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Title: Groza. English - The Storm
Author: Ostrovsky, Aleksandr Nikolaevich, 1823-1886
Language: English
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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.

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THE STORM

By Aleksandr Nicolaevich Ostrovsky


Translated By Constance Garnett



INTRODUCTION


Up to the years of the Crimean War Russia was always a strange, uncouth
riddle to the European consciousness. It would be an interesting study to
trace back through the last three centuries the evidence of the historical
documents that our forefathers have left us when they were brought face to
face, through missions, embassies, travel, and commerce, with the
fantastic life, as it seemed to them, led by the Muscovite. But in any
chance record we may pick up, from the reports of a seventeenth century
embassy down to the narrative of an early nineteenth century traveller,
the note always insisted on is that of all the outlandish civilisations,
queer manners and customs of Europeans, the Russian's were the queerest
and those standing furthest removed from the other nations'. And this
sentiment has prevailed to-day, side by side with the better understanding
we have gained of Russia. Nor can this conception, generally held among
us, which is a half truth, be removed by personal contact or mere
objective study; for example, of the innumerable memoirs published on the
Crimean war, it is rare to find one that gives us any real insight into
the nature of the Russian. And the conception itself can only be amended
and enlarged by the study of the Russian mind as it expresses itself in
its own literature. The mind of the great artist, of whatever race he
springs, cannot lie. From the works of Thackeray and George Eliot in
England and Turgenev and Tolstoi in Russia, a critic penetrates into the
secret places of the national life, where all the clever objective
pictures of foreign critics must lead him astray. Ostrovsky's drama, "The
Storm," here translated for the English reader, is a good instance of this
truth. It is a revelation of the old-fashioned Muscovite life _from the
inside_, and Ostrovsky thereby brings us in closer relation to that
primitive life than was in the power of Tolstoi or Goncharov, or even
Gogol to bring us. These great writers have given us admirable pictures of
the people's life as it appeared to them at the angle of the educated
Westernised Russian mind; but here in "The Storm" is the atmosphere of the
little Russian town, with its primitive inhabitants, merchants, and
workpeople, an atmosphere untouched, unadulterated by the _ideas_ of any
outside European influence. It is the Russia of Peter the Great and
Catherine's time, the Russian patriarchal family life that has existed for
hundreds of years through all the towns and villages of Great Russia, that
lingers indeed to-day in out-of-the-way corners of the Empire, though now
invaded and much broken up by modern influences. It is, in fact, the very
Muscovite life that so puzzled our forefathers, and that no doubt will
seem strange to many English readers. But the special triumph of "The
Storm" is that although it is a realistic picture of old-fashioned Russian
patriarchal life, it is one of the deepest and simplest psychological
analyses of the Russian soul ever made. It is a very deep though a very
narrow analysis. Katerina, the heroine, to the English will seem weak, and
crushed through her weakness; but to a Russian she typifies revolt,
freedom, a refusal to be bound by the cruelty of life. And her attitude,
despairing though it seems to us, is indeed the revolt of the spirit in a
land where Tolstoi's doctrine of non-resistance is the logical outcome of
centuries of serfdom in a people's history. The merchant Dikoy, the bully,
the soft characterless lover Boris, the idealistic religious Katerina,
Kuligin the artisan, and Madame Kabanova, the tyrannical mother, all these
are true national types, true Russians of the changing ages, and the
counterparts of these people may be met to-day, if the reader takes up
Tehehov's tales. English people no doubt will find it difficult to believe
that Madame Kabanova could so have crushed Katerina's life, as Ostrovsky
depicts. Nothing indeed is so antagonistic to English individualism and
independence as is the passivity of some of the characters in "The Storm."
But the English reader's very difficulty in this respect should give him a
clue to much that has puzzled Europeans, should help him to penetrate into
the strangeness of Russian political life, the strangeness of her love of
despotism. Only in the country that produces such types of weakness and
tyranny is possible the fettering of freedom of thought and act that we
have in Russia to-day. Ostrovsky's striking analysis of this fatalism in
the Russian soul will help the reader to understand the unending struggle
in Russia between the enlightened Europeanised intelligence of the few,
and the apathy of the vast majority of Russians who are disinclined to
rebel against the crystallised conditions of their lives. Whatever may be
strange and puzzling in "The Storm" to the English mind, there is no doubt
that the Russians hail the picture as essentially true. The violence of
such characters as Madame Kabanova and Dikoy may be weakened to-day
everywhere by the gradual undermining of the patriarchal family system now
in progress throughout Russia, but the picture is in essentials a
criticism of the national life. On this point the Russian critic
Dobroliubov, criticising "The Storm," says: "The need for justice, for
respect for personal rights, this is the cry ... that rises up to the ear
of every attentive reader. Well, can we deny the wide application of this
need in Russia? Can we fail to recognise that such a dramatic background
corresponds with the true condition of Russian society? Take history,
think of our life, look about you, everywhere you will find justification
of our words. This is not the place to launch out into historical
investigation; it is enough to point out that our history up to the most
recent times has not fostered among us the development of a respect for
equity, has not created any solid guarantees for personal rights, and has
left a wide field to arbitrary tyranny and caprice." This criticism of
Dobroliubov's was written in 1860, the date of the play; but we have only
to look back at the internal history of Russia for the last thirty years
to see that it too "has not created any solid guarantees for personal
rights, and has left a wide field to arbitrary tyranny and caprice." And
here is Ostrovsky's peculiar merit, that he has in his various dramas
penetrated deeper than any other of the great Russian authors into one of
the most fundamental qualities of the Russian nature--its innate tendency
to arbitrary power, oppression, despotism. Nobody has drawn so powerfully,
so truly, so incisively as he, the type of the 'samodour' or 'bully,' a
type that plays a leading part in every strata of Russian life. From
Turgenev we learn more of the reverse side of the Russian character, its
lack of will, tendency to weakness, dreaminess and passivity: and it is
this aspect that the English find it so hard to understand, when they
compare the characters in the great Russian novels with their own idea of
Russia's formidable power. The people and the nation do not seem to
correspond. But the riddle may be read in the coexistence of Russia's
internal weakness and misery along with her huge force, and the immense
rôle she fills as a civilising power. In "The Storm" we have all the
contradictory elements: a life strongly organised, yet weak within;
strength and passivity, despotism and fatalism side by side.

The author of "The Storm," Alexander Ostrovsky (born in Moscow 1823, died
1886), is acknowledged to be the greatest of the Russian dramatists. He
has been called "a specialist in the natural history of the Russian
merchant," and his birth, upbringing, family connections and vocations
gave him exceptional facilities for penetrating into the life of that
class which he was the first to put into Russian literature. His best
period was from 1850 to 1860, but all his work received prompt and
universal recognition from his countrymen. In 1859 Dobroliubov's famous
article, "The Realm of Darkness," appeared, analysing the contents of all
Ostrovsky's dramas, and on the publication of "The Storm" in 1860, it was
followed by another article from the same critic, "A Ray of Light in the
Realm of Darkness." These articles were practically a brief for the case
of the Liberals, or party of Progress, against the official and Slavophil
party. Ostrovsky's dramas in general are marked by intense sombreness,
biting humour and merciless realism. "The Storm" is the most poetical of
his works, but all his leading plays still hold the stage.

"The Storm" will repay a minute examination by all who recognise that in
England to-day we have a stage without art, truth to life, or national
significance. There is not a superfluous line in the play: all is drama,
natural, simple, deep. There is no _falsity_, no forced situations, no
sensational effects, none of the shallow or flashy caricatures of daily
life that our heterogeneous public demands. All the reproach that lives
for us in the word _theatrical_ is worlds removed from "The Storm." The
people who like 'farcical comedy' and social melodrama, and 'musical
sketches' will find "The Storm" deep, forbidding and gloomy. The critic
will find it an abiding analysis of a people's temperament. The reader
will find it literature.

E. G. _November_, 1898.



THE STORM



DRAMATIS PERSONÆ


SAVIL PROKOFIEVITCH DIKOY, _a merchant, and personage of importance in the
town_.

BORIS GRIGORIEVITCH, _his nephew, a young man of good education_.

MARFA IGNATIEVNA KABANOVA, _a rich merchant's widow_.

TIHON IVANITCH KABANOV, _her son_.

KATERINA, _his wife_.

VARVARA, _sister of Tihon_.

KULIGIN, _a man of artisan class, a self-taught watchmaker, engaged in
trying to discover the secret of perpetual motion_.

VANIA KUDRIASH, _a young man, clerk to Dikoy_.

SHAPKIN, _an artisan_.

FEKLUSHA, _a pilgrim woman_.

GLASHA, _a maid servant in the Kabanovs' house_.

AN OLD LADY _of seventy, half mad, with_ TWO FOOTMEN.

TOWNSPEOPLE _of both sexes_.


_The action takes place in the town of Kalinov, on the banks of the Volga,
in summertime. There is an interval of ten days between the 3rd and 4th
acts. All the characters except Boris are dressed in old Russian national
dress._



ACT I



SCENE I


A public garden on the steep bank of the Volga; beyond the Volga, a view
of the country. On the stage two benches and a few bushes.

KULIGIN (_sitting on a bench, looking towards the river_).

KUDRIASH and SHAPKIN (_walking up and down_).


KULIGIN (_singing_).
"Amidst the level dales, upon a sloping hillside,"... (_ceases singing_)
Wonderful, one really must say it's wonderful! Kudriash! Do you know, I've
looked upon the Volga every day these fifty years and I can never get
tired of looking upon it.

KUDRIASH.
How's that?

KULIGIN.
It's a marvellous view! Lovely! It sets my heart rejoicing.

KUDRIASH.
It's not bad.

KULIGIN.
It's exquisite! And you say "not bad"! You are tired of it, or you don't
feel the beauty there is in nature.

KUDRIASH.
Come, there's no use talking to you! You're a genuine antique, we all
know, a chemical genius.

KULIGIN.
Mechanical, a self-taught mechanician.

KUDRIASH.
It's all one.

[_Silence._

KULIGIN (_pointing away_).
Look, Kudriash, who's that waving his arms about over there?

KUDRIASH.
There? Oh, that's Dikoy pitching into his nephew.

KULIGIN.
A queer place to do it!

KUDRIASH.
All places are alike to him. He's not afraid of any one! Boris Grigoritch
is in his clutches now, so he is always bullying him.

SHAPKIN.
Yes, you wouldn't find another bully like our worthy Saviol Prokofitch in
a hurry! He pulls a man up for nothing at all.

KUDRIASH.
He is a stiff customer.

SHAPKIN.
Old Dame Kabanova's a good hand at that too!

KUDRIASH.
Yes, but she at least does it all under pretence of morality; he's like a
wild beast broken loose!

SHAPKIN.
There's no one to bring him to his senses, so he rages about as he likes!

KUDRIASH.
There are too few lads of my stamp or we'd have broken him of it.

SHAPKIN.
Why, what would you have done?

KUDRIASH.
We'd have given him a good scare.

SHAPKIN.
How'd you do that?

KUDRIASH.
Why, four or five of us would have had a few words with him, face to face,
in some back street, and he'd soon have been as soft as silk. And he'd
never have let on to a soul about the lesson we'd given him; he'd just
have walked off and taken care to look behind him.

SHAPKIN.
I see he'd some reason for wanting to get you sent for a soldier.

KUDRIASH.
He wanted to, right enough, but he didn't do it. No, he won't get rid of
me; he's an inkling that I'd make him pay too dear for it. You're afraid
of him, but I know how to talk to him.

SHAPKIN.
Oh, I daresay!

KUDRIASH.
What do you mean by that? I am reckoned a tough one to deal with. Why do
you suppose he keeps me on? Because he can't do without me, to be sure.
Well, then, I've no need to be afraid of him; let him be afraid of me.

SHAPKIN.
Why, doesn't he swear at you?

KUDRIASH.
Swear at me! Of course; he can't breathe without that. But I don't give
way to him: if he says one word, I say ten; he curses and goes off. No,
I'm not going to lick the dust for him.

KULIGIN.
What, follow his example! You'd do better to bear it in patience.

KUDRIASH.
Come, I say, if you're so wise, teach him good manners first and then
we'll learn! It's a pity his daughters are all children, there's not one
grown-up girl among them.

SHAPKIN.
What if there were?

KUDRIASH.
I should treat him as he deserves if there were. I'm a devil of a fellow
among the girls!

[_Dikoy and Boris advance. Kuligin takes off his hat._

SHAPKIN (_to Kudriash_).
Let us move off; he'll pick a quarrel with us, very likely.

[_They move off a little._



SCENE II.

The Same, DIKOY and BORIS.


DIKOY.
Did you come here to loaf about in idleness? eh? Lazy good for nothing
fellow, confound you!

BORIS.
It's a holiday; what could I be doing at home?

DIKOY.
You'd find work to do if you wanted to. I've said it once, and I've said
it twice, "don't dare to let me come across you"; you're incorrigible!
Isn't there room enough for you? Go where one will, there you are! Damn
you! Why do you stand there like a post? Do you hear what's said to you?

BORIS.
I'm listening,--what more am I to do?

DIKOY (_looking at Boris_).
Get away with you! I won't talk to a Jesuit like you. (_Going_) To come
forcing himself on me here!

[_Spits and exit_.



SCENE III


KULIGIN, BORIS, KUDRIASH, and SHAPKIN.


KULIGIN.
What have you to do with him, sir? We can't make it out. What can induce
you to live with him and put up with his abuse?

BORIS.
A poor inducement, Kuligin! I'm not free.

KULIGIN.
But how are you not free, allow me to ask you. If you can tell us, sir,
do.

BORIS.
Why not? You knew our grandmother, Anfisa Mihalovna?

KULIGIN.
To be sure I did!

KUDRIASH.
I should think we did!

BORIS.
She quarrelled with my father you know because he married into a noble
family. It was owing to that that my father and mother lived in Moscow. My
mother used to tell me that she could hardly endure life for three days
together with my father's relations, it all seemed so rough and coarse to
her.

KULIGIN.
Well it might! you have to be used to it from the first, sir, to be able
to bear it.

BORIS.
Our parents brought us up well in Moscow, they spared no expense. They
sent me to the Commercial Academy, and my sister to a boarding school, but
they both died suddenly of cholera. We were left orphans, my sister and I.
Then we heard that our grandmother was dead here, and had left a will that
our uncle was to pay us a fair share of her fortune, when we came of age,
only upon one condition.

KULIGIN.
And what was that, sir?

BORIS.
If we showed a proper respect for his authority.

KULIGIN.
Then there's no doubt, sir, you'll never see your fortune.

