Act V - Scene VII

[The same, the Police Captain and Sergeants.]

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to congratulate you, your Honor, and to wish you long years of prosperity.

GOVERNOR: Thank you, thank you! Please sit down, gentlemen.

[The Guests seat themselves.]

AMMOS: But please tell us, Anton Antonovich, how did it all come about, and how did it all—ahem!—go?

GOVERNOR: It went in a most extraordinary way. He condescended to make the proposal in his own person.

ANNA: In the most respectful and most delicate manner. He spoke beautifully. He said: "Anna Andreyevna, I have only a feeling of respect for your worth." And such a handsome, cultured man! His manners so genteel! "Believe me, Anna Andreyevna," he says, "life is not worth a penny to me. It is only because I respect your rare qualities."

MARYA: Oh, mamma, it was to me he said that.

ANNA: Shut up! You don't know anything. And don't meddle in other people's affairs. "Anna Andreyevna," he says, "I am enraptured." That was the flattering way he poured out his soul. And when I was going to say, "We cannot possibly hope for such an honor," he suddenly went down on his knees, and so aristocratically! "Anna Andreyevna," he says, "don't make me the most miserable of men. Consent to respond to my feelings, or else I'll put an end to my life."

MARYA: Really, mamma, it was to me he said that.

ANNA: Yes, of course—to you, too. I don't deny it.

GOVERNOR: He even frightened us. He said he would put a bullet through his brains. "I'll shoot myself, I'll shoot myself," he said.

MANY GUESTS: Well, for the Lord's sake!

AMMOS: How remarkable!

LUKA: It must have been fate that so ordained.

ARTEMY: Not fate, my dear friend. Fate is a turkey-hen. It was the Governor's services that brought him this piece of fortune. [Aside.] Good luck always does crawl into the mouths of swine like him.

AMMOS: If you like, Anton Antonovich, I'll sell you the dog we were bargaining about.

GOVERNOR: I don't care about dogs now.

AMMOS: Well, if you don't want it, then we'll agree on some other dog.

KOROBKIN’S WIFE: Oh, Anna Andreyevna, how happy I am over your good fortune. You can't imagine how happy I am.

KOROBKIN: But where, may I ask, is the distinguished guest now? I heard he had gone away for some reason or other.

GOVERNOR: Yes, he's gone off for a day on a highly important matter.

ANNA: To his uncle—to ask his blessing.

GOVERNOR: To ask his blessing. But tomorrow—[He sneezes, and all burst into one exclamation of well-wishes.] Thank you very much. But tomorrow he'll be back. [He sneezes, and is congratulated again. Above the other voices are heard those of the following.]

{CAPTAIN: I wish you health, your Honor.

{BOBCHINSKY: A hundred years and a sack of ducats.

{DOBCHINSKY: May God increase it to a thousand.

{ARTEMY: May you go to hell!

{KOROBKIN'S WIFE: The devil take you!

GOVERNOR: I'm very much obliged to you. I wish you the same.

ANNA: We intend to live in St. Petersburg now. I must say, the atmosphere here is too village-like. I must say, it's extremely unpleasant. My husband, too—he'll be made a general there.

GOVERNOR: Yes, confound it, gentlemen, I admit I should very much like to be a general.

LUKA: May God grant that you get a generalship.

RASTAKOVSKY: From man it is impossible, but from God everything is possible.

AMMOS: High merits, high honors.

ARTEMY: Reward according to service.

AMMOS: [aside] The things he'll do when he becomes a general. A generalship suits him as a saddle suits a cow. It's a far cry to his generalship. There are better men than you, and they haven't been made generals yet.

ARTEMY: [aside] The devil take it—he's aiming for a generalship. Well, maybe he will become a general after all. He's got the air of importance, the devil take him! [Addressing the Governor.] Don't forget us then, Anton Antonovich.

AMMOS: And if anything happens—for instance, some difficulty in our affairs—don't refuse us your protection.

KOROBKIN: Next year I am going to take my son to the capital to put him in government service. So do me the kindness to give me your protection. Be a father to the orphan.

GOVERNOR: I am ready for my part—ready to exert my efforts on your behalf.

ANNA: Antosha, you are always ready with your promises. In the first place, you won't have time to think of such things. And how can you—how is it possible for you, to burden yourself with such promises?

GOVERNOR: Why not, my dear? It's possible occasionally.

ANNA: Of course it's possible. But you can't give protection to every small potato.

KOROBKIN’S WIFE: Do you hear the way she speaks of us?

GUEST: She's always been that way. I know her. Seat her at table and she'll put her feet on it.