Several more years have passed. Startsev has grown stouter
still, has grown corpulent, breathes heavily, and already walks
with his head thrown back. When stout and red in the face, he
drives with his bells and his team of three horses, and
Panteleimon, also stout and red in the face with his thick beefy
neck, sits on the box, holding his arms stiffly out before him
as though they were made of wood, and shouts to those he meets:
"Keep to the ri-i-ight!" it is an impressive picture; one might
think it was not a mortal, but some heathen deity in his
chariot. He has an immense practice in the town, no time to
breathe, and already has an estate and two houses in the town,
and he is looking out for a third more profitable; and when at
the Mutual Credit Bank he is told of a house that is for sale,
he goes to the house without ceremony, and, marching through all
the rooms, regardless of half-dressed women and children who
gaze at him in amazement and alarm, he prods at the doors with
his stick, and says:
"Is that the study? Is that a bedroom? And what's here?"
And as he does so he breathes heavily and wipes the sweat from
He has a great deal to do, but still he does not give up his
work as district doctor; he is greedy for gain, and he tries to
be in all places at once. At Dyalizh and in the town he is
called simply "Ionitch": "Where is Ionitch off to?" or "Should
not we call in Ionitch to a consultation?"
Probably because his throat is covered with rolls of fat, his
voice has changed; it has become thin and sharp. His temper has
changed, too: he has grown ill-humoured and irritable. When he
sees his patients he is usually out of temper; he impatiently
taps the floor with his stick, and shouts in his disagreeable
"Be so good as to confine yourself to answering my questions!
Don't talk so much!"
He is solitary. He leads a dreary life; nothing interests him.
During all the years he had lived at Dyalizh his love for Kitten
had been his one joy, and probably his last. In the evenings he
plays vint at the club, and then sits alone at a big table and
has supper. Ivan, the oldest and most respectable of the
waiters, serves him, hands him Lafitte No. 17, and every one at
the club -- the members of the committee, the cook and waiters
-- know what he likes and what he doesn't like and do their very
utmost to satisfy him, or else he is sure to fly into a rage and
bang on the floor with his stick.
As he eats his supper, he turns round from time to time and puts
in his spoke in some conversation:
"What are you talking about? Eh? Whom?"
And when at a neighbouring table there is talk of the Turkins,
"What Turkins are you speaking of? Do you mean the people whose
daughter plays on the piano?"
That is all that can be said about him.
And the Turkins? Ivan Petrovitch has grown no older; he is not
changed in the least, and still makes jokes and tells anecdotes
as of old. Vera Iosifovna still reads her novels aloud to her
visitors with eagerness and touching simplicity. And Kitten
plays the piano for four hours every day. She has grown visibly
older, is constantly ailing, and every autumn goes to the Crimea
with her mother. When Ivan Petrovitch sees them off at the
station, he wipes his tears as the train starts, and shouts:
"Good-bye, if you please."
And he waves his handkerchief.
Ascension Day: the day 40 days after Easter when Christ is
supposed to have gone to heaven
goblet: song with words from the poem "An Elegy" by Anton A.
Othello: title character of Shakespeare's play; example of an
unjustly jealous husband
Petit Jean: Chekhov uses the word Zhanchik which is the French
name Jean, plus a Russian-type diminutive
Die, Denis; you won't write anything better: remark made to
playwright Denis I. Fonvizin by Potemkin after a performance of
the play The Brigadier
caressing: from the first lines of Pushkin's poem "Night" (1823)
A Thousand Souls: a novel (1858) by Alexis F. Pisemsky
(1820-1881); the author's patronymic would nowadays be written "Feofilaktovich,"
and it does sound funny to Russians
The hour cometh: John 5:28, "for the hour is coming when all who
are in the tombs will hear his voice"
vint: a bridge-like card game
yellow and green: one rouble notes were yellow and three rouble
notes were green