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Plays by Anton Chekhov, Second Series
On the High Road, The P roposal, The Wedding, The Bear, A Tragedian In Spite of Himself, The Anniversary, The Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

Anton Chekhov





The last few years have seen a large and generally unsystematic mass of translations from the Russian flung at the heads and hearts of English readers. The ready acceptance of Chekhov has been one of the few successful features of this irresponsible output. He has been welcomed by British critics with something like affection. Bernard Shaw has several times remarked: "Every time I see a play by Chekhov, I want to chuck all my own stuff into the fire." Others, having no such valuable property to sacrifice on the altar of Chekhov, have not hesitated to place him side by side with Ibsen, and the other established institutions of the new theatre. For these reasons it is pleasant to be able to chronicle the fact that, by way of contrast with the casual treatment normally handed out to Russian authors, the publishers are issuing the complete dramatic works of this author. In 1912 they brought out a volume containing four Chekhov plays, translated by Marian Fell. All the dramatic works not included in her volume are to be found in the present one. With the exception of Chekhov's masterpiece, "The Cherry Orchard" (translated by the late Mr. George Calderon in 1912), none of these plays have been previously published in book form in England or America.

It is not the business of a translator to attempt to outdo all others in singing the praises of his raw material. This is a dangerous process and may well lead, as it led Mr. Calderon, to drawing the reader's attention to points of beauty not to be found in the original. A few bibliographical details are equally necessary, and permissible, and the elementary principles of Chekhov criticism will also be found useful.


The very existence of "The High Road" (1884); probably the earliest of its author's plays, will be unsuspected by English readers. During Chekhov's lifetime it a sort of family legend, after his death it became a family mystery. A copy was finally discovered only last year in the Censor's office, yielded up, and published. It had been sent in 1885 under the nom-de-plume "A. Chekhonte," and it had failed to pass. The Censor, of the time being had scrawled his opinion on the manuscript, "a depressing and dirty piece,-cannot be licensed." The name of the gentleman who held this view-Kaiser von Kugelgen--gives another reason for the educated Russian's low opinion of German-sounding institutions. Baron von Tuzenbach, the satisfactory person in "The Three Sisters," it will be noted, finds it as well, while he is trying to secure the favours of Irina, to declare that his German ancestry is fairly remote. This is by way of parenthesis. "The High Road," found after thirty years, is a most interesting document to the lover of Chekhov. Every play he wrote in later years was either a one-act farce or a four-act drama. [Note: "The Swan Song" may occur as an exception. This, however, is more of a Shakespeare recitation than anything else, and so neither here nor there.]

In "The High Road" we see, in an embryonic form, the whole later method of the plays--the deliberate contrast between two strong characters (Bortsov and Merik in this case), the careful individualization of each person in a fairly large group by way of an introduction to the main theme, the concealment of the catastrophe, germ- wise, in the actual character of the characters, and the of a distinctive group-atmosphere. It need scarcely be stated that "The High Road" is not a "dirty" piece according to Russian or to German standards; Chekhov was incapable of writing a dirty play or story. For the rest, this piece differs from the


others in its presentation, not of Chekhov's favourite middle-classes, but of the moujik, nourishing, in a particularly stuffy atmosphere, an intense mysticism and an equally intense thirst for vodka.

"The Proposal" (1889) and "The Bear" (1890) may be taken as good examples of the sort of humour admired by the average Russian. The latter play, in another translation, was put on as a curtain-raiser to a cinematograph entertainment at a London theatre in 1914; and had quite a pleasant reception from a thoroughly Philistine audience. The humour is very nearly of the variety most popular over here, the psychology is a shade subtler. The Russian novelist or dramatist takes to psychology as some of his fellow-countrymen take to drink; in doing this he achieves fame by showing us what we already know, and at the same time he kills his own creative power. Chekhov just escaped the tragedy of suicide by introspection, and was only enabled to do this by the possession of a sense of humour. That is why we should not regard "The Bear," "The Wedding," or "The Anniversary" as the work of a merely humorous young man, but as the saving graces which made perfect "The Cherry Orchard."

"The Three Sisters" (1901) is said to act better than any other of Chekhov's plays, and should surprise an English audience exceedingly. It and "The Cherry Orchard" are the tragedies of doing nothing. The three sisters have only one desire in the world, to go to Moscow and live there. There is no reason on earth, economic, sentimental, or other, why they should not pack their bags and take the next train to Moscow. But they will not do it. They cannot do it. And we know perfectly well that if they were transplanted thither miraculously, they would be extremely unhappy as soon as ever the excitement of the miracle had worn off. In the other play Mme. Ranevsky can be saved from ruin if she will only consent to a


perfectly simple step--the sale of an estate. She cannot do this, is ruined, and thrown out into the unsympathetic world. Chekhov is the dramatist, not of action, but of inaction. The tragedy of inaction is as overwhelming, when we understand it, as the tragedy of an Othello, or a Lear, crushed by the wickedness of others. The former is being enacted daily, but we do not stage it, we do not know how. But who shall deny that the base of almost all human unhappiness is just this inaction, manifesting itself in slovenliness of thought and execution, education, and ideal?

The Russian, painfully conscious of his own weakness, has accepted this point of view, and regards "The Cherry Orchard" as its master-study in dramatic form. They speak of the palpitating hush which fell upon the audience of the Moscow Art Theatre after the first fall of the curtain at the first performance--a hush so intense as to make Chekhov's friends undergo the initial emotions of assisting at a vast theatrical failure. But the silence ryes almost a sob, to be followed, when overcome, by an epic applause. And, a few months later, Chekhov died.

This volume and that of Marian Fell--with which it is uniform-contain all the dramatic works of Chekhov. It considered not worth while to translate a few fragments published posthumously, or a monologue "On the Evils of Tobacco"--a half humorous lecture by "the husband of his wife;" which begins "Ladies, and in some respects, gentlemen," as this is hardly dramatic work. There is also a very short skit on the efficiency of provincial fire brigades, which was obviously not intended for the stage and has therefore been omitted.

Lastly, the scheme of transliteration employed has been that,


generally speaking, recommended by the Liverpool School of Russian Studies. This is distinctly the best of those in the field, but as it would compel one, e.g., to write a popular female name, "Marya," I have not treated it absolute respect. For the sake of uniformity with Fell's volume, the author's name is spelt Tchekoff on the title-page and cover.

J. W.


1 verst = 3600 feet = 2/3 mile (almost) 1 arshin = 28 inches 1 dessiatin = 2.7 acres 1 copeck = 1/4 d 1 rouble = 100 copecks = 2s. 1d.



TIHON EVSTIGNEYEV, the proprietor of a inn on the main road SEMYON SERGEYEVITCH BORTSOV, a ruined landowner

lying in a heap on one of the forms. and EFIMOVNA are stretched out on the floor by the benches. Next to him is BORTSOV. a driver POSTMAN BORTSOV'S WIFE'S COACHMAN PILGRIMS. CATTLE-DEALERS. women pilgrims FEDYA. hangs a dirty red lantern. Many of them. and lightning is seen through the door. The action takes place in one of the provinces of Southern Russia ON THE HIGH ROAD [The scene is laid in TIHON'S bar. As the curtain rises thunder is heard. On the right is the bar-counter and shelves with bottles. SAVVA. ETC. and is quietly playing on a concertina. an aged pilgrim NAZAROVNA and EFIMOVNA. At the back is a door leading out of the house. a labourer EGOR MERIK. It is late at night. Over it. . are sleeping as they sit. on the outside.] [TIHON is behind the counter. are closely occupied by pilgrims and passers-by. wearing a shabby summer overcoat. FEDYA is half. a tramp KUSMA. [To NAZAROVNA] Give the old man a nudge dear! Can't get any answer out of him. The floor and the forms.] EFIMOVNA. NAZAROVNA. for lack of space. his wife SAVVA. which stand against the wall.7 MARIA EGOROVNA.

. and so there's no music for you. That's it. [Shrinking back] It's cold! My clothes are wet. where I was an attendant at the Grand Hotel. if you like. A VOICE FROM THE CORNER.. [Thunder] Holy. mother. my word!--Something marvellous! You can have a quadrille.8 NAZAROVNA. sleep's quite another matter. you holy man? SAVVA.woman? NAZAROVNA. and the rain is pouring down.. SAVVA. and rages. it's all coining in through the open door . . my Orthodox brethren. And it roars and thunders. it's like the noise of a forest. A silly speech from a silly fool. pouring down. mother. And. but I did wonders on my concertina. A bit more on the right one. The wind is wailing like a dog.. holy. mother! [Raises himself on his elbow] Cover up my feet. Do you hear? The windows of heaven are opened .. Why should I be dead? I'm alive. or a polka. God be good to us. I can play the guitar. . holy . [Lifting the corner of a cloth covering of SAVVA'S face] Are you alive or are you dead. or else I'd give you such a concert. [Wrapping up SAVVA'S feet] Sleep. The wind is wailing... I couldn't make any money.. Hoooo. [Plays softly] My concertina's damp. little father. What's that noise... . A sinner doesn't deserve to be given rest... pilgrim. In the town.. there's a saint! That's it.. you might put me through a wringer. What sleep can I have? If only I had the patience to endure this pain. sad there's no end to it! Hoooo . .. God is sending a storm. I can do them all... . . NAZAROVNA. All down the roof and into the windows like dried peas.. or some Russian dance for two. FEDYA.

Are you from far off? . from dying in vain. . I'll suffer a little. and then get up with God's help.. Don't you mind. or repenting for his sins. [Waves his hands] But it's thin you are. Drink. [To SAVVA] If you'd only lie where it was warm now.. O Lord.. grandfather... . never mind her! Let her talk. I can hear another of them. . You go on sleeping. with your old women's talk .. He can't say a word in reply.. Put it down! You've no shame! FEDYA. grandfather. Don't swank... Drink.. and warm your feet. ..] NAZAROVNA. and warm up your heart. . [Pause. and you're glad... The Mother of God won't let me die in a strange land. FEDYA. burn in your will sweep the good man and the clever man both out of the house.. You ought to drink a little vodka. old man. and it'll burn. and happy because he's listening to your nonsense. [Pause. and play your concertina. do! NAZAROVNA. . Why should I die? Save me. young man! Perhaps the old man is giving back his soul to God. A woman's tongue is the devil's broom-. I'll die at home.. brother of mine! Terrible! Like a dead skeleton! No life in you! Are you really dying? SAVVA. and you talk like that.. And what are you sticking to him for? He can't do anything and you . don't you take any notice of her.9 FEDYA.] Old man! Man of God! [Shakes SAVVA] Are you going to die? FEDYA.

young man. From Vologda.. well. Rather! Five times.10 SAVVA. . FEDYA.. well. [Note: On the Donetz... [Goes up to the counter. The town itself.. a theatre . give it to me! FEDYA. If it's dusty. . south-east of Kharkov. and I'm going to the Holy Hills. The chief thing about a town is that it should be clean.. . if God wills it.. it must be watered... . FEDYA. I've been to Tihon of the Don. they say. BORTSOV. There are many holy places there. They say you can get to Jerusalem cheap from there.. cabs.. it must be cleaned. FEDYA... if it's dirty. From there. You have come a long way... FEDYA. . . Well. . On foot... Is it a good town? [Smokes] Well-standing? Sews.. .] . And where is this Vologda? TIHON. for twenty-ones roubles. Where there are many holy places it's always a good town. And have you been to Moscow? SAVVA. There ought to be big houses . police . please! For the sake of Christ. a monastery containing a miraculous ikon.. The other side of Moscow.. old man! On foot? SAVVA.. young man.. . to TIHON] Once more. to Odessa. I live there...

I understand. I may commit some crime. and haven't you yet got to understand what they're like? They're diseased! You can do anything you like to them. but I . if there's a drop of brain in your peasant's wooden head. That's enough now. Just a little glass. I implore you! Please! I humbly ask you! God only knows how humbly! TIHON. using the words you understand. just you understand this. BORTSOV. You don't understand me. TIHON. .11 which . I'll pay you for it later. you rascal. Understand me. God only knows what I might do! In the time you've kept this place.. You can have the vodka if you pay for it.. . Because if I don't have a drink at once. haven't you seen a lot of drunkards. BORTSOV.. that it isn't I who am asking you. We don't understand anything. but my inside. you fool. that's what's asking! My illness is what's asking! Understand! TIHON. I've lived in a town myself.. Where am I to get the money? I've drunk it all! Down to the ground! What can I give you? I've only got this coat. BORTSOV. I ask you! Do be kind to me! TIHON. Get back! BORTSOV.. Get away! BORTSOV.. but you must give them vodka! Well. now. if I don't satisfy my needs.

Don't you mind him. [Returns the cap to BORTSOV] I wouldn't give anything for it. What am I to do? [Retires from the bar-counter] What am I to do? [Is thoughtful.. sir.. I've nothing on underneath. How do you do. [Looks it over] Hm. I want a drink! It's not I. good-bye! How are you? TIHON.. FEDYA.. . It might be a sieve from the holes in it. Would you like my cap? [Takes it off and gives it to TIHON] TIHON. You can take it and choke yourself with it then! Choke yourself! I hope it sticks in your throat! [Coughs] I hate you! TIHON. It's muck. you swindler? BORTSOV. There are all sorts of caps. . If you don't like it. Don't you make me lose my temper. . .. It's the devil tormenting you.] EFIMOVNA. BORTSOV. [Banging the bar-counter with his fist] Why do you keep on like that? What a man! What are you here for. or you'll soon find yourself outside! BORTSOV. The damned one keeps whispering. "Drink! Drink!" And you answe r . it's my disease! Understand that! TIHON. [Laughs] A gentleman's cap! You've got to take it off in front of the mam'selles. then let me owe you for the drink! I'll bring in your five copecks on my way back from town...12 can't give you that..

or giving up his soul to God. "I shan't drink! I shan't drink!" He'll go then. go on! We've seen the like of you before! There's a lot like you tramping the high road! As to being a donkey. The old man may be saying a prayer. like bullets of fire. you wait till I've given you a clout on the ear and you'll howl worse than the wind. [Angrily] Shut up! Nobody spoke to you. . pilgrim. FEDYA. Go on. His stomach's leading him on! [Laughs] Your houour's a happy man.. and here are these unclean ones wrangling with one another and saying all sorts of . even if you are in a public-house. Donkey yourself! Fool! [Pause] Scum! NAZAROVNA. EFIMOVNA. Who's that crying? ... you cabbage-stalk. What is it. Lie down and go to sleep! What's the use of standing like a scarecrow in the middle of the inn! This isn't an orchard! BORTSOV.13 him. Just you behave like everybody else. What am I to do? What will become of me? How can I make him understand? What else can I say to him? [To TIHON] The blood's boiling in my chest! Uncle Tihon! [Weeps] Uncle Tihon! SAWA.. FEDYA. you keep quiet. little father? SAVVA. BORTSOV. Little mother. It's drumming in his head. Have shame on yourselves! FEDYA.. Here.. [Groans] I've got shooting-pains in my leg. . you donkey.

. take my coat! Understand? [Tries to take it off] My coat ... Ask him to shed a tear for me.. . ..14 EFIMOVNA. You people are all in the dark! SAVVA.. I don't understand all this.. Sinners. They do exist. I'm not praying. You needn't even tell them. grandfather... Where will you find those who live in the light? BORTSOV. There are many of all sorts on this earth.... and they'll understand. .. They understood all our griefs. . It has happened. And have you ever seen any saints? SAVVA. BORTSOV. [Gets up quickly] What's the use of talking when you don't understand. . . dear friend. SAVVA. . a thirst! [Goes quickly to the counter] Tihon. . as if you were never in grief at all-it will all go! FEDYA. . Tearful prayers are heard. Yes. They would understand! SAVVA.. BORTSOV.. young man.. wouldn't understand. yes. that I might die in Vologda... and servants of God. with your darkened brain. The saints lived in the light. and the juice is running. grandfather! These aren't tears! Just juice! My soul is crushed.. Just by looking at your eyes. and what sort of a brain have I now? I've only an instinct. And then you'll have such peace... [Sits by SAVVA] Juice! But you wouldn't understand! You. The gentleman.


TIHON. And what is there under your coat? [Looks under it] Your naked body? Don't take it off, I shan't have it. ... I'm not going to burden my soul with a sin.

[Enter MERIK.]

BORTSOV. Very well, I'll take the sin on myself! Do you agree?

MERIK. [In silence takes of his outer cloak and remains in a sleeveless jacket. He carries an axe in his belt] A vagrant may sweat where a bear will freeze. I am hot. [Puts his axe on the floor and takes off his jacket] You get rid of a pailful of sweat while you drag one leg out of the mud. And while you are dragging it out, the other one goes farther in.

EFIMOVNA. Yes, that's true ... is the rain stopping, dear?

MERIK. [Glancing at EFIMOVNA] I don't talk to old women. [A pause.]

BORTSOV. [To TIHON] I'll take the sin on myself. Do you hear me or don't you?

TIHON. I don't want to hear you, get away!

MERIK. It's as dark as if the sky was painted with pitch. You can't see your own nose. And the rain beats into your face like a snowstorm! [Picks up his clothes and axe.]

FEDYA. It's a good thing for the likes of us thieves. When the cat's away the mice will play.


MERIK. Who says that?

FEDYA. Look and see ... before you forget.

MERIN. We'll make a note of it. ... [Goes up to TIHON] How do you do, you with the large face! Don't you remember me.

TIHON. If I'm to remember every one of you d runkards that walks the high road, I reckon I'd need ten holes in my forehead.

MERIK. Just look at me. ... [A pause.]

TIHON. Oh, yes; I remember. I knew you by your eyes! [Gives him his hand] Andrey Polikarpov?

MERIK. I used to be Andrey Polikarpov, but now I am Egor Merik.

TIHON. Why's that?

MERIK. I call myself after whatever passport God gives me. I've been Merik for two months. [Thunder] Rrrr. ... Go on thundering, I'm not afraid! [Looks round] Any police here?

TIHON. What are you talking about, making mountains out of mole-hills? ... The people here are all right ... The police are fast asleep in their feather beds now. ... [Loudly] Orthodox brothers, mind your pockets and your clothes, or you'll have to regret it. The man's a rascal! He'll rob you!

MERIK. They can look out for their money, but as to their clothes--


I shan't touch them. I've nowhere to take them.

TIHON. Where's the devil taking you to?

MERIK. To Kuban.

TIHON. My word!

FEDYA. To Kuban? Really? [Sitting up] It's a fine place. You wouldn't see such a country, brother, if you were to fall asleep and dream for three years. They say the birds there, and the beasts are--my God! The grass grows all the year round, the people are good, and they've so much land they don't know what to do with it! The authorities, they say ... a soldier was telling me the other day ... give a hundred dessiatins ahead. There's happiness, God strike me!

MERIK. Happiness. ... Happiness goes behind you. ... You don't see it. It's as near as your elbow is, but you can't bite it. It's all silly. ... [Looking round at the benches and the people] Like a lot of prisoners. ... A poor lot.

EFIMOVNA. [To MERIK] What great, angry, eyes! There's an enemy in you, young man. ... Don't you look at us!

MERIK. Yes, you're a poor lot here.

EFIMOVNA. Turn away! [Nudges SAVVA] Savva, darling, a wicked man is looking at us. He'll do us harm, dear. [To MERIK] Turn away, I tell you, you snake!


SAVVA. He won't touch us, mother, he won't touch us. ... God won't let him.

MERIK. All right, Orthodox brothers! [Shrugs his shoulders] Be quiet! You aren't asleep, you bandy- legged fools! Why don't you say something?

EFIMOVNA. Take your great eyes away! Take away that devil's own pride!

MERIK. Be quiet, you crooked old woman! I didn't come with the devil's pride, but with kind words, wishing to honour your bitter lot! You're huddled together like flies because of the cold--I'd be sorry for you, speak kindly to you, pity your poverty, and here you go grumbling away! [Goes up to FEDYA] Where are you from?

FEDYA. I live in these parts. I work at the Khamonyevsky brickworks.

MERIK. Get up.

FEDYA. [Raising himself] Well?

MERIK. Get up, right up. I'm going to lie down here.

FEDYA. What's that. ... It isn't your place, is it?

MERIK. Yes, mine. Go and lie on the ground!

FEDYA. You get out of this, you tramp. I'm not afraid of you.

MERIK. You're very quick with your tongue. ... Get up, and don't


talk about it! You'll be sorry for it, you silly.

TIHON. [To FEDYA] Don't contradict him, young man. Never mind.

FEDYA. What right have you? You stick out your fishy eyes and think I'm afraid! [Picks up his belongings and stretches himself out on the ground] You devil! [Lies down and covers himself all over.]

MERIK. [Stretching himself out on the bench] I don't expect you've ever seen a devil or you wouldn't call me one. Devils aren't like that. [Lies down, putting his axe next to him.] Lie down, little brother axe ... let me cover you.

TIHON. Where did you get the axe from?

MERIK. Stole it. ... Stole it, and now I've got to fuss over it like a child with a new toy; I don't like to throw it away, and I've nowhere to put it. Like a beastly wife. ... Yes. ... [Covering himself over] Devils aren't like that, brother.

FEDYA. [Uncovering his head] What are they like?

MERIK. Like steam, like air. ... Just blow into the air. [Blows] They're like that, you can't see them.

A VOICE FROM THE CORNER. You can see them if you sit under a harrow.

MERIK. I've tried, but I didn't see any. ... Old women's tales, and silly old men's, too. ... You won't see a devil or a ghost or a corpse. ... Our eyes weren't made so that we could see everything. ...


When I was a boy, I used to walk in the woods at night on purpose to see the demon of the woods. ... I'd shout and shout, and there might be some spirit, I'd call for the demon of the woods and not blink my eyes: I'd see all sorts of little things moving about, but no demon. I used to go and walk about the churchyards at night, I wanted to see the ghosts--but the women lie. I saw all sorts of animals, but anything awful--not a sign. Our eyes weren't ...

THE VOICE FROM THE CORNER. Never mind, it does happen that you do see. ... In our village a man was gutting a wild boar ... he was separating the tripe when ... something jumped out at him!

SAVVA. [Raising himself] Little children, don't talk about these unclean things! It's a sin, dears!

MERIK. Aaa ... greybeard! You skeleton! [Laughs] You needn't go to the churchyard to see ghosts, when they get up from under the floor to give advice to their relations. ... A sin! ... Don't you teach people your silly notions! You're an ignorant lot of people living in darkness. ... [Lights his pipe] My father was peasant and used to be fond of teaching people. One night he stole a sack of apples from the village priest, and he brings them along and tells us, "Look, children, mind you don't eat any apples before Easter, it's a sin." You're like that. ... You don't know what a devil is, but you go calling people devils. ... Take this crooked old woman, for instance. [Points to EFIMOVNA] She sees an enemy in me, but is her time, for some woman's nonsense or other, she's given her soul to the devil five times.

EFIMOVNA. Hoo, hoo, hoo. ... Gracious heavens! [Covers her face] Little Savva!

21 TIHON. I can't. haven't I told you! I've drunk it all! Where am I to get it? And you won't go broke even if you do let me have a drop of vodka on tick. to show my strength! [The door slams again] If I could only measure myself against the wind! Shall I tear the door down. evil man! Your eyes are like the eyes of a devil before cockcrow! SAVVA. . and it will save me from suffering! I am suffering! Understand! I'm in misery. pilgrims! You pray. not to me. Just half a glass! TIHON. the wind! MERIK.. No.. you heathen! Why are you so restless? EFIMOVNA.. Tihon. Don't speak to him. or suppose I tear up the inn by the roots! [Gets up and lies down again] How dull! NAZAROVNA. Let him look. What are you frightening them for? A great pleasure! [The door slams in the wind] Lord Jesus. . It's too much for my strength! [Goes up to the counter] Listen. I'm suffering! TIHON.. I ask you for the last time. leave him alone! He's looking at us again. The wind. and his eyes won't do you any harm. My God. BORTSOV. A glass of it only costs you two copecks.. Go and tell that to someone else. Go and ask .. You'd better pray. [Shakes his head] The money! BORTSOV. [Stretching himself] Eh. [To MERIK] Don't look at us. .

Why don't you give him a sermon. Orthodox ones! Spare five copecks! My inside asks for it.] Hm . [Turns to the pilgrim women] It's an idea. Tihon.. We'll have a glass between us--half each [Searches in his pockets] The devil .. brother. Wait.. I won't do it! I won't! Understand? [Hits the bar-counter with his fist] I won't.22 the Orthodox... you swindler.. with your "spare five copecks. why don't you drive him out? He hasn't paid you for his night's accommodation. sir..." Won't you have some water? BORTSOV.. . There's no gentleness or kindness in them.. [A pause... No. . . Thought I heard it tinkling just now in my pocket. I've got a five-copeck piece somewhere.. perhaps they'll give you some for Christ's sake.. . . my God! [Looks through the door] Shall I go out. He's a famous skinflint. . I'm ill! FEDYA. it's lost somewhere.. MERIK. no.. then? Out into this darkness. But if I can't drink.. but I'll only give bread for Christ's sake. it's your luck! [A pause. How I am degrading myself! I don't want it! I don't want anything! I was joking! MERIK. What shall I do. .. I shan't. it isn't there. just wait. you pilgrims? And you. . . . BORTSOV... I'll commit a crime or I'll kill myself. Oh.. A savage people! A man is drowning and they shout to him: "Hurry up and . You won't get it out of him. Chuck him out! Eh.. wherever my feet take me.. You can rob those wretches yourself. all the same. the people are cruel nowadays.] BORTSOV. if they feel like it..

Go on. They wait in silence. you fleecer. SAVVA. MERIK. kind man! MERIK. MERIK... perhaps you'll hear me then. Quiet. we've got no time to look at you." As to throwing him a rope--there's no worry about that. A rope would cost money. Here have a glass.. he's let himself go I [Laughs] Awful. we've got to go to work. Well. [There is excitement among the pilgrims and tramps.. TIHON. take off my boots! Look sharp now! TIHON. who half-raise themselves in order to look at TIHON and MERIK. Well . . or to take off my boots? Didn't I say it properly? [To TIHON] Didn't you hear me rightly? I'll wait a moment. don't get excited. or don't you? Am I talking to you or the wall? [Stands up] TIHON.. what do I want? Do I want him to stand me vodka.. now! MERIK. .. to take the boots off me.. give over. isn't it.23 drown. [Takes off MERIK'S boots] You child .] TIHON. well . a poor tramp. The devil brought you here! [Comes out from behind the bar] What a gentleman! Come on now. do as you're told! Quick now! [Pause] Do you hear me. People. Don't talk. Have a drink. old wolf! You're a savage race! Herods! Sellers of your souls! [To TIHON] Come here. Eh. I want you.

I was rude to you. . [Examining it] Stolen property... Well. [Gives TIHON the medallion. Take it.. they'd let me off. . You do it again and I'll turn you out of the inn! Yes! [To BORTSOV... when I come back from town. again? BORTSOV. you can go now! TIHON. my dear fellow. TIHON. [Returns to the bar-counter] You're too fond of being clever.. Only don't you touch it ... who is approaching] You. but I've nowhere to put it... only on condition that you return it later. I will give it to you. You will be my witnesses! [Takes a gold medallion out from the breast of his coat] Here it is. BORTSOV. but forgive me and ... I give it to you in front of these witnesses.. I was a fool.. [Drinks .. MERIK.. I ought to take the portrait out. but what am I to do? I'm doing this wicked thing.] TIHON. suppose I give you something made of gold. If I was tried for it.. Look here.... don't touch it with your fingers.. Please . What are you shaking for? Talk sense! BORTSOV. . Put them side by side.. [Pours out vodka] Confound you. too! Only mind this . Don't look at that face with your eyes.24 of Cain . don't let your fingers touch that face. .. I'm wet all over.. . Like that . with your fingers. ... then. . That's right.. drink. take the portrait. .. It may be mean and wicked on my part. not reckoning on what's to come.. All right.. .

[Goes to the bar] Let's see. FEDYA. [Gets up and comes to TIHON] I want to look too! [Several of the tramps. . A pause. you brutes!" Enter KUSMA. but you can see an inn in the dark a hundred versts away.. . .. . [Waves his hand] you're done for! [KUSMA'S voice is heard. say? You can pass your own father and not notice him.. I can't see. It's destruction for a weak man.] KUSMA...... [Pushes his hand away] Where are you going to? You look somewhere else! FEDYA. . a lady! . TIHON. looks at the portrait. [Pause. if you believe in God! Hullo. A real lady... there! [Planks a five-copeck piece down on . A woman like that gets a hold on one and .. [Opens the medallion] Hm .] MERIK. It is lifelike! She might be going to say something. MERIK grips TIHON's hand firmly with both his.. her eyes.. A real lady. Open your hand.. There stands an inn upon my way.. Let's have a look..] MERIK. etc. Shall I drive or walk past it.. Where did you get hold of this? MERIK. A pretty she-devil. Look at her cheeks.25 slowly. Stop. "Trrr.. Make way. with feverish pauses. in the medallion in silence. approach the bar and form a group. .. Hair coming down to her waist.] TIHON.

Don't wave your arms about. Lord. thank God. KUSMA. So you sleep on the ground.. KUSMA. is it? BORTSOV. you're half. poor delicate things. but before that there weren't any. it was bad! You walk a hundred versts. Poor sugary things. Oh. KUSMA.melted. Over seventy years. it's all right. if you're caught on your way in a night like this. where he sits on a bench] Semyon Sergeyevitc h! Is that you. Be quiet! . [Looks at BORTSOV] And what sort of a raisin is this? [Staring at BORTSOV] Sir! [BORTSOV recognizes KUSMA and retires in confusion to a corner of the room. you devil! TIHON. little father. or a house. Oh. God gave us arms to wave about. You're frightened of the rain. or you'll hit somebody.26 the counter] A glass of real Madeira! Quick! FEDYA.] EFIMOVNA.. but you don't even see a dry stick. or isn't it? Eh? What are you doing in this place? It's not the sort of place for you. Have you been long on this earth. You may well get frightened. there are many villages and houses where you can shelter from the weather. and not only isn't there a village. Now. old woman? EFIMOVNA. Over seventy years! You'll soon come to crow's years. good man. . [Drinks.

it's 200 versts from here. children. Did he drink it all? KUSMA. Give me some more! [Drinks] I come from his village. . my friend. I suppose.. brother. First of all. I haven't the time. Five years ago... he says. .. as he used to. [Paces irritably by the counter] Eh? In an inn. . [To MERIK.. A miserable sufferer.. . it was something else. His brain's all right... His brain's gone.. in an undertone] It's my master .. upset. [To TIHON] Why you yourself used to see him riding. Bortsov.27 MERIK.. and he paid with a five-rouble piece. .. ... of the best quality! He used to own five troikas. because of a . There! MERIK.. my goodness! Tattered! Drunk! I'm upset.... our landlord. Have you ever seen such a state? What does he look like? Just . on his way to the town.. MERIK. Bortsovka. Very. What a shame! MERIK. It all happened because of his cowardice! From too much fat. He used to be great and rich and sober... KUSMA.. Was he rich? KUSMA. he cam here driving two horses from Mikishinsky. to wait for the change. brothers . in the Ergovsky district. you may have heard of it. it's the drink that brought him to this. .. I remember.. past this inn.. We used to be his father's serfs. Semyon Sergeyevitch and Mr. Such bold and noble horses! A carriage on springs. No. . . . [To KUSMA] Who is it? KUSMA..

. Pour out some more. I'm only telling them a little . brother. Don't tell them.. anyway.. always the same. BORTSOV... your honour. The girl's people were all right. one thing led to another . they used to go out in a boat all night... He was a solid. . . but we moujiks would soon chuck her out.. . little hand... and she was all fiery and kept on getting closer and . Of course you'll fall in love when the man has a thousand dessiatins and money to burn. they think that's nice.." Well. [In a semitone which gradually becomes his ordinary voice] How shouldn't she? He was a man of means. The gentry like that. like this .. always changing her mind! Always winking at one! Always laughing and laughing. I'm shaking all over. Kusma! Why should you? What has my life got to do with them? KUSMA.. I was going one evening past his garden--and what a garden. .. versts of it--I was going along quietly. give me your hand [Takes MERIK'S hand] "How do you do and good-bye.. he fell in love. . and the snake gives him back two. He began to keep company with her. and his luck ran out. He was holding her white.. A fool may love as much as a wise man. dignified... Forgive me.... sober gentleman .. . No sense at all. . . and I look and see the two of them sitting on a seat and kissing each other. Well. but just .] MERIK. He fell in love with a woman of the town. giddy ...28 woman. do me the favour.. But she wasn't exactly loose... [Drinks. [Imitates the sound] He kisses her once. and play pianos.. what does it matter. [In a semitone] And did she love him? KUSMA. and it seemed to him that there wasn't any more beautiful thing in the wide world.. ..

.. KUSMA. .. It's nothing. They got married.. to her lover. There was nothing else. . . that's all. And he. He'll get a glimpse of her.. the coward..... . But there's nothing more to tell.. Gives me money for a horse. what happened then? KUSMA.. like one of the damned. . It hurts! KUSMA..... but it can't be helped. and two to another.] FEDYA. and now--it's a bumble-bee. Gives one man a rouble.. a lawyer... [Thoughtfully] Well .. about his happiness. [Whispers] To the town. . Let off everybody's debts. .. Eh? What do you think of her now? Just at the very moment! She would be let off lightly if she were killed for it! MERIK. as they say. .. . Pour out another drop for Kusma the stony! [Drinks] I don't like people getting drunk! Why the time the wedding took place. sir! They asked me! Why shouldn't I tell them? But if you are angry I won't . and now it's grown to a bumble-bee.. Oh. Don't shout.. . I'll tell you quietly. she went off in a carriage . What do I care for them." she says. I won't. tell us quietly... And he still loves her. he started with a fly. Look at him. . BORTSOV.. He went mad.. he loves her! I expect he's walking now to the town to get a glimpse of her with one eye.. .. [Post-bells are heard. . why tell them all about it? These people haven't any sympathy. too. . walks about from one place to another and brags. and go back... when the gentlefolk sat down to supper afterwards... . As you see. It was a fly then... He doesn't want me to.29 closer.. . "I love you.

.] TIHON.30 [The post has driven up to the in. . Do you mean that unfortunate? MERIK. Do you want to smell the inside of a prison? MERIK. MERIK.. . The POSTMAN enters and has a drink..five years and I haven't robbed the post once. too's a thief. [Pause] It's gone now .. People rob and don't go to prison... brothers. the bells ringing. So our man had to pay up the whole thirty [Sighs] The fool is suffering for his folly. his sister's husband... The second reason. The brother-in.. The post drives . One could rob the post in weather like this--easy as spitting... So he doesn't pay up. I've been alive thirty. His wife's .000 roubles for his brother. The post's late to-day! [The POSTMAN pays in silence and goes out.. He took it into his head to stand surety at the bank for 30. . The swindler knows which side his bread's buttered and won't budge an Who else? KUSMA.] A VOICE FROM THE CORNER. why he was ruined was because of his brother. KUSMA.. And if I do go! [Suddenly] What else? KUSMA. too late.

brothers! I can't believe in anybody now!" It's cowardly! Every man has his grief.] TIHON. You don't owe me anything? Just drink and drown your sorrows! has bought an estate near Poltava. TIHON.night and pleasant dreams! It's time I hurried off. and our man goes round inns like a fool. .. TIHON. He's just a little thinner . There's all sorts of strength. and complains to the likes of us: "I've lost all a snake that sucks at his heart. if you don't drink. . Well? How much does it come to? [Pays] Take your pound of flesh! Good-bye. for example.but the elder walks about smiling to himself. you! Unhappy man. poor thing.. Boo! The heat! .. too. [Comes up to the bar hesitatingly and drinks] That means I now owe you for two glasses.. . It is hot! BORTSOV.. She must be getting wet with waiting. you die. I'm bringing my lady a midwife from the hospital. Drink mine. that's true. but by God you're easier when you've got some! Vodka takes grief away..31 got children now by the lawyer and the brother. sir! Oh! [Throws down a five-copeck piece] If you drink.. His wife plays about with the schoolmaster in broad daylight. you die. Oh. come and drink this! [Pours out... and spends his money on drink. and does that mean that he must drink? Take our village elder. It's good not to drink vodka.. [Runs out. children! Good. [Sighs] When God gives a man strength. KUSMA. . A pause. . .] BORTSOV.

it isn't broken. you beast? What right have you? [Tearfully] Do you want me to kill you? You moujik! You boor! TIHON. Ran off after the wedding. [Pours out] Here I've been listening to you all. face to the wall. and when I ought to have locked up long ago. Don't be angry. brothers! . Here.32 MERIK. .. be quiet! [Goes behind the counter and locks the till] It's time to sleep. Lie down. sir.. what's that? [Picks up the medallion] How dare you. too. General excitement. Let him drink mine.] BORTSOV. Children! If you please! Stop that talking! What's the good of making a noise? Let people go to sleep.] BORTSOV. lie down . [Dashes the medallion to the ground] Curse her! [Goes quickly to his place and lies down. Pour him out another glass. Have another drink and go to sleep. FEDYA. Dive it here! [Takes the medallion from TIHON and examines her portrait] Hm. [Goes and looks door leading out. [Drinks] How dare he? The fool! [to MERIK] Do you understand? You're a fool. a donkey! SAVVA.. Tihon. MERIK. TIHON. It's time! [Lies down] Pleasant dreams... . It isn't glass. What a woman! A VOICE FROM THE CORNER..

TIHON..... sir. drunk . as Schastlivtsev says. [Swaying about] Where can I lie down? TIHON.. [Gets up and spreads his short fur and coat the bench] Come on. Everything's going round. Yes.. lie down. [Laughs] I'm drunk! And should you laugh at a man because he's drunk? You look out.. MERIK.. [Opens the medallion] Haven't you a little candle? [Pause] You're a queer little woman Masha. . yes. And where will you sleep. drunk...] BORTSOV. . . [Puts out a candle] Throw it away! BORTSOV. How the wind howls. [Spreads a coat on the floor] It's all one to me [Puts the axe by him] It would be torture for him to sleep on the floor. The floor will do.. your honour! You've looked at that portrait long enough. [To BORTSOV] Lie down. FEDYA.... In the tramp's place! Didn't you hear him giving it up to you? BORTSOV. . [Going up to the vacant place] I'm a bit . .. Looking at me out of the frame and laughing. It's dreary! . Oh.. . anywhere. after all that.. ..... TIHON... love the drunkard.. lie down. [Stretches himself out on the counter. don't be afraid. and ..33 MERIK. Is this it? . Do I lie down here? Eh? TIHON. . He's used to silk and down. [Lying down] I'm ..

The mother.. Sly. He's wandering. people have complained. but I had more sense.... on fire day and night. ..... ... Just like the gentleman .. but there hasn't yet been a man wise enough to invent a medicine against the female sex. The women have ruffled his hair for him. It isn't only I. when I left my father and mother. cruel... since the world has been in existence.. Because of women? MERIK.. It wasn't blessing my stars ... brainless. . They try to cure every sort of disease... MERIK. [Laughs] What a business! Educated people go and invent all sorts of machines and medicines. .. From the beginning of the ages.. [Pause] Here's the gentleman playing the fool.34 BORTSOV. but just a fraud. . at any rate . and there's no end to it.. TIHON. Not for nothing! It's half true.. bewitched. and became a tramp? FEDYA. didn't I.. and so he's bristly. . . Why do you keep on going round? I can't catch you! MERIK. I walked about like one of the damned. Looked too long at the portrait. until at last my eyes were opened . torments the bride and the bride makes things square by swindling the husband . It's not for nothing that in the songs and stories... and it never occurs to them that more people die of women than of disease. [Laughs] What a woman. . . the devil and the woman are put side by side. ..

Who are you? THE VOICE. TIHON. or what? Ten roubles! You mad dog! Profiting by our misfortunes! TIHON. Who's there? [Knocking] Who knocks? [Gets up and goes to the door] Who knocks? Go away. Have you gone mad. wait a bit. You needn't if you don't want to. THE VOICE. If you kill.. The carriage-spring's broken! Be a father to me and help me! If I only had a little string to tie it round with. . . you viper's brood! [A knocking at the door. you are sorry for it. What did you do to her? MERIK.. My lady is going to Varsonofyev from the town... Just as you like. [Pause] She says. Do be a good man and help! TIHON.35 FEDYA... all right. THE VOICE. I wouldn't do it. Please let me in. Whom have the devils brought. She can live and be happy! If only I'd never set eyes on you. or if I could only forget you. It's only five versts farther on ... . [Pause] Do you think I killed her? .. . . . . Go and tell the lady that if she pays ten roubles she can have her string and we'll mend the spring. TIHON.. Tihon...] TIHON.. Very well. Pleased to hear it! . we'd get there somehow or other... we've locked up! A VOICE.. Never you mind.

she can't stay in it. the devil's brought her! Now there'll be no sleep before daylight. COACHMAN. .. There won't be anything left over. [To BORTSOV] Get up. Which way do I go? . followed by the COACHMAN. We'll find a place [Clears a space next to BORTSOV] Get up... I'm sorry I didn't ask for fifteen. What does she want a room for? She can warm herself in here. I am tired! It's cold. dear. and there's not a dry spot in all the mud. the two of us can manage. Let them sleep.] FEDYA.. your highness! Our room is very humble. full of blackbeetles! But don't disdain it! MARIA EGOROVNA. I must say. TIHON.. TIHON. Here's a visitor for you.. if she's cold. Good evening... Have you got a little room in here for the lady to warm herself in? The carriage is all on one side..] Please.. .. give me the string! Quick! Who'll go and help us. . She'd have given them. TIHON bows. [Exit COACHMAN. . Foo. .. The COACHMAN enters. I can't see anything. children? There'll be something left over for your trouble! TIHON.36 [Opens door.. Orthodox people! Well. Another thing. ..] COACHMAN. .. [Stands expectantly before the door] You're a delicate sort of people. [Enter MARIA EGOROVNA. your honour! Sit up! [BORTSOV sits up] Here's a place for you. and let the lady get warm. get up! Just lie on the floor for an hour.. .

. madam. only be quick.. . but we've a little fool here . [Looks at BORTSOV] What's this? BORTSOV. Yes. he won't do you any harm.. TIHON. the people here are good and quiet. MARIA EGOROVNA.. [Drags some string out from under the counter] This minute. excuse me. madam. [Runs and opens the door wide.. Very well. Masha .. [Looking at MARIA EGOROVNA] Marie . a bit cracked. madam.. your highness! [Leads her to the place next to BORTSOV] This way. Make it fifteen. please..... BORTSOV follows] Marie. is it you? Where do you come from? [MARIA EGOROVNA recognizes BORTSOV.. MARIA EGOROVNA. at any rate! TIHON.] BORTSOV. We're freezing... I can't do this for ten roubles. Only you must excuse me. [Blows on the place] I haven't any separate rooms. Marie . . screams and runs off into the centre of the floor.. This way. it is I . but don't you be afraid. [Sits next to BORTSOV] How awfully stuffy! Open the door. MARIA EGOROVNA... this very instant.] MARIA. But don't you be frightened... I [Laughs loudly] . your highness. This minute . . and you open the door! [Gets up and slams it] Who are you to be giving orders? [Lies down] TIHON.. Excuse me. [A pause. .37 TIHON.

. My head's going round. [Strikes his forehead with his fist] No.. Get away from me! MERIK. she's the gentleman's wife! MARIA EGOROVNA.. fellow! [Tries to tear her hand away from him] Denis.. . and I'll let go.. Get away. One word.. . . let's go! I can't stop here any longer! MERIK. .. Merik uses the familiar second person singular. God hasn't given me the wisdom! I can't think of the word for you! .... it isn't you! It can't be! [Covers her face with her hands] It's a lie. it is I! I'll stop in a moment. [Yells] My wife! [Falls at her feet and sobs. A group collects around the husband and wife. [Jumps up and looks her steadily in the face] The portrait! [Grasps her hand] It is she! Eh. her movements. in the original.. My God! Stop. [Turns to TIHON and DENIS] Get away.] Wait a bit. Marie.... . one moment... a light! MARIA EGOROVNA. Get away from me! You lie. you rogues. stop. why do you stand there staring? [DENIS and TIHON run up to her and get hold of MERIK'S arms] This thieves' kitchen! Let go my hand! I'm not afraid! . let go! I shan't let you go till I've had my say! Stop .38 My wife! Marie! Where am I? People. .] MARIA EGOROVNA. .. .. [Note: Throughout this speech. people. Stand back! [To the COACHMAN] Denis... . I was drunk. Just wait. Her voice. so that you may understand. it's all nonsense! BORTSOV. I can't understand anything.. Just let me say one word to you..

