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Contents > Author > Nikolai Gogol > The Inspector-General (Act 5) 1809- 1852
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Nikolai Gogol
The Inspector-General (Act 5)
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ACT V


SCENE: Same as in Act IV.



SCENE I


Governor, Anna Andreyevna, and Marya Antonovna.

GOVERNOR. Well, Anna Andreyevna, eh? Did you
ever imagine such a thing? Such a rich prize? I'll
be--. Well, confess frankly, it never occurred to you
even in your dreams, did it? From just a simple
governor's wife suddenly--whew!--I'll be hanged!
--to marry into the family of such a big gun.

ANNA. Not at all. I knew it long ago. It seems
wonderful to you because you are so plain. You never
saw decent people.

GOVERNOR. I'm a decent person myself, mother.
But, really, think, Anna Andreyevna, what gay birds we
have turned into now, you and I. Eh, Anna Andreyevna?
High fliers, by Jove! Wait now, I'll give
those fellows who were so eager to present their petitions
and denunciations a peppering. Ho, who's there?
[Enter a Sergeant.] Is it you, Ivan Karpovich? Call
those merchants here, brother, won't you? I'll give it
to them, the scoundrels! To make such complaints
against me! The damned pack of Jews! Wait, my
dear fellows. I used to dose you down to your ears.
Now I'll dose you down to your beards. Make a list of
all who came to protest against me, especially the
mean petty scribblers who cooked the petitions up
for them, and announce to all that they should know
what honor the Heavens have bestowed upon the Governor,
namely this: that he is marrying his daughter,
not to a plain ordinary man, but to one the like of whom
has never yet been in the world, who can do everything,
everything, everything, everything! Proclaim it to all
so that everybody should know. Shout it aloud to
the whole world. Ring the bell, the devil take it! It
is a triumph, and we will make it a triumph. [The
Sergeant goes out.] So that's the way, Anna Andreyevna,
eh? What shall we do now? Where shall we
live? Here or in St. Pete?

ANNA. In St. Petersburg, of course. How could we
remain here?

GOVERNOR. Well, if St. Pete, then St. Pete. But it
would be good here, too. I suppose the governorship
could then go to the devil, eh, Anna Andreyevna?

ANNA. Of course. What's a governorship?

GOVERNOR. Don't you think, Anna Andreyevna, I can
rise to a high rank now, he being hand in glove with
all the ministers, and visiting the court? In time I
can be promoted to a generalship. What do you think,
Anna Andreyevna? Can I become a general?

ANNA. I should say so. Of course you can.

GOVERNOR. Ah, the devil take it, it's nice to be a
general. They hang a ribbon across your shoulders.
What ribbon is better, the red St. Anne or the blue St.
Andrew?

ANNA. The blue St. Andrew, of course.

GOVERNOR. What! My, you're aiming high. The
red one is good, too. Why does one want to be a general?
Because when you go travelling, there are always
couriers and aides on ahead with "Horses"! And
at the stations they refuse to give the horses to others.
They all wait, all those councilors, captains, governors,
and you don't take the slightest notice of them. You
dine somewhere with the governor-general. And the
town-governor--I'll keep him waiting at the door.
Ha, ha, ha! [He bursts into a roar of laughter, shaking
all over.] That's what's so alluring, confound it!

ANNA. You always like such coarse things. You
must remember that our life will have to be completely
changed, that your acquaintances will not be a dog-lover
of a judge, with whom you go hunting hares, or
a Zemlianika. On the contrary, your acquaintances will
be people of the most refined type, counts, and society
aristocrats. Only really I am afraid of you. You
sometimes use words that one never hears in good society.

GOVERNOR. What of it? A word doesn't hurt.

ANNA. It's all right when you are a town-governor,
but there the life is entirely different.

GOVERNOR. Yes, they say there are two kinds of
fish there, the sea-eel and the smelt, and before you
start to eat them, the saliva flows in your mouth.

