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Note-Book of Anton Chekhov by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

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A doctor, recently qualified, supervises the food in a restaurant.
"The food is tinder the special supervision of a doctor." He copies
out the chemical composition of the mineral water; the students
believe him--and all is well.

* * * * *

He did not eat, he partook of food.

* * * * *

A man, married to an actress, during a performance of a play in which
his wife was acting, sat in a box, with beaming face, and from time to
time got up and bowed to the audience.

* * * * *

Dinner at Count O.D.'s. Fat lazy footmen; tasteless cutlets; a feeling
that a lot of money is being spent, that the situation is hopeless,
and that it is impossible to change the course of things.

* * * * *

A district doctor: "What other damned creature but a doctor would have
to go out in such weather?"--he is proud of it, grumbles about it to
every one, and is proud to think that his work is so troublesome; he
does not drink and often sends articles to medical journals that do
not publish them.

* * * * *

When N. married her husband, he was junior Public Prosecutor; he
became judge of the High Court and then judge of the Court of Appeals;
he is an average uninteresting man. N. loves her husband very much.
She loves him to the grave, writes him meek and touching letters when
she hears of his unfaithfulness, and dies with a touching expression
of love on her lips. Evidently she loved, not her husband, but some
one else, superior, beautiful, non-existent, and she lavished that
love upon her husband. And after her death footsteps could be heard in
her house.

* * * * *

They are members of a temperance society and now and again take a
glass of wine.

* * * * *

They say: "In the long run truth will triumph;" but it is untrue.

* * * * *

A clever man says: "This is a lie, but since the people can not do
without the lie, since it has the sanction of history, it is dangerous
to root it out all at once; let it go on for the time being but with
certain corrections." But the genius says: "This is a lie, therefore
it must not exist."

* * * * *

Marie Ivanovna Kladovaya.

* * * * *

A schoolboy with mustaches, in order to show off, limps with one leg.

* * * * *

A writer of no talent, who has been writing for a long time, with his
air of importance reminds one of a high priest.

* * * * *

Mr. N. and Miss Z. in the city of X. Both clever, educated, of radical
views, and both working for the good of their fellow men, but both
hardly know each other and in conversation always rail at each other
in order to please the stupid and coarse crowd.

* * * * *

He flourished his hand as if he were going to seize him by the hair
and said: "You won't escape by that there trick."

* * * * *

N. has never been in the country and thinks that in the winter country
people use skis. "How I would enjoy ski-ing now!"

* * * * *

Madam N., who sells herself, says to each man who has her: "I love you
because you are not like the rest."

* * * * *

An intellectual woman, or rather a woman who belongs to an
intellectual circle, excels in deceit.

* * * * *

N. struggled all his life investigating a disease and studying its
bacilli; he devoted his whole life to the struggle, expended on it all
his powers, and suddenly just before his death it turned out that the
disease is not in the least infectious or dangerous.

* * * * *

A theatrical manager, lying in bed, read a new play. He read three or
four pages and then in irritation threw the play on to the floor,
put out the candle, and drew the bedclothes over him; a little later,
after thinking over it, he took the play up again and began to read
it; then, getting angry with the uninspired tedious work, he again
threw it on the floor and put out the candle. A little later he once
more took up the play and read it, then he produced it and it was a
failure.

* * * * *

N., heavy, morose, gloomy, says: "I love a joke, I am always joking."

* * * * *

The wife writes; the husband does not like her writing, but out of
delicacy says nothing and suffers all his life.

* * * * *

The fate of an actress: the beginning--a well-to-do family in Kertch,
life dull and empty; the stage, virtue, passionate love, then lovers;
the end: unsuccessful attempt to poison herself, then Kertch, life
at her fat uncle's house, the delight of being left alone. Experience
shows that an artist must dispense with wine, marriage, pregnancy. The
stage will become art only in the future, now it is only struggling
for the future.

* * * * *

(Angrily and sententiously) "Why don't you give me your wife's letters
to read? Aren't we relations?"

* * * * *

Lord, don't allow me to condemn or to speak of what I do not know or
do not understand.

* * * * *

Why do people describe only the weak, surly and frail as sinners? And
every one when he advises others to describe only the strong, healthy,
and interesting, means himself.

* * * * *

For a play: a character always lying without rhyme or reason.

* * * * *

Sexton Catacombov.

* * * * *

N.N., a litterateur, critic, plausible, self-confident, very liberal
minded, talks about poetry; condescendingly agrees with one--and I see
that he is a man absolutely without talent (I haven't read him). Some
one suggests going to Ai-Petri. I say that it is going to rain, but
we set out. The road is muddy, it rains; the critic sits next to me, I
feel his lack of talent. He is wooed and made a fuss of as if he were
a bishop. And when it cleared up, I went back on foot. How easily
people deceive themselves, how they love prophets and soothsayers;
what a herd it is! Another person went with us, a Councillor of State,
middle-aged, silent, because he thinks he is right and despises the
critic, because he too is without talent. A girl afraid to smile
because she is among clever people.

* * * * *

Alexey Ivanitch Prokhladitelny (refreshing) or Doushespasitelny
(soul-saving). A girl: "I would marry him, but am afraid of the
name--Madam Refreshing."

* * * * *

A dream of a keeper in the zoological gardens. He dreams that there
was presented to the Zoo first a marmot, then an emu, then a vulture,
then a she-goat, then another emu; the presentations are made without
end and the Zoo is crowded out--the keeper wakes up in horror wet with
perspiration.

* * * * *

"To harness slowly but drive rapidly is in the nature of this people,"
said Bismarck.

* * * * *

When an actor has money, he doesn't send letters but telegrams.

* * * * *

With insects, out of the caterpillar comes the butterfly; with
mankind it is the other way round, out of the butterfly comes the
caterpillar.[1]

[Footnote 1: There is a play on words here, the Russian word for
butterfly also means a woman.]

* * * * *

The dogs in the house became attached not to their masters who fed and
fondled them, but to the cook, a foreigner, who beat them.

* * * * *

Sophie was afraid that her dog might catch cold, because of the
draught.

* * * * *

The soil is so good, that, were you to plant a shaft, in a year's time
a cart would grow out of it.

* * * * *

X. and Z., very well educated and of radical views, married. In the
evening they talked together pleasantly, then quarreled, then came to
blows. In the morning both are ashamed and surprised, they think
that it must have been the result of some exceptional state of their
nerves. Next night again a quarrel and blows. And so every night until
at last they realize that they are not at all educated, but savage,
just like the majority of people.