BORIS.
No, but that's not all, Kuligin! First he finds fault with us to his
heart's content, and ends none the less with giving us nothing, or some
tiny dole. And then he'll go making out that it's a great favour, and that
he ought not to have done even that.

KUDRIASH.
That's just the way the merchants go on among us. Besides, if you were
ever so respectful to him, who's to hinder him from saying you're
disrespectful?

BORIS.
To be sure. And indeed he sometimes will say: I've children of my own, why
should I give money away to outsiders? Am I to wrong my own like that?

KULIGIN.
It's plain, sir, you're not in luck's way.

BORIS.
If it were only me, I wouldn't care! I'd throw it all up and go away. But
I'm sorry for my sister. He did write for her to come too, but mother's
relations wouldn't let her, they wrote she wasn't well. It frightens me to
think what the life here would be for her.

KUDRIASH.
Of course. The master's no decent manners at all.

KULIGIN.
In what capacity do you live with him, sir; what arrangement has he made
with you?

BORIS.
Why, none whatever; "you live with me," he says, "and do what you're told,
and your pay shall be what I give you," that's to say, in a year's time
he'll settle up with me as he thinks fit.

KUDRIASH.
That's just his way. Not one of us dare as much as hint at a salary, or he
storms till he's black in the face. "How do you know," he'll say, "what I
have in my mind to do? Do you suppose you can see into my heart? Maybe, I
shall be so disposed as to give you five thousand." It's no use talking to
him! Only you may be pretty sure he's never been disposed that way in his
life.

KULIGIN.
It's a hard case, sir! You must try and get the right side of him somehow.

BORIS.
But the point is, Kuligin, that it's impossible. Why, even his own
children can never do anything to please him; so it's hardly likely I
could!

KUDRIASH.
Who could please him, when his whole life's spent in bullying people?
Especially where money's at stake; no accounts are ever settled without
storms of abuse. Often people are glad to go short of their due, if only
he'll let them off quietly. Woe to us if anyone vexes him in the morning!
He falls foul of everyone all day long.

BORIS.
Every morning my aunt entreats us with tears in her eyes: "Don't anger
him, friends! Dear boys, don't anger him!"

KUDRIASH.
But you can never avoid it! If he goes to the bazaar, it's all up! He
scolds all the peasants. Even if they ask him less than cost price they
never get off without abuse. And then he's upset for the whole day.

SHAPKIN.
He's a bully--there's no other word for him.

KUDRIASH.
A bully? I should think he is!

BORIS.
And what's fatal is if some man offends him, whom he daren't be rude to.
Then all his household have to look out for themselves!

KUDRIASH.
Bless my soul! That was a joke though. Didn't that hussar let him have it
on the Volga, at the ferry! Oh, a lovely shindy he kicked up afterwards,
too.

BORIS.
Ah, and didn't his family suffer for it! Why, for a fortnight after we
were all hiding away in the attics and cupboards.

KULIGIN.
Surely that's not the folk coming back from vespers?

[_Several persons pass in the background_.

KUDRIASH.
Come on, Shapkin, let's get a drink! It's no good stopping here.

[_They bow and exeunt_.

BORIS.
Oh, Kuligin, it's awfully hard here for me who've not been used to it.
Everyone seems to look with unfriendly eyes at me, as though I were not
wanted here, as though I were in their way. I don't understand the ways
here. I know this is truly Russia, my own country, but still I can't get
used to it.

KULIGIN.
And you never will get used to it, sir.

BORIS.
Why?

KULIGIN.
They're a coarse lot, sir, in our town, a coarse lot! Among the working
people, sir, you'll find nothing but brutality and squalid poverty. And
we've no chance, sir, of ever finding our way out of it. For by honest
labour we can never earn more than a crust of bread. And everyone with
money, sir, tries all he can to get a poor man under his thumb, so as to
make more money again out of his working for nothing. Do you know the
answer your uncle, Saviol Prokofitch, made to the provost? The peasants
were always coming to the provost with complaints that your uncle never
paid one of them fairly according to agreement. The provost said to him at
last: "Look here," says he, "Saviol Prokofitch, you must pay the peasants
what's fairly owing to them! Every day they come to me with some
complaint!" Your uncle slapped the provost on the shoulder, and says he:
"It's not worth while, your Worship, for you and me to waste our breath
over such petty details! I have to do with numbers of peasants in the
course of the year; you can understand, if I pay them a paltry farthing
short, every man of them, it mounts up to thousands, and a capital thing
too for me!" Think of that, sir! And the way they treat one another too,
sir! They injure each other's trade all they can, and that not so much
from self-interest, as from envy. They are always at feud with one
another. They entertain in their grand mansions drunken attorneys' clerks,
wretched creatures, sir, that hardly look like human beings. And they, for
a small tip, will cover sheets of stamped paper with malicious quibbling
attacks on their neighbours. And then there's a lawsuit commences between
them, sir, and no end to the worry and fret. They bring it before the
court here, and go off to the chief town, and there everyone in court is
on the look-out for them and they clap their hands with glee when they see
them. Words do not take long, but deeds are not soon done. They are
dragged from court to court, they are worn out with delays; but they are
positively delighted at that; it's just that they want. "I've lost a lot
of money," one will say, "but it's cost him a pretty penny too!" I did try
to put it all into verse....

BORIS.
Why, do you make verse?

KULIGIN.
Yes, sir, in the old-fashioned style. I have read Lomonosov and Derzhavin.
Lomonosov was a deep thinker, an investigator of nature.... And he was
one of us plain working folk too.

BORIS.
You should write. That would be interesting.

KULIGIN.
How could I, sir! They'd tear me to pieces, they'd skin me alive. Even as
it is, sir, I have had to pay for my chattering; but I can't help it, I
love to speak my mind freely. I meant to say something about their family
life, sir, but we'll talk of that some other time. There's plenty to tell
about that too.

[_Enter Feklusha and another woman_.

FEKLUSHA.
De-lightful, my clear, de-lightful! Divinely beautiful! But what's the use
of talking! You live in the Promised Land, simply! And the merchant gentry
are all a devout people, and famed for many a virtue! liberality and much
almsgiving! I am well content, my good soul, full to the brim of content!
For their liberality to us will their abundance be greatly increased,
especially in the house of Kabanova.

[_Exeunt_.

BORIS.
Kabanova?

KULIGIN.
A fanatical hypocrite, sir. She gives to the poor, but her own household
she worries to death. (_Silence_.) All I want, sir, is to find out the
secret of perpetual motion!

BORIS.
Why, what would you do?

KULIGIN.
How can you ask, sir! Why, the English offer millions for it. I should use
all the money for public purposes,--we want to provide work for the
working people. Here they have hands to work, and no work to do.

BORIS.
And you hope to discover perpetual motion?

KULIGIN.
Not a doubt, I shall, sir! I have only to scrape up enough money for
models. Good-bye, sir!

[_Exit_.



SCENE IV


BORIS (_alone_).
I haven't the heart to disillusion him! What a good fellow! He dreams and
is happy. But I, it seems, must waste my youth in this wretched hole. I
was utterly crushed before, and now this madness creeping into my mind! So
suitable! Me give myself up to tender sentiments! Trampled upon,
broken-spirited, and as if that's not enough, in my idiocy I must needs
fall in love! And of all people in the world! With a woman, whom I may
never have the luck to speak a word to. (_Silence_.) But for all that, I
can't get her out of my head, try as I will. Here she is! Coming with her
husband, oh! and the mother-in-law with them! Ah, what a fool I am! I must
snatch a look at her round the corner, and then home again.

[_Exit. From the opposite side, enter Mme. Kabanova, Kabanov, Katerina and
Varvara_.]



SCENE V

MADAME KABANOVA, KABANOV, KATERINA and VARVARA.


MME. KABANOVA.
If you care to listen to your mother, you'll do as I have told you,
directly you get there.

KABANOV.
How could I possibly disobey you, mother!

MME. KABANOVA.
Young folks show little respect to their elders, nowadays.

VARVARA (_to herself_).
Not respect you, my dear? That's likely!

KABANOV.
I think, mamma, I never depart a hairsbreadth from your will.

MME. KABANOVA.
I might believe you, my son, if I hadn't seen with my own eyes and heard
with my own ears how little reverence parents receive nowadays from
children! They might at least remember all the sufferings a mother has to
put up with for her children.

KABANOV.
Mamma, I....

MME. KABANOVA.
If the mother that bore you does at times say a word that wounds your
pride surely you might put up with it! Hey, what do you think?

KABANOV.
But, mamma, when have I not put up with anything from you?

MME. KABANOVA.
The mother's old, and foolish, to be sure; you young people must not be
too exacting with us old fools.

KABANOV (_sighs, aside_).
Oh, merciful Heavens! (_To his mother_) We should never dare think such a
thing for a moment, mamma!

MME. KABANOVA.
It's out of love that parents are severe with you, out of love they scold
even--they're always thinking how to train you in the right way. To be
sure, that's not in favour nowadays. And children go about among folks
proclaiming that their mother's a scold, that their mother won't let them
stir, that she's the plague of their life. And if--Lord save us--some word
of hers doesn't please her daughter-in-law, then it's the talk all over
the place, that the mother-in-law worries her to death.

KABANOV.
You don't mean that anyone talks about you, mamma?

MME. KABANOVA.
I haven't heard so, my son, I haven't; I don't want to tell a lie about
it. If I had, indeed, I shouldn't be talking to you like this, my dear.
(_Sighs_) Ah, sin is a heavy burden! Sin is never far off! Something said
goes to the heart, and there, one sins, one gets angry. No, my son, say
what you like about me, there's no forbidding anyone to talk; if they
don't dare before one's face, they'll do it behind one's back.

KABANOV.
May my tongue wither up and...

MME. KABANOVA.
Hush, hush, don't swear! It's a sin! I've seen plain enough for a long
time past that your wife's dearer to you than your mother. Ever since you
were married, I don't see the same love for me that I did in you.

KABANOV.
In what way do you see me changed, mamma?

MME. KABANOVA.
In everything, my son! When a mother doesn't see a thing with her eyes,
her heart's so sensitive she can feel it with her heart. Or maybe it's
your wife sets you against me, I can't say.

KABANOV.
Oh no, mamma! how can you say so, really?

KATERINA.
I look upon you as I would on my own mother, and indeed Tihon loves you
too.

MME. KABANOVA.
You might hold your tongue, I should think, till you're asked a question.
You've no need to defend him, young madam, I'm not going to hurt him, no
fear! He's my son too, let me tell you; don't you forget it! What do you
want to fire up and display your feelings before folks for! That we may
see you love your husband? We know that, we know that, you show off before
everyone.

VARVARA (_to herself_).
A nice place she's pitched on to read us a sermon!

KATERINA.
You have no need to say that of me, mamma. I am just the same before
people, as I am by myself. I make no show of anything.

MME. KABANOVA.
And I'd no intention of speaking about you at all, but it happened to come
up.

KATERINA.
Even so, why need you attack me?

MME. KABANOVA.
My, what a stuck-up thing she is! Here she's in a huff directly!

KATERINA.
No one likes to put up with unjust blame.

MME. KABANOVA.
I know, I know my words are not to your liking, but that can't be helped.
I'm not a stranger to you, it makes my heart grieve to see you. I've seen
for a long time past that you want your own way. Well, well, you've only
to wait a bit, you'll have it all your own way when I'm dead and gone.
Then to be sure you can do as you please, there'll be no elders then to
look after you. And, maybe, you will think of me then.

KABANOV.
But we pray God night and day for you, mamma, that God may grant you
health, and every blessing and success in all you do.

MME. KABANOVA.
Come, give over, please. I daresay you did love your mother, while you
were a bachelor. But you've no thoughts for me now you've a young wife.

KABANOV.
The one doesn't hinder the other. A wife is something different, but for
my mother I have a reverence quite apart.

MME. KABANOVA.
Then would you give up your wife rather than your mother? No, that I'll
never believe.

KABANOV.
But why should I give up either? I love both.

MME. KABANOVA.
Oh, I daresay, I daresay, you may talk away! I see plain enough that I'm a
hindrance to you.

KABANOV.
You must think as you please, it's for you to decide in everything. Only I
can't comprehend why I was ever born into the world so unlucky as not to
be able to please you anyhow.

MME. KABANOVA.
What do you mean by whimpering like a sick child! A pretty husband, upon
my word! You should just see yourself! Do you suppose your wife will fear
you after that?

KABANOV.
Why should she fear me? I'm content, if she loves me.

MME. KABANOVA.
Why should she fear you! Why should she fear you! What do you mean? Why,
you must be crazy! If she doesn't fear you, she's not likely to fear me. A
pretty state of confusion there would be in the house! Why, you're living
with her in lawful wedlock, aren't you? Or does the law count for nothing
to your thinking? If you do harbour such fools' notions in your brain, you
shouldn't talk so before her anyway, nor before your sister, that's a girl
still. She'll have to be married too; and if she catches up your silly
talk it's her husband will thank us afterwards for the lessons we've
taught her. You see how little sense you've got, and yet you want to be
independent and live as you like.

KABANOV.
But indeed, mamma, I don't want to be independent. How ever could I be
independent!

MME. KABANOVA.
So, to your thinking then, kindness is all that's needed with a wife?
Mustn't even scold her then, or threaten her?

KABANOV.
But, indeed, mamma....

MME. KABANOVA (_hotly_).
Wait till she sets up a lover.... Hey! But I daresay that's no
consequence either, to your thinking? Hey? Come, speak?

KABANOV.
But, mercy on us, mamma....

MME. KABANOVA (_perfectly coolly_).
Fool! (_Sighs_) What's the use of talking to a fool! it's simply a sin!
(_Silence_) I'm going home.

KABANOV.
We'll come directly too; we'll only take one or two more turns on the
parade.

MME. KABANOVA.
Very well; do as you like, only mind you don't keep me waiting! You know I
don't like that.

KABANOV.
Oh no, mamma! God forbid!

MME. KABANOVA.
Mind you don't then!

[_Goes_.



SCENE VI

The Same, except MME. KABANOVA.


KABANOV.
There, you see how I always catch it from mamma on your account! A nice
sort of life I lead!

KATERINA.
Is it my fault?

KABANOV.
I don't know whose fault it is.

VARVARA.
Is it likely you would know?

KABANOV.
She used to keep on at me, "You must get a wife, you must get a wife, I'm
longing to see you a married man." And now she worries my life out, and
gives me no peace--all on your account.

VARVARA.
Well, it's not her fault! Mother attacks her, and you too. And then you
say you love your wife. It makes me sick to look at you. (_Turns away_.)

