Leo Tolstoy.

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[ Transcriber's Note:
This e-book belongs to Tolstoy's Plays (Complete Edition). The
front matter, including the table of contents, can be found in
e-book #26660; it lists the other plays in the collection.

Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as
possible; changes (corrections of spelling and punctuation) made to
the original text are listed at the end of this file.





LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH ZVEZDÍNTSEF. A retired Lieutenant of the Horse Guards.
Owner of more than 60,000 acres of land in various provinces. A
fresh-looking, bland, agreeable gentleman of 60. Believes in
Spiritualism, and likes to astonish people with his wonderful stories.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA ZVEZDÍNTSEVA. Wife of Leoníd. Stout; pretends to be young;
quite taken up with the conventionalities of life; despises her husband,
and blindly believes in her doctor. Very irritable.

BETSY. Their daughter. A young woman of 20, fast, tries to be mannish,
wears a pince-nez, flirts and giggles. Speaks very quickly and

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH ZVEZDÍNTSEF. Their son, aged 25; has studied law, but
has no definite occupation. Member of the Cycling Club, Jockey Club, and
of the Society for Promoting the Breeding of Hounds. Enjoys perfect
health, and has imperturbable self-assurance. Speaks loud and abruptly.
Is either perfectly serious - almost morose, or is noisily gay and laughs
loud. Is nicknamed Vovo.

ALEXÉY VLADÍMIRITCH KROUGOSVÉTLOF. A professor and scientist of about
50, with quiet and pleasantly self-possessed manners, and quiet,
deliberate, harmonious speech. Likes to talk. Is mildly disdainful of
those who do not agree with him. Smokes much. Is lean and active.

THE DOCTOR. About 40. Healthy, fat, red-faced, loud-voiced, and rough;
with a self-satisfied smile constantly on his lips.

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA. A girl of 20, from the Conservatoire, teacher of
music. Wears a fringe, and is super-fashionably dressed. Obsequious, and
gets easily confused.

PETRÍSTCHEF. About 28; has taken his degree in philology, and is looking
out for a position. Member of the same clubs as Vasíly Leoníditch, and
also of the Society for the Organisation of Calico Balls.[1] Is
bald-headed, quick in movement and speech, and very polite.

[1] Economical balls at which the ladies are bound to appear in
dresses made of cotton materials.

THE BARONESS. A pompous lady of about 50, slow in her movements, speaks
with monotonous intonation.

THE PRINCESS. A society woman, a visitor.

HER DAUGHTER. An affected young society woman, a visitor.

THE COUNTESS. An ancient dame, with false hair and teeth. Moves with
great difficulty.

GROSSMAN. A dark, nervous, lively man of Jewish type. Speaks very loud.

and kindly woman, acquainted with all the notable people of the last and
present generations. Very stout. Speaks hurriedly, trying to be heard
above every one else. Smokes.

BARON KLÍNGEN (nicknamed KOKO). A graduate of Petersburg University.
Gentleman of the Bedchamber, Attaché to an Embassy. Is perfectly correct
in his deportment, and therefore enjoys peace of mind and is quietly


SERGÉY IVÁNITCH SAHÁTOF. About 50, an ex-Assistant Minister of State. An
elegant gentleman, of wide European culture, engaged in nothing and
interested in everything. His carriage is dignified and at times even

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Personal attendant on Zvezdíntsef, aged about 60. A
man of some education and fond of information. Uses his pince-nez and
pocket-handkerchief too much, unfolding the latter very slowly. Takes an
interest in politics. Is kindly and sensible.

GREGORY. A footman, about 28, handsome, profligate, envious, and

JACOB. Butler, about 40, a bustling, kindly man, to whom the interests
of his family in the village are all-important.

SIMON. The butler's assistant, about 20, a healthy, fresh, peasant lad,
fair, beardless as yet; calm and smiling.

THE COACHMAN. A man of about 35, a dandy. Has moustaches but no beard.
Rude and decided.

A DISCHARGED MAN-COOK. About 45, dishevelled, unshaved, bloated, yellow
and trembling. Dressed in a ragged, light summer-overcoat and dirty
trousers. Speaks hoarsely, ejecting the words abruptly.

THE SERVANTS' COOK. A talkative, dissatisfied woman of 30.

THE DOORKEEPER. A retired soldier.

TÁNYA (TATYÁNA MÁRKOVNA). Lady's-maid, 19, energetic, strong, merry,
with quickly-changing moods. At moments, when strongly excited, she
shrieks with joy.

FIRST PEASANT. About 60. Has served as village Elder. Imagines that he
knows how to treat gentlefolk, and likes to hear himself talk.

