The drawing-room of LEBEDIEFF’S house. In the centre is a door
leading into a garden. Doors open out of the room to the right
and left. The room is furnished with valuable old furniture,
which is carefully protected by linen covers. The walls are hung
with pictures. The room is lighted by candelabra. ZINAIDA is
sitting on a sofa; the elderly guests are sitting in arm-chairs
on either hand. The young guests are sitting about the room on
small chairs. KOSICH, AVDOTIA NAZAROVNA, GEORGE, and others are
playing cards in the background. GABRIEL is standing near the
door on the right. The maid is passing sweetmeats about on a
tray. During the entire act guests come and go from the garden,
through the room, out of the door on the left, and back again.
Enter MARTHA through the door on the right. She goes toward
The price of lottery tickets has gone up again, my dear.
I have never known such a state of affairs. The first issue is
already worth two hundred and seventy and the second nearly two
hundred and fifty. This has never happened before.
How fortunate for those who have a great many tickets!
Don't say that, dear; even when the price of tickets is
high it does not pay to put one's capital into them.
Quite true, and yet, my dear, one never can tell what
may happen. Providence is sometimes kind.
My impression is, ladies, that at present capital is
exceedingly unproductive. Shares pay very small dividends, and
speculating is exceedingly dangerous. As I understand it, the
capitalist now finds himself in a more critical position than the
Good health is too much to ask. I am content to keep
death from the door. [To his wife] Where is the heroine of this
KOSICH [In a plaintive voice] Look here, why haven't we taken
any tricks yet? [He jumps up] Yes, why have we lost this game
entirely, confound it?
AVDOTIA [Jumps up angrily] Because, friend, you don't know how
to play it, and have no right to be sitting here at all. What
right had you to lead from another suit? Haven't you the ace
left? [They both leave the table and run forward.]
KOSICH [In a tearful voice] Ladies and gentlemen, let me
explain! I had the ace, king, queen, and eight of diamonds, the
ace of spades and one, just one, little heart, do you understand?
Well, she, bad luck to her, she couldn't make a little slam. I
said one in no-trumps--- *
*The game played is vint, the national card-game of Russia and
the direct ancestor of auction bridge, with which it is almost
identical. [translator's note]
AVDOTIA [Interrupting him] No, I said one in no-trumps; you said
two in no-trumps---
This is unbearable! Allow me--you had--I had--you had--
[To LEBEDIEFF] But you shall decide it, Paul: I had the ace,
king, queen, and eight of diamonds---
LEBEDIEFF [Puts his fingers into his ears] Stop, for heaven's
AVDOTIA [Sees MARTHA and claps her hands] Are you here, my
darling? My beauty! And was I blind as a bat, and didn't see you?
Darling child! [She kisses her and sits down beside her] How
happy this makes me! Let me feast my eyes on you, my milk-white
swan! Oh, oh, you have bewitched me!
Why don't you find her a husband instead of singing
He shall be found. I shall not go to my grave before I
have found a husband for her, and one for Sasha too. I shall not
go to my grave-- [She sighs] But where to find these husbands
nowadays? There sit some possible bridegrooms now, huddled
together like a lot of half-drowned rats!
A most unfortunate comparison! It is my belief,
ladies, that if the young men of our day prefer to remain single,
the fault lies not with them, but with the existing, social
Come, enough of that! Don't give us any mo re
philosophy; I don't like it!
Yes, here I am, my dear little Sasha, and proud to
congratulate you. [They kiss each other] Many happy returns of
the day, dear!
Thank you! [She goes and sits down by her father.]
As you were saying, Avdotia Nazarovna, husbands are
hard to find. I don't want to be rude, but I must say that the
young men of the present are a dull and poky lot, poor fellows!
They can't dance or talk or drink as they should do.
Oh, as far as drinking goes, they are all experts. Just
give them--give them---
Simply to drink is no art. A horse can drink. No, it
must be done in the right way. In my young days we used to sit
and cudgel our brains all day over our lessons, but as soon as
evening came we would fly off on some spree and keep it up till
dawn. How we used to dance and flirt, and drink, too! Or
sometimes we would sit and chatter and discuss everything under
the sun until we almost wagged our tongues off. But now-- [He
waves his hand] Boys are a puzzle to me. They are not willing
either to give a candle to God or a pitchfork to the devil! There
is only one young fellow in the country who is worth a penny, and
he is married. [Sighs] They say, too, that he is going crazy.
