Letters of Anton Chekhov, by Anton Chekhov

To His Uncle, M. G. Chekhov.

MOSCOW, 1885.

. . . I could not come to see you last summer because I took the place of a district doctor friend of mine who went away for his holiday, but this year I hope to travel and therefore to see you. Last December I had an attack of spitting blood, and decided to take some money from the Literary Fund and go abroad for my health. I am a little better now, but I still think that I shall have to go away. And whenever I go abroad, or to the Crimea, or to the Caucasus, I will go through Taganrog.

. . . I am sorry I cannot join you in being of service to my native Taganrog. . . . I am sure that if my work had been there I should have been calmer, more cheerful, in better health, but evidently it is my fate to remain in Moscow. My home and my career are here. I have work of two sorts. As a doctor I should have grown slack in Taganrog and forgotten my medicine, but in Moscow a doctor has no time to go to the club and play cards. As a writer I am no use except in Moscow or Petersburg.

My medical work is progressing little by little. I go on steadily treating patients. Every day I have to spend more than a rouble on cabs. I have a lot of friends and therefore many patients. Half of them I have to treat for nothing, but the other half pay me three or five roubles a visit. . . . I need hardly say I have not made a fortune yet, and it will be a long time before I do, but I live tolerably and need nothing. So long as I am alive and well the position of the family is secure. I have bought new furniture, hired a good piano, keep two servants, give little evening parties with music and singing. I have no debts and do not want to borrow. Till quite recently we used to run an account at the butcher’s and grocer’s, but now I have stopped even that, and we pay cash for everything. What will come later, there is no knowing; as it is we have nothing to complain of. . . .

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