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 CHEKHOV'S PLAYS

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 Monet. Women with flowers

ANTON CHEKHOV    The Cherry Orchard

ACT ONE

ACT TWO

ACT THREE 

ACT FOUR  

 


Academic use of this translation is freely permitted, provided the customary acknowledgements are made. 

Amateur companies may use the text for a token fee.   Please contact the translator at  grledger@@oxquarry.co.uk  ( Delete one of the @s )

G. R. Ledger, Jan 2015. 

THE CHERRY ORCHARD

A comedy in four acts.

 

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Ranevskaya, Lyubov Andreyevna ................ Owner of the estate.

Anya ............................................................. her daughter, 17 years old.

Varya ............................................................ her adopted daughter, 27 years old.

Gayev, Leonid Andreyevich ........................ Ranevskayaís brother.

Lopakhin, Ermolay Alekseyevich ................ A merchant.

Trofimov, Pyotr Sergeyevich ....................... A student.

Simeonov Pischik, Boris Borisovich ............ A neighbouring landowner.

Charlotta Ivanovna ....................................... A governess.

Epihodov, Semyon Panteleyevich ................ A clerk.

Dunyasha ...................................................... A maid.

Feers ............................................................. An old manservant, 87 years old.

Yasha ............................................................ A young servant.

Passers by.

A Station master.

A Post Office Clerk.

Other guests and servants.

The action takes place on Ranevskayaís estate.

 

ACT ONE

A room which up till now has been known as the nursery. One of the doors leads into Anyaís room. It is dawn, the sun is just about to rise. Itís already May, the cherry trees are in blossom, but it is cold in the garden and there is a morning frost. The windows of the room are closed. Dunyasha enters holding a candle, and Lopakhin follows holding a book.

LOPAKHIN  The train has arrived, thank God. What time is it?

DUNYASHA  Nearly two. (Blows out the candle.) Itís already light.

LOPAKHIN  How late was the train? At least two hours. (He yawns and stretches.) Iím a fine one. Iíve made a right fool of myself! I came here on purpose so as to meet them at the station, and I just fell asleep... I sat down and fell asleep. Itís annoying... You might have woken me.

DUNYASHA  I thought youíd gone. (She listens.) It seems as if theyíre coming.

LOPAKHIN  (Listens.) No...  Unloading the luggage; this and that... (Pause.) Lyubov Andreyevna has lived abroad for five years, I donít know how much sheís changed... Sheís a fine woman. An easy-going, straightforward woman. I remember when I was a young lad of fifteen, my late father ó he was a trader in a shop here in the village ≠ó he punched me in the face and the blood streamed from my nose. For some reason we came in the yard here, and he was drunk. Lyubov Andreyevna, I remember it even now, she was so young and slim, led me to the washbasin in this very room, this nursery. ďDonít cry little peasant,Ē she said, ďyouíll survive till your wedding day...Ē (Pause.)  Little peasant... My father, it is true, was a peasant, and here am I in a white waistcoat and beige shoes. With my pigís snout in a posh street... The difference is that Iím rich, I have lots of money, but if you think about it and see it all clearly, then once a peasant, always a peasant... Flicking through the book.) I read this book and didnít understand a word. I read it and fell asleep. (Pause.)

DUNYASHA  The dogs didnít sleep all night. They sensed that the family were coming home.

LOPAKHIN  Whatís the matter with you Dunyasha?

DUNYASHA  My hands are shaking. I think Iím going to faint.

LOPAKHIN  Youíre too delicate Dunyasha. You dress like a lady, and do your hair like one. Itís not right. You should know your place.

Epihodov enters with a bunch of flowers. He is wearing a jacket and brightly polished boots which squeak loudly. As he comes in he drops the bunch of flowers.

EPIHODOV  (Picks up the flowers.) Here, the gardener sent these, he said theyíre for the dining room.

LOPAKHIN   And bring me some kvass[i].

DUNYASHA  Yes Sir. (She goes out.)

EPIHODOV  Thereís a morning frost, three degrees below, and the cherries are all in blossom. I cannot approve of our climate. (He sighs.) Absolutely not. Our climate does not assist matters in the slightest. You see, Ermolay Alexeyich, if youíll allow me to apprehend this to you, I bought some boots two days ago, but, and I may assert this definitively, they squeak so much that it is impossible. What should I rub into them?

