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◈ Letters of Anton Chekhov (안톤 체호프의 편지) ◈

◇ Letters 5 ◇

해설목차  서문  1권  2권  3권  4권  5권  6권 안톤 체호프

1. TO GORKY.

1.1. YALTA, January 2, 1900.

 
1
PRECIOUS ALEXEY MAXIMOVITCH,
2
I wish you a happy New Year! How are you getting on? How are you feeling? When are you coming to Yalta? Write fully. I have received the photograph, it is very good; many thanks for it.
 
3
Thank you, too, for the trouble you have taken in regard to our committee for assisting invalids coming here. Send any money there is or will be to me, or to the executive of the Benevolent Society, no matter which.
 
4
My story (i.e., “In the Ravine”) has already been sent off to Zhizn. Did I tell you that I liked your story “An Orphan” extremely, and sent it to Moscow to first-rate readers? There is a certain Professor Foht in the Medical Faculty in Moscow who reads Slyeptsov capitally. I don’t know a better reader. So I have sent your “Orphan” to him. Did I tell you how much I liked a story in your third volume, “My Travelling Companion”? There is the same strength in it as “In the Steppe.” If I were you, I would take the best things out of your three volumes and republish them in one volume at a rouble—and that would be something really remarkable for vigour and harmony. As it is, everything seems shaken up together in the three volumes; there are no weak things, but it leaves an impression as though the three volumes were not the work of one author but of seven.
 
5
Scribble me a line or two.
 

2. TO O. L. KNIPPER.

2.1. YALTA, January 2, 1900.

 
1
My greetings, dear actress! Are you angry that I haven’t written for so long? I used to write often, but you didn’t get my letters because our common acquaintance intercepted them in the post.
 
2
I wish you all happiness in the New Year. I really do wish you happiness and bow down to your little feet. Be happy, wealthy, healthy, and gay.
 
3
We are getting on pretty well, we eat a great deal, chatter a great deal, laugh a great deal, and often talk of you. Masha will tell you when she goes back to Moscow how we spent Christmas.
 
4
I have not congratulated you on the success of “Lonely Lives.” I still dream that you will all come to Yalta, that I shall see “Lonely Lives” on the stage, and congratulate you really from my heart. I wrote to Meierhold, [Footnote: An actor at the Art Theatre at that time playing Johannes in Hauptmann’s “Lonely Lives.”] and urged him in my letter not to be too violent in the part of a nervous man. The immense majority of people are nervous, you know: the greater number suffer, and a small proportion feel acute pain; but where—in streets and in houses—do you see people tearing about, leaping up, and clutching at their heads? Suffering ought to be expressed as it is expressed in life—that is, not by the arms and legs, but by the tone and expression; not by gesticulation, but by grace. Subtle emotions of the soul in educated people must be subtly expressed in an external way. You will say—stage conditions. No conditions allow falsity.
 
5
My sister tells me that you played “Anna” exquisitely. Ah, if only the Art Theatre would come to Yalta! Novoye Vremya highly praised your company. There is a change of tactics in that quarter; evidently they are going to praise you all even in Lent. My story, a very queer one, will be in the February number of Zhizn. There are a great number of characters, there is scenery too, there’s a crescent moon, there’s a bittern that cries far, far away: “Boo-oo! boo-oo!” like a cow shut up in a shed. There’s everything in it.
 
6
Levitan is with us. Over my fireplace he has painted a moonlight night in the hayfield, cocks of hay, forest in the distance, a moon reigning on high above it all.
 
7
Well, the best of health to you, dear, wonderful actress. I have been pining for you.
 
8
And when are you going to send me your photograph? What treachery!
 

3. TO A. S. SUVORIN.

3.1. YALTA, January 8, 1900.

 
1
... My health is not so bad. I feel better than I did last year, but yet the doctors won’t let me leave Yalta. I am as tired and sick of this charming town as of a disagreeable wife. It’s curing me of tuberculosis, but it’s making me ten years older. If I go to Nice it won’t be before February. I am writing a little; not long ago I sent a long story to Zhizn. Money is short, all I have received so far from Marks for the plays is gone by now....
 
2
If Prince Baryatinsky is to be judged by his paper, I must own I was unjust to him, for I imagined him very different from what he is. They will shut up his paper, of course, but he will long maintain his reputation as a good journalist. You ask me why the Syeverny Kurier is successful? Because our society is exhausted, hatred has turned it as rank and rotten as grass in a bog, and it has a longing for something fresh, free, light—a desperate longing.
 

 
3
I often see the academician Kondakov here. We talk of the Pushkin section of belles-lettres. As Kondakov will take part in the elections of future academicians, I am trying to hypnotize him, and suggest that they should elect Barantsevitch and Mihailovsky. The former is broken down and worn out. He is unquestionably a literary man, is poverty-stricken in his old age.... An income and rest would be the very thing for him. The latter—that is Mihailovsky—would make a good foundation for the new section, and his election would satisfy three-quarters of the brotherhood. But my hypnotism failed, my efforts came to nothing. The supplementary clauses to the statute are like Tolstoy’s After-word to the Kreutzer Sonata. The academicians have done all they can to protect themselves from literary men, whose society shocks them as the society of the Russian academicians shocked the Germans. Literary men can only be honorary academicians, and that means nothing—it is just the same as being an honorary citizen of the town of Vyazma or Tcherepovets, there is no salary and no vote attached. A clever way out of it! The professors will be elected real academicians, and those of the writers will be elected honorary academicians who do not live in Petersburg, and so cannot be present at the sittings and abuse the professors.
 
4
I hear the muezzin calling in the minaret. The Turks are very religious; it’s their fast now, they eat nothing the whole day. They have no religious ladies, that element which makes religion shallow as the sand does the Volga.
 
5
You do well to print the martyrology of Russian towns avoided by the extortionate railway contractors. Here is what the famous author Chekhov wrote on the subject in his story “My Life.” [Footnote: Appended to the letter was a printed cutting.] Railway contractors are revengeful people; refuse them a trifle, and they will punish you for it all your life—and it’s their tradition.
 
6
Thanks for your letter, thanks for your indulgence.
 

4. TO P. I. KURKIN.

4.1. YALTA, January 18, 1900.

 
1
DEAR PYOTR IVANOVITCH,
2
Thank you for your letter. I have long been wanting to write to you, but have never had time, under the load of business and official correspondence. Yesterday was the 17th of January—my name-day, and the day of my election to the Academy. What a lot of telegrams! And what a lot of letters still to come! And I must answer all of them, or posterity will accuse me of not knowing the laws of good manners.
 
3
There is news, but I won’t tell you it now (no time), but later on. I am not very well. I was ailing all yesterday. I press your hand heartily. Keep well.
 

