Date Read: 19 January 2009
Word Count: 1451
Briefly: After a night of scary conversation and ghost tales, Vaxin returns home to his holiday cottage and beds down for the night. Due to his scary evening Vaxin’s imagination soon plays tricks on him, and he begins to fear everything around him; especially the big portrait of Uncle Klavdy that hangs facing his bed. With his wife away Vaxin seeks solace from the only person in the house, the German maiden, but it’s not long before the maid begins to suspect an ulterior motive.
Afterthoughts: I don’t know if I’m just just getting better at reading them but these stories just seem to be getting better and better, and this one certainly doesn’t buck the trend. It’s a delightful little story and Chekhov brings to life brilliantly that feeling you get when you head off bed to bed at night, after watching that scary movie you know you shouldn’t really have. As always Chekhov injects a bit of his comedic genius into the ending of this story, very much putting the metaphorical icing on the metaphorical cake.
Notable Quote: “Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . . he heard the clock in the next room. The church-bell chimed the hour in the churchyard close by. The bell tolled slowly, depressingly, mournfully. . . . A cold chill ran down Vaxin’s neck and spine. He fancied he heard someone breathing heavily over his head, as though Uncle Klavdy had stepped out of his frame and was bending over his nephew. . . . Vaxin felt unbearably frightened. He clenched his teeth and held his breath in terror. “
*Story read as part of my Checkin’ Off The Chekhov Shorts reading challenge.