Orchard - Chekhov A.P.
Act: I II
A reception-room cut off from a drawing-room by an arch.
Chandelier lighted. A Jewish band, the one mentioned in Act II,
is heard playing in another room. Evening. In the drawing-room
the grand rond is being danced. Voice of SIMEONOV PISCHIN
"Promenade a une paire!" Dancers come into the reception-room;
the first pair are PISCHIN and CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA; the second,
TROFIMOV and LUBOV ANDREYEVNA; the third, ANYA and the POST
OFFICE CLERK; the fourth, VARYA and the STATION-MASTER, and so
on. VARYA is crying gently and wipes away her tears as she
dances. DUNYASHA is in the last pair. They go off into the
drawing-room, PISCHIN shouting, "Grand rond, balancez:" and "Les
cavaliers à genou et remerciez vos dames!" FIERS, in a
dress-coat, carries a tray with seltzer-water across. Enter
PISCHIN and TROFIMOV from the drawing-room.
PISCHIN. I'm full-blooded and have already had two strokes; it's
hard for me to dance, but, as they say, if you're in Rome, you
must do as Rome does. I've got the strength of a horse. My dead
father, who liked a joke, peace to his bones, used to say,
talking of our ancestors, that the ancient stock of the
Simeonov-Pischins was descended from that identical horse that
Caligula made a senator. . . . [Sits] But the trouble is, I've
no money! A hungry dog only believes in meat. [Snores and wakes
up again immediately] So I . . . only believe in money. . . . .
TROFIMOV. Yes. There is something equine about your figure.
PISCHIN. Well . . . a horse is a fine animal . . . you can sell
Billiard playing can be heard in the next room. VARYA appears
under the arch.
TROFIMOV. [Teasing] Madame Lopakhin! Madame Lopakhin!
VARYA. [Angry] Decayed gentleman!
TROFIMOV. Yes, I am a decayed gentleman, and I'm proud of it!
VARYA. [Bitterly] We've hired the musicians, but how are they to
be paid? [Exit.]
TROFIMOV. [To PISCHIN] If the energy which you, in the course of
your life, have spent in looking for money to pay interest had
been used for something else, then, I believe, after all, you'd
be able to turn everything upside down.
PISCHIN. Nietzsche . . . a philosopher . . . a very great, a
most celebrated man . . . a man of enormous brain, says in his
books that you can forge bank-notes.
TROFIMOV. And have you read Nietzsche?
PISCHIN. Well . . Dashenka told me. Now I'm in such a position,
I wouldn't mind forging them . . . I've got to pay 310 roubles
the day after to-morrow . . . I've got 130 already. . . . [Feels
his pockets, nervously] I've lost the money! The money's gone!
[Crying] Where's the money? [Joyfully] Here it is behind the
lining . . . I even began to perspire.
Enter LUBOV ANDREYEVNA and CHARLOTTA IVANOVNA.
LUBOV. [Humming a Caucasian dance] Why is Leonid away so long?
What's he doing in town? [To DUNYASHA] Dunyasha, give the
musicians some tea.
TROFIMOV. Business is off, I suppose.
LUBOV. And the musicians needn't have come, and we needn't have
got up this ball. . . . Well, never mind. . . . [Sits and sings
CHARLOTTA. [Gives a pack of cards to PISCHIN] Here's a pack of
cards, think of any one card you like.
PISCHIN. I've thought of one.
CHARLOTTA. Now shuffle. All right, now. Give them here, oh my
dear Mr. Pischin. Ein, zwei, drei! Now look and you'll find it
in your coat-tail pocket.
PISCHIN. [Takes a card out of his coat-tail pocket] Eight of
spades, quite right! [Surprised] Think of that now!
CHARLOTTA. [Holds the pack of cards on the palm of her hand. To
TROFIMOV] Now tell me quickly. What's the top card?
TROFIMOV. Well, the queen of spades.
CHARLOTTA. Right! [To PISCHIN] Well now? What card's on top?
