A. P. Chekhov The
The daughter of retired collegiate assessor Olenka Plemyannikova often finds her neighbor Kukina, the owner of the entertainment garden “Tivoli”, for complaints about life, the weather, and the uncomfortable taste of the audience. The misfortunes of Kukin are so touching her that Olenka falls in love with him, although Kukin is ugly. She always loves someone; it is the need of her soul. Olenka is a very kind, quiet, health-raving girl. All friends, meeting her on the street or chatting over a cup of tea, are admired in admiration for Olenka as “darling.”
Kukin makes an offer, Olenka takes it. After the wedding they live well. Olenka helps her husband (sells tickets at the ticket office), talks about the high purpose of the
Kukin leaves for Moscow to recruit a troupe. Olenka misses, sleeps badly at night and waits for “Vanichka” at the window. There comes a telegram about the sudden death of Kukin. Olenka weeps bitterly, dresses in all black.
After three months in the church, she gets acquainted with the manager of the forest depot Pustovalov. Soon a matchmaker comes from Pustovalov, Olenka accepts the offer. After the wedding, the young live well. Olenka helps her husband, writes bills and releases goods in the office. With acquaintances she speaks with the air of a connoisseur about the prices of the forest, word for word repeating the phrases of her husband, Pustovalovs do not go out, preferring to stay at home, and when someone advises Olenka to go to the theater, she replies that they “with Vasichka” do not before such trifles. Pustovalov often goes to Mogilev gubernia for goods, and veterinarian Smirnin visits Olenka, who complains to her about his wife (they broke up because of his wife’s betrayal, but Smirnina feels sorry for her son). Olenka
One winter Pustovalov gets cold and soon dies. The reckless Olenka again clothed in mourning, locked at home, only six months later opens the shutters on the windows. The veterinarian comes more and more often, and Olenka starts talking with a friend that the veterinary business in the city is set badly, while repeating word for word the words of Smirnin. Their happiness does not last long, since Smirnina is transferred to another city. Olenka remains completely alone. She has nothing to talk about, she has no opinion of her own. “And so day after day, year after year, and no joy, and there is no opinion what Mavra the cook said, it’s good.”
Suddenly Smirnin returns to the city. He reconciled with his wife and brought them with his son with him. Olenka offers him and his family to settle in her house, and she goes into the wing. Olenka sincerely adheres to Smirnin’s son Sasha, often feeds him, teaches him lessons, and then, on the pretext of leaving Smirnin’s wife, and completely takes Sasha to his house. She has the meaning of life, and the “opinion.” Now with her acquaintances she discusses teaching in the gymnasium, challenging tasks for first-graders, teaching aids, word-by-word repeating Sasha’s phrases. Olenka accompanies Sasha to the gymnasium every morning. The worst thing for her is if the mother wants to take the boy away.