Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Plays by Anton Chekhov, Second Series by Anton Chekhov

Part 4 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

TUZENBACH. They keep on asking me to get up a concert in aid of the

IRINA. As if one could do anything. ...

TUZENBACH. It might be arranged, if necessary. In my opinion Maria
Sergeyevna is an excellent pianist.

KULIGIN. Yes, excellent!

IRINA. She's forgotten everything. She hasn't played for three
years ... or four.

TUZENBACH. In this town absolutely nobody understands music, not a
soul except myself, but I do understand it, and assure you on my
word of honour that Maria Sergeyevna plays excellently, almost with

KULIGIN. You are right, Baron, I'm awfully fond of Masha. She's
very fine.

TUZENBACH. To be able to play so admirably and to realize at the
same time that nobody, nobody can understand you!

KULIGIN. [Sighs] Yes. ... But will it be quite all right for her to
take part in a concert? [Pause] You see, I don't know anything
about it. Perhaps it will even be all to the good. Although I must
admit that our Director is a good man, a very good man even, a very
clever man, still he has such views. ... Of course it isn't his
business but still, if you wish it, perhaps I'd better talk to him.

[CHEBUTIKIN takes a porcelain clock into his hands and examines

VERSHININ. I got so dirty while the fire was on, I don't look like
anybody on earth. [Pause] Yesterday I happened to hear, casually,
that they want to transfer our brigade to some distant place. Some
said to Poland, others, to Chita.

TUZENBACH. I heard so, too. Well, if it is so, the town will be
quite empty.

IRINA. And we'll go away, too!

CHEBUTIKIN. [Drops the clock which breaks to pieces] To

[A pause; everybody is pained and confused.]

KULIGIN. [Gathering up the pieces] To smash such a valuable object--
oh, Ivan Romanovitch, Ivan Romanovitch! A very bad mark for your

IRINA. That clock used to belong to our mother.

CHEBUTIKIN. Perhaps. ... To your mother, your mother. Perhaps I
didn't break it; it only looks as if I broke it. Perhaps we only
think that we exist, when really we don't. I don't know anything,
nobody knows anything. [At the door] What are you looking at?
Natasha has a little romance with Protopopov, and you don't see it. ...
There you sit and see nothing, and Natasha has a little romance
with Protopovov. ... [Sings] Won't you please accept this date. ...

VERSHININ. Yes. [Laughs] How strange everything really is! [Pause]
When the fire broke out, I hurried off home; when I get there I see
the house is whole, uninjured, and in no danger, but my two girls
are standing by the door in just their underclothes, their mother
isn't there, the crowd is excited, horses and dogs are running
about, and the girls' faces are so agitated, terrified, beseeching,
and I don't know what else. My heart was pained when I saw those
faces. My God, I thought, what these girls will have to put up with
if they live long! I caught them up and ran, and still kept on
thinking the one thing: what they will have to live through in this
world! [Fire-alarm; a pause] I come here and find their mother
shouting and angry. [MASHA enters with a pillow and sits on the
sofa] And when my girls were standing by the door in just their
underclothes, and the street was red from the fire, there was a
dreadful noise, and I thought that something of the sort used to
happen many years ago when an enemy made a sudden attack, and
looted, and burned. ... 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, in two or three hundred years perhaps,
people will look at our present life with just the same fear, and
the same contempt, and the whole past will seem clumsy and dull,
and very uncomfortable, and strange. Oh, indeed, what a life there
will be, what a life! [Laughs] Forgive me, I've dropped into
philosophy again. Please let me continue. I do awfully want to
philosophize, it's just how I feel at present. [Pause] As if they
are all asleep. As I was saying: what a life there will be! Only
just imagine. ... There are only three persons like yourselves in
the town just now, but in future generations there will be more and
more, and still more, and the time will come when everything will
change and become as you would have it, people will live as you do,
and then you too will go out of date; people will be born who are
better than you. ... [Laughs] Yes, to-day I am quite exceptionally
in the vein. I am devilishly keen on living. ... [Sings.]
"The power of love all ages know,
From its assaults great good does grow." [Laughs.]

MASHA. Trum-tum-tum ...

VERSHININ. Tum-tum ...

MASHA. Tra-ra-ra?

VERSHININ. Tra-ta-ta. [Laughs.]

[Enter FEDOTIK.]

FEDOTIK. [Dancing] I'm burnt out, I'm burnt out! Down to the
ground! [Laughter.]

IRINA. I don't see anything funny about it. Is everything burnt?

FEDOTIK. [Laughs] Absolutely. Nothing left at all. The guitar's
burnt, and the photographs are burnt, and all my correspondence. ...
And I was going to make you a present of a note-book, and that's
burnt too.

[SOLENI comes in.]

IRINA. No, you can't come here, Vassili Vassilevitch. Please go

SOLENI. Why can the Baron come here and I can't?

VERSHININ. We really must go. How's the fire?

SOLENI. They say it's going down. No, I absolutely don't see why
the Baron can, and I can't? [Scents his hands.]

VERSHININ. Trum-tum-tum.

MASHA. Trum-tum.

VERSHININ. [Laughs to SOLENI] Let's go into the dining-room.

SOLENI. Very well, we'll make a note of it. "If I should try to
make this clear, the geese would be annoyed, I fear." [Looks at
TUZENBACH] There, there, there. ... [Goes out with VERSHININ and

IRINA. How Soleni smelt of tobacco. ... [In surprise] The Baron's
asleep! Baron! Baron!

TUZENBACH. [Waking] I am tired, I must say. ... The brickworks. ...
No, I'm not wandering, I mean it; I'm going to start work soon at
the brickworks ... I've already talked it over. [Tenderly, to
IRINA] You're so pale, and beautiful, and charming. ... Your
paleness seems to shine through the dark air as if it was a light. ...
You are sad, displeased with life. ... Oh, come with me, let's go
and work together!

MASHA. Nicolai Lvovitch, go away from here.

TUZENBACH. [Laughs] Are you here? I didn't see you. [Kisses IRINA'S
hand] good-bye, I'll go ... I look at you now and I remember, as if
it was long ago, your name-day, when you, cheerfully and merrily,
were talking about the joys of labour. ... And how happy life
seemed to me, then! What has happened to it now? [Kisses her hand]
There are tears in your eyes. Go to bed now; it is already day ...
the morning begins. ... If only I was allowed to give my life for

MASHA. Nicolai Lvovitch, go away! What business ...

TUZENBACH. I'm off. [Exit.]

MASHA. [Lies down] Are you asleep, Feodor?


MASHA. Shouldn't you go home.

KULIGIN. My dear Masha, my darling Masha. ...

IRINA. She's tired out. You might let her rest, Fedia.

KULIGIN. I'll go at once. My wife's a good, splendid ... I love
you, my only one. ...

MASHA. [Angrily] Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant.

KULIGIN. [Laughs] No, she really is wonderful. I've been your
husband seven years, and it seems as if I was only married
yesterday. On my word. No, you really are a wonderful woman. I'm
satisfied, I'm satisfied, I'm satisfied!

MASHA. I'm bored, I'm bored, I'm bored. ... [Sits up] But I can't
get it out of my head. ... It's simply disgraceful. It has been
gnawing away at me ... I can't keep silent. I mean about Andrey. ...
He has mortgaged this house with the bank, and his wife has got all
the money; but the house doesn't belong to him alone, but to the
four of us! He ought to know that, if he's an honourable man.

KULIGIN. What's the use, Masha? Andrey is in debt all round; well,
let him do as he pleases.

MASHA. It's disgraceful, anyway. [Lies down]

KULIGIN. You and I are not poor. I work, take my classes, give
private lessons ... I am a plain, honest man ... _Omnia mea mecum
porto_, as they say.

MASHA. I don't want anything, but the unfairness of it disgusts me.
[Pause] You go, Feodor.

KULIGIN. [Kisses her] You're tired, just rest for half an hour, and
I'll sit and wait for you. Sleep. ... [Going] I'm satisfied, I'm
satisfied, I'm satisfied. [Exit.]

IRINA. Yes, really, our Andrey has grown smaller; how he's snuffed
out and aged with that woman! He used to want to be a professor,
and yesterday he was boasting that at last he had been made a
member of the district council. He is a member, and Protopopov is
chairman. ... The whole town talks and laughs about it, and he
alone knows and sees nothing. ... And now everybody's gone to look
at the fire, but he sits alone in his room and pays no attention,
only just plays on his fiddle. [Nervily] Oh, it's awful, awful,
awful. [Weeps] I can't, I can't bear it any longer! ... I can't, I
can't! ... [OLGA comes in and clears up at her little table. IRINA
is sobbing loudly] Throw me out, throw me out, I can't bear any

OLGA. [Alarmed] What is it, what is it? Dear!

