A TALL man entered, wearing a tidy overcoat, rather short trousers, grey doeskin gloves, and two neck-tiesa black one outside, and a white one below it. There was an air of decorum and propriety in everything about him, from his prosperous countenance and smoothly brushed hair, to his low-heeled, noiseless boots. He bowed first to the lady of the house, then to Marfa Timofyevna, and slowly drawing off his gloves, he advanced to take Marya Dmitrievnas hand. After kissing it respectfully twice he seated himself with deliberation in an arm-chair, and rubbing the very tips of his fingers together, he observed with a smile
Its intended, she replied, for a man who does not talk scandal, nor play the hypocrite, nor tell lies, if theres such a man to be found in the world. I know Fedya well; he was only to blame in being too good to his wife. To be sure, he married for love, and no good ever comes of those love-matches, added the old lady, with a sidelong glance at Marya Dmitrievna, as she got up from her place. And now, my good sir, you may attack any one you like, even me if you choose; Im going, I will not hinder you. And Marfa Timofyevna walked away.
We must remember your aunts age theres no help for it, replied Gedeonovsky. She spoke of a man not playing the hypocrite. But who is not hypocritical nowadays? Its the age we live in. One of my friends, a most worthy man, and, I assure you, a man of no mean position, used to say, that nowadays the very hens cant pick up a grain of corn without hypocrisythey always approach it from one side. But when I look at you, dear ladyyour character is so truly angelic; let me kiss your little snow-white hand!
Marya Dmitrievna with a faint smile held out her plump hand to him with the little finger held apart from the rest. He pressed his lips to it, and she drew her chair nearer to him, and bending a little towards him, asked in an undertone
There are women and women, Marya Dmitrievna. There are unhappily such of flighty character and at a certain age too, and then they are not brought up in good principles. (Sergei Petrovitch drew a blue checked handkerchief out of his pocket and began to unfold it.) There are such women, no doubt. (Sergei Petrovitch applied a corner of the handkerchief first to one and then to the other eye.) But speaking generally, if one takes into consideration, I mean the dust in the town is really extraordinary to-day, he wound up.
Marya Dmitrievna got up; Sergei Petrovitch also rose and made a bow. Our humble respects to Elena Mihalovna, he said, and turning aside into a corner for good manners, he began blowing his long straight nose.