Document 925

The Thrie Sisters

Author(s): David Purves

Copyright holder(s): David Purves





Rendered in Scots by David Purves


PROZOROV, Andrey Serghyesvich

NATASHA, (Natalie Ivanovna), his financée, afterwards his wife

OLGA, (Olga Serghyeevna, Olia) Andrey’s sister

MASHA, (Maria Serghyeevna) do.

IRENA, (Irena Serghyeevan) do.

KOOLYGHIN, Fiodor Ilyich, master at the High School for boys, Masha’s husband

VERSHININ, Alexandr Ignatyevitch, Lieutenant-Colonel, Battery Commander

TOOZENBACH, Nikolai Lvovich, Baron, Lieutenant in the Army

SOLIONY, Vassily Vassilich, Captain

CHEBUTYKIN, Ivan Romanych, Army Doctor

FEDOTIK, Aleksey Petrovitch, Second Lieutenant

RODÉ, Vladimir Karlovich, Second Lieutenant

FERAPONT, (Ferapont Spiridonych), an old porter from the County Office

ANFISA, the Prozorovs’ former nurse, an old woman of 80

The action takes place in a country town



A drawing-room in the Prozorov’s house; it is separated from a large ballroom at the back by a row of columns. It is midday; there is cheerful sunshine outside. In the ballroom the table is being laid for lunch. Olga, wearing the regulation dark-blue dress of a secondary schoolmistress, is correcting her pupil’s work, standing or walking about as she does so. MASHA, in a black dress is sitting reading a book, her hat on her lap. IRENA, in white, stands lost in thought.

OLGA: It is juist a year the-day that Faither dee’d, is it no? This verra day, the fift o Mey, -- yeir Saint’s day, Irena. Ah mynd it wes gey cauld an the snaw wes cummin doun. Ah felt than Ah wad never git ower his daith; an you haed faintit an war lyin still, lyke ye war deid. An nou --- a year’s gaen by, an we can speak aboot it easy lyke. An ye’r weirin whyte an lookin fair bonnie sae ye ir!

(A clock strikes twelve)

The clock struck twal than anaw. (A pause)
Ah mynd whan Faither wes be-in taen til the ceimeterie, the war a military band, an a salute wi rifles be-in fyred. But the warna monie fowk on the glaur at the lair syde. Mynd ye, it wes fair rainin doun, rainin an snawin.

IRENA: Dae we need ti bring up aw thir lourd maimories?

(Baron TOOZENBACH, CHEBUTYKIN and SOLIONY appear behind the columns by the table in the ballroom)

OLGA: It’s that warm the-day, we can keep the wundae wyde open, an yit the’r nae leafs ti be seen on the birks ootby. Faither wes made a brigadier eleivin year syne, an than he left Moscow an taen us wi him. Ah mynd weill hou awthing in Moscow wes in blossom bi this tyme; awthing wes droukit in sunlicht an it wes warm lyke. Eleivin year haes gaen by, yit Ah mynd aw aboot it, lyke we haed left onlie yestrein. Whan Ah waukent up this mornin, an saw the sunlicht cum fluidin in, aw this spring sunshyne, Ah felt that blyth! Ah haed sic a weiriein ti git back ti Moscow!

CHEBUTYKIN (to TOOZENBACH): The Deil ye hae---!

TOOZENBACH: It’s haivers, Ah wad agree.

(MASHA, absorbed in her book, whistles a tune under her breath)

OLGA: Masha, you stap that whustle, whustlin! Hou can ye daur? (A pause) Ah suppose Ah’m gittin this sair heid, kis Ah hae ti gang ti the skuil everie day an cairrie on teachin even on, inti the forenicht. Honestly, Ah feel as if aw ma strenth an youtheid war drainin oot me, drap bi drap, day eftir day. Day eftir day, eftir day, aw thae fower year Ah’ve been dargin at the skuil. The’r juist ae thing A lang for, an it seems ti growe strangir an strangir……

IRENA: Gin we coud juist gae back ti Moscow! Sell the houss, feinish wi oor lyfe here, an gae back ti Moscow.