5. TO V. M. SOBOLEVSKY.

5.1. YALTA, January 19, 1900.

 
1
DEAR VASSILY MIHAILOVITCH,
2
In November I wrote a story [Footnote: “In the Ravine.”] fully intending to send it to Russkiya Vyedomosti, but the story lengthened out beyond the sixteen pages, and I had to send it elsewhere. Then Elpatyevsky and I decided to send you a telegram on New Year’s Eve, but there was such a rush and a whirl that we let the right moment slip, and now I send you my New Year wishes. Forgive me my many transgressions. You know how deeply I love and respect you, and if the intervals in our correspondence are prolonged it’s merely external causes that are to blame.
 
3
I am alive and almost well. I am often ill, but not for long at a time; and I haven’t once been kept in bed this winter, I keep about though I am ill. I am working harder than I did last year, and I am more bored. It’s bad being without Russia in every way.... All the evergreen trees look as though they were made of tin, and one gets no joy out of them. And one sees nothing interesting, as one has no taste for the local life.
 
4
Elpatyevsky and Kondakov are here. The former has run up a huge house for himself which towers above all Yalta; the latter is going to Petersburg to take his seat in the Academy—and is glad to go. Elpatyevsky is cheerful and hearty, always in good spirits, goes out in all weathers, in a summer overcoat; Kondakov is irritably sarcastic, and goes about in a fur coat. Both often come and see me and we speak of you.
 
5
V. A. wrote that she had bought a piece of land in Tuapse. Oy-oy! but the boredom there is awful, you know. There are Tchetchentsi and scorpions, and worst of all there are no roads, and there won’t be any for a long time. Of all warm places in Russia the best are on the south coast of the Crimea, there is no doubt of that, whatever they may say about the natural beauties of the Caucasus. I have been lately to Gurzufa, near Pushkin’s rock, and admired the view, although it rained and although I am sick to death of views. In the Crimea it is snugger and nearer to Russia. Let V. A. sell her place in Tuapse or make a present of it to someone, and I will find her a bit of the sea-front with bathing, and a bay, in the Crimea.
 
6
When you are in Vosdvizhenka give my respects and greetings to Varvara Alexyevna, Varya, Natasha, and Glyeb. I can fancy how Glyeb and Natasha have grown. Now if only you would all come here for Easter, I could have a look at you all. Don’t forget me, please, and don’t be angry with me. I send you my warmest good wishes. I press your hand heartily and embrace you.
 

6. TO G. I. ROSSOLIMO.

6.1. YALTA, January 21, 1900.

 
1
DEAR GRIGORY IVANOVITCH,
2
... I send you in a registered parcel what I have that seems suitable for children—two stories of the life of a dog. And I think I have nothing else of the sort. I don’t know how to write for children; I write for them once in ten years, and so-called children’s books I don’t like and don’t believe in. Children ought only to be given what is suitable also for grown-up people. Andersen, “The Frigate Pallada,” Gogol, are easily read by children and also by grown-up people. Books should not be written for children, but one ought to know how to choose from what has been written for grown-up people—that is, from real works of art. To be able to select among drugs, and to administer them in suitable doses, is more direct and consistent than trying to invent a special remedy for the patient because he is a child. Forgive the medical comparison. It’s in keeping with the moment, perhaps, as for the last four days I have been occupied with medicine, doctoring my mother and myself. Influenza no doubt. Fever and headache.
 
3
If I write anything, I will let you know in due time, but anything I write can only be published by one man—Marks! For anything published by anyone else I have to pay a fine of 5,000 roubles (per signature)....
 

7. TO O. L. KNIPPER.

7.1. YALTA, January 22, 1900.

 
1
DEAR ACTRESS,
2
On January 17th I had telegrams from your mother and your brother, from your uncle Alexandr Ivanovitch (signed Uncle Sasha), and from N. N. Sokolovsky. Be so good as to give them my warm thanks and the expression of my sincere feeling for them.
 
3
Why don’t you write?—what has happened? Or are you already so fascinated? ... Well, there is no help for it. God be with you!
 
4
I am told that in May you will be in Yalta. If that is settled, why shouldn’t you make inquiries beforehand about the theatre? The theatre here is let on lease, and you could not get hold of it without negotiating with the tenant, Novikov the actor. If you commission me to do so I would perhaps talk to him about it.
 
5
The 17th, my name-day and the day of my election to the Academy, passed dingily and gloomily, as I was unwell. Now I am better, but my mother is ailing. And these little troubles completely took away all taste and inclination for a name-day or election to the Academy, and they, too, have hindered me from writing to you and answering your telegram at the proper time.
 
6
Mother is getting better now.
 
7
I see the Sredins at times. They come to see us, and I go to them very, very rarely, but still I do go....
 
8
So, then, you are not writing to me and not intending to write very soon either.... X. is to blame for all that. I understand you!
 
9
I kiss your little hand.
 

8. TO F. D. BATYUSHKOV.

8.1. YALTA, January 24, 1900.

 
1
MUCH RESPECTED F. D.,
2
Roche asks me to send him the passages from “Peasants” which were cut out by the Censor, but there were no such passages. There is one chapter which has not appeared in the magazine, nor in the book. It was a conversation of the peasants about religion and government. But there is no need to send that chapter to Paris, as indeed there was no need to translate “Peasants” into French at all.
 
3
I thank you most sincerely for the photograph; Ryepin’s illustration is an honour I had not expected or dreamed of. It will be very pleasant to have the original; tell Ilya Efimovitch [Footnote: Ryepin, who was, at the request of Roche, the French translator, illustrating the French edition of Chekhov’s “Peasants.”] that I shall expect it with impatience, and that he cannot change his mind now, as I have already bequeathed the original to the town of Taganrog—in which, by the way, I was born.
 
4
In your letter you speak of Gorky: how do you like Gorky? I don’t like everything he writes, but there are things I like very, very much, and to my mind there is not a shadow of doubt that Gorky is made of the dough of which artists are made. He is the real thing. He’s a fine man, clever, thinking, and thoughtful. But there is a lot of unnecessary ballast upon him and in him—for example, his provincialism....
 
5
Thanks very much for your letter, for remembering me. I am dull here, I am sick of it, and I have a feeling as though I have been thrown overboard. And the weather’s bad too, and I am not well. I still go on coughing. All good wishes.
 