LOPAKHIN  Leave me alone. You are boring.

EPIHODOV  Every day some misfortune happens to me. I do not complain, Iím accustomed to it, and I even smile.

Dunyasha enters. She gives Lopakhin some kvass.)

EPIHODOV  Iím going. (He walks into a chair which falls over.) You see... (Almost triumphantly.) There, you see it, pardon the expression, the circumstances are such, when allís said and done... It is simply quite astonishing! (He leaves.)  

DUNYASHA  Did you know, Mr Lopakhin, Epihodov has proposed to me.

LOPAKHIN  Ah!

DUNYASHA  I  donít know how to take it... Heís a gentle man, but sometimes when he starts to speak you canít understand a word of it. Itís fine and sensitive, but without meaning. I sort of like him. He loves me madly. But heís an ill starred man, every day something happens. They make fun of him here: they call him twenty two misfortunes...

LOPAKHIN  (He listens.) It seems as if theyíre coming.

DUNYASHA  Theyíre coming! I donít know whatís happening to me... Iíve gone cold all over.

LOPAKHIN  Yes, itís certainly them. Theyíre coming. Letís go and meet them. Will she recognise me?  Itís been five years since we last met.

DUNYASHA  I feel Iím going to faint... Iím fainting!

Two carriages are heard driving up to the house. Lopakhin and Dunyasha quickly exit. The stage is empty. In the neighbouring rooms noises are heard. Feers walks quickly across the stage leaning on his stick, going to meet Lyubov Andreyevna. He is wearing an old servantís livery with a high hat. He is mumbling something to himself but it is impossible to make out a word of it. The noises off increase all the time. A voice is heard ďCome this way...Ē Lyubov Andreyevna, Anya and Charlotte with a dog on a lead, all dressed in travelling clothes, Varya in an overcoat and scarf, Gayev, Simeonov-Pischik, Lopakhin, Dunyasha carrying a bundle and an umbrella, servants carrying suitcases, all walk into the room.

ANYA  Come this way. Do you remember this room Mama.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  (Happily through her tears.) The nursery!

VARYA  Itís so cold! My hands have gone numb. Your rooms, mother dear, the white and the violet rooms, have stayed just the same.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  The nursery, my dear, sweet, beautiful room... I slept here when I was little... (She cries.) And I feel like Iím a child again... (Kisses her brother Gayev, then Varya, then her brother a second time.) Varya is the same as she always was, like a nun. And I recognised Dunyasha... (Kisses Dunyasha.)

GAYEV  The train was late by two hours. Just imagine it! What a country!

CHARLOTTE  (To Pischik.) My dog even eats nuts!

PISCHIK  (Astonished.) I can hardly believe it!

(Everyone leaves except Anya and Dunyasha.)

DUNYASHA  Weíve been dying for you to come... (Takes Anyaís coat and hat.)

ANYA  I never slept on the way for four nights... Now Iím so cold.

DUNYASHA  You went away when it was Lent, there was snow and frost. And now? My dear one! (She laughs and kisses her.) We were dying for you to come. My dearest, my sweet one... Thereís something I must tell you... I canít wait another minute...

ANYA  (Wearily.) Not another story...

DUNYASHA  Epihodov the clerk proposed to me after Easter.

ANYA  Youíre always on about the same thing! (Tidies her hair.) I lost all my hat pins on the way... (She is desperately tired, almost falling over.)

DUNYASHA  I just donít know what to do. He loves me, he loves me so much.

ANYA  (Looking into the door of her room, tenderly.) My own room, my own window, itís as if I never went away. Iím home! Tomorrow morning I shall wake up and run into the garden... But if only I could go to sleep! I never slept the whole journey. I was worn out with worrying...

DUNYASHA  The day before yesterday Pyotr Sergeyevich came.

ABYA  (Joyfully.) Petya!

DUNYASHA  Heís sleeping in the bathhouse. Thatís where heís staying. (Looking at her watch.) He should be woken. But Varya said he was not to be. ďYouĒ, she said, ďmust not wake him.Ē

Varya enters. At her belt hangs a bundle of keys.

