Aleksandr Nicolaevich Ostrovsky.

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BOLSHÓV. Stay on your own side of the fence! This is none of your business!
Well, Lipa! Here's your future husband! I ask you to love and cherish him!
Sit down side by side and talk nice; and then we'll have a fine dinner and
set about the wedding.

LÍPOCHKA. What! Do you think I want to sit down with that booby! What

BOLSHÓV. If you won't sit down, I'll sit you down, and put an end to your

LÍPOCHKA. Who ever heard of educated young ladies being married off to
their employees!

BOLSHÓV. Better shut up! If I say so, you'll marry the porter. [_Silence_.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Say, now, Agraféna Kondrátyevna, if that isn't a pity!

AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. I myself, the mother, am as much in the dark as a
clothes-closet. And I can't understand what in the world has caused this!

FOMÍNISHNA. Lord! I'm past sixty, and how many weddings I've seen; but I've
never seen anything so shameful as this.

AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. What do you mean, you murderers; do you want to
dishonor the girl?

BOLSHÓV. Yes, much I have to listen to your high-falutin' talk. I've
decided to marry my daughter to a clerk, and I'll have my way, and don't
you dare argue; I don't give a hang for anybody. Come now, we'll go take
a snack; but just let them kid each other, and maybe they'll make it up
somehow or other.

RISPOLÓZHENSKY. Let's go, Samsón Sílych, and you and I, for company, will
just take a thimbleful. Yes, yes, Agraféna Kondrátyevna, that's the first
duty, that children should obey their parents. We didn't start that custom,
and we shan't see the last of it.

_They all rise and go out except_ LÍPOCHKA, PODKHALYÚZIN, _and_ AGRAFÉNA

LÍPOCHKA. Mamma, what does this mean? Does he want to make a cook of me?
[_She weeps_.

PODKHALYÚZIN. Mamma, ma'am! Such a son-in-law as will respect you and,
naturally, make your old age happy, aside from me you won't find, ma'am.

AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. How are you going to do that, my dear?

PODKHALYÚZIN. Mamma, ma'am! God has made me aspire so high, ma'am for this
reason, ma'am, because the other fellow, mamma, will turn you down flat,
ma'am; but I, till I land in my coffin [_weeps_], must have feeling, ma'am!

AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. Ah, saints alive! But how can this be?

BOLSHÓV. [_Through the door_] Wife, come here!

AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. Coming, my dear, coming!

PODKHALYÚZIN. Mamma, you remember the word I said just now!





PODKHALYÚZIN. Olimpiáda Samsónovna, ma'am! Olimpiáda Samsónovna! I suppose
you abominate me? Say only one word, ma'am! Just let me kiss your little

LÍPOCHKA. You blockhead, you ignorant lout!

PODKHALYÚZIN. But why, Olimpiáda Samsónovna, do you want to insult me,

LÍPOCHKA. I'll tell you once, now and forever, that I won't marry you, and
I won't!

PODKHALYÚZIN. That's just as you please, ma'am! Love can't be forced. Only
here's what I want to announce to you, ma'am - -

LÍPOCHKA. I won't listen to you; go away from me! As if you were an
educated gentleman! You see that I wouldn't marry you for anything in the
world - you ought to break off yourself!

PODKHALYÚZIN. Now, Olimpiáda Samsónovna, you were pleased to say "break
off." Only, if I should break off, what would happen then, ma'am?

LÍPOCHKA. Why, the thing that would happen would be that I'd marry an

PODKHALYÚZIN. An aristocrat, ma'am! But an aristocrat won't take you
without a dowry!

LÍPOCHKA. What do you mean, without dowry? What are you talking about? Just
take a look and see what kind of a dowry I have; it fairly hits you in the

PODKHALYÚZIN. Those dish-rags, ma'am? A nobleman won't take dish-rags. A
nobleman wants it in cash, ma'am.

LÍPOCHKA. What of it? Dad will give cash!

PODKHALYÚZIN. All right, if he will, ma'am! But what if he hasn't any to
give? You don't know about your papa's affairs, but I know 'em mighty well;
your papa's a bankrupt, ma'am.

