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 CHEKHOV'S PLAYS

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 Waterfall by Ruisdael

ANTON CHEKHOV    Uncle Vanya

ACT ONE

ACT TWO

ACT THREE 

ACT FOUR  

 



UNCLE VANYA

 

 

ACT THREE

The sitting room of Serebryakovís house.  There are three doors: on the right, the left, and in the centre.It is daytime. Uncle Vanya and Sonya are seated, Elena Andreyevna is walking to and fro, thinking of something.

UNCLE VANYA  Herr Professor has been kind enough to express a wish that today we should all gather here, in this room, at one oíclock. (Looks at his watch.) Itís a quarter to. He wants to inform the world about something.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Probably some business arrangement.

UNCLE VANYA  He has no business arrangements. He sits and writes nonsense, he complains and is jealous, and nothing else.

SONYA  (In a reproachful tone.) Uncle!

UNCLE VANYA  Sorry, sorry. (Indicates Elena Andreyevna.) Just look at her: she walks about and from sheer indolence sways to and fro. So graceful, so perfectly graceful!

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  You spend the whole day droning, droning away without stopping Ė do you think itís not boring? (Languidly.) I am dying from boredom, I donít know what I can do.

SONYA  (Shrugging her shoulders.) Is there nothing to do? You could find things if you wanted.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  For instance.

SONYA  Help run the estate. Teach. Do some nursing. Is there really a shortage? When you and father were not here Uncle Vanya and I used to go to the market to trade in corn.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  I havenít the skill. And itís not interesting. Itís only in romantic novels that people teach or nurse the peasants. How could I, having no training, without more ado just up and nurse or teach the peasants.

SONYA  Well I canít understand how you can fail to teach them. Just try it and youíll get used to it. (Embraces her.) Donít be bored, dearest. (Laughing.) You are bored, you are like a fish out of water, and your boredom and idleness are infectious. Look: Uncle Vanya does nothing and just follows you around like a shadow; I have left my work and run to find you just for a chat. Iíve become lazy. I canít help it! Doctor Astrov rarely used to come and visit, once a month maybe, it was difficult to persuade him. Now he rides over here every day, heís abandoned his forests and his medicine. Evidently, you must be an enchantress.

UNCLE VANYA  Why be downcast? (Energetically.) Come, my dear, my beauty, be the clever one. A mermaidís blood flows in your veins, be a mermaid! For once in your life set yourself free, fall head over heels in love with some water sprite, then splash, plunge headlong into the pool, so that Herr professor and all of us stand around gaping.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Angrily.) Leave me alone! This is just cruel. (Tries to leave.)

UNCLE VANYA  (Preventing her from leaving.) No, no, my dearest, Iím sorry... Forgive me. (Kisses her hand.) Peace.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Even an angel would be tried by this. You must admit it.

UNCLE VANYA  Peace. As a sign of peace and harmony Iíll bring you a bouquet of roses. I gathered them this morning for you... Autumn roses -- charming, sad roses... (He goes out.)

SONYA  Autumn roses -- charming, sad roses...

(Both of them look out of the window.)  

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Itís already September. How will we last here through the winter?

(Pause.)

Whereís the doctor?

SONYA  In Uncle Vanyaís room. Heís writing something. Iím glad Uncle Vanyaís gone, I wanted to have a talk with you.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  About what?

SONYA  About what? (Lays her head on Helenaís breast.)

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  There, there... (Strokes her hair.) Thatís enough.

SONYA  Iím ugly.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  You have lovely hair.

SONYA  No! (She glances round to see herself in the mirror.) No! When a woman is ugly people say to her ďYou have beautiful eyes, you have beautiful hair.Ē Iíve loved him now for six years, I love him more than my own mother. Every minute I hear his voice, I feel the touch of his hand; I keep looking at the door, all the time expecting him to come in. And you can see how I keep coming to you to talk about him. Now he is coming here every day, but he doesnít look at me, he doesnít see me... Itís so painful! I havenít got any hope. None at all! (In despair.) Oh God, give me strength... I prayed all night... I often go to him and start a conversation, I look in his eyes... Iíve lost all sense of pride, I canít control myself. I couldnít restrain myself and last night I told Uncle Vanya about it... All the servants know that I love him. They all know.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  And he himself?

SONYA  No. He doesnít notice me.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Thoughtfully.) Heís a strange man... You know what? If you let me, Iíll talk to him... Iíll do it carefully, only hints...