IRINA. [Sobbing] Where? Where has everything gone? Where is it all?
Oh my God, my God! I've forgotten everything, everything ... I
don't remember what is the Italian for window or, well, for ceiling ...
I forget everything, every day I forget it, and life passes and
will never return, and we'll never go away to Moscow ... I see that
we'll never go. ...

OLGA. Dear, dear. ...

IRINA. [Controlling herself] Oh, I am unhappy ... I can't work, I
shan't work. Enough, enough! I used to be a telegraphist, now I
work at the town council offices, and I have nothing but hate and
contempt for all they give me to do ... I am already twenty-three,
I have already been at work for a long while, and my brain has
dried up, and I've grown thinner, plainer, older, and there is no
relief of any sort, and time goes and it seems all the while as if
I am going away from the real, the beautiful life, farther and
farther away, down some precipice. I'm in despair and I can't
understand how it is that I am still alive, that I haven't killed

OLGA. Don't cry, dear girl, don't cry ... I suffer, too.

IRINA. I'm not crying, not crying. ... Enough. ... Look, I'm not
crying any more. Enough ... enough!

OLGA. Dear, I tell you as a sister and a friend if you want my
advice, marry the Baron. [IRINA cries softly] You respect him, you
think highly of him. ... It is true that he is not handsome, but he
is so honourable and clean ... people don't marry from love, but in
order to do one's duty. I think so, at any rate, and I'd marry
without being in love. Whoever he was, I should marry him, so long
as he was a decent man. Even if he was old. ...

IRINA. I was always waiting until we should be settled in Moscow,
there I should meet my true love; I used to think about him, and
love him. ... But it's all turned out to be nonsense, all nonsense. ...

OLGA. [Embraces her sister] My dear, beautiful sister, I understand
everything; when Baron Nicolai Lvovitch left the army and came to
us in evening dress, [Note: I.e. in the correct dress for making a
proposal of marriage.] he seemed so bad-looking to me that I even
started crying. ... He asked, "What are you crying for?" How could
I tell him! But if God brought him to marry you, I should be happy.
That would be different, quite different.

[NATASHA with a candle walks across the stage from right to left
without saying anything.]

MASHA. [Sitting up] She walks as if she's set something on fire.

OLGA. Masha, you're silly, you're the silliest of the family.
Please forgive me for saying so. [Pause.]

MASHA. I want to make a confession, dear sisters. My soul is in
pain. I will confess to you, and never again to anybody ... I'll
tell you this minute. [Softly] It's my secret but you must know
everything ... I can't be silent. ... [Pause] I love, I love ... I
love that man. ... You saw him only just now. ... Why don't I say
it ... in one word. I love Vershinin.

OLGA. [Goes behind her screen] Stop that, I don't hear you in any

MASHA. What am I to do? [Takes her head in her hands] First he
seemed queer to me, then I was sorry for him ... then I fell in
love with him ... fell in love with his voice, his words, his
misfortunes, his two daughters.

OLGA. [Behind the screen] I'm not listening. You may talk any
nonsense you like, it will be all the same, I shan't hear.

MASHA. Oh, Olga, you are foolish. I am in love--that means that is
to be my fate. It means that is to be my lot. ... And he loves me. ...
It is all awful. Yes; it isn't good, is it? [Takes IRINA'S hand and
draws her to her] Oh, my dear. ... How are we going to live through
our lives, what is to become of us. ... When you read a novel it
all seems so old and easy, but when you fall in love yourself, then
you learn that nobody knows anything, and each must decide for
himself. ... My dear ones, my sisters ... I've confessed, now I
shall keep silence. ... Like the lunatics in Gogol's story, I'm
going to be silent ... silent ...

[ANDREY enters, followed by FERAPONT.]

ANDREY. [Angrily] What do you want? I don't understand.

FERAPONT. [At the door, impatiently] I've already told you ten
times, Andrey Sergeyevitch.

ANDREY. In the first place I'm not Andrey Sergeyevitch, but sir.
[Note: Quite literally, "your high honour," to correspond to
Andrey's rank as a civil servant.]

FERAPONT. The firemen, sir, ask if they can go across your garden
to the river. Else they go right round, right round; it's a

ANDREY. All right. Tell them it's all right. [Exit FERAPONT] I'm
tired of them. Where is Olga? [OLGA comes out from behind the
screen] I came to you for the key of the cupboard. I lost my own.
You've got a little key. [OLGA gives him the key; IRINA goes behind
her screen; pause] What a huge fire! It's going down now. Hang it
all, that Ferapont made me so angry that I talked nonsense to him. ...
Sir, indeed. ... [A pause] Why are you so silent, Olga? [Pause]
It's time you stopped all that nonsense and behaved as if you were
properly alive. ... You are here, Masha. Irina is here, well, since
we're all here, let's come to a complete understanding, once and
for all. What have you against me? What is it?

OLGA. Please don't, Audrey dear. We'll talk to-morrow. [Excited]
What an awful night!

ANDREY. [Much confused] Don't excite yourself. I ask you in perfect
calmness; what have you against me? Tell me straight.

VERSHININ'S VOICE. Trum-tum-tum!

MASHA. [Stands; loudly] Tra-ta-ta! [To OLGA] Goodbye, Olga, God
bless you. [Goes behind screen and kisses IRINA] Sleep well. ...
Good-bye, Andrey. Go away now, they're tired ... you can explain
to-morrow. ... [Exit.]

ANDREY. I'll only say this and go. Just now. ... In the first
place, you've got something against Natasha, my wife; I've noticed
it since the very day of my marriage. Natasha is a beautiful and
honest creature, straight and honourable--that's my opinion. I love
and respect my wife; understand it, I respect her, and I insist
that others should respect her too. I repeat, she's an honest and
honourable person, and all your disapproval is simply silly ...
[Pause] In the second place, you seem to be annoyed because I am
not a professor, and am not engaged in study. But I work for the
zemstvo, I am a member of the district council, and I consider my
service as worthy and as high as the service of science. I am a
member of the district council, and I am proud of it, if you want
to know. [Pause] In the third place, I have still this to say ...
that I have mortgaged the house without obtaining your permission. ...
For that I am to blame, and ask to be forgiven. My debts led me
into doing it ... thirty-five thousand ... I do not play at cards
any more, I stopped long ago, but the chief thing I have to say in
my defence is that you girls receive a pension, and I don't ... my
wages, so to speak. ... [Pause.]

KULIGIN. [At the door] Is Masha there? [Excitedly] Where is she?
It's queer. ... [Exit.]

ANDREY. They don't hear. Natasha is a splendid, honest person.
[Walks about in silence, then stops] When I married I thought we
should be happy ... all of us. ... But, my God. ... [Weeps] My
dear, dear sisters, don't believe me, don't believe me. ... [Exit.]

[Fire-alarm. The stage is clear.]

IRINA. [behind her screen] Olga, who's knocking on the floor?

OLGA. It's doctor Ivan Romanovitch. He's drunk.

IRINA. What a restless night! [Pause] Olga! [Looks out] Did you
hear? They are taking the brigade away from us; it's going to be
transferred to some place far away.

OLGA. It's only a rumour.

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

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

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

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. ...

[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

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
class, and now I myself teach others that _ut consecutivum_. Of
course, I'm a clever man, much cleverer than many, but happiness
doesn't only lie in that. ...

["The Maiden's Prayer" is being played on the piano in the house.]

IRINA. To-morrow night I shan't hear that "Maiden's Prayer" any
more, and I shan't be meeting Protopopov. ... [Pause] Protopopov is
sitting there in the drawing-room; and he came to-day ...

KULIGIN. Hasn't the head-mistress come yet?

IRINA. No. She has been sent for. If you only knew how difficult it
is for me to live alone, without Olga. ... She lives at the High
School; she, a head-mistress, busy all day with her affairs and I'm
alone, bored, with nothing to do, and hate the room I live in. ...
I've made up my mind: if I can't live in Moscow, then it must come
to this. It's fate. It can't be helped. It's all the will of God,
that's the truth. Nicolai Lvovitch made me a proposal. ... Well? I
thought it over and made up my mind. He's a good man ... it's quite
remarkable how good he is. ... And suddenly my soul put out wings,
I became happy, and light-hearted, and once again the desire for
work, work, came over me. ... Only something happened yesterday,
some secret dread has been hanging over me. ...