LÍPOCHKA. What do you mean, bankrupt? And the house and shops?

PODKHALYÚZIN. The house and shops - are mine, ma'am!

LÍPOCHKA. Yours! Get out! Are you trying to make a fool of me? Look for a
bigger goose than I am.

PODKHALYÚZIN. But I have here some legal documents. [_He produces them._

LÍPOCHKA. So you bought them of dad?

PODKHALYÚZIN. I did, ma'am!

LÍPOCHKA. Where'd you get the money?

PODKHALYÚZIN. Money! Glory to God, I have more money than any nobleman.

LÍPOCHKA. What in the world are they doing to me? They've been bringing me
up all these years, and then go bankrupt! [_Silence._

PODKHALYÚZIN. Now suppose, Olimpiáda Samsónovna, that you married a
nobleman - what will that ever amount to, ma'am? Only the glory of being a
lady, but not the least pleasure, ma'am. Please consider: ladies themselves
often go to the market on foot, ma'am. And if they do drive out anywhere,
then it's only the glory of having four horses; but the whole team ain't
worth one merchant's horse. By heaven, it ain't, ma'am! And they don't
dress so blamed superbly either, ma'am! But if, Olimpiáda Samsónovna, you
should marry me, ma'am - here's the first word: you'll wear silk gowns even
at home, and visiting, and to the theatre, ma'am - and we shan't dress you
in anything but velvets. In respect to hats and cloaks - we won't care
what's in style with the nobility, but we'll furnish you the finest ever!
We'll get horses from the Orlov stud. [_Silence_] If you have doubts on the
question of my looks, then that's just as you like, ma'am; I'll put on a
dress coat, and trim my beard or cut it off, according to the fashion,
ma'am; that's all one to me, ma'am.

LÍPOCHKA. You all talk that way before the wedding; but afterwards you
cheat us.

PODKHALYÚZIN. May I die on the spot, Olimpiáda Samsónovna! Damnation blast
me if I lie! Why should I, Olimpiáda Samsónovna? D'you think we'll live
in a house like this? We'll buy one in the Karetny, ma'am; and how we'll
decorate it! We'll have birds of paradise on the ceilings, sirens, various
Coopids[1] - people'll pay good money just to look at it.

[Footnote 1: These are not the only words that Podkhalyúzin mispronounces;
_Olimpiáda_ is another.]

LÍPOCHKA. They don't paint Coopids any more nowadays.

PODKHALYÚZIN. Then we'll let 'em paint bókays. [_Silence_] If you'd only
agree on your side, then I don't want anything more in life. [_Silence_]
How unfortunate I am, anyhow, that I can't say nice compliments.

LÍPOCHKA. Why don't you talk French, Lázar Elizárych?

PODKHALYÚZIN. Because there was no reason why I should. [_Silence_] Make
me happy, Olimpiáda Samsónovna; grant me that blessing, ma'am. [_Silence_]
Just tell me to kneel to you.

LÍPOCHKA. Well, do it! [PODKHALYÚZIN _kneels_] What a horrid waistcoat you
have on!

PODKHALYÚZIN. I'll give this one to Tishka, ma'am, and I'll get myself one
on the Kuznetsky Bridge, only don't ruin me! [_Silence_] Well, Olimpiáda
Samsónovna, ma'am?

LÍPOCHKA. Let me think.

PODKHALYÚZIN. Think about what, ma'am?

LÍPOCHKA. How can I help thinking?

PODKHALYÚZIN. Why, you don't need to think!

LÍPOCHKA. I'll tell you what, Lázar Elizárych!

PODKHALYÚZIN. What're your orders, ma'am?

LÍPOCHKA. Carry me off on the quiet.

PODKHALYÚZIN. But why on the quiet, ma'am, when your papa and mamma are so

LÍPOCHKA. That's quite the thing to do. Well, if you don't want to carry me
off, why, let it go as it is.

PODKHALYÚZIN. Olimpiáda Samsónovna, just let me kiss your little hand! [_He
kisses it; then he jumps up and runs to the door_] Daddy, sir!