* * * * *

A play: in order to avoid having visitors, Z. pretends to be a regular
tippler, although he drinks nothing.

* * * * *

When children appear on the scene, then we justify all our weaknesses,
our compromises, and our snobbery, by saying: "It's for the children's
sake."

* * * * *

Count, I am going away to Mordegundia. (A land of horrible faces.)

* * * * *

Barbara Nedotyopin.

* * * * *

Z., an engineer or doctor, went on a visit to his uncle, an editor;
he became interested, began to go there frequently; then became a
contributor to the paper, little by little gave up his profession; one
night he came out of the newspaper office, remembered, and seized his
head in his hands--"all is lost!" He began to go gray. Then it became
a habit, he was quite white now and flabby, an editor, respectable but
obscure.

* * * * *

A Privy Councillor, an old man, looking at his children, became a
radical himself.

* * * * *

A newspaper: "Cracknel."

* * * * *

The clown in the circus--that is talent, and the waiter in the frock
coat speaking to him--that is the crowd; the waiter with an ironical
smile on his face.

* * * * *

Auntie from Novozybkov.

* * * * *

He has a rarefaction of the brain and his brains have leaked into his
ears.

* * * * *

"What? Writers? If you like, for a shilling I'll make a writer of
you."

* * * * *

Instead of translator, contractor.

* * * * *

An actress, forty years old, ugly, ate a partridge for dinner, and I
felt sorry for the partridge, for it occurred to me that in its life
it had been more talented, more sensible, and more honest than that
actress.

* * * * *

The doctor said to me: "If," says he, "your constitution holds out,
drink to your heart's content." (Gorbunov.)

* * * * *

Carl Kremertartarlau.

* * * * *

A field with a distant view, one tiny birch tree. The inscription
under the picture: loneliness.

* * * * *

The guests had gone: they had played cards and everything was in
disorder: tobacco smoke, scraps of paper, and chiefly--the dawn and
memories.

* * * * *

Better to perish from fools than to accept praises from them.

* * * * *

Why do trees grow and so luxuriantly, when the owners are dead?

* * * * *

The character keeps a library, but he is always away visiting; there
are no readers.

* * * * *

Life seems great, enormous, and yet one sits on one's _piatachok_.[1]

[Footnote 1: The word means five kopecks and also a pig's snout.]

* * * * *

Zolotonosha?[1] There is no such town! No!

[Footnote 1: The name of a Russian town, meaning literally
"Gold-carrier."]

* * * * *

When he laughs, he shows his teeth and gums.

* * * * *

He loved the sort of literature which did not upset him, Schiller,
Homer, etc.

* * * * *

N., a teacher, on her way home in the evening was told by her friend
that X. had fallen in love with her, N., and wanted to propose. N.,
ungainly, who had never before thought of marriage, when she got home,
sat for a long time trembling with fear, could not sleep, cried, and
towards morning fell in love with X.; next day she heard that the
whole thing was a supposition on the part of her friend and that X.
was going to marry not her but Y.

* * * * *

He had a liaison with a woman of forty-five after which he began to
write ghost stories.

* * * * *

I dreamt that I was in India and that one of the local princes
presented me with an elephant, two elephants even. I was so worried
about the elephant that I woke up.

* * * * *

An old man of eighty says to another old man of sixty: "You ought to
be ashamed, young man."

* * * * *

When they sang in church, "Now is the beginning of our salvation," he
ate _glavizna_ at home; on the day of St. John the Baptist he ate no
food that was circular and flogged his children.[1]

[Footnote 1: _Glavizna_ in Russian is the name of a fish and also
means beginning; the root of the verbs "to behead" and "to flog" are
the same.]

* * * * *

A journalist wrote lies in the newspaper, but he thought he was
writing the truth.

* * * * *

If you are afraid of loneliness, do not marry.

* * * * *

He himself is rich, but his mother is in the workhouse.

* * * * *

He married, furnished a house, bought a writing-table, got everything
in order, but found he had nothing to write.

* * * * *

Faust: "What you don't know is just what you want; what you know is
what you can't use."

* * * * *

Although you may tell lies, people will believe you, if only you speak
with authority.

* * * * *

As I shall lie in the grave alone, so in fact I live alone.

* * * * *

A German: "Lord have mercy on us, _grieshniki_."[1]

[Footnote 1: _Grieshniki_ means "sinners," but sounds like
_grietchnieviki_ which means "buckwheat cakes."]

* * * * *

"O my dear little pimple!" said the bride tenderly. The bridegroom
thought for a while, then felt hurt--they parted.

* * * * *

They were mineral water bottles with preserved cherries in them.

* * * * *

An actress who spoilt all her parts by very bad acting--and this
continued all her life long until she died. Nobody liked her; she
ruined all the best parts; and yet she went on acting until she was
seventy.

* * * * *

He alone is all right and can repent who feels himself to be wrong.

* * * * *

The archdeacon curses the "doubters," and they stand in the choir and
sing anathema to themselves (Skitalez).

* * * * *

He imagined that his wife lay with her legs cut off and that he nursed
her in order to save his soul....

* * * * *

Madame Snuffley.

* * * * *

The black-beetles have left the house; the house will be burnt down.

* * * * *

"Dmitri, the Pretender, and Actors." "Turgenev and the Tigers."
Articles like that can be and are written.

* * * * *

A title: Lemon Peel.

* * * * *

I am your legitimate husband.

* * * * *

An abortion, because while birthing a wave struck her, a wave of the
ocean; because of the eruption of Vesuvius.

* * * * *

It seems to me: the sea and myself--and nothing else.

* * * * *

Education: his three-year-old son wore a black frock-coat, boots, and
waistcoat.

* * * * *

With pride: "I'm not of Yuriev, but of Dorpat University."[1]

[Footnote 1: Yuriev is the Russian name of the town Dorpat.]

* * * * *

His beard looked like the tail of a fish.

* * * * *

A Jew, Ziptchik.

* * * * *

A girl, when she giggles, makes noises as if she were putting her head
in cold water.

* * * * *

"Mamma, what is a thunderbolt made of?"

* * * * *

On the estate there is a bad smell, and bad taste; the trees
are planted anyhow, stupidly; and away in a remote corner the
lodge-keeper's wife all day long washes the guest's linen--and nobody
sees her; and the owners are allowed to talk away whole days about
their rights and their nobility.

* * * * *

She fed her dog on the best caviare.

* * * * *

Our self-esteem and conceit are European, but our culture and actions
are Asiatic.

* * * * *

A black dog--he looks as if he were wearing goloshes.