CHEBUTIKIN. Luckum. Rubbish.

NATASHA. [At the window] The head-mistress.

KULIGIN. The head-mistress has come. Let's go. [Exit with IRINA
into the house.]

CHEBUTIKIN. "It is my washing day. ... Tara-ra ... boom-deay."

[MASHA approaches, ANDREY is wheeling a perambulator at the back.]

MASHA. Here you are, sitting here, doing nothing.

CHEBUTIKIN. What then?

MASHA. [Sits] Nothing. ... [Pause] Did you love my mother?

CHEBUTIKIN. Very much.

MASHA. And did she love you?

CHEBUTIKIN. [After a pause] I don't remember that.

MASHA. Is my man here? When our cook Martha used to ask about her
gendarme, she used to say my man. Is he here?


MASHA. When you take your happiness in little bits, in snatches,
and then lose it, as I have done, you gradually get coarser, more
bitter. [Points to her bosom] I'm boiling in here. ... [Looks at
ANDREY with the perambulator] There's our brother Andrey. ... All
our hopes in him have gone. There was once a great bell, a thousand
persons were hoisting it, much money and labour had been spent on
it, when it suddenly fell and was broken. Suddenly, for no
particular reason. ... Andrey is like that. ...

ANDREY. When are they going to stop making such a noise in the
house? It's awful.

CHEBUTIKIN. They won't be much longer. [Looks at his watch] My
watch is very old-fashioned, it strikes the hours. ... [Winds the
watch and makes it strike] The first, second, and fifth batteries
are to leave at one o'clock precisely. [Pause] And I go to-morrow.

ANDREY. For good?

CHEBUTIKIN. I don't know. Perhaps I'll return in a year. The devil
only knows ... it's all one. ... [Somewhere a harp and violin are
being played.]

ANDREY. The town will grow empty. It will be as if they put a cover
over it. [Pause] Something happened yesterday by the theatre. The
whole town knows of it, but I don't.

CHEBUTIKIN. Nothing. A silly little affair. Soleni started
irritating the Baron, who lost his temper and insulted him, and so
at last Soleni had to challenge him. [Looks at his watch] It's
about time, I think. ... At half-past twelve, in the public wood,
that one you can see from here across the river. ... Piff-paff.
[Laughs] Soleni thinks he's Lermontov, and even writes verses.
That's all very well, but this is his third duel.

MASHA. Whose?


MASHA. And the Baron?

CHEBUTIKIN. What about the Baron? [Pause.]

MASHA. Everything's all muddled up in my head. ... But I say it
ought not to be allowed. He might wound the Baron or even kill him.

CHEBUTIKIN. The Baron is a good man, 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. That's Skvortsov
shouting; one of the seconds. He's in a boat. [Pause.]

ANDREY. In my opinion it's simply immoral to fight in a duel, or to
be present, even in the quality of a doctor.

CHEBUTIKIN. It only seems so. ... We don't exist, there's nothing
on earth, we don't really live, it only seems that we live. Does it
matter, anyway!

MASHA. You talk and talk the whole day long. [Going] You live in a
climate like this, where it might snow any moment, and there you
talk. ... [Stops] I won't go into the house, I can't go there. ...
Tell me when Vershinin comes. ... [Goes along the avenue] The
migrant birds are already on the wing. ... [Looks up] Swans or
geese. ... My dear, happy things. ... [Exit.]

ANDREY. Our house will be empty. The officers will go away, you are
going, my sister is getting married, and I alone will remain in the

CHEBUTIKIN. And your wife?

[FERAPONT enters with some documents.]

ANDREY. A wife's a wife. She's honest, well-bred, yes; and kind,
but with all that there is still something about her that
degenerates her into a petty, blind, even in some respects
misshapen animal. In any case, she isn't a man. I tell you as a
friend, as the only man to whom I can lay bare my soul. I love
Natasha, it's true, but sometimes she seems extraordinarily vulgar,
and then I lose myself and can't understand why I love her so much,
or, at any rate, used to love her. ...

CHEBUTIKIN. [Rises] I'm going away to-morrow, old chap, and perhaps
we'll never meet again, so here's my advice. Put on your cap, take
a stick in your hand, go ... go on and on, without looking round.
And the farther you go, the better.

[SOLENI goes across the back of the stage with two officers; he
catches sight of CHEBUTIKIN, and turns to him, the officers go on.]

SOLENI. Doctor, it's time. It's half-past twelve already. [Shakes
hands with ANDREY.]

CHEBUTIKIN. Half a minute. I'm tired of the lot of you. [To ANDREY]
If anybody asks for me, say I'll be back soon. ... [Sighs] Oh, oh,

SOLENI. "He didn't have the time to sigh. The bear sat on him
heavily." [Goes up to him] What are you groaning about, old man?


SOLENI. How's your health?

CHEBUTIKIN. [Angry] Mind your own business.

SOLENI. The old man is unnecessarily excited. I won't go far, I'll
only just bring him down like a snipe. [Takes out his scent-bottle
and scents his hands] I've poured out a whole bottle of scent
to-day and they still smell ... of a dead body. [Pause] Yes. ...
You remember the poem
"But he, the rebel seeks the storm,
As if the storm will bring him rest ..."?

"He didn't have the time to sigh,
The bear sat on him heavily."
[Exit with SOLENI.]

[Shouts are heard. ANDREY and FERAPONT come in.]

FERAPONT. Documents to sign. ...

ANDREY. [Irritated]. Go away! Leave me! Please! [Goes away with the

FERAPONT. That's what documents are for, to be signed. [Retires to
back of stage.]

[Enter IRINA, with TUZENBACH in a straw hat; KULIGIN walks across
the stage, shouting "Co-ee, Masha, co-ee!"]

TUZENBACH. He seems to be the only man in the town who is glad that
the soldiers are going.

IRINA. One can understand that. [Pause] The town will be empty.

TUZENBACH. My dear, I shall return soon.

IRINA. Where are you going?

TUZENBACH. I must go into the town and then ... see the others off.

IRINA. It's not true ... Nicolai, why are you so absentminded
to-day? [Pause] What took place by the theatre yesterday?

TUZENBACH. [Making a movement of impatience] In an hour's time I
shall return and be with you again. [Kisses her hands] My darling ...
[Looking her closely in the face] it's five years now since I fell
in love with you, and still I can't get used to it, and you seem to
me to grow more and more beautiful. What lovely, wonderful hair!
What eyes! I'm going to take you away to-morrow. We shall work, we
shall be rich, my dreams will come true. You will be happy. There's
only one thing, one thing only: you don't love me!

IRINA. It isn't in my power! I shall be your wife, I shall be true
to you, and obedient to you, but I can't love you. What can I do!
[Cries] I have never been in love in my life. Oh, I used to think
so much of love, I have been thinking about it for so long by day
and by night, but my soul is like an expensive piano which is
locked and the key lost. [Pause] You seem so unhappy.

TUZENBACH. I didn't sleep at night. There is nothing in my life so
awful as to be able to frighten me, only that lost key torments my
soul and does not let me sleep. Say something to me [Pause] say
something to me. ...

IRINA. What can I say, what?

TUZENBACH. Anything.

IRINA. Don't! don't! [Pause.]

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

IRINA. I am coming with you.

TUZENBACH. [Nervously] No, no! [He goes quickly and stops in the
avenue] Irina!

IRINA. What is it?

TUZENBACH. [Not knowing what to say] I haven't had any coffee
to-day. Tell them to make me some. ... [He goes out quickly.]

[IRINA stands deep in thought. Then she goes to the back of the
stage and sits on a swing. ANDREY comes in with the perambulator
and FERAPONT also appears.]

FERAPONT. Andrey Sergeyevitch, it isn't as if the documents were
mine, they are the government's. I didn't make them.

ANDREY. Oh, what has become of my past and where is it? I used to
be young, happy, clever, I used to be able to think and frame
clever ideas, the present and the future seemed to me full of hope.
Why do we, almost before we have begun to live, become dull, grey,
uninteresting, lazy, apathetic, useless, unhappy. ... This town has
already been in existence for two hundred years and it has a
hundred thousand inhabitants, not one of whom is in any way
different from the others. There has never been, now or at any
other time, a single leader of men, a single scholar, an artist, a
man of even the slightest eminence who might arouse envy or a
passionate desire to be imitated. They only eat, drink, sleep, and
then they die ... more people are born and also eat, drink, sleep,
and so as not to go silly from boredom, they try to make life
many-sided with their beastly backbiting, vodka, cards, and
litigation. The wives deceive their husbands, and the husbands lie,
and pretend they see nothing and hear nothing, and the evil
influence irresistibly oppresses the children and the divine spark
in them is extinguished, and they become just as pitiful corpses
and just as much like one another as their fathers and mothers. ...
[Angrily to FERAPONT] What do you want?