Yes, he is a fine fellow, only [Makes a face] he is very
How could he be otherwise, poor boy! [She sighs] He made
such a bad mistake. When he married that Jewess of his he thought
of course that her parents would give away whole mountains of
gold with her, but, on the contrary, on the day she became a
Christian they disowned her, and Ivanoff has never seen a penny
of the money. He has repented of his folly now, but it is too
How can you say it is not true, Sasha, when we all know
it to be a fact? Why did he have to marry a Jewess? He must have
had some reason for doing it. Are Russian girls so scarce? No, he
made a mistake, poor fellow, a sad mistake. [Excitedly] And what
on earth can he do with her now? Where could she go if he were to
come home some day and say: "Your parents have deceived me; leave
my house at once!" Her parents wouldn't take her back. She might
find a place as a house-maid if she had ever learned to work,
which she hasn't. He worries and worries her now, but the Count
interferes. If it had not been for the Count, he would have
worried her to death long ago.
They say he shuts her up in a cellar and stuffs her with
garlic, and she eats and eats until her very soul reeks of it.
What if it isn't, Sasha? Let them spin yarns if it
amuses them. [He calls] Gabriel!
GABRIEL brings him another glass of vodka and a glass of water.
His misfortunes have almost ruined him, poor man. His
affairs are in a frightful condition. If Borkin did not take such
good charge of his estate he and his Jewess would soon be
starving to death. [She sighs] And what anxiety he has caused us!
Heaven only knows how we have suffered. Do you realise, my dear,
that for three years he has owed us nine thousand roubles?
Yes, that is the sum that my dear Paul has undertaken to
lend him. He never knows to whom it is safe to lend money and to
whom it is not. I don't worry about the principal, but he ought
to pay the interest on his debt.
SASHA [Hotly] Mamma, you have already discussed this subject at
least a thousand times!
What difference does it make to you? Why should you
What is this mania you all have for gossiping about a man
who has never done any of you any harm? Tell me, what harm has he
Let me say two words, Miss Sasha. I esteem Ivanoff,
and have always found him an honourable man, but, between
ourselves, I also consider him an adventurer.
In proof of its truth, permit me to present to you
the following facts, as they were communicated to me by his
secretary, or shall I say rather, by his factotum, Borkin. Two
years ago, at the time of the cattle plague, he bought some
cattle and had them insured--
He had them insured, as you understand, and then
inoculated them with the disease and claimed the insurance.
Oh, what nonsense, nonsense, nonsense! No one bought or
inoculated any cattle! The story was invented by Borkin, who then
went about boasting of his clever plan. Ivanoff would not forgive
Borkin for two weeks after he heard of it. He is only guilty of a
weak character and too great faith in humanity. He can't make up
his mind to get rid of that Borkin, and so all his possessions
have been tricked and stolen from him. Every one who has had
anything to do with Ivanoff has taken advantage of his generosity
to grow rich.
Sasha, you little firebrand, that will do!
Why do you all talk like this? This eternal subject of
Ivanoff, Ivanoff, and always Ivanoff has grown insufferable, and
yet you never speak of anything else. [She goes toward the door,
then stops and comes back] I am surprised, [To the young men] and
utterly astonished at your patience, young men! How can you sit
there like that? Aren't you bored? Why, the very air is as dull
as ditchwater! Do, for heaven's sake say something; try to amuse
the girls a little, move about! Or if you can't talk of anything
except Ivanoff, you might laugh or sing or dance---
LEBEDIEFF [Laughing] That's right, Sasha! Give them a good
Look here, will you do me a favour? If you refuse to dance
or sing or laugh, if all that is tedious, then let me beg you,
implore you, to summon all your powers, if only for this once,
and make one witty or clever remark. Let it be as impertinent and
malicious as you like, so long as it is funny and original. Won't
you perform this miracle, just once, to surprise us and make us
laugh? Or else you might think of some little thing which you
could all do together, something to make you stir about. Let the
girls admire you for once in their lives! Listen to me! I suppose
you want them to like you? Then why don't try to make them do it?
Oh, dear! There is something wrong with you all! You are a lot of
sleepy stick-in-the-muds! I have told you so a thousand times and
shall always go on repeating it; there is something wrong with
every one of you; something wrong, wrong, wrong!
Enter IVANOFF and SHABELSKI through the door on the right.
Who is making a speech here? Is it you, Sasha? [He
laughs and shakes hands with her] Many happy returns of the day,
my dear child. May you live as long as possible in this life, but
never be born again!
