Act IV - Scene IX

[Khlestakov and Osip entering with paper and ink.]

KHLESTAKOV: Now, you simpleton, you see how they receive and treat me. [Begins to write.]

OSIP: Yes, thank God! But do you know what, Ivan Aleksandrovich?


OSIP: Leave this place. Upon my word, it's time.

KHLESTAKOV: [writing] What nonsense! Why?

OSIP: Just so. God be with them. You've had a good time here for two days. It's enough. What's the use of having anything more to do with them? Spit on them. You don't know what may happen. Somebody else may turn up. Upon my word, Ivan Aleksandrovich. And the horses here are fine. We'll gallop away like a breeze.

KHLESTAKOV: [writing] No, I'd like to stay a little longer. Let's go tomorrow.

OSIP: Why tomorrow? Let's go now, Ivan Aleksandrovich, now, 'pon my word. To be sure, it's a great honor and all that. But really we'd better go as quick as we can. You see, they've taken you for somebody else, honest. And your dad will be angry because you dilly-dallied so long. We'd gallop off so smartly. They'd give us first-class horses here.

KHLESTAKOV: [writing] All right. But first take this letter to the postoffice, and, if you like, order post horses at the same time. Tell the postilions that they should drive like couriers and sing songs, and I'll give them a ruble each. [Continues to write.] I wager Triapichkin will die laughing.

OSIP: I'll send the letter off by the man here. I'd rather be packing in the meanwhile so as to lose no time.

KHLESTAKOV: All right. Bring me a candle.

OSIP: [outside the door, where he is heard speaking] Say, partner, go to the post office and mail a letter, and tell the postmaster to frank it. And have a coach sent round at once, the very best courier coach; and tell them the master doesn't pay fare. He travels at the expense of the government. And make them hurry, or else the master will be angry. Wait, the letter isn't ready yet.

KHLESTAKOV: I wonder where he lives now, on Pochtamtskaya or Grokhovaya Street. He likes to move often, too, to get out of paying rent. I'll make a guess and send it to Pochtamtskaya Street. [Folds the letter and addresses it.]

[Osip brings the candle. Khlestakov seals the letter with sealing wax. At that moment Derzhimorda's voice is heard saying: "Where are you going, whiskers? You've been told that nobody is allowed to come in."]

KHLESTAKOV: [giving the letter to Osip] There, have it mailed.

MERCHANT'S VOICE. Let us in, brother. You have no right to keep us out. We have come on business.

DERZHIMORDA'S VOICE. Get out of here, get out of here! He doesn't receive anybody. He's asleep.

[The disturbance outside grows louder.]

KHLESTAKOV: What's the matter there, Osip? See what the noise is about.

OSIP: [looking through the window] There are some merchants there who want to come in, and the sergeant won't let them. They are waving papers. I suppose they want to see you.

KHLESTAKOV: [going to the window] What is it, friends?

MERCHANT'S VOICE. We appeal for your protection. Give orders, your Lordship, that our petitions be received.

KHLESTAKOV: Let them in, let them in. Osip, tell them to come in.

[Osip goes out.]

KHLESTAKOV: [takes the petitions through the window, unfolds one of them and reads] "To his most honorable, illustrious financial Excellency, from the merchant Abdulin...." The devil knows what this is! There's no such title.