The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov A.P.
A COMEDY IN FOUR ACTS
Some information about the play
Act: I II
Translated by Julius West (1891–1918). Published in 1919.
This text is in PUBLIC DOMAIN!
LUBOV ANDREYEVNA RANEVSKY (Mme. RANEVSKY), a landowner
ANYA, her daughter, aged seventeen
VARYA (BARBARA), her adopted daughter, aged twenty-seven
LEONID ANDREYEVITCH GAEV, Mme. Ranevsky's brother
ERMOLAI ALEXEYEVITCH LOPAKHIN, a merchant
PETER SERGEYEVITCH TROFIMOV, a student
BORIS BORISOVITCH SIMEONOV-PISCHIN, a landowner
CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA, a governess
SIMEON PANTELEYEVITCH EPIKHODOV, a clerk
DUNYASHA (AVDOTYA FEDOROVNA), a maidservant
FIERS, an old footman, aged eighty-seven
YASHA, a young footman
The action takes place on Mme. RANEVSKY'S estate
A room which is still called the nursery. One of the doors
leads into ANYA'S room. It is close on sunrise. It is May. The
cherry-trees are in flower but it is chilly in the garden. There
is an early frost. The windows of the room are shut. DUNYASHA
comes in with a candle, and LOPAKHIN with a book in his hand.
LOPAKHIN. The train's arrived, thank God. What's the time?
DUNYASHA. It will soon be two. [Blows out candle] It is light
LOPAKHIN. How much was the train late? Two hours at least.
[Yawns and stretches himself] I have made a rotten mess of it! I
came here on purpose to meet them at the station, and then
overslept myself . . . in my chair. It's a pity. I wish you'd
DUNYASHA. I thought you'd gone away. [Listening] I think I hear
LOPAKHIN. [Listens] No. . . . They've got to collect their
luggage and so on. . . . [Pause] Lubov Andreyevna has been
living abroad for five years; I don't know what she'll be like
now. . . . She's a good sort--an easy, simple person. I remember
when I was a boy of fifteen, my father, who is dead--he used to
keep a shop in the village here--hit me on the face with his
fist, and my nose bled. . . . We had gone into the yard together
for something or other, and he was a little drunk. Lubov
Andreyevna, as I remember her now, was still young, and very
thin, and she took me to the washstand here in this very room,
the nursery. She said, "Don't cry, little man, it'll be all
right in time for your wedding." [Pause] "Little man". . . . My
father was a peasant, it's true, but here I am in a white
waistcoat and yellow shoes . . . a pearl out of an oyster. I'm
rich now, with lots of money, but just think about it and
examine me, and you'll find I'm still a peasant down to the
marrow of my bones. [Turns over the pages of his book] Here I've
been reading this book, but I understood nothing. I read and
fell asleep. [Pause.]
DUNYASHA. The dogs didn't sleep all night; they know that
LOPAKHIN. What's up with you, Dunyasha . . . ?
DUNYASHA. My hands are shaking. I shall faint.
LOPAKHIN. You're too sensitive, Dunyasha. You dress just like a
lady, and you do your hair like one too. You oughtn't. You
should know your place.
EPIKHODOV. [Enters with a bouquet. He wears a short jacket and
brilliantly polished boots which squeak audibly. He drops the
bouquet as he enters, then picks it up] The gardener sent these;
says they're to go into the dining-room. [Gives the bouquet to
LOPAKHIN. And you'll bring me some kvass.
DUNYASHA. Very well. [Exit.]
EPIKHODOV. There's a frost this morning--three degrees, and the
cherry-trees are all in flower. I can't approve of our climate.
[Sighs] I can't. Our climate is indisposed to favour us even
this once. And, Ermolai Alexeyevitch, allow me to say to you, in
addition, that I bought myself some boots two days ago, and I
beg to assure you that they squeak in a perfectly unbearable
manner. What shall I put on them?
LOPAKHIN. Go away. You bore me.
EPIKHODOV. Some misfortune happens to me every day. But I don't
complain; I'm used to it, and I can smile. [DUNYASHA comes in
and brings LOPAKHIN some kvass] I shall go. [Knocks over a
chair] There. . . . [Triumphantly] There, you see, if I may use
the word, what circumstances I am in, so to speak. It is even
simply marvellous. [Exit.]