SHABELSKI [Sees ZINAIDA and MARTHA sitting side by side] Two
gold mines side by side! What a pleasant picture it makes! [He
shakes hands with ZINAIDA] Good evening, Zuzu! [Shakes hands with
MARTHA] Good evening, Birdie!
I am charmed to see you, Count. You are a rare visitor
here now. [Calls] Gabriel, bring some tea! Please sit down.
She gets up and goes to the door and back, evidently much
preoccupied. SASHA sits down in her former place. IVANOFF
silently shakes hands with every one.
LEBEDIEFF [To SHABELSKI] What miracle has brought you here? You
have given us a great surprise. Why, Count, you're a rascal, you
haven't been treating us right at all. [Leads him forward by the
hand] Tell me, why don't you ever come to see us now? Are you
How can I get here to see you? Astride a broomstick? I
have no horses of my own, and Nicholas won't take me with him
when he goes out. He says I must stay at home to amuse Sarah.
Send your horses for me and I shall come with pleasure.
LEBE DIEFF [With a wave of the hand] Oh, that is easy to say!
But Zuzu would rather have a fit than lend the horses to any one.
My dear, dear old friend, you are more to me than any one I know!
You and I are survivors of those good old days that are gone
forever, and you alone bring back to my mind the love and
longings of my lost youth. Of course I am only joking, and yet,
do you know, I am almost in tears?
Stop, stop! You smell like the air of a wine cellar.
Dear friend, you cannot imagine how lonely I am
without my old companions! I could hang myself! [Whispers] Zuzu
has frightened all the decent men away with her stingy ways, and
now we have only this riff-raff, as you see: Tom, Dick, and
Harry. However, drink your tea.
ZINAIDA [Anxiously, to GABRIEL] Don't bring it in like that! Go
fetch some jam to eat with it!
SHABELSKI [Laughing loudly, to IVANOFF] Didn't I tell you so ?
[To LEBEDIEFF] I bet him driving over, that as soon as we arrived
Zuzu would want to feed us with jam!
SHABELSKI [To MARTHA] And my plump little Birdie here will soon
have a million too! She is getting prettier and plumper not only
every day, but every hour. That means she has a nice little
Thank you very much, your highness, but I don't like such
My dear little gold mine, do you call that a joke? It
was a wail of the soul, a cry from the heart, that burst through
my lips. My love for you and Zuzu is immense. [Gaily] Oh,
rapture! Oh, bliss! I cannot look at you two without a madly
You are still the same, Count. [To GEORGE] Put out the
candles please, George. [GEORGE gives a start. He puts out the
candles and sits down again] How is your wife, Nicholas?
She is very ill. The doctor said to-day that she
certainly had consumption.
Really? Oh, how sad! [She sighs] And we are all so fond
What trash you all talk! That story was invented by
that sham doctor, and is nothing but a trick of his. He wants to
masquerade as an Aesculapius, and so has started this consumption
theory. Fortunately her husband isn't jealous. [IVANOFF makes an
inpatient gesture] As for Sarah, I wouldn't trust a word or an
action of hers. I have made a point all my life of mistrusting
all doctors, lawyers, and women. They are shammers and deceivers.
LEBEDIEFF [To SHABELSKI] You are an extraordinary person,
Matthew! You have mounted this misanthropic hobby of yours, and
you ride it through thick and thin like a lunatic You are a man
like any other, and yet, from the way you talk one would imagine
that you had the pip, or a cold in the head.
Would you have me go about kissing every rascal and
scoundrel I meet?
Where do you find all these rascals and scoundrels?
Of course I am not talking of any one here present,
There you are again with your "nevertheless." All this
is simply a fancy of yours.
A fancy? It is lucky for you that you have no
knowledge of the world!
My knowledge of the world is this: I must sit here
prepared at any moment to have death come knocking at the door.
That is my knowledge of the world. At our age, brother, you and I
can't afford to worry about knowledge of the world. So then-- [He
calls] Oh, Gabriel!
You have had quite enough already. Look at your nose.
No matter, old boy. I am not going to be married
Doctor Lvoff has not been here for a long time. He seems
to have forgotten us.
That man is one of my aversions. I can't stand his icy
sense of honour. He can't ask for a glass of water or smoke a
cigarette without making a display of his remarkable honesty.
Walking and talking, it is written on his brow: "I am an honest
man." He is a great bore.