* * * * *

A Russian's only hope--to win two hundred thousand roubles in a
lottery.

* * * * *

She is wicked, but she taught her children good.

* * * * *

Every one has something to hide.

* * * * *

The title of N.'s story: The Power of Harmonies.

* * * * *

O how nice it would be if bachelors or widowers were appointed
Governors.

* * * * *

A Moscow actress never in her life saw a turkey-hen.

* * * * *

On the lips of the old I hear either stupidity or malice.

* * * * *

"Mamma, Pete did not say his prayers." Pete is woken up, he says his
prayers, cries, then lies down and shakes his fist at the child who
made the complaint.

* * * * *

He imagined that only doctors could say whether it is male or female.

* * * * *

One became a priest, the other a _Dukhobor_, the third a philosopher,
and in each case instinctively because no one wants really to work
with bent back from morning to night.

* * * * *

A passion for the word uterine: my uterine brother, my uterine wife,
my uterine brother-in-law, etc.

* * * * *

To Doctor N., an illegitimate child, who has never lived with his
father and knew him very little, his bosom friend Z., says with
agitation: "You see, the fact of the matter is that your father misses
you very much, he is ill and wants to have a look at you." The father
keeps "Switzerland," furnished apartments. He takes the fried fish out
of the dish with his hands and only afterwards uses a fork. The vodka
smells rank. N. went, looked about him, had dinner--his only feeling
that that fat peasant, with the grizzled beard, should sell such
filth. But once, when passing the house at midnight, he looked in at
the window: his father was sitting with bent back reading a book. He
recognized himself and his own manners.

* * * * *

As stupid as a gray gelding.

* * * * *

They teased the girl with castor oil, and therefore she did not marry.

* * * * *

N. all his life used to write abusive letters to famous singers,
actors, and authors: "You think, you scamp,..."--without signing his
name.

* * * * *

When the man who carried the torch at funerals came out in his
three-cornered hat, his frock coat with laces and stripes, she fell in
love with him.

* * * * *

A sparkling, joyous nature, a kind of living protest against
grumblers; he is fat and healthy, eats a great deal, every one likes
him but only because they are afraid of the grumblers; he is a nobody,
a Ham, only eats and laughs loud, and that's all; when he dies, every
one sees that he had done nothing, that they had mistaken him for some
one else.

* * * * *

After the inspection of the building, the Commission, which was
bribed, lunched heartily, and it was precisely a funeral feast over
honesty.

* * * * *

He who tells lies is dirty.

* * * * *

At three o'clock in the morning they wake him: he has to go to his job
at the railway station, and so every day for the last fourteen years.

* * * * *

A lady grumbles: "I write to my son that he should change his linen
every Saturday. He replies: 'Why Saturday, not Monday?' I answer:
'Well, all right, let it be Monday.' And he: 'Why Monday, not
Tuesday?' He is a nice honest man, but I get worried by him."

* * * * *

A clever man loves learning but is a fool at teaching.

* * * * *

The sermons of priests, archimandrites, and bishops are wonderfully
like one another.

* * * * *

One remembers the arguments about the brotherhood of man, public good,
and work for the people, but really there were no such arguments, one
only drank at the University. They write: "One feels ashamed of the
men with University degrees who once fought for human rights and
freedom of religion and conscience"--but they never fought.

* * * * *

Every day after dinner the husband threatens his wife that he will
become a monk, and the wife cries.

* * * * *

Mordokhvostov.

* * * * *

Husband and wife have lived together and quarreled for eighteen years.
At last he makes a confession, which was in fact untrue, of having
been false to her, and they part to his great pleasure and to the
wrath of the whole town.

* * * * *

A useless thing, an album with forgotten, uninteresting photographs,
lies in the corner on a chair; it has been lying there for the last
twenty years and no one makes up his mind to throw it away.

* * * * *

N. tells how forty years ago X., a wonderful and extraordinary man,
had saved the lives of five people, and N. feels it strange that every
one listened with indifference, that the history of X. is already
forgotten, uninteresting....

* * * * *

They fell upon the soft caviare greedily, and devoured it in a minute.

* * * * *

In the middle of a serious conversation he says to his little son:
"Button up your trousers."

* * * * *

Man will only become better when you make him see what he is like.

* * * * *

Dove-colored face.

* * * * *

The squire feeds his pigeons, canaries, and fowls on pepper, acids,
and all kinds of rubbish in order that the birds may change their
color--and that is his sole occupation: he boasts of it to every
visitor.

* * * * *

They invited a famous singer to recite the Acts of the Apostles at the
wedding; he recited it, but they have not paid his fee.

* * * * *

For a farce: I have a friend by name Krivomordy (crooked face) and
he's all right. Not crooked leg or crooked arm but crooked face: he
was married and his wife loved him.

* * * * *

N. drank milk every day, and every time he put a fly in the glass and
then, with the air of a victim, asked the old butler: "What's that?"
He could not live a single day without that.

* * * * *

She is surly and smells of a vapor bath.

* * * * *

N. learned of his wife's adultery. He is indignant, distressed, but
hesitates and keeps silent. He keeps silence and ends by borrowing
money from Z., the lover, and continues to consider himself an honest
man.

* * * * *

When I stop drinking tea and eating bread and butter, I say: "I have
had enough." But when I stop reading poems or novels, I say: "No more
of that, no more of that."

* * * * *

A solicitor lends money at a high rate of interest, and justifies
himself because he is leaving everything to the University of Moscow.

* * * * *

A little sexton, with radical views: "Nowadays our fellows crawl out
from all sorts of unexpected holes."

* * * * *

The squire N. always quarrels with his neighbors who are Molokans[1];
he goes to court, abuses and curses them; but when at last they leave,
he feels there is an empty place; he ages rapidly and pines away.

[Footnote 1: Molokans are a religious sect in Russia.]

* * * * *

Mordukhanov.

* * * * *

With N. and his wife there lives the wife's brother, a lachrymose
young man who at one time steals, at another tells lies, at another
attempts suicide; N. and his wife do not know what to do, they are
afraid to turn him out because he might kill himself; they would like
to turn him out, but they do not know how to manage it. For forging
a bill he gets into prison, and N. and his wife feel that they are to
blame; they cry, grieve. She died from grief; he too died some time
later and everything was left to the brother who squandered it and got
into prison again.

* * * * *

Suppose I had to marry a woman and live in her house, I would run away
in two days, but a woman gets used so quickly to her husband's house,
as though she had been born there.

* * * * *

Well, you are a Councillor; but whom do you counsel? God forbid that
any one should listen to your counsels.