9. TO M. O. MENSHIKOV.

9.1. YALTA, January 28, 1900.

 
1
... I can’t make out what Tolstoy’s illness is. Tcherinov has sent me no answer, and from what I read in the papers and what you write me now I can draw no conclusion. Ulcers in the stomach and intestines would give different indications: they are not present, or there have been a few bleeding wounds caused by gall-stones which have passed and lacerated the walls. There is no cancer either. It would have shown itself first in the appetite, in the general condition, and above all the face would have betrayed cancer if he had had it. The most likely thing is that L. N. is in good health (apart from the gall-stones), and will live another twenty years. His illness frightened me, and kept me on tenter-hooks. I am afraid of Tolstoy’s death. If he were to die there would be a big empty place in my life. To begin with, because I have never loved any man as much as him. I am not a believing man, but of all beliefs I consider his the nearest and most akin to me. Secondly, while Tolstoy is in literature it is easy and pleasant to be a literary man; even recognizing that one has done nothing and never will do anything is not so dreadful, since Tolstoy will do enough for all. His work is the justification of the enthusiasms and expectations built upon literature. Thirdly, Tolstoy takes a firm stand, he has an immense authority, and so long as he is alive, bad tastes in literature, vulgarity of every kind, insolent and lachrymose, all the bristling, exasperated vanities will be in the far background, in the shade. Nothing but his moral authority is capable of maintaining a certain elevation in the moods and tendencies of literature so called. Without him they would be a flock without a shepherd, or a hotch-potch, in which it would be difficult to discriminate anything.
 
2
To finish with Tolstoy, I have something to say about “Resurrection,” which I have read not piecemeal, in parts, but as a whole, at one go. It is a remarkable artistic production. The least interesting part is all that is said of Nehludov’s relations with Katusha; and the most interesting the princes, the generals, the aunts, the peasants, the convicts, the warders. The scene in the house of the General in command of the Peter-Paul Fortress, the spiritualist, I read with a throbbing heart—it is so good! And Madame Kortchagin in the easy chair; and the peasant, the husband of Fedosya! The peasant calls his grandmother “an artful one.” That’s just what Tolstoy’s pen is—an artful one. There’s no end to the novel, what there is you can’t call an end. To write and write, and then to throw the whole weight of it on a text from the Gospel, that is quite in the theological style. To settle it all by a text from the Gospel is as arbitrary as dividing the convicts into five classes. Why into five and not into ten? He must make us believe in the Gospel, in its being the truth, and then settle it all by texts.
 
3
... They write about Tolstoy as old women talk about a crazy saint, all sorts of unctuous nonsense; it’s a mistake for him to talk to those people....
 
4
They have elected Tolstoy [Footnote: An honorary Academician.]—against the grain. According to notions there, he is a Nihilist. Anyway, that’s what he was called by a lady, the wife of an actual privy councillor, and I heartily congratulate him upon it....
 

10. TO L. S. MIZINOV.

10.1. YALTA, January 29, 1900.

 
1
DEAR LIRA,
2
They have written to me that you have grown very fat and become dignified, and I did not expect that you would remember me and write to me. But you have remembered me—and thank you very much for it, dear. You write nothing about your health: evidently it’s not bad, and I am glad. I hope your mother is well and that everything is going on all right. I am nearly well; I am ill from time to time, but not often, and only because I am old—the bacilli have nothing to do with it. And when I see a lovely woman now I smile in an aged way, and drop my lower lip—that’s all.
 

 
3
Lika, I am dreadfully bored in Yalta. My life does not run or flow, but crawls along. Don’t forget me; write to me now and then, anyway. In your letters just as in your life you are a very interesting woman. I press your hand warmly.
 

11. TO GORKY.

11.1. YALTA, February 3, 1900.

 
1
DEAR ALEXEY MAXIMOVITCH,
2
Thank you for your letter, for the lines about Tolstoy and about “Uncle Vanya,” which I haven’t seen on the stage; thanks altogether for not forgetting me. Here in this blessed Yalta one could hardly keep alive without letters. The idleness, the idiotic winter with the temperature always above freezing-point, the complete absence of interesting women, the pig-faces on the sea-front—all this may spoil a man and wear him out in a very short time. I am tired of it; it seems to me as though the winter had been going on for ten years.
 
3
You have pleurisy. If so, why do you stay on in Nizhni. Why? What do you want with that Nizhni, by the way? What glue keeps you sticking to that town? If you like Moscow, as you write, why don’t you live in Moscow? In Moscow there are theatres and all the rest of it, and, what matters most of all, Moscow is handy for going abroad; while living in Nizhni you’ll stick in Nizhni, and never go further than Vasilsursk. You want to see more, to know more, to have a wider range. Your imagination is quick to seize and hold, but it is like a big oven which is not provided with fuel enough. One feels this in general, and in particular in the stories: you present two or three figures in a story, but these figures stand apart, outside the mass; one sees that these figures are living in your imagination, but only these figures—the mass is not grasped. I except from this criticism your Crimean things (for instance, “My Travelling Companion”), in which, besides the figures, there is a feeling of the human mass out of which they have come, and atmosphere and background—everything, in fact. See what a lecture I am giving you—and all that you may not go on staying in Nizhni. You are a young man, strong and tough; if I were you I should make a tour in India and all sorts of places. I would take my degree in two or more faculties—I would, yes, I would! You laugh, but I do feel so badly treated at being forty already, at having asthma and all sorts of horrid things which prevent my living freely. Anyway, be a good fellow and a good comrade, and don’t be angry with me for preaching at you like a head priest.
 
4
Write to me. I look forward to “Foma Gordeyev,” which I haven’t yet read properly.
 
5
There is no news. Keep well, I press your hand warmly.
 

12. TO O. L. KNIPPER.

12.1. YALTA, February 10, 1900.

 
1
DEAR ACTRESS,
2
The winter is very cold, I am not well, no one has written to me for nearly a whole month—and I had made up my mind that there was nothing left for me but to go abroad, where it is not so dull; but now it has begun to be warmer, and it’s better, and I have decided that I shall go abroad only at the end of the summer, for the exhibition.
 
3
And you, why are you depressed? What are you depressed about? You are living, working, hoping, drinking; you laugh when your uncle reads aloud to you—what more do you want? I am a different matter. I am torn up by the roots, I am not living a full life, I don’t drink, though I am fond of drinking; I love noise and don’t hear it—in fact, I am in the condition of a transplanted tree which is hesitating whether to take root or to begin to wither. If I sometimes allow myself to complain of boredom, I have some grounds for doing so—but you? And Meierhold is complaining of the dulness of his life too. Aie, aie!
 
4
By the way, about Meierhold—he ought to spend the whole summer in the Crimea. His health needs it. Only it must be for the whole summer.
 
5
Well, now I am all right again. I am doing nothing because I intend to set to work. I dig in the garden. You write that for you, little people, the future is wrapped in mystery. I had a letter from your chief Nemirovitch not long ago. He writes that the company is going to be in Sevastopol, then in Yalta at the beginning of May: in Yalta there will be five performances, then evening rehearsals. Only the precious members of the company will remain for the rehearsals, the others can have a holiday where they please. I trust that you are precious. To the director you are precious, to the author you are priceless. There is a pun for a titbit for you. I won’t write another word to you till you send me your portrait.
 
