Sunday 26 October 2014

Gorky and the Russian ladies

Maxim Gorki, the great Russian writer, tells this interesting story. Once he was sitting with Anton Chekhov, another great Russian writer in Chekhov's house discussing literature, when three very fashionably dressed Russian ladies came to see Chekhov. They filled his room with the scent of strong perfume and the rustle of silk attire.

They sat down before Chekhov, and pretending to be very interested in politics began to ask him some questions.
" Anton Pavlovich ( Chekhov's name ), what do you think will be the result of the war between the Greeks and the Turks ? "
 Chekhov reflected seriously, then said amiably " I think it will probably be peace. "
 " Yes, of course ", said one of the ladies, "  But who will win ? The Greeks or the Turks ? "
   " I think  those who are stronger will win " said Chekhov.
  " But who is stronger in your opinion ? ", persisted the lady.
  " Those who are better nourished and better educated " he replied.
  " And whom do you like better, the Greeks or the Turks ? ", asked another lady.
  Chekhov gave her a charming look and amiable smile, and then said " I like marmalade best. Do you like it ? ".
   " Very much " cried the lady vivaciously, and the three of them then started chattering enthusiastically, displaying their considerable knowledge about marmalade, and their profound erudition on the subject.
It was obvious that they were delighted not to have to make any further mental effort and pretend to be seriously interested in the Turks and Greeks, about whose affairs they had never bothered before this.

  As they were leaving they promised to send a lot of marmalade to Chekhov.
 When they had gone, Gorki said to Chekhov " You handled that very cleverly "
  Chekhov laughed, and said " It is best for everybody to speak their own language "


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