* * * * *

The little town of Torjok. A sitting of the town council. Subject: the
raising of the rates. Decision: to invite the Pope to settle down in
Torjok--to choose it as his residence.

* * * * *

S.'s logic: I am for religious toleration, but against religious
freedom; one cannot allow what is not in the strict sense orthodox.

* * * * *

St. Piony and Epinach. ii March, Pupli 13 m.

* * * * *

Poetry and works of art contain not what is needed but what people
desire; they do not go further than the crowd and they express only
what the best in the crowd desire.

* * * * *

A little man is very cautious; he sends even letters of congratulation
by registered post in order to get a receipt.

* * * * *

Russia is an enormous plain across which wander mischievous men.

* * * * *

Platonida Ivanovna.

* * * * *

If you are politically sound, that is enough for you to be considered
a perfectly satisfactory citizen; the same thing with radicals, to be
politically unsound is enough, everything else will be ignored.

* * * * *

A man who when he fails opens his eyes wide.

* * * * *

Ziuzikov.

* * * * *

A Councillor of State, a respectable man; it suddenly comes out that
he has secretly kept a brothel.

* * * * *

N. has written a good play; no one praises him or is pleased; they all
say: "We'll see what you write next."

* * * * *

The more important people came in by the front door, the simple folk
by the back door.

* * * * *

He: "And in our town there lived a man whose name was Kishmish
(raisin). He called himself Kishmish, but every one knew that he was
Kishmish."

She (after some thought): "How annoying ... if only his name had been
Sultana, but Kishmish!..."

* * * * *

Blagovospitanny.

* * * * *

Most honored Iv-Iv-itch!

* * * * *

How intolerable people are sometimes who are happy and successful in
everything.

* * * * *

They begin gossiping that N. is living with Z.; little by little
an atmosphere is created in which a liaison of N. and Z. becomes
inevitable.

* * * * *

When the locust was a plague, I wrote against the locust and enchanted
every one, I was rich and famous; but now, when the locust has long
ago disappeared and is forgotten, I am merged in the crowd, forgotten,
and not wanted.

* * * * *

Merrily, joyfully: "I have the honor to introduce you to Iv. Iv.
Izgoyev, my wife's lover."

* * * * *

Everywhere on the estate are notices: "Trespassers will be
prosecuted," "Keep off the flowers," etc.

* * * * *

In the great house is a fine library which is talked about but is
never used; they give you watery coffee which you cannot drink; the
garden is tasteless with no flowers in it--and they pretend that all
this is something Tolstoian.

* * * * *

He learnt Swedish in order to study Ibsen, spent a lot of time and
trouble, and suddenly realized that Ibsen is not important; he could
not conceive what use he could now make of the Swedish language.[1]

[Footnote 1: Ibsen wrote in Norwegian of course. Responding to
a request for his interpretation of this curious paragraph. Mr.
Koteliansky writes:

"Chekhov had a very high opinion of Ibsen; the paragraph, I am sure,
is by no means aimed at Ibsen. Most probably the paragraph, as well as
many others in the Notes, is something which C. either personally or
indirectly heard someone say. You will see that Kuprin ["Reminiscences
of Chekhov," by Gorky, Kuprin and Bunin, New York: Huebsch.] told C.
the anecdote about the actor whose wife asked him to whistle a melody
on the stage during a rehearsal. In C.'s Notes you have that anecdote,
somewhat shortened and the names changed, without mentioning the
source."

"The reader, on the whole, may puzzle his head over many paragraphs
in the Notes, but he will hardly find explanations each time. What the
reader has to remember is that the Notes are material used by C. in
his creative activity and as such it throws a great deal of light on
C.'s mentality and process of working."]

* * * * *

N. makes a living by exterminating bugs; and for the purposes of his
trade he reads the works of ----. If in "The Cossacks," bugs are not
mentioned, it means that "The Cossacks" is a bad book.

* * * * *

Man is what he believes.

* * * * *

A clever girl: "I cannot pretend ... I never tell a lie ... I have
principles"--and all the time "I ... I ... I ..."

* * * * *

N. is angry with his wife who is an actress, and without her knowledge
gets abusive criticisms published about her in the newspapers.

* * * * *

A nobleman boasts "This house of mine was built in the time of Dmitry
Donskoy."

* * * * *

"Your Worship, he called my dog a bad name: 'son of a bitch.'"

* * * * *

The snow fell and did not lie on the ground reddened with blood.

* * * * *

He left everything to charity, so that nothing should go to his
relations and children, whom he hated.

* * * * *

A very amorous man; he is no sooner introduced to a girl than he
becomes a he-goat.

* * * * *

A nobleman Drekoliev.

* * * * *

I dread the idea that a chamberlain will be present at the opening of
my petition.

* * * * *

He was a rationalist, but he had to confess that he liked the ringing
of church bells.

* * * * *

The father a famous general, nice pictures, expensive furniture; he
died; the daughters received a good education, but are slovenly, read
little, ride, and are dull.

* * * * *

They are honest and truthful so long as it is unnecessary.

* * * * *

A rich merchant would like to have a shower bath in his W.C.

* * * * *

In the early morning they ate _okroshka_.[1]

[Footnote 1: A cold dish composed of cider and hash.]

* * * * *

"If you lose this talisman," said grandmother, "you will die." And
suddenly I lost it, tortured myself, was afraid that I would die. And
now, imagine, a miracle happened: I found it and continued to live.

* * * * *

Everybody goes to the theatre to see my play, to learn something
instantly from it, to make some sort of profit, and I tell you: I have
not the time to bother about that canaille.

* * * * *

The people hate and despise everything new and useful; when there was
cholera, they hated and killed the doctors and they love vodka; by the
people's love or hatred one can estimate the value of what they love
or hate.

* * * * *

Looking out of the window at the corpse which is being borne to the
cemetery: "You are dead, you are being carried to the cemetery, and I
will go and have my breakfast."

* * * * *

A Tchech Vtitchka.

* * * * *

A man, forty years old, married a girl of twenty-two who read only the
very latest writers, wore green ribbons, slept on yellow pillows, and
believed in her taste and her opinions as if they were law; she is
nice, not silly, and gentle, but he separates from her.

* * * * *

When one longs for a drink, it seems as though one could drink a whole
ocean--that is faith; but when one begins to drink, one can only drink
altogether two glasses--that is science.

* * * * *

For a farce: Fildekosov, Poprygunov.

* * * * *

In former times a nice man, with principles, who wanted to be
respected, would try to become a general or priest, but now he goes in
for being a writer, professor....