VARYA  Dunyasha, bring some coffee, quickly...  Mama has asked for coffee.

DUNYASHA  Right away. (She leaves.)  

VARYA  Well thank God, youíve arrived. Youíre home at last! (Caressing her.) My darling has arrived. Our beautiful one has returned.

ANYA  What I have endured.

VARYA  I can imagine it!

ANYA  I left here in holy week. It was cold then. Charlotte talked all the time on the way, she performed tricks. Why did you have to fasten Charlotte on to me?

VARYA  You couldnít have gone on your own, darling. Youíre only seventeen!

ANYA  We got to Paris. It was cold and snowing. My French was terrible. Mama was living on the fifth floor, I went up there to her place, it was full of French people, women, an old father with a book, it was smoky and uncomfortable. I suddenly felt so sorry for mama, terribly sorry, I held her head and her hands, I couldnít let her go. Then mama became very affectionate, she started crying...

VARYA  (Tearfully.) Donít talk about it. Donít talk about it.

ANYA  She had already sold the summer place near Menton, and she had nothing left, nothing. I didnít have a kopeck left either, I only just got there. But Mama did not understand! We would sit in the station for a meal and she would order the most expensive dish and tip the waiters a fortune. Charlotte was the same. Yasha would also always want the best, it was terrible! You know Mama has this new servant, Yasha, we brought him with us.

VARYA  I know, Iíve seen the villain.

ANYA  And how is it here. Have we paid the interest?

VARYA  How could we?

ANYA  God help us. God help us...

VARYA  In August the estate goes up for sale...

ANYA  God help us...

LOPAKHIN  (Looks through the door and bleats.) Me-e-e-e. (He leaves.)

VARYA  (Tearfully.) I could just thump him one with this... (Threatens with her fist.)

ANYA  (Embracing her, quietly.) Varya, has he proposed to you? (Varya shakes her head.) After all he does love you... Why donít you have a tÍte-a-tÍte? Whatís stopping you?

VARYA  I just think nothing will come of it. He is so busy, he has no time for me... he pays no attention to me. Well, God be with him, but itís hard for me to be seeing him... Everyone speaks about our wedding, they all congratulate me, but in reality thereís nothing, itís all a dream... (In a different tone.) Youíve got a brooch shaped like a bee.

ANYA  (Sadly.) Mama bought it. (Goes into her room and speaks happily, like a child.) In Paris I went up in a balloon.

VARYA   My darling has arrived. Our beautiful one has returned.

Dunyasha has already returned with the coffee and is getting ready to serve it.

VARYA  (She stands beside the door.) I busy myself all day with the housekeeping and all the time I am dreaming. We could marry you to some rich man and then I would be content. Iíd set off for some isolated monastery, then to Kiev... then to Moscow... I would be a pilgrim[ii] to all the holy places... Iíd walk and Iíd walk... It would be bliss!...

ANYA  The birds are singing in the garden. What time is it?

VARYA  It must be three. Time for you to have some sleep, darling. (She goes into Anyaís room.) It would be bliss!

Yasha enters carrying a tartan rug and a travelling bag.

YASHA  (He crosses the stage cautiously.) May one go through this way?

DUNYASHA  I hardly recognise you Yasha. Look how youíve changed, being abroad.

YASHA  Hmm... And who are you?

DUNYASHA  When you went abroad I was only this tall. (She indicates how high off the ground.) Dunyasha, daughter of Fyodor Kozoyedov. You donít remember me!

YASHA  Hmm... What a peach! (He looks round and then embraces and kisses her. She screams and drops a saucer. Yasha exits quickly.)

VARYA  (In a cross voice.) Whatís going on here?

DUNYASHA  (Tearfully.) Iíve broken a saucer...

VARYA  Just what we wanted.

ANYA  (Coming out of her room.) Weíll have to warn Mama that Petyaís here.

VARYA  I told them not to wake him.

ANYA  (Thoughtfully.) Six years ago father died. Then within a month my brother Grisha drowned in the river, a lovely seven year old boy. Mama could not cope with it, she went away, she went away without a backward look... (She shudders.) How I understand her, if only she knew! (Pause.) And Petya was Grishaís tutor, he might remind her...

