As he neared Petersburg, Alexey Alexandrovitch not only adhered
entirely to his decision, but was even composing in his head the
letter he would write to his wife. Going into the porter's room,
Alexey Alexandrovitch glanced at the letters and papers brought
from his office, and directed that they should be brought to him
in his study.
"The horses can be taken out and I will see no one," he said in
answer to the porter, with a certain pleasure, indicative of his
agreeable frame of mind, emphasizing the words, "see no one."
In his study Alexey Alexandrovitch walked up and down twice, and
stopped at an immense writing-table, on which six candles had
already been lighted by the valet who had preceded him. He
cracked his knuckles and sat down, sorting out his writing
appurtenances. Putting his elbows on the table, he bent his head
on one side, thought a minute, and began to write, without
pausing for a second. He wrote without using any form of address
to her, and wrote in French, making use of the plural "vous,"
which has not the same note of coldness as the corresponding
"At our last conversation, I notified you of my intention to
communicate to you my decision in regard to the subject of that
conversation. Having carefully considered everything, I am
writing now with the object of fulfilling that promise. My
decision is as follows. Whatever your conduct may have been, I
do not consider myself justified in breaking the ties in which we
are bound by a Higher Power. The family cannot be broken up by a
whim, a caprice, or even by the sin of one of the partners in the
marriage, and our life must go on as it has done in the past.
This is essential for me, for you, and for our son. I am fully
persuaded that you have repented and do repent of what has called
forth the present letter, and that you will cooperate with me in
eradicating the cause of our estrangement, and forgetting the
past. In the contrary event, you can conjecture what awaits you
and your son. All this I hope to discuss more in detail in a
personal interview. As the season is drawing to a close, I
would beg you to return to Petersburg as quickly as possible, not
later than Tuesday. All necessary preparations shall be made for
your arrival here. I beg you to note that I attach particular
significance to compliance with this request.