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Anton Chekhov
The Proposal
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THE PROPOSAL

CHARACTERS:
STEPAN STEPANOVITCH CHUBUKOV, a landowner
NATALYA STEPANOVNA, his daughter, twenty-five years old
IVAN VASSILEVITCH LOMOV, a neighbour of Chubukov, a large and
hearty, but very suspicious landowner

SCENE: A drawing-room in CHUBUKOV'S country-house.

[LOMOV enters, wearing a dress-jacket and white gloves. CHUBUKOV
rises to meet him.]

CHUBUKOV. My dear fellow, whom do I see! Ivan Vassilevitch! I am
extremely glad! [Squeezes his hand] Now this is a surprise, my
darling ... How are you?

LOMOV. Thank you. And how may you be getting on?

CHUBUKOV. We just get along somehow, my angel, to your prayers, and
so on. Sit down, please do. ... Now, you know, you shouldn't forget
all about your neighbours, my darling. My dear fellow, why are you
so formal in your get-up? Evening dress, gloves, and so on. Can you
be going anywhere, my treasure?

LOMOV. No, I've come only to see you, honoured Stepan Stepanovitch.

CHUBUKOV. Then why are you in evening dress, my precious? As if
you're paying a New Year's Eve visit!

LOMOV. Well, you see, it's like this. [Takes his arm] I've come to
you, honoured Stepan Stepanovitch, to trouble you with a request.
Not once or twice have I already had the privilege of applying to
you for help, and you have always, so to speak ... I must ask your
pardon, I am getting excited. I shall drink some water, honoured
Stepan Stepanovitch. [Drinks.]

CHUBUKOV. [Aside] He's come to borrow money! Shan't give him any!
[Aloud] What is it, my beauty?

LOMOV. You see, Honour Stepanitch ... I beg pardon, Stepan
Honouritch ... I mean, I'm awfully excited, as you will please
notice. ... In short, you alone can help me, though I don't deserve
it, of course ... and haven't any right to count on your
assistance. ...

CHUBUKOV. Oh, don't go round and round it, darling! Spit it out!
Well?

LOMOV. One moment ... this very minute. The fact is, I've come to
ask the hand of your daughter, Natalya Stepanovna, in marriage.

CHUBUKOV. [Joyfully] By Jove! Ivan Vassilevitch! Say it again--I
didn't hear it all!

LOMOV. I have the honour to ask ...

CHUBUKOV. [Interrupting] My dear fellow ... I'm so glad, and so on. ...
Yes, indeed, and all that sort of thing. [Embraces and kisses
LOMOV] I've been hoping for it for a long time. It's been my
continual desire. [Sheds a tear] And I've always loved you, my
angel, as if you were my own son. May God give you both His help
and His love and so on, and I did so much hope ... What am I
behaving in this idiotic way for? I'm off my balance with joy,
absolutely off my balance! Oh, with all my soul ... I'll go and
call Natasha, and all that.

LOMOV. [Greatly moved] Honoured Stepan Stepanovitch, do you think I
may count on her consent?

CHUBUKOV. Why, of course, my darling, and ... as if she won't
consent! She's in love; egad, she's like a love-sick cat, and so
on. ... Shan't be long! [Exit.]

LOMOV. It's cold ... I'm trembling all over, just as if I'd got an
examination before me. The great thing is, I must have my mind made
up. If I give myself time to think, to hesitate, to talk a lot, to
look for an ideal, or for real love, then I'll never get married. ...
Brr! ... It's cold! Natalya Stepanovna is an excellent housekeeper,
not bad-looking, well-educated. ... What more do I want? But I'm
getting a noise in my ears from excitement. [Drinks] And it's
impossible for me not to marry. ... In the first place, I'm already
35--a critical age, so to speak. In the second place, I ought to
lead a quiet and regular life. ... I suffer from palpitations, I'm
excitable and always getting awfully upset. ... At this very moment
my lips are trembling, and there's a twitch in my right eyebrow. ...
But the very worst of all is the way I sleep. I no sooner get into
bed and begin to go off when suddenly something in my left side--
gives a pull, and I can feel it in my shoulder and head. ... I jump
up like a lunatic, walk about a bit, and lie down again, but as
soon as I begin to get off to sleep there's another pull! And this
may happen twenty times. ...