Feers enter. He is wearing a long jacket and a white waistcoat.

FEERS  (He goes to the coffee pot in a concerned manner.) The mistress will have her drink here... (He puts on white gloves.) Is the coffee ready? (Sternly to Dunyasha.) Hey you! What about the cream?

DUNYASHA  Oh my God!... (She quickly exits.)

FEERS  (He fusses around the coffee pot.) Hey, you, you clumsy oaf... (He mumbles to himself.)  Theyíve arrived home from Paris... The master once went to Paris... On horseback... (He laughs.)

VARYA  Feers, what are you on about?

FEERS  I beg pardon (Joyfully.) The mistress has come home! I lived to see it! Now I can die peacefully. (He cries from sheer joy.)

Enter Lyubov Andreyevna, Gayev and Simeonov-Pischik; Simeonov-Pischik is wearing a long coat made from fine cloth, and baggy trousers. Gayev with his arms and upper body is making the sort of movements one makes when playing billiards.)

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  How does it go now? Let me remember... The spot into the corner pocket! A cannon into the centre!

GAYEV  I pot into the corner! There was a time when you and I, sister, both slept in this very room, and now Iím already fifty one years old, strange as it may seem...

LOPAKHIN  Yes, time flies.

GAYEV  Whatís that.

LOPAKHIN  Time, I said, flies.

GAYEV  It smells here of rotten fish.

ANYA  Iím going to bed. Night night mama. (Kisses her mother.)

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  My beloved little child. (Kisses her hands.) Are you glad youíre home? I just canít believe it!

ANYA  Goodnight uncle.

GAYEV  (He kisses her face and hands.) God be with you. How like you are to your mother! (To his sister.) You, Lyuba, at her age were just like her.

Anya offers her hand to Lopakhin and Simeonov-Pischik, then leaves and closes the door behind her.)

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Sheís really worn out.

PISCHIK  Well, it was a long road.

VARYA  (To Lopakhin and SimeonovĖPischik.) Well gentlemen, itís three oíclock. Time to remember decorum.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  (She laughs.) Youíre just the same as ever, Varya. (Embraces and kisses her.) Iíll drink my coffee and then weíll all go. (Feers puts a cushion under her feet.) Thank you dear friend. Iíve got used to coffee. I drink it day and night. Thank you old fellow. (She kisses his head.)

VARYA  I must check. Have they brought in all the things... (She leaves.)

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Is it really me sitting here? (She laughs.) I want to leap up, to swing my arms around. (Covers her face with her hands.) But perhaps Iím asleep. God knows, I love my country, but I couldnít look out of the carriage window, I was crying all the time. (Tearfully.) However, I must drink my coffee. Thank you Feers, thank you old fellow. I am so pleased that youíre still alive.

FEERS  Yesterday evening.

GAYEV  He doesnít hear well.

LOPAKHIN  At five this morning I have to drive to Kharkov. What a nuisance. I had hoped to have a good look at you, have a chat... You are just as wonderful as ever.

PISCHIK  (Breathes heavily.) Even more beautiful... Dressed in the Parisian style... Iím head over heels already...

LOPAKHIN  Your brother, Leonid Andreich here, says that Iím a boor, a peasant, but it doesnít bother me. Let him say what he likes. All I ask is that you trust me as before, that you look at me as before with those marvellous expressive eyes. Merciful heavens. My father was a serf of your father and grandfather, but you, you especially, did so much for me that I forgot everything and I love you like family, even more than my next of kin.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  I canít stay here, Iíve got to stand. (She jumps up and walks about in a state of great agitation.) I wonít live through this great happiness... You can laugh at me, Iím stupid... My dearest bookcase... (She kisses the bookcase.) My dear table...

GAYEV  Nanny died while you were away. 

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  (Sits down again and drinks her coffee.) Yes, God rest her soul. They wrote to me about it.

GAYEV  And Anastasia died. Petrushka Kosoy left us and now works with the police. (Takes a box of boiled sweets from his pocket and takes one to suck.)

PISCHIK  My daughter Dashenka sends greetings.

