Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Marya, since the death of her husband, has become a social leader in her small provincial town. Her daughter Liza speaks French quite well and plays the piano. Her other children have the best tutors available. She takes great delight in receiving guests, especially Panshin, who holds an important position in Moscow. Her evening gatherings are always entertaining when Panshin is there to quote his own poetry.
It is rumored that Lavretzky is returning to the district. Although he is a cousin of the house, Marya scarcely knows how to treat him, for Lavretzky made an unfortunate marriage. He is now separated from his pretty wife, who is reputed to be fast and flighty. Lavretzky’s visit creates no difficulties, however. He is a rather silent, affable man, and he notices Liza with interest. Liza is a religious-minded and beautiful girl of nineteen. It is very evident that the brilliant Panshin is courting her with the full approval of her mother. On the evening of his visit, Lavretzky is not impressed with Panshin’s rendition of his musical romance, but the ladies are ecstatic.
The following day Lavretzky goes on to his small country estate. The place is run-down because it has been uninhabited since his sister’s death. Lavretzky, content to sink into a quiet country life, orders the gardens cleaned up, moves in some newer furniture, and begins to take an interest in the crops. He seems suspended in a real Russian atmosphere, close to the...
(The entire section is 1211 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of A House of Gentlefolk Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!