[NATALYA STEPANOVNA comes in.]

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Well, there! It's you, and papa said, "Go;
there's a merchant come for his goods." How do you do, Ivan
Vassilevitch!

LOMOV. How do you do, honoured Natalya Stepanovna?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. You must excuse my apron and neglige ... we're
shelling peas for drying. Why haven't you been here for such a long
time? Sit down. [They seat themselves] Won't you have some lunch?

LOMOV. No, thank you, I've had some already.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Then smoke. ... Here are the matches. ... The
weather is splendid now, but yesterday it was so wet that the
workmen didn't do anything all day. How much hay have you stacked?
Just think, I felt greedy and had a whole field cut, and now I'm
not at all pleased about it because I'm afraid my hay may rot. I
ought to have waited a bit. But what's this? Why, you're in evening
dress! Well, I never! Are you going to a ball, or what?--though I
must say you look better. Tell me, why are you got up like that?

LOMOV. [Excited] You see, honoured Natalya Stepanovna ... the fact
is, I've made up my mind to ask you to hear me out. ... Of course
you'll be surprised and perhaps even angry, but a ... [Aside] It's
awfully cold!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. What's the matter? [Pause] Well?

LOMOV. I shall try to be brief. You must know, honoured Natalya
Stepanovna, that I have long, since my childhood, in fact, had the
privilege of knowing your family. My late aunt and her husband,
from whom, as you know, I inherited my land, always had the
greatest respect for your father and your late mother. The Lomovs
and the Chubukovs have always had the most friendly, and I might
almost say the most affectionate, regard for each other. And, as
you know, my land is a near neighbour of yours. You will remember
that my Oxen Meadows touch your birchwoods.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Excuse my interrupting you. You say, "my Oxen
Meadows. ..." But are they yours?

LOMOV. Yes, mine.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. What are you talking about? Oxen Meadows are
ours, not yours!

LOMOV. No, mine, honoured Natalya Stepanovna.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Well, I never knew that before. How do you make
that out?

LOMOV. How? I'm speaking of those Oxen Meadows which are wedged in
between your birchwoods and the Burnt Marsh.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Yes, yes. ... They're ours.

LOMOV. No, you're mistaken, honoured Natalya Stepanovna, they're
mine.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Just think, Ivan Vassilevitch! How long have
they been yours?

LOMOV. How long? As long as I can remember.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Really, you won't get me to believe that!

LOMOV. But you can see from the documents, honoured Natalya
Stepanovna. Oxen Meadows, it's true, were once the subject of
dispute, but now everybody knows that they are mine. There's
nothing to argue about. You see, my aunt's grandmother gave the
free use of these Meadows in perpetuity to the peasants of your
father's grandfather, in return for which they were to make bricks
for her. The peasants belonging to your father's grandfather had
the free use of the Meadows for forty years, and had got into the
habit of regarding them as their own, when it happened that ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. No, it isn't at all like that! Both my
grandfather and great-grandfather reckoned that their land extended
to Burnt Marsh--which means that Oxen Meadows were ours. I don't
see what there is to argue about. It's simply silly!

LOMOV. I'll show you the documents, Natalya Stepanovna!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. No, you're simply joking, or making fun of me. ...
What a surprise! We've had the land for nearly three hundred years,
and then we're suddenly told that it isn't ours! Ivan Vassilevitch,
I can hardly believe my own ears. ... These Meadows aren't worth much
to me. They only come to five dessiatins, and are worth perhaps 300
roubles, but I can't stand unfairness. Say what you will, but I can't
stand unfairness.

LOMOV. Hear me out, I implore you! The peasants of your father's
grandfather, as I have already had the honour of explaining to you,
used to bake bricks for my aunt's grandmother. Now my aunt's
grandmother, wishing to make them a pleasant ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. I can't make head or tail of all this about
aunts and grandfathers and grandmothers! The Meadows are ours,
and that's all.

