Oblonsky opens his mail and his newspapers. He reads the liberal newspapers because the fashionable society that he associates with adopts liberal views: he likes the “slight haze” that the liberal tendency produces in his head.
Just as Oblonsky only feels guilty that he has been caught in the affair, not for having an affair in the first place, so he picks his politics based on how they make him feel in society, not on any deep-rooted internal convictions.
Two of Oblonsky’s children come into the study, and he gives his eldest (his favorite child) chocolates to share with her little brother. After lingering more over business, Oblonsky realizes that can’t put it off any longer: he has to go in and see his wife.
Although his eldest daughter is Oblonsky’s favorite, he tries to be a good father to all his children, but the son still feels that his father loves him less. Even though he wishes he could let things go on as they are, he breaks the ice to visit Dolly.