Act IV - Scene XV

[The same and the Governor in precipitate haste.]

GOVERNOR: Your Excellency, don't ruin me, don't ruin me.

KHLESTAKOV: What's the matter?

GOVERNOR: The merchants have complained to your Excellency. I assure you on my honor that not one half of what they said is so. They themselves are cheats. They give short measure and short weight. The officer's widow lied to you when she said I flogged her. She lied, upon my word, she lied. She flogged herself.

KHLESTAKOV: The devil take the officer's widow. What do I care about the officer's widow.

GOVERNOR: Don't believe them, don't believe them. They are rank liars; a mere child wouldn't believe them. They are known all over town as liars. And as for cheating, I venture to inform you that there are no swindlers like them in the whole of creation.

ANNA: Do you know what honor Ivan Aleksandrovich is bestowing upon us? He is asking for our daughter's hand.

GOVERNOR: What are you talking about? Mother has lost her wits. Please do not be angry, your Excellency. She has a touch of insanity. Her mother was like that, too.

KHLESTAKOV: Yes, I am really asking for your daughter's hand. I am in love with her.

GOVERNOR: I cannot believe it, your Excellency.

ANNA: But when you are told!

KHLESTAKOV: I am not joking. I could go crazy, I am so in love.

GOVERNOR: I daren't believe it. I am unworthy of such an honor.

KHLESTAKOV: If you don't consent to give me your daughter Marya Antonovna's hand, then I am ready to do the devil knows what.

GOVERNOR: I cannot believe it. You deign to joke, your Excellency.

ANNA: My, what a blockhead! Really! When you are told over and over again!

GOVERNOR: I can't believe it.

KHLESTAKOV: Give her to me, give her to me! I am a desperate man and I may do anything. If I shoot myself, you will have a law-suit on your hands.

GOVERNOR: Oh, my God! I am not guilty either in thought or in action. Please do not be angry. Be pleased to act as your mercy wills. Really, my head is in such a state I don't know what is happening. I have turned into a worse fool than I've ever been in my life.

ANNA: Well, give your blessing.

[Khlestakov goes up to Marya Antonovna.]

GOVERNOR: May God bless you, but I am not guilty. [Khlestakov kisses Marya. The Governor looks at them.] What the devil! It's really so. [Rubs his eyes.] They are kissing. Oh, heavens! They are kissing. Actually to be our son-in-law! [Cries out, jumping with glee.] Ho, Anton! Ho, Anton! Ho, Governor! So that's the turn events have taken!