Dmitri Grigorovich, an elder Petersburg novelist, wrote to tell him how much he enjoyed his stories that were being published in a Petersburg journal, Fragments, over the period 1883-85. Grigorovich singled out The Hunstman as his favorite. In response, young Anton (then 26) thanked his admirer profusely but admitted that he wrote that particular story while taking a bath and could see nothing special in it. Nevertheless, he would take his fan's words of advice and devote more time to his writing, as Grigorovich noted it would be a waste to squander such talent. The old novelist also urged Chekhov to publish under his own name.
Here are more of Chekhov's early short stories.