OLGA: Ay, Moscow---! As suin as we possibly can.


IRENA: Ah daursay Andrew wul suin land a professorship. He’s no lyke ti byde on leevin here. The onlie problem is oor puir Masha.

OLGA: Howt, Masha can cum an stey the haill simmer wi us everie year we ir in Moscow!

(MASHA whistles a tune under her breath)

IRENA: Awthing wul wurk oot, wi God’s help.

(Looking through the window) Whit grand weather it is the-day. Ah juist dinna ken hou Ah feel sae blyth in ma hert the-day. Ah myndit this mornin that it wes ma ain Saint’s day an aw at aince, Ah felt sae happy, an Ah thocht o the tyme we war bairns, an oor mither wes ay leevin. An syne, sic wunnerfu thochts cam inti ma heid --- sic braw lyfie thochts.

OLGA: Ye’r sae luivlie the-day, Irena. Ye div look verra fetchin. Masha looks bonnie, tae. Andrey micht be weill-faured, but he’s growne that stoot this whyle back. It disna suit him at aw. As for me, Ah’ve juist aged an growne thinner. Ah suppose it’s throu be-in fasht wi the lassies at the skuil. But the-day, Ah’m at hame, an ma sair heid’s awa, an Ah feel a sicht yungir nor Ah did yestrein. Eftir aw – Ah’m onlie twantie-echt….. Ah daursay awthing God wulls maun be richt an guid, but Ah canna help thinkin whyles, that gin Ah’d gotten mairrit an bidden at hame, it wad hae been a better thing for me in the lang rin. (A pause) Ah wad hae been awfu fond o ma man, sae Ah wad..

TOOZENBACH: (To SOLIONY) Ye speak sic a lot o blethers, Ah’m tired listenin til ye. (He comes into the drawing room)

Ah forgot ti tell ye: Vershinin, oor new battery commander, is cummin ti see ye the-day. (Sits down by the piano)

OLGA: Ah’m verra gled ti hear it.

IRENA: Is he auld lyke?

TOOZENBACH: Na, no verra---! Forty, forty-five at the maist. (Plays quietly) He seems a nice lyke fallae. He’s nae fuil, for shuir. His ae faut is he speaks ower mukkil. He speaks juist the aince an that’s aw the tyme.

IRENA: Is he interestin?

TOOZENBACH: He’s awricht, onlie he haes a wyfe, a guidmither am twa wee lassies. Whit’s mair, she’s his saicont wyfe. He gauns aboot veisitin awbodie an tells thaim he hae a wyfe an twa wee lassies. He’l tell YOU aboot it tae, Ah’m shuir o that. His guidwyfe seems ti be a bit saft i the heid. She weirs a lang plet lyke a quyne. She is aye philosophisin an speakin in a ferr-back lyke wey wi boul in his mou, an forby she aften tries ti commit suicide, seeminlie ti worrie hir man. Ah richt heid case--- Ah wad hae run awa frae a wyfe lyke that years syne, but he juist pits up wi it, an girns on aboot it.

(SOLIONY enters the drawing room with CHEBUTYKIN)

SOLIONY: Nou Ah can lift nae mair nor the saxtie pund wi the ae haund, but wi twa, Ah can lift twa hunder pund, or even twa hunder an fortie. Sae Ah wad say that twa men ir no juist twyce as strang as yin, but thrie tymes as strang; if no mair.

CHEBUTYKIN: (reading the paper as he comes in) Here a recipe for fawin-oot hair….. twa unce o naphthalene, a hauf bottle o methylated speirit….dissolve an apply yince a day…..(Writes it down in notebook) Ah maun mak a note o it.
(to SOLIONY) Weill, as Ah wes tryin ti explain ti ye, ye cork the bottle an shove a gless tube throu the cork. Syne ye tak a tait o ordnarie pouthert alum, an …..

