Sick of Chekhov yet? Me neither. Today is his 150th birthday.
So today I went to his house, which you can probably see from the Embassy if you are in the right office. It's on Kudrinskya; I like saying it.
I walked in and saw a sign that said, students, 60 rubles, foreigners, 100 rubles. There is probably a "local" price, which you are entitled to, with your embassy badge, but I didn't even try. 100 rubles = $3. To see Chekhov's house? I don't need to negotiate it down to $2.50. Then the lady came out of her little booth, took me by the arm, sweetly, to show me the sign in English that explains that the price posted is to take pictures. And no more than two pictures in each room. Okaaaaay.
I'd worn fifteen layers of clothing, even though it's warmed up to 7F, but I checked my coat. I get the feeling the coat check guy is a hoot, but I can't understand him, so I just laugh in a generalized, idiotic way. He offers me overshoes, which I decline, I don't want to be the only freak with overshoes.
The first room is portraits and someone's parasol, maybe Chekhov's walking cane, I think I recognize it from photos, but who can tell? The lables are all in Russian. It's all cool though--parasols and canes and early playbills-- I mean, no one loves ephemera more than I do. And hitting me in the face is the portrait I love, the one his brother painted. You know it by now.
But there is another room! His sitting room! Where he received patients, and friends. Oh, only people like Tchikovsky, but, whatever! Check out his leather doctor bag and eye glasses. His desk and lamp, and here have a chair. You can sit and hang out for a while, commune with his ghost.
Off the sitting room, on either side of the Carl Larson-esque stove, are his and his brother's rooms. Why do we have such huge beds now? Here is the bed Anton Chekhov slept in, and it's like a junior twin. I love the 19th century.
And it's all in dacha style with the tapetry on the wall, next to the bed. His mother made that tapestry. *dies*
I'm fangirling over Anton Chekhov and his interiors. Fine. Also, there is a rug over the table in the sitting room. *rumages through closet to find rug to put on table*
There's more, you can go upstairs, run your hand along the worn red velvet-covered handrail his sister loved. Upstairs, a piano his brother played in the mornings while Chekhov wrote downstairs. Chekov's favorite piece was Chopin's prelude #6. "Chopin is everyone's favorite," says Peter.
His sister's room is upstairs. Her little sewing machine, her gray velvet-covered sofa. Could you die of love?
So as I'm wandering around communing with every little thing, I notice I am the only clueless person not ruining the best short-story writer in the history of the universe's floor by not wearing overshoes.
Americans! We are so clueless, and dirty. And I took more than two pictures in some of the rooms too! But I evened it out by not taking ANY pictures in other rooms.
You can see his playing cards, and his toothbrush, (ew, says Camille) prescriptions he'd written out, photos he'd taken and his dishes, and envelopes he'd made out of newsprint and tied with red string, (I'm so doing this) his waistcoat that closed with cuff-link-like buttons and pajamas embroidered with his initials, and hand-written manuscripts and little notebooks...his life, all right there to see. Everything and almost him.