LOMOV. Mine.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Ours! You can go on proving it for two days on
end, you can go and put on fifteen dress-jackets, but I tell you
they're ours, ours, ours! I don't want anything of yours and I
don't want to give up anything of mine. So there!

LOMOV. Natalya Ivanovna, I don't want the Meadows, but I am acting
on principle. If you like, I'll make you a present of them.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. I can make you a present of them myself,
because they're mine! Your behaviour, Ivan Vassilevitch, is
strange, to say the least! Up to this we have always thought of you
as a good neighbour, a friend: last year we lent you our
threshing-machine, although on that account we had to put off our
own threshing till November, but you behave to us as if we were
gipsies. Giving me my own land, indeed! No, really, that's not at
all neighbourly! In my opinion, it's even impudent, if you want to
know. ...

LOMOV. Then you make out that I'm a land-grabber? Madam, never in
my life have I grabbed anybody else's land, and I shan't allow
anybody to accuse me of having done so. ... [Quickly steps to the
carafe and drinks more water] Oxen Meadows are mine!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. It's not true, they're ours!

LOMOV. Mine!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. It's not true! I'll prove it! I'll send my
mowers out to the Meadows this very day!

LOMOV. What?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. My mowers will be there this very day!

LOMOV. I'll give it to them in the neck!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. You dare!

LOMOV. [Clutches at his heart] Oxen Meadows are mine! You
understand? Mine!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Please don't shout! You can shout yourself
hoarse in your own house, but here I must ask you to restrain
yourself!

LOMOV. If it wasn't, madam, for this awful, excruciating
palpitation, if my whole inside wasn't upset, I'd talk to you in a
different way! [Yells] Oxen Meadows are mine!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Ours!

LOMOV. Mine!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Ours!

LOMOV. Mine!

[Enter CHUBUKOV.]

CHUBUKOV. What's the matter? What are you shouting at?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Papa, please tell to this gentleman who owns
Oxen Meadows, we or he?

CHUBUKOV. [To LOMOV] Darling, the Meadows are ours!

LOMOV. But, please, Stepan Stepanitch, how can they be yours? Do be
a reasonable man! My aunt's grandmother gave the Meadows for the
temporary and free use of your grandfather's peasants. The peasants
used the land for forty years and got as accustomed to it as if it
was their own, when it happened that ...

CHUBUKOV. Excuse me, my precious. ... You forget just this, that
the peasants didn't pay your grandmother and all that, because the
Meadows were in dispute, and so on. And now everybody knows that
they're ours. It means that you haven't seen the plan.

LOMOV. I'll prove to you that they're mine!

CHUBUKOV. You won't prove it, my darling.

LOMOV. I shall!

CHUBUKOV. Dear one, why yell like that? You won't prove anything
just by yelling. I don't want anything of yours, and don't intend
to give up what I have. Why should I? And you know, my beloved,
that if you propose to go on arguing about it, I'd much sooner give
up the meadows to the peasants than to you. There!

LOMOV. I don't understand! How have you the right to give away
somebody else's property?

CHUBUKOV. You may take it that I know whether I have the right or
not. Because, young man, I'm not used to being spoken to in that
tone of voice, and so on: I, young man, am twice your age, and ask
you to speak to me without agitating yourself, and all that.

LOMOV. No, you just think I'm a fool and want to have me on! You
call my land yours, and then you want me to talk to you calmly and
politely! Good neighbours don't behave like that, Stepan
Stepanitch! You're not a neighbour, you're a grabber!

CHUBUKOV. What's that? What did you say?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Papa, send the mowers out to the Meadows at
once!

CHUBUKOV. What did you say, sir?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Oxen Meadows are ours, and I shan't give them
up, shan't give them up, shan't give them up!

LOMOV. We'll see! I'll have the matter taken to court, and then
I'll show you!

CHUBUKOV. To court? You can take it to court, and all that! You
can! I know you; you're just on the look-out for a chance to go to
court, and all that. ... You pettifogger! All your people were like
that! All of them!

LOMOV. Never mind about my people! The Lomovs have all been
honourable people, and not one has ever been tried for embezzlement,
like your grandfather!

