It’s early morning. In Fyodor’s shabby drawing room, a mess has been made. The morning sun tries to push through the dim decadence of the night before. Empty glasses lie sideways on tables. Stains blossom on the carpets. One chair lies broken; two others are overturned. Newspapers and books – including an accountbook and a Bible – lie open on the floor. The room smells of rage.
Two servant women – Grigory’s wife, Marfa and her friend, Olga – are busy trying to put the room in order. They gossip with each other as they tidy up, whispering to each other and crossing themselves superstitiously as they pick up the evidence of last night’s debauchery.
When your eyes get used to the dim light, you spot a defeated Grigory, slumped in an easy chair in the corner. He doesn’t notice you when you come in: he is too busy muttering to himself.