LÍPOCHKA. Lázar Elizárych! Lázar Elizárych! Come here!

PODKHALYÚZIN. What do you want, ma'am?

LÍPOCHKA. Oh, if you knew, Lázar Elizárych, what my life here is like!
Mamma says one thing one day, and another the next; papa, when he isn't
drunk, has nothing to say; but when he's drunk he's apt to beat you at any
moment. How's a cultivated young lady going to endure such a life? Now, if
I could marry a nobleman, I'd go out of this house, and could forget about
all that. But now everything will go on as before.

PODKHALYÚZIN. No, ma'am, Olimpiáda Samsónovna; it won't be that way!
Olimpiáda Samsónovna, as soon as we've celebrated the wedding, we'll move
into our own house, ma'am. And then we won't let 'em boss us. No, here's an
end to all that, ma'am! That'll do for them - they ran things in their day,
now it's our turn.

LÍPOCHKA. Just look here, Lázar Elizárych, we shall live by ourselves at
our house, and they by themselves at their house. We'll do everything
fashionably, and they, just as they please.

PODKHALYÚZIN. That's the idea, ma'am.

LÍPOCHKA. Well, call papa now.

[_She rises and prinks before the mirror._

PODKHALYÚZIN. Papa! Papa! Sir! Mamma!



PODKHALYÚZIN. [_Goes to meet_ SAMSÓN SÍLYCH _and throws his arms about him
in an embrace_] Olimpiáda Samsónovna has agreed, sir!

AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. I'm coming, my dears, I'm coming!

BOLSHÓV. Well, that's talking! Just the thing! I know what I'm doing; it's
not for you to teach me.

PODKHALYÚZIN. [To AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA] Mamma, ma'am! Let me kiss your

AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. Kiss away, my dear; they're both clean. Ah, you
blessed child, has it been long since you decided? Ah? Good heavens! What's
this? I absolutely didn't know how to decide this matter. Oh, my own little
darling, you!

LÍPOCHKA. Mamma, I positively didn't know that Lázar Elizárych was such a
well-educated gentleman! But now I see at once that he's infinitely more
respectful than the others.

AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. Well, well, well, you little goose! As if your
father would wish you any harm! Ah, mamma's little dove! What a little
story, eh? Oh, my holy saints! What in the world is this? Fomínishna!

FOMÍNISHNA. Coming, coming, my dear, coming! [_She comes in._

BOLSHÓV. Stop, you gabbler! Now you two just sit down side by side, and
we'll have a look at you. Fomínishna, bring up a little bottle of fizz.


FOMÍNISHNA. Right away, my dear, right away! [_She goes out._]



AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. Congratulate the bride and groom to be, Ustinya
Naúmovna! God has brought us to a ripe old age; we have lived to see

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. What have I got to congratulate you with, my jewels? My
mouth's too dry to sing your praises.

BOLSHÓV. Well, now, we'll wet your whistle.


_The same_, FOMÍNISHNA, _and_ TISHKA, _who is bringing wine on a tray_.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Aha! here's a matter of a different sort. Well, God grant
you live long, keep young, grow fat, and be rich! _[She drinks]_ It's
bitter, my jewels! _[LÍPOCHKA and LÁZAR kiss]_ Ah! that sweetens it!

BOLSHÓV. Just let me drink their health. _[He takes the glass_; LÍPOCHKA
_and_ LÁZAR _stand up]_ Live as you think best - you're reasonable beings.
But so that you won't find life a bore, the house and shops go to you,
Lázar, in place of dowry, and I'll throw in some ready cash.

PODKHALYÚZIN. Many thanks, daddy; I'm well satisfied with what you've done
for me as it is.

BOLSHÓV. Nothing to thank me for! They're my own goods - I made 'em myself.
I give 'em to whomever I please. Pour me another! [TISHKA _pours another
glass]_ But what's the good of talking! Kindness is no crime! Take
everything, only feed me and the old woman, and pay off the creditors at
ten kopeks on the ruble.

