lonely desert everywhere
Our guide Igor Pashchenko compares the time with an old clock from 1876, his invariable talisman, given by a friend in whose family the relic was kept, and begins his story. If it were not for this love story that took place in the 19th century, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, with whom Taganrog is primarily associated, would not have been born.
The father of the future famous writer, Pavel, was already 29 years old and not yet married, emphasizing his bachelor status by wearing a ring engraved with the engraving “To the lonely everywhere in the desert.” Relatives became concerned and began to look for a bride for the confirmed bachelor. In the absence of wealth, Paul did not have to depend on a young woman with a dowry at this time. And they found him a “top star” – a 19-year-old dowry Evgenia Yakovlevna, whom he began to care for. But the problem is that, almost at the same time, the girl had another boyfriend who also wanted to marry her. In general, a situation arose according to Gogol: “We rummage through the suitors, like in the garbage.”
– Then the future mother of the great writer found out through her relatives that Pavel Yegorovich Chekhov had 100 rubles more than his rival, and the girl’s heart trembled. The sight cleared. She understood which of the two suitors she fell in love with,-says the guide not without humor.
Anton’s uncle Mitrofan married more romantically. But he first fell in love with Princess Augusta Sophia Maria of Hesse, whom he saw in a portrait. The young man suffered unrealistic love, until he finally met a Taganrog woman, Lyuda Yevtushevskaya, in whom he saw a resemblance to a real person.
– But the groom made an unforgivable mistake: he naively admitted to the bride why he paid attention to him. Like any normal girl, Lyudmila was offended. Mitrofan was upset and went on a business trip to St. Petersburg, where his own legs took him to Tsarskoye Selo.
An amazing meeting took place there: the ideal of Alexander II and Mitrofan, Princess Augusta, who became the wife of the Russian Tsarevich, walked up the road to him.
– Mitrofanushka’s legs buckled, she fell, her eyes became like tea saucers. When Alexander began to ask the stranger what happened, he said that Maria Alexandrovna was very similar to his girlfriend in Taganrog.
– Lyudochka found out about what had happened from Mitrofan’s letter, burst into tears and forgave him. They got married and had five children, sums up the narrator.
Antonovka on the fence
“Even more entertaining is the love experience of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov himself, who simply attracted the fairer sex, but really loved, it seems to me, only his sister Maria,” the guide suggests.
Igor Pashchenko leafs through a thick photo album, from which he takes out a black and white photograph of a girl.
In the photo – Maria’s friend and Chekhov’s first girlfriend, Evdokia Efros. The matter did not reach the wedding, since “Efros with a nose”, as Anton Dunya called him, was too expressive and emancipated.
– Jewish youth then spoke only Russian. And Evdokia could come to the Chekhovs’ house and scatter their things, throw a tantrum, scenes of jealousy. She then she will marry a friend Anton, who studied with him in the same gymnasium, she will publish a magazine in which she will publish Chekhov. The couple emigrated to France and in 1943 the Germans captured Dunya as a Jew and burned her in a concentration camp.
And in his youth, before feeling for Evdokia, Anton became interested in the sister of a classmate Andrei Drossi. She remembered how Chekhov came up to them and chased after her. The girl could lock the door in front of her face and open it only when he brought expensive monpensier candies from her father’s shop, at 20 kopecks each.
For 10 years, the famous Lika Mizinova tried to marry Chekhov, although, if you read her letters, not all women will put up with such an attitude. For example, in one of his letters to a girl, Chekhov writes: “How beautiful you are, Lika.” And then: “You were visiting us and you ate three pieces of meat, I will never forget it.” And at the end he signs it: “Corn of my soul.”
Having married Olga Knipper, Chekhov saw her 2-3 times a year.
“Most women would have been outraged by this, but not Lika, who wanted Chekhov as her husband and therefore suffered greatly for him,” the narrator states.
Anton Pavlovich did not need to seduce anyone, they hung on his neck. Fun fact: in Yalta, girls literally hung on the fence of the house where he stayed, waiting for whom he would choose today. The locals called them antonovki.
When Chekhov married the actress Olga Knipper, he only saw his wife two or three times a year. She lived in Moscow and knew about the many love affairs of her husband, but this did not bother her, she herself was the mistress of the founder of the Moscow Art Theater Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko.
– It was necessary to link the famous author to this theater. Each had their own calculation. His correspondence has been preserved, in which Anton and Olga declare their love for each other. At the same time, as Bunin wrote, she was twice pregnant with another. The first time she miscarried, the second time she fell into the orchestra pit and the pregnancy was terminated. I always say: if a woman does not want to give birth to a man, she will never give birth, our guide draws a line.
Local historian Igor Pashchenko compares the time with a clock made in 1876. Photo: Tagir Rajavov
– Why were women crazy about Chekhov?
– In my opinion, the reason is not just a banal reaction to fame. He was easy to communicate, he didn’t play cards, he didn’t drink, he didn’t make trouble. The women themselves discussed novels with him. Among them is the famous writer Lidia Avilova. At first, he wrote a small memoir about her connection with Chekhov, but then, over time, it turned into a thick book that said that Lida was the greatest love of his life.
It turns out that, in addition to love affairs, the writer liked to be photographed. Studying Chekhov’s photographs, Igor Pashchenko concluded about the features of the writer’s face: if you arrange the photo of him in chronological order, it is clear that Chekhov’s appearance changed a lot every year. It is no coincidence that even in his youth he had several nicknames: first – Chekhon from the surname, then – Tadpole and Bomba, which were later forgotten, since the young man was very stretched out and lost weight.
What did Chekhov do in 44 years?
During the 44 years that he lived, half of which Chekhov suffered from tuberculosis, he not only created outstanding works (20 volumes of prose), but also achieved a lot:
– built four village schools, a bell tower, a fire shed for peasants, the road to Lopasnya, overcoming the passive resistance of the inert zemstvo, the scam of contractors, the indifference of dark peasants;
– erected a monument to Peter I in Taganrog, persuading Antokolsky to donate to the city the statue he had sculpted and arranging its casting and free delivery through the port of Marseille;
– founded a public library in Taganrog, donated 2,000 of his own books there and replenished it for 14 years;
– during his life in Melikhovo, annually as a doctor, he received more than 1 thousand sick peasants free of charge and supplied them with medicines;
– as a zemstvo doctor for cholera, alone, without assistants, he treated 25 villages;
– made a trip to Sakhalin Island, single-handedly took a census of its population, wrote the book “Sakhalin Island”, proving that tsarist hard work is “a mediocre mockery of the rich and well-fed over a powerless human person “;
– helped thousands of people (the content of many of the letters to Chekhov in the catalog of the complete works is formulated as follows: “Thank you for the money received from Chekhov …”, “Thank you for the help in obtaining a service… .”, “Thanks for the fuss about the passport…”).
He left the following lines in his notebook: “A Muslim digs a well to save his soul. It would be nice if each of us left behind a school, a well, or something like that, so that life does not pass and enter eternity without leaving trace”.