Letters of Anton Chekhov, by Anton Chekhov

To A. I. Smagin.

MOSCOW, December 11, 1891.

. . . Well, now I have something to tell you, my good sir. I am sitting at home in Moscow, but meantime my enterprise in the Nizhni Novgorod province is in full swing already! Together with my friend the Zemsky Natchalnik, an excellent man, we are hatching a little scheme, on which we expect to spend a hundred thousand or so, in the most remote section of the province, where there are no landowners nor doctors, nor even well-educated young ladies who are now to be found in numbers even in hell. Apart from famine relief of all sorts, we are making it our chief object to save the crops of next year. Owing to the fact that the peasants are selling their horses for next to nothing, there is a grave danger that the fields will not be ploughed for the spring corn, so that the famine will be repeated next year. So we are going to buy up the horses and feed them, and in spring give them back to their owners; our work is already firmly established, and in January I am going there to behold its fruits. Here is my object in writing to you. If in the course of some noisy banquet you or anyone else should chance to collect, if only half a rouble, for the famine fund, or if some Korobotchka bequeaths a rouble for that object, or if you yourself should win a hundred roubles, remember us sinners in your prayers, and spare us a part of your wealth! Not at once but when you like, only not later than in the spring. . . .

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