KABANOV.
Talk away! What am I to do?

VARVARA.
Mind your own business--hold your tongue, if you can't do anything better.
Why do you stand there shilly-shallying? I can see by your face what's in
your mind.

KABANOV.
Why, what?

VARVARA.
What?--Why, that you want to go in and have a drink with Saviol
Prokofitch. Eh? isn't that it?

KABANOV.
You've hit it, old girl.

KATERINA.
Come back quickly, Tihon dear, or mamma will be scolding again.

VARVARA.
Yes, indeed, you must look sharp, or you'll know what to expect.

KABANOV.
I should think I do!

VARVARA.
We've no great desire to get into a row for your sake either.

KABANOV.
I'll fly. Wait for me!

[_Goes_.



SCENE VII

KATERINA and VARVARA.


KATERINA.
So you are sorry for me, Varia?

VARVARA (_looking away_).
Of course, I am.

KATERINA.
Then you love me, don't you? (_Kisses her warmly._)

VARVARA.
Love you? Of course.

KATERINA.
Thank you! you are so sweet, I love you dearly. (_Silence_) Do you know
what I'm thinking?

VARVARA.
What?

KATERINA.
What a pity people can't fly!

VARVARA.
I don't know what you mean.

KATERINA.
What a pity people can't fly like birds. Do you know I sometimes fancy I'm
a bird. When one stands on a high hill, one feels a longing to fly. One
would take a little run, throw up one's arms, and fly away! Couldn't we
try it now? (_Makes as though she would run._)

VARVARA.
What will you make up next?

KATERINA (_sighs_).
How I used to love play and frolic! But in your house I'm growing old and
spiritless.

VARVARA.
Do you suppose I don't see it?

KATERINA.
How different I used to be! I lived without a care in my heart, as free as
a bird. Mother adored me, dressed me up like a doll, and never forced me
to work; I could do just as I liked. Do you know how I passed my days as a
girl? I'll tell you. I used to get up early; if it was summer I used to go
to the spring, and bathe, and bring back water with me, and water all the
flowers in the house, every one of them. Then mother and I used to go to
church, and all the pilgrim women--our house was simply full of pilgrims
and holy women. We used to come back from church, and sit down to some
work, often embroidery in gold on velvet, while the pilgrim women would
tell us where they had been, what they had seen, and the different ways of
living in the world, or else they would sing songs. And so the time would
pass till dinner. Then the older women lay down for a nap, while I would
run about in the garden. Then evensong, and in the evening, stories and
singing again. Ah, those were happy days!

VARVARA.
But it's pretty much the same with us, if you come to that.

KATERINA.
Yes, but here one feels somehow in a cage. And how passionately I loved
being in church! It was like stepping into Paradise, and I saw no one and
had no thought of time and did not hear when the service was over. It was
just as if it were all in one second. Mother used to say that often
everyone looked at me and wondered what had come over me! And you know, on
a sunny day, such a column of light streamed down from the golden cupola,
and a sort of mist moving in the light, like smoke, and at times I seemed
to see angels flying and singing in that bright light. And sometimes, dear
girl, I would get up at night--we had lamps always burning all over our
house,--and fall down in some corner and pray till morning. Or I would go
out into the garden early in the morning, when the sun was just rising,
fall on my knees and pray and weep, and not know myself what I prayed and
wept for; and so they would find me sometimes. And what I was praying for
then, what I besought God for--I couldn't say. I wanted nothing, I had
enough of everything. And what dreams I used to have, dear Varia, what
lovely dreams! Golden temples or gardens of some wonderful sort, and
voices of unseen spirits singing, and the sweet scent of cypress and
mountains and trees, not such as we always see, but as they are painted in
the holy pictures. And sometimes I seemed to be flying, simply flying in
the air. I dream sometimes now, but not often, and never dreams like
those.

VARVARA.
Why, what then?

KATERINA (_after a pause_).
I shall die soon.

VARVARA.
What nonsense!

KATERINA.
No, I know I shall die. Oh, dear girl, something not good is happening
with me, something strange. It has never been like this with me before.
There is something in me so incomprehensible. As though I were beginning
to live again, or ... I don't know what.

VARVARA.
What is the matter with you?

KATERINA (_taking her hand_).
I'll tell you, Varia; some dreadful sin is coming upon me! I have such a
terror in my heart, such terror! As though I am standing on the edge of a
precipice and someone is pushing me in, and I have nothing to cling to.

[_Clutches her head in her hand._]

VARVARA.
What's wrong with you? You can't be well.

KATERINA.
Yes, I am well.... It would be better if I were ill, it's worse as it is.
A dream keeps creeping into my mind, and I cannot get away from it. I try
to think--I can't collect my thoughts, I try to pray--but I can't get free
by prayer. My lips murmur the words but my heart is far away; as though
the evil one were whispering in my ear, and always of such wicked things.
And such thoughts rise up within me, that I'm ashamed of myself. What is
wrong with me? There's some trouble, something before me! At night I do
not sleep, Varia, a sort of murmur haunts me; someone seems speaking so
tenderly to me, as it were cooing to me like a dove. And now I never
dream, Varia, those old dreams, of trees and mountains in Paradise; but
it's as though someone were clasping me passionately--so passionately and
leading me, and I follow him, I follow.

VARVARA.
Well?

KATERINA.
But what things I am saying to you, a young girl like you.

VARVARA (_looking about her_).
You can tell me! I'm worse than you.

KATERINA.
Oh what am I to tell you? I'm ashamed.

VARVARA.
You've no need! Tell away.

KATERINA.
I am stifling, stifling at home, I should like to run away. And the fancy
comes to me that if I were my own mistress, I would float down the Volga
now, in a boat, to the singing of songs, or I would drive right away
clasped close....

VARVARA.
But not with your husband.

KATERINA.
How do you know that?

VARVARA.
As if I didn't know!

KATERINA.
Ah, Varia, there is sin in my heart! Alas, how often I have wept, I have
done everything I can think of! I can't get free from this sin. I can't
escape. Varia, it is wicked, it is a fearful sin--I love someone else!

VARVARA.
I'm not likely to be hard upon you! I've sins enough of my own.

KATERINA.
What am I to do? I'm at the end of my strength, where can I find help. I'm
so wretched, I shall do something dreadful.

VARVARA.
Mercy on us! what is coming to you! Come, wait a bit, brother's going away
to-morrow, we'll think of something; maybe, you'll be able to see each
other.

KATERINA.
No, no, that must not be! What are you saying! God forbid!

VARVARA.
Why are you frightened?

KATERINA.
If I were once to see and speak with him, I should run away from home, I
would not go back home for anything in the world.

VARVARA.
Oh well, wait a little, and then we shall see.

KATERINA.
No, no, don't talk to me, I don't want to hear!

VARVARA.
Why wear yourself out for nothing? You may die of grieving, do you suppose
they'll be sorry for you? Come, wait a bit. Why, what's the good of making
yourself miserable?

[_Enter the Old Lady with a stick and two footmen in three-cornered hats
behind her._



SCENE VIII

The same and the OLD LADY.


OLD LADY.
Hey, my pretty charmers? What are you doing here? Waiting for young
fellows, waiting for your beaus? Are your hearts merry? Merry are they?
Are you pleased and proud of your beauty? That's where beauty leads to.
(_Points to the Volga_) Yes, yes, to the bottomless pit! (_Varvara
smiles._) What, laughing? Let not your heart rejoice! (_Knocks with her
stick_) You will burn all of you in a fire unquenchable. You will boil in
the lake of flaming pitch. (_Going_) That is whither beauty leads you!

[_Goes._



SCENE IX

KATERINA and VARVARA.


KATERINA.
Ah, how she frightened me! I'm trembling all over, as if she were
foretelling something for me.

VARVARA.
Her curse fall on her own head, the old witch!

KATERINA.
What was it she said, eh? what did she say?

VARVARA.
It was all rubbish. It's silly to listen to her raving. She foretells evil
like that to everyone. She was a sinner all her life from her youth up.
You should hear the stories they tell about her. So now she's afraid of
death. And she must try and frighten others with what she dreads herself.
Why even the little street boys hide away from her; she shakes her stick
at them and growls (_mimicking_) "you'll all burn in fire unquenchable!"

KATERINA (_shrinking_).
Ah, ah, stop! I can't bear it!

VARVARA.
There's nothing to be frightened of! An old fool....

KATERINA.
I am afraid, terribly afraid! I seem to see her all the while before us.
[_Silence._

VARVARA (_looking round_).
I say, brother doesn't come, and yonder there's a storm coming up.

KATERINA (_in terror_).
A storm! Let us run home! Make haste!

VARVARA.
Why, are you crazy? How can you show yourself at home without my brother?

KATERINA.
No, let us go home! Never mind him!

VARVARA.
But why are you so awfully frightened? The storm's a long way off yet.

KATERINA.
If it's so far off, we'll wait then a little, if you like; but really it
would be better to go. Yes, we'd better go home.

VARVARA.
But if anything were to happen, you know, you'd be no safer at home.

KATERINA.
No, but still, it's better there, it's quieter; at home one can turn to
the holy pictures and pray to God!

VARVARA.
I didn't know you were so afraid of a thunderstorm. I'm not afraid, you
see.

KATERINA.
Don't talk of not being afraid! Everyone must be afraid. What is dreadful
is not it's killing you, but that death may overtake you all of a sudden,
just as you are, with all your sins, with all your erring thoughts. I have
no fear of death, but when I think that I shall be brought all at once
before the face of God just as I am here, with you, after this
talk,--that's what is awful! What I had in my heart! What wickedness!
fearful to think of! (_Thunder._) Ah!

[_Enter Kabanov._

VARVARA.
Here comes my brother. (_To Kabanov_) Hurry up!

[_Thunder._

KATERINA.
Ah! Make haste! Make haste!



ACT II



SCENE I

A room in the house of the Kabanovs.

GLASHA (_packing up clothes in a bundle_).

_Enter_ FEKLUSHA.


FEKLUSHA.
Dear girl, always at work! What are you doing, my dear?

GLASHA.
I'm getting the master's things ready for his journey.

FEKLUSHA.
Is he going away then--the light of our eyes?

GLASHA.
Yes.

FEKLUSHA.
Is he going to be away long, my dear?

GLASHA.
No, not long.

FEKLUSHA.
Well, God speed him on his way! And say, will the young mistress do a wail
for his going or not?

GLASHA.
That I can't say, really.

FEKLUSHA.
But she does wail at times, I suppose?

GLASHA.
Never heard of her doing it.

FEKLUSHA.
Well now, my dear, if there's one thing I love, it's to hear a wail well
done! (_Silence._) And mind you keep a sharp look out, my girl, on the
beggar woman below, that she don't lay her hands on anything.

GLASHA.
Who's to tell the rights and wrongs of it with you begging pilgrims, you
all speak ill of one another. Why can't you live and let live? I should
have thought you wandering women get plenty in our house all of you, and
yet you must always be quarrelling and nagging at each other. Aren't you
afraid of such sin?

FEKLUSHA.
One can't be without sin, my good girl; we live in the world. I'll tell
you what, my dear; you, simple folk, are tempted of one devil, but we
pilgrim folk are beset, one with six, another with twelve devils; and here
we have to struggle against all at once. It's a hard fight, my dear, a
hard fight!

GLASHA.
Why is it you have such a lot?

FEKLUSHA.
Ah, my good girl, that comes of the hatred the evil one has for us,
because we lead a life of such holiness. But I can't say, my dear, that
I'm one to gossip; that's not a sin of mine. One failing I have, truly; I
know myself what it is. I love dainty eating. Well, well, the Lord in His
mercy provides according to my weakness.

GLASHA.
And have you travelled far in your wanderings, Feklusha?

FEKLUSHA.
No, my dear, owing to my weakness, I've never gone far away; but many a
thing I've heard. They do say, my dear, there are countries where there
are no Tsars of the true faith, but Sultans rule the lands. In one land
there is the Sultan Mahnoot the Turk on the throne--and in another the
Sultan Mahnoot the Persian. And they rule, my good girl, over all men, and
whatever they decree it's always unrighteous. And they cannot, my dear,
judge righteously in any one thing, such is the ban laid upon them. We
have a just law, but they, my dear, an unjust law. Everything that is one
way in our land is the very opposite in theirs. And all the judges with
them, in their countries, are unjust too, so that, do you know, my girl,
they even write in their petitions: "judge me, unjust judge!" And there is
a country too where all the men have the heads of dogs.

GLASHA.
How do they come to have dogs' heads?

FEKLUSHA.
For their infidelity. I am going off on my rounds among the merchant
gentry, my dear, to see if there won't be some alms for poverty. Good-bye
for the present!

GLASHA.
Good-bye! (_Exit Feklusha_.) Only fancy that there are lands like that!
There's no end to the marvels in the world. And here we sit at home and
know nothing. A good thing it is to be sure, that there are pious folk;
from time to time one hears what is being done in the light of day; if it
weren't for them, we should live and die in our foolishness.

_Enter Katerina and Varvara_.



SCENE II

KATERINA and VARVARA.


VARVARA (_to Glasha_).
Carry the bundles down to the chaise, the horses are at the door. (_To
Katerina_) You were married off young, and you never had any fun when you
were a girl; and so your heart is restless still.

[_Glasha goes out._

KATERINA.
And it always will be.

VARVARA.
Why?

KATERINA.
I have been like that from my birth up, full of fire! I was only six years
old, when do you know what I did? They offended me somehow at home,--it
was in the evening and quite dark--I ran away to the Volga, and got into a
boat, and pushed it off from the bank. They found me next morning, ten
miles down the river.

VARVARA.
Really! And were there any men in love with you, as a girl?

KATERINA.
Of course there were!

VARVARA.
Well? And didn't you care for anyone?

KATERINA.
No, I only laughed at them.

VARVARA.
And you know, Katia, you don't love Tihon.

KATERINA.
Oh, yes, I do! I'm dreadfully sorry for him.

VARVARA.
Oh, no, you don't. If you're sorry for him you don't love him. And indeed
you've no great reason to, I must own. And it's no good your being so
close with me! I noticed a long while ago, that you were fond of some one.

KATERINA (_with dismay_).
How did you notice it?

VARVARA.
How absurd you are! I'm not a baby! Well, I'll tell you the first sign I
knew by; directly you see him, your whole face is transformed. (_Katerina
drops her eyes._) And that's not all....

KATERINA (_still looking down_).
Well, whom then?

VARVARA.
Why, you know, what's the use of telling his name?

KATERINA.
No, tell it! Tell his name!