He is a narrow-minded, conceited medico. [Angrily] He
shrieks like a parrot at every step: "Make way for honest
endeavour!" and thinks himself another St. Francis. Everybody is
a rascal who doesn't make as much noise as he does. As for his
penetration, it is simply remarkable! If a peasant is well off
and lives decently, he sees at once that he must be a thief and a
scoundrel. If I wear a velvet coat and am dressed by my valet, I
am a rascal and the valet is my slave. There is no place in this
world for a man like him. I am actually afraid of him. Yes,
indeed, he is likely, out of a sense of duty, to insult a man at
any moment and to call him a knave.
I am dreadfully tired of him, but I can't help liking
him, too, he is so sincere.
Oh, yes, his sincerity is beautiful! He came up to me
yesterday evening and remarked absolutely apropos of nothing:
"Count, I have a deep aversion to you!" It isn't as if he said
such things simply, but they are extremely pointed. His voice
trembles, his eyes flash, his veins swell. Confound his infernal
honesty! Supposing I am disgusting and odious to him? What is
more natural? I know that I am, but I don't like to be told so to
my face. I am a worthless old man, but he might have the decency
to respect my grey hairs. Oh, what stupid, heartless honesty!
Come, come, you have been young yourself, and should
make allowances for him.
Yes, I have been young and reckless; I have played the
fool in my day and have seen plenty of knaves and scamps, but I
have never called a thief a thief to his face, or talked of ropes
in the house of a man who had been hung. I knew how to behave,
but this idiotic doctor of yours would think himself in the
seventh heaven of happiness if fate would allow him to pull my
nose in public in the name of morality and human ideals.
Young men are all stubborn and restive. I had an uncle
once who thought himself a philosopher. He would fill his house
with guests, and after he had had a drink he would get up on a
chair, like this, and begin: "You ignoramuses! You powers of
darkness! This is the dawn of a new life!" And so on and so on;
he would preach and preach---
They would just sit and listen and go on drinking.
Once, though, I challenged him to a duel, challenged my own
uncle! It came out of a discussion about Sir Francis Bacon. I was
sitting, I remember, where Matthew is, and my uncle and the late
Gerasim Nilitch were standing over there, about where Nicholas is
now. Well, Gerasim Nilitch propounded this question---
Enter BORKIN. He is dressed like a dandy and carries a parcel
under his arm. He comes in singing and skipping through the door
on the right. A murmur of approval is heard.
Here we are! [He runs up to SASHA] Most noble Signorina,
let me be so bold as to wish to the whole world many happy
returns of the birthday of such an exquisite flower as you! As a
token of my enthusiasm let me presume to present you with these
fireworks and this Bengal fire of my own manufacture. [He hands
her the parcel] May they illuminate the night as brightly as you
illuminate the shadows of this dark world. [He spreads them out
theatrically before her.]
LEBEDIEFF [Laughing loudly, to IVANOFF] Why don't you send this
BORKIN [To LEBEDIEFF] My compliments to you, sir. [To IVANOFF]
How are you, my patron? [Sings] Nicholas voila, hey ho hey! [He
greets everybody in turn] Most highly honoured Zinaida! Oh,
glorious Martha! Most ancient Avdotia! Noblest of Counts!
SHABELSKI [Laughing] The life of the company! The moment he
comes in the air fe els livelier. Have you noticed it?
Whew! I am tired! I believe I have shaken hands with
everybody. Well, ladies and gentlemen, haven't you some little
tidbit to tell me; something spicy? [Speaking quickly to ZINAIDA]
Oh, aunty! I have something to tell you. As I was on my way
here-- [To GABRIEL] Some tea, please Gabriel, but without jam--as
I was on my way here I saw some peasants down on the river-bank
pulling the bark off the trees. Why don't you lease that meadow?
LEBEDIEFF [To IVANOFF] Why don't you send that Judas away?
ZINAIDA [Startled] Why, that is quite true! I never thought of
BORKIN [Swinging his arms] I can't sit still! What tricks shall
we be up to next, aunty? I am all on edge, Martha, absolutely
exalted. [He sings]
"Once more I stand before thee!"
Think of something to amuse us, Misha, we are all bored.
Yes, you look so. What is the matter with you all? Why
are you sitting there as solemn as a jury? Come, let us play
something; what shall it be? Forfeits? Hide-and-seek? Tag? Shall
we dance, or have the fireworks?
