Chekhov’s Seagull

On a stormy night in April 1890, parting feelings filled the Yaroslavli Railway Station in Moscow. Relatives and friends were seeing off Anthony Pavlovich Chekhov.

Since Chekhov won the Pushkin Prize for Literature, praise and slander have come together. Some people have shown courtesy to him, while others have attacked and questioned his works. This made him distressed and gave birth to the idea of ​​long-distance travel. After reading Pushkin’s “To the Prisoners of Siberia”, 30-year-old Chekhov decided to go to Sakhalin Island (now Sakhalin Island) thousands of miles away, which was a prison island in the Tsarist period. He felt that he had a responsibility to understand the prisoners in exile. Suffering.

Uncertainty before the journey, Chekhov’s health has always been poor, hemoptysis is common due to lung disease. In the waiting room, sister Mary shed tears because of worry, and her good friend Rika Mizinova also had tears in her eyes, and her acquaintance with Chekhov is vivid.

On that day, Rika went to Mary’s house as a guest. She was “extremely beautiful” and immediately attracted Mary’s brothers. Chekhov was no exception. The charming facial features, charming gray eyes, and beautiful gray curly hair are simply Russian myths. “Queen of the Swan”, he is almost in a trance. After getting acquainted with Chekhov’s family, Rika became a frequent visitor to their family. She is only 19 years old. She teaches in the same middle school as Mary. Not only can she speak several foreign languages, but she also has a talent for singing. Her dream is to become an actor or a singer. “Light, smart, innocent, cute, youthful”, Rika has many pursuers. However, unconsciously, Chekhov has taken her heart. He is 10 years older than her, handsome, humorous, pale blue eyes deep and full of wisdom, and his unparalleled talents, no one can resist.

After bidding farewell to Chekhov, Rika was full of miss. At the same time, Chekhov visited Sakhalin and talked with every hard laborer in the wooden house and under the mine. The cruel behavior of the prison and the poor living conditions of women and children made him outrageous. He was determined to expose these ugliness.

After half a year, Chekhov set out to return. After returning to China, despite the long-distance fatigue, he immediately collected elementary school textbooks and syllabus, and prepared to send them to the children who were out of school in Sakhalin prison. When Rika learned about it, she took the initiative to ask, and wrote him the first letter on the grounds of sending the syllabus. In the letter, she talked about her cough and said that her letter was nonsense and lacklustre, which would definitely annoy him. However, “making you angry will make me happy” is completely naughty tone of a girl in love.

Two days later, Chekhov’s reply arrived. He praised Rika’s letter as “very decent, neither overbearing nor overbearing.” The novelist’s keenness and intuition made him see the sentiment behind Rika’s words, and his heart blossomed in an instant. At the end of the letter, in response, he called her “the murderer of my soul”.

Our gooseberries are ripe
With the increase in letters and meetings, the relationship between Chekhov and Rika heated up rapidly. In the letter, he was passionate, “Please allow me to be intoxicated in your breath.” “I am waiting for your arrival, like the desert nomads are looking forward to water, and I feel sad that you are not by my side.”

He brought the inspiration and flame of love to his creation, and completed the novel “Sixth Ward” in 1892. This is an essay denouncing the Tsarist Russia regime. The seemingly absurd description actually outlines the solemn reality. After the novel was published, the response was huge, and Chekhov became a world writer.

Rika was moved by the sweet comment. In the letter, she couldn’t help but even mentioned marriage: “I have to mark off a day on the calendar every day. There are still 310 days left before my supremely happy days!” Her response letter poured her cold water: “This makes me very happy, but can I postpone this supremely happy day for two or three years?” “Rika, it is not you that I love so passionately. In you I love my past pain and lost youth.”

After the enthusiasm, he just wanted to “become a free artist” and enjoy the crowd of countless admirers. He said to his publisher: “I don’t want to get married. I want to be a bald old man sitting in a beautiful workplace in front of a big writing desk.” Even then, Rika lived in his home. .