ANNA. That's all he thinks about--fish. I shall
insist upon our house being the first in the capital and
my room having so much amber in it that when you
come in you have to shut your eyes. [She shuts her
eyes and sniffs.] Oh, how good!



SCENE II


The same and the Merchants.

GOVERNOR. Ah, how do you do, my fine fellows?

MERCHANTS [bowing]. We wish you health, father.

GOVERNOR. Well, my dearly beloved friends, how
are you? How are your goods selling? So you complained
against me, did you, you tea tanks, you scurvy
hucksters? Complain, against me? You crooks, you
pirates, you. Did you gain a lot by it, eh? Aha, you
thought you'd land me in prison? May seven devils
and one she-devil take you! Do you know that--

ANNA. Good heavens, Antosha, what words you use!

GOVERNOR [irritated]. Oh, it isn't a matter of words
now. Do you know that the very official to whom you
complained is going to marry my daughter? Well, what
do you say to that? Now I'll make you smart. You
cheat the people, you make a contract with the government,
and you do the government out of a hundred
thousand, supplying it with rotten cloth; and when you
give fifteen yards away gratis, you expect a reward
besides. If they knew, they would send you to-- And
you strut about sticking out your paunches with a great
air of importance: "I'm a merchant, don't touch me."
"We," you say, "are as good as the nobility." Yes,
the nobility, you monkey-faces. The nobleman is educated.
If he gets flogged in school, it is for a purpose,
to learn something useful. And you--start out
in life learning trickery. Your master beats you
for not being able to cheat. When you are still
little boys and don't know the Lord's Prayer, you
already give short measure and short weight. And
when your bellies swell and your pockets fill up, then
you assume an air of importance. Whew! What marvels!
Because you guzzle sixteen samovars full a day,
that's why you put on an air of importance. I spit on
your heads and on your importance.

MERCHANTS [bowing]. We are guilty, Anton Antonovich.

GOVERNOR. Complaining, eh? And who helped you
with that grafting when you built a bridge and charged
twenty thousand for wood when there wasn't even a hundred
rubles' worth used? I did. You goat beards.
Have you forgotten? If I had informed on you, I
could have despatched you to Siberia. What do you
say to that?

A MERCHANT. I'm guilty before God, Anton Antonovich.
The evil spirit tempted me. We will never complain
against you again. Ask whatever satisfaction
you want, only don't be angry.

GOVERNOR. Don't be angry! Now you are crawling
at my feet. Why? Because I am on top now. But
if the balance dipped the least bit your way, then you
would trample me in the very dirt--you scoundrels!
And you would crush me under a beam besides.

MERCHANTS [prostrating themselves]. Don't ruin us,
Anton Antonovich.

GOVERNOR. Don't ruin us! Now you say, don't
ruin us! And what did you say before? I could give
you--[shrugging his shoulders and throwing up his
hands.] Well, God forgive you. Enough. I don't
harbor malice for long. Only look out now. Be on
your guard. My daughter is going to marry, not an
ordinary nobleman. Let your congratulations be--
you understand? Don't try to get away with a dried
sturgeon or a loaf of sugar. Well, leave now, in God's
name.

Merchants leave.



SCENE III


The same, Ammos Fiodorovich, Artemy Filippovich,
then Rastakovsky.

AMMOS [in the doorway]. Are we to believe the report,
Anton Antonovich? A most extraordinary piece
of good fortune has befallen you, hasn't it?

ARTEMY. I have the honor to congratulate you on
your unusual good fortune. I was glad from the bottom
of my heart when I heard it. [Kisses Anna's
hand.] Anna Andreyevna! [Kissing Marya's hand.]
Marya Antonovna!

Rastakovsky enters.

RASTAKOVSKY. I congratulate you, Anton Antonovich.
May God give you and the new couple long life and may
He grant you numerous progeny--grand-children and
great-grand-children. Anna Andreyevna! [Kissing
her hand.] Marya Antonovna! [Kissing her hand.]



