Part 3, Chapter 7 Summary
Stepan Arkadyevitch has gone back to St. Petersburg to do what everyone in government service must do—remind the ministry that he exists. Having taken all the family’s available cash with him, he is now spending his days in the city quite enjoyably, being seen at the races and visiting summer villas. In the meantime, his wife and children are spending the summer in the country.
Ergushavo is Darya Alexandrovna’s family lodge, given as her dowry when she married. In her childhood, it had seemed a roomy and comfortable place, but that was twenty years ago; now it is rather old and dilapidated. When he was in the country to sell their forest land, Stepan Arkadyevitch was to have ordered any needed improvements before he sent his family there. Unfortunately, his idea of suitable improvements consisted of covering the furniture, planting some flowers, putting up some curtains, and building a small bridge on the pond. The many that were not made are now greatly distressing his wife.
Though he tries to be an attentive husband, Stepan Arkadyevitch consistently thinks and acts like a bachelor rather than a man with a wife and children. He has “bachelor tastes” and shapes his life accordingly. When he returned from Moscow, he was proud of the preparations he had made at the lodge and was eager for his family to leave for the summer. Their living at the lodge would cost him less, give the children a change of scenery, and allow him more freedom.
For Darya Alexandrovna, spending the summer in the country is essential for her children, especially for the youngest daughter who has not recovered her strength after having scarlatina. She also wants to spend time away from the city to escape the humiliation of having to face all the merchants to whom she and her husband owe money. Much to her delight, Kitty has written that she would love to join her sister and the children as soon as possible.
Living at the lodge in the country is not as Darya Alexandrovna remembers it from her romanticized childhood. Rains have caused flooding in the house, no kitchen maid can be found, the cows are not producing...
(The entire section is 548 words.)