Lieutenant Zverkov," I began, "let me tell you that I hate phrases, phrasemongers
and men in corsets.
He survives at first as 'a phrasemonger
for politicians', writing and selling pithy put-downs--only 'the Irish members' paid him (21)--and by undertaking paid tasks of deception, such as fainting 'in the pit of a theatre to the bribe of an emotional tragedian (a guinea)', and melodramatically 'assaulting]' a young lady and her aunt 'by arrangement with a young gentleman who rescued them and made him run (ten shillings).
In general, the screenwriters kept only characters that later would become types in Chekhov's mature oeuvre: a wealthy obnoxious landowner (Shcherbuk), a romantic old-timer (Glagoliev), a useless pseudo-patriotic phrasemonger
and idler (Sergei Voinitsev), a careless doctor, buffoon and loafer (Nikolai Triletsky) and a vain impudent servant (Jakov).
To compete with phrasemongers
, incapable of thinking consecutively for sixty seconds?
He was not rigidly opposed to change and his government laid the foundations of the welfare state in the 1890s, but he distrusted emotionalism, theorists and phrasemongers
, and his administrations were sparing with new legislation.