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Title: Fruits of Culture
Author: Tolstoy, Leo, graf, 1828-1910
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fruits of Culture" ***

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  [ Transcriber's Note:
    This e-book belongs to Tolstoy's Plays (Complete Edition). The
    front matter, including the table of contents, can be found in
    e-book #26660; it lists the other plays in the collection.

    Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as
    possible; changes (corrections of spelling and punctuation) made to
    the original text are listed at the end of this file.

                           FRUITS OF CULTURE

                         A COMEDY IN FOUR ACTS



LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH ZVEZDÍNTSEF. A retired Lieutenant of the Horse Guards.
Owner of more than 60,000 acres of land in various provinces. A
fresh-looking, bland, agreeable gentleman of 60. Believes in
Spiritualism, and likes to astonish people with his wonderful stories.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA ZVEZDÍNTSEVA. Wife of Leoníd. Stout; pretends to be young;
quite taken up with the conventionalities of life; despises her husband,
and blindly believes in her doctor. Very irritable.

BETSY. Their daughter. A young woman of 20, fast, tries to be mannish,
wears a pince-nez, flirts and giggles. Speaks very quickly and

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH ZVEZDÍNTSEF. Their son, aged 25; has studied law, but
has no definite occupation. Member of the Cycling Club, Jockey Club, and
of the Society for Promoting the Breeding of Hounds. Enjoys perfect
health, and has imperturbable self-assurance. Speaks loud and abruptly.
Is either perfectly serious--almost morose, or is noisily gay and laughs
loud. Is nicknamed Vovo.

ALEXÉY VLADÍMIRITCH KROUGOSVÉTLOF. A professor and scientist of about
50, with quiet and pleasantly self-possessed manners, and quiet,
deliberate, harmonious speech. Likes to talk. Is mildly disdainful of
those who do not agree with him. Smokes much. Is lean and active.

THE DOCTOR. About 40. Healthy, fat, red-faced, loud-voiced, and rough;
with a self-satisfied smile constantly on his lips.

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA. A girl of 20, from the Conservatoire, teacher of
music. Wears a fringe, and is super-fashionably dressed. Obsequious, and
gets easily confused.

PETRÍSTCHEF. About 28; has taken his degree in philology, and is looking
out for a position. Member of the same clubs as Vasíly Leoníditch, and
also of the Society for the Organisation of Calico Balls.[1] Is
bald-headed, quick in movement and speech, and very polite.

  [1] Economical balls at which the ladies are bound to appear in
  dresses made of cotton materials.

THE BARONESS. A pompous lady of about 50, slow in her movements, speaks
with monotonous intonation.

THE PRINCESS. A society woman, a visitor.

HER DAUGHTER. An affected young society woman, a visitor.

THE COUNTESS. An ancient dame, with false hair and teeth. Moves with
great difficulty.

GROSSMAN. A dark, nervous, lively man of Jewish type. Speaks very loud.

and kindly woman, acquainted with all the notable people of the last and
present generations. Very stout. Speaks hurriedly, trying to be heard
above every one else. Smokes.

BARON KLÍNGEN (nicknamed KOKO). A graduate of Petersburg University.
Gentleman of the Bedchamber, Attaché to an Embassy. Is perfectly correct
in his deportment, and therefore enjoys peace of mind and is quietly


SERGÉY IVÁNITCH SAHÁTOF. About 50, an ex-Assistant Minister of State. An
elegant gentleman, of wide European culture, engaged in nothing and
interested in everything. His carriage is dignified and at times even

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Personal attendant on Zvezdíntsef, aged about 60. A
man of some education and fond of information. Uses his pince-nez and
pocket-handkerchief too much, unfolding the latter very slowly. Takes an
interest in politics. Is kindly and sensible.

GREGORY. A footman, about 28, handsome, profligate, envious, and

JACOB. Butler, about 40, a bustling, kindly man, to whom the interests
of his family in the village are all-important.

SIMON. The butler's assistant, about 20, a healthy, fresh, peasant lad,
fair, beardless as yet; calm and smiling.

THE COACHMAN. A man of about 35, a dandy. Has moustaches but no beard.
Rude and decided.

A DISCHARGED MAN-COOK. About 45, dishevelled, unshaved, bloated, yellow
and trembling. Dressed in a ragged, light summer-overcoat and dirty
trousers. Speaks hoarsely, ejecting the words abruptly.

THE SERVANTS' COOK. A talkative, dissatisfied woman of 30.

THE DOORKEEPER. A retired soldier.

TÁNYA (TATYÁNA MÁRKOVNA). Lady's-maid, 19, energetic, strong, merry,
with quickly-changing moods. At moments, when strongly excited, she
shrieks with joy.

FIRST PEASANT. About 60. Has served as village Elder. Imagines that he
knows how to treat gentlefolk, and likes to hear himself talk.

SECOND PEASANT. About 45, head of a family. A man of few words. Rough
and truthful. The father of Simon.

THIRD PEASANT. About 70. Wears shoes of plaited bast. Is nervous,
restless, hurried, and tries to cover his confusion by much talking.

FIRST FOOTMAN (in attendance on the Countess). An old man, with
old-fashioned manners, and proud of his place.

SECOND FOOTMAN. Of enormous size, strong, and rude.

dark-blue long coat. Speaks firmly, emphatically, and clearly.

The action takes place in Moscow, in Zvezdíntsef's house.

                           FRUITS OF CULTURE


    The entrance hall of a wealthy house in Moscow. There are three
    doors: the front door, the door of Leoníd Fyódoritch's study, and
    the door of Vasíly Leoníditch's room. A staircase leads up to the
    other rooms; behind it is another door leading to the servants'


GREGORY [looks at himself in the glass and arranges his hair, &c.] I
_am_ sorry about those moustaches of mine! "Moustaches are not becoming
to a footman," she says! And why? Why, so that any one might see you're
a footman,--else my looks might put her darling son to shame. He's a
likely one! There's not much fear of his coming anywhere near me,
moustaches or no moustaches! [Smiling into the glass] And what a lot of
'em swarm round me. And yet I don't care for any of them as much as for
that Tánya. And she only a lady's-maid! Ah well, she's nicer than any
young lady. [Smiles] She is a duck! [Listening] Ah, here she comes.
[Smiles] Yes, that's her, clattering with her little heels. Oh!

    Enter Tánya, carrying a cloak and boots.

GREGORY. My respects to you, Tatyána Márkovna.

TÁNYA. What are you always looking in the glass for? Do you think
yourself so good-looking?

GREGORY. Well, and are my looks not agreeable?

TÁNYA. So, so; neither agreeable nor disagreeable, but just betwixt and
between! Why are all those cloaks hanging there?

GREGORY. I am just going to put them away, your ladyship! [Takes down a
fur cloak and, wrapping it round her, embraces her] I say, Tánya, I'll
tell you something ...

TÁNYA. Oh, get away, do! What do you mean by it? [Pulls herself angrily
away] Leave me alone, I tell you!

GREGORY [looks cautiously around] Then give me a kiss!

TÁNYA. Now, really, what are you bothering for? I'll give you such a
kiss! [Raises her hand to strike].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene, rings and then shouts] Gregory!

TÁNYA. There now, go! Vasíly Leoníditch is calling you.

GREGORY. He'll wait! He's only just opened his eyes! I say, why don't
you love me?

TÁNYA. What sort of loving have you imagined now? I don't love anybody.

GREGORY. That's a fib. You love Simon! You have found a nice one to
love--a common, dirty-pawed peasant, a butler's assistant!

TÁNYA. Never mind; such as he is, you are jealous of him!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene] Gregory!

GREGORY. All in good time.... Jealous indeed! Of what? Why, you have
only just begun to get licked into shape, and who are you tying yourself
up with? Now, wouldn't it be altogether a different matter if you loved
me?... I say, Tánya ...

TÁNYA [angrily and severely] You'll get nothing from me, I tell you!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene] Gregory!!

GREGORY. You're mighty particular, ain't you?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene, shouts persistently, monotonously, and
with all his might] Gregory! Gregory! Gregory! [Tánya and Gregory

GREGORY. You should have seen the girls that have been sweet on me.
[Bell rings].

TÁNYA. Well then, go to them, and leave me alone!

GREGORY. You are a silly, now I think of it. I'm not Simon!

TÁNYA. Simon means marriage, and not tomfoolery!

    Enter Porter, carrying a large cardboard box.

PORTER. Good morning!

GREGORY. Good morning! Where are you from?

PORTER. From Bourdey's. I've brought a dress, and here's a note for the

TÁNYA [taking the note] Sit down, and I'll take it in. [Exit].

    Vasíly Leoníditch looks out of the door in shirt-sleeves and


GREGORY. Yes, sir.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Gregory! Don't you hear me call?

GREGORY. I've only just come, sir.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Hot water, and a cup of tea.

GREGORY. Yes, sir; Simon will bring them directly.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. And who is this? Ah, from Bourdier?

PORTER. Yes, sir.

    Exeunt Vasíly Leoníditch and Gregory. Bell rings. Tánya runs in at
    the sound of the bell and opens the front door.

TÁNYA [to Porter] Please wait a little.

PORTER. I am waiting.

    Sahátof enters at front door.

TÁNYA. I beg your pardon, but the footman has just gone away. This way,
sir. Allow me, please. [Takes his fur cloak].

SAHÁTOF [adjusting his clothes] Is Leoníd Fyódoritch at home? Is he up?
[Bell rings].

TÁNYA. Oh yes, sir. He's been up a long time.

    Doctor enters and looks round for the footman. Sees Sahátof and
    addresses him in an offhand manner.

DOCTOR. Ah, my respects to you!

SAHÁTOF [looks fixedly at him] The Doctor, I believe?

DOCTOR. And I thought you were abroad! Dropped in to see Leoníd

SAHÁTOF. Yes. And you? Is any one ill?

DOCTOR [laughing] Not exactly ill, but, you know ... It's awful with
these ladies! Sits up at cards till three every morning, and pulls her
waist into the shape of a wine-glass. And the lady is flabby and fat,
and carries the weight of a good many years on her back.

SAHÁTOF. Is this the way you state your diagnosis to Anna Pávlovna? I
should hardly think it quite pleases her!

DOCTOR [laughing] Well, it's the truth. They do all these tricks--and
then come derangements of the digestive organs, pressure on the liver,
nerves, and all sorts of things, and one has to come and patch them up.
It's just awful! [Laughs] And you? You are also a spiritualist it seems?

SAHÁTOF. I? No, I am not also a spiritualist.... Good morning! [Is about
to go, but is stopped by the Doctor].

DOCTOR. No! But I can't myself, you know, positively deny the
possibility of it, when a man like Krougosvétlof is connected with it
all. How can one? Is he not a professor,--a European celebrity? There
must be something in it. I should like to see for myself, but I never
have the time. I have other things to do.

SAHÁTOF. Yes, yes! Good morning. [Exit, bowing slightly].

DOCTOR [to Tánya] Is Anna Pávlovna up?

TÁNYA. She's in her bedroom, but please come up.

    Doctor goes upstairs.

    Theodore Ivánitch enters with a newspaper in his hand.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [to Porter] What is it you want?

PORTER. I'm from Bourdey's. I brought a dress and a note, and was told
to wait.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Ah, from Bourdey's! [To Tánya] Who came in just now?

TÁNYA. It was Sergéy Ivánitch Sahátof and the Doctor. They stood talking
here a bit. It was all about spiritalism.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [correcting her] Spirit_u_alism.

TÁNYA. Yes, that's just what I said--spiritalism. Have you heard how
well it went off last time, Theodore Ivánitch? [Laughs] There was
knocks, and things flew about!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. And how do _you_ know?

TÁNYA. Miss Elizabeth told me.

    Jacob runs in with a tumbler of tea on a tray.

JACOB [to the Porter] Good morning!

PORTER [disconsolately] Good morning!

    Jacob knocks at Vasíly Leoníditch's door.

    Gregory enters.

GREGORY. Give it here.

JACOB. You didn't bring back all yesterday's tumblers, nor the tray
Vasíly Leoníditch had. And it's me that have to answer for them!

GREGORY. The tray is full of cigars.

JACOB. Well, put them somewhere else. It's me who's answerable for it.

GREGORY. I'll bring it back! I'll bring it back!

JACOB. Yes, so you say, but it is not where it ought to be. The other
day, just as the tea had to be served, it was not to be found.

GREGORY. I'll bring it back, I tell you. What a fuss!

JACOB. It's easy for you to talk. Here am I serving tea for the third
time, and now there's the lunch to get ready. One does nothing but rush
about the livelong day. Is there any one in the house who has more to do
than me? Yet they are never satisfied with me.

GREGORY. Dear me? Who could wish for any one more satisfactory? You're
such a fine fellow!

TÁNYA. Nobody is good enough for you! You alone ...

GREGORY [to Tánya] No one asked your opinion! [Exit].

JACOB. Ah well, I don't mind. Tatyána Márkovna, did the mistress say
anything about yesterday?

TÁNYA. About the lamp, you mean?

JACOB. And how it managed to drop out of my hands, the Lord only knows!
Just as I began rubbing it, and was going to take hold of it in another
place, out it slips and goes all to pieces. It's just my luck! It's easy
for that Gregory Miháylitch to talk--a single man like him! But when one
has a family, one has to consider things: they have to be fed. I don't
mind work.... So she didn't say anything? The Lord be thanked!... Oh,
Theodore Ivánitch, have you one spoon or two?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. One. Only one! [Reads newspaper].

    Exit Jacob.

    Bell rings. Enter Gregory (carrying a tray) and the Doorkeeper.

DOORKEEPER [to Gregory] Tell the master some peasants have come from the

GREGORY [pointing to Theodore Ivánitch] Tell the major-domo here, it's
his business. I have no time. [Exit].

TÁNYA. Where are these peasants from?

DOORKEEPER. From Koursk, I think.

TÁNYA [shrieks with delight] It's them.... It's Simon's father come
about the land! I'll go and meet them! [Runs off].

DOORKEEPER. Well, then, what shall I say to them? Shall they come in
here? They say they've come about the land--the master knows, they say.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Yes, they want to purchase some land. All right! But
he has a visitor now, so you had better tell them to wait.

DOORKEEPER. Where shall they wait?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Let them wait outside. I'll send for them when the
time comes. [Exit Doorkeeper]

    Enter Tánya, followed by three Peasants.

TÁNYA. To the right. In here! In here!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I did not want them brought in here!

GREGORY. Forward minx!

TÁNYA. Oh, Theodore Ivánitch, it won't matter, they'll stand in this

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. They'll dirty the floor.

TÁNYA. They've scraped their shoes, and I'll wipe the floor up
afterwards. [To Peasants] Here, stand just here.

    Peasants come forward carrying presents tied in cotton
    handkerchiefs: cake, eggs, and embroidered towels. They look around
    for an icón before which to cross themselves; not finding one, they
    cross themselves looking at the staircase.

GREGORY [to Theodore Ivánitch]. There now, Theodore Ivánitch, they say
Pironnet's boots are an elegant shape. But those there are ever so much
better. [Pointing to the third Peasant's bast shoes].

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Why will you always be ridiculing people? [Exit

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [rises and goes up to the Peasants] So you are from
Koursk? And have come to arrange about buying some land?

FIRST PEASANT. Just so. We might say, it is for the completion of the
purchase of the land we have come. How could we announce ourselves to
the master?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Yes, yes, I know. You wait a bit and I'll go and
inform him. [Exit].

    The Peasants look around; they are embarrassed where to put their

FIRST PEASANT. There now, couldn't we have what d'you call it? Something
to present these here things on? To do it in a genteel way, like,--a
little dish or something.

TÁNYA. All right, directly; put them down here for the present. [Puts
bundles on settle].

FIRST PEASANT. There now,--that respectable gentleman that was here just
now,--what might be his station?

TÁNYA. He's the master's valet.

FIRST PEASANT. I see. So he's also in service. And you, now, are you a
servant too?

TÁNYA. I am lady's-maid. Do you know, I also come from Démen! I know
you, and you, but I don't know him. [Pointing to third Peasant].

THIRD PEASANT. Them two you know, but me you don't know?

TÁNYA. You are Efím Antónitch.

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it!

TÁNYA. And you are Simon's father, Zachary Trifánitch.


THIRD PEASANT. And let me tell you, I'm Mítry Vlásitch Tchilíkin. Now do
you know?

TÁNYA. Now I shall know you too!

SECOND PEASANT. And who may you be?

TÁNYA. I am Aksínya's, the soldier's wife's, orphan.

FIRST AND THIRD PEASANTS [with surprise] Never!

SECOND PEASANT. The proverb says true:

        "Buy a penny pig, put it in the rye,
         And you'll have a wonderful fat porker by-and-by."

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it! She's got the resemblance of a duchess!

THIRD PEASANT. That be so truly. Oh Lord!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. [off the scene, rings, and then shouts] Gregory!

FIRST PEASANT. Now who's that, for example, disturbing himself in such a
way, if I may say so?

TÁNYA. That's the young master.

THIRD PEASANT. Oh Lord! Didn't I say we'd better wait outside until the
time comes? [Silence].

SECOND PEASANT. Is it _you_, Simon wants to marry?

TÁNYA. Why, has he been writing? [Hides her face in her apron].

SECOND PEASANT. It's evident he's written! But it's a bad business he's
imagined here. I see the lad's got spoilt!

TÁNYA [quickly] No, he's not at all spoilt! Shall I send him to you?

SECOND PEASANT. Why send him? All in good time. Where's the hurry?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [desperately, behind scene] Gregory! Where the devil
are you?... [Enters from his room in shirt-sleeves, adjusting his

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Is every one dead?

TÁNYA. He's not here, sir.... I'll send him to you at once. [Moves
towards the back door].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. I could hear you talking, you know. How have these
scarecrows sprung up here? Eh? What?

TÁNYA. They're peasants from the Koursk village, sir. [Peasants bow].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. And who is this? Oh yes, from Bourdier.

    Vasíly Leoníditch pays no attention to the Peasants' bow. Tánya
    meets Gregory at the doorway and remains on the scene.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [to Gregory] I told you the other boots... I can't
wear these!

GREGORY. Well, the others are also there.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. But where is _there_?

GREGORY. Just in the same place!


GREGORY. Well, come and see. [Exeunt Gregory and Vasíly Leoníditch].

THIRD PEASANT. Say now, might we not in the meantime just go and wait,
say, in some lodging-house or somewhere?

TÁNYA. No, no, wait a little. I'll go and bring you some plates to put
the presents on. [Exit].

    Enter Sahátof and Leoníd Fyódoritch, followed by Theodore Ivánitch.

    The Peasants take up the presents, and pose themselves.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [to Peasants] Presently, presently! Wait a bit!
[Points to Porter] Who is this?

PORTER. From Bourdey's.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Ah, from Bourdier.

SAHÁTOF [smiling] Well, I don't deny it: still you understand that,
never having seen it, we, the uninitiated, have some difficulty in

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. You say you find it difficult to believe! We do not
ask for faith; all we demand of you is to investigate! How can I help
believing in this ring? Yet this ring came from there!

SAHÁTOF. From _there_? What do you mean? From where?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. From the other world. Yes!

SAHÁTOF [smiling] That's very interesting--very interesting!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, supposing we admit that I'm a man carried away
by an idea, as you think, and that I am deluding myself. Well, but what
of Alexéy Vladímiritch Krougosvétlof--he is not just an ordinary man,
but a distinguished professor, and yet he admits it to be a fact. And
not he alone. What of Crookes? What of Wallace?

