September 1, 1902
My dear, my own,
Once again I have had a strange letter from you. Once again you hurl all sorts of accusations at my head. Who has told you that I don’t want to go back to Moscow, that I have gone away for good and am not coming back this autumn? Didn’t I write to you in plain Russian, that I would definitely be coming back in September and would live with you til December. Well, didn’t I? You accuse me of not being frank, yet you forget everything I write or say to you. And I simply can’t imagine what I am to do with my wife, or how I should write to her.
You write that you tremble when you read my letters, that it is time for us to part, that there is something you don’t understand in all this. It strikes me, my darling, that neither I nor you are to blame for all this muddle, but someone else with whom you have been talking…You write that I am capable of living beside you and always being silent, that I only want you as an agreeable woman and that as a human being you are isolated and a stranger to me. My sweet, good darling, you are my wife, when are you finally going to understand that? You are the person nearest and dearest to me. I have loved you infinitely and I love you still and you go writing about being an agreeable woman, lonely and a stranger to me…Well then, have it your own way if you must!
I am better, but I’ve been coughing violently. There hasn’t been any rain, and it’s hot…
Write and tell me what you’re doing, what parts are you playing, which new ones you’re rehearsing. You are not lazy like your husband, are you?…I love you more than ever and as a husband I have been blameless. Why can’t you finally understand that my joy, my scribble-scrabble?
Good-bye for the present, keep well and cheerful. Write to me every day without fail. I kiss you and hug you, my puppet.
About Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904)
was well educated in the classics and graduated as a doctor in 1884. After his father, a grocer, went bankrupt, Chekhov provided financial support for his large family by writing popular comic sketches for humorous journals. From 1888 his work became more serious–though with an underlying humor–and in the 16 years before his death he published more than 50 stories in leading literary journals. But his reputation as a major Russian writer rests on his plays: The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1900), The Three Sisters (1901), and The Cherry Orchard (1904). Chekhov valued political and artistic freedom highly. A religious skeptic, he was drawn to an ascetic lifestyle. He died in Germany in 1904 from tuberculosis that had make him an invalid for many years.