FERAPONT. What? Documents want signing.

ANDREY. I'm tired of you.

FERAPONT. [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.

ANDREY. The present is beastly, but when I think of the future, how
good it is! I feel so light, so free; there is a light in the
distance, I see freedom. I see myself and my children freeing
ourselves from vanities, from kvass, from goose baked with cabbage,
from after-dinner naps, from base idleness. ...

FERAPONT. He was saying that two thousand people were frozen to
death. The people were frightened, he said. In Petersburg or
Moscow, I don't remember which.

ANDREY. [Overcome by a tender emotion] My dear sisters, my
beautiful sisters! [Crying] Masha, my sister. ...

NATASHA. [At the window] Who's talking so loudly out here? Is that
you, Andrey? You'll wake little Sophie. _Il ne faut pas faire du
bruit, la Sophie est dormee deja. Vous etes un ours._ [Angrily] If
you want to talk, then give the perambulator and the baby to
somebody else. Ferapont, take the perambulator!

FERAPONT. Yes'm. [Takes the perambulator.]

ANDREY. [Confused] I'm speaking quietly.

NATASHA. [At the window, nursing her boy] Bobby! Naughty Bobby! Bad
little Bobby!

ANDREY. [Looking through the papers] All right, I'll look them over
and sign if necessary, and you can take them back to the offices. ...

[Goes into house reading papers; FERAPONT takes the perambulator to
the back of the garden.]

NATASHA. [At the window] Bobby, what's your mother's name? Dear,
dear! And who's this? That's Aunt Olga. Say to your aunt, "How do
you do, Olga!"

[Two wandering musicians, a man and a girl, are playing on a violin
and a harp. VERSHININ, OLGA, and ANFISA come out of the house and
listen for a minute in silence; IRINA comes up to them.]

OLGA. Our garden might be a public thoroughfare, from the way
people walk and ride across it. Nurse, give those musicians

ANFISA. [Gives money to the musicians] Go away with God's blessing
on you. [The musicians bow and go away] A bitter sort of people.
You don't play on a full stomach. [To IRINA] How do you do, Arisha!
[Kisses her] Well, little girl, here I am, still alive! Still
alive! In the High School, together with little Olga, in her
official apartments ... so the Lord has appointed for my old age.
Sinful woman that I am, I've never lived like that in my life
before. ... A large flat, government property, and I've a whole
room and bed to myself. All government property. I wake up at
nights and, oh God, and Holy Mother, there isn't a happier person
than I!

VERSHININ. [Looks at his watch] We are going soon, Olga Sergeyevna.
It's time for me to go. [Pause] I wish you every ... every. ...
Where's Maria Sergeyevna?

IRINA. She's somewhere in the garden. I'll go and look for her.

VERSHININ. If you'll be so kind. I haven't time.

ANFISA. I'll go and look, too. [Shouts] Little Masha, co-ee! [Goes
out with IRINA down into the garden] Co-ee, co-ee!

VERSHININ. Everything comes to an end. And so we, too, must part.
[Looks at his watch] The town gave us a sort of farewell breakfast,
we had champagne to drink and the mayor made a speech, and I ate
and listened, but my soul was here all the time. ... [Looks round
the garden] I'm so used to you now.

OLGA. Shall we ever meet again?

VERSHININ. Probably not. [Pause] My wife and both my daughters will
stay here another two months. If anything happens, or if anything
has to be done ...

OLGA. Yes, yes, of course. You need not worry. [Pause] To-morrow
there won't be a single soldier left in the town, it will all be a
memory, and, of course, for us a new life will begin. ... [Pause]
None of our plans are coming right. I didn't want to be a
head-mistress, but they made me one, all the same. It means there's
no chance of Moscow. ...

VERSHININ. Well ... thank you for everything. Forgive me if I've ...
I've said such an awful lot--forgive me for that too, don't think
badly of me.

OLGA. [Wipes her eyes] Why isn't Masha coming ...

VERSHININ. What else can I say in parting? Can I philosophize about
anything? [Laughs] Life is heavy. To many of us it seems dull and
hopeless, but still, it must be acknowledged that it is getting
lighter and clearer, and it seems that the time is not far off when
it will be quite clear. [Looks at his watch] It's time I went!
Mankind used to be absorbed in wars, and all its existence was
filled with campaigns, attacks, defeats, now we've outlived all
that, leaving after us a great waste place, which there is nothing
to fill with at present; but mankind is looking for something, and
will certainly find it. Oh, if it only happened more quickly.
[Pause] If only education could be added to industry, and industry
to education. [Looks at his watch] It's time I went. ...

OLGA. Here she comes.

[Enter MASHA.]

VERSHININ. I came to say good-bye. ...

[OLGA steps aside a little, so as not to be in their way.]

MASHA. [Looking him in the face] Good-bye. [Prolonged kiss.]

OLGA. Don't, don't. [MASHA is crying bitterly]

VERSHININ. Write to me. ... Don't forget! Let me go. ... It's time.
Take her, Olga Sergeyevna ... it's time ... I'm late ...

[He kisses OLGA'S hand in evident emotion, then embraces MASHA once
more and goes out quickly.]

OLGA. Don't, Masha! Stop, dear. ... [KULIGIN enters.]

KULIGIN. [Confused] Never mind, let her cry, let her. ... My dear
Masha, my good Masha. ... You're my wife, and I'm happy, whatever
happens ... I'm not complaining, I don't reproach you at all. ...
Olga is a witness to it. Let's begin to live again as we used to,
and not by a single word, or hint ...

MASHA. [Restraining her sobs]
"There stands a green oak by the sea,
And a chain of bright gold is around it. ...
And a chain of bright gold is around it. ..."

I'm going off my head ... "There stands ... a green oak ... by the
sea." ...

OLGA. Don't, Masha, don't ... give her some water. ...

MASHA. I'm not crying any more. ...

KULIGIN. She's not crying any more ... she's a good ... [A shot is
heard from a distance.]

"There stands a green oak by the sea,
And a chain of bright gold is around it ...
An oak of green gold. ..."

I'm mixing it up. ... [Drinks some water] Life is dull. . . I don't
want anything more now ... I'll be all right in a moment. ... It
doesn't matter. ... What do those lines mean? Why do they run in
my head? My thoughts are all tangled.

[IRINA enters.]

OLGA. Be quiet, Masha. There's a good girl. ... Let's go in.

MASHA. [Angrily] I shan't go in there. [Sobs, but controls herself
at once] I'm not going to go into the house, I won't go. ...

IRINA. Let's sit here together and say nothing. I'm going away
to-morrow. ... [Pause.]

KULIGIN. 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. ... [Laughs] Don't I? The boys
are amusing.

MASHA. You really do look like that German of yours.

OLGA. [Laughs] Yes. [MASHA weeps.]

IRINA. Don't, Masha!

KULIGIN. It's a very good likeness. ...

[Enter NATASHA.]

NATASHA. [To the maid] What? Mihail Ivanitch Protopopov will sit with
little Sophie, and Andrey Sergeyevitch can take little Bobby out.
Children are such a bother. ... [To IRINA] Irina, it's such a pity
you're going away to-morrow. Do stop just another week. [Sees KULIGIN
and screams; 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--let him fiddle away in there!--and
we'll put little Sophie into his room. The beautiful, lovely child!
What a little girlie! To-day she looked at me with such pretty eyes
and said "Mamma!"

KULIGIN. A beautiful child, it's quite true.

NATASHA. That means I shall have the place to myself to-morrow. [Sighs]
In the first place I shall have that avenue of fir-trees cut down, then
that maple. It's so ugly at nights. ... [To IRINA] That belt doesn't
suit you at all, dear. ... It's an error of taste. And I'll give orders
to have lots and lots of little flowers planted here, and they'll
smell. ... [Severely] Why is there a fork lying about here on the seat?
[Going towards the house, to the maid] Why is there a fork lying about
here on the seat, I say? [Shouts] Don't you dare to answer me!

KULIGIN. Temper! temper! [A march is played off; they all listen.]