DUNYASHA. I may confess to you, Ermolai Alexeyevitch, that
Epikhodov has proposed to me.
DUNYASHA. I don't know what to do about it. He's a nice young
man, but every now and again, when he begins talking, you can't
understand a word he's saying. I think I like him. He's madly in
love with me. He's an unlucky man; every day something happens.
We tease him about it. They call him "Two-and-twenty troubles."
LOPAKHIN. [Listens] There they come, I think.
DUNYASHA. They're coming! What's the matter with me? I'm cold
LOPAKHIN. There they are, right enough. Let's go and meet them.
Will she know me? We haven't seen each other for five years.
DUNYASHA. [Excited] I shall faint in a minute. . . . Oh, I'm
Two carriages are heard driving up to the house. LOPAKHIN and
DUNYASHA quickly go out. The stage is empty. A noise begins in
the next room. FIERS, leaning on a stick, walks quickly across
the stage; he has just been to meet LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. He wears
an old-fashioned livery and a tall hat. He is saying something
to himself, but not a word of it can be made out. The noise
behind the stage gets louder and louder. A voice is heard:
"Let's go in there." Enter LUBOV ANDREYEVNA, ANYA, and CHARLOTTA
IVANOVNA with a little dog on a chain, and all dressed in
travelling clothes, VARYA in a long coat and with a kerchief on
her head. GAEV, SIMEONOV-PISCHIN, LOPAKHIN, DUNYASHA with a
parcel and an umbrella, and a servant with luggage --all cross
ANYA. Let's come through here. Do you remember what this room
LUBOV. [Joyfully, through her tears] The nursery!
VARYA. How cold it is! My hands are quite numb. [To LUBOV
ANDREYEVNA] Your rooms, the white one and the violet one, are
just as they used to be, mother.
LUBOV. My dear nursery, oh, you beautiful room. . . . I used to
sleep here when I was a baby. [Weeps] And here I am like a
little girl again. [Kisses her brother, VARYA, then her brother
again] And Varya is just as she used to be, just like a nun. And
I knew Dunyasha. [Kisses her.]
GAEV. The train was two hours late. There now; how's that for
CHARLOTTA. [To PISCHIN] My dog eats nuts too.
PISCHIN. [Astonished] To think of that, now!
All go out except ANYA and DUNYASHA.
DUNYASHA. We did have to wait for you!
Takes off ANYA'S cloak and hat.
ANYA. I didn't get any sleep for four nights on the journey. . .
. I'm awfully cold.
DUNYASHA. You went away during Lent, when it was snowing and
frosty, but now? Darling! [Laughs and kisses her] We did have to
wait for you, my joy, my pet. . . . I must tell you at once, I
can't bear to wait a minute.
ANYA. [Tired] Something else now . . . ?
DUNYASHA. The clerk, Epikhodov, proposed to me after Easter.
ANYA. Always the same. . . . [Puts her hair straight] I've lost
all my hairpins. . . .
She is very tired, and even staggers as she walks.
DUNYASHA. I don't know what to think about it. He loves me, he
loves me so much!
ANYA. [Looks into her room; in a gentle voice] My room, my
windows, as if I'd never gone away. I'm at home! To-morrow
morning I'll get up and have a run in the garden. . . .Oh, if I
could only get to sleep! I didn't sleep the whole journey, I was
DUNYASHA. Peter Sergeyevitch came two days ago.
ANYA. [Joyfully] Peter!
DUNYASHA. He sleeps in the bath-house, he lives there. He said
he was afraid he'd be in the way. [Looks at her pocket-watch] I
ought to wake him, but Barbara Mihailovna told me not to. "Don't
wake him," she said.
Enter VARYA, a bunch of keys on her belt.
VARYA. Dunyasha, some coffee, quick. Mother wants some.
DUNYASHA. This minute. [Exit.]
VARYA. Well, you've come, glory be to God. Home again.
[Caressing her] My darling is back again! My pretty one is back
ANYA. I did have an awful time, I tell you.