CHUBUKOV. You Lomovs have had lunacy in your family, all of you!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. All, all, all!

CHUBUKOV. Your grandfather was a drunkard, and your younger aunt,
Nastasya Mihailovna, ran away with an architect, and so on.

LOMOV. And your mother was hump-backed. [Clutches at his heart]
Something pulling in my side. ... My head. ... Help! Water!

CHUBUKOV. Your father was a guzzling gambler!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. And there haven't been many backbiters to equal
your aunt!

LOMOV. My left foot has gone to sleep. ... You're an intriguer. ...
Oh, my heart! ... And it's an open secret that before the last
elections you bri ... I can see stars. ... Where's my hat?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. It's low! It's dishonest! It's mean!

CHUBUKOV. And you're just a malicious, double-faced intriguer! Yes!

LOMOV. Here's my hat. ... My heart! ... Which way? Where's the
door? Oh! ... I think I'm dying. ... My foot's quite numb. ...
[Goes to the door.]

CHUBUKOV. [Following him] And don't set foot in my house again!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Take it to court! We'll see!

[LOMOV staggers out.]

CHUBUKOV. Devil take him! [Walks about in excitement.]

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. What a rascal! What trust can one have in one's
neighbours after that!

CHUBUKOV. The villain! The scarecrow!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. The monster! First he takes our land and then
he has the impudence to abuse us.

CHUBUKOV. And that blind hen, yes, that turnip-ghost has the
confounded cheek to make a proposal, and so on! What? A proposal!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. What proposal?

CHUBUKOV. Why, he came here so as to propose to you.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. To propose? To me? Why didn't you tell me so
before?

CHUBUKOV. So he dresses up in evening clothes. The stuffed sausage!
The wizen-faced frump!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. To propose to me? Ah! [Falls into an easy-chair
and wails] Bring him back! Back! Ah! Bring him here.

CHUBUKOV. Bring whom here?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Quick, quick! I'm ill! Fetch him! [Hysterics.]

CHUBUKOV. What's that? What's the matter with you? [Clutches at his
head] Oh, unhappy man that I am! I'll shoot myself! I'll hang
myself! We've done for her!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. I'm dying! Fetch him!

CHUBUKOV. Tfoo! At once. Don't yell!

[Runs out. A pause. NATALYA STEPANOVNA wails.]

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. What have they done to me! Fetch him back!
Fetch him! [A pause.]

[CHUBUKOV runs in.]

CHUBUKOV. He's coming, and so on, devil take him! Ouf! Talk to him
yourself; I don't want to. ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. [Wails] Fetch him!

CHUBUKOV. [Yells] He's coming, I tell you. Oh, what a burden, Lord,
to be the father of a grown-up daughter! I'll cut my throat! I
will, indeed! We cursed him, abused him, drove him out, and it's
all you ... you!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. No, it was you!

CHUBUKOV. I tell you it's not my fault. [LOMOV appears at the door]
Now you talk to him yourself [Exit.]

[LOMOV enters, exhausted.]

LOMOV. My heart's palpitating awfully. ... My foot's gone to sleep. ...
There's something keeps pulling in my side.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Forgive us, Ivan Vassilevitch, we were all a
little heated. ... I remember now: Oxen Meadows really are yours.

LOMOV. My heart's beating awfully. ... My Meadows. ... My eyebrows
are both twitching. ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. The Meadows are yours, yes, yours. ... Do sit
down. ... [They sit] We were wrong. ...

LOMOV. I did it on principle. ... My land is worth little to me,
but the principle ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Yes, the principle, just so. ... Now let's talk
of something else.

LOMOV. The more so as I have evidence. My aunt's grandmother gave
the land to your father's grandfather's peasants ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Yes, yes, let that pass. ... [Aside] I wish I
knew how to get him started. ... [Aloud] Are you going to start
shooting soon?

LOMOV. I'm thinking of having a go at the blackcock, honoured
Natalya Stepanovna, after the harvest. Oh, have you heard? Just
think, what a misfortune I've had! My dog Guess, whom you know, has
gone lame.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. What a pity! Why?

