Today’s story is a short one at 1802 words. http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/015.html
This reminded me of the movie “Waiting For Guffman.” A town is thrown into a tizzy by the expected arrival of a count. Details are given to the music selections and the stress the choir master feels, including his rivalry with the deacon. This story didn’t work for me. There was a weird refrain of “after the” then this happened. In the end both the choir master and the deacon are brought together in humiliation, but I didn’t care about either of them to care.
In this story, we follow the anxieties of Alexey Alexeitch, the sacristan of the Yefremovo church. Among his other duties, Alexey is the choir director in this small Russian town and has just learned that Count Ivanovitch (“owner” of the town) will be visiting. We are also introduced early to the “enemy” of Alexey–the deacon. The two of them provoke each other as they overly prepare for the anticipated visit of the atheist Count. In keeping with recent Chekhov themes, there is much ado about nothing. All preparation is wasted as the thankless nobility dismiss them without consideration. The only recourse is to drown their sorrows together. These “enemies” within the church ironically brought together by an indifferent aristocracy to imbibe as friends in the hope of reviving a sense of purpose. Personally, this story was as forgettable as the deacons voice.