PODKHALYÚZIN. Why, daddy, that's not worth talking about, sir! Don't I know
what feeling is? It's a family affair - we'll settle it ourselves.

BOLSHÓV. I tell you, take it all, and there's an end to it! And nobody can
boss me! Only pay my creditors. Will you pay 'em?

PODKHALYÚZIN. If you please, dad, that's my first duty, sir.

BOLSHÓV. Only you look out - don't give 'em much. As it is, I suppose you'll
be fool enough to pay the whole debt.

PODKHALYÚZIN. Oh, we'll settle it later, daddy, somehow. If you please,
it's a family affair.

BOLSHÓV. Come, all right! Don't you give 'em more than ten kopeks. That'll
do for them. Well, kiss each other!

_LÍPOCHKA and LÁZAR do so._

AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. Ah, my little doves! How in the world did it happen!
I declare I've quite lost my head.


"Whoever heard or saw such things?
The elephant's learning to fly with wings;
The hen laid a door-knob instead of an egg;
And piggy is dancing a jig on a keg!"

_She pours out wine and goes up to RISPOLÓZHENSKY; RISPOLÓZHENSKY bows and
declines the wine._

BOLSHÓV. Drink to their happiness, Sysóy Psoich.

RISPOLÓZHENSKY. I can't, Samsón Sílych - it turns my stomach!

BOLSHÓV. Go along with you! Drink to their happiness.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. He's always showing off!

RISPOLÓZHENSKY. It turns my stomach, Samsón Sílych! By heaven, it does!
I'll just take a thimbleful of vodka. But my nature won't stand the other.
I have such a weak constitution.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Bah! you long-necked goose! Nonsense - much your nature
won't stand it! Give it here. I'll pour it down his collar if he won't
drink it!

RISPOLÓZHENSKY. No fair, Ustinya Naúmovna! That ain't nice for a lady to
do. Samsón Sílych, I can't, sir! Would I have refused it? He! he! he! What
kind of a blockhead am I, that I should do anything so rude? I've seen high
society, I know how to live. Now, I never refuse vodka; if you don't mind,
I'll just take a thimbleful! But this I simply can't drink - it turns my
stomach. Samsón Sílych, don't you allow all this disorderly conduct; it's
easy to insult a man, but it ain't nice.

BOLSHÓV. Give it to him hot and heavy, Ustinya Naúmovna, hot and heavy!

RISPOLÓZHENSKY _runs away from her._

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. _[Placing the wine on the table]_ You shan't get away
from me, you old son of a sea-cook! _[She pushes him into a corner and
seizes him by the collar._


_All burst out laughing._


_A richly furnished chamber in the house of PODKHALYÚZIN_


_OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA is sitting luxuriously near the window; she wears a
silk waist, and a bonnet of the latest fashion. PODKHALYÚZIN, in a stylish
frock coat, stands before the mirror. Behind him TISHKA is adjusting his
master's clothes, and adding the finishing touches._

TISHKA. There now, it fits you to a T!

PODKHALYÚZIN. Well, Tishka, do I look like a Frenchman? Ah! Step away and
look at me!

TISHKA. Like as two peas.

PODKHALYÚZIN. Go along, you blockhead! Now you just look at me. _[He walks
about the room]_ There now, Olimpiáda Samsónovna! And you wanted to marry
an officer, ma'am! Ain't I a sport, though? I picked the smartest coat I
could find and put it on.

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. But you don't know how to dance, Lázar Elizárych.

PODKHALYÚZIN. What of it - won't I learn, though, and the raggiest ever! In
the winter we're going to attend the Merchants' Assemblies. You just watch
us, ma'am! I'm going to dance the polka.

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. Now, Lázar Elizárych, you buy that carriage we saw at

PODKHALYÚZIN. Of course, Olimpiáda Samsónovna, ma'am! Of course, by all

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. They've brought me a new cloak; you and I ought to go
Friday to Sokolniki.