SAHÁTOF. But I don't deny anything. I only say it is very interesting.
It would be interesting to know how Krougosvétlof explains it!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. He has a theory of his own. Could you come
to-night?--he is sure to be here. First we shall have Grossman--you
know, the famous thought-reader?

SAHÁTOF. Yes, I have heard of him but have never happened to meet him.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Then you must come! We shall first have Grossman,
then Kaptchítch, and our mediumistic séance.... [To Theodore Ivánitch]
Has the man returned from Kaptchítch?


SAHÁTOF. Then how am I to know?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Never mind, come in any case! If Kaptchítch can't
come we shall find our own medium. Márya Ignátievna is a medium--not
such a good one as Kaptchítch, but still ...

    Tánya enters with plates for the presents, and stands listening.

SAHÁTOF [smiling] Oh yes, yes. But here is one puzzling point:--how is
it that the mediums are always of the, so-called, educated class, such
as Kaptchítch and Márya Ignátievna? If there were such a special force,
would it not be met with also among the common people--the peasants?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Oh yes, and it is! That is very common. Even here in
our own house we have a peasant whom we discovered to be a medium. A few
days ago we called him in--a sofa had to be moved, during a séance--and
we forgot all about him. In all probability he fell asleep. And, fancy,
after our séance was over and Kaptchítch had come to again, we suddenly
noticed mediumistic phenomena in another part of the room, near the
peasant: the table gave a jerk and moved!

TÁNYA [aside] That was when I was getting out from under it!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. It is quite evident he also is a medium. Especially
as he is very like Home in appearance. You remember Home--a fair-haired
naïve sort of fellow?

SAHÁTOF [shrugging his shoulders] Dear me, this is very interesting, you
know. I think you should try him.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. So we will! And he is not alone; there are thousands
of mediums, only we do not know them. Why, only a short time ago a
bedridden old woman moved a brick wall!

SAHÁTOF. Moved a brick ... a brick wall?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, yes. She was lying in bed, and did not even know
she was a medium. She just leant her arm against the wall, and the wall

SAHÁTOF. And did not cave in?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. And did not cave in.

SAHÁTOF. Very strange! Well then, I'll come this evening.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Pray do. We shall have a séance in any case. [Sahátof
puts on his outdoor things, Leoníd Fyódoritch sees him to the door].

PORTER [to Tánya] Do tell your mistress! Am I to spend the night here?

TÁNYA. Wait a little; she's going to drive out with the young lady, so
she'll soon be coming downstairs. [Exit].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [comes up to the Peasants, who bow and offer him their
presents] That's not necessary!

FIRST PEASANT [smiling] Oh, but this-here is our first duty, it is! It's
also the Commune's orders that we should do it!

SECOND PEASANT. That's always been the proper way.

THIRD PEASANT. Say no more about it! 'Cause as we are much satisfied....
As our parents, let's say, served, let's say, your parents, so we would
like the same with all our hearts ... and not just anyhow! [Bows].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. But what is it about? What do you want?

FIRST PEASANT. It's to your honour we've come ...

    Enter Petrístchef briskly, in fur-lined overcoat.

PETRÍSTCHEF. Is Vasíly Leoníditch awake yet? [Seeing Leoníd Fyódoritch,
bows, moving only his head].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. You have come to see my son?

PETRÍSTCHEF. I? Yes, just to see Vovo for a moment.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Step in, step in.

    Petrístchef takes off his overcoat and walks in briskly. Exit.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [to Peasants] Well, what is it you want?

SECOND PEASANT. Please accept our presents!

FIRST PEASANT [smiling] That's to say, the peasants' offerings.

THIRD PEASANT. Say no more about it; what's the good? We wish you the
same as if you were our own father! Say no more about it!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. All right. Here, Theodore, take these.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [to Peasants] Give them here. [Takes the presents].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, what is the business?

FIRST PEASANT. We've come to your honour ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. I see you have; but what do you want?

FIRST PEASANT. It's about making a move towards completing the sale of
the land. It comes to this ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Do you mean to buy the land?

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. It comes to this ... I mean the buying of
the property of the land. The Commune has given us, let's say, the power
of atturning, to enter, let's say, as is lawful, through the Government
bank, with a stamp for the lawful amount.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. You mean that you want to buy the land through the

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. Just as you offered it to us last year.
It comes to this, then, the whole sum in full for the buying of the
property of the land is 32,864 roubles.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. That's all right, but how about paying up?

FIRST PEASANT. As to the payment, the Commune offers just as it was said
last year--to pay in 'stalments, and your receipt of the ready money by
lawful regulations, 4000 roubles in full.[2]

  [2] The present value of the rouble is rather over two shillings and
  one penny.

SECOND PEASANT. Take 4000 now, and wait for the rest of the money.

THIRD PEASANT [unwrapping a parcel of money] And about this be quite
easy. We should pawn our own selves rather than do such a thing just
anyhow say, but in this way, let's say, as it ought to be done.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. But did I not write and tell you that I should not
agree to it unless you brought the whole sum?

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. It would be more agreeable, but it is not
in our possibilities, I mean.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well then, the thing can't be done!

FIRST PEASANT. The Commune, for example, relied its hopes on that, that
you made the offer last year to sell it in easy 'stalments ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. That was last year. I would have agreed to it then,
but now I can't.

SECOND PEASANT. But how's that? We've been depending on your
promise--we've got the papers ready and have collected the money!

THIRD PEASANT. Be merciful, master! We're short of land; we'll say
nothing about cattle, but even a hen, let's say, we've no room to keep.
[Bows] Don't wrong us, master! [Bows].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Of course it's quite true, that I agreed last year to
let you have the land for payment by instalments, but now circumstances
are such that it would be inconvenient.

SECOND PEASANT. Without this land we cannot live!

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. Without land our lives must grow weaker
and come to a decline.

THIRD PEASANT [bowing] Master, we have so little land, let's not talk
about the cattle, but even a chicken, let's say, we've no room for.
Master, be merciful, accept the money, master!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [examining the document] I quite understand, and
should like to help you. Wait a little; I will give you an answer in
half-an-hour.... Theodore, say I am engaged and am not to be disturbed.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Yes, sir. [Exit Leoníd Fyódoritch].

    The Peasants look dejected.

SECOND PEASANT. Here's a go! "Give me the whole sum," he says. And where
are we to get it from?

FIRST PEASANT. If he had not given us hopes, for example. As it is we
felt quite insured it would be as was said last year.

THIRD PEASANT. Oh Lord! and I had begun unwrapping the money. [Begins
wrapping up the bundle of bank-notes again] What are we to do now?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. What is your business, then?

FIRST PEASANT. Our business, respected sir, depends in this. Last year
he made us the offer of our buying the land in 'stalments. The Commune
entered upon these terms and gave us the powers of atturning, and now
d'you see he makes the offering that we should pay the whole in full!
And as it turns out, the business is no ways convenient for us.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. What is the whole sum?

FIRST PEASANT. The whole sum in readiness is 4000 roubles, you see.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Well, what of that? Make an effort and collect more.

FIRST PEASANT. Such as it is, it was collected with much effort. We
have, so to say, in this sense, not got ammunition enough.

SECOND PEASANT. You can't get blood out of a stone.

THIRD PEASANT. We'd be glad with all our hearts, but we have swept even
this together, as you might say, with a broom.

    Vasíly Leoníditch and Petrístchef appear in the doorway both smoking

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. I have told you already I'll do my best, so of
course I will do all that is possible! Eh, what?

PETRÍSTCHEF. You must just understand that if you do not get it, the
devil only knows what a mess we shall be in!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. But I've already said I'll do my best, and so I will.
Eh, what?

PETRÍSTCHEF. Nothing. I only say, get some at any cost. I will wait.

    Exit into Vasíly Leoníditch's room, closing door.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [waving his arm] It's a deuce of a go! [The Peasants

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [looking at Porter, to Theodore Ivánitch] Why don't
you attend to this fellow from Bourdier? He hasn't come to take lodgings
with us, has he? Just look, he is asleep! Eh, what?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. The note he brought has been sent in, and he has been
told to wait until Anna Pávlovna comes down.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [looks at Peasants and notices the money] And what is
this? Money? For whom? Is it for us? [To Theodore Ivánitch] Who are

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. They are peasants from Koursk. They are buying land.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Has it been sold them?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. No, they have not yet come to any agreement. They are
too stingy.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Eh? Well, we must try and persuade them. [To the
Peasants] Here, I say, are you buying land? Eh?

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. We have made an offering as how we should
like to acquire the possession of the land.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Then you should not be so stingy, you know. Just let
me tell you how necessary land is to peasants! Eh, what? It's very
necessary, isn't it?

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. The land appears as the very first and
foremost necessity to a peasant. That's just it.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Then why be so stingy? Just you think what land is!
Why, one can sow wheat on it in rows! I tell you, you could get eighty
bushels of wheat, at a rouble and a half a bushel--that would be 120
roubles. Eh, what? Or else mint! I tell you, you could collar 400
roubles off an acre by sowing mint!

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. All sorts of producks one could put into
action if one had the right understanding.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Mint! Decidedly mint! I have learnt about it, you
know. It's all printed in books. I can show them you. Eh, what?

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it, all concerns are clearer to you through
your books. That's learnedness, of course.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Then pay up and don't be stingy. [To Theodore
Ivánitch] Where's papa?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. He gave orders not to be disturbed just now.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Oh, I suppose he's consulting a spirit whether to
sell the land or not? Eh, what?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I can't say. All I know is that he went away
undecided about it.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. What d'you think, Theodore Ivánitch, is he flush of
cash? Eh, what?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I don't know. I hardly think so. But what does it
matter to you? You drew a good sum not more than a week ago.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. But didn't I pay for those dogs? And now, you know,
there's our new Society, and Petrístchef has been chosen, and I had
borrowed money from Petrístchef and must pay the subscription both for
him and for myself. Eh, what?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. And what is this new Society? A Cycling Club?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. No. Just let me tell you. It is quite a new Society.
It is a very serious Society, you know. And who do you think is
President? Eh, what?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. What's the object of this new Society?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. It is a "Society to Promote the Breeding of Pure-bred
Russian Hounds." Eh, what? And I'll tell you, they're having the first
meeting and a lunch, to-day. And I've no money. I'll go to him and have
a try! [Exit through study door].

FIRST PEASANT [to Theodore Ivánitch] And who might he be, respected sir?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [smiles] The young master.

THIRD PEASANT. The heir, so to say. Oh Lord! [puts away the money] I'd
better hide it meanwhile.

FIRST PEASANT. And we were told he was in military service, in the
cav'rely, for example.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. No, as an only son he is exempt from military

THIRD PEASANT. Left for to keep his parents, so to say! That's right!

SECOND PEASANT [shaking his head] He's the right sort. He'll feed them


    Enter Vasíly Leoníditch followed by Leoníd Fyódoritch.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. That's always the way. It's really surprising! First
I'm asked why I have no occupation, and now when I have found a field
and am occupied, when a Society with serious and noble aims has been
founded, I can't even have 300 roubles to go on with!...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. I tell you I can't do it, and I can't! I haven't got

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Why, you have just sold some land.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. In the first place I have not sold it! And above all,
do leave me in peace! Weren't you told I was engaged? [Exit, slamming

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I told you this was not the right moment.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Well, I say! Here's a position to be in! I'll go and
see mamma--that's my only hope. He's going crazy over his spiritualism
and forgets everything else. [Goes upstairs].

    Theodore Ivánitch takes newspaper and is just going to sit down,
    when Betsy and Márya Konstantínovna, followed by Gregory, come down
    the stairs.

BETSY. Is the carriage ready?

GREGORY. Just coming to the door.

BETSY [to Márya Konstantínovna] Come along, come along, I know it is he.


BETSY. You know very well whom I mean--Petrístchef, of course.


BETSY. Sitting in Vovo's room. You'll see!

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA. And suppose it is not he? [The Peasants and Porter

BETSY [to Porter] You brought a dress from Bourdier's?

PORTER. Yes, Miss. May I go?

BETSY. Well, I don't know. Ask my mother.

PORTER. I don't know whose it is, Miss; I was ordered to bring it here
and receive the money.

BETSY. Well then, wait.

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA. Is it still that costume for the charade?

BETSY. Yes, a charming costume. But mamma won't take it or pay for it.


BETSY. You'd better ask mamma. She doesn't grudge Vovo 500 roubles for
his dogs, but 100 is too much for a dress. I can't act dressed like a
scarecrow. [Pointing to Peasants] And who are these?

GREGORY. Peasants who have come to buy some land or other.

BETSY. And I thought they were the beaters. Are you not beaters?

FIRST PEASANT. No, no, lady. We have come to see Leoníd Fyódoritch about
the signing into our possession of the title-deeds to some land.

BETSY. Then how is it? Vovo was expecting some beaters who were to come
to-day. Are you sure you are not the beaters? [The Peasants are silent]
How stupid they are! [Goes to Vasíly Leoníditch's door] Vovo? [Laughs].

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA. But we met him just now upstairs!

BETSY. Why need you remember that? Vovo, are you there?

    Petrístchef enters.

PETRÍSTCHEF. Vovo is not here, but I am prepared to fulfil on his behalf
anything that may be required. How do you do? How do you do, Márya
Konstantínovna? [Shakes hands long and violently with Betsy, and then
with Márya Konstantínovna].

SECOND PEASANT. See, it's as if he were pumping water!

BETSY. You can't replace him,--still you're better than nobody. [Laughs]
What are these affairs of yours with Vovo?

PETRÍSTCHEF. What affairs? Our affairs are fie-nancial, that is, our
business is fie! It's also nancial, and besides it is financial.

BETSY. What does nancial mean?

PETRÍSTCHEF. What a question! It means nothing, that's just the point.

BETSY. No, no, you have missed fire. [Laughs].

PETRÍSTCHEF. One can't always hit the mark, you know. It's something
like a lottery. Blanks and blanks again, and at last you win! [Theodore
Ivánitch goes into the study].

BETSY. Well, this was blank then; but tell me, were you at the
Mergásofs' last night?

PETRÍSTCHEF. Not exactly at the _Mère_ Gásof's, but rather at the _Père_
Gásof's, or better still, at the _Fils_ Gásof's.

BETSY. You can't do without puns. It's an illness. And were the Gypsies
there?[3] [Laughs].

  [3] The Gypsy choirs are very popular in Moscow.

PETRÍSTCHEF [sings] "On their aprons silken threads, little birds with
golden heads!" ...

BETSY. Happy mortals! And we were yawning at Fofo's.

PETRÍSTCHEF [continues to sing] "And she promised and she swore, She
would ope' her ... her ... her ..." how does it go on, Márya


PETRÍSTCHEF. How? What? How, Márya Konstantínovna?

BETSY. _Cessez, vous devenez impossible!_[4]

  [4] BETSY. Cease! You are becoming quite unbearable!

PETRÍSTCHEF. _J'ai cessé, j'ai bébé, j'ai dédé...._[5]

  [5] PETRÍSTCHEF. I have C said (_ceased_), B said, and D said.

BETSY. I see the only way to rid ourselves of your wit is to make you
sing! Let us go into Vovo's room, his guitar is there. Come, Márya
Konstantínovna, come! [Exeunt Betsy, Márya Konstantínovna, and

FIRST PEASANT. Who be they?

GREGORY. One is our young lady, the other is a girl who teaches her

FIRST PEASANT. Administrates learning, so to say. And ain't she smart? A
reg'lar picture!

SECOND PEASANT. Why don't they marry her? She is old enough, I should

GREGORY. Do you think it's the same as among you peasants,--marry at

FIRST PEASANT. And that man, for example, is he also in the musitional

GREGORY [mimicking him] "Musitional" indeed! You don't understand

FIRST PEASANT. That's just so. And stupidity, one might say, is our

THIRD PEASANT. Oh Lord! [Gipsy songs and guitar accompaniment are heard
from Vasíly Leoníditch's room].

    Enter Simon, followed by Tánya, who watches the meeting between
    father and son.

GREGORY [to Simon] What do you want?

SIMON. I have been to Mr. Kaptchítch.

GREGORY. Well, and what's the answer?

SIMON. He sent word he couldn't possibly come to-night.

GREGORY. All right, I'll let them know. [Exit].

SIMON [to his father] How d'you do, father! My respects to Daddy Efím
and Daddy Mítry! How are all at home?

SECOND PEASANT. Very well, Simon.

FIRST PEASANT. How d'you do, lad?

THIRD PEASANT. How d'you do, sonny?

SIMON [smiles] Well, come along, father, and have some tea.

SECOND PEASANT. Wait till we've finished our business. Don't you see we
are not ready yet?

SIMON. Well, I'll wait for you by the porch. [Wishes to go away].

TÁNYA [running after him] I say, why didn't you tell him anything?

SIMON. How could I before all those people? Give me time, I'll tell him
over our tea. [Exit].

    Theodore Ivánitch enters and sits down by the window.

FIRST PEASANT. Respected sir, how's our business proceeding?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Wait a bit, he'll be out presently, he's just

TÁNYA [to Theodore Ivánitch] And how do you know, Theodore Ivánitch, he
is finishing?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I know that when he has finished questioning, he
reads the question and answer aloud.

TÁNYA. Can one really talk with spirits by means of a saucer?


TÁNYA. But supposing they tell him to sign, will he sign?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Of course he will.

TÁNYA. But they do not speak with words?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Oh, yes. By means of the alphabet. He notices at
which letter the saucer stops.

TÁNYA. Yes, but at a si-ance?...

    Enter Leoníd Fyódoritch.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, friends, I can't do it! I should be very glad
to, but it is quite impossible. If it were for ready money it would be a
different matter.

FIRST PEASANT. That's just so. What more could any one desire? But the
people are so inpennycuous--it is quite impossible!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, I can't do it, I really can't. Here is your
document; I can't sign it.

THIRD PEASANT. Show some pity, master; be merciful!

SECOND PEASANT. How can you act so? It is doing us a wrong.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Nothing wrong about it, friends. I offered it you in
summer, but then you did not agree; and now I can't agree to it.

THIRD PEASANT. Master, be merciful! How are we to get along? We have so
little land. We'll say nothing about the cattle; a hen, let's say,
there's no room to let a hen run about.

    Leoníd Fyódoritch goes up to the door and stops. Enter, descending
    the staircase, Anna Pávlovna and doctor, followed by Vasíly
    Leoníditch, who is in a merry and playful mood and is putting some
    bank-notes into his purse.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [tightly laced, and wearing a bonnet] Then I am to take

DOCTOR. If the symptoms recur you must certainly take it, but above all,
you must behave better. How can you expect thick syrup to pass through a
thin little hair tube, especially when we squeeze the tube? It's
impossible; and so it is with the biliary duct. It's simple enough.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. All right, all right!

DOCTOR. Yes, "All right, all right," and you go on in the same old way.
It won't do, madam--it won't do. Well, good-bye!

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. No, not good-bye, only _au revoir_! For I still expect
you to-night. I shall not be able to make up my mind without you.

DOCTOR. All right, if I have time I'll pop in. [Exit].

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [noticing the Peasants] What's this? What? What people are
these? [Peasants bow].

