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Contents > Author > Nikolai Gogol > The Inspector-General (Act 3) 1809- 1852
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Nikolai Gogol
The Inspector-General (Act 3)
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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.

{GOVERNOR. Our rank is such that we can very
Together { 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.



------------------------End of Act Three-------------------
 

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