AS he was coming away from the Kalitins, Lavretsky met Panshin; they bowed coldly to one another. Lavretsky went to his lodgings, and locked himself in. He was experiencing emotions such as he had hardly ever experienced before. How long ago was it since he had thought himself in a state of peaceful petrifaction? How long was it since he had felt as he had expressed himself at the very bottom of the river? What had changed his position? What had brought him out of his solitude? The most ordinary, inevitable, though always unexpected event, death? Yes; but he was not thinking so much of his wifes death and his own freedom, as of this questionwhat answer would Lisa give Panshin? He felt that in the course of the last three days, he had come to look at her with different eyes; he remembered how after returning home when he thought of her in the silence of the night, he had said to himself, if only! That if onlyin which he had referred to the past, to the impossible had come to pass, though not as he had imagined it,but his freedom alone was little. She will obey her mother, he thought, she will marry Panshin; but even if she refuses him, wont it be just the same as far as I am concerned? Going up to the looking-glass he minutely scrutinised his own face and shrugged his shoulders.
The day passed quickly by in these meditations; and evening came. Lavretsky went to the Kalitins. He walked quickly, but his pace slackened as he drew near the house. Before the steps was standing Panshins light carriage. Come, thought Lavretsky, I will not be an egoistand he went into the house. He met with no one within-doors, and there was no sound in the drawing-room; he opened the door and saw Marya Dmitrievna playing picquet with Panshin. Panshin bowed to him without speaking, but the lady of the house cried, Well, this is unexpected! and slightly frowned. Lavretsky sat down near her, and began to look at her cards.
Panshin counted ninety, and began calmly and urbanely taking tricks with a severe and dignified expression of face. So it befits diplomatists to play; this was no doubt how he played in Petersburg with some influential dignitary, whom he wished to impress with a favourable opinion of his solidity and maturity. A hundred and one, a hundred and two, hearts, a hundred and three, sounded his voice in measured tones, and Lavretsky could not decide whether it had a ring of reproach or of self-satisfaction.
Lavretsky went up-stairs. He found Marfa Timofyevna also at cards; she was playing old maid with Nastasya Karpovna. Roska barked at him; but both the old ladies welcomed him cordially. Marfa Timofyevna especially seemed in excellent spirits.
Ah! Fedya! she began, pray sit down, my dear. We are just finishing our game. Would you like some preserve? Shurotchka, bring him a pot of strawberry. You dont want any? Well, sit there; only you mustnt smoke; I cant bear your tobacco, and it makes Matross sneeze.
Lisa sat down on the edge of a chair; she raised her eyes to Lavretskyand felt that it was impossible not to let him know how her interview with Panshin had ended. But how was she to do it? She felt both awkward and ashamed. She had not long known him, this man who rarely went to church, and took his wifes death so calmlyand here was she, confiding all her secrets to him. It was true he took an interest in her; she herself trusted him and felt drawn to him; but all the same, she was ashamed, as though a stranger had been into her pure, maiden bower.
Well, if you wont entertain him, said Marfa Timofyevna, who will, poor fellow? I am too old for him, he is too clever for me, and for Nastasya Karpovna hes too old, its only the quite young men she will look at.
No; but I have not consented either. I told him everything, everything I felt, and asked him to wait a little. Are you pleased with me? she added with a swift smileand with a light touch of her hand on the banister she ran down the stairs.