LOPAKHIN  I want to tell something really pleasant and heart-warming. (Looks at his watch.) I have to be going, no time to explain... Well, in just a few words. You already know that the cherry orchard is to be sold to pay off the debts, the sale is fixed for the twenty-second of August. But donít despair dear lady, there is a way out, you may sleep soundly in your bed... This is my plan. Pay attention please! Your estate is situated only fifteen miles from the town, the railway runs nearby and if the cherry orchard and the land were split up into dacha sized plots which were let out to rent, then you would have at least twenty five thousand a year of income.

GAYEV  Excuse me, that is utter rubbish.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  I donít quite understand you Ermolay Alexeyich.

LOPAKIN  You could charge those who took the dachas at least twenty-five roubles per hectare, and if you advertise them now I swear by whatever you like that not a single plot will be left by the autumn, all will be taken. In a word, I congratulate you, you are saved. The setting is wonderful, the river is deep. Only of course youíll have to tidy it up, to clean it up... for example, letís say you would remove all these old buildings, and this house here which is no longer fit for anything, and cut down the old cherry orchard...

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Cut it down? But my dear fellow, forgive me, you understand nothing. If there is anything of interest in the whole province, even remarkable, it is our cherry orchard.

LOPAKHIN  The only remarkable thing about the orchard is that itís very big. The cherries crop once every two years and they canít be got rid of. Nobody buys them.

GAYEV  This orchard is mentioned in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

LOPAKHIN  (Looking at his watch.) If we donít think of anything or donít come up with a plan the cherry orchard and all the estate with it will be auctioned on August the twenty-fifth. You must make a decision! There is no other way out, I swear it. Absolutely none.

FEERS  In the olden days, forty or fifty years ago, they dried the cherries, soaked them, pickled them, made jam, and they used to...

GAYEV  Be quiet Feers.

FEERS  And they used to send the dried cherries off to Moscow and Kharkov in cartloads. There was lots of money! And the dried cherries were soft, juicy, sweet and fragrant. They had a recipe...

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Whereís that recipe now?

FEERS  Itís forgotten. Nobody remembers it.

PISCHIK  (To Lyubov Andreyevna.) What was it like in Paris? Did you eat frogs?

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  I ate crocodile!

PISCHIK  Just imagine it!

LOPAKHIN  Up until now in the country there were only the gentry and the peasants. But now we have the dacha owners, the holiday homes. All towns, even the smallest, are now surrounded by dachas. And itís almost certain that people going to them will increase beyond all measure over the next twenty years. Now they only drink tea on the terrace, but it will happen that they start to take an interest in managing their two acres of land, and then your cherry orchard will become happy and rich and luxuriant!

GAYEV  (Indignantly.)  What rubbish.

Varya and Yasha enter.

VARYA  Here Mama, there are two telegrams for you. (Takes out a key and noisily unlocks an old cupboard.) Here they are.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  These are from Paris. (She tears up the telegrams without reading them.) Iím finished with Paris...

GAYEV  Do you know Lyuba how old this bookcase is? A week ago I took out a bottom drawer and saw there were some numbers burnt into it. The cupboard was made exactly one hundred years ago. What do you think of that? Eh? We could be celebrating its jubilee. Itís a lifeless object, but all the same, somehow or other, an inspired bookcase.

PISHICK  (Astonised.) A hundred years... Just imagine... !

GAYEV  Yes... It is something...(Stroking the bookcase.) Dear, much respected bookcase. I hail with gladness your existence, which already for more than a hundred years has been devoted to the enlightened ideals of goodness and justice; your silent appeal to productive work has not weakened in the course of a century, supporting (tearfully) through the generations of our people cheerfulness, trust in a better future and nurturing in us the ideals of goodness and social conscience. (Pause.)

LOPAKHIN  Yes...

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Youíre still the same Leonid.

GAYEV  (Rather embarrassed.) An in-off into the corner pocket. I pot into the middle.

LOPAKHIN  (Having looked at his watch.) Well, I have to be off.

YASHA  (Gives a medicine bottle to Lyubov Andreyevna.) You could perhaps take your pills now.