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. These are peasants from Koursk, come to see Leoníd
Fyódoritch about the sale of some land.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. I see they are peasants, but who let them in?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Leoníd Fyódoritch gave the order. He has just been
speaking to them about the sale of the land.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. What sale? There is no need to sell any. But above all,
how can one let in people from the street into the house? One can't let
people in from the street! One can't let people into the house who have
spent the night heaven knows where!... [Getting more and more excited] I
daresay every fold of their clothes is full of microbes--of
scarlet-fever microbes, of smallpox microbes, of diphtheria microbes!
Why, they are from Koursk Government, where there is an epidemic of
diphtheria ... Doctor! Doctor! Call the doctor back!

    Leoníd Fyódoritch goes into his room and shuts the door. Gregory
    goes to recall the Doctor.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [smokes at the Peasants] Never mind, mamma; if you
like I'll fumigate them so that all the microbes will go to pot! Eh,

    Anna Pávlovna remains severely silent, awaiting the Doctor's return.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [to Peasants] And do you fatten pigs? There's a
first-rate business!

FIRST PEASANT. That's just so. We do go in for the pig-fattening line
now and then.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. This kind?... [Grunts like a pig].

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Vovo, Vovo, leave off!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Isn't it like? Eh, what?

FIRST PEASANT. That's just so. It's very resemblant.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Vovo, leave off, I tell you!

SECOND PEASANT. What's it all about?

THIRD PEASANT. I said, we'd better go to some lodging meanwhile!

    Enter Doctor and Gregory.

DOCTOR. What's the matter? What's happened?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Why, you're always saying I must not get excited. Now,
how is it possible to keep calm? I do not see my own sister for two
months, and am careful about any doubtful visitor--and here are people
from Koursk, straight from Koursk, where there is an epidemic of
diphtheria, right in my house!

DOCTOR. These good fellows you mean, I suppose?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Of course. Straight from a diphtheric place!

DOCTOR. Well, of course, if they come from an infected place it is rash;
but still there is no reason to excite yourself so much about it.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. But don't you yourself advise carefulness?

DOCTOR. Of course, of course. Still, why excite yourself?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. How can I help it? Now we shall have to have the house
completely disinfected.

DOCTOR. Oh no! Why completely? That would cost 300 roubles or more.
I'll arrange it cheaply and well for you. Take, to a large bottle of
water ...


DOCTOR. It's all the same. Boiled would be better. To one bottle of
water take a tablespoon of salicylic acid, and have everything they have
come in contact with washed with the solution. As to the fellows
themselves, they must be off, of course. That's all. Then you're quite
safe. And it would do no harm to sprinkle some of the same solution
through a spray--two or three tumblers--you'll see how well it will act.
No danger whatever!

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Tánya! Where is Tánya?

    Enter Tánya.

TÁNYA. Did you call, M'm?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. You know that big bottle in my dressing-room?

TÁNYA. Out of which we sprinkled the laundress yesterday?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Well, of course! What other bottle could I mean? Well
then, take that bottle and first wash with soap the place where they
have been standing, and then with ...

TÁNYA. Yes, M'm; I know how.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. And then take the spray ... However, I had better do that
myself when I get back.

DOCTOR. Well then, do so, and don't be afraid! Well, _au revoir_ till
this evening. [Exit].

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. And they must be off! Not a trace of them must remain!
Get out, get out! Go--what are you looking at?

FIRST PEASANT. That's just so. It's because of our stupidity, as we were
instructed ...

GREGORY [pushes the Peasants out] There, there; be off!

SECOND PEASANT. Let me have my handkerchief back! [The handkerchief in
which the presents were wrapped].

THIRD PEASANT. Oh Lord, oh Lord! didn't I say--some lodging-house

    Gregory pushes him out. Exeunt Peasants.

PORTER [who has repeatedly tried to say something] Will there be any

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Ah, from Bourdier? [Excitedly] None! None! You can take
it back. I told her I never ordered such a costume, and I will not allow
my daughter to wear it!

PORTER. I know nothing about it. I was sent ...

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Go, go, take it back! I will call myself about it!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [solemnly] Sir Messenger from Bourdier, depart!

PORTER. I might have been told that long ago. I have sat here nearly
five hours!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Ambassador from Bourdier, begone!

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Cease, please!

    Exit Porter.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Betsy! Where is she? I always have to wait for her.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [shouting at the top of his voice] Betsy! Petrístchef!
Come quick, quick, quick! Eh? What?

    Enter Petrístchef, Betsy, and Márya Konstantínovna.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. You always keep one waiting!

BETSY. On the contrary, I was waiting for you!

    Petrístchef bows with his head only, then kisses Anna Pávlovna's

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. How d'you do! [To Betsy] You always have an answer ready!

BETSY. If you are upset, mamma, I had better not go.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Are we going or not?

BETSY. Well, let us go; it can't be helped.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Did you see the man from Bourdier?

BETSY. Yes, and I was very glad. I ordered the costume, and am going to
wear it when it is paid for.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. I am not going to pay for a costume that is indecent!

BETSY. Why has it become indecent? First it was decent, and now you have
a fit of prudery.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Not prudery at all! If the bodice were completely
altered, then it would do.

BETSY. Mamma, that is quite impossible.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Well, get dressed. [They sit down. Gregory puts on their
over-shoes for them].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Márya Konstantínovna, do you notice a vacuum in the

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA. What is it? [Laughs in anticipation].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Bourdier's man has gone! Eh, what? Good, eh? [Laughs

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Well, let us go. [Goes out of the door, but returns at
once] Tánya!

TÁNYA. Yes, M'm?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Don't let Frisk catch cold while I am away. If she wants
to be let out, put on her little yellow cloak. She is not quite well

TÁNYA. Yes, M'm.

    Exeunt Anna Pávlovna, Betsy, and Gregory.

PETRÍSTCHEF. Well, have you got it?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Not without trouble, I can tell you! First I rushed
at the gov'nor; he began to bellow and turned me out. Off to the
mater--I got it out of her. It's here! [Slaps his breast pocket] If once
I make up my mind, there's no getting away from me. I have a deadly
grip! Eh, what? And d'you know, my wolf-hounds are coming to-day.

    Petrístchef and Vasíly Leoníditch put on their outdoor things and go
    out. Tánya follows.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [alone] Yes, nothing but unpleasantness. How is it
they can't live in peace? But one must say the new generation are
not--the thing. And as to the women's dominion!... Why, Leoníd
Fyódoritch just now was going to put in a word, but seeing what a frenzy
she was in--slammed the door behind him. He is a wonderfully
kind-hearted man. Yes, wonderfully kind. What's this? Here's Tánya
bringing them back again!

TÁNYA. Come in, come in, grand-dads, never mind!

    Enter Tánya and the Peasants.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Why have you brought them back?

TÁNYA. Well, Theodore Ivánitch, we must do something about their
business. I shall have to wash the place anyhow.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. But the business will not come off, I see that

FIRST PEASANT. How could we best put our affair into action, respected
sir? Your reverence might take a little trouble over it, and we should
give you full thankings from the Commune for your trouble.

THIRD PEASANT. Do try, honey! We can't live! We have so little land.
Talk of cattle--why, we have no room to keep a hen! [They bow].

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I am sorry for you, friends, but I can't think of any
way to help you. I understand your case very well, but he has refused.
So what can one do? Besides, the lady is also against it. Well, give me
your papers--I'll try and see what I can do, but I hardly hope to
succeed. [Exit].

    Tánya and the three Peasants sigh.

TÁNYA. But tell me, grand-dads, what is it that is wanted?

FIRST PEASANT. Why, only that he should put his signature to our

TÁNYA. That the master should sign? Is that all?

FIRST PEASANT. Yes, only lay his signature on the deed and take the
money, and there would be an end of the matter.

THIRD PEASANT. He only has to write and sign, as the peasants, let's
say, desire, so, let's say, I also desire. That's the whole affair--if
he'd only take it and sign it, it's all done.

TÁNYA [considering] He need only sign the paper and it's done?

FIRST PEASANT. That's just so. The whole matter is in dependence on
that, and nothing else. Let him sign, and we ask no more.

TÁNYA. Just wait and see what Theodore Ivánitch will say. If he cannot
persuade the master, I'll try something.

FIRST PEASANT. Get round him, will you?

TÁNYA. I'll try.

THIRD PEASANT. Ay, the lass is going to bestir herself. Only get the
thing settled, and the Commune will bind itself to keep you all your
life. See there, now!

FIRST PEASANT. If the affair can be put into action, truly we might put
her in a gold frame.

SECOND PEASANT. That goes without saying!

TÁNYA. I can't promise for certain, but as the saying is: "An attempt is
no sin, if you try ..."

FIRST PEASANT. "You may win." That's just so.

    Enter Theodore Ivánitch.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. No, friends, it's no go! He has not done it, and he
won't do it. Here, take your document. You may go.

FIRST PEASANT [gives Tánya the paper] Then it's on you we pin all our
reliance, for example.

TÁNYA. Yes, yes! You go into the street, and I'll run out to you in a
minute and have a word with you.

    Exeunt Peasants.

TÁNYA. Theodore Ivánitch, dear Theodore Ivánitch, ask the master to come
out and speak to me for a moment. I have something to say to him.


TÁNYA. I must, Theodore Ivánitch. Ask him, do; there's nothing wrong
about it, on my sacred word.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. But what do you want with him?

TÁNYA. That's a little secret. I will tell you later on, only ask him.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [smiling] I can't think what you are up to! All right,
I'll go and ask him. [Exit].

TÁNYA. I'll do it! Didn't he say himself that there is that power in
Simon? And I know how to manage. No one found me out that time, and now
I'll teach Simon what to do. If it doesn't succeed it's no great matter.
After all it's not a sin.

    Enter Leoníd Fyódoritch followed by Theodore Ivánitch.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [smiling] Is this the petitioner? Well, what is your

TÁNYA. It's a little secret, Leoníd Fyódoritch; let me tell it you

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. What is it? Theodore, leave us for a minute.

    Exit Theodore Ivánitch.

TÁNYA. As I have grown up and lived in your house, Leoníd Fyódoritch,
and as I am very grateful to you for everything, I shall open my heart
to you as to a father. Simon, who is living in your house, wants to
marry me.


TÁNYA. I open my heart to you as to a father! I have no one to advise
me, being an orphan.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, and why not? He seems a nice lad.

TÁNYA. Yes, that's true. He would be all right; there is only one thing
I have my doubts about. It's something about him that I have noticed and
can't make out ... perhaps it is something bad.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. What is it? Does he drink?

TÁNYA. God forbid! But since I know that there is such a thing as
spiritalism ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Ah, you know that?

TÁNYA. Of course! I understand it very well. Some, of course, through
ignorance, don't understand it.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, what then?

TÁNYA. I am very much afraid for Simon. It does happen to him.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. What happens to him?

TÁNYA. Something of a kind like spiritalism. You ask any of the
servants. As soon as he gets drowsy at the table, the table begins to
tremble, and creak like that: _tuke, ... tuke_! All the servants have
heard it.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Why, it's the very thing I was saying to Sergéy
Ivánitch this morning! Yes?...

TÁNYA. Or else ... when was it?... Oh yes, last Wednesday. We sat down
to dinner, and the spoon just jumps into his hand of itself!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Ah, that is interesting! Jumps into his hand? When he
was drowsing?

TÁNYA. That I didn't notice. I think he was, though.


TÁNYA. And that's what I'm afraid of, and what I wanted to ask you
about. May not some harm come of it? To live one's life together, and
him having such a thing in him!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [smiling] No, you need not be afraid, there is nothing
bad in that. It only proves him to be a _medium_--simply a medium. I
knew him to be a medium before this.

TÁNYA. So that's what it is! And I was afraid!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. No, there's nothing to be afraid of. [Aside]. That's
capital! Kaptchítch can't come, so we will test him to-night.... [To
Tánya] No, my dear, don't be afraid, he will be a good husband and ...
that is only a kind of special power, and every one has it, only in some
it is weaker and in others stronger.

TÁNYA. Thank you, sir. Now I shan't think any more about it; but I was
so frightened.... What a thing it is, our want of education!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. No, no, don't be frightened... Theodore!

    Enter Theodore Ivánitch.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. I am going out now. Get everything ready for
to-night's séance.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. But Mr. Kaptchítch is not coming.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. That does not matter. [Puts on overcoat] We shall
have a trial séance with our own medium. [Exit. Theodore Ivánitch goes
out with him].

TÁNYA [alone] He believes it! He believes it! [Shrieks and jumps with
joy] He really believes it! Isn't it wonderful! [Shrieks] Now I'll do
it, if only Simon has pluck for it!

    Theodore Ivánitch returns.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Well, have you told him your secret?

TÁNYA. I'll tell you too, only later on.... But I have a favour to ask
of you too, Theodore Ivánitch.


TÁNYA [shyly] You have been a second father to me, and I will open my
heart before you as before God.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Don't beat about the bush, but come straight to the

TÁNYA. The point is ... well, the point is, that Simon wants to marry

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Is that it? I thought I noticed ...

TÁNYA. Well, why should I hide it? I am an orphan, and you know yourself
how matters are in these town establishments. Every one comes bothering;
there's that Gregory Miháylitch, for instance, he gives me no peace. And
also that other one ... you know. They think I have no soul, and am only
here for their amusement.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Good girl, that's right! Well, what then?

TÁNYA. Well, Simon wrote to his father; and he, his father, sees me
to-day, and says: "He's spoilt"--he means his son. Theodore Ivánitch
[bows], take the place of a father to me, speak to the old man,--to
Simon's father! I could take them into the kitchen, and you might come
in and speak to the old man!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [smiling] Then I am to turn match-maker--am I? Well, I
can do that.

TÁNYA. Theodore Ivánitch, dearest, be a father to me, and I'll pray for
you all my life long.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. All right, all right, I'll come later on. Haven't I
promised? [Takes up newspaper].

TÁNYA. You are a second father to me!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. All right, all right.

TÁNYA. Then I'll rely on you. [Exit].

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [alone, shaking his head] A good affectionate girl. To
think that so many like her perish! Get but once into trouble and she'll
go from hand to hand until she sinks into the mire, and can never be
found again! There was that dear little Nataly. She, too, was a good
girl, reared and cared for by a mother. [Takes up paper] Well, let's see
what tricks Ferdinand is up to in Bulgaria.



    Evening of the same day. The scene represents the interior of the
    servants' kitchen. The Peasants have taken off their outer garments
    and sit drinking tea at the table, and perspiring. Theodore Ivánitch
    is smoking a cigar at the other side of the stage. The discharged
    Cook is lying on the brick oven, and is unseen during the early part
    of the scene.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. My advice is, don't hinder him! If it's his wish and
hers, in Heaven's name let him do it. She is a good, honest girl. Never
mind her being a bit dressy; she can't help that, living in town: she is
a good girl all the same.

SECOND PEASANT. Well, of course, if it is his wish, let him! _He'll_
have to live with her, not me. But she's certainly uncommon spruce.
How's one to take her into one's hut? Why, she'll not let her
mother-in-law so much as pat her on the head.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. That does not depend on the spruceness, but on
character. If her nature is good, she's sure to be docile and

SECOND PEASANT. Ah, well, we'll have her if the lad's bent on having
her. After all, it's a bad job to live with one as one don't care for.
I'll consult my missus, and then may Heaven bless them!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Then let's shake hands on it!

SECOND PEASANT. Well, it seems it will have to come off.

FIRST PEASANT. Eh, Zachary! fortune's a-smiling on you! You've come to
accomplish a piece of business, and just see what a duchess of a
daughter-in-law you've obtained. All that's left to be done is to have
a drink on it, and then it will be all in order.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. That's not at all necessary. [An awkward silence].

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I know something of your way of life too, you know. I
am even thinking of purchasing a bit of land, building a cottage, and
working on the land myself somewhere: maybe in your neighbourhood.

SECOND PEASANT. A very good thing too.

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. When one has got the money one can get
all kinds of pleasure in the country.

THIRD PEASANT. Say no more about it! Country life, let's say, is freer
in every way, not like the town!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. There now, would you let me join your Commune if I
settled among you?

SECOND PEASANT. Why not? If you stand drink for the Elders, they'll
accept you soon enough!

FIRST PEASANT. And if you open a public-house, for example, or an inn,
why, you'd have such a life you'd never need to die! You might live like
a king, and no mistake.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Well, we'll see. I should certainly like to have a
few quiet years in my old age. Though my life here is good enough, and I
should be sorry to leave. Leoníd Fyódoritch is an exceedingly
kind-hearted man.

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. But how about our business? Is it
possible that he is going to leave it without any termination?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. He'd do it willingly.

SECOND PEASANT. It seems he's afraid of his wife.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. It's not that he's afraid, but they don't hit things
off together.

THIRD PEASANT. But you should try, father! How are we to live else?
We've so little land ...

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. We'll see what comes of Tánya's attempt. She's taken
the business into her hands now!

THIRD PEASANT [takes a sip of tea] Father, be merciful. We've so little
land. A hen, let's say, we've no room for a hen, let alone the cattle.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. If the business depended on me.... [To Second
Peasant] Well, friend, so we've done our bit of match-making! It's
agreed then about Tánya?

SECOND PEASANT. I've given my word, and I'll not go back on it without a
good reason. If only our business succeeds!

    Enter Servants' Cook who looks up at the oven, makes a sign, and
    then begins to speak animatedly to Theodore Ivánitch.

SERVANTS' COOK. Just now Simon was called upstairs from the front
kitchen! The master and that other bald-headed one who calls up spirits
with him, ordered him to sit down and take the place of Kaptchítch!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. You don't say so!

SERVANTS' COOK. Yes, Jacob told Tánya.


    Enter Coachman.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. What do you want?

COACHMAN [to Theodore Ivánitch] You may just tell them I never agreed to
live with a lot of dogs! Let any one who likes do it, but I will never
agree to live among dogs!


COACHMAN. Three dogs have been sent into our room by Vasíly Leoníditch!
They've messed it all over. They're whining, and if one comes near them
they bite--the devils! They'd tear you to pieces if you didn't mind.
I've a good mind to take a club and smash their legs for them!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. But when did they come?

COACHMAN. Why, to-day, from the Dog Show; the devil knows what kind they
are, but they're an expensive sort. Are we or the dogs to live in the
coachmen's quarters? You just go and ask!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Yes, that will never do. I'll go and ask about it.

COACHMAN. They'd better be brought here to Loukérya.

SERVANTS' COOK [angrily] People have to eat here, and you'd like to lock
dogs in here! As it is ...

COACHMAN. And I've got the liveries, and the sledge-covers and the
harness there, and they expect things kept clean! Perhaps the porter's
lodge might do.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I must ask Vasíly Leoníditch.

COACHMAN [angrily] He'd better hang the brutes round his neck and lug
them about with him! But no fear: he'd rather ride on horseback himself.
It's he as spoilt Beauty without rhyme or reason. That was a horse!...
Oh dear! what a life! [Exit, slamming door].

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. That's not right! Certainly not right! [To Peasants]
Well then, it's time we were saying good-bye, friends.

PEASANTS. Good-bye!

    Exit Theodore Ivánitch.

    As soon as he is gone a sound of groaning is heard from the top of
    the oven.

SECOND PEASANT. He's sleek, that one; looks like a general.

SERVANTS' COOK. Rather! Why, he has a room all to himself; he gets his
washing, his tea and sugar, and food from the master's table.

DISCHARGED COOK [on the oven]. Why shouldn't the old beggar live well?
He's lined his pockets all right!

SECOND PEASANT. Who's that up there, on the oven?

SERVANTS' COOK. Oh, it's only a man.


