Note-Book of Anton Chekhov by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Proofreading Team from images provided by the Million Book Project NOTE-BOOK OF ANTON CHEKHOV Translated by S. S. KOTELIANSKY and LEONARD WOOLF 1921 This volume consists of notes, themes, and sketches for works which Anton Chekhov intended to write, and are characteristic of the methods of his artistic production. Among his papers was found a
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NOTE-BOOK OF ANTON CHEKHOV

Translated by S. S. KOTELIANSKY and LEONARD WOOLF

1921

This volume consists of notes, themes, and sketches for works which Anton Chekhov intended to write, and are characteristic of the methods of his artistic production. Among his papers was found a series of sheets in a special cover with the inscription: “Themes, thoughts, notes, and fragments.” Madame L.O. Knipper-Chekhov, Chekhov’s wife, also possesses his note-book, in which he entered separate themes for his future work, quotations which he liked, etc. If he used any material, he used to strike it out in the note-book. The significance which Chekhov attributed to this material may be judged from the fact that he recopied most of it into a special copy book.

ANTON CHEKHOV’S DIARY.

1896

My neighbor V.N.S. told me that his uncle Fet-Shenshin, the famous poet, when driving through the Mokhovaia Street, would invariably let down the window of his carriage and spit at the University. He would expectorate and spit: Bah! His coachman got so used to this that every time he drove past the University, he would stop.

In January I was in Petersburg and stayed with Souvorin. I often saw Potapenko. Met Korolenko. I often went to the Maly Theatre. As Alexander [Chekhov’s brother] came downstairs one day, B.V.G. simultaneously came out of the editorial office of the _Novoye Vremya_ and said to me indignantly: “Why do you set the old man (i.e. Souvorin) against Burenin?” I have never spoken ill of the contributors to the _Novoye Vremya_ in Souvorin’s presence, although I have the deepest disrespect for the majority of them.

In February, passing through Moscow, I went to see L.N. Tolstoi. He was irritated, made stinging remarks about the _decadents_, and for an hour and a half argued with B. Tchitcherin, who, I thought, talked nonsense all the time. Tatyana and Mary [Tolstoi’s daughters] laid out a patience; they both wished, and asked me to pick a card out; I picked out the ace of spades separately for each of them, and that annoyed them. By accident there were two aces of spades in the pack. Both of them are extraordinarily sympathetic, and their attitude to their father is touching. The countess denounced the painter Ge all the evening. She too was irritated.

May 5. The sexton Ivan Nicolayevitch brought my portrait, which he has painted from a photograph. In the evening V.N.S. brought his friend N. He is director of the Foreign Department … editor of a magazine … and doctor of medicine. He gives the impression of being an unusually stupid person and a reptile. He said: “There’s nothing more pernicious on earth than a rascally liberal paper,” and told us that, apparently, the peasants whom he doctors, having got his advice and medicine free of charge, ask him for a tip. He and S. speak of the peasants with exasperation and loathing.

June 1. I was at the Vagankov Cemetery and saw the graves there of the victims of the Khodinka. [During the coronation of Nicholas II in Moscow hundreds of people were crushed to death in the Khodinka Fields.] I. Pavlovsky, the Paris correspondent of the _Novoye Vremya_, came with me to Melikhovo.

August 4. Opening of the school in Talezh. The peasants of Talezh, Bershov, Doubechnia and Sholkovo presented me with four loaves, an icon and two silver salt-cellars. The Sholkovo peasant Postnov made a speech.

N. stayed with me from the 15th to the 18th August. He has been forbidden [by the authorities] to publish anything: he speaks contemptuously now of the younger G., who said to the new Chief of the Central Press Bureau that he was not going to sacrifice his weekly _Nedelya_ for N.’s sake and that “We have always anticipated the wishes of the Censorship.” In fine weather N. walks in goloshes, and carries an umbrella, so as not to die of sunstroke; he is afraid to wash in cold water, and complains of palpitations of the heart. From me he went on to L.N. Tolstoi.

I left Taganrog on August 24. In Rostov I had supper with a school-friend, L. Volkenstein, the barrister, who has already a house in town and a villa in Kislovodsk [in the Caucasus]. I was in Nakhichevan–what a change! All the streets are lit by electric light. In Kislovodsk, at the funeral of General Safonov, I met A.I. Tchouprov [a famous economist], later I met A.N. Vesselovsky [litterateur] in the park. On the 28th I went on a hunting party with Baron Steingel, passed the night in Bermamut. It was cold with a violent wind.

2 September in Novorissisk. Steamer _Alexander II_. On the 3rd I arrived at Feodossia and stopped with Souvorin. I saw I.K. Aivasovsky [famous painter] who said to me: “You no longer come to see me, an old man.” In his opinion I ought to have paid him a visit. On the 16th in Kharkov, I was in the theatre at the performance of “The Dangers of Intelligence.” 17th at home: wonderful weather.

Vladimir Sloviov [famous philosopher] told me that he always carried an oak-gall in his trouser pocket,–in his opinion, it is a radical cure for piles.

October 17. Performance of my “Seagull” at the Alexandrinsky Theatre. It was not a success.

29th. I was at a meeting of the Zemstvo Council at Sezpukhovo.

On the 10th November I had a letter from A.F. Koni who says he liked my “Seagull” very much.

November 26th. A fire broke out in our house. Count S.I. Shakhovsky helped to put it out. When it was over, Sh. related that once, when a fire broke out in his house at night, he lifted a tank of water weighing 4-1/2 cwt. and poured the water on the flames.

December 4. For the performance [of the “Seagull”] on the 17th October see “Theatral,” No. 95, page 75. It is true that I fled from the theatre, but only when the play was over. In L.’s dressing-room during two or three acts. During the intervals there came to her officials of the State Theatres in uniform, wearing their orders, P.–with a Star; a handsome young official of the Department of the State Police also came to her. If a man takes up work which is alien to him, art for instance, then, since it is impossible for him to become an artist, he becomes an official. What a lot of people thus play the parasite round science, the theatre, the painting,–by putting on a uniform! Likewise the man to whom life is alien, who is incapable of living, nothing else remains for him, but to become an official. The fat actresses, who were in the dressing-room, made themselves pleasant to the officials–respectfully and flatteringly. (L. expressed her delight that P., so young, had already got the Star.) They were old, respectable house-keepers, serf-women, whom the masters honored with their presence.

December 21. Levitan suffers from dilation of the aorta. He carries clay on his chest. He has superb studies for pictures, and a passionate thirst for life.

December 31. P.I. Seryogin, the landscape painter, came.

1897.

From January 10 to February 3 busy with the census. I am enumerator of the 16th district, and have to instruct the other (fifteen) enumerators of our Bavykin Section. They all work superbly, except the priest of the Starospassky parish and the Government official, appointed to the Zemstvo, G., (who is in charge of the census district); he is away nearly all the time in Serpukhovo, spends every evening at the Club and keeps on wiring that he is not well. All the rest of the Government officials of our district are also said to do nothing.

With such critics as we have, authors like N.S. Lyeskov and S.V. Maximov cannot be a success.