PISCHIK  Thereís no need to take medicines dear lady... They do neither good nor harm... Give them to me my dear. (He takes the bottle of pills, shakes them on to the palm of his hand, blows on them, puts them in his mouth and then swallows some kvass.) There you are!

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  (Terrified.) Youíve gone out of your mind!

PISCHIK  Iíve swallowed them all.

LOPAKHIN  You glutton. (Everyone laughs.)

FEERS  They were with us at Easter, they ate a half bucket of cucumbers... (He mumbles.)

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Whatís he on about.

GAYEV  For three years heís mumbled like that. Weíre used to it.

YASHA  Advanced old age.

Charlotte Ivanovna in a white dress, very thin and tightly laced, walks across the stage.

LOPAKHIN  Excuse me Charlotte Ivanovna, I have not yet managed to greet you. (He tries to kiss her hand.)

CHARLOTTE  (Taking away her hand.) If I let you kiss my hand youíll then want to kiss my elbow, then my shoulder...

LOPAKHIN  My luckís not in today.  (All laugh.) Charlotte Ivanovna, show us a trick!

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Charlotte, show us a trick!

CHARLOTTE  Thereís no need. I want to sleep. (She leaves.)

LOPAKHIN  Iíll see you again in three weeks. (Kisses Lyubov Andreyevnaís hand.) Goodbye for now. Time to go. (To Gaev.) Adieu. (Exchanges kisses with Pischik.) Adieu. (Shakes hands with Varya and then with Feers and Yasha.) I donít want to go. (To Lyubov Andreyevna.) If you think about the dachas and decide on it, then let me know, Iíll arrange a loan of fifty thousand for you. Give it some serious thought.

VARYA  (Angrily.) Oh do leave us, for heavenís sake.

LOPAKHIN  Iím going... Iím going... (He leaves.)

GAYEV  Ignorant boor. Oops, Iím sorry... Varya is to marry him, he is Varyaís intended.

VARYA  Uncle, donít say what is unnecessary.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Well Varya, why not, I would be very pleased. Heís an excellent man.

LOPAKHIN  A man ó one must speak the true ó a man of great worth... And my Dachenka... she also says that... she says various things. (He snores then suddenly wakes up.) But all the same, dearest lady, if you would be so kind... I need to borrow two hundred and forty roubles... Tomorrow I must pay the percentage on the mortgage...

VARYA  (Terrified.) No! No!

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Really and truly I have nothing.

PISCHIK  Itíll turn up. (He laughs.) I never lose hope. Sometimes I think all is lost, Iím ruined, when lo and behold ó a railway comes across my land and ... and they pay me. Or else, you just wait, something will happen if not today ó tomorrow... Dashenka will win two hundred thousand on the lottery. She has a ticket.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  The coffeeís finished. Time for bed.

FEERS  (Brushing Gayevís coat, reprovingly.) Youíve put the wrong trousers on again! What can I do with you!

VARYA   (Quietly.) Anyaís asleep. (She opens the window quietly.) The sunís already risen, itís not cold. Look Mama, what wonderful trees! My God, the air! The starlings are singing.

GAYEV  (He opens another window.) The orchard is all white. You havenít forgotten it, Lyuba? This long alley goes in a dead straight line, stretched out like a belt, it sparkles on moonlit nights. Do you remember? You havenít forgotten.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  (Looks out of the window at the orchard.) Oh my childhood, my innocence! In this bedroom I slept, I looked out from here on the orchard, every morning when I woke happiness woke with me, and the orchard was just the same then as it is now, nothing has changed. (She laughs with happiness.) Everything, everything is white. Oh,my orchard! After a dark and cloudy autumn and a cold winter you are young again, full of happiness, the heavenly angels have not abandoned you... If only I could take from my chest and my shoulders this heavy weight, if only I could forget my past!

GAYEV  Yes, and they are selling the estate for the debt, strange though it may seem...

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Look, thereís our dear mama walking in the orchard... in a white dress. (She laughs with delight.) It is her.

GAYEV  Where?

VARYA  God bless you Mama.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Thereís no one there. It just seemed like it. On the right there, at the turn into the arbour, thereís a white tree leaning over, like a woman...

