Letters of Anton Chekhov, by Anton Chekhov

To Madame Kiselyov.

ROME, April 1, 1891.

The Pope of Rome charges me to congratulate you on your name-day and wish you as much money as he has rooms. He has eleven thousand! Strolling about the Vatican I was nearly dead with exhaustion, and when I got home I felt that my legs were made of cotton-wool.

I am dining at the table d’hote. Can you imagine just opposite me are sitting two Dutch girls: one of them is like Pushkin’s Tatyana, and the other like her sister Olga. I watch them all through dinner, and imagine a neat, clean little house with a turret, excellent butter, superb Dutch cheese, Dutch herrings, a benevolent-looking pastor, a sedate teacher, . . . and I feel I should like to marry a Dutch girl and be depicted with her on a tea-tray beside the little white house.

I have seen everything and dragged myself everywhere I was told to go. What was offered me to sniff at, I sniffed at. But meanwhile I feel nothing but exhaustion and a craving for cabbage-soup and buckwheat porridge. I was enchanted by Venice, beside myself; but since I have left it, it has been nothing but Baedeker and bad weather.

Good-bye for now, Marya Vladimirovna, and the Lord God keep you. Humble respects from me and the other Pope to his Honour, Vassilisa and Elizaveta Alexandrovna.

Neckties are marvellously cheap here. I think I may take to eating them. They are a franc a pair.

To-morrow I am going to Naples. Pray that I may meet there a beautiful Russian lady, if possible a widow or a divorced wife.

In the guide-books it says that a love affair is an essential condition for a tour in Italy. Well, hang them all! I am ready for anything. If there must be a love affair, so be it.

Don’t forget your sinful, but sincerely devoted,

Anton Chekhov,
My respects to the starlings.

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