Between “there is a God” and “there is no God” lies a whole vast tract, which the really wise man crosses with great effort. A Russian knows one or other of these two extremes, and the middle tract between them does not interest him; and therefore he usually knows nothing, or very little.

The ease with which Jews change their religion is justified by many on the ground of indifference. But this is not a justification. One has to respect even one’s indifference, and not change it for anything, since indifference in a decent man is also a religion.

February 13. Dinner at Mme. Morosov’s. Tchouprov, Sololevsky, Blaramberg, Sablin and myself were present.

February 15. Pancakes at Soldatienkov’s [a Moscow publisher]. Only Golziev [editor of _Russian Thought_] and myself were present. Many fine pictures, nearly all badly hung. After the pancakes we drove to Levitan, from whom Soldatienkov bought a picture and two studies for 1,100 roubles. Met Polyenov [famous painter]. In the evening I was at professor Ostroumov’s; he says that Levitan “can’t help dying.” O. himself is ill and obviously frightened.

February 16. Several of us met in the evening in the offices of _Russian Thought_ to discuss the People’s Theatre. Every one liked Shekhtel’s plan.

February 19. Dinner at the “Continental” to commemorate the great reform [the abolition of the serfdom in 1861]. Tedious and incongruous. To dine, drink champagne, make a racket, and deliver speeches about national consciousness, the conscience of the people, freedom, and such things, while slaves in tail-coats are running round your tables, veritable serfs, and your coachmen wait outside in the street, in the bitter cold–that is lying to the Holy Ghost.

February 22. I went to Serpukhovo to an amateur performance in aid of the school at Novossiolki. As far as Zarizin I was accompanied by … a little queen in exile,–an actress who imagines herself great; uneducated and a bit vulgar.

From March 25 till April 10 I was laid up in Ostroumov’s clinic. Haemorrhage. Creaking, moisture in the apices of both my lungs; congestion in the apex of the right. On March 28 L.N. Tolstoi came to see me. We spoke of immortality. I told him the gist of Nossilov’s story “The Theatre of the Voguls,” and he evidently listened with great pleasure.

May 1. N. arrived. He is always thanking you for tea and dinner, apologizing, afraid of being late for the train; he talks a great deal, keeps mentioning his wife, like Gogol’s Mijniev, pushes the proofs of his play over to you, first one sheet then another, giggles, attacks Menshikov, whom Tolstoi has “swallowed”; assures you that he would shoot Stassiulevitch, if the latter were to show himself at a review, as President of the Russian Republic; giggles again, wets his mustaches with the soup, eats hardly anything, and yet is quite a nice man after all.

May 4. The monks from the monastery paid us a visit. Dasha Moussin-Poushkin, the wife of the engineer Gliebov, who has been killed hunting, was there. She sang a great deal.

May 24. I was present at the examination of two schools in Tchirkov. [The Tchirkov and Mikhailovo schools.]

July 13. Opening of the school at Novossiolki which I have had built. The peasants gave me an icon with an inscription. The Zemstvo people were absent.

Braz [painter] does my portrait (for the Tretiakov Gallery). Two sittings a day.

July 22. I received a medal for my work on the census.

July 23. In Petersburg. Stopped at Souvorin’s, in the drawing-room. Met VI. T…. who complained of his hysteria and praised his own books. I saw P. Gnyeditch and E. Karpov, who imitated Leykin showing off as a Spanish grandee.

July 27. At Leykin’s at Ivanovsk. 28th in Moscow. In the editorial offices of _Russian Thought_, bugs in the sofa.

September 4. Arrived in Paris. “Moulin Rouge,” danse du ventre, Cafe du Neon with Coffins, Cafe du Ciel, etc.

September 8. In Biarritz. V.M. Sobolevsky and Mme. V.A. Morosov are here. Every Russian in Biarritz complains of the number of Russians here.

September 14. Bayonne. Grande course landoise. Bull-fight.

September 22. From Biarritz to Nice via Toulouse.

September 23. Nice. I settled into the Pension Russe. Met Maxim Kovalevsky; lunched at his house at Beaulieu, with N.I. Yurassov and Yakobi, the artist. In Monte Carlo.

October 7. Confession of a spy.

October 9. I saw B.’s mother playing roulette. Unpleasant sight.

November 15. Monte Carlo. I saw how the croupier stole a louis d’or.

1898.

April 16. In Paris. Acquaintance with M.M. Antokolsky [sculptor] and negotiations for a statue of Peter the Great.

May 5. Returned home.

May 26. Sobolevsky came to Melikhovo. Must put down the fact that, in Paris, in spite of the rain and cold, I spent two or three weeks without being bored. Arrived here with M. Kovalevsky. Many interesting acquaintances: Paul Boyer, Art Roe, Bonnie, M. Dreyfus, De Roberti, Waliczewsky, Onieguin. Luncheons and dinners, at I.I. Schoukin’s house. Left by Nord-express for Petersburg, whence to Moscow. At home, found wonderful weather.

An example of clerical boorishness. At a dinner party the critic Protopopov came up to M. Kovalevsky, clinked glasses and said: “I drink to science, so long as it does no harm to the people.”

1901.

September 12. I was at L. Tolstoi’s.

December 7. Talked to L. Tolstoi over the telephone.

1903.

January 8. “Istorichesky Vestnik,” November 1902, “The Artistic Life of Moscow in the Seventies,” by I.N. Zakharin. It is said in that article that I sent in my “Three Sisters” to the Theatrical and Literary Committee. It is not true.

ANTON CHEKHOV’S NOTE-BOOKS

(1892-1904)

Mankind has conceived history as a series of battles; hitherto it has considered fighting as the main thing in life.

* * * * *

Solomon made a great mistake when he asked for wisdom.[1]

[Footnote 1: Among Chekhov’s papers the following monologue was found, written in his own hand:

_Solomon_ (alone): Oh! how dark is life! No night, when I was a child, so terrified me by its darkness as does my invisible existence. Lord, to David my father thou gavest only the gift of harmonizing words and sounds, to sing and praise thee on strings, to lament sweetly, to make people weep or admire beauty; but why hast thou given me a meditative, sleepless, hungry mind? Like an insect born of the dust, I hide in darkness; and in fear and despair, all shaking and shivering, I see and hear in everything an invisible mystery. Why this morning? Why does the sun come out from behind the temple and gild the palm tree? Why this beauty of women? Where does the bird hurry, what is the meaning of its flight, if it and its young and the place to which it hastens will, like myself, turn to dust? It were better I had never been born or were a stone, to which God has given neither eyes nor thoughts. In order to tire out my body by nightfall, all day yesterday, like a mere workman I carried marble to the temple; but now the night has come and I cannot sleep … I’ll go and lie down. Phorses told me that if one imagines a flock of sheep running and fixes one’s attention upon it, the mind gets confused and one falls asleep, I’ll do it …(exit).]

* * * * *

Ordinary hypocrites pretend to be doves; political and literary hypocrites pretend to be eagles. But don’t be disconcerted by their aquiline appearance. They are not eagles, but rats or dogs.

* * * * *

Those who are more stupid and more dirty than we are called the people. The administration classifies the population into taxpayers and non-taxpayers. But neither classification will do; we are all the people and all the best we are doing is the people’s work.

