"Then we shall see," Stepan Arkadyevitch said to himself, and
getting up he put on a gray dressing-gown lined with blue silk,
tied the tassels in a knot, and, drawing a deep breath of air
into his broad, bare chest, he walked to the window with his
usual confident step, turning out his feet that carried his full
frame so easily. He pulled up the blind and rang the bell
loudly. It was at once answered by the appearance of an old
friend, his valet, Matvey, carrying his clothes, his boots, and a
telegram. Matvey was followed by the barber with all the
necessaries for shaving.
"Are there any papers form the office?" asked Stepan
Arkadyevitch, taking the telegram and seating himself at the
"On the table," replied Matvey, glancing with inquiring sympathy
at his master; and, after a short pause, he added with a sly
smile, "They've sent from the carriage-jobbers."
Stepan Arkadyevitch made no reply, he merely glanced at Matvey in
the looking-glass. In the glance, in which their eyes met in the
looking-glass, it was clear that they understood one another.
Stepan Arkadyevitch's eyes asked: "Why do you tell me that?
don't you know?"
Matvey put his hands in his jacket pockets, thrust out one leg,
and gazed silently, good-humoredly, with a faint smile, at his
"I told them to come on Sunday, and till then not to trouble you
or themselves for nothing," he said. He had obviously prepared
the sentence beforehand.
Stepan Arkadyevitch saw Matvey wanted to make a joke and attract
attention to himself. Tearing open the telegram, he read it
through, guessing at the words, misspelt as they always are in
telegrams, and his face brightened.
"Matvey, my sister Anna Arkadyevna will be here tomorrow," he
said, checking for a minute the sleek, plump hand of the barber,
cutting a pink path through his long, curly whiskers.
"Thank God!" said Matvey, showing by this response that he, like
his master, realized the significance of this arrival--that is,
that Anna Arkadyevna, the sister he was so fond of, might bring
about a reconciliation between husband and wife.