Enter Trofimov wearing a worn studentís uniform and spectacles.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  What an amazing orchard! Masses of white blossom, a blue sky...

TROFIMOV  Lyubov Andreyevna! (She looks round at him.) Iíve just come to say hello, then Iíll leave. (Kisses her hand with intensity.) They told me to wait till morning, but I didnít have the patience...

Lyubov Andreyevna looks at him with perplexity.

VARYA  (Tearfully.) This is Petya Trofimov...

TROFIMOV  Petya Trofimov, the tutor of your Grisha... Have I changed so much?

Lyubov Andreyevna embraces him and cries quietly.

GAYEV  (Embarassed.) Enough Lyuba, enough.

VARYA  (Crying.) I did say to you Petya to wait till morning.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  (Cries quietly.) My little boy, he died... he drowned... Why? Why did it happen, Petya? (More softly.) Anya is asleep in there, and here am I talking in a loud voice... making a racket... Oh well Petya. Why have you turned so ugly? Why have you grown so old?

TROFIMOV  On the train an old peasant woman referred to me as Ďthat shabby gentleman.í

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  You were just a young lad then, a mild mannered student, and now your hair has thinned, youíre wearing spectacles. Can you still be a student? (Goes to the door.)

TROFIMOV  Evidently I will be the eternal student.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  (Kisses her brother, then Varya.) Well, time for bed... Youíve grown old too Leonid.

PISCHIK  (Follows her.) Thatís right, time for bed... Ah, my old gout! Iíll stay over. I still need, Lyubov Andreyevna, dear lady, tomorrow morning... two hundred and forty roubles...

GAYEV  He wonít let it drop.

PISCHIK  Two hundred and forty roubles... To pay the interest on the mortgage.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  I have no money dear fellow.

PISCHIK  Iíll pay it back dear lady... Itís a trifling amount.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  Well all right, Leonid will pay... Leonid you pay him...

GAYEV  If I pay him, itís goodbye to all that.

LYUBOV ANDREYEVNA  What can we do?... Pay him, he needs it... He will pay it back.

Lyubov Andreyevna, Trofimov, Pischik and Feers all leave. Gayev, Varya and Yasha remain.

GAYEV  My sister has not lost the habit of flinging money around. (To Yasha) Move away a bit, thereís a good chap, you smell of chickens.

YASHA  (With a laugh.) Youíre just the same as you ever were, Leonid Andreyevich.

GAYEV  Whatís that? (To Varya.) What did he say.

VARYA  (To Yasha.) Your mother has come here from the village, sheís been waiting in the servantís hall since yesterday. She wants to see you.

YASHA Well God send her happiness!

VARYA  Ah youíre shameless!

YASHA  As if she needed to! She could have come tomorrow just as easily. (He leaves.)

VARYA  Mama is just the same as before, she hasnít changed at all. If she could she would just give it all away.

GAYEV  Yes... (Pause.) If many cures are prescribed for a particular disease, that means that the disease is incurable. I think about it, I exert my brain, I find many remedies, but that means that in reality there is no solution. It would be fine if we could come into a large inheritance, fine if we could marry Anya to some wealthy man, fine if we could go to Yaroslav and try our luck with auntie, the countess. After all sheís very very rich.

VARYA  (Crying.) If only God would help.

GAYEV  Donít cry. Auntie is very rich, but she doesnít love us. In the first place my sister married a lawyer, but he was not upper class...

(Anya appears in the doorway.)

GAYEV  She married beneath her and then she behaved in a way that one cannot say was very virtuous. Sheís a fine person, well meaning, wonderful, I love her dearly, but however much you think of extenuating circumstances, all the same, you have to admit, she is immoral. You sense it even in her smallest movements.

VARYA  (In a whisper.) Annaís in the doorway.

GAYEV  Whatís that? (Pause.) Itís a strange thing, somethingís got into my right eye... I canít see properly. And on Thursday when I was in the district court...

(Anya enters.)

VARYA  Whatís this Anya, youíre not asleep?

ANYA  Iím not sleeping. I canít.

GAYEV  My little chick. (Kisses her face and hands.) My dear child... (Tearfully.) Youíre not my neice, youíre my angel, you are everything to me. Believe me, believe me...