VARYA. I can just imagine it!
ANYA. I went away in Holy Week; it was very cold then. Charlotta
talked the whole way and would go on performing her tricks. Why
did you tie Charlotta on to me?
VARYA. You couldn't go alone, darling, at seventeen!
ANYA. We went to Paris; it's cold there and snowing. I talk
French perfectly horribly. My mother lives on the fifth floor. I
go to her, and find her there with various Frenchmen, women, an
old abbé with a book, and everything in tobacco smoke and with
no comfort at all. I suddenly became very sorry for mother--so
sorry that I took her head in my arms and hugged her and
wouldn't let her go. Then mother started hugging me and crying.
. . .
VARYA. [Weeping] Don't say any more, don't say any more. . . .
ANYA. She's already sold her villa near Mentone; she's nothing
left, nothing. And I haven't a copeck left either; we only just
managed to get here. And mother won't understand! We had dinner
at a station; she asked for all the expensive things, and tipped
the waiters one rouble each. And Charlotta too. Yasha wants his
share too-- it's too bad. Mother's got a footman now, Yasha;
we've brought him here.
VARYA. I saw the wretch.
ANYA. How's business? Has the interest been paid?
VARYA. Not much chance of that.
ANYA. Oh God, oh God . . .
VARYA. The place will be sold in August.
ANYA. O God. . . .
LOPAKHIN. [Looks in at the door and moos] Moo! . . . [Exit.]
VARYA. [Through her tears] I'd like to. . . . [Shakes her fist.]
ANYA. [Embraces VARYA, softly] Varya, has he proposed to you? [VARYA
shakes head] But he loves you. . . . Why don't you make up your
minds? Why do you keep on waiting?
VARYA. I think that it will all come to nothing. He's a busy
man. I'm not his affair . . . he pays no attention to me. Bless
the man, I don't want to see him., . . But everybody talks about
our marriage, everybody congratulates me, and there's nothing in
it at all, it's all like a dream. [In another tone] You've got a
brooch like a bee.
ANYA. [Sadly] Mother bought it. [Goes into her room, and talks
lightly, like a child] In Paris I went up in a balloon!
VARYA. My darling's come back, my pretty one's come back! [DUNYASHA
has already returned with the coffee-pot and is making the
coffee, VARYA stands near the door] I go about all day, looking
after the house, and I think all the time, if only you could
marry a rich man, then I'd be happy and would go away somewhere
by myself, then to Kiev . . . to Moscow, and so on, from one
holy place to another. I'd tramp and tramp. That would be
ANYA. The birds are singing in the garden. What time is it now?
VARYA. It must be getting on for three. Time you went to sleep,
darling. [Goes into ANYA'S room] Splendid!
Enter YASHA with a plaid shawl and a travelling bag.
YASHA. [Crossing the stage: Politely] May I go this way?
DUNYASHA. I hardly knew you, Yasha. You have changed abroad.
YASHA. Hm . . . and who are you?
DUNYASHA. When you went away I was only so high. [Showing with
her hand] I'm Dunyasha, the daughter of Theodore Kozoyedov. You
YASHA. Oh, you little cucumber!
Looks round and embraces her. She screams and drops a saucer.
YASHA goes out quickly.
VARYA. [In the doorway: In an angry voice] What's that?
DUNYASHA. [Through her tears] I've broken a saucer.
VARYA. It may bring luck.
ANYA. [Coming out of her room] We must tell mother that Peter's
VARYA. I told them not to wake him.
ANYA. [Thoughtfully] Father died six years ago, and a month
later my brother Grisha was drowned in the river-- such a dear
little boy of seven! Mother couldn't bear it; she went away,
away, without looking round. . . . [Shudders] How I understand
her; if only she knew! [Pause] And Peter Trofimov was Grisha's
tutor, he might tell her. . . .
Enter FIERS in a short jacket and white waistcoat.
FIERS. [Goes to the coffee-pot, nervously] The mistress is going
to have some food here. . . . [Puts on white gloves] Is the
coffee ready? [To DUNYASHA, severely] You! Where's the cream?