SECOND PEASANT. About 45, head of a family. A man of few words. Rough
and truthful. The father of Simon.

THIRD PEASANT. About 70. Wears shoes of plaited bast. Is nervous,
restless, hurried, and tries to cover his confusion by much talking.

FIRST FOOTMAN (in attendance on the Countess). An old man, with
old-fashioned manners, and proud of his place.

SECOND FOOTMAN. Of enormous size, strong, and rude.

dark-blue long coat. Speaks firmly, emphatically, and clearly.

The action takes place in Moscow, in Zvezdíntsef's house.



The entrance hall of a wealthy house in Moscow. There are three
doors: the front door, the door of Leoníd Fyódoritch's study, and
the door of Vasíly Leoníditch's room. A staircase leads up to the
other rooms; behind it is another door leading to the servants'


GREGORY [looks at himself in the glass and arranges his hair, &c.] I
_am_ sorry about those moustaches of mine! "Moustaches are not becoming
to a footman," she says! And why? Why, so that any one might see you're
a footman, - else my looks might put her darling son to shame. He's a
likely one! There's not much fear of his coming anywhere near me,
moustaches or no moustaches! [Smiling into the glass] And what a lot of
'em swarm round me. And yet I don't care for any of them as much as for
that Tánya. And she only a lady's-maid! Ah well, she's nicer than any
young lady. [Smiles] She is a duck! [Listening] Ah, here she comes.
[Smiles] Yes, that's her, clattering with her little heels. Oh!

Enter Tánya, carrying a cloak and boots.

GREGORY. My respects to you, Tatyána Márkovna.

TÁNYA. What are you always looking in the glass for? Do you think
yourself so good-looking?

GREGORY. Well, and are my looks not agreeable?

TÁNYA. So, so; neither agreeable nor disagreeable, but just betwixt and
between! Why are all those cloaks hanging there?

GREGORY. I am just going to put them away, your ladyship! [Takes down a
fur cloak and, wrapping it round her, embraces her] I say, Tánya, I'll
tell you something ...

TÁNYA. Oh, get away, do! What do you mean by it? [Pulls herself angrily
away] Leave me alone, I tell you!

GREGORY [looks cautiously around] Then give me a kiss!

TÁNYA. Now, really, what are you bothering for? I'll give you such a
kiss! [Raises her hand to strike].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene, rings and then shouts] Gregory!

TÁNYA. There now, go! Vasíly Leoníditch is calling you.

GREGORY. He'll wait! He's only just opened his eyes! I say, why don't
you love me?

TÁNYA. What sort of loving have you imagined now? I don't love anybody.

GREGORY. That's a fib. You love Simon! You have found a nice one to
love - a common, dirty-pawed peasant, a butler's assistant!

TÁNYA. Never mind; such as he is, you are jealous of him!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene] Gregory!

GREGORY. All in good time.... Jealous indeed! Of what? Why, you have
only just begun to get licked into shape, and who are you tying yourself
up with? Now, wouldn't it be altogether a different matter if you loved
me?... I say, Tánya ...

TÁNYA [angrily and severely] You'll get nothing from me, I tell you!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene] Gregory!!

GREGORY. You're mighty particular, ain't you?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene, shouts persistently, monotonously, and
with all his might] Gregory! Gregory! Gregory! [Tánya and Gregory

GREGORY. You should have seen the girls that have been sweet on me.
[Bell rings].

TÁNYA. Well then, go to them, and leave me alone!

GREGORY. You are a silly, now I think of it. I'm not Simon!

TÁNYA. Simon means marriage, and not tomfoolery!

Enter Porter, carrying a large cardboard box.

PORTER. Good morning!

GREGORY. Good morning! Where are you from?

PORTER. From Bourdey's. I've brought a dress, and here's a note for the

TÁNYA [taking the note] Sit down, and I'll take it in. [Exit].

Vasíly Leoníditch looks out of the door in shirt-sleeves and


GREGORY. Yes, sir.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Gregory! Don't you hear me call?

GREGORY. I've only just come, sir.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Hot water, and a cup of tea.

GREGORY. Yes, sir; Simon will bring them directly.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. And who is this? Ah, from Bourdier?

PORTER. Yes, sir.

Exeunt Vasíly Leoníditch and Gregory. Bell rings. Tánya runs in at
the sound of the bell and opens the front door.

TÁNYA [to Porter] Please wait a little.

PORTER. I am waiting.

Sahátof enters at front door.

TÁNYA. I beg your pardon, but the footman has just gone away. This way,
sir. Allow me, please. [Takes his fur cloak].

