Basics

Show Type
Genders
  • : 1
  • : 2
Age Ranges
  • Adult
  • Mature Adult
Style
Period
Time/Place
Russia, 1901
Act/Scene
Act 4

Scene Context

Both Masha and Andrei come across the doctor, Chebutykin, sitting outdoors. Lots of changing in the

Scene Text

MASHA. Here you are, sitting here, doing nothing.

CHEBUTIKIN. What then?

MASHA. [Sits] Nothing.... [Pause] Did you love my mother?

CHEBUTIKIN. Very much.

MASHA. And did she love you?

CHEBUTIKIN. [After a pause] I don’t remember that.

MASHA. Is my man here? When our cook Martha used to ask about her gendarme, she used to say my man. Is he here?

CHEBUTIKIN. Not yet.

MASHA. When you take your happiness in little bits, in snatches, and then lose it, as I have done, you gradually get coarser, more bitter. [Points to her bosom] I’m boiling in here.... [Looks at ANDREY with the perambulator] There’s our brother Andrey.... All our hopes in him have gone. There was once a great bell, a thousand persons were hoisting it, much money and labour had been spent on it, when it suddenly fell and was broken. Suddenly, for no particular reason.... Andrey is like that....

ANDREY. When are they going to stop making such a noise in the house? It’s awful.

CHEBUTIKIN. They won’t be much longer. [Looks at his watch] My watch is very old-fashioned, it strikes the hours.... [Winds the watch and makes it strike] The first, second, and fifth batteries are to leave at one o’clock precisely. [Pause] And I go to-morrow.

ANDREY. For good?

CHEBUTIKIN. I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll return in a year. The devil only knows... it’s all one.... [Somewhere a harp and violin are being played.]

ANDREY. The town will grow empty. It will be as if they put a cover over it. [Pause] Something happened yesterday by the theatre. The whole town knows of it, but I don’t.

CHEBUTIKIN. Nothing. A silly little affair. Soleni started irritating the Baron, who lost his temper and insulted him, and so at last Soleni had to challenge him. [Looks at his watch] It’s about time, I think.... At half-past twelve, in the public wood, that one you can see from here across the river.... Piff-paff. [Laughs] Soleni thinks he’s Lermontov, and even writes verses. That’s all very well, but this is his third duel.

MASHA. Whose?

CHEBUTIKIN. Soleni’s.

MASHA. And the Baron?

CHEBUTIKIN. What about the Baron? [Pause.]

MASHA. Everything’s all muddled up in my head.... But I say it ought not to be allowed. He might wound the Baron or even kill him.

CHEBUTIKIN. The Baron is a good man, but one Baron more or less—what difference does it make? It’s all the same! [Beyond the garden somebody shouts “Co-ee! Hallo! “] You wait. That’s Skvortsov shouting; one of the seconds. He’s in a boat. [Pause.]

ANDREY. In my opinion it’s simply immoral to fight in a duel, or to be present, even in the quality of a doctor.

CHEBUTIKIN. It only seems so.... We don’t exist, there’s nothing on earth, we don’t really live, it only seems that we live. Does it matter, anyway!

MASHA. You talk and talk the whole day long. [Going] You live in a climate like this, where it might snow any moment, and there you talk.... [Stops] I won’t go into the house, I can’t go there.... Tell me when Vershinin comes.... [Goes along the avenue] The migrant birds are already on the wing.... [Looks up] Swans or geese.... My dear, happy things.... [Exit.]

ANDREY. Our house will be empty. The officers will go away, you are going, my sister is getting married, and I alone will remain in the house.

CHEBUTIKIN. And your wife?

[FERAPONT enters with some documents.]

ANDREY. A wife’s a wife. She’s honest, well-bred, yes; and kind, but with all that there is still something about her that degenerates her into a petty, blind, even in some respects misshapen animal. In any case, she isn’t a man. I tell you as a friend, as the only man to whom I can lay bare my soul. I love Natasha, it’s true, but sometimes she seems extraordinarily vulgar, and then I lose myself and can’t understand why I love her so much, or, at any rate, used to love her....

CHEBUTIKIN. [Rises] I’m going away to-morrow, old chap, and perhaps we’ll never meet again, so here’s my advice. Put on your cap, take a stick in your hand, go... go on and on, without looking round. And the farther you go, the better.