DUNYASHA. Oh, dear me . . .! [Rapid exit.]
FIERS. [Fussing round the coffee-pot] Oh, you bungler. . . .
[Murmurs to himself] Back from Paris . . . the master went to
Paris once . . . in a carriage. . . . [Laughs.]
VARYA. What are you talking about, Fiers?
FIERS. I beg your pardon? [Joyfully] The mistress is home again.
I've lived to see her! Don't care if I die now. . . . [Weeps
Enter LUBOV ANDREYEVNA, GAEV, LOPAKHIN, and SIMEONOV-PISCHIN,
the latter in a long jacket of thin cloth and loose trousers.
GAEV, coming in, moves his arms and body about as if he is
LUBOV. Let me remember now. Red into the corner! Twice into the
GAEV. Right into the pocket! Once upon a time you and I used
both to sleep in this room, and now I'm fifty-one; it does seem
LOPAKHIN. Yes, time does go.
GAEV. Who does?
LOPAKHIN. I said that time does go.
GAEV. It smells of patchouli here.
ANYA. I'm going to bed. Good-night, mother. [Kisses her.]
LUBOV. My lovely little one. [Kisses her hand] Glad to be at
home? I can't get over it.
ANYA. Good-night, uncle.
GAEV. [Kisses her face and hands] God be with you. How you do
resemble your mother! [To his sister] You were just like her at
her age, Luba.
ANYA gives her hand to LOPAKHIN and PISCHIN and goes out,
shutting the door behind her.
LUBOV. She's awfully tired.
PISCHIN. It's a very long journey.
VARYA. [To LOPAKHIN and PISCHIN] Well, sirs, it's getting on for
three, quite time you went.
LUBOV. [Laughs] You're just the same as ever, Varya. [Draws her
close and kisses her] I'll have some coffee now, then we'll all
go. [FIERS lays a cushion under her feet] Thank you, dear. I'm
used to coffee. I drink it day and night. Thank you, dear old
man. [Kisses FIERS.
VARYA. I'll go and see if they've brought in all the luggage.
LUBOV. Is it really I who am sitting here? [Laughs] I want to
jump about and wave my arms. [Covers her face with her hands]
But suppose I'm dreaming! God knows I love my own country, I
love it deeply; I couldn't look out of the railway carriage, I
cried so much. [Through her tears] Still, I must have my coffee.
Thank you, Fiers. Thank you, dear old man. I'm so glad you're
still with us.
FIERS. The day before yesterday.
GAEV. He doesn't hear well.
LOPAKHIN. I've got to go off to Kharkov by the five o'clock
train. I'm awfully sorry! I should like to have a look at you,
to gossip a little. You're as fine-looking as ever.
PISCHIN. [Breathes heavily] Even finer-looking . . . dressed in
Paris fashions . . . confound it all.
LOPAKHIN. Your brother, Leonid Andreyevitch, says I'm a snob, a
usurer, but that is absolutely nothing to me. Let him talk. Only
I do wish you would believe in me as you once did, that your
wonderful, touching eyes would look at me as they did before.
Merciful God! My father was the serf of your grandfather and
your own father, but you--you more than anybody else--did so
much for me once upon a time that I've forgotten everything and
love you as if you belonged to my family . . . and even more.
LUBOV. I can't sit still, I'm not in a state to do it. [Jumps up
and walks about in great excitement] I'll never survive this
happiness. . . . You can laugh at me; I'm a silly woman. . . .
My dear little cupboard. [Kisses cupboard] My little table.
GAEV. Nurse has died in your absence.
LUBOV. [Sits and drinks coffee] Yes, bless her soul. I heard by
GAEV. And Anastasius has died too. Peter Kosoy has left me and
now lives in town with the Commissioner of Police. [Takes a box
of sugar-candy out of his pocket and sucks a piece.]
PISCHIN. My daughter, Dashenka, sends her love.
