Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Half of his salary goes on books. . .

Another description of a reader from "Ward No. 6," which I intend to finish today:

"With the agreeable thought that, thank God, he has had no private practice for a long time, and that no one will bother him, Andrei Yefimych goes home, sits down immediately at the desk in his study, and begins to read. He reads a lot, and always with great pleasure. Half of his salary goes on books, and of the six rooms of his apartment, three are heaped with books and old magazines. He likes writings on history and philosophy most of all; in the field of medicine, he subscribes to The Doctor, which he always starts reading from the back. Each time the reading goes on uninterruptedly for several hours without tiring him. He does not read quickly and impulsively, as Ivan Dmitrich used to, but slowly, sensitively, often lingering over places that please or puzzle him. Beside the book there always stands a little carafe of vodka, and a pickled cucumber or apple lies directly on the baize, without a plate. Every half hour, without taking his eyes of the book, he pours himself a glass of vodka and drinks it, then, without looking, feels for the pickle and takes a bite."


  1. What a wonderful description! So visual--

  2. If I drank a glass of vodka every half an hour I would be pickled! Thanks for this, makes me want to read Chekhov.

  3. I love Chekhov's Cherry Orchard. Read it a few years ago.

    Wasn't Red and Black AMAZING. I just posted my two bits on it at my humble blog.


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