Letters of Anton Chekhov, by Anton Chekhov

To O. L. Knipper.

YALTA, February 10, 1900.

DEAR ACTRESS,

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/chekhov/anton/c51lt/chapter133.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06