LOPAKHIN. I want to say something very pleasant, very
delightful, to you. [Looks at his watch] I'm going away at once,
I haven't much time . . . but I'll tell you all about it in two
or three words. As you already know, your cherry orchard is to
be sold to pay your debts, and the sale is fixed for August 22;
but you needn't be alarmed, dear madam, you may sleep in peace;
there's a way out. Here's my plan. Please attend carefully! Your
estate is only thirteen miles from the town, the railway runs
by, and if the cherry orchard and the land by the river are
broken up into building lots and are then leased off for villas
you'll get at least twenty-five thousand roubles a year profit
out of it.
GAEV. How utterly absurd!
LUBOV. I don't understand you at all, Ermolai Alexeyevitch.
LOPAKHIN. You will get twenty-five roubles a year for each
dessiatin from the leaseholders at the very least, and if you
advertise now I'm willing to bet that you won't have a vacant
plot left by the autumn; they'll all go. In a word, you're
saved. I congratulate you. Only, of course, you'll have to put
things straight, and clean up. . . . For instance, you'll have
to pull down all the old buildings, this house, which isn't any
use to anybody now, and cut down the old cherry orchard. . .
LUBOV. Cut it down? My dear man, you must excuse me, but you
don't understand anything at all. If there's anything
interesting or remarkable in the whole province, it's this
cherry orchard of ours.
LOPAKHIN. The only remarkable thing about the orchard is that
it's very large. It only bears fruit every other year, and even
then you don't know what to do with them; nobody buys any.
GAEV. This orchard is mentioned in the "Encyclopaedic
LOPAKHIN. [Looks at his watch] If we can't think of anything and
don't make up our minds to anything, then on August 22, both the
cherry orchard and the whole estate will be up for auction. Make
up your mind! I swear there's no other way out, I'll swear it
FIERS. In the old days, forty or fifty years back, they dried
the cherries, soaked them and pickled them, and made jam of
them, and it used to happen that . . .
GAEV. Be quiet, Fiers.
FIERS. And then we'd send the dried cherries off in carts to
Moscow and Kharkov. And money! And the dried cherries were soft,
juicy, sweet, and nicely scented. . . They knew the way. . . .
LUBOV. What was the way?
FIERS. They've forgotten. Nobody remembers.
PISCHIN. [To LUBOV ANDREYEVNA] What about Paris? Eh? Did you eat
LUBOV. I ate crocodiles.
PISCHIN. To think of that, now.
LOPAKHIN. Up to now in the villages there were only the gentry
and the labourers, and now the people who live in villas have
arrived. All towns now, even small ones, are surrounded by
villas. And it's safe to say that in twenty years' time the
villa resident will be all over the place. At present he sits on
his balcony and drinks tea, but it may well come to pass that
he'll begin to cultivate his patch of land, and then your cherry
orchard will be happy, rich, splendid. .. .
GAEV. [Angry] What rot!
Enter VARYA and YASHA.
VARYA. There are two telegrams for you, little mother. [Picks
out a key and noisily unlocks an antique cupboard] Here they
LUBOV. They're from Paris. . . . [Tears them up without reading
them] I've done with Paris.
GAEV. And do you know, Luba, how old this case is? A week ago I
took out the bottom drawer; I looked and saw figures burnt out
in it. That case was made exactly a hundred years ago. What do
you think of that? What? We could celebrate its jubilee. It
hasn't a soul of its own, but still, say what you will, it's a
PISCHIN. [Astonished] A hundred years. . . Think of that!
GAEV. Yes . . . it's a real thing. [Handling it] My dear and
honoured case! I congratulate you on your existence, which has
already for more than a hundred years been directed towards the
bright ideals of good and justice; your silent call to
productive labour has not grown less in the hundred years
[Weeping] during which you have upheld virtue and faith in a
better future to the generations of our race, educating us up to
ideals of goodness and to the knowledge of a common
LOPAKHIN. Yes. . . .
LUBOV. You're just the same as ever, Leon.
GAEV. [A little confused] Off the white on the right, into the
corner pocket. Red ball goes into the middle pocket!
LOPAKHIN. [Looks at his watch] It's time I went.
YASHA. [Giving LUBOV ANDREYEVNA her medicine] Will you take your
PISCHIN. You oughtn't to take medicines, dear madam; they do you
neither harm nor good. . . . Give them here, dear madam. [Takes
the pills, turns them out into the palm of his hand, blows on
them, puts them into his mouth, and drinks some kvass] There!