PISCHIN. Ace of hearts.
CHARLOTTA. Right! [Claps her hands, the pack of cards vanishes]
How lovely the weather is to-day. [A mysterious woman's voice
answers her, as if from under the floor, "Oh yes, it's lovely
weather, madam."] You are so beautiful, you are my ideal.
[Voice, "You, madam, please me very much too."]
STATION-MASTER. [Applauds] Madame ventriloquist, bravo!
PISCHIN. [Surprised] Think of that, now! Delightful, Charlotte
Ivanovna . . . I'm simply in love. . . .
CHARLOTTA. In love? [Shrugging her shoulders] Can you love?
Guter Mensch aber schlechter Musikant.
TROFIMOV. [Slaps PISCHIN on the shoulder] Oh, you horse!
CHARLOTTA. Attention please, here's another trick. [Takes a
shawl from a chair] Here's a very nice plaid shawl, I'm going to
sell it. . . . [Shakes it] Won't anybody buy it?
PISCHIN. [Astonished] Think of that now!
CHARLOTTA. Ein, zwei, drei.
She quickly lifts up the shawl, which is hanging down. ANYA is
standing behind it; she bows and runs to her mother, hugs her
and runs back to the drawing-room amid general applause.
LUBOV. [Applauds] Bravo, bravo!
CHARLOTTA. Once again! Ein, zwei, drei!
[Lifts the shawl]. VARYA stands behind it and bows.
PISCHIN. [Astonished] Think of that, now.
CHARLOTTA. The end!
Throws the shawl at PISCHIN, curtseys and runs into the
PISCHIN. [Runs after her] Little wretch. . . . What? Would you?
LUBOV. Leonid hasn't come yet. I don't understand what he's
doing so long in town! Everything must be over by now. The
estate must be sold; or, if the sale never came off, then why
does he stay so long?
VARYA. [Tries to soothe her] Uncle has bought it. I'm certain of
TROFIMOV. [Sarcastically] Oh, yes!
VARYA. Grandmother sent him her authority for him to buy it in
her name and transfer the debt to her. She's doing it for Anya.
And I'm certain that God will help us and uncle will buy it.
LUBOV. Grandmother sent fifteen thousand roubles from Yaroslav
to buy the property in her name--she won't trust us--and that
wasn't even enough to pay the interest. [Covers her face with
her hands] My fate will be settled to-day, my fate. . . .
TROFIMOV. [Teasing VARYA] Madame Lopakhin!
VARYA. [Angry] Eternal student! He's already been expelled twice
from the university.
LUBOV. Why are you getting angry, Varya? He's teasing you about
Lopakhin, well what of it? You can marry Lopakhin if you want
to, he's a good, interesting man. . . . You needn't if you don't
want to; nobody wants to force you against your will, my
VARYA. I do look at the matter seriously, little mother, to be
quite frank. He's a good man, and I like him.
LUBOV. Then marry him. I don't understand what you're waiting
VARYA. I can't propose to him myself, little mother. People have
been talking about him to me for two years now, but he either
says nothing, or jokes about it. I understand. He's getting
rich, he's busy, he can't bother about me. If I had some money,
even a little, even only a hundred roubles, I'd throw up
everything and go away. I'd go into a convent.
TROFIMOV. How nice!
VARYA. [To TROFIMOV] A student ought to have sense! [Gently, in
tears] How ugly you are now, Peter, how old you've grown! [To
LUBOV ANDREYEVNA, no longer crying] But I can't go on without
working, little mother. I want to be doing something every
YASHA. [Nearly laughing] Epikhodov's broken a billiard cue!
VARYA. Why is Epikhodov here? Who said he could play billiards?
I don't understand these people. [Exit.]
LUBOV. Don't tease her, Peter, you see that she's quite unhappy
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
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! [Somebody is heard going out and falling downstairs
noisily. ANYA and VARYA scream; laughter is heard immediately]
ANYA comes running in, laughing.