VARVARA.
Boris Grigoritch.

KATERINA.
Yes, yes, Varia! Only mind, Varia, for pity's sake....

VARVARA.
What nonsense! _You'd_ better mind, and not betray yourself in any way.

KATERINA.
I can't deceive, I don't know how to conceal anything.

VARVARA.
But there's no doing without deceit; think where you're living! Our whole
house rests on it! I wasn't fond of lying either, but I learnt the trick,
when I had to. I was out walking yesterday, and so I saw him and had a few
minutes talk with him.

KATERINA (_after a short silence, looking down_).
Well?

VARVARA.
He sent greetings to you. He was sorry, he said, that he never meets you.

KATERINA (_her head still more bent down_).
As if we could meet! And what would be the use....

VARVARA.
He is so sad and unhappy....

KATERINA.
Don't speak to me of him, for goodness' sake, don't speak of him! I don't
want to know him even. I will love my husband: Tisha, my dear one, no one
shall ever take your place! I did not want to think of him, you tempt me.

VARVARA.
All right, don't think of him; no one compels you to.

KATERINA.
You have no mercy on me! You say: don't think of him, and you mention him
yourself! Do you suppose I want to think of him; but what can I do, when I
can't get him out of my mind? Whatever I try to think, he seems always
standing before my eyes. And I try to be different, and I can't. Do you
know, last night, the evil one tempted me again. I was almost walking
straight out of the house.

VARVARA.
You are such a fantastical creature, God bless you! What I think is: one
should do what one likes, only be sure it's kept dark!

KATERINA.
I don't like that. What good can come of it! I had much better bear it as
long as I can bear it.

VARVARA.
And when you can't bear it, what will you do?

KATERINA.
What shall I do?

VARVARA.
Yes, what will you do?

KATERINA.
Whatever I long to do, I will do.

VARVARA.
Just try; why they'd torment you to death.

KATERINA.
What do I care! I should go away, and that would be the end of it.

VARVARA.
Where would you go? You are a married woman.

KATERINA.
Ah, Varia, you don't know me! I pray, of course, it may never come to
that! But if I am too miserable here, they would not keep me by any force
on earth. I should throw myself out of the window, I should drown myself
in the Volga. If I will not to live here, then I would not, they might cut
me to pieces! (_Silence._)

VARVARA.
Do you know what, Katia! When Tihon's gone, let's sleep in the garden, in
the summerhouse.

KATERINA.
Oh, why, Varia?

VARVARA.
Why, isn't it just the same to you?

KATERINA.
I'm timid of sleeping in a place I'm not used to.

VARVARA.
Timid, nonsense! Glasha will be with us.

KATERINA.
Still one feels nervous, somehow! But perhaps I will.

VARVARA.
I wouldn't have asked you, only mamma wouldn't let me alone, and I must.

KATERINA (_looking at her_).
What for?

VARVARA.(_laughing_).
We'll tell our fortunes together there.

KATERINA.
You must be joking.

VARVARA.
To be sure, I am joking; did you think I meant it?

[_Silence_.

KATERINA.
Where can Tihon be?

VARVARA.
Why, do you want him?

KATERINA.
No, I only wondered, he has to start so soon.

VARVARA.
He's sitting locked up with mamma. She's nagging away at him now.

KATERINA.
What for?

VARVARA.
For nothing at all, teaching him to mind what he's about. He'll be a
fortnight away out of her sight! Only fancy! She has an uneasy inkling all
the time that he'll enjoy himself when he's his own master. And so she's
busy now laying all sorts of injunctions upon him, each more imperative
than the last, and then she'll take him up to the holy picture and make
him swear solemnly that he'll do everything exactly and precisely
according to her bidding.

KATERINA.
And so even when he's free he'll be as good as bound.

VARVARA.
Bound! Oh, will he! As soon as he gets away, he'll start drinking, you may
be sure. He says nothing now, but all the while he's only thinking how to
get away as soon as possible.

[_Enter Mme. Kabanova and Kabanov_.



SCENE III

The Same with KABANOV and MADAME KABANOVA.


MME. KABANOVA.
Now do you remember everything I've told you? Mind you do remember it!
Keep it in your heart!

KABANOV.
Yes, mamma.

MME. KABANOVA.
Well, now everything is ready. The horses are at the door. You've only to
say good-bye and be off in God's name.

KABANOV.
Yes, mamma, it's time I was off.

MME. KABANOVA.
Well?

KABANOV.
What do you desire?

MME. KABANOVA.
Why are you standing about? Don't you know the way to do things? Lay your
commands upon your wife, exhort her how she is to live in your absence.

[_Katerina looks on the ground_.

KABANOV.
But she knows quite well without that.

MME. KABANOVA.
The way you talk! Come, come, give your commands, that I may hear what
commands you lay upon her! And then when you come back, you can ask if she
has performed everything exactly.

KABANOV (_standing opposite Katerina_).
Obey mamma, Katia.

MME. KABANOVA.
Tell her not to be saucy to her mother-in-law.

KABANOV.
Don't be saucy!

MME. KABANOVA.
To revere her mother-in-law as her own mother.

KABANOV.
Revere mamma, Katia, as your own mother.

MME. KABANOVA.
Not to sit with her hands in her lap like a fine lady.

KABANOV.
Do some work while I am away!

MME. KABANOVA.
Not to go staring out of window!

KABANOV.
But, mamma, whenever has she....

MME. KABANOVA.
Come, come!

KABANOV.
Don't look out of window!

MME. KABANOVA.
Not to stare at young fellows while you are away!

KABANOV.
But that is too much, mamma, for mercy's sake!

MME. KABANOVA (_severely_).
Enough of this nonsense! It's your duty to do what your mother tells you.
(_With a smile_) It's always as well when it's forbidden.

KABANOV (_in great confusion_).
Don't look at young men! [_Katerina looks sternly at him_.

MME. KABANOVA.
Well, now you can talk by yourselves a little, if you want to. Come,
Varvara! [_They go out_.



SCENE IV

KABANOV and KATERINA (_she stands as though turned to stone_).


KABANOV.
Katia! (_Silence_.) Katia, you're not angry with me?

KATERINA (_after a protracted silence--shakes her head_).
No!

KABANOV.
But why are you like this? Come, forgive me!

KATERINA (_still in the same position, slightly shaking her head_).
Peace be with you! (_Hiding her face in her hands_) She has hurt me!

KABANOV.
If you take everything to heart so, you'll soon fall into a decline. Why
listen to her! You know she must talk! Well then, let her talk, and you
let it go in at one ear and out at the other. Come, good-bye, Katia!

KATERINA (_falling on her husband's neck_).
Tisha, don't go away! For God's sake, don't go away! Dear one, I implore
you!

KABANOV.
I must, Katia. When mamma sends me, how can I not go?

KATERINA.
Well, take me with you, do take me!

KABANOV (_freeing himself from her embrace_).
But it's impossible!

KATERINA.
Oh, why, Tisha, impossible?

KABANOV.
Much fun there would be in going with you! You've worried me out of my
life here between you! No sooner have I a hope of escaping than you want
to fasten yourself upon me.

KATERINA.
Why, can it be that you are tired of me?

KABANOV.
No, I'm not tired of you; but to get out of this slavery a man would run
away from the loveliest woman in the world! Just consider for a minute; I
may not be good for much; but I'm a man anyway; and living all my life as
you see, one's glad to run away from one's wife even. Why, when I think
now, that for two whole weeks there'll be no storm hanging over me, no
fetters on my legs,--do you suppose I can think of my wife?

KATERINA.
How can I care for you, when you say things like that?

KABANOV.
Say things? Why, what things am I to say? God knows what it is you're
afraid of! You won't be alone, you know, you'll be with mamma.

KATERINA.
Don't speak of her, don't torture my heart! Ah, how wretched I am, how
wretched! (_Weeps_.) Where can I go? Whom can I cling to? Merciful
Heavens, I am lost!

KABANOV.
Come, be quiet!

KATERINA (_goes up to her husband and draws him to her_).
Tisha, dear one, if you would stay, if you would take me with you, how I
would love you, how I would cherish you, my dear one!

KABANOV.
I can't make you out, Katia! Often there's no getting a word out of you,
to say nothing of a kiss, and now you come coaxing up to me of your own
accord.

KATERINA.
Tisha, what are you leaving me to? There'll be trouble when you're away!
There'll be trouble!

KABANOV.
Now, come, I can't, so it's no use.

KATERINA.
Well, here then! Take from me some dreadful vow....

KABANOV.
What vow?

KATERINA.
A vow that I will not dare while you're away on any ground whatever to
speak with any outsider, nor see anyone,--that I will not even dare to
think of anyone but you.

KABANOV.
But what's this for?

KATERINA.
Set my heart at rest, do this for me!

KABANOV.
But one can never answer for oneself like that, anything may come into
one's head.

KATERINA (_falling on her knees_).
May I never look upon my father nor my mother! May I die impenitent,
if I...

KABANOV (_pulling her up_).
Hush! Nonsense! What wickedness is this! I won't hear you!

[_Voice of Mme. Kabanova heard without, "It's time to start, Tihon!" Enter
Mme. Kabanova, Varvara and Glasha._



SCENE V

The same.

MME. KABANOVA, VARVARA and GLASHA.


MME. KABANOVA.
Come, Tihon, it's time now! Set off on your way in God's name! (_sits
down_). Sit down, all of you! (_All sit down. Silence_.) Now, good-bye!
(_Gets up and all get up_.)

KABANOV (_going up to his mother_).
Good-bye, mamma!

MME. KABANOVA (_with a wave of her hand points him to the ground_).
At my feet! At my feet! (_Kabanov bows down to her feet, then kisses his
mother_.) Say good-bye to your wife.

KABANOV.
Good-bye, Katia! [_Katerina falls on his neck_.

MME. KABANOVA.
What do you want to hang on his neck like that for, shameless hussy! It's
not a lover you're parting from! He's your husband--your head! Don't you
know how to behave? Bow down at his feet!     [_Katerina bows down to his
feet_.

KABANOV.
Good-bye, sister (_kisses Varvara_). Good-bye! Glasha (_kisses Glasha_).
Good-bye, mamma! (_bows down to the ground_).

MME. KABANOVA.
Good-bye! Long farewells mean foolish tears.
[_Kabanov goes out, after him Katerina, Varvara, and Glasha_.



SCENE VI

MME. KABANOVA (_alone_).


MME. KABANOVA.
The way young folks behave! It makes one laugh really to see them! If they
weren't my own, I could laugh till I split. They don't know the way to do
anything properly. Can't even take leave with decorum. A lucky thing it is
for them that they have elder folk, who will keep their house together as
long as they're living. And yet, the silly fools, they long to be their
own masters, though when they do have their own way, they get in a mess
directly to the scandal and amusement of all worthy folk. One here and
there, to be sure, will be sorry for them, but for the most part they'll
all laugh. No one can help laughing either; they'll invite guests, and not
know how they should sit, and what's more, as likely as not, they leave
out some one of their relations. It's simply comical. But the old order's
passing away. There are some houses one doesn't care to go into. If you do
cross the threshold, all you can do is to spit, and get away as quick as
may be. What will happen when the old people are dead, how the world will
go on, I really can't think. I'm thankful anyway, that I shall see nothing
of it.

[_Enter Katerina and Varvara._



SCENE VII

MME. KABANOVA, KATERINA, and VARVARA.


You make a boast of loving your husband so much; I see now how much your
love's worth. Any other good wife, on seeing her husband off, would wail
for a good hour and a half, lying on the steps; but one can see you're not
much upset.

KATERINA.
There's no reason to be! Besides, I don't know how to wail. Why make the
people laugh!

MME. KABANOVA.
No great art is needed. If you loved him you would have learnt to do it.
If you can't wail properly, you should wail a little, if only for example.
It is always more decorous; or else one sees it is all words with you.
Well, I'm going to pray to God; do not interrupt me.

VARVARA.
I'm going out.

MME. KABANOVA (_caressingly_).
I've nothing against it! Go and enjoy yourself till your time comes.
You'll have sitting indoors enough later on! [_Exeunt Mme. Kabanova and
Varvara._



SCENE VIII


KATERINA (_alone, dreamily_).
Well, now, peace reigns in our house! Ah, the dreariness. If only there
were children! That's the saddest thing! I have no children; I should sit
with them and amuse them all day. I love talking to little children--they
are angels, really. (_Silence._) If I had died when I was little, it would
have been better. I should have looked down on to the earth from Heaven
and been delighted with everything. I should have flown unseen wherever I
liked. I would have floated into the country and fluttered from flower to
flower, like a butterfly. (_Sinks into a reverie_) I know what I will do;
I will begin some piece of work, as an offering to God. I will go to the
bazaar, and buy some stuff and make some clothes to give to the poor. They
will remember me in their prayers. And so I'll sit sewing with Varvara,
and we shall not notice how the time passes; and soon Tisha will be back.

[_Enter Varvara_.



SCENE IX

KATERINA and VARVARA.


VARVARA (_putting a kerchief on her head before the looking-glass_).
I am just going out for a walk now; Glasha's putting our beds in the
summer house now, mamma's consented to let us sleep there. Mamma always
keeps the little gate in the garden behind the raspberries locked up and
hides the key. I've taken it and put another one in its place for her, so
she won't notice it. Here, see, maybe, it will be wanted (_gives the
key_). If I see him, I shall tell him to come to the little gate.

KATERINA (_with horror, pushing away the key_).
What for! what for! No! no!

VARVARA.
If you don't want it, I do; take it, it won't bite you!

KATERINA.
But what are you plotting, wicked girl? It's impossible! Do you know what
you're doing? It's dreadful, dreadful!

VARVARA.
Well, well--Least said is soonest mended; and I've no time to stay either.
It's time for my walk.