OLGA. They're going.

[CHEBUTIKIN comes in.]

MASHA. They're going. Well, well. ... Bon voyage! [To her husband] We
must be going home. ... Where's my coat and hat?

KULIGIN. I took them in ... I'll bring them, in a moment.

OLGA. Yes, now we can all go home. It's time.

CHEBUTIKIN. Olga Sergeyevna!

OLGA. What is it? [Pause] What is it?

CHEBUTIKIN. Nothing ... I don't know how to tell you. ... [Whispers
to her.]

OLGA. [Frightened] It can't be true!

CHEBUTIKIN. Yes ... such a story ... I'm tired out, exhausted, I won't
say any more. ... [Sadly] Still, it's all the same!

MASHA. What's happened?

OLGA. [Embraces IRINA] This is a terrible day ... I don't know how to
tell you, dear. ...

IRINA. What is it? Tell me quickly, what is it? For God's sake! [Cries.]

CHEBUTIKIN. The Baron was killed in the duel just now.

IRINA. [Cries softly] I knew it, I knew it. ...

CHEBUTIKIN. [Sits on a bench at the back of the stage] I'm tired. ...
[Takes a paper from his pocket] Let 'em cry. ... [Sings softly]
"Tarara-boom-deay, it is my washing day. ..." Isn't it all the same!

[The three sisters are standing, pressing against one another.]

MASHA. Oh, how the music plays! They are leaving us, one has quite
left us, quite and for ever. We remain alone, to begin our life over
again. We must live ... we must live. ...

IRINA. [Puts her head on OLGA's bosom] There will come a time when
everybody will know why, for what purpose, there is all this suffering,
and there will be no more mysteries. But now we must live ... we must
work, just work! To-morrow, I'll go away alone, and I'll teach and give
my whole life to those who, perhaps, need it. It's autumn now, soon it
will be winter, the snow will cover everything, and I shall be working,
working. ...

OLGA. [Embraces both her sisters] The bands are playing so gaily, so
bravely, and one does so want to live! Oh, my God! Time will pass on,
and we shall depart for ever, we shall be forgotten; they will forget
our faces, voices, and even how many there were of us, but our sufferings
will turn into joy for those who will live after us, happiness and
peace will reign on earth, and people will remember with kindly words,
and bless those who are living now. Oh dear sisters, our life is not
yet at an end. Let us live. The music is so gay, so joyful, and, it
seems that in a little while we shall know why we are living, why
we are suffering. ... If we could only know, if we could only know!

[The music has been growing softer and softer; KULIGIN, smiling happily,
brings out the hat and coat; ANDREY wheels out the perambulator in
which BOBBY is sitting.]

CHEBUTIKIN. [Sings softly] "Tara. . . ra-boom-deay. ... It is my
washing-day." ... [Reads a paper] It's all the same! It's all the same!

OLGA. If only we could know, if only we could know!




ANYA, her daughter, aged seventeen
VARYA (BARBARA), her adopted daughter, aged twenty-seven
LEONID ANDREYEVITCH GAEV, Mme. Ranevsky's brother
FIERS, an old footman, aged eighty-seven
YASHA, a young footman

The action takes place on Mme. RANEVSKY'S estate


[A room which is still called the nursery. One of the doors leads
into ANYA'S room. It is close on sunrise. It is May. The cherry-trees
are in flower but it is chilly in the garden. There is an early
frost. The windows of the room are shut. DUNYASHA comes in with a
candle, and LOPAKHIN with a book in his hand.]

LOPAKHIN. The train's arrived, thank God. What's the time?

DUNYASHA. It will soon be two. [Blows out candle] It is light

LOPAKHIN. How much was the train late? Two hours at least. [Yawns
and stretches himself] I have made a rotten mess of it! I came here
on purpose to meet them at the station, and then overslept myself ...
in my chair. It's a pity. I wish you'd wakened me.

DUNYASHA. I thought you'd gone away. [Listening] I think I hear
them coming.

LOPAKHIN. [Listens] No. ... They've got to collect their luggage
and so on. ... [Pause] Lubov Andreyevna has been living abroad for
five years; I don't know what she'll be like now. ... She's a good
sort--an easy, simple person. I remember when I was a boy of
fifteen, my father, who is dead--he used to keep a shop in the
village here--hit me on the face with his fist, and my nose bled. ...
We had gone into the yard together for something or other, and he
was a little drunk. Lubov Andreyevna, as I remember her now, was
still young, and very thin, and she took me to the washstand here
in this very room, the nursery. She said, "Don't cry, little man,
it'll be all right in time for your wedding." [Pause] "Little man". ...
My father was a peasant, it's true, but here I am in a white
waistcoat and yellow shoes ... a pearl out of an oyster. I'm rich
now, with lots of money, but just think about it and examine me,
and you'll find I'm still a peasant down to the marrow of my bones.
[Turns over the pages of his book] Here I've been reading this
book, but I understood nothing. I read and fell asleep. [Pause.]

DUNYASHA. The dogs didn't sleep all night; they know that they're

LOPAKHIN. What's up with you, Dunyasha ...?

DUNYASHA. My hands are shaking. I shall faint.

LOPAKHIN. You're too sensitive, Dunyasha. You dress just like a
lady, and you do your hair like one too. You oughtn't. You should
know your place.

EPIKHODOV. [Enters with a bouquet. He wears a short jacket and
brilliantly polished boots which squeak audibly. He drops the
bouquet as he enters, then picks it up] The gardener sent these;
says they're to go into the dining-room. [Gives the bouquet to

LOPAKHIN. And you'll bring me some kvass.

DUNYASHA. Very well. [Exit.]

EPIKHODOV. There's a frost this morning--three degrees, and the
cherry-trees are all in flower. I can't approve of our climate.
[Sighs] I can't. Our climate is indisposed to favour us even this
once. And, Ermolai Alexeyevitch, allow me to say to you, in
addition, that I bought myself some boots two days ago, and I beg
to assure you that they squeak in a perfectly unbearable manner.
What shall I put on them?

LOPAKHIN. Go away. You bore me.

EPIKHODOV. Some misfortune happens to me every day. But I don't
complain; I'm used to it, and I can smile. [DUNYASHA comes in and
brings LOPAKHIN some kvass] I shall go. [Knocks over a chair]
There. ... [Triumphantly] There, you see, if I may use the word,
what circumstances I am in, so to speak. It is even simply
marvellous. [Exit.]

DUNYASHA. I may confess to you, Ermolai Alexeyevitch, that
Epikhodov has proposed to me.


DUNYASHA. I don't know what to do about it. He's a nice young man,
but every now and again, when he begins talking, you can't
understand a word he's saying. I think I like him. He's madly in
love with me. He's an unlucky man; every day something happens. We
tease him about it. They call him "Two-and-twenty troubles."

LOPAKHIN. [Listens] There they come, I think.

DUNYASHA. They're coming! What's the matter with me? I'm cold all

LOPAKHIN. There they are, right enough. Let's go and meet them.
Will she know me? We haven't seen each other for five years.

DUNYASHA. [Excited] I shall faint in a minute. ... Oh, I'm

[Two carriages are heard driving up to the house. LOPAKHIN and
DUNYASHA quickly go out. The stage is empty. A noise begins in the
next room. FIERS, leaning on a stick, walks quickly across the
stage; he has just been to meet LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. He wears an
old-fashioned livery and a tall hat. He is saying something to
himself, but not a word of it can be made out. The noise behind the
stage gets louder and louder. A voice is heard: "Let's go in
little dog on a chain, and all dressed in travelling clothes, VARYA
in a long coat and with a kerchief on her head. GAEV, SIMEONOV-PISCHIN,
LOPAKHIN, DUNYASHA with a parcel and an umbrella, and a servant
with luggage--all cross the room.]

ANYA. Let's come through here. Do you remember what this room is,

LUBOV. [Joyfully, through her tears] The nursery!

VARYA. How cold it is! My hands are quite numb. [To LUBOV
ANDREYEVNA] Your rooms, the white one and the violet one, are just
as they used to be, mother.

LUBOV. My dear nursery, oh, you beautiful room. ... I used to sleep
here when I was a baby. [Weeps] And here I am like a little girl
again. [Kisses her brother, VARYA, then her brother again] And
Varya is just as she used to be, just like a nun. And I knew
Dunyasha. [Kisses her.]

GAEV. The train was two hours late. There now; how's that for

CHARLOTTA. [To PISCHIN] My dog eats nuts too.

