Somov shrugs his shoulders again, wraps himself in the folds of his dressing-gown and continues his pacing. . . . He feels vexed and injured, and at the same time sorry for Lidotchka, who does not protest, but merely blinks. . . . Both feel oppressed and miserable . . . . Absorbed in their woes, they do not notice how time is passing and the dinner hour is approaching.
Little Somov moved his lips mutely, as if repeating to himself the words in the book; and his curly-haired companion, with bent body, elbows on knees, his face supported on his hands, smiled abstractedly.
He looked at her, moved closer to her, and said gently: "I cannot, mamma! I cannot lie! You have to get used to it." The next day they knew that Bukin, Samoylov, Somov, and five more had been arrested. In the evening Fedya Mazin came running in upon them. A search had been made in his house also. He felt himself a hero. "Were you afraid, Fedya?" asked the mother.
In the wall behind the grill the door opened, a soldier came out with a bared saber on his shoulder; behind him appeared Pavel, Andrey, Fedya Mazin, the two Gusevs, Samoylov, Bukin, Somov, and five more young men whose names were unknown to the mother. Pavel smiled kindly; Andrey also, showing his teeth as he nodded to her.
Every time he passes her as he strides up and down, Ivan Petrovitch looks over her shoulder at what she is writing. He sees big sprawling letters, thin and narrow, with all sorts of tails and flourishes. There are numbers of blots, smears, and finger-marks. Madame Somov does not like ruled paper, and every line runs downhill with horrid wriggles as it reaches the margin. . . .
Indoors it is half dark, and so cold that one wants the stove heated. Pavel Petrovitch Somov is pacing up and down his study, grumbling at the weather. The tears of rain on the windows and the darkness of the room make him depressed.
"You do catch me up at a word, my dear," yawns Somov, pouring out a second glass of vodka in his boredom. Under the influence of vodka and a good dinner, Somov grows more good-humoured, lively, and soft. . . . He watches his pretty wife making the salad with an anxious face and a rush of affection for her, of indulgence and forgiveness comes over him.
"Everyone advised her to send me to the high school, and from the high school I should have been sure to go on to the University!" "University . . . high school," mutters Somov. "That's running to extremes, my girl! What's the good of being a blue stocking! A blue stocking is the very deuce! Neither man nor woman, but just something midway: neither one thing nor another. . . I hate blue stockings!
"Lidotchka, who is it you are writing such a lot to?" Somov inquires, seeing that his wife is just beginning to scribble the sixth page. "To sister Varya." "Hm . . . it's a long letter! I'm so bored let me read it!" "Here, you may read it, but there's nothing interesting in it." Somov takes the written pages and, still pacing up and down, begins reading.
Modest Yakob Somov, always smoothly combed and clean, spoke little and briefly, with a quiet, serious voice, and always took sides with Pavel and the Little Russian. Sometimes, instead of Natasha, Alexey Ivanovich, a native of some remote government, came from the city. He wore eyeglasses, his beard was shiny, and he spoke with a peculiar singing voice.