SAHÁTOF [adjusting his clothes] Is Leoníd Fyódoritch at home? Is he up?
[Bell rings].

TÁNYA. Oh yes, sir. He's been up a long time.

Doctor enters and looks round for the footman. Sees Sahátof and
addresses him in an offhand manner.

DOCTOR. Ah, my respects to you!

SAHÁTOF [looks fixedly at him] The Doctor, I believe?

DOCTOR. And I thought you were abroad! Dropped in to see Leoníd

SAHÁTOF. Yes. And you? Is any one ill?

DOCTOR [laughing] Not exactly ill, but, you know ... It's awful with
these ladies! Sits up at cards till three every morning, and pulls her
waist into the shape of a wine-glass. And the lady is flabby and fat,
and carries the weight of a good many years on her back.

SAHÁTOF. Is this the way you state your diagnosis to Anna Pávlovna? I
should hardly think it quite pleases her!

DOCTOR [laughing] Well, it's the truth. They do all these tricks - and
then come derangements of the digestive organs, pressure on the liver,
nerves, and all sorts of things, and one has to come and patch them up.
It's just awful! [Laughs] And you? You are also a spiritualist it seems?

SAHÁTOF. I? No, I am not also a spiritualist.... Good morning! [Is about
to go, but is stopped by the Doctor].

DOCTOR. No! But I can't myself, you know, positively deny the
possibility of it, when a man like Krougosvétlof is connected with it
all. How can one? Is he not a professor, - a European celebrity? There
must be something in it. I should like to see for myself, but I never
have the time. I have other things to do.

SAHÁTOF. Yes, yes! Good morning. [Exit, bowing slightly].

DOCTOR [to Tánya] Is Anna Pávlovna up?

TÁNYA. She's in her bedroom, but please come up.

Doctor goes upstairs.

Theodore Ivánitch enters with a newspaper in his hand.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [to Porter] What is it you want?

PORTER. I'm from Bourdey's. I brought a dress and a note, and was told
to wait.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Ah, from Bourdey's! [To Tánya] Who came in just now?

TÁNYA. It was Sergéy Ivánitch Sahátof and the Doctor. They stood talking
here a bit. It was all about spiritalism.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [correcting her] Spirit_u_alism.

TÁNYA. Yes, that's just what I said - spiritalism. Have you heard how
well it went off last time, Theodore Ivánitch? [Laughs] There was
knocks, and things flew about!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. And how do _you_ know?

TÁNYA. Miss Elizabeth told me.

Jacob runs in with a tumbler of tea on a tray.

JACOB [to the Porter] Good morning!

PORTER [disconsolately] Good morning!

Jacob knocks at Vasíly Leoníditch's door.

Gregory enters.

GREGORY. Give it here.

JACOB. You didn't bring back all yesterday's tumblers, nor the tray
Vasíly Leoníditch had. And it's me that have to answer for them!

GREGORY. The tray is full of cigars.

JACOB. Well, put them somewhere else. It's me who's answerable for it.

GREGORY. I'll bring it back! I'll bring it back!

JACOB. Yes, so you say, but it is not where it ought to be. The other
day, just as the tea had to be served, it was not to be found.

GREGORY. I'll bring it back, I tell you. What a fuss!

JACOB. It's easy for you to talk. Here am I serving tea for the third
time, and now there's the lunch to get ready. One does nothing but rush
about the livelong day. Is there any one in the house who has more to do
than me? Yet they are never satisfied with me.

GREGORY. Dear me? Who could wish for any one more satisfactory? You're
such a fine fellow!

TÁNYA. Nobody is good enough for you! You alone ...

GREGORY [to Tánya] No one asked your opinion! [Exit].

JACOB. Ah well, I don't mind. Tatyána Márkovna, did the mistress say
anything about yesterday?

TÁNYA. About the lamp, you mean?

JACOB. And how it managed to drop out of my hands, the Lord only knows!
Just as I began rubbing it, and was going to take hold of it in another
place, out it slips and goes all to pieces. It's just my luck! It's easy
for that Gregory Miháylitch to talk - a single man like him! But when one
has a family, one has to consider things: they have to be fed. I don't
mind work.... So she didn't say anything? The Lord be thanked!... Oh,
Theodore Ivánitch, have you one spoon or two?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. One. Only one! [Reads newspaper].

Exit Jacob.

Bell rings. Enter Gregory (carrying a tray) and the Doorkeeper.

DOORKEEPER [to Gregory] Tell the master some peasants have come from the

GREGORY [pointing to Theodore Ivánitch] Tell the major-domo here, it's
his business. I have no time. [Exit].

TÁNYA. Where are these peasants from?