6
Thank you for your good wishes in regard to my marriage. I have informed my fiancee of your design of coming to Yalta in order to cut her out a little. She said that if “that horrid woman” comes to Yalta, she will hold me tight in her embrace. I observed that to be embraced for so long in hot weather was not hygienic. She was offended and grew thoughtful, as though she were trying to guess in what surroundings I had picked up this facon de parler, and after a little while said that the theatre was an evil and that my intention of writing no more plays was extremely laudable—and asked me to kiss her. To this I replied that it was not proper for me to be so free with my kisses now that I am an academician. She burst into tears, and I went away.
 
7
In the spring the company will be in Harkov too. I will come and meet you then, only don’t talk of that to anyone. Nadyezhda Ivanovna has gone off to Moscow.
 

13. TO A. S. SUVORIN.

13.1. YALTA, February 12, 1900.

 
1
I have been racking my brains over your fourth act, and have come to no conclusion except, perhaps, that you must not end it up with Nihilists. It’s too turbulent and screaming; a quiet, lyrical, touching ending would be more in keeping with your play. When your heroine begins to grow old without arriving at anything or deciding anything for herself, and sees that she is forsaken by all, that she is uninteresting and superfluous, when she understands that the people around her were idle, useless, bad people (her father too), and that she has let her life slip—is not that more dreadful than the Nihilists?
 
2
Your letters about “The Russalka” and Korsh are very good. The tone is brilliant, and they are wonderfully written. But about Konovalov and the jury, I think you ought not to have written, however alluring the subject. Let A—-t write as much as he likes about it, but not you, for it is not your affair. To treat such questions boldly and with conviction, one must be a man with a single purpose, while you would go off at a tangent halfway through the letter—as you have done—saying suddenly that we all sometimes desire to kill someone, and desire the death of our neighbours. When a daughter-in-law feels sick and tired of an invalid mother-in-law, a spiteful old woman, she, the daughter-in-law, feels easier at the thought that the old woman will soon die: but that’s not desiring her death, but weariness, an exhausted spirit, vexation, longing for peace. If that daughter-in-law were ordered to kill the old woman, she would sooner kill herself, whatever desire might have been brooding in her heart.
 
3
Why, of course jurymen may make a mistake, but what of that? It does happen by mistake that help is given to the well-fed instead of to the hungry, but whatever you write on that subject, you will reach no result but harm to the hungry. Whether from our point of view the jury are mistaken or not mistaken, we ought to recognize that in each individual case they form a conscious judgment and make an effort to do so conscientiously; and if a captain steers his steamer conscientiously, continually consulting the chart and the compass, and if the steamer is shipwrecked all the same, would it not be more correct to put down the shipwreck not to the captain, but to something else—for instance, to think that the chart is out of date or that the bottom of the sea has changed? Yes, there are three points the jury have to take into consideration: (1) Apart from the criminal law, the penal code and legal procedure, there is a moral law which is always in advance of the established law, and which defines our actions precisely when we try to act on our conscience; thus, for instance, the heritage of a daughter is laid down by law as a seventh part. But you, acting on the dictates of purely moral principle, go beyond the law and in opposition to it, and bequeath her the same share as your sons, for you know that to act otherwise would be acting against your conscience. In the same way it sometimes happens to the jury to be put in a position in which they feel that their conscience is not satisfied by the established law, that in the case they are judging there are fine shades and subtleties which cannot be brought under the provisions of the penal code, and that obviously something else is needed for a just judgment, and that for the lack of that “something” they will be forced to give a judgment in which something is lacking. (2) The jury know that acquittal is not pardon, and that acquittal does not deliver the prisoner from the day of judgment in the other world, from the judgment of his conscience, from the judgment of public opinion; they decide the question only so far as it is a judicial question, and leave A——t to decide whether it is good to kill children or bad. (3) The prisoner comes to the court already exhausted by prison and examination, and he is in an agonizing position at his trial, so that even if he is acquitted he does not leave the court unpunished.
 
4
Well, be that as it may, my letter is almost finished, and I seem to have written nothing. We have the spring here in Yalta, no news of interest....
 
5
“Resurrection” is a remarkable novel. I liked it very much, but it ought to be read straight off at one sitting. The end is uninteresting and false—false in a technical sense.
 

14. TO O. L. KNIPPER.

14.1. YALTA, February 14, 1900.

 
1
DEAR ACTRESS,
2
The photographs are very, very good, especially the one in which you are leaning in dejection with your elbows on the back of a chair, which gives you a discreetly mournful, gentle expression under which there lies hid a little demon. The other is good too, but it looks a little like a Jewess, a very musical person who attends a conservatoire, but at the same time is studying dentistry on the sly as a second string, and is engaged to be married to a young man in Mogilev, and whose fiance is a person like M——. Are you angry? Really, really angry? It’s my revenge for your not signing them.
 
3
Of the seventy roses I planted in the autumn only three have not taken root. Lilies, irises, tulips, tuberoses, hyacinths, are all pushing out of the ground. The willow is already green. By the little seat in the corner the grass is luxuriant already. The almond-tree is in blossom. I have put little seats all over the garden, not grand ones with iron legs, but wooden ones which I paint green. I have made three bridges over the stream. I am planting palms. In fact, there are all sorts of novelties, so much so that you won’t know the house, or the garden, or the street. Only the owner has not changed, he is just the same moping creature and devoted worshipper of the talents that reside at Nikitsky Gate. [Footnote: O. L. Knipper was living at Nikitsky Gate.] I have heard no music nor singing since the autumn, I have not seen one interesting woman. How can I help being melancholy?
 
4
I had made up my mind not to write to you, but since you have sent the photographs I have taken off the ban, and here you see I am writing. I will even come to Sevastopol, only I repeat, don’t tell that to anyone, especially not to Vishnevsky. I shall be there incognito, I shall put myself down in the hotel-book Count Blackphiz.
 
5
I was joking when I said that you were like a Jewess in your photograph. Don’t be angry, precious one. Well, herewith I kiss your little hand, and remain unalterably yours.
 

15. TO GORKY.

15.1. YALTA, February 15, 1900.

 
1
DEAR ALEXEY MAXIMOVITCH,
2
Your article in the Nizhni-Novgorod Listok was balm to my soul. What a talented person you are! I can’t write anything but belles-lettres, you possess the pen of a journalist as well. I thought at first I liked the article so much because you praise me in it; afterwards it came out that Sredin and his family and Yartsev were all delighted with it. So peg away at journalism. God bless you!
 
3
Why don’t they send me “Foma Gordeyev”? I have read it only in bits, and one ought to read it straight through at a sitting as I have just read “Resurrection.” Except the relations of Nehludov and Katusha, which are somewhat obscure and made up, everything in the novel made the impression of strength, richness, and breadth, and the insincerity of a man afraid of death and refusing to admit it and clutching at texts and holy Scripture.
 
4
Write to them to send me “Foma.”
 
5
“Twenty-six Men and a Girl” is a good story. There is a strong feeling of the environment. One smells the hot rolls.
 
