“He (Pyotr Shiryaev) walked along the road and thought of death, of the grief of his family, of the moral sufferings of his father, (…).
Absorbed in his bitterness and such thoughts, young Shiryaev walked on and on. (…)
And he almost wept with depression and impatience.The solemn landscape, with its order and beauty, the deathlike stillness all around, revolted him and moved him to despair and hatred!
“Look out!” He heard behind him a loud voice.
An old lady of his acquaintance, a landowner of the neighbourhood, drove past him in a light, elegant landau. He bowed to her, and smiled all over his face. And at once he caught himself in that smile, which was so out of keeping with his gloomy mood. Where did it come from if his whole heart was full of vexation and misery? And he thought nature itself had given man this capacity for lying, that even in difficult moments of spiritual strain he might be able to hide the secrets of his nest as the fox and the wild duck do. Every family has its joys and its horrors, but however great they may be, it’s hard for an outsider’s eye to see them; they are a secret. The father of the old lady who had just driven by, for instance, had for some offence lain for half his lifetime under the ban of the wrath of Tsar Nicolas I.; her husband had been a gambler; of her four sons, not one had turned out well. One could imagine how many terrible scenes there must have been in her life, how many tears must have been shed. And yet the old lady seemed happy and satisfied, and she had answered his smile by smiling too. The student thought of his comrades, who did not like talking about their families; he thought of his mother, who almost always lied when she had to speak of her husband and children…”
“Difficult People” by Anton Chekhov