[_Goes._



SCENE X


KATERINA (_alone, holding the key in her hand_).
The things she thinks of doing! Ah, she's a mad girl, really mad! Here is
ruin! Here it is! Fling it away, fling it far away, drop it into the
river, that it may never be found. It burns the hand like fire. (_Musing_)
This is how we women come to ruin. How can anyone be happy in bondage? One
may be driven to anything. Many a one is glad if she gets the chance; she
flings herself headlong. But how can they, without thinking, without
reflecting! Easy is the path that leads to misfortune! And then tears and
anguish all your life: your bondage is bitterer than ever. (_Silence_) But
bitter is a life of bondage, ah, how bitter! Who does not weep in it! Most
of all, we women. Here am I now! I am fretting away my life, and I see no
loophole of light and hope before me! And I never shall see it, that's
certain! It'll be worse as it goes on. And now this wickedness too has
come upon me. (_Muses_) If it were not for my mother-in-law! ... She is
crushing me.... She has made the house hateful to me.... I loathe the
very walls because of her. (_Looks dreamily at the key_) Throw it away? Of
course, I must throw it away. And how came it into my hands? For my
temptation, for my undoing. (_Listens_) Ah, someone is coming. How my
heart is beating! (_hides the key in her pocket_) No! ... No one! ... Why
was I so frightened? And I have put away the key.... Well, that's a sign
it is to be! Fate itself, it seems, wills it! And where is the sin if I do
look at him just once, from a distance. Even if I speak to him, still
there's no harm in that! But what I said to Tihon ... why, he would not
have it himself. And maybe, such a chance will not come again all my life
long. Then I may well weep to myself--that there was a chance and I had
not sense to seize it. But why talk, why cheat myself? If I die for it, I
must see him. Whom am I trying to deceive.... Throw away the key! No, for
nothing in the whole world! It is mine now.... Come what may, I will see
Boris! Ah, night! come quickly!



ACT III



SCENE I

The Street. The gates of the Kabanovs' house, a garden seat before the
gates.

MME. KABANOVA and FEKLUSHA (_sitting on the bench_).


FEKLUSHA.
The end of the world is at hand, ma'am, by every sign and token, Marfa
Ignatievna, the end of the world is at hand. It's peace and paradise still
here in your town, but in other towns it's simply Sodom, ma'am: the noise,
the bustle, the incessant traffic! The people keep running, one one way,
and one another.

MME. KABANOVA.
We've no need to hurry, my dear, we live without haste.

FEKLUSHA.
No, ma'am; there is peace and quietness in this town, because there are
many people, you for instance, adorned with virtues, as with flowers;
that's why everything is done decorously and tranquilly. Why, what is the
meaning of all that haste and bustle, ma'am? It is vanity, to be sure! In
Moscow now: the folk run to and fro; there's no knowing for why. It is all
vanity. It is a people, full of vanity, ma'am, and so it runs to and fro.
Each one fancies he's hurrying on business; he hastens, poor fellow,
doesn't recognise people; it seems to him that someone is beckoning him;
but when he gets to the place, sure enough it's empty, there's nothing
there, it's only a dream. And he is downcast and disappointed. And another
one fancies that he's overtaking someone he knows. Anyone looking on can
see in a trice that there's no one; but it seems to him in his vanity and
delusion that he's overtaking someone. Vanity, to be sure, is like a fog
about them. Here among you on a fine evening like this, it's not often
anyone even comes out to sit at his gate; but in Moscow now there's
walking and playing, and a fearful racket going on in the street; a
continual roar. And what's more, Marfa Ignatievna, ma'am, they've
harnessed a fiery serpent to drive: all, look you, for the sake of more
speed.

MME. KABANOVA.
I have heard tell of it, my dear.

FEKLUSHA.
But I, ma'am, have seen it with my own eyes; no doubt, others, in
blindness and vanity, see nothing, so it seems a machine to them, but I
saw it doing like this _(spreading out her fingers)_ with its paws. And a
roar, too, that folks of righteous life hear for what it is.

MME. KABANOVA.
You can call it anything you like, call it a machine, if you will; the
people is foolish and will believe anything. But as for me you might load
me with gold, I wouldn't drive with such a thing.

FEKLUSHA.
The very idea, ma'am! The Lord preserve us from such a thing. And let me
tell you too, Marfa Ignatievna, ma'am, a vision I had in Moscow. I went
out early in the morning, it was just dawn, and on a high, very high
house, on the roof, I saw someone standing, with a black face. You
understand whom I mean. And he kept moving his hands, as though he were
scattering something, but nothing fell. Then I divined that he was the
enemy sowing tares, and the people in their blindness see it not, and
gather them up. And that is why they run to and fro so, and the women
among them are all so thin, and never get plump and comfortable, but
always look as if they had lost something, or were looking for something,
and that careworn they are, you feel sorry for them.

MME. KABANOVA.
Anything is possible, my dear, in our times, one can't be surprised at
anything.

FEKLUSHA.
Hard times they are, Marfa Ignatievna, ma'am, very hard. Already the time
has begun diminishing.

MME. KABANOVA.
How is that? diminishing, my dear?

FEKLUSHA.
We, of course--how should we observe it in our blindness and vanity? but
wise people have observed that time has grown shorter with us. Once the
summer and the winter dragged on endlessly, you got tired of looking for
the end of them, but now, before one's time to look about one, they've
flown. The days and the hours still seem the same, of course; but the time
keeps growing shorter and shorter, for our sins. That's what the learned
folk say about it.

MME. KABANOVA.
And worse than that will be, my dear.

FEKLUSHA.
I only trust we shan't live to see it.

MME. KABANOVA.
Maybe, we shall.    [_Enter Dikoy._



SCENE II

The Same and DIKOY.


MME. KABANOVA.
What brings you abroad so late, old friend?

DIKOY.
Why, who's to hinder me being out, I should like to know?

MME. KABANOVA.
Who wants to hinder you, indeed!

DIKOY.
Well, then what's the use of talking? Whose control am I under, hey? What
next will you say? What the devil....

MME. KABANOVA.
Now then, keep a little check on your tongue! You'd better look out for
someone else to talk to! I won't let you off so easily as some do! Go your
way wherever you're going. Come indoors, Feklusha.

[_Gets up._

DIKOY.
Wait a bit, old friend, wait a bit! Don't be angry. You're in no hurry to
get home; your home's not many miles away. Here it is!

MME. KABANOVA.
If you've come on business, don't shout at me, but speak out plainly.

DIKOY.
I've no business, but I'm drunk, that's what it is!

MME. KABANOVA.
Well, would you have me praise you for that, hey?

DIKOY.
Needn't praise or blame. Only I'm drunk, and that's all about it. I can't
get over it till I've slept it off.

MME. KABANOVA.
Well, go and have a sleep then.

DIKOY.
Where am I to go?

MME. KABANOVA.
Home, of course, where else?

DIKOY.
But if I don't want to go home.

MME. KABANOVA.
Why not, allow me to ask you?

DIKOY.
Because I've a row going on there.

MME. KABANOVA.
Why, who is there to quarrel with? You're the only quarrelsome one there,
you know.

DIKOY.
Well, what if I am quarrelsome, hey? What of it, hey?

MME. KABANOVA.
Oh, nothing. Only there's no great glory in doing battle all your life
with women, that's all.

DIKOY.
Well, I suppose they ought to obey me! Or am I to obey them, hey?

MME. KABANOVA.
I really wonder at you; with all the crowd of folks in your house, not a
single one can do anything to your liking.

DIKOY.
That's so!

MME. KABANOVA.
Come, what do you want of me?

DIKOY.
Well, talk me out of my temper. You're the only person in the whole town
who knows how to talk to me.

MME. KABANOVA.
Go in, Feklusha, and order a little something to be served. _(Feklusha
goes.)_ Let's go indoors.

DIKOY.
No, I'm not going indoors, I'm worse indoors!

MME. KABANOVA.
How have they put you into such a rage?

DIKOY.
I've been so all day since the morning.

MME. KABANOVA.
I suppose they've been asking for money.

DIKOY.
As if they were in league together, damn them. One after another the whole
day long they've been at me.

MME. KABANOVA.
No doubt you'll have to give it them, or they wouldn't persist.

DIKOY.
I know that; but what would you have me do, since I've a temper like that?
Why, I know that I must pay, still I can't do it with a good will. You're
a friend of mine, and I've to pay you something, and you come and ask me
for it, I'm bound to swear at you! Pay I will, if pay I must, but I must
swear too. For you've only to hint at money to me, and I feel hot all over
in a minute; red-hot all over, and that's all about it. And to be sure at
such times, I'd swear at anyone for nothing at all.

MME. KABANOVA.
You've no one over you, and so you think you can do as you like.

DIKOY.
No, you hold your tongue! Listen to me! I'll tell you the sort of troubles
that happen to me. I had fasted and all ready for sacrament in Lent, and
then the evil one thrusts a wretched peasant under my nose. He had come
for money,--for wood he had supplied us. And for my sins he must needs
show himself at a time like that! I fell into sin, of course, I pitched
into him, pitched into him finely, I did, all but thrashed him. There you
have it, my temper! Afterwards I asked his pardon, bowed down at his feet,
upon my word I did. It's the truth I'm telling you, I bowed down at a
peasant's feet. That's what my temper brings me to: on the spot there, in
the mud I bowed down at his feet; before everyone, I did.

MME. KABANOVA.
But what do you work yourself up into a rage on purpose for? That's not
right, my friend!

DIKOY.
On purpose? How d'you mean?

MME. KABANOVA.
I've seen you, I know all about it. When you see that people are going to
ask you for anything, you go and pick a quarrel purposely with one of your
household, so as to work yourself into a rage. For you know that when
you're in a rage, no one dare come near you. That's a pretty thing!

DIKOY.
Well, what of it? Who likes parting with his property?

[_Glasha comes in._

GLASHA.
Marfa Ignatievna, lunch is served!

MME. KABANOVA.
Well, old friend, come in! Have a taste of what God has sent us!

DIKOY.
Much obliged.

MME. KABANOVA.
Pray walk in. _(Ushers Dikoy in front and follows him in. Glasha, folding
her arms, stands at the gates.)_

GLASHA.
If that isn't Boris Grigoritch coming. Sure now he's not after his uncle?
Or may be, just out for a stroll--to be sure, out for a stroll, he must
be. [_Enter Boris._



SCENE III

GLASHA, BORIS, later KULIGIN.


BORIS.
Isn't my uncle inside?

GLASHA.
Yes. Do you want him?

BORIS.
They sent me from home to find out where he was. But since he's with you
let him stop there; no one wants him. At home they're pleased and happy
that he's out.

GLASHA.
Our good lady out to marry him, she'd soon make him mind what he's about.
But I mustn't stop here gossiping with you! Good-bye.  [_Exit._

BORIS.
Ah, merciful Heavens! For one glimpse of her! I can't go into the house.
No one calls anywhere uninvited in this place. What a life! We are living
in the same town, almost next door; yet we barely see each other once a
week, and then only in church, or in the street,--and that's all! When a
woman's married here she might as well be buried,--it's all the same.
_(Silence.)_ If only I had never seen her; it would have been better for
me! I can only see her by snatches, and before people,--who are all eyes,
staring at one. It's simply heartrending. And yet there's no mastering
oneself. If I go out for a walk, I always find myself here at the gate.
And what use is there in coming here? There's never any chance of seeing
her, and what's more, it may give rise to gossip and do her harm. Well,
it's a fine town, certainly!

[_He is going, Kuligin comes, meeting him._

KULIGIN.
Well, sir? out for a walk?

BORIS.
Yes, it's very pleasant out now.

KULIGIN.
Very pleasant it is, sir, walking now. The stillness, the sweet air, the
scent of flowers from the far side of the Volga, the clear sky--

The space aloft, filled full of stars,
Stars numberless, space limitless.

Shall we go to the parade, there's not a soul there.

BORIS.
Yes, come along.

KULIGIN
That's our town all over, sir! Here they've made a parade, but they don't
walk there. They only walk out on fête days, and then they only make a
show of being out for a walk. They really come out to show off their best
clothes. You never meet anyone but maybe a drunken attorney's clerk
reeling home from the tavern. The poor have no time, sir, to walk out;
they must work and worry day and night. Three hours' sleep is all they get
out of the twenty-four. But what are the rich about? You'd wonder why they
shouldn't walk about and enjoy the fresh air. But not a bit of it! They've
all had their gates, sir, locked up long ago, and their dogs let loose.
... Do you suppose they are at work at their business, or praying to God?
No, sir! And it's not for fear of thieves they lock themselves up; it's
that folks shouldn't see the way they ill-treat their household, and bully
their families. And the tears that flow behind those bolts, unseen,
unheard of! But there's no need to tell you that, sir! You can judge of it
for yourself. And the sordid sodden vice within those barred gates, sir!
And all hidden and buried--no one sees or knows anything of it, God alone
beholds it! Stare at me as you like, say they, in the street and among
folk, but you've nothing to do with my family; that's what I have locks
for, and bolts and bars and savage dogs. The family's something apart,
secret! We know all about such secrets!--secrets, sir, that make one man
merry, perhaps, while the rest are weeping and wailing. Much secrecy about
it! Everyone knows! Robbing their orphans, kinsfolk, nephews, beating
their dependents till they're too cowed to hint at what goes on within
doors,--there's no great secret in that! But that's enough of them! Do you
know, sir, who do go for walks here? The young fellows and girls. They
steal an hour or two from sleep and walk out in couples. There's a couple
over there!

[_Kudriash and Varvara are seen. They kiss._

BORIS.
They are kissing.

KULIGIN.
We don't think much of that.

[_Kudriash goes off, and Varvara goes towards her own gate and beckons
Boris, he goes up to her._



SCENE IV

BORIS, KULIGIN and VARVARA.


KULIGIN.
I'll go to the parade, sir. I'm in your way. I'll wait for you there.

BORIS.
Very well, I'll come directly.

VARVARA (_hiding her face in her kerchief_).
Do you know the hollow behind the Kabanovs' garden?

BORIS.
Yes.

VARVARA.
You come there a little later on.

BORIS.
What for?

VARVARA.
How stupid you are! Come; then you'll see what for. Well, you'd better
make haste now, since that person's waiting for you. (_Boris goes_.)
There, he didn't know me! Well, now let him wonder, I know very well that
Katerina won't hold out, she'll run out to see him. [_Goes in at the gate.
Curtain_.



SCENE V

The scene changes.

A hollow dell covered with bushes; at the top of it the Kabanovs' garden
and a gate; a path leading down from it.

(_Kudriash enters with a, guitar_.)


KUDRIASH.
No one. What is she up to? Well, I'll sit and wait for her. (_Seats
himself on a stone_) This is slow; I'll sing a song (_sings_).

As the Don Cossack, the Cossack, leads his horse to drink,
The brave young man, he stands at the gate,
At the gate he stands, and ponders in his heart,
In his heart he ponders, how he will slay his wife.
And the wife, the wife besought him,
Falling down at his swift feet;
Master, friend of my heart, I pray thee,
Strike me not, slay me not in the evening!
But kill me, slay me after midnight!
Let my little children be asleep,
My little children, and all my good neighbours.    [_Enter Boris_.



SCENE VI

KUDRIASH and BORIS.


KUDRIASH (_stops singing_). Hullo! Such a sober, staid person as you, out
on the spree too?