SCENE IV


The same, Korobkin and his Wife, Liuliukov.

KOROBKIN. I have the honor to congratulate you,
Anton Antonovich, and you, Anna Andreyevna [kissing
her hand] and you Marya Antonovna [kissing her
hand].

KOROBKIN'S WIFE. I congratulate you from the bottom
of my heart, Anna Andreyevna, on your new stroke
of good fortune.

LIULIUKOV. I have the honor to congratulate you,
Anna Andreyevna. [Kisses her hand and turns to the
audience, smacks his lips, putting on a bold front.]
Marya Antonovna, I have the honor to congratulate you.
[Kisses her hand and turns to the audience in the same
way.]



SCENE V


A number of Guests enter. They kiss Anna's hand
saying: "Anna Andreyevna," then Marya's hand, saying
"Marya Antonovna."

Bobchinsky and Dobchinsky enter jostling each other.

BOBCHINSKY. I have the honor to congratulate you.

DOBCHINSKY. Anton Antonovich, I have the honor
to congratulate you.

BOBCHINSKY. On the happy event.

DOBCHINSKY. Anna Andreyevna!

BOBCHINSKY. Anna Andreyevna!

They bend over her hand at the same time and bump
foreheads.

DOBCHINSKY. Marya Antonovna! [Kisses her
hand.] I have the honor to congratulate you. You
will enjoy the greatest happiness. You will wear garments
of gold and eat the most delicate soups, and you
will pass your time most entertainingly.

BOBCHINSKY [breaking in]. God give you all sorts
of riches and of money and a wee tiny little son, like
this. [Shows the size with his hands.] So that he
can sit on the palm of your hand. The little fellow will
be crying all the time, "Wow, wow, wow."



SCENE VI


More Guests enter and kiss the ladies' hands, among
them Luka Lukich and his wife.

LUKA LUKICH. I have the honor.

LUKA'S WIFE [running ahead]. Congratulate you,
Anna Andreyevna. [They kiss.] Really, I was so
glad to hear of it. They tell me, "Anna Andreyevna
has betrothed her daughter." "Oh, my God," I think
to myself. It made me so glad that I said to my husband,
"Listen, Lukanchik, that's a great piece of fortune
for Anna Andreyevna." "Well," think I to myself,
"thank God!" And I say to him, "I'm so delighted
that I'm consumed with impatience to tell it to
Anna Andreyevna herself." "Oh, my God," think I to
myself, "it's just as Anna Andreyevna expected. She
always did expect a good match for her daughter. And
now what luck! It happened just exactly as she wanted
it to happen." Really, it made me so glad that I
couldn't say a word. I cried and cried. I simply
screamed, so that Luka Lukich said to me, "What are
you crying so for, Nastenka?" "Lukanchik," I said, "I
don't know myself. The tears just keep flowing like a
stream."

GOVERNOR. Please sit down, ladies and gentlemen.
Ho, Mishka, bring some more chairs in.

The Guests seat themselves.



SCENE VII


The same, the Police Captain and Sergeants.

CAPTAIN. I have the honor to congratulate you,
your Honor, and to wish you long years of prosperity.

GOVERNOR. Thank you, thank you! Please sit down,
gentlemen.

The Guests seat themselves.

AMMOS. But please tell us, Anton Antonovich, how
did it all come about, and how did it all--ahem!--
go?

GOVERNOR. It went in a most extraordinary way.
He condescended to make the proposal in his own person.

ANNA. In the most respectful and most delicate
manner. He spoke beautifully. He said: "Anna
Andreyevna, I have only a feeling of respect for your
worth." And such a handsome, cultured man! His
manners so genteel! "Believe me, Anna Andreyevna,"
he says, "life is not worth a penny to me. It is only
because I respect your rare qualities."

MARYA. Oh, mamma, it was to me he said that.

