Meanwhile Vassily Lukitch had not at first understood who this
lady was, and had learned from their conversation that it was no
other person than the mother who had left her husband, and whom
he had not seen, as he had entered the house after her departure.
He was in doubt whether to go in or not, or whether to
communicate with Alexey Alexandrovitch. Reflecting finally that
his duty was to get Seryozha up at the hour fixed, and that it
was therefore not his business to consider who was there, the
mother or anyone else, but simply to do his duty, he finished
dressing, went to the door and opened it.
But the embraces of the mother and child, the sound of their
voices, and what they were saying, made him change his mind.
He shook his head, and with a sigh he closed the door. "I'll
wait another ten minutes," he said to himself, clearing his
throat and wiping away tears.
Among the servants of the household there was intense excitement
all this time. All had heard that their mistress had come, and
that Kapitonitch had let her in, and that she was even now in the
nursery, and that their master always went in person to the
nursery at nine o'clock, and every one fully comprehended that it
was impossible for the husband and wife to meet, and that they
must prevent it. Korney, the valet, going down to the
hall porter's room, asked who had let her in, and how it was he
had done so, and ascertaining that Kapitonitch had admitted her
and shown her up, he gave the old man a talking-to. The
hall porter was doggedly silent, but when Korney told him he
ought to be sent away, Kapitonitch darted up to him, and waving
his hands in Korney's face, began:
"Oh yes, to be sure you'd not have let her in! After ten years'
service, and never a word but of kindness, and there you'd up and
say, 'Be off, go along, get away with you!' Oh yes, you're a
shrewd one at politics, I dare say! You don't need to be taught
how to swindle the master, and to filch fur coats!"