Just throw a glance at him. you accursed woman! [He swings his axe. Denis! [She tries to go out..39 MARIA EGOROVNA...... [Totters to his bed] Fate hasn't . . Take away this .] MERIK. Then the devil take you... Marie . After this all stand as if turned to stone. General confusion.. let's go. SAVVA stands between MERIK and MARIA EGOROVNA. MERIK. MERIK. BORTSOV suddenly waves his hands in the air. where are you. My God. DENIS forces MERIK to one side and carries out his mistress. with only one eye if you like! Or say only just one kind little word to him! God's own sake! MARIA EGOROVNA. Everybody jumps up noisily and with cries of horror... Thank God. . [Tears away her hand] Get away! Drunkards .. A prolonged pause. Marie! NAZAROVNA. . [Lowering his hand. but MERIK blocks the door. fool. your head is safe. he still holds the axe] Did I kill her or no? HIGH ROAD TIHON.] BORTSOV. Then I didn't kill her. my God! You've torn up my your murderers! What an accursed night! MERIK.

How are you? LOMOV.] CHUBUKOV. my darling . a neighbour of Chubukov. My dear fellow. his daughter. And how may you be getting on? .house THE PROPOSAL A drawing-room in CHUBUKOV'S house. [Falls down and sobs] Woe! Woe is me! Have pity on me. twenty.40 sent me to my death because of a stolen axe. whom do I see! Ivan Vassilevitch! I am extremely glad! [Squeezes his hand] Now this is a surprise. a landowner NATALYA STEPANOVNA. but very suspicious landowner The scene is laid at CHUBUKOV's country. .. Orthodox people! Curtain.five years old IVAN VASSILEVITCH LOMOV. CHUBUKOV rises to meet him. Thank you. a large and hearty.. [LOMOV enters... THE PROPOSAL CHARACTERS STEPAN STEPANOVITCH CHUBUKOV. wearing a dress-jacket and white gloves.

Oh.. . my darling. CHUBUKOV. why are you so formal in your get. I'm awfully excited. CHUBUKOV. Now. though I don't deserve it.. darling! Spit it out! Well? LOMOV. I mean. to trouble you with a request. my beauty? LOMOV.. Honour Stepanitch . I've come to . and haven't any right to count on your assistance. Can you be going anywhere. Sit down. you shouldn't forget all about your neighbours. honoured Stepan Stepanovitch. gloves. of course . and you have always. Well. I beg pardon. to your prayers.41 CHUBUKOV.. One moment . [Takes his arm] I've come to you.. so to speak .. and so on. it's like this. [Drinks.. my treasure? LOMOV. . In short.. I must ask your pardon.. We just get along somehow.. my angel. Stepan Honouritch . you alone can help me. you know. . you see. this very minute. Then why are you in evening dress. [Aside] He's come to borrow money! Shan't give him any! [Aloud] What is it.. please do. don't go round and round it. honoured Stepan Stepanovitch.. Not once or twice have I already had the privilege of applying to you for help.] CHUBUKOV... as you will please notice.. I've come only to see you. honoured Stepan Stepanovitch.up? Evening dress. You see. and so on. my precious? As if you're paying a New Year's Eve visit! LOMOV.. I shall drink some water. I am getting excited. My dear fellow. No. The fact is.

absolutely off my balance! Oh. and so on.. Natalya Stepanovna. my darling. or for real love. [Joyfully] By Jove! Ivan Vassilevitch! Say it again--I didn't hear it all! LOMOV. do you think I may count on her consent? CHUBUKOV. and I did so much hope . as if she won't consent! She's in love. and all that.... May God give you both His help and His love and so on. with all my soul . and all that sort of thing... [Embraces and kisses LOMOV] I've been hoping for it for a long time. Shan't be long! [Exit. then I'll never get married. as if you were my own son.. [Interrupting] My dear fellow . . If I give myself time to think. CHUBUKOV. indeed. It's cold! Natalya Stepanovna is an excellent housekeeper. and so on. [Sheds a tear] And I've always loved you. LOMOV.... [Greatly moved] Honoured Stepan Stepanovitch. CHUBUKOV. egad. to hesitate.] LOMOV.. I must have my mind made up... just as if I'd got an examination before me. Yes. I have the honour to ask . in marriage. [Drinks] And it's . my angel. .. I'll go and call Natasha. of course. she's like a love-sick cat. to talk a lot..42 ask the hand of your daughter. It's cold .. well-educated. What am I behaving in this idiotic way for? I'm off my balance with joy.. not bad-looking. What more do I want? But I'm getting a noise in my ears from excitement.. Why.. I'm so glad.. I'm trembling all over. and .. Brr! . to look for an ideal. The great thing is. .. It's been my continual desire. .

and I can feel it in my shoulder and head. You must excuse my apron and néligé . Then smoke. . but yesterday it was so wet that the workmen didn't do anything all day. .. . .. I jump up like a lunatic. At this very moment my lips are trembling. and there's a twitch in my right eyebrow. I'm already 35--a critical age. I've had some already. and papa said. I ought to lead a quiet and regular life... In the second place. I suffer from palpitations.. . How much hay have you stacked? Just think. and now I'm not at all pleased about it because I'm afraid my hay may rot.. walk about a bit.] NATALYA STEPANOVNA... but as soon as I begin to get off to sleep there's another pull! And this may happen twenty times.. Here are the matches.43 impossible for me not to marry. I . "Go. The weather is splendid now. Well.. . I'm excitable and always getting awfully upset... thank you.. honoured Natalya Stepanovna? NATALYA STEPANOVNA. How do you do. I felt greedy and had a whole field cut." How do you do.. there! It's you. there's a merchant come for his goods. ... [NATALYA STEPANOVNA comes in.. we're shelling peas for drying. Why haven't you been here for such a long time? Sit down. But the very worst of all is the way I sleep. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. so to speak. I no sooner get into bed and begin to go off when suddenly something in my left side-gives a pull. . No. In the first place. and lie down again.. Ivan Vassilevitch! LOMOV. [They seat themselves] Won't you have some lunch? LOMOV.

My late aunt and her husband. . as you know... What are you talking about? Oxen Meadows are ours. since my childhood. always had the greatest respect for your father and your late mother. my land is a near neighbour of yours. No. had the privilege of knowing your family.. but a . . I never! Are you going to a ball. that I have long. honoured Natalya Stepanovna . in fact. What's the matter? [Pause] Well? LOMOV. mine.." But are they yours? LOMOV. regard for each other. or what?--though I must say you look better. I've made up my mind to ask you to hear me out. Excuse my interrupting you.44 ought to have waited a bit. [Excited] You see.. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. from whom. I shall try to be brief. and I might almost say the most affectionate. "my Oxen Meadows. You must know. not yours! LOMOV. The Lomovs and the Chubukovs have always had the most friendly. why are you got up like that? LOMOV. . the fact is. You will remember that my Oxen Meadows touch your birchwoods. honoured Natalya Stepanovna.. as you know. Of course you'll be surprised and perhaps even angry.. Yes. Tell me. mine. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. But what's this? Why. I inherited my land.. And. honoured Natalya Stepanovna. [Aside] It's awfully cold! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. You say. you're in evening dress! Well.

You see. in return for which they were to make bricks for her. No. LOMOV.45 NATALYA STEPANOVNA. . you won' t get me to believe that! LOMOV. How do you make that out? LOMOV.. yes. were once the subject of dispute. Ivan Vassilevitch! How long have they been yours? LOMOV. I don't . but now everybody knows that they are mine. they're mine. it isn't at all like that! Both my grandfather and great-grandfather reckoned that their land extended to Burnt Marsh--which means that Oxen Meadows were ours. when it happened that .. The peasants belonging to your father's grandfather had the free use of the Meadows for forty years. No. it's true. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. and had got into the habit of regarding them as their own. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Oxen Meadows... my aunt's grandmother gave the free use of these Meadows in perpetuity to the peasants of your father's grandfather. How long? As long as I can remember. But you can see from the documents. Just think. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Well. honoured Natalya Stepanovna. you're mistaken. Really. They're ours. There's nothing to argue about. Yes. I never knew that before. How? I'm speaking of those Oxen Meadows which are wedged in between your birchwoods and the Burnt Marsh. honoured Natalya Stepanovna.

What a surprise! We've had the land for nearly three hundred years. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. but I tell you they're ours. I can't make head or tail of all this about aunts and grandfathers and grandmothers! The Meadows are ours. Ours! You can go on proving it for two days on end. Mine. They only come to five dessiatins [Note: 13. I can hardly believe my own ears... LOMOV. Natalya Stepanovna! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. These Meadows aren't worth much to me. you're simply joking. and then we're suddenly told that it isn't ours! Ivan Vassilevitch. . So there! LOMOV. . I'll show you the documents. you can go and put on fifteen dress-jackets. as I have already had the honour of explaining to you... I implore you! The peasants of your father's grandfather. If you like. Natalya Ivanovna. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. wishing to make them a pleasant . but I can't stand unfairness. but I am acting on principle. ours. or making fun of me. but I can't stand unfairness.]. Say what you will. No..5 acres].46 see what there is to argue about. used to bake bricks for my aunt's grandmother. It's simply silly! LOMOV. I'll make you a present of them. ours! I don't want anything of yours and I don't want to give up anything of mine. Hear me out. I don't want the Meadows.. Now my aunt's grandmother. LOMOV. . and are worth perhaps 300 roubles [Note: £30. and that's all.

although on that account we had to put off our own threshing till November.47 NATALYA STEPANOVNA. but you behave to us as if we were gipsies. because they're mine! Your behaviour. they're ours! LOMOV. indeed! No. that's not at all neighbourly! In my opinion.. if you want to know. [Quickly steps to the carafe and drinks more water] Oxen Meadows are mine! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. You dare! LOMOV. It's not true! I'll prove it! I'll send my mowers out to the Meadows this very day! LOMOV. I can make you a present of them myself. Giving me my own land.. It's not true. a friend: last year we lent you our threshing.. [Clutches at his heart] Oxen Meadows are mine! You . . to say the least! Up to this we have always thought of you as a good neighbour. I'll give it to them in the neck! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. never in my life have I grabbed anybody else's land. really. . Mine! NATALYA STEPANOVNA.machine. and I shan't allow anybody to accuse me of having done so. What? NATALYA STEPANOVNA.. My mowers will be there this very day! LOMOV. is strange. LOMOV. Ivan Vassilevitch. it's even impudent. Then you make out that I'm a land-grabber? Madam.

we or he? CHUBUKOV. but here I must ask you to restrain yourself! LOMOV. Papa. madam. for this awful. Ours! LOMOV. What's the matter? What are you shouting at? NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Please don't shout! You can shout yourself hoarse in your own house. The peasants used the land for forty years and got as accustomed to it as if it . I'd talk to you in a different way! [Yells] Oxen Meadows are mine! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Mine! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. how can they be yours? Do be a reasonable man! My aunt's grandmother gave the Meadows for the temporary and free use of your grandfather's peasants. But. If it wasn't. please tell to this gentleman who owns Oxen Meadows. [To LOMOV] Darling. Stepan Stepanitch.] CHUBUKOV. Mine! [Enter CHUBUKOV. excruciating palpitation.48 understand? Mine! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. the Meadows are ours! LOMOV. if my whole inside wasn't upset. Ours! LOMOV. please.


was their own, when it happened that ...

CHUBUKOV. Excuse me, my precious. ... You forget just this, that the peasants didn't pay your grandmother and all that, because the Meadows were in dispute, and so on. And now everybody knows that they're ours. It means that you haven't seen the plan.

LOMOV. I'll prove to you that they're mine!

CHUBUKOV. You won't prove it, my darling.

LOMOV. I shall!

CHUBUKOV. Dear one, why yell like that? You won't prove anything just by yelling. I don't want anything of yours, and don't intend to give up what I have. Why should I? And you know, my beloved, that if you propose to go on arguing about it, I'd much sooner give up the meadows to the peasants than to you. There!

LOMOV. I don't understand! How have you the right to give away somebody else's property?

CHUBUKOV. You may take it that I know whether I have the right or not. Because, young man, I'm not used to being spoken to in that tone of voice, and so on: I, young man, am twice your age, and ask you to speak to me without agitating yourself, and all that.

LOMOV. No, you just think I'm a fool and want to have me on! You call my land yours, and then you want me to talk to you calmly and politely! Good neighbours don't behave like that, Stepan Stepanitch! You're not a neighbour, you're a grabber!


CHUBUKOV. What's that? What did you say?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Papa, send the mowers out to the Meadows at once!

CHUBUKOV. What did you say, sir?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Oxen Meadows are ours, and I shan't give them up, shan't give them up, shan't give them up!

LOMOV. We'll see! I'll have the matter taken to court, and then I'll show you!

CHUBUKOV. To court? You can take it to court, and all that! You can! I know you; you're just on the look-out for a chance to go to court, and all that. ... You pettifogger! All your people were like that! All of them!

LOMOV. Never mind about my people! The Lomovs have all been honourable people, and not one has ever been tried for embezzlement, like your grandfather!

CHUBUKOV. You Lomovs have had lunacy in your family, all of you!


CHUBUKOV. Your grandfather was a drunkard, and your younger aunt, Nastasya Mihailovna, ran away with an architect, and so on.

LOMOV. And your mother was hump-backed. [Clutches at his heart]


Something pulling in my side. ... My head. ... Help! Water!

CHUBUKOV. Your father was a guzzling gambler!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. And there haven't been many backbiters to equal your aunt!

LOMOV. My left foot has gone to sleep. ... You're an intriguer. ... Oh, my heart! ... And it's an open secret that before the last elections you bri ... I can see stars. ... Where's my hat?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. It's low! It's dishonest! It's mean!

CHUBUKOV. And you're just a malicious, double-faced intriguer! Yes!

LOMOV. Here's my hat. ... My heart! ... Which way? Where's the door? Oh! ... I think I'm dying. ... My foot's quite numb. ... [Goes to the door.]

CHUBUKOV. [Following him] And don't set foot in my house again!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Take it to court! We'll see!

[LOMOV staggers out.]

CHUBUKOV. Devil take him! [Walks about in excitement.]

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. What a rascal! What trust can one have in one's neighbours after that!

CHUBUKOV. The villain! The scarecrow!


NATALYA STEPANOVNA. The monster! First he takes our land and then he has the impudence to abuse us.

CHUBUKOV. And that blind hen, yes, that turnip-ghost has the confounded cheek to make a proposal, and so on! What? A proposal!


CHUBUKOV. Why, he came here so as to propose to you.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. To propose? To me? Why didn't you tell me so before?

CHUBUKOV. So he dresses up in evening clothes. The stuffed sausage! The wizen- faced frump!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. To propose to me? Ah! [Falls into an easy-chair and wails] Bring him back! Back! Ah! Bring him here.

CHUBUKOV. Bring whom here?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Quick, quick! I'm ill! Fetch him! [Hysterics.]

CHUBUKOV. What's that? What's the matter with you? [Clutches at his head] Oh, unhappy man that I am! I'll shoot myself! I'll hang myself! We've done for her!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. I'm dying! Fetch him!

CHUBUKOV. Tfoo! At once. Don't yell!


[Runs out. A pause. NATALYA STEPANOVNA wails.]

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. What have they done to me! Fetch him back! Fetch him! [A pause.]

[CHUBUKOV runs in.]

CHUBUKOV. He's coming, and so on, devil take him! Ouf! Talk to him yourself; I don't want to. ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. [Wails] Fetch him!

CHUBUKOV. [Yells] He's coming, I tell you. Oh, what a burden, Lord, to be the father of a grown-up daughter! I'll cut my throat! I will, indeed! We cursed him, abused him, drove him out, and it's all you ... you!


CHUBUKOV. I tell you it's not my fault. [LOMOV appears at the door] Now you talk to him yourself [Exit.]

[LOMOV enters, exhausted.]

LOMOV. My heart's palpitating awfully. ... My foot's gone to sleep. ... There's something keeps pulling in my side.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Forgive us, Ivan Vassilevitch, we were all a little heated. ... I remember now: Oxen Meadows really are yours.


LOMOV. My heart's beating awfully. ... My Meadows. ... My eyebrows are both twitching. ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. The Meadows are yours, yes, yours. ... Do sit down. ... [They sit] We were wrong. ...

LOMOV. I did it on principle. ... My land is worth little to me, but the principle ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Yes, the principle, just so. ... Now let's talk of something else.

LOMOV. The more so as I have evidence. My aunt's grandmother gave the land to your father's grandfather's peasants ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Yes, yes, let that pass. ... [Aside] I wish I knew how to get him started. ... [Aloud] Are you going to start shooting soon?

LOMOV. I'm thinking of having a go at the blackcock, honoured Natalya Stepanovna, after the harvest. Oh, have you heard? Just think, what a misfortune I've had! My dog Guess, whom you know, has gone lame.


LOMOV. I don't know. ... Must have got twisted, or bitten by some other dog. ... [Sighs] My very best dog, to say nothing of the expense. I gave Mironov 125 roubles for him.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. It was too much, Ivan Vassilevitch.

. but I wouldn't take five Squeezers for him. Papa gave 85 roubles for his Squeezer. LOMOV. Natalya Stepanovna. but if you want him to get hold of anything . he may develop a bit. He's all right at following. I think it was very cheap.. is he? The first time I hear it! LOMOV. NATALYA STEPANOVNA.. . Yes. Have you measured? LOMOV. He is old. LOMOV. In the first place. He's old and as ugly as a worn-out cab-horse. of course.. while there's no getting at the pedigree of your dog at all. Overshot.. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Squeezer better than.55 LOMOV. I assure you that his lower jaw is shorter than the upper. . and an overshot always means the dog is a bad hunter! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Squeezer is young. but on points and pedigree he's better than anything that even Volchanetsky has got. Of course he's better! Of course. and Squeezer is heaps better than Guess! LOMOV. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Guess? What an idea! [Laughs] Squeezer better than Guess! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. the son of Harness and Chisels. . Excuse me. our Squeezer is a thoroughbred animal.. but you forget that he is overshot. He's a first-rate dog.

It's not true! LOMOV. I've noticed that those hunters argue most who know least. It's not true. Guess is a dog. Twenty. and you compare him with Squeezer! LOMOV. you may find them under every bush almost.five roubles would be a handsome price to pay for him. I see. He is! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. . There's some demon of contradiction in you to-day. Excuse me. Anybody you like has a dog as good as Squeezer .. it's too funny to argue.. well. because you know perfectly well that Squeezer is a hundred times better than your silly Guess. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Natalya Stepanovna. Why shout. LOMOV.56 Why. . madam? NATALYA STEPANOVNA. I don't like people who don't say what they mean.. now. Why do you want to say it isn't? LOMOV. that Guess is better than Squeezer. You must realize that Squeezer is overshot! NATALYA STEPANOVNA... Why talk rot? It's awful! It's time your Guess was shot. as for Squeezer. that you consider me either blind or a fool. I cannot continue this discussion: my heart is palpitating. First you pretend that the Meadows are yours.. NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Ivan Vassilevitch. how can you? .

Madam. and so on.. Papa. eyes . please be silent. shoulder . [Weeps] Shut up! My heart's bursting! NATALYA STEPANOVNA.] CHUBUKOV.. . tell us truly. NATALYA STEPANOVNA.... [Shouts] Shut up! NATALYA STEPANOVNA.57 LOMOV. A hundred times worse! Be hanged to your Squeezer! His head .. I shan't shut up. [Enter CHUBUKOV. I implore you to tell me just one thing: is your Squeezer overshot or not? Yes or no? CHUBUKOV. our Squeezer or his Guess. LOMOV. which is the better dog. My heart is going to pieces. he's half-dead already! LOMOV. What's the matter now? NATALYA STEPANOVNA.. There' s no need to hang your silly Guess... LOMOV. And suppose he is? What does it matter? He's the best dog in the district for all that. I shan't shut up until you acknowledge that Squeezer is a hundred times better than your Guess! LOMOV. Stepan Stepanovitch. now? .. . But isn't my Guess better? Really.

I remember too! CHUBUKOV.. . if you want to know the truth. .. and the other . too. Allow me. has well-sprung ribs.. Don't excite yourself. ... we're all like that! You too. and so. . Yes. my heart.... LOMOV.. . sir.. The dogs are running after a fox. Excuse me.. let's stop arguing. that . Your Guess certainly has his good points. and all that. that dog has two defects: he's old and he's short in the muzzle. He got left behind because the Count's whipper-in hit him with his whip... You started because everybody is always jealous of everybody else's dogs. . when Squeezer goes and starts worrying a sheep! CHUBUKOV.58 CHUBUKOV. I'm very liable to lose my temper. .. [Teasing him] I remember. just because of that.neck with the Count's dog. while your Squeezer was left a whole verst behind.. CHUBUKOV.. .. . It's not true! . My heart ... But.. my precious one. my foot's gone to sleep. Let's take the facts.. and all that. I remember everything! LOMOV.. He's pure-bred.. aren't blameless! You no sooner notice that some dog is better than your Guess than you begin with this. And with good reason.. My dear fellow.. my dear man. firm on his feet.. What do you remember? LOMOV. I can't . LOMOV. You will remember that on the Marusinsky hunt my Guess ran neck-and.

Intriguer! CHUBUKOV. but you only go to argue with people and interfere with their dogs and so on. Where is my shoulder? I die. There. Everybody knows that--oh my heart!--your late wife used to beat you. [Falls into an armchair] A . [Teasing] My heart. there . and not go tracking animals. sparks.. temples .. Shut up or I'll shoot you like a partridge! You fool! LOMOV. I fall! CHUBUKOV.... anyway! LOMOV... .. And are you a hunter? You only go hunting to get in with the Count and to intrigue. Oh. What sort of a hunter are you? You ought to go and lie on the kitchen oven and catch blackbeetles. there. what sort of a hunter are you. not go after foxes! My heart! CHUBUKOV. I fall. My feet ... my heart! ... Yes really. anyway? You ought to sit at home with your palpitations. You're an intriguer! CHUBUKOV. You're not a hunter at all..59 NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Old rat! Jesuit! CHUBUKOV.. . And you're under the slipper of your housekeeper! LOMOV. What? I an intriguer? [Shouts] Shut up! LOMOV. . ... Boy! Pup! LOMOV. You could go hunting. Let's change the subject in case I lose my temper.. .. my heart's burst! My shoulder's come off.

. what's the matter with him? Papa! Look. [Falls into an armchair] A doctor.. Drink some water! That's right.. to the devil with you! She's willing! [He puts LOMOV'S hand into his daughter's] She's willing and all that. I see stars .. Hurry up and get married and--well.. Oh! . I give you my blessing and so on... It means he's dead. . I can't breathe! .... mist. . [Wails] He's dead . papa! [Screams] Ivan Vassilevitch! He's dead! CHUBUKOV.. . Boy! Milksop! Fool! I'm sick! [Drinks water] Sick! NATALYA STEPANOVNA.. What is it? What's the matter? NATALYA STEPANOVNA. No. Where am I? CHUBUKOV. LOMOV. a doctor! [Hysterics. dead! CHUBUKOV. [Pulls LOMOV'S sleeve] Ivan Vassilevitch! Ivan Vassilevitch! What have you done to me? He's dead.. He's dead.. . .. I'm the most unhappy of men! Why don't I put a bullet into my brain? Why haven't I cut my throat yet? What am I waiting for? Give me a knife! Give me a pistol! [LOMOV moves] He seems to be coming round. and all that.. Only leave me in peace! . What sort of a hunter are you? You can't even sit on a horse! [To her father] Papa.] CHUBUKOV. I'm sick! . Who's dead? [Looks at LOMOV] So he is! My word! Water! A doctor! [Lifts a tumbler to LOMOV'S mouth] Drink this! .] CHUBUKOV. he doesn't drink... Air! NATALYA STEPANOVNA...60 doctor! [Faints...

What a weight off my shoulders.. .61 LOMOV... stars . Ouf! NATALYA STEPANOVNA.. I'm happy. Eh? Kiss whom? [They kiss] Very nice. I . Worse! CHUBUKOV... . still you will admit now that Guess is worse than Squeezer. He's better! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Kiss each other! LOMOV. She's willing! Well? Kiss and be damned to you! NATALYA STEPANOVNA. CHUBUKOV.. I'm happy too. . yes.. Excuse me. [Wails] He's alive.. Better! NATALYA STEPANOVNA.. too. I'm willing.. CHUBUKOV. [Getting up] Eh? What? To whom? CHUBUKOV.. . Worse! worse! worse! . now I understand . . NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Yes..... Natalya Stepanovna. [Kisses her hand] My foot's gone to sleep. But . LOMOV.. that's a way to start your family bliss! Have some champagne! LOMOV.. Well. what's it all about? Oh. .. . my heart ..

a retired Civil Servant. WAITERS. NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. a telegraphist HARLAMPI SPIRIDONOVITCH DIMBA. a Greek confectioner DMITRI STEPANOVITCH MOZGOVOY. a sailor of the Imperial Navy (Volunteer Fleet) GROOMSMEN. his wife DASHENKA. Dashenka's bridegroom FYODOR YAKOVLEVITCH REVUNOV-KARAULOV. [Trying to shout her down] Champagne! Champagne! Curtain. GENTLEMEN. aged 30. their daughter EPAMINOND MAXIMOVITCH APLOMBOV. an insurance agent ANNA MARTINOVNA ZMEYUKINA. The scene is laid in one of the rooms of Andronov's Restaurant . a retired captain ANDREY ANDREYEVITCH NUNIN. a midwife.62 CHUBUKOV. THE WEDDING CHARACTERS EVDOKIM ZAHAROVITCH ZHIGALOV. ETC. in a brilliantly red dress IVAN MIHAILOVITCH YATS.

] [Enter NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA and APLOMBOV. APLOMBOV. I'm not a Spinosa or anybody of that sort. Waiters in dress-jackets are fussing round the table. For instance. no. in addition to objects of domestic importance. but there is a good deal in your behaviour which I am unable to understand. No. You must excuse me. maman. s'il vous plait_! [They all go off.] NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. laid for supper. no. An orchestra behind the scene is playing the music of the last figure of a quadrille. no! YATS. [Following her] Have pity on us! Have pity! ZMEYUKINA. and a GROOMSMAN cross the stage. You had much better be dancing than upsetting me with your speeches. I am a serious man.] ZMEYUKINA. no! GROOMSMAN. No. [Chasing them] You can't go on like this! Where are you off to? What about the _grand ronde? Grand ronde. and I have a character.63 THE WEDDING [A brilliantly illuminated room. and I see no amusement in empty pleasures. YATS.] [ANNA MARTINOVNA ZMEYUKINA. you . But it isn't just a matter of dances. A large table. to go making figures-of-eight with my legs.

[To NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA] You also promised and agreed that a general was to be here to supper. The cook asks if you would like the ices served with rum. madeira. With rum. three. [Looks round the table and counts up the covers] One. five . APLOMBOV. And where is he? NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. Where are they? NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. Whose fault. two lottery tickets.. And tell the manager that there's not enough wine.64 promised also to give me. My head's aching a little . It's Andrey Andreyevitch's fault. I'm an honourable man! NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. Tell him to prepare some more Haut Sauterne. I have made your daughter happy. and if you don't give me the tickets to-day I'll make short work of her. my dear. but it's only swindlers who behave like that. then? NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA.. I'm not doing this out of egoisticism [Note: So in the original]--I don't want your tickets-but on principle. four.. or by themselves? APLOMBOV.. I expect it's on account of the weather. Yesterday he came to see us and promised to bring a perfectly real . . two.. I only found out to-day that those tickets are in pawn.. _maman_. If only it thawed! APLOMBOV.. and I don't allow myself to be done by anybody. . You won't get out of it like that.. with your daughter. A WAITER. You must excuse me. That isn't my fault.

[Shouting] Promenade! Messieurs. APLOMBOV. APLOMBOV. [To ZMEYUKINA] Have pity! Have pity. A general. The last are YATS and ZMEYUKINA. [Sighs] I suppose he couldn't find one anywhere.. The first couple are DASHENKA with one of the GROOMSMEN. ZMEYUKINA. What will you be like in a year's time? You are horrid. what a man! . You think we don't mind? We'd begrudge our child nothing.. ZHIGALOV and DIMBA enter and go up to the table.. is aware of the fact that Yats.. how can you? Epaminond Maximovitch was married himself only the other day. or he'd have brought him.] YATS..65 general.. I've already told you that I've no . . Oh. adorable Anna Martinovna. . promenade! [Behind] Promenade! [The dancers have all left the scene. was after Dashenka before I proposed to her. be honourable! [Couples dancing the _grand ronde_ come in at one door and out at the other end. Everybody. and you've already tired me and Dashenka out with your talk.] GROOMSMAN. really horrid.. _maman_. But there's more. Then you don't like to hear the truth? Aha! Oh. I only want you to do one thing. These two remain behind. oh! Then behave honourably. including yourself. that telegraphist. Why did you invite him? Surely you knew it would be unpleasant for me? NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA.. Oh. of course .

but sing at concerts.... it's hot! [To APLOMBOV] Epaminond Maximovitch.] YATS. that .. you're simply heartless! To be so cruel-. . There. [Sings] "I loved you. and may love again. you shouldn't be a midwife. thoroughly. I've no voice to-day. you wretch? Well. YATS. love was vain then.if I may express myself--and to have such a beautiful. why are you so melancholy? A bridegroom shouldn't be! Aren't you ashamed of yourself. What beastly sceptics you all are! I feel quite suffocated with you all around.] YATS. Beautiful! Beautiful! . I implore you to sing! Just one note! Have pity! Just one note! ZMEYUKINA... at public gatherings! For example... . [Sings] "I loved you. ZMEYUKINA. No. I'm tired of you...." Exquisite! ZMEYUKINA. [Sits and fans herself. .. how divinely you do that _fioritura_ . what are you so thoughtful about? APLOMBOV." Is that it? YATS. . if you will forgive my using the word.. That's it! Beautiful! ZMEYUKINA. Give me atmosphere! Do you hear? Give me atmosphere! [Sings a few notes.66 voice to-day. beautiful voice! With such a voice. No.. Marriage is a serious step! Everything must be considered from all sides. wave this fan for me .

. to aristocratic society and. . So long only. . and in Greece zere's everysing--my fazer and uncle and brozeres--and here zere's nussing. fan me! ZHIGALOV.. Tell me. . Oh. everysing.67 ZMEYUKINA. how vulgar you are! Don't dare to use such words! YATS. . And lions too. you're used. or I feel I shall have a heart attack in a minute. ZMEYUKINA. ZHIGALOV. Drink and be merry. delight! Fan me. leave me alone! Give me poetry.. then why not drink? You can drink. ZHIGALOV. please. . if I may say so.. H'm. Fan me. why do I feel so suffocated? YATS. In Russia zere's nussing. . what? [Pours out] One can always drink. fan me. Beg pardon! Of course. [To DIMBA] Let's have another. Yes... Yes. Harlampi Spiridonovitch. ZMEYUKINA... Your health! [They drink] And do you have tigers in Greece? DIMBA.. It's because you're sweating. And are there whales in Greece? DIMBA. Foo.. as one doesn't forget one's business. And if you can drink at somebody else's expense. And lions? DIMBA.

If it's time. . Hm. I can imagine what the atmosphere is like in Greece! ZHIGALOV. And are there lobsters in Greece? DIMBA. ZHIGALOV... seeks the storm. There must be a lot of swindling. ZHIGALOV. please be seated! ZMEYUKINA. They sell you a sponge or a goldfish and all the time they are looking out for a chance of getting something extra out of you. what? NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. It's past eleven. And Civil Servants. Let's have another. [Sitting down at the table] Give me poetry. "And he... What do you want to go on having another for? It's time everybody sat down to supper. Don't keep on shoving your fork into the lobsters.. then it's time.. The Greeks are just like the Armenians or gipsies." Give me the storm! . please! [Shouts] Supper! Young people! NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. They're for the general. the rebel. ZHIGALOV. Yes . Ladies and gentlemen. zere is everysing. [To her husband] What are they all eating and drinking like that for? It's time for everybody to sit down to supper. He may come yet. .68 NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. ... Dear visitors. As if the storm can give him peace. ZMEYUKINA.

.] YATS.. wonderful! Only you know. there's one thing we haven't got--electric light. if I may say so! Into every country electric light has already been introduced. APLOMBOV and DASHENKA kiss each other. They put a live coal in and think you don't see them! No... that you can get hold of! You must have a fire. . h'm. GROOMSMEN.69 YATS. If you'd ever seen an electric battery. Glasses are touched. but something real. Beautiful! Beautiful! I must say. MOZGOVOY. [Rising] Ladies and gentlemen! I must tell you this. Don't let's wait. . you'd think differently. ZHIGALOV. Ladies and gentlemen. if you want a light. . not just an invention! YATS. only Russia lags behind.. which is natural. giving honour where it is due. ladies and gentlemen.. while the band plays a march. There is a minute's pause. We are going to have a great many toasts and speeches. but begin at once. [Aside] Wonderful woman! I'm in love! Up to my ears! [Enter DASHENKA. They all noisily seat themselves at the table. the newly married! [The band plays a flourish. you understand. something special. that this room and the accommodation generally are splendid! Excellent.. and how it's made up.. etc. . various ladies and gentlemen. [Meditatively] Electricity .] MOZGOVOY. then you don't take a coal. Cheers. In my opinion electric lighting is just a swindle.

and here we are marrying off our third daughter to an honest man. I entirely agree with you. I have always sincerely wished Daria Evdokimovna a good husband. money. Thank God. NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. but this isn't the time for all that! [To DASHENKA] What do you think. ... It's a swindle.. . it is difficult to find a good husband. Nastasya Timofeyevna. I. I was only in general..70 ZHIGALOV... we've lived our time without being educated. you would be much better occupied if you had another yourself and poured out some for other people--yes! APLOMBOV. to show you. Nastasya Timofeyevna... these . . [His courage failing] I wasn't hinting at anything.. .. instead of defending a swindle.. and if I did start talking about electric lighting it doesn't mean that I'm proud. then what do you want to come here for? Go to your educated friends! YATS. They want to show how educated they are. have always held your family in respect. papa. . And. In these days. APLOMBOV.. That's a hint! YATS. _ma chère_? DASHENKA. They want to squeeze our last breath out of us. and so they always talk about things we can't understand. Don't want to see one. a fraud on the public. We know then. Nowadays everybody is on the look-out for a marriage where there is profit.. Why start a learned discussion? I myself have no objection to talking about every possible scientific discovery. young man. Present company is always excepted. And if you think we're uneducated.. . . I'll drink.

.. we're giving three dresses. APLOMBOV. I didn't mean . I nursed her. NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. it isn't trifling! You be careful what you say... The furniture's splendid. Mr.. and here you go talking. Don't you go making hints. and we've invited you to the wedding. . and . and the dresses. Leave him alone! Sit down! Is it worth it! Let him be! Stop it now! . my little girl.. please get out! [Band plays a flourish] THE GENTLEMEN. why didn't you say so before? [Tearfully] I brought her up. the bed. NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. You won't find another dowry like that in a hurry! YATS. And you go and believe him? Thank you so much! I'm very grateful to you! [To YATS] And as for you.. If you knew that Epaminond Maximovitch was marrying for profit. Besides a thousand roubles of good money. No.. although you are acquainted with me.71 Please! Everybody knows that you're marrying for love .. Yats. I want you to be as straightforward as I am! In short. What do you mean? APLOMBOV. the dowry is quite trifling. Please get out of this! YATS. I shan't allow you to behave like this in another's house. I fed her. but I never hinted at what they are getting offended at. We respect you on account of your parents. of course.. I cared for her more than if she was an emerald jewel. . and all the furniture.

] DASHENKA. only give me the money first. I'm speaking from my heart--from the purity of my soul! I wouldn't deny anything to good people! We thank you very humbly! [Kisses. in great emotion] I thank you! Dear guests! I am very grateful to you for not having forgotten and for having conferred this honour upon us without being standoffish And you must not think that I'm a rascal. I never . [Shouts] The health of the bride's parents. .] ZHIGALOV. [To her mother] Mama. _Maman_ is disturbed at your coming separation.. Evdokim Zaharitch and Nastasya Timofeyevna! [Band plays a flourish. or that I'm trying to swindle anybody. ... Cheers. I . I'll go. And are there any red-haired men in Greece? . Nastasya Timofeyevna! Just think what are human tears.. I don't understand. YATS. Sit down! That's enough! Is it worth it. But I should advise her rather to remember the last talk we had.. anyway? Just petty psychiatry.72 YATS. VARIOUS GENTLEMEN. and nothing more! ZMEYUKINA. Then I'll just have another drink and .. if I may say so. just for such trifles? A GROOMSMAN. why are you crying? I'm so happy! APLOMBOV. Only you first give me the five roubles which you borrowed from me last year on the strength of a _piqué_ waistcoat.. Don't cry. Please... [Bows in all directions.. go.

I found one at last.. The General's coming . ladies and gentlemen. and I want nussing.. a speech! ALL. Why? I don't understand. I can tell you . I'm simply worn out. Zere's Russia and zere's Greece. But you don't have our kinds of mushroom. Nastasya Timofeyevna! Just come here. you know.. .. Zere's people in Russia and people in Greece. no! You can't refuse! It's you turn! Get up! DIMBA. . . a solid one--old.. What is it! ZMEYUKINA. DIMBA. which mean sips. if you don't mind! [Takes NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA aside... aged perhaps eighty. Yes. No.. or even ninety. [Enter NUNIN. Harlampi Spiridonovitch. Yes. ZHIGALOV. everysing is zere... it's your turn to speak! Ladies and gentlemen. Wait. puffing] Listen . [To DIMBA] Speech! speech! Your turn! DIMBA... We are Greeks and you are Russians.] NUNIN. I understand... [Gets up. and people on the land in railway trains. confused] I can't say what .. . . . we've got zem and everysing. A real General.. MOZGOVOY...73 DIMBA. don't eat now! Wait! Just one minute. And zere's people swimming the sea in karavs.. zere's Russia and zere's Greece ..

74 NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. "at the Law courts. now. Well. "she's very annoyed with you about it!" [Goes and sits at the table] And he says to me: "But. that he's some rascal. Wait a little.. The "General" is an ex-naval officer. Andrey darling! NUNIN. a second-class captain. "even decent women are employed at the Law courts. He's a valuer. This minute. am I a swindler? You needn't worry! NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. your excellency. "he's a fine fellow. how can I go when I don't know the bridegroom?" "Oh. You'll be grateful to me all your life. [Sighs] One doesn't like to spend money for nothing. why stand on ceremony? The bridegroom." I said to him. we smoked a Havana cigar each.." I said to him. . your excellency. and don't you think. Andrey darling? NUNIN. your Excellency! It isn't kind of your Excellency to forget your old friends! Nastasya Timofeyevna. very free and easy. . and now he's coming. Don't you worry! He's not a general. Nowadays." I said to him. You're not deceiving me.] NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. some knave of hearts. [Note: A few lines have been omitted: they refer to the "General's" rank and its civil equivalent in words for which the English language has no corresponding terms.. my friend." He slapped me on the shoulder. . he's a dream! [Raises his voice] I said to him: "You've quite forgotten us. ladies and gentlemen." I said.. nonsense. When is he coming? NUNIN. don't eat.

employed on the telegraph! A foreigner of Greek nationality. a confectioner by . APLOMBOV. When's he coming? NUNIN. the bridegroom. Let me introduce to you. Awfully glad! NUNIN. NUNIN.. your excellency. ladies and gentlemen. we aren't important. When I left him he was already putting on his goloshes. We. don't eat yet. Enter REVUNOV-KARAULOV. Mr. your excellency! So glad you've come! REVUNOV. Wait a little.75 APLOMBOV. but quite ordinary. [Bowing] Please come in. We put good people into the best place. aren't celebrities. Epaminond Maximovitch Aplombov. with his newly born . This minute. and NUNIN run to meet him.] A WAITER. Revunov-Karaulov! [ZHIGALOV. but don't think on that account that there's any fraud. Please! REVUNOV. [Shouts] Musicians! A march! [The band plays a march for a minute. we begrudge nothing.. The band should be told to play a march. NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. your excellency.] NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. I mean his newly married wife! Ivan Mihailovitch Yats. Awfully! ZHIGALOV.

why not? Very glad to come. [Takes NUNIN aside] I say. Sit down. patriarchal people. even.. [Whispers] I know.. Why do you call me your excellency? I'm not a general! I don't rank as the equivalent of a colonel.. it respects the aged. old man. ladies and gentlemen." Well. your excellency! REVUNOV.. be a good man and let us call you your excellency! The family here.. your excellency! Be so good as to have some of this. your excellency? I respect . Sit down.. In spite of my rank. REVUNOV. "when I don't know them? It's not good manners!" But he says: "They are good. I am a man who lives plainly. [Goes to the table] Awfully! NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. only. if that's the case .. and if my presence at a wedding can make anybody happy. glad to see anybody. Oh. we're plain people! REVUNOV. Harlampi Spiridonovitch Dimba! Osip Lukitch Babelmandebsky! And so on. . . Then that's sincere. In the old days everybody used to live simply and was happy. you see. NUNIN. The rest are just trash.. Fyodor Yakovlevitch. it likes rank. is it. I'm a little put out. .. ZHIGALOV. then I'm delighted to be here. [Not hearing] What? Hm . if it's like that. Awfully! Excuse me. To-day Andrey comes to me and asks me to come here to the wedding.76 trade.... your excellency! Only forgive us for not being used to etiquette. I just want to say two words to Andrey." I said.. simple. . [Pause] Yes. and so on. "How shall I go. . very well. is patriarchal. It's very dull for me at home by myself.. yes.

Yes. But the transmission of telegrams is the most difficult thing of all.. and I respect others who are like that. and the bread is sour.. nobody is appointed to the telegraphs if he cannot read and write French and German. Your health! [Pause] Yes.[Sees MOZGOVOY] You there . yes. REVUNOV. your excellency! APLOMBOV. but-. I'm 72.. I retired in 1865. . The health of his excellency Fyodor Yakovlevitch Revunov-Karaulov! [Band plays a flourish. a sailor. Eat.. he. its special meaning! For instance. excuse me. he!--With almost mathematical precision! NUNIN.... Every insignificant word has.. so . so to speak. Eh? Yes. are you? MOZGOVOY. Yes.. "Hoist her top-sheets and mainsail!" What's it mean? A sailor can tell! He.. I can't eat this! [APLOMBOV and DASHENKA kiss each other] He. But.77 that! I'm a plain man myself. yes. Yes. without any deception. .. your excellency.] YATS. he . what is this? The fish is sour . your excellency. .. In the old days everything was simple and everybody was glad. You. Quite true.. of course. Aha. Cheers. your excellency? REVUNOV.. just so... There's a lot to think about and get a headache over. . I'm an old man. I love simplicity.. Is it long since you retired. . in my younger days it was different. Awfully difficult! Just listen.. But is telegraphy any easier? Nowadays. have just expressed yourself on the subject of the hard work involved in a naval career. The navy means hard work. .

what does that mean? It's very simple! It means that if the top and top-gallant sails are lifting the halyards. stays and braces. Mme. It means. [Rising] Ladies and gentlemen .gallants braces.. like a telegraphic transmitter. [Cutting him short] Yes . let's see . .gallant sail!!" Well.78 [Taps with his fork on the table. your excellency.. [Taps.. "Madam.. Zhigalov asks you to . if there's a head-wind you must . "I honour you. [To MOZGOVOY] Yes. That means. . Louder.. YATS. there are a great many orders to give. you must hoist your foretop halyards and topsail halyards! The order is: "On the cross-trees to the foretop halyards and topsail halyards" and at the same time.. What madam are you talking about? Yes. NUNIN... REVUNOV. are loosened according to the direction of the wind . you take hold underneath of the foresail and fore-topsail halyards. What does that mean? YATS." You think it's easy? Listen now.] REVUNOV. [To REVUNOV] Fyodor Yakovlevitch. they must level the foretop and foretop-gallant halyards on the hoist and at the same time the top.] REVUNOV.. as the sails get loose. for your virtues. I can't hear. how happy I am to hold you in my embraces!" REVUNOV. as needed. A GROOMSMAN... "Furl the fore-topsail and the foretop....

on the starboard tack. [Making haste to use the ensuing pause to advantage] On this occasion. and don't understand a word of all that. he! NUNIN. We are dull people. "To your places!" What a life! You give orders. "Good children!" [He chokes and coughs.. . Lower the topsail gallants!" THE GROOMSMAN.79 talk about something else. "Hoist the topsail halyards. Fyodor Yakovlevitch.. [Interrupting] Yes. What? Who's dull? [To MOZGOVOY] Young man! Now suppose the ship is lying by the wind. REVUNOV. and you've got to bring her before the wind. As soon as the men are on deck you give the order.] A GROOMSMAN. [Annoyed] Why does he keep on interrupting? We shan't get through a single speech like that! NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. your excellency.. ... first you whistle up above! He. so to speak. under full sail. on the day on which we have met together to honour our dear . Eat something. who can't understand. that's enough. What's the order? Well.. It's very dull for the guests. and you shout. you've got to remember all that! For instance. who run about like flashes of lightning and get the sails and braces right. but if you were to tell us something appropriate . and at the same time you've got to keep your eyes on the sailors. REVUNOV. REVUNOV. And at last you can't restrain yourself.