6
They have just brought your letter. So you don’t want to go to India? That’s a pity. When India is in the past, a long sea voyage, you have something to think about when you can’t get to sleep. And a tour abroad takes very little time, it need not prevent your going about in Russia on foot.
 
7
I am bored, not in the sense of weltschmerz, not in the sense of being weary of existence, but simply bored from want of people, from want of music which I love, and from want of women, of whom there are none in Yalta. I am bored without caviare and pickled cabbage.
 
8
I am very sorry that apparently you have given up the idea of coming to Yalta. The Art Theatre from Moscow will be here in May. It will give five performances and then remain for rehearsals. So you come, study the stage at the rehearsals, and then in five to eight days write a play, which I should welcome joyfully with my whole heart.
 
9
Yes, I have the right now to insist on the fact that I am forty, that I am a man no longer young. I used to be the youngest literary man, but you have appeared on the scene and I became more dignified at once, and no one calls me the youngest now.
 

16. TO V. A. POSSE.

16.1. YALTA, February 15, 1900.

 
1
MUCH RESPECTED VLADIMIR ALEXANDROVITCH,
2
“Foma Gordeyev” and in a superb binding too is a precious and touching present; I thank you from the bottom of my heart. A thousand thanks! I have read “Foma” only in bits, now I shall read it properly. Gorky should not be published in parts; either he must write more briefly, or you must put him in whole as the Vyestnik Evropy does with Boborykin. “Foma,” by the way, is very successful, but only with intelligent well-read people—with the young also. I once overheard in a garden the conversation of a lady (from Petersburg) with her daughter: the mother was abusing the book, the daughter was praising it....
 

16.2. YALTA, February 29, 1900.

 
1
“Foma Gordeyev” is written all in one tone like a dissertation. All the characters speak alike, and their way of thinking is alike too. They all speak not simply but intentionally; they all have some idea in the background; as though there is something they know they don’t speak out: but in reality there is nothing they know, and it is simply their facon de parler.
 
2
There are wonderful passages in “Foma.” Gorky will make a very great writer if only he does not weary, does not grow cold and lazy.
 

17. TO A. S. SUVORIN,

17.1. YALTA, March 10, 1900.

 
1
No winter has ever dragged on so long for me as this one, and time merely drags and does not move, and now I realize how stupid it was of me to leave Moscow. I have lost touch with the north without getting into touch with the south, and one can think of nothing in my position but to go abroad. After the spring, winter has begun here again in Yalta—snow, rain, cold, mud—simply disgusting.
 
2
The Moscow Art Theatre will be in Yalta in April; it will bring its scenery and decorations. All the tickets for the four days advertised were sold in one day, although the prices have been considerably raised. They will give among other things Hauptmann’s “Lonely Lives,” a magnificent play in my opinion. I read it with great pleasure, although I am not fond of plays, and the production at the Art Theatre they say is marvellous.
 
3
There is no news. There is one great event, though: N.‘s “Socrates” is printed in the Neva Supplement. I have read it, but with great effort. It is not Socrates but a dull-witted, captious, opinionated man, the whole of whose wisdom and interest is confined to tripping people up over words. There is not a trace or vestige of talent in it, but it is quite possible that the play might be successful because there are words in it such as “amphora,” and Karpov says it would stage well.
 
4
How many consumptives there are here! What poverty, and how worried one is with them! The hotels and lodging-houses here won’t take in those who are seriously ill. You can imagine the awful cases that may be seen here. People are dying from exhaustion, from their surroundings, from complete neglect, and this in blessed Taurida!
 
5
One loses all relish for the sun and the sea....
 

18. TO O. L. KNIPPER.

18.1. YALTA, March 26, 1900.

 
1
There is a feeling of black melancholy about your letter, dear actress; you are gloomy, you are fearfully unhappy—but not for long, one may imagine, as soon, very soon, you will be sitting in the train, eating your lunch with a very good appetite. It is very nice that you are coming first with Masha before all the others; we shall at least have time to talk a little, walk a little, see things, drink and eat. But please don’t bring with you ...
 
2
I haven’t a new play, it’s a lie of the newspapers. The newspapers never do tell the truth about me. If I did begin a play, of course the first thing I should do would be to inform you of the fact.
 
3
There is a great wind here; the spring has not begun properly yet, but we go about without our goloshes and fur caps. The tulips will soon be out. I have a nice garden but it is untidy, moss-grown—a dilettante garden.
 
4
Gorky is here. He is warm in his praises of you and your theatre. I will introduce you to him.
 
5
Oh dear! Someone has arrived. A visitor has come in. Good-bye for now, actress!
 

19. TO HIS SISTER.

19.1. YALTA, March 26, 1900.

 
1
DEAR MASHA,
2
... There is no news, there is no water in the pipes either. I am sick to death of visitors. Yesterday, March 25, they came in an incessant stream all day; doctors keep sending people from Moscow and the provinces with letters asking me to find lodgings, to “make arrangements,” as though I were a house-agent! Mother is well. Mind you keep well too, and make haste and come home.
 

20. TO O. L. KNIPPER.

20.1. YALTA, May 20, 1900.

 
1
Greetings to you, dear enchanting actress! How are you? How are you feeling? I was very unwell on the way back to Yalta. [Footnote: Chekhov went to Moscow with the Art Theatre Company on their return from Yalta.] I had a bad headache and temperature before I left Moscow. I was wicked enough to conceal it from you, now I am all right.
 
2
How is Levitan? I feel dreadfully worried at not knowing. If you have heard, please write to me.
 
3
Keep well and be happy. I heard Masha was sending you a letter, and so I hasten to write these few lines. [Footnote: Chekhov’s later letters to O. L. Knipper have not been published.]
 

21. TO HIS SISTER.

21.1. YALTA, September 9, 1900.

 
1
DEAR MASHA,
2
I answer the letter in which you write about Mother. To my thinking it would be better for her to go to Moscow now in the autumn and not after December. She will be tired of Moscow and pining for Yalta in a month, you know, and if you take her to Moscow in the autumn she will be back in Yalta before Christmas. That’s how it seems to me, but possibly I am mistaken; in any case you must take into consideration that it is much drearier in Yalta before Christmas than it is after—infinitely drearier.
 
3
Most likely I will be in Moscow after the 20th of September, and then we will decide. From Moscow I shall go I don’t know where—first to Paris, and then probably to Nice, from Nice to Africa. I shall hang on somehow to the spring, all April or May, when I shall come to Moscow again.
 
4
There is no news. There’s no rain either, everything is dried up. At home here it is quiet, peaceful, satisfactory, and of course dull.
 
5
“Three Sisters” is very difficult to write, more difficult than my other plays. Oh well, it doesn’t matter, perhaps something will come of it, next season if not this. It’s very hard to write in Yalta, by the way: I am interrupted, and I feel as though I had no object in writing; what I wrote yesterday I don’t like to-day....
 
