Excerpt | Civilized People

Civilized people must, I believe, satisfy the following criteria:

6/ They are not vain. They don't waste time with the fake jewellery of hobnobbing with celebrities, being permitted to shake the hand of a drunken (judicial orator), the exaggerated bonhomie of the first person they meet at the Salon, being the life and soul of the bar; They regard phrases like 'I am a representative of the Press!!' - the sort of thing one only hears from (very minor journalists) - as absurd. If they have done a brass farthing's work they don't pass it off as if it were 100 roubles' by swanking about with their portfolios, and they don't boast of being able to gain admission to places other people aren't allowed in. True talent always sits in the shade, mingles with the crowd, avoids the limelight. As Krylov said, the empty barrel makes more noise than the full one.

§ From a letter to Nikolay Chekhov, March 1886

Chekhov, A. (2004) A Life in Letters