Chekhov Shorts: A Gentleman Friend

Title: A Gentleman Friend
Date Read: 20th April 2010
Briefly: Coming out of hospital without a home in which to go to, or indeed a rouble to her name, the Honourable Citizen Nastasya Kanavkin (Vanda for short?!?) was desperate to reinstate her genteel appearance as soon as possible. After pawning her ring and having little money to show for it, she soon heads off in the direction of a dentist ‘friend’ called Finkel, who would surely lend her money.
Afterthoughts: An excellent tale from Chekhov in which he ruminates on the theme of materialism. Employing typical Chekhovian humour the story offers a moralistic lesson; that perhaps one would be wise not to take a materialistic approach in life. I was actually going to share this story with Mrs. Rob, but I doubt very much she would see the funny side :).
Notable Quote: The first thing she did was to visit a pawn-broker’s and pawn her turquoise ring, her one piece of jewellery. They gave her a rouble for the ring . . . but what can you get for a rouble? You can’t buy for that sum a fashionable short jacket, nor a big hat, nor a pair of bronze shoes, and without those things she had a feeling of being, as it were, undressed. She felt as though the very horses and dogs were staring and laughing at the plainness of her dress. And clothes were all she thought about: the question what she should eat and where she should sleep did not trouble her in the least.

Rating: ★★★½☆

*Story read as part of my Checkin’ Off The Chekhov Shorts reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).