ANNA. Shut up! You don't know anything. And
don't meddle in other people's affairs. "Anna Andreyevna,"
he says, "I am enraptured." That was the
flattering way he poured out his soul. And when I was
going to say, "We cannot possibly hope for such an
honor," he suddenly went down on his knees, and so
aristocratically! "Anna Andreyevna," he says, "don't
make me the most miserable of men. Consent to respond
to my feelings, or else I'll put an end to my
life."

MARYA. Really, mamma, it was to me he said that.

ANNA. Yes, of course--to you, too. I don't deny
it.

GOVERNOR. He even frightened us. He said he
would put a bullet through his brains. "I'll shoot myself,
I'll shoot myself," he said.

MANY GUESTS. Well, for the Lord's sake!

AMMOS. How remarkable!

LUKA. It must have been fate that so ordained.

ARTEMY. Not fate, my dear friend. Fate is a
turkey-hen. It was the Governor's services that brought
him this piece of fortune. [Aside.] Good luck always
does crawl into the mouths of swine like him.

AMMOS. If you like, Anton Antonovich, I'll sell you
the dog we were bargaining about.

GOVERNOR. I don't care about dogs now.

AMMOS. Well, if you don't want it, then we'll agree
on some other dog.

KOROBKIN'S WIFE. Oh, Anna Andreyevna, how
happy I am over your good fortune. You can't imagine
how happy I am.

KOROBKIN. But where, may I ask, is the distinguished
guest now? I heard he had gone away for some
reason or other.

GOVERNOR. Yes, he's gone off for a day on a highly
important matter.

ANNA. To his uncle--to ask his blessing.

GOVERNOR. To ask his blessing. But tomorrow--
[He sneezes, and all burst into one exclamation of well-wishes.]
Thank you very much. But tomorrow he'll
be back. [He sneezes, and is congratulated again.
Above the other voices are heard those of the following.]

{CAPTAIN. I wish you health, your Honor.

{BOBCHINSKY. A hundred years and a sack of ducats.

{DOBCHINSKY. May God increase it to a thousand.

{ARTEMY. May you go to hell!

{KOROBKIN'S WIFE. The devil take you!

GOVERNOR. I'm very much obliged to you. I wish
you the same.

ANNA. We intend to live in St. Petersburg now. I
must say, the atmosphere here is too village-like. I
must say, it's extremely unpleasant. My husband, too
--he'll be made a general there.

GOVERNOR. Yes, confound it, gentlemen, I admit I
should very much like to be a general.

LUKA. May God grant that you get a generalship.

RASTAKOVSKY. From man it is impossible, but from
God everything is possible.

AMMOS. High merits, high honors.

ARTEMY. Reward according to service.

AMMOS [aside]. The things he'll do when he becomes
a general. A generalship suits him as a saddle
suits a cow. It's a far cry to his generalship. There
are better men than you, and they haven't been made
generals yet.

ARTEMY [aside]. The devil take it--he's aiming
for a generalship. Well, maybe he will become a general
after all. He's got the air of importance, the devil
take him! [Addressing the Governor.] Don't forget
us then, Anton Antonovich.

AMMOS. And if anything happens--for instance,
some difficulty in our affairs--don't refuse us your protection.

KOROBKIN. Next year I am going to take my son to
the capital to put him in government service. So do me
the kindness to give me your protection. Be a father to
the orphan.

GOVERNOR. I am ready for my part--ready to exert
my efforts on your behalf.

ANNA. Antosha, you are always ready with your
promises. In the first place, you won't have time to
think of such things. And how can you--how is it
possible for you, to burden yourself with such promises?

GOVERNOR. Why not, my dear? It's possible occasionally.

ANNA. Of course it's possible. But you can't give
protection to every small potato.

KOROBKIN'S WIFE. Do you hear the way she speaks
of us?

GUEST. She's always been that way. I know her.
Seat her at table and she'll put her feet on it.



