CONJUNCTIONS:31 Fall 1998
After the Fair
Anton Chekhov


A MERCHANT FROM the First Traders Guild of Moscow had just returned from the Nizhgorod Fair, and in his pockets his wife found a bunch of torn and tattered papers covered with smudged writing. She managed to make out the following:

Dear Mr. Semyon Ivanovitch:
     Mr. Khryapunov, the artiste you beat up, is prepared to reach an out-of-court settlement of 100 rubles. He will not accept one kopeck less. I await your answer.
     Sincerely, your lawyer, N. Erzayev.

_____

To the brute who dares call himself a trader:
     Having been insulted by you most grossly, I have relegated my complaint to a court of law. As you seem incapable of appreciating who I am, perhaps the justice of the peace or a public trial will teach you to respect me. Erzayev, your lawyer, said that you were not prepared to pay me a hundred rubles. This being the case, I am prepared to accept 75 rubles in compensation for your brutish behavior. It is only in lenience for your simple-mindedness and to what one could call your animalistic instincts that I am prepared to let you off so cheaply. When an educated man insults me, I charge much more.
     Khryapunov, artiste
_____

...concerning our demand of 539 rubles and 43 kopecks, the value of the broken mirror and the piano you demolished in the Glukharev Restaurant...
_____

...anoint bruises morning and evening...
_____

...after I manage to sell the ruined fabrics as if they were choice merchandise, I plan to get totally soused! Get yourself over to Feodosya's this evening. See to it that we get Kinma the musician-- and spread some mustard on his head--and that we have four mademoiselles. Get plump ones.
_____

... concerning the I.O.U.--you can take a flying jump! I will gladly proffer a ten-kopeck piece, but concerning the fraudulent bankrupter, we'll see what we shall see.
_____

Finding you in a state of feverish delirium due to the excessive intake of alcohol (delirium tremens), I applied cupping glasses to your body to bring you back to your senses. For these services I request a fee of three rubles.
     Egor Prykov, Medical Attendant
_____

Dear Semyon, please don't be angry--I named you as a witness in court concerning that rampage when we were being beaten up, even though you said I shouldn't. Don't act so superior--after all, you yourself caught a couple of wallops too. And see to it that those bruises don't go away, keep them inflamed...
_____

BILL

1 portion of fish soup. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 ruble, 80 kopecks
1 bottle of Champagne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 rubles
1 broken decanter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 rubles
Cab for the mademoiselles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 rubles
Cabbage soup for the Gypsy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 kopecks
Tearing of waiter's jacket. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 rubles
_____

...I kiss you countless times, and hope to see you soon at the following address: Fayansov Furnished rooms, number 18. Ask for Martha Sivyagina.
     Your ever-loving Angelica


--Translated from Russian by Peter Constantine