* * * * *

There is nothing which history will not justify.

* * * * *

Zievoulia.[1]

[Footnote 1: A name or word invented by Chekhov meaning "One who yawns
for a long time with pleasure."]

* * * * *

The crying of a nice child is ugly; so in bad verses you may recognize
that the author is a nice man.

* * * * *

If you wish women to love you, be original; I know a man who used to
wear felt boots summer and winter, and women fell in love with him.

* * * * *

I arrive at Yalta. Every room is engaged. I go to the "Italy"--not
a room available. "What about my room number 35"--"It is engaged." A
lady. They say: "Would you like to stay with this lady? The lady has
no objection." I stay in her room. Conversation. Evening. The Tartar
guide comes in. My ears are stopped, my eyes blindfolded; I sit and
see nothing and hear nothing....

* * * * *

A young lady complains: "My poor brother gets such a small
salary--only seven thousand!"

* * * * *

She: "I see only one thing now: you have a large mouth! A large mouth!
An enormous mouth!"

* * * * *

The horse is a useless and pernicious animal; a great deal of land has
to be tilled for it, it accustoms man not to employ his own muscles,
it is often an object of luxury; it makes man effeminate. For the
future not a single horse.

* * * * *

N. a singer; speaks to nobody, his throat muffled up--he takes care of
his voice, but no one has ever heard him sing.

* * * * *

About absolutely everything: "What's the good of that? It's useless!"

* * * * *

He wears felt boots summer and winter and gives this explanation:
"It's better for the head, because the blood, owing to the heat, is
drawn down into the feet, and the thoughts are clearer."

* * * * *

A woman is jocularly called Fiodor Ivanovitch.

* * * * *

A farce: N., in order to marry, greased the bald patch on his head
with an ointment which he read of in an advertisement, and suddenly
there began to grow on his head pig's bristles.

* * * * *

What does your husband do?--He takes castor oil.

* * * * *

A girl writes: "We shall live intolerably near you."

* * * * *

N. has been for long in love with Z. who married X.; two years after
the marriage Z. comes to N., cries, wishes to tell him something; N.
expects to hear her complain against her husband; but it turns out
that Z. has come to tell of her love for K.

* * * * *

N. a well known lawyer in Moscow; Z., who like N. was born in
Taganrog, comes to Moscow and goes to see the celebrity; he is
received warmly, but he remembers the school to which they both went,
remembers how N. looked in his uniform, becomes agitated by envy, sees
that N.'s flat is in bad taste, that N. himself talks a great deal;
and he leaves disenchanted by envy and by the meanness which before he
did not even suspect was in him.

* * * * *

The title of a play: The Bat.

* * * * *

Everything which the old cannot enjoy is forbidden or considered
wrong.

* * * * *

When he was getting on in years, he married a very young girl, and so
she faded and withered away with him.

* * * * *

All his life he wrote about capitalism and millions, and he had never
had any money.

* * * * *

A young lady fell in love with a handsome constable.

* * * * *

N. was a very good, fashionable tailor; but he was spoiled and ruined
by trifles; at one time he made an overcoat without pockets, at
another a collar which was much too high.

* * * * *

A farce: Agent of freight transport company and of fire insurance
company.

* * * * *

Any one can write a play which might be produced.

* * * * *

A country house. Winter. N., ill, sits in his room. In the evening
there suddenly arrives from the railway station a stranger Z., a young
girl, who introduces herself and says that she has come to look after
the invalid. He is perplexed, frightened, he refuses; then Z. says
that at any rate she will stay the night. A day passes, two, and she
goes on living there. She has an unbearable temper, she poisons one's
existence.

* * * * *

A private room in a restaurant. A rich man Z., tying his napkin round
his neck, touching the sturgeon with his fork: "At least I'll have
a snack before I die"--and he has been saying this for a long time,
daily.

* * * * *

By his remarks on Strindberg and literature generally L.L. Tolstoi
reminds one very much of Madam Loukhmav.[1]

[Footnote 1: L.L. Tolstoi was Leo Nicolaievitch'a son, Madame Loukhmav
a tenth rate woman-writer.]

* * * * *

Diedlov, when he speaks of the Deputy Governor or the Governor,
becomes a romanticist, remembering "The Arrival of the Deputy
Governor" in the book _A Hundred Russian Writers_.

* * * * *

A play: the Bean of Life.

* * * * *

A vet. belongs to the stallion class of people.

* * * * *

Consultation.

* * * * *

The sun shines and in my soul is darkness.

* * * * *

In S. I made the acquaintance of the barrister Z.--a sort of Nika, The
Fair ... He has several children; with all of them he is magisterial,
gentle, kind, not a single rude word; I soon learn that he has another
family. Then he invites me to his daughter's wedding; he prays, makes
a genuflection, and says: "I still preserve religious feeling; I am
a believer." And when in his presence people speak of education, of
women, he has a naive expression, exactly as if he did not understand.
When he makes a speech in Court, his face looks as if he were praying.

* * * * *

"Mammy, don't show yourself to the guests, you are very fat."

* * * * *

Love? In love? Never! I am a Government clerk.

* * * * *

He knows little, even as a babe who has not yet come out of his
mother's womb.

* * * * *

From childhood until extreme old age N. has had a passion for spying.

* * * * *

He uses clever words, that's all--philosophy ... equator ... (for a
play).

* * * * *

The stars have gone out long ago, but they still shine for the crowd.

* * * * *

As soon as he became a scholar, he began to expect honors.

* * * * *

He was a prompter, but got disgusted and gave it up; for about
fifteen years he did not go to the theatre; then he went and saw a
play, cried with emotion, felt sad, and, when his wife asked him on
his return how he liked the theatre, he answered: "I do not like it."

* * * * *

The parlormaid Nadya fell in love with an exterminator of bugs and
black beetles.

* * * * *

A Councillor of State; it came out after his death that, in order to
earn a rouble, he was employed at the theatre to bark like a dog; he
was poor.

* * * * *

You must have decent, well-dressed children, and your children too
must have a nice house and children, and their children again children
and nice houses; and what is it all for?--The devil knows.

* * * * *

Perkaturin.

* * * * *

Every day he forces himself to vomit--for the sake of his health, on
the advice of a friend.

* * * * *

A Government official began to live an original life; a very tall
chimney on his house, green trousers, blue waistcoat, a dyed dog,
dinner at midnight; after a week he gave it up.

* * * * *

Success has already given that man a lick with its tongue.

* * * * *

In the bill presented by the hotel-keeper: was among other things:
"Bugs--fifteen kopecks." Explanation.