FIRST PEASANT. Well, and you too, as I noticed a while since when you
were supping, have capital food to eat.

SERVANTS' COOK. We can't complain. She's not mean about the food. We
have wheat bread every Sunday, and fish when a holiday happens to be a
fast-day too, and those who like may eat meat.

SECOND PEASANT. And does any one tuck into flesh on fast-days?

SERVANTS' COOK. Oh, they nearly all do! Only the old coachman--not the
one who was here just now but the old one--and Simon, and I and the
housekeeper, fast--all the others eat meat.

SECOND PEASANT. And the master himself?

SERVANTS' COOK. Catch him! Why, I bet he's forgotten there is such a
thing as fasting!


FIRST PEASANT. That's the gentlefolks' way: they have got it all out of
their books. 'Cos of their intelex!

THIRD PEASANT. Shouldn't wonder if they feed on wheat bread every day!

SERVANTS' COOK. Wheat bread indeed! Much they think of wheat bread! You
should see what food they eat. No end of different things!

FIRST PEASANT. In course gentlefolks' food is of an airial kind.

SERVANTS' COOK. Airial, of course, but all the same they're good at
stuffing themselves, they are!

FIRST PEASANT. Have healthy appekites, so to say.

SERVANTS' COOK. 'Cos they always rinse it down! All with sweet wines,
and spirits, and fizzy liquors. They have a different one to suit every
kind of food. They eat and rinse it down, and eat and rinse it down,
they do.

FIRST PEASANT. And so the food's floated down in proportion, so to say.

SERVANTS' COOK. Ah yes, they are good at stuffing! It's awful! You see,
it's not just sitting down, eating, then saying grace and going
away--they're always at it!

SECOND PEASANT. Like pigs with their feet in the trough! [Peasants

SERVANTS' COOK. As soon as, by God's grace, they have opened their eyes,
the samovár is brought in--tea, coffee, chocolate. Hardly is the second
samovár emptied, a third has to be set. Then lunch, then dinner, then
again coffee. They've hardly left off, then comes tea, and all sorts of
tit-bits and sweetmeats--there's never an end to it! They even lie in
bed and eat!

THIRD PEASANT. There now; that's good! [Laughs].

FIRST AND SECOND PEASANTS. What are you about?

THIRD PEASANT. If I could only live a single day like that!

SECOND PEASANT. But when do they do their work?

SERVANTS' COOK. Work indeed! What is their work? Cards and piano--that's
all their work. The young lady used to sit down to the piano as soon as
she opened her eyes, and off she'd go! And that other one who lives
here, the teacher, stands and waits. "When will the piano be free?" When
one has finished, off rattles the other, and sometimes they'd put two
pianos near one another and four of 'em would bust out at once. Bust out
in such a manner, you could hear 'em down here!


SERVANTS' COOK. Well, and that's all the work they do! Piano or cards!
As soon as they have met together--cards, wine, smoking, and so on all
night long. And as soon as they are up: eating again!

    Enter Simon.

SIMON. Hope you're enjoying your tea!

FIRST PEASANT. Come and join us.

SIMON [comes up to the table] Thank you kindly. [First Peasant pours out
a cup of tea for him].

SECOND PEASANT. Where have you been?

SIMON. Upstairs.

SECOND PEASANT. Well, and what was being done there?

SIMON. Why, I couldn't make it out at all! I don't know how to explain

SECOND PEASANT. But what was it?

SIMON. I can't explain it. They have been trying some kind of strength
in me. I can't make it out. Tánya says, "Do it, and we'll get the land
for our peasants; he'll sell it them."

SECOND PEASANT. But how is she going to manage it?

SIMON. I can't make it out, and she won't say. She says, "Do as I tell
you," and that's all.

SECOND PEASANT. But what is it you have to do?

SIMON. Nothing just now. They made me sit down, put out the lights and
told me to sleep. And Tánya had hidden herself there. They didn't see
her, but I did.

SECOND PEASANT. Why? What for?

SIMON. The Lord only knows--I can't make it out.

FIRST PEASANT. Naturally it is for the distraction of time.

SECOND PEASANT. Well, it's clear you and I can make nothing of it. You
had better tell me whether you have taken all your wages yet.

SIMON. No, I've not drawn any. I have twenty-eight roubles to the good,
I think.

SECOND PEASANT. That's all right! Well, if God grants that we get the
land, I'll take you home, Simon.

SIMON. With all my heart!

SECOND PEASANT. You've got spoilt, I should say. You'll not want to

SIMON. Plough? Only give me the chance! Plough or mow,--I'm game. Those
are things one doesn't forget.

FIRST PEASANT. But it don't seem very desirous after town life, for
example? Eh!

SIMON. It's good enough for me. One can live in the country too.

FIRST PEASANT. And Daddy Mítry here, is already on the look-out for your
place; he's hankering after a life of luckshury!

SIMON. Eh, Daddy Mítry, you'd soon get sick of it. It seems easy enough
when one looks at it, but there's a lot of running about that takes it
out of one.

SERVANTS' COOK. You should see one of their balls, Daddy Mítry, then you
would be surprised!

THIRD PEASANT. Why, do they eat all the time?

SERVANTS' COOK. My eye! You should have seen what we had here awhile
ago. Theodore Ivánitch took me upstairs and I peeped in. The
ladies--awful! Dressed up! Dressed up, bless my heart, and all bare down
to here, and their arms bare.


SECOND PEASANT. Faugh! How beastly!

FIRST PEASANT. I take it the climate allows of that sort of thing!

SERVANTS' COOK. Well, daddy, so I peeped in. Dear me, what it was like!
All of 'em in their natural skins! Would you believe it: old women--our
mistress, only think, she's a grandmother, and even she'd gone and bared
her shoulders.


SERVANTS' COOK. And what next? The music strikes up, and each man of 'em
went up to his own, catches hold of her, and off they go twirling round
and round!

SECOND PEASANT. The old women too?

SERVANTS' COOK. Yes, the old ones too.

SIMON. No, the old ones sit still.

SERVANTS' COOK. Get along,--I've seen it myself!

SIMON. No they don't.

DISCHARGED COOK [in a hoarse voice, looking down from the oven] That's
the Polka-Mazurka. You fools don't understand what dancing is. The way
they dance ...

SERVANTS' COOK. Shut up, you dancer! And keep quiet--there's some one

    Enter Gregory; old Cook hides hurriedly.

GREGORY [to Servants' Cook] Bring some sour cabbage.

SERVANTS' COOK. I am only just up from the cellar, and now I must go
down again! Who is it for?

GREGORY. For the young ladies. Be quick, and send it up with Simon. I
can't wait!

SERVANTS' COOK. There now, they tuck into sweetmeats till they are full
up, and then they crave for sour cabbage!

FIRST PEASANT. That's to make a clearance.

SERVANTS' COOK. Of course, and as soon as there is room inside, they
begin again! [Takes basin, and exit].

GREGORY [at Peasants] Look at them, how they've established themselves
down here! Mind, if the mistress finds it out she'll give it you hot,
like she did this morning! [Exit, laughing].

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it, she did raise a storm that time--awful!

SECOND PEASANT. That time it looked as if the master was going to step
in, but seeing that the missus was about to blow the very roof off the
house, he slams the door. Have your own way, thinks he.

THIRD PEASANT [waving his arm] It's the same everywhere. My old woman,
let's say, she kicks up such a rumpus sometimes--it's just awful! Then I
just get out of the hut. Let her go to Jericho! She'll give you one with
the poker if you don't mind. Oh Lord!

    Jacob enters hurriedly with a prescription.

JACOB. Here, Simon, you run to the chemist's and get these powders for
the mistress!

SIMON. But master told me not to go out.

JACOB. You've plenty of time; your business won't begin till after their
tea. Hope you are enjoying your tea!

FIRST PEASANT. Thanks, come and join us.

    Exit Simon.

JACOB. I haven't time. However, I'll just have one cup for company's

FIRST PEASANT. And we've just been having a conversation as to how your
mistress carried on so haughty this morning.

JACOB. Oh, she's a reg'lar fury! So hot-tempered, that she gets quite
beside herself. Sometimes she even bursts out crying.

FIRST PEASANT. Now, there's a thing I wanted to ask you about. What, for
example, be these mikerots she was illuding to erewhile? "They've
infested the house with mikerots, with mikerots," she says. What is one
to make of these same mikerots?

JACOB. Mikerogues, you mean! Well, it seems there is such a kind of
bugs; all illnesses come from them, they say. So she says there are some
of 'em on you. After you were gone, they washed and washed and sprinkled
the place where you had stood. There's a kind of physic as kills these
same bugs, they say.

SECOND PEASANT. Then where have we got these bugs on us?

JACOB [drinking his tea] Why, they say they're so small that one can't
see 'em even through a glass.

SECOND PEASANT. Then how does she know I've got 'em on me? Perhaps
there's more of that muck on her than on me!

JACOB. There now, you go and ask her!

SECOND PEASANT. I believe it's humbug.

JACOB. Of course it's bosh. The doctors must invent something, or else
what are they paid for? There's one comes to us every day. Comes,--talks
a bit,--and pockets ten roubles!


JACOB. Why, there's one as takes a hundred!

FIRST PEASANT. A hundred? Humbug!

JACOB. A hundred. Humbug, you say? Why, if he has to go out of town,
he'll not do it for less than a thousand! "Give a thousand," he says,
"or else you may kick the bucket for what I care!"


SECOND PEASANT. Then does he know some charm?

JACOB. I suppose he must. I served at a General's outside Moscow once: a
cross, terrible proud old fellow he was--just awful. Well, this
General's daughter fell ill. They send for that doctor at once. "A
thousand roubles, then I'll come." Well, they agreed, and he came. Then
they did something or other he didn't like, and he bawled out at the
General and says, "Is this the way you show your respect for me? Then
I'll not attend her!" And, oh my! The old General forgot all his pride,
and starts wheedling him in every way not to chuck up the job!

FIRST PEASANT. And he got the thousand?

JACOB. Of course!

SECOND PEASANT. That's easy got money. What wouldn't a peasant do with
such a sum!

THIRD PEASANT. And I think it's all bosh. That time my foot was
festering I had it doctored ever so long. I spent nigh on five roubles
on it,--then I gave up doctoring, and it got all right!

    Discharged Cook on the oven coughs.

JACOB. Ah, the old crony is here again!

FIRST PEASANT. Who might that man be?

JACOB. He used to be our master's cook. He comes to see Loukérya.

FIRST PEASANT. Kitchen-master, as one might say. Then, does he live

JACOB. No, they won't allow that. He's here one day, there another. If
he's got a copper he goes to a dosshouse; but when he has drunk all, he
comes here.

SECOND PEASANT. How did he come to this?

JACOB. Simply grew weak. And what a man he used to be--like a gentleman!
Went about with a gold watch; got forty roubles a month wages. And now
look at him! He'd have starved to death long ago if it hadn't been for

    Enter Servants' Cook with the sour cabbage.

JACOB [to Servants' Cook] I see you've got Paul Petróvitch here again?

SERVANTS' COOK. And where's he to go to? Is he to go and freeze?

THIRD PEASANT. What liquor does.... Liquor, let's say ... [Clicks his
tongue sympathetically].

SECOND PEASANT. Of course. A firm man's firm as a rock; a weak man's
weaker than water.

DISCHARGED COOK [gets off the oven with trembling hands and legs]
Loukérya, I say, give us a drop!

SERVANTS' COOK. What are you up to? I'll give you such a drop!...

DISCHARGED COOK. Have you no conscience? I'm dying! Brothers, a
copper ...

SERVANTS' COOK. Get back on the oven, I tell you!

DISCHARGED COOK. Half a glass only, cook, for Heaven's sake! I say, do
you understand? I ask you in the name of Heaven, now!

SERVANTS' COOK. Come along, here's some tea for you.

DISCHARGED COOK. Tea; what is tea? Weak, sloppy stuff. A little
vódka--just one little drop ... Loukérya!

THIRD PEASANT. Poor old soul, what agony it is!

SECOND PEASANT. You'd better give him some.

SERVANTS' COOK [gets out a bottle and fills a wine-glass] Here you are;
you'll get no more.

DISCHARGED COOK [clutches hold of it and drinks, trembling all over]
Loukérya, Cook! I am drinking, and you must understand ...

SERVANTS' COOK. Now then, stop your chatter! Get on to the oven, and let
not a breath of you be heard! [The old Cook meekly begins to climb up,
muttering something to himself].

SECOND PEASANT. What it is, when a man gives way to his weakness!

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it--human weakness.

THIRD PEASANT. That goes without saying.

    The Discharged Cook settles down, muttering all the time. Silence.

SECOND PEASANT. I want to ask you something: that girl of Aksínya's as
comes from our village and is living here. How is she? What is she
like? How is she living--I mean, does she live honest?

JACOB. She's a nice girl; one can say nothing but good of her.

SERVANTS' COOK. I'll tell you straight, daddy; I know this here
establishment out and out, and if you mean to have Tánya for your son's
wife--be quick about it, before she comes to grief, or else she'll not

JACOB. Yes, that's true. A while ago we had a girl here, Nataly. She was
a good girl too. And she was lost without rhyme or reason. No better
than that chap! [Pointing to the old Cook].

SERVANTS' COOK. There's enough to dam a mill-pool, with the likes of us,
as perish! 'Cos why, every one is tempted by the easy life and the good
food. And see there,--as soon as one has tasted the good food she goes
and slips. And once she's slipped, they don't want her, but get a fresh
one in her place. So it was with dear little Nataly; she also slipped,
and they turned her out. She had a child and fell ill, and died in the
hospital last spring. And what a girl she used to be!

THIRD PEASANT. Oh Lord! People are weak; they ought to be pitied.

DISCHARGED COOK. Those devils pity? No fear! [He hangs his legs down
from the oven] I have stood roasting myself by the kitchen range for
thirty years, and now that I am not wanted, I may go and die like a
dog.... Pity indeed!...

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. It's the old circumstances.


        While they drank and they fed, you were "curly head."
        When they'd finished the prog, 'twas "Get out, mangy dog!"


DISCHARGED COOK. Much you know. What is "Sautey a la Bongmont"? What is
"Bavassary"? Oh, the things I could make! Think of it! The Emperor
tasted my work, and now the devils want me no longer. But I am not going
to stand it!

SERVANTS' COOK. Now then, stop that noise, mind.... Get up right into
the corner, so that no one can see you, or else Theodore Ivánitch or
some one may come in, and both you and me'll be turned out! [Silence].

JACOB. And do you know my part of the country? I'm from Voznesénsky.

SECOND PEASANT. Not know it? Why, it's no more'n ten miles from our
village; not _that_ across the ford! Do you cultivate any land there?

JACOB. My brother does, and I send my wages. Though I live here, I am
dying for a sight of home.

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it.

SECOND PEASANT. Then Anísim is your brother?

JACOB. Own brother. He lives at the farther end of the village.

SECOND PEASANT. Of course, I know; his is the third house.

    Enter Tánya, running.

TÁNYA. Jacob, what are you doing, amusing yourself here? She is calling

JACOB. I'm coming; but what's up?

TÁNYA. Frisk is barking; it's hungry. And she's scolding you. "How cruel
he is," she says. "He's no feeling," she says. "It's long past Frisk's
dinner-time, and he has not brought her food!" [Laughs].

JACOB [rises to go] Oh, she's cross? What's going to happen now, I

SERVANTS' COOK. Here, take the cabbage with you.

JACOB. All right, give it here. [Takes basin, and exit].

FIRST PEASANT. Who is going to dine now?

TÁNYA. Why, the dog! It's her dog. [Sits down and takes up the tea-pot]
Is there any more tea? I've brought some. [Puts fresh tea into the

FIRST PEASANT. Dinner for a dog?

TÁNYA. Yes, of course! They prepare a special cutlet for her; it must
not be too fat. And I do the washing--the dog's washing, I mean.


TÁNYA. It's like that gentleman who had a funeral for his dog.

SECOND PEASANT. What's that?

TÁNYA. Why, some one told me he had a dog--I mean the gentleman had a
dog. And it died. It was winter, and he went in his sledge to bury that
dog. Well, he buried it, and on the way home he sits and cries--the
gentleman does. Well, there was such a bitter frost that the coachman's
nose keeps running, and he has to keep wiping it. Let me fill your cup!
[Fills it] So he keeps wiping his nose, and the gentleman sees it, and
says, "What are you crying about?" And the coachman, he says, "Why, sir,
how can I help it; is there another dog like him?" [Laughs].

SECOND PEASANT. And I daresay he thinks to himself, "If your own self
was to kick the bucket I'd not cry." [Laughs].

DISCHARGED COOK [from up on the oven] That is true; that's right!

TÁNYA. Well, the gentleman, he gets home and goes straight to his lady:
"What a good-hearted man our coachman is; he was crying all the way home
about poor Dash. Have him called.... Here, drink this glass of vódka,"
he says, "and here's a rouble as a reward for you." That's just like her
saying Jacob has no feelings for her dog! [The Peasants laugh].

FIRST PEASANT. That's the style!

SECOND PEASANT. That was a go!

THIRD PEASANT. Ay, lassie, but you've set us a-laughing!

TÁNYA [pouring out more tea] Have some more! Yes, it only seems that our
life is pleasant; but sometimes it is very disgusting,--clearing up all
their messes! Faugh! It's better in the country. [Peasants turn their
cups upside-down, as a polite sign that they have had enough. Tánya
pours out more tea] Have some more, Efím Antónitch. I'll fill your cup,
Mítry Vlásitch.

THIRD PEASANT. All right, fill it, fill it.

FIRST PEASANT. Well, dear, and what progression is our business making?

TÁNYA. It's getting on ...

  [Illustration: FRUITS OF CULTURE. ACT II.

  FIRST PEASANT. Well, dear, and what progression is our business making?

  TÁNYA. It's getting on ...]

FIRST PEASANT. Simon told us ...

TÁNYA [quickly] Did he?

SECOND PEASANT. But he could not make us understand.

TÁNYA. I can't tell you now, but I'm doing my best--all I can! And I've
got your paper here! [Shows the paper hidden under the bib of her apron]
If only one thing succeeds.... [Shrieks] Oh, how nice it would be!

SECOND PEASANT. Don't lose that paper, mind. It has cost money.

TÁNYA. Never fear. You only want him to sign it? Is that all?

THIRD PEASANT. Why, what else? Let's say he's signed it, and it's done!
[Turns his cup upside-down] I've had enough.

TÁNYA [aside] He'll sign it; you'll see he will... Have some more.
[Pours out tea].

FIRST PEASANT. If only you get this business about the sale of the land
settled, the Commune would pay your marriage expenses. [Refuses the

TÁNYA [pouring out tea] Do have another cup.

THIRD PEASANT. You get it done, and we'll arrange your marriage, and I
myself, let's say, will dance at the wedding. Though I've never danced
in all my born days, I'll dance then!

TÁNYA [laughing] All right, I'll be in hopes of it. [Silence].

SECOND PEASANT [examines Tánya] That's all very well, but you're not fit
for peasant work.

TÁNYA. Who? I? Why, don't you think me strong enough? You should see
me lacing up my mistress. There's many a peasant couldn't tug as hard.

SECOND PEASANT. Where do you tug her to?

TÁNYA. Well, there's a thing made with bone, like--something like a
stiff jacket, only up to here! Well, and I pull the strings just as when
you saddle a horse--when you ... what d'ye call it? You know, when you
spit on your hands!