* * * * *

If the Prince of Monaco has a roulette table, surely convicts may play at cards.

* * * * *

Iv. (Chekhov’s brother Ivan) could philosophize about love, but he could not love.

* * * * *

_Aliosha_: “My mind, mother, is weakened by illness and I am now like a child: now I pray to God, now I cry, now I am happy.”

* * * * *

Why did Hamlet trouble about ghosts after death, when life itself is haunted by ghosts so much more terrible?

* * * * *

_Daughter_: “Felt boots are not the correct thing.”

_Father_: “Yes they are clumsy, I’ll have to get leather ones.” The father fell ill and his deportation to Siberia was postponed.

_Daughter_: “You are not at all ill, father. Look, you have your coat and boots on….”

_Father_: “I long to be exiled to Siberia. One could sit somewhere by the Yenissey or Obi river and fish, and on the ferry there would be nice little convicts, emigrants…. Here I hate everything: this lilac tree in front of the window, these gravel paths….”

* * * * *

A bedroom. The light of the moon shines so brightly through the window that even the buttons on his night shirt are visible.

* * * * *

A nice man would feel ashamed even before a dog….

* * * * *

A certain Councillor of State, looking at a beautiful landscape, said: “What a marvelous function of nature!” From the note-book of an old dog: “People don’t eat slops and bones which the cooks throw away. Fools!”

* * * * *

He had nothing in his soul except recollections of his schooldays.

* * * * *

The French say: “Laid comme un chenille”–as ugly as a caterpillar.

* * * * *

People are bachelors or old maids because they rouse no interest, not even a physical one.

* * * * *

The children growing up talked at meals about religion and laughed at fasts, monks, etc. The old mother at first lost her temper, then, evidently getting used to it, only smiled, but at last she told the children that they had convinced her, that she is now of their opinion. The children felt awkward and could not imagine what their old mother would do without her religion.

* * * * *

There is no national science, just as there is no national multiplication table; what is national is no longer science.

* * * * *

The dog walked in the street and was ashamed of its crooked legs.

* * * * *

The difference between man and woman: a woman, as she grows old gives herself up more and more to female affairs; a man, as he grows old, withdraws himself more and more from female affairs.

* * * * *

That sudden and ill-timed love-affair may be compared to this: you take boys somewhere for a walk; the walk is jolly and interesting–and suddenly one of them gorges himself with oil paint.

* * * * *

The character in the play says to every one: “You’ve got worms.” He cures his daughter of the worms, and she turns yellow.

* * * * *

A scholar, without talent, a blockhead, worked for twenty-four years and produced nothing good, gave the world only scholars as untalented and as narrow-minded as himself. At night he secretly bound books–that was his true vocation: in that he was an artist and felt the joy of it. There came to him a bookbinder, who loved learning and studied secretly at night.

* * * * *

But perhaps the universe is suspended on the tooth of some monster.

* * * * *

Keep to the right, you of the yellow eye!

* * * * *

Do you want to eat? No, on the contrary.

* * * * *

A pregnant woman with short arms and a long neck, like a kangaroo.

* * * * *

How pleasant it is to respect people! When I see books, I am not concerned with how the authors loved or played cards; I see only their marvelous works.

* * * * *

To demand that the woman one loves should be pure is egotistical: to look for that in a woman which I have not got myself is not love, but worship, since one ought to love one’s equals.

* * * * *

The so-called pure childlike joy of life is animal joy.

* * * * *

I cannot bear the crying of children, but when my child cries, I don’t hear.

* * * * *

A schoolboy treats a lady to dinner in a restaurant. He has only one rouble, twenty kopecks. The bill comes to four roubles thirty kopecks. He has no money and begins to cry. The proprietor boxes his ears. He was talking to the lady about Abyssinia.

* * * * *

A man, who, to judge from his appearance, loves nothing but sausages and sauerkraut.

* * * * *

We judge human activities by their goal; that activity is great of which the goal is great.

* * * * *

You drive on the Nevski, you look to the left on the Haymarket; the clouds are the color of smoke, the ball of the setting sun purple–Dante’s hell!

* * * * *

His income is twenty-five to fifty thousand, and yet out of poverty he shoots himself.

* * * * *

Terrible poverty, desperate situation. The mother a widow, her daughter a very ugly girl. At last the mother takes courage and advises the daughter to go on the streets. She herself when young went on the streets without her husband’s knowledge in order to get money for her dresses; she has some experience. She instructs her daughter. The latter goes out, walks all night; not a single man takes her; she is ugly. A couple of days later, three young rascals on the boulevard take her. She brought home a note which turned out to be a lottery ticket no longer valid.

* * * * *

Two wives: one in Petersburg, the other in Kertch. Constant rows, threats, telegrams. They nearly reduce him to suicide. At last he finds a way: he settles them both in the same house. They are perplexed, petrified; they grow silent and quiet down.

* * * * *

His character is so undeveloped that one can hardly believe that he has been to the University.

* * * * *

And I dreamt that, as it were, what I considered reality was a dream, and the dream was reality.

* * * * *

I observed that after marriage people cease to be curious.

* * * * *

It usually takes as much time to feel happy as to wind up one’s watch.

* * * * *

A dirty tavern near the station. And in every tavern like that you will find salted white sturgeon with horse radish. What a lot of sturgeon must be salted in Russia!

* * * * *

Z. goes on Sundays to the Sukharevka (a market-place in Moscow) to look for books; he finds a book, written by his father, with the inscription: “To darling Nadya from the author.”

* * * * *

A Government official wears on his chest the portrait of the Governor’s wife; he feeds a turkey on nuts and makes her a present of it.

* * * * *

One should be mentally clear, morally pure, and physically tidy.

* * * * *

It was said of a certain lady that she had a cat’s factory; her lover tortured the cats by treading on their tails.

* * * * *

An officer and his wife went to the baths together, and both were bathed by the orderly, whom they evidently did not consider a man.

* * * * *

“And now he appeared with all his decorations.”

“And what decorations has he got?”

“He has a bronze medal for the census of 1897.”

* * * * *

A government clerk gave his son a thrashing because he had only obtained five marks in all his subjects at school. It seemed to him not good enough. When he was told that he was in the wrong, that five is the highest mark obtainable, he thrashed his son again–out of vexation with himself.

* * * * *

A very good man has such a face that people take him for a detective; he is suspected of having stolen shirt-studs.

* * * * *

A serious phlegmatic doctor fell in love with a girl who danced very well, and, to please her, he started to learn a mazurka.

* * * * *

The hen sparrow believes that her cock sparrow is not chirping but singing beautifully.

* * * * *

When one is peacefully at home, life seems ordinary, but as soon as one walks into the street and begins to observe, to question women, for instance, then life becomes terrible. The neighborhood of Patriarshi Prudy (a park and street in Moscow) looks quiet and peaceful, but in reality life there is hell.

* * * * *

These red-faced young and old women are so healthy that steam seems to exhale from them.

* * * * *

The estate will soon be brought under the hammer; there is poverty all round; and the footmen are still dressed like jesters.

