Act I - Scene V

[Enter the Police Captain.]

GOVERNOR: Hello, Stepan Ilyich, where the dickens have you been keeping yourself? What do you mean by acting that way?

CAPTAIN: Why, I was just outside the gate.

GOVERNOR: Well, listen, Stepan Ilyich. An official has come from St. Petersburg. What have you done about it?

CAPTAIN: What you told me to. I sent Sergeant Pugovichyn with policemen to clean the street.

GOVERNOR: Where is Derzhimorda?

CAPTAIN: He has gone off on the fire engine.

GOVERNOR: And Prokhorov is drunk?


GOVERNOR: How could you allow him to get drunk?

CAPTAIN: God knows. Yesterday there was a fight outside the town. He went to restore order and was brought back drunk.

GOVERNOR: Well, then, this is what you are to do.—Sergeant Pugovichyn—he is tall. So he is to stand on duty on the bridge for appearance' sake. Then the old fence near the bootmaker's must be pulled down at once and a post stuck up with a whisp of straw so as to look like grading. The more debris there is the more it will show the governor's activity.—Good God, though, I forgot that about forty cart-loads of rubbish have been dumped against that fence. What a vile, filthy town this is! A monument, or even only a fence, is erected, and instantly they bring a lot of dirt together, from the devil knows where, and dump it there. [Heaves a sigh.] And if the functionary that has come here asks any of the officials whether they are satisfied, they are to say, "Perfectly satisfied, your Honor"; and if anybody is not satisfied, I'll give him something to be dissatisfied about afterwards.—Ah, I'm a sinner, a terrible sinner. [Takes the hat-box, instead of his hat.] Heaven only grant that I may soon get this matter over and done with; then I'll donate a candle such as has never been offered before. I'll levy a hundred pounds of wax from every damned merchant. Oh my, oh my! Come, let's go, Piotr Ivanovich. [Tries to put the hat-box on his head instead of his hat.]

CAPTAIN: Anton Antonovich, that's the hat-box, not your hat.

GOVERNOR: [throwing the box down] If it's the hat-box, it's the hat-box, the deuce take it!—And if he asks why the church at the hospital for which the money was appropriated five years ago has not been built, don't let them forget to say that the building was begun but was destroyed by fire. I sent in a report about it, you know. Some blamed fool might forget and let out that the building was never even begun. And tell Derzhimorda not to be so free with his fists. Guilty or innocent, he makes them all see stars in the cause of public order.—Come on, come on, Dobchinsky. [Goes out and returns.] And don't let the soldiers appear on the streets with nothing on. That rotten garrison wear their coats directly over their undershirts.

[All go out.]