6
Well, take care of yourself.
 
7
My humblest greetings to Olga Leonardovna, to Vishnevsky, and all the rest of them too.
 
8
If Gorky is in Moscow, tell him that I have sent a letter to him in Nizhni-Novgorod.
 

22. TO GORKY.

22.1. YALTA, October 16, 1900.

 
1
DEAR ALEXEY MAXIMOVITCH,
2
... On the 21st of this month I am going to Moscow, and from there abroad. Can you imagine—I have written a play; but as it will be produced not now, but next season, I have not made a fair copy of it yet. It can lie as it is. It was very difficult to write “Three Sisters.” Three heroines, you see, each a separate type and all the daughters of a general. The action is laid in a provincial town, as it might be Perm, the surroundings military, artillery.
 
3
The weather in Yalta is exquisite and fresh, my health is improving. I don’t even want to go away to Moscow. I am working so well, and it is so pleasant to be free from the irritation I suffered from all the summer. I am not coughing, and am even eating meat. I am living alone, quite alone. My mother is in Moscow.
 
4
Thanks for your letters, my dear fellow, thanks very much. I read them over twice. My warmest greetings to your wife and Maxim. And so, till we meet in Moscow. I hope you won’t play me false, and we shall see each other.
 
5
God keep you.
 

22.2. MOSCOW, October 22, 1901.

 
1
Five days have passed since I read your play (“The Petty Bourgeois”). I have not written to you till now because I could not get hold of the fourth act; I have kept waiting for it, and—I still have not got it. And so I have only read three acts, but that I think is enough to judge of the play. It is, as I expected, very good, written a la Gorky, original, very interesting; and, to begin by talking of the defects, I have noticed only one, a defect incorrigible as red hair in a red-haired man—the conservatism of the form. You make new and original people sing new songs to an accompaniment that looks second-hand, you have four acts, the characters deliver edifying discourses, there is a feeling of alarm before long speeches, and so on, and so on. But all that is not important, and it is all, so to speak, drowned in the good points of the play. Pertchihin—how living! His daughter is enchanting, Tatyana and Pyotr are also, and their mother is a splendid old woman. The central figure of the play, Nil, is vigorously drawn and extremely interesting! In fact, the play takes hold of one from the first act. Only God preserve you from letting anyone act Pertchihin except Artyom, while Alexeyev-Stanislavsky must certainly play Nil. Those two figures will do just what’s needed; Pyotr—Meierhold. Only Nil’s part, a wonderful part, must be made two or three times as long. You ought to end the play with it, to make it the leading part. Only do not contrast him with Pyotr and Tatyana, let him be by himself and them by themselves, all wonderful, splendid people independently of each other. When Nil tries to seem superior to Pyotr and Tatyana, and says of himself that he is a fine fellow, the element so characteristic of our decent working man, the element of modesty, is lost. He boasts, he argues, but you know one can see what sort of man he is without that. Let him be merry, let him play pranks through the whole four acts, let him eat a great deal after his work—and that will be enough for him to conquer the audience with. Pyotr, I repeat, is good. Most likely you don’t even suspect how good he is. Tatyana, too, is a finished figure, only (a) she ought really to be a schoolmistress, ought to be teaching children, ought to come home from school, ought to be taken up with her pupils and exercise-books, and (b) it ought to be mentioned in the first or second act that she has attempted to poison herself; then, after that hint, the poisoning in the third act will not seem so startling and will be more in place. Telerev talks too much: such characters ought to be shown bit by bit between others, for in any case such people are everywhere merely incidental—both in life and on the stage. Make Elena dine with all the rest in the first act, let her sit and make jokes, or else there is very little of her, and she is not clear. Her avowal to Pyotr is too abrupt, on the stage it would come out in too high relief. Make her a passionate woman, if not loving at least apt to fall in love....
 

22.3. July 29, 1902.

1
I have read your play. [Footnote: “In the Depths.”] It is new and unmistakably fine. The second act is very good, it is the best, the strongest, and when I was reading it, especially the end, I almost danced with joy. The tone is gloomy, oppressive; the audience unaccustomed to such subjects will walk out of the theatre, and you may well say good-bye to your reputation as an optimist in any case. My wife will play Vassilisa, the immoral and spiteful woman; Vishnevsky walks about the house and imagines himself the Tatar—he is convinced that it is the part for him. Luka, alas! you must not give to Artyom. He will repeat himself in that part and be exhausted; but he would do the policeman wonderfully, it is his part. The part of the actor, in which you have been very successful (it is a magnificent part), should be given to an experienced actor, Stanislavsky perhaps. Katchalev will play the baron.
 
2
You have left out of the fourth act all the most interesting characters (except the actor), and you must mind now that there is no ill effect from it. The act may seem boring and unnecessary, especially if, with the exit of the strongest and most interesting actors, there are left only the mediocrities. The death of the actor is awful; it is as though you gave the spectator a sudden box on the ear apropos of nothing without preparing him in any way. How the baron got into the doss-house and why he is a baron is also not sufficiently clear.
 
3
Andreyev’s “Thought” is something pretentious, difficult to understand, and apparently no good, but it is worked out with talent. Andreyev has no simplicity, and his talent reminds me of an artificial nightingale. Skitalets now is a sparrow, but he is a real living sparrow....
 

23. TO S. P. DYAGILEV.

23.1. YALTA, December 30, 1902.

 
1
... You write that we talked of a serious religious movement in Russia. We talked of a movement not in Russia but in the intellectual class. I won’t say anything about Russia; the intellectuals so far are only playing at religion, and for the most part from having nothing to do. One may say of the cultured part of our public that it has moved away from religion, and is moving further and further away from it, whatever people may say and however many philosophical and religious societies may be formed. Whether it is a good or a bad thing I cannot undertake to decide; I will only say that the religious movement of which you write is one thing, and the whole trend of modern culture is another, and one cannot place the second in any causal connection with the first. Modern culture is only the first beginning of work for a great future, work which will perhaps go on for tens of thousands of years, in order that man may if only in the remote future come to know the truth of the real God—that is not, I conjecture, by seeking in Dostoevsky, but by clear knowledge, as one knows twice two are four. Modern culture is the first beginning of the work, while the religious movement of which we talked is a survival, almost the end of what has ceased, or is ceasing to exist. But it is a long story, one can’t put it all into a letter....
 

24. TO A. S. SUVORIN.

24.1. MOSCOW, June 29, 1903.

 
1
... One feels a warm sympathy, of course, for Gorky’s letter about the Kishinev pogrom, as one does for everything he writes; the letter is not written though, but put together, there is neither youthfulness in it nor confidence, like Tolstoy’s.
 