LOMOV. I don't know. ... Must have got twisted, or bitten by some
other dog. ... [Sighs] My very best dog, to say nothing of the
expense. I gave Mironov 125 roubles for him.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. It was too much, Ivan Vassilevitch.

LOMOV. I think it was very cheap. He's a first-rate dog.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Papa gave 85 roubles for his Squeezer, and
Squeezer is heaps better than Guess!

LOMOV. Squeezer better than. Guess? What an idea! [Laughs] Squeezer
better than Guess!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Of course he's better! Of course, Squeezer is
young, he may develop a bit, but on points and pedigree he's better
than anything that even Volchanetsky has got.

LOMOV. Excuse me, Natalya Stepanovna, but you forget that he is
overshot, and an overshot always means the dog is a bad hunter!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Overshot, is he? The first time I hear it!

LOMOV. I assure you that his lower jaw is shorter than the upper.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Have you measured?

LOMOV. Yes. He's all right at following, of course, but if you want
him to get hold of anything ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. In the first place, our Squeezer is a
thoroughbred animal, the son of Harness and Chisels, while there's
no getting at the pedigree of your dog at all. ... He's old and as
ugly as a worn-out cab-horse.

LOMOV. He is old, but I wouldn't take five Squeezers for him. ...
Why, how can you? ... Guess is a dog; as for Squeezer, well, it's
too funny to argue. ... Anybody you like has a dog as good as
Squeezer ... you may find them under every bush almost. Twenty-five
roubles would be a handsome price to pay for him.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. There's some demon of contradiction in you
to-day, Ivan Vassilevitch. First you pretend that the Meadows are
yours; now, that Guess is better than Squeezer. I don't like people
who don't say what they mean, because you know perfectly well that
Squeezer is a hundred times better than your silly Guess. Why do
you want to say it isn't?

LOMOV. I see, Natalya Stepanovna, that you consider me either blind
or a fool. You must realize that Squeezer is overshot!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. It's not true.

LOMOV. He is!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. It's not true!

LOMOV. Why shout, madam?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Why talk rot? It's awful! It's time your Guess
was shot, and you compare him with Squeezer!

LOMOV. Excuse me; I cannot continue this discussion: my heart is
palpitating.

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. I've noticed that those hunters argue most who
know least.

LOMOV. Madam, please be silent. ... My heart is going to pieces. ...
[Shouts] Shut up!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. I shan't shut up until you acknowledge that
Squeezer is a hundred times better than your Guess!

LOMOV. A hundred times worse! Be hanged to your Squeezer! His
head ... eyes ... shoulder ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. There's no need to hang your silly Guess; he's
half-dead already!

LOMOV. [Weeps] Shut up! My heart's bursting!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. I shan't shut up.

[Enter CHUBUKOV.]

CHUBUKOV. What's the matter now?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Papa, tell us truly, which is the better dog,
our Squeezer or his Guess.

LOMOV. Stepan Stepanovitch, I implore you to tell me just one
thing: is your Squeezer overshot or not? Yes or no?

CHUBUKOV. And suppose he is? What does it matter? He's the best dog
in the district for all that, and so on.

LOMOV. But isn't my Guess better? Really, now?

CHUBUKOV. Don't excite yourself, my precious one. ... Allow me. ...
Your Guess certainly has his good points. ... He's pure-bred, firm
on his feet, has well-sprung ribs, and all that. But, my dear man,
if you want to know the truth, that dog has two defects: he's old
and he's short in the muzzle.

LOMOV. Excuse me, my heart. ... Let's take the facts. ... You will
remember that on the Marusinsky hunt my Guess ran neck-and-neck
with the Count's dog, while your Squeezer was left a whole verst
behind.

CHUBUKOV. He got left behind because the Count's whipper-in hit him
with his whip.

LOMOV. And with good reason. The dogs are running after a fox, when
Squeezer goes and starts worrying a sheep!

CHUBUKOV. It's not true! ... My dear fellow, I'm very liable to
lose my temper, and so, just because of that, let's stop arguing.
You started because everybody is always jealous of everybody else's
dogs. Yes, we're all like that! You too, sir, aren't blameless! You
no sooner notice that some dog is better than your Guess than you
begin with this, that ... and the other ... and all that. ... I
remember everything!

