Act III - Scene IX

[The same and the Governor.]


ANNA: What is it?

GOVERNOR: I wish I hadn't given him so much to drink. Suppose even half of what he said is true? [Sunk in thought.] How can it not be true? A man in his cups is always on the surface. What's in his heart is on his tongue. Of course he fibbed a little. No talking is possible without some lying. He plays cards with the ministers and he visits the Court. Upon my word the more you think the less you know what's going on in your head. I'm as dizzy as if I were standing in a belfry, or if I were going to be hanged, the devil take it!

ANNA: And I didn't feel the least bit afraid. I simply saw a high-toned, cultured man of the world, and his rank and titles didn't make me feel a bit queer.

GOVERNOR: Oh, well, you women. To say women and enough's said. Everything is froth and bubble to you. All of a sudden you blab out words that don't make the least sense. The worst you'd get would be a flogging; but it means ruination to the husband.—Say, my dear, you are as familiar with him as if he were another Bobchinsky.

ANNA: Leave that to us. Don't bother about that. [Glancing at Marya.] We know a thing or two in that line.

GOVERNOR: [to himself] Oh, what's the good of talking to you! Confound it all! I can't get over my fright yet. [Opens the door and calls.] Mishka, tell the sergeants, Svistunov and Derzhimorda, to come here. They are near the gate. [After a pause of silence.] The world has turned into a queer place. If at least the people were visible so you could see them; but they are such a skinny, thin race. How in the world could you tell what he is? After all you can tell a military man; but when he wears a frock-coat, it's like a fly with clipped wings. He kept it up a long time in the inn, got off a lot of allegories and ambiguities so that you couldn't make out head or tail. Now he's shown himself up at last.—Spouted even more than necessary. It's evident that he's a young man.