DOORKEEPER. From Koursk, I think.

TÁNYA [shrieks with delight] It's them.... It's Simon's father come
about the land! I'll go and meet them! [Runs off].

DOORKEEPER. Well, then, what shall I say to them? Shall they come in
here? They say they've come about the land - the master knows, they say.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Yes, they want to purchase some land. All right! But
he has a visitor now, so you had better tell them to wait.

DOORKEEPER. Where shall they wait?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Let them wait outside. I'll send for them when the
time comes. [Exit Doorkeeper]

Enter Tánya, followed by three Peasants.

TÁNYA. To the right. In here! In here!

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. I did not want them brought in here!

GREGORY. Forward minx!

TÁNYA. Oh, Theodore Ivánitch, it won't matter, they'll stand in this

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. They'll dirty the floor.

TÁNYA. They've scraped their shoes, and I'll wipe the floor up
afterwards. [To Peasants] Here, stand just here.

Peasants come forward carrying presents tied in cotton
handkerchiefs: cake, eggs, and embroidered towels. They look around
for an icón before which to cross themselves; not finding one, they
cross themselves looking at the staircase.

GREGORY [to Theodore Ivánitch]. There now, Theodore Ivánitch, they say
Pironnet's boots are an elegant shape. But those there are ever so much
better. [Pointing to the third Peasant's bast shoes].

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Why will you always be ridiculing people? [Exit

THEODORE IVÁNITCH [rises and goes up to the Peasants] So you are from
Koursk? And have come to arrange about buying some land?

FIRST PEASANT. Just so. We might say, it is for the completion of the
purchase of the land we have come. How could we announce ourselves to
the master?

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Yes, yes, I know. You wait a bit and I'll go and
inform him. [Exit].

The Peasants look around; they are embarrassed where to put their

FIRST PEASANT. There now, couldn't we have what d'you call it? Something
to present these here things on? To do it in a genteel way, like, - a
little dish or something.

TÁNYA. All right, directly; put them down here for the present. [Puts
bundles on settle].

FIRST PEASANT. There now, - that respectable gentleman that was here just
now, - what might be his station?

TÁNYA. He's the master's valet.

FIRST PEASANT. I see. So he's also in service. And you, now, are you a
servant too?

TÁNYA. I am lady's-maid. Do you know, I also come from Démen! I know
you, and you, but I don't know him. [Pointing to third Peasant].

THIRD PEASANT. Them two you know, but me you don't know?

TÁNYA. You are Efím Antónitch.

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it!

TÁNYA. And you are Simon's father, Zachary Trifánitch.


THIRD PEASANT. And let me tell you, I'm Mítry Vlásitch Tchilíkin. Now do
you know?

TÁNYA. Now I shall know you too!

SECOND PEASANT. And who may you be?

TÁNYA. I am Aksínya's, the soldier's wife's, orphan.

FIRST AND THIRD PEASANTS [with surprise] Never!

SECOND PEASANT. The proverb says true:

"Buy a penny pig, put it in the rye,
And you'll have a wonderful fat porker by-and-by."

FIRST PEASANT. That's just it! She's got the resemblance of a duchess!

THIRD PEASANT. That be so truly. Oh Lord!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. [off the scene, rings, and then shouts] Gregory!

FIRST PEASANT. Now who's that, for example, disturbing himself in such a
way, if I may say so?

TÁNYA. That's the young master.

THIRD PEASANT. Oh Lord! Didn't I say we'd better wait outside until the
time comes? [Silence].

SECOND PEASANT. Is it _you_, Simon wants to marry?

TÁNYA. Why, has he been writing? [Hides her face in her apron].

SECOND PEASANT. It's evident he's written! But it's a bad business he's
imagined here. I see the lad's got spoilt!

TÁNYA [quickly] No, he's not at all spoilt! Shall I send him to you?

SECOND PEASANT. Why send him? All in good time. Where's the hurry?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [desperately, behind scene] Gregory! Where the devil
are you?... [Enters from his room in shirt-sleeves, adjusting his

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Is every one dead?

TÁNYA. He's not here, sir.... I'll send him to you at once. [Moves
towards the back door].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. I could hear you talking, you know. How have these
scarecrows sprung up here? Eh? What?

TÁNYA. They're peasants from the Koursk village, sir. [Peasants bow].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. And who is this? Oh yes, from Bourdier.

Vasíly Leoníditch pays no attention to the Peasants' bow. Tánya
meets Gregory at the doorway and remains on the scene.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [to Gregory] I told you the other boots... I can't
wear these!

GREGORY. Well, the others are also there.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. But where is _there_?

GREGORY. Just in the same place!


