He is ashamed to face his wife, his son, Anfissa Ivanovna, and even feels very wretched when he recalls the scene at dinner, but his amour-propre is too much for him; he has not the manliness to be frank, and he goes on sulking and grumbling. Waking up next morning, he feels in excellent spirits, and whistles gaily as he washes.
There's too much salt in it; it smells of dirty rags . . . more like bugs than onions. . . . It's simply revolting, Anfissa Ivanovna," he says, addressing the midwife. "Every day I give no end of money for housekeeping. . . . I deny myself everything, and this is what they provide for my dinner! I suppose they want me to give up the office and go into the kitchen to do the cooking myself."
"That's Anfissa, the midwife who brought our Fedya into the world," answers his wife. "Always hanging about . . . these cadging toadies!" "There's no making you out, Stepan Stepanitch. You asked her yourself, and now you scold." "I am not scolding; I am speaking. You might find something to do, my dear, instead of sitting with your hands in your lap trying to pick a quarrel.
"She's been spoilt. . . . That's how it is, Anfissa Ivanovna; no one likes to hear the truth nowadays. . . . It's all my fault, it seems." Several minutes of silence follow. Zhilin looks round at the plates, and noticing that no one has yet touched their soup, heaves a deep sigh, and stares at the flushed and uneasy face of the governess. "Why don't you eat, Varvara Vassilyevna?" he asks.
"Anfissa Ivanovna sees that I am speaking the truth. Why, do you think I ought to be pleased with the boy? Do you know what he costs me? Do you know, you nasty boy, what you cost me? Or do you imagine that I coin money, that I get it for nothing? Don't howl! Hold your tongue! Do you hear what I say? Do you want me to whip you, you young ruffian?" Fedya wails aloud and begins to sob.
A wretched neurasthenic, an idle gentleman . . . . From the first day I knew that my dreams of a life of labour and of a vineyard were worthless. As for love, I ought to tell you that living with a woman who has read Spencer and has followed you to the ends of the earth is no more interesting than living with any Anfissa or Akulina.
Mention should be made of some of Andreyev's other dramas: "To the Stars," "Anfissa," "Gaudeamus," and "Sava," plays of uneven value, but with a strength of observation and analysis which is not inferior to that shown in some of his best stories. The first of these works to appear was "The Life of Man," which is a tragic illustration of this pessimism.