Did you say there was goose? Thanks . From the captain to the cabin-boy. at your age! REVUNOV. I haven't had any . he yells at the top of his voice. Did you say sausage? No. young man! You sail on the sea." and himself keeps his eye on the mainsail. [Not hearing] I've already had supper. He gives the command: "Stand by. . yes.. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. taken to starboard... main and counter-braces to port!" Everything's done in a twinkling. The senior officer orders. Top-sheets and jib-sheets are pulled . I've remembered the old days... [Stands up] The ship takes the wind and at last the sails fill out. you have no worries. [Who has not heard it properly] Thank you. It's pleasant. [Exploding] General. "Let go the braces! Loose the main halyards!" Everything flies about. . How dull! How dull! [General murmur. The ship has been tacked! NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA....80 REVUNOV. there's a general confusion for a moment--and everything is done without an error. everybody's excited. gallants and topsail braces on the starboard side. [With enthusiasm] Everybody's ready. ZMEYUKINA. and [In an excited tone of voice] do you remember the joy of tacking? Is there a sailor who doesn't glow at the memory of that manoeuvre? As soon as the word is given and the whistle blown and the crew begins to go up--it's as if an electric spark has run through them all. thank you. "To the braces. and when at last this sail is filling out and the ship begins to turn. . I've had supper. thank you.. your manners. and looks to the senior officer.] REVUNOV..

Just let me ask you this. [Confused] Ladies and gentlemen.. If you're not a general.. REVUNOV. .. Did you take the money? . I'm not a general... NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA.. [To NUNIN] And you look out... which. but a second-class naval captain.. according to the table of precedence. [Loudly] I say you ought to be ashamed of yourself at your age! General.. How mean! How mean! APLOMBOV. corresponds to a lieutenant-colonel.81 NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA.. In the first place. . Paid . then what did you go and take our money for? We never paid you money to behave like that! REVUNOV. You know that you got 25 roubles from Andrey Andreyevitch. What is it? APLOMBOV. What 25 roubles? [Suddenly realizing] That's what it is! Now I understand it all. [Upset] What money? NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. is it worth it? Really . let it drop. . Is it worth it? REVUNOV. hired. You know what money. There now . your manners are awful! NUNIN. Did you receive 25 roubles from Andrey Andreyevitch? REVUNOV.. Andrey! I never asked you to hire a man like that! NUNIN.

Andrey. if I may say so . a sailor. show me the way out! Waiter! [Going] How mean! How low! [Exit. [In a transport of delight] My beauty! My beauty! [Uproar. but what can I do now? [Absently] Where's the door? Which way do I go? Waiter.. [Shouts] The health of the bride and bridegroom! A march! A march! [The band plays a march] The health of the bride and bridegroom! ZMEYUKINA.. Is it worth while bothering about such trifles? What does it matter! Everybody's happy here.. Curtain. an officer who has served long and faithfully! If you were decent people I could call somebody out. I haven't taken any money! Get away from me! [Leaves the table] How mean! How low! To insult an old man. .] A GROOMSMAN. and here you go.] NASTASYA TIMOFEYEVNA. [Trying to shout everybody else down] Ladies and gentlemen! On this occasion.82 REVUNOV. I'm suffocating! Give me atmosphere! I'm suffocating with you all round me! YATS. where are those 25 roubles? NUNIN.. .

a landowning little widow. a middle-aged landowner LUKA.... with dimples on her cheeks GRIGORY STEPANOVITCH SMIRNOV. He is in his grave.. and I have buried myself between four walls. . LUKA is haranguing her. Popova's aged footman THE BEAR [A drawing-room in POPOVA'S house.. catching midges. only you sit in this room all day. and don't take any pleasure. . every living being is rejoicing. even the cat understands how to enjoy herself and walks about in the yard. I shall never go out. It isn't right. really! I reckon it's a whole year that you haven't left the house! POPOVA. You're just destroying yourself. .83 THE BEAR CHARACTERS ELENA IVANOVNA POPOVA. The maid and the cook have gone off fruit picking. as if this was a convent. madam. . Why should I? My life is already at an end. We are both dead.] [POPOVA is in deep mourning and has her eyes fixed on a photograph.] LUKA. Yes..

and the officers are such beauties--you can never gaze your fill at them. or else order Toby or Giant to be harnessed. there's a ball at the camp. well. cruel.if you only took a little pleasure. but if I've got to weep for a whole age. I know it's no secret to you that he was often unfair to me. and may his soul rest in peace.... We live... but I shall be true till death. and you see nobody. I vowed never to the end of my days to cease to wear mourning. the old woman isn't worth it. Yes.. But you can't go on weeping and wearing mourning for ever. There's a regiment quartered at Riblov. POPOVA. You've mourned him--and quite right. every Friday. so to speak. You hear? Let his ghost see how well I love him.84 LUKA. Well? I grieved over her. The mice have eaten my livery... but they won't look at you. with roses in your cheek-. and that's enough for her. You don't go anywhere.. it's the will of God. and never see the light. And. or to see the light. well. for the district's full of them. I wept for a month. my lady! You're young and beautiful. . My old woman died too. . like spiders. and show him how I can love. In ten years' time you'll want to be a pea-hen yourself among the officers. There. and every day the soldier's band plays. and . there you are! Nicolai Mihailovitch is dead. [Sighs] You've forgotten all your neighbours. when her time came. Eh. Instead of talking like that you ought to go and have a walk in the garden. . Beauty won't last long. life lost all its meaning for me. . beyond the grave.. he will see me as I was before his death. Well. and even unfaithful. [With determination] I must ask you never to talk to me about it! You know that when Nicolai Mihailovitch died. LUKA. it will be too late. and .. you know. .. It isn't as if there were no good people around.

.. Madam! Dear madam! What is it? Bless you! POPOVA. [LUKA enters in consternation. But didn't you tell him that since the death of my husband . [Looks at the photograph] You will see.] POPOVA. .. How well he could ride! What grace there was in his figure when he pulled at the reins with all his strength! Do you remember? Toby. POPOVA. [Shaking] Who's that? Tell them that I receive nobody. Madam. madam. only when this poor heart will cease to beat..] LUKA. Nicolas. [Laughs through her tears] And aren't you ashamed? I am a good and virtuous little wife. He was so fond of Toby! He always used to ride on him to the Korchagins and Vlasovs.] POPOVA.. . Oh! [Weeps. LUKA. I've locked myself in. how I can love and forgive.. you bad child? You deceived me. and will be true to you till the grave. . [A bell rings noisily. madam. aren't you ashamed. Yes.85 then drive out to see some of the neighbours. left me alone for weeks on end .] LUKA. somebody is asking for you. Toby! Tell them to give him an extra feed of oats. POPOVA. had rows with me. My love will die out with me. [Exit. Yes. LUKA.. and you .. He wants to see you.

POPOVA. on two bills of exchange.. died in my debt for one thousand two hundred roubles. I see that I shall have to go into a convent after all. . . . I have the honour to present myself... I've come to ask you. [Enter LUKA with SMIRNOV. curses and pushes himself right in.morrow. Ass! [Sees POPOVA and speaks with respect] Madam. landowner and retired lieutenant of artillery! I am compelled to disturb you on a very pressing affair... What manners! [Exit LUKA] How these people annoy me! What does he want of me? Why should he disturb my peace? [Sighs] No. [Thoughtfully] Yes. into a convent... madam. POPOVA.. I told him so. [To LUKA] You fool.. the devil . with whom I had the honour of being acquainted. but he wouldn't even listen.. I am Grigory Stepanovitch Smirnov. POPOVA.. . ask him in. . One thousand two hundred.. I do not re-ceive! LUKA.. you're too fond of talking. [Annoyed] Very well. POPOVA. but the ..] SMIRNOV. I did. to pay me the money to-day. [Not giving him her hand] What do you want? SMIRNOV.86 I've stopped receiving? LUKA. And what was my husband in . He's in the dining-room now. Your late husband. As I've got to pay the interest on a mortgage to. says that it's a very pressing affair.

will force me to make a graceful exit from this life feet first. POPOVA.morrow. if I haven't the money now! SMIRNOV. You mean to say.. you can't pay me? . if I don't pay the interest due to-morrow. I can't pay you.morrow my steward will be back from town. but you must excuse me to-day. SMIRNOV.. it's exactly seven months to-day since the death of my husband.87 debt to you for? SMIRNOV. Moreover. to give Toby an extra feed of oats. as I haven't any spare cash. [Exit LUKA] If Nicolai Mihailovitch died in debt to you.morrow. You'll have your money the day after to. The day after to. to LUKA] So don't you forget. Well. I want it to-day. and I'm in a state of mind which absolutely prevents me from giving money matters my attention. They'll take my estate! POPOVA. POPOVA. but at the moment I cannot do as you wish. And I'm in a state of mind which. He used to buy oats from me. Luka. SMIRNOV. then I shall certainly pay you. And I can't wait till after to. You must excuse me. POPOVA. what can I do. SMIRNOV. I don't want the money the day after tomorrow. . [Sighing. and I'll give him instructions to settle your account.

[Makes a rapid exit. goodness knows where. The last word? Absolutely your last? POPOVA. Absolutely.] . I want to hear no more. slept. I'll make a note of it. [Shrugs his shoulders] And then people want me to keep calm! I meet a man on the road. Excuse me. kept by a Jew. and not a single one of them paid up! I was just about dead-beat after it all. Yes.88 POPOVA. SMIRNOV. I can't. At last I get here. SMIRNOV. seventy versts from home. SMIRNOV. POPOVA. with a vodka-barrel by my head. and he asks me "Why are you always so angry. and called on all my debtors. I thought I distinctly said my steward will pay you when he returns from town. but to you! What the devil. sir. SMIRNOV. and I am received by you with a "state of mind"! How shouldn't I get angry. I didn't come to your steward. excuse my saying so. Grigory Stepanovitch?" But how on earth am I not to get angry? I want the money desperately. the last word. in some inn. I rode out yesterday. early in the morning. and hope to get something. have I to do with your steward! POPOVA. Hm! Is that the last word you've got to say? POPOVA. Thank you so much. I am not accustomed to listen to such expressions or to such a tone of voice.

or what? Or do you expect me to go and run my head into a brick wall? I go to Grusdev and he isn't at home.. what do you want me to do? Do you think I can fly away from my creditors in a balloon.. and don't like now." Not one of the swine wants to pay me! Just because I'm too gentle with them. confound it! I shall jolly well stay here until she pays! Brr! . there! "A state of mind. That's real silly feminine logic. . "Husband died seven months ago!" Must I pay the interest. to have to talk to women. And your steward's gone away somewhere. What is it? SMIRNOV. and I can't even breathe.. Brr! . Mazugo has something the matter with his bowels.. Yaroshevitch has hidden himself. I had a violent row with Kuritsin and nearly threw him out of the window.. and you've got a state of mind. Foo.] LUKA. Well." . and she won't pay it because. I even feel sick! [Yells] Waiter! [Enter LUKA. just you wait! You'll find out what I'm like! I shan't let you play about with me. or mustn't I? I ask you: Must I pay.. or must I not? Suppose your husband is dead.. I'd rather sit on a barrel of gunpowder than talk to a woman.. That's why I never did like. because I'm a rag. . how angry I am! All my inside is quivering with anger.. and nonsense of that sort. Get me some kvass or water! [Exit LUKA] What a way to reason! A man is in desperate need of his money.. devil take him. and this woman has "a state of mind.89 SMIRNOV.. How angry I am to-day. my word. you see. I feel quite chilly--and it's all on account of that little bit of fluff! .. she is not disposed to attend to money matters! . just weak wax in their hands! I'm much too gentle with them! Well.

] LUKA.] LUKA. boots dirty... .... my dear! You don't get at me with your widow's weeds and your dimpled cheeks! I know those dimples! [Shouts through the window] Simeon. I'm going to get my own. unwashed. unkempt.. . what? Yes. [Yells] Waiter! [Enter LUKA. and I'll stay here for a week. I can't look at them. Get out! [Exit LUKA] Ill and will see nobody! No. if yo u like..... nobody pays up. it's all right. If you're ill for a year--I'll stay for a year. .90 I can't even see one of these poetic creatures from a distance without breaking out into a cold sweat out of sheer anger.. Madam is ill and will see nobody. .. A glass of vodka! [Exit LUKA] Ouf! [Sits and inspects himself] I must say I look well! Dust all over. I slept badly.. you've let the near horse's leg get tied up in the reins again! [Teasingly] "Never mind. I think I will. you don't see me." . SMIRNOV. What is it? SMIRNOV. The heat's frightful. and on top of everything else here's a bit of fluff in mourning with "a state of mind. [Yawns] It's rather impolite to come into a drawing-room in this state. but it can't be helped." [Goes away from the window] Oh. . it's bad. You can be ill for a week. My head's aching. ." I'll give it you.. Shall I have some vodka. The dear lady may well have taken me for a brigand. I'm going to stay and will sit here till you give me the money. . [Enter LUKA with water.. "Never mind. take them out! We aren't going away at once! I'm staying here! Tell them in the stable to give the horses some oats! You fool. . straw on my waistcoat..

. but as a creditor.. sir. and I can't stand shouting.. And I told you perfectly plainly I don't want the money . .] LUKA. in my solitude I have grown unaccustomed to the masculine voice... I haven't any money to spare. .] SMIRNOV. Pay me the money. I even feel sick.morrow. Bad luck that brought him. SMIRNOV. er . SMIRNOV [Angrily] What? LUKA. I must ask you not to disturb my peace.91 I am not here as a visitor. I told you perfectly plainly. SMIRNOV. [Enter LUKA with the vodka.. POPOVA.. . nothing .. SMIRNOV.. [Exit. . [Yells] Waiter! [Enter POPOVA.. . I really . You allow yourself to go very far.. and there's no dress specially prescribed for creditors..... and I'll go.. [Her eyes downcast] Sir.....] POPOVA. . [Aside] The devil's come to stay. I . Oh. Whom are you talking to? Shut up! LUKA. how angry I am! So angry that I think I could grind the whole world to dust. wait until the day after to.

SMIRNOV. You don't know how to behave before women! SMIRNOV. Please don't shout! This isn't a stable! SMIRNOV.. [Jumps up] I ask you: Have I got to pay the interest to-morrow. . Then you won't pay me now? Eh? POPOVA. No. In that case I stay here and shall wait until I get it. I'll sit here all the time. but to-day. or haven't I? Or do you think I'm doing this for a joke? POPOVA.morrow or not? POPOVA. No.morrow. [Sits down] You're going to pay me the day after to. you don't! You're a rude. I'll have to hang myself to. I wasn't asking you about a stable. je vous . I can't. POPOVA.morrow? Very well! I'll stay here until the day after to.. But what can I do if I haven't got the money? You're so strange! SMIRNOV. If you don't pay me to-day. What a business! How do you want me to talk to you? In French. but whether I'd got my interest to pay to. or what? [Loses his temper and lisps] _Madame.morrow. I do know how to behave before women! POPOVA. ill-bred man! Decent people don't talk to a woman like that! SMIRNOV.92 the day after to.morrow.

every blessed way. . scented myself. envious. and nine have refused me! Yes! There was a time when I played the fool. I've refused twelve women.. Ah. its privilege and monopoly.. to freeze. I used to love passionately. . How happy I am that you don't pay me. an ethereal demi.. as far as this is concerned [taps his forehead] excuse my outspokenness. pardon. and wasted half my wealth on tender feelings. vain. [Teasing her] Silly and rude! I don't know how to behave before women! Madam. you have a million transports of joy. dimpled cheeks. confound it. liars to the marrow of their bones. is its tender feelings. hang me on that . to sigh at the moon. and you look into her soul--and see a common crocodile! [He grips the back of a chair. but now--you must excuse me! You won't get round me like that now! I've had enough! Black eyes. the chair creaks and breaks] But the most disgusting thing of all is that this crocodile for some reason or other imagines that its chef d'oeuvre. to suffer. to get sour. devil take me. are insincere. trivial.. That's silly and rude. SMIRNOV. I used to love. all women. to thaw. backbiters. merciless. I used to chatter like a magpie about emancipation. Why.93 prie_. in my time I've seen more women than you've seen sparrows! Three times I've fought duels on account of women. and. passionate eyes. made beautiful bows. I have disturbed you! Such lovely weather to-day! And how well you look in mourning! [Bows. great or little. madly. .goddess. crooked. wore jewellery. whispers. used honeyed words.. madam! Present company always excepted.. the moon. ruby lips. a sparrow can give ten points to any philosopher in petticoats you like to name! You look at one of these poetic creatures: all muslin. timid breathing--I wouldn't give a brass farthing for the lot. unreasonable.] POPOVA.

as only a young and imaginative woman can love. I worshipped him as if I were a heathen. Yes. I am still true and constant . my fortune. and made fun of my feelings. And.94 nail feet upwards. can she do anything but snivel and slobber? While a man is suffering and making sacrifices all her love expresses itself in her playing about with her scarf. and constant? You haven't! Only freaks and old women are faithful and constant! You'll meet a cat with a horn or a white woodcock sooner than a constant woman! POPOVA. and . I'll tell you that of all the men I knew and know. and when he was alive-it's an awful thing to remember!--he used to leave me alone for weeks at a time. if you like. and make love to other women and betray me before my very eyes. I breathed in him. Tell me truthfully. he wasted my money. I loved him and was true to him. I loved him passionately with all my being. but have you met a woman who can love anybody except a lapdog? When she's in love. have you ever seen a woman who was sincere. faithful. .. The man! [Laughs bitterly] Men are faithful and constant in love! What an idea! [With heat] What right have you to talk like that? Men are faithful and constant! Since we are talking about it. who is faithful and constant in love? Is it the man? SMIRNOV.. according to you. my life. and trying to hook him more firmly by the nose. I gave him my youth.. You have the misfortune to be a woman. the man! POPOVA. my happiness. but. . now that he is dead. Then.letters. you know from yourself what is the nature of woman.. in spite of all that... and what then? This best of men shamelessly deceived me at every step! After his death I found in his desk a whole drawerful of love. the best was my late husband. And not only that.

for the love of her husband. I shan't give you a farthing. How dare you speak to me like that? SMIRNOV. Oh. either! POPOVA. [Laughs contemptuously] Weeds! . and will wear these weeds to the very end. I'm not a woman. buried herself between four walls. As if I don't know why you wear that black domino and bury yourself between four walls! I should say I did! It's so mysterious. you will. POPOVA.] or some tame poet goes past your windows he'll think: "There lives the mysterious Tamara who. it's you! Please leave me alone! SMIRNOV. You leave . [Exploding] What? How dare you say all that to me? SMIRNOV." We know these games! POPOVA.95 to his memory. and I'm used to saying what I think straight out! Don't you shout. Please don't shout. I shan't give you any money! SMIRNOV.. I'm not shouting. .. just to spite you. no.. so poetic! When some junker [Note: So in the original. I don't understand what you take me for. SMIRNOV. POPOVA. Pay me my money and I'll go. but you haven't forgotten to powder your face! POPOVA.. I'm not your steward! You must allow me to call things by their real names. I have shut myself for ever within these four walls. You may have buried yourself alive.

No! POPOVA. . I ask you to go away! SMIRNOV. as you're asked to! You needn't . No. SMIRNOV.. [Aside] Oh. POPOVA. POPOVA. enter LUKA] Luka. Very well then! [Rings. POPOVA. show this gentleman out! LUKA. Give me my money.. sir. how angry I am! How angry I am! POPOVA... I do. [Sits] I don't like it. so please don't make scenes. No? SMIRNOV. [Approaches SMIRNOV] Would you mind going out.96 me alone! SMIRNOV. I have not the pleasure of being either your husband or your fiancé. I don't want to talk to impudent scoundrels! Get out of this! [Pause] Aren't you going? No? SMIRNOV. [Jumps up] Shut up! Who are you talking to? I'll chop you into pieces! . [Choking with rage] So you sit down? SMIRNOV.

] LUKA.. There's nobody at home! I'm ill! Water! POPOVA. SMIRNOV. What? What did you say? POPOVA. [Clutches at his heart] Little fathers! . I'm ill! I can't breathe! POPOVA. [Clenches her fists and stamps her foot] You're a boor! A coarse bear! A Bourbon! A monster! SMIRNOV. And suppose I am insulting you? Do you think I'm afraid of you? SMIRNOV. [Falls into a chair] Oh. Oh! They've all gone out to pick fruit.... I'm ill... Water! . Little fathers! .. a monster! SMIRNOV. Get out of this. now..97 LUKA.. I said you are a bear. Where's Dasha? Dasha! [Shouts] Dasha! Pelageya! Dasha! [Rings. Can't you be more polite? POPOVA.. And do you think that just because you're a poetic creature you can insult me with impunity? Eh? We'll fight it out! LUKA. [Approaching her] May I ask what right you have to insult me? POPOVA. What people! . What people! . .

Pistols! POPOVA." LUKA. one of the "softer sex. POPOVA.] SMIRNOV. It's about time we got rid of the prejudice that only men need pay for their insults.. Devil take it. We're going to fight it out! POPOVA.. and now you want to shoot her! . [Kneels] Have pity on a poor old man. I don't care about this "softer sex.. Gracious little fathers! . I'll bring them here. With pistols? Very well! SMIRNOV.. [Is going. We'll fight it out! I'm not going to be insulted by anybody. but turns back] What pleasure it will give me to put a bullet into your thick head! Devil take you! [Exit. and go away from here! You've frightened her to death.98 SMIRNOV. Do you think I'm afraid of you just because you have large fists and a bull's throat? Eh? You Bourbon! SMIRNOV. This very minute! My husband had some pistols. if you want equality of rights you can have it. [Trying to interrupt him] Bear! Bear! Bear! SMIRNOV. I'll bring her down like a chicken! I'm not a little boy or a sentimental puppy." indeed! POPOVA. . This very minute. and I don't care if you are a woman.

do go away! SMIRNOV.. and all that! Here the sexes are equal! I'll shoot her on principle! But what a woman! [Parodying her] "Devil take you! I'll put a bullet into your thick head. gunpowder.] SMIRNOV. There are Mortimer pistols... But before we fight you must show me how to fire. it's the first time in my life that I've seen.faced jellybag. .. how her cheeks shone! ..99 SMIRNOV. . there are several sorts of pistols.. [Exit. I'll go and find the coachman and the gardener. but fire. well that's equality of rights. Here are the pistols.. emancipation... . and I'll always pray to God for you! SMIRNOV. She is a woman! That's the sort I can understand! A real woman! Not a sour. a rocket! I'm even sorry to have to kill her! LUKA.. specially made for . dear sir. Why has this infliction come on us. LUKA. ." Eh? How she reddened. have mercy and save her.. [Weeps] Dear ... sir. Lord... Wonderful woman! [Enter POPOVA with pistols. . and I'm not angry any longer. I've never held a pistol in my hands before. [Not hearing him] If she fights. Oh.] POPOVA. I absolutely like her! Absolutely! Even though her cheeks are dimpled.. ..... [Examining the pistols] You see. I like her! I'm almost ready to let the debt go . Go away. . She accepted my challenge! My word. LUKA.

. . You must hold the revolver like this. Put your head back a little! Hold your arm out properly.. I am afraid... that forehead which I hate so much! Are you afraid? SMIRNOV.. let's go into the garden. you don't get out of it! You come with me! I shan't have any peace until I've made a hole in your forehead . Yes. That's the last straw! Why? SMIRNOV.. Try not to jerk your arm..... Very well. they fire a percussion-cap. Because . Then you cock the trigger.. It's inconvenient to shoot in a room. Are you afraid? Yes? Ah! No. . .100 duels. POPOVA. Like this? SMIRNOV. I'm going to fire in the air.. . . These are Smith and Wesson revolvers. These are excellent pistols. .. Yes.. it's my affair.. with extractors.. Then you press this thing with your finger--and that's all. sir. her eyes! What an inspiring woman! POPOVA.. POPOVA. . They can't cost less than ninety roubles the pair.. The great thing is to keep cool and aim steadily. and take aim like this. SMIRNOV.. But I warn you. because ... like this. Like that.. .. triple action. ... [Aside] Her eyes. POPOVA. Come along then.

.. Stand back. because you . The fact is. is it my fault that I like you? [He snatches at the back of a chair. takes his cap and goes to the door. God. [Shouts] Well. how I'm smashing up your furniture! I like you! Do you understand? I . to be shot by a revolver held in that little. have an income of ten thousand a year. but. because if I go out we shall never see each other again! Decide now. then he hesitatingly approaches POPOVA] Listen. . I can put a bullet through a coin tossed into the air as it comes down. of respectable character. it's like this... Get away from me--I hate you! SMIRNOV. I'm out of my senses! Think. do you understand . you see. velvet hand. what a woman! I've never in my life seen one like her! I'm lost! Done for! Fallen into a mousetrap. then! You can't understand what happiness it would be to die before those beautiful eyes.. I am a landowner... [Laughs] He likes me! He dares to say that he likes me! [Points to the door] That's the way.. You lie! Why won't you fight? SMIRNOV.. ... . like a mouse! POPOVA. while they look at each other in silence... . [Loads the revolver in silence.. so to speak. Because . or I'll fire! SMIRNOV. Are you still angry? I'm devilishly annoyed.. the chair creaks and breaks] Devil take it. too ..101 POPOVA. how can I express myself? . Fire... There he stops for half a minute. .. SMIRNOV. .. and make up your mind at once. because I like you... POPOVA. I almost love you! POPOVA.

.. I'm on my knees like a fool. and now all of a sudden I'm in love. but I never loved one of them as I love you. I'm in love like a boy. if you knew how angry I am.. . Don't go away! Oh. . . [Indignantly shakes her revolver] Let's fight! Let's go out! SMIRNOV.. [Yells] Waiter. go away. I'd taken a vow.. [Yells] Let's go out and fight! SMIRNOV. like a fool! [Snatches her hand.. I've melted..] POPOVA. I'm off my head. .. she screams with pain] I love you! [Kneels] I love you as I've never loved before! I've refused twelve women. Yes or no? You don't want me? Very well! [Gets up and quickly goes to the door. offering you my hand. go away! I hate you! Or no. water! POPOVA. nine have refused me. ..102 I own some fine horses. . Good-bye. SMIRNOV. Nothing. stop. I'm wax. how angry I am! [Throws her revolver on the table] My fingers have swollen because of all this.. I'm mad.. Will you be my wife? POPOVA. . No. . I'm weak. like a fish out of water! I offer you my hand. go away.. shame! I haven't been in love for five years.. [Tears her handkerchief in temper] What are you waiting for? Get out! SMIRNOV. Stop. .... No. [Stops] Well? POPOVA.... Shame. I understand nothing.

POPOVA. go away! . . don't come near me! SMIRNOV..] LUKA. [Lowering her eyes] Luka..103 POPOVA.] POPOVA. [Approaching her] How angry I am with myself! I'm in love like a student. [Rudely] I love you! What do I want to fall in love with you for? To.. go away. Yes.. yes. . [Catches sight of the pair kissing] Little fathers! [Pause. .. . . and WORKMEN with poles.. Oh. Enter LUKA with an axe.morrow I've got to pay the interest. No. and here you. the GARDENER with a rake. how angry I am! Don't come near me.. [Yells] Where are you going? Stop.. [Puts his arms around her] I shall never forgive myself for this. tell them in the stables that Toby isn't to have any oats at all to-day.. and begin mowing. I've been on my knees.. the COACHMAN with a pitchfork. Curtain. Get away from me! Take your hands away! I hate you! Let's go and fight! [A prolonged kiss.

and several little parcels. so in case of accidents ... I want to ask you something.. in MURASHKIN'S flat A TRAGEDIAN IN SPITE OF HIMSELF [MURASHKIN'S study.. a bin-case of beer. water quickly! .] MURASHKIN. Ivan Ivanovitch? Delighted to see you! What brings you here? TOLKACHOV.. his friend The scene is laid in St.. Be a friend! MURASHKIN. Petersburg.104 A TRAGEDIAN IN SPITE OF HIMSELF CHARACTERS IVAN IVANOVITCH TOLKACHOV.. .. How do you do. MURASHKIN is seated at his desk.. three hat-boxes. I implore you lend me a revolver till to-morrow. little fathers! . give me some water . . He looks round stupidly and lets himself down on the sofa in exhaustion.night.. What do you want a revolver for? TOLKACHOV. a large parcel containing a dress. Comfortable furniture.. I must have it .. [Breathing heavily] My dear good fellow . Oh. do.. the father of a family ALEXEY ALEXEYEVITCH MURASHKIN.... a toy bicycle. . I've got to go through a dark wood to. Enter TOLKACHOV holding in his hands a glass globe for a lamp. I must have it.

skirts and lamp-globes. I am a rag. and in my head as well. and there will be . Well. no! I've had enough! Enough! MURASHKIN. What sort of a father of a family am I! I am a martyr. no. Wait a moment. lend it to me. . a fool. Let your neighbours hear. Oh little mothers! I am dog-tired. it's all the same to me! If you don't give me a revolver somebody else will. what cowardice is this? The father of a family and a Civil Servant holding a responsible post! For shame! TOLKACHOV. yes! But to be a martyr to the devil knows what. tell me why am I alive? What's the purpose of this uninterrupted series of mental and physical sufferings? I understand being a martyr to an idea. you liar. MURASHKIN. a rascal who keeps on waiting here for something to happen instead of starting off for the next world. really! Ivan Ivanovitch. Why am I alive? What's the use? [Jumps up] Well now. Oh. a nigger. a slave. and don't ask me any questions or insist on details. Be a friend. Don't shout. an idiot. I can see by your face that you are up to something. I am a beast of burden. the neighbours will hear you! TOLKACHOV.. no! I humbly decline! No. just give me the revolver! I beseech you! MURASHKIN. let me breathe. as if I've been roasted on a spit. Ivan Ivanovitch! What the devil have you got to do in a dark wood? I expect you are up to something. I've got a feeling all over me.105 please. What's the matter with you? Are you ill? TOLKACHOV. I can't stand it any longer..

and done up that you can't get any sense out of them. Where we live a pleasant custom has grown up: when a man goes to town every wretched female inhabitant. the public has lost its memory. Everybody is so sleepy. a bit of string. little mothers.. but you don't!--You remember that you live in the country--that is. the very dickens of a chaos. you are a slave. another reference back. a rag. I've got to work at the Treasury from ten to four. it's all as monotonous as the waves of the sea. Confusion and smoke everywhere. You come out a broken. making love or occupied with amateur theatricals. I still don't understand what's wrong with your life. not to mention one's own wife. and then perhaps my soul will be lighter. TOLKACHOV. and there is such a hullabaloo that you can't hear yourself speak. The Secretary's duties are in the hands of an individual who is deaf in the left ear and in love. has the power and the right to give him a crowd of commissions. another correction. Just let's take to-day as an instance. and. Hold on. Let's take to-day. and you've got to run round and do errands. One's eyes. You would like to dine and fall asleep. Oh. simply crawl out of one's head. tired. everybody is running about angry and raging.. exhausted man.106 an end of me anyway! I've made up my mind! MURASHKIN. it's stuffy.. there are flies.. you've pulled off a button. . Give me some water. As you know. Now listen .. my dear fellow. I'll tell you! Very well! I'll tell you everything. What's wrong? You ask me what's wrong? Very well. and the smaller fry is mostly in the country. The Secretary is on leave. And my work is deathly: always the same. The wife . Khrapov has gone to get married. I am out of breath! . It's hot. you understand. Let's sit down. then a reference back.. always the same--first a correction. Speak calmly. a bit of limp flesh.

vinegar. Shanceau at No. in a fourth you tread on the train of a lady's dress. . There are five notes in my pocket and my handkerchief is all knots. And so. 82. Well. I'll read you. The wife of Lieutenant-Colonel Virkhin is in an interesting condition. you've made all your purchases.. In one place you stumble. from the chemist's to the modiste's. and then back again to the chemist's. Just wait. running about the town like a dog with your tongue hanging out. and so on. and corsets for Mlle. [Takes a note out of his pocket and reads] A globe for the lamp.. castor-oil for Misha. from the modiste's to the pork butcher's. your sister-in. To bring with you from home: a copper jar for the sugar. Then there are the commissions of our dear friends and neighbours--devil take them! To.. And so on. That is the order of my wife and family. Ouf! And to bring home Misha's winter coat and goloshes. . ten pounds of granulated sugar. you spend the time between your office and your train. carbolic acid. From the clothier's to the chemist's. in a third you forget to pay and they raise a hue and cry after you. twenty bottles of wants some scarlet silk like the pattern at twenty copecks and three arshins long.107 orders you to run into the modiste's and curse her for making a bodice too wide across the chest and too narrow across the shoulders. ten copecks' worth.globe or the carbolic acid with the tea? How are you to make a .. and I am therefore bound to call in at the midwife's every day and invite her to come. but how are you to pack all these things? For instance. five copecks' worth of cloves and cinnamon.morrow is the name-day of Volodia Vlasin. . how are you to put a heavy copper jar together with the lamp. running and running and cursing life. little Sonya wants a new pair of shoes. insect powder. my dear fellow. one pound of pork sausages. Tfoo! You get so shaken up from all this that your bones ache all night and you dream of crocodiles. in a second you lose your money. I have to buy a bicycle for him..

. . wretched slave that you are--and wouldn't you like to go to some amateur theatricals or to a dance? You can't protest. a puzzle. and if there is a shortage of them then you dance the quadrilles yourself. You've hardly started on your soup when she has her claws into rubbish all over you. and you've got rid of your . holding up some parcel or other under your chin. You get back from the theatre or the dance after midnight. the passengers begin to throw your luggage about on all sides: you've got your things on somebody else's seat. They yell. and warm. The train starts. cardboard boxes. and the word husband when translated into the language of summer residents in the country means a dumb beast which you can load to any extent without fear of the interference of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. you understand. when you are no longer a man but a useless. with parcels. and such. a rebus! Whatever tricks you think of. poetic.. Well. but what can I do? I just stand and blink my eyes like a whacked donkey. I get home. in the long run you're bound to smash or scatter something. Everything is so nice. and you feel worse and worse and worse until you expect an apoplectic fit to happen any moment. It's excellent--you can close your eyes and sleep. You are a husband. limp rag. you unrobe and get into bed. My spouse has been on the look-out for me for some time. So you go and blink at "A Family Scandal" or something. and at the station and in the train you have to stand with your arms apart. If you go to a dance you have to find partners for your wife.108 combination of beer-bottles and this bicycle? It's the labours of Hercules. Now listen to this. at last you've got what you want. you applaud when your wife tells you to. they call for the conductor. You think I'd like to have a nice little drink after my righteous labours and a good square meal--isn't that so?--but there is no chance of that. they threaten to have you put out. there are no children squealing behind the wall.

cold--brr! Then you get to town and start all over again. and your conscience is clear--what more can you want? You fall asleep--and suddenly .. heartburn--I'm always afraid of something. but the villain stings so that you have to scratch yourself for an hour after. "I want blood! Blood!" And really all the time you do want to let a knife into somebody or hit . I want to go down to see Chechotte or Merzheyevsky. give me some more water. This goes on till four o'clock.. you jump up and race round the whole house like a lunatic and shout." "Before thee do I stand enchanted. you hear a buzz! . Gnats! [Jumps up] Gnats! Be they triply accursed Gnats! [Shakes his fist] Gnats! It's one of the plagues of Egypt. you get up at six o'clock in the morning and off you go to the station. brother! . Well. I've got indigestion." Oh. one of the tortures of the Inquisition! Buzz! It sounds so pitiful. everything is thick before me . everything suddenly grows dim.. You understand--I'm ill! Got asthma. Oh.. . tell me not my youth has ruined you. You run so as not to be late. I wouldn't wish one like it for my enemy.. [Looking round] Only. so pathetic.... I've become a regular psychopath.. [He sings] "Oh. foggy. as if it's begging your pardon. and go for them. You smoke. but it is no good! At last you have to sacrifice yourself and let the cursed things devour you. not having slept. Oh. brother. It's a horrible life. brother.109 wife. So there. and cover yourself from head to foot. my God! Those tenors are a torture with which no gnats on earth can compare. the beastly things! They've about killed me! So as to deafen myself a little I do this: I drum on my ears. between ourselves. In moments of despair and suffering. They sleep by day and rehearse for amateur concerts by night. and it's muddy... I can't . when the gnats are stinging or the tenors sing. There's some devil in me.. You've no sooner got used to the gnats when another plague begins: downstairs your wife begins practising sentimental songs with her two friends.

People even laugh.110 him over the head with a chair. But understand. who lives there? TOLKACHOV. MURASHKIN. I've got to buy some anchovies and some sausage . Good-bye. wouldn't you do one little thing for me? Be a friend! Promise me now. That's what life in a summer villa leads to! And nobody has any sympathy for me. and it would be so good of you . My dear fellow. What's that? MURASHKIN. We are even acquainted. it's tragedy! I say. MURASHKIN. and some tooth-powder. I do sympathize. . TOLKACHOV. TOLKACHOV. At Carrion River. [Delighted] Really? Then you'll know Olga Pavlovna Finberg.... What's that? . I am a living being and I want to live! This isn't farce... I see how much you sympathize. and then to the station. MURASHKIN. I know her. Where are you living? TOLKACHOV.. if you don't give me your revolver. How perfectly splendid! That's so convenient. MURASHKIN. and everybody seems to think it's all as it should be. TOLKACHOV. you might at any rate sympathize.

. [Chasing him round the roo m] I want blood! Blood! Curtain. my dear man. what's the matter with you? Why are you turning purple? TOLKACHOV. only be careful. siskins. or you'll break the door. In the second place. . [Stamping] Give me the sewing. What are you looking at me like that for? TOLKACHOV. She asked me to get a sewing. In the first place. give Olga Pavlovna my very kind regards.machine! Where's the bird-cage? Now get on top yourself! Eat me! Tear me to pieces! Kill me! [Clenching his fists] I want blood! Blood! Blood! MURASHKIN.. .. my dear! And you might at the same time take down this canary in its cage . You've gone mad! TOLKACHOV. You take it.. Ivan Ivanovitch..111 MURASHKIN.machine but I haven't anybody to send it down to her by..machine . a canary in a cage . there's a little thing I'd like you to take down to her.. A sewing.... . [In horror] He's gone mad! [Shouts] Peter! Maria! Where are you? Help! TOLKACHOV.. It would be such a friendly action! I implore you. [Treading on his feet] I want blood! Blood! MURASHKIN. MURASHKIN.. chaffinches .

without a chance of shutting my eyes. This is the fourth day I've been working. aged 25 KUSMA NICOLAIEVITCH KHIRIN. and a telephone. with a monocle TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. with armchairs covered in velvet. he wears long felt boots. statues. the bank's aged book-keeper NASTASYA FYODOROVNA MERCHUTKINA. From morning to . carpets. Chairman of the N---. Send out to the chemist for 15 copecks' worth of valerian drops. There are two desks. leading into the public department. On the left is a door. The furniture aims at a deliberately luxurious effect. flowers.Joint Stock Bank.112 THE ANNIVERSARY CHARACTERS ANDREY ANDREYEVITCH SHIPUCHIN. his wife.] KHIRIN. a middle-aged man. KHIRIN is alone. an old woman wearing an old-fashioned cloak DIRECTORS OF THE BANK EMPLOYEES OF THE BANK The action takes place at the Bank THE ANNIVERSARY [The private office of the Chairman of Directors. and tell them to bring some drinking water into the Directors' office! This is the hundredth time I've asked! [Goes to a desk] I'm absolutely tired out. and is shouting through the door. It is midday.

devil take his soul! [Rattles on his counting. Next. He promised to reward me for my work.. will be preserved to the day of my death.... and so I sit here and work for him like a galley-slave! This report of his is poetic fiction and nothing more. . then you'd better look out... six.. . the brute. and I cough. one . gentlemen! Once more. SHIPUCHIN'S voice: "Thank you! Thank you! I am extremely grateful... my dear colleagues. We'll see. he carries an album which has been just presented to him. . If I lose my temper I'm capable of committing some crime..frame] I can't stand it! [Writing] That is. . as a memory of the happiest days of my life! Yes. addresses the outer office] This present. six . so look out! Yes! [Noise and applause behind the scenes. and there's something dancing before my eyes.. one ..... two . one ... [At work] Two . its Present and Future.. He just wants to throw dust into people's eyes. .113 evening I work here. one . "Our Bank. I thank you! [Throws a kiss into the air and turns to KHIRIN] My dear. nought ... seven. [Coughs] And I've got an inflammation all over me... one . [Works] Yes..] SHIPUCHIN. . [Sits] Our scoundrel of a Chairman.." You'd think he was a Gambetta..... is going to read a report at a general meeting.. but if my work all goes for nothing.... He wears a frockcoat and white tie.. he's promised me a gold charm and 300 roubles bonus. and my legs ache. If everything goes well to-day and the public is properly put into blinkers. from evening to morning at home. six . my respected Kusma Nicolaievitch! . nought.. I'm hot and cold. nought . I'm very excitable.. and here I've got to sit day after day and add figures.." Enter SHIPUCHIN. three . ... seven . [At the door...

Excellent. [Warmly shakes hands] Thank you. more than to anybody else.. on the fiftieth anniversary of our Bank... SHIPUCHIN. SHIPUCHIN. . Yes.. It's my _profession de foi_.. If you please. Nothing of any importance is now left. clerks intermittently come in with papers for his signature and go out. [Takes the report] I base enormous hopes on this report. as it is an anniversary. I'll peruse it. Splendid. fifteen years! Fifteen years as my name's Shipuchin! [Changes his tone] Where's my report? Is it getting on? KHIRIN. better still. or. for everything! If.. [Note: The actual word employed. I'll get it done. SHIPUCHIN.114 [All the time that SHIPUCHIN is on the stage. my dear sir! Thank you! I think that in view of the unique character of the day. Splendid. the credit is due.. Give me the first half. Then it will be ready by three? KHIRIN.. and hope that .. My gout kept on giving me trouble .. my firework. If nothing occurs to disturb me. Quick. as my name's Shipuchin! [Sits and reads the report to himself] I'm hellishly tired. there's only five pages left. to my colleagues.] KHIRIN. [Standing up] I have the honour to congratulate you. in the course of the time during which I have had the honour to be Chairman of this Bank anything useful has been done. my dear fellow. [They kiss] I am very. [Sighs] Yes.] My firework.. we may kiss each other! . Andrey Andreyevitch. very glad! Thank you for your service . . as my name's Shipuchin! The general meeting will be at four.. .

I don't understand why you hate them so? KHIRIN.. are going to give me an address and a silver loving-cup... three . [Playing with his monocle] Very nice.. . [Uses the counting. five. . four . one .. ..... one . Yes. then there was 45 roubles for the cover of the address. what do you mean by that? Oh. really. I composed the address myself. Andrey Andreyevitch... nought . [Rudely] As it's an anniversary. Well. and then these excitements. ovations.. too. Three . nine .. and I bought the cup myself.. I'm tired! KHIRIN.... The employees have just presented me with an album. of course. all the morning I was running about. I'll ask for a special favour. Kusma Nicolaievitch. but you can't do without that. agitations .. They'd never have . A certain pomp is essential to the reputation of the Bank. nought... Another unpleasantness. but you behave to women like some scoundrel. I wish I could understand why you love them so! [Pause. as I've heard. Kusma Nicolaievitch! You're an excellent and respected man. don't interfere in my family life. nought . and the Directors. Said that last night you threatened her and her sister with a knife.. two ... This morning your wife came to see me and complained about you once again. . [Sighs] Yours is an impossible character.... Two .... oh! KHIRIN.] SHIPUCHIN... I can't see straight after all these figures..] SHIPUCHIN.. six .. even if it's only out of respect for my toil. . as my name's Shipuchin! It isn't excessive.. ..frame.115 last night. Please. Please! SHIPUCHIN. devil take it! You know everything.


thought of it for themselves. [Looks round] Look at the furniture! Just look at it! They say I'm stingy, that all I want is that the locks on the doors should be polished, that the employees should wear fashionable ties, and that a fat hall-porter should stand by the door. No, no, sirs. Polished locks and a fat porter mean a good deal. I can behave as I like at home, eat and sleep like a pig, get drunk. ...

KHIRIN. Please don't make hints.

SHIPUCHIN. Nobody's making hints! What an impossible character yours is. ... As I was saying, at home I can live like a tradesman, a _parvenu_, and be up to any games I like, but here everything must be _en grand_. This is a Bank! Here every detail must _imponiren_, so to speak, and have a majestic appearance. [He picks up a paper from the floor and throws it into the fireplace] My service to the Bank has been just this--I've raised its reputation. A thing of immense importance is tone! Immense, as my name's Shipuchin! [Looks over KHIRIN] My dear man, a deputation of shareholders may come here any moment, and there you are in felt boots, wearing a scarf ... in some absurdly coloured jacket. ... You might have put on a frock-coat, or at any rate a dark jacket. ...

