"He's thinner and taller, and has grown out of being a child into
a boy; I like that," said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Do you remember
The boy looked back quickly at his uncle.
"Yes, mon oncle," he answered, glancing at his father, and again
he looked downcast.
His uncle called him to him, and took his hand.
"Well, and how are you getting on?" he said, wanting to talk to
him, and not knowing what to say.
The boy, blushing and making no answer, cautiously drew his hand
away. As soon as Stepan Arkadyevitch let go his hand, he glanced
doubtfully at his father, and like a bird set free, he darted out
of the room.
A year had passed since the last time Seryozha had seen his
mother. Since then he had heard nothing more of her. And in the
course of that year he had gone to school, and made friends among
his schoolfellows. The dreams and memories of his mother, which
had made him ill after seeing her, did not occupy his thoughts
now. When they came back to him, he studiously drove them away,
regarding them as shameful and girlish, below the dignity of a
boy and a schoolboy. He knew that his father and mother were
separated by some quarrel, he knew that he had to remain with his
father, and he tried to get used to that idea.
He disliked seeing his uncle, so like his mother, for it called
up those memories of which he was ashamed. He disliked it all
the more as from some words he had caught as he waited at the
study door, and still more from the faces of his father and
uncle, he guessed that they must have been talking of his mother.
And to avoid condemning the father with whom he lived and on whom
he was dependent, and, above all, to avoid giving way to
sentimentality, which he considered so degrading, Seryozha tried
not to look at his uncle who had come to disturb his peace of
mind, and not to think of what he recalled to him.