THE GIRLS [Clapping their hands] The fireworks! The fireworks!
[They run into the garden.]
SASHA [ To IVANOFF] What makes you so depressed today?
My head aches, little Sasha, and then I feel bored.
They go out through the door on the right. All the guests go into
the garden and ZINAIDA and LEBEDIEFF are left alone.
That is what I like to see! A young man like Misha comes
into the room and in a minute he has everybody laughing. [She
puts out the large lamp] There is no reason the candles should
burn for nothing so long as they are all in the garden. [She
blows out the candles.]
LEBEDIEFF [Following her] We really ought to give our guests
something to eat, Zuzu!
What crowds of candles; no wonder we are thought rich.
LEBEDIEFF [Still following her] Do let them have something to
eat, Zuzu; they are young and must be hungry by now, poor
The Count did not finish his tea, and all that sugar has
been wasted. [Goes out through the door on the left.]
Enter IVANOFF and SASHA through the door on the right.
This is how it is, Sasha: I used to work hard and think
hard, and never tire; now, I neither do anything nor think
anything, and I am weary, body and soul. I feel I am terribly to
blame, my conscience leaves me no peace day or night, and yet I
can't see clearly exactly what my mistakes are. And now comes my
wife's illness, our poverty, this eternal backbiting, gossiping,
chattering, that foolish Borkin--My home has become unendurable
to me, and to live there is worse than torture. Frankly, Sasha,
the presence of my wife, who loves me, has become unbearable. You
are an old friend, little Sasha, you will not be angry with me
for speaking so openly. I came to you to be cheered, but I am
bored here too, something urges me home again. Forgive me, I
shall slip away at once.
I can understand your trouble, Nicholas. You are unhappy
because you are lonely. You need some one at your side whom you
can love, someone who understands you.
What an idea, Sasha! Fancy a crusty old badger like
myself starting a love affair! Heaven preserve me from such
misfortune! No, my little sage, this is not a case for romance.
The fact is, I can endure all I have to suffer: sadness, sickness
of mind, ruin, the loss of my wife, and my lonely, broken old
age, but I cannot, I will not, endure the contempt I have for
myself! I am nearly killed by shame when I think that a strong,
healthy man like myself has become--oh, heaven only knows
what--by no means a Manfred or a Hamlet! There are some
unfortunates who feel flattered when people call them Hamlets and
cynics, but to me it is an insult. It wounds my pride and I am
tortured by shame and suffer agony.
SASHA [Laughing through her tears] Nicholas, let us run away to
I haven't the energy to take such a step as that, and
besides, in America you-- [They go toward the door into the
garden] As a matter of fact, Sasha, this is not a good place for
you to live. When I look about at the men who surround you I am
terrified for you; whom is there you could marry? Your only
chance will be if some passing lieutenant or student steals your
heart and carries you away.
Enter ZINAIDA through the door on the right with a jar of jam.
Excuse me, Sasha, I shall join you in a minute.
The fact is, you know, that the interest on my note is
due day after to-morrow, but I should be more than obliged to you
if you will let me postpone the payment of it, or would let me
add the interest to the capital. I simply cannot pay it now; I
haven't the money.
Oh, Ivanoff, how could I do such a thing? Would it be
business-like? No, no, don't ask it, don't torment an unfortunate
I beg your pardon. [He goes out into the garden.]
Oh, dear! Oh, dear! What a fright he gave me! I am
trembling all over. [Goes out through the door on the right.]
Enter KOSICH through the door on the left. He walks across the
I had the ace, king, queen, and eight of diamonds, the
ace of spades, and one, just one little heart, and she--may the
foul fiend fly away with her,--she couldn't make a little slam!
Goes out through the door on the right. Enter from the garden
AVDOTIA and FIRST GUEST.
Oh, how I should like to get my claws into her, the
miserable old miser! How I should like it! Does she think it a
joke to leave us sitting here since five o'clock without even
offering us a crust to eat? What a house! What management!
I am so bored that I feel like beating my head
against the wall. Lord, what a queer lot of people! I shall soon
be howling like a wolf and snapping at them from hunger and
How I should like to get my claws into her, the old
I shall get a drink, old lady, and then home I go! I
won't have anything to do with these belles of yours. How the
devil can a man think of love who hasn't had a drop to drink
Sh! Softly! I think the brandy is in the sideboard
in the dining-room. We will find George! Sh!
They go out through the door on the left. Enter ANNA and LVOFF
through the door on the right.