(Pause.)

After all, to be in limbo for all this time... Let me speak to him!

(Sonya nods her head in agreement.)

Excellent. Either he loves, or he doesnít love. Thatís not too difficult to find out. Donít worry yourself about it dearest, donít get alarmed. Iíll question him very carefully, he wonít even notice. We just want to know: is it yes or no?

(Pause.)

And if itís no, then heís not to come here. Is that right?

(Sonya nods her head in agreement.)

Itís easier when you donít have to see him. We wonít put this on the back burner, weíll ask him straight away. He was going to show me some plans... You go and tell him that I want to see him.

SONYA  (Deeply agitated.) Youíll tell me the whole truth?

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Yes, of course. It seems to me that the truth, whatever it is, is all the same not so terrible as being in darkness. You can rely on me my dearest.

SONYA  Yes... Yes... Iíll tell him that you want to see his plans... (She goes to the door and stops.) No, itís better not to know... At least there is hope...

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  What are you saying?

SONYA  Nothing. (She goes out.)

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Alone.) There is nothing worse than knowing someone elseís secret and not being able to do anything about it. (Thoughtfully.) He doesnít love her, thatís for sure, but why shouldnít he marry her. Sheís not beautiful, but for a provincial doctor, at his age, she would be an excellent wife. Sheís clever, really kind-hearted, chaste... No, thatís not the point, itís not the point.

(Pause.)

I understand the poor girl. In the midst of this desperate drear outpost, when instead of people, only grey shades flit around you, you hear only banalities, they are only aware of eating, drinking and sleeping, then out of the blue sometimes he turns up, heís not like the rest, heís handsome, interesting, attractive, like a bright moon in the darkness... Just to give yourself madly to such a man, to swoon in his arms... It seems Iím a bit taken with him myself. Yes, Iím bored when heís not here, I even smile when I think about him... Uncle Vanya says that I have a mermaidís blood in my veins. ďFor once in your life set yourself free.Ē... Why not. Perhaps thatís just what I need... To fly away from all of you like a free bird, from your sleepy faces, your conversation, to forget that any of you exist on the earth... But Iím too scared, too retiring... My conscience torments me... As it is heís here every day, and I can guess why, and I already feel guilty, Iím ready to fall on my knees before Sonya, to ask her forgiveness, to cry...

ASTROV  (Enters carrying a portfolio.) Good afternoon. (Shakes her hand.) You wanted to see my drawings.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Yesterday you promised to show me your work... Are you free?

ASTROV  But of course. (He spreads out a map on the card table and fixes it with drawing pins.) Where were you born?

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Helping him.) In St. Petersburg.

ASTROV  And educated?

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  In the conservatoire.

ASTROV  For you I imagine this is uninteresting.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Why? Itís true, I donít know country life, but Iíve read a lot.

ASTROV  Here in this house I have my own work table... In Uncle Vanyaís study. When I am totally worn out to complete numbness, I throw everything aside and come running here, to amuse myself with this work for an hour or two... Sonya and Uncle Vanya rattle away with their counting, and I sit nearby at my table and daub, and itís warm, restful, and the cricket chirps. But itís a pleasure which I allow myself infrequently, only once a month... (Indicating the map.) Now take a look at this. Itís a map of our province as it was fifty years ago. The light and dark green indicate woodland. Half of the entire area is covered with forest. Where the green is overlaid with red lines it indicates where there was an abundance of deer and wild goats... Here I show the flora and fauna. On this lake there were swans, geese, ducks, and, as the old folks used to say, there was a power of birds of all sorts, countless numbers. They would soar on high like a cloud. Apart from the villages and hamlets, as you can see, there were various little settlements, farms, hermits dwellings and water mills scattered here and there. There was an abundance of cattle and horses. Itís indicated by the blue colouring. For example in this parish the colour is laid on heavily; there were entire herds of horses and every household had at least three of them.

(Pause.)

