Act IV - Scene III

[Khlestakov and the Judge.]

JUDGE: [comes in and stops. Talking to himself] Oh, God, bring me safely out of this! How my knees are knocking together! [Drawing himself up and holding the sword in his hand. Aloud.] I have the honor to present myself—Judge of the District Court here, College Assessor Liapkin-Tiapkin.

KHLESTAKOV: Please be seated. So you are the Judge here?

JUDGE: I was elected by the nobility in 1816 and I have served ever since.

KHLESTAKOV: Does it pay to be a judge?

JUDGE: After serving three terms I was decorated with the Vladimir of the third class with the approval of the government. [Aside.] I have the money in my hand and my hand is on fire.

KHLESTAKOV: I like the Vladimir. Anna of the third class is not so nice.

JUDGE: [slightly extending his balled fist. Aside] Good God! I don't know where I'm sitting. I feel as though I were on burning coals.

KHLESTAKOV: What have you got in your hand there?

AMMOS: [getting all mixed up and dropping the bills on the floor] Nothing.

KHLESTAKOV: How so, nothing? I see money has dropped out of it.

AMMOS: [shaking all over] Oh no, oh no, not at all! [Aside.] Oh, Lord! Now I'm under arrest and they've brought a wagon to take me.

KHLESTAKOV: Yes, it IS money. [Picking it up.]

AMMOS: [aside] It's all over with me. I'm lost! I'm lost!

KHLESTAKOV: I tell you what—lend it to me.

AMMOS: [eagerly] Why, of course, of course—with the greatest pleasure. [Aside.] Bolder! Bolder! Holy Virgin, stand by me!

KHLESTAKOV: I've run out of cash on the road, what with one thing and another, you know. I'll let you have it back as soon as I get to the village.

AMMOS: Please don't mention it! It is a great honor to have you take it. I'll try to deserve it—by putting forth the best of my feeble powers, by my zeal and ardor for the government. [Rises from the chair and draws himself up straight with his hands hanging at his sides.] I will not venture to disturb you longer with my presence. You don't care to give any orders?

KHLESTAKOV: What orders?

JUDGE: I mean, would you like to give orders for the district court here?

KHLESTAKOV: What for? I have nothing to do with the court now. No, nothing. Thank you very much.

AMMOS: [bowing and leaving. Aside.] Now the town is ours.

KHLESTAKOV: The Judge is a fine fellow.