BORIS.
Kudriash, is that you?

KUDRIASH.
It is, Boris Grigoritch.

BORIS.
What are you here for?

KUDRIASH.
What for? I suppose because I want to be here, Boris Grigoritch, since I
am here. I shouldn't have come if I hadn't wanted to. Where is fortune
taking you?

BORIS (_looking carefully at the scene around him_).
Look here, Kudriash, I've got to stop here, and I've no doubt it's all the
same to you, so you might go and sit in some other place.

KUDRIASH.
No, Boris Grigoritch, you're here, I perceive, for the first time, but
this is a place where I have often sat, and this little path has been
trodden by my feet. I like you, sir, and am ready to do you any service;
but you'll kindly refrain from meeting me in this path at night, lest evil
come of it. Fair words are better than gold.

BORIS.
What is the matter with you, Vania?

KUDRIASH.
Vania, indeed! I know my name's Vania. But you go on your way, that's all
about it. Find a girl to your liking, and walk out with her to your
heart's content, and no one will say a word to you. But don't meddle with
other fellows' girls! That's not the way we do things here, or the fellows
will break your legs for you. For my girl ... Well, I don't know what I
wouldn't do! I'd cut your throat!

BORIS.
You're angry for no reason; I've not the slightest idea of robbing you of
her. I shouldn't have come here if I hadn't been told to.

KUDRIASH.
Who told you to?

BORIS.
I couldn't make out, it was dark. A girl stopped me in the street and said
I was to come just here, behind the Kabanovs' garden, where there is a
little path.

KUDRIASH.
Who could that be?

BORIS.
Listen, Kudriash. Could I speak to you openly, you wouldn't gossip?

KUDRIASH.
You needn't be afraid of that! I'm as safe as the grave.

BORIS.
I know nothing of your habits and ways of doing things here; but the fact
is ...

KUDRIASH.
You're in love.

BORIS.
Yes, Kudriash.

KUDRIASH.
Oh, well, that's all right. We're free enough in that way. The girls amuse
themselves as they like, and the father and mother have nothing to say to
it. It's only the wives are kept shut up.

BORIS.
That's just what's so sad.

KUDRIASH.
You don't mean to say you're in love with a married woman?

BORIS.
She is married, Kudriash.

KUDRIASH.
Ah, Boris Grigoritch, you must drop that!

BORIS.
It's easy to say drop it! I daresay it's all the same to you, you'll throw
up one and pick up another easily enough! But I can't do like that! If
once I love ...

KUDRIASH.
That's as much as to say you're ready to ruin the poor thing completely,
Boris Grigoritch!

BORIS.
God forbid! God forbid! No, Kudriash, how can you! I ready to ruin her! I
only want to see her, to speak to her, I ask for nothing more.

KUDRIASH.
You can't answer for yourself like that, sir! And just think what sort of
people you have to deal with here. You know them yourself. They'd be the
death of her, they'd torment her into the grave.

BORIS.
Ah, don't say that, Kudriash, please don't frighten me!

KUDRIASH.
But does she care for you?

BORIS.
I don't know.

KUDRIASH.
Have you ever met then?

BORIS.
I have only once been in their house with my uncle. And I see her in
church, and pass her sometimes on the parade. Ah, Kudriash, how she prays,
if you could see her! the angelic smile on her face! her face seems to
shed light.

KUDRIASH.
Oh, then it's the young wife of Kabanov.

BORIS.
Yes, Kudriash.

KUDRIASH.
Oh, so that's it! Well, I humbly congratulate you!

BORIS.
What for?

KUDRIASH.
Well, things look promising for you, since she's sent you word to come
here.

BORIS.
Can it be she sent word?

KUDRIASH.
Why, who else could it be?

BORIS.
No, you're making fun of me! It can't be so. (_Clutches his head_.)

KUDRIASH.
What's the matter?

BORIS.
I shall go mad with joy.

KUDRIASH.
What next! I can't see anything to go mad about! You look out that you
don't make a mess of things and get her into trouble! Her husband's a
fool, we all know, but her mother-in-law is terrible.

[_Varvara comes out of the gate._



SCENE VII

The Same and VARVARA, afterwards KATERINA.


VARVARA (_at the gate, sings_).
"Beyond the river, the swift river,
My Vania's walking, dear Vania's walking" ...

KUDRIASH (_going on with the song_).
"Going to the fair." (_Whistles._)

VARVARA (_comes down the path and, hiding her face in her kerchief, goes
up to Boris_).
You wait a bit, lad. You've something to wait for. (_To Kudriash_) Let's
go to the Volga.

KUDRIASH.
Why have you been so long? Kept me waiting again! You know I don't like
it! (_Varvara puts one arm round him and they walk away._)

BORIS.
It's like a dream! This night, and singing and trysts! They're walking,
their arms round each other. It is so new for me, so sweet! Here I am
waiting for something. And what I am waiting for--I know not and cannot
picture to myself; only my heart is throbbing and every nerve is
quivering. I cannot think even what to say to her, I can hardly breathe,
my knees are shaking! My stupid heart is in my mouth, I can't quiet it.
Here she comes. (_Katerina slowly comes down the path, wrapt in a large
white kerchief, her eyes fixed on the ground. Silence._) Is it you?
Katerina Petrovna? (_Silence._) How can I ever thank you,--I don't know.
(_Silence._) If you only knew, Katerina Petrovna, how I love you!

[_Tries to take her hand._

KATERINA (_with terror, but not raising her eyes_).
Do not touch me, do not touch me! Alas, alas!

BORIS.
Do not be angry!

KATERINA.
Go away from me, go away, unhappy man! Do you know that never by any
prayer can I be free of this sin, never again! Like a stone it will lie on
my soul, like a stone.

BORIS.
Do not send me away!

KATERINA.
Why did you come? Why did you come for my undoing? I am a wife, you know,
I must live with my husband, till I lie in the grave....

BORIS.
You told me yourself to come ...

KATERINA.
Till the grave; do you understand?

BORIS.
Better if I had never seen you.

KATERINA (_with great emotion_).
You see what I am preparing for myself? What is the only place left for
me?

BORIS.
Calm yourself. (_Takes her hand_) Sit down!

KATERINA.
Why do you wish for my ruin?

BORIS.
How can I wish to injure you, when I love you more than anything in the
world, more than myself?

KATERINA.
No, no! You have been the undoing of me.

BORIS.
Am I such a wicked wretch?

KATERINA (_shaking her head_).
I am lost, lost, lost!

BORIS.
God forbid! I'd rather perish myself!

KATERINA.
Have I not forsaken my home, and come out to you in the night?

BORIS.
You came of your own free will.

KATERINA.
I have no will. If I had had any will left of my own, I would not have
come to you. (_Lifts her eyes and looks at Boris. A short silence_.) Your
will is upon me now, don't you see that? [_Sinks on his neck_.

BORIS (_puts his arms about Katerina_).
My life!

KATERINA.
Ah, if death would come quickly now!

BORIS.
Why die when life is so sweet for us?

KATERINA.
No, life is not for me! I know it is not for me!

BORIS.
Don't say such things, please, don't torture me.

KATERINA.
Yes, you are happy, you are free as the air, but I! ...

BORIS.
No one shall know of our love. Do you think I have no feeling for you?

KATERINA.
Ah! Why feel for me, it's no one's fault. I have come to this of myself.
Don't think of me! Anyone may know, anyone may see what I do! (_Takes
Boris in her arms_.) Since I have not feared to do wrong for you, am I
likely to fear the judgment of men? They do say, it will be better for
one, if one has to suffer here on earth for any sin.

BORIS.
Come, why think of that, when we are happy now!

KATERINA.
Why, truly! I shall have long years to weep enough hereafter.

BORIS.
And I was so frightened, I thought you would send me away.

KATERINA (_smiling_).
Send you away! How could I? Not with my heart. If you had not come, think
I should have gone to you myself.

BORIS.
I never even guessed you loved me.

KATERINA.
I have loved you for so long. It's as though, for my sins, you came here
to torment me. Directly I saw you I ceased to belong to myself. From the
first moment, I believe, if you had beckoned to me, I would have followed
you; to the ends of the earth I would have followed you, and never looked
back.

BORIS.
Has your husband gone away for long?

KATERINA.
For a fortnight.

BORIS.
O, then we will be happy! that is a long time.

KATERINA.
We will be happy. And then ... (_sinks into dreamy musing_). If they lock
me up, that will be my death! And if they don't lock me up, I will find
some way to see you again! [_Enter Kudriash and Varvara_.



SCENE VIII

The Same, with KUDRIASH and VARVARA.


VARVARA.
Well, have you made friends? (_Katerina hides her face on Boris's
breast_).

BORIS.
Yes.

VARVARA.
You might go and walk about a bit and let us rest. When it's time to go
in, Vania will shout. (_Boris and Katerina go away, Kudriash and Varvara
sit down on the stone_.)

KUDRIASH.
This is a first-rate plan, getting out at the garden gate. It's fine and
convenient for us.

VARVARA.
It's all my doing.

KUDRIASH.
There's no one like you for such things. But what if your mother catches
you?

VARVARA.
Oh! How could she? It would never enter her head!

KUDRIASH.
But if by ill luck, it were to?

VARVARA.
Her first sleep is sound; in the early morning now, there is more chance
of her being awake.

KUDRIASH.
But there's never any knowing! Some evil spirit might rouse her up.

VARVARA.
Well, even then! Our gate into the yard is locked on the inside, the
garden side; she would knock and knock and then go away. And in the
morning we'd declare we'd been sound asleep and heard nothing. Besides,
Glasha's on the lookout; the faintest sound, she'd let us know in a
minute. One can't do anything without some risk! No, indeed! the only
thing is to mind what one's about and not get into a scrape. (_Kudriash
strikes a few cords on the guitar. Varvara leans on the shoulder of
Kudriash who plays softly, paying no attention to her. Varvara yawning_)
How could we find out what time it is?

KUDRIASH.
It's one o'clock.

VARVARA.
How do you know?

KUDRIASH.
A watchman struck one blow on his board just now.

VARVARA (_yawning_).
It's late. Shout to them! We'll get out earlier tomorrow, so as to have
longer.

KUDRIASH (_gives a whistle and then sings loudly_)

They're all going home!
They're all going home!
But I won't go home!

BORIS (_behind the scenes_).
I hear!

VARVARA (_gets up_).
Well, good-bye! (_yawns, then gives a cool kiss to Kudriash, as if he were
an old and very intimate friend_). To-morrow mind you come earlier!
(_Looks in the direction in which Boris and Katerina went away_) You've
said good-bye enough, you're not parting for ever, you'll see each other
to-morrow (_yawns and stretches, Katerina hurries in, followed by Boris_).



SCENE IX

KUDRIASH, VARVARA, BORIS and KATERINA.


KATERINA.
Come, let us go now, let us go! (_They go up the path, Katerina turns
round_). Good-bye!

BORIS.
Till to-morrow.

KATERINA.
Yes, to-morrow! Tell me what you dream to-night!

[_The girls reach the gate_.

BORIS.
Yes, yes.

KUDRIASH (_sings and plays guitar_)
Come out, lassie, while you may
Till the glow of setting day!
Ai-lalee, while you may,
Till the glow of setting day!

VARVARA (_at the gate_).
Aye, my laddie, while I may,
Till the glow of break of day!
Ai-lalee, while I may,
Till the glow of break of day!

KUDRIASH.
When the sun has risen fair
And I may not linger mair.
[_Exit singing._



ACT IV



SCENE I

In the foreground a narrow arcade running round an old building which has
begun to fall into decay; bushes and grass about it; in the background the
banks of the Volga and view beyond it.

(_Several Persons of both Sexes approach the Arcade._)


FIRST.
It's spotting with rain, seems as though it might be a storm coming on.

SECOND.
Look, it's gathering yonder.

FIRST.
A good thing we've somewhere to take shelter.

[_They all go under the arches._

A WOMAN.
What a lot of folks out on the parade, too! To-day being a holiday,
everyone's out walking. The merchants' ladies all pranked out in their
best.

FIRST.
They'll stand up somewhere out of the rain.

SECOND.
Look, at the people hurrying this way now!

FIRST (_staring round at the walls_).
I say, old fellow, it must have been covered with paintings once, do you
know. One can make them out even now, here and there.

SECOND.
To be sure! Of course the walls were covered with paintings. Now it's all
been let go to rack and ruin, and the old place is falling to pieces.
There's been nothing done to it since the fire. But to be sure you don't
remember that fire, it will be forty years ago.

FIRST.
Whatever's this picture here, old fellow? It's not easy to make out what
it's about.

SECOND.
That's a picture of the torments of hell.

FIRST.
Oh! so that's what it is!

SECOND.
And there's folks of all sorts and conditions going down into the fire,
see?

FIRST.
To be sure, yes, I understand it now.

SECOND.
Of every sort and rank.

FIRST.
And niggers too?

SECOND.
Yes, niggers too.

FIRST.
And I say, old fellow, what's this?

SECOND.
That's the Lithuanian invasion. A battle, d'ye see? Our men fighting with
the men of Lithuania.

FIRST.
Who were these Lithuanians?

SECOND.
Can't say. Lithuanians, to be sure.

FIRST.
But they do say, you know, they fell down on us from heaven.

SECOND.
I can't tell about that, I daresay they did.

A WOMAN.
What ignorance! Why, everyone knows the Lithuanians fell from heaven. Well
to be sure! and it was in memory of the battle with them that these mounds
were made.

FIRST.
There, old fellow! That's so, you see!

[_Enter Dikoy and Kuligin, his head bare. All the bystanders bow and
assume a respectful air on seeing Dikoy._



SCENE II

The Same, DIKOY and KULIGIN.


DIKOY.
Ugh, I'm wet through. (_To Kuligin_) Get away from me! Let me alone!
(_Angrily_) Fool of a man!

KULIGIN.
Saviol Prokofitch, it would be conferring a benefit, your worship, on all
the residents in the town.

DIKOY.
Go along! A mighty benefit! Who wants such a benefit?

KULIGIN.
And on you, indeed, your worship, Saviol Prokofitch. To be set up, for
instance, on the parade in the open space. And as for expense,--the
expense would be trifling: a stone column (_indicates the size of each
thing by gestures_), a copper disc, round like this, and a pivot, an
upright pivot (_shows, gesticulating_) of the simplest description. I will
put it all up and carve the figures on the face myself too. And, your
worship, when you are pleased to take a walk, or any other people are out
walking, you will go up to it, and see at once what o'clock it is. As it
is, it's a fine position and a fine view and all, but, as it were, it
wants something. And we have visitors too, your worship, who come here to
see our views, and it will always be an ornament,--a pleasant object for
the eye to rest on.