SECOND PEASANT. Tighten the girths, you mean.

TÁNYA. Yes, yes, that's it. And you know I mustn't shove against her
with my knee. [Laughs].

SECOND PEASANT. Why do you pull her in?

TÁNYA. For a reason!

SECOND PEASANT. Why, is she doing penance?

TÁNYA. No, it's for beauty's sake!

FIRST PEASANT. That's to say, you pull in her paunch for appearance'

TÁNYA. Sometimes I lace her up so that her eyes are ready to start from
her head, and she says, "Tighter," till my hands tingle. And you say I'm
not strong! [Peasants laugh and shake their heads].

TÁNYA. But here, I've been jabbering. [Runs away, laughing].

THIRD PEASANT. Ah, the lassie has made us laugh!

FIRST PEASANT. She's a tidy one!

SECOND PEASANT. She's not bad.

    Enter Sahátof and Vasíly Leoníditch. Sahátof holds a teaspoon in his

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Not exactly a dinner, but a _déjeuner dinatoire_. And
first-rate it was, I tell you. Ham of sucking-pig, delicious! Roulier
feeds one splendidly! I've only just returned. [Sees Peasants] Ah, the
peasants are here again!

SAHÁTOF. Yes, yes, that's all very well, but we came here to hide this
article. Where shall we hide it?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Excuse me a moment. [To Servants' Cook] Where are the

SERVANTS' COOK. In the coachman's quarters. You can't keep dogs in the
servants' kitchen!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Ah, in the coachman's quarters? All right.

SAHÁTOF. I am waiting.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Excuse me, please. Eh, what? Hide it? I'll tell you
what. Let's put it into one of the peasants' pockets. That one. I say,
where's your pocket? Eh, what?

THIRD PEASANT. What for d'ye want my pocket? You're a good 'un! My
pocket! There's money in my pocket!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Where's your bag, then?


SERVANTS' COOK. What d'you mean? That's the young master!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [laughs. To Sahátof] D'you know why he's so
frightened? Shall I tell you? He's got a heap of money. Eh, what?

SAHÁTOF. Yes, yes, I see. Well, you talk to them a bit, and I'll put it
into that bag without being observed, so that they should not notice and
could not point it out to him. Talk to them.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. All right! [To Peasants] Well then, old fellows, how
about the land? Are you buying it? Eh, what?

FIRST PEASANT. We have made an offering, so to say, with our whole
heart. But there,--the business don't come into action nohow.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. You should not be so stingy! Land is an important
matter! I told you about planting mint. Or else tobacco would also do.

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. Every kind of producks.

THIRD PEASANT. And you help us, master. Ask your father. Or else how are
we to live? There's so little land. A fowl, let's say, there's not
enough room for a fowl to run about.

SAHÁTOF [having put the spoon into a bag belonging to the Third Peasant]
_C'est fait._ Ready. Come along. [Exit].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. So don't be stingy! Eh? Well, good-bye. [Exit].

THIRD PEASANT. Didn't I say, come to some lodging-house? Well, supposing
we'd had to give three-pence each, then at least we'd have been in
peace. As to here, the Lord be merciful! "Give us the money," he says.
What's that for?

SECOND PEASANT. He's drunk, I daresay.

    Peasants turn their cups upside-down, rise, and cross themselves.

FIRST PEASANT. And d'you mind what a saying he threw out? Sowing mint!
One must know how to understand them, that one must!

SECOND PEASANT. Sow mint indeed! He'd better bend his own back at that
work, and then it's not mint he'll hanker after, no fear! Well, many
thanks!... And now, good woman, would you tell us where we could lie
down to sleep?

SERVANTS' COOK. One of you can lie on the oven, and the others on these

THIRD PEASANT. Christ save you! [Prays, crossing himself].

FIRST PEASANT. If only by God's help we get our business settled! [Lies
down] Then to-morrow, after dinner, we'd be off by the train, and on
Tuesday we'd be home again.

SECOND PEASANT. Are you going to put out the light?

SERVANTS' COOK. Put it out? Oh no! They'll keep running down here, first
for one thing then another.... You lie down, I'll lower it.

SECOND PEASANT. How is one to live, having so little land? Why, this
year, I have had to buy corn since Christmas. And the oat-straw is all
used up. I'd like to get hold of ten acres, and then I could take Simon

THIRD PEASANT. You're a man with a family. You'd get the land cultivated
without trouble. If only the business comes off.

SECOND PEASANT. We must pray to the Holy Virgin, maybe she'll help us
out. [Silence, broken by sighs. Then footsteps and voices are heard
outside. The door opens. Enter Grossman hurriedly, with his eyes
bandaged, holding Sahátof's hand, and followed by the Professor and the
Doctor, the Fat Lady and Leoníd Fyódoritch, Betsy and Petrístchef,
Vasíly Leoníditch and Márya Konstantínovna, Anna Pávlovna and the
Baroness, Theodore Ivánitch and Tánya].

    Peasants jump up. Grossman comes forward stepping quickly, then

FAT LADY. You need not trouble yourselves; I have undertaken the task of
observing, and am strictly fulfilling my duty! Mr. Sahátof, are you not
leading him?

SAHÁTOF. Of course not!

FAT LADY. You must not lead him, but neither must you resist! [To Leoníd
Fyódoritch] I know these experiments. I have tried them myself.
Sometimes I used to feel a certain effluence, and as soon as I felt
it ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. May I beg of you to keep perfect silence?

FAT LADY. Oh, I understand so well! I have experienced it myself. As
soon as my attention was diverted I could no longer ...


    Grossman goes about, searches near the First and Second Peasants,
    then approaches the Third, and stumbles over a bench.

BARONESS. _Mais dites-moi, on le paye?_[6]

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. _Je ne saurais vous dire._

  [6] BARONESS. But tell me, please, is he paid for this?

  ANNA PÁVLOVNA. I really do not know.

BARONESS. _Mais c'est un monsieur?_[7]


BARONESS. _Ça tient du miraculeux. N'est ce pas? Comment est-ce qu'il

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. _Je ne saurais vous dire. Mon mari vous l'expliquera._
[Noticing Peasants, turns round, and sees the Servants' Cook] _Pardon_
... what is this?

  [7] BARONESS. But he is a gentleman?


  BARONESS. It is almost miraculous. Isn't it? How does he manage to
  find things?

  ANNA PÁVLOVNA. I really can't tell you. My husband will explain it to
  you.... Excuse me....

    Baroness goes up to the group.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [to Servants' Cook] Who let the peasants in?

SERVANTS' COOK. Jacob brought them in.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Who gave Jacob the order?

SERVANTS' COOK. I can't say. Theodore Ivánitch has seen them.


    Leoníd Fyódoritch does not hear, being absorbed in the search, and
    says, Sh ...

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Theodore Ivánitch! What is the meaning of this? Did you
not see me disinfecting the whole hall, and now the whole kitchen is
infected, all the rye bread, the milk ...

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I thought there would not be any danger if they came
here. The men have come on business. They have far to go, and are from
our village.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. That's the worst of it! They are from the Koursk village,
where people are dying of diphtheria like flies! But the chief thing is,
I ordered them out of the house!... Did I, or did I not? [Approaches the
others that have gathered round the Peasants] Be careful! Don't touch
them--they are all infected with diphtheria! [No one heeds her, and she
steps aside in a dignified manner and stands quietly waiting].

PETRÍSTCHEF [sniffs loudly] I don't know if it is diphtheria, but there
is some kind of infection in the air. Don't you notice it?

BETSY. Stop your nonsense! Vovo, which bag is it in?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. That one, that one. He is getting near, very near!

PETRÍSTCHEF. Is it spirits divine, or spirits of wine?

BETSY. Now your cigarette comes in handy for once. Smoke closer, closer
to me.

    Petrístchef leans over her and smokes at her.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. He's getting near, I tell you. Eh, what?

GROSSMAN [searches excitedly round the Third Peasant] It is here; I feel
it is!

FAT LADY. Do you feel an effluence? [Grossman stoops and finds the spoon
in the bag].

ALL. Bravo! [General enthusiasm].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Ah! So that's where our spoon was. [To Peasants] Then
that's the sort you are!

THIRD PEASANT. What sort? I didn't take your spoon! What are you making
out? I didn't take it, and my soul knows nothing about it. I didn't take
it--there! Let him do what he likes. I knew he came here for no good.
"Where's your bag?" says he. I didn't take it, the Lord is my witness!
[Crosses himself] I didn't take it!

    The young people group round the Peasant, laughing.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [angrily to his son] Always playing the fool! [To the
Third Peasant] Never mind, friend! We know you did not take it; it was
only an experiment.

GROSSMAN [removes bandage from his eyes, and pretends to be coming to]
Can I have a little water? [All fuss round him].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Let's go straight from here into the coachman's
room. I've got a bitch there--_épâtante_![8] Eh, what?

  [8] Stunning!

BETSY. What a horrid word. Couldn't you say dog?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. No. I can't say--Betsy is a man, _épâtant_. I should
have to say young woman; it's a parallel case. Eh, what? Márya
Konstantínovna, isn't it true? Good, eh? [Laughs loudly].

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA. Well, let us go. [Exeunt Márya Konstantínovna,
Betsy, Petrístchef, and Vasíly Leoníditch].

FAT LADY [to Grossman] Well? how are you? Have you rested? [Grossman
does not answer. To Sahátof] And you, Mr. Sahátof, did you feel the

SAHÁTOF. I felt nothing. Yes, it was very fine--very fine. Quite a

BARONESS. _Admirable! Ça ne le fait pas souffrir?_[9]

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. _Pas le moins du monde._

  [9] BARONESS. Capital! Does it not cause him any pain?

  LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Not the slightest.

PROFESSOR [to Grossman] May I trouble you? [Hands him a thermometer] At
the beginning of the experiment it was 37 decimal 2, degrees.[10] [To
Doctor] That's right, I think? Would you mind feeling his pulse? Some
loss is inevitable.

  [10] He uses a Centigrade thermometer.

DOCTOR [to Grossman] Now then, sir, let's have your hand; we'll see,
we'll see. [Takes out his watch, and feels Grossman's pulse].

FAT LADY [to Grossman] One moment! The condition you were in could not
be called sleep?

GROSSMAN [wearily] It was hypnosis.

SAHÁTOF. In that case, are we to understand that you hypnotised

GROSSMAN. And why not? An hypnotic state may ensue not only in
consequence of association--the sound of the tom-tom, for instance, in
Charcot's method--but by merely entering an hypnogenetic zone.

SAHÁTOF. Granting that, it would still be desirable to define what
hypnotism is, more exactly?

PROFESSOR. Hypnotism is a phenomenon resulting from the transmutation of
one energy into another.

GROSSMAN. Charcot does not so define it.

SAHÁTOF. A moment, just a moment! That is your definition, but Liébault
told me himself ...

DOCTOR [lets go of Grossman's pulse] Ah, that's all right; well now, the

FAT LADY [interrupting] No, allow me! I agree with the Professor. And
here's the very best proof. After my illness, when I lay insensible, a
desire to speak came over me. In general I am of a silent disposition,
but then I was overcome by this desire to speak, and I spoke and spoke,
and I was told that I spoke in such a way that every one was astonished!
[To Sahátof] But I think I interrupted you?

SAHÁTOF [with dignity] Not at all. Pray continue.

DOCTOR. Pulse 82, and the temperature has risen three-tenths of a

PROFESSOR. There you are! That's a proof! That's just as it should be.
[Takes out pocket-book and writes] 82, yes? And 37 and 5. When the
hypnotic state is induced, it invariably produces a heightened action of
the heart.

DOCTOR. I can, as a medical man, bear witness that your prognosis was
justified by the event.

PROFESSOR [to Sahátof] You were saying?...

SAHÁTOF. I wished to say that Liébault told me himself that the hypnotic
is only one particular psychical state, increasing susceptibility to

PROFESSOR. That is so, but still the law of equivalents is the chief

GROSSMAN. Moreover, Liébault is far from being an authority, while
Charcot has studied the subject from all sides, and has proved that
hypnotism produced by a blow, a trauma ...

    All talking together.

  { SAHÁTOF. Yes, but I don't reject Charcot's labour. I know him also,
  { I am only repeating what Liébault told me ...
  { GROSSMAN [excitedly] There are 3000 patients in the Salpêtrière, and
  { I have gone through the whole course.
  { PROFESSOR. Excuse me, gentlemen, but that is not the point.

FAT LADY [interrupting] One moment, I will explain it to you in two
words? When my husband was ill, all the doctors gave him up ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. However, we had better go upstairs again. Baroness,
this way!

    Exeunt Grossman, Sahátof, Professor, Doctor, the Fat Lady, and
    Baroness, talking loudly and interrupting each other.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [catching hold of Leoníd Fyódoritch's arm] How often have
I asked you not to interfere in household matters! You think of nothing
but your nonsense, and the whole house is on my shoulders. You will
infect us all!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. What? How? I don't understand what you mean.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. How? Why, people ill of diphtheria sleep in the kitchen,
which is in constant communication with the whole house.



LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. I know nothing about it.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. It's your duty to know, if you are the head of the
family. Such things must not be done.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. But I never thought ... I thought ...

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. It is sickening to listen to you! [Leoníd Fyódoritch
remains silent].

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [to Theodore Ivánitch] Turn them out at once! They are to
leave my kitchen immediately! It is terrible! No one listens to me; they
do it out of spite.... I turn them out from there, and they bring them
in here! And with my illness ... [Gets more and more excited, and at
last begins to cry] Doctor! Doctor! Peter Petróvitch!... He's gone
too!... [Exit, sobbing, followed by Leoníd Fyódoritch].

    All stand silent for a long time.

THIRD PEASANT. Botheration take them all! If one don't mind, the police
will be after one here. And I have never been to law in all my born
days. Let's go to some lodging-house, lads!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [to Tánya] What are we to do?

TÁNYA. Never mind, Theodore Ivánitch, let them sleep with the coachman.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. How can we do that? The coachman was complaining as
it is, that his place is full of dogs.

TÁNYA. Well then, the porter's lodge.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. And supposing it's found out?

TÁNYA. It won't be found out! Don't trouble about that, Theodore
Ivánitch. How can one turn them out now, at night? They'll not find
anywhere to go to.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Well, do as you please. Only they must go away from
here. [Exit].

    Peasants take their bags.

DISCHARGED COOK. Oh those damned fiends! It's all their fat! Fiends!

SERVANTS' COOK. You be quiet there. Thank goodness they didn't see you!

TÁNYA. Well then, daddy, come along to the porter's lodge.

FIRST PEASANT. Well, but how about our business? How, for example, about
the applience of his hand to the signature? May we be in hopes?

TÁNYA. We'll see in an hour's time.

SECOND PEASANT. You'll do the trick?

TÁNYA [laughs] Yes, God willing!



    Evening of the same day. The small drawing-room in Leoníd
    Fyódoritch's house, where the séances are always held. Leoníd
    Fyódoritch and the Professor.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well then, shall we risk a séance with our new

PROFESSOR. Yes, certainly. He is a powerful medium, there is no doubt
about it. And it is especially desirable that the séance should take
place to-day with the same people. Grossman will certainly respond to
the influence of the mediumistic energy, and then the connection and
identity of the different phenomena will be still more evident. You will
see then that, if the medium is as strong as he was just now, Grossman
will vibrate.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Then I will send for Simon and ask those who wish to
attend to come in.

PROFESSOR. Yes, all right! I will just jot down a few notes. [Takes out
his note-book and writes].

    Enter Sahátof.

SAHÁTOF. They have just settled down to whist in Anna Pávlovna's
drawing-room, and as I am not wanted there--and as I am interested in
your séance--I have put in an appearance here. But will there be a

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, certainly!

SAHÁTOF. In spite of the absence of Mr. Kaptchítch's mediumistic powers?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. _Vous avez la main heureuse._[11] Fancy, that very
peasant whom I mentioned to you this morning, turns out to be an
undoubted medium.

  [11] LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. You bring good luck.

SAHÁTOF. Dear me! Yes, that is peculiarly interesting!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, we tried a few preliminary experiments with him
just after dinner.

SAHÁTOF. So you've had time already to experiment, and to convince
yourself ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, perfectly! And he turns out to be an
exceptionally powerful medium.

SAHÁTOF [incredulously] Dear me!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. It turns out that it has long been noticed in the
servants' hall. When he sits down to table, the spoon springs into his
hand of its own accord! [To the Professor] Had you heard about it?

PROFESSOR. No, I had not heard that detail.

SAHÁTOF [to the Professor]. But still, you admit the possibility of such

PROFESSOR. What phenomena?

SAHÁTOF. Well, spiritualistic, mediumistic, and supernatural phenomena
in general.

PROFESSOR. The question is, what do we consider supernatural? When, not
a living man but a piece of stone attracted a nail to itself, how did
the phenomena strike the first observers? As something natural? Or

SAHÁTOF. Well, of course; but phenomena such as the magnet attracting
iron always repeat themselves.

PROFESSOR. It is just the same in this case. The phenomenon repeats
itself and we experiment with it. And not only that, but we apply to the
phenomena we are investigating the laws common to other phenomena. These
phenomena seem supernatural only because their causes are attributed to
the medium himself. But that is where the mistake lies. The phenomena
are not caused by the medium, but by psychic energy acting through a
medium, and that is a very different thing. The whole matter lies in the
law of equivalents.

SAHÁTOF. Yes, certainly, but ...

    Enter Tánya, who hides behind the hangings.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Only remember that we cannot reckon on any results
with certainty, with this medium any more than with Home or Kaptchítch.
We may not succeed, but on the other hand we may even have perfect

SAHÁTOF. Materialisation even? What do you mean by materialisation?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Why, I mean that some one who is dead--say, your
father or your grandfather--may appear, take you by the hand, or give
you something; or else some one may suddenly rise into the air, as
happened to Alexéy Vladímiritch last time.

PROFESSOR. Of course, of course. But the chief thing is the explanation
of the phenomena, and the application to them of general laws.

    Enter the Fat Lady.

FAT LADY. Anna Pávlovna has allowed me to join you.


FAT LADY. Oh, how tired Grossman seems! He could scarcely hold his cup.
Did you notice [to the Professor] how pale he turned at the moment he
approached the hiding-place? I noticed it at once, and was the first to
mention it to Anna Pávlovna.

PROFESSOR. Undoubtedly,--loss of vital energy.

FAT LADY. Yes, it's just as I say, one should not abuse that sort of
thing. You know, a hypnotist once suggested to a friend of mine, Véra
Kónshin (oh, you know her, of course)--well, he suggested that she
should leave off smoking,--and her back began to ache!

PROFESSOR [trying to have his say] The temperature and the pulse clearly
indicate ...

FAT LADY. One moment! Allow me! Well, I said to her: it's better to
smoke than to suffer so with one's nerves. Of course, smoking is
injurious; I should like to give it up myself, but, do what I will, I
can't! Once I managed not to smoke for a fortnight, but could hold out
no longer.

PROFESSOR [again trying to speak] Clearly proves ...

FAT LADY. Yes, no! Allow me, just one word! You say, "loss of strength."
And I was also going to say that, when I travelled with post-horses ...
the roads used to be dreadful in those days--you don't remember--but I
have noticed that all our nervousness comes from railways! I, for
instance, can't sleep while travelling; I cannot fall asleep to save my

PROFESSOR [makes another attempt, which the Fat Lady baffles] The loss
of strength ...

SAHÁTOF [smiling] Yes; oh yes!

