Anton Pavlovich Chekhov.

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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.

* * * * *


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