SCENE VIII


The same and the Postmaster, who rushes in with an
unsealed letter in his hand.

POSTMASTER. A most astonishing thing, ladies and
gentlemen! The official whom we took to be an inspector-general
is not an inspector-general.

ALL. How so? Not an inspector-general?

POSTMASTER. No, not a bit of it. I found it out
from the letter.

GOVERNOR. What are you talking about? What are
you talking about? What letter?

POSTMASTER. His own letter. They bring a letter
to the postoffice, I glance at the address and I see
Pochtamtskaya Street. I was struck dumb. "Well," I
think to myself, "I suppose he found something wrong
in the postoffice department and is informing the government."
So I unsealed it.

GOVERNOR. How could you?

POSTMASTER. I don't know myself. A supernatural
power moved me. I had already summoned a courier
to send it off by express; but I was overcome by a
greater curiosity than I have ever felt in my life. "I
can't, I can't," I hear a voice telling me. "I can't."
But it pulled me and pulled me. In one ear I heard,
"Don't open the letter. You will die like a chicken,"
and in the other it was just as if the devil were whispering,
"Open it, open it." And when I cracked the sealing
wax, I felt as if I were on fire; and when I opened
the letter, I froze, upon my word, I froze. And my
hands trembled, and everything whirled around me.

GOVERNOR. But how did you dare to open it? The
letter of so powerful a personage?

POSTMASTER. But that's just the point--he's neither
powerful nor a personage.

GOVERNOR. Then what is he in your opinion?

POSTMASTER. He's neither one thing nor another.
The devil knows what he is.

GOVERNOR [furiously]. How neither one thing nor
another? How do you dare to call him neither one
thing nor another? And the devil knows what besides?
I'll put you under arrest.

POSTMASTER. Who--you?

GOVERNOR. Yes, I.

POSTMASTER. You haven't the power.

GOVERNOR. Do you know that he's going to marry
my daughter? That I myself am going to be a high
official and will have the power to exile to Siberia?

POSTMASTER. Oh, Anton Antonovich, Siberia! Siberia
is far away. I'd rather read the letter to you.
Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to read the letter.

ALL. Do read it.

POSTMASTER [reads]. "I hasten to inform you, my
dear friend, what wonderful things have happened to
me. On the way here an infantry captain did me out
of my last penny, so that the innkeeper here wanted to
send me to jail, when suddenly, thanks to my St. Petersburg
appearance and dress, the whole town took me for
a governor-general. Now I am staying at the governor's
home. I am having a grand time and I am flirting
desperately with his wife and daughter. I only haven't
decided whom to begin with. I think with the mother
first, because she seems ready to accept all terms. You
remember how hard up we were taking our meals wherever
we could without paying for them, and how once the
pastry cook grabbed me by the collar for having charged
pies that I ate to the king of England? Now it is
quite different. They lend me all the money I want.
They are an awful lot of originals. You would split
your sides laughing at them. I know you write for the
papers. Put them in your literature. In the first place
the Governor is as stupid as an old horse--"

GOVERNOR. Impossible! That can't be in the letter.

POSTMASTER [showing the letter]. Read for yourself.

GOVERNOR [reads]. "As an old horse." Impossible!
You put it in yourself.

POSTMASTER. How could I?

ARTEMY. Go on reading.

LUKA. Go on reading.

POSTMASTER [continuing to read]. "The Governor
is as stupid as an old horse--"

GOVERNOR. Oh, the devil! He's got to read it again.
As if it weren't there anyway.

POSTMASTER [continuing to read]. H'm, h'm--"an
old horse. The Postmaster is a good man, too." [Stops
reading.] Well, here he's saying something improper
about me, too.

GOVERNOR. Go on--read the rest.

POSTMASTER. What for?

GOVERNOR. The deuce take it! Once we have begun
to read it, we must read it all.