* * * * *

There has been an increase not in the number of nervous diseases and nervous patients, but in the number of doctors able to study those diseases.

* * * * *

The more refined the more unhappy.

* * * * *

Life does not agree with philosophy: there is no happiness which is not idleness and only the useless is pleasurable.

* * * * *

The grandfather is given fish to eat, and if it does not poison him and he remains alive, then all the family eat it.

* * * * *

A correspondence. A young man dreams of devoting himself to literature and constantly writes to his father about it; at last he gives up the civil service, goes to Petersburg, and devotes himself to literature–he becomes a censor.

* * * * *

First class sleeping car. Passengers numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9. They discuss daughters-in-law. Simple people suffer from mothers-in-law, intellectuals from daughters-in-law.

“My elder son’s wife is educated, arranges Sunday schools and libraries, but she is tactless, cruel, capricious, and physically revolting. At dinner she will suddenly go off into sham hysterics because of some article in the newspaper. An affected thing.” Another daughter-in-law: “In society she behaves passably, but at home she is a dolt, smokes, is miserly, and when she drinks tea, she keeps the sugar between her lips and teeth and speaks at the same time.”

* * * * *

Miss Mieschankina.

* * * * *

In the servants’ quarters Roman, a more or less dissolute peasant, thinks it his duty to look after the morals of the women servants.

* * * * *

A large fat barmaid–a cross between a pig and white sturgeon.

* * * * *

At Malo-Bronnaya (a street in Moscow). A little girl who has never been in the country feels it and raves about it, speaks about jackdaws, crows and colts, imagining parks and birds on trees.

* * * * *

Two young officers in stays.

* * * * *

A certain captain taught his daughter the art of fortification.

* * * * *

New literary forms always produce new forms of life and that is why they are so revolting to the conservative human mind.

* * * * *

A neurasthenic undergraduate comes home to a lonely country-house, reads French monologues, and finds them stupid.

* * * * *

People love talking of their diseases, although they are the most uninteresting things in their lives.

* * * * *

An official, who wore the portrait of the Governor’s wife, lent money on interest; he secretly becomes rich. The late Governor’s wife, whose portrait he has worn for fourteen years, now lives in a suburb, a poor widow; her son gets into trouble and she needs 4,000 roubles. She goes to the official, and he listens to her with a bored look and says: “I can’t do anything for you, my lady.”

* * * * *

Women deprived of the company of men pine, men deprived of the company of women become stupid.

* * * * *

A sick innkeeper said to the doctor: “If I get ill, then for the love of God come without waiting for a summons. My sister will never call you in, whatever happens; she is a miser, and your fee is three roubles a visit.” A month or two later the doctor heard that the innkeeper was seriously ill, and while he was making his preparations to go and see him, he received a letter from the sister saying: “My brother is dead.” Five days later the doctor happened to go to the village and was told there that the innkeeper had died that morning. Disgusted he went to the inn. The sister dressed in black stood in the corner reading a psalm book. The doctor began to upbraid her for her stinginess and cruelty. The sister went on reading the psalms, but between every two sentences she stopped to quarrel with him–“Lots of your like running about here…. The devils brought you here.” She belongs to the old faith, hates passionately and swears desperately.

* * * * *

The new governor made a speech to his clerks. He called the merchants together–another speech. At the annual prize-giving of the secondary school for girls–a speech on true enlightenment. To the representatives of the press a speech. He called the Jews together: “Jews, I have summoned you.” … A month or two passes–he does nothing. Again he calls the merchants together–a speech. Again the Jews: “Jews, I have summoned you.”… He has wearied them all. At last he says to his Chancellor: “No, the work is too much for me, I shall have to resign.”

* * * * *

A student at a village theological school was learning Latin by heart. Every half-hour he runs down to the maids’ room and, closing his eyes, feels and pinches them; they scream and giggle; he returns to his book again. He calls it “refreshing oneself.”

* * * * *

The Governor’s wife invited an official, who had a thin voice and was her adorer, to have a cup of chocolate with her, and for a week afterwards he was in bliss. He had saved money and lent it but not on interest. “I can’t lend you any, your son-in-law would gamble it away. No, I can’t.” The son-in-law is the husband of the daughter who once sat in a box in a boa; he lost at cards and embezzled Government money. The official, who was accustomed to herring and vodka, and who had never before drunk chocolate, felt sick after the chocolate. The expression on the lady’s face: “Aren’t I a darling?”; she spent any amount of money on dresses and looked forward to making a display of them–so she gave parties.

* * * * *

Going to Paris with one’s wife is like going to Tula[1] with one’s samovar.

[Footnote 1: Tula is a Russian city where samovars are manufactured.]

* * * * *

The young do not go in for literature, because the best of them work on steam engines, in factories, in industrial undertakings. All of them have now gone into industry, and industry is making enormous progress.

* * * * *

Families where the woman is bourgeoise easily breed adventurers, swindlers, and brutes without ideals.

* * * * *

A professor’s opinion: not Shakespeare, but the commentaries on him are the thing.

* * * * *

Let the coming generation attain happiness; but they surely ought to ask themselves, for what did their ancestors live and for what did they suffer.

* * * * *

Love, friendship, respect do not unite people as much as common hatred for something.

* * * * *

13th December. I saw the owner of a mill, the mother of a family, a rich Russian woman, who has never seen a lilac bush in Russia.

* * * * *

In a letter: “A Russian abroad, if not a spy, is a fool.” The neighbor goes to Florence to cure himself of love, but at a distance his love grows stronger.

* * * * *

Yalta. A young man, interesting, liked by a lady of forty. He is indifferent to her, avoids her. She suffers and at last, out of spite, gets up a scandal about him.

* * * * *

Pete’s mother even in her old age beaded her eyes.

* * * * *

Viciousness is a bag with which man is born.

* * * * *

B. said seriously that he is the Russian Maupassant. And so did S.

* * * * *

A Jewish surname: Cap.

* * * * *

A lady looking like a fish standing on its head; her mouth like a slit, one longs to put a penny in it.

* * * * *

Russians abroad: the men love Russia passionately, but the women don’t like her and soon forget her.

* * * * *

Chemist Propter.

* * * * *

Rosalie Ossipovna Aromat.

* * * * *

It is easier to ask of the poor than of the rich.

* * * * *

And she began to engage in prostitution, got used to sleeping on the bed, while her aunt, fallen into poverty, used to lie on the little carpet by her side and jumped up each time the bell rang; when they left, she would say mindingly, with a pathetic grimace; “Something for the chamber-maid.” And they would tip her sixpence.

* * * * *

Prostitutes in Monte Carlo, the whole tone is prostitutional; the palm trees, it seems, are prostitutes, and the chickens are prostitutes.