ANYA  I do believe you uncle. Everyone loves you and respects you... But dearest uncle you need to keep quiet. What did you say just now about my mother, about your sister? Why did you say it?

GAYEV  Yes. Yes... (Covers his face with her hand.) Yes, itís true, it was terrible. My God! God save me! And today I gave a speech in front of the bookcase... utterly stupid. It was only when Iíd finished that I realised how stupid it was.

VARYA  Truly uncle, you just need to keep quiet. Just keep yourself to yourself, and thatís all.

ANYA  If you just keep quiet youíll be more at ease with yourself. 

GAYEV  Iíll keep quiet. (Kisses Anya and Varya on the hand.) Iíll keep quiet. But thereís just one thing. On Thursday I was in the district court, a company gathered, we were talking about this and that, all sorts, and it turns out that we could raise a loan with promissory notes so as to pay off the interest at the bank.

VARYA  If only God would help!

GAYEV  Iíll go to the court on Tuesday and weíll have another talk about it. (To Varya.) Donít cry. (To Anya.) Your Mama will talk to Lopakhin, he wonít refuse her... And you, once youíve had a rest, can set off for Yaroslav to see the countess, your grandmother. In that way we can tackle the problem from three angles ó and then itís in the hat. Weíll pay the interest, Iím convinced... (He puts a sweet in his mouth.) On my honour, I swear to you by whatever you wish, the cherry orchard wonít be sold! (Excitedly.) I swear by my own happiness. Hereís my hand on it, call me a wretch, a dishonourable man if I ever let it get as far as the auction. By my entire being I swear it to you.

ANYA  (She is relaxed once again and happy.) What a good man you are uncle, so clever. (She embraces him.) Iím at peace now! Iím at peace! Iím happy!

Feers enters.

FEERS  (Reproachfully.) Leonid Andreyich, you have no fear of God. When are you going to bed?

GAYEV  Just a mo. Just a mo. You go Feers. Iím okay, so be it, I will undress myself. Well children, nighty-night... All details tomorrow. (Kisses Anya and Varya.) Iím a man of the eighties... Those times are not well thought of, but all the same Iíve suffered a lot in my life for my convictions. Itís not for nothing that the peasants love me. You need to know the peasants. You need to know how to...

ANYA  Uncle, youíve started up again.

VARYA  Uncle, just keep quiet.

FEERS  (Angrily.) Leonid Andreich!

GAYEV  Iím coming! Iím coming! ... You go to bed. Off two cushions in the middle pocket. I pot the white ball... (He leaves. Feers limps after him.)

ANYA  Iím at peace now. I donít want to go to Yaroslav, I donít like grandma, but still Iím at peace... Thank you Uncle. (She sits down.)

VARYA  We must get some sleep. Iím going. While you were away there was an unpleasantness. You know in the old servants quarters thereís just a few old servants left, Efimushka, Polya, Evstigney, and of course Karp. They were letting various passers-by spend the night with them and I said nothing. Only I heard that the word got round that I was only willing to feed them on dried peas. From meanness you understand... And itís all coming from Evstigney... Very well, I thought. If thatís how itís to be, I thought, you just wait. So I summoned Evstigney... (She yawns.) She comes... How can you, Evstigney, I said... a fool like you... (She glances at Anya.) Anichka!... (Pause.) Sheís fallen asleep...  (Holds Anya under the arm.) Letís take you to bed... Come on... (Leads her to the door.) My darling has nodded off! Come on... (They walk towards the door.)

Far off a shepherd plays on his pipe. Trofimov crosses the stage and seeing Varya and Anya he stops.

VARYA  Shhh!... Sheís asleep... asleep... Come on my darling.

ANYA  (Quietly, half asleep.)  Iím so tired... I hear coach bells... Uncle dear... Mama, and Uncle...

VARYA  Come on my darling... Come on... (They go off into Anyaís room.)

TROFIMOV  (With emotion.) My sunlight! My springtime!

Curtain

 

 

 

 

 

 



[i] Kvass: a drink made from fermented rye or barley, similar to beer. .

[ii] Pilgrims were a common sight in 19th century Russia.



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