ARTEMY. If you will allow me, I will read it. [Puts
on his eye-glasses and reads.] "The Postmaster is just
like the porter Mikheyev in our office, and the scoundrel
must drink just as hard."

POSTMASTER [to the audience]. A bad boy! He
ought to be given a licking. That's all.

ARTEMY [continues to read]. "The Superintendent
of Char-i-i--" [Stammers.]

KOROBKIN. Why did you stop?

ARTEMY. The handwriting isn't clear. Besides, it's
evident that he's a blackguard.

KOROBKIN. Give it to me. I believe my eyesight is
better.

ARTEMY [refusing to give up the letter]. No. This
part can be omitted. After that it's legible.

KOROBKIN. Let me have it please. I'll see for myself.

ARTEMY. I can read it myself. I tell you that after
this part it's all legible.

POSTMASTER. No, read it all. Everything so far
could be read.

ALL. Give him the letter, Artemy Filippovich, give
it to him. [To Korobkin.] You read it.

ARTEMY. Very well. [Gives up the letter.] Here
it is. [Covers a part of it with his finger.] Read from
here on. [All press him.]

POSTMASTER. Read it all, nonsense, read it all.

KOROBKIN [reading]. "The Superintendent of
Charities, Zemlianika, is a regular pig in a cap."

ARTEMY [to the audience]. Not a bit witty. A pig
in a cap! Have you ever seen a pig wear a cap?

KOROBKIN [continues reading]. "The School Inspector
reeks of onions."

LUKA [to the audience]. Upon my word, I never put
an onion to my mouth.

AMMOS [aside]. Thank God, there's nothing about
me in it.

KOROBKIN [continues reading]. "The Judge--"

AMMOS. There! [Aloud.] Ladies and gentlemen,
I think the letter is far too long. To the devil with it!
Why should we go on reading such trash?

LUKA. No.

POSTMASTER. No, go on.

ARTEMY. Go on reading.

KOROBKIN. "The Judge, Liapkin-Tiapkin, is extremely
mauvais ton." [He stops.] That must be a
French word.

AMMOS. The devil knows what it means. It wouldn't
be so bad if all it means is "cheat." But it may mean
something worse.

KOROBKIN [continues reading]. "However, the people
are hospitable and kindhearted. Farewell, my dear
Triapichkin. I want to follow your example and take
up literature. It's tiresome to live this way, old boy.
One wants food for the mind, after all. I see I must
engage in something lofty. Address me: Village
of Podkatilovka in the Government of Saratov."
[Turns the letter and reads the address.] "Mr. Ivan
Vasilyevich Triapichkin, St. Petersburg, Pochtamtskaya
Street, House Number 97, Courtyard, third floor, right."

A LADY. What an unexpected rebuke!

GOVERNOR. He has cut my throat and cut it for
good. I'm done for, completely done for. I see nothing.
All I see are pigs' snouts instead of faces, and
nothing more. Catch him, catch him! [Waves his
hand.]

POSTMASTER. Catch him! How? As if on purpose,
I told the overseer to give him the best coach and three.
The devil prompted me to give the order.

KOROBKIN'S WIFE. Here's a pretty mess.

AMMOS. Confound it, he borrowed three hundred
rubles from me.

ARTEMY. He borrowed three hundred from me, too.

POSTMASTER [sighing]. And from me, too.

BOBCHINSKY. And sixty-five from me and Piotr Ivanovich.

AMMOS [throwing up his hands in perplexity]. How's
that, gentlemen? Really, how could we have been so off
our guard?

GOVERNOR [beating his forehead]. How could I, how
could I, old fool? I've grown childish, stupid mule. I
have been in the service thirty years. Not one merchant,
not one contractor has been able to impose on me.
I have over-reached one swindler after another. I have
caught crooks and sharpers that were ready to rob the
whole world. I have fooled three governor-generals.
As for governor-generals, [with a wave of his hand]
it is not even worth talking about them.

