"An honest man is something like a chimney sweep whom babysitters scare children."

I have often heard from him:

- Here, you know, one teacher came ... sick, married, - you have no opportunity to help him? While I have already arranged it ...

Or:

- Listen, Gorky, - here one teacher wants to get to know you. He does not come out sick. Would you go to him - well?

Or:

- Here are the teachers are asked to send books ...

Sometimes I found this “teacher” in him: usually the teacher, red from the consciousness of his awkwardness, sat on the edge of the chair and, using the sweat of his face, chose words, trying to speak smoother and “more educated”, or, with the ease of a painfully shy person, focused on the desire it did not seem stupid in the eyes of the writer and showered Anton Pavlovich with a barrage of questions that had hardly come to his mind until that moment.

Anton Pavlovich attentively listened to awkward speech; a smile gleamed in his sad eyes, wrinkles in his temples trembled, and with his deep, soft, matte voice he began to speak simple, clear, life-close words — words that somehow simplified the interlocutor at once: he stopped trying to be clever man, why immediately became both smarter and more interesting ...

I remember one teacher - tall, thin, with a yellow, hungry face and a long hunchbacked nose, bent to his chin, melancholically, sat against Anton Pavlovich and, staring fixedly at his face with black eyes, with gloomy bass said:

- From such impressions of being during the pedagogical season, such a mental conglomerate is formed, which absolutely suppresses any possibility of an objective attitude to the world around. Of course, the world is nothing but our understanding of it ...

Then he launched into the field of philosophy and walked along it, resembling a drunk on ice.

“And tell me,” Chekhov asked quietly and tenderly, “who is it who beats the guys in your county?”

The teacher jumped up from the chair and waved his arms indignantly:

- What do you! I? Never! Beat?

And offended snorted.

“You do not worry,” continued Anton Pavlovich, smiling soothingly, “Am I talking about you?” I don’t remember - I read in the newspapers - someone hits, it’s in your county ...

The teacher sat down, wiped his sweaty face and, with a sigh of relief, spoke in a deaf bass:

- Right! There was one incident. This is Makarov. You know - no wonder! Wildly, but explicable. He is married - four children, his wife is sick, he, too, is consumptive. Salary - 20 rubles, and the school - the cellar and the teacher - one room. Under such conditions - you will smash the angel of God without any guilt, and the disciples are far from angels, believe me!

And this man, who had just mercilessly struck Chekhov with his supply of clever words, suddenly, ominously shaking his hunchbacked nose, spoke with simple, heavy, like stones, with words, brightly illuminating the damned, formidable truth of that life, which the Russian village lives ...

Saying goodbye to the master, the teacher took his small dry hand with thin fingers with both hands and, shaking it, said:

- I walked to you, as if to the authorities, - with shyness and shivering, pouted like an Indian rooster, I wanted to show you that, well, I’m not sticking too ... but I leave here like a good, close person who understands everything. Great this business - to understand everything! Thanks you! I am going. I carry a good, kind thought with me: the big people are simpler and more intelligible, and closer to our brother's soul than all these misery among whom we live. Farewell! I will never forget you ...

His nose flinched, his lips folded into a kind smile, and he suddenly added:

- And actually, the scoundrels are also unhappy people - damn them!

When he left, Anton Pavlovich looked after him, grinned and said:

- Good guy. Briefly teach ...

- Why?

- Harassment ... will drive ...

Thinking, he added softly and softly:

“In Russia, an honest person is something like a chimney sweep, to whom nannies scare young children ...”

(… )

It seems to me that every person under Anton Pavlovich involuntarily felt in himself a desire to be simpler, more truthful, to be more than himself, and I often watched as people threw off the colorful outfits of book phrases, buzz words and all the other cheap little things that Russian a man, desiring to depict a European, adorns himself like a savage with shells and fish teeth. Anton Pavlovich did not like fish teeth and cock feathers; everything motley, thundering and alien, put on by a man for “greater importance”, caused him embarrassment, and I noticed that every time he saw a discharged person in front of him, he was overwhelmed with the desire to free him from all this painful and unnecessary tinsel , distorting the real face and living soul of the interlocutor. All his life A. Chekhov lived on the means of his soul, he was always himself, was internally free and never considered what some — expected from Anton Chekhov, others, more crude — demanded. He didn’t like to talk about “high” topics - conversations with which this cute Russian man so diligently entertains himself, forgetting that it is ridiculous, but not at all witty, to talk about velvet suits in the future, without even presenting decent pants.

Beautifully simple, he loved everything simple, genuine, sincere, and he had a peculiar way of making people easier.

Once they were visited by three magnificently dressed ladies, filling his room with the noise of silk skirts and the smell of strong perfumes, they decorously sat down against the owner, pretended that they were very interested in politics, and began to "pose questions."

- Anton Pavlovich! And how do you think the end of the war?

Anton Pavlovich coughed, thought and gently, in a serious tone, answered gently:

“Probably, by the world ...”

- Yes of course! - But who will win? Greeks or Turks?

“It seems to me that those who are stronger will win ...”

- And who do you think is stronger? - the ladies were asking in vain.

“Those who eat better and are more educated ...”

- Oh, how witty! - exclaimed one.

- And who do you like more - Greeks or Turks? the other asked.

Anton Pavlovich looked at her kindly and answered with a gentle, gracious smile:

- I love marmalade ... and you love?

- Highly! cried the lady.

- He is so fragrant! - solidly confirmed the other.

And all three began to speak briskly, revealing excellent erudition and a subtle knowledge of the subject on the marmalade question. It was obvious - they are very pleased that they do not need to strain their minds and pretend to be seriously interested by the Turks and the Greeks, which they hadn’t thought about before.

Leaving, they cheerfully promised Anton Pavlovich:

- We will send you marmalade!

- You talked nicely! I remarked when they left.

Anton Pavlovich laughed softly and said:

- It is necessary that each person spoke in his own language.

Photos for the announcement of the material on the main page and for the lead: Wikipedia.org

Source: gorkiy-lit.ru

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