* * * * *

"N. has fallen into poverty."--"What? I can't hear."--"I say N. has
fallen into poverty."--"What exactly do you say? I can't make out.
What N.?"--"The N. who married Z."--"Well, what of it?"--"I say we
ought to help him."--"Eh? What him? Why help? What do you mean?"--and
so on.

* * * * *

How pleasant to sit at home, when the rain is drumming on the roof,
and to feel that there are no heavy dull guests coming to one's house.

* * * * *

N. always even after five glasses of wine, takes valerian drops.

* * * * *

He lives with a parlormaid who respectfully calls him Your Honor.

* * * * *

I rented a country house for the summer; the owner, a very fat old
lady, lived in the lodge, I in the great house; her husband was dead
and so were all her children, she was left alone, very fat, the estate
sold for debt, her furniture old and in good taste; all day long she
reads letters which her husband and son had written to her. Yet she is
an optimist. When some one fell ill in my house, she smiled and said
again and again: "My dear, God will help."

* * * * *

N. and Z. are school friends, each seventeen or eighteen years old;
and suddenly N. learns that Z. is with child by N.'s father.

* * * * *

The priezt came ... zaint ... praize to thee, O Lord.

* * * * *

What empty words these discussions about the rights of women! If a dog
writes a work of talent, they will even accept the dog.

* * * * *

Haemorrhage: "It's an abscess that's just burst inside you ... it's all
right, have some more vodka."

* * * * *

The intelligentsia are good for nothing, because they drink a lot of
tea, talk a lot in stuffy rooms, with empty bottles.

* * * * *

When she was young, she ran away with a doctor, a Jew, and had
a daughter by him; now she hates her past, hates the red-haired
daughter, and the father still loves her as well as the daughter, and
walks under her window, chubby and handsome.

* * * * *

He picked his teeth and put the toothpick back into the glass.

* * * * *

The husband and wife could not sleep; they began to discuss how bad
literature had become and how nice it would be to publish a magazine:
the idea carried them away; they lay awake silent for awhile. "Shall
we ask Boborykin to write?" he asked. "Certainly, do ask him." At five
in the morning he starts for his work at the depot; she sees him off
walking in the snow to the gate, shuts the gate after him.... "And
shall we ask Potapenko?" he asks, already outside the gate.

* * * * *

When he learnt that his father had been raised to the nobility he
began to sign himself Alexis.

* * * * *

Teacher: "'The collision of a train with human victims' ... that is
wrong ... it ought to be 'the collision of a train that resulted in
human victims' ... for the cause of the people on the line."

* * * * *

Title of play: Golden Rain.

* * * * *

There is not a single criterion which can serve as the measure of the
non-existent, of the non-human.

* * * * *

A patriot: "And do you know that our Russian macaroni is better
than the Italian? I'll prove it to you. Once at Nice they brought me
sturgeon--do you know, I nearly cried." And the patriot did not see
that he was only gastronomically patriotic.

* * * * *

A grumbler: "But is turkey food? Is caviare food?"

* * * * *

A very sensible, clever young woman; when she was bathing, he noticed
that she had a narrow pelvis and pitifully thin hips--and he got to
hate her.

* * * * *

A clock. Yegor the locksmith's clock at one time loses and at another
gains exactly as if to spite him; deliberately it is now at twelve and
then quite suddenly at eight. It does it out of animosity as though
the devil were in it. The locksmith tries to find out the cause, and
once he plunges it in holy water.

* * * * *

Formerly the heroes in novels and stories (e.g. Petchorin, Onyeguin)
were twenty years old, but now one cannot have a hero under thirty to
thirty-five years. The same will soon happen with heroines.

* * * * *

N. is the son of a famous father; he is very nice, but, whatever he
does, every one says: "That is very well, but it is nothing to the
father." Once he gave a recitation at an evening party; all the
performers had a success, but of him they said: "That is very well,
but still it is nothing to the father." He went home and got into bed
and, looking at his father's portrait, shook his fist at him.

* * * * *

We fret ourselves to reform life, in order that posterity may be
happy, and posterity will say as usual: "In the past it used to be
better, the present is worse than the past."

* * * * *

My motto: I don't want anything.

* * * * *

When a decent working-man takes himself and his work critically,
people call him grumbler, idler, bore; but when an idle scoundrel
shouts that it is necessary to work, he is applauded.

* * * * *

When a woman destroys things like a man, people think it natural and
everybody understands it; but when like a man, she wishes or tries to
create, people think it unnatural and cannot reconcile themselves to
it.

* * * * *

When I married, I became an old woman.

* * * * *

He looked down on the world from the height of his baseness.

* * * * *

"Your fiancee is very pretty." "To me all women are alike."

* * * * *

He dreamt of winning three hundred thousand in lottery, twice in
succession, because three hundred thousand would not be enough for
him.

* * * * *

N., a retired Councillor of State, lives in the country; he is
sixty-six. He is educated, liberal-minded, reads, likes an argument.
He learns from his guests that the new coroner Z. walks about with a
slipper on one foot and a boot on the other, and lives with another
man's wife. N. thinks all the time of Z.; he does nothing but talk
about him, how he walks about in one slipper and lives with another
man's wife; he talks of nothing else; at last he goes to sleep with
his own wife (he has not slept with her for the last eight years), he
is agitated and the whole time talks about Z. Finally he has a stroke,
his arm and leg are paralyzed--and all this from agitation about Z.
The doctor comes. With him too N. talks about Z. The doctor says that
he knows Z., that Z. now wears two boots, his leg being well, and that
he has married the lady.

* * * * *

I hope that in the next world I shall be able to look back at this
life and say: "Those were beautiful dreams...."

* * * * *

The squire N., looking at the undergraduate and the young girl,
the children of his steward Z.: "I am sure Z. steals from me, lives
grandly on stolen money, the undergraduate and the girl know it or
ought to know it; why then do they look so decent?"

* * * * *

She is fond of the word "compromise," and often uses it; "I am
incapable of compromise...." "A board which has the shape of a
parallelepiped."

* * * * *

The hereditary honorable citizen Oziaboushkin always tries to make out
that his ancestors had the right to the title of Count.

* * * * *

"He is a perfect dab at it." "O, O, don't use that expression; my
mother is very particular."

* * * * *

I have just married my third husband ... the name of the first
was Ivan Makarivitch ... of the second Peter ... Peter ... I have
forgotten.

* * * * *

The writer Gvozdikov thinks that he is very famous, that every one
knows him. He arrives at S., meets an officer who shakes his hand for
a long time, looking with rapture into his face. G. is glad, he
too shakes hands warmly.... At last the officer: "And how is your
orchestra? Aren't you the conductor?"