ANYA. Peter's fallen downstairs! [Runs out again.]
LUBOV. This Peter's a marvel.
The STATION-MASTER stands in the middle of the drawing-room and
recites "The Magdalen" by Tolstoy. He is listened to, but he has
only delivered a few lines when a waltz is heard from the front
room, and the recitation is stopped. Everybody dances. TROFIMOV,
ANYA, VARYA, and LUBOV ANDREYEVNA come in from the front room.
LUBOV. Well, Peter . . . you pure soul . . . I beg your pardon .
. . let's dance.
She dances with PETER. ANYA and VARYA dance. FIERS enters and
stands his stick by a side door. YASHA has also come in and
looks on at the dance.
YASHA. Well, grandfather?
FIERS. I'm not well. At our balls some time back, generals and
barons and admirals used to dance, and now we send for
post-office clerks and the Station-master, and even they come as
a favour. I'm very weak. The dead master, the grandfather, used
to give everybody sealing-wax when anything was wrong. I've
taken sealing-wax every day for twenty years, and more; perhaps
that's why I still live.
YASHA. I'm tired of you, grandfather. [Yawns] If you'd only
hurry up and kick the bucket.
FIERS. Oh you . . . bungler! [Mutters.]
TROFIMOV and LUBOV ANDREYEVNA dance in the reception-room, then
into the sitting-room.
LUBOV. Merci. I'll sit down. [Sits] I'm tired.
ANYA. [Excited] Somebody in the kitchen was saying just now that
the cherry orchard was sold to-day.
LUBOV. Sold to whom?
ANYA. He didn't say to whom. He's gone now. [Dances out into the
reception-room with TROFIMOV.]
YASHA. Some old man was chattering about it a long time ago. A
FIERS. And Leonid Andreyevitch isn't here yet, he hasn't come.
He's wearing a light, demi-saison overcoat. He'll catch cold. Oh
these young fellows.
LUBOV. I'll die of this. Go and find out, Yasha, to whom it's
YASHA. Oh, but he's been gone a long time, the old man.
LUBOV. [Slightly vexed] Why do you laugh? What are you glad
YASHA. Epikhodov's too funny. He's a silly man. Two-and-twenty
LUBOV. Fiers, if the estate is sold, where will you go?
FIERS. I'll go wherever you order me to go.
LUBOV. Why do you look like that? Are you ill? I think you ought
to go to bed. . . .
FIERS. Yes . . . [With a smile] I'll go to bed, and who'll hand
things round and give orders without me? I've the whole house on
YASHA. [To LUBOV ANDREYEVNA] Lubov Andreyevna! I want to ask a
favour of you, if you'll be so kind! If you go to Paris again,
then please take me with you. It's absolutely impossible for me
to stop here. [Looking round; in an undertone] What's the good
of talking about it, you see for yourself that this is an
uneducated country, with an immoral population, and it's so
dull. The food in the kitchen is beastly, and here's this Fiers
walking about mumbling various inappropriate things. Take me
with you, be so kind!
PISCHIN. I come to ask for the pleasure of a little waltz, dear
lady. . . . [LUBOV ANDREYEVNA goes to him] But all the same, you
wonderful woman, I must have 180 little roubles from you ... I
must. . . . [They dance] 180 little roubles. . . . [They go
through into the drawing-room.]
YASHA. [Sings softly]
"Oh, will you understand
My soul's deep restlessness?"
In the drawing-room a figure in a grey top-hat and in baggy
check trousers is waving its hands and jumping about; there are
cries of "Bravo, Charlotta Ivanovna!"
DUNYASHA. [Stops to powder her face] The young mistress tells me
to dance--there are a lot of gentlemen, but few ladies--and my
head goes round when I dance, and my heart beats, Fiers
Nicolaevitch; the Post-office clerk told me something just now
which made me catch my breath. [The music grows faint.]
FIERS. What did he say to you?