PISCHIN. [Astonished] To think of that, now!

[All go out except ANYA and DUNYASHA.]

DUNYASHA. We did have to wait for you!

[Takes off ANYA'S cloak and hat.]

ANYA. I didn't get any sleep for four nights on the journey. ...
I'm awfully cold.

DUNYASHA. You went away during Lent, when it was snowing and
frosty, but now? Darling! [Laughs and kisses her] We did have to
wait for you, my joy, my pet. ... I must tell you at once, I can't
bear to wait a minute.

ANYA. [Tired] Something else now ...?

DUNYASHA. The clerk, Epikhodov, proposed to me after Easter.

ANYA. Always the same. ... [Puts her hair straight] I've lost all
my hairpins. ... [She is very tired, and even staggers as she

DUNYASHA. I don't know what to think about it. He loves me, he
loves me so much!

ANYA. [Looks into her room; in a gentle voice] My room, my windows,
as if I'd never gone away. I'm at home! To-morrow morning I'll get
up and have a run in the garden. ...Oh, if I could only get to
sleep! I didn't sleep the whole journey, I was so bothered.

DUNYASHA. Peter Sergeyevitch came two days ago.

ANYA. [Joyfully] Peter!

DUNYASHA. He sleeps in the bath-house, he lives there. He said he
was afraid he'd be in the way. [Looks at her pocket-watch] I ought
to wake him, but Barbara Mihailovna told me not to. "Don't wake
him," she said.

[Enter VARYA, a bunch of keys on her belt.]

VARYA. Dunyasha, some coffee, quick. Mother wants some.

DUNYASHA. This minute. [Exit.]

VARYA. Well, you've come, glory be to God. Home again. [Caressing
her] My darling is back again! My pretty one is back again!

ANYA. I did have an awful time, I tell you.

VARYA. I can just imagine it!

ANYA. I went away in Holy Week; it was very cold then. Charlotta
talked the whole way and would go on performing her tricks. Why did
you tie Charlotta on to me?

VARYA. You couldn't go alone, darling, at seventeen!

ANYA. We went to Paris; it's cold there and snowing. I talk French
perfectly horribly. My mother lives on the fifth floor. I go to
her, and find her there with various Frenchmen, women, an old abbe
with a book, and everything in tobacco smoke and with no comfort at
all. 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. Then
mother started hugging me and crying. ...

VARYA. [Weeping] Don't say any more, don't say any more. ...

ANYA. She's already sold her villa near Mentone; she's nothing
left, nothing. And I haven't a copeck left either; 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, and tipped the
waiters one rouble each. And Charlotta too. Yasha wants his share
too--it's too bad. Mother's got a footman now, Yasha; we've
brought him here.

VARYA. I saw the wretch.

ANYA. How's business? Has the interest been paid?

VARYA. Not much chance of that.

ANYA. Oh God, oh God ...

VARYA. The place will be sold in August.

ANYA. O God. ...

LOPAKHIN. [Looks in at the door and moos] Moo! ... [Exit.]

VARYA. [Through her tears] I'd like to. ... [Shakes her fist.]

ANYA. [Embraces VARYA, softly] Varya, has he proposed to you?
[VARYA shakes head] But he loves you. ... Why don't you make up
your minds? Why do you keep on waiting?

VARYA. I think that it will all come to nothing. He's a busy man.
I'm not his affair ... he pays no attention to me. Bless the man, I
don't want to see him. ... But everybody talks about our marriage,
everybody congratulates me, and there's nothing in it at all, it's
all like a dream. [In another tone] You've got a brooch like a bee.

ANYA. [Sadly] Mother bought it. [Goes into her room, and talks
lightly, like a child] In Paris I went up in a balloon!

VARYA. My darling's come back, my pretty one's come back! [DUNYASHA
has already returned with the coffee-pot and is making the coffee,
VARYA stands near the door] I go about all day, looking after the
house, and I think all the time, if only you could marry a rich
man, then I'd be happy and would go away somewhere by myself, then
to Kiev ... to Moscow, and so on, from one holy place to another.
I'd tramp and tramp. That would be splendid!

ANYA. The birds are singing in the garden. What time is it now?

VARYA. It must be getting on for three. Time you went to sleep,
darling. [Goes into ANYA'S room] Splendid!

[Enter YASHA with a plaid shawl and a travelling bag.]

YASHA. [Crossing the stage: Politely] May I go this way?

DUNYASHA. I hardly knew you, Yasha. You have changed abroad.

YASHA. Hm ... and who are you?

DUNYASHA. When you went away I was only so high. [Showing with her
hand] I'm Dunyasha, the daughter of Theodore Kozoyedov. You don't

YASHA. Oh, you little cucumber!

[Looks round and embraces her. She screams and drops a saucer.
YASHA goes out quickly.]

VARYA. [In the doorway: In an angry voice] What's that?

DUNYASHA. [Through her tears] I've broken a saucer.

VARYA. It may bring luck.

ANYA. [Coming out of her room] We must tell mother that Peter's

VARYA. I told them not to wake him.

ANYA. [Thoughtfully] Father died six years ago, and a month later
my brother Grisha was drowned in the river--such a dear little boy
of seven! Mother couldn't bear it; she went away, away, without
looking round. ... [Shudders] How I understand her; if only she
knew! [Pause] And Peter Trofimov was Grisha's tutor, he might tell
her. ...

[Enter FIERS in a short jacket and white waistcoat.]

FIERS. [Goes to the coffee-pot, nervously] The mistress is going to
have some food here. ... [Puts on white gloves] Is the coffee
ready? [To DUNYASHA, severely] You! Where's the cream?

DUNYASHA. Oh, dear me ...! [Rapid exit.]

FIERS. [Fussing round the coffee-pot] Oh, you bungler. ... [Murmurs
to himself] Back from Paris ... the master went to Paris once ...
in a carriage. ... [Laughs.]

VARYA. What are you talking about, Fiers?

FIERS. I beg your pardon? [Joyfully] The mistress is home again.
I've lived to see her! Don't care if I die now. ... [Weeps with

latter in a long jacket of thin cloth and loose trousers. GAEV,
coming in, moves his arms and body about as if he is playing

LUBOV. Let me remember now. Red into the corner! Twice into the

GAEV. Right into the pocket! Once upon a time you and I used both
to sleep in this room, and now I'm fifty-one; it does seem strange.

LOPAKHIN. Yes, time does go.

GAEV. Who does?

LOPAKHIN. I said that time does go.

GAEV. It smells of patchouli here.

ANYA. I'm going to bed. Good-night, mother. [Kisses her.]

LUBOV. My lovely little one. [Kisses her hand] Glad to be at home?
I can't get over it.

ANYA. Good-night, uncle.

GAEV. [Kisses her face and hands] God be with you. How you do
resemble your mother! [To his sister] You were just like her at her
age, Luba.

[ANYA gives her hand to LOPAKHIN and PISCHIN and goes out, shutting
the door behind her.]

LUBOV. She's awfully tired.

PISCHIN. It's a very long journey.

VARYA. [To LOPAKHIN and PISCHIN] Well, sirs, it's getting on for
three, quite time you went.

LUBOV. [Laughs] You're just the same as ever, Varya. [Draws her
close and kisses her] I'll have some coffee now, then we'll all go.
[FIERS lays a cushion under her feet] Thank you, dear. I'm used to
coffee. I drink it day and night. Thank you, dear old man. [Kisses

VARYA. I'll go and see if they've brought in all the luggage.

LUBOV. Is it really I who am sitting here? [Laughs] I want to jump
about and wave my arms. [Covers her face with her hands] But
suppose I'm dreaming! God knows I love my own country, I love it
deeply; I couldn't look out of the railway carriage, I cried so
much. [Through her tears] Still, I must have my coffee. Thank you,
Fiers. Thank you, dear old man. I'm so glad you're still with us.

FIERS. The day before yesterday.

GAEV. He doesn't hear well.

LOPAKHIN. I've got to go off to Kharkov by the five o'clock train.
I'm awfully sorry! I should like to have a look at you, to gossip a
little. You're as fine-looking as ever.

PISCHIN. [Breathes heavily] Even finer-looking ... dressed in
Paris fashions ... confound it all.

LOPAKHIN. Your brother, Leonid Andreyevitch, says I'm a snob, a
usurer, but that is absolutely nothing to me. Let him talk. Only I
do wish you would believe in me as you once did, that your
wonderful, touching eyes would look at me as they did before.
Merciful God! My father was the serf of your grandfather and your
own father, 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 ... and even more.

