Part 5, Chapter 22 Summary
Though Alexey Alexandrovitch has forgotten about Countess Lidia Ivanovna, she has not forgotten about him. At his greatest moment of despair, she comes to see him and walks unannounced into his study where he is sitting with his head in his hands. She walks straight to him, takes his hand in both of hers, looks warmly into his eyes, and tells him she has heard all about his troubles. Alexey Alexandrovitch is upset, and he tells the countess he is not receiving visitors because he is unwell. The countess never takes her eyes from his, and he can see that she is about to cry in her sorrow for him. This softens Alexey Alexandrovitch, and he kisses Lidia Ivanovna’s hand.
Dropping her hand but keeping his gaze on her brimming eyes, Alexey Alexandrovitch tells the countess that he is crushed beyond consolation, has been annihilated, and is no longer a man. It is worse for him because he has no one to support him, no one to whom he can turn in his desperation. The countess tells him he will find help, but he must seek it. His only true support is through the love of God; He will be his support and help in this time of need. There is a religious mysticism rampant in St. Petersburg, and though the countess’s words seem full of lofty, sentimental emotions, Alexey Alexandrovitch finds it pleasant to hear them.
He tells Lidia Ivanovna that he does not grieve for his losses; he is upset by the public humiliation, even though he knows it is wrong. She tells him the forgiveness he gave his wife was the result of God working in his heart and he should never be ashamed it. But Alexey Alexandrovitch is inconsolable. He tells the countess that all the arrangements he must make which had always been done by his wife have caused him to reach the limit of his strength, and yesterday he could barely look at his son who so desperately wants to ask his father what has happened but does not.
The countess offers to be his housekeeper, taking on the tasks of the house as well as the care of Seryozha. When Alexey...
(The entire section is 552 words.)