Now if we look lower. The province as it was twenty five years ago. Now only one third is covered with forest. There are no wild goats, but the deer are still there. The green and blue colouring is much paler. And so on and so on. Let us go on down to the third section: a map of the province as it is today. The green colouring is here and there, but not continuous, only in patches. The deer have vanished, and the swans, and the grouse... Thereís no trace left of the former small settlements, the farms, the hermitages and the mills. Generally itís a picture of gradual but indubitable degeneration, which, evidently only requires another ten ot fifteen years before it is complete. You will say that this is to do with cultural influences, and that naturally the old way of life has to make way for the new. Yes, I would understand if, in the place of these shattered forests there were roads and railways, if there were factories, workshops, schools, if the people were healthier, richer, cleverer, but it is nothing like that. In the province there are still the same swamps, mosquitoes, the same lack of roads, typhoid, diphtheria, fires... Here we are dealing with a decline brought on by the consuming struggle for existence Ė a decline that is the result of indifference, ignorance, a complete lack of self awareness, when a frozen, starving, sickened man, in order to save the last dregs of life, to save his children, instinctively and unconsciously grabs at anything that might appease his hunger or keep him warm, and he destroys everything, being entirely mindless of the future... Almost everything has been destroyed, and nothing has been created to replace it. (Coldly.) I see from your face that this does not interest you.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  But I understand so little of it.

ASTROV  There is nothing to understand. You are just not interested.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  To tell you the truth, my mind was preoccupied. Forgive me. I just have to do a small interrogation of you, and Iím embarrassed, I donít know how to start.

ASTROV  Interrogation?

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Yes, an interrogation, but innocent enough. Letís sit down!

(They sit down.)

Itís a matter concerning a certain young person. Weíll talk about it like good honest people, like friends, no beating about the bush. Weíll talk about it and then forget it. Agreed?

ASTROV  Agreed.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Itís about my step-daughter, Sonya. Do you like her.

ASTROV  Yes. I respect her.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  But do you like her as a woman?

ASTROV  (Hesitantly.) No.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Just a couple more questions, and thatís the end. Have you noticed anything?

ASTROV  Nothing.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Takes his hand.) You donít love her. I can see from your eyes... She is suffering... You must understand this... and... you must stop coming here.

ASTROV  (Stands up.) My day is past... Besides I have no time... (Shrugs his shoulders.) When could I? (He is embarrassed.)

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Foo! What an unpleasant conversation! I feel exhausted, as if I had been carrying a twenty ton load. Well, thank God, itís finished. Weíll forget it, as if we had not spoken at all, and... and you must leave. Youíre a sensitive man, you understand...

(Pause.)

Iím blushing all over.

ASTROV  If you had said a month or two ago, then perhaps I could have given it some thought, but now... (He shrugs his shoulders.) But if she is suffering, then of course... But thereís one thing I donít understand: why did you need this interrogation? (He looks into her eyes and admonishes her with his finger.) You are a schemer!

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  What do you mean by that?

ASTROV  A schemer! Let us suppose that Sonya is suffering, I freely grant it, but what is the point of your interrogation? (Preventing her from speaking he continues excitedly.) Excuse me, donít make that astonished face, you know full well why I have been haunting this place every day... Why, and for whom I am here, you know full well. Yes, my sweet schemer, donít look at me like that, Iím an old bird.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Perplexedly.)  Schemer? I donít understand.

ASTROV  Yes, you beautiful, fluffy little owl. You must have your victims! You see now for a whole month I have done nothing, Iíve thrown everything aside, I seek you eagerly Ė and you love it, you absolutely love it... Well then, I am conquered, you knew that without asking. (He folds his arms and bows his head.) I submit. Take me! Eat me!.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Youíre out of your mind!

ASTROV  (He laughs sarcastically.) Youíre shy.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Iím a better and more honest person than you think. I swear to it. (She tries to leave.)

ASTROV  (Barring the way.) Iíll leave today, I wonít keep coming here, but... (He takes her hand and glances round.) Where shall we meet. Tell me quickly: where? Someone might come in here, so tell me quickly. (Passionately.) Youíre so lovely, so luxuriant... Just one kiss... I must kiss your wonderful, aromatic hair...

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  I swear to you...

ASTROV  (Stopping her from speaking.) Why swear? Thereís no need to swear. Thereís no need for words... Youíre so beautiful. What hands! (He kisses her hands.)

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Thatís enough, after all... Please leave... (Takes away her hands.) Youíre forgetting yourself.

ASTROV  Tell me. Tell me. Where shall we meet tomorrow? (Takes her by the waist.) You see, itís inevitable we have to see each other. (He kisses her. At the same moment Uncle Vanya comes in with a bouquet of roses and stands in the doorway.)