24.2. July 1, 1903.

1
You are reading belles-lettres now, so read Veresaev’s stories. Begin with a little story in the second volume called “Lizar.” I think you will be very much pleased with it. Veresaev is a doctor; I have got to know him lately. He makes a very good impression....
 

25. TO S. P. DYAGILEV.

25.1. YALTA, July 12, 1903.

 
1
... I have been thinking over your letter for a long time, and alluring as your suggestion or offer is, yet in the end I must answer it as neither you nor I would wish.
 
2
I cannot be the editor of The World of Art, as I cannot live in Petersburg, ... that’s the first point. And the second is that just as a picture must be painted by one artist and a speech delivered by one orator, so a magazine must be edited by one man. Of course I am not a critic, and I dare say I shouldn’t make a very good job of the reviews; but on the other hand, how could I get on in the same boat with Merezhkovsky, who definitely believes, didactically believes, while I lost my faith years ago and can only look with perplexity at any “intellectual” who does believe? I respect Merezhkovsky, and think highly of him both as a man and as a writer, but we should be pulling in opposite directions....
 
3
Don’t be cross with me, dear Sergey Pavlovitch: it seems to me that if you go on editing the magazine for another five years you will come to agree with me. A magazine, like a picture or a poem, must bear the stamp of one personality and one will must be felt in it. This has been hitherto the case in the World of Art, and it was a good thing. And it must be kept up....
 

26. TO K. S. STANISLAVSKY.

26.1. YALTA, July 28, 1903.

 
1
... My play “The Cherry Orchard” is not yet finished; it makes slow progress, which I put down to laziness, fine weather, and the difficulty of the subject....
 
2
I think your part [Translator’s Note: Stanislavsky acted Lopahin.] is all right, though I can’t undertake to decide, as I can judge very little of a play by reading it....
 

27. TO MADAME STANISLAVSKY.

27.1. YALTA, September 15, 1903.

 
1
... Don’t believe anybody—no living soul has read my play yet; I have written for you not the part of a “canting hypocrite,” but of a very nice girl, with which you will, I hope, be satisfied. I have almost finished the play, but eight or ten days ago I was taken ill, with coughing and weakness—in fact, last year’s business over again. Now—that is to-day—it is warmer and I feel better, but still I cannot write, as my head is aching. Olga will not bring the play; I will send the four acts together as soon as it is possible for me to set to work for a whole day. It has turned out not a drama, but a comedy, in parts a farce, indeed, and I am afraid I shall catch it from Vladimir Ivanitch [Footnote: Nemirovitch Dantchenko.]....
 
2
I can’t come for the opening of your season, I must stay in Yalta till November. Olga, who has grown fatter and stronger in the summer, will probably come to Moscow on Sunday. I shall remain alone, and of course shall take advantage of that. As a writer it is essential for me to observe women, to study them, and so, I regret to say, I cannot be a faithful husband. As I observe women chiefly for the sake of my plays, in my opinion the Art Theatre ought to increase my wife’s salary or give her a pension! ...
 

28. TO K. S. STANISLAVSKY.

28.1. YALTA, October 30, 1903.

 
1
... Many thanks for your letter and telegram. Letters are very precious to me now—in the first place, because I am utterly alone here; and in the second, because I sent the play three weeks ago and only got your letter yesterday, and if it were not for my wife, I should know nothing at all and might imagine any mortal thing. When I was writing Lopahin, I thought of it as a part for you. If for any reason you don’t care for it, take the part of Gaev. Lopahin is a merchant, of course, but he is a very decent person in every sense. He must behave with perfect decorum, like an educated man, with no petty ways or tricks of any sort, and it seemed to me this part, the central one of the play, would come out brilliantly in your hands.... In choosing an actor for the part you must remember that Varya, a serious and religious girl, is in love with Lopahin; she wouldn’t be in love with a mere money-grubber....
 

29. TO V. I. NEMIROVITCH DANTCHENKO.

29.1. YALTA, November 2, 1903.

 
1
... About the play.
 
2
1. Anya can be played by anyone you like, even by a quite unknown actress, so long as she is young and looks like a girl, and speaks in a youthful singing voice. It is not an important part.
 
3
(2) Varya is a more serious part.... She is a character in a black dress, something of a nun, foolish, tearful, etc.
 
4
... Gorky is younger than you or I, he has his life before him.... As for the Nizhni theatre, that’s a mere episode; Gorky will try it, “sniff it and reject it.” And while we are on this subject, the whole idea of a “people’s” theatre and “people’s” literature is foolishness and lollipops for the people. We mustn’t bring Gogol down to the people but raise the people up to Gogol....
 

30. TO A. L. VISHNEVSKY.

30.1. YALTA, November 7, 1903.

 
1
... As I am soon coming to Moscow, please keep a ticket for me for “The Pillars of Society”; I want to see the marvellous Norwegian acting, and I will even pay for my seat. You know Ibsen is my favourite writer....
 

31. TO K. S. STANISLAVSKY.

31.1. YALTA, November 10, 1903.

 
1
DEAR KONSTANTIN SERGEYITCH,
2
Of course the scenery for III. and IV. can be the same, the hall and the staircase. Please do just as you like about the scenery, I leave it entirely to you; I am amazed and generally sit with my mouth wide open at your theatre. There can be no question about it, whatever you do will be excellent, a hundred times better than anything I could invent....
 

32. TO F. D. BATYUSHKOV.

32.1. MOSCOW, January 19, 1904.

 
1
... At the first performance of “The Cherry Orchard” on the 17th of January, they gave me an ovation, so lavish, warm, and really so unexpected, that I can’t get over it even now....
 

33. TO MADAME AVILOV.

33.1. MOSCOW, February 14, 1904.

 
1
... All good wishes. Above all, be cheerful; don’t look at life so much as a problem—it is, most likely, far simpler. And whether it—life, of which we know nothing—is worth all the agonizing reflections which wear out our Russian wits, is a question.
 

34. TO FATHER SERGEY SHTCHUKIN.

34.1. MOSCOW, May 27, 1904.

 
1
DEAR FATHER SERGEY,
2
Yesterday I talked to a very well-known lawyer about the case in which you are interested, and I will tell you his opinion. Let Mr. N. immediately put together all the necessary documents, let his fiancee do the same, and go off to another province, such as Kherson, and there get married. When they are married let them come home and live quietly, saying nothing about it. It is not a crime (there is no consanguinity), but only a breach of a long established tradition. If in another two or three years someone informs against them, or finds out and interferes, and the case is brought into court, anyway the children would be legitimate. And when there is a lawsuit (a trivial one anyway), then they can send in a petition to the Sovereign. The Sovereign does not sanction what is forbidden by law (so it is no use to petition for permission for the marriage), but the Sovereign enjoys the fullest privilege of pardon and does as a rule pardon what is inevitable.
 