* * * * *

A big dolt, Z., a qualified nurse, of the Petersburg Rozhdestvensky School, having ideals, fell in love with X., a teacher, and believed him to be ideal, a public spirited worker after the manner of novels and stories of which she was so fond. Little by little she found him out, a drunkard, an idler, good-natured and not very clever. Dismissed, he began to live on his wife, sponged on her. He was an excrescence, a kind of sarcoma, who wasted her completely. She was once engaged to attend some intellectual country people, she went to them every day; they felt it awkward to give her money–and, to her great vexation, gave her husband a suit as a present. He would drink tea for hours and this infuriated her. Living with her husband she grew thin, ugly, spiteful, stamped her foot and shouted at him: “Leave me, you low fellow.” She hated him. She worked, and people paid the money to him, for, being a Zemstvo worker, she took no money, and it enraged her that their friends did not understand him and thought him ideal.

* * * * *

A young man made a million marks, lay down on them, and shot himself.

* * * * *

“That woman.” … “I married when I was twenty; I have not drunk a glass of vodka all my life, haven’t smoked a single cigarette.” After he had run off with another woman, people got to like him more and to believe him more, and, when he walked in the street, he began to notice that they had all become kinder and nicer to him–because he had fallen.

* * * * *

A man and woman marry because both of them don’t know what to do with themselves.

* * * * *

The power and salvation of a people lie in its intellegentsia, in the intellectuals who think honestly, feel, and can work.

* * * * *

A man without a mustache is like a woman with a mustache.

* * * * *

A man who cannot win a woman by a kiss will not win her by a blow.

* * * * *

For one sensible person there are a thousand fools, and for one sensible word there are a thousand stupid ones; the thousand overwhelms the one, and that is why cities and villages progress so slowly. The majority, the mass, always remain stupid; it will always overwhelm; the sensible man should give up hope of educating and lifting it up to himself; he had better call in the assistance of material force, build railways, telegraphs, telephones–in that way he will conquer and help life forward.

* * * * *

Really decent people are only to be found amongst men who have definite, either conservative or radical, convictions; so-called moderate men are much inclined to rewards, commissions, orders, promotions.

* * * * *

“What did your uncle die of?”

“Instead of fifteen Botkin drops,[1] as the doctor prescribed, he took sixteen.”

[Footnote 1: A very harmless purgative.]

* * * * *

A young philologist, who has just left the University, comes home to his native town. He is elected churchwarden. He does not believe in God, but goes to church regularly, makes the sign of the cross when passing near a church or chapel, thinking that that sort of thing is necessary for the people and that the salvation of Russia is bound up with it. He is elected chairman of the Zemstvo board and a Justice of the Peace, he wins orders and medals; he does not notice that he has reached the age of forty-five; then suddenly he realizes that all the time he has been acting and making a fool of himself, but it is now too late to change his way of life. Once in his sleep he suddenly hears like the report of a gun the words: “What are you doing?”–and he starts up all in a sweat.

* * * * *

One cannot resist evil, but one can resist good.

* * * * *

He flatters the authorities like a priest.

* * * * *

Instead of sheets–dirty tablecloths.

* * * * *

A Jewish surname: Perchik (little pepper).

* * * * *

A man in conversation: “And all the rest of it.”

* * * * *

A rich man, usually insolent, his conceit enormous, but bears his riches like a cross. If the ladies and generals did not dispense charity on his account, if it were not for the poor students and the beggars, he would feel the anguish of loneliness. If the beggars struck and agreed not to beg from him, he would go to them himself.

* * * * *

The husband invites his friends to his country-house in the Crimea, and afterwards his wife, without her husband’s knowledge, brings them the bill and is paid for board and lodging.

* * * * *

Potapov becomes attached to the brother, and this is the beginning of his falling in love with the sister. Divorces his wife. Afterwards the son sends him plans for a rabbit-hutch.

* * * * *

“I have sown clover and oats.”‘

“No good; you had much better sow lucerne.”

“I have begun to keep a pig.”

“No good. It does not pay. You had better go in for mares.”

* * * * *

A girl, a devoted friend, out of the best of motives, went about with a subscription list for X., who was not in want.

* * * * *

Why are the dogs of Constantinople so often described?

* * * * *

Disease: “He has got hydropathy.”

* * * * *

I visit a friend, find him at supper; there are many guests. It is very gay; I am glad to chatter with the women and drink wine. A wonderfully pleasant mood. Suddenly up gets N. with an air of importance, as though he were a public prosecutor, and makes a speech in my honor. “The magician of words … ideals … in our time when ideals grow dim … you are sowing wisdom, undying things….” I feel as if I had had a cover over me and that now the cover had been taken off and some one was aiming a pistol at me.

* * * * *

After the speech–a murmur of conversation, then silence. The gayety has gone. “You must speak now,” says my neighbor. But what can I say? I would gladly throw the bottle at him. And I go to bed with some sediment in my soul. “Look what a fool sits among you!”

* * * * *

The maid, when she makes the bed, always puts the slippers under the bed close to the wall. The fat master, unable to bear it any longer, gives the maid notice. It turns out that the doctor told her to put the slippers as far as possible under the bed so as to cure the man of his obesity.

* * * * *

The club blackballed a respectable man because all of the members were out of humor; they ruined his prospects.

* * * * *

A large factory. The young employer plays the superior to all and is rude to the employees who have University degrees. Only the gardener, a German, has the courage to be offended: “How dare you, gold bag?”

* * * * *

A tiny little schoolboy with the name of Trachtenbauer.

* * * * *

Whenever he reads in the newspaper about the death of a great man, he wears mourning.

* * * * *

In the theatre. A gentleman asks a lady to take her hat off, as it is in his way. Grumbling, disagreeableness, entreaties. At last a confession: “Madam, I am the author of the play.” She answered: “I don’t care.”

* * * * *

In order to act wisely it is not enough to be wise (Dostoevsky).

* * * * *

A. and B. have a bet. A. wins the wager, by eating twelve cutlets; B. does not pay even for the cutlets.

* * * * *

It is terrible to dine every day with a person who stammers and says stupid things.

* * * * *

Glancing at a plump, appetizing woman: “It is not a woman, it is a full moon.”

* * * * *

From her face one would imagine that under her stays she has got gills.

* * * * *

For a farce: Kapiton Ivanovitch Boil.

* * * * *

An income-tax inspector and an excise official, in order to justify their occupations to themselves, say spontaneously: “It is an interesting profession, there is a lot of work, it is a live occupation.”

* * * * *

At twenty she loved Z., at twenty-four she married N. not because she loved him, but because she thought him a good, wise, ideal man. The couple lived happily; every one envies them, and indeed their life passes smoothly and placidly; she is satisfied, and, when people discuss love, she says that for family life not love nor passion is wanted, but affection. But once the music played suddenly, and, inside her heart, everything broke up like ice in spring: she remembered Z. and her love for him, and she thought with despair that her life was ruined, spoilt for ever, and that she was unhappy. Then it happened to her with the New Year greetings; when people wished her “New Happiness,” she indeed longed for new happiness.

* * * * *

Z. goes to a doctor, who examines him and finds that he is suffering from heart disease. Z. abruptly changes his way of life, takes medicine, can only talk about his disease; the whole town knows that he has heart disease and all the doctors, whom he regularly consults, say that he has got heart disease. He does not marry, gives up amateur theatricals, does not drink, and when he walks does so slowly and hardly breathes. Eleven years later he has to go to Moscow and there he consults a specialist. The latter finds that his heart is perfectly sound. Z. is overjoyed, but he can no longer return to a normal life, for he has got accustomed to going to bed early and to walking slowly, and he is bored if he cannot speak of his disease. The only result is that he gets to hate doctors–that is all.