    Leoníd Fyódoritch rings.

FAT LADY. I am awake one night, and another, and a third, and still I
can't sleep!

    Enter Gregory.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Please tell Theodore to get everything ready for the
séance, and send Simon here--Simon, the butler's assistant,--do you

GREGORY. Yes, sir. [Exit].

PROFESSOR [to Sahátof]. The observation of the temperature and the pulse
have shown loss of vital energy. The same will happen in consequence of
the mediumistic phenomena. The law of the conservation of energy ...

FAT LADY. Oh yes, yes; I was just going to say that I am very glad that
a simple peasant turns out to be a medium. That's very good. I always
did say that the Slavophils ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Let's go into the drawing-room in the meantime.

FAT LADY. Allow me, just one word! The Slavophils are right; but I
always told my husband that one ought never to exaggerate anything! "The
golden mean," you know. What is the use of maintaining that the common
people are all perfect, when I have myself seen ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Won't you come into the drawing-room?

FAT LADY. A boy--that high--who drank! I gave him a scolding at once.
And he was grateful to me afterwards. They are children, and, as I
always say, children need both love and severity!

    Exeunt all, all talking together.

    Tánya enters from behind the hangings.

TÁNYA. Oh, if it would only succeed! [Begins fastening some threads].

    Enter Betsy hurriedly.

BETSY. Isn't papa here? [Looks inquiringly at Tánya] What are you doing

TÁNYA. Oh, Miss Elizabeth, I have only just come; I only wished ... only
came in ... [Embarrassed].

BETSY. But they are going to have a séance here directly. [Notices Tánya
drawing in the threads, looks at her, and suddenly bursts out laughing]
Tánya! Why, it's you who do it all? Now don't deny it. And last time it
was you too? Yes, it was, it was!

TÁNYA. Miss Elizabeth, dearest!

BETSY [delighted] Oh, that is a joke! Well, I never. But why do you do

TÁNYA. Oh miss, dear miss, don't betray me!

BETSY. Not for the world! I'm awfully glad. Only tell me how you manage

TÁNYA. Well, I just hide, and then, when it's all dark, I come out and
do it. That's how.

BETSY [pointing to threads] And what is this for? You needn't tell me. I
see; you draw ...

TÁNYA. Miss Elizabeth, darling! I will confess it, but only to you. I
used to do it just for fun, but now I mean business.

BETSY. What? How? What business?

TÁNYA. Well, you see, those peasants that came this morning, you saw
them. They want to buy some land, and your father won't sell it; well,
and Theodore Ivánitch, he says it's the spirits as forbid him. So I have
had a thought as ...

BETSY. Oh, I see! Well, you are a clever girl! Do it, do it.... But how
will you manage it?

TÁNYA. Well, I thought, when they put out the lights, I'll at once begin
knocking and shying things about, touching their heads with the threads,
and at last I'll take the paper about the land and throw it on the
table. I've got it here.

BETSY. Well, and then?

TÁNYA. Why, don't you see? They will be astonished. The peasants had the
paper, and now it's here. I will teach ...

BETSY. Why, of course! Simon is the medium to-day!

TÁNYA. Well, I'll teach him ... [Laughs so that she can't continue] I'll
tell him to squeeze with his hands any one he can get hold of! Of
course, not your father--he'd never dare do that--but any one else;
he'll squeeze till it's signed.

BETSY [laughing] But that's not the way it is done. Mediums never do
anything themselves.

TÁNYA. Oh, never mind. It's all one; I daresay it'll turn out all right.

    Enter Theodore Ivánitch.

    Exit Betsy, making signs to Tánya.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Why are you here?

TÁNYA. It's you I want, Theodore Ivánitch, dear ...

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Well, what is it?

TÁNYA. About that affair of mine as I spoke of.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [laughs] I've made the match; yes, I've made the
match. The matter is settled; we have shaken hands on it, only not had a
drink on it.

TÁNYA [with a shriek] Never! So it's all right?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Don't I tell you so? He says, "I shall consult the
missus, and then, God willing ..."

TÁNYA. Is that what he said? [Shrieks] Dear Theodore Ivánitch, I'll pray
for you all the days of my life!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. All right! All right! Now is not the time. I've been
ordered to arrange the room for the séance.

TÁNYA. Let me help you. How's it to be arranged?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. How? Why, the table in the middle of the
room--chairs--the guitar--the accordion. The lamp is not wanted, only

TÁNYA [helps Theodore Ivánitch to place the things] Is that right? The
guitar here, and here the inkstand. [Places it] So?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Can it be true that they'll make Simon sit here?

TÁNYA. I suppose so; they've done it once.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Wonderful! [Puts on his pince-nez] But is he clean?

TÁNYA. How should I know?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Then, I'll tell you what ...

TÁNYA. Yes, Theodore Ivánitch?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Go and take a nail-brush and some Pears' soap; you
may take mine ... and go and cut his claws and scrub his hands as clean
as possible.

TÁNYA. He can do it himself.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Well then, tell him to. And tell him to put on a
clean shirt as well.

TÁNYA. All right, Theodore Ivánitch. [Exit].

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [sits down in an easy-chair] They're educated and
learned--Alexéy Vladímiritch now, he's a professor--and yet sometimes
one can't help doubting very much. The people's rude superstitions are
being abolished: hobgoblins, sorcerers, witches.... But if one considers
it, is not this equally superstitious? How is it possible that the
souls of the dead should come and talk, and play the guitar? No! Some
one is fooling them, or they are fooling themselves. And as to this
business with Simon--it's simply incomprehensible. [Looks at an album]
Here's their spiritualistic album. How is it possible to photograph a
spirit? But here is the likeness of a Turk and Leoníd Fyódoritch sitting
by.... Extraordinary human weakness!

    Enter Leoníd Fyódoritch.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Is it all ready?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [rising leisurely] Quite ready. [Smiles] Only I don't
know about your new medium. I hope he won't disgrace you, Leoníd

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. No, I and Alexéy Vladímiritch have tested him. He is
a wonderfully powerful medium!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Well, I don't know. But is he clean enough? I don't
suppose you have thought of ordering him to wash his hands? It might be
rather inconvenient.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. His hands? Oh yes! They're not clean, you think?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. What can you expect? He's a peasant, and there will
be ladies present, and Márya Vasílevna.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. It will be all right.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. And then I have something to report to you. Timothy,
the coachman, complains that he can't keep things clean because of the

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [arranging the things on the table absent-mindedly]
What dogs?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. The three hounds that came for Vasíly Leoníditch

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [vexed] Tell Anna Pávlovna! She can do as she likes
about it. I have no time.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. But you know her weakness ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. 'Tis just as she likes, let her do as she pleases.
As for him,--one never gets anything but unpleasantness from him.
Besides, I am busy.

    Enter Simon, smiling; he has a sleeveless peasant's coat on.

SIMON. I was ordered to come.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, it's all right. Let me see your hands. That will
do, that will do very well! Well then, my good fellow, you must do just
as you did before,--sit down, and give way to your mood. But don't think
at all.

SIMON. Why should I think? The more one thinks, the worse it is.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Just so, just so, exactly! The less conscious one is,
the greater is the power. Don't think, but give in to your mood. If you
wish to sleep, sleep; if you wish to walk, walk. Do you understand?

SIMON. How could one help understanding? It's simple enough.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. But above all, don't be frightened. Because you might
be surprised yourself. You must understand that just as we live here, so
a whole world of invisible spirits live here also.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [improving on what Leoníd Fyódoritch has said]
Invisible feelings, do you understand?

SIMON [laughs] How can one help understanding! It's very plain as you
put it.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. You may rise up in the air, or something of the kind,
but don't be frightened.

SIMON. Why should I be frightened? That won't matter at all.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well then, I'll go and call them all.... Is
everything ready?


LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. But the slates?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. They are downstairs. I'll bring them. [Exit].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. All right then. So don't be afraid, but be at your

SIMON. Had I not better take off my coat? One would be more easy like.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Your coat? Oh no. Don't take that off. [Exit].

SIMON. She tells me to do the same again, and she will again shy things
about. How isn't she afraid?

    Enter Tánya in her stockings and in a dress of the colour of the
    wall-paper. Simon laughs.

TÁNYA. Shsh!... They'll hear! There, stick these matches on your fingers
as before. [Sticks them on] Well, do you remember everything?

SIMON [bending his fingers in, one by one] First of all, wet the matches
and wave my hands about, that's one. Then make my teeth chatter, like
this ... that's two. But I've forgotten the third thing.

TÁNYA. And it's the third as is the chief thing. Don't forget as soon as
the paper falls on the table--I shall ring the little bell--then you do
like this.... Spread your arms out far and catch hold of some one,
whoever it is as sits nearest, and catch hold of him. And then squeeze!
[Laughs] Whether it's a gentleman or a lady, it's all one; you just
squeeze 'em, and don't let 'em go,--as if it were in your sleep, and
chatter with your teeth, or else howl like this. [Howls sotto-voce] And
when I begin to play on the guitar, then stretch yourself as if you were
waking up, you know.... Will you remember everything?

SIMON. Yes, I'll remember, but it is too funny.

TÁNYA. But mind you don't laugh. Still, it won't matter much if you do
laugh; they'd think it was in your sleep. Only take care you don't
really fall asleep when they put out the lights.

SIMON. No fear, I'll pinch my ears.

TÁNYA. Well then Sim darling, only mind do as I tell you, and don't get
frightened. He'll sign the paper, see if he don't! They're coming!

    Gets under the sofa.

    Enter Grossman and the Professor, Leoníd Fyódoritch and the Fat
    Lady, the Doctor, Sahátof and Anna Pávlovna. Simon stands near the

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Please come in, all you doubters! Though we have a
new and accidentally discovered medium, I expect very important
phenomena to-night.

SAHÁTOF. That's very, very interesting.

FAT LADY [pointing to Simon] _Mais il est très bien!_[12]

  [12] FAT LADY. But he looks quite nice.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Yes, as a butler's assistant, but hardly ...

SAHÁTOF. Wives never have any faith in their husbands' work. You don't
believe in anything of this kind?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Of course not. Kaptchítch, it is true, has something
exceptional about him, but Heaven knows what all this is about!

FAT LADY. No, Anna Pávlovna, permit me, you can't decide it in such a
way. Before I was married, I once had a remarkable dream. Dreams, you
know, are often such that you don't know where they begin and where they
end; it was just such a dream that I ...

    Enter Vasíly Leoníditch and Petrístchef.

FAT LADY. And much was revealed to me by that dream. Nowadays the young
people [points to Petrístchef and Vasíly Leoníditch] deny everything.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. But look here, you know--now I, for instance, never
deny anything! Eh, what?

    Betsy and Márya Konstantínovna enter, and begin talking to

FAT LADY. And how can one deny the supernatural? They say it is
unreasonable. But what if one's reason is stupid; what then? There now,
on Garden Street, you know ... why, well, it appeared every evening! My
husband's brother--what do you call him? Not _beau-frère_--what's the
other name for it?--I never can remember the names of these different
relationships--well, he went there three nights running, and still he
saw nothing; so I said to him ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, who is going to stay here?



ANNA PÁVLOVNA [to Doctor] Do you mean to say you are going to stay?

DOCTOR. Yes; I must see, if only once, what it is that Alexéy
Vladímiritch has discovered in it. How can we deny anything without

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Then I am to take it to-night for certain?

DOCTOR. Take what?... Oh, the powder. Yes, it would perhaps be better.
Yes, yes, take it.... However, I shall come upstairs again.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Yes please, do. [Loud] When it is over, _mesdames et
messieurs_, I shall expect you to come to me upstairs to rest from your
emotions, and then we will finish our rubber.

FAT LADY. Oh, certainly.

SAHÁTOF. Yes, thanks!

    Exit Anna Pávlovna.

BETSY [to Petrístchef] You must stay, I tell you. I promise you
something extraordinary. Will you bet?

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA. But you don't believe in it?

BETSY. To-day I do.

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA [to Petrístchef] And do you believe?

PETRÍSTCHEF. "I can't believe, I cannot trust a heart for falsehood
framed." Still, if Elizabeth Leonídovna commands ...

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Let us stay, Márya Konstantínovna. Eh, what? I shall
invent something _épâtant_.

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA. No, you mustn't make me laugh. You know I can't
restrain myself.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [loud] I remain!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [severely] But I beg those who remain not to joke
about it. It is a serious matter.

PETRÍSTCHEF. Do you hear? Well then, let's stay. Vovo, sit here, and
don't be too shy.

BETSY. Yes, it's all very well for you to laugh; but just wait till you
see what will happen.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Oh, but supposing it's true? Won't it be a go! Eh,

PETRÍSTCHEF [trembles] Oh, I'm afraid, I'm afraid! Márya Konstantínovna,
I'm afraid! My tootsies tremble.

BETSY [laughing] Not so loud.

    All sit down.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Take your seats, take your seats. Simon, sit down!

SIMON. Yes, sir. [Sits down on the edge of the chair].


PROFESSOR. Sit straight in the middle of the chair, and quite at your
ease. [Arranges Simon on his chair].

    Betsy, Márya Konstantínovna and Vasíly Leoníditch laugh.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [raising his voice] I beg those who are going to
remain here not to behave frivolously, but to regard this matter
seriously, or bad results might follow. Do you hear, Vovo! If you can't
be quiet, go away!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Quite quiet! [Hides behind Fat Lady].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Alexéy Vladímiritch, will you mesmerise him?

PROFESSOR. No; why should I do it when Antón Borísitch is here? He has
had far more practice and has more power in that department than I....
Antón Borísitch!

GROSSMAN. Ladies and gentlemen, I am not, strictly speaking, a
spiritualist. I have only studied hypnotism. It is true I have studied
hypnotism in all its known manifestations; but what is called
spiritualism, is entirely unknown to me. When a subject is thrown into a
trance, I may expect the hypnotic phenomena known to me: lethargy,
abulia, anæsthesia, analgesia, catalepsy, and every kind of
susceptibility to suggestion. Here it is not these but other phenomena
we expect to observe. Therefore it would be well to know of what kind
are the phenomena we expect to witness, and what is their scientific

SAHÁTOF. I thoroughly agree with Mr. Grossman. Such an explanation would
be very interesting.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. I think Alexéy Vladímiritch will not refuse to give
us a short explanation.

PROFESSOR. Why not? I can give an explanation if it is desired. [To the
Doctor] Will you kindly note his temperature and pulse? My explanation
must, of necessity, be cursory and brief.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, please; briefly, quite briefly.

DOCTOR. All right. [Takes out thermometer] Now then, my lad ... [Places
the thermometer].

SIMON. Yes, sir!

PROFESSOR [rising and addressing the Fat Lady--then reseating himself]
Ladies and gentlemen! The phenomenon we are investigating to-night is
regarded, on the one hand, as something new; and, on the other, as
something transcending the limits of natural conditions. Neither view is
correct. This phenomenon is not new but is as old as the world; and it
is not supernatural but is subject to the eternal laws that govern all
that exists. This phenomenon has been usually defined as "intercourse
with the spirit world." That definition is inexact. Under such a
definition the spirit world is contrasted with the material world. But
this is erroneous; there is no such contrast! Both worlds are so closely
connected that it is impossible to draw a line of demarcation,
separating the one from the other. We say, matter is composed of
molecules ...

PETRÍSTCHEF. Prosy matter! [Whispering and laughter].

PROFESSOR [pauses, then continues] Molecules are composed of atoms, but
the atoms, having no extension, are in reality nothing but the points
of application of forces. Strictly speaking, not of forces but of
energy, that same energy which is as much a unity and just as
indestructible as matter. But matter, though one, has many different
aspects, and the same is true of energy. Till recently only four forms
of energy, convertible into one another, have been known to us: energies
known as the dynamic, the thermal, the electric, and the chemic. But
these four aspects of energy are far from exhausting all the varieties
of its manifestation. The forms in which energy may manifest itself are
very diverse, and it is one of these new and as yet but little known
phases of energy, that we are investigating to-night. I refer to
mediumistic energy.

    Renewed whispering and laughter among the young people.

PROFESSOR [stops and casts a severe look round] Mediumistic energy has
been known to mankind for ages: prophecy, presentiments, visions and so
on, are nothing but manifestations of mediumistic energy. The
manifestations produced by it have, I say, been known to mankind for
ages. But the energy itself has not been recognised as such till quite
recently--not till that medium, the vibrations of which cause the
manifestations of mediumistic energy, was recognised. In the same way
that the phenomena of light were inexplicable until the existence of an
imponderable substance--an ether--was recognised, so mediumistic
phenomena seemed mysterious until the now fully established fact was
recognised, that between the particles of ether there exists another
still more rarified imponderable substance not subject to the law of the
three dimensions ...

    Renewed laughter, whispers, and giggling.

PROFESSOR [again looks round severely] And just as mathematical
calculations have irrefutably proved the existence of imponderable ether
which gives rise to the phenomena of light and electricity, so the
successive investigations of the ingenious Hermann, of Schmidt, and of
Joseph Schmatzhofen, have confirmed beyond a doubt the existence of a
substance which fills the universe and may be called spiritual ether.

FAT LADY. Ah, now I understand. I am so grateful ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, but Alexéy Vladímiritch, could you not ...
condense it a little?

PROFESSOR [not heeding the remark] And so, as I have just had the honour
of mentioning to you, a succession of strictly scientific experiments
have made plain to us the laws of mediumistic phenomena. These
experiments have proved that, when certain individuals are plunged into
a hypnotic state (a state differing from ordinary sleep only by the fact
that man's physiological activity is not lowered by the hypnotic
influence but, on the contrary, is always heightened--as we have
recently witnessed) when, I say, any individual is plunged into such a
state, this always produces certain perturbations in the spiritual
ether--perturbations quite similar to those produced by plunging a solid
body into liquid matter. These perturbations are what we call
mediumistic phenomena ...

    Laughter, and whispers.

SAHÁTOF. That is quite comprehensible and correct; but if, as you are
kind enough to inform us, the plunging of the medium into a trance
produces perturbations of the spiritual ether, allow me to ask why (as
is usually supposed to be the case in spiritualistic séances) these
perturbations result in an activity on the part of the souls of dead

PROFESSOR. It is because the molecules of this spiritual ether are
nothing but the souls of the living, the dead, and the unborn, and any
vibration of the spiritual ether must inevitably cause a certain
vibration of its atoms. These atoms are nothing but human souls, which
enter into communication with one another by means of these movements.

FAT LADY [to Sahátof] What is it that puzzles you? It is so simple....
Thank you so, so much!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. I think everything has now been explained, and that
we may commence.

DOCTOR. The fellow is in a perfectly normal condition: temperature 37
decimal 2, pulse 74.

PROFESSOR [takes out his pocket-book and notes this down] What I have
just had the honour of explaining will be confirmed by the fact, which
we shall presently have an opportunity of observing, that after the
medium has been thrown into a trance his temperature and pulse will
inevitably rise, just as occurs in cases of hypnotism.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, yes. But excuse me a moment. I should like to
reply to Sergéy Ivánitch's question: How do we know we are in
communication with the souls of the dead? We know it because the spirit
that appears, plainly tells us--as simply as I am speaking to you--who
he is, and why he has come, and whether all is well with him! At our
last séance a Spaniard, Don Castillos, came to us, and he told us
everything. He told us who he was, and when he died, and that he was
suffering for having taken part in the Inquisition. He even told us what
was happening to him at the very time that he was speaking to us,
namely, that at the very time he was talking to us he had to be born
again on earth, and, therefore, could not continue his conversation with
us.... But you'll see for yourselves ...

