LUBOV. Don’t teas...
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- Anton Chekhov
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Trofimov and Mrs. Ranevsky have been left alone together and both of them are in an agitated mood.
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LUBOV. Don’t tease her, Peter, you see that she’s quite unhappy without that.
TROFIMOV. She takes too much on herself, she keeps on interfering in other people’s business. The whole summer she’s given no peace to me or to Anya, she’s afraid we’ll have a romance all to ourselves. What has it to do with her? As if I’d ever given her grounds to believe I’d stoop to such vulgarity! We are above love.
LUBOV. Then I suppose I must be beneath love. [In agitation] Why isn’t Leonid here? If I only knew whether the estate is sold or not! The disaster seems to me so improbable that I don’t know what to think, I’m all at sea... I may scream... or do something silly. Save me, Peter. Say something, say something.
TROFIMOV. Isn’t it all the same whether the estate is sold to-day or isn’t? It’s been all up with it for a long time; there’s no turning back, the path’s grown over. Be calm, dear, you shouldn’t deceive yourself, for once in your life at any rate you must look the truth straight in the face.
LUBOV. What truth? You see where truth is, and where untruth is, but I seem to have lost my sight and see nothing. You boldly settle all important questions, but tell me, dear, isn’t it because you’re young, because you haven’t had time to suffer till you settled a single one of your questions? You boldly look forward, isn’t it because you cannot foresee or expect anything terrible, because so far life has been hidden from your young eyes? You are bolder, more honest, deeper than we are, but think only, be just a little magnanimous, and have mercy on me. I was born here, my father and mother lived here, my grandfather too, I love this house. I couldn’t understand my life without that cherry orchard, and if it really must be sold, sell me with it! [Embraces TROFIMOV, kisses his forehead]. My son was drowned here.... [Weeps] Have pity on me, good, kind man.
TROFIMOV. You know I sympathize with all my soul.
LUBOV. Yes, but it ought to be said differently, differently.... [Takes another handkerchief, a telegram falls on the floor] I’m so sick at heart to-day, you can’t imagine. Here it’s so noisy, my soul shakes at every sound. I shake all over, and I can’t go away by myself, I’m afraid of the silence. Don’t judge me harshly, Peter... I loved you, as if you belonged to my family. I’d gladly let Anya marry you, I swear it, only dear, you ought to work, finish your studies. You don’t do anything, only fate throws you about from place to place, it’s so odd.... Isn’t it true? Yes? And you ought to do something to your beard to make it grow better [Laughs] You are funny!
TROFIMOV. [Picking up telegram] I don’t want to be a Beau Brummel.
LUBOV. This telegram’s from Paris. I get one every day. Yesterday and to-day. That wild man is ill again, he’s bad again.... He begs for forgiveness, and implores me to come, and I really ought to go to Paris to be near him. You look severe, Peter, but what can I do, my dear, what can I do; he’s ill, he’s alone, unhappy, and who’s to look after him, who’s to keep him away from his errors, to give him his medicine punctually? And why should I conceal it and say nothing about it; I love him, that’s plain, I love him, I love him.... That love is a stone round my neck; I’m going with it to the bottom, but I love that stone and can’t live without it. [Squeezes TROFIMOV’S hand] Don’t think badly of me, Peter, don’t say anything to me, don’t say...
TROFIMOV. [Weeping] For God’s sake forgive my speaking candidly, but that man has robbed you!
LUBOV. No, no, no, you oughtn’t to say that! [Stops her ears.]
TROFIMOV. But he’s a wretch, you alone don’t know it! He’s a petty thief, a nobody....
LUBOV. [Angry, but restrained] You’re twenty-six or twenty-seven, and still a schoolboy of the second class!
TROFIMOV. Why not!
LUBOV. You ought to be a man, at your age you ought to be able to understand those who love. And you ought to be in love yourself, you must fall in love! [Angry] Yes, yes! You aren’t pure, you’re just a freak, a queer fellow, a funny growth...
TROFIMOV. [In horror] What is she saying!
LUBOV. “I’m above love!” You’re not above love, you’re just what our Fiers calls a bungler. Not to have a mistress at your age!
TROFIMOV. [In horror] This is awful! What is she saying? [Goes quickly up into the drawing-room, clutching his head] It’s awful... I can’t stand it, I’ll go away. [Exit, but returns at once] All is over between us! [Exit.]
LUBOV. [Shouts after him] Peter, wait! Silly man, I was joking! Peter!
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