* * * * *

A woman is fascinated not by art, but by the noise made by those who have to do with art.

* * * * *

N., a dramatic critic, has a mistress X., an actress. Her benefit night. The play is rotten, the acting poor, but N. has to praise. He writes briefly: “The play and the leading actress had an enormous success. Particulars to-morrow.” As he wrote the last two words, he gave a sigh of relief. Next day he goes to X.; she opens the door, allows him to kiss and embrace her, and in a cutting tone says: “Particulars to-morrow.”

* * * * *

In Kislovodsk or some other watering-place Z. picked up a girl of twenty-two; she was poor, straightforward, he took pity on her and, in addition to her fee, he left twenty-five roubles on the chest of drawers; he left her room with the feeling of a man who has done a good deed. The next time he visited her, he noticed an expensive ash-tray and a man’s fur cap, bought out of his twenty-five roubles–the girl again starving, her cheeks hollow.

* * * * *

N. mortgages his estate with the Bank of the Nobility at 4 per cent, and then lends the money on mortgage at 12 per cent.

* * * * *

Aristocrats? The same ugly bodies and physical uncleanliness, the same toothless old age and disgusting death, as with market-women.

* * * * *

N., when a group is being photographed, always stands in the front row; on addresses he always signs the first; at anniversaries he is always the first to speak. Always wonders: “O soup! O pastries!”

* * * * *

Z. got tired of having visitors, and he hired a French woman to live in his house as if she were his mistress. This shocked the ladies and he no longer had visitors.

* * * * *

Z. is a torch-bearer at funerals. He is an idealist. “In the undertaker’s shop.”

* * * * *

N. and Z. are intimate friends, but when they meet in society, they at once make fun of one another–out of shyness.

* * * * *

Complaint: “My son Stepan was delicate, and I therefore sent him to school in the Crimea, but there he was caned with a vine-branch, and that gave him philoxera in the behind and now the doctors can not cure him.”

* * * * *

Mitya and Katya were told that their papa blasted rocks in the quarry. They wanted to blow up their cross grandpapa, so they took a pound of powder from their father’s room, put it in a bottle, inserted a wick, and placed it under their grandfather’s chair, when he was dozing after dinner; but soldiers marched by with the band playing–and this was the only thing that prevented them from carrying out their plan.

* * * * *

Sleep is a marvelous mystery of Nature which renews all the powers of man, bodily and spiritual. (Bishop Porphyrius Usgensky, “The Book of My Life.”)

* * * * *

A woman imagines that she has a peculiar, exceptional constitution, whose ailments are different from other people’s and which cannot stand ordinary medicine. She thinks that her son is unlike other people’s sons, that he has to be brought up differently. She believes in principles, but she thinks that they apply to every one but herself, because she lives in exceptional circumstances. The son grows up, and she tries to find an exceptional wife for him. Those around her suffer. The son turns out a scoundrel.

* * * * *

Poor long-suffering art!

* * * * *

A man whose madness takes the form of an idea that he is a ghost: walks at night.

* * * * *

A sentimental man, like Lavrov, has moments of pleasant emotion and makes the request: “Write a letter to my auntie in Briansk; she is a darling….”

* * * * *

There is a bad smell in the barn: ten years ago haymakers slept the night in it and ever since it smells.

* * * * *

An officer at a doctor’s. The money on a plate. The doctor can see in the looking-glass that the patient takes twenty-five roubles from the plate and pays him with it.

* * * * *

Russia is a nobody’s country!

* * * * *

Z. who is always saying banal things: “With the agility of a bear,” “on one’s favorite corn.”

* * * * *

A savings bank: the clerk, a very nice man, looks down on the bank, considers it useless–and yet goes on working there.

* * * * *

A radical lady, who crosses herself at night, is secretly full of prejudice and superstition, hears that in order to be happy one should boil a black cat by night. She steals a cat and tries to boil it.

* * * * *

A publisher’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Tears, a speech: “I offer ten roubles to the literary fund, the interest to be paid to the poorest writer, but on condition that a special committee is appointed to work out the rules according to which the distribution shall be made.”

* * * * *

He wore a blouse and despised those who wore frock coats. A stew of trousers.

* * * * *

The ice cream is made of milk in which, as it were, the patients bathed.

* * * * *

It was a grand forest of timber, but a Government Conservator was appointed, and in two years time there was no more timber; the caterpillar pest.

* * * * *

X.: “Choleraic disorder in my stomach started with the cider.”

* * * * *

Of some writers each work taken separately is brilliant, but taken as a whole they are indefinite; of others each particular work represents nothing outstanding; but, for all that, taken as a whole they are distinct and brilliant.

* * * * *

N. rings at the door of an actress; he is nervous, his heart beats, at the critical moment he gets into a panic and runs away; the maid opens the door and sees nobody. He returns, rings again–but has not the courage to go in. In the end the porter comes out and gives him a thrashing.

* * * * *

A gentle quiet schoolmistress secretly beats her pupils, because she believes in the good of corporal punishment.

* * * * *

N.: “Not only the dog, but even the horses howled.”

* * * * *

N. marries. His mother and sister see a great many faults in his wife; they are distressed, and only after four or five years realize that she is just like themselves.

* * * * *

The wife cried. The husband took her by the shoulders and shook her, and she stopped crying.

* * * * *

After his marriage everything–politics, literature, society–did not seem to him as interesting as they had before; but now every trifle concerning his wife and child became a most important matter.

* * * * *

“Why are thy songs so short?” a bird was once asked. “Is it because thou art short of breath?”

“I have very many songs and I should like to sing them all.”

(A. Daudet.)

* * * * *

The dog hates the teacher; they tell it not to bark at him; it looks, does not bark, only whimpers with rage.

* * * * *

Faith is a spiritual faculty; animals have not got it; savages and uncivilized people have merely fear and doubt. Only highly developed natures can have faith.

* * * * *

Death is terrible, but still more terrible is the feeling that you might live for ever and never die.

* * * * *

The public really loves in art that which is banal and long familiar, that to which they have grown accustomed.

* * * * *

A progressive, educated, young, but stingy school guardian inspects the school every day, makes long speeches there, but does not spend a penny on it: the school is falling to pieces, but he considers himself useful and necessary. The teacher hates him, but he does not notice it. The harm is great. Once the teacher, unable to stand it any longer, facing him with anger and disgust, bursts out swearing at him.

* * * * *

_Teacher_: “Poushkin’s centenary should not be celebrated; he did nothing for the church.”

* * * * *

Miss Guitarov (actress).

* * * * *

If you wish to become an optimist and understand life, stop believing what people say and write, observe and discover for yourself.

* * * * *

Husband and wife zealously followed X.’s idea and built up their life according to it as if it were a formula. Only just before death they asked themselves: “Perhaps that idea is wrong? Perhaps the saying ‘mens sana in corpore sano’ is untrue?”

* * * * *

I detest: a playful Jew, a radical Ukrainian, and a drunken German.