KHIRIN. My health matters more to me than your shareholders. I've an inflammation all over me.

SHIPUCHIN. [Excitedly] But you will admit that it's untidy! You spoil the _ensemble_!

KHIRIN. If the deputation comes I can go and hide myself. It won't matter if ... seven ... one ... seven ... two ... one ... five ...


nought. I don't like untidiness myself. ... Seven ... two ... nine ... [Uses the counting- frame] I can't stand untidiness! It would have been wiser of you not to have invited ladies to to-day's anniversary dinner. ...

SHIPUCHIN. Oh, that's nothing.

KHIRIN. I know that you're going to have the hall filled with them to-night to make a good show, but you look out, or they'll spoil everything. They cause all sorts of mischief and disorder.

SHIPUCHIN. On the contrary, feminine society elevates!

KHIRIN. Yes. ... Your wife seems intelligent, but on the Monday of last week she let something off that upset me for two days. In front of a lot of people she suddenly asks: "Is it true that at our Bank my husband bought up a lot of the shares of the Driazhsky-Priazhsky Bank, which have been falling on exchange? My husband is so annoyed about it!" This in front of people. Why do you tell them everything, I don't understand. Do you want them to get you into serious trouble?

SHIPUCHIN. Well, that's enough, enough! All that's too dull for an anniversary. Which reminds me, by the way. [Looks at the time] My wife ought to be here soon. I really ought to have gone to the station, to meet the poor little thing, but there's no time. ... and I'm tired. I must say I'm not glad of her! That is to say, I am glad, but I'd be gladder if she only stayed another couple of days with her mother. She'll want me to spend the whole evening with her to-night, whereas we have arranged a little excursion for ourselves. ... [Shivers] Oh, my nerves have already started dancing me about. They are so strained that I think the very smallest


trifle would be enough to make me break into tears! No, I must be strong, as my name's Shipuchin!

[Enter TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA SHIPUCHIN in a waterproof, with a little travelling satchel slung across her shoulder.]

SHIPUCHIN. Ah! In the nick of time!


[Runs to her husband: a prolonged kiss.]

SHIPUCHIN. We were only speaking of you just now! [Looks at his watch.]

TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. [Panting] Were you very dull without me? Are you well? I haven't been home yet, I came here straight from the station. I've a lot, a lot to tell you. ... I couldn't wait. ... I shan't take off my clothes, I'll only stay a minute. [To KHIRIN] Good morning, Kusma Nicolaievitch! [To her husband] Is everything all right at home?

SHIPUCHIN. Yes, quite. And, you know, you've got to look plumper and better this week. ... Well, what sort of a time did you have?

TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. Splendid. Mamma and Katya send their regards. Vassili Andreitch sends you a kiss. [Kisses him] Aunt sends you a jar of jam, and is annoyed because you don't write. Zina sends you a kiss. [Kisses.] Oh, if you knew what's happened. If you only knew! I'm even frightened to tell you! Oh, if you only knew! But I see by your eyes that you're sorry I came!


SHIPUCHIN. On the contrary. ... Darling. ... [Kisses her.]

[KHIRIN coughs angrily.]

TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. Oh, poor Katya, poor Katya! I'm so sorry for her, so sorry for her.

SHIPUCHIN. This is the Bank's anniversary to-day, darling, we may get a deputation of the shareholders at any moment, and you're not dressed.

TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. Oh, yes, the anniversary! I congratulate you, gentlemen. I wish you. ... So it means that to-day's the day of the meeting, the dinner. ... That's good. And do you remember that beautiful address which you spent such a long time composing for the shareholders? Will it be read to-day?

[KHIRIN coughs angrily.]

SHIPUCHIN. [Confused] My dear, we don't talk about these things. You'd really better go home.

TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. In a minute, in a minute. I'll tell you everything in one minute and go. I'll tell you from the very beginning. Well. ... When you were seeing me off, you remember I was sitting next to that stout lady, and I began to read. I don't like to talk in the train. I read for three stations and didn't say a word to anyone. ... Well, then the evening set in, and I felt so mournful, you know, with such sad thoughts! A young man was s itting opposite me--not a bad- looking fellow, a brunette. ... Well, we


fell into conversation. ... A sailor came along then, then some student or other. ... [Laughs] I told them that I wasn't married ... and they did look after me! We chattered till midnight, the brunette kept on telling the most awfully funny stories, and the sailor kept on singing. My chest began to ache from laughing. And when the sailor--oh, those sailors!--when he got to know my name was TATIANA, you know what he sang? [Sings in a bass voice] "Onegin don't let me conceal it, I love Tatiana madly!" [Note: From the Opera _Evgeni Onegin_--words by Pushkin.] [Roars with laughter.]

[KHIRIN coughs angrily.]

SHIPUCHIN. Tania, dear, you're disturbing Kusma Nicolaievitch. Go home, dear. ... Later on. ...

TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. No, no, let him hear if he wants to, it's awfully interesting. I'll end in a minute. Serezha came to meet me at the station. Some young man or other turns up, an inspector of taxes, I think ... quite handsome, especially his eyes. ... Serezha introduced me, and the three of us rode off together. ... It was lovely weather. ...

[Voices behind the stage: "You can't, you can't! What do you want?" Enter MERCHUTKINA, waving her arms about.]

MERCHUTKINA. What are you dragging at me for. What else! I want him himself! [To SHIPUCHIN] I have the honour, your excellency ... I am the wife of a civil servant, Nastasya Fyodorovna Merchutkina.

SHIPUCHIN. What do you want?


MERCHUTKINA. Well, you see, your excellency, my husband has bee n ill for five months, and while he was at home, getting better, he was suddenly dismissed for no reason, your excellency, and when I went to get his salary, they, you see, deducted 24 roubles 36 copecks from it. What for? I ask. They said, "Well, he drew it from the employees' account, and the others had to make it up." How can that be? How could he draw anything without my permission? No, your excellency! I'm a poor woman ... my lodgers are all I have to live on. ... I'm weak and defenceless. ... Everybody does me some harm, and nobody has a kind word for me.

SHIPUCHIN. Excuse me. [Takes a petition from her and reads it standing.]

TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. [To KHIRIN] Yes, but first we. ... Last week I suddenly received a letter from my mother. She writes that a certain Grendilevsky has proposed to my sister Katya. A nice, modest, young man, but with no means of his own, and no assured position. And, unfortunately, just think of it, Katya is absolutely gone on him. What's to be done? Mamma writes telling me to come at once and influence Katya. ...

KHIRIN. [Angrily] Excuse me, you've made me lose my place! You go talking about your mamma and Katya, and I understand nothing; and I've lost my place.

TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. What does that matter? You listen when a lady is talking to you! Why are you so angry to-day? Are you in love? [Laughs.]

SHIPUCHIN. [To MERCHUTKINA] Excuse me, but what is this? I can't

I don't understand anything of this. You've obviously come to the wrong place. Don't you understand that? MERCHUTKINA. You should go to the department in which your husband was employed. and they wouldn't even look at my petition. Here it is. [Goes thanks to my son. MERCHUTKINA. ." he says. I can produce a doctor's certificate of my husband's illness. I'd given up all hopes. I shan't be long.." Help me. We can't do anything for you. Boris Matveyitch. [Behind the scene. Your petition doesn't conce rn us at all. [To his wife] Tanya. Your excellency. SHIPUCHIN. he's an influential man and can do anything. so far as I can gather. Mrs. "and apply to Mr. while this is a private. I thought of coming to you. "You go. but. commercial concern. dear. madam. [Irritated] That's all right. just look at it. TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. do go out into the public office for a moment. was in the employ of the Army Medical your excellency! SHIPUCHIN. TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA'S . mother.. Are you in love? Aha! You're blushing! SHIPUCHIN.] SHIPUCHIN. I quite believe you. Shipuchin. Merchutkina. I've been there a good many times these five months. a bank.122 make head or tail of it. All right. TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. but it's not our business. You must understand that your husband.

123 laughter is heard. Yes... Surely your husband knows where you ought to apply? MERCHUTKINA. my dear. I don't let him know anything.. I understand. [Sighs] Ouf! KHIRIN. The voice of TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA is heard. then a man's. ... yes. MERCHUTKINA. this is an anniversary to-day. [Knock at the door. your excellency.. Andrey Andreyevitch. [To MERCHUTKINA] It's strange and it's even silly. madam. just order them to pay me 15 roubles! I don't mind taking that to be going on with. dear! [To MERCHUTKINA] What has it got to do with us if you haven't been paid? As it happens.. I'll never finish the report at this rate! SHIPUCHIN.. commercial concern. In that case. and this is a bank. One moment.. we're busy . SHIPUCHIN glances at the door] She's disturbing the employees. . a private. . and somebody may be coming here at any moment.. yes. . Your excellency. I repeat. [To MERCHUTKINA] I can't get any sense out of you. Excuse me. He just cried out: "It isn't your business! Get out of this!" And . SHIPUCHIN. Andrey?" SHIPUCHIN shouts] Just wait one minute. Madam. SHIPUCHIN. But do understand that your taking this business here is as absurd as if you took a divorce petition to a chemist's or into a gold assay office. "Can I come in. your husband was in the employ of the Army Medical Department.

And if you like I can show you the doctor's certificate. KHIRIN. I can't talk to you! My head's even in a whirl. . .. and I've got the house to look after. will you please explain to Mrs. defenceless woman. excuse me. Merchutkina. I'm having trouble with my lodgers. Tell them. KHIRIN.. .. I'm a is out of work. my dear. an orphan! I'm a weak. and on account of my husband. [Approaching MERCHUTKINA.. Mrs. . yes. I may look all right. . I drank my coffee to-day and got no pleasure out of it. as my name's Shipuchin! [To KHIRIN] Kusma Nicolaievitch. to give me 15 roubles. aside] What a business. angrily] What do you want? MERCHUTKINA. . [Sighs.124 MERCHUTKINA... but if you were to take me to pieces you wouldn't find a single healthy bit in me! I can hardly stand on my legs. Merchutkina.. But haven't you been told perfectly plainly that this is a bank! MERCHUTKINA. and my son. I . I'm tired to death . Your excellency. defenceless woman. what do you want? MERCHUTKINA.. No. [Waves his hand and goes out into public department. Yes.] KHIRIN.. have pity on me. I ask you. and a month later will do for the rest... and I've lost my appetite. SHIPUCHIN.. You are disturbing us and making us waste our time.

. or what? MERCHUTKINA. have you got a head on your shoulders. You can do that to your own wife. [Surprised] And where's the money? KHIRIN.. KHIRIN. please! MERCHUTKINA.. . you old . You haven't a head. but I'm the wife of a civil servant. no.. never mind. never mind! I'm not afraid! I've seen the like of you before! Miser! KHIRIN... If you don't get out this second. [Losing his temper] Get out of this! MERCHUTKINA. Ouf! It's given me a headache.] MERCHUTKINA.. never mind. I haven't any time to talk to you! I'm busy. devil take me.. I'm asking for what's mine by law. Never mind.. . do you hear me? If you don't get out of this.. ... I don't want what isn't mine. none of that! KHIRIN. or what? Well. You can't do that to me! KHIRIN. .. but this [Taps the table and then points to his forehead. Have you got a head on your shoulders. madam.. [Points to the door] That way. No. My dear. [Breathing heavily] I tell you once more . I ask you. I'll call for the hall-porter! Get out! [Stamping. no .125 KHIRIN. [Offended] What? Well.] MERCHUTKINA.. I don't think I've ever seen a more awful woman in my life.

.. but my own.... SHIPUCHIN.] TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. She was perfectly fascinating. . this man tapped the table with his finger. yes . . Your excellency! SHIPUCHIN. Your excellency! [Points to KHIRIN] This man . She looks very well with her hair done over her head.126 devil. .... [Following her husband] We spent the evening at the Berezhnitskys. according to law.. fascinating.. Katya was wearing a sky-blue frock of foulard silk. They may be here any moment.... I'll grind you into powder! I've got such a character that I'm perfectly capable of laming you for life! I can commit a crime! MERCHUTKINA.. MERCHUTKINA. cut low at the neck. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! S itting in a government office in felt boots. [Who has had enough of it already] Yes.. I don't want anybody else's money. I'm not afraid. [Enter SHIPUCHIN and TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA... . . and I did her hair myself. MERCHUTKINA. I've heard barking dogs before. You . and then his head. and I can't finish my report! I can't. .. . [In despair] I can't stand it! I'm ill! I can't! [Sits down at his desk] They've let the Bank get filled with women. [Dully] What else? What do you want? MERCHUTKINA. I've seen the like of you before. KHIRIN.

Be a father to me. [In a low tone to SHIPUCHIN] Andrey Andreyevitch. I'm a weak. no! She'll kick up a row and we aren't the only people in the building.mark-ab. and take the necessary steps. a private. [Aside... this is a bank. but he insults me and says all sorts of things. defenceless woman. Your excellency.. MERCHUTKINA. SHIPUCHIN. . when shall I have the money? I want it now. I can get you another from the police. All right. Tell them to give me the money! SHIPUCHIN. I've already told you.. . commercial concern. MERCHUTKINA. Go away now . your excellency. later on! [Aside] My gout's coming on! KHIRIN...127 told him to look after my affair.. in dismay] A re. If the doctor's certificate isn't enough. SHIPUCHIN. send for the hall-porter and have her turned out neck and crop! What else can we do? SHIPUCHIN... . [Frightened] beastly woman! [Politely] Madam.. madam. [Panting] Ouf! . KHIRIN. I'll see to it . [In a tearful voice] But I've got to finish my report! I won't have time! I won't! MERCHUTKINA. Your excellency.

cried.] MERCHUTKINA. nobody will help me. SHIPUCHIN.. I thought. I talked to Katya. . [Exhausted] How much do yo u want? MERCHUTKINA... . beautiful one. All right! [Takes a 25-rouble note out of his pocket-book and gives it to her] Here are 25 roubles. Well. . Well... and induced her to talk to Grendilevsky and refuse him. but nothing in particular. It was all right. What do you think? Katya and I were going along the avenue.. your excellenc y. I'll finish in one minute and go away. quite fun. [Excitedly] And suddenly we heard a shot. haven't you already been told that you're disturbing them? What right have you? MERCHUTKINA. and just now I didn't enjoy my coffee at all. Katya's devoted Grendilevsky was there.. .. SHIPUCHIN.. of course. Take it and . and suddenly . . . I thank you very humbly..... what a time! We went to spend the evening at the Berezhnitskys. just before supper. [To MERCHUTKINA] Mother.128 TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. everything's.. . go! [KHIRIN coughs angrily. All I do is to eat and drink. Mother... [Looks at watch] But I haven't done yet. [Sits by her husband] It's time I went home. and can be quiet myself. No. .] TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA.. saved Katya. I .. settled the best possible way. I've quieted mamma down. 24 roubles 36 copecks. [Hides the money. What a time we had! Yes.. I can't talk about it calmly! [Waves her handkerchief] No..

Your excellency.. there poor Grendilevsky was lying . .... as he lay there .... I can't stand this! I can't stand it! [To MERCHUTKINA] What else do you want? MERCHUTKINA. to TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA] Get out of this! [Stamps] Get out! . this awful woman. [Points] That one! KHIRIN.. [Weeps] We ran to the summer-house.. And the poor man had fallen down senseless. Your excellency.. And he was awfully frightened. SHIPUCHIN. I implore you! KHIRIN. I can't stand this! [Weeps] I can't stand it! [Stretches out both his hands in despair to KHIRIN] Drive her away! Drive her away. can't my husband go back to his job? SHIPUCHIN.. and asked for a doctor. here. [Sighs] Ouf! TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. Not her. [Weeping] He'd shot himself right in the heart ... and there . MERCHUTKINA. can't my husband go back to his job? TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. .. No. . A doctor came soon .. No. ... and saved the unhappy man.. with a pistol in his hand... but this one .. [Goes up to TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA] Get out of this! SHIPUCHIN.129 can't! SHIPUCHIN. [Not understanding.. .

I'm sick! [Jumps on to a chair.. I'm sick. Oh. [To TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA] Out of it! I'll cripple you! I'll knock you out of shape! I'll break the law! TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. [Shouts] Stop! I ask you! I implore you! MERCHUTKINA...130 TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA. [Chasing MERCHUTKINA] Out of this! Catch her! Hit her! Cut her into pieces! SHIPUCHIN. [Running from him.. Little fathers . oh . he chases her] How dare you! You impudent fellow! [Shouts] Andrey! Help! Andrey! [Screams.. [Shouts] Help! Help! . it's all dark before me! Ah! [Falls senseless into SHIPUCHIN'S arms. TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA...] KHIRIN. oh . Oh.. [Chasing MERCHUTKINA] Hit her! Beat her! Cut her to pieces! MERCHUTKINA. little fathers! [Screams] Little fathers! . then falls on to the sofa and groans as if in a faint..] SHIPUCHIN. There is a knock at the .. little fathers. It's awful? I'm a miserable man! Drive her out! Out with her! KHIRIN. [Chasing them] Stop! I implore you! Not such a noise? Have pity on me! KHIRIN. What? What are you doing? Have you taken leave of your senses? SHIPUCHIN.

reputation .... another..' and at one time there were even voices to be heard demanding our liquidation. we receive an extremely satisfactory impression. [Groans] Oh! Oh! TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA.. Your knowledge. made us attach an extreme importance to the question raised by Hamlet. and MERCHUTKINA in SHIPUCHIN'S arms are both groaning. But at that moment you become the head of our concern. [Coughs] reputation of the bank . MERCHUTKINA. they all wear frockcoats. occupation .. and your native tact were the causes of extraordinary success and widespread extension.. a VOICE announces THE DEPUTATION] The deputation .131 door. energies. KHIRIN. Employees look in at the door. 'To be or not to be. and the absence of serious operations of any description. devil take me! [Turns up his sleeves] Give her to me: I may break the law! [A deputation of five men enters. [Stamps] Get out of it.. the loving-cup. TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA on the sofa. and also the indefinite aims of this bank. the inconsiderable amount of its capital. [Groans] Water! Water! . [Reads aloud] "Deeply respected and dear Andrey Andreyevitch! Throwing a retrospective glance at the past history of our financial administration... One carries the velvet-covered address. It is true that in the first period of its existence.] ONE OF THE DEPUTATION. and reviewing in our minds its gradual development. from the public department. The reputation of the bank .

Yes. we'll do it later on. Deputation ..] Curtain. [Continues] The reputation [Coughs] . ... that jealousy has turned my brain.. that youth is vain. [Continues in confusion] Then. . occupation... Oh tell me not.. deeply respected and dear Andrey Andreyevitch . held converse by the pale moonlight... .." [DEPUTATION goes out in confusion.. [Lowering his voice] In that case. later on.. reputation .. Two friends that had a walk at night. throwing an objective glance at the present condition of things. the reputation of the bank has been raised by you to such a height that we are now the rivals of the best foreign concerns.. . . THE MEMBER OF THE DEPUTATION..132 THE MEMBER OF THE DEPUTATION. SHIPUCHIN. we..

[Ages are stated in brackets. captain IVAN ROMANOVITCH CHEBUTIKIN.133 THE THREE SISTERS A DRAMA IN FOUR ACTS CHARACTERS ANDREY SERGEYEVITCH PROSOROV NATALIA IVANOVA (NATASHA).lieutenant VLADIMIR CARLOVITCH RODE. his fiancée. later his wife (28) His sisters: OLGA MASHA IRINA FEODOR ILITCH KULIGIN. baron. army doctor (60) ALEXEY PETROVITCH FEDOTIK. sub. married to MASHA (20) ALEXANDER IGNATEYEVITCH VERSHININ. lieutenant-colonel in charge of a battery (42) NICOLAI LVOVITCH TUZENBACH. an old man ANFISA. door-keeper at local council offices. lieutenant in the army (30) VASSILI VASSILEVITCH SOLENI. nurse (80) The action takes place in a provincial town. sub.lieutenant FERAPONT.] . high school teacher.

It is midday. Of with a thoughtful expression. A sitting-room with pillars. IRINA. It was very cold then. sits and reads a book. and you were in a dead faint.] OLGA. with a hat on her knees. and snowing. the table is being laid for lunch. stands about. and they fired a volley in the cemetery. is walking about correcting exercise books. though . raining hard. behind the pillars. on your name-day. It's so warm to-day that we can keep the windows open. It's just a year since father died last May the fifth. He was a general in command of a brigade but there were few people present. [Clock strikes twelve] And the clock struck just the same way the n. in white. [Pause] I remember that there was music at the funeral. Why think about it! [BARON TUZENBACH. behind is seen a large I thought I would never survive it.134 THE THREE SISTERS ACT I [In PROSOROV'S house. in the regulation blue dress of a teacher at a girl's high school. in a black dress.] [OLGA. and snowing.] OLGA. MASHA. In the dining. IRINA. it was raining then. CHEBUTIKIN and SOLENI appear by the table in the dining. And now a year has gone by and we are already thinking about it without pain. the sun is shining brightly outside. and you are wearing a white dress and your face is happy.

IRINA. And only one desire grows and gains in strength . nonsense. joy entered my heart. he won't . How can you! [Pause] I'm always having headaches from having to go to the High School every day and then teach till evening. I remember perfectly that it was early in May and that everything in Moscow was flowering then. Oh. To go away to Moscow.. whistles softly. and I longed passionately to go home. [CHEBUTIKIN and TUZENBACH laugh. I have been feeling as if every day my strength and youth have been squeezed out of me.] IRINA. I expect Andrey will become a professor. as if I were already an old woman. [MASHA. and I remember everything as if we rode out only yesterday. lost in a reverie over her book. and he rode out of Moscow with us eleven years ago. OLGA. drop by drop.] OLGA. And really. and go to Moscow . Will you take a bet on it? TUZENBACH. To sell the house. drop everything here. It was warm too. Yes! To Moscow.. God! When I awoke this morning and saw all the light and the spring. Oh.135 the birches are not yet in flower. Father was put in command of a brigade. everything was bathed in sunshine. CHEBUTIKIN. Don't whistle.. and as soon as possible. Eleven years have gone. Masha. Strange thoughts come to me.. during these four years that I have been working here. but still.

I've never seen you look so lovely. Masha can come to Moscow every year. God is everywhere.] OLGA. I'm at home. [Looks out of the window] It's nice out to-day.looking. it would be even better. our new lieutenant-colonel of artillery. [To SOLENI] I'm tired of listening to the rot you talk. All's well. and I suddenly felt glad and remembered my childhood.136 want to live here. I don't know why I'm so happy: I remembered this morning that it was my name-day. Everything will be arranged. Only poor Masha must go on living here. [Pause] I should love my husband. I'm only twenty-eight. That's good. I'm glad. To-day I'm free. OLGA. . But I've grown old and very thin. TUZENBACH. and I feel younger than I was yesterday. I suppose it's because I get angry with the girls at school. what thoughts! OLGA. Andrey wouldn't be bad. You're all radiance to-day.. if he wasn't so stout. when mother was still with us. too.] IRINA. What beautiful thoughts I had.. [MASHA is whistling gently. [Entering the sitting-room] I forgot to say that Vershinin. but it seems to me that if only I were married and could stay at home all day. Is he old? . it does spoil his appearance. [Sits down to the piano. And Masha is pretty. please God. IRINA. I haven't got a headache. is coming to see us to-day. for the whole summer.

Ivan Romanovitch. Ivan Romanovitch... and just grumbles. at the very outside. She talks philosophy and tries to commit suicide every now and again. IRINA. [Plays softly] He seems rather a good sort. perhaps even more. From this I conclude that two men are not twice as strong as one. [Reads a newspaper as he walks] If your hair is coming out . dear Ivan Romanovitch! CHEBUTIKIN. ... IRINA.137 TUZENBACH.four pounds.. but he bears up patiently. I should have left her long ago.] With one hand I can only lift fifty. his mother-in. Is he interesting? TUZENBACH.. apparently in order to annoy her husband. .law. [Makes a note in his pocket diary] When found make a note of! Not that I want it though. [Enters with CHEBUTIKIN from the dining. This is his second wife.. he's all right. but three times. .. Oh. but with both hands I can lift 180... He's certainly no fool. The wife isn't all there. take an ounce of naphthaline and hail a bottle of spirit . she does her hair like a flapper and gushes extremely. dissolve and use daily. only he likes to hear himself speak. [Crosses it out] It doesn't matter. Oh. He pays calls and tells everybody that he's got a wife and two daughters. SOLENI. and two daughters. Forty or forty-five. dear Ivan Romanovitch! I feel as if I were . CHEBUTIKIN. but there's his wife. He'll tell you so here. or even 200 pounds. What does my own little girl want? IRINA.

Oh it's awful! Sometimes when it's hot. I know everything. or an engine-driver on the railway. his happiness. who teaches children. or just a horse. When I woke up to-day and got up and dressed myself.. And if I don't get up early in future and work. whoever he may be. How fine it is to be a workman who gets up at daybreak and breaks stones in the street. Now Irina wakes at seven and lies and meditates about something till nine at least. And she looks so serious! [Laughs. your thirst can be just as tiresome as my need for work. tenderly] My white bird.] IRINA. or a schoolmaster. My God. A man must work. it's better to be an ox..138 sailing under the broad blue sky with great white birds around me. Ivan Romanovitch. How well I can understand that craving for work. IRINA. .. or a shepherd. I'll refuse. .. You're so used to seeing me as a little girl that it seems queer to you when my face is serious.. . for that is the meaning and object of his life. than a young woman who wakes up at twelve o'clock. then you may refuse me your friendship. I suddenly began to feel as if everything in this life was open to me. toil in the sweat of his brow. . and that I knew how I must live. his enthusiasm. so long as it can work. [Tenderly] I'll refuse.. I'm twenty! TUZENBACH. [Kisses her hands. and then spends two hours dressing. CHEBUTIKIN. let alone a man.. has her coffee in bed. Dear Ivan Romanovitch. Why is that? Why? CHEBUTIKIN. Father used to make us get up at seven. OLGA. oh God! ..

After I came down from the university I never stirred a finger or opened a book.] CHEBUTIKIN. [Laughs] It's quite true. my pet. soon it will be upon us and it will drive away laziness. . I've learnt from the papers that there used to be one. Dobrolubov [Note: Dobroluboy (1836-81)..... the prejudice against labour. God only knows. in a family which never knew what work or worry meant. I just read the papers. Every one! CHEBUTIKIN. indifference. I shall work. the people are marching on us all. in spite of the shortness of his career. .. we shall all be dead. for instance. a footman used to have to pull off my boots while I fidgeted and my mother looked on in adoration and wondered why other people didn't see me in the same light... I remember that when I used to come home from my regiment. I shan't work. TUZENBACH.. thank the Lord. established himself as one of the classic literary critics of Russia]. SOLENI. a chilly. [Takes another newspaper out of his pocket] Here we are. . it is drawing near. and rotten dullness from our society. health-giving storm is gathering. You don't matter. but what he wrote--I don't know . and in twenty. I was born in Petersburg. every man will have to work. [Takes a scent-bottle out of his pocket and sprinkles his chest and hands..five or thirty years. In twenty-five years' time. a powerful. In two or three years' time apoplexy will carry you off. or else I'll blow your brains out. .139 I've never worked once in my life. but only just in time! A new age is dawning. lazy place. They shielded me from work. They're calling me .. I never have worked. [Somebody is heard tapping on the floor from below] There.

. every time we had a name-day.. somebody's come to see me... On a name-day. . putting on her hat] Where are you off to? MASHA. I'll come in the evening.. scratching his beard. TUZENBACH. [MASHA sings.140 downstairs. In the old days when father was alive. IRINA. Good-bye.. He's up to something. .] OLGA. thirty or forty officers used to come. Yes... won't be long. He's always doing silly things. I'll be back in a minute . MASHA. That's odd. Masha. he looked so pleased as he went out that I'm pretty certain he'll bring you a present in a moment. and it's as .] IRINA.. Yes. though I've said it before. You're not very bright to-day. IRINA. "There stands a green oak by the sea. How unpleasant! OLGA. dear." [Gets up and sings softly. [Kisses MASHA] Many happy returns.. Home. And a chain of bright gold is around it. And a chain of bright gold is around it . it's awful. [Exit hurriedly. TUZENBACH. and to-day there's only a man and a half. and there was lots of noise and fun.. too! MASHA. It doesn't matter.

[To IRINA] From the District Council. [Laughs through her tears] We'll have a talk later on. a cake. This way. talk philosophy--it's all my eye. I've got the hump to-day. What do you mean by that. my dear.. from Mihail Ivanitch Protopopov . but good-bye for the present. [Displeased] You are queer. Thank you. [Angrily.] FERAPONT.. nothing. to OLGA] Don't cry! [Enter ANFISA and FERAPONT with a cake. You came down on me before I could say .. [Crying] I understand you. I'll go somewhere... you very awful man? SOLENI. IRINA. IRINA. When a man talks philosophy. OLGA.. and am not at all cheerful. Please thank him.. Masha.] ANFISA.. . I'm off . . Oh. [Louder] Please thank him.141 quiet as a desert . [Takes the cake.. so don't you mind me. well. my dear. MASHA. it is philosophy or at any rate sophistry. What? IRINA. but when a woman. your feet are clean.. help! [Pause. or two women. SOLENI. Come in.] MASHA.

Come on. there is a rumble of dissatisfied surprise. [Covers her face with her hands] A samovar! That's awful! [Exit into the dining-room. I would have bee n .] OLGA. What? ANFISA. My dear Ivan Romanovitch. gran'fer. I don't like this Mihail Potapitch or Ivanitch.] IRINA. Ferapont Spiridonitch. My dear good girl. nurse. you are simply shameless! CHEBUTIKIN. IRINA. Ferapont. and the dearest thing I have in the world. what are you doing! TUZENBACH. Come on. The only good thing in me is my love for you. Protopopov.] MASHA. Give him a pie. FERAPONT. to the table. Ivan Romanovitch.142 OLGA. [Enter CHEBUTIKIN followed by a soldier with a silver samovar. We oughtn't to invite him here. and if it hadn't been for that. [Exeunt. go. [Laughs] I told you so! MASHA. That's all right. a lonely worthless old man. you are the only thing. I'm an old man. I'll soon be sixty. she'll give you a pie. MASHA. I never asked him.

are! .. you'll be a nice and polite little girl.. surely. through his tears] Expensive presents. [Teasing] Expensive presents! [The orderly goes into the dining. .] ANFISA. my name is Vershinin. I saw them with my own eyes.143 dead long ago. I forget your faces. very glad! But there are three sisters. I loved your dead mother... [Exit. [To IRINA] My dear little girl. . [To the orderly] Take the samovar in there. used to have three little girls. VERSHININ. but your father.. Please sit down. [Enters and crosses stage] My dear... I've carried you in my arms . . How . You really. I've known you since the day of your birth. MASHA.. Lord. I remember that perfectly.. Irina darling. I remember--three little girls. ..] TUZENBACH. [Angrily. . Children. [Enter VERSHININ] Lieutenant-Colonel Vershinin! VERSHININ. . How you've grown! Oh! oh! IRINA. won't you. there's a strange Colonel come! He's taken off his coat already.. [To MASHA and IRINA] I have the honour to introduce myself.. Oh. he's coming here. We're very glad you've with the samovar.. Colonel Prosorov. Should have lunched a long time ago.. [Gaily] I am glad. But your presents are so expensive! CHEBUTIKIN... It must be Vershinin. .. I am very glad indeed to be able to come at last..

I take it that you are Olga Sergeyevna. [To MASHA] I seem to remember your face a little.. . .. VERSHININ.. but . I don't remember you. IRINA. From Moscow? Are you from Moscow? VERSHININ.. how it flies! TUZENBACH.. as it happens. Yes. as you see. Your father used to be in charge of a battery there.. Alexander Ignateyevitch comes from Moscow. and that you are Maria . I remember your father well.. Olga! Olga! [Shouts into the dining-room] Olga! Come along! [OLGA enters from the dining-room] Lieutenant Colonel Vershinin comes from Moscow. MASHA. I went to school in Moscow and began my service there. the youngest. I don't really remember you. and I was an officer in the same brigade. VERSHININ. OLGA.. and you are Irina. the eldest. My name is Alexander Ignateyevitch. I was there for a long time until at last I got my battery and moved over here. dear. I have only to shut my eyes to see him as he was. OLGA. I only remember that there used to be three sisters. Yes. IRINA. I used to come to your house in Moscow. .144 time does fly! Oh. So you come from Moscow? VERSHININ. I used to think I remembered everybody. that's so.

] MASHA. You only wore moustaches then. and in love with somebody. I was young and in love. but for some reason they always called you a Major for fun." You were only a Lieutenant then. [They both laugh for joy. Eleven years.. We are going to live there. IRINA. But you haven't a single white hair yet. but you're not yet old.145 IRINA. VERSHININ. Alexander Ignateyevitch. In Old Basmanni Road. Yes. Olga. OLGA. anyway. We think we may be there this autumn. you see. the lovelorn Major. we were born there. I've grown out of both now. you little . What are you crying for. Have you been away from Moscow long? IRINA. [Briskly] I remember: Do you remember. VERSHININ.. they used to speak at home of a "lovelorn Major. that's got it! MASHA. It's our native town. That is really quite a surprise! OLGA. [Laughs] That's it . You have grown older! [Through her tears] You have grown older! VERSHININ. We've unexpectedly met a fellow countryman. you've come from Moscow. You're older. I'm forty-two... Masha. . when they used to call me the lovelorn Major.

. Nobody knows why.. There's an ugly bridge in between... Only it's odd that the railway station should be thirteen miles away. OLGA. where the water rushes underneath. And where did you live? VERSHININ. I used to know your mother. Once I used to live in German Street. What are you saying! Here you've got such a fine healthy Russian climate. One gets melancholy when one is alone there. It's very cold here. It's all right. MASHA. a river . That was when the Red Barracks were my headquarters. [An awkward pause. I remember. Old Basmanni Road. [Pause] Here the river is so wide and fine! It's a splendid river! OLGA. but it's so cold. Now I know who you are. I like them more than any other tree. . . VERSHININ. and the midges. it can't be near. VERSHININ. [All look at him] Because if it was near it wouldn't be far off. It's good to live here. .. SOLENI. Dear.. OLGA. Same as we. [Crying] And I'm crying too.] TUZENBACH. VERSHININ. I know why.. You've a forest. and if it's far off.. modest birches.146 fool. and birches.. Funny man. Yes.

At the Novo-Devichi Cemetery. held all the truth? And it may so happen that our present existence. MASHA.. Vassili Vassilevitch. TUZENBACH. it can't be helped. they may call our life noble and honour its memory. It's our fate. rest her soul.. or very important to us will be forgotten. will in time appear strange. . seem unnecessary and ludicrous at first. with which we are so satisfied. [Pause] And the curious thing is that we can't possibly find out what will come to be regarded as great and important. VERSHININ. . perhaps even sinful. while wasn't it thought that some rubbish written by a fool. A time will come when everything that seems serious. We've abolished torture and capital punishment. Do you know. they'll forget us. [Changes . Who knows? But on the other hand. significant.. Didn't the discoveries of Copernicus. Yes.147 CHEBUTIKIN. We'll be forgotten in just the same way. IRINA. we live in security. or silly. and what will be feeble. TUZENBACH. say. Mother is buried in Moscow. stupid. or Columbus. there. [In a feeble voice] There. I'm beginning to forget her face. or considered trivial. OLGA. inconvenient. unclean. but how much suffering there is still! SOLENI.. The Baron will go without his dinner if you only let him talk philosophy. She was a good woman. kindly leave me alone.

[To VERSHININ] The sufferings we see to-day--there are so many of them!--still indicate a certain moral improvement in society. We think he's a little in love. After all he has taste.. yes. That was father's wish. quite fashionably too. that they may call our life noble. IRINA. SOLENI. You should see the way she dresses! Quite prettily. [Stands up] See how little I am. I expect he will be a professor some day. She will probably come here to-day. Baron.. VERSHININ. TUZENBACH.148 his chair] You're very dull. To a local lady. OLGA. CHEBUTIKIN. he's simply making fun of us. . MASHA. That's Andrey playing--our brother. And such a complexion! Andrey isn't in love. but his son chose an academic career for himself. IRINA. [Feebly] There. We ragged him to-day.] MASHA. there. He's the learned member of the family. You said just now. but so badly! Some queer bright yellow skirt with a wretched little fringe and a red bodice. MASHA. I heard yesterday that she was going to marry . Father was a soldier. of course. but we are very petty. there. you know. Yes. [Violin played behind.

Andrey Sergeyevitch. Come here! . That would do her nicely. come here! Just for a minute. the chairman of the Local Council. . IRINA. Alexander Ignateyevitch comes from Moscow. Just look what a nice little photograph frame Andrey gave me to-day.. and cuts all sorts of things out of wood.149 Protopopov. Don't go away. That's all right. [Andrey waves his hand and walks away. VERSHININ.. I've already managed to bore your sisters.] OLGA. Andrey! He's got into a habit of always going away.. He's got a degree. on the piano as well. VERSHININ.. Mine is Prosorov. IRINA. . [At the side door] Andrey. Now my little sisters won't give you any rest.] OLGA. [Looks at the frame and does not know what to say] Yes.. My brother.. VERSHININ. and is really a domestic Admirable Crichton. and plays the violin. dear! [Enter ANDREY. And he made that frame there. Just think. My name is Vershinin. It's a thing that . ANDREY. [Shows it] He made it himself. ANDREY. [Wipes his perspiring hands] You've come to take charge of the battery? OLGA.

but he never minded. You are funny.. Not the least. I want to translate a book from the English.150 [MASHA and IRINA take his arms and laughingly lead him back. Please leave me alone. quite enough. VERSHININ. I thought about one thing and another. .. and then it dawned and the sun crawled into my bedroom.. I'd like to call you the lovelorn fiddler! IRINA. . so to speak. [Wipes his face] I couldn't sleep all night and now I can't quite find my feet. This summer.] MASHA. . but nothing happened. come on! ANDREY. MASHA..] ANDREY. MASHA. Alexander Ignateyevitch used to be called the lovelorn Major. Or the lovelorn professor! OLGA. while I'm here. I read until four o'clock. CHEBUTIKIN. then tried to sleep. then sits down and reads a newspaper which he takes out of his pocket. Come on. Bravo! Encore! Little Andrey is in love. [Goes up behind ANDREY and takes him round the waist with both arms] Nature only brought us into the world that we should love! [Roars with laughter. That's enough. [Applauds] Bravo. He's in love! little Andrey is in love! IRINA.

A knowledge of three languages is an unnecessary luxury in this town. educated us almost violently. Yes father. and if it is not ours to-day then we must look ahead for it. rest his soul. but still. their life will suck you up in itself. my sisters and I know French. Mankind needs such a life. We know a lot too much. later on. as if my body had had some great pressure taken off it. Thanks to father. little by little as you grow older you will be bound to give way and lose yourselves in this crowd of a hundred thousand human beings. I say! [Laughs] You know a lot too much! I don't think there can really be a town so dull and stupid as to have no place for a clever. Do you read English? ANDREY. But we paid dearly for it all! MASHA. Let us suppose even that among the hundred thousand inhabitants of this backward and uneducated town. German. like a sixth finger. Well. It stands to reason that you won't be able to conquer that dark mob around you. that after his death I began to fill out and get rounder. wait. and Irina knows Italian as well. . cultured person. and English. and so on.151 VERSHININ. prepare for it. then twelve. It may seem funny and silly. [Laughs] And you complain that you know too much. VERSHININ. you won't disappear having influenced nobody. others like you will come. In two or three hundred years' time life on this earth will be unimaginably beautiful and wonderful. think. We must see and know more than our fathers and grandfathers saw and knew. perhaps six of them. until at last your sort will be in the majority. there are only three persons like yourself. It isn't even a luxury but a sort of useless extra. but it's nevertheless true.

You are probably thinking to yourself: the German lets himself go... [ANDREY has gone out quietly. I can't even speak German.. we must work.] TUZENBACH. we must prepare by work.. [Looks round] It's a beautiful flat. . Yes. no! ... and if I had to begin life all over again I would not marry. already ended. But to share in it now. with flowers and light . knowing what we were doing? Suppose we could use one life. well! TUZENBACH. all that ought to be written down. . not to repeat himself.. my wife's health is delicate and so on and so on. VERSHININ. [Gets up] Yes. and fires which always smoke. That's true.] VERSHININ.. he would make sure of rooms like these.152 MASHA. But I assure you I'm a Russian. You say that many years later on.. [Rubs his hands] Well. [Sighs] Yes. What a lot of flowers you have. at the very least he would rearrange his manner of life. as a sort of rough draft for another? I think that every one of us would try. one sofa. [Pause. even though at a distance.. life on this earth will be beautiful and wonderful. I envy you! I've spent my whole life in rooms with two chairs. I have a wife and two daughters. [Takes off her hat] I'll stay to lunch. more than anything else. No. [Walks about the stage] I often wonder: suppose we could begin life over again. My father belonged to the Orthodox Church. IRINA. I've never had flowers like these in my life. . .

OLGA. and written because I had nothing to do. good health and all that one can wish for a girl of your years. But you gave me one of these at Easter. surely! You'd better give it back to me in that case. [Going up to IRINA] Dear sister. Thank you. Good day. KULIGIN. Must you go? No. You'll stop and have lunch with us. I am a master of the local High School. [Note: He adds that he is a _Nadvorny Sovetnik_ (almost the same as a German _Hofrat_). You'll read it some day when you're bored. not yet? IRINA. written by myself. [Kisses MASHA. or else give it to the Colonel. [Prepares to go] I am extremely happy to have made the acquaintance of . Colonel.153 [Enter KULIGIN in a regulation jacket. allow me to congratulate you on the day sacred to your good angel and to wish you. an undistinguished civilian title with no English equivalent. gentlemen! [To VERSHININ] My name is Kuligin. sincerely and from the bottom of my heart. VERSHININ.. [Laughs] I couldn't have.] [To IRINA] In this book you will find a list of all those who have taken the full course at our High School during these fifty years. Take it.] IRINA.] KULIGIN. And then let me offer you this book as a present. faciant meliora potentes_.. [Gives it to her] It is the history of our High School during the last fifty years. _Feci quod potui. but read it all the same. . The book is worthless. Please do.

[Bows] I seem to have dropped in on your name-day. A splendid. ..] KULIGIN. illuminating personality.. They're getting up a walk for the pedagogues and their families. . Persian powder or naphthaline. I shan't go. Yes.154 OLGA.. I'm feeling awfully pleased with life to-day. The Romans were healthy because they knew both how to work and how to rest. [Goes with OLGA into the dining-room.. only please stand back. so let us rest and rejoice. I'll go. [Steps away. [Hurt] My dear Masha. above everything else. why not? MASHA. Their life ran along certain recognized patterns. we've got to be at the director's at four. [Takes MASHA by the waist. I didn't know. laughing] Masha loves me. [Angrily] All right.. the day of rest. MASHA. .] KULIGIN. to be sociable. each in a manner compatible with his age and disposition. My wife loves me. they had _mens sana in corpore sano_. I'll tell you later. please! VERSHININ. Masha. Forgive me. Our director says: "The chief thing about each life is its pattern.. In spite of his ill.. A wonderful man.. . The carpets will have to be taken up for the summer and put away till the winter . and I didn't offer you my congratulations. And you o ught to put the window curtains away with the carpets. And then we're to spend the evening at the director's. To-day is Sunday... Whoever loses his pattern is lost himself"-and it's just the same in our daily that man tries. KULIGIN. .

. And it's all the same. CHEBUTIKIN." [Violin played off.. . I'm tired!" [Looks at the clock. you're not to drink anything to-day. . [Puts his paper into his pocket. that's all right." It's a cursed. [Goes into dining. You're not to dare to drink. Let's go and have lunch! There's to be a masterpiece of baking! KULIGIN. I haven't been drunk for two years. It's quite simple. unbearable life.] OLGA. [Angrily. but so that her husband should not hear] Another dull evening at the Director's. . Oh my dear Olga. "Yes.. [Goes into dining-room] My dear . CHEBUTIKIN. "I'm tired. Oh. "don't go. MASHA. I shouldn't go if I were you.. all the same.. anyway! MASHA. confound it! TUZENBACH. CHEBUTIKIN. [Severely to CHEBUTIKIN] Only mind. and got awfully tired. Don't go. then at his watch] Your clock is seven minutes fast. Do you hear? It's bad for you." he said... Yesterday I was working till eleven o'clock at night. To-day I'm quite happy.] . my dear.155 After yesterday's committee he said to me: "I'm tired. Feodor Ilitch. and combs his beard] A pie? Splendid! MASHA.

