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‘The Lottery Ticket’ By Anton Chekhov

William SolanoLast Seen: Mar 15, 2024 @ 5:38pm 17MarUTC
William Solano

17th February 2024 | 3 Views
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‘The Lottery Ticket’
By Anton Chekhov (1860 – 1904)

Ivan Dmitrich, a middle-class man who lived with his family on an income of
twelve hundred a year and was very well satisfied with his lot, sat down on the
sofa after supper and began reading the newspaper.
“I forgot to look at the newspaper today,” his wife said to him as she cleared the
table. “Look and see whether the list of drawings is there.”
“Yes, it is,” said Ivan Dmitritch; “but hasn’t your ticket lapsed?”
“No; I took the interest on Tuesday.”
“What is the number?”
“Series 9,499, number 26.”
“All right . . . we will look . . . 9,499 and 26.”
Ivan Dmitritch had no faith in lottery luck, and would not, as a rule, have
consented to look at the lists of winning numbers, but now, as he had nothing
else to do and as the newspaper was before his eyes, he passed his finger
downwards along the column of numbers. And immediately, as though in
mockery of his scepticism, no further than the second line from the top, his eye
was caught by the figure 9,499! Unable to believe his eyes, he hurriedly dropped
the paper on his knees without looking to see the number of the ticket, and, just
as though some one had given him a douche of cold water, he felt an agreeable
chill in the pit of the stomach; tingling and terrible and sweet!
“Masha, 9,499 is there!” he said in a hollow voice.
His wife looked at his astonished and panicstricken face, and realized that he
was not joking.
“9,499?” she asked, turning pale and dropping the folded tablecloth on the table.
“Yes, yes . . . it really is there!”
“And the number of the ticket?”

 “Oh yes! There’s the number of the ticket too. But stay . . . wait! No, I say!
Anyway, the number of our series is there! Anyway, you understand….”
Looking at his wife, Ivan Dmitritch gave a broad, senseless smile, like a baby
when a bright object is shown it. His wife smiled too; it was as pleasant to her as
to him that he only mentioned the series, and did not try to find out the number
of the winning ticket. To torment and tantalize oneself with hopes of possible
fortune is so sweet, so thrilling!
“It is our series,” said Ivan Dmitritch, after a long silence. “So there is a
probability that we have won. It’s only a probability, but there it is!”
“Well, now look!”
“Wait a little. We have plenty of time to be disappointed. It’s on the second line
from the top, so the prize is seventy-five thousand. That’s not money, but
power, capital! And in a minute I shall look at the list, and there–26! Eh? I say,
what if we really have won?”
The husband and wife began laughing and staring at one another in silence. The
possibility of winning bewildered them; they could not have said, could not have
dreamed, what they both needed that seventy-five thousand for, what they
would buy, where they would go. They thought only of the figures 9,499 and
75,000 and pictured them in their imagination, while somehow they could not
think of the happiness itself which was so possible.
Ivan Dmitritch, holding the paper in his hand, walked several times from corner
to corner, and only when he had recovered from the first impression began
dreaming a little.
“And if we have won,” he said–“why, it will be a new life, it will be a
transformation! The ticket is yours, but if it were mine I should, first of all, of
course, spend twenty-five thousand on real property in the shape of an estate;
ten thousand on immediate expenses, new furnishing . . . travelling . . . paying
debts, and so on. . . . The other forty thousand I would put in the bank and get
interest on it.”
“Yes, an estate, that would be nice,” said his wife, sitting down and dropping her
hands in her lap.
“Somewhere in the Tula or Oryol provinces. . . . In the first place we shouldn’t