LUBOV. [Frightened] You're off your head!
PISCHIN. I've taken all the pills.
LOPAKHIN. Gormandizer! [All laugh.]
FIERS. They were here in Easter week and ate half a pailful of
cucumbers. . . . [Mumbles.]
LUBOV. What's he driving at?
VARYA. He's been mumbling away for three years. We're used to
YASHA. Senile decay.
CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA crosses the stage, dressed in white: she is
very thin and tightly laced; has a lorgnette at her waist.
LOPAKHIN. Excuse me, Charlotta Ivanovna, I haven't said "How do
you do" to you yet. [Tries to kiss her hand.]
CHARLOTTA. [Takes her hand away] If you let people kiss your
hand, then they'll want your elbow, then your shoulder, and then
. . .
LOPAKHIN. My luck's out to-day! [All laugh] Show us a trick,
LUBOV ANDREYEVNA. Charlotta, do us a trick.
CHARLOTTA. It's not necessary. I want to go to bed. [Exit.]
LOPAKHIN. We shall see each other in three weeks. [Kisses LUBOV
ANDREYEVNA'S hand] Now, good-bye. It's time to go. [To GAEV] See
you again. [Kisses PISCHIN] Au revoir. [Gives his hand to VARYA,
then to FIERS and to YASHA] I don't want to go away. [To LUBOV
ANDREYEVNA]. If you think about the villas and make up your
mind, then just let me know, and I'll raise a loan of 50,000
roubles at once. Think about it seriously.
VARYA. [Angrily] Do go, now!
LOPAKHIN. I'm going, I'm going. . . . [Exit.]
GAEV. Snob. Still, I beg pardon. . . . Varya's going to marry
him, he's Varya's young man.
VARYA. Don't talk too much, uncle.
LUBOV. Why not, Varya? I should be very glad. He's a good man.
PISCHIN. To speak the honest truth . . . he's a worthy man. . .
. And my Dashenka . . . also says that . . . she says lots of
things. [Snores, but wakes up again at once] But still, dear
madam, if you could lend me . . . 240 roubles . . . to pay the
interest on my mortgage to-morrow . . .
VARYA. [Frightened] We haven't got it, we haven't got it!
LUBOV. It's quite true. I've nothing at all.
PISCHIN. I'll find it all right [Laughs] I never lose hope. I
used to think, "Everything's lost now. I'm a dead man," when, lo
and behold, a railway was built over my land . . . and they paid
me for it. And something else will happen to-day or to-morrow.
Dashenka may win 20,000 roubles . . . she's got a lottery
LUBOV. The coffee's all gone, we can go to bed.
FIERS. [Brushing GAEV'S trousers; in an insistent tone] You've
put on the wrong trousers again. What am I to do with you?
VARYA. [Quietly] Anya's asleep. [Opens window quietly] The sun
has risen already; it isn't cold. Look, little mother: what
lovely trees! And the air! The starlings are singing!
GAEV. [Opens the other window] The whole garden's white. You
haven't forgotten, Luba ? There's that long avenue going
straight, straight, like a stretched strap; it shines on
moonlight nights. Do you remember? You haven't forgotten?
LUBOV. [Looks out into the garden] Oh, my childhood, days of my
innocence! In this nursery I used to sleep; I used to look out
from here into the orchard. Happiness used to wake with me every
morning, and then it was just as it is now; nothing has changed.
[Laughs from joy] It's all, all white! Oh, my orchard! After the
dark autumns and the cold winters, you're young again, full of
happiness, the angels of heaven haven't left you. . . . If only
I could take my heavy burden off my breast and shoulders, if I
could forget my past!
GAEV. Yes, and they'll sell this orchard to pay off debts. How
strange it seems!
LUBOV. Look, there's my dead mother going in the orchard . . .
dressed in white! [Laughs from joy] That's she.
VARYA. God bless you, little mother.
LUBOV. There's nobody there; I thought I saw somebody. On the
right, at the turning by the summer-house, a white little tree
bent down, looking just like a woman. [Enter TROFIMOV in a worn
student uniform and spectacles] What a marvellous garden! White
masses of flowers, the blue sky. . . .
