Act IV - Scene VI

[Khlestakov and Artemy Filippovich.]

ARTEMY: [enters and draws himself up, his hand on his sword] I have the honor to present myself—Superintendent of Charities, Court Councilor Zemlianika.

KHLESTAKOV: Howdeedo? Please sit down.

ARTEMY: I had the honor of receiving you and personally conducting you through the philanthropic institutions committed to my care.

KHLESTAKOV: Oh, yes, I remember. You treated me to a dandy lunch.

ARTEMY: I am glad to do all I can in behalf of my country.

KHLESTAKOV: I admit, my weakness is a good cuisine.—Tell me, please, won't you—it seems to me you were a little shorter yesterday, weren't you?

ARTEMY: Quite possible. [After a pause.] I may say I spare myself no pains and perform the duties of my office with the utmost zeal. [Draws his chair closer and speaks in a lowered tone.] There's the postmaster, for example, he does absolutely nothing. Everything is in a fearful state of neglect. The mail is held up. Investigate for yourself, if you please, and you will see. The Judge, too, the man who was here just now, does nothing but hunt hares, and he keeps his dogs in the court rooms, and his conduct, if I must confess—and for the benefit of the fatherland, I must confess, though he is my relative and friend—his conduct is in the highest degree reprehensible. There is a squire here by the name of Dobchinsky, whom you were pleased to see. Well, the moment Dobchinsky leaves the house, the Judge is there with Dobchinsky's wife. I can swear to it. You just take a look at the children. Not one of them resembles Dobchinsky. All of them, even the little girl, are the very image of the Judge.

KHLESTAKOV: You don't say so. I never imagined it.

ARTEMY: Then take the School Inspector here. I don't know how the government could have entrusted him with such an office. He's worse than a Jacobin freethinker, and he instils such pernicious ideas into the minds of the young that I can hardly describe it. Hadn't I better put it all down on paper, if you so order?

KHLESTAKOV: Very well, why not? I should like it very much. I like to kill the weary hours reading something amusing, you know. What is your name? I keep forgetting.

ARTEMY: Zemlianika.

KHLESTAKOV: Oh, yes, Zemlianika. Tell me, Mr. Zemlianika, have you any children?

ARTEMY: Of course. Five. Two are already grown up.

KHLESTAKOV: You don't say! Grown up! And how are they—how are they—a—a?

ARTEMY: You mean that you deign to ask what their names are?

KHLESTAKOV: Yes, yes, what are their names?

ARTEMY: Nikolay, Ivan, Yelizaveta, Marya and Perepetuya.


ARTEMY: I don't venture to disturb you any longer with my presence and rob you of your time dedicated to the performance of your sacred duties—-[Bows and makes to go.]

KHLESTAKOV: [escorting him] Not at all. What you told me is all very funny. Call again, please. I like that sort of thing very much. [Turns back and reopens the door, calling.] I say, there! What is your——I keep forgetting. What is your first name and your patronymic?

ARTEMY: Artemy Filippovich.

KHLESTAKOV: Do me a favor, Artemy Filippovich. A curious accident happened to me on the road. I've run entirely out of cash. Have you four hundred rubles to lend me?

ARTEMY: I have.

KHLESTAKOV: That comes in pat. Thank you very much.