ANNA. But how is it possible, Antosha? He's engaged
to Mashenka.

GOVERNOR [in a rage]. Engaged! Rats! Fiddlesticks!
So much for your engagement! Thrusts her
engagement at me now! [In a frenzy.] Here, look at
me! Look at me, the whole world, the whole of Christendom.
See what a fool the governor was made of. Out
upon him, the fool, the old scoundrel! [Shakes his fist
at himself.] Oh, you fat-nose! To take an icicle, a rag
for a personage of rank! Now his coach bells are jingling
all along the road. He is publishing the story to
the whole world. Not only will you be made a laughing-stock
of, but some scribbler, some ink-splasher will put
you into a comedy. There's the horrid sting. He won't
spare either rank or station. And everybody will grin
and clap his hands. What are you laughing at? You
are laughing at yourself, oh you! [Stamps his feet.]
I would give it to all those ink-splashers! You scribblers,
damned liberals, devil's brood! I would tie you
all up in a bundle, I would grind you into meal, and
give it to the devil. [Shakes his fist and stamps his
heel on the floor. After a brief silence.] I can't come
to myself. It's really true, whom the gods want to punish
they first make mad. In what did that nincompoop
resemble an inspector-general? In nothing, not even
half the little finger of an inspector-general. And all
of a sudden everybody is going about saying, "Inspector-general,
inspector-general." Who was the first to say
it? Tell me.

ARTEMY [throwing up his hands]. I couldn't tell how
it happened if I had to die for it. It is just as if a
mist had clouded our brains. The devil has confounded
us.

AMMOS. Who was the first to say it? These two
here, this noble pair. [Pointing to Dobchinsky and Bobchinsky.]

BOBCHINSKY. So help me God, not I. I didn't even
think of it.

DOBCHINSKY. I didn't say a thing, not a thing.

ARTEMY. Of course you did.

LUKA. Certainly. You came running here from the
inn like madmen. "He's come, he's come. He doesn't
pay." Found a rare bird!

GOVERNOR. Of course it was you. Town gossips,
damned liars!

ARTEMY. The devil take you with your inspector-general
and your tattle.

GOVERNOR. You run about the city, bother everybody,
confounded chatterboxes. You spread gossip, you short-tailed
magpies, you!

AMMOS. Damned bunglers!

LUKA. Simpletons.

ARTEMY. Pot-bellied mushrooms!

All crowd around them.

BOBCHINSKY. Upon my word, it wasn't I. It was
Piotr Ivanovich.

DOBCHINSKY. No, Piotr Ivanovich, you were the first.

BOBCHINSKY. No, no. You were the first.



LAST SCENE


The same and a Gendarme.

GENDARME. An official from St. Petersburg sent by
imperial order has arrived, and wants to see you all at
once. He is stopping at the inn.

All are struck as by a thunderbolt. A cry of amazement
bursts from the ladies simultaneously. The whole
group suddenly shifts positions and remains standing as
if petrified.



SILENT SCENE


The Governor stands in the center rigid as a post,
with outstretched hands and head thrown backward. On
his right are his wife and daughter straining toward him.
Back of them the Postmaster, turned toward the audience,
metamorphosed into a question mark. Next to him,
at the edge of the group, three lady guests leaning
on each other, with a most satirical expression on their
faces directed straight at the Governor's family. To the
left of the Governor is Zemlianika, his head to one side
as if listening. Behind him is the Judge with outspread
hands almost crouching on the ground and pursing his
lips as if to whistle or say: "A nice pickle we're in!"
Next to him is Korobkin, turned toward the audience,
with eyes screwed up and making a venomous gesture
at the Governor. Next to him, at the edge of the group,
are Dobchinsky and Bobchinsky, gesticulating at each
other, open-mouthed and wide-eyed. The other guests
remain standing stiff. The whole group retain the same
position of rigidity for almost a minute and a half. The
curtain falls.



----------------------------THE END----------------------------
 

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