TROFIMOV. Lubov Andreyevna! [She looks round at him] I only want
to show myself, and I'll go away. [Kisses her hand warmly] I was
told to wait till the morning, but I didn't have the patience.
[LUBOV ANDREYEVNA looks surprised.]
VARYA. [Crying] It's Peter Trofimov.
TROFIMOV. Peter Trofimov, once the tutor of your Grisha. . . .
Have I changed so much?
LUBOV ANDREYEVNA embraces him and cries softly.
GAEV. [Confused] That's enough, that's enough, Luba.
VARYA. [Weeps] But I told you, Peter, to wait till to-morrow.
LUBOV. My Grisha . . . my boy . . . Grisha . . . my son.
VARYA. What are we to do, little mother? It's the will of God.
TROFIMOV. [Softly, through his tears] It's all right, it's all
LUBOV. [Still weeping] My boy's dead; he was drowned. Why? Why,
my friend? [Softly] Anya's asleep in there. I am speaking so
loudly, making such a noise. . . . Well, Peter? What's made you
look so bad? Why have you grown so old?
TROFIMOV. In the train an old woman called me a decayed
LUBOV. You were quite a boy then, a nice little student, and now
your hair is not at all thick and you wear spectacles. Are you
really still a student? [Goes to the door.]
TROFIMOV. I suppose I shall always be a student.
LUBOV. [Kisses her brother, then VARYA] Well, let's go to bed. .
. . And you've grown older, Leonid.
PISCHIN. [Follows her] Yes, we've got to go to bed. . . . Oh, my
gout! I'll stay the night here. If only, Lubov Andreyevna, my
dear, you could get me 240 roubles to-morrow morning--
GAEV. Still the same story.
PISCHIN. Two hundred and forty roubles . . . to pay the interest
on the mortgage.
LUBOV. I haven't any money, dear man.
PISCHIN. I'll give it back . . . it's a small sum. . .
LUBOV. Well, then, Leonid will give it to you. . . Let him have
GAEV. By all means; hold out your hand.
LUBOV. Why not? He wants it; he'll give it back.
LUBOV ANDREYEVNA, TROFIMOV, PISCHIN, and FIERS go out. GAEV,
VARYA, and YASHA remain.
GAEV. My sister hasn't lost the habit of throwing money about.
[To YASHA] Stand off, do; you smell of poultry.
YASHA. [Grins] You are just the same as ever, Leonid
GAEV. Really? [To VARYA] What's he saying?
VARYA. [To YASHA] Your mother's come from the village; she's
been sitting in the servants' room since yesterday, and wants to
see you. . . .
YASHA. Bless the woman!
VARYA. Shameless man.
YASHA. A lot of use there is in her coming. She might have come
tomorrow just as well. [Exit.]
VARYA. Mother hasn't altered a scrap, she's just as she always
was. She'd give away everything, if the idea only entered her
GAEV. Yes. . . . [Pause] If there's any illness for which people
offer many remedies, you may be sure that particular illness is
incurable, I think. I work my brains to their hardest. I've
several remedies, very many, and that really means I've none at
all. It would be nice to inherit a fortune from somebody, it
would be nice to marry our Anya to a rich man, it would be nice
to go to Yaroslav and try my luck with my aunt the Countess. My
aunt is very, very rich.
VARYA. [Weeps] If only God helped us.
GAEV. Don't cry. My aunt's very rich, but she doesn't like us.
My sister, in the first place, married an advocate, not a noble.
. . . [ANYA appears in the doorway] She not only married a man
who was not a noble, but she behaved herself in a way which
cannot be described as proper. She's nice and kind and charming,
and I'm very fond of her, but say what you will in her favour
and you still have to admit that she's wicked; you can feel it
in her slightest movements.
VARYA. [Whispers] Anya's in the doorway.
GAEV. Really? [Pause] It's curious, something's got into my
right eye . . . I can't see properly out of it. And on Thursday,
when I was at the District Court . . .
VARYA. Why aren't you in bed, Anya?
ANYA. Can't sleep. It's no good.