“You yearn for peace, you want a good mood, and you are willing to have someone sitting next to you, but you yourself are not willing to take a step forward to anyone.” Without a clear answer, Rika withdrew from the contract in sorrow. The life of the Khofu. But half a year later, she suddenly received a letter from him. He told her with interest that “the currant was ripe”, and he asked Rika to write to him, “even if it was a few curse words.” He confided to her and actively planned the meeting. Rika changed her mind.

However, Chekhov only has the tender affection in his pen and ink for Rika: “I kiss your powder box respectfully like a big old man, and envy your old shoes because they can see you every day.” In reality, He tried his best to restrain his feelings, facing Rika’s persistence, he always withdrew in time. His attitude was sometimes enthusiastic and sometimes cold, and he always used half ridicule and half humor to cover up himself. In his mouth, she became a “sour currant”.

His uncertainty made Rika disappointed and sad. In order to attract Chekhov’s attention, she deliberately kept in close contact with one of Chekhov’s writer friends. She complained to Chekhov, “Is there any way? You will always avoid me and push me anyway. give others.”

Most impulse is tragedy. Rika eloped to Paris with Chekhov’s writer friend and was soon abandoned. In a foreign country, she gave birth to her daughter alone, and then her daughter died. In the letter, she said painfully to Chekhov: “I have to say that all this is your fault.” She still has deep feelings for him, and she begged him: “In order to be able to appear at your house, sit down. Talking with you on the sofa for ten minutes, I am willing to sacrifice half of my life.” But Chekhov was indifferent and Rika was desperate.

Seagull flying
Rika’s misfortune became an excellent material. In 1895, Chekhov locked herself in the manor to create the script “The Seagull”. The encounter with the protagonist Nina is a true portrayal of Rika. A year later, “The Seagull” premiered at the Alexander Theater in Petersburg. That day, sitting in the auditorium, Rika burst into tears.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, the performance failed miserably. The huge blow made Chekhov’s health deteriorating. On the advice of a friend, he moved to Yalta, a warmer climate, to recuperate. In loneliness, the floodgates of memories were opened. In the miss of Rika, he created the novel “Gooseberry”, which was a code word between them. In the letter, he confided to her: “Rika, I am very lonely in Yalta. I am not living, but barely living. Don’t forget me, even if I write a letter occasionally. I missed my health, like I missed you.”

Rika quickly sent a photo of herself with the words on the back: “No matter whether my future is bright or dark; whether my life is about to be destroyed and disappeared from now on, I only know one thing: Before I walk into the grave, Everything belongs to you!”

Unfortunately, emotions and years have been torn into pieces, and they can’t go back.

In 1898, the Moscow Art Theatre decided to remake “The Seagull”, and Chekhov was invited to watch the rehearsal. On the stage, Nina’s actor and actress Olga Knippel attracted him, and despite the cold, humid, and chilly in the hall, he kept seeing the end.

This time, “Seagull” was a big success. The praise and reputation continued, the “flying seagull” became the icon of the theater, and Chekhov was called the “genius playwright”. Soon, the Moscow Art Theater performed in Yalta. At the celebration party, it was Knippel who appeared as the future hostess.

Like getting along with Rika, Chekhov only puts his love and diligence into correspondence, and when he mentions marriage, he shrinks. Two years later, under repeated pressure by Knippel, the 41-year-old Chekhov finally entered the church. At that time, his health worsened.

After learning that Chekhov was married, Rika interrupted communication with him. Soon, she married a director and moved to France.

As Chekhov wanted, “Wife should be like the moon, not rising up to my sky every day.” He couldn’t live without Yalta because of his illness, and Knippel also couldn’t let go of the Moscow stage. They depended on correspondence to maintain their marriage. Amid the urging of his wife, Chekhov wrote a script for her regardless of health. In the spring of 1904, when news of the success of “Cherry Orchard” came, Chekhov fell ill again, and he knew that death was inevitable. Three months later, on a quiet and sultry night, with a glass of champagne, Chekhov stopped breathing in Germany.

When she was buried in the Moscow Cemetery, Rika came, dressed in black, with tears in her eyes and silent. After Chekhov’s death, relatives and friends were writing memoir articles, but she did not write a few words, only the past letters still tell distant stories.