DIKOY.
But why on earth do you come pestering me with every sort of idiocy? It's
possible, don't you see, that I don't want to talk to you. You ought first
to ascertain whether I am disposed to listen to you or not, you dolt. What
am I to you? ... am I your equal, eh? Damn the fellow! A mighty clever
idea he's hit upon! And then up he must come and straightway start holding
forth upon it.

KULIGIN.
If I were about my own business, I should be to blame certainly. But I am
speaking in the public interest, your worship. And it's no great matter
spending about a pound on a public object! More than that would not be
needed, sir.

DIKOY.
I daresay you'd like to pocket the money; who knows anything of you?

KULIGIN.
Seeing that I want to give my services for nothing, your worship, how
could I pocket anything? And everyone knows me here; no one can say any
harm of me.

DIKOY.
They may know you, for all I care, but I don't want to know you.

KULIGIN.
Why insult an honest man, sir?

DIKOY.
Am I to account to you for what I say or do? Let me tell you I allow no
one to criticise my actions--no, not folks of far more consequence than
you. I shall think of you as I choose to think of you. Others may say
you're an honest man, but I look upon you as a brigand, and that's all
about it. You seem anxious to hear my opinion, so here it is! I say you're
a brigand, and nothing else! Do you want to have the law of me, hey? Very
well then, let me tell you you're a worm. If I choose, I spare you; if I
choose, I can trample you under foot!

KULIGIN.
So be it, Saviol Prokofitch! I am only a poor man, sir, it costs little to
be rude to me. But let me remind you, your honour, virtue is honourable
even in rags!

DIKOY.
None of your insolence now! Mind that!

KULIGIN.
I am not being insolent to you in any way, sir, and I merely addressed you
because I thought you might have a mind to do something for the town
sometime. You have a great deal of power, your worship, if only you had
the wish to do some good. Now, for instance, we've storms so often, and
yet we don't put up lightning conductors.

DIKOY (_haughtily_).
It's all vanity!

KULIGIN.
How can it be vanity when experiments have been made.

DIKOY.
What sort of lightning conductors are you talking about?

KULIGIN.
Steel ones.

DIKOY (_wrathfully_).
Well, and what then?

KULIGIN.
Steel rods.

DIKOY (_getting more and more furious_).
I hear they're steel rods, you viper, but what of it? Granted they're
steel rods! Well, what of it?

KULIGIN.
Nothing.

DIKOY.
And what is the cause of a storm to your notions, hey? Come, speak up!

KULIGIN.
Electricity.

DIKOY (_stamping_).
'Lectricity he says! Ah, a brigand you are and no mistake! a storm is sent
as a chastisement to make us feel our sins, and you want with rods and
tackle of one sort and another, God forgive you, to ward it off! What, are
you a Tartar or what? Are you a Tartar? Speak up! A Tartar, hey?

KULIGIN.
Saviol Prokofitch, your honour, Derzhavin said:

In body, I languish in the dust,
In mind, I command the tempest.

DIKOY.
For such words you ought to be led off to the police captain, he'd give it
to you! Just listen, worthy citizens, what the fellow is saying!

KULIGIN.
There's no help for it, I must submit! But when I have made my fortune,
then you'll see how I'll talk!

[_With a wave of his hand goes out._

DIKOY.
What! are you going to steal a fortune? Stop him! The false scoundrel! How
ever is one to treat such people! I don't know. (_Turning to the crowd_)
And you, damned rascals, you're enough to make anyone swear! Here I'd no
wish to lose my temper, and he must needs go and put me out, as if it were
on purpose. Curse the fellow! (_angrily_) Has the rain given over, eh?

FIRST.
I fancy it has.

DIKOY.
You fancy! go and see, you fool. Tell me, you fancy, indeed!

FIRST (_going outside the arches_).
It has left off!

[_Dikoy goes out and all follow him. The scene is empty for a little
while. Varvara runs quickly in under the arcade and, hiding herself, peeps
out._



SCENE III

VARVARA and later BORIS.


VARVARA.
I believe it's he! (_Boris advances from the background of the scene_.)
Sss-sss! (_Boris looks round_.) Come here. (_She beckons, Boris goes up to
her_.) What are we to do with Katerina? For mercy's sake tell me!

BORIS.
Why, what is it?

VARVARA.
It's terrible, that's all. Her husband has come back, do you know that? We
didn't expect him, but he's here.

BORIS.
No, I didn't know it.

VARVARA.
She's simply beside herself.

BORIS.
It seems as if I had only lived for these ten short days that he has been
away. And now not to see her!

VARVARA.
Oh, I've no patience with you! I've something to tell you! She's shaking
all over, as if she were in a fever. She's so pale, she wanders about the
house, as though she were looking for something. Her eyes are wild, she's
like a mad thing! She began crying long ago in the morning, she simply
sobs. Merciful Heavens, what am I to do with her?

BORIS.
But perhaps this will pass off.

VARVARA.
I doubt it. She daren't raise her eyes to her husband. Mamma's begun to
notice it, and she follows her about and keeps a suspicious eye upon her.
She looks daggers at her; and that makes her worse than ever. It makes one
wretched to see her. And I'm afraid too.

BORIS.
What are you afraid of?

VARVARA.
You don't know her. She's a strange creature. One never knows what to
expect from her! She will do things ...

BORIS.
My God! What's to be done? You must talk to her thoroughly. Can't you
manage to soothe her?

VARVARA.
I've tried. She doesn't even hear. Better leave her alone.

BORIS.
Well, what do you suppose she may do?

VARVARA.
Why, simply this: fling herself down at her husband's feet, and tell him
everything. That's what I'm afraid of.

BORIS (_with horror_).
Could she possibly!

VARVARA.
She may do anything.

BORIS.
Where is she now?

VARVARA.
At this moment she's out on the parade with her husband, and my mother's
with them too. You go and meet them, if you like. But no, you'd better not
go, or she'll very likely lose her head completely. (_A peal of thunder in
the distance_) Isn't that thunder? _(Looks out)_ Yes, it's raining too.
And here are people coming this way. Get somewhere out of sight, and I'll
stand here where I can be seen, so that they won't notice anything.
_(Enter several persons of both sexes and different classes.)_



SCENE IV

VARVARA and various persons, and later, MME. KABANOVA, KABANOV, KATERINA
and KULIGIN.


FIRST.
The good lady seems awfully frightened by the way she's hurrying for
shelter.

A WOMAN.
No use seeking shelter! If it's written in the book of fate, there's no
escaping!

KATERINA _(running in)._
Ah, Varvara! _(Seizes her hand and holds it tight.)_

VARVARA.
Come, be quiet!

KATERINA.
It will be my death!

VARVARA.
Come, come! Pull yourself together!

KATERINA.
No! I can't. I can do nothing. My heart aches so.

MME. KABANOVA _(entering)._
Let me tell you, one should live so as to be always ready for anything.
You would not be in such terror then.

KABANOV.
But what sins in special has she to frighten her, mamma? Her sins are no
more than all of us have to repent; being afraid of storms is a matter of
temperament.

MME. KABANOVA.
How do you know, pray? The heart of another is darkness.

KABANOV _(jestingly)._
Oh well, maybe, something very wicked while I was away; certainly when
I've been here she never did anything bad.

MME. KABANOVA.
Maybe, when you were away, then.

KABANOV _(jesting)._
Katia, my girl, you'd better repent, if you've been sinful in any way. You
can't have secrets from me, you know; no, you naughty girl, I know all
about it.

KATERINA _(looks him straight in the face)._
Dear Tihon!

VARVARA.
Come, why do you keep teazing her? Can't you see she's not well?

[_Boris steps out of the crowd and bows to the Kabanovs._

KATERINA (_shrieks_).
Ah!

KABANOV.
What are you frightened of? Did you think it was a stranger? This is a
friend! Is your uncle quite well?

BORIS.
Quite, thank you.

KATERINA (_to Varvara_).
What more does he want of me? ... Isn't it enough that I am in torture
like this.

[_Leans against Varvara, sobs._

VARVARA (_aloud, so that her mother should hear_).
We're simply tired out, and don't know what to do with her; and now
outsiders must come up too!

[_Gives Boris a sign and he walks away to the entrance of the arcade._

KULIGIN (coming into the middle of the scene and addressing the crowd).
Why, what are you afraid of, I should like to know! every blade of grass,
every flower is rejoicing now, while we try to get away and are as
frightened as if it were a disaster! The storm kill us indeed! It's not a
storm to be dreaded, it's a blessing! Yes, a blessing! Everything's
dreadful to you. If the Northern Lights shine in the heavens--you ought to
admire and marvel at "the dawn breaking in the land of midnight!" But you
are in terror, and imagine it means war or flood. If a comet comes--I
can't take my eyes from it! a thing so beautiful! the stars we have looked
upon to our hearts' content, they are always with us, but that is
something new; well, one must gaze and admire! But you're afraid even to
look at the sky, and all in a tremble! You make a bogey out of everything.
Ah, what a people! I'm not afraid, you see. Come, sir, let's go on!

BORIS.
Yes, let us go! it's more terrible here! [_Goes._



SCENE V

The Same, without BORIS and KULIGIN.


MME. KABANOVA.
Well, that's a pretty sermon he gave us! Something worth hearing, and no
mistake! What have the times come to, when such as he turn teacher! If an
old man talks so, what can we expect from the young ones!

A WOMAN.
The whole sky's overcast. It's covered up all over, as it were, with a
cap.

FIRST.
Eh, mate, see how the storm cloud is rolling into a ball, as though there
were something alive turning round in it. And see how it's creeping up
towards us, creeping like a live thing!

SECOND.
Mark my words, that storm's not coming up for nothing. It's the truth I
tell you; I know. It'll strike someone dead, or set fire to a house;
you'll see, look what an extraordinary colour!

KATERINA _(listening)._
What are they saying? They say someone will be struck dead.

KABANOV.
You know what stuff they talk, any nonsense that comes into their heads.

MME. KABANOVA.
Don't you criticise your elders! They know better than you. Old people
have forewarnings of all sorts. Old people don't talk at random.

KATERINA _(to her husband)._
Dear Tihon, I know who will be struck dead.

VARVARA _(to Katerina, softly)._
If only you would hold your tongue!

KABANOV.
How do you know?

KATERINA.
It will strike me. Pray for me, then.

[_Enter Old Lady with footmen. Katerina with a shriek hides her face._



SCENE VI

The Same and the OLD LADY.


THE OLD LADY.
Why hide your face? It's no use hiding! One can see you're afraid. You've
no wish to die! She wants to live! To be sure she does!--look what a
beauty! Ha, ha, ha! Beauty! Better pray to God to take away your beauty!
It's beauty that is our ruin! Ruin to yourself, a snare to others, so
rejoice in your beauty if you will! Many, many, you lead into sin! Giddy
fellows fight duels over you, slash each other with swords for your sake.
And you are glad! Old men, honourable men, forget that they must die,
tempted by beauty! And who has to answer for all. Better go down into the
abyss with your beauty! Yes, quick, quick. _(Katerina hides herself.)_
Where will you hide away, foolish one! There's no escaping God! _(A clap
of thunder.)_ All of you will burn in fire unquenchable! [_Exit._

KATERINA.
Ah, I am dying!

VARVARA.
Why do you torture yourself like this! Stand on one side and pray; you
will feel better.

KATERINA _(goes to the wall and drops on her knees, then jumps up quickly,
seeing the picture on the wall)._
Ah! Hell! Hell! The fire unquenchable! _(Mme. Kabanova, Kabanov, and
Varvara surround her.)_ My heart is torn! I can bear it no longer! Mother!
Tihon! I have sinned against God and against you! Did I not swear to you I
would not set eyes on anyone when you were away! You remember! you
remember! And do you know what I have done in my sinfulness? The first
night I went out of the house....

KABANOV _(in despair, in tears, pulls at her sleeve)._
You mustn't, you mustn't! don't! What are you saying? Mother is here!

MME. KABANOVA _(severely)._
Come, come, speak, now you have begun.

KATERINA.
And every night the same.... _(Sobs, Kabanov tries to embrace her)._

MME. KABANOVA.
Let her be! With whom?

VARVARA.
She's raving, she doesn't know what she is saying.

MME. KABANOVA.
You be quiet! So this is the meaning of it! Well, with whom?

KATERINA.
With Boris Grigoritch. _(A clap of thunder.)_ Ah!

[_Falls unconscious in her husband's arms._

MME. KABANOVA.
Well, son! You see what freedom leads to! I told you so, but you wouldn't
heed me. See what you've brought on yourself!



ACT V



SCENE I

Scene same as Act I. Twilight.

KULIGIN (_sitting on a bench_).

KABANOV (_walking along the parade_).


KULIGIN (_sings_).
"In dark of night are hid the skies
In sleep now all have closed their eyes."

(_seeing Kabanov_) Good-evening, sir, are you walking far?

KABANOV.
No, I am going home. You have heard talk, I expect, about us? The whole
household's upside down.

KULIGIN.
I have heard so, sir, yes, I have heard so.

KABANOV.
I went away to Moscow, you know. Mamma sent me off with a sermon, oh, such
a sermon, but as soon as I was well away, I went in for enjoying myself. I
was glad to have escaped into freedom. And I was drinking all the journey,
and in Moscow too I kept it up, and had a jolly time--as you may fancy! Of
course I'd to get in fun enough to last me the whole year. I never once
thought about home. Though, if I had thought of it, I never should have
dreamed of what was going on here. You've heard about it?

KULIGIN.
Yes, sir.

KABANOV.
I'm a miserable man now! And so, for nothing, my life's spoiled, for
nothing I have done.

KULIGIN.
Your mother is terribly hard.

KABANOV.
Yes, indeed, she's the cause of it all. And what am I suffering for, tell
me that? Here I've just come from Dikoy's, and well, we drank a bit; I
thought it would drown care; but it has only made me worse, Kuligin! Ah,
the wrong my wife has done me! It couldn't be worse....

KULIGIN.
It's a difficult business, sir. It's difficult to judge between you.

KABANOV.
No; nothing could be worse than what she's done! It wouldn't be much to
kill her for it. There's mamma keeps saying: she ought to be buried alive
to punish her! But I love her, I can't bear to lay a finger on her. I did
give her a blow or two, but that was at mamma's bidding. It makes one
wretched to see her, do you understand that, Kuligin. Mamma's just
tormenting her to death, while she wanders about like a shadow, and makes
no resistance. She only weeps, and she's wasting away like wax. It's
simply breaking my heart to see her.