IRENA: Ivan Romanych, ma dear Romanych---!

CHEBUTYKIN: Whit is’t, ma bairn, whit is’t!

IRENA: Tell me, hou is it Ah’m sae happy the-day? It’s lyke Ah war sailin alang in a boat wi gret whyte sails, an abuin me, the wyde blue lift, an in the lift, gret mukkil burds kelterin aboot.

CHEBUTYKIN: (kissing both her hands tenderly) Ma wee whyte burdikin--!

IRENA: Ye ken, whan Ah waukent up this mornin, an eftir Ah haed gotten up an washt masell, aw at aince Ah felt as gin awthing in the warld becam clear ti me, an Ah kent the wey Ah soud leeve.

Ah ken it aw nou, ma dear Ivan Romanych. Man maun wurk bi the sweit o his brou, whitever cless he belangs, an that is his haill purpose in lyfe --- that is whaur his happiness an content can be fund. Ai, it maun be graund ti be a wurkman, rysin wi the sun an brekkin stanes bi the roadsyde – or a hird –or a skuilmaister lairnin the bairns – or an ingine dryver on the railwey. Heivins, it’s better ti be a bullik or horse, an wurk, nor the kynd o yung wumman that waukens at twal, an drinks hir coffee in bed an syne taks twa oors dinkin hirsell ….Terrible----!

Dae ye ken hou ye grein whyles for a lang cauld drink in the het wather? Weill that is the wey Ah lang for wurk ti dae. An gin Ah dinna git up aerlie frae this day on an really wurk, ye can refuise ti be freins wi me onie mair, Ivan Romanych.

CHEBUTYKIN: (tenderly) Sae Ah wul---

TOOZENBACH: Aw this greinin for wark---! Crivvens! Hou weill Ah can unnerstaun it! Ah’ve never duin a straik o wark aw ma leevin days. Ah wes born in St Petersburg, an unfreinlie, idleset ceitie---born intil a faimlie whaur wark an worrie war never kent. Ah mynd a sairvant pouin aff ma buits for me whan Ah cam hame frae the cadet skuil….. Ah girned at the wey he did it, an ma mither lookit on in admiration.

Ah wes weill gairdit frae wark, Ah can tell ye. But the tyme haes cum. The’r a mukkil thunner clood blawin ower us. A mukkil blatter is on its road for ti freshen us up. Ay, it’s cummin for shuir. It’s gey near us areddies, an an it’s gaun ti blaw awa aw this idleset an dowfness, an prejudice agin wark. Ah’m gaun ti wurk, an in twantie-five year’s tyme, everie man an wumman wul be wurkin. Ilkane o us---!

CHEBUTYKIN: Ah’m no gaun ti wurk!

TOOZENBACH: You dinna coont.

SOLIONY: In twenty-five year’s tyme ye winna be alive, thenk guidness. In a year or twa, ye’l dee frae a straik---or Ah’l loss ma temper at ye an pit a bullet in yeir heid, ma guid fallae.
(Takes a scent bottle and sprinkles the scent over his chest and hands)

CHEBUTYKIN: (Laughs) It’s true aneuch Ah hae never duin onie wark. No a haund’s turn sen a left the university--- Ah haena even read a book---juist the papers.
(Takes another newspaper out of his pocket)

CHEBUTYKIN: For instance, Ah ken frae the paper, the war a bodie cawed Dobrolibov, but whit he wrate aboot Ah haena the faintest notion…..Guid alane kens…

(Someone knocks on the floor from downstairs)

Thare---! They’r cryin me ti cum doun; the’r sumbodie cum ti see me. Ah’l be back in a meinit…..

(Goes out hurriedly, stroking his beard)

IRENA: He’s up ti yin o his little games.

TOOZENBACH: Ay, he lookit gey sleikit as he gae oot. He’s shuirlie gaun ti gie ye a wee present! That wul be it!

IRENA: Ai, Ah div hate that kynd o thing….

OLGA: Ay