[Off] One minute. . there. . Be quiet! SOLENI. [Enters and goes to the table. there. . but not the wisest.156 CHEBUTIKIN..] IRINA. [Drinks] Your health! [To OLGA] I'm very comfortable here! [Only IRINA and TUZENBACH are now left in the sitting-room. VERSHININ.. I'll have some of this black vodka. there. . Vassili Vassilevitch.. TUZENBACH. [Follows her] It's not so bad.. He's the kindest man... Masha's out of sorts to-day. . And now it's different. What are you thinking about? IRINA. [Gaily] Your health. Colonel! I'm a pedagogue and not quite at home here. She married when she was eighteen. She's a good sort. when he seemed to her the wisest of men. [Impatiently] Andrey. SOLENI. There.] TUZENBACH.. He only says silly things. OLGA. when are you coming? ANDREY.. KULIGIN. I'm Masha's husband. a very good sort. I don't like this Soleni of yours and I'm afraid of him. that's enough. [Going into the dining-room] There. there.

. if only it seems so! The life of us three hasn't been beautiful yet. [Does not hear] I've a great thirst for life. How are . They're already at lunch . [Enters from dining-room] Here's Natalia Ivanovna. and this thirst has united with my love for you. Baron! OLGA. TUZENBACH.. and puts herself straight] I think my hair's done all right. when other people are about he's rough and hectoring. I'm not yet thirty. How do you do. and life seems so beautiful to me! What are you thinking about? IRINA. and you're so beautiful. work. Yes.. it has been stifling us as if it was weeds . What are you thinking of? [Pause] You're twenty. . [Dries her tears. Nicolai Lvovitch. and work.. I'm late .. struggle. . I'm sorry for him. long lines of days.. I'm crying. . don't speak to me of love. Irina. I oughtn't. [Enter NATALIA IVANOVA. [Sees IRINA] Dear Irina Sergeyevna. I congratulate you! [Kisses her firmly and at length] You've so many visitors.. . That is why we are unhappy and look at the world so sadly. IRINA. we don't know what work is. You say that life is beautiful. Let me stay with you. with their long.. [Carefully examines herself in a mirror. filled with my love for you. He's a queer man.. How many years are there left to us.. smiles] We must work. let them have their meal without us.. When there are just the two of us he's quite all right and very good company..] NATASHA... I think he's shy. ..157 TUZENBACH. she wears a pink dress and a green sash.. Don't let's go in. though he vexes me. Our parents despised work. I'm really ashamed.

the sitting-room is empty. you've so many people here. It's quite time you married. [Goes into dining. Happy returns. I'm awfully shy. CHEBUTIKIN. it simply doesn't go well . NATASHA. [In a tearful voice] Yes? But it isn't really green.158 you. [Raps with her fork on a plate] Let's all get drunk and make life purple for once! KULIGIN. I wish you a nice fiancée. OLGA. [ with OLGA. it's too dull for that. you shouldn't! NATASHA. This is a nice drink. You've lost three good conduct marks.] [They have all sat down to lunch in the dining-room. Is it a sign of anything? OLGA.] KULIGIN. dear! [They kiss. Irina. Natalia Ivanovna has a fiancé already.. No. KULIGIN.] NATASHA.. Natalia Ivanovna. in an undertone] You're wearing a green sash! My dear. What's it made of? . I wish you the same. All our friends. MASHA. VERSHININ. and it looks so queer.

] FEDOTIK. You'll come in the evening. There is to be a roast turkey and a sweet apple pie for dinner. . so they are. No. [Angrily] Please don't! Aren't you tired of it? [Enter FEDOTIK and RODE with a large basket of FEDOTIK.. They're lunching already. Now we're ready! [They take the basket and go into the dining.. CHEBUTIKIN. ladies and gentlemen. RODE. Wait a minute! [Takes a photograph] That's one. Blackbeetles. Please do.] . just a moment. [Takes another] That's two. And please may I come in the evening! IRINA. where they have a noisy reception. .. [Tearfully] Phoo! How disgusting! OLGA. Thank goodness I can spend all day and the evening at home. VERSHININ...159 SOLENI. Nature only brought us into the world that we should love! [Laughs. .. NATASHA. They don't stand on ceremony here. IRINA.] ANDREY. [Loudly and thickly] Lunching? Yes.

" [Tearfully] What am I saying that for? I've had those words running in my head all day. "There stands a green oak by the sea. You may move. Was out walking with the High School students all the morning. ... I'm a hardened sinner. If there are thirteen at table then it means there are lovers present. [Aloud] Surely you don't believe in that superstition? [Laughter..] CHEBUTIKIN. hang it all. And a chain of bright gold is around it . And a chain of bright gold is around it . . FEDOTIK. It isn't you.. [Loudly] Congratulations and best wishes! Lovely weather to-day.] . followed by ANDREY.] KULIGIN. There are thirteen at table! RODE. Ivan Romanovitch. . by the way. KULIGIN. I take their drills.. but I really don't see why Natalia Ivanovna should blush.. [Laughter. It's got a lovely note! IRINA. How awfully nice! MASHA. NATASHA runs out into the sitting-room.. [Loud laughter. simply perfect. Irina Sergeyevna! [Takes a photograph] You look well to-day...160 RODE. [Takes a out of his pocket] Here's a humming-top.

please. believe me ..] ANDREY. I implore you not to excite yourself.. seeing the lovers kiss. my pure darling.. my soul is full of love.. I'm shy . Don't pay any attention to them! Wait . I'm so unaccustomed to meeting people! ANDREY.. I can't understand anything. They don't see us! They can't! Why.] [Two officers come in and. My dear.. they're all kind and sincere people. love you . your splendid. they're kind people.. My dear. Oh your youth. do stop. why or when did I fall in love with you--Oh. and they like both you and me.. stop in astonishment. [Looks round. I assure you they're only joking. they can't see us here. be my wife! I love you. NATASHA. good girl. beautiful youth! My darling.. I can't.... but I can't . . don't be so excited! Believe me.161 ANDREY.] NATASHA. I beg you. [Covers her face with her hands. It wasn't nice of me to leave the table like that. I don't know what's the matter with me and they're all laughing at me. as never before.. . My dear.. ... I'm so happy. . of ecstasy.] Curtain... [They kiss. Come here to the window. .

Somebody is heard playing a concertina outside in' the street. darling. but to-day he is quite cold . Why is he so cold? He was feverish yesterday. there was a candle burning. then closes it] Isn't there any fire. I am so frightened! ANDREY.] NATASHA. . [Enters with book in hand] What are you doing.. and looks in. It is 8 p. you must take care of yourself... I must look out that something doesn't happen. I was looking to see if there wasn't a fire. The poor things are still at work.162 ACT II [Scene as before..m.. There is no fire.. Natasha. Andrey? Are you reading? It's nothing. she stops by the door which leads into ANDREY'S room. The boy is well. [Sighs] I said to your sister this morning. [Looks at his watch] A quarter past eight. . . Natasha? NATASHA. ANDREY. It's all right. When I came through the dining. Did you say it was a quarter past eight? I am afraid little Bobby is quite ill. [She opens another door. It's Shrovetide.. What are you doing. "Irina. I couldn't get her to tell me who had lighted it. [Puts down her candle] What's the time? ANDREY. only I. NATASHA. Olga at the teacher's council. . and the servant is simply beside herself." But she pays no attention. NATALIA IVANOVNA enters in indoor dress carrying a yesterday midnight. And Olga and Irina aren't in yet.. Irina at the telegraph office.

[A pause] Andrey.. when the little boy woke up and saw me he suddenly smiled.. Ferapont has come from the Council offices. They are so kind. . Children understand. [Hesitatingly] But what about my sisters. ANDREY.. "Good morning. It isn't as if she was at home in the daytime. So I'll tell them. And the entertainers were to be here after nine. This is their flat. I was just thinking. NATASHA." And he laughed. The doctor says you must eat sour milk and nothing else. ... for instance. darling. I am so afraid. she can share Olga's room. there was something I wanted to tell you. she only sleeps here. not to receive the entertainers.163 NATASHA. he wants to se e you. They'll do as I want them. darling. they understand very well. or you won't get thin. . they had better not come. Irina's room. they were asked.. why are you so silent? ANDREY. that means he knew me. .. It would be nice to put him into another room till the warm weather comes. ... Audrey. This morning. I don't know. Yes . There is really nothing to say. [Stops] Bobby is so cold. Oh. [Going] I ordered sour milk for supper. After all. NATASHA. I must tell her. Bobby!" I said. I think we ought to put him on a diet. . "good morning. NATASHA.. is just right for a child: it's dry and has the sun all day. Still.. yes. ANDREY. I'm afraid his room is too cold for him.. Andrey dear.

out of sheer boredom. FERAPONT. Yes. .. FERAPONT enters.. yes. It's dull at home. and I'm in no hurry. and how it deceives! To-day. my dear old man. Good morning. I came when it was still light. it's past eight. Thank you. The Chairman sends a book and some documents or other. They said you were busy. but they wouldn't let me in.. grandfather. Here. [He thinks that ANDREY is asking him something] What? ANDREY. What have you to say? FERAPONT. I'm not supposed to go to work. I'm secretary of the local district council. Well. I took up this book--old university lectures. My God. he wears a tattered old coat with the collar up. [Hands him a book and a packet. and do some work. ANDREY reads his book. you're busy. what was I to do. [Looks through the book] To. What? ANDREY. [Pause] Oh. yes. and I couldn't help laughing. stooping over the candle she has left behind.164 ANDREY.. It's all right.] ANDREY. His ears are muffled. [Yawns] Call him here.] ANDREY. I say you've come late. . how strangely life changes. [Louder].morrow's Friday. If you're busy. Nothing. the council which has Protopopov for its chairman. FERAPONT. Why couldn't you come earlier? It's past eight now. but I'll come--all the same . [NATASHA goes out.

he was saying. I don't like public. a famous scholar of whom all Russia is proud! FERAPONT. I'm hard of hearing. And here you know everybody and everybody knows you. and a lonely stranger. or at the Great Moscow.165 I'm the secretary. ANDREY. What? And the same contractor was telling--perhaps he was lying--that there was a cable stretching right across Moscow.. . ANDREY. Moscow? That's where a contractor was once telling that some merchants or other were eating pancakes. and you don't feel all the same that you're a stranger. who dream every night that I'm a professor of Moscow University.. one ate forty pancakes and he went and died.. and I'm a bit afraid of my sisters--I don't know why unless it is that they may make fun of me and make me feel ashamed . and my wife doesn't understand me. old fellow! FERAPONT. FERAPONT.houses.. and the summit of my ambitions is--to become a member of the council! I to be a member of the local district council.. I forget which. ANDREY. If you weren't.. but how I should like to be sitting just now in Tyestov's place in Moscow. and you're a stranger . I.. What for? . I've got to talk to somebody. Either forty or fifty. I don't suppose I should talk to you.. I don't drink. In Moscow you can sit in an enormous restaurant where you don't know anybody and where nobody knows you. I can't tell .

yes. The contractor said so.. Of course. Go along. You may go. however it may be in other towns. . it took us a long time to get used to the absence of orderlies. [After a pause] No. [Pause] He's gone. the best and most-educated people are army men. . [Stretches himself and slowly goes into his own room. God did not lead me there. I'm thirsty. I don't know. MASHA. [Glancing at her watch] They'll bring some soon.] MASHA.166 FERAPONT. and I was afraid of my husband because he was a teacher and I'd only just left school. And now. I was given in marriage when I was eighteen. yes. . I can't tell.... Yes . VERSHININ. it seems to me in all fairness that. [Pause] I don't know. VERSHININ. While they talk. Rubbish. Good-bye. I should like some tea.. [A ring] Yes. [He reads] Were you ever in Moscow? FERAPONT. a maidservant lights candles and a lamp. for instance. After father's death. apart from habit. MASHA and VERSHININ come in. habit counts for a great deal.morrow and fetch these documents.] [Behind the scene the nurse is singing a lullaby to the child.. ANDREY.. . [Reads] You can come to. [Pause] Shall I go? ANDREY. [FERAPONT goes] Good-bye. But. He then seemed to me frightfully wise and learned and important.. that has changed. unfortunately.

I've grown used to him. tell me. Why is a Russian sick of his children. Perhaps I am. Oh. impolite. . why do we aim so low in real life? Why? MASHA. I suffer when I see that a man isn't quite sufficiently refined. sick of his house. but. but civilians in general are so often coarse. .. it angers me. I get very anxious and my conscience tortures me because they have such a mother. sick of his horses. if you had seen her to-day! What a trivial personality! We began quarrelling at seven in the morning and at nine I slammed the door and went out. I haven't had any dinner. VERSHININ.167 MASHA. in this town. Their rudeness offends me. and when my girls are ill. uneducated. or delicate. We Russians are extremely gifted in the direction of thinking on an exalted plane. It's all the same! If you listen to a member of the local intelligentsia. I simply suffer agonies when I happen to be among schoolmasters. at any rate. whether to civilian or military.. I don't speak of my husband. it's strange that I bear my complaints to you . he will tell you that he's sick of his wife. sick of his wife? And why are his wife and children sick of him? MASHA. Yes. It seems to me that civilians and army men are equally interesting. You're a little downhearted to-day. sick of his estate. my husband's colleagues.. Why? VERSHININ. I've had nothing since the morning. VERSHININ.. [Pause] I never speak of her. My daughter is a little unwell. or polite.

[Kisses her hand] Don't be angry with me. VERSHININ. .. [IRINA and TUZENBACH come in through the dining-room. [Sits on another chair] There is more light here.. My surname is really triple. wonderful woman. wonderful woman! MASHA. VERSHININ. There is very little German left in me.. [Kisses her hand] You are a splendid... I love your eyes. but I see your sparkling eyes.] MASHA. [Covers her face with her hands] Somebody's coming. go on. Splendid. but I am Russian and Orthodox. MASHA. [In an undertone] No.168 alone. just like that.] TUZENBACH. Just before father's death there was a noise in the pipe. Don't repeat it. I dream of them. Yes. [Laughing] When you talk to me like that. for I'm afraid. I am called Baron Tuzenbach-Krone-Altschauer. . That's strange. I love you. I haven't anybody but you.. love you . please. . wonderful! It is dark here. unless perhaps it is the patience and the obstinacy with which I bore you.. love you. . What a noise in the oven. your movements. it's all the same to me. the same as you. I laugh.. VERSHININ. let's talk about something else. I see you home every night. Splendid. [Pause. nobody at all. I don't know why... Are you superstitious? MASHA. .

. "I've no time. I must find another job. [Smiling] When you come home from your work you seem so young. IRINA. What I wanted. joyfully] Is that you? How do you do. . I don't like it. and your face has become like a boy's. She was crying. I am tired. . this one won't do for me.. And I'll come to the telegraph office to see you home every day for ten or twenty years. That's the way she does her hair. [Pause.169 IRINA. IRINA. How tired I am! TUZENBACH. It was so stupid. Yes. and so unfortunate. You've grown thinner. [Sitting down in an armchair] I want a rest. No. And for some reason or other I was rude to her. TUZENBACH. just to Saratov. [To MASHA] A lady came to-day to telegraph to her brother in Saratov that her son died to-day. I am home at last. I don't like the telegraph office." I said. [He sees MASHA and VERSHININ.] IRINA. until you drive me away. IRINA. So she sent the telegram without an address. I am tired. [Whistles a little] And you look younger.. TUZENBACH. Are the entertainers coming to-night? MASHA. just that is lacking here. MASHA.. Labour . Well. and she couldn't remember the address anyhow. what I hoped to get.

. Only Natasha mustn't get to know of these losses. I expect it will be all the same to her. . [With indifference] What can we do now? IRINA. [To TUZENBACH] Will you knock.. he lost money in December. my God.] IRINA. Why are you so silent. Perhaps if he lost everything we should go away from this town. I'm just like a lunatic. Andrey seems to have lost 200 roubles. Alexander Ignateyevitch? . Something ought to be done. He then sits by the table and takes a newspaper from his pocket. [Laughs] No. who has only just got out of bed--he was resting after dinner--comes into the dining-room and combs his beard. I can't .. February.. [Laughs] What dignity in his pose! [They all laugh. [A knock on the floor] The doctor is knocking. He's been here eight months and hasn't paid a copeck. Seems to have forgotten. Yesterday the doctor and Andrey played cards at the club and lost money. [Laughs] We go there in June. March. . IRINA. I dream of Moscow every night. A pause.170 without poetry. Oh.. He lost money a fortnight ago... without ideas. I'm tired.. MASHA. [TUZENBACH knocks] He'll come in a minute. Has he paid his rent? IRINA. dear. [CHEBUTIKIN.. . April. May .. nearly half a year! MASHA.] MASHA. and before June there's still . MASHA. Here he is...

perhaps they'll discover a sixth sense and develop it. mysterious. About what? Let us meditate .] VERSHININ. shall not take part in it. but life will remain the same. [Thoughtfully] How can I put it? It seems to me that everything on earth must change. Irina Sergeyevna! IRINA. and happy. VERSHININ. [IRINA goes and sits by the table] I can't do without you. And in a thousand years' time. people will still be sighing: "Life is hard!"--and at the same time they'll be just as afraid of death. I want some tea. at any rate. We. after a thousand--the actual time doesn't matter--a new and happy age will begin. for example.. let's philosophize.. TUZENBACH. little by little. About what? VERSHININ. Half my life for a tumbler of tea: I haven't had anything since morning. of course.171 VERSHININ. TUZENBACH. if we can't have any tea. in two or three hundred years. Yes. and is already changing under our very eyes. about life as it will be after our time. let's. as we are. After two or three hundred years. but we . CHEBUTIKIN. What is it? CHEBUTIKIN. Venez ici. the cut of one's coat will change. Well? After our time people will fly about in balloons. I don't know. Please come here. [IRINA begins to play patience. Well. and unwilling to meet it. laborious.

What is it? MASHA. I read a lot. then for the descendants of my descendants. [MASHA laughs softly. [FEDOTIK and RODE come into the dining-room. I finished my education at the same point as you. No. . and happiness is only for our distant posterity.172 live and work and even suffer to-day that it should come. if you like. I've been laughing all day. our happiness. oh. And I wish I could make you understand that there is no happiness for us. but I cannot choose my books and perhaps what I read is not at all what I should..] TUZENBACH. . and that are most real. that there should not and cannot be. I don't know. but the longer I love. I am nearly an old man now. strumming on a guitar. I have not studied at universities. VERSHININ. We must only work and work.. so little! But I think I know the things that matter most. ever since morning. According to you. My hair is turning white. they sit and sing softly.] TUZENBACH. but I know so little. the more I want to know. We create it--and in that one object is our destiny and. [Pause] If not for me. I know them well. one should not even think about happiness! But suppose I am happy! VERSHININ.

. and whatever thoughts. life does not change.... life will still be as it was. following its own laws which do not concern us. . is there a meaning? TUZENBACH.] VERSHININ.] MASHA. I am sorry that my youth has gone. they may philosophize as much as they like. my masters! Hang it all. only they will fly. Migrant birds. How can I convince you? [MASHA laughs quietly. pointing at her] Yes. or everything is trivial.. A meaning. . Now the snow is falling.. TUZENBACH continues. . [Moves his hands and laughs] We do not seem to understand each other. It seems to me that a man must have faith. MASHA. or which. why babies are born. why there are stars in the sky. They fly and will continue to fly. And I say it's difficult to argue with you. laugh! [To VERSHININ] Not only after two or three centuries. cranes for example. whatever philosophers come to life among them. it remains for ever. To live and not to know why the cranes fly. high or low. . [A pause.173 TUZENBACH. enter their heads. . MASHA. but in a million years. they will still fly and not know why or where.. What meaning? [Pause. Gogol says: life in this world is a dull matter. my masters! TUZENBACH. fly and fly. not worth a straw. at any rate. or must search for a faith. you will never find out. empty. Still. Either you must know why you live. Still. or his life will be empty..

I've handed in my resignation.] IRINA. And here is a little knife. [Reading] Balzac was married at Berdichev.. I don't see what good it is. [Loudly] Doctor. [He makes a note] Balzac was married at Berdichev. IRINA. [Laying out cards. . I suppose. a third. [Gets up] I'm not handsome. RODE. [Takes the pencils and the knife. but I am grown up.. TUZENBACH. with joy] How lovely! FEDOTIK. I shall work. Maria Sergeyevna. If only just once in my life I could work so that I could come home in the evening. [Going into the dining-room] Workmen. Never mind. [To IRINA] I bought some coloured pencils for you at Pizhikov's in the Moscow Road.. and go to sleep at once. scissors. how old are you? . then. fall exhausted on my bed. just now.. [IRINA is singing softly] That's worth making a note of. I don't like civilians. And I bought myself a knife . it makes no difference . another. TUZENBACH.. an ear-scoop. You have got into the habit of behaving to me as if I am a little girl. [Goes on reading. The die is cast. MASHA.. do sleep soundly! FEDOTIK.174 CHEBUTIKIN. So I heard.. nail-cleaners. one blade. what use am I as a soldier? Well. look at it . thoughtfully] Balzac was married at Berdichev..

We're going to Moscow. little mother. It's coming out. the eight was on the two of spades. a little later NATASHA enters and helps by the table. ANFISA attends to it. [Laughter] FEDOTIK.. excuse me. I'm tired of winter. sir . Bring some here. Yes. I? Thirty-two.] [A samovar is brought in. [Lays out cards. [To VERSHININ] Please have some. Smallpox is raging here.. . nurse. sits by the table. SOLENI arrives and.. Look. I see. FEDOTIK. CHEBUTIKIN. coming! . Nurse! ANFISA. [Coming up to MASHA] Masha. [Reading paper] Tsitsigar... it won't come out. have some tea.175 CHEBUTIKIN. after greetings.. I shan't go over there. IRINA. but I've forgotten your name. . Coming. MASHA. What a wind! MASHA. No. I've already forgotten what summer's like. IRINA. ANFISA. I'll show you another kind of patience.] VERSHININ. [Laughs] That means you won't go to Moscow.

You think it's only the mother in me that is speaking. he notices birds no more than he did before. [Covers her face in her hands] Vulgar. he speaks of the birds he saw through the prison windows. SOLENI. that he is at liberty. If he was my child I'd roast him on a frying-pan and eat him.] NATASHA. which he had never noticed while he was a minister. dear!" And he looked at me in quite an unusual way. what delight. Bobby. I assure you that isn't so! He's a wonderful child. With what joy. ill-bred man! MASHA. VERSHININ. TUZENBACH. A few days ago I was reading the prison diary of a French minister. He's lucky who doesn't notice whether it's winter now. of course. in just the same way. [Takes his tumbler into the drawing.176 and sits in a corner. Soleni has eaten them. There can be no happiness for us. Now. All of them? . [To SOLENI] Children at the breast understand perfectly. TUZENBACH. He had been sentenced on account of the Panama scandal. good morning. I shouldn't mind about the weather. I think that if I were in Moscow. it only exists in our wishes. I said "Good morning. or summer. When you go to live in Moscow you'll not notice it. [Takes cardboard box from the table] Where are the pastries? IRINA.

[Reads] Yes. Excuse me. good woman .. What a man...177 ANFISA.] ANFISA. For me? [Takes the letter] From my daughter. My dear! Why are you offended! ANDREY'S VOICE.. excited] That eternal story. It's all awfully unpleasant. [Exit. [Kisses MASHA'S hand] My dear. Maria Sergeyevna. [Quietly] My wife has poisoned herself again. [Goes to the table with her cup] I'm tired of you. Anfisa! ANFISA. What is it? Is it a secret? [Stands up. my splendid. I must go.. Where has he gone? And I'd served tea.. I'll go out quietly. of course ..] MASHA. [Serving tea] There's a letter for you. I will go quietly. MASHA. Have some tea! IRINA. [Exit. I shan't have any tea. spreading your cards out. old woman! ANFISA.. quietly. [Angrily] Be quiet! You bother so one can't have a moment's peace. . Masha. by the table angrily] Let me sit down! [Disturbs the cards on the table] Here you are. [Mocking] Anfisa! He sits there and ..... . VERSHININ. . . MASHA. You are cross. [In the dining. I'll go this way.

. que mon Bobick déjà ne dort pas_.flask in his hands] You go on sitting by yourself. if it wasn't for your words. Where has Alexander Ignateyevitch gone? MASHA.178 MASHA. there's some cognac. NATASHA.. Home. I tell you so directly. TUZENBACH. .] IRINA. then don't talk to me. don't touch her... thinking of something-... Come and let's make peace.. pardonnez moi. _Je vous prie. _Il parait. [They drink] I expect I'll have to play the piano all night.goodness knows what. [Goes to SOLENI with a cognac. Something extraordinary has happened to his wife again. some rubbish most likely . NATASHA. You're sixty. well. always up to some beastly nonsense. [Restraining his laughter] Give me . he has awakened. mais vous avez des manières un peu grossières_. so be it! .. I'll go to him. why use such expressions? With your beautiful exterior you would be simply fascinating in good society. [Sighs] Dear Masha. [Exit. TUZENBACH... He isn't well to-day. MASHA. I think. If I am cross. Let's have some cognac. Don't touch me! CHEBUTIKIN. Don't touch her. but you're like a boy. excuse me . Marie. give me .

you always fasten on to me in company. TUZENBACH. I shall work. . talk all manner of rubbish. and at last made up my mind. Aleko .. forget. but I like you all the same. Drink. but who is not? Don't be angry. I'm going to drink my fill to-night. Basta! I've been thinking about it for five years.. SOLENI. but in company I'm dull and shy and .] SOLENI..179 SOLENI.] TUZENBACH. And what has Aleko to do with it? [Pause.. SOLENI. Baron. you must admit. You always make me feel as if something has taken place between us. Why make peace? I haven't quarrelled with you. I've sent in my resignation. very many people. And I can prove it. forget. [Takes a scent-bottle from his pocket. whatever happens. TUZENBACH... thy dreams of yore.. and scents his hands. But I'm more honest and more honourable than very. When I'm with one other man I behave just like everybody else. they say. [They drink] I never had anything against you. Aleko!" TUZENBACH. now! SOLENI." . [Declaims] "I am strange. But my character is like Lermontov's [In a low voice] I even rather resemble Lermontov. [Declaims] "Do not be angry. Let's drink.. I often get angry with you. . You've a strange character.

SOLENI. ANDREY. And I tell you. CHEBUTIKIN. and never ate any chehartma.] isn't meat at all. because I hate it. quite soon. cheremsha--is a sort of onion. . but roast mutton. and. that is. Cheremsha [Note: A variety of garlic. [Imploring] Please. And I tell you. [Going with IRINA into the dining-room] And the food was also real Caucasian onion soup. When are the entertainers coming? IRINA. some chehartma. chehartma--is a sort of onion. SOLENI. CHEBUTIKIN.180 [While he is speaking ANDREY enters quietly with a book. and sits by the table. What's the use of arguing! You've never been in the Caucasus. I shall work.] TUZENBACH. They promised for about nine. CHEBUTIKIN. And I tell you. It smells like garlic. for a roast. SOLENI. SOLENI. please! I ask you! TUZENBACH. I never ate it. Chehartma isn't onion. but a plant something like an onion. CHEBUTIKIN. my angel. No. chehartma--is mutton.

And I'll go with you.. my new-built house. old boy.. SOLENI. if my words annoy you. to the University of Moscow. I can even go into another room. Soleni. SOLENI. my house. Andrey. the . Two. I'm going to play. . [Dances and sings] "Newly-built of maple-wood.." ANDREY. let's drink with you. There are two universities in Moscow! [There are murmurs and "hushes"] There are two universities in Moscow. So much the better. [Dancing solo] The Baron's drunk. bravo! [Laughs] Come on. . ANDREY. Funny man.181 TUZENBACH. ANDREY. the old one and the new one. let's drink. Andrey. [Kisses ANDREY] Hang it all. And if you don't like to listen." CHEBUTIKIN. SOLENI. [Embraces ANDREY] "Oh my house. [Exit.] TUZENBACH. [Dances] "Its walls are like a sieve!" [Laughter. Which one? There are two universities in Moscow. Bravo. There's one university in Moscow. the Baron's drunk. now.] TUZENBACH.] MASHA. then I need not speak.. [Goes to the piano and plays a waltz. I tell you. Don't care if there are three.

IRINA. Natasha says that Bobby isn't quite well. . Here! [Taps her forehead] Little bourgeoise! [ANDREY goes to his room through the right-hand door.182 Baron's drunk! [NATASHA comes in. In the dining-room they are saying good-bye. . IRINA. I don't care. TUZENBACH.. But. In a word.. Good-bye. I suppose they must go. dear. What is she thinking of! Well. and it's absolutely all one to me. CHEBUTIKIN touches TUZENBACH on the shoulder and whispers something to him. then goes out quietly.] FEDOTIK. You see. CHEBUTIKIN follows him. [To CHEBUTIKIN] Ivan Romanovitch! [Says something to CHEBUTIKIN. . it's she herself.] NATASHA. Good-night. if they are sent home.] IRINA. It's time we went. What is it? CHEBUTIKIN. [In confusion] There won't be any entertainers. [To IRINA] Bobby's all right. Time for us to go. [Shrugging her shoulders] Bobby ill! MASHA. really. What a shame! I was expecting to spend the evening here.. the entertainers? ANDREY.. and so.

. It's only nine o'clock now! MASHA. in my loneliness. What are you in such a hurry for? We shall be in time.morrow. Though really .. [Loudly] I slept late after dinner to-day because I thought I was going to dance all night. wearing an overcoat and a hat. and put out the lights. and CHEBUTIKIN enter silently. Say what you will. CHEBUTIKIN.. [All go out] ANFISA and the maid clear the table. So there I am.183 but of course. it absolutely doesn't matter! ANDREY. who was married. Let's go into the street. Let's be quicker. ANDREY. Ah! . ANDREY. TUZENBACH'S merry laughter is heard.) CHEBUTIKIN. of course. RODE. loneliness is a terrible thing. old fellow. [The nurse sings] ANDREY. and because I was madly in love with your mother. Then we can settle things. (Good-byes and good nights are heard. One shouldn't marry.. I'm afraid my wife may stop me. because it's dull. I'll bring him some toys to.. .. we can talk there. CHEBUTIKIN. One shouldn't. CHEBUTIKIN. if the little baby is ill . I never managed to get married because my life flashed by like lightning.

ANDREY. she is excited. voices and laughter are heard. I shall only sit and look on. Where are they all? IRINA. I shan't play to-night.. [A pause] Good-bye. [Enters] What's that? ANFISA. SOLENI. Yes. nurse. then a second time. Ivan Romanovitch? CHEBUTIKIN. I don't know. [In surprise] There's nobody here. . Let's go through the kitchen.184 ANDREY..] [A bell rings. with insufficient reserve.] IRINA.. [ANFISA goes out. alone. . I don't feel very well. SOLENI. How strange. Don't ask me! I don't remember. IRINA walks about the room deep in thought. What am I to do for my asthma. . Tell them there's nobody at home.. old fellow. [They go out.] IRINA. SOLENI enters.] SOLENI. [Whispers] The entertainers! [Bell. They've gone home. Just now I behaved tactlessly. Are you here alone? IRINA. They must excuse us.

. but I don't intend to have any more-favoured rivals.. IRINA.. I am engaged in domesticities. . [Wipes his forehead] Well.. Vassili Vassilevitch! SOLENI. Vassili Vassilevitch.] NATASHA.. Excuse me. such as I have never seen before.. beautiful one! [NATASHA enters with a candle. It's all the same to me.. I shall kill my rival. joy! Wonderful. Good-bye! [Exit. Here's Andrey.. This is the first time I speak to you of love. Good-bye! Go away. No . she looks in through one door. but on another planet. SOLENI. I cannot live without you. marvellous. then through another. and goes past the door leading to her husband's room. . my poor dear girl! [Kisses IRINA] If you only went to bed earlier. IRINA. you are noble and pure. I swear to you by all the saints.. my happiness! [Through his tears] Oh. of course . deeply. [Follows her] Oh. I love you.. I did not know you were here. You alone can understand me. I love you. I can't make you love me by force. and it is as if I am no longer on the earth. .. .. Oh. You're so tired. SOLENI. beyond measure. you can see the truth.] NATASHA. glorious eyes. Let him go on reading. [Coldly] Stop it. . never mind.185 But you are not like all the others.

Is Bobby asleep? NATASHA. [Bell rings] Somebody's ringing. . dear. do change over to Olga's for a bit! IRINA. Yes. you're mine! Mine!" And he looked at me with his dear little eyes. VERSHININ.186 IRINA. Well. And your room would be so nice for the child. [To the maid] Say I shan't be long. it must be Olga. . KULIGIN and OLGA enter. but restlessly. there you are.. darling girl. [Not understanding] Where? [The bells of a troika are heard as it drives up to the house. I think Bobby's present nursery is cold and damp.] [The maid runs out. By the way. He's such a darling. for the time being. IRINA sits deep in thought. [Exit. followed by VERSHININ.] NATASHA.. half an hour ago. How late she is! [The maid enters and whispers to NATASHA] Protopopov? What a queer man to do such a thing. to-day I said to him... Protopopov's come and wants me to go for a drive with him in his troika. "Bobby. [A bell rings] Somebody has come. You and Olga can share a room. and Bobby can have yours. or I was busy .. [A bell rings] It must be Olga. .. And you said there was going to be a party.] KULIGIN. Suppose I did go and have half an hour's drive. I wanted to tell you. I went away not long ago. but either you weren't at home. My dear. It's queer. [Laughs] How funny these men are.

Feodor Ilitch.. the whole town is talking about it.... I won't go. I'm tired.. Oh. Don't ask questions . I'm going to rest all day ... let's go somewhere together! I can't. my best wishes. Come on! KULIGIN.. Has my wife gone home? IRINA. Has Masha gone too? Where has she gone? And what's Protopopov waiting for downstairs in his troika? Whom is he expecting? IRINA. . I can rest now. My wife took it into her head to frighten me just now by nearly poisoning herself. KULIGIN.. It's all right now. I absolutely can't stop at home. Our chairwoman is ill.. Yes.. you're all whimsies. I'm tired.. KULIGIN. . My head. .. . [Sits. KULIGIN. OLGA. My committee meeting is only just over. IRINA. But perhaps we ought to go away? Well. I suppose so. and I'm glad.187 and they were expecting entertainers. so I had to take her place.] VERSHININ. I'm tired out. [Kisses IRINA'S hand] Good-bye.. KULIGIN. my meeting tired me too. [Sits] Andrey lost 200 roubles at cards yesterday . . [Gets up] I'm tired. They've all gone. my head is aching.

188 to-morrow and the day after. followed by the maid] I'll be back in half an hour. I was looking forward to spending the whole evening in pleasant company and--o.. it has apparently been going for some time. [Going] I'm free to.. Oh. Nobody's left. [alone] They've all gone.. Accusative case after an interjection. steps across the dining-room. The nurse sings. on the right and left. I'll go and lie down. Nobody in the . It is past 2 a..] NATASHA. Behind the stage a fire-alarm is ringing.] OLGA. Oh my head. Andrey has been losing money.] IRINA. [Exit..morrow. . .. whistling. .. my head. Beds. [Exit with KULIGIN... ....m. fallacem hominum spem! . [Exit. Then I'll go somewhere by myself. ACT III [The room shared by OLGA and IRINA.morrow. my God. what a mercy! I'm free to. Best wishes! [Going] I should like some tea. VERSHININ. [in fur coat and cap. I'm only going for a little drive.] IRINA. [Alone in her misery] To Moscow! Moscow! Moscow! Curtain.. . The whole town is talking. screened off.... I've such a headache . I'm free the day after. [A concertina is being played in the street. .

. The Kolotilin girls are down below .. OLGA.. . also undressed.. sitting under the stairs. My God! How awful it is! The whole of the Kirsanovsky Road seems to have burned down.." I said. I can hardly manage. . go on... in black.. Their house was nearly burnt. [At the door] Come here.. MASHA is lying on a sofa dressed. [Rings] They'll never answer.. "You can't go on like this.. Enter OLGA and ANFISA. OLGA. And how I'm sick of it! [FERAPONT enters] Take these things down.. This. .." and they simply cried." What an idea! And in the yard there are some people . . In the year twelve Moscow was burning too. They shouldn't be allowed to go home. . "He may be burnt up by now... Olga dear. red with flame: afire-engine is heard passing the house] How awful this is.. Couldn't you call Ferapont..] ANFISA.. Go on... . [Takes a dress out of the cupboard] Take this grey dress. And this .. .. there's nothing left....189 house has gone to bed yet.. and let them have them. They ought to come here for the night. nurse.. .. . too.. Take this . too. "Won't you come up. . . ANFISA. Yes'm. I said to them. whoever there is! [Through the open door can be seen a window. [Throws clothes into her hands] The poor Vershinins are so frightened. Now they are downstairs. and the blouse as well.. "We don't know where father is. as usual. my God! The Frenchmen were surprised. Take the skirt... Oh. Poor Fedotik is completely burnt out.. and this. . FERAPONT." They said. OLGA.

Nobody is dismissing you.. Fedotik can go there.] OLGA. [Exit.. nurse dear.. .... You sit down. OLGA. sleeping . precious girl. as if on purpose... it's the duty of the rich. I'm tired.. . You're talking nonsense. dear. I'm growing weak. .. . may go into the drawing-room. too. I'm working. Yes'm. You're tired. You're so pale! [NATASHA comes in. Give it all to them. They are saying that a committee to assist the sufferers from the fire must be formed at once. The girls can sleep in the drawing. and they'll all say go away! And where shall I go? Where? I'm eighty. Vershinin's wife. I'm toiling away . We don't want anything. Of course the poor ought to be helped. Bobby and little Sophy are sleeping. ANFISA.. Nurse. nurse. and Alexander Ignateyevitch can go downstairs to the Baron's flat . don't dismiss me! Don't dismiss me! OLGA.. . [Makes her sit down] Rest.. dear. .. I can hardly keep on my legs. [Tired] Olga.. nurse. dear girl.. poor dear.. beastly drunk. let them have everything. [Puts OLGA'S head against her bosom] My dear. too. Eighty-one years old. or else into our dining-room.. ANFISA. What do you think of that? It's a beautiful idea. The Vershinins mustn't be allowed to go home.] so nobody can go to him. .190 FERAPONT. The doctor is drunk.

Spoiling her. [Before the looking.. I don't understand either .. I'll refuse the post.. [Strokes her cheek] You're tired. She's no good here. OLGA. OLGA.. I'm not strong enough. NATASHA. it isn't true! Certainly it isn't! Masha's asleep. NATASHA. [Drinks water] You were so rude to nurse just now .. There's such a lot of people] They say I'm growing stout . Yes . [Confusedly] Excuse me. [Coldly.... Olga. wherever you go.191 as if nothing at all was the matter. There's influenza in the town now. I can't .. she ought to live there. I suppose I'm all untidy.. They'll appoint you. [Not attending] In this room we can't see the fire. . OLGA. a pause] I don't understand what makes you keep on that old woman! OLGA. poor thing! Our head mistress is tired! And when my little Sophie grows up and goes to school I shall be so afraid of you. it's quiet here. the place is full of them.. I can't stand it . everything seems dark in front of me... I'm afraid the children may catch it. . . I call it! I like order in the house! We don't want any unnecessary people here. She comes from the country.. I shan't be head mistress. It's settled.. to ANFISA] Don't dare to be seated in my presence! Get up! Out of this! [Exit ANFISA.. the poor thing is tired out.. I'm sorry... . . NATASHA..

[MASHA gets up. what do we want that old woman for as well? What good is she? [Fire-alarm behind the stage. I often say too much. a housemaid . upsets me. I've grown ten years older to. forgive me . OLGA. in an unusual way.night.. we have been brought up. but I can't bear this. I simply lose heart! NATASHA.] OLGA.. takes a pillow and goes out angrily.. I've got a nurse.192 NATASHA. Remember. I didn't want to annoy you. Such behaviour has a bad effect on me. . OLGA. .] OLGA. NATASHA. [Crying] I don't understand you. Even the least bit of rudeness. NATASHA. dear . that she could just as well live in the country. Forgive me. Olga. dear.. [Surprised] What do you mean? She's only a servant..] OLGA. forgive me. we've a cook. She's no good for work.. or you don't want to understand me. a wet-nurse. But she can't do any work now.. it's true.. the slightest impoliteness. NATASHA.. [Excited] Forgive me.. And let her sit about. She has been with us for thirty years. perhaps. Olga. she can only sleep or sit about. [Kisses her. Either I don't understand. but you must agree. I get ill .

I am absolutely tired out. but there was such a wind that it seemed at first the whole town was going to burn. CHEBUTIKIN enters. then I do k now what I am talking about. He hadn't touched a drop for two years. He might have done it on purpose! [Gets up] He seems to be coming here.. [Listens.. And if I talk about servants..] OLGA. .. . really . [Retires with NATASHA to the back of the room.. he's terribly drunk. [Stretches himself] Only one block has burnt down.. The fire seems to be going down. ... This is awful. if you don't move downstairs. I do know what I am talking about . Your place is the school. I. we shall always be quarrelling. [Laughs] What a man . [Goes to the cupboard and stands in the corner] What a rogue. Do you hear him? Yes.. and now he suddenly goes and gets drunk. here. Olga.193 NATASHA. I'll hide myself.morrow there's to be no more of that old thief. of course. The doctor. I should have married you.] KULIGIN.. What is it? KULIGIN.. My dear Olga . You devote yourself to teaching. [Sits] I'm tired out... [Stamping] that witch! And don't you dare to annoy me! Don't you dare! [Stopping short] Really. And to. You are awfully nice... that old hag . mine--the home. to the household. .. has been drinking hard. [Enter KULIGIN. OLGA.. I often think that if it hadn't been for Masha.. We must come to an agreement. Where's Masha? It's time we went home. .

he stops. [Angrily] Devil take them all ... Last Wednesday I attended a woman in Zasip--and she died. how beastly! How petty! And then I remembered the woman I killed on Wednesday . if only I didn't exist! [Stops crying. They think I'm a doctor and can cure everything... absolutely nothing.. Nobody will come in here. angrily] The devil only knows.. I'd never read. Good men! [Rubs his hands appreciatively] Splendid people! Oh. and eat... So I went and drank. And so did the others. and only imagine that I walk. The whole town would have been destroyed if it hadn't been for the soldiers.. they said. take them all. [OLGA and NATASHA go out. Oh. unnoticed by him] Devil take it..] IRINA. Shakespeare. looks round.] CHEBUTIKIN. Nothing. never read at all. and it's my fault that she died. Day before yesterday they were talking in the club... then goes to the wash-stand and begins to wash his hands. and I put on an expression as if I had read. [Cries] Oh.. . Let's sit down here. perhaps I don't exist at all. Yes . what a fine lot! . nasty.. Voltaire . and sleep.. but I don't remember anything now. VERSHININ. Perhaps I'm not really a man. . wretched.. I used to know a certain amount five-and-twenty years ago. and I know absolutely nothing. and I couldn't get her out of my mind. and am only pretending that I've got arms and legs and a head. and everything in my mind became crooked. TUZENBACH is wearing new and fashionable civilian clothes. . I've forgotten all I ever knew. . VERSHININ and TUZENBACH enter. I remember nothing.194 apparently sober. [IRINA.

It's dawning. TUZENBACH. Yes.. not a soul except myself. . thank you. It might be arranged. [Coming up to him] What's the time? TUZENBACH.. .] KULIGIN. [Laughs] Speaking's a bit difficult.. KULIGIN.. TUZENBACH. It's all right . She's forgotten everything. . They keep on asking me to get up a concert in aid of the sufferers. the ancients used to say. In this town absolutely nobody understands music. Ivan Romanovitch! [Pats him on the shoulder] Good man! _In vino veritas_. In my opinion Maria Sergeyevna is an excellent pianist. doctor? CHEBUTIKIN. excellent! IRINA. but I do understand it. nobody is going. They are all sitting in the dining.195 KULIGIN. if necessary. IRINA. eh. She hasn't played for three years . TUZENBACH. IRINA. [Combs his [To CHEBUTIKIN] Hadn't you better be going to sleep... or four... It's past three now. As if one could do anything. And that Soleni of yours is sitting there. and assure you on my word of honour that Maria Sergeyevna plays excellently. almost with genius.

[Pause] Yesterday I happened to hear. You are right. .] . Perhaps it will even be all to the good. I heard so. the town will be quite empty. that they want to transfer our brigade to some distant place. if it is so.. others. I don't look like anybody on earth.] VERSHININ. She's very fine.. To be able to play so admirably and to realize at the same time that nobody. nobody can understand you! KULIGIN. Of course it isn't his business but still. But will it be quite all right for her to take part in a concert? [Pause] You see. Some said to Poland..196 KULIGIN. [Sighs] Yes. a very good man even. if you wish it. to Chita. I'm awfully fond of Masha. a very clever man. too! CHEBUTIKIN. Baron. . I don't know anything about it. casually. Well. Although I must admit that our Director is a good man. [Drops the clock which breaks to pieces] To smithereens! [A pause.. I got so dirty while the fire was on. [CHEBUTIKIN takes a porcelain clock into his hands and examines it. perhaps I'd better talk to him. TUZENBACH. And we'll go away. everybody is pained and confused. still he has such views. IRINA. too. TUZENBACH.

