Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary
Stepan Arkadyevitch is incapable of deceiving himself into thinking he has repented of his unacceptable behavior. He knows he is a thirty-four-year-old man who is not in love with his wife and the mother of his seven children, two dead and five living. He also knows the only thing he feels remorse about is getting caught in the affair and should have anticipated his wife’s reaction. Stepan Arkadyevitch had assumed that his wife understood that he no longer found her attractive, that she was a washed-up, tired-looking, middle-aged, uninteresting woman, though she was only a year younger than him. He had assumed that she knew he was unfaithful and had simply chosen to ignore it. In fact, he believed it was only fair that she be indulgent out of fairness for his intolerable position. Instead, she had been appalled and angry.
Before this rift, they had been content. She was happy to raise the children and run the household with absolutely no interference from him, and he was happy with Mademoiselle Roland, the governess. Stepan Arkadyevitch is proud of the fact that he had enough self-control not to dally with her in their home. And the woman is now gone, after all. If he cannot go back to his dream, he must move forward with his day.
He puts on his dressing gown, lined with blue silk, and takes a deep breath before opening the blinds of his study and ringing the bell loudly. Matvey, his long-time valet and friend, arrives immediately with his clothes, his boots, and a telegram. After him comes the barber with shaving equipment. Stepan Arkadyevitch asks for any office paperwork, and with a sly grin Matvey says there are papers from the carriage-jobbers, but he told them to come on Sunday and not to trouble Stepan Arkadyevitch before then.
The telegram is from Stepan Arkadyevitch’s sister and it makes him smile. Anna Arkadyevna, his sister, is coming for a visit and will be here tomorrow. Matvey is also pleased. Both men recognize the significance of her coming, and both are hopeful her visit will prompt a reconciliation between the couple. He...
(The entire section is 555 words.)