“But on the other hand,” he pursued his reflections, “all that is at an end of course.... I must have appeared ridiculous to her."....
This thought was disagreeable to him, and again he grew angry ... both at her ... and at himself. On reaching home he locked himself in his study. He did not wish to encounter Platosha. The kind old woman came to his door a couple of times, applied her ear to the key-hole, and merely sighed and whispered her prayer....
“It has begun!” she thought.... “And he is only five-and-twenty.... Akh, it is early, early!”
Akatoff was very much out of sorts all the following day.
“What is the matter, Yasha?” Platonida Ivanovna said to him. “Thou seemest to be tousled to-day, somehow."... In the old woman’s peculiar language this quite accurately defined Aratoff’s moral condition. He could not work, but even he himself did not know what he wanted. Now he was expecting Kupfer again (he suspected that it was precisely from Kupfer that Clara had obtained his address ... and who else could have “talked a great deal” about him?); again he wondered whether his acquaintance with her was to end in that way? ... again he imagined that she would write him another letter; again he asked himself whether he ought not to write her a letter, in which he might explain everything to her,—–as he did not wish to leave an unpleasant impression of himself.... But, in point of fact, what was he to explain?—Now he aroused in himself something very like disgust for her, for her persistence, her boldness; again that indescribably touching face presented itself to him and her irresistible voice made itself heard; and yet again he recalled her singing, her recitation—and did not know whether he was right in his wholesale condemnation.—In one word: he was a tousled man! At last he became bored with all this and decided, as the saying is, “to take it upon himself” and erase all that affair, as it undoubtedly was interfering with his avocations and disturbing his peace of mind.—He did not find it so easy to put his resolution into effect.... More than a week elapsed before he got back again into his ordinary rut. Fortunately, Kupfer did not present himself at all, any more than if he had not been in Moscow. Not long before the “affair” Aratoff had begun to busy himself with painting for photographic ends; he devoted himself to this with redoubled zeal.
Thus, imperceptibly, with a few “relapses” as the doctors express it, consisting, for example in the fact that he once came very near going to call on the Princess, two weeks ... three weeks passed ... and Aratoff became once more the Aratoff of old. Only deep down, under the surface of his life, something heavy and dark secretly accompanied him in all his comings and goings. Thus does a large fish which has just been hooked, but has not yet been drawn out, swim along the bottom of a deep river under the very boat wherein sits the fisherman with his stout rod in hand.