KULIGIN.
You must make it up somehow, sir! You ought to forgive her, and never
refer to it again. You are not without sin yourself, I daresay!

KABANOV.
I should think not!

KULIGIN.
And you must never reproach her even when you're drunk! She would be a
good wife to you yet, sir, better than any--believe me.

KABANOV.
But understand me, Kuligin; I'd never say a word, but mamma ... do you
suppose one can get over her!...

KULIGIN.
It's time you were guided, sir, by your own good sense, sir.

KABANOV.
My own good sense! I've got none, I'm told, and so I'm to live by other
people's! I declare I'll drink away whatever sense I have left, and then
mamma can look after me as much as she likes, when I'm crazy.

KULIGIN.
Ah sir! there's a world of troubles! But, Boris Grigoritch, sir, what of
him?

KABANOV.
Oh, he, the scoundrel, is being sent off to Tiahta, to the Chinese. His
uncle's sending him off to a merchant he knows there. He's to be there
three years.

KULIGIN.
Well, what does he say to it, sir?

KABANOV.
Oh, he's wretched too; he weeps. His uncle and I, we set upon him not long
ago, we swore at him--he didn't say a word. He seems like a wild thing. Do
what you like to me, says he, only don't torment her! He's sorry for her
too.

KULIGIN.
He's a good fellow, sir.

KABANOV.
He's packed up and ready, and the horses are ordered. He's so wretched,
it's awful! I can see he wants to say good-bye to her. But that's too
much! I can't have it. He's been an enemy to me, you know, Kuligin! He
ought to be thrashed within an inch of his life to teach him ...

KULIGIN.
We must forgive our enemies, sir!

KABANOV.
You go and tell that to mamma, and see what she'll say to it. So, brother
Kuligin, all our family is now split up and divided. We're not like
relations but enemies to one another. Mamma kept nagging and nagging at
Varvara; she couldn't stand it, and she soon made an end of it--she's
simply gone away.

KULIGIN.
Where has she gone?

KABANOV.
No one knows. They do say she's run off with Vania Kudriash, and he can't
be found anywhere either. It's all mamma's doing. I'll tell you frankly,
Kuligin: she had started bullying her and locking her up. "Don't shut me
up," she said, "or it will be the worse," and so it has turned out. What
am I to do, tell me that! Tell me how I am to live now! My home is made
loathsome to me, I'm put to shame before everyone, if I set about anything
my hands drop listless and dejected. Here I'm on my way home now. Shall I
find any happiness there, do you suppose? [_Enter Glasha._

GLASHA.
Master, Tihon Ivanitch!

KABANOV.
What is it now?

GLASHA.
There's something wrong at home, sir!

KABANOV.
Mercy on us! It's one thing on top of another! Tell me, what is it?

GLASHA.
Why, your good lady....

KABANOV.
Well, what? Is she dead?

GLASHA.
No, sir, she has disappeared; we can't find her anywhere.

KABANOV.
Kuligin! we must run and search for her. Do you know what I am afraid of?
That she may be driven in her misery to lay hands on herself! She grieves
and grieves,--ah, God! It rends my heart to see her. What were you
thinking of? Has she been gone long?

GLASHA.
No, sir, not long! It's we're to blame, of course; we didn't keep an eye
on her every minute. Though it's true, to be sure, the most watchful will
be caught napping sooner or later.

KABANOV.
Well, don't stand there doing nothing; bestir yourself! _(Exit Glasha.)_
And let us go too, Kuligin!

[_They go. The stage is empty for a little while. From the opposite side,
Katerina enters and walks slowly about the stage._



SCENE II

KATERINA alone.

[_Throughout the whole monologue and in the following scenes she speaks
slowly and disconnectedly, repeating words dreamily and, as it were, in a
state of forgetfulness._


KATERINA.
No, no, nowhere! What is he doing, my poor boy, now? All I want is to say
good-bye to him, and then ... and then death. Why did I lead him into
trouble. It's made it no better for me! I should have suffered alone!
But I have ruined myself, ruined him, brought dishonour on
myself,--everlasting disgrace on him--yes,--dishonour on myself, and on
him everlasting disgrace. (_Silence_.) If I could remember what it was he
said. How he felt for me? What were the words he said? (_Clutches at her
head_) I can't remember, I have forgotten everything. The nights, oh, the
nights are a weariness to me! All lie down to sleep, I too lie down; it is
well with all of them, but I lie as in my grave. It is fearful in the
darkness! There is a sound of singing as at some burial; but so soft,
almost out of hearing, far away, far from me.... How one longs for the
light! But I can't bear to get up--the same people again, the same talk,
the same torture. Why do they look at me so? Why is it they don't kill one
nowadays? Why don't they? In old days, they say, they used to kill women.
If they would take me and throw me into the Volga, I would be glad. "If we
kill you," they say, "your sin is taken from you; you must live, and
suffer for your sin." But I have suffered for it already! Am I to suffer
much longer? What have I to live for now, what for? I care for nothing,
nothing is sweet to me, the light of day is not sweet to me! And still
death does not come. One calls upon death and death comes not. Whatever I
look upon, whatever I hear, it is nothing but aching here _(touching her
heart)._ If I could be with him, there might perhaps be still some joy for
me.... Nay, it's all the same, my soul is lost now. How sick I am with
longing for him! If I cannot see thee, hear me at least from far away!
Wild winds, bear my grief and longing to him! My God! I am weary, I am
weary! _(goes to the river bank and cries loudly at the top of her voice)_
My sweet, my heart, my soul, I love you! Answer! [_Falls a-weeping. Enter
Boris._



SCENE III

KATERINA and BORIS.


BORIS (_not seeing Katerina_).
My God! It's her voice! Where is she? _(Looks round.)_

KATERINA _(runs to him and falls on his neck)._
At last I see you again! _(Weeps on his bosom. Silence.)_

BORIS.
We are weeping together, God has brought us together.

KATERINA.
You have not forgotten me?

BORIS.
Me forget you? Don't!

KATERINA.
Oh no, oh no! You're not angry?

BORIS.
How could I be angry?

KATERINA.
Forgive me, anyway! I did not mean to harm you; but I was not free myself.
I did not know what I was doing, what I was saying.

BORIS.
Oh don't! how can you! how can you!

KATERINA.
Well, how is it with you? how are you now?

BORIS.
I am going away.

KATERINA.
Where are you going?

BORIS.
Far away, Katia, to Siberia.

KATERINA.
Take me with you, away from here!

BORIS.
I cannot, Katia. I am not going of my own free will; my uncle is sending
me, he has the horses waiting for me already; I only begged for a minute,
I wanted to take a last farewell of the spot where we used to see each
other.

KATERINA.
Go and God be with you! Don't grieve over me. At first your heart will be
heavy perhaps, poor boy, and then you will begin to forget.

BORIS.
Why talk of me! I am free at least; how about you? what of your husband's
mother?

KATERINA.
She tortures me, she locks me up. She tells everyone and tells my husband:
"don't trust her, she's sly and deceitful." They all follow me about all
day long and laugh at me before my face. At every word they reproach me
with you.

BORIS.
And your husband?

KATERINA.
One minute he's kind, one minute he's angry, but he's drinking all the
while. He is loathsome to me, loathsome; his kindness is worse than his
blows.

BORIS.
You are wretched, Katia?

KATERINA.
So wretched, so wretched, that it were better to die!

BORIS.
Who could have dreamed that we should have to suffer such anguish for our
love! I'd better have run away then!

KATERINA.
It was an evil day for me when I saw you. Joy I have known little of, but
of sorrow, of sorrow, how much! And how much is still before me! But why
think of what is to be! I am seeing you now, that they cannot take away
from me; and I care for nothing more. All I wanted was to see you. Now my
heart is much easier; as though a load had been taken off me. I kept
thinking you were angry with me, that you were cursing me....

BORIS.
How can you! How can you!

KATERINA.
No, that's not what I mean; that's not what I wanted to say! I was sick
with longing for you, that's it; and now, I have seen you....

BORIS.
They must not come upon us here!

KATERINA.
Stay a minute! Stay a minute! Something I meant to say to you! I've
forgotten! Something I had to say! Everything is in confusion in my head,
I can remember nothing.

BORIS.
It's time I went, Katia!

KATERINA.
Wait a minute, a minute!

BORIS.
Come, what did you want to say?

KATERINA.
I will tell you directly. _(Thinking a moment.)_ Yes! As you travel along
the highroads, do not miss over one beggar, give to everyone, and bid them
pray for my sinful soul.

BORIS.
Ah, if these people knew what it is to me to part from you! My God! God
grant they may one day know such bitterness as I know now. Farewell,
Katia! _(embraces her and tries to go away)._ Miscreants! monsters! Ah, if
I were strong!

KATERINA.
Stay, stay! Let me look at you for the last time _(gazes into his face)._
Now all's over with me. The end is come for me. Now, God be with thee. Go,
go quickly!

BORIS _(moves away a few steps and stands still)._
Katia, I feel a dread of something! You have something fearful in your
mind? I shall be in torture as I go, thinking of you.

KATERINA.
No, no! Go in God's name! (_Boris is about to go up to her._) No, no,
enough.

BORIS (_sobbing_).
God be with thee! There's only one thing to pray God for, that she may
soon be dead, that she may not be tortured long! Farewell!

KATERINA.
Farewell!

[_Boris goes out. Katerina follows him with her eyes and stands for some
time, lost in thought._



SCENE IV


KATERINA (_alone_).
Where am I going now? Home? No, home or the grave--it's the same. Yes,
home or the grave! ... the grave! Better the grave.... A little grave
under a tree ... how sweet.... The sunshine warms it, the sweet rain
falls on it ... in the spring the grass grows on it, soft and sweet grass
... the birds will fly in the tree and sing, and bring up their little
ones, and flowers will bloom; golden, red and blue ... all sorts of
flowers, (_dreamily_) all sorts of flowers ... how still! how sweet! My
heart's as it were lighter! But of life I don't want to think! Live again!
No, no, no use ... life is not good! ... And people are hateful to me, and
the house is hateful, and the walls are hateful! I will not go there! No,
no, I will not go! If I go to them, they'll come and talk, and what do I
want with that? Ah, it has grown dark! And there is singing again
somewhere! What are they singing? I can't make out.... To die now....
What are they singing? It is just the same whether death comes, or of
myself ... but live I cannot! A sin to die so! ... they won't pray for me!
If anyone loves me he will pray ... they will fold my arms crossed in the
grave! Oh yes.... I remember. But when they catch me, and take me home by
force.... Ah, quickly, quickly! _(Goes to the river bank. Aloud)_ My dear
one! My sweet! Farewell!  [_Exit._

[_Enter Mme. Kabanova, Kabanov, Kuligin and workmen with torches._



SCENE V

MME. KABANOVA, KABANOV and KULIGIN.


KULIGIN.
They say she was seen here.

KABANOV.
Is it certain?

KULIGIN.
They say they saw her.

KABANOV.
Thank God, if she has been seen alive.

MME. KABANOVA.
And you in such a fright already and crying over it! There's no need.
She's not worth fretting about! Don't worry yourself, we shall have our
hands full with her for many a long year yet.

KABANOV.
Who would have dreamed of her coming here! A place so frequented. No one
would ever think of hiding here.

MME. KABANOVA.
That's just her way! The shameless hussy! She wants to keep up her
character, it seems!

[_A crowd with torches collects, coming in from different directions._

ONE OF THE CROWD.
Well, is she found?

MME. KABANOVA.
It seems not. She seems to have vanished into the earth.

SEVERAL VOICES.
How strange! It's a queer thing. And where could she hide?

ONE OF THE CROWD.
Oh, she'll be found!

A SECOND.
Of course she'll be found!

A THIRD.
To be sure, she'll come back of herself.

[_A voice behind the scene: "Hi, boat there!"_

KULIGIN _(from the bank)._
Who's calling? What is it?

[_The voice: "A woman's thrown herself into the water!" Kuligin and
several men after him run out._



SCENE VI

MME. KABANOVA, and KABANOV and Crowd.


KABANOV.
Merciful Heavens, it is she! _(tries to run off. Mme. Kabanova holds his
arm)_ Mamma, let me go! I will save her! or I too ... What can I do
without her!

MME. KABANOVA.
I'm not going to let you go, and don't you suppose it! Kill yourself on
her account; she's worth that, isn't she? As if she'd not brought disgrace
enough on us already, to plot to do a thing like this too!

KABANOV.
Let me go!

MME. KABANOVA.
There are plenty to help without you. I'll curse you if you go.

KABANOV _(falling on his knees)._
Oh, to look upon her at least!

MME. KABANOVA.
They'll pull her out--you'll look upon her, right enough.

KABANOV (_gets up. To the crowd_).
Well, my lads, do you see anything?

ONE OF THE CROWD.
It's dark down below, there's nothing in sight.

[_A noise behind the scene._

A SECOND.
They seemed to be shouting something, but I couldn't make out what.

THE FIRST.
That's Kuligin's voice.

THE SECOND.
They're coming along the bank with torches.

THE FIRST.
They're coming this way, and they're carrying her.

[_Several people come back._

ONE OF THOSE WHO HAVE COME BACK.
That Kuligin's a brave fellow! It was close here in a deep pool, near the
bank; with the torchlight we could see a long way off in the water; he saw
her dress and pulled her out.

KABANOV.
Alive?

THE MAN.
How could she be alive? She had thrown herself from the height; the bank
is steep there, and she must have fallen upon the anchor, she was so
injured, poor thing! But she looks as though she were alive! Only one
little wound on the temple, and one single stain of blood on it.

[_Kabanov runs across the scene, meets Kuligin with the crowd, carrying in
Katerina._



SCENE VII

The Same and KULIGIN.


KULIGIN.
Here is your Katerina. You may do what you like with her. Her body is
here, take it; but her soul is not yours now; she is before a Judge more
merciful than you are, now!

[_Lays her on the ground and exit._

KABANOV _(rushes to Katerina)._
Katia! Katia!

MME. KABANOVA.
Hush! It's a sin even to weep for her!

KABANOV.
Mother, you have murdered her! you! you! you!

MME. KABANOVA.
What do you mean? Think what you're saying! You forget whom you're
speaking to!

KABANOV.
You have murdered her! you! you!

MME. KABANOVA.
Come, I'll talk to you at home. (_Bows low to the assembled people_) I
thank you, good people, for your services! [_All bow low._

KABANOV.
It is well with you, Katia! But why am I left to live and suffer!
[_Falls on his wife's body._





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