[Sings] Won't you please accept this date. [Exit. but my two girls are standing by the door in just their underclothes. I don't know anything.. [At the door] What are you looking at? Natasha has a little romance with Protopopov.. Perhaps we only think that we exist. [MASHA enters with a pillow and sits on the sofa] And when my girls were standing by the door in just their underclothes. There you sit and see nothing. My heart was pained when I saw those faces. your mother... and Natasha has a little romance with Protopovov.] VERSHININ. and you don't see it.. and in no danger. horses and dogs are running about.. beseeching. it only looks as if I broke it. . and I don't know what else.. what these girls will have to put up with if they live long! I caught them up and ran. when really we don't. Ivan Romanovitch. when I get there I see the house is whole.197 KULIGIN. and still kept on thinking the one thing: what they will have to live through in this world! [Fire-alarm. [Laughs] How strange everything really is! [Pause] When the fire broke out. nobody knows anything. . My God. Perhaps I didn't break it. and the girls' faces are so agitated. I hurried off home. Ivan Romanovitch! A very bad mark for your misbehaviour! IRINA. their mother isn't there. That clock used to belong to our mother.. . there was a dreadful noise. and I thought that something of the sort used to . CHEBUTIKIN. To your mother. a pause] I come here and find their mother shouting and angry. Perhaps. and the street was red from the fire. Yes. [Gathering up the pieces] To smash such a valuable object-oh. the crowd is excited. uninjured. terrified. . I thought.

Trum-tum-tum ." [Laughs. Tra-ra-ra? VERSHININ. [Laughs.. [Sings. to-day I am quite exceptionally in the vein.. and still more. I do awfully want to philosophize.198 happen many years ago when an enemy made a sudden attack. Please let me continue. Oh.] "The power of love all ages know. it's just how I feel at present. I am devilishly keen on living. people will look at our present life with just the same fear. MASHA.. what a life! [Laughs] Forgive me. . [Pause] As if they are all asleep. what a life there will be. indeed. and looted. There are only three persons like yourselves in the town just now. people will live as you do. and very uncomfortable... people will be born who are better than you. [Laughs] Yes..] . and burned.. .. . and the time will come when everything will change and become as you would have it. but in future generations there will be more and more. From its assaults great good does grow. And at the same time what a difference there really is between the present and the past! And when a little more time has gone by. and the whole past will seem clumsy and dull. VERSHININ.. Tra-ta-ta..] MASHA... As I was saying: what a life there will be! Only just imagine. and then you too will go out of date. Tum-tum . and strange. and the same contempt.] [Enter FEDOTIK. in two or three hundred years perhaps. . I've dropped into philosophy again.

No. Trum-tum. there.tum-tum. and I can't? [Scents his hands. Trum. and the photographs are burnt. "If I should try to make this clear. [Laughs] Absolutely. And I was going to make you a present of a note-book. No. [Dancing] I'm burnt out. . I absolutely don't see why the Baron can. MASHA.. How's the fire? SOLENI. [SOLENI comes in." [Looks at TUZENBACH] There. we'll make a note of it. They say it's going down. there.] IRINA. [Laughs to SOLENI] Let's go into the dining-room. Please go away. Why can the Baron come here and I can't? VERSHININ. Nothing left at all.. Vassili Vassilevitch. I don't see anything funny about it. The guitar's burnt. We really must go. VERSHININ. and that's burnt too. the geese would be annoyed.199 FEDOTIK. SOLENI. [Goes out with VERSHININ and . you can't come here.] IRINA. Is everything burnt? FEDOTIK. and all my correspondence. ... I fear.] VERSHININ. Very well. I'm burnt out! Down to the ground! [Laughter. SOLENI.

I'm going to start work soon at the brickworks . the morning begins.. when you. displeased with life. .... [Laughs] Are you here? I didn't see you... Go to bed now. . Nicolai Lvovitch. [Exit. I'm off. come with me. I must say. go away! What business . I look at you now and I remember. your name-day..... let's go and work together! MASHA. I've already talked it over.] IRINA. And how happy life seemed to me. ... [Kisses IRINA'S hand] good-bye. and charming. Feodor? KULIGIN. cheerfully and merrily. go away from here. [Tenderly. then! What has happened to it now? [Kisses her hand] There are tears in your eyes. it is already day ... TUZENBACH. . were talking about the joys of labour. I mean it. You are sad.. Nicolai Lvovitch.. [In surprise] The Baron's asleep! Baron! Baron! TUZENBACH.. [Lies down] Are you asleep. [Waking] I am tired. as if it was long ago.. and beautiful.] MASHA... I'm not wandering.. . . How Soleni smelt of tobacco. . . to IRINA] You're so pale. I'll go . The brickworks.200 FEDOTIK. If only I was allowed to give my life for you! MASHA.. TUZENBACH. No. Eh? . Your paleness seems to shine through the dark air as if it was a light... Oh.

but the house doesn't belong to him alone. I'll go at once. You and I are not poor. _Omnia mea mecum . [Sits up] But I can't get it out of my head. KULIGIN.. MASHA... KULIGIN.. I'm satisfied. honest man .. KULIGIN.... well.. [Angrily] Amo. . and it seems as if I was only married yesterday. It's disgraceful. I'm bored. I'm satisfied! MASHA.. IRINA. give private lessons . KULIGIN... [Lies down] KULIGIN. [Laughs] No. My wife's a good. I'm bored. No. Shouldn't you go home. He has mortgaged this house with the bank. What's the use. . It's simply disgraceful. splendid . Masha? Andrey is in debt all round.. I love you. . .201 MASHA. I can't keep silent. You might let her rest. but to the four of us! He ought to know that. Fedia.. MASHA. anyway. I'm bored. amat. my darling Masha.. my only one. and his wife has got all the money. I mean about Andrey. I work. I am a plain. if he's an honourable man. My dear Masha. let him do as he pleases.. you really are a wonderful woman. I'm satisfied. amant.. amamus. She's tired out. take my classes. On my word. amatis. amas. It has been gnawing away at me . . she really is wonderful.. I've been your husband seven years.

I'm satisfied. ...202 porto_. The whole town talks and laughs about it. I forget everything. [Kisses her] You're tired. and I'll sit and wait for you. every day I forget it. I don't remember what is the Italian for window or.. it's awful. . I can't bear any more! OLGA. KULIGIN. and Protopopov is chairman. [Weeps] I can't. and life passes and will never return. [Sobbing] Where? Where has everything gone? Where is it all? Oh my God. [Going] I' m satisfied.] IRINA... And now everybody's gone to look at the fire. [Alarmed] What is it... [Nervily] Oh.. I can't bear it any longer! .. awful. and yesterday he was boasting that at last he had been made a member of the district council. how he's snuffed out and aged with that woman! He used to want to be a professor. what is it? Dear! IRINA. but he sits alone in his room and pays no attention. Yes. as they say. our Andrey has grown smaller. only just plays on his fiddle.. Sleep.. I can't! . just rest for half an hour.. I don't want anything. I see that we'll never go. . [OLGA comes in and clears up at her little table. but the unfairness of it disgusts me. He is a member... MASHA. well. and we'll never go away to Moscow . for ceiling . IRINA is sobbing loudly] Throw me out.. [Exit. ... everything . [Pause] You go.. my God! I've forgotten everything. and he alone knows and sees nothing. really. . throw me out. awful. Feodor. I can't. I'm satisfied.

I'm in despair and I can't understand how it is that I am still alive. plainer. I'm not crying any more. But it's all turned out to be nonsense. at any rate.. It is true that he is not handsome. enough! I used to be a telegraphist.. dear girl.. not crying.. and I have nothing but hate and contempt for all they give me to do . I am already twenty-three.. I used to think about him.. enough! OLGA. I should marry him. and time goes and it seems all the while as if I am going away from the real. but he is so honourable and clean .. I'm not crying. I tell you as a sister and a friend if you want my advice.. . and my brain has dried up. IRINA. so long as he was a decent man. I am unhappy . . Enough .. I shan't work. IRINA. but in order to do one's duty. too. people don't marry from love. . dear.. . I suffer. Don't cry.. Look. now I work at the town council offices... Even if he was old. Dear... [IRINA cries softly] You respect him. down some precipice. Dear. that I haven't killed myself.. I can't work. there I should meet my true love. and love him. I think so. Enough. marry the Baron. Whoever he was. I have already been at work for a long while. and there is no relief of any sort. . ... IRINA. and I've grown thinner. the beautiful life.203 OLGA.. don't cry .. [Controlling herself] Oh.. all nonsense. . older. . I was always waiting until we should be settled in Moscow. and I'd marry without being in love. farther and farther away. Enough.. OLGA... you think highly of him.

] he seemed so bad.. then I was sorry for him . [NATASHA with a candle walks across the stage from right to left without saying anything. his words. .. Why don't I say it .. I love Vershinin. That would be different.204 OLGA.. .. beautiful sister.. quite different. I understand everything. [Sitting up] She walks as if she's set something on fire. you're silly.. You saw him only just now. [Pause] I love. I don't hear you in any case.. Masha.] MASHA.. fell in love with his voice. OLGA. [Note: I.] MASHA. I should be happy. What am I to do? [Takes her head in her hands] First he seemed queer to me. in one word. in the correct dress for making a proposal of marriage. He asked. I love that man. [Embraces her sister] My dear. MASHA. I want to make a confession. .looking to me that I even started crying. . and never again to anybody . I'll tell you this minute. his two daughters. when Baron Nicolai Lvovitch left the army and came to us in evening dress. OLGA... Please forgive me for saying so. you're the silliest of the family.. I can't be silent.. his misfortunes.. then I fell in love with him ..e. dear sisters.... [Goes behind her screen] Stop that. [Pause.. My soul is in pain. [Softly] It's my secret but you must know everything . I will confess to you. I love . "What are you crying for?" How could I tell him! But if God brought him to marry you.. .

ANDREY. [Angrily] What do you want? I don't understand. FERAPONT. . My dear ones. MASHA. right round. ask if they can go across your garden to the river. I shan't hear. what is to become of us." to correspond to Andrey's rank as a civil servant.. my sisters . you are foolish. [At the door. then you learn that nobody knows anything. You may talk any nonsense you like. In the first place I'm not Andrey Sergeyevitch. I am in love--that means that is to be my fate. Yes. but when you fall in love yourself. [Note: Quite literally. it's a nuisance.. now I shall keep silence. It means that is to be my lot... is it? [Takes IRINA'S hand and draws her to her] Oh. .. "your high honour. it isn't good. I'm going to be silent . Where is Olga? [OLGA comes out from behind the ..... impatiently] I've already told you ten times.. Tell them it's all right. . . The firemen. Andrey Sergeyevitch. . Else they go right round. it will be all the same. followed by FERAPONT. Like the lunatics in Gogol's story.] FERAPONT... and each must decide for himself. [Behind the screen] I'm not listening. but sir. Olga. I've confessed. ANDREY. [ANDREY enters. silent ... Oh. [Exit FERAPONT] I'm tired of them. .. It is all awful. All right. my dear... How are we going to live through our lives. And he loves me.] ANDREY. sir.205 OLGA. When you read a novel it all seems so old and easy..

[OLGA gives him the key. straight and honourable--that's my opinion.. understand it. [Stands. I ask you in perfect calmness. and all your disapproval is simply silly . my wife.. [Much confused] Don't excite yourself.. that Ferapont made me so angry that I talked nonsense to him. Just now. . you seem to be annoyed because I am . I repeat. You've got a little key. . What have you against me? What is it? OLGA. Irina is here. [Pause] In the second place. indeed. Andrey. and I insist that others should respect her too. .] ANDREY. VERSHININ'S VOICE. Olga? [Pause] It's time you stopped all that nonsense and behaved as if you were properly alive. she's an honest and honourable person. Natasha is a beautiful and honest creature.. . since we're all here. I'll only say this and go. Audrey dear. well..tum! MASHA. what have you against me? Tell me straight. Go away now. Masha. You are here. loudly] Tra-ta-ta! [To OLGA] Goodbye. [Goes behind screen and kisses IRINA] Sleep well. Sir. pause] What a huge fire! It's going down now. [Exit. once and for all. Good-bye. I've noticed it since the very day of my marriage.. you've got something against Natasha...morrow. We'll talk to. let's come to a complete understanding.. God bless you.. In the first place..206 screen] I came to you for the key of the cupboard. I respect her. [A pause] Why are you so silent..... Olga. [Excited] What an awful night! ANDREY. . they're tired . I love and respect my wife. I lost my own. you can explain to-morrow.. Trum-tum. Hang it all. . Please don't. IRINA goes behind her screen.

. IRINA. It's only a rumour. honest person. . I have still this to say . thirty. don't believe me. What a restless night! [Pause] Olga! [Looks out] Did you hear? They are taking the brigade away from us. I am a member of the district council.. dear sisters. They don't hear.207 not a professor. so to speak. OLGA. .. [Exit. and I don't . For that I am to blame.five thousand . I do not play at cards any more. and I consider my service as worthy and as high as the service of science. if you want to know. . and am not engaged in study.. [Exit. all of us. [behind her screen] Olga. But.. but the chief thing I have to say in my defence is that you girls receive a pension. The stage is clear. . my wages. don't believe me.. But I work for the zemstvo.] IRINA... Natasha is a splendid. and ask to be forgiven.... . my God. I am a member of the district council. [Pause. and I am proud of it.. [Walks about in silence. [Weeps] My dear.. . He's drunk..] [Fire-alarm. then stops] When I married I thought we should be happy . . [Pause] In the third place.. it's going to be transferred to some place far away. that I have mortgaged the house without obtaining your permission. My debts led me into doing it . I stopped long ago...] KULIGIN. [At the door] Is Masha there? [Excitedly] Where is she? It's queer. who's knocking on the floor? OLGA..... It's doctor Ivan Romanovitch.] ANDREY..


IRINA. Then we shall be left alone. ... Olga!

OLGA. Well?

IRINA. My dear, darling sister, I esteem, I highly value the Baron, he's a splendid man; I'll marry him, I'll consent, only let's go to Moscow! I implore you, let's go! There's nothing better than Moscow on earth! Let's go, Olga, let's go!



[The old garden at the house of the PROSOROVS. There is a long avenue of firs, at the end of which the river can be seen. There is a forest on the far side of the river. On the right is the terrace of the house: bottles and tumblers are on a table here; it is evident that champagne has just been drunk. It is midday. Every now and again passers-by walk across the garden, from the road to the river; five soldiers go past rapidly. CHEBUTIKIN, in a comfortable frame of mind which does not desert him throughout the act, sits in an armchair in the garden, waiting to be called. He wears a peaked cap and has a stick. IRINA, KULIGIN with a cross hanging from his neck and without his moustaches, and TUZENBACH are standing on the terrace seeing off FEDOTIK and RODE, who are coming down into the garden; both officers are in service uniform.]

TUZENBACH. [Exchanges kisses with FEDOTIK] You're a good sort, we got on so well together. [Exchanges kisses with RODE] Once again. ...


Good-bye, old man!

IRINA. Au revoir!

FEDOTIK. It isn't au revoir, it's good-bye; we'll never meet again!

KULIGIN. Who knows! [Wipes his eyes; smiles] Here I've started crying!

IRINA. We'll meet again sometime.

FEDOTIK. After ten years--or fifteen? We'll hardly know one another then; we'll say, "How do you do?" coldly. ... [Takes a snapshot] Keep still. ... Once more, for the last time.

RODE. [Embracing TUZENBACH] We shan't meet again. ... [Kisses IRINA'S hand] Thank you for everything, for everything!

FEDOTIK. [Grieved] Don't be in such a hurry!

TUZENBACH. We shall meet again, if God wills it. Write to us. Be sure to write.

RODE. [Looking round the garden] Good-bye, trees! [Shouts] Yo- ho! [Pause] Good-bye, echo!

KULIGIN. Best wishes. Go and get yourselves wives there in Poland. ... Your Polish wife will clasp you and call you "kochanku!" [Note: Darling.] [Laughs.]

FEDOTIK. [Looking at the time] There's less than an hour left.


Soleni is the only one of our battery who is going on the barge; the rest of us are going with the main body. Three batteries are leaving to-day, another three to- morrow and then the town will be quiet and peaceful.

TUZENBACH. And terribly dull.

RODE. And where is Maria Sergeyevna?

KULIGIN. Masha is in the garden.

FEDOTIK. We'd like to say good-bye to her.

RODE. Good-bye, I must go, or else I'll start weeping. ... [Quickly embraces KULIGIN and TUZENBACH, and kisses IRINA'S hand] We've been so happy here. ...

FEDOTIK. [To KULIGIN] Here's a keepsake for you ... a note-book with a pencil. ... We'll go to the river from here. ... [They go aside and both look round.]

RODE. [Shouts] Yo- ho!

KULIGIN. [Shouts] Good-bye!

[At the back of the stage FEDOTIK and RODE meet MASHA; they say good-bye and go out with her.]

IRINA. They've gone. ... [Sits on the bottom step of the terrace.]

CHEBUTIKIN. And they forgot to say good-bye to me.


IRINA. But why is that?

CHEBUTIKIN. I just forgot, somehow. Though I'll soon see them again, I'm going to- morrow. Yes ... just one day left. I shall be retired in a year, then I'll come here again, and finish my life near you. I've only one year before I get my pension. ... [Puts one newspaper into his pocket and takes another out] I'll come here to you and change my life radically ... I'll be so quiet ... so agree ... agreeable, respectable. ...

IRINA. Yes, you ought to change your life, dear man, somehow or other.

CHEBUTIKIN. Yes, I feel it. [Sings softly.] "Tarara-boom-deay. ..."

KULIGIN. We won't reform Ivan Romanovitch! We won't reform him!

CHEBUTIKIN. If only I was apprenticed to you! Then I'd reform.

IRINA. Feodor has shaved his moustache! I can't bear to look at him.

KULIGIN. Well, what about it?

CHEBUTIKIN. I could tell you what your face looks like now, but it wouldn't be polite.

KULIGIN. Well! It's the custom, it's modus vivendi. Our Director is clean-shaven, and so I too, when I received my inspectorship, had


my moustaches removed. Nobody likes it, but it's all one to me. I'm satisfied. Whether I've got moustaches or not, I'm satisfied. ... [Sits.]

[At the back of the stage ANDREY is wheeling a perambulator containing a sleeping infant.]

IRINA. Ivan Romanovitch, be a darling. I'm awfully worried. You were out on the boulevard last night; tell me, what happened?

CHEBUTIKIN. What happened? Nothing. Quite a trifling matter. [Reads paper] Of no importance!

KULIGIN. They say that Soleni and the Baron met yesterday on the boulevard near the theatre. ...

TUZENBACH. Stop! What right ... [Waves his hand and goes into the house.]

KULIGIN. Near the theatre ... Soleni started behaving offensively to the Baron, who lost his temper and said something nasty. ...

CHEBUTIKIN. I don't know. It's all bunkum.

KULIGIN. At some seminary or other a master wrote "bunkum" on an essay, and the student couldn't make the letters out--thought it was a Latin word "luckum." [Laughs] Awfully funny, that. They say that Soleni is in love with Irina and hates the Baron. ... That's quite natural. Irina is a very nice girl. She's even like Masha, she's so thoughtful. ... Only, Irina your character is gentler. Though Masha's character, too, is a very good one. I'm very fond of


Masha. [Shouts of "Yo-ho!" are heard behind the stage.]

IRINA. [Shudders] Everything seems to frighten me today. [Pause] I've got everything ready, and I send my things off after dinner. The Baron and I will be married to-morrow, and to- morrow we go away to the brickworks, and the next day I go to the school, and the new life begins. God will help me! When I took my examination for the teacher's post, I actually wept for joy and gratitude. ... [Pause] The cart will be here in a minute for my things. ...

KULIGIN. Somehow or other, all this doesn't seem at all serious. As if it was all ideas, and nothing really serious. Still, with all my soul I wish you happiness.

CHEBUTIKIN. [With deep feeling] My splendid ... my dear, precious girl. ... You've gone on far ahead, I won't catch up with you. I'm left behind like a migrant bird grown old, and unable to fly. Fly, my dear, fly, and God be with you! [Pause] It's a pity you shaved your moustaches, Feodor Ilitch.

KULIGIN. Oh, drop it! [Sighs] To-day the soldiers will be gone, and everything will go on as in the old days. Say what you will, Masha is a good, honest woman. I love her very much, and thank my fate for her. People have such different fates. There's a Kosirev who works in the excise department here. He was at school with me; he was expelled from the fifth class of the High School for being entirely unable to understand _ut consecutivum_. He's awfully hard up now and in very poor health, and when I meet him I say to him, "How do you do, _ut consecutivum_." "Yes," he says, "precisely _consecutivum_ ..." and coughs. But I've been successful all my life, I'm happy, and I even have a Stanislaus Cross, of the second

. Let's go. and light. without Olga.. KULIGIN. and he came to-day . it's quite remarkable how good he is. [At the window] The head.. ..morrow night I shan't hear that "Maiden's Prayer" any more. she. much cleverer than many. Hasn't the head-mistress come yet? IRINA. Of course.] . It's fate. And suddenly my soul put out wings... work. To. It can't be helped. and I shan't be meeting Protopopov. He's a good man . Rubbish... It's all the will of God.. KULIGIN. a head-mistress. and now I myself teach others that _ut consecutivum_. with nothing to do. CHEBUTIKIN. and once again the desire for work. The head. . and hate the room I live in. [Exit with IRINA into the house. then it must come to this.. busy all day with her affairs and I'm alone.. came over me... If you only knew how difficult it is for me to live alone.. Well? I thought it over and made up my mind. but happiness doesn't only lie in that. . Nicolai Lvovitch made me a proposal. . She has been sent for. ["The Maiden's Prayer" is being played on the piano in the house. that's the truth. No..214 class... NATASHA. bored. some secret dread has been hanging over me... [Pause] Protopopov is sitting there in the drawing-room. I'm a clever man.hearted.mistress has come. Only something happened yesterday.mistress. Luckum.. . . . . I've made up my mind: if I can't live in Moscow.] IRINA. She lives at the High School. I became happy.

. [Sits] Nothing.. And did she love you? CHEBUTIKIN. Very much.. All our hopes in him have gone.. . Not yet. MASHA.. more bitter. you gradually get coarser. she used to say my man..215 CHEBUTIKIN. Andrey is like that.. . a thousand persons were hoisting it.. doing nothing. Tara-ra ." [MASHA approaches.. "It is my washing day. MASHA.. much money and labour had been spent on it. boom-deay. When you take your happiness in little bits. sitting here.. There was once a great bell.] MASHA. [Points to her bosom] I'm boiling in here. Here you are. for no particular reason. . [Looks at ANDREY with the perambulator] There's our brother Andrey. MASHA. What then? MASHA. as I have done. ... when it suddenly fell and was broken.. in snatches. [After a pause] I don't remember that.. Is my man here? When our cook Martha used to ask about her gendarme. Suddenly. . . Is he here? CHEBUTIKIN. and then lose it. CHEBUTIKIN. [Pause] Did you love my mother? CHEBUTIKIN. ANDREY is wheeling a perambulator at the back.

. and so at last Soleni had to challenge him. it strikes the hours. The devil only knows . I think. but I don't. [Looks at his watch] My watch is very old-fashioned. Soleni's.. [Somewhere a harp and violin are being played. CHEBUTIKIN.morrow. CHEBUTIKIN. Perhaps I'll return in a year. [Winds the watch and makes it strike] The first. it's all one. [Pause] Something happened yesterday by the theatre. and fifth batteries are to leave at one o'clock precisely.216 ANDREY. [Looks at his watch] It's about time. ANDREY.. that one you can see from here across the river. Nothing. MASHA.. but this is his third duel. who lost his temper and insulted him. MASHA. It will be as if they put a cover over it. [Pause] And I go to.. Piff-paff. .] ANDREY. That's all very well. . I don't know. . At half-past twelve.. and even writes verses. second. The town will grow empty.. They won't be much longer.. A silly little affair. When are they going to stop making such a noise in the house? It's awful. [Laughs] Soleni thinks he's Lermontov. . The whole town knows of it. Whose? CHEBUTIKIN. Soleni started irritating the Baron. And the Baron? . For good? CHEBUTIKIN... in the public wood.

. What about the Baron? [Pause.217 CHEBUTIKIN. but one Baron more or less-what difference does it make? It's all the same! [Beyond the garden somebody shouts "Co-ee! Hallo! "] You wait. In my opinion it's simply immoral to fight in a duel.. . .. The Baron is a good man. one of the seconds. and I alone will remain in the house.. The officers will go away. And your wife? . .] MASHA. [Exit. We don't exist. . even in the quality of a doctor. [Going] You live in a climate like this. [Looks up] Swans or geese. . Does it matter. But I say it ought not to be allowed.. [Goes along the avenue] The migrant birds are already on the wing. CHEBUTIKIN. or to be present. [Stops] I won't go into the house. CHEBUTIKIN. anyway! MASHA. where it might snow any moment. there's nothing on earth..] ANDREY. . He might wound the Baron or even kill him.. my sister is getting married.. and there you talk. You talk and talk the whole day long. CHEBUTIKIN. My dear. we don't really live.. Our house will be empty. happy things... I can't go there.. you are going.. [Pause.. That's Skvortsov shouting.] ANDREY. Tell me when Vershinin comes. . it only seems that we live... He's in a boat.. Everything's all muddled up in my head. It only seems so.

go . [SOLENI goes across the back of the stage with two officers. In any case.218 [FERAPONT enters with some documents. the better." [Goes up to him] What are you groaning about. Stop it! .. it's true. say I'll be back soon. I tell you as a friend. and then I lose myself and can't understand why I love her so much. and perhaps we'll never meet again. it's time. She's honest. oh! SOLENI.] SOLENI. without looking round. and kind. [Sighs] Oh. or.] ANDREY. "He didn't have the time to sigh. I love Natasha. [Shakes hands with ANDREY. I'm tired of the lot of you. even in some respects misshapen animal. old man? CHEBUTIKIN. Half a minute.. A wife's a wife. [Rises] I'm going away to-morrow. old chap.. but sometimes she seems extraordinarily vulgar. take a stick in your hand. as the only man to whom I can lay bare my soul. oh. but with all that there is still something about her that degenerates her into a petty. go on and on. [To ANDREY] If anybody asks for me. blind. Put on your cap. used to love her. It's half-past twelve already. The bear sat on him heavily.. so here's my advice. .. . yes. and turns to him. Doctor. he catches sight of CHEBUTIKIN. And the farther you go. well-bred. the officers go on.. at any rate. she isn't a man.] CHEBUTIKIN. CHEBUTIKIN.

[Retires to back of stage. [Pause] Yes." [Exit with SOLENI. Go away! Leave me! Please! [Goes away with the perambulator. SOLENI. ANDREY. ANDREY and FERAPONT come in.219 SOLENI. Documents to sign.. shouting "Co-ee. of a dead body. "He didn't have the time to sigh. KULIGIN walks across the stage. That's what documents are for. the rebel seeks the storm."? CHEBUTIKIN. Yes.] FERAPONT...] FERAPONT. The bear sat on him heavily.. [Irritated].. Masha. The old man is unnecessarily excited. I won't go far.] [Enter IRINA. . with TUZENBACH in a straw hat. [Takes out his scent-bottle and scents his hands] I've poured out a whole bottle of scent to-day and they still smell . How's your health? CHEBUTIKIN. You remember the poem "But he. He seems to be the only man in the town who is glad that .] [Shouts are heard. to be signed. I'll only just bring him down like a snipe. As if the storm will bring him rest . [Angry] Mind your own business. co-ee!"] TUZENBACH. ....

TUZENBACH. [Pause] The to wn will be empty.. There is nothing in my life so awful as to be able to frighten me. I have been thinking about it for so long by day and by night. I shall be true to you.. You will be happy. my dreams will come true. I must go into the town and then . Oh. and obedient to you.. wonderful hair! What eyes! I'm going to take you away to. why are you so absentminded to-day? [Pause] What took place by the theatre yesterday? TUZENBACH. What can I do! [Cries] I have never been in love in my life. We shall work. My dear.morrow. and you seem to me to grow more and more beautiful.. but my soul is like an expensive piano which is locked and the key lost. and still I can't get used to it. There's only one thing. I shall return soon. Where are you going? TUZENBACH. [Kisses her hands] My darling . but I can't love you. I didn't sleep at night. TUZENBACH. we shall be rich. only that lost key torments my . I used to think so much of love. IRINA. It's not true . [Making a movement of impatience] In an hour's time I shall return and be with you again. It isn't in my power! I shall be your wife. IRINA. [Pause] You seem so unhappy. Nicolai. [Looking her closely in the face] it's five years now since I fell in love with you. see the others off. What lovely. One can understand that.220 the soldiers are going. one thing only: you don't love me! IRINA.. IRINA..

. . Oh don't let's talk about it! I am happy. IRINA. life must be near them! [A shout of Co-ee! in the distance] It's time I went. At first you laugh at these things. [Kisses her hands] The papers which you gave me are on my table under the calendar. I am coming with you. sometimes for no apparent reason.] TUZENBACH. . What beautiful trees and how beautiful. And so it seems to me that if I die. It is as if for the first time in my life I see these firs. Good-bye. What can I say. when one comes to think of it. There's a tree which has dried up but it still sways in the breeze with the others. IRINA. you go on and you feel that you haven't got the strength to stop yourself.. what? TUZENBACH. TUZENBACH. I shall still take part in life in one way or another. What is it? . Don't! don't! [Pause. maples. Say something to me [Pause] say something to me.221 soul and does not let me sleep. [Nervously] No.. no! [He goes quickly and stops in the avenue] Irina! IRINA. dear. . It is curious how silly trivial little things. you think they are of no importance. IRINA. beeches. and they all look at me inquisitively and wait. Anything. become significant....

They only eat. . almost before we have begun to live. more people are born and also eat. I didn't make them.. Why do we. the present and the future seemed to me full of hope. drink. they are the government's.. This town has already been in existence for two hundred years and it has a hundred thousand inhabitants. [Angrily to FERAPONT] What do you want? . unhappy. ANDREY comes in with the perambulator and FERAPONT also appears. useless. . . a man of even the slightest eminence who might arouse envy or a passionate desire to be imitated. ANDREY. a single leader of men.. uninteresting. sleep. Andrey Sergeyevitch. [He goes out quickly. Oh. [Not knowing what to say] I haven't had any coffee to-day. Then she goes to the back of the stage and sits on a swing. and then they die . what has become of my past and where is it? I used to be young. it isn't as if the documents were mine. There has never been. and they become just as pitiful corpses and just as much like one another as their fathers and mothers. I used to be able to think and frame clever ideas.222 TUZENBACH. cards. become dull. and so as not to go silly from boredom.] [IRINA stands deep in thought. clever. not one of whom is in any way different from the others. lazy.. The wives deceive their husbands. sleep.. grey. happy.] FERAPONT. Tell them to make me some. apathetic. they try to make life many-sided with their beastly backbiting. drink. and pretend they see nothing and hear nothing... and the evil influence irresistibly oppresses the children and the divine spark in them is extinguished. now or at any other time.. an artist. vodka. a single scholar. and litigation. and the husbands lie.

from base idleness. I'm tired of you... Vous êtes un ours. [Takes the perambulator. [Handing him papers] The hall-porter from the law courts was saying just now that in the winter there were two hundred degrees of frost in Petersburg.. Yes'm. there is a light in the distance. . [Overcome by a tender emotion] My dear sisters.223 FERAPONT. ANDREY. FERAPONT. take the perambulator! FERAPONT. Andrey? You'll wake little Sophie. la Sophie est dormée deja. .. In Petersburg or Moscow. my sister. The people were frightened._ [Angrily] If you want to talk. _Il ne faut pas faire du bruit. I see freedom. from after-dinner naps. He was saying that two thousand people were frozen to death. but when I think of the future.] ANDREY. . What? Documents want signing. I don't remember which. The present is beastly. from kvass. how good it is! I feel so light. so free. then give the perambulator and the baby to somebody else. NATASHA. [Confused] I'm speaking quietly. Ferapont. he said. FERAPONT. ANDREY. from goose baked with cabbage. ANDREY. I see myself and my children freeing ourselves from vanities. [At the window] Who's talking so loudly out here? Is that you. my beautiful sisters! [Crying] Masha.

. together with little Olga.. Our garden might be a public thoroughfare. from the way people walk and ride across it.. . so the Lord has appointed for my old age. and I've a whole room and bed to myself. dear! And who's this? That's Aunt Olga. . what's your mother's name? Dear.. and ANFISA come out of the house and listen for a minute in silence. a man and a girl. Nurse. there isn't a happier person . OLGA.] OLGA. [To IRINA] How do you do. Olga!" [Two wandering musicians. Arisha! [Kisses her] Well.. VERSHININ. [Gives money to the musicians] Go away with God's blessing on you. All government property. give those musicians something! ANFISA. [Goes into house reading papers. still alive! Still alive! In the High School. [At the window] Bobby. FERAPONT takes the perambulator to the back of the garden. IRINA comes up to them. and you can take them back to the offices. Sinful woman that I am. and Holy Mother.224 NATASHA. are playing on a violin and a harp. [The musicians bow and go away] A bitter sort of people. nursing her boy] Bobby! Naughty Bobby! Bad little Bobby! ANDREY. I've never lived like that in my life before. little girl. [Looking through the papers] All right.. "How do you do. oh God. I'll look them over and sign if necessary. A large flat. I wake up at nights and. government property. You don't play on a full stomach. [At the window. here I am. in her official apartments .] NATASHA. Say to your aunt.

. It means there's no chance of Moscow. I haven't time.. all the same. but they made me one. [Looks at his watch] The town gave us a sort of farewell breakfast. Olga Sergeyevna.mistress. If anything happens. it will all be a memory. If you'll be so kind... VERSHININ. too. OLGA. co-ee! VERSHININ.. [Looks at his watch] We are going soon.. I'll go and look for her. [Pause] My wife and both my daughters will stay here another two months. co-ee! [Goes out with IRINA down into the garden] Co-ee.. every. Yes.morrow there won't be a single soldier left in the town. yes. of course. [Looks round the garden] I'm so used to you now.. OLGA. Probably not.. we had champagne to drink and the mayor made a speech. and. You need not worry. Where's Maria Sergeyevna? IRINA. Everything comes to an end..225 than I! VERSHININ. I'll go and look. Shall we ever meet again? VERSHININ. and I ate and listened. too. ANFISA. [Pause] I wish you every .. . of course. for us a new life will begin. or if anything has to be done . It's time for me to go.. [Pause] To. I didn't want to be a head. . [Pause] None of our plans are coming right. but my soul was here all the time. And so we. . She's somewhere in the garden. must part. [Shouts] Little Masha. ..

OLGA. [Looks at his watch] It's time I went! Mankind used to be absorbed in wars.. .. Don't. [Wipes her eyes] Why isn't Masha coming . . and industry to education.] MASHA. Well . Here she comes. [Pause] If only education could be added to industry.. OLGA..226 VERSHININ. defeats. now we've outlived all that. [MASHA is crying bitterly] .] OLGA. [Enter MASHA. Oh. leaving after us a great waste place.] VERSHININ.. I've said such an awful lot--forgive me for that too. don't think badly of me. thank you for everything. VERSHININ. but mankind is looking for something. What else can I say in parting? Can I philosophize about anything? [Laughs] Life is heavy. I came to say good-bye. it must be acknowledged that it is getting lighter and clearer... if it only happened more quickly. and it seems that the time is not far off when it will be quite clear. but still. [Prolonged kiss. Forgive me if I've . don't. [OLGA steps aside a little. and will certainly find it. so as not to be in their way. and all its existence was filled with campaigns... [Looking him in the face] Good-bye. To many of us it seems dull and hopeless. [Looks at his watch] It's time I went. which there is nothing to fill with at present.. attacks.

she's a good . And a chain of bright gold is around it. Olga is a witness to it... You're my wife. my good Masha.. .... Take her. Masha.] KULIGIN........... And a chain of bright gold is around it. by the sea. [He kisses OLGA'S hand in evident emotion.. [KULIGIN enters. let her cry.. .. .... it's time . [Restraining her sobs] "There stands a green oak by the sea.. I'm not crying any more. Don't forget! Let me go. Let's begin to live again as we used to.] MASHA... My dear Masha. Olga Sergeyevna .. KULIGIN. .." I'm going off my head . give her some water.. and not by a single word. OLGA. or hint ... Write to me.. let her.227 VERSHININ. I don't reproach you at all. don't .. "There stands ... ... She's not crying any more . MASHA. .... . Masha! Stop. I'm late .. and I'm happy." . . whatever happens . MASHA.] OLGA. then embraces MASHA once more and goes out quickly. dear.. . a green oak . . It's time. Don't... [A shot is heard from a distance.. Don't. I'm not complaining. . [Confused] Never mind.

. . I'm going away to-morrow... I don't want anything more now . Let's go in. . MASHA.... . [Drinks some water] Life is dull. Yesterday I took away these whiskers and this beard from a boy in the third class. [He puts on the whiskers and beard] Don't I look like the German master... [MASHA weeps. ... . Don't. but controls herself at once] I'm not going to go into the house. It's a very good likeness. .. OLGA. [IRINA enters.. . Be quiet.. It doesn't matter. You really do look like that German of yours. [Laughs] Yes. What do those lines mean? Why do they run in my head? My thoughts are all tangled.. Let's sit here together and say nothing....] OLGA. I won't go. ... An oak of green gold. Masha! KULIGIN. .] KULIGIN. I'll be all right in a moment. .. [Angrily] I shan't go in there.228 "There stands a green oak by the sea. . [Laughs] Don't I? The boys are amusing. [Sobs." I'm mixing it up.. IRINA. MASHA. [Pause.. And a chain of bright gold is around it .] IRINA. Masha. There's a good girl... ..

The beautiful. lovely child! What a little girlie! To-day she looked at me with such pretty eyes and said "Mamma!" KULIGIN. I say? [Shouts] Don't you dare to answer me! KULIGIN. [To the maid] What? Mihail Ivanitch Protopopov will sit with little Sophie. he laughs and takes off his beard and whiskers] How you frightened me! [To IRINA] I've grown used to you and do you think it will be easy for me to part from you? I'm going to have Andrey and his violin put into your room-. [Severely] Why is there a fork lying about here on the seat? [Going towards the house. . That means I shall have the place to myself to. And I'll give orders to have lots and lots of little flowers planted here.] NATASHA. A beautiful child. [CHEBUTIKIN comes in.. . They're going. they all listen. it's such a pity you're going away to.] .. It's an error of taste. [To IRINA] That belt doesn't suit you at all. Do stop just another week.] OLGA. [To IRINA] Irina. Temper! temper! [A march is played off.morrow. then that maple. [Sees KULIGIN and screams.let him fiddle away in there!--and we'll put little Sophie into his room...229 [Enter NATASHA.. NATASHA. It's so ugly at nights. Children are such a bother.. .. and they'll smell. and Andrey Sergeyevitch can take little Bobby out. dear. it's quite true. to the maid] Why is there a fork lying about here on the seat.. [Sighs] In the first place I shall have that avenue of fir-trees cut down.morrow. .

Yes .. I'm tired out. The Baron was killed in the duel just now. . well.. .. it's all the same! MASHA. I'll bring them. I won't say any more. . Yes.... What is it? [Pause] What is it? CHEBUTIKIN. I knew it. CHEBUTIKIN.. Olga Sergeyevna! OLGA.. I took them in ..] CHEBUTIKIN.. .. It's time. I don't know how to tell you. Nothing . such a story . now we can all go home.. What's happened? OLGA. IRINA. IRINA. . exhausted. [Sadly] Still... [Frightened] It can't be true! CHEBUTIKIN. Well. OLGA. They're going. in a moment...230 MASHA... dear. [Embraces IRINA] This is a terrible day .. I don't know how to tell you.] OLGA. what is it? For God's sake! [Cries... [Cries softly] I knew it.. Where's my coat and hat? KULIGIN. . Bon voyage! [To her husband] We must be going home. What is it? Tell me quickly. . [Whispers to her.

but our sufferings will turn into joy for those who will live after us.231 CHEBUTIKIN. the snow will cover everything. it is my washing day. there is all this suffering. The music is so gay.. they will forget our faces. and bless those who are living now. perhaps. ANDREY wheels out the perambulator in . But now we must live . pressing against one another.] MASHA. to begin our life over again. and even how many there were of us.. and one does so want to live! Oh. It's autumn now. [Sings softly] "Tarara-boom-deay.. if we could only know! [The music has been growing softer and softer.. one has quite left us. so bravely. [Puts her head on OLGA's bosom] There will come a time when everybody will know why. and I shall be working. why we are suffering. OLGA. [Takes a paper from his pocket] Let 'em cry. We remain alone.. so joyful. we must live. [Sits on a bench at the back of the stage] I'm tired. how the music plays! They are leaving us. I'll go away alone.. ... and there will be no more mysteries... and. [Embraces both her sisters] The bands are playing so gaily. IRINA. it seems that in a little while we shall know why we are living.. just work! To. smiling happily. If we could only know. our life is not yet at an end. .. Let us live.. we shall be forgotten. . Oh dear sisters. . Oh. voices. and we shall depart for ever..morrow. and I'll teach and give my whole life to those who.. my God! Time will pass on. for what purpose. working. We must live . . we must work. soon it will be winter. brings out the hat and coat. happiness and peace will reign on earth. KULIGIN." Isn't it all the same! [The three sisters are standing. . quite and for ever. need it. and people will remember with kindly words..

[Reads a paper] It's all the same! It's all the same! OLGA." . . a young footman A TRAMP A STATION-MASTER .] CHEBUTIKIN. . If only we could know. aged twenty-seven LEONID ANDREYEVITCH GAEV. if only we could know! Curtain. a student BORIS BORISOVITCH SIMEONOV-PISCHIN. a landowner ANYA. [Sings softly] "Tara. THE CHERRY ORCHARD A COMEDY IN FOUR ACTS CHARACTERS LUBOV ANDREYEVNA RANEVSKY (Mme. a maidservant FIERS. Mme.. a landowner CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA.. an old footman. a merchant PETER SERGEYEVITCH TROFIMOV. .. a clerk DUNYASHA (AVDOTYA FEDOROVNA).. her daughter. ra-boom-deay. a governess SIMEON PANTELEYEVITCH EPIKHODOV. her adopted daughter. aged seventeen VARYA (BARBARA). Ranevsky's brother ERMOLAI ALEXEYEVITCH LOPAKHIN. It is my washing-day. RANEVSKY).232 which BOBBY is sitting. aged eighty-seven YASHA.

One of the doors leads into ANYA'S room. in my chair. There is an early frost.. I wish you'd wakened me. The cherry-trees are in flower but it is chilly in the garden...] LOPAKHIN. and LOPAKHIN with a book in his hand. What's the time? DUNYASHA. [Blows out candle] It is light already. . It's a pity.. It is May. . [Listening] I think I hear them coming.. LOPAKHIN. RANEVSKY'S estate ACT ONE [A room which is still called the nursery. It is close on sunrise.. DUNYASHA. LOPAKHIN.233 POST-OFFICE CLERK GUESTS A SERVANT The action takes place on Mme. [Listens] No. How much was the train late? Two hours at least. thank God. The windows of the room are shut. They've got to collect their luggage and so on. DUNYASHA comes in with a candle. It will soon be two. and then overslept myself . [Pause] Lubov Andreyevna has been living abroad for . I thought you'd gone away. [Yawns and stretches himself] I have made a rotten mess of it! I came here on purpose to meet them at the station. The train's arrived.

The dogs didn't sleep all night. and very thin. [Enters with a bouquet. You dress just like a lady. but here I am in a white waistcoat and yellow shoes . You should know your place.] DUNYASHA.. [Turns over the pages of his book] Here I've been reading this book. and he was a little drunk. [Pause. and you'll find I'm still a peasant down to the marrow of my bones. .. with lots of money. as I remember her now. I remember when I was a boy of fifteen. little man.. it'll be all right in time for your wedding. My hands are shaking. She said.. my father. We had gone into the yard together for something or other. I shall faint. Dunyasha. . the nursery.? DUNYASHA. then picks it up] The gardener sent these. EPIKHODOV. He drops the bouquet as he enters. Dunyasha . who is dead--he used to keep a shop in the village here--hit me on the face with his fist. says they're to go into the dining-room. a pearl out of an oyster. What's up with you. I read and fell asleep. ... and my nose bled. She's a good sort--an easy. Lubov Andreyevna. and you do your hair like one too. I'm rich now. simple person. He wears a short jacket and brilliantly polished boots which squeak audibly. "Don't cry. but just think about it and examine me." [Pause] "Little man".. was still young. it's true. and she took me to the washstand here in this very room.. they know that they're coming... My father was a peasant. but I understood nothing. You oughtn't. You're too sensitive. LOPAKHIN.234 five years. LOPAKHIN. I don't know what she'll be like now. [Gives the bouquet to .

