You can find today’s 7117 word story here http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/192.html
This story starts out comical with an introduction to the Turkins, the smartest family in a small, unnamed town. The father plays puns on words, the wife writes and reads aloud unrealistic novels “of what never happens in real life,” and the daughter pounds the keyboards of the piano with the hope of becoming a professional pianist. A district doctor moves to town and is encouraged to meet the family only to fall helplessly in love with the daughter. I love the scene where Startsev asks to meet Ekaterina alone and she gives him a note to met her at the cemetery at 11 at night. It is absurd and what I believe to be a page from one of her mother’s books. I love that Startsev sees it as absurd too. He doesn’t quite make the connection to her mother’s books. When Startsev sees Ekaterina again and he pleads at ball for her to marry him, I was upset that he did not respect her wishes. She states her case quite plainly to him: “…I want fame, success, freedom, and you want me to go on living in this town, to go on living this empty, useless life… One must strive towards a lofty, glorious goal, and married life would put me in bondage for ever…” To not respect the woman’s wishes and aspirations and to carry a wounded ego for several years shows what a petty, selfish man Startsev had always been. If he had married her, Ekaterina would have never been content and most likely bitter for never striking out on her own. Although she later looks back at this moment — not accepting Startsev proposal — as a mistake. But at that time she did not know her limitations and to live a life unfulfilled is a horrible thing to endure. Startsev transforms from the shy doctor into a greedy monster. Even his name changes to Ionitch, much like a Jekyll to Hyde. He is a ball of fury with a heart walled up to the sky. Chekhov delivers one of the funniest/scariest lines a writer can read as thought by an embittered Ionitch. “People are not stupid because they can’t write novels, but because they can’t conceal it when they do…” Brilliant and terrifying.