* * * * *

Morning; M.'s mustaches are in curl papers.

* * * * *

And it seemed to him that he was highly respected and valued
everywhere, anywhere, even in railway buffets, and so he always ate
with a smile on his face.

* * * * *

The birds sing, and already it begins to seem to him that they do not
sing, but whine.

* * * * *

N., father of a family, listens to his son reading aloud J.J. Rousseau
to the family, and thinks: "Well, at any rate, J.J. Rousseau had no
gold medal on his breast, but I have one."

* * * * *

N. has a spree with his step-son, an undergraduate, and they go to a
brothel. In the morning the undergraduate is going away, his leave is
up; N. sees him off. The undergraduate reads him a sermon on their
bad behavior; they quarrel. N: "As your father, I curse you."--"And I
curse you."

* * * * *

A doctor is called in, but a nurse sent for.

* * * * *

N.N.V. never agrees with anyone: "Yes, the ceiling is white, that
can be admitted; but white, as far as is known, consists of the seven
colors of the spectrum, and it is quite possible that in this case
one of the colors is darker or brighter than is necessary for the
production of pure white; I had rather think a bit before saying that
the ceiling is white."

* * * * *

He holds himself exactly as though he were an icon.

* * * * *

"Are you in love?"--"There's a little bit of that in it."

* * * * *

Whatever happens, he says: "It is the priests."

* * * * *

Firzikov.

* * * * *

N. dreams that he is returning from abroad, and that at Verzhbolovo,
in spite of his protests, they make him pay duty on his wife.

* * * * *

When that radical, having dined with his coat off, walked into his
bedroom and I saw the braces on his back, it became clear to me that
that radical is a bourgeois, a hopeless bourgeois.

* * * * *

Some one saw Z., an unbeliever and blasphemer, secretly praying in
front of the icon in the cathedral, and they all teased him.

* * * * *

They called the manager "four-funneled cruiser," because he had
already gone "through the chimney" (bankrupt) four times.

* * * * *

He is not stupid, he was at the university, has studied long and
assiduously, but in writing he makes gross mistakes.

* * * * *

Countess Nadin's daughter gradually turns into a housekeeper; she is
very timid, and can only say "No-o," "Yes-s," and her hands always
tremble. Somehow or other a Zemstvo official wished to marry her; he
is a widower and she marries him, with him too it was "Yes-s," "No-o";
she was very much afraid of her husband and did not love him; one day
he happened to give a loud cough, it gave her a fright, and she died.

* * * * *

Caressing her lover: "My vulture."

* * * * *

For a play: If only you would say something funny. But for twenty
years we have lived together and you have always talked of serious
things; I hate serious things.

* * * * *

A cook, with a cigarette in her mouth, lies: "I studied at a high
school ... I know what for the earth is round."

* * * * *

"Society for finding and raising anchors of steamers and barges," and
the Society's agent at all functions without fail makes a speech, a la
N., and without fail promises.

* * * * *

Super-mysticism.

* * * * *

When I become rich, I shall have a harem in which I shall keep fat
naked women, with their buttocks painted green.

* * * * *

A shy young man came on a visit for the night: suddenly a deaf old
woman came into his room, carrying a cupping-glass, and bled him; he
thought that this must be the usual thing and so did not protest; in
the morning it turned out that the old woman had made a mistake.

* * * * *

Surname: Verstax.

* * * * *

The more stupid the peasant, the better does the horse understand him.

THEMES, THOUGHTS, NOTES, AND FRAGMENTS.

... How stupid and for the most part how false, since if one man seeks
to devour another or tell him something unpleasant it has nothing to
do with Granovsky.[1]

[Footnote 1: A well-known Radical professor, a Westerner.]

* * * * *

I left Gregory Ivanovitch's feeling crushed and mortally offended.
I was irritated by smooth words and by those who speak them, and on
reaching home I meditated thus: some rail at the world, others at the
crowd, that is to say praise the past and blame the present; they cry
out that there are no ideals and so on, but all this has already been
said twenty or thirty years ago; these are worn-out forms which have
already served their time, and whoever repeats them now, he too is no
longer young and is himself worn out. With last year's foliage there
decay too those who live in it. I thought, we uncultured, worn-out
people, banal in speech, stereotyped in intentions, have grown quite
mouldy, and, while we intellectuals are rummaging among old rags and,
according to the old Russian custom, biting one another, there is
boiling up around us a life which we neither know nor notice. Great
events will take us unawares, like sleeping fairies, and you will see
that Sidorov, the merchant, and the teacher of the school at
Yeletz, who see and know more than we do, will push us far into the
background, because they will accomplish more than all of us put
together. And I thought that were we now to obtain political liberty,
of which we talk so much, while engaged in biting one another, we
should not know what to do with it, we should waste it in accusing one
another in the newspapers of being spies and money-grubbers, we should
frighten society with the assurance that we have neither men, nor
science, nor literature, nothing! Nothing! And to scare society as we
are doing now, and as we shall continue to do, means to deprive it
of courage; it means simply to declare that we have no social or
political sense in us. And I also thought that, before the dawn of a
new life has broken, we shall turn into sinister old men and women and
we shall be the first who, in our hatred of that dawn, will calumniate
it.

* * * * *

Mother never stops talking about poverty. It is very strange. In the
first place, it is strange that we are poor, beg like beggars, and at
the same time eat superbly, live in a large house; in the summer we go
to our own country house, and generally speaking we do not look like
beggars. Evidently this is not poverty, but something else, and rather
worse. Secondly, it is strange that for the last ten years mother has
been spending all her energy solely on getting money to pay interest.
It seems to me that were mother to spend that terrible energy on
something else, we could have twenty such houses. Thirdly, it seems to
me strange that the hardest work in the family is done by mother, not
by me. To me that is the strangest thing of all, most terrible. She
has, as she has just said, a thought on her brain, she begs, she
humiliates herself; our debts grow daily and up till now I have not
done a single thing to help her. What can I do? I think and think and
cannot make it out. I only see clearly that we are rushing down an
inclined plane, but to what, the devil knows. They say that poverty
threatens us and that in poverty there is disgrace, but that too I
cannot understand, since I was never poor.

* * * * *

The spiritual life of these women is as gray and dull as their faces
and dresses; they speak of science, literature, tendencies, and the
like, only because they are the wives and sisters of scholars and
literary men; were they the wives and sisters of inspectors or of
dentists, they would speak with the same zeal of fires or teeth.
To allow them to speak of science, which is foreign to them, and to
listen to them, is to flatter their ignorance.

