3. CHAPTER III.
As a general rule, old General Ivolgin's paroxysms ended in
smoke. He had before this experienced fits of sudden fury, but
not very often, because he was really a man of peaceful and
kindly disposition. He had tried hundreds of times to overcome
the dissolute habits which he had contracted of late years. He
would suddenly remember that he was "a father," would be
reconciled with his wife, and shed genuine tears. His feeling for
Nina Alexandrovna amounted almost to adoration; she had pardoned
so much in silence, and loved him still in spite of the state of
degradation into which he had fallen. But the general's struggles
with his own weakness never lasted very long. He was, in his way,
an impetuous man, and a quiet life of repentance in the bosom of
his family soon became insupportable to him. In the end he
rebelled, and flew into rages which he regretted, perhaps, even
as he gave way to them, but which were beyond his control. He
picked quarrels with everyone, began to hold forth eloquently,
exacted unlimited respect, and at last disappeared from the
house, and sometimes did not return for a long time. He had given
up interfering in the affairs of his family for two years now,
and knew nothing about them but what he gathered from hearsay.
But on this occasion there was something more serious than usual.
Everyone seemed to know something, but to be afraid to talk about