He did not undress, but walked up and down with his regular tread over the resounding parquet of the dining room, where one lamp was burning, over the carpet of the dark drawing room, in which the light was reflected on the big new portrait of himself hanging over the sofa, and across her boudoir, where two candles burned, lighting up the portraits of her parents and woman friends, and the pretty knick-knacks of her writing table, that he knew so well. He walked across her boudoir to the bedroom door, and turned back again. At each turn in his walk, especially at the parquet of the lighted dining room, he halted and said to himself, “Yes, this I must decide and put a stop to; I must express my view of it and my decision.” And he turned back again. “But express what—what decision?” he said to himself in the drawing room, and he found no reply. “But after all,” he asked himself before turning into the boudoir, “what has occurred? Nothing. She was talking a long while with him. But what of that? Surely women in society can talk to whom they please. And then, jealousy means lowering both myself and her,” he told himself as he went into her boudoir; but this dictum, which had always had such weight with him before, had now no weight and no meaning at all. And from the bedroom door he turned back again; but as he entered the dark drawing room some inner voice told him that it was not so, and that if others noticed it that showed that there was something. And he said to himself again in the dining room, “Yes, I must decide and put a stop to it, and express my view of it...” And again at the turn in the drawing room he asked himself, “Decide how?” And again he asked himself, “What had occurred?” and answered, “Nothing,” and recollected that jealousy was a feeling insulting to his wife; but again in the drawing room he was convinced that something had happened. His thoughts, like his body, went round a complete circle, without coming upon anything new. He noticed this, rubbed his forehead, and sat down in her boudoir.
There, looking at her table, with the malachite blotting case lying at the top and an unfinished letter, his thoughts suddenly changed. He began to think of her, of what she was thinking and feeling. For the first time he pictured vividly to himself her personal life, her ideas, her desires, and the idea that she could and should have a separate life of her own seemed to him so alarming that he made haste to dispel it. It was the chasm which he was afraid to peep into. To put himself in thought and feeling in another person’s place was a spiritual exercise not natural to Alexey Alexandrovitch. He looked on this spiritual exercise as a harmful and dangerous abuse of the fancy.
“And the worst of it all,” thought he, “is that just now, at the very moment when my great work is approaching completion” (he was thinking of the project he was bringing forward at the time), “when I stand in need of all my mental peace and all my energies, just now this stupid worry should fall foul of me. But what’s to be done? I’m not one of those men who submit to uneasiness and worry without having the force of character to face them.