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Not seeing Uncle Vanya.) Spare me... Leave me in peace... (She rests her head on Astrovís chest.) No! (Tries to move away.)  

ASTROV  (Holding her by the waist.) Come to the birch grove tomorrow... At two... Yes? Yes? Youíll come?

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Seeing Uncle Vanya.) Let me go! (Deeply disturbed she goes to the window.) This is terrible! 

UNCLE VANYA  (He puts the bouquet on a chair; in a deeply agitated state he wipes his face and the back of his neck with a handkerchief.) Itís nothing... Yes... Itís nothing...

ASTROV  (Annoyed.) Today, Ivan Ilyich, Sir, the weatherís not too bad. It was cloudy this morning, as if there would be rain, but now itís sunny. To my way of thinking, the autumn has been splendid... and the winter corn is quite good. (He rolls up the map.) The only thing is, the days are getting shorter... (He leaves.)  

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (She quickly goes up to Uncle Vanya.) You must do all that you can and use all your influence to make sure that my husband and I leave this place today. Do you understand? Today!

UNCLE VANYA  (Wiping his face.) What? Ah... Yes... Fine... I saw everything HťlŤne, everything...

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Nervily.) Do you understand? I absolutely must leave this place today!

(Serebryakov, Sonya, Telyegin and Marina all enter.)

TELYEGIN  I myself, your excellency, am out of sorts today. For two days Iíve been unwell. My head is not quite...

SEREBRYAKOV  Where are the others? I donít like this house. Itís like a labyrinth. Twenty two enormous rooms, everyone wanders off, you can never find anyone. (He rings the bell.) Invite Maria Vasilyevna and Elena Andreyevna to join us.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Iím here.

SEREBRYAKOV  Please, all of you, be seated.

SONYA..(Going up to Elena Andreyevna, impatiently.) What did he say?

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Afterwards.

SONYA  Youíre shaking. Are you upset? (Gazes searchingly into her face.) I understand... He said that he wouldnít be coming here any more... Is that right?

(Pause.)

Tell me. Is it yes?

(Elena Andreyevna nods her head in agreement.)

SEREBRYAKOV   (To Telyegin.) With bad help one can put up with, more or less, but what I cannot stomach is this regime of country life. I have the feeling that Iíve fallen off the earth on to some other planet. Please be seated, ladies and gentlemen. Sonya!

(Sonya does not hear him. She is standing dejectedly with her head lowered.)

Sonya!

(Pause.)

She doesnít hear me. (To Marina.) And you sit down too Nanny.

(Nanny sits and knits a sock.)

I ask you all, good people, to hang your ears, so to speak, on the nail of attention. (He laughs.)

UNCLE VANYA  (Anxiously.) Perhaps I am not needed. Could I go?

SEREBRYAKOV  No. You are needed more than anyone else.

UNCLE VANYA  What do you want from me?

SEREBRYAKOV  Would you... Why are you angry?

(Pause.)

If I have offended you in some way, then please forgive me.

UNCLE VANYA  You can drop that tone. Can we get on with the business. What is it you want?

(Marya Vasilyevna enters.)

SEREBRYAKOV  Here is maman. I will start, ladies and gentlemen.

(Pause.)

I have invited you all here today to announce to you that an inspector is due to call on us. Well, joking aside. It is a serious matter. Good folks I have assembled you here to ask for your advice and your assistance, and being well aware of your kindly dispositions, I expect I will receive just that. Iím a scholarly man, bookish, and Iíve always been a stranger to practical affairs. I cannot get by without the help of experienced and knowledgeable people and I ask you, Uncle Vanya, and you Ilya Ilyich, and you maman... The case is this, that manet omnes una nox, in other words, we all hasten to our end. I am old and ill and therefore I think it timely to regulate my financial affairs to the extent that they affect my family. My life is already over, I am not thinking about myself, but I have a young wife, and a daughter, Sonya.

(Pause.)

To continue to live in the country for me is impossible. We were not created for country life. Yet to live in the town on the income we receive from the estate is also impossible. If we were to sell a wood, for example, that would be an extraordinary measure which could not be repeated every year. We need to seek out some way of guaranteeing ourselves a steady and more or less fixed income. I have thought out one such measure and I have the honour of presenting it to you for your consideration. Without going in to detail, I will outline the scheme to you broadly. Our estate gives a return on average of not more than two per cent. I propose selling it. If we invest the capital gained from it in stocks we will receive in the region of four or five per cent and I believe there would even be a surplus of several thousand, which would allow us to purchase a small dacha in Finland.

UNCLE VANYA  Wait... I think my ears are deceiving me. Can you repeat what you just said?

SEREBRYAKOV  Invest the capital in stocks and use the surplus to buy a dacha in Finland.

UNCLE VANYA  Not the Finland bit... There was something else you said.

SEREBRYAKOV  I proposed selling the estate.

UNCLE VANYA  That was it. You will sell the estate, excellent, thatís rich... And what do you propose would happen to me, and my old mother here, and Sonya?

SEREBRYAKOV  All that we would discuss at the appropriate time. Not immediately.

UNCLE VANYA  Wait. Itís evident that up to this time Iíve not had an atom of common sense. Up until now Iíve always believed that the estate belonged to Sonya. My late father bought this estate as a dowry for my sister. Up until now I have been naive and I understood the laws not by Turkish rules and I thought that the estate passed from my sister to Sonya.

SEREBRYAKOV  Yes, the estate belongs to Sonya. Who is disputing it? Without Soyaís consent I would not consider selling it. Besides, I am proposing we do this for Sonyaís benefit.

UNCLE VANYA  This is incomprehensible! INCOMPREHENSIBLE. Either I am going out of my mind, or... or...

MARIA VASILEYEVNA  Jean, donít contradict Alexander. After all he knows best what is right or wrong for us.

UNCLE VANYA  No, let me have some water. (Drinks some water.) Go on, speak, say whatever you like.

SEREBRYAKOV  I donít understand why youíre so upset. I donít say that my project is ideal. If you all find it unsuitable I wonít insist on it.

(Pause.)

TELYEGIN  (Embarassed.) I have towards science, your excellency, not only feelings of awe, but even a sense of kinship. The brother of my brotherís wife, whom perhaps you may know, Konstantin Profimovich Lakedaimonov, who had been a magistrate...

UNCLE VANYA  Wait, Waffles, we are talking business... Weíll listen afterwards. (To Serebyakov.) You can ask him.(Indicating Telyegin.)  The estate was bought from his uncle.

SEREBYAKOV  Ah! Why should I have to ask anything? For what purpose?

UNCLE VANYA  This estate was bought at the time for ninety-five thousand roubles. Father paid only seventy, leaving a debt of twenty-five thousand. Now listen... This estate would not have been bought if I had not given up my claim of the inheritance in favour of my sister, whom I loved deeply. More than that, for ten years I worked, like an ox, and paid off all the debt...

SEREBRYAKOV  I am sorry that I ever started this conversation.

UNCLE VANYA  The estate is free of debt and not in ruins thanks entirely to my personal efforts. And now, when I am old, they want to throw me out on the rubbish heap!

SEREBRYAKOV  I donít understand what youíre driving at.

UNCLE VANYA  For twenty five years I managed this estate, I toiled, I sent you money, like the most honest of stewards, and during all that time you didnít thank me once. For all that time, in my youth and now, I received from you a salary of five hundred roubles, a miserly amount, and not once did you even consider a rise of even one rouble!

SEREBRYAKOV  Ivan Petrovich, how could I have known? Iím not a practical man, I donít understand these things. You could have given yourself a rise, whatever you liked.

UNCLE VANYA  You mean why didnít I steal? Why donít you all now despise me because I didnít steal? That would have been just, and today I wouldnít be a beggar.

MARIA VASILEYEVNA  (Sternly.) Jean!

TELYEGIN  (Getting agitated.) Vanya, dear friend, thereís no need, no need... Iím trembling... Why spoil a good relationship? (Kisses him.) Thereís no need.

UNCLE VANYA  For twenty five years with my old mother, like a mole, I sat between these four walls... All our thoughts and feelings belonged only to you. In the daytime we talked about you, about your work, took pride in you, and pronounced your name with reverence; the nights we spent uselessly reading journals and books which now I utterly despise.

TELYEGIN  Thereís no need, Vanya, no need... I canít bear it...

SEREBRYAKOV  (Angrily.) I donít understand what it is you want?

UNCLE VANYA  You were for us a being from a higher world, and we knew your articles by heart... But now my eyes have been opened. I see everything. You write about art, but you donít understand a thing about it! All your works, which I used to adore, are not worth a brass farthing! You have deceived us all!

SEREBRYAKOV  Good folks, take him away, at last! I am leaving!

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Vanya, I insist that you say no more! Do you hear me?

UNCLE VANYA  I will not be quiet. (He bars Serebryakov from leaving.) Wait, I have not finished. You have ruined my life! I had no life. I had no life. Thanks to you I destroyed and tossed to the winds the best years of my life! You are my bitterest enemy!

TELYEGIN  I canít bear it... I canít bear it... Iím going... (Deeply upset he leaves.)

SEREBRYAKOV  What do you want from me, and what right do you have to talk to me in that way? You nonentity! If the estate is yours then take, I have no need for it!

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Iím going to leave this hell this very moment. (She shouts.) I canít bear it any longer!

UNCLE VANYA  My life has been blasted! I am talented, clever, bold... If my life had been normal I could have been a Schopenhauer, a Dostoyevsky... Iím talking nonsense! Iím losing my mind... Mother, Iím in despair! Mother!

MARIA VASILYEVNA  (Sternly.) Listen to Alexander!

SONYA  (Kneels down in front of Nanny and cuddles up to her.) Nanny! Nanny!

UNCLE VANYA  Mother, what am I to do? It doesnít matter. You donít need to say anything! I know myself what I must do! (To Serebryakov.) You will remember me! (Goes out through the middle door.)

(Maria Vasileyevna follows him.)

SEREBRYAKOV  Good folks, what is all this about after all? Take that madman away from me! I cannot live under the same roof as him. He lives here (pointing to the middle door,) almost next door to me... Let him move out to the village, or into the annexe, or Iíll move there, but I cannot stay in the same house as him any longer!

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (To her husband.) We are leaving here this very day! We must make the arrangements this instant!

SEREBRYAKOV  A worthless man!

SONYA  (Still on her knees, she turns to her father; she speaks nervously and tearfully.)  Papa, you must show compassion! Uncle Vanya and I are so unhappy! (Holding back her despair.) You must show compassion. Remember, when you were younger, Uncle Vanya and grandma at night translated books for you, transcribed your notes... every night, every night! I and Uncle Vanya worked without rest, we were afraid to spend even a kopek on ourselves, and we sent everything to you... We worked our fingers to the bone! Iím not saying the right things, not the right things, but you must try to understand us, papa. You must show some compassion.

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Agitatedly, to her husband.)  Alexander, for Godís sake, you must make it up with him... I beg you to.

SEREBRYAKOV  Very well, Iíll make it up with him... I do not accuse him of anything, Iím not angry with him, but you must admit, his behaviour towards me has been, to say the least, very strange. Very well, Iíll go to him. (He leaves through the centre door.)

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Be gentle with him. Calm him down... (Goes after him.)

SONYA  (Clinging to Marina.) Nanny! Nanny!

MARINA  Itís nothing, sweetheart. The geese will cackle, and then theyíll stop Ė theyíll cackle and then stop...

SONYA  Nanny!

MARINA  (Strokes her hair.) Youíre feverish, as if you were caught in a frost. Poor abandoned one. Donít worry, God is merciful. A lime tea, or raspberry, that will cure it... Donít cry, little one... (Looking angrily at the centre door.) The geese have all gone, may they all rot!

(Behind the scenes a shot is heard, Elena Andreyevna is heard screaming. Sonya shudders.)

Damn the lot of you!

SEREBRYAKOV  He runs in shaking with terror.) Stop him somebody! Stop him! Heís gone mad.

(Elena Andreyevna and Uncle Vanya struggle in the doorway.)

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  (Trying to take the revolver from him.) Give it to me! Give it, I say!

UNCLE VANYA  Let me go HŤlťne! Let me go! (Freeing himself he looks round, searching for Serebryakov.) Where is he? Ah, there he is! (Shoots at him.) Bang!

(Pause.)

Didnít hit him? Missed again! (Angrily.) Ah damn and blast! Damn and blast. Bastards! (Flings the revolver on the ground and sits down exhausted on a chair. Serebryakov is stunned. Elena Andreyevna is leaning against the wall, totally overcome.)

ELENA ANDREYEVNA  Take me away from here. Take me away, kill me, I cannot stay her, I cannot stay.

UNCLE VANYA  (In despair) What shall I do? What shall I do?

SONYA  (Quietly.) Nanny! Nanny!

(Curtain.) 

 

 



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Waterfall by Ruisdael


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