* * * * *

The University brings out all abilities, including stupidity.

* * * * *

Taking into consideration, dear sir, as a result of this view, dear sir….

* * * * *

The most intolerable people are provincial celebrities.

* * * * *

Owing to our flightiness, because the majority of us are unable and unaccustomed to think or to look deeply into life’s phenomena, nowhere else do people so often say: “How banal!” nowhere else do people regard so superficially, and often contemptuously other people’s merits or serious questions. On the other hand nowhere else does the authority of a name weigh so heavily as with us Russians, who have been abased by centuries of slavery and fear freedom….

* * * * *

A doctor advised a merchant to eat soup and chicken. The merchant thought the advice ironical. At first he ate a dinner of botvinia and pork, and then, as if recollecting the doctor’s orders, ordered soup and chicken and swallowed them down too, thinking it a great joke.

* * * * *

Father Epaminond catches fish and puts them in his pocket; then, when he gets home, he takes out a fish at a time, as he wants it, and fries it.

* * * * *

The nobleman X. sold his estate to N. with all the furniture according to an inventory, but he took away everything else, even the oven dampers, and after that N. hated all noblemen.

* * * * *

The rich, intellectual X., of peasant origin, implored his son:–“Mike, don’t get out of your class. Be a peasant until you die, do not become a nobleman, nor a merchant, nor a bourgeois. If, as you say, the Zemstvo officer now has the right to inflict corporal punishment on peasants, then let him also have the right to punish you.” He was proud of his peasant origin, he was even haughty about it.

* * * * *

They celebrated the birthday of an honest man. Took the opportunity to show off and praise one another. Only towards the end of the dinner they suddenly discovered that the man had not been invited; they had forgotten.

* * * * *

A gentle quiet woman, getting into a temper, says: “If I were a man, I would just bash your filthy mug.”

* * * * *

A Mussulman for the salvation of his soul digs a well. It would be a pleasant thing if each of us left a school, a well, or something like that, so that life should not pass away into eternity without leaving a trace behind it.

* * * * *

We are tired out by servility and hypocrisy.

* * * * *

N. once had his clothes torn by dogs, and now, when he pays a call anywhere, he asks: “Aren’t there any dogs here?”

* * * * *

A young pimp, in order to keep up his powers, always eats garlic.

* * * * *

School guardian. Widowed priest plays the harmonium and sings: “Rest with the saints.”

* * * * *

In July the red bird sings the whole morning.

* * * * *

“A large selection of _cigs”_[1]–so read X. every day when he went down the street, and wondered how one could deal only in _cigs_ and who wanted them. It took him thirty years before he read it correctly: “A large selection of cigars.”

[Footnote 1: _Cigs_ in Russian is a kind of fish.]

* * * * *

A bride to an engineer: a dynamite cartridge filled with one-hundred-rouble notes.

* * * * *

“I have not read Herbert Spencer. Tell me his subjects. What does he write about?” “I want to paint a panel for the Paris exhibition. Suggest a subject.” (A wearisome lady.)

* * * * *

The idle, so-called governing, classes cannot remain long without war. When there is no war they are bored, idleness fatigues and irritates them, they do not know what they live for; they bite one another, try to say unpleasant things to one another, if possible with impunity, and the best of them make the greatest efforts not to bore the others and themselves. But when war comes, it possesses all, takes hold of the imagination, and the common misfortune unites all.

* * * * *

An unfaithful wife is a large cold cutlet which one does not want to touch, because some one else has had it in his hands.

* * * * *

An old maid writes a treatise: “The tramline of piety.”

* * * * *

Ryzeborsky, Tovbin, Gremoukhin, Koptin.

* * * * *

She had not sufficient skin on her face; in order to open her eyes she had to shut her mouth and _vice versa_.

* * * * *

When she raises her skirt and shows her lace petticoat, it is obvious that she dresses like a woman who is accustomed to be seen by men.

* * * * *

X. philosophizes: “Take the word ‘nose.’ In Russia it seems something unmentionable means the deuce knows what, one may say the indecent part of the body, and in French it means wedding.” And indeed X.’s nose was an indecent part of the body.

* * * * *

A girl, flirting, chatters: “All are afraid of me … men, and the wind … all leave me alone! I shall never marry.” And at home poverty, her father a regular drunkard. And if people could see how she and her mother work, how she screens her father, they would feel the deepest respect for her and would wonder why she is so ashamed of poverty and work, and is not ashamed of that chatter.

* * * * *

A restaurant. An advanced conversation Andrey Andreyevitch, a good-natured bourgeois, suddenly declares: “Do you know gentlemen, I was once an anarchist!” Every one is astonished. A.A. tells the following tale: a strict father; a technical school opened in the provincial town in a craze for technical education; they have no ideas and they did not know what to teach (since, if you are going to make shoemakers of all the inhabitants, who will buy the shoes?); he was expelled and his father turned him out of the house; he had to take a job as an assistant clerk on the squire’s estate; he became enraged with the rich, the well-fed, and the fat; the squire planted cherry trees, A.A. helped him, and suddenly a desire came over him to cut off the squire’s white fat fingers with the spade, as if it were by accident; and closing his eyes he struck a blow with the shovel as hard as he could, but it missed. Then he went away; the forest, the quiet in the fields, rain; he longed for warmth, went to his aunt, she gave him tea and rolls–and his anarchism was gone. After the story there passed by the table Councillor of State L. Immediately A.A. gets up and explains how L., Councillor of State, owns houses, etc.

* * * * *

I was apprenticed to a tailor. He cut the trousers; I did the sewing, but the stripe came down here right over the knee. Then I was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker. I was planing once when the plane flew out of my hands and hit the window; it broke the glass. The squire was a Lett, his name Shtoppev[1]; and he had an expression on his face as if he were going to wink and say: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a drink?” In the evenings he drank, drank by himself–and I felt hurt.

[Footnote 1: _Shtopov_ means “cork-screw.”]

* * * * *

A dealer in cider puts labels on his bottles with a crown printed on them. It irritates and vexes X. who torments himself with the idea that a mere trader is usurping the crown. X complains to the authorities, worries every one, seeks redress and so on; he dies from irritation and worry.

* * * * *

A governess is teased with the nickname Gesticulation.

* * * * *

Shaptcherigin, Zambisebulsky, Sveentchutka, Chemburaklya.

* * * * *

Senile pomposity, senile vindictiveness. What a number of despicable old men I have known!

* * * * *

How delightful when on a bright frosty morning a new sleigh with a rug comes to the door.

* * * * *

X. arrived to take up duty at N., he shows himself a despot: he is annoyed when some one else is a success; he becomes quite different in the presence of a third person; when a woman is present, his tone changes; when he pours out wine, he first puts a little in his own glass and then helps the company; when he walks with a lady he takes her arm; in general he tries to show refinement. He does not laugh at other people’s jokes: “You repeat yourself.” “There is nothing new in that.” Every one is sick of him; he sermonizes. The old women nickname him “the top.”

* * * * *

A man who can not do anything, does not know how to act, how to enter a room, how to ask for anything.