PODKHALYÚZIN. Of course, most certainly we'll go, ma'am; and we'll drive in
the park on Sundays. You see our carriage is worth a thousand rubles, and
the horses a thousand, and the harness mounted with silver - just let 'em
look! Tishka! My pipe. _[TISHKA goes out. PODKHALYÚZIN sits down beside
OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA]_ Just so, ma'am, Olimpiáda Samsónovna; you just let
'em watch us.


OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. Well, why don't you kiss me, Lázar Elizárych?

PODKHALYÚZIN. Why, sure! Permit me, ma'am! With great pleasure! If you
please, your little hand, ma'am! _[He kisses it. Silence]_ Olimpiáda
Samsónovna, say something to me in the French dialect, ma'am!

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. What shall I say to you?

PODKHALYÚZIN. Oh, say anything - any little thing, ma'am. It's all the same
to me, ma'am!

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. _Kom voo zet zholi!_

PODKHALYÚZIN. What does that mean, ma'am?


PODKHALYÚZIN. _[Jumping up from his chair]_ Aha! now here's a wife for you,
ma'am! Hooray, Olimpiáda Samsónovna! You've treated me fine! Your little
hand, please!

_Enter_ TISHKA _with the pipe._

TISHKA. Ustinya Naúmovna has come.

PODKHALYÚZIN. What the devil is she here for!

TISHKA _goes out._



USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. How are you managing to live, my jewels?

PODKHALYÚZIN. Thanks to your prayers, Ustinya Naúmovna, thanks to your

grown better looking, and have filled out a bit!

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. Bah, what nonsense you're chattering, Ustinya
Naúmovna! Now, what struck you to come here?

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. What nonsense, my jewel! Here's what's up. Whether you
like it or not, you can't help it. - If you like to slide down-hill you've
got to pull up your sled. - Now, why have you forgotten me completely, my
jewels? Or haven't you had a chance yet to look about you? I suppose you're
all the time billing and cooing.

PODKHALYÚZIN. We have that failing, Ustinya Naúmovna; we have it.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Come, come now: just see what a nice sweetheart I got for

PODKHALYÚZIN. We're well satisfied, Ustinya Naúmovna; we're well satisfied.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. How could you be dissatisfied, my ruby? What's the matter
with you! I suppose you're all the time bustling around over new clothes,
now. Have you laid in a stock of stylish things yet?

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. Not much so far, and that mostly because the new
stuffs have just come in.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Naturally, my pearl, you can't help it; let 'em be of
poor goods, so long's they're blue! But what kind of dresses did you order
most of, woollens or silks?

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. All sorts - both woollens and silks; not long ago I
had a crape made with gold trimmings.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. How much have you, all-in-all, my jewel?

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. Here, count: my wedding-dress of blond lace over
a satin slip; and three velvets - that makes four; two gauze and a
crape embroidered with gold - that's seven; three satin, and three
grosgrain - that's thirteen; gros de Naples and gros d'Afrique,
seven - that's twenty; three marceline, two mousseline de ligne, two Chine
royale - how many's that? - three and four's seven, and twenty - twenty-seven;
four crape Rachel - that's thirty-one. Then there are muslins, bouffe
mousseline and calico, about twenty, and then waists and morning
jackets - about nine or ten. And then I've just had one made of Persian

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Lord help you, what heaps you've got! But you go and pick
out for me the largest of the gros d'Afrique ones.

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. I won't give you a gros d'Afrique. I have only three
myself; besides, it wouldn't suit your figure: now, if you want to, you can
take a crape Rachel.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. What in time do I want with a tripe Rachel. Evidently
there's nothing to be done with you; I'll be satisfied with a satin one,
and let it go at that.

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. Well, and the satin, too - it's not quite the thing,
cut ballroom style, very low - you understand? But I'll look up a crape
Rachel jacket; we'll let out the tucks, and it'll fit you like the paper on
the wall.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Well, bring on your tripe Rachel! You win, my ruby; go
open the clothes closet.

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. Right away; wait just a minute.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. I'll wait, my jewel, I'll wait. Besides, I have to have
a little talk with your husband. [OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA _goes out_] What's
this, my jewel, have you entirely forgotten about your promise?