LOMOV. I remember too!

CHUBUKOV. [Teasing him] I remember, too. ... What do you remember?

LOMOV. My heart ... my foot's gone to sleep. ... I can't ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. [Teasing] My heart. ... What sort of a hunter
are you? You ought to go and lie on the kitchen oven and catch
blackbeetles, not go after foxes! My heart!

CHUBUKOV. Yes really, what sort of a hunter are you, anyway? You
ought to sit at home with your palpitations, and not go tracking
animals. You could go hunting, but you only go to argue with people
and interfere with their dogs and so on. Let's change the subject
in case I lose my temper. You're not a hunter at all, anyway!

LOMOV. And are you a hunter? You only go hunting to get in with the
Count and to intrigue. ... Oh, my heart! ... You're an intriguer!

CHUBUKOV. What? I an intriguer? [Shouts] Shut up!

LOMOV. Intriguer!

CHUBUKOV. Boy! Pup!

LOMOV. Old rat! Jesuit!

CHUBUKOV. Shut up or I'll shoot you like a partridge! You fool!

LOMOV. Everybody knows that--oh my heart!--your late wife used to
beat you. ... My feet ... temples ... sparks. ... I fall, I fall!

CHUBUKOV. And you're under the slipper of your housekeeper!

LOMOV. There, there, there ... my heart's burst! My shoulder's come
off. ... Where is my shoulder? I die. [Falls into an armchair] A
doctor! [Faints.]

CHUBUKOV. Boy! Milksop! Fool! I'm sick! [Drinks water] Sick!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. What sort of a hunter are you? You can't even sit
on a horse! [To her father] Papa, what's the matter with him? Papa!
Look, papa! [Screams] Ivan Vassilevitch! He's dead!

CHUBUKOV. I'm sick! ... I can't breathe! ... Air!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. He's dead. [Pulls LOMOV'S sleeve] Ivan Vassilevitch!
Ivan Vassilevitch! What have you done to me? He's dead. [Falls into
an armchair] A doctor, a doctor! [Hysterics.]

CHUBUKOV. Oh! ... What is it? What's the matter?

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. [Wails] He's dead ... dead!

CHUBUKOV. Who's dead? [Looks at LOMOV] So he is! My word! Water! A
doctor! [Lifts a tumbler to LOMOV'S mouth] Drink this! ... No, he
doesn't drink. ... It means he's dead, and all that. ... I'm the most
unhappy of men! Why don't I put a bullet into my brain? Why haven't I
cut my throat yet? What am I waiting for? Give me a knife! Give me a
pistol! [LOMOV moves] He seems to be coming round. ... Drink some water!
That's right. ...

LOMOV. I see stars ... mist. ... Where am I?

CHUBUKOV. Hurry up and get married and--well, to the devil with you!
She's willing! [He puts LOMOV'S hand into his daughter's] She's willing
and all that. I give you my blessing and so on. Only leave me in peace!

LOMOV. [Getting up] Eh? What? To whom?

CHUBUKOV. She's willing! Well? Kiss and be damned to you!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. [Wails] He's alive. . . Yes, yes, I'm willing. ...

CHUBUKOV. Kiss each other!

LOMOV. Eh? Kiss whom? [They kiss] Very nice, too. Excuse me, what's
it all about? Oh, now I understand ... my heart ... stars ... I'm happy.
Natalya Stepanovna. ... [Kisses her hand] My foot's gone to sleep. ...

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. I ... I'm happy too. ...

CHUBUKOV. What a weight off my shoulders. ... Ouf!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. But ... still you will admit now that Guess is
worse than Squeezer.

LOMOV. Better!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Worse!

CHUBUKOV. Well, that's a way to start your family bliss! Have some
champagne!

LOMOV. He's better!

NATALYA STEPANOVNA. Worse! worse! worse!

CHUBUKOV. [Trying to shout her down] Champagne! Champagne!


[CURTAIN]

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Read by: Charlotte Baskin-Gerwitz, Jeff Kiok, and Jeffrey Porter
 

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