GAEV. My darling! [Kisses ANYA'S face and hands] My child. . . .
[Crying] You're not my niece, you're my angel, you're my all. .
. Believe in me, believe. . .
ANYA. I do believe in you, uncle. Everybody loves you and
respects you . . . but, uncle dear, you ought to say nothing, no
more than that. What were you saying just now about my mother,
your own sister? Why did you say those things?
GAEV. Yes, yes. [Covers his face with her hand] Yes, really, it
was awful. Save me, my God! And only just now I made a speech
before a bookcase . . . it's so silly! And only when I'd
finished I knew how silly it was.
VARYA. Yes, uncle dear, you really ought to say less. Keep
quiet, that's all.
ANYA. You'd be so much happier in yourself if you only kept
GAEV. All right, I'll be quiet. [Kisses their hands] I'll be
quiet. But let's talk business. On Thursday I was in the
District Court, and a lot of us met there together, and we began
to talk of this, that, and the other, and now I think I can
arrange a loan to pay the interest into the bank.
VARYA. If only God would help us!
GAEV. I'll go on Tuesday. I'll talk with them about it again.
[To VARYA] Don't howl. [To ANYA] Your mother will have a talk to
Lopakhin; he, of course, won't refuse . . . And when you've
rested you'll go to Yaroslav to the Countess, your grandmother.
So you see, we'll have three irons in the fire, and we'll be
safe. We'll pay up the interest. I'm certain. [Puts some
sugar-candy into his mouth] I swear on my honour, on anything
you will, that the estate will not be sold! [Excitedly] I swear
on my happiness! Here's my hand. You may call me a dishonourable
wretch if I let it go to auction! I swear by all I am!
ANYA. [She is calm again and happy] How good and clever you are,
uncle. [Embraces him] I'm happy now! I'm happy! All's well!
FIERS. [Reproachfully] Leonid Andreyevitch, don't you fear God?
When are you going to bed?
GAEV. Soon, soon. You go away, Fiers. I'll undress myself. Well,
children, bye-bye . . .! I'll give you the details to-morrow,
but let's go to bed now. [Kisses ANYA and VARYA] I'm a man of
the eighties. . . . People don't praise those years much, but I
can still say that I've suffered for my beliefs. The peasants
don't love me for nothing, I assure you. We've got to learn to
know the peasants! We ought to learn how. . . .
ANYA. You're doing it again, uncle!
VARYA. Be quiet, uncle!
FIERS. [Angrily] Leonid Andreyevitch!
GAEV. I'm coming, I'm coming. . . . Go to bed now. Off two
cushions into the middle! I turn over a new leaf. . .
Exit. FIERS goes out after him.
ANYA. I'm quieter now. I don't want to go to Yaroslav, I don't
like grandmother; but I'm calm now; thanks to uncle. [Sits
VARYA. It's time to go to sleep. I'll go. There's been an
unpleasantness here while you were away. In the old servants'
part of the house, as you know, only the old people live--little
old Efim and Polya and Evstigney, and Karp as well. They started
letting some tramps or other spend the night there--I said
nothing. Then I heard that they were saying that I had ordered
them to be fed on peas and nothing else; from meanness, you see.
. . . And it was all Evstigney's doing. . . . Very well, I
thought, if that's what the matter is, just you wait. So I call
Evstigney. . . . [Yawns] He comes. "What's this," I say, "Evstigney,
you old fool. . . . [Looks at ANYA] Anya dear! [Pause] She's
dropped off. . . . [Takes ANYA'S arm] Let's go to bye-bye. . . .
Come along! . . . [Leads her] My darling's gone to sleep! Come
on. . . . [They go. In the distance, the other side of the
orchard, a shepherd plays his pipe. TROFIMOV crosses the stage
and stops on seeing VARYA and ANYA] Sh! She's asleep, asleep.
Come on, dear.
ANYA. [Quietly, half-asleep] I'm so tired . . . all the bells .
. . uncle, dear! Mother and uncle!
VARYA. Come on, dear, come on! [They go into ANYA'S room.]
TROFIMOV. [Moved] My sun! My spring!
Proceed to act two>>