] DUNYASHA. But I don't complain. [Exit. . and the cherry-trees are all in flower. but every now and again. Ermolai Alexeyevitch. I don't know what to do about it. [Knocks over a chair] There.235 DUNYASHA. if I may use the word. And you'll bring me some kvass. you see. Go away. [DUNYASHA comes in and brings LOPAKHIN some kvass] I shall go. you can't understand a word he's saying. Some misfortune happens to me every day. And. and I beg to assure you that they squeak in a perfectly unbearable manner. Our climate is indisposed to favour us even this once. [Triumphantly] There. DUNYASHA. What shall I put on them? LOPAKHIN. He's a nice young man. Very well. You bore me. I can't approve of our climate. [Sighs] I can't. when he begins talking. EPIKHODOV. what circumstances I am in. allow me to say to you. There's a frost this morning--three degrees. Ermolai Alexeyevitch. I may confess to you. I'm used to it. He's madly in .] LOPAKHIN. and I can smile. [Exit. It is even simply marvellous.. in addition. LOPAKHIN. I think I like him. Ah! DUNYASHA. that Epikhodov has proposed to me. so to speak..] EPIKHODOV. that I bought myself some boots two days ago.

and CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA with a little dog on a chain. LOPAKHIN and DUNYASHA quickly go out. Do you remember what this room is. There they are. We tease him about it. They're coming! What's the matter with me? I'm cold all over." Enter LUBOV ANDREYEVNA." LOPAKHIN. walks quickly across the stage. ANYA. A voice is heard: "Let's go in there. DUNYASHA. and a servant with luggage--all cross the room. DUNYASHA with a parcel and an umbrella. [Joyfully. LOPAKHIN. he has just been to meet LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. FIERS.. VARYA in a long coat and with a kerchief on her head. SIMEONOV-PISCHIN. He is saying something to himself. He's an unlucky man. Let's come through here. but not a word of it can be made out.fashioned livery and a tall hat. I think. The noise behind the stage gets louder and louder. [Listens] There they come. through her tears] The nursery! . mother? LUBOV. A noise begins in the next room. Let's go and meet them. and all dressed in travelling clothes. leaning on a stick. DUNYASHA. He wears an old. every day something happens.236 love with me. The stage is empty. LOPAKHIN..] ANYA. Will she know me? We haven't seen each other for five years. . GAEV. I'm fainting! [Two carriages are heard driving up to the house. right enough. [Excited] I shall faint in a minute. They call him "Two-and-twenty troubles. Oh.

. LUBOV. The train was two hours late. . just like a nun. [To PISCHIN] My dog eats nuts too. How cold it is! My hands are quite numb. PISCHIN. We did have to wait for you! [Takes off ANYA'S cloak and hat. And I knew Dunyasha.. when it was snowing and frosty. [To LUBOV ANDREYEVNA] Your rooms. . [Astonished] To think of that. I'm awfully cold.. My dear nursery. I can't bear to wait a minute. my pet. oh. how's that for punctuality? CHARLOTTA.] GAEV. I used to sleep here when I was a baby. then her brother again] And Varya is just as she used to be. I didn't get any sleep for four nights on the journey. now! [All go out except ANYA and DUNYASHA. [Weeps] And here I am like a little girl again. . [Kisses her brother. but now? Darling! [Laughs and kisses her] We did have to wait for you. I must tell you at once. DUNYASHA.] ANYA. the white one and the violet one. you beautiful room.. You went away during Lent... There now. mother.] DUNYASHA. [Kisses her. VARYA. .237 VARYA. are just as they used to be. my joy.

"Don't wake him. [Tired] Something else now .. [Joyfully] Peter! DUNYASHA. ANYA. [Enter VARYA.Oh.. my windows. The clerk. [Looks into her room. he loves me so much! ANYA. but Barbara Mihailovna told me not to. I was so bothered. [Looks at her pocket-watch] I ought to wake him. he lives there. [She is very tired. Dunyasha. proposed to me after Easter.. quick. . Always the same. [Puts her hair straight] I've lost all my hairpins. Epikhodov." she said. I'm at home! To-morrow morning I'll get up and have a run in the garden.] . He said he was afraid he'd be in the way. in a gentle voice] My room. some coffee.238 ANYA. if I could only get to sleep! I didn't sleep the whole journey. [Exit.. This minute. DUNYASHA. as if I'd never gone away.. and even staggers as she walks. . He loves me. Peter Sergeyevitch came two days ago. DUNYASHA. He sleeps in the bath.. a bunch of keys on her belt.? DUNYASHA. I don't know what to think about it. ANYA.] DUNYASHA. Mother wants some.] VARYA.

Mother's got a footman now. I talk French perfectly horribly. We went to Paris. we only just managed to get here. And mother won't understand! We had dinner at a station. she asked for all the expensive things. VARYA. And Charlotta too.. ANYA. she's nothing left. nothing. . She's already sold her villa near Mentone. I went away in Holy Week. Yasha. and tipped the waiters one rouble each. an old abbé with a book. and find her there with various Frenchmen. You couldn't go alone. Then mother started hugging me and crying. Well. I go to her. [Weeping] Don't say any more. [Caressing her] My darling is back again! My pretty one is back again! ANYA. Charlotta talked the whole way and would go on performing her tricks. I suddenly became very sorry for mother--so sorry that I took her head in my arms and hugged her and wouldn't let her go. My mother lives on the fifth floor. at seventeen! ANYA. it's cold there and snowing. it was very cold then. don't say any more.. VARYA. Yasha wants his share too--it's too bad.. I can just imagine it! ANYA. glory be to God. darling. I did have an awful time. I tell you. Home again.239 VARYA. we've brought him here. Why did you tie Charlotta on to me? VARYA. . women.. And I haven't a copeck left either. and everything in tobacco smoke and with no comfort at all. . you've come.

. Why don't you make up your minds? Why do you keep on waiting? VARYA. oh God .] ANYA. My darling's come back. it's all like a dream. . my pretty one's come back! [DUNYASHA .240 VARYA.. like a child] In Paris I went up in a balloon! VARYA... [Shakes her fist. .. [Goes into her room. [Through her tears] I'd like to. Oh God. Not much chance of that. He's a busy man. I think that it will all come to nothing. ANYA. he pays no attention to me. [Exit. Bless the man. I'm not his affair . [Embraces VARYA. and talks lightly. ... [Sadly] Mother bought it. and there's nothing in it at all. ANYA. [Looks in at the door and moos] Moo! . .. I don't want to see him. everybody congratulates me.] VARYA. I saw the wretch. softly] Varya... O God.. [In another tone] You've got a brooch like a bee... VARYA. LOPAKHIN.. has he proposed to you? [VARYA shakes head] But he loves you. How's business? Has the interest been paid? VARYA. But everybody talks about our marriage. The place will be sold in August. ANYA. ANYA.

What time is it now? VARYA. if only you could marry a rich man.. to Moscow.. darling. I'd tramp and tramp. She screams and drops a saucer. YASHA. The birds are singing in the garden.] YASHA. the daughter of Theodore Kozoyedov. You don't remember! YASHA. That would be splendid! ANYA. [Crossing the stage: Politely] May I go this way? DUNYASHA. you little cucumber! [Looks round and embraces her. then I'd be happy and would go away somewhere by myself. Hm . It must be getting on for three. Oh. [Goes into ANYA'S room] Splendid! [Enter YASHA with a plaid shawl and a travelling bag.. looking after the house. and I think all the time.] VARYA. When you went away I was only so high. then to Kiev . I hardly knew you. and who are you? DUNYASHA. VARYA stands near the door] I go about all day. and so on. Time you went to sleep.. You have changed abroad. [Showing with her hand] I'm Dunyasha. from one holy place to another. [In the doorway: In an angry voice] What's that? . Yasha. YASHA goes out quickly.241 has already returned with the coffee-pot and is making the coffee.

[Fussing round the coffee-pot] Oh... ANYA.. . [Laughs.242 DUNYASHA.. What are you talking about. the master went to Paris once .] FIERS.. [Thoughtfully] Father died six years ago. I beg your pardon? [Joyfully] The mistress is home again. [Through her tears] I've broken a saucer. if only she knew! [Pause] And Peter Trofimov was Grisha's tutor... [Coming out of her room] We must tell mother that Peter's here. he might tell her. [Enter FIERS in a short jacket and white waistcoat. in a carriage. [Murmurs to himself] Back from Paris . [Shudders] How I understand her. away.. Fiers? FIERS.. .. and a month later my brother Grisha was drowned in the river--such a dear little boy of seven! Mother couldn't bear it. [Puts on white gloves] Is the coffee ready? [To DUNYASHA.! [Rapid exit. It may bring luck. severely] You! Where's the cream? DUNYASHA. I told them not to wake him. dear me . nervously] The mistress is going to have some food here.. Oh. you bungler.. . without looking round. [Goes to the coffee-pot. . VARYA.... ANYA.] VARYA. .. she went away. .] FIERS. VARYA.

and SIMEONOV-PISCHIN.243 I've lived to see her! Don't care if I die now. Who does? LOPAKHIN.. moves his arms and body about as if he is playing billiards.] LUBOV. Good-night. the latter in a long jacket of thin cloth and loose trousers. I'm going to bed. GAEV. My lovely little one. [Kisses her face and hands] God be with you. ANYA. How you do resemble your mother! [To his sister] You were just like her at her . Red into the corner! Twice into the centre! GAEV. and now I'm fifty-one. LOPAKHIN. Let me remember now. coming in. ANYA. Right into the pocket! Once upon a time you and I used both to sleep in this room. GAEV. Yes. Good-night. [Weeps with joy. uncle. it does seem strange. GAEV. [Kisses her. I said that time does go.] LUBOV. mother. LOPAKHIN. [Kisses her hand] Glad to be at home? I can't get over it.. .] [Enter LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. GAEV. It smells of patchouli here. GAEV. time does go.

then we'll all go. Is it really I who am sitting here? [Laughs] I want to jump about and wave my arms. I drink it day and night. Luba. [Laughs] You're just the same as ever.244 age.] VARYA. dear old man. I'll go and see if they've brought in all the luggage. [ANYA gives her hand to LOPAKHIN and PISCHIN and goes out. LUBOV. It's a very long journey. [Covers her face with her hands] But suppose I'm dreaming! God knows I love my own country. [Draws her close and kisses her] I'll have some coffee now. Thank you. [Exit. I couldn't look out of the railway carriage. . GAEV. dear old man. sirs. VARYA.] LUBOV. [Through her tears] Still. The day before yesterday. quite time you went. She's awfully tired. I'm used to coffee. [Kisses FIERS. dear. shutting the door behind her. it's getting on for three. I must have my coffee. I cried so much. Fiers. Thank you. He doesn't hear well. [To LOPAKHIN and PISCHIN] Well. I love it deeply. PISCHIN. FIERS. Thank you. [FIERS lays a cushion under her feet] Thank you.] LUBOV. Varya. I'm so glad you're still with us.

touching eyes would look at me as they did before. Nurse has died in your absence. Your brother. and even more. You can laugh at me. GAEV.. Leonid Andreyevitch. GAEV.. And Anastasius has died too. a usurer. Only I do wish you would believe in me as you once did.looking as ever. Merciful God! My father was the serf of your grandfather and your own father. I'm a silly woman.. [Jumps up and walks about in great excitement] I'll never survive this happiness.. LOPAKHIN.. .. [Kisses cupboard] My little table. but you--you more than anybody else--did so much for me once upon a time that I've forgotten everything and love you as if you belonged to my family . You're as fine. I'm awfully sorry! I should like to have a look at you. bless her soul. Peter Kosoy has left me and now lives in town with the Commissioner of Police. PISCHIN. confound it all. [Sits and drinks coffee] Yes. I can't sit still. says I'm a snob. I've got to go off to Kharkov by the five o'clock train. dressed in Paris fashions . LUBOV. LUBOV.. [Breathes heavily] Even finer. [Takes a box of sugar-candy out of his pocket and sucks a piece. to gossip a little. I heard by letter. My dear little cupboard. .looking .] . Let him talk.. I'm not in a state to do it. but that is absolutely nothing to me.245 LOPAKHIN... that your wonderful.

and cut down the old cherry orchard. If there's anything interesting or remarkable in the whole province. but you don't understand anything at all. Cut it down? My dear man. GAEV. Dashenka. and if you advertise now I'm willing to bet that you won't have a vacant plot left by the autumn. of course. you're saved. You will get twenty.. and clean up. the railway runs by. Ermolai Alexeyevitch. I don't understand you at all. . and the sale is fixed for August 22. . Please attend carefully! Your estate is only thirteen miles from the town..246 PISCHIN. your cherry orchard is to be sold to pay your debts. which isn't any use to anybody now. and if the cherry orchard and the land by the river are broken up into building lots and are then leased off for villas you'll get at least twenty. but I'll tell you all about it in two or three words. this house. you'll have to put things straight. sends her love. dear madam.. I want to say something very pleasant. LUBOV. In a word. My daughter.five roubles a year for each dessiatin from the leaseholders at the very least. but you needn't be alarmed. How utterly absurd! LUBOV. [Looks at his watch] I'm going away at once. For instance. Here's my plan. LOPAKHIN. you must excuse me. As you already know. LOPAKHIN...five thousand roubles a year profit out of it. it's this cherry orchard of ours.. to you. they'll all go. you may sleep in peace. I congratulate you. Only. very delightful. you'll have to pull down all the old buildings. there's a way out. I haven't much time . .

nobody buys any. They've forgotten... GAEV. .. and nicely scented. they dried the cherries. both the cherry orchard and the whole estate will be up for auction. And then we'd send the dried cherries off in carts to Moscow and Kharkov. PISCHIN. and made jam of them. forty or fifty years back. [To LUBOV ANDREYEVNA] What about Paris? Eh? Did you eat frogs? LUBOV. sweet. GAEV.. soaked them and pickled them.. PISCHIN. [Looks at his watch] If we can't think of anything and don't make up our minds to anything. Make up your mind! I swear there's no other way out. . Nobody remembers. What was the way? FIERS. I ate crocodiles. now. Be quiet. and it used to happen that . and even then you don't know what to do with them. . In the old days. I'll swear it again. juicy. It only bears fruit every other year. This orchard is mentioned in the "Encyclopaedic Dictionary. To think of that." LOPAKHIN. LUBOV. then on August 22.247 LOPAKHIN. And money! And the dried cherries were soft. The only remarkable thing about the orchard is that it's very large. Fiers. They knew the way.. FIERS. FIERS.

. how old this case is? A week ago I took out the bottom drawer. . There are two telegrams for you. little mother. .. [Picks out a key and noisily unlocks an antique cupboard] Here they are. [Astonished] A hundred years.. All towns now. It hasn't a soul of its own.248 LOPAKHIN. and now the people who live in villas have arrived. it's a fine bookcase. Think of that! GAEV. At present he sits on his balcony and drinks tea. say what you will. it's a real thing. are surrounded by villas. What do you think of that? What? We could celebrate its jubilee. splendid. [Handling it] My dear and honoured case! I congratulate you on your existence.. but still. That case was made exactly a hundred years ago. I looked and saw figures burnt out in it.] VARYA.. PISCHIN.. They're from Paris. GAEV. LUBOV. And do you know. and then your cherry orchard will be happy. but it may well come to pass that he'll begin to cultivate his patch of land. And it's safe to say that in twenty years' time the villa resident will be all over the place... GAEV. rich. . Luba. [Angry] What rot! [Enter VARYA and YASHA. even small ones. which has already for . [Tears them up without reading them] I've done with Paris. Up to now in the villages there were only the gentry and the labourers. Yes .

249 more than a hundred years been directed towards the bright ideals of good and justice. [Pause. [Frightened] You're off your head! PISCHIN. You're just the same as ever. Red ball goes into the middle pocket! LOPAKHIN. Leon. Give them here. GAEV. [Looks at his watch] It's time I went. dear madam... You oughtn't to take medicines.. Yes.] LOPAKHIN. they do you neither harm nor good. . turns them out into the palm of his hand. . dear madam. blows on them. I've taken all the pills.] FIERS. [A little confused] Off the white on the right. They were here in Easter week and ate half a pailful of . educating us up to ideals of goodness and to the knowledge of a common consciousness. into the corner pocket. puts them into his mouth. LOPAKHIN. [Takes the pills. LUBOV. and drinks some kvass] There! LUBOV. [Giving LUBOV ANDREYEVNA her medicine] Will you take your pills now? PISCHIN. YASHA. Gormandizer! [All laugh.. your silent call to productive labour has not grown less in the hundred years [Weeping] during which you have upheld virtue and faith in a better future to the generations of our race.

. We're used to that. [To LUBOV ANDREYEVNA].] LOPAKHIN. [Takes her hand away] If you let people kiss your hand.. [Kisses PISCHIN] Au revoir. He's been mumbling away for three years.250 cucumbers. [Tries to kiss her hand. good-bye. LOPAKHIN. [Mumbles. What's he driving at? VARYA. ... then just let me know. [Kisses LUBOV ANDREYEVNA'S hand] Now. Charlotta Ivanovna. Think about it seriously. then your shoulder. and I'll raise a loan of 50. has a lorgnette at her waist. I want to go to bed. Charlotta Ivanovna! LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. My luck's out to-day! [All laugh] Show us a trick. dressed in white: she is very thin and tightly laced. I haven't said "How do you do" to you yet. and then . We shall see each other in three weeks. It's time to go. then to FIERS and to YASHA] I don't want to go away. [Gives his hand to VARYA. [Exit.000 roubles at once. If you think about the villas and make up your mind. . Senile decay. do us a trick. It's not necessary. Excuse me. YASHA. then they'll want your elbow. CHARLOTTA. Charlotta.] CHARLOTTA.] LOPAKHIN. [To GAEV] See you again. [CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA crosses the stage.] LUBOV.

. also says that . PISCHIN. LUBOV. he's a worthy man. I used to think. PISCHIN. .. FIERS.morrow. . The coffee's all gone... but wakes up again at once] But still. VARYA. And my Dashenka . uncle. Varya's going to marry him. lo and behold. [Exit.. Don't talk too much. and they paid me for it.. we can go to bed.... now! LOPAKHIN. 240 roubles ... to pay the interest on my mortgage to. I'm going. in an insistent tone] You've put . if you could lend me . To speak the honest truth . I've nothing at all.. I'm a dead man. dear madam. LUBOV.morrow .. He's a good man.251 VARYA.. she's got a lottery ticket. [Angrily] Do go. I beg pardon." when. And something else will happen to-day or to.000 roubles . VARYA. [Snores. [Brushing GAEV'S trousers. Varya? I should be very glad. Why not... Dashenka may win 20. she says lots of things. Snob. I'll find it all right [Laughs] I never lose hope.. I'm going. we haven't got it! LUBOV. he's Varya's young man.... a railway was built over my land . Still. It's quite true. "Everything's lost now.. [Frightened] We haven't got it. .] GAEV..

Look. Happiness used to wake with me every morning.. Luba? There's that long avenue going straight. my orchard! After the dark autumns and the cold winters.252 on the wrong trousers again. like a stretched strap.. Where? VARYA. [Opens window quietly] The sun has risen already.. my childhood. God bless you. [Laughs from joy] It's all. nothing has changed. you're young again. Do you remember? You haven't forgotten? LUBOV. it isn't cold. little mother. and then it was just as it is now. straight. if I could forget my past! GAEV. I used to look out from here into the orchard. What am I to do with you? VARYA. and they'll sell this orchard to pay off debts. [Opens the other window] The whole garden's white.. Yes. . there's my dead mother going in the orchard . You haven't forgotten. it shines on moonlight nights. GAEV. the angels of heaven haven't left you. days of my innocence! In this nursery I used to sleep. [Looks out into the garden] Oh. all white! Oh. [Quietly] Anya's asleep. . little mother: what lovely trees! And the air! The starlings are singing! GAEV. dressed in white! [Laughs from joy] That's she. How strange it seems! LUBOV. full of happiness. If only I could take my heavy burden off my breast and shoulders. Look.

my boy . LUBOV.. I thought I saw somebody. There's nobody there. he was drowned. VARYA. through his tears] It's all right. it's all right. What are we to do.. my son.. Peter Trofimov. [Kisses her hand warmly] I was told to wait till the morning. but I didn't have the patience. Lubov Andreyevna! [She looks round at him] I only want to show myself. Peter. VARYA. My Grisha . TROFIMOV. [Still weeping] My boy's dead.. [Enter TROFIMOV in a worn student uniform and spectacles] What a marvellous garden! White masses of flowers.] GAEV. at the turning by the summer-house.] VARYA. little mother? It's the will of God. looking just like a woman.... Luba. my . Grisha . TROFIMOV.. [Weeps] But I told you. LUBOV. [LUBOV ANDREYEVNA looks surprised. once the tutor of your Grisha. Why? Why.253 LUBOV. TROFIMOV. On the right. . to wait till to-morrow.. [Crying] It's Peter Trofimov. that's enough. and I'll go away.. a white little tree bent down. . Have I changed so much? [LUBOV ANDREYEVNA embraces him and cries softly. [Confused] That's enough. [Softly. the blue sky.

. LUBOV. and now your hair is not at all thick and you wear spectacles. you could get me 240 roubles to. my dear. then. . .. Oh. I am speaking so loudly. a nice little student... it's a small sum. Are you really still a student? [Goes to the door.. PISCHIN. [Follows her] Yes.. making such a noise. LUBOV. Still the same story.] TROFIMOV. let's go to bed. Two hundred and forty roubles . Leonid will give it to you. PISCHIN. PISCHIN. Well. [Kisses her brother. In the train an old woman called me a decayed gentleman.. LUBOV. I haven't any money. . LUBOV.. And you've grown older... . dear man. Let him have it. Well. then VARYA] Well. Peter? What's made you look so bad? Why have you grown so old? TROFIMOV. to pay the interest on the mortgage. . Lubov Andreyevna. If only. Leonid. Leonid.. we've got to go to bed. I'll give it back . my gout! I'll stay the night here. . You were quite a boy then. I suppose I shall always be a student.morrow morning-- GAEV.254 friend? [Softly] Anya's asleep in there....

My sister hasn't lost the habit of throwing money about. he'll give it back. and FIERS go out. YASHA.. she's been sitting in the servants' room since yesterday. GAEV. . Bless the woman! VARYA. YASHA. She'd give away everything. [To YASHA] Stand off. [Pause] If there's any illness for which people offer many remedies. Really? [To VARYA] What's he saying? VARYA.. Mother hasn't altered a scrap. . I think.] VARYA. GAEV. Why not? He wants it. Leonid Andreyevitch. [Exit... you smell of poultry. YASHA.] GAEV. LUBOV. I work my brains to their hardest. Shameless man. [Grins] You are just the same as ever. Yes. you may be sure that particular illness is incurable.255 GAEV. PISCHIN. [To YASHA] Your mother's come from the village. she's just as she always was. GAEV. A lot of use there is in her coming. if the idea only entered her head. TROFIMOV. I've several . She might have come tomorrow just as well. and YASHA remain. and wants to see you. By all means. VARYA. hold out your hand. [LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. do.

[Whispers] Anya's in the doorway.. She's nice and kind and charming. Don't cry. very rich. [Enter ANYA. VARYA. It's no good.] VARYA.. it would be nice to marry our Anya to a rich man.. not a noble. . you're my all. . Really? [Pause] It's curious. I can't see properly out of it. something's got into my right eye . very many. in the first place. My aunt's very rich.. Why aren't you in bed. My darling! [Kisses ANYA'S face and hands] My child.. Anya? ANYA. . it would be nice to go to Yaroslav and try my luck with my aunt the Countess. [ANYA appears in the doorway] She not only married a man who was not a noble. Can't sleep. when I was at the District Court . and that really means I've none at all. but she behaved herself in a way which cannot be described as proper. but say what you will in her favour and you still have to admit that she's wicked. [Crying] You're not my niece. [Weeps] If only God helped us. but she doesn't like us. And on Thursday...256 remedies.. My sister.. you can feel it in her slightest movements. GAEV.. It would be nice to inherit a fortune from somebody. VARYA. My aunt is very. you're my angel. . GAEV. married an advocate. and I'm very fond of her. GAEV.

. And when you've rested you'll go to Yaroslav to the Countess. believe . ANYA. I'll go on Tuesday. All right. no more than that. We'll pay up the interest. Everybody loves you and respects you . your grandmother. and now I think I can arrange a loan to pay the interest into the bank. and we'll be safe. I'll talk with them about it again. uncle. he. [Puts some sugar-candy into his .. uncle dear. Save me.. yes. I'm certain. I do believe in you. that. [Kisses their hands] I'll be quiet. [Covers his face with her hand] Yes. uncle dear. you really ought to say less. your own sister? Why did you say those things? GAEV.. it was awful. But let's talk business. won't refuse . we'll have three irons in the fire. [To ANYA] Your mother will have a talk to Lopakhin. but. I'll be quiet. really. You'd be so much happier in yourself if you only kept quiet. ANYA...257 Believe in me. VARYA.. and we began to talk of this. So you see. On Thursday I was in the District Court. and a lot of us met there together. that's all. What were you saying just now about my mother. it's so silly! And only when I'd finished I knew how silly it was. Keep quiet. GAEV. Yes. If only God would help us! GAEV.. [To VARYA] Don't howl. you ought to say nothing. VARYA. and the other. my God! And only just now I made a speech before a bookcase . Yes. of course.

. that the estate will not be sold! [Excitedly] I swear on my happiness! Here's my hand.258 mouth] I swear on my honour. I'm coming.! I'll give you the details to.] FIERS. [Angrily] Leonid Andreyevitch! GAEV. Fiers. [Embraces him] I'm happy now! I'm happy! All's well! [Enter FIERS. don't you fear God? When are you going to bed? GAEV. I assure you. but let's go to bed now. People don't praise those years much. ANYA. [Kisses ANYA and VARYA] I'm a man of the eighties. Be quiet. I'm coming. uncle! VARYA. Well. Soon. . [Exit.. uncle. Off two cushions into the middle! I turn over a new leaf.. . children.. You may call me a dishonourable wretch if I let it go to auction! I swear by all I am! ANYA.morrow. uncle! FIERS.. You're doing it again. . [She is calm again and happy] How good and clever you are. soon. FIERS goes out after him. You go away. I'll undress myself. bye-bye .. [Reproachfully] Leonid Andreyevitch.] . . The peasants don't love me for nothing. Go to bed now.. but I can still say that I've suffered for my beliefs... on anything you will.. We've got to learn to know the peasants! We ought to learn how.

Then I heard that they were saying that I had ordered them to be fed on peas and nothing else. In the distance. [Sits down. [Yawns] He comes.. "What's this. dear! Mother and uncle! VARYA.. if that's what the matter is. There's been an unpleasantness here while you were away. you old fool. And it was all Evstigney's doing.. only the old people live--little old Efim and Polya and Evstigney. [Leads her] My darling's gone to sleep! Come on.. half-asleep] I'm so tired . . as you know.. I'll go.. come on! [They go into ANYA'S room.] TROFIMOV. from meanness. uncle. Come along! .... [Looks at ANYA] Anya dear! [Pause] She's dropped off. [Quietly. and Karp as well. you see.. Very well. I'm quieter now. . dear.. .. They started letting some tramps or other spend the night there--I said nothing. TROFIMOV crosses the stage and stops on seeing VARYA and ANYA] Sh! She's asleep. I don't want to go to Yaroslav. So I call Evstigney. . all the bells ." . thanks to uncle.. .. In the old servants' part of the house. just you wait. ... It's time to go to sleep. Come on.. the other side of the orchard..259 ANYA. dear.. ANYA. "Evstigney. [Takes ANYA'S arm] Let's go to bye-bye. .] VARYA. I thought. [They go. asleep. I don't like grandmother. a shepherd plays his pipe." I say. [Moved] My sun! My spring! Curtain.. Come on. but I'm calm now.

On one side rise dark poplars. It is close on sunset. behind them begins the cherry orchard. I haven't anybody at all. she has unslung a rifle from her shoulders and is putting to rights the buckle on the strap. EPIKHODOV stands by and plays on a guitar.] CHARLOTTA. which can only be seen on the finest and clearest days. And when papa and mamma died a German lady took me to her and began to teach me. but I haven't anybody to talk to . and an old garden seat. YASHA.. which has been long abandoned. and I think I'm young. . I liked it. The road is seen to GAEV'S estate. and DUNYASHA are sitting on the seat. [Takes a cucumber out of her pocket and eats] I don't know anything. [Plays on the guitar and sings] "What is this noisy earth to me. When I was a little girl my father and mother used to go round fairs and give very good performances and I used to do the _salto mortale_ and various little things. What matter friends and foes?" . which apparently are old tombstones. In the distance is a row of telegraph poles.. I don't know. CHARLOTTA. And where I came from and who I am. [Pause] I do want to talk. EPIKHODOV. I grew up and became a governess. all seem thoughtful. near it a well and large stones. I don't know how old I am. [Thoughtfully] I haven't a real passport.260 ACT TWO [In a field.. crooked shrine.. and far. far away on the horizon are the indistinct signs of a large town. Who my parents were--perhaps they weren't married--I don't know. An old. CHARLOTTA wears a man's old peaked cap.

] CHARLOTTA. women must be madly in love with you. .] CHARLOTTA. These people sing terribly. I always carry a revolver about with me. I'm an educated man.] EPIKHODOV.. are a very clever man and very terrible.261 I do like playing on the mandoline! DUNYASHA. I read various remarkable books. That is perfectly natural. Now I'll go. I cannot differ from you there. not a mandoline. as it were. YASHA. it must be nice to live abroad. certainly. Yes. Epikhodov. I've done. That's a guitar. [Yawns and lights a cigar. That goes without saying. in case. [Slings the rifle] You. YASHA. [To YASHA] Still. By all the flames of love returned!" [YASHA sings too. Brrr! [Going] These wise ones are all so . For the enamoured madman. [Shows a revolver. Abroad everything is in full complexity. [Sings] "Oh that the heart was warmed.. [Looks at herself in a little mirror and powders herself. So. Here it is. Foo! Like jackals. but I cannot understand the direction I myself want to go--whether to live or to shoot myself.] EPIKHODOV. EPIKHODOV. this is a mandoline. DUNYASHA.

to give an example. I went into service when I was quite a little girl. DUNYASHA. I'm always alone.] DUNYASHA. I should prefer to be alone with you. It's a little damp here. for two words. that fate has been as pitiless in her dealings with me as a storm is to a small ship.262 stupid. between you and me and the gatepost. like that. then why did I wake up this morning.. only first bring me my little cloak.. and now I'm not used to common life. [Takes guitar and exits. and I don't know who I am or why I live. independently of everything else. I must express my feeling. [Pause] I'm so nervous. [Shows with both hands] And if I do drink some kvass. [Sighs. such as a beetle? [Pause] Have you read Buckle? [Pause] I should like to trouble you.. why is it that there is bound to be something of the most indelicate nature in it.] EPIKHODOV. strumming. . Very well . I'm worried. and my hands are white. As a matter of fact. let us grant. alone. I am wrong. I'll bring it. I hope to goodness he won't shoot himself. Suppose.] DUNYASHA. Two-and-twenty troubles! A silly man. EPIKHODOV. among other things.. [Shy] Very well. [Exit slowly. Avdotya Fedorovna... I've nobody at all . I've nobody to talk to.. It's by the cupboard. . [Yawns.] YASHA. Say on. Now I know what to do with my revolver. and behold an enormous spider on my chest.. . EPIKHODOV.

respectable and afraid of everything.. you can talk about everything. [Kisses her] Little cucumber! Of course.] LOPAKHIN.263 white as a lady's. . go by this path. that's made this place very handy. GAEV.. sitting by the shrine. The question is perfectly plain. YASHA. yes or no? Just one word! LUBOV. [Pause] It's nice to smoke a cigar out in the open air. and people with her. . You must make up your mind definitely--there's no time to waste. I'm awfully in love with you.. DUNYASHA. They built that railway. [Exit. you're educated. I can't stand that sort of thing. Are you willing to let the land for villas or no? Just one word. I'm so tender and so delicate now. . I'm so frightened. [Pause. DUNYASHA. And I don't kno w what will happen to my nerves if you deceive me. Yasha. YASHA remains. there's nothing I dislike more than a badly behaved girl. [Listens] Somebody's coming.. It's the mistress. I think this: if a girl loves anybody. as if you'd been bathing in the river. [DUNYASHA embraces him suddenly] Go to the house. Enter LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. every girl must respect herself. or they'll meet you and will think I've been meeting you.] GAEV. then that means she's immoral. and LOPAKHIN.] YASHA. [Yawns] Yes. Who's smoking horrible cigars here? [Sits. [Coughs quietly] My head's aching because o f your cigar.

red in the middle! I'd like to go in now and have just one game. scattering gold coins] There. LOPAKHIN. in the kitchen the old people only get peas.. [Collects the coins.. Yes. . YASHA.. LUBOV.] LUBOV. [Looks in her purse] I had a lot of money yesterday. Leon? Why do you eat so much? Why do you talk so much? You talked again too much to-day in the restaurant. GAEV. And why did I go and have lunch there? ... Why do you drink so much. A horrid restaurant with band and tablecloths smelling of soap. Please do. You'll have time. and it wasn't at all to the point--about the seventies and about decadents. .264 [Sits] Went to town and had lunch .. [Yawns] Really! LUBOV. [Laughs] I can't listen to your voice without laughing. My poor Varya feeds everybody on milk soup to save money. they are all over the place. Just one word! [Imploringly] Give me an answer! GAEV. Permit me to pick them up. [Waves his hand] I can't be cured. [Drops the purse. and I spend recklessly. but there's very little to-day. [Irritably to YASHA] What's the matter? Why do you keep twisting about in front of me? YASHA. that's obvious. And to whom? Talking to the waiters about decadents! LOPAKHIN. Yasha.. ..

or anybody so unbusinesslike and peculiar. I say the same thing every day.265 GAEV.. [To his sister] Either he or I .] LOPAKHIN. I tell you every day. LOPAKHIN. That rich man Deriganov is preparing to buy your estate. [Gives purse to LUBOV ANDREYEVNA] I'll go at once.. what? LOPAKHIN. [Exit. LUBOV. get out of this. . Our Yaroslav aunt has promised to send something. but I don't know when or how much. YASHA. [Hardly able to keep from laughing] This minute. They say he'll come to the sale himself.. perhaps? LUBOV. They say so in town. Go away. Here I am telling you in plain language that your estate will be sold. but I've never met such frivolous people as you before.. LUBOV. and you don't seem to understand. . Yasha. I'd be glad of ten or fifteen thousand. What are we to do? Tell us.. . LOPAKHIN. LUBOV.. How much will she send? A hundred thousand roubles? Or two. You must excuse my saying so. Where did you hear that? LOPAKHIN. GAEV.

excuse me.. [Pause] I keep on waiting for something to happen... immediately--the auction is staring you in the face: Understand! Once you do definitely make up your minds to the villas. as if the house is going to collapse over our heads. LUBOV.. What sins have you committed? . Perhaps we'll find some way out! LOPAKHIN. GAEV. I must cry or yell or faint. . LOPAKHIN. . be a dear. I can't stand it! You're too much for me! [To GAEV] You old woman! GAEV..] LUBOV. don't go away. [Frightened] No. do stop. Please don't go away.. [Thinking deeply] Double in the corner .266 Both the cherry orchard and the land must be leased off for villas and at once. What's the good of trying to think! LUBOV. I entirely agree with you. Villas and villa residents--it's so vulgar.. It's nicer when you're here. LUBOV. GAEV. . then you'll have as much money as you want and you'll be saved. Really! LOPAKHIN.. across the middle. LOPAKHIN. We have been too sinful. Old woman! [Going out. Please.

. Oh. quite away.] GAEV. He begs my forgiveness... never to see this river again . [Tears it up] Don't I hear music? [Listens... You remember--four violins. And suddenly I longed to be back in Russia. the sick man wore me out. my sins. and for three years I knew no rest either by day or night. I fell in love with another man and went off with him. with my little girl. That is our celebrated Jewish band. . I tried to poison myself. my own land. like a madwoman. My husband died of champagne--he drank terribly-and to my misfortune. I bought a villa near Mentone because _he_ fell ill there.I shut my eyes and ran without thinking. Lord be merciful to me. in the river . and a double-bass.. and just at that time--it was my first punishment. . [Wipes her tears] Lord. never to return.267 GAEV. my boy was drowned... .. I've always scattered money about without holding myself in. and I went away. and my soul dried up. so shameful. without respect. [Laughs. . LUBOV So it still exists? It would be nice if they came along some evening. [Puts candy into his mouth] They say that I've eaten all my substance in sugar-candies.. . . . and I married a man who made nothing but debts.. but _he_ ran after me .. I went away to Paris. And last year.. a blow that hit me right on the head--here.. forgive me my sins! Punish me no more! [Takes a telegram out of her pocket] I had this to-day from Paris. without pity..] LUBOV.. and there he robbed me of all I had and threw me over and went off with another woman. It was so silly. a flute... he implores me to return. when they had sold the villa to pay my debts.

LOPAKHIN. what matters most.268 LOPAKHIN... she's a nice girl. I'm offered a place in a bank. my friend. .. he was always drunk. [Listens] I can't hear. You ought to get married. we live a silly life. you ought to go and look at yourself. she's in love with you. [Pause] My father was a peasant. She's quite homely in her ways. Six thousand roubles a year. What a grey life you lead. works all day. like a pig! LUBOV. LOPAKHIN. . LOPAKHIN... Why not to our Varya? She's a nice girl. I'm a fool and an idiot too. ." [Laughs] I saw such an awfully funny thing at the theatre last night. It's true.. You oughtn't to go and see plays. In point of fact. what a lot you talk unnecessarily. I'm quite sure there wasn't anything at all funny. And you've liked her for a long time. [Sings quietly] "For money will the Germans make a Frenchman of a Russian.] GAEV. Well? I don't mind . and. LUBOV. that's true. I've never learned anything. LOPAKHIN. I write so that I'm quite ashamed before people. LUBOV. he didn't teach me. Yes. To speak the straight truth. LUBOV. an idiot. and always used a stick on me. my handwriting is bad. he understood nothing... [Pause. Yes .

put this on. [To GAEV] Please. I've been alive a long time. . old man. they used to beat them. [Pause] I remember everybody was happy. They were already getting ready to marry me before your father was born. but now everything's all anyhow and you can't understand anything. You went away this morning without telling me. [Putting it on] You're a nuisance. it's damp.] FIERS. sir..... What's the matter with you! Stay where you are. . . [Enter FIERS with an overcoat.269 Did you hear? LUBOV. [Examining GAEV. How old you've grown. Only I didn't agree with the Emancipation and remained with my people. LOPAKHIN. .] LUBOV. but they didn't know why. [Laughs] And when the Emancipation came I was already first valet. [Not hearing] Rather.. It was very good for them in the old days... The peasants kept their distance from the masters and the masters kept their distance from the peasants. Fiers! FIERS. At any rate.. . I beg your pardon? LOPAKHIN. FIERS. FIERS It's all very well. GAEV. She says you've grown very old! FIERS.

He'll soon be fifty. don't you worry. like that. LOPAKHIN. Mother's sitting down here. [Embracing ANYA and VARYA] If you two only knew how much I love you. Here they are. [Tenderly] Come. ANYA. LOPAKHIN. Leave off your silly jokes! LOPAKHIN. [All sit down. There's no General at all. . and VARYA.] GAEV. Getting angry. He's talking rubbish. Sit down next to me.] LOPAKHIN. and he's still a student.270 GAEV. can't you. TROFIMOV. eh. LUBOV. silly? TROFIMOV. Our eternal student is always with the ladies.. my dears. TROFIMOV. I've been promised an introduction to a General who may lend me money on a bill. ANYA. come. And you won't pay your interest. . I've got to go to town tomorrow. LUBOV.. Nothing will come of it. That's not your business. Shut up. [Enter TROFIMOV. Be quiet. Fiers.

then what pride can there be. LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. so you are needed too. nothing more. There's something mystical about the proud man. in your sense. what sense can there be in it. and you'll soon be a millionaire. but if you take the matter simply. [Laughs] I wonder what you think of me? TROFIMOV. You'll die.271 LOPAKHIN. About what? GAEV. Peter. Who knows? And what does it mean--you'll die? Perhaps a man has a hundred senses. I think. let's go on with yesterday's talk! TROFIMOV. if in the vast majority of cases he is coarse and stupid and deeply unhappy? We must stop admiring one another. and when he dies only the five known to . without complicating it. No. GAEV. [All laugh. if a man is imperfectly made. physiologically speaking. TROFIMOV. Perhaps you are right from your point of view. TROFIMOV. Just as the wild beast which eats everything it finds is needed for changes to take place in matter. Better tell us something about the planets. We must work.] VARYA. About the proud man. Ermolai Alexeyevitch. that you're a rich man. Yesterday we talked for a long time but we didn't come to anything in the end. all the same.

LUBOV. where are those créches we hear so much of? and where are those reading-rooms? People only write novels about them. and so on.272 us are destroyed and the remaining ninety-five are left alive. but they use "thou" and "thee" to their servants.. The vast majority of those intellectuals whom I know seek for nothing. perfecting its powers. they read nothing seriously. They philosophize. sleeping in the dirt. . smells. but we must work. vulgarity. fighting and cursing at the slightest opportunity. in stuffiness. live like savages. they treat the peasants like animals. How clever of you. eating filthily. ninety-nine out of a hundred. I work from . LOPAKHIN. they all talk about important things. . I get up at five every morning. the vast majority of us. stinks. awfully! TROFIMOV. You know. and are at present incapable of hard work. they learn badly. do nothing. Meanwhile in Russia only a very few of us work. they do absolutely nothing. Let's be quiet sooner. and at the same time. and Asiatic plagues really exist. They are all serious. Everything that is unattainable now will some day be near at hand and comprehensible.. we must help with all our strength those who seek to know what fate will bring. [Ironically] Oh. They call themselves intellectuals. and I don't at all like serious faces. moral filth. about art they understand little. about science they only talk. they all have severe faces. with fleas. I don't like serious conversations. Only dirt. The human race progresses. Tell me. . they don't really exist. Peter! LOPAKHIN. I'm afraid. And it's obvious that all our nice talk is only carried on to distract ourselves and others.

thou shinest with eternal radiance! Oh. The sun's set. thou art wonderful. and we. VARYA.. It is quiet. living here. thou whom we call mother. and endless horizons. thou containest in thyself existence and death. TROFIMOV. do you? . you're doing it again! TROFIMOV.273 morning till evening. ANYA. [EPIKHODOV enters at the back of the stage playing his guitar. [Thoughtfully] Epikhodov's there. Uncle. thou livest and destroyest.. ladies and gentlemen. Only the mumbling of FIERS .. you've given us huge forests. and even there they frighten one. . Thoughtfully:] Epikhodov's there. I think: "Oh Lord. I am always dealing with money--my own and other people's--and I see what people are like. Sometimes. You'd better double the red into the middle. as if declaiming] O Nature. You've only got to begin to do anything to find out how few honest. beautiful and indifferent one. infinite fields. GAEV. I'll be quiet. when I can't sleep. [They all sit thoughtfully. honourable people there are. dear! ANYA. GAEV [Not loudly. ought really to be giants. I'll be quiet. GAEV." LUBOV. Yes. [Entreatingly] Uncle. You want giants. They're only good in stories..

let's go in. somehow. TROFIMOV. it's evening now. Suddenly a distant sound is heard as if from the sky.] ANYA. GAEV.. Before the Emancipation.. But it's some way off. mother. TROFIMOV. Or perhaps it's some bird . little girl? [Embraces her. . the sound of a breaking string. It's nothing.. [A pause. [Shudders] It's unpleasant. like a heron. my friends. [Enter a TRAMP in an old white peaked cap and overcoat. What is it.] ..] LUBOV. An owl screamed and the samovar hummed without stopping. GAEV. LUBOV. Or an owl.] LUBOV. Some one's coming. I don't know. You know. Before the misfortune the same thing happened. He is a little drunk. [To ANYA] You've tears in your eyes. [A pause.] FIERS.274 is heard. What's that? LOPAKHIN. Before what misfortune? FIERS. which dies away sadly. It may be a bucket fallen down a well somewhere.