DUNYASHA. He says, "You're like a little flower."
YASHA. [Yawns] Impolite. . . . [Exit.]
DUNYASHA. Like a little flower. I'm such a delicate girl; I
simply love words of tenderness.
FIERS. You'll lose your head.
EPIKHODOV. You, Avdotya Fedorovna, want to see me no more than
if I was some insect. [Sighs] Oh, life!
DUNYASHA. What do you want?
EPIKHODOV. Undoubtedly, perhaps, you may be right. [Sighs] But,
certainly, if you regard the matter from the aspect, then you,
if I may say so, and you must excuse my candidness, have
absolutely reduced me to a state of mind. I know my fate, every
day something unfortunate happens to me, and I've grown used to
it a long time ago, I even look at my fate with a smile. You
gave me your word, and though I . . .
DUNYASHA. Please, we'll talk later on, but leave me alone now.
I'm meditating now. [Plays with her fan.]
EPIKHODOV. Every day something unfortunate happens to me, and I,
if I may so express myself, only smile, and even laugh.
VARYA enters from the drawing-room.
VARYA. Haven't you gone yet, Simeon? You really have no respect
for anybody. [To DUNYASHA] You go away, Dunyasha. [To EPIKHODOV]
You play billiards and break a cue, and walk about the
drawing-room as if you were a visitor!
EPIKHODOV. You cannot, if I may say so, call me to order.
VARYA. I'm not calling you to order, I'm only telling you. You
just walk about from place to place and never do your work.
Goodness only knows why we keep a clerk.
EPIKHODOV. [Offended] Whether I work, or walk about, or eat, or
play billiards, is only a matter to be settled by people of
understanding and my elders.
VARYA. You dare to talk to me like that! [Furious] You dare? You
mean that I know nothing? Get out of here! This minute!
EPIKHODOV. [Nervous] I must ask you to express yourself more
VARYA. [Beside herself] Get out this minute. Get out! [He goes
to the door, she follows] Two-and-twenty troubles! I don't want
any sign of you here! I don't want to see anything of you! [EPIKHODOV
has gone out; his voice can be heard outside: "I'll make a
complaint against you."] What, coming back? [Snatches up the
stick left by FIERS by the door] Go . . . go . . . go, I'll show
you. . . . Are you going? Are you going? Well, then take that.
[She hits out as LOPAKHIN enters.]
LOPAKHIN. Much obliged.
VARYA. [Angry but amused] I'm sorry.
LOPAKHIN. Never mind. I thank you for my pleasant reception.
VARYA. It isn't worth any thanks. [Walks away, then looks back
and asks gently] I didn't hurt you, did I?
LOPAKHIN. No, not at all. There'll be an enormous bump, that's
VOICES FROM THE DRAWING-ROOM. Lopakhin's returned! Ermolai
PISCHIN. Now we'll see what there is to see and hear what there
is to hear. . . . [Kisses LOPAKHIN] You smell of cognac, my
dear, my soul. And we're all having a good time.
Enter LUBOV ANDREYEVNA.
LUBOV. Is that you, Ermolai Alexeyevitch ? Why were you so long?
LOPAKHIN. Leonid Andreyevitch came back with me, he's coming. .
LUBOV. [Excited] Well, what? Is it sold? Tell me?
LOPAKHIN. [Confused, afraid to show his pleasure] The sale ended
up at four o'clock. . . . We missed the train, and had to wait
till half-past nine. [Sighs heavily] Ooh! My head's going round
Enter GAEV; in his right hand he carries things he has bought,
with his left he wipes away his tears.
LUBOV. Leon, what's happened? Leon, well? [Impatiently, in
tears] Quick, for the love of God. . . .
GAEV. [Says nothing to her, only waves his hand; to FIERS,
weeping] Here, take this. . . . Here are anchovies, herrings
from Kertch. . . . I've had no food to-day. . . . I have had a
time! [The door from the billiard-room is open; the clicking of
the balls is heard, and YASHA'S voice, "Seven, eighteen!" GAEV'S
expression changes, he cries no more] I'm awfully tired. Help me
change my clothes, Fiers.
