God’s world, given to benefit all creatures – a beauty which inclines the heart to peace, harmony, and love – but only their own devices for getting the upper hand of each other.