] VARYA. Laughter. lend me some more! . may I go this way straight through to the station? GAEV.. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.. [To VARYA] Mademoiselle. frightened. And Varya.. little mother. Oh. and you gave him gold. What is to be done with such a fool as I am! At home I'll give you everything I've got. at home there's nothing for the servants to eat. [Frightened] I'm going. we've settled your affair... . please give a hungry Russian thirty copecks. TRAMP.. [Declaims] My brother.. you whose groans . Very well. . here's gold. . I'm going.275 TRAMP... Let's go. Go along this path. Ermolai Alexeyevitch. . I am deeply grateful to you! [Exit... . It doesn't matter. Come out on the Volga.. TRAMP.. my suffering brother. I . [VARYA screams.. LUBOV.. here you are. [With a start] Take this . [Hiccups] Lovely weather.. LOPAKHIN. LUBOV. [Feels in her purse] There's no silver. You may. .. it's time. Excuse me.. [Angrily] There's manners everybody's got to keep! LUBOV.] LOPAKHIN.

ladies and gentlemen.. VARYA.] ANYA. [Crying] You shouldn't joke about this. in the distance! Don't lag behind. Her narrow mind won't allow her to understand that we are above love. Oh. Forward! We go irresistibly on to that bright star which burns there. feel me. that is the aim and meaning of our lives. VARYA. My heart is beating hard. Oh. My hands are all trembling. He did frighten me. it'll soon be supper-time.. Think of that! . TROFIMOV. Come along. get thee to a nunnery. LOPAKHIN. on August 22 the cherry orchard will be sold. To escape all the petty and deceptive things which prevent our being happy and free..276 congratulate you. LOPAKHIN. friends! . mother. nymph. Varya's afraid we may fall in love with each other and won't get away from us for days on end. [Laughs] Thanks to the tramp who frightened Barbara. we're alone now. feel me. I haven't played billiards for a long time. LOPAKHIN. LUBOV. Let me remind you. GAEV. Think of that! .. [All go out except TROFIMOV and ANYA. remember me in thine orisons.

it's awful. then the old bark on the trees sheds a dim light and the old cherry-trees seem to be dreaming of all that was a hundred. or we drink vodka. ANYA.. For it's so clear that in order to begin to live in the present we must first redeem the past. The land is great and beautiful. throw them down the well . two hundred years ago. we've left those two hundred years behind us. I loved it so tenderly. we complain that we are dull. TROFIMOV. Yes. ANYA. Understand that. every leaf and every stalk? Don't you hear voices . your great-grandfather. What have you done to me. and when in the evening or at night you walk through the orchard. by strenuous. and are oppressed by their heavy visions.277 ANYA. [Clapping her hands] How beautifully you talk! [Pause] It is glorious here to-day! TROFIMOV. they owned living souls. uninterrupted labour. and now. Anya. Peter? I don't love the cherry orchard as I used to. there are many marvellous places in it. your grandfather. the weather is wonderful. So far we've gained nothing at all--we don't yet know what the past is to be to us--we only philosophize. doesn't something human look at you from every cherry in the orchard. If you have the housekeeping keys. The house in which we live has long ceased to be our house. and all your ancestors were serf-owners. your orchard is terrible. Still. I shall go away. at any rate. I thought there was no better place in the world than our orchard. and that can only be done by suffering.? Oh. [Pause] Think. I give you my word. TROFIMOV. Anya. All Russia is our orchard..

Yes. TROFIMOV Let's go. believe me! I'm not thirty yet.] .278 and go away. where are you?"] TROFIMOV. [Thoughtful] The moon is rising. .. Somewhere by the poplars VARYA is looking for ANYA and calling. [They go out. I know that happiness is coming. Anya! Where are you? TROFIMOV. It's nice there. "Anya. Be as free as the wind. I'm still a student. ANYA. Anya.. I'm young. and where haven't I been--fate has tossed me everywhere! But my soul is always my own. I'm shaken. Anya. every minute of the day and the night it is filled with unspeakable presentiments. Let's go to the river. I see it already. I'm ill. ANYA. That's Varya again! [Angry] Disgraceful! ANYA. I'm as poor as a beggar. Never mind. The moon rises. I hear its steps already. [Pause] There is happiness. [Enthusiastically] How nicely you said that! TROFIMOV. but what does that matter? Others will see it! THE VOICE OF VARYA. there it comes. it comes nearer and nearer. And if we do not see it we shall not know it. the moon has risen. [EPIKHODOV is heard playing the same sad song on his guitar. Believe me. but I have undergone a great deal! I'm as hungry as the winter.

that the ancient stock of the Simeonov-Pischins was descended from that identical horse that Caligula made a senator.. balancez:" and "Les cavaliers à genou et remerciez vos dames!" FIERS. ACT THREE [A reception-room cut off from a drawing-room by an arch. Enter PISCHIN and TROFIMOV from the drawing-room. and so on. the second. the first pair are PISCHIN and CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA.blooded and have already had two strokes. My dead father. [Sits] But the trouble is. "Grand rond. who liked a joke. but. I'm full. A Jewish band. if you're in Rome. PISCHIN shouting. the third. . VARYA and the STATION-MASTER. in a dress-coat. is heard playing in another room. TROFIMOV and LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. the one mentioned in Act II. They go off into the drawing-room.] PISCHIN. In the drawing-room the grand rond is being danced. VARYA is crying gently and wipes away her tears as she dances.279 THE VOICE OF VARYA. Voice of SIMEONOV PISCHIN "Promenade a une paire!" Dancers come into the reception-room. .. I've no money! A hungry dog only believes in meat. Evening.. DUNYASHA is in the last pair. . used to say. ANYA and the POST OFFICE CLERK. the fourth. I've got the strength of a horse.. only believe in money. talking of our ancestors. you must do as Rome does. as they say. carries a tray with seltzer-water across. peace to his bones. Chandelier lighted. it's hard for me to dance. [Snores and wakes up again immediately] So I . Anya! Anya! Curtain...

] TROFIMOV. and I'm proud of it! VARYA. I've got to pay 310 roubles the day . have spent in looking for money to pay interest had been used for something else. I wouldn't mind forging them . TROFIMOV. [To PISCHIN] If the energy which you. a most celebrated man . Now I'm in such a position... Yes. a horse is a fine animal ... PISCHIN.. [Teasing] Madame Lopakhin! Madame Lopakhin! VARYA.. you'd be able to turn everything upside down. [Bitterly] We've hired the musicians. There is something equine about your figure. in the course of your life. a man of enormous brain.. but how are they to be paid? [Exit. And have you read Nietzsche? PISCHIN. says in his books that you can forge bank-notes. [Angry] Decayed gentleman! TROFIMOV. Dashenka told me. then. I believe. I am a decayed gentleman. [Billiard playing can be heard in the next room.280 TROFIMOV. Well .] TROFIMOV. PISCHIN. you can sell a horse.. VARYA appears under the arch... a very great. a philosopher . Well . Yes..... after all. Nietzsche .

. Now shuffle. And the musicians needn't have come. zwei. _Ein. I even began to perspire.morrow . oh my dear Mr. All right. [Enter LUBOV ANDREYEVNA and CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA. quite right! [Surprised] Think of that now! CHARLOTTA. think of any one card you like.. Pischin. nervously] I've lost the money! The money's gone! [Crying] Where's the money? [Joyfully] Here it is behind the lining . To TROFIMOV] Now tell me quickly. I've thought of one. and we needn't have got up this ball.] LUBOV. . drei_! Now look and you'll find it in your coat-tail pocket.. PISCHIN... Give them here. [Gives a pack of cards to PISCHIN] Here's a pack of cards. CHARLOTTA. I've got 130 already. [Takes a card out of his coat-tail pocket] Eight of spades.. Business is off. never mind. [Sits and sings softly. PISCHIN. now.. [Feels his pockets. Well.... give the musicians some tea.281 after to.] CHARLOTTA. [Humming a Caucasian dance] Why is Leonid away so long? What's he doing in town? [To DUNYASHA] Dunyasha. TROFIMOV. .. What's the top card? . LUBOV. [Holds the pack of cards on the palm of her hand. I suppose.

. In love? [Shrugging her shoulders] Can you love? _Guter Mensch aber schlechter Musikant_. [A mysterious woman's voice answers her... [Takes a shawl from a chair] Here's a very nice plaid shawl. Right! [To PISCHIN] Well now? What card's on top? PISCHIN. Charlotte Ivanovna . [Voice. bravo! PISCHIN. here's another trick.. TROFIMOV.. [Astonished] Think of that now! CHARLOTTA. "Oh yes. [Surprised] Think of that. ANYA is . Well. as if from under the floor. . Ace of hearts."] STATION-MASTER. drei_. [Shakes it] Won't anybody buy it? PISCHIN. CHARLOTTA. madam. I'm going to sell it. [Applauds] Madame ventriloquist. _Ein.. I'm simply in love. Attention please. the queen of spades. . you horse! CHARLOTTA. madam. CHARLOTTA. you are my ideal. the pack of cards vanishes] How lovely the weather is to-day. [Slaps PISCHIN on the shoulder] Oh. [She quickly lifts up the shawl. now! Delightful. CHARLOTTA. zwei. Right! [Claps her hands. "You."] You are so beautiful. which is hanging down.282 TROFIMOV. it's lovely weather. please me very much too.

What? Wo uld you? [Exit. [Astonished] Think of that. The estate must be sold. [Sarcastically] Oh. bravo! CHARLOTTA.] PISCHIN. [Tries to soothe her] Uncle has bought it... [Runs after her] Little wretch. I'm certain of it. Grandmother sent him her authority for him to buy it in her name and transfer the debt to her. drei_! [Lifts the shawl. yes! VARYA. now. CHARLOTTA. . .] LUBOV. or. then why does he stay so long? VARYA. Once again! _Ein. hugs her and runs back to the drawing-room amid general applause.] LUBOV. I don't understand what he's doing so long in town! Everything must be over by now. She's doing it for Anya.] PISCHIN. VARYA stands behind it and bows. TROFIMOV. if the sale never came off.283 standing behind it. And I'm certain that God will help us and uncle will buy it. zwei. [Applauds] Bravo. The end! [Throws the shawl at PISCHIN. Leonid hasn't come yet. curtseys and runs into the drawing-room. she bows and runs to her mother.

If I had some money. VARYA. even a little. LUBOV. I do look at the matter seriously. but he either says nothing.. You needn't if you don't want to. he's a good. how old you've grown! [To LUBOV . . How nice! VARYA. he's busy. and I like him. Peter. well what of it? You can marry Lopakhin if you want to. to be quite frank. or jokes about it. my darling.. I can't propose to him myself. VARYA.284 LUBOV. my fate. He's a good man.. Then marry him. [Teasing VARYA] Madame Lopakhin! VARYA. [Angry] Eternal student! He's already been expelled twice from the university. he can't bother about me. TROFIMOV. [Covers her face with her hands] My fate will be settled to-day. LUBOV. TROFIMOV. . I'd go into a convent. even only a hundred roubles. little mother. interesting man. Grandmother sent fifteen thousand roubles from Yaroslav to buy the property in her name--she won't trust us--and that wasn't even enough to pay the interest. I'd throw up everything and go away. [To TROFIMOV] A student ought to have sense! [Gently. He's getting rich. in tears] How ugly you are now. People have been talking about him to me for two years now. Varya? He's teasing you about Lopakhin. nobody wants to force you against your will. I don't understand what you're waiting for. Why are you getting angry. little mother. I understand..

you see that she's quite unhappy without that. LUBOV. she keeps on interfering in other people's business.285 ANDREYEVNA..] YASHA. Peter. TROFIMOV. [Enter YASHA. Isn't it all the same whether the estate is sold to-day or isn't? It's been all up with it for a long time. What has it to do with her? As if I'd ever given her grounds to believe I'd stoop to such vulgarity! We are above love. dear. Then I suppose I must be beneath love. I want to be doing something every minute. Save me. The whole summer she's given no peace to me or to Anya. . no longer crying] But I can't go on without working. I may scream . she's afraid we'll have a romance all to ourselves.] VARYA. the path's grown over. [Exit. I'm all at sea . She takes too much on herself. Don't tease her.] LUBOV... little mother. TROFIMOV. [In agitation] Why isn't Leonid here? If I only knew whether the estate is sold or not! The disaster seems to me so improbable that I don't know what to think. you shouldn't deceive yourself. there's no turning back. Be calm. Peter. or do something silly.. Why is Epikhodov here? Who said he could play billiards? I don't understand these people. [Nearly laughing] Epikhodov's broken a billiard cue! [Exit. say something. Say something. for once in your life at any rate you must look the truth straight in the face.

I was born here. isn't it because you're young. sell me with it! [Embraces TROFIMOV. but think only. deeper than we are.. only fate throws you about from place to place. dear. You don't do anything. . but tell me. I loved you. because so far life has been hidden from your young eyes? You are bolder. be just a little magnanimous. I swear it. good. Don't judge me harshly. Peter . [Picking up telegram] I don't want to be a Beau Brummel.. more honest. and have mercy on me. a telegram falls on the floor] I'm so sick at heart to-day. because you haven't had time to suffer till you settled a single one of your questions? You boldly look forward. What truth? You see where truth is. and if it really must be sold. you can't imagine. I'm afraid of the silence. Here it's so noisy. You know I sympathize with all my soul. I shake all over.. isn't it because you cannot foresee or expect anything terrible. but I seem to have lost my sight and see nothing. kisses his forehead]. [Takes another handkerchief... LUBOV.. You boldly settle all important questions. . . you ought to work. I love this house.286 LUBOV. Yes. TROFIMOV. Isn't it true? Yes? And you ought to do something to your beard to make it grow better [Laughs] You are funny! TROFIMOV. and I can't go away by myself. my grandfather too. and where untruth is. my father and mother lived here. only dear. it's so odd. finish your studies.. my soul shakes at every sound.. as if you belonged to my family. . [Weeps] Have pity on me. I'd gladly let Anya marry you. kind man. differently. but it ought to be said differently. My son was drowned here. I couldn't understand my life without that cherry orchard.

And you ought to be in love yourself.. he's bad again. Why not! LUBOV. [Weeping] For God's sake forgive my speaking candidly. You ought to be a man.. and implores me to come. I love him. and still a schoolboy of the second class! TROFIMOV. and who's to look after him. LUBOV.287 LUBOV. Peter. you alone don't know it! He's a petty thief. That wild man is ill again. you oughtn't to say that! [Stops her ears. don't say . . but what can I do. my dear. But he's a wretch. that's plain.. yes! You aren't pure. No. That love is a stone round my neck.. This telegram's from Paris. who's to keep him away from his errors. no. unhappy.. a nobody. but that man has robbed you! LUBOV. . and I really ought to go to Paris to be near him. I'm going with it to the bottom. he's alone. no. you must fall in love! [Angry] Yes. [Angry.. you're just a freak. to give him his medicine punctually? And why should I conceal it and say nothing about it. don't say anything to me.. . I love him. You look severe. Peter. at your age you ought to be able to understand those who love. TROFIMOV..] TROFIMOV. a queer fellow. what can I do.. but I love that stone and can't live without it.. I love him. he's ill. a funny growth . but restrained] You're twenty-six or twenty-seven. Yesterday and to-day. . I get one every day. He begs for forgiveness. [Squeezes TROFIMOV'S hand] Don't think badly of me.

room. wait! Silly man. ANYA and VARYA dance. Everybody dances. ANYA and VARYA scream. [Shouts after him] Peter. clutching his head] It's awful . [She dances with PETER. laughing. VARYA.] LUBOV. I'll go away. I can't stand it. Not to have a mistress at your age! TROFIMOV. Well. and LUBOV ANDREYEVNA come in from the front room.. TROFIMOV. you pure soul . Peter .. but returns at once] All is over between us! [Exit.. FIERS enters and stands his stick by a side door. [The STATION-MASTER stands in the middle of the drawing-room and recites "The Magdalen" by Tolstoy. let's dance.. [In horror] This is awful! What is she saying? [Goes quickly up into the drawing.. YASHA has also come in and looks .288 TROFIMOV.. and the recitation is stopped. He is listened to. ANYA. [In horror] What is she saying! LUBOV.. you're just what our Fiers calls a bungler. but he has only delivered a few lines when a waltz is heard from the front room. "I'm above love!" You're not above love. This Peter's a marvel.] LUBOV.] ANYA. [Exit. Peter's fallen downstairs! [Runs out again. I beg your pardon .] LUBOV. I was joking! Peter! [Somebody is heard going out and falling downstairs noisily. laughter is heard immediately] What's that? [ANYA comes running in..

[Sits] I'm tired. He's gone now. [Excited] Somebody in the kitchen was saying just now that the cherry orchard was sold to-day.. FIERS. Sold to whom? ANYA. [Yawns] If you'd only hurry up and kick the bucket. and even they come as a favour. LUBOV. grandfather? FIERS.] . At our balls some time back.] ANYA. then into the sitting-room.] LUBOV. YASHA.] YASHA. Well. and now we send for post-office clerks and the Station. [Dances out into the reception-room with TROFIMOV. grandfather..289 on at the dance.master. Oh you . used to give everybody sealing-wax when anything was wrong. [Enter ANYA. the grandfather. _Merci_. I'm tired of you.] [TROFIMOV and LUBOV ANDREYEVNA dance in the reception-room. perhaps that's why I still live. The dead master. I'll sit down. generals and barons and admirals used to dance. I'm very weak. I've taken sealing-wax every day for twenty years. and more. bungler! [Mutters. I'm not well. He didn't say to whom.

LUBOV. He's a silly man.. the old man.. [Looking round. in an undertone] What's the good of talking . [To LUBOV ANDREYEVNA] Lubov Andreyevna! I want to ask a favour of you. to whom it's sold. He's wearing a light.. and who'll hand things round and give orders without me? I've the whole house on my shoulders. [Laughs. And Leonid Andreyevitch isn't here yet. _demi. FIERS. I'll die of this. then please take me with you. [With a smile] I'll go to bed. YASHA. Fiers. He'll catch cold. Two-and-twenty troubles. A stranger! FIERS. he hasn't come. Yasha. Some old man was chattering about it a long time ago.. I'll go wherever you order me to go. YASHA.] LUBOV. Oh these young fellows. It's absolutely impossible for me to stop here. if the estate is sold.saison_ overcoat.290 YASHA. Epikhodov's too funny. . LUBOV. [Slightly vexed] Why do you laugh? What are you glad about? YASHA. Oh. Why do you look like that? Are you ill? I think you ought to go to bed. Yes . but he's been gone a long time. where will you go? FIERS. if you'll be so kind! If you go to Paris again. LUBOV. Go and find out.

. dear lady. The food in the kitchen is beastly. with an immoral population.] YASHA. I come to ask for the pleasure of a little waltz. and my heart beats. you wonderful woman. Charlotta Ivanovna!"] DUNYASHA. [Sings softly] "Oh. will you understand My soul's deep restlessness?" [In the drawing-room a figure in a grey top-hat and in baggy check trousers is waving its hands and jumping about. "You're like a little flower. be so kind! [Enter PISCHIN. Fiers Nicolaevitch." . but few ladies--and my head goes round when I dance. you see for yourself that this is an uneducated [The music grows faint. I must. Take me with you... .] FIERS..] PISCHIN. I must have 180 little roubles from you . What did he say to you? DUNYASHA. [They dance] 180 little roubles. [Stops to powder her face] The young mistress tells me to dance--there are a lot of gentlemen. and it's so dull. [LUBOV ANDREYEVNA goes to him] But all the same. and here's this Fiers walking about mumbling various inappropriate things.291 about it.. .. [They go through into the drawing. He says. ... there are cries of "Bravo. the Post-office clerk told me something just now which made me catch my breath.

] EPIKHODOV. Undoubtedly. [Exit. and I. I even look at my fate with a smile. Avdotya Fedorovna. [Plays with her fan. [VARYA enters from the drawing-room. life! DUNYASHA. I'm such a delicate girl. [Yawns] Impolite. certainly.292 YASHA.. FIERS. Like a little flower. Every day something unfortunate happens to me.] EPIKHODOV. I simply love words of tenderness. and though I . you may be right. [Sighs] Oh. and I've grown used to it a long time ago. You gave me your word. You'll lose your head.] DUNYASHA.. DUNYASHA. Simeon? You really have no respect for . every day something unfortunate happens to me. .. have absolutely reduced me to a state of mind.] VARYA. but leave me alone now. [Sighs] But. if I may say so. only smile. I know my fate. You. [Enter EPIKHODOV. if you regard the matter from the aspect. then you. Please. I'm meditating now. perhaps. we'll talk later on. and even laugh. want to see me no more than if I was some insect. if I may so express myself.. and you must excuse my candidness. What do you want? EPIKHODOV. Haven't you gone yet.

coming back? [Snatches up the stick left by FIERS by the door] Go . I'm only telling you. she follows] Two-and-twenty troubles! I don't want any sign of you here! I don't want to see anything of you! [EPIKHODOV has gone out."] What. go . . You cannot. is only a matter to be settled by people of understanding and my elders. or walk about. call me to order.. go. [To DUNYASHA] You go away. VARYA. Are you going? Are you going? Well. You dare to talk to me like that! [Furious] You dare? You mean that I know nothing? Get out of here! This minute! EPIKHODOV. EPIKHODOV. Get out! [He goes to the door. Dunyasha. [She hits out as LOPAKHIN enters.. I'm not calling you to order. [To EPIKHODOV] You play billiards and break a cue. [Offended] Whether I work. Much obliged. [Nervous] I must ask you to express yourself more delicately.] LOPAKHIN. or eat. [Beside herself] Get out this minute. Goodness only knows why we keep a clerk. VARYA. and walk about the drawing-room as if you were a visitor! EPIKHODOV. You just walk about from place to place and never do your work. or play billiards... if I may say so.. his voice can be heard outside: "I'll make a complaint against you.. VARYA.293 anybody. . I'll show you. then take that.

he's coming. and had to wait till half-past nine. [Enter GAEV. then looks back and asks gently] I didn't hurt you. No.. did I? LOPAKHIN. . [Excited] Well. LOPAKHIN. .. Lopakhin's returned! Ermolai Alexeyevitch! PISCHIN.. my dear. LUBOV. my soul..294 VARYA. VOICES FROM THE DRAWING-ROOM. VARYA. Leonid Andreyevitch came back with me. Now we'll see what there is to see and hear what there is to hear. It isn't worth any thanks. And we're all having a good time.. [Angry but amused] I'm sorry. . There'll be an enormous bump. We missed the train. [Enter LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. [Confused. Never mind. [Kisses LOPAKHIN] You smell of cognac. that's all. afraid to show his pleasure] The sale ended up at four o'clock. . Ermolai Alexeyevitch? Why were you so long? Where's Leonid? LOPAKHIN. I thank you for my pleasant reception. what? Is it sold? Tell me? LOPAKHIN. [Sighs heavily] Ooh! My head's going round a little.] LUBOV. in his right hand he carries things he has bought. [Walks away. not at all. Is that you.

eighteen!" GAEV'S expression changes. . weeping] Here. Who bought it? LOPAKHIN.. [LUBOV ANDREYEVNA is overwhelmed.. LUBOV. herrings from Kertch... what's happened? Leon...] LOPAKHIN.. Leon. tell us! LUBOV... take this.. Is the cherry orchard sold? LOPAKHIN. Here are anchovies. . only waves his hand. . [Says nothing to her. Help me change my clothes. It is sold. VARYA takes her keys off her belt. I've had no food to-day. in tears] Quick. I can't talk. she would fall if she were not standing by an armchair and a table.295 with his left he wipes away his tears. well? [Impatiently. "Seven. . for the love of God. my head's going round. . [Laughs] When we got to the . throws them on the floor. I bought it! Wait. to FIERS. ladies and gentlemen. What happened? Come on. FIERS after him. I have had a time! [The door from the billiard-room is open. I bought it.] LUBOV. into the middle of the room and goes out. and YASHA'S voice. [Goes out through the drawing-room.] PISCHIN. GAEV. Fiers. the clicking of the balls is heard. he cries no more] I'm awfully tired. please.

I saw how matters were. come and look at the trees falling! We'll build villas here. . I want to hear you! Come and look at Ermolai Lopakhin laying his axe to the cherry orchard. or dreaming. [Takes his arm. [Weeps] Oh. mine! [Roars with laughter] My God. how that very Ermolai has bought an estate. if only our uneven. unhappy life were changed! PISCHIN. music! [The band plays. you can't go back now. their beaten and uneducated Ermolai. Play on. why didn't you take my advice? My poor. It's the fruit of imagination. [Picks up the keys. play. she wanted to show she was no longer mistress here. LUBOV ANDREYEVNA sinks into a chair and weeps bitterly.. LOPAKHIN continues reproachfully] Why then. and it stayed with me. and our grandsons and great-grandsons will see a new life here. [Jingles keys] Well.. Deriganov was there already. That means he went up by fives and I went up by tens. it's only a dream.. [Stamps his feet] Don't laugh at me! If my father and grandfather rose from their graves and looked at the whole affair. Leonid Andreyevitch had only fifteen thousand roubles. Well. or mad. my God. musicians. and Deriganov offered thirty thousand on top of the mortgage to begin with. in an undertone] She's crying. if only the whole thing was done with. and saw how their Ermolai.. wrapped in the fog of the unknown. . . the cherry orchard's mine! Tell me I'm drunk. He went up to forty. it's all one! [Hears the band tuning up] Eh. I bid ninety more than the mortgage. so I grabbed hold of him and bid forty. The cherry orchard is mine now. . I'm asleep. . ... it came to an end. which is the most beautiful thing in the world! I've bought the estate where my grandfather and my father were slaves.... I offered fifty. Let's go .. where they weren't even allowed into the kitchen. nicely smiling] She threw down the keys..296 sale..five. dear woman. an illusion.five. who used to run barefoot in the winter.

dear. but don't cry mother. come! We'll plant a new garden. . let's go! Curtain. finer than this. away from here. kind. gentle joy will sink into your soul. [Takes his arm and leads him out. you've still your beautiful pure soul . The band plays softly. TROFIMOV stands at the drawing-room entrance.. good mother.] ANYA. true.. and you'll see it. we've got it no longer. come. my beautiful mother... come on. . and you'll smile. ANYA and TROFIMOV come in quickly. do just as I want you to! [Ironically] The new owner. it's true. who sits huddled up and weeping bitterly. you've still got your life before you. and deep joy. Come with me. play nicely! Go on. dear. and you'll understand.] LOPAKHIN. Mother! mother. mother! Come. ANYA goes up to her mother and goes on her knees in front of her.. What's that? and leave her by herself . are you crying? My dear.. the owner of the cherry orchard is coming! [He accidentally knocks up against a little table and nearly upsets the candelabra] I can pay for everything! [Exit with PISCHIN] [In the reception-room and the drawing-room nobody remains except LUBOV ANDREYEVNA.297 into the drawing. like the evening sun. I love you! Bless you! The cherry orchard is sold.

thank you. By the door that leads out of the house and at the back of the stage. You gave them your purse. Outside. Voices are heard behind the stage. Luba. the voices of VARYA and ANYA can be heard through it. that they're good people. brothers. I ask you most humbly! Just a little glass to say good-bye. LOPAKHIN stands and waits. YASHA holds a tray with little tumblers of champagne. The voice of GAEV is heard: "Thank you.298 ACT FOUR [The stage is set as for Act I. There are no curtains on the windows. Please. but they don't understand very much. and her face trembles. [The voices die away. She is not crying but is pale.] LOPAKHIN. only a few pieces of furniture are left. I didn't remember to bring any from town and I only found one bottle at the station. LUBOV ANDREYEVNA and GAEV enter. she can hardly speak. Well. The common people have come to say good-bye. [In the doorway. You can't go on like that. no pictures. do! [Pause] Won't you really have any? [Goes away from the door] If I only knew--I wouldn't have bought any. you can't! LUBOV. portmanteaux and travelling paraphernalia are piled up.] GAEV. Ermolai Alexeyevitch. I shan't . calling after them] Please. I couldn't! [They go out. The emptiness is felt. The peasants have come to say good-bye."] YASHA. EPIKHODOV is tying up a box. they are piled up in a corner as if for sale. I am of the opinion. I couldn't help myself. The door on the left is open.

they hang about as if they weren't mine at all. What's the matter with you? YASHA. I can't live without working. I'm just pleased. LOPAKHIN. comes in from the grounds. at any rate. we're going away. I must have something to do with my hands. [Looking at his watch and speaking through the door] Ladies and gentlemen. YASHA. Hurry up. but it's as sunny and as quiet as if it were summer. I've been hanging about with you people. Good for building. I'm going in the same train as you. The carriages are waiting. please remember that it's only forty-seven minutes till the train goes! You must go off to the station in twenty minutes. It's October outside. I've got to go to Kharkov. There are no fires to-day. [TROFIMOV. [Through the door] Anya. Yasha. . I can't find my goloshes! I can't! LOPAKHIN. To those departing! And good luck to those who stay behind! [Drinks] I can assure you that this isn't real champagne. ] TROFIMOV. I'm going to spend the whole winter in Kharkov. [Pause] It's devilish cold here. [YASHA carefully puts the tray on a chair] You have a drink. YASHA. Where the devil are my goloshes? They're lost. in an overcoat. I think it's time we went. going rusty without work. Eight roubles a bottle. [Laughs] LOPAKHIN. LOPAKHIN.299 drink any either.

. Have a glass. I like you. LOPAKHIN.. I'll see them into town and to-morrow I'm off to Moscow. This is old and flat. delicate soul. How many years have you been going to the university? TROFIMOV. I expect the professors don't lecture nowadays. So you're off to Moscow now? TROFIMOV Yes. That's not your business. . [Embraces him] Good-bye. You've thin. Thanks for all . I won't.. building villas and reckoning on their residents becoming freeholders in time--that's the same thing. they're waiting till you turn up! TROFIMOV. Whether I want to or not. LOPAKHIN. .. Think of something fresh. dear fellow. delicate fingers. LOPAKHIN. And then. TROFIMOV. you know." LOPAKHIN. so just let me give you a word of advice on parting: "Don't wave your hands about! Get rid of that habit of waving them about. LOPAKHIN. Yes.300 TROFIMOV. we may not meet each other again. it's all a matter of waving your hands about. We'll go away now and then you'll start again on your useful labours. and you've a thin. [Looking for his goloshes] You know.. . like those of an artist..

. I have.301 you've said. I can do without you.] TROFIMOV. what a picture it was! So I. LOPAKHIN... [From the other room] Take your rubbish away! [Throws a pair of rubber goloshes on to the stage. as I was saying. thank you.. I've got some for a translation. And when my poppies were in flower. no. [Nervously] But I can't find my goloshes! VARYA. made forty thousand roubles. Mankind goes on to the highest truths and to the highest happiness such as is only possible on earth. Varya? Hm! These aren't my goloshes! LOPAKHIN. I'm a free man. In the spring I sowed three thousand acres of poppies. Even if you gave me twenty thousand I should refuse. and I mean I'd like to lend you some. Your father was a peasant. and I go in the front ranks! . Yes. Why are you angry. mine was a chemist. [LOPAKHIN takes out his pocket-book] No. TROFIMOV. rich and poor. . value so highly and so dearly hasn't the least influence over me. I can pass you by. because I can afford it. take some money from me for the journey. Here it is in my pocket. But you've nothing! TROFIMOV. I'm strong and proud. TROFIMOV. and now I've made forty thousand roubles net profit. Why should I? I don't want it. it's like a flock of down in the wind. and that means absolutely nothing. Why turn up your nose at it? I'm just a simple peasant.. And everything that all you people. If you want any.

has accepted a post in a bank. TROFIMOV. I suppose they've sent him.] LOPAKHIN. Here we stand pulling one another's noses.302 LOPAKHIN. who live for nothing at all. It's time to go.. I will. they say. ANYA. he's right. [To EPIKHODOV. brother. . [Exit. All right. Has Fiers been sent to the hospital? YASHA. really. And there are so many people in Russia. When I work for a long time. you ought to have enough tact not to do that.] ANYA. [Offended] I told Egor this morning. What's the use of . [At the door] Mother asks if you will stop them cutting down the orchard until she has gone away. [Pause] I'll get there and show others the way. Leonid Andreyevitch. old man. Yes.. and I think I get to understand why I exist.. then I think more easily. good-bye. Will you get there? TROFIMOV. please make inquiries if Fiers has been sent to the hospital. he will get sixty thousand roubles a year. work goes on without that. [Exit. yes. But he won't stand it. YASHA. but life goes its own way all the time. who crosses the room] Simeon Panteleyevitch. ANYA. all right . Well. [Axes cutting the trees are heard in the distance. I gave the order this morning. Still.. he's very lazy.] LOPAKHIN. and I don't get tired.

leaving me behind. [Waving his hand] She'll make me lose all patience! [DUNYASHA has meanwhile been bustling round the luggage.303 asking ten times! EPIKHODOV. The aged Fiers. I only envy him. [Behind the door] Has Fiers been taken away to the hospital? ANYA.] YASHA.] YASHA. VARYA. in my conclusive opinion. I thought so! [Exit. You're going away. [In the next room] Where's Yasha? Tell him his mother's come and wants to say good-bye to him. Yasha. VARYA. If you only looked at me once.] DUNYASHA. now that YASHA is left alone. she goes up to him. What's the use of crying? [Drinks champagne] In six days .] VARYA. of course. It'll have to be sent after him. isn't worth mending. [Exit. [Weeps and hugs him round the neck. his forefathers had better have him. Yes. [Puts a trunk on a hat-box and squashes it] Well. Why didn't they take the letter to the doctor? ANYA. YASHA. [Grinning] Two-and-twenty troubles.

The winter will go. everything's all right now. it's no good. [He bustles around the luggage. singing softly. and CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA.] GAEV. Yasha. ANYA. I've seen the uncivilized world. [Looks round the room] Good-bye. the spring will come. We needn't get into our carriages for ten minutes.. I can hardly believe it. Yasha. when the question was solved once and for all. How much these walls have seen! [Passionately kisses her daughter] My treasure. YASHA. You know I loved you. There's no time left. Enter LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. To. [Gaily] Yes. so much! I'm a sensitive creature. Very! A new life is beginning. we all calmed .. mother! GAEV.morrow we get into the express and off we go. [Looks at YASHA] Somebody smells of herring! LUBOV. and then.. really. and then you won't cry. Vive la France! It doesn't suit me here. . [Drinks champagne] What do you want to cry for? You behave yourself properly.. GAEV. old grandfather. Well. I can't live here . you're radiant. you'll be pulled down. Before the cherry orchard was sold we all were excited and we suffered. We'd better be off. and then you'll exist no more. DUNYASHA. I have had enough of it. [Looks in a small mirror and powders her face] Send me a letter from Paris.304 I'll be again in Paris. Somebody's coming. dear house. your eyes flash like two jewels! Are you happy? Very? ANYA.

We'll find one. we'll soon see each other again.. LUBOV. . and a financier .. Yasha. CHARLOTTA is singing to herself. mother.. I can't go on like this. Charlotta Ivanovna. . my nice little boy. I'll live there on the money your grandmother from Yaroslav sent along to buy the estate--bless her!--though it won't last long.] GAEV. and a beautiful new world will open up before us. It's time. mother.. You'll come back soon. I'm a bank official now.up baby] My little baby. [To ANYA] My little girl. look better. LUBOV Yes. and even became cheerful. Charlotta is happy. [Thoughtfully] You'll come.. . my darling. [Takes a bundle. LOPAKHIN. [She puts on her coat and hat] I sleep well.. don't you be afraid.. bye-bye. My nerves are better. for some reason or other. I'm off to Paris. red in the middle. Take my luggage out. and then I'll work and help you.305 down. . she sings! CHARLOTTA. I'll come. and you. [Embraces her. won't you? I'll get ready. we'll read many books. there's no doubt about it. "Oua! Oua!"] Hush.. ["Oua! Oua!"] I'm so sorry for you! [Throws the bundle back] So please find me a new place. and pass the exam at the Higher School. ANYA. looking like a wrapped. won't we? [Kisses her mother's hands] We'll read in the autumn evenings.] [Enter LOPAKHIN. Luba. soon. [The baby seems to answer. We'll read all sorts of books to one another. it's true.

. Nature's marvel! PISCHIN. . ... [To LUBOV ANDREYEVNA] And here's four hundred for you . Everybody's leaving us.. Some Englishmen came along and found some white clay on my land. . I'm fagged out . [Gives her money] Give you the rest later. dear madam. [Puffing] Oh. it's hot.. . we've suddenly become unnecessary. let me get my breath back.... [Enter PISCHIN.] PISCHIN.. and I'm going out of the way of temptation. . [To LOPAKHIN] You here? Glad to see you . Varya's going away . My most honoured. "Jump!" he says. beautiful lady. . . That leaves 840..306 GAEV. [Gives LOPAKHIN money] Four hundred roubles.. I've nowhere to live in town.. LOPAKHIN. and .. Where did you get this from? PISCHIN. take it. [Drinks water] Just now a young man in the train was saying that some great philosopher advises us all to jump off roofs. take this .. give me some water... [Hums] Never mind......] LOPAKHIN.. .. what? I'm your humble servant.. man of immense brain .. [Exit.. Come for money. GAEV. I must go away.... I haven't been here for ever so long .... CHARLOTTA.. . A most unexpected thing happened.. Stop . [Shrugs his shoulders in surprise] As if I were dreaming.

God bless his soul...... excuse me.. . [Exit deeply moved. poor thing.... LUBOV. . I've no time. and to-morrow I go abroad. Who were these Englishmen? PISCHIN. and now she's no work to do she's like a fish out of water. We're just off to town. Now. Never mind. [Drinks] Good-bye. .... just remember this old . but returns at once and says in the door] Dashenka sent her love! [Exit. ANYA. ..307 that's all. The first is poor Fiers [Looks at her watch] We've still five minutes. I've two anxieties. Be happy. .. .. Mother. I'll come in on Thursday.. PISCHIN.... Well. [Agitated] What? Why to town? I see furniture . Never mind. . Yasha sent him off this morning.. yes. horse and say: "There was one such and such a Simeonov-Pischin. [Crying] Never mind... Everything in this world comes to an end. .. Fiers has already been sent to the hospital. She's grown thin and pale.. God will help you. [Astonished] To think of that..... . I must go to Znoikov and to Kardamonov . .. never mind.] LUBOV. . .." Wonderful weather . [Kisses LUBOV ANDREYEVNA'S hand] And if you should happen to hear that my end has come. These Englishmen are men of immense intellect. I must run off.. I owe them all money. and she cries. now! More water! LOPAKHIN.. Now we can go. . The second is Varya.... though. LUBOV. ... She's used to getting up early and to work. I've leased off the land with the clay to them for twenty-four years. .. [Pause] . trunks.

Excellent. Ermolai Alexeyevitch.. and I suppose you are going to marry somebody? [Whispers to ANYA. and I don't understand. . Yasha.. that I used to hope to marry her to you. What are you looking for? . I'll call her in.. I really don't. she's your sort.. allez. LOPAKHIN.. I'll be ready at once . then VARYA comes in. . once and for all. somebody's already drunk them. [Pause. The champagne's very appropriate. If there's still time. why you seem to be keeping away from each other..] VARYA. a whisper. [Looks at his watch] Yes. To tell the truth... I don't understand! LOPAKHIN. LUBOV. It'll only take a minute. LUBOV. LOPAKHIN. leave that and come here. [At the door] Varya.. . I don't understand it myself. .308 You know very well. [Looking at the luggage in silence] I can't seem to find it. [Animated] Excellent.] LOPAKHIN. I'll call her. Come! [Exit with YASHA. [Looking at the tumblers] They're empty. It's all so strange. I don't feel as if I could ever propose to her without you. who nods to CHARLOTTA. [YASHA coughs] I call that licking it up... .. We'll go out.] [There is a restrained laugh behind the door. Let's get it over. and they both go out] She loves you.

. by this train.. I've got an agreement to go and look after their house ..] LOPAKHIN. I packed it myself and I don't remember. . . I'm leaving Epikhodov here .. .. VARYA. Well. Only it's rather cold. LOPAKHIN. if you remember. I've taken him on. And I'm off to Kharkov at once . there'll be no more life in this house. . . Yes. perhaps I've put it away in the trunk. I didn't look..... as housekeeper or something. VARYA. Is that at Yashnevo? It's about fifty miles. Last year at this time the snow was already falling..] VOICE AT THE DOOR.. I? To the Ragulins. Ermolai Alexeyevitch! LOPAKHIN.. and now it's nice and sunny. Where are you going to now..309 VARYA.... LOPAKHIN. [Pause.. [Pause] And our thermometer's broken. There's three degrees of frost. I've a lot of business on hand. well! LOPAKHIN. [Exit quickly.] . VARYA. [Pause. .. Barbara Mihailovna? VARYA. [As if he has long been waiting to be called] This minute.. [Pause] So life in this house is finished now. [Looking at the luggage] Where is it? ..

[Not crying now. Uncle. if I don't miss the train. VARYA. . Well? [Pause] We must go. it's quite time.. little mother. Well. then GAEV. in saying farewell. I'll be quiet. [Enter TROFIMOV. . then LOPAKHIN. GAEV wears a warm overcoat with a cape.. [Stupidly] Double the red into the middle. in leaving this house for evermore?--can I restrain myself. The door opens. EPIKHODOV bustles around the luggage] Now we can go away. My friends.310 [VARYA. [At the door] Anya. LUBOV ANDREYEVNA enters carefully. it's time to be off. you shouldn't! GAEV. my dear friends! Can I be silent. [Enter ANYA. A servant and drivers come in. . I'll get to the Ragulins to-day.. ANYA. wipes her eyes] Yes. CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA.? ANYA.. sitting on the floor. LUBOV. puts her face on a bundle of clothes and weeps gently. from expressing those feelings which now fill my whole being ..] LUBOV.. [Imploringly] Uncle! VARYA.] TROFIMOV. [Joyfully] Away! GAEV. put on your things.

and seems to be waving it about.. and not a soul remains behind.. Ermolai Alexeyevitch! LOPAKHIN.. ... Have all the things been taken away? LOPAKHIN. I sat at this window and looked and saw my father going to church.311 LOPAKHIN.. Till the spring. LUBOV. . I'll sit here one more minute. on Trinity Sunday. Epikhodov. [To EPIKHODOV. [Drags an umbrella out of a bundle. [Suspiciously] What manners. . I remember. when I was six years old. all. EPIKHODOV. LOPAKHIN appears to be frightened] What are you doing? ... It's as if I'd never really noticed what the walls and ceilings of this house were like. I swallowed something just now. What's the matter with your voice? EPIKHODOV. my coat! LUBOV. LOPAKHIN. [Hoarsely] You may depend upon me. Yes. GAEV. VARYA. with such tender love. I never thought .. I think. Epikhodov. putting on his coat] You see that everything's quite straight. We go away. and now I look at them greedily. . I was having a drink of water. LUBOV.. YASHA.

] LOPAKHIN. Good-bye. Come along..312 TROFIMOV. I must lock them up. . your goloshes.] . a white double in the corner. with her little dog.. by that trunk. then! Come on .. . fearing that somebody might hear them. Cross in the middle. till we meet again! [Exit.. They fall into each other's arms and sob restrainedly and quietly. Peter. YASHA and CHARLOTTA. it's time! The train will be in directly. .. VARYA. They might almost have been waiting for that.] [VARYA looks round the room and goes out slowly.. here they are. LUBOV.. Till the spring. let's take our seats . home! Good-bye. TROFIMOV. Are you all here? There's nobody else? [Locks the side-door on the left] There's a lot of things in there. the station. old life! TROFIMOV. Welcome.. [Putting them on] Come on! GAEV. new life! [Exit with ANYA... Let's go! LOPAKHIN.. Come! ANYA.] [LUBOV ANDREYEVNA and GAEV are left alone.. nearly crying] The train . [Deeply moved. go out. [In tears] And how old and dirty they are.

Coo-ee! LUBOV. [Sits on a sofa] They've forgotten about me. We're coming! [They go out.. . GAEV.. The sound of keys being turned in the locks is heard. my youth. And Leonid . in a short jacket and white waistcoat. . LUBOV.] FIERS. He goes to the door and tries the handle. It's locked. my happiness. good-bye! Good-bye! ANYA'S VOICE.. beautiful orchard ! My life. To look at the walls and the windows for the last time. . Never mind. my sister! ANYA'S VOICE.. Steps are heard. I'll sit here. Mother! TROFIMOV'S VOICE. my gentle. FIERS comes in from the door on the right. . [In despair] My sister. My dead mother used to like to walk about this room... [Gaily.. They've gone away. my sister. .313 GAEV. My sister. [Gaily] Mother! TROFIMOV'S VOICE.. My dear. It is quiet.. excited] Coo-ee! LUBOV. He is dressed as usual.] [The stage is empty. slippers on his feet. and then the noise of the carriages going away.. He is ill. Then the sound of an axe against the trees is heard in the silence sadly and by itself.

bungler! [He lies without moving.314 Andreyevitch will have gone in a light overcoat instead of putting on his fur coat. .. . You've no strength left in you.. as if from the sky. Oh. and only the sound is heard. . some way away in the orchard. The distant sound is heard. .... Oh. dying away sadly. Silence follows it. these young people! [Mumbles something that cannot be understood] Life's gone on as if I'd never lived. [Lying down] I'll lie down.. . you . of the axe falling on the trees..... nothing left at all. [Sighs anxiously] I didn't see. of a breaking string.] Curtain.