Chekhov Shorts: The Beggar

Title: The Beggar
Date Read: 11th June 2013
Briefly: Mad that the beggar Lushkov would lie to him to try and gain a handout, the lawyer Skvortsov insists that he earns money chopping wood for him. The plan works, and in no time Skvortsov notices a real positive change in the beggar.
Afterthoughts: This is a lovely story from Chekhov. It’s short and to the point, and it comes with a typical Chekhovian twist at the end that must have had nineteenth-centry Russians in stitches (and not a few modern day readers too). Classic fare from the master, and a story well worth devoting the measly fifteen minutes it takes to read it.
Notable Quote: “Skvortsov flew into a rage and gave the beggar a merciless scolding. The ragged fellow’s insolent lying aroused his disgust and aversion, was an offence against what he, Skvortsov, loved and prized in himself: kindliness, a feeling heart, sympathy for the unhappy. By his lying, by his treacherous assault upon compassion, the individual had, as it were, defiled the charity which he liked to give to the poor with no misgivings in his heart. The beggar at first defended himself, protested with oaths, then he sank into silence and hung his head, overcome with shame.”

Rating: ★★★★☆

*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).