3
I don’t know whether I am putting it properly. You must forgive me, I am in bed, ill, and have been since the second of May, I have not been able to get up once all this time. I cannot execute your other commissions....
 

35. TO HIS SISTER.

35.1. BERLIN, Sunday, June 6, 1904.

 
1
... I write to you from Berlin, where I have been now for twenty-four hours. It turned very cold in Moscow after you went away; we had snow, and it was most likely through that that I caught cold. I began to have rheumatic pains in my arms and legs, I did not sleep for nights, got very thin, had injections of morphia, took thousands of medicines of all sorts, and remember none of them with gratitude except heroin, which was once prescribed me by Altschuller....
 
2
On Thursday I set off for foreign parts, very thin, with very lean skinny legs. We had a good and pleasant journey. Here in Berlin we have taken a comfortable room in the best hotel. I am enjoying being here, and it is a long time since I have eaten so well, with such appetite. The bread here is wonderful, I eat too much of it. The coffee is excellent and the dinners beyond description. Anyone who has not been abroad does not know what good bread means. There is no decent tea here (we have our own), there are no hors d’oeuvres, but all the rest is magnificent, though cheaper than with us. I am already the better for it, and to-day I even took a long drive in the Thiergarten, though it was cool. And so tell Mother and everyone who is interested that I am getting better, or indeed have already got better; my legs no longer ache, I have no diarrhoea, I am beginning to get fat, and am all day long on my legs, not lying down....
 

35.2. BERLIN, June 8.

 
1
... The worst thing here which catches the eye at once is the dress of the ladies. Fearfully bad taste, nowhere do women dress so abominably, with such utter lack of taste. I have not seen one beautiful woman, nor one who was not trimmed with some kind of absurd braid. Now I understand why taste is so slowly developed in Germans in Moscow. On the other hand, here in Berlin life is very comfortable. The food is good, things are not dear, the horses are well fed—the dogs, who are here harnessed to little carts, are well fed too. There is order and cleanliness in the streets....
 

35.3. BADENWEILER, June 12.

 
1
I have been for three days settled here, this is my address—Germany, Badenweiler, Villa Fredericke. This Villa Fredericke, like all the houses and villas here, stands apart in a luxuriant garden in the sun, which shines and warms us till seven o’clock in the evening (after which I go indoors). We are boarding in the house; for fourteen or sixteen marks a day we have a double room flooded with sunshine, with washing-stands, bedsteads, etc., with a writing-table, and, best of all, with excellent water, like Seltzer water. The general impression: a big garden, beyond the garden, mountains covered with forest, few people, little movement in the street. The garden and the flowers are splendidly cared for. But to-day, apropos of nothing, it has begun raining; I sit in our room, and already begin to feel that in another two or three days I shall be thinking of how to escape.
 
2
I am still eating butter in enormous quantities and with no effect. I can’t take milk. The doctor here, Schworer, married to a Moscow woman, turns out to be skilful and nice.
 
3
We shall perhaps return to Yalta by sea from Trieste or some other port. Health is coming back to me not by ounces but by stones. Anyway, I have learned here how to feed. Coffee is forbidden to me absolutely, it is supposed to be relaxing; I am beginning by degrees to eat eggs. Oh, how badly the German women dress!
 
4
I live on the ground floor. If only you knew what the sun is here! It does not scorch, but caresses. I have a comfortable low chair in which I can sit or lie down. I will certainly buy the watch, I haven’t forgotten it. How is Mother? Is she in good spirits? Write to me. Give her my love. Olga is going to a dentist here....
 

35.4. June 16.

1
I am living amongst the Germans and have already got used to my room and to the regime, but can never get used to the German peace and quiet. Not a sound in the house or outside it; only at seven o’clock in the morning and at midday there is an expensive but very poor band playing in the garden. One feels there is not a single drop of talent in anything nor a single drop of taste; but, on the other hand, there is order and honesty to spare. Our Russian life is far more talented, and as for the Italian or the French, it is beyond comparison.
 
2
My health has improved. I don’t notice now as I go about that I am ill; my asthma is better, nothing is aching. The only trace left of my illness is extreme thinness; my legs are thin as they have never been. The German doctors have turned all my life upside down. At seven o’clock in the morning I drink tea in bed—for some reason it must be in bed; at half-past seven a German by way of a masseur comes and rubs me all over with water, and this seems not at all bad. Then I have to lie still a little, get up at eight o’clock, drink acorn cocoa and eat an immense quantity of butter. At ten o’clock, oatmeal porridge, extremely nice to taste and to smell, not like our Russian. Fresh air and sunshine. Reading the newspaper. At one o’clock, dinner, at which I must not taste everything but only the things Olga chooses for me, according to the German doctor’s prescription. At four o’clock the cocoa again. At seven o’clock supper. At bedtime a cup of strawberry tea—that is as a sleeping draught. In all this there is a lot of quackery, but a lot of what is really good and useful—for instance, the porridge. I shall bring some oatmeal from here with me....
 

35.5. June 21.

1
Things are going all right with me, only I have begun to get sick of Badenweiler. There is so much German peace and order here. It was different in Italy. To-day at dinner they gave us boiled mutton—what a dish! The whole dinner is magnificent, but the maitres d’hotel look so important that it makes one uneasy.
 

35.6. June 28.

1
... It has begun to be terribly hot here. The heat caught me unawares, as I have only winter suits here. I am gasping and dreaming of getting away. But where to go? I should like to go to Italy, to Como, but everyone is running away from the heat there. It is hot everywhere in the south of Europe. I should like to go from Trieste to Odessa by steamer, but I don’t know how far it is possible now, in June and July.... If it should be rather hot it doesn’t matter; I should have a flannel suit. I confess I dread the railway journey. It is stifling in the train now, particularly with my asthma, which is made worse by the slightest thing. Besides, there are no sleeping carriages from Vienna right up to Odessa; it would be uncomfortable. And we should get home by railway sooner than we need, and I have not had enough holiday yet. It is so hot one can’t bear one’s clothes, I don’t know what to do. Olga has gone to Freiburg to order a flannel suit for me, there are neither tailors nor shoemakers in Badenweiler. She has taken the suit Dushar made me as a pattern.
 
2
I like the food here very much, but it does not seem to suit me; my stomach is constantly being upset. I can’t eat the butter here. Evidently my digestion is hopelessly ruined. It is scarcely possible to cure it by anything but fasting—that is, eating nothing—and that’s the end of it. And the only remedy for the asthma is not moving.
 
3
There is not a single decently dressed German woman. The lack of taste makes one depressed.
 
4
Well, keep well and happy. My love to Mother, Vanya, George, and all the rest. Write!
 
5
I kiss you and press your hand.
 
6
Yours,
7
A.
 
8
THE END
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◈ Letters of Anton Chekhov (안톤 체호프의 편지) ◈

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페이지 최종 수정일: 2004년 1월 1일