Anton Pavlovich Chekhov.

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* * * * *

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.

* * * * *


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