PODKHALYÚZIN. How could I forget, ma'am? I remember. [_He takes out his
pocketbook and gives her a note._

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Why, what's this, my diamond?

PODKHALYÚZIN. One hundred rubles, ma'am!

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Only one hundred? Why, you promised me fifteen hundred!

PODKHALYÚZIN. Wha - at, ma'am?

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. You promised me fifteen hundred!

PODKHALYÚZIN. Ain't that a bit steep? Won't you be living too high?

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. What's this, you barnyard cockerel; are you trying to
joke with me, man? I'm a mighty cocky lady myself!

PODKHALYÚZIN. But why should I give you money? I'd do it if there were any
occasion for it.

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Whether for something or for nothing, give it here - you
promised it yourself!

PODKHALYÚZIN. What if I did promise! I promised to jump from the Tower of
Ivan the Great, provided I married Olimpiáda Samsónovna; should I jump?

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Do you think I won't have the law on you? Much I care
that you're a merchant of the second guild; I'm in the fourteenth class
myself, and even if that ain't much, I'm an official's wife all the same.

PODKHALYÚZIN. You may be a general's wife - it's all the same to me; I won't
have anything to do with you! And there's an end to it!

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. You lie, it ain't! You promised me a sable cloak.

PODKHALYÚZIN. What, ma'am?

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. A sable cloak! Have you grown deaf, maybe?

PODKHALYÚZIN. Sable, ma'am! He, he, he!

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Yes, sable! What are you laughing and stretching your
mouth at?

PODKHALYÚZIN. You haven't gone out for a stroll with your mug in a sable
cloak[1] yet, have you?

[Footnote 1: Russian fur cloaks, it may be useful to remember, have broad
collars that can be turned up to protect the face.]

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA _brings in a dress and hands it to_ USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA.



USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. What in the world is the matter with you; do you want to
rob me, maybe?

PODKHALYÚZIN. Rob you, nothing! You just go to the devil, and be done with

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. Are you going to turn me out? And I, senseless idiot,
agreed to work for you: I can see now your vulgar blood!

PODKHALYÚZIN. What, ma'am! Speak, if you please!

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. When it comes to that, I don't care to look at you! Not
for any amount of money on earth will I agree to associate with you! I'll
go twenty miles out of my way, but I won't go by you! I'll sooner shut my
eyes and bump into a horse, than stand and look at your dirty den! Even if
I want to spit, I'll never set foot in this street again! Break me in ten
pieces if I lie! You can go to the infernal jim-jams if you ever see me
here again!

PODKHALYÚZIN. Easy now, aunty, easy!

USTÍNYA NAÚMOVNA. I'll show you up, my jewels: you'll find out! I'll give
you such a rep in Moscow that you won't dare show your face in public! - Oh!
I'm a fool, a fool to have anything to do with such a person! And I, a lady
of rank and position! - Fah, fah, fall! [_She goes out._

PODKHALYÚZIN. Well, the blue-blooded lady flew off the handle! Oh, Lord,
what an official she is! There's a proverb that says: "The thunderbolt
strikes, not from the clouds, but from the dung-heap." Good Lord! Just look
at her; what a lady!

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. Bright idea of yours, Lázar Elizárych, ever to have
anything to do with her!

PODKHALYÚZIN. Really, a very absurd woman.

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. [_Glancing out of the window_] I believe they've let
daddy out of the pen; go see, Lázar Elizárych.

PODKHALYÚZIN. Well, no, ma'am; they won't let daddy out of the pen soon,
either; most likely they ordered him to the meeting of the creditors,
and then he got leave to come home. Mamma, ma'am! Agraféna Kondrátyevna!
Daddy's coming, ma'am!



AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. Where is he? Where is he? My own children, my little
doves! [_Kisses are exchanged._

PODKHALYÚZIN. Daddy, how do you do, our respects!

AGRAFÉNA KONDRÁTYEVNA. My little dove, Samsón Sílych, my treasure! You've
left me an orphan in my old age!

BOLSHÓV. That'll do, wife; stop!

OLIMPIÁDA SAMSÓNOVNA. What's the matter with you, ma? you're crying over

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