Goes out through the drawing-room; FIERS after him.
PISCHIN. What happened? Come on, tell us!
LUBOV. Is the cherry orchard sold?
LOPAKHIN. It is sold.
LUBOV. Who bought it?
LOPAKHIN. I bought it.
LUBOV ANDREYEVNA is overwhelmed; she would fall if she were not
standing by an armchair and a table. VARYA takes her keys off
her belt, throws them on the floor, into the middle of the room
and goes out.
LOPAKHIN. I bought it! Wait, ladies and gentlemen, please, my
head's going round, I can't talk. . . . [Laughs] When we got to
the sale, Deriganov was there already. Leonid Andreyevitch had
only fifteen thousand roubles, and Deriganov offered thirty
thousand on top of the mortgage to begin with. I saw how matters
were, so I grabbed hold of him and bid forty. He went up to
forty-five, I offered fifty-five. That means he went up by fives
and I went up by tens. . . . Well, it came to an end. I bid
ninety more than the mortgage; and it stayed with me. The cherry
orchard is mine now, mine! [Roars with laughter] My God, my God,
the cherry orchard's mine! Tell me I'm drunk, or mad, or
dreaming. . . . [Stamps his feet] Don't laugh at me! If my
father and grandfather rose from their graves and looked at the
whole affair, and saw how their Ermolai, their beaten and
uneducated Ermolai, who used to run barefoot in the winter, how
that very Ermolai has bought an estate, which is the most
beautiful thing in the world! I've bought the estate where my
grandfather and my father were slaves, where they weren't even
allowed into the kitchen. I'm asleep, it's only a dream, an
illusion. . . . It's the fruit of imagination, wrapped in the
fog of the unknown. . . . [Picks up the keys, nicely smiling]
She threw down the keys, she wanted to show she was no longer
mistress here. . . . [Jingles keys] Well, it's all one! [Hears
the band tuning up] Eh, musicians, play, I want to hear you!
Come and look at Ermolai Lopakhin laying his axe to the cherry
orchard, come and look at the trees falling! We'll build villas
here, and our grandsons and great-grandsons will see a new life
here. . . . Play on, music! [The band plays. LUBOV ANDREYEVNA
sinks into a chair and weeps bitterly. LOPAKHIN continues
reproachfully] Why then, why didn't you take my advice? My poor,
dear woman, you can't go back now. [Weeps] Oh, if only the whole
thing was done with, if only our uneven, unhappy life were
PISCHIN. [Takes his arm; in an undertone] She's crying. Let's go
into the drawing-room and leave her by herself . . . come on. .
. . [Takes his arm and leads him out.]
LOPAKHIN. What's that? Bandsmen, play nicely! Go on, do just as
I want you to! [Ironically] The new owner, the owner of the
cherry orchard is coming! [He accidentally knocks up against a
little table and nearly upsets the candelabra] I can pay for
everything! [Exit with PISCHIN]
In the reception-room and the drawing-room nobody remains except
LUBOV ANDREYEVNA, who sits huddled up and weeping bitterly. The
band plays softly. ANYA and TROFIMOV come in quickly. ANYA goes
up to her mother and goes on her knees in front of her. TROFIMOV
stands at the drawing-room entrance.
ANYA. Mother! mother, are you crying? My dear, kind, good
mother, my beautiful mother, I love you! Bless you! The cherry
orchard is sold, we've got it no longer, it's true, true, but
don't cry mother, you've still got your life before you, you've
still your beautiful pure soul . . . Come with me, come, dear,
away from here, come! We'll plant a new garden, finer than this,
and you'll see it, and you'll understand, and deep joy, gentle
joy will sink into your soul, like the evening sun, and you'll
smile, mother! Come, dear, let's go!
Proceed to act four>>