When he was dressed, Stepan Arkadyevitch sprinkled some scent on
himself, pulled down his shirt-cuffs, distributed into his
pockets his cigarettes, pocketbook, matches, and watch with its
double chain and seals, and shaking out his handkerchief, feeling
himself clean, fragrant, healthy, and physically at ease, in
spite of his unhappiness, he walked with a slight swing on each
leg into the dining-room, where coffee was already waiting for
him, and beside the coffee, letters and papers from the office.
He read the letters. One was very unpleasant, from a merchant
who was buying a forest on his wife's property. To sell this
forest was absolutely essential; but at present, until he was
reconciled with his wife, the subject could not be discussed.
The most unpleasant thing of all was that his pecuniary interests
should in this way enter into the question of his reconciliation
with his wife. And the idea that he might be let on by his
interests, that he might seek a reconciliation with his wife on
account of the sale of the forest--that idea hurt him.
When he had finished his letters, Stepan Arkadyevitch moved the
office-papers close to him, rapidly looked through two pieces of
business, made a few notes with a big pencil, and pushing away
the papers, turned to his coffee. As he sipped his coffee, he
opened a still damp morning paper, and began reading it.
Stepan Arkadyevitch took in and read a liberal paper, not an
extreme one, but one advocating the views held by the majority.
And in spite of the fact that science, art, and politics had no
special interest for him, he firmly held those views on all these
subjects which were held by the majority and by his paper, and he
only changed them when the majority changed them--or, more
strictly speaking, he did not change them, but they imperceptibly
changed of themselves within him.