by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
The Bet Competition Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Section.Paragraph)
A lively discussion arose. The banker, who was younger and more nervous in those days, was suddenly carried away by excitement; he struck the table with his fist and shouted at the young man: "It's not true! I'll bet you two millions you wouldn't stay in solitary confinement for five years." (1.6-7)
Check out how the banker, who first was all, "we don't really need experience to make this judgment," immediately jumps on the first guy to disagree with him and demand physical proof. Someone's a flip-flopper.
"If you mean that in earnest," said the young man, "I'll take the bet, but I would stay not five but fifteen years." (1.8)
We're dying to know. Why on earth would this guy raise the bet against himself to fifteen years? Without actually raising the money at stake? Is this supposed to tell us something about him? Maybe he's just that crazy.
And this wild, senseless bet was carried out! The banker, spoilt and frivolous, with millions beyond his reckoning, was delighted at the bet. (1.11)
Why is there so much emphasis on how crazy rich the banker is? Even the personality traits we get here—"spoiled", "frivolous", "senseless"—are all related to the fact that he just has more money than he can count.