LUBOV. I can't sit still, I'm not in a state to do it. [Jumps up
and walks about in great excitement] I'll never survive this
happiness. ... You can laugh at me; I'm a silly woman. ... My dear
little cupboard. [Kisses cupboard] My little table.

GAEV. Nurse has died in your absence.

LUBOV. [Sits and drinks coffee] Yes, bless her soul. I heard by

GAEV. And Anastasius has died too. Peter Kosoy has left me and now
lives in town with the Commissioner of Police. [Takes a box of
sugar-candy out of his pocket and sucks a piece.]

PISCHIN. My daughter, Dashenka, sends her love.

LOPAKHIN. I want to say something very pleasant, very delightful,
to you. [Looks at his watch] I'm going away at once, I haven't much
time ... but I'll tell you all about it in two or three words. As
you already know, your cherry orchard is to be sold to pay your
debts, and the sale is fixed for August 22; but you needn't be
alarmed, dear madam, you may sleep in peace; there's a way out.
Here's my plan. Please attend carefully! Your estate is only
thirteen miles from the town, the railway runs by, 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-five thousand roubles a year profit out of it.

GAEV. How utterly absurd!

LUBOV. I don't understand you at all, Ermolai Alexeyevitch.

LOPAKHIN. You will get twenty-five roubles a year for each
dessiatin from the leaseholders at the very least, and if you
advertise now I'm willing to bet that you won't have a vacant plot
left by the autumn; they'll all go. In a word, you're saved. I
congratulate you. Only, of course, you'll have to put things
straight, and clean up. ... For instance, you'll have to pull down
all the old buildings, this house, which isn't any use to anybody
now, and cut down the old cherry orchard. ...

LUBOV. Cut it down? My dear man, you must excuse me, but you don't
understand anything at all. If there's anything interesting or
remarkable in the whole province, it's this cherry orchard of ours.

LOPAKHIN. The only remarkable thing about the orchard is that it's
very large. It only bears fruit every other year, and even then you
don't know what to do with them; nobody buys any.

GAEV. This orchard is mentioned in the "Encyclopaedic Dictionary."

LOPAKHIN. [Looks at his watch] If we can't think of anything and
don't make up our minds to anything, then on August 22, both the
cherry orchard and the whole estate will be up for auction. Make up
your mind! I swear there's no other way out, I'll swear it again.

FIERS. In the old days, forty or fifty years back, they dried the
cherries, soaked them and pickled them, and made jam of them, and
it used to happen that ...

GAEV. Be quiet, Fiers.

FIERS. And then we'd send the dried cherries off in carts to Moscow
and Kharkov. And money! And the dried cherries were soft, juicy,
sweet, and nicely scented. ... They knew the way. ...

LUBOV. What was the way?

FIERS. They've forgotten. Nobody remembers.

PISCHIN. [To LUBOV ANDREYEVNA] What about Paris? Eh? Did you eat

LUBOV. I ate crocodiles.

PISCHIN. To think of that, now.

LOPAKHIN. Up to now in the villages there were only the gentry and
the labourers, and now the people who live in villas have arrived.
All towns now, even small ones, are surrounded by villas. And it's
safe to say that in twenty years' time the villa resident will be
all over the place. At present he sits on his balcony and drinks
tea, but it may well come to pass that he'll begin to cultivate his
patch of land, and then your cherry orchard will be happy, rich,
splendid. ...

GAEV. [Angry] What rot!

[Enter VARYA and YASHA.]

VARYA. There are two telegrams for you, little mother. [Picks out a
key and noisily unlocks an antique cupboard] Here they are.

LUBOV. They're from Paris. ... [Tears them up without reading them]
I've done with Paris.

GAEV. And do you know, Luba, how old this case is? A week ago I
took out the bottom drawer; I looked and saw figures burnt out in
it. That case was made exactly a hundred years ago. What do you
think of that? What? We could celebrate its jubilee. It hasn't a
soul of its own, but still, say what you will, it's a fine

PISCHIN. [Astonished] A hundred years. ... Think of that!

GAEV. Yes ... it's a real thing. [Handling it] My dear and honoured
case! I congratulate you on your existence, which has already for
more than a hundred years been directed towards the bright ideals
of good and justice; 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, educating us up to ideals of goodness and to the
knowledge of a common consciousness. [Pause.]

LOPAKHIN. Yes. ...

LUBOV. You're just the same as ever, Leon.

GAEV. [A little confused] Off the white on the right, into the
corner pocket. Red ball goes into the middle pocket!

LOPAKHIN. [Looks at his watch] It's time I went.

YASHA. [Giving LUBOV ANDREYEVNA her medicine] Will you take your
pills now?

PISCHIN. You oughtn't to take medicines, dear madam; they do you
neither harm nor good. ... Give them here, dear madam. [Takes the
pills, turns them out into the palm of his hand, blows on them,
puts them into his mouth, and drinks some kvass] There!

LUBOV. [Frightened] You're off your head!

PISCHIN. I've taken all the pills.

LOPAKHIN. Gormandizer! [All laugh.]

FIERS. They were here in Easter week and ate half a pailful of
cucumbers. ... [Mumbles.]

LUBOV. What's he driving at?

VARYA. He's been mumbling away for three years. We're used to that.

YASHA. Senile decay.

[CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA crosses the stage, dressed in white: she is
very thin and tightly laced; has a lorgnette at her waist.]

LOPAKHIN. Excuse me, Charlotta Ivanovna, I haven't said "How do you
do" to you yet. [Tries to kiss her hand.]

CHARLOTTA. [Takes her hand away] If you let people kiss your hand,
then they'll want your elbow, then your shoulder, and then ...

LOPAKHIN. My luck's out to-day! [All laugh] Show us a trick,
Charlotta Ivanovna!

LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. Charlotta, do us a trick.

CHARLOTTA. It's not necessary. I want to go to bed. [Exit.]

LOPAKHIN. We shall see each other in three weeks. [Kisses LUBOV
ANDREYEVNA'S hand] Now, good-bye. It's time to go. [To GAEV] See
you again. [Kisses PISCHIN] Au revoir. [Gives his hand to VARYA,
then to FIERS and to YASHA] I don't want to go away. [To LUBOV
ANDREYEVNA]. If you think about the villas and make up your mind,
then just let me know, and I'll raise a loan of 50,000 roubles at
once. Think about it seriously.

VARYA. [Angrily] Do go, now!

LOPAKHIN. I'm going, I'm going. ... [Exit.]

GAEV. Snob. Still, I beg pardon. ... Varya's going to marry him,
he's Varya's young man.

VARYA. Don't talk too much, uncle.

LUBOV. Why not, Varya? I should be very glad. He's a good man.

PISCHIN. To speak the honest truth ... he's a worthy man. ... And
my Dashenka ... also says that ... she says lots of things.
[Snores, but wakes up again at once] But still, dear madam, if you
could lend me ... 240 roubles ... to pay the interest on my
mortgage to-morrow ...

VARYA. [Frightened] We haven't got it, we haven't got it!

LUBOV. It's quite true. I've nothing at all.

PISCHIN. I'll find it all right [Laughs] I never lose hope. I used
to think, "Everything's lost now. I'm a dead man," when, lo and
behold, a railway was built over my land ... and they paid me for
it. And something else will happen to-day or to-morrow. Dashenka
may win 20,000 roubles ... she's got a lottery ticket.

LUBOV. The coffee's all gone, we can go to bed.

FIERS. [Brushing GAEV'S trousers; in an insistent tone] You've put
on the wrong trousers again. What am I to do with you?

VARYA. [Quietly] Anya's asleep. [Opens window quietly] The sun has
risen already; it isn't cold. Look, little mother: what lovely
trees! And the air! The starlings are singing!

GAEV. [Opens the other window] The whole garden's white. You
haven't forgotten, Luba? There's that long avenue going straight,
straight, like a stretched strap; it shines on moonlight nights. Do
you remember? You haven't forgotten?

LUBOV. [Looks out into the garden] Oh, my childhood, days of my
innocence! In this nursery I used to sleep; I used to look out from
here into the orchard. Happiness used to wake with me every
morning, and then it was just as it is now; nothing has changed.
[Laughs from joy] It's all, all white! Oh, my orchard! After the
dark autumns and the cold winters, you're young again, full of
happiness, the angels of heaven haven't left you. ... If only I
could take my heavy burden off my breast and shoulders, if I could
forget my past!

