And at this recollection, Stepan Arkadyevich, as is so often the case, was not so much annoyed at the fact itself as at the way in which he had met his wife's words.

There happened to him at that instant that which happens to people when they are unexpectedly caught in something very disgraceful. He did not succeed in adapting his face to the situation in which he was placed toward his wife by the discovery of his fault. Instead of being hurt, denying, defending himself, begging forgiveness; instead of remaining indifferent even - anything would have been better than what he did do - his face utterly without his volition (`cerebral reflexes,' mused Stepan Arkadyevich, who was fond of physiology) had assumed its habitual good-humored, and therefore stupid, smile.

This stupid smile he could not forgive himself. Catching sight of that smile Dolly shuddered as though from physical pain, broke out with her characteristic heat into a flood of cruel words, and rushed out of the room. Since then she had refused to see her husband.

`It's all the fault of that stupid smile,' Stepan Arkadyevich was thinking.

`But what's to be done? What's to be done?' he kept saying to himself in despair - and found no answer.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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