Act I - Scene IV

[The Governor, Bobchinsky, Dobchinsky, and Sergeant Svistunov.]

GOVERNOR: Well, is the cab ready?

SVISTUNOV: Yes, sir.

GOVERNOR: Go out on the street—or, no, stop—go and bring—why, where are the others? Why are you alone? Didn't I give orders for Prokhorov to be here? Where is Prokhorov?

SVISTUNOV: Prokhorov is in somebody's house and can't go on duty just now.


SVISTUNOV: Well, they brought him back this morning dead drunk. They poured two buckets of water over him, but he hasn't sobered up yet.

GOVERNOR: [clutching his head with both hands] For Heaven's sake! Go out on duty quick—or, no, run up to my room, do you hear? And fetch my sword and my new hat. Now, Piotr Ivanovich, [to Dobchinsky] come.

BOBCHINSKY: And me—me, too. Let me come, too, Anton Antonovich.

GOVERNOR: No, no, Bobchinsky, it won't do. Besides there is not enough room in the cab.

BOBCHINSKY: Oh, that doesn't matter. I'll follow the cab on foot—on foot. I just want to peep through a crack—so—to see that manner of his—how he acts.

GOVERNOR: [turning to the Sergeant and taking his sword] Be off and get the policemen together. Let them each take a—there, see how scratched my sword is. It's that dog of a merchant, Abdulin. He sees the Governor's sword is old and doesn't provide a new one. Oh, the sharpers! I'll bet they've got their petitions against me ready in their coat-tail pockets.—Let each take a street in his hand—I don't mean a street—a broom—and sweep the street leading to the inn, and sweep it clean, and—do you hear? And see here, I know you, I know your tricks. You insinuate yourselves into the inn and walk off with silver spoons in your boots. Just you look out. I keep my ears pricked. What have you been up to with the merchant, Chorniayev, eh? He gave you two yards of cloth for your uniform and you stole the whole piece. Take care. You're only a Sergeant. Don't graft higher than your rank. Off with you.