by Anton Chekhov
A short story written in 1887.
Pondering the importance of story, an attorney-widower fails to discourage his son from smoking until the father wraps his message in fiction.
"Someone came from the Grigoryevs' to fetch a book, but I said you were not at home. The postman brought the newspaper and two letters. By the way, Yevgeny Petrovitch, I should like to ask you to speak to Seryozha. Today, and the day before yesterday, I have noticed that he is smoking. When I began to expostulate with him, he put his fingers in his ears as usual, and sang loudly to drown my voice."
Yevgeny Petrovitch Bykovsky, the prosecutor of the circuit court, who had just come back from a session and was taking off his gloves in his study, looked at the governess as she made her report, and laughed.
"Seryozha smoking . . ." he said, shrugging his shoulders. "I can picture the little cherub with a cigarette in his mouth! Why, how old is he?"
"Seven. You think it is not important, but at his age smoking is a bad and pernicious habit, and bad habits ought to be eradicated in the beginning."
"Perfectly true. And where does he get the tobacco?"
"He takes it from the drawer in your table."
"Yes? In that case, send him to me."
PORTRAIT: Anton Chekhov by an unknown photographer (1889).
CITATION INFORMATION (in MLA format): Chekhov, Anton. "Home." Gleeditions, 17 Apr. 2011, www.gleeditions.com/home/students/pages.asp?lid=107&pg=4. Originally published in The Cook's Wedding and Other Stories, by Anton Chekhov, Macmillan, 1922, pp. 65-78.