FAT LADY [interrupting] Oh, how interesting! Perhaps the Spaniard was
born in one of our houses and is a baby now!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Quite possibly.

PROFESSOR. I think it is time we began.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. I was only going to say ...

PROFESSOR. It is getting late.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Very well. Then we will commence. Antón Borísitch, be
so good as to hypnotise the medium.

GROSSMAN. What method would you like me to use? There are several
methods. There is Braid's system, there is the Egyptian symbol, and
there is Charcot's system.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [to the Professor] I think it is quite immaterial.


GROSSMAN. Then I will make use of my own method, which I showed in


    Grossman waves his arms above Simon. Simon closes his eyes and
    stretches himself.

GROSSMAN [looking closely at him] He is falling asleep! He is asleep! A
remarkably rapid occurrence of hypnosis. The subject has evidently
already reached a state of anæsthesia. He is remarkable,--an unusually
impressionable subject, and might be subjected to interesting
experiments!... [Sits down, rises, sits down again] Now one might run a
needle into his arm. If you like ...

PROFESSOR [to Leoníd Fyódoritch] Do you notice how the medium's trance
acts on Grossman? He is beginning to vibrate.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, yes ... can the lights be extinguished now?

SAHÁTOF. But why is darkness necessary?

PROFESSOR. Darkness? Because it is a condition of the manifestation of
mediumistic energy, just as a given temperature is a condition necessary
for certain manifestations of chemical or dynamic energy.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. But not always. Manifestations have been observed by
me, and by many others, both by candlelight and daylight.

PROFESSOR [interrupting] May the lights be put out?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, certainly. [Puts out candles] Ladies and
gentlemen! attention, if you please.

    Tánya gets from under the sofa and takes hold of a thread tied to a

PETRÍSTCHEF. I like that Spaniard! Just in the midst of a
conversation--off he goes head downwards ... as the French say: _piquer
une tête_.[13]

  [13] To take a header.

BETSY. You just wait a bit, and see what will happen!

PETRÍSTCHEF. I have only one fear, and that is that Vovo may be moved by
the spirit to grunt like a pig!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Would you like me to? I will ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Gentlemen! Silence, if you please!

    Silence. Simon licks the matches on his fingers and rubs his
    knuckles with them.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. A light! Do you see the light?

SAHÁTOF. A light? Yes, yes, I see; but allow me ...

FAT LADY. Where? Where? Oh dear, I did not see it! Ah, there it is.

PROFESSOR [whispers to Leoníd Fyódoritch, and points to Grossman, who is
moving] Do you notice how he vibrates? It is the dual influence. [The
light appears again].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [to the Professor] It must be he--you know!


LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. A Greek, Nicholas. It is his light. Don't you think
so, Alexéy Vladímiritch?

SAHÁTOF. Who is this Greek, Nicholas?

PROFESSOR. A certain Greek, who was a monk at Constantinople under
Constantine and who has been visiting us lately.

FAT LADY. Where is he? Where is he? I don't see him.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. He is not yet visible ... Alexéy Vladímiritch, he is
particularly well disposed towards you. You question him.

PROFESSOR [in a peculiar voice] Nicholas! Is that you?

    Tánya raps twice on the wall.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [joyfully] It is he! It is he!

FAT LADY. Oh dear! Oh! I shall go away!

SAHÁTOF. Why do you suppose it is he?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Why, the two knocks. It is an affirmative answer;
else all would have been silence.

    Silence. Suppressed giggling in the young people's corner. Tánya
    throws a lampshade, pencil and penwiper upon the table.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [whispers] Do you notice, gentlemen, here is a
lamp-shade, and something else--a pencil!... Alexéy Vladímiritch, it is
a pencil!

PROFESSOR. All right, all right! I am watching both him and Grossman!

    Grossman rises and feels the things that have fallen on the table.

SAHÁTOF. Excuse me, excuse me! I should like to see whether it is not
the medium who is doing it all himself?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Do you think so? Well, sit by him and hold his hands.
But you may be sure he is asleep.

SAHÁTOF [approaches. Tánya lets a thread touch his head. He is
frightened, and stoops]. Ye ... ye ... yes! Strange, very strange!
[Takes hold of Simon's elbow. Simon howls].

PROFESSOR [to Leoníd Fyódoritch] Do you notice the effect of Grossman's
presence? It is a new phenomenon--I must note it ... [Runs out to note
it down, and returns again].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes.... But we cannot leave Nicholas without an
answer. We must begin ...

GROSSMAN [rises, approaches Simon and raises and lowers his arm] It
would be interesting to produce contraction! The subject is in profound

PROFESSOR [to Leoníd Fyódoritch] Do you see? Do you see?

GROSSMAN. If you like ...

DOCTOR. Now then, my dear sir, leave the management to Alexéy
Vladímiritch, the affair is turning out serious.

PROFESSOR. Leave him alone, he [referring to Grossman] is talking in his

FAT LADY. How glad I now am that I resolved to be present! It is
frightening, but all the same I am glad, for I always said to my
husband ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Silence, if you please.

    Tánya draws a thread over the Fat Lady's head.


LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. What? What is it?

FAT LADY. He took hold of my hair!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [whispers] Never mind, don't be afraid, give him your
hand. His hand will be cold, but I like it.

FAT LADY [hides her hands] Not for the world!

SAHÁTOF. Yes, it is strange, very strange!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. He is here and is seeking for intercourse. Who wishes
to put a question to him?

SAHÁTOF. I should like to put a question, if I may.

PROFESSOR. Please do.

SAHÁTOF. Do I believe or not?

    Tánya knocks twice.

PROFESSOR. The answer is affirmative.

SAHÁTOF. Allow me to ask again. Have I a ten rouble note in my pocket?

    Tánya knocks several times and passes a thread over Sahátof's head.

SAHÁTOF. Ah! [Seizes the thread and breaks it].

PROFESSOR. I should ask those present not to ask indefinite or trivial
questions. It is unpleasant to _him_!

SAHÁTOF. No, but allow me! Here I have a thread in my hand!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. A thread? Hold it fast; that happens often, and not
only threads but sometimes even silk cords--very ancient ones!

SAHÁTOF. No--but where did this thread come from?

    Tánya throws a cushion at him.

SAHÁTOF. Wait a bit; wait! Something soft has hit me on the head. Light
a candle--there is something ...

PROFESSOR. We beg of you not to interrupt the manifestations.

FAT LADY. For goodness' sake don't interrupt! I should also like to ask
something. May I?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, if you like.

FAT LADY. I should like to ask about my digestion. May I? I want to know
what to take: aconite or belladonna?

    Silence, whispers among the young people; suddenly Vasíly Leoníditch
    begins to cry like a baby: "ou-a, ou-a!" [Laughter.] Holding their
    mouths and noses, the girls and Petrístchef run away bursting with

FAT LADY. Ah, that must be the monk who's been born again!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [beside himself with anger, whispers] One gets nothing
but tomfoolery from you! If you don't know how to behave decently, go

    Exit Vasíly Leoníditch. Darkness and silence.

FAT LADY. Oh, what a pity! Now one can't ask any more! He is born!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Not at all. It is only Vovo's nonsense. But _he_ is
here. Ask him.

PROFESSOR. That often happens. These jokes and ridicule are quite usual
occurrences. I expect _he_ is still here. But we may ask. Leoníd
Fyódoritch, will you?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. No, you, if you please. This has upset me. So
unpleasant! Such want of tact!...

PROFESSOR. Very well.... Nicholas, are you here?

    Tánya raps twice and rings. Simon roars, spreads his arms out,
    seizes Sahátof and the Professor--squeezing them.

PROFESSOR. What an unexpected phenomenon! The medium himself reacted
upon! This never happened before! Leoníd Fyódoritch, will you watch? It
is difficult for me to do so. He squeezes me so! Mind you observe
Grossman! This needs the very greatest attention!

    Tánya throws the peasants' paper on the table.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Something has fallen upon the table.

PROFESSOR. See what it is!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Paper! A folded paper!

    Tánya throws a travelling inkstand on the table.


    Tánya throws a pen.


    Simon roars and squeezes.

PROFESSOR [crushed] Wait a bit, wait: a totally new manifestation! The
action proceeding not from the mediumistic energy produced, but from the
medium himself! However, open the inkstand, and put the pen on the
table, and _he_ will write!

    Tánya goes behind Leoníd Fyódoritch and strikes him on the head with
    the guitar.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. He has struck me on the head! [Examining table] The
pen is not writing yet and the paper remains folded.

PROFESSOR. See what the paper is, and quickly; evidently the dual
influence--his and Grossman's--has produced a perturbation!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [goes out and returns at once] Extraordinary! This
paper is an agreement with some peasants that I refused to sign this
morning and returned to the peasants. Probably _he_ wants me to sign it?

PROFESSOR. Of course! Of course! But ask him.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Nicholas, do you wish ...

    Tánya knocks twice.

PROFESSOR. Do you hear? It is quite evident!

    Leoníd Fyódoritch takes the paper and pen and goes out. Tánya
    knocks, plays on the guitar and the accordion, and then creeps under
    the sofa. Leoníd Fyódoritch returns. Simon stretches himself and

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. He is waking up. We can light the candles.

PROFESSOR [hurriedly] Doctor, Doctor, please, his pulse and temperature!
You will see that a rise of both will be apparent.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [lights the candles] Well, what do you gentlemen who
were sceptical think of it now?

DOCTOR [goes up to Simon and places thermometer] Now then my lad. Well,
have you had a nap? There, put that in there, and give me your hand.
[Looks at his watch].

SAHÁTOF [shrugging his shoulders] I must admit that all that has
occurred cannot have been done by the medium. But the thread?... I
should like the thread explained.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. A thread! A thread! We have been witnessing
manifestations more important than a thread.

SAHÁTOF. I don't know. At all events, _je réserve mon opinion_.

FAT LADY [to Sahátof] Oh no, how can you say: "_je réserve mon
opinion?_" And the infant with the little wings? Didn't you see? At
first I thought it was only an illusion, but afterwards it became
clearer and clearer, like a live ...

SAHÁTOF. I can only speak of what I have seen. I did not see
that--nothing of the kind.

FAT LADY. You don't mean to say so? Why, it was quite plainly visible!
And to the left there was a monk clothed in black bending over it ...

SAHÁTOF [moves away. Aside] What exaggeration!

FAT LADY [addressing the Doctor] You must have seen it! It rose up from
your side.

    Doctor goes on counting pulse without heeding her.

FAT LADY [to Grossman] And that light, the light around it, especially
around its little face! And the expression so mild and tender, something
so heavenly! [Smiles tenderly herself].

GROSSMAN. I saw phosphorescent light, and objects changed their places,
but I saw nothing more than that.

FAT LADY. Don't tell me! You don't mean it! It is simply that you
scientists of Charcot's school do not believe in a life beyond the
grave! As for me, no one could now make me disbelieve in a future
life--no one in the world!

    Grossman moves away from her.

FAT LADY. No, no, whatever you may say, this is one of the happiest
moments of my life! When I heard Sarasate play, and now.... Yes! [No one
listens to her. She goes up to Simon] Now tell me, my friend, what did
you feel? Was it very trying?

SIMON [laughs] Yes, ma'm, just so.

FAT LADY. Still not unendurable?

SIMON. Just so, ma'm. [To Leoníd Fyódoritch] Am I to go?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, you may go.

DOCTOR [to the Professor] The pulse is the same, but the temperature is

PROFESSOR. Lower! [Considers awhile, then suddenly divines the
conclusion] It had to be so--it had to descend! The dual influence
crossing had to produce some kind of reflex action. Yes, that's it!

    Exeunt, all talking at once.

  { LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. I'm only sorry we had no complete
  { materialisation. But still.... Come, gentlemen, let us go to the
  { drawing-room?
  { FAT LADY. What specially struck me was when he flapped his wings,
  { and one saw how he rose!
  { GROSSMAN [to Sahátof] If we had kept to hypnotism, we might have
  { produced a thorough state of epilepsy. The success might have been
  { complete!
  { SAHÁTOF. It is very interesting, but not entirely convincing. That
  { is all I can say.

    Enter Theodore Ivánitch.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [with paper in his hand] Ah, Theodore, what a
remarkable séance we have had! It turns out that the peasants must have
the land on their own terms.


LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, indeed. [Showing paper] Fancy, this paper that I
returned to them, suddenly appeared on the table! I have signed it.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. How did it get there?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, it did get there! [Exit, Theodore Ivánitch
follows him out].

TÁNYA [gets from under the sofa and laughs] Oh dear, oh dear! Well, I
did get a fright when he got hold of the thread! [Shrieks] Well, anyhow,
it's all right--he has signed it!

    Enter Gregory.

GREGORY. So it was you that was fooling them?

TÁNYA. What business is it of yours?

GREGORY. And do you think the missis will be pleased with you for it?
No, you bet; you're caught now! I'll tell them what tricks you're up to,
if you don't let me have my way!

TÁNYA. And you'll not get your way, and you'll not do me any harm!



    The same scene as in Act I. The next day. Two liveried footmen,
    Theodore Ivánitch and Gregory.

FIRST FOOTMAN [with grey whiskers] Yours is the third house to-day.
Thank goodness that all the at-homes are in this direction. Yours used
to be on Thursdays.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Yes, we changed to Saturday so as to be on the same
day as the Golóvkins and Grade von Grabes ...

SECOND FOOTMAN. The Stcherbákofs do the thing well. There's refreshments
for the footmen every time they've a ball.

    The two Princesses, mother and daughter, come down the stairs
    accompanied by Betsy. The old Princess looks in her note-book and at
    her watch, and sits down on the settle. Gregory puts on her

YOUNG PRINCESS. Now, do come. Because, if you refuse, and Dodo refuses,
the whole thing will be spoilt.

BETSY. I don't know. I must certainly go to the Shoúbins. And then there
is the rehearsal.

YOUNG PRINCESS. You'll have plenty of time. Do, please. _Ne nous fais
pas faux bond._[14] Fédya and Koko will come.

  [14] Do not disappoint us.

BETSY. _J'en ai par-dessus la tête de votre Koko._[15]

  [15] BETSY. I have more than enough of your Koko.

YOUNG PRINCESS. I thought I should see him here. _Ordinairement il est
d'une exactitude ..._[16]

  [16] YOUNG PRINCESS. ... He is usually so very punctual ...

BETSY. He is sure to come.

YOUNG PRINCESS. When I see you together, it always seems to me that he
has either just proposed or is just going to propose.

BETSY. Yes, I don't suppose it can be avoided. I shall have to go
through with it. And it is so unpleasant!

YOUNG PRINCESS. Poor Koko! He is head over ears in love.

BETSY. _Cessez, les gens!_[17]

  [17] BETSY. Cease; mind the servants!

    Young Princess sits down, talking in whispers. Gregory puts on her

YOUNG PRINCESS. Well then, good-bye till this evening.

BETSY. I'll try to come.

OLD PRINCESS. Then tell your papa that I don't believe in anything of
the kind, but will come to see his new medium. Only he must let me know
when. Good afternoon, _ma toute belle_. [Kisses Betsy, and exit,
followed by her daughter. Betsy goes upstairs].

GREGORY. I don't like putting on an old woman's overshoes for her; she
can't stoop, can't see her shoe for her stomach, and keeps poking her
foot in the wrong place. It's different with a young one; it's pleasant
to take her foot in one's hand.

SECOND FOOTMAN. Hear him! Making distinctions!

FIRST FOOTMAN. It's not for us footmen to make such distinctions.

GREGORY. Why shouldn't one make distinctions; are we not men? It's they
think we don't understand! Just now they were deep in their talk, then
they look at me, and at once it's "lay zhon!"

SECOND FOOTMAN. And what's that?

GREGORY. Oh, that means, "Don't talk, they understand!" It's the same at
table. But I understand! You say, there's a difference? I say there is

FIRST FOOTMAN. There is a great difference for those who understand.

GREGORY. There is none at all. To-day I am a footman, and to-morrow I
may be living no worse than they are. Has it never happened that they've
married footmen? I'll go and have a smoke. [Exit].

SECOND FOOTMAN. That's a bold young man you've got.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. A worthless fellow, not fit for service. He used to
be an office boy and has got spoilt. I advised them not to take him, but
the mistress liked him. He looks well on the carriage when they drive

FIRST FOOTMAN. I should like to send him to our Count; he'd put him in
his place! Oh, he don't like those scatterbrains. "If you're a footman,
be a footman and fulfil your calling." Such pride is not befitting.

    Petrístchef comes running downstairs, and takes out a cigarette.

PETRÍSTCHEF [deep in thought] Let's see, my second is the same as my
first. Echo, a-co, co-coa. [Enter Koko Klíngen, wearing his pince-nez]
Ko-ko, co-coa. Cocoa tin, where do you spring from?

KOKO KLÍNGEN. From the Stcherbákofs. You are always playing the fool ...

PETRÍSTCHEF. No, listen to my charade. My first is the same as my
second, my third may be cracked, my whole is like your pate.

KOKO KLÍNGEN. I give it up. I've no time.

PETRÍSTCHEF. Where else are you going?

KOKO KLÍNGEN. Where? Of course to the Ívins, to practise for the
concert. Then to the Shoúbins, and then to the rehearsal. You'll be
there too, won't you?

PETRÍSTCHEF. Most certainly. At the re-her-Sall and also at the
re-her-Sarah. Why, at first I was a savage, and now I am both a savage
and a general.

KOKO KLÍNGEN. How did yesterday's séance go off?

PETRÍSTCHEF. Screamingly funny! There was a peasant, and above all, it
was all in the dark. Vovo cried like an infant, the Professor defined,
and Márya Vasílevna refined. Such a lark! You ought to have been there.

KOKO KLÍNGEN. I'm afraid, _mon cher_. You have a way of getting off with
a jest, but I always feel that if I say a word, they'll construe it into
a proposal. _Et ça ne m'arrange pas du tout, du tout. Mais du tout, du

  [18] And that won't suit me at all, at all! Not at all, at all!

PETRÍSTCHEF. Instead of a proposal, make a proposition, and receive a
sentence! Well, I shall go in to Vovo's. If you'll call for me, we can
go to the re-her-Sarah together.

KOKO KLÍNGEN. I can't think how you can be friends with such a fool. He
is so stupid,--a regular blockhead!

PETRÍSTCHEF. And I am fond of him. I love Vovo, but ... "with a love so
strange, ne'er towards him the path untrod shall be" ... [Exit into
Vovo's room].

    Betsy comes down with a Lady. Koko bows significantly to Betsy.

BETSY [shaking Koko's hand without turning towards him. To Lady] You are


BETSY. Baron Klíngen.... Why were you not here last night?

KOKO KLÍNGEN. I could not come, I was engaged.

BETSY. What a pity, it was so interesting! [Laughs] You should have seen
what manifestations we had! Well, how is our charade getting on?

KOKO KLÍNGEN. Oh, the verses for _mon second_ are ready. Nick composed
the verses, and I the music.

BETSY. What are they? What are they? Do tell me!

KOKO KLÍNGEN. Wait a minute; how does it go?... Oh, the knight sings:

        "Oh, _naught_ so beautiful as nature:
         The _Nautilus_ sails by.
         Oh, _naughty_ lass, oh, _naughty_ lass!
         Oh, _nought_, oh _nought_! Oh fie!"

