After his tutor leaves, Seryozha sits and waits for his lesson with his father.
One of Seryozha's favorite occupations when he goes out into the city is to watch for his mother. He doesn't believe that his mother is dead, because his nanny let it slip that she's alive, and he doesn't believe that his mother is bad, because he loves her too much.
When his father arrives, Seryozha is excited to see him, and he checks his father's expression for signs of pride regarding the Nevsky award.
Seryozha is a bad student—he can't remember anything. What he gathers from his Bible lesson is that good people don't have to die.
Seryozha is actually an extremely intelligent, eager boy, just not in the way that his instructors would like. So his instructors often punish him for failing in his lessons. That night, Seryozha tells his tutor that he said an extra secret prayer. The tutor can't guess what Seryozha's prayer was. It was that his mother might come visit him for his birthday.