THE LOOKING GLASS is a famous story by Anton Chekhov.
The main character of the story is Nellie, the daughter of a landowner and General.She is young and pretty and is of marriageable age.
One fine day, as per description by the story teller, she with motionless eyes and parted lips is neither asleep nor awake but is seeing.Out of the looking glass emerges the vague image of a man with face , eyes, beard .... who has a soft touch and bearing ,in short her Prince Charming, with whom she is to spend her life. Days ,months and years trickle by.The frame in the mirror changes and one fateful night, she is travelling in a horse driven coach over a distance of thirty miles to request one Stepan Lukitch to examine her husband who is suffering from typhus. She reaches the doctor's home, who tired after seeing some patients at far off places himself needs rest and advises Nellie to go to Zemostvo doctor . Nellie expresses her inability to do so as this doctor lives twenty miles still farther and the condition of her husband does not warrant any delay.In desperation, she gets harsh too but somehow is able to persuade the doctor to go with her. Travelling through the night, they reach Nellie's home at five in the morning.Nellie enters the house with the doctor, makes him sit in a sofa in the drawing room and herself goes inside to see how her husband is feeling.As she returns to the drawing room,she finds the doctor uttering something incoherent, virtually in a delirium.
Suddenly another frame emerges, and she thinks of her husband being in financial straits, unable to pay mortgage money to the bank.Next she is face to face with a situation in which she finds her kids afflicted with illness,and fever and not doing well in the school etc.She also see the shadow of death lurking with the attendant images of candles , deacon and the undertaker. All of a sudden something falls from her hand and she is awake only to find that a mirror has fallen to the ground.
'I must have fallen asleep !' she thinks with a sigh of relief.
The story is a complex one, having only two active and existing characters- Nellie and Stepan Lukitch. Even the husband in the story is without a name and only a blurred image of his is described.
The Zemostvo doctor exists only in name and plays no active role.
It is natural for a young and pretty girl of marriageable age to dream of marriage and find love, companionship and security in marriage.At the same time, factually so and the writer would have us believe , that marriage and married life is much more than a Mills & Boon romance,with harsh realities staring in the face.
A wonderful story indeed !