* * * * *

Essentially all this is crude and meaningless, and romantic love
appears as meaningless as an avalanche which involuntarily rolls down
a mountain and overwhelms people. But when one listens to music, all
this is: that some people lie in their graves and sleep, and that one
woman is alive--gray-haired, she is sitting in a box in the theatre,
quiet and majestic, and the avalanche seems no longer meaningless,
since in nature everything has a meaning. And everything is forgiven,
and it would be strange not to forgive.

* * * * *

Olga Ivanovna regarded old chairs, stools, sofas, with the same
respectful tenderness as she regarded old dogs and horses, and her
room, therefore, was something like an alms-house for furniture.
Round the mirror, on all tables and shelves, stood photographs of
uninteresting, half-forgotten people; on the walls hung pictures at
which nobody ever looked; and it was always dark in the room, because
there burnt there only one lamp with a blue shade.

* * * * *

If you cry "Forward," you must without fail explain in which direction
one must go. Do you not see that, if without explaining the
direction, you fire off this word simultaneously at a monk and at a
revolutionary, they will proceed in precisely opposite directions?

* * * * *

It is said in Holy Writ: "Fathers, do not irritate your children,"
even the wicked and good-for-nothing children; but the fathers
irritate me, irritate me terribly. My contemporaries chime in with
them and the youngsters follow, and every minute they strike me in the
face with their smooth words.

* * * * *

That the aunt suffered and did not show it gave him the impression of
a trick.

* * * * *

O.I. was in constant motion; such women, like bees, carry about a
fertilizing pollen....

* * * * *

Don't marry a rich woman--she will drive you out of the house; don't
marry a poor woman--you won't sleep; but marry the freest freedom, the
lot and life of a Cossack. (Ukrainian saying.)

* * * * *

_Aliosha_: "I often hear people say: 'Before marriage there is
romance, and then--goodbye, illusion!' How heartless and coarse it
is."

* * * * *

So long as a man likes the splashing of a fish, he is a poet; but when
he knows that the splashing is nothing but the chase of the weak by
the strong, he is a thinker; but when he does not understand what
sense there is in the chase, or what use in the equilibrium which
results from destruction, he is becoming silly and dull, as he
was when a child. And the more he knows and thinks, the sillier he
becomes.

* * * * *

_The death of a child_. I have no sooner sat down in peace
than--bang--fate lets fly at me.

* * * * *

The she-wolf, nervous and anxious, fond of her young, dragged away a
foal into her winter-shelter, thinking him a lamb. She knew that there
was a ewe there and that the ewe had young. While she was dragging
the foal away, suddenly some one whistled; she was alarmed and dropped
him, but he followed her. They arrived at the shelter. He began to
suck like the young wolves. Throughout the winter he changed but
little; he only grew thin and his legs longer, and the spot on
his forehead turned into a triangle. The she-wolf was in delicate
health.[1]

[Footnote 1: A sketch of part of the story "Whitehead."]

* * * * *

They invited celebrities to these evening parties, and it was dull
because there are few people of talent in Moscow, and the same singers
and reciters performed at all evening parties.

* * * * *

She has not before felt herself so free and easy with a man.

* * * * *

You wait until you grow up and I'll teach you declamation.

* * * * *

It seemed to her that at the show many of the pictures were alike.

* * * * *

There filed up before you a whole line of laundry-maids.

* * * * *

Kostya insisted that the women had robbed themselves.

* * * * *

L. put himself in the place of the juryman and interpreted it thus: if
it was a case of house-breaking, then there was no theft, because the
laundresses themselves sold the linen and spent the money on
drink; but if it was a case of theft, then there could have been no
house-breaking.

* * * * *

Fiodor was flattered that his brother had found him at the same table
with a famous actor.

* * * * *

When Y. spoke or ate, his beard moved as if he had no teeth in his
mouth.

* * * * *

Ivashin loved Nadya Vishnyevsky and was afraid of his love. When the
butler told him that the old lady had just gone out, but the young
lady was at home, he fumbled in his fur coat and dress-coat pocket,
found his card, and said: "Right."

But it was not all right. Driving from his house in the morning, to
pay a visit, he thought that he was compelled to it by conventions of
society, which weighed heavily upon him. But now it was clear to
him that he went to pay calls only because somewhere far away in the
depths of his soul, as under a veil, there lay hidden a hope that he
would see Nadya.... And he suddenly felt pitiful, sad, and a little
frightened....

* * * * *

In his soul, it seemed to him, it was snowing, and everything faded
away. He was afraid to love Nadya, because he was too old for her,
thought his appearance unattractive, and did not believe that
young girls like Nadya could love men for their minds and spiritual
qualities. Still there would at times rise in him something like a
hope. But now, from the moment when the officer's spurs jingled and
then died away, there also died away his timid love.... All was at an
end, hope was impossible.... "Yes, now all is finished," he thought,
"I am glad, very glad."

* * * * *

He imagined his wife to be not Nadya, but always, for some reason, a
stout woman with a large bosom, covered with Venetian lace.

* * * * *

The clerks in the office of the Governor of the island have a drunken
headache. They long for a drink. They have no money. What is to be
done? One of them, a convict who is serving his time here for forgery,
devises a plan. He goes to the church, where a former officer, now
exiled for giving his superior a box on the ears, sings in the choir,
and says to him panting: "Here! There's a pardon come for you! They
have got a telegram in the office."

The late officer turns pale, trembles, and can hardly walk for
excitement.

"But for such news you ought to give something for a drink," says the
clerk.

"Take all I have! All!"

And he hands him some five roubles.... He arrives at the office. The
officer is afraid that he may die from joy and presses his hand to his
heart.

"Where is the telegram?"

"The bookkeeper has put it away." (He goes to the bookkeeper.) General
laughter and an invitation to drink with them.

"How terrible!"

After that the officer was ill for a week.[1]

[Footnote 1: An episode which Chekhov heard during his journey in the
island, Saghalien.]

* * * * *

Fedya, the steward's brother-in-law, told Ivanov that wild-duck were
feeding on the other side of the wood. He loaded his gun with slugs.
Suddenly a wolf appeared. He fired and smashed both the wolf's hips.
The wolf was mad with pain and did not see him. "What can I do for
you, dear?" He thought and thought, and then went home and called
Peter.... Peter took a stick, and with an awful grimace, began to beat
the wolf.... He beat and beat and beat until it died.... He broke into
a sweat and went away, without saying a single word.

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