Act V - Scene I

[Governor, Anna Andreyevna, and Marya Antonovna.]

GOVERNOR: Well, Anna Andreyevna, eh? Did you ever imagine such a thing? Such a rich prize? I'll be—. Well, confess frankly, it never occurred to you even in your dreams, did it? From just a simple governor's wife suddenly—whew!—I'll be hanged!—to marry into the family of such a big gun.

ANNA: Not at all. I knew it long ago. It seems wonderful to you because you are so plain. You never saw decent people.

GOVERNOR: I'm a decent person myself, mother. But, really, think, Anna Andreyevna, what gay birds we have turned into now, you and I. Eh, Anna Andreyevna? High fliers, by Jove! Wait now, I'll give those fellows who were so eager to present their petitions and denunciations a peppering. Ho, who's there? [Enter a Sergeant.] Is it you, Ivan Karpovich? Call those merchants here, brother, won't you? I'll give it to them, the scoundrels! To make such complaints against me! The damned pack of Jews! Wait, my dear fellows. I used to dose you down to your ears. Now I'll dose you down to your beards. Make a list of all who came to protest against me, especially the mean petty scribblers who cooked the petitions up for them, and announce to all that they should know what honor the Heavens have bestowed upon the Governor, namely this: that he is marrying his daughter, not to a plain ordinary man, but to one the like of whom has never yet been in the world, who can do everything, everything, everything, everything! Proclaim it to all so that everybody should know. Shout it aloud to the whole world. Ring the bell, the devil take it! It is a triumph, and we will make it a triumph. [The Sergeant goes out.] So that's the way, Anna Andreyevna, eh? What shall we do now? Where shall we live? Here or in St. Pete?

ANNA: In St. Petersburg, of course. How could we remain here?

GOVERNOR: Well, if St. Pete, then St. Pete. But it would be good here, too. I suppose the governorship could then go to the devil, eh, Anna Andreyevna?

ANNA: Of course. What's a governorship?

GOVERNOR: Don't you think, Anna Andreyevna, I can rise to a high rank now, he being hand in glove with all the ministers, and visiting the court? In time I can be promoted to a generalship. What do you think, Anna Andreyevna? Can I become a general?

ANNA: I should say so. Of course you can.

GOVERNOR: Ah, the devil take it, it's nice to be a general. They hang a ribbon across your shoulders. What ribbon is better, the red St. Anne or the blue St. Andrew?

ANNA: The blue St. Andrew, of course.

GOVERNOR: What! My, you're aiming high. The red one is good, too. Why does one want to be a general? Because when you go travelling, there are always couriers and aides on ahead with "Horses"! And at the stations they refuse to give the horses to others. They all wait, all those councilors, captains, governors, and you don't take the slightest notice of them. You dine somewhere with the governor-general. And the town-governor—I'll keep him waiting at the door. Ha, ha, ha! [He bursts into a roar of laughter, shaking all over.] That's what's so alluring, confound it!

ANNA: You always like such coarse things. You must remember that our life will have to be completely changed, that your acquaintances will not be a dog-lover of a judge, with whom you go hunting hares, or a Zemlianika. On the contrary, your acquaintances will be people of the most refined type, counts, and society aristocrats. Only really I am afraid of you. You sometimes use words that one never hears in good society.

GOVERNOR: What of it? A word doesn't hurt.

ANNA: It's all right when you are a town-governor, but there the life is entirely different.

GOVERNOR: Yes, they say there are two kinds of fish there, the sea-eel and the smelt, and before you start to eat them, the saliva flows in your mouth.

ANNA: That's all he thinks about—fish. I shall insist upon our house being the first in the capital and my room having so much amber in it that when you come in you have to shut your eyes. [She shuts her eyes and sniffs.] Oh, how good!