No, they will be glad to see us. Is no one here? Then they
must be in the garden.
I should like to know why you have brought me into this
den of wolves. This is no place for you and me; honourable people
should not be subjected to such influences as these.
Listen to me, Mr. Honourable Man. When you are escorting a
lady it is very bad manners to talk to her the whole way about
nothing but your own honesty. Such behaviour may be perfectly
honest, but it is also tedious, to say the least. Never tell a
woman how good you are; let her find it out herself. My Nicholas
used only to sing and tell stories when he was young as you are,
and yet every woman knew at once what kind of a man he was.
Don't talk to me of your Nicholas; I know all about him!
You are a very worthy man, but you don't know anything at
all. Come into the garden. He never said: "I am an honest man;
these surroundings are too narrow for me." He never spoke of
wolves' dens, called people bears or vultures. He left the animal
kingdom alone, and the most I have ever heard him say when he was
excited was: "Oh, how unjust I have been to-day!" or "Annie, I am
sorry for that man." That's what he would say, but you--
ANNA and LVOFF go out. Enter AVDOTIA and FIRST GUEST through the
door on the left.
There isn't any in the dining-room, so it must be
somewhere in the pantry. We must find George. Come this way,
through the sitting-room.
Oh, how I should like to get my claws into her!
They go out through the door on the right. MARTHA and BORKIN run
in laughing from the garden. SHABELSK I comes mincing behind
them, laughing and rubbing his hands.
Oh, I am so bored! [Laughs loudly] This is deadly! Every
one looks as if he had swallowed a poker. I am frozen to the
marrow by this icy dullness. [She skips about] Let us do
BORKIN catches her by the waist and kisses her cheek.
SHABELSKI [Laughing and snapping his fingers] Well, I'll be
hanged! [Cackling] Really, you know!
Let go! Let go, you wretch! What will the Count think?
Stop, I say!
Angel! Jewel! Lend me twenty-three hundred roubles.
Most certainly not! Do what you please, but I'll thank
you to leave my money alone. No, no, no! Oh, let go, will you?
SHABELSKI [Mincing around them] The little birdie has its
charms! [Seriously] Come, that will do!
Let us come to the point, and consider my proposition
frankly as a business arrangement. Answer me honestly, without
tricks and equivocations, do you agree to do it or not? Listen to
me; [Pointing to Shabelski] he needs money to the amount of at
least three thousand a year; you need a husband. Do you want to
be a Countess?
MARTHA [Excitedly] Wait a minute; really, Misha, these things
aren't done in a second like this. If the Count wants to marry
me, let him ask me himself, and--and--I don't see, I don't
understand--all this is so sudden---
Come, don't let us beat about the bush; this is a
business arrangement. Do you agree or not?
SHABELSKI [Chuckling and rubbing his hands] Supposing I do marry
her, eh? Hang it, why shouldn't I play her this shabby trick?
What do you say, little puss? [He kisses her cheek] Dearest
Stop! Stop! I hardly know what I am doing. Go away!
Answer at once: is it yes or no? We can't stand here
Look here, Count, come and visit me for three or four
days. It is gay at my house, not like this place. Come to-morrow.
[To BORKIN] Or is this all a joke?
BORKIN [Angrily] How could I joke on such a serious subject?
Wait! Stop! Oh, I feel faint! A Countess! I am fainting,
I am falling!
BORKIN and SHABELSKI laugh and catch her by the arms. They kiss
her cheeks and lead her out through the door on the right.
IVANOFF and SASHA run in from the garden.
IVANOFF [Desperately clutching his head] It can't be true! Don't
Sasha, don't! Oh, I implore you not to!
I love you madly. Without you my life can have no meaning,
no happiness, no hope.
Why, why do you say that? What do you mean? Little
Sasha, don't say it!
You were the only joy of my childhood; I loved you body
and soul then, as myself, but now--Oh, I love you, Nicholas! Take
me with you to the ends of the earth, wherever you wish; but for
heaven's sake let us go at once, or I shall die.
IVANOFF [Shaking with wild laughter] What is this? Is it the
beginning for me of a new life? Is it, Sasha? Oh, my happiness,
my joy! [He draws her to him] My freshness, my youth!
Enter ANNA from the garden. She sees her husband and SASHA, and
stops as if petrified.
Oh, then I shall live once more? And work?
IVANOFF and SASHA kiss each other. After the kiss they look
around and see ANNA.