 need a summer villa, and besides, it would always bring in an income.”
And pictures came crowding on his imagination, each more gracious and poetical
than the last. And in all these pictures he saw himself well-fed, serene, healthy,
felt warm, even hot! Here, after eating a summer soup, cold as ice, he lay on his
back on the burning sand close to a stream or in the garden under a lime-tree. .
. . It is hot. . . . His little boy and girl are crawling about near him, digging in the
sand or catching ladybirds in the grass. He dozes sweetly, thinking of nothing,
and feeling all over that he need not go to the office today, tomorrow, or the day
after. Or, tired of lying still, he goes to the hayfield, or to the forest for
mushrooms, or watches the peasants catching fish with a net. When the sun
sets he takes a towel and soap and saunters to the bathing shed, where he
undresses at his leisure, slowly rubs his bare chest with his hands, and goes into
the water. And in the water, near the opaque soapy circles, little fish flit to and
fro and green water-weeds nod their heads. After bathing there is tea with
cream and milk rolls. . . . In the evening a walk or vint with the neighbors.
“Yes, it would be nice to buy an estate,” said his wife, also dreaming, and from
her face it was evident that she was enchanted by her thoughts.
Ivan Dmitritch pictured to himself autumn with its rains, its cold evenings, and
its St. Martin’s summer. At that season he would have to take longer walks
about the garden and beside the river, so as to get thoroughly chilled, and then
drink a big glass of vodka and eat a salted mushroom or a soused cucumber,
and then–drink another. . . . The children would come running from the kitchengarden, bringing a carrot and a radish smelling of fresh earth. . . . And then, he
would lie stretched full length on the sofa, and in leisurely fashion turn over the
pages of some illustrated magazine, or, covering his face with it and unbuttoning
his waistcoat, give himself up to slumber.
The St. Martin’s summer is followed by cloudy, gloomy weather. It rains day and
night, the bare trees weep, the wind is damp and cold. The dogs, the horses, the
fowls–all are wet, depressed, downcast. There is nowhere to walk; one can’t go
out for days together; one has to pace up and down the room, looking
despondently at the grey window. It is dreary!
Ivan Dmitritch stopped and looked at his wife.
“I should go abroad, you know, Masha,” he said.
And he began thinking how nice it would be in late autumn to go abroad
somewhere to the South of France … to Italy … to India!

 “I should certainly go abroad too,” his wife said. “But look at the number of the
“Wait, wait! …”
He walked about the room and went on thinking. It occurred to him: what if his
wife really did go abroad? It is pleasant to travel alone, or in the society of light,
careless women who live in the present, and not such as think and talk all the
journey about nothing but their children, sigh, and tremble with dismay over
every farthing. Ivan Dmitritch imagined his wife in the train with a multitude of
parcels, baskets, and bags; she would be sighing over something, complaining
that the train made her head ache, that she had spent so much money…. At the
stations he would continually be having to run for boiling water, bread and
butter. …She wouldn’t have dinner because of its being too dear….
“She would begrudge me every farthing,” he thought, with a glance at his wife.
“The lottery ticket is hers, not mine! Besides, what is the use of her going
abroad? What does she want there? She would shut herself up in the hotel, and
not let me out of her sight…. I know!”
And for the first time in his life his mind dwelt on the fact that his wife had
grown elderly and plain, and that she was saturated through and through with
the smell of cooking, while he was still young, fresh, and healthy, and might well
have got married again.
“Of course, all that is silly nonsense,” he thought; “but…why should she go
abroad? What would she make of it? And yet she would go, of course…. I can
fancy…. In reality it is all one to her, whether it is Naples or Klin. She would only
be in my way. I should be dependent upon her. I can fancy how, like a regular
woman, she will lock the money up as soon as she gets it…. She will look after
her relations and grudge me every farthing.”
Ivan Dmitritch thought of her relations. All those wretched brothers and sisters
and aunts and uncles would come crawling about as soon as they heard of the
winning ticket, would begin whining like beggars, and fawning upon them with
oily, hypocritical smiles. Wretched, detestable people! If they were given
anything, they would ask for more; while if they were refused, they would swear
at them, slander them, and wish them every kind of misfortune.
Ivan Dmitritch remembered his own relations, and their faces, at which he had
looked impartially in the past, struck him now as repulsive and hateful.

 “They are such reptiles!” he thought.
And his wife’s face, too, struck him as repulsive and hateful. Anger surged up in
his heart against her, and he thought malignantly:
“She knows nothing about money, and so she is stingy. If she won it she would
give me a hundred roubles, and put the rest away under lock and key.”
And he looked at his wife, not with a smile now, but with hatred. She glanced at
him too, and also with hatred and anger. She had her own daydreams, her own
plans, her own reflections; she understood perfectly well what her husband’s
dreams were. She knew who would be the first to try to grab her winnings.
“It’s very nice making daydreams at other people’s expense!” is what her eyes
expressed. “No, don’t you dare!”
Her husband understood her look; hatred began stirring again in his breast, and
in order to annoy his wife he glanced quickly, to spite her at the fourth page on
the newspaper and read out triumphantly:
“Series 9,499, number 46! Not 26!”

Hatred and hope both disappeared at once, and it began immediately to
seem to Ivan Dmitritch and his wife that their rooms were dark and small
and low-pitched, that the supper they had been eating was not doing them
good, but Lying heavy on their stomachs, that the evenings were long and
wearisome. . . .
“What the devil’s the meaning of it?” said Ivan Dmitritch, beginning to be illhumored. ‘Wherever one steps there are bits of paper under one’s feet,
crumbs, husks. The rooms are never swept! One is simply forced to go out.
Damnation take my soul entirely! I shall go and hang myself on the first

William SolanoLast Seen: Mar 15, 2024 @ 5:38pm 17MarUTC

William Solano



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