At the party, the banker's mood is lively and enthusiastic. When discussing the death penalty, for instance, he gets "carried away by excitement" and bangs his fist on the table before he proposes a bet to the lawyer. Moreover, when the lawyer agrees to the bet, the banker is "delighted" and he enjoys "making fun" of his opponent.
Fifteen years later, however, the banker's mood has changed significantly. He is no longer lively and happy and is instead nervous and pessimistic. In the opening lines of the story, for example, Chekhov creates an image of the banker pacing up and down as he remembers that fateful night. Similarly, as he considers the financial implications of losing the bet, his anguish is evident: he clutches his head with "despair" and thinks about the disgrace of his imminent bankruptcy.