Day: December 25, 2013

A Day in the Country by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

A Day in the Country by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) Word Count: 2385 Between eight and nine o’clock in the morning. A dark leaden-coloured mass is creeping over the sky towards the sun. Red zigzags of lightning gleam here and there across it. There is a sound of far-away rumbling. A warm wind frolics over the grass, bends the trees, and stirs up the dust. In a minute there will be a spurt of May rain and a real storm will begin. Fyokla, a little beggar-girl of six, is running through the village, looking for Terenty the cobbler. The white-haired, barefoot child is pale. Her eyes are wide-open, her lips are trembling. “Uncle, where is Terenty?” she asks every one she meets. No one answers. They are all preoccupied with the approaching storm and take refuge in their huts. At last she meets Silanty Silitch, the sacristan, Terenty’s bosom friend. He is coming along, staggering from the wind. “Uncle, where is Terenty?” “At the kitchen-gardens,” answers Silanty. The beggar-girl runs behind the huts to the kitchen-gardens and there finds Terenty; the tall old man with a thin, pock-marked face, very long legs, and bare feet, dressed in a woman’s tattered jacket, is standing near the vegetable plots, looking with drowsy, drunken eyes at the dark storm-cloud. On his long crane-like legs he sways in the wind like a starling-cote....

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Common Core Short Stories: The Darling by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

The Darling by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) Word Count: 5028 Olenka, the daughter of the retired collegiate assessor, Plemyanniakov, was sitting in her back porch, lost in thought. It was hot, the flies were persistent and teasing, and it was pleasant to reflect that it would soon be evening. Dark rainclouds were gathering from the east, and bringing from time to time a breath of moisture in the air. Kukin, who was the manager of an open-air theatre called the Tivoli, and who lived in the lodge, was standing in the middle of the garden looking at the sky. “Again!” he observed despairingly. “It’s going to rain again! Rain every day, as though to spite me. I might as well hang myself! It’s ruin! Fearful losses every day.” He flung up his hands, and went on, addressing Olenka: “There! that’s the life we lead, Olga Semyonovna. It’s enough to make one cry. One works and does one’s utmost, one wears oneself out, getting no sleep at night, and racks one’s brain what to do for the best. And then what happens? To begin with, one’s public is ignorant, boorish. I give them the very best operetta, a dainty masque, first rate music-hall artists. But do you suppose that’s what they want! They don’t understand anything of that sort. They want a clown; what they ask for is vulgarity. And...

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Common Core Short Stories: The Bet by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) Word Count: 2871 IT WAS a dark autumn night. The old banker was walking up and down his study and remembering how, fifteen years before, he had given a party one autumn evening. There had been many clever men there, and there had been interesting conversations. Among other things they had talked of capital punishment. The majority of the guests, among whom were many journalists and intellectual men, disapproved of the death penalty. They considered that form of punishment out of date, immoral, and unsuitable for Christian States. In the opinion of some of them the death penalty ought to be replaced everywhere by imprisonment for life. “I don’t agree with you,” said their host the banker. “I have not tried either the death penalty or imprisonment for life, but if one may judge _a priori_, the death penalty is more moral and more humane than imprisonment for life. Capital punishment kills a man at once, but lifelong imprisonment kills him slowly. Which executioner is the more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years?” “Both are equally immoral,” observed one of the guests, “for they both have the same object — to take away life. The State is not God. It has not the right to take away...

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