* * * * *

Utiujny

* * * * *

A man who always insists: “I haven’t got syphilis. I’m an honest man. My wife is an honest woman.”

* * * * *

X. all his life spoke and wrote about the vices of servants and about the way to manage and control them, and he died deserted by every one except his valet and his cook.

* * * * *

A little girl with rapture about her aunt: “She is very beautiful, as beautiful as our dog!”

* * * * *

Marie Ivanovna Kolstovkin.

* * * * *

In a love letter: “Stamp enclosed for a reply.”

* * * * *

The best men leave the villages for the towns, and therefore the villages decline and will continue to decline.

* * * * *

Pavel was a cook for forty years; he loathed the things which he cooked and he never ate.

* * * * *

He ceased to love a woman; the sensation of not being in love; a peaceful state of mind; long peaceful thoughts.

* * * * *

Conservative people do so little harm because they are timid and have no confidence in themselves; harm is done not by conservative but by malicious people.

* * * * *

One of two things: either sit in the carriage or get out of it.

* * * * *

For a play: an old woman of radical views dresses like a girl, smokes, cannot exist without company, sympathetic.

* * * * *

In a Pullman car–these are the dregs of society.

* * * * *

On the lady’s bosom was the portrait of a fat German.

* * * * *

A man who at all elections all his life long always voted against the Left.

* * * * *

They undressed the corpse, but had no time to take the gloves off; a corpse in gloves.

* * * * *

A farmer at dinner boasts: “Life in the country is cheap–one has one’s own chickens, one’s own pigs–life is cheap.”

* * * * *

A customs official, from want of love for his work, searches the passengers, looking for documents of a suspicious political nature, and makes even the gendarmes indignant.

* * * * *

A real male (mouzhtchina) consists of man (mouzh) and title (tchin).

* * * * *

Education: “Masticate your food properly,” their father told them. And they masticated properly, and walked two hours every day, and washed in cold water, and yet they turned out unhappy and without talent.

* * * * *

Commercial and industrial medicine.

* * * * *

N. forty years old married a girl seventeen. The first night, when they returned to his mining village, she went to bed and suddenly burst into tears, because she did not love him. He is a good soul, is overwhelmed with distress, and goes off to sleep in his little working room.

* * * * *

On the spot where the former manor house stood there is no trace left; only one lilac bush remains and that for some reason does not bloom.

* * * * *

Son: “To-day I believe is Thursday.”

Mother: (not having heard) “What?”

Son: (angrily) “Thursday!” (quietly) “I ought to take a bath.”

Mother: “What?”

Son: (angry and offended) “Bath!”

* * * * *

N. goes to X. every day, talks to him, and shows real sympathy in his grief; suddenly X. leaves his house, where he was so comfortable. N. asks X.’s mother why he went away. She answers: “Because you came to see him every day.”

* * * * *

It was such a romantic wedding, and later–what fools! what babies!

* * * * *

Love. Either it is a remnant of something degenerating, something which once has been immense, or it is a particle of what will in the future develop into something immense; but in the present it is unsatisfying, it gives much less than one expects.

* * * * *

A very intellectual man all his life tells lies about hypnotism, spiritualism–and people believe him; yet he is quite a nice man.

* * * * *

In Act I, X., a respectable man, borrows a hundred roubles from N., and in the course of all four acts he does not pay it back.

* * * * *

A grandmother has six sons and three daughters, and best of all she loves the failure, who drinks and has been in prison.

* * * * *

N., the manager of a factory, rich, with a wife and children, happy, has written “An investigation into the mineral spring at X.” He was much praised for it and was invited to join the staff of a newspaper; he gave up his post, went to Petersburg, divorced his wife, spent his money–and went to the dogs.

* * * * *

(Looking at a photograph album): “Whose ugly face is that?”

“That’s my uncle.”

* * * * *

Alas, what is terrible is not the skeletons, but the fact that I am no longer terrified by them.

* * * * *

A boy of good family, capricious, full of mischief, obstinate, wore out his whole family. The father, an official who played the piano, got to hate him, took him into a corner of the garden, flogged him with considerable pleasure, and then felt disgusted with himself. The son has grown up and is an officer.

* * * * *

N. courted Z. for a long time. She was very religious, and, when he proposed to her, she put a dried flower, which he had once given to her, into her prayer-book.

* * * * *

Z: “As you are going to town, post my letter in the letter-box.”

N: (alarmed) “Where? I don’t know where the letter-box is.”

Z: “Will you also call at the chemist’s and get me some naphthaline?”

N: (alarmed) “I’ll forget the naphthaline, I’ll forget.”

* * * * *

A storm at sea. Lawyers ought to regard it as a crime.

* * * * *

X. went to stay with his friend in the country. The place was magnificent, but the servants treated him badly, he was uncomfortable, although his friend considered him a big man. The bed was hard, he was not provided with a night shirt and he felt ashamed to ask for one.

* * * * *

At a rehearsal. The wife:

“How does that melody in Pagliacci go? Whistle it.”

“One must not whistle on the stage; the stage is a temple.”

* * * * *

He died from fear of cholera.

* * * * *

As like as a nail is to a requiem.

* * * * *

A conversation on another planet about the earth a thousand years hence. “Do you remember that white tree?”

* * * * *

Anakhthema!

* * * * *

Zigzagovsky, Oslizin, Svintchulka, Derbaliguin.

* * * * *

A woman with money, the money hidden everywhere, in her bosom and between her legs….

* * * * *

All that procedure.

* * * * *

Treat your dismissal as you would an atmospheric phenomenon.

* * * * *

A conversation at a conference of doctors. First doctor: “All diseases can be cured by salt.” Second doctor, military: “Every disease can be cured by prescribing no salt.” The first points to his wife, the second to his daughter.

* * * * *

The mother has ideals, the father too; they delivered lectures; they built schools, museums, etc. They grow rich. And their children are most ordinary; spend money, gamble on the Stock Exchange.

* * * * *

N. married a German when she was seventeen. He took her to live in Berlin. At forty she became a widow and by that time spoke Russian badly and German badly.

* * * * *

The husband and wife loved having visitors, because, when there were no visitors they quarreled.

* * * * *

It is an absurdity! It is an anachronism!

* * * * *

“Shut the window! You are perspiring! Put on an overcoat! Put on goloshes!”

* * * * *

If you wish to have little spare time, do nothing.

* * * * *

On a Sunday morning in summer is heard the rumble of a carriage–people driving to mass.

* * * * *

For the first time in her life a man kissed her hand; it was too much for her, it turned her head.

* * * * *

What wonderful names: the little tears of Our Lady, warbler, crows-eyes.[1]

[Footnote 1: The names of flowers.]

* * * * *

A government forest officer with shoulder straps, who has never seen a forest.

* * * * *

A gentleman owns a villa near Mentone; he bought it out of the proceeds of the sale of his estate in the Tula province. I saw him in Kharkhov to which he had come on business; he gambled away the villa at cards and became a railway clerk; after that he died.

* * * * *

At supper he noticed a pretty woman and choked; a little later he caught sight of another pretty woman and choked again, so that he did not eat his supper–there were a lot of pretty women.

* * * * *