LADY. I see, my second is "nought," and what is my first?

KOKO KLÍNGEN. My first is _Aero_, the name of a girl savage.

BETSY. _Aero_, you see, is a savage who wished to devour the object of
her love. [Laughs] She goes about lamenting, and sings--

        "My appetite,"

KOKO KLÍNGEN [interrupts]--

        "How can I fight," ...

BETSY [chimes in]--

        "Some one to chew I long.
         I seeking go ..."


        "But even so ..."


        "No one to chew can find."


        "A raft sails by,"


        "It cometh nigh;
         Two generals upon it ..."


        "Two generals are we:
         By fate's hard decree,
         To this island we flee."

And then, the refrain--

        "By fate's hard decree,
         To this island we flee."

LADY. _Charmant!_

BETSY. But just think how silly!

KOKO KLÍNGEN. Yes, that's the charm of it!

LADY. And who is to be Aero?

BETSY. I am. And I have had a costume made, but mamma says it's "not
decent." And it is not a bit less decent than a ball dress. [To Theodore
Ivánitch] Is Bourdier's man here?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Yes, he is waiting in the kitchen.

LADY. Well, and how will you represent Aeronaut?

BETSY. Oh, you'll see. I don't want to spoil the pleasure for you. _Au

LADY. Good-bye! [They bow. Exit Lady].

BETSY [to Koko Klíngen] Come up to mamma.

    Betsy and Koko go upstairs. Jacob enters from servants' quarters,
    carrying a tray with teacups, cakes, &c., and goes panting across
    the stage.

JACOB [to the Footmen] How d'you do? How d'you do? [Footmen bow].

JACOB [to Theodore Ivánitch] Couldn't you tell Gregory to help a bit!
I'm ready to drop.... [Exit up the stairs].

FIRST FOOTMAN. That is a hard-working chap you've got there.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Yes, a good fellow. But there now--he doesn't satisfy
the mistress, she says his appearance is ungainly. And now they've gone
and told tales about him for letting some peasants into the kitchen
yesterday. It is a bad look-out: they may dismiss him. And he is a good

SECOND FOOTMAN. What peasants were they?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Peasants that had come from our Koursk village to buy
some land. It was night, and they were our fellow-countrymen, one of
them the father of the butler's assistant. Well, so they were asked into
the kitchen. It so happened that there was thought-reading going on.
Something was hidden in the kitchen, and all the gentlefolk came down,
and the mistress saw the peasants. There was such a row! "How is this,"
she says; "these people may be infected, and they are let into the
kitchen!" ... She is terribly afraid of this infection.

    Enter Gregory.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Gregory, you go and help Jacob. I'll stay here. He
can't manage alone.

GREGORY. He's awkward, that's why he can't manage. [Exit].

FIRST FOOTMAN. And what is this new mania they have got? This
infection!... So yours also is afraid of it?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. She fears it worse than fire! Our chief business,
nowadays, is fumigating, washing, and sprinkling.

FIRST FOOTMAN. I see. That's why there is such a stuffy smell here.
[With animation] I don't know what we're coming to with these infection
notions. It's just detestable! They seem to have forgotten the Lord.
There's our master's sister, Princess Mosolóva, her daughter was dying
and, will you believe it, neither father nor mother would come near her!
So she died without their having taken leave of her. And the daughter
cried, and called them to say good-bye--but they didn't go! The doctor
had discovered some infection or other! And yet their own maid and a
trained nurse were with her, and nothing happened to them; they're still

    Enter Vasíly Leoníditch and Petrístchef from Vasíly Leoníditch's
    room, smoking cigarettes.

PETRÍSTCHEF. Come along then, only I must take Koko--Cocoanut, with me.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Your Koko is a regular dolt; I can't bear him. A
hare-brained fellow, a regular gad-about! Without any kind of
occupation, eternally loafing around! Eh, what?

PETRÍSTCHEF. Well, anyhow, wait a bit, I must say good-bye.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. All right. And I will go and look at my dogs in the
coachman's room. I've got a dog there that's so savage, the coachman
said, he nearly ate him.

PETRÍSTCHEF. Who ate whom? Did the coachman really eat the dog?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. You are always at it! [Puts on outdoor things and
goes out].

PETRÍSTCHEF [thoughtfully] Ma-kin-tosh, Co-co-tin.... Let's see. [Goes

    Jacob runs across the stage.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. What's the matter?

JACOB. There is no more thin bread and butter. I said ... [Exit].

SECOND FOOTMAN. And then our master's little son fell ill, and they sent
him at once to an hotel with his nurse, and there he died without his

FIRST FOOTMAN. They don't seem to fear sin! _I_ think you cannot escape
from God anywhere.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. That's what I think.

    Jacob runs upstairs with bread and butter.

FIRST FOOTMAN. One should consider too, that if we are to be afraid of
everybody like that, we'd better shut ourselves up within four walls, as
in a prison, and stick there!

    Enter Tánya; she bows to the Footmen.

TÁNYA. Good afternoon.

    Footmen bow.

TÁNYA. Theodore Ivánitch, I have a word to say to you.


TÁNYA. The peasants have come again, Theodore Ivánitch ...

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Well? I gave the paper to Simon.

TÁNYA. I have given them the paper. They were that grateful! I can't say
how! Now they only ask you to take the money.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. But where are they?

TÁNYA. Here, by the porch.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. All right, I'll tell the master.

TÁNYA. I have another request to you, dear Theodore Ivánitch.


TÁNYA. Why, don't you see, Theodore Ivánitch, I can't remain here any
longer. Ask them to let me go.

    Enter Jacob, running.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [to Jacob] What d'you want?

JACOB. Another samovár, and oranges.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Ask the housekeeper.

    Exit Jacob.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [to Tánya] How is that?

TÁNYA. Why, don't you see, my position is such ...

JACOB [runs in] There are not enough oranges.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Serve up as many as you've got [Exit Jacob]. Now's
not the time! Just see what a bustle we are in.

TÁNYA. But you know yourself, Theodore Ivánitch, there is no end to this
bustle; one might wait for ever--you know yourself--and my affair is for
life.... Dear Theodore Ivánitch, you have done me a good turn, be a
father to me now, choose the right moment and tell her, or else she'll
get angry and won't let me have my passport.[19]

  [19] Employers have charge of the servants' passports, and in this way
  have a hold on them in case of misconduct.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Where's the hurry?

TÁNYA. Why, Theodore Ivánitch, it's all settled now.... And I could go
to my godmother's and get ready, and then after Easter we'd get
married.[20] Do tell her, dear Theodore Ivánitch!

  [20] See footnote, p. 28. It is customary for peasants to marry just
  after Easter, but when spring has come and the field work begun, no
  marriages take place among them till autumn.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Go away--this is not the place.

    An elderly Gentleman comes downstairs, puts on overcoat, and goes
    out followed by the Second Footman.

    Exit Tánya. Enter Jacob.

JACOB. Just fancy, Theodore Ivánitch, it's too bad! She wants to
discharge me now! She says, "You break everything, and forget Frisk, and
you let the peasants into the kitchen against my orders!" And you know
very well that I knew nothing about it. Tatyána told me, "Take them into
the kitchen"; how could I tell whose order it was?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Did the mistress speak to you?

JACOB. She's just spoken. Do speak up for me, Theodore Ivánitch! You
see, my people in the country are only just getting on their feet, and
suppose I lose my place, when shall I get another? Theodore Ivánitch,
do, please!

    Anna Pávlovna comes down with the old Countess, whom she is seeing
    off. The Countess has false teeth and hair. The First Footman helps
    the Countess into her outdoor things.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Oh, most certainly, of course! I am so deeply touched.

COUNTESS. If it were not for my illness, I should come oftener to see

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. You should really consult Peter Petróvitch. He is rough,
but nobody can soothe one as he does. He is so clear, so simple.

COUNTESS. Oh no, I shall keep to the one I am used to.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Pray, take care of yourself.

COUNTESS. _Merci, mille fois merci._[21]

  [21] COUNTESS. Thank you (for your hospitality), a thousand thanks.

    Gregory, dishevelled and excited, jumps out from the servants'
    quarters. Simon appears behind him in the doorway.

SIMON. You'd better leave her alone!

GREGORY. You rascal! I'll teach you how to fight, you scamp, you!

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. What do you mean? Do you think you are in a public-house?

GREGORY. This coarse peasant makes life impossible for me.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [provoked] You've lost your senses. Don't you see? [To
Countess] _Merci, mille fois merci. A mardi!_[22]

  [22] ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Thank you (for coming to see us), a thousand
  thanks. Till next Tuesday!

    Exeunt Countess and First Footman.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [to Gregory] What is the meaning of this?

GREGORY. Though I do occupy the position of a footman, still I won't
allow every peasant to hit me; I have my pride too.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Why, what has happened?

GREGORY. Why, this Simon of yours has got so brave, sitting with the
gentlemen, that he wants to fight!

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Why? What for?

GREGORY. Heaven only knows!

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [to Simon] What is the meaning of it?

SIMON. Why does he bother her?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. What has happened?

SIMON [smiles] Well, you see, he is always catching hold of Tánya, the
lady's-maid, and she won't have it. Well, so I just moved him aside a
bit, just so, with my hand.

GREGORY. A nice little bit! He's almost caved my ribs in, and has torn
my dress-coat, and he says, "The same power as came over me yesterday
comes on me again," and he begins to squeeze me.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [to Simon] How dare you fight in my house?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. May I explain it to you, ma'am? I must tell you Simon
is not indifferent to Tánya, and is engaged to her. And Gregory--one
must admit the truth--does not behave properly, nor honestly, to her.
Well, so I suppose Simon got angry with him.

GREGORY. Not at all! It is all his spite, because I have discovered
their trickery.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. What trickery?

GREGORY. Why, at the séance. All those things, last night,--it was not
Simon but Tánya who did them! I saw her getting out from under the sofa
with my own eyes.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. What is that? From under the sofa?

GREGORY. I give you my word of honour. And it was she who threw the
paper on the table. If it had not been for her the paper would not have
been signed, nor the land sold to the peasants.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. And you saw it yourself?

GREGORY. With my own eyes. Shall I call her? She'll not deny it.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Yes, call her.

    Exit Gregory.

    Noise behind the scenes. The voice of the Doorkeeper, "No, no, you
    cannot." Doorkeeper is seen at the front door, the three Peasants
    rush in past him, the Second Peasant first; the Third one stumbles,
    falls on his nose, and catches hold of it.

DOORKEEPER. You must not go in!

SECOND PEASANT. Where's the harm? We are not doing anything wrong. We
only wish to pay the money!

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it; as by laying on the signature the affair
is come to a conclusion, we only wish to make payment with thanks.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Wait a bit with your thanks. It was all done by fraud! It
is not settled yet. Not sold yet.... Leoníd.... Call Leoníd Fyódoritch.
[Exit Doorkeeper].

    Leoníd Fyódoritch enters, but, seeing his wife and the Peasants,
    wishes to retreat.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. No, no, come here, please! I told you the land must not
be sold on credit, and everybody told you so, but you let yourself be
deceived like the veriest blockhead.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. How? I don't understand who is deceiving?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! You have grey hair,
and you let yourself be deceived and laughed at like a silly boy. You
grudge your son some three hundred roubles which his social position
demands, and let yourself be tricked of thousands--like a fool!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Now come, Annette, try to be calm.

FIRST PEASANT. We are only come about the acceptation of the sum, for
example ...

THIRD PEASANT [taking out the money] Let us finish the matter, for
Christ's sake!

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Wait, wait!

    Enter Tánya and Gregory.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [angrily] You were in the small drawing-room during the
séance last night?

    Tánya looks round at Theodore Ivánitch, Leoníd Fyódoritch, and
    Simon, and sighs.

GREGORY. It's no use beating about the bush; I saw you myself ...

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Tell me, were you there? I know all about it, so you'd
better confess! I'll not do anything to you. I only want to expose him
[pointing to Leoníd Fyódoritch] your master.... Did you throw the paper
on the table?

TÁNYA. I don't know how to answer. Only one thing,--let me go home.

    Enter Betsy unobserved.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [to Leoníd Fyódoritch] There, you see! You are being made
a fool of.

  [Illustration: FRUITS OF CULTURE. ACT IV.

  ANNA PÁVLOVNA. There, you see! You are being made a fool of.]

TÁNYA. Let me go home, Anna Pávlovna!

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. No, my dear! You may have caused us a loss of thousands
of roubles. Land has been sold that ought not to be sold!

TÁNYA. Let me go, Anna Pávlovna!

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. No; you'll have to answer for it! Such tricks won't do.
We'll have you up before the Justice of the Peace!

BETSY [comes forward] Let her go, mamma. Or, if you wish to have her
tried, you must have me tried too! She and I did it together.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Well, of course, if _you_ have a hand in anything, what
can one expect but the very worst results!

    Enter the Professor.

PROFESSOR. How do you do, Anna Pávlovna? How do you do, Miss Betsy?
Leoníd Fyódoritch, I have brought you a report of the Thirteenth
Congress of Spiritualists at Chicago. An amazing speech by Schmidt!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Oh, that is interesting!

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. I will tell you something much more interesting! It turns
out that both you and my husband were fooled by this girl! Betsy takes
it on herself, but that is only to annoy me. It was an illiterate
peasant girl who fooled you, and you believed it all. There were no
mediumistic phenomena last night; it was she [pointing to Tánya] who did

PROFESSOR [taking off his overcoat] What do you mean?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. I mean that it was she who, in the dark, played on the
guitar and beat my husband on the head and performed all your idiotic
tricks--and she has just confessed!

PROFESSOR [smiling] What does that prove?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. It proves that your mediumism is--tomfoolery; that's what
it proves!

PROFESSOR. Because this young girl wished to deceive, we are to conclude
that mediumism is "tomfoolery," as you are pleased to express it?
[Smiles] A curious conclusion! Very possibly this young girl may have
wished to deceive: that often occurs. She may even have done something;
but then, what she did--_she_ did. But the manifestations of mediumistic
energy still remain manifestations of _mediumistic_ energy! It is even
very probable that what this young girl did, evoked (and so to say
solicited) the manifestation of mediumistic energy,--giving it a
definite form.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Another lecture!

PROFESSOR [sternly] You say, Anna Pávlovna, that this girl, and perhaps
this dear young lady also, did something; but the light we all saw, and,
in the first case the fall, and in the second the rise of temperature,
and Grossman's excitement and vibration--were those things also done by
this girl? And these are facts, Anna Pávlovna, facts! No! Anna
Pávlovna, there are things which must be investigated and fully
understood before they can be talked about, things too serious, too
serious ...

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. And the child that Márya Vasílevna distinctly saw?
Why, I saw it too.... That could not have been done by this girl.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. You think yourself wise, but you are--a fool.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, I'm going.... Alexéy Vladímiritch, will you
come? [Exit into his study].

PROFESSOR [shrugging his shoulders, follows] Oh, how far, how far, we
still lag behind Western Europe!

    Enter Jacob.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [following Leoníd Fyódoritch with her eyes] He has been
tricked like a fool, and he sees nothing! [To Jacob] What do you want?

JACOB. How many persons am I to lay the table for?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. For how many?... Theodore Ivánitch! Let him give up the
silver plate to you. Be off, at once! It is all his fault! This man will
bring me to my grave. Last night he nearly starved the dog that had done
him no harm! And, as if that were not enough, he lets the infected
peasants into the kitchen, and now they are here again! It is all his
fault! Be off at once! Discharge him, discharge him! [To Simon] And you,
horrid peasant, if you dare to have rows in my house again, I'll teach

SECOND PEASANT. All right, if he is a horrid peasant there's no good
keeping him; you'd better discharge him too, and there's an end of it.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA [while listening to him looks at Third Peasant] Only look!
Why, he has a rash on his nose--a rash! He is ill; he is a hotbed of
infection!! Did I not give orders, yesterday, that they were not to be
allowed into the house, and here they are again? Drive them out!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Then are we not to accept their money?

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Their money? Oh yes, take their money; but they must be
turned out at once, especially this one! He is quite rotten!

THIRD PEASANT. That's not just, lady. God's my witness, it's not just!
You'd better ask my old woman, let's say, whether I am rotten! I'm clear
as crystal, let's say.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA. He talks!... Off, off with him! It's all to spite me!...
Oh, I can't bear it, I can't!... Send for the doctor! [Runs away,
sobbing. Exit also Jacob and Gregory].

TÁNYA [to Betsy] Miss Elizabeth, darling, what am I to do now?

BETSY. Never mind, you go with them and I'll arrange it all. [Exit].

FIRST PEASANT. Well, your reverence, how about the reception of the sum

SECOND PEASANT. Let us settle up, and go.

THIRD PEASANT [fumbling with the packet of bank-notes] Had I known, I'd
not have come for the world. It's worse than a fever!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [to Doorkeeper] Show them into my room. There's a
counting-board there. I'll receive their money. Now go.

DOORKEEPER. Come along.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. And it's Tánya you have to thank for it. But for her
you'd not have had the land.

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it. As she made the proposal, so she put it
into effect.

THIRD PEASANT. She's made men of us. Else what were we? We had so little
land, no room to let a hen out, let's say, not to mention the cattle.
Good-bye, dear! When you get to the village, come to us and eat honey.

SECOND PEASANT. Let me get home and I'll start brewing the beer for the
wedding! You will come?

TÁNYA. Yes, I'll come, I'll come! [Shrieks] Simon, this is fine, isn't
it? [Exeunt Peasants].

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Well, Tánya, when you have your house I'll come to
visit you. Will you welcome me?

TÁNYA. Dear Theodore Ivánitch, just the same as we would our own father!
[Embraces and kisses him].


                      END OF "FRUITS OF CULTURE."

[ Transcriber's Note:

  The following is a list of corrections made to the original. The first
  line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

ALEXÉY VLADÍMIROVITCH KROUGOSVÉTLOF. A professor and scientist of about
ALEXÉY VLADÍMIRITCH KROUGOSVÉTLOF. A professor and scientist of about


PETRÍSTCHEF. Nothing. I only say, get some at any cost I will wait.
PETRÍSTCHEF. Nothing. I only say, get some at any cost. I will wait.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Then pay up and don't be stingy [To Theodore
VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Then pay up and don't be stingy. [To Theodore

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. What d'you think, Theodore Ivanítch, is he flush of
VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. What d'you think, Theodore Ivánitch, is he flush of

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I don't know. I hardly think so, But what does it
THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I don't know. I hardly think so. But what does it

COACHMAN. They'd better be brought here to Loukérya
COACHMAN. They'd better be brought here to Loukérya.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Excuse me a moment. [To Servants Cook] Where are the
VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Excuse me a moment. [To Servants' Cook] Where are the

do it out of spite. .. I turn them out from there, and they bring them
do it out of spite.... I turn them out from there, and they bring them

too!. . [Exit, sobbing, followed by Leoníd Fyódoritch].
too!... [Exit, sobbing, followed by Leoníd Fyódoritch].

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Then, I'll tell you what . .
THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Then, I'll tell you what ...

PETRÍSTCHEF [trembles] Oh, I'm afraid, I'm afraid! Márya Konstantínova,
PETRÍSTCHEF [trembles] Oh, I'm afraid, I'm afraid! Márya Konstantínovna,

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, it did get there! [Exit Theodore Ivánitch
LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, it did get there! [Exit, Theodore Ivánitch

        "A raft sails by,'
        "A raft sails by,"

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