Anton Chekhov is one of the most celebrated writers in the history of Russian literature, known for his plays and short stories that are still widely read and performed today. However, there is another Chekhov who played an important role in the life and work of Anton: his sister, Anyuta.
Anyuta Chekhov, whose real name was Anna, was the oldest sibling in the Chekhov family and played a crucial role in supporting and caring for her younger brothers and sisters. Like Anton, she was highly educated and had a love for literature and the arts. In fact, she was the first member of the Chekhov family to attend university, studying at the Moscow Conservatory to become a pianist.
Despite her own talents and ambitions, Anyuta put aside her own dreams to help support the family financially and emotionally. She worked as a governess and a tutor to help bring in money, and also served as a confidante and support for Anton as he struggled with his own career as a writer.
Anyuta and Anton had a close relationship and often wrote to each other throughout their lives. In their letters, Anton confided in Anyuta about his struggles with his writing and his health, and sought her advice on various matters. Anyuta, in turn, offered her support and encouragement, always believing in her brother's talent and potential.
In addition to her role as a supportive sister, Anyuta was also a patron of the arts, hosting salons and concerts in her home where Anton and other writers and artists could gather and share their work. She was a strong advocate for Anton's work, and it was through her connections and efforts that some of his plays were first produced and published.
Anyuta Chekhov may not be as well-known as her brother Anton, but her contributions to his life and work cannot be underestimated. She was a supportive sister, a patron of the arts, and a confidante to Anton throughout his career. Without her support and encouragement, it is possible that Anton Chekhov may not have become the celebrated writer that he is remembered as today.
"Anyuta" and other Chekhov stories
I shall say what I like, and you hold your tongue. You look such a skinny thing, and yet one can hardly feel your ribs. Lyubka collected her beads and went out. . The air was full of a penetrating autumn dampness.
Three minutes later he came back, and without a word gave his father a ten-rouble note. I must speak to you seriously. It seemed to him that it made absolutely no difference to him whether they forgave him or not; he had come here to hear his sentence and to explain himself simply because kind-hearted Ivan Markovitch had begged him to do so. The composition of the court remained the same as it had been for the preceding case, except that the place of the defending counsel was filled by a new personage, a beardless young graduate in a coat with bright buttons. They beat me and they went away.
Klotchkov was the sixth. Kalashnikov laughed at something and beckoned her with his finger. Everyone refused to trust his thought and believed that he had heard wrong. Dying, your honour, my hour has come. Oh, this is muddling, and one can't see it clearly. There followed tears, protestations of love, kisses.
. Just as he was reaching the bench the escort had a trifling mishap. He was nervous, excitable, had no firm ground under his feet, and, above all, he had been unlucky. Well, now I can sound you. . Order yourself new boots and uniforms! To outsiders who have no personal interest in the matter such questions seem simple; for those who are so unfortunate as to have to decide them in earnest they are extremely difficult.
The sharp tapping, shouts, and whoops set the crockery ringing in the cupboard and the flame of the candle dancing. An educated man is in duty bound to have taste, isn't he? In the six or seven years of her wanderings from one furnished room to another, she had known five students like Klotchkov. When the lamp begins to flicker, the green patch and the shadows come to life, and are set in motion, as though by the wind. He told lies with the same relish with which he ate herring and drank. The student went to his own room and quietly lay down.
She said very little as a rule; she was always silent, thinking and thinking. To whom those names belonged he had forgotten years ago, and he only repeated them from habit. As usual, his face looked anxious and ill-humoured, and his beard was uncombed. It was dark in the room. This must be the second rib. His sleepy face softened and a look of envy came into it. The Lord has chastised me indeed! Sasha Uskov had cashed at one of the banks a false promissory note, and it had become due for payment three days before, and now his two paternal uncles and Ivan Markovitch, the brother of his dead mother, were deciding the question whether they should pay the money and save the family honour, or wash their hands of it and leave the case to go for trial.
The hallucination takes possession of Varka. Kalashnikov had the dignified manners of a sedate and sensible man; he spoke weightily, and made the sign of the cross over his mouth every time he yawned, and no one could have supposed that this was a thief, a heartless thief who had stripped poor creatures, who had already been twice in prison, and who had been sentenced by the commune to exile in Siberia, and had been bought off by his father and uncle, who were as great thieves and rogues as he was. Everyone seemed to wince and as it were shrink together. When one moves and runs about, one is not so sleepy as when one is sitting down. Grigory alone has brains enough for ten. A minute later the sound of their steps and their talk dies away.
She said nothing in answer to the student's words, only her lips began to tremble. There is perfect stillness. God will forgive you, but beware another time. . It seemed that if he were not to sit quietly but to get up and begin beseeching, appealing with tears for their mercy, bitterly repenting, that if he were to die of despair—it would all be shattered against blunted nerves and the callousness of custom, like waves against a rock.
It is strange to see how readily these elegant lawyers, members of committees, and marshals of nobility, who in their own homes will make a scene over the slightest fume from the stove, or stain on the floor, resign themselves here to whirring ventilation wheels, the disgusting smell of fumigating candles, and the filthy, forever perspiring walls. I must draw it. Fetisov, the artist, walked in. Why, you know we shall have to part. The student has all the cards: she has none.
And they spent a fortnight together without speaking or looking at one another till the day she went away. He recalled the artist's words that an educated man was in duty bound to have taste, and his surroundings actually struck him now as loathsome and revolting. He was inextricably involved in debt; he had not a farthing in his pocket; his family had become detestable to him; he would have to part from his friends and his women sooner or later, as they had begun to be too contemptuous of his sponging on them. Anyuta quickly threw a woollen shawl over her shoulders. I say, Anyuta, let me pick them out.