By the end of 1891 the idea of acquiring a country house had almost become an obsession in Chekhov’s mind. Hearing of a suitable property in the village of Melikhovo, about fifty miles south of Moscow, he immediately sent Mariya and Michael along to conduct as thorough an inspection as was possible in the heart of the winter. Chekhov’s estate took its name from the small village of Melikhovo in which it was situated. The villagers may have watched the new ‘masters’ move in with feelings of mistrust, but the ice was soon broken to everyone’s satisfaction. For the Easter celebrations of 1892 Paul Chekhov was reinstated in his old role of choir-master, and under his direction the family, together with some guests, sang the anthems in Melikhovo church. Lika, Levitan and Potapenko were among the most frequent guests at Melikhovo. Others included Chekhov’s three brothers who had all set up establishments of their own elsewhere.