Act III - Scene X

[The same and Osip. All rush to meet Osip, beckoning to him.]

ANNA: Come here, my good man.

GOVERNOR: Hush! Tell me, tell me, is he asleep?

OSIP: No, not yet. He's stretching himself a little.

ANNA: What's your name?

OSIP: Osip, madam.

GOVERNOR: [to his wife and daughter] That'll do, that'll do. [To Osip.] Well, friend, did they give you a good meal?

OSIP: Yes, sir, very good. Thank you kindly.

ANNA: Your master has lots of counts and princes visiting him, hasn't he?

OSIP: [aside] What shall I say? Seeing as they've given me such good feed now, I s'pose they'll do even better later. [Aloud.] Yes, counts do visit him.

MARYA: Osip, darling, isn't your master just grand?

ANNA: Osip, please tell me, how is he—

GOVERNOR: Do stop now. You just interfere with your silly talk. Well, friend, how—

ANNA: What is your master's rank?

OSIP: The usual rank.

GOVERNOR: For God's sake, your stupid questions keep a person from getting down to business. Tell me, friend, what sort of a man is your master? Is he strict? Does he rag and bully a fellow—you know what I mean—does he or doesn't he?

OSIP: Yes, he likes things to be just so. He insists on things being just so.

GOVERNOR: I like your face. You must be a fine man, friend. What—?

ANNA: Listen, Osip, does your master wear uniform in St. Petersburg?

GOVERNOR: Enough of your tattle now, really. This is a serious matter, a matter of life and death. (To Osip.) Yes, friend, I like you very much. It's rather chilly now and when a man's travelling an extra glass of tea or so is rather welcome. So here's a couple of rubles for some tea.

OSIP: [taking the money] Thank you, much obliged to you, sir. God grant you health and long life. You've helped a poor man.

GOVERNOR: That's all right. I'm glad to do it. Now, friend—

ANNA: Listen, Osip, what kind of eyes does your master like most?

MARYA: Osip, darling, what a dear nose your master has!

GOVERNOR: Stop now, let me speak. [To Osip.] Tell me, what does your master care for most? I mean, when he travels what does he like?

OSIP: As for sights, he likes whatever happens to come along. But what he likes most of all is to be received well and entertained well.

GOVERNOR: Entertained well?

OSIP: Yes, for instance, I'm nothing but a serf and yet he sees to it that I should be treated well, too. S'help me God! Say we'd stop at some place and he'd ask, "Well, Osip, have they treated you well?" "No, badly, your Excellency." "Ah," he'd say, "Osip, he's not a good host. Remind me when we get home." "Oh, well," thinks I to myself [with a wave of his hand]. "I am a simple person. God be with them."

GOVERNOR: Very good. You talk sense. I've given you something for tea. Here's something for buns, too.

OSIP: You are too kind, your Excellency. [Puts the money in his pocket.] I'll sure drink your health, sir.

ANNA: Come to me, Osip, and I'll give you some, too.

MARYA: Osip, darling, kiss your master for me.

[Khlestakov is heard to give a short cough in the next room.]

GOVERNOR: Hush! [Rises on tip-toe. The rest of the conversation in the scene is carried on in an undertone.] Don't make a noise, for heaven's sake! Go, it's enough.

ANNA: Come, Mashenka, I'll tell you something I noticed about our guest that I can't tell you unless we are alone together. [They go out.]

GOVERNOR: Let them talk away. If you went and listened to them, you'd want to stop up your ears. [To Osip.] Well, friend—