Written By Anton Chekhov


It’s carnival time, the servants are getting careless, you have to keep an eye on them constantly, to make sure nothing’s wrong. I walked through the dining room at midnight last night, and there was a candle left burning. And I still haven’t found out who lit it.

Olga and Irina still aren’t in. They haven’t come home. They’re kept busy the whole time, poor things. Olga and her staff meeting, Irina at her telegraph office… I said that to your sister this morning, ‘You must look after yourself, Irina darling’, I said. But she doesn’t listen. Quarter past eight, did you say? You know, I’m afraid our little Bobik isn’t at all well. Why is he so cold? He had a fever yesterday, and today he’s freezing… I’m really worried about him! We’d better see he’s eating properly. I’m worried. And there’s supposed to be carnival people arriving at ten o’clock, I’d rather they didn’t come, Andryusha. You know, that darling little boy woke up this morning and looked at me, and he suddenly smiled – yes, he recognized me. ‘Hello, Bobik!’ I said, ‘Hello, my darling!’ And he laughed, yes. Children know everything that’s going on, they understand perfectly. Anyway, Andryusha, I’ll tell them not to let the musicians in.

I’ve ordered sour milk for supper. The doctor says you’re to have nothing but sour milk, otherwise you’ll never lose weight. Bobik gets a chill so easily. I’m worried in case it’s too cold for him in there. We ought to put him in another room, at least until the warm weather. Irina’s room, for instance – that’s just perfect for a baby: it’s dry, and it gets the sun all day. She’ll have to be told, and she can move in with Olga meantime… She’s not at home during the day anyway she’s only here at nights.