GAEV. Yes, and they'll sell this orchard to pay off debts. How
strange it seems!

LUBOV. Look, there's my dead mother going in the orchard ...
dressed in white! [Laughs from joy] That's she.

GAEV. Where?

VARYA. God bless you, little mother.

LUBOV. There's nobody there; I thought I saw somebody. On the
right, at the turning by the summer-house, a white little tree bent
down, looking just like a woman. [Enter TROFIMOV in a worn student
uniform and spectacles] What a marvellous garden! White masses of
flowers, the blue sky. ...

TROFIMOV. Lubov Andreyevna! [She looks round at him] I only want to
show myself, and I'll go away. [Kisses her hand warmly] I was told
to wait till the morning, but I didn't have the patience.

[LUBOV ANDREYEVNA looks surprised.]

VARYA. [Crying] It's Peter Trofimov.

TROFIMOV. Peter Trofimov, once the tutor of your Grisha. ... Have I
changed so much?

[LUBOV ANDREYEVNA embraces him and cries softly.]

GAEV. [Confused] That's enough, that's enough, Luba.

VARYA. [Weeps] But I told you, Peter, to wait till to-morrow.

LUBOV. My Grisha ... my boy ... Grisha ... my son.

VARYA. What are we to do, little mother? It's the will of God.

TROFIMOV. [Softly, through his tears] It's all right, it's all

LUBOV. [Still weeping] My boy's dead; he was drowned. Why? Why, my
friend? [Softly] Anya's asleep in there. I am speaking so loudly,
making such a noise. ... Well, Peter? What's made you look so bad?
Why have you grown so old?

TROFIMOV. In the train an old woman called me a decayed gentleman.

LUBOV. You were quite a boy then, a nice little student, and now
your hair is not at all thick and you wear spectacles. Are you
really still a student? [Goes to the door.]

TROFIMOV. I suppose I shall always be a student.

LUBOV. [Kisses her brother, then VARYA] Well, let's go to bed. ...
And you've grown older, Leonid.

PISCHIN. [Follows her] Yes, we've got to go to bed. ... Oh, my
gout! I'll stay the night here. If only, Lubov Andreyevna, my dear,
you could get me 240 roubles to-morrow morning--

GAEV. Still the same story.

PISCHIN. Two hundred and forty roubles ... to pay the interest on
the mortgage.

LUBOV. I haven't any money, dear man.

PISCHIN. I'll give it back ... it's a small sum. ...

LUBOV. Well, then, Leonid will give it to you. ... Let him have it,

GAEV. By all means; hold out your hand.

LUBOV. Why not? He wants it; he'll give it back.

VARYA, and YASHA remain.]

GAEV. My sister hasn't lost the habit of throwing money about. [To
YASHA] Stand off, do; you smell of poultry.

YASHA. [Grins] You are just the same as ever, Leonid Andreyevitch.

GAEV. Really? [To VARYA] What's he saying?

VARYA. [To YASHA] Your mother's come from the village; she's been
sitting in the servants' room since yesterday, and wants to see
you. ...

YASHA. Bless the woman!

VARYA. Shameless man.

YASHA. A lot of use there is in her coming. She might have come
tomorrow just as well. [Exit.]

VARYA. Mother hasn't altered a scrap, she's just as she always was.
She'd give away everything, if the idea only entered her head.

GAEV. Yes. ... [Pause] If there's any illness for which people
offer many remedies, you may be sure that particular illness is
incurable, I think. I work my brains to their hardest. I've several
remedies, very many, and that really means I've none at all. It
would be nice to inherit a fortune from somebody, it would be nice
to marry our Anya to a rich man, it would be nice to go to Yaroslav
and try my luck with my aunt the Countess. My aunt is very, very

VARYA. [Weeps] If only God helped us.

GAEV. Don't cry. My aunt's very rich, but she doesn't like us. My
sister, in the first place, married an advocate, not a noble. ...
[ANYA appears in the doorway] She not only married a man who was
not a noble, but she behaved herself in a way which cannot be
described as proper. She's nice and kind and charming, and I'm very
fond of her, but say what you will in her favour and you still have
to admit that she's wicked; you can feel it in her slightest

VARYA. [Whispers] Anya's in the doorway.

GAEV. Really? [Pause] It's curious, something's got into my right
eye ... I can't see properly out of it. And on Thursday, when I was
at the District Court ...

[Enter ANYA.]

VARYA. Why aren't you in bed, Anya?

ANYA. Can't sleep. It's no good.

GAEV. My darling! [Kisses ANYA'S face and hands] My child. ...
[Crying] You're not my niece, you're my angel, you're my all. ...
Believe in me, believe ...

ANYA. I do believe in you, uncle. Everybody loves you and respects
you ... but, uncle dear, you ought to say nothing, no more than
that. What were you saying just now about my mother, your own
sister? Why did you say those things?

GAEV. Yes, yes. [Covers his face with her hand] Yes, really, it was
awful. Save me, my God! And only just now I made a speech before a
bookcase ... it's so silly! And only when I'd finished I knew how
silly it was.

VARYA. Yes, uncle dear, you really ought to say less. Keep quiet,
that's all.

ANYA. You'd be so much happier in yourself if you only kept quiet.

GAEV. All right, I'll be quiet. [Kisses their hands] I'll be quiet.
But let's talk business. On Thursday I was in the District Court,
and a lot of us met there together, and we began to talk of this,
that, and the other, and now I think I can arrange a loan to pay
the interest into the bank.

VARYA. If only God would help us!

GAEV. I'll go on Tuesday. I'll talk with them about it again. [To
VARYA] Don't howl. [To ANYA] Your mother will have a talk to
Lopakhin; he, of course, won't refuse ... And when you've rested
you'll go to Yaroslav to the Countess, your grandmother. So you
see, we'll have three irons in the fire, and we'll be safe. We'll
pay up the interest. I'm certain. [Puts some sugar-candy into his
mouth] I swear on my honour, on anything you will, that the estate
will not be sold! [Excitedly] I swear on my happiness! Here's my
hand. You may call me a dishonourable wretch if I let it go to
auction! I swear by all I am!

ANYA. [She is calm again and happy] How good and clever you are,
uncle. [Embraces him] I'm happy now! I'm happy! All's well!

[Enter FIERS.]

FIERS. [Reproachfully] Leonid Andreyevitch, don't you fear God?
When are you going to bed?

GAEV. Soon, soon. You go away, Fiers. I'll undress myself. Well,
children, bye-bye ...! I'll give you the details to-morrow, but
let's go to bed now. [Kisses ANYA and VARYA] I'm a man of the
eighties. ... People don't praise those years much, but I can still
say that I've suffered for my beliefs. The peasants don't love me
for nothing, I assure you. We've got to learn to know the peasants!
We ought to learn how. ...

ANYA. You're doing it again, uncle!

VARYA. Be quiet, uncle!

FIERS. [Angrily] Leonid Andreyevitch!

GAEV. I'm coming, I'm coming. ... Go to bed now. Off two cushions
into the middle! I turn over a new leaf. ... [Exit. FIERS goes out
after him.]

ANYA. I'm quieter now. I don't want to go to Yaroslav, I don't like
grandmother; but I'm calm now; thanks to uncle. [Sits down.]

VARYA. It's time to go to sleep. I'll go. There's been an
unpleasantness here while you were away. In the old servants' part
of the house, as you know, only the old people live--little old
Efim and Polya and Evstigney, and Karp as well. They started
letting some tramps or other spend the night there--I said nothing.
Then I heard that they were saying that I had ordered them to be
fed on peas and nothing else; from meanness, you see. ... And it
was all Evstigney's doing. ... Very well, I thought, if that's what
the matter is, just you wait. So I call Evstigney. ... [Yawns] He
comes. "What's this," I say, "Evstigney, you old fool." ... [Looks
at ANYA] Anya dear! [Pause] She's dropped off. ... [Takes ANYA'S
arm] Let's go to bye-bye. ... Come along! ... [Leads her] My
darling's gone to sleep! Come on. ... [They go. In the distance,
the other side of the orchard, a shepherd plays his pipe. TROFIMOV
crosses the stage and stops on seeing VARYA and ANYA] Sh! She's
asleep, asleep. Come on, dear.

ANYA. [Quietly, half-asleep] I'm so tired ... all the bells ...
uncle, dear! Mother and uncle!

VARYA. Come on, dear, come on! [They go into ANYA'S room.]

TROFIMOV. [Moved] My sun! My spring!


Book of the day: