The Inspector-General, by Nikolai Gogol

ACT III

SCENE: The same as in Act I.

SCENE I

Anna Andreyevna and Marya Antonovna standing at the window in the same positions as at the end of Act I.

Anna. There now! We’ve been waiting a whole hour. All on account of your silly prinking. You were completely dressed, but no, you have to keep on dawdling. — Provoking! Not a soul to be seen, as though on purpose, as though the whole world were dead.

Marya. Now really, mamma, we shall know all about it in a minute or two. Avdotya must come back soon. [Looks out of the window and exclaims.] Oh, mamma, someone is coming — there down the street!

Anna. Where? Just your imagination again! — Why, yes, someone is coming. I wonder who it is. A short man in a frock coat. Who can it be? Eh? The suspense is awful! Who can it be, I wonder.

Marya. Dobchinsky, mamma.

Anna. Dobchinsky! Your imagination again! It’s not Dobchinsky at all. [Waves her handkerchief.] Ho, you! Come here! Quick!

Marya. It is Dobchinsky, mamma.

Anna. Of course, you’ve got to contradict. I tell you, it’s not Dobchinsky.

Marya. Well, well, mamma? Isn’t it Dobchinsky?

Anna. Yes, it is, I see now. Why do you argue about it? [Calls through the window.] Hurry up, quick! You’re so slow. Well, where are they? What? Speak from where you are. It’s all the same. What? He is very strict? Eh? And how about my husband? [Moves away a little from the window, exasperated.] He is so stupid. He won’t say a word until he is in the room.

SCENE II

Enter Dobchinsky.

Anna. Now tell me, aren’t you ashamed? You were the only one I relied on to act decently. They all ran away and you after them, and till now I haven’t been able to find out a thing. Aren’t you ashamed? I stood godmother to your Vanichka and Lizanko, and this is the way you treat me.

Dobchinsky. Godmother, upon my word, I ran so fast to pay my respects to you that I’m all out of breath. How do you do, Marya Antonovna?

Marya. Good afternoon, Piotr Ivanovich.

Anna. Well, tell me all about it. What is happening at the inn?

Dobchinsky. I have a note for you from Anton Antonovich.

Anna. But who is he? A general?

Dobchinsky. No, not a general, but every bit as good as a general, I tell you. Such culture! Such dignified manners!

Anna. Ah! So he is the same as the one my husband got a letter about.

Dobchinsky. Exactly. It was Piotr Ivanovich and I who first discovered him.

Anna. Tell me, tell me all about it.

Dobchinsky. It’s all right now, thank the Lord. At first he received Anton Antonovich rather roughly. He was angry and said the inn was not run properly, and he wouldn’t come to the Governor’s house and he didn’t want to go to jail on account of him. But then when he found out that Anton Antonovich was not to blame and they got to talking more intimately, he changed right away, and, thank Heaven, everything went well. They’ve gone now to inspect the philanthropic institutions. I confess that Anton Antonovich had already begun to suspect that a secret denunciation had been lodged against him. I myself was trembling a little, too.

Anna. What have you to be afraid of? You’re not an official.

Dobchinsky. Well, you see, when a Grand Mogul speaks, you feel afraid.

Anna. That’s all rubbish. Tell me, what is he like personally? Is he young or old?

Dobchinsky. Young — a young man of about twenty-three. But he talks as if he were older. “If you will allow me,” he says, “I will go there and there.” [Waves his hands.] He does it all with such distinction. “I like,” he says, “to read and write, but I am prevented because my room is rather dark.”

Anna. And what sort of a looking man is he, dark or fair?

Dobchinsky. Neither. I should say rather chestnut. And his eyes dart about like little animals. They make you nervous.

Anna. Let me see what my husband writes. [Reads.] “I hasten to let you know, dear, that my position was extremely uncomfortable, but relying on the mercy of God, two pickles extra and a half portion of caviar, one ruble and twenty-five kopeks.” [Stops.] I don’t understand. What have pickles and caviar got to do with it?

Dobchinsky. Oh, Anton Antonovich hurriedly wrote on a piece of scrap paper. There’s a kind of bill on it.

Anna. Oh, yes, I see. [Goes on reading.] “But relying on the mercy of God, I believe all will turn out well in the end. Get a room ready quickly for the distinguished guest — the one with the gold wall paper. Don’t bother to get any extras for dinner because we’ll have something at the hospital with Artemy Filippovich. Order a little more wine, and tell Abdulin to send the best, or I’ll wreck his whole cellar. I kiss your hand, my dearest, and remain yours, Anton Skvoznik-Dmukhanovsky.” Oh my! I must hurry. Hello, who’s there? Mishka?

Dobchinsky [Runs to the door and calls.] Mishka! Mishka! Mishka! [Mishka enters.]

Anna. Listen! Run over to Abdulin — wait, I’ll give you a note. [She sits down at the table and writes, talking all the while.] Give this to Sidor, the coachman, and tell him to take it to Abdulin and bring back the wine. And get to work at once and make the gold room ready for a guest. Do it nicely. Put a bed in it, a wash basin and pitcher and everything else.

Dobchinsky. Well, I’m going now, Anna Andreyevna, to see how he does the inspecting.

Anna. Go on, I’m not keeping you.

SCENE III

Anna Andreyevna and Marya Antonovna.

Anna. Now, Mashenka, we must attend to our toilet. He’s a metropolitan swell and God forbid that he should make fun of us. You put on your blue dress with the little flounces. It’s the most becoming.

Marya. The idea, mamma! The blue dress! I can’t bear it. Liapkin-Tiapkin’s wife wears blue and so does Zemlianika’s daughter. I’d rather wear my flowered dress.

Anna. Your flowered dress! Of course, just to be contrary. You’ll look lots better in blue because I’m going to wear my dun-colored dress. I love dun-color.

Marya. Oh, mamma, it isn’t a bit becoming to you.

Anna. What, dun-color isn’t becoming to me?

Marya. No, not a bit. I’m positive it isn’t. One’s eyes must be quite dark to go with dun-color.

Anna. That’s nice! And aren’t my eyes dark? They are as dark as can be. What nonsense you talk! How can they be anything but dark when I always draw the queen of clubs.

Marya. Why, mamma, you are more like the queen of hearts.

Anna. Nonsense! Perfect nonsense! I never was a queen of hearts. [She goes out hurriedly with Marya and speaks behind the scenes.] The ideas she gets into her head! Queen of hearts! Heavens! What do you think of that?

As they go out, a door opens through which Mishka sweeps dirt on to the stage. Osip enters from another door with a valise on his head.

SCENE IV

Mishka and Osip.

Osip. Where is this to go?

Mishka. In here, in here.

Osip. Wait, let me fetch breath first. Lord! What a wretched life! On an empty stomach any load seems heavy.

Mishka. Say, uncle, will the general be here soon?

Osip. What general?

Mishka. Your master.

Osip. My master? What sort of a general is he?

Mishka. Isn’t he a general?

Osip. Yes, he’s a general, only the other way round.

Mishka. Is that higher or lower than a real general?

Osip. Higher.

Mishka. Gee whiz! That’s why they are raising such a racket about him here.

Osip. Look here, young man, I see you’re a smart fellow. Get me something to eat, won’t you?

Mishka. There isn’t anything ready yet for the likes of you. You won’t eat plain food. When your master takes his meal, they’ll let you have the same as he gets.

Osip. But have you got any plain stuff?

Mishka. We have cabbage soup, porridge and pie.

Osip. That’s all right. We’ll eat cabbage soup, porridge and pie, we’ll eat everything. Come, help me with the valise. Is there another way to go out there?

Mishka. Yes.

They both carry the valise into the next room.

SCENE V

The Sergeants open both folding doors. Khlestakov enters followed by the Governor, then the Superintendent of Charities, the Inspector of Schools, Dobchinsky and Bobchinsky with a plaster on his nose. The Governor points to a piece of paper lying on the floor, and the Sergeants rush to pick it up, pushing each other in their haste.

Khlestakov. Excellent institutions. I like the way you show strangers everything in your town. In other towns they didn’t show me a thing.

Governor. In other towns, I venture to observe, the authorities and officials look out for themselves more. Here, I may say, we have no other thought than to win the Government’s esteem through good order, vigilance, and efficiency.

Khlestakov. The lunch was excellent. I’ve positively overeaten. Do you set such a fine table every day?

Governor. In honor of so agreeable a guest we do.

Khlestakov. I like to eat well. That’s what a man lives for — to pluck the flowers of pleasure. What was that fish called?

Artemy [running up to him]. Labardan.

Khlestakov. It was delicious. Where was it we had our lunch? In the hospital, wasn’t it?

Artemy. Precisely, in the hospital.

Khlestakov. Yes, yes, I remember. There were beds there. The patients must have gotten well. There don’t seem to have been many of them.

Artemy. About ten are left. The rest recovered. The place is so well run, there is such perfect order. It may seem incredible to you, but ever since I’ve taken over the management, they all recover like flies. No sooner does a patient enter the hospital than he feels better. And we obtain this result not so much by medicaments as by honesty and orderliness.

Governor. In this connection may I venture to call your attention to what a brain-racking job the office of Governor is. There are so many matters he has to give his mind to just in connection with keeping the town clean and repairs and alterations. In a word, it is enough to upset the most competent person. But, thank God, all goes well. Another governor, of course, would look out for his own advantage. But believe me, even nights in bed I keep thinking: “Oh, God, how could I manage things in such a way that the government would observe my devotion to duty and be satisfied?” Whether the government will reward me or not, that of course, lies with them. At least I’ll have a clear conscience. When the whole town is in order, the streets swept clean, the prisoners well kept, and few drunkards — what more do I want? Upon my word, I don’t even crave honors. Honors, of course, are alluring; but as against the happiness which comes from doing one’s duty, they are nothing but dross and vanity.

Artemy [aside]. Oh, the do-nothing, the scoundrel! How he holds forth! I wish the Lord had blessed me with such a gift!

Khlestakov. That’s so. I admit I sometimes like to philosophize, too. Sometimes it’s prose, and sometimes it comes out poetry.

Bobchinsky [to Dobchinsky]. How true, how true it all is, Piotr Ivanovich. His remarks are great. It’s evident that he is an educated man.

Khlestakov. Would you tell me, please, if you have any amusements here, any circles where one could have a game of cards?

Governor [aside]. Ahem! I know what you are aiming at, my boy. [Aloud.] God forbid! Why, no one here has even heard of such a thing as card-playing circles. I myself have never touched a card. I don’t know how to play. I can never look at cards with indifference, and if I happen to see a king of diamonds or some such thing, I am so disgusted I have to spit out. Once I made a house of cards for the children, and then I dreamt of those confounded things the whole night. Heavens! How can people waste their precious time over cards!

Luka lukich [aside]. But he faroed me out of a hundred rubles yesterday, the rascal.

Governor. I’d rather employ my time for the benefit of the state.

Khlestakov. Oh, well, that’s rather going too far. It all depends upon the point of view. If, for instance, you pass when you have to treble stakes, then of course — No, don’t say that a game of cards isn’t very tempting sometimes.

SCENE VI

The above, Anna Andreyevna and Marya Antonovna.

Governor. Permit me to introduce my family, my wife and daughter.

Khlestakov [bowing]. I am happy, madam, to have the pleasure of meeting you.

Anna. Our pleasure in meeting so distinguished a person is still greater.

Khlestakov [showing off]. Excuse me, madam, on the contrary, my pleasure is the greater.

Anna. Impossible. You condescend to say it to compliment me. Won’t you please sit down?

Khlestakov. Just to stand near you is bliss. But if you insist, I will sit down. I am so, so happy to be at your side at last.

Anna. I beg your pardon, but I dare not take all the nice things you say to myself. I suppose you must have found travelling very unpleasant after living in the capital.

Khlestakov. Extremely unpleasant. I am accustomed, comprenez-vous, to life in the fashionable world, and suddenly to find myself on the road, in dirty inns with dark rooms and rude people — I confess that if it were not for this chance which — [giving Anna a look and showing off] compensated me for everything —

Anna. It must really have been extremely unpleasant for you.

Khlestakov. At this moment, however, I find it exceedingly pleasant, madam.

Anna. Oh, I cannot believe it. You do me much honor. I don’t deserve it.

Khlestakov. Why don’t you deserve it? You do deserve it, madam.

Anna. I live in a village.

Khlestakov. Well, after all, a village too has something. It has its hills and brooks. Of course it’s not to be compared with St. Petersburg. Ah, St. Petersburg! What a life, to be sure! Maybe you think I am only a copying clerk. No, I am on a friendly footing with the chief of our department. He slaps me on the back. “Come, brother,” he says, “and have dinner with me.” I just drop in the office for a couple of minutes to say this is to be done so, and that is to be done that way. There’s a rat of a clerk there for copying letters who does nothing but scribble all the time — tr, tr — They even wanted to make me a college assessor, but I think to myself, “What do I want it for?” And the doorkeeper flies after me on the stairs with the shoe brush. “Allow me to shine your boots for you, Ivan Aleksandrovich,” he says. [To the Governor.] Why are you standing, gentleman? Please sit down.

Speaking together :

Governor. Our rank is such that we can very well stand.

Artemy. We don’t mind standing.

Luka. Please don’t trouble.

Khlestakov. Please sit down without the rank. [The Governor and the rest sit down.] I don’t like ceremony. On the contrary, I always like to slip by unobserved. But it’s impossible to conceal oneself, impossible. I no sooner show myself in a place than they say, “There goes Ivan Aleksandrovich!” Once I was even taken for the commander-in-chief. The soldiers rushed out of the guard-house and saluted. Afterwards an officer, an intimate acquaintance of mine, said to me: “Why, old chap, we completely mistook you for the commander-in-chief.”

Anna. Well, I declare!

Khlestakov. I know pretty actresses. I’ve written a number of vaudevilles, you know. I frequently meet literary men. I am on an intimate footing with Pushkin. I often say to him: “Well, Pushkin, old boy, how goes it?” “So, so, partner,” he’d reply, “as usual.” He’s a great original.

Anna. So you write too? How thrilling it must be to be an author! You write for the papers also, I suppose?

Khlestakov. Yes, for the papers, too. I am the author of a lot of works — The Marriage of Figaro, Robert le Diable, Norma. I don’t even remember all the names. I did it just by chance. I hadn’t meant to write, but a theatrical manager said, “Won’t you please write something for me?” I thought to myself: “All right, why not?” So I did it all in one evening, surprised everybody. I am extraordinarily light of thought. All that has appeared under the name of Baron Brambeus was written by me, and the The Frigate of Hope and The Moscow Telegraph.

Anna. What! So you are Brambeus?

Khlestakov. Why, yes. And I revise and whip all their articles into shape. Smirdin gives me forty thousand for it.

Anna. I suppose, then, that Yury Miroslavsky is yours too.

Khlestakov. Yes, it’s mine.

Anna. I guessed at once.

Marya. But, mamma, it says that it’s by Zagoskin.

Anna. There! I knew you’d be contradicting even here.

Khlestakov. Oh, yes, it’s so. That was by Zagoskin. But there is another Yury Miroslavsky which was written by me.

Anna. That’s right. I read yours. It’s charming.

Khlestakov. I admit I live by literature. I have the first house in St. Petersburg. It is well known as the house of Ivan Aleksandrovich. [Addressing the company in general.] If any of you should come to St. Petersburg, do please call to see me. I give balls, too, you know.

Anna. I can guess the taste and magnificence of those balls.

Khlestakov. Immense! For instance, watermelon will be served costing seven hundred rubles. The soup comes in the tureen straight from Paris by steamer. When the lid is raised, the aroma of the steam is like nothing else in the world. And we have formed a circle for playing whist — the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the French, the English and the German Ambassadors and myself. We play so hard we kill ourselves over the cards. There’s nothing like it. After it’s over I’m so tired I run home up the stairs to the fourth floor and tell the cook, “Here, Marushka, take my coat”— What am I talking about? — I forgot that I live on the first floor. One flight up costs me — My foyer before I rise in the morning is an interesting spectacle indeed — counts and princes jostling each other and humming like bees. All you hear is buzz, buzz, buzz. Sometimes the Minister — [The Governor and the rest rise in awe from their chairs.] Even my mail comes addressed “Your Excellency.” And once I even had charge of a department. A strange thing happened. The head of the department went off, disappeared, no one knew where. Of course there was a lot of talk about how the place would be filled, who would fill it, and all that sort of thing. There were ever so many generals hungry for the position, and they tried, but they couldn’t cope with it. It’s too hard. Just on the surface it looks easy enough; but when you come to examine it closely, it’s the devil of a job. When they saw they couldn’t manage, they came to me. In an instant the streets were packed full with couriers, nothing but couriers and couriers — thirty-five thousand of them, imagine! Pray, picture the situation to yourself! “Ivan Aleksandrovich, do come and take the directorship of the department.” I admit I was a little embarrassed. I came out in my dressing-gown. I wanted to decline, but I thought it might reach the Czar’s ears, and, besides, my official record — “Very well, gentlemen,” I said, “I’ll accept the position, I’ll accept. So be it. But mind,” I said, “na-na-na, LOOK SHARP is the word with me, LOOK SHARP!” And so it was. When I went through the offices of my department, it was a regular earthquake, Everyone trembled and shook like a leaf. [The Governor and the rest tremble with fright. Khlestakov works himself up more and more as he speaks.] Oh, I don’t like to joke. I got all of them thoroughly scared, I tell you. Even the Imperial Council is afraid of me. And really, that’s the sort I am. I don’t spare anybody. I tell them all, “I know myself, I know myself.” I am everywhere, everywhere. I go to Court daily. Tomorrow they are going to make me a field-marsh —

He slips and almost falls, but is respectfully held up by the officials.

Governor [walks up to him trembling from top to toe and speaking with a great effort].

Your Ex-ex-ex-

Khlestakov [curtly]. What is it?

Governor. Your Ex-ex-ex-

Khlestakov [as before]. I can’t make out a thing, it’s all nonsense.

Governor. Your Ex-ex — Your ‘lency — Your Excellency, wouldn’t you like to rest a bit? Here’s a room and everything you may need.

Khlestakov. Nonsense — rest! However, I’m ready for a rest. Your lunch was fine, gentlemen. I am satisfied, I am satisfied. [Declaiming.] Labardan! Labardan!

He goes into the next room followed by the Governor.

SCENE VII

The same without Khlestakov and the Governor.

Bobchinsky [to Dobchinsky]. There’s a man for you, Piotr Ivanovich. That’s what I call a man. I’ve never in my life been in the presence of so important a personage. I almost died of fright. What do you think is his rank, Piotr Ivanovich?

Dobchinsky. I think he’s almost a general.

Bobchinsky. And I think a general isn’t worth the sole of his boots. But if he is a general, then he must be the generalissimo himself. Did you hear how he bullies the Imperial Council? Come, let’s hurry off to Ammos Fiodorovich and Korobkin and tell them about it. Good-by, Anna Andreyevna.

Dobchinsky. Good afternoon, godmother.

Both go out.

Artemy. It makes your heart sink and you don’t know why. We haven’t even our uniforms on. Suppose after he wakes up from his nap he goes and sends a report about us to St. Petersburg. [He goes out sunk in thought, with the School Inspector, both saying.] Good-by, madam.

SCENE VIII

Anna Andreyevna and Marya Antonovna.

Anna. Oh, how charming he is!

Marya. A perfect dear!

Anna. Such refined manners. You can recognize the big city article at once. How he carries himself, and all that sort of thing! Exquisite! I’m just crazy for young men like him. I am in ecstasies — beside myself. He liked me very much though. I noticed he kept looking at me all the time.

Marya. Oh, mamma, he looked at me.

Anna. No more nonsense please. It’s out of place now.

Marya. But really, mamma, he did look at me.

Anna. There you go! For God’s sake, don’t argue. You mustn’t. That’s enough. What would he be looking at you for? Please tell me, why would he be looking at you?

Marya. It’s true, mamma. He kept looking at me. He looked at me when he began to speak about literature and he looked at me afterwards, when he told about how he played whist with the ambassadors.

Anna. Well, maybe he looked at you once or twice and might have said to himself, “Oh, well, I’ll give her a look.”

SCENE IX

The same and the Governor.

Governor. Sh-sh!

Anna. What is it?

Governor. I wish I hadn’t given him so much to drink. Suppose even half of what he said is true? [Sunk in thought.] How can it not be true? A man in his cups is always on the surface. What’s in his heart is on his tongue. Of course he fibbed a little. No talking is possible without some lying. He plays cards with the ministers and he visits the Court. Upon my word the more you think the less you know what’s going on in your head. I’m as dizzy as if I were standing in a belfry, or if I were going to be hanged, the devil take it!

Anna. And I didn’t feel the least bit afraid. I simply saw a high-toned, cultured man of the world, and his rank and titles didn’t make me feel a bit queer.

Governor. Oh, well, you women. To say women and enough’s said. Everything is froth and bubble to you. All of a sudden you blab out words that don’t make the least sense. The worst you’d get would be a flogging; but it means ruination to the husband. — Say, my dear, you are as familiar with him as if he were another Bobchinsky.

Anna. Leave that to us. Don’t bother about that. [Glancing at Marya.] We know a thing or two in that line.

Governor [to himself]. Oh, what’s the good of talking to you! Confound it all! I can’t get over my fright yet. [Opens the door and calls.] Mishka, tell the sergeants, Svistunov and Derzhimorda, to come here. They are near the gate. [After a pause of silence.] The world has turned into a queer place. If at least the people were visible so you could see them; but they are such a skinny, thin race. How in the world could you tell what he is? After all you can tell a military man; but when he wears a frock-coat, it’s like a fly with clipped wings. He kept it up a long time in the inn, got off a lot of allegories and ambiguities so that you couldn’t make out head or tail. Now he’s shown himself up at last. — Spouted even more than necessary. It’s evident that he’s a young man.

SCENE X

The same and Osip. All rush to meet Osip, beckoning to him.

Anna. Come here, my good man.

Governor. Hush! Tell me, tell me, is he asleep?

Osip. No, not yet. He’s stretching himself a little.

Anna. What’s your name?

Osip. Osip, madam.

Governor [to his wife and daughter]. That’ll do, that’ll do. [To Osip.] Well, friend, did they give you a good meal?

Osip. Yes, sir, very good. Thank you kindly.

Anna. Your master has lots of counts and princes visiting him, hasn’t he?

Osip [aside]. What shall I say? Seeing as they’ve given me such good feed now, I s’pose they’ll do even better later. [Aloud.] Yes, counts do visit him.

Marya. Osip, darling, isn’t your master just grand?

Anna. Osip, please tell me, how is he —

Governor. Do stop now. You just interfere with your silly talk. Well, friend, how —

Anna. What is your master’s rank?

Osip. The usual rank.

Governor. For God’s sake, your stupid questions keep a person from getting down to business. Tell me, friend, what sort of a man is your master? Is he strict? Does he rag and bully a fellow — you know what I mean — does he or doesn’t he?

Osip. Yes, he likes things to be just so. He insists on things being just so.

Governor. I like your face. You must be a fine man, friend. What —?

Anna. Listen, Osip, does your master wear uniform in St. Petersburg?

Governor. Enough of your tattle now, really. This is a serious matter, a matter of life and death. (To Osip.) Yes, friend, I like you very much. It’s rather chilly now and when a man’s travelling an extra glass of tea or so is rather welcome. So here’s a couple of rubles for some tea.

Osip [taking the money.] Thank you, much obliged to you, sir. God grant you health and long life. You’ve helped a poor man.

Governor. That’s all right. I’m glad to do it. Now, friend —

Anna. Listen, Osip, what kind of eyes does your master like most?

Marya. Osip, darling, what a dear nose your master has!

Governor. Stop now, let me speak. [To Osip.] Tell me, what does your master care for most? I mean, when he travels what does he like?

Osip. As for sights, he likes whatever happens to come along. But what he likes most of all is to be received well and entertained well.

Governor. Entertained well?

Osip. Yes, for instance, I’m nothing but a serf and yet he sees to it that I should be treated well, too. S’help me God! Say we’d stop at some place and he’d ask, “Well, Osip, have they treated you well?” “No, badly, your Excellency.” “Ah,” he’d say, “Osip, he’s not a good host. Remind me when we get home.” “Oh, well,” thinks I to myself [with a wave of his hand]. “I am a simple person. God be with them.”

Governor. Very good. You talk sense. I’ve given you something for tea. Here’s something for buns, too.

Osip. You are too kind, your Excellency. [Puts the money in his pocket.] I’ll sure drink your health, sir.

Anna. Come to me, Osip, and I’ll give you some, too.

Marya. Osip, darling, kiss your master for me.

Khlestakov is heard to give a short cough in the next room.

Governor. Hush! [Rises on tip-toe. The rest of the conversation in the scene is carried on in an undertone.] Don’t make a noise, for heaven’s sake! Go, it’s enough.

Anna. Come, Mashenka, I’ll tell you something I noticed about our guest that I can’t tell you unless we are alone together. [They go out.]

Governor. Let them talk away. If you went and listened to them, you’d want to stop up your ears. [To Osip.] Well, friend —

SCENE XI

The same, Derzhimorda and Svistunov.

Governor. Sh — sh! Bandy-legged bears — thumping their boots on the floor! Bump, bump as if a thousand pounds were being unloaded from a wagon. Where in the devil have you been knocking about?

Derzhimorda. I had your order —

Governor. Hush! [Puts his hand over Derzhimorda’s mouth.] Like a bull bellowing. [Mocking him.] “I had your order —” Makes a noise like an empty barrel. [To Osip.] Go, friend, and get everything ready for your master. And you two, you stand on the steps and don’t you dare budge from the spot. And don’t let any strangers enter the house, especially the merchants. If you let a single one in, I’ll — The instant you see anybody with a petition, or even without a petition and he looks as if he wanted to present a petition against me, take him by the scruff of the neck, give him a good kick, [shows with his foot] and throw him out. Do you hear? Hush — hush!

He goes out on tiptoe, preceded by the Sergeants.

Curtain

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/g/gogol/nikolai/g61i/act3.html

Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 12:11