GREGORY. Well, come and see. [Exeunt Gregory and Vasíly Leoníditch].

THIRD PEASANT. Say now, might we not in the meantime just go and wait,
say, in some lodging-house or somewhere?

TÁNYA. No, no, wait a little. I'll go and bring you some plates to put
the presents on. [Exit].

Enter Sahátof and Leoníd Fyódoritch, followed by Theodore Ivánitch.

The Peasants take up the presents, and pose themselves.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [to Peasants] Presently, presently! Wait a bit!
[Points to Porter] Who is this?

PORTER. From Bourdey's.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Ah, from Bourdier.

SAHÁTOF [smiling] Well, I don't deny it: still you understand that,
never having seen it, we, the uninitiated, have some difficulty in

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. You say you find it difficult to believe! We do not
ask for faith; all we demand of you is to investigate! How can I help
believing in this ring? Yet this ring came from there!

SAHÁTOF. From _there_? What do you mean? From where?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. From the other world. Yes!

SAHÁTOF [smiling] That's very interesting - very interesting!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Well, supposing we admit that I'm a man carried away
by an idea, as you think, and that I am deluding myself. Well, but what
of Alexéy Vladímiritch Krougosvétlof - he is not just an ordinary man,
but a distinguished professor, and yet he admits it to be a fact. And
not he alone. What of Crookes? What of Wallace?

SAHÁTOF. But I don't deny anything. I only say it is very interesting.
It would be interesting to know how Krougosvétlof explains it!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. He has a theory of his own. Could you come
to-night? - he is sure to be here. First we shall have Grossman - you
know, the famous thought-reader?

SAHÁTOF. Yes, I have heard of him but have never happened to meet him.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Then you must come! We shall first have Grossman,
then Kaptchítch, and our mediumistic séance.... [To Theodore Ivánitch]
Has the man returned from Kaptchítch?


SAHÁTOF. Then how am I to know?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Never mind, come in any case! If Kaptchítch can't
come we shall find our own medium. Márya Ignátievna is a medium - not
such a good one as Kaptchítch, but still ...

Tánya enters with plates for the presents, and stands listening.

SAHÁTOF [smiling] Oh yes, yes. But here is one puzzling point: - how is
it that the mediums are always of the, so-called, educated class, such
as Kaptchítch and Márya Ignátievna? If there were such a special force,
would it not be met with also among the common people - the peasants?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Oh yes, and it is! That is very common. Even here in
our own house we have a peasant whom we discovered to be a medium. A few
days ago we called him in - a sofa had to be moved, during a séance - and
we forgot all about him. In all probability he fell asleep. And, fancy,
after our séance was over and Kaptchítch had come to again, we suddenly
noticed mediumistic phenomena in another part of the room, near the
peasant: the table gave a jerk and moved!

TÁNYA [aside] That was when I was getting out from under it!

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. It is quite evident he also is a medium. Especially
as he is very like Home in appearance. You remember Home - a fair-haired
naïve sort of fellow?

SAHÁTOF [shrugging his shoulders] Dear me, this is very interesting, you
know. I think you should try him.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. So we will! And he is not alone; there are thousands
of mediums, only we do not know them. Why, only a short time ago a
bedridden old woman moved a brick wall!

SAHÁTOF. Moved a brick ... a brick wall?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Yes, yes. She was lying in bed, and did not even know
she was a medium. She just leant her arm against the wall, and the wall

SAHÁTOF. And did not cave in?

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. And did not cave in.

SAHÁTOF. Very strange! Well then, I'll come this evening.

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. Pray do. We shall have a séance in any case. [Sahátof
puts on his outdoor things, Leoníd Fyódoritch sees him to the door].

PORTER [to Tánya] Do tell your mistress! Am I to spend the night here?

TÁNYA. Wait a little; she's going to drive out with the young lady, so
she'll soon be coming downstairs. [Exit].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH [comes up to the Peasants, who bow and offer him their
presents] That's not necessary!

FIRST PEASANT [smiling] Oh, but this-here is our first duty, it is! It's
also the Commune's orders that we should do it!

SECOND PEASANT. That's always been the proper way.

THIRD PEASANT. Say no more about it! 'Cause as we are much satisfied....
As our parents, let's say, served, let's say, your parents, so we would
like the same with all our hearts ... and not just anyhow! [Bows].

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH. But what is it about? What do you want?

FIRST PEASANT. It's to your honour we've come ...

Enter Petrístchef briskly, in fur-lined overcoat.

PETRÍSTCHEF. Is Vasíly Leoníditch awake yet? [Seeing Leoníd Fyódoritch,
bows, moving only his head].

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