Title: A Blunder
Date Read: 11 January 2010
Word Count: 647
Briefly: Ilya Sergeitch Peplov lurks outside the drawing-room with his wife Kleopatra Petrovna. They’re eavesdropping on an amorous conversation between their daughter Natashenka and district school teacher Shchupkin. They’re not angry though – far from it – because Peplov has hatched a plan to rush in with ikon in hand, at the point when the young lovers are in compromising position, to declare that both must be married.
Afterthoughts: Fundamentally this story is nothing more than a fleeting comedy sketch from the Russian master. But one of the things I love about Chekhov is that he possesses this incredible ability of leaving his readers with a sense of complete fulfillment, regardless of the length of story. At just over 600 words, A Blunder is definitely one of his shorter stories, but in that it is no less entertaining. Clever, humorous and to the point. I loved it!
Notable Quote: “He’s rising!” whispered Peplov, quivering with impatience and rubbing his hands. “Now, Kleopatra, mind; as soon as they begin talking of their feelings, take down the ikon from the wall and we’ll go in and bless them. . . . We’ll catch him. . . . A blessing with an ikon is sacred and binding. . . He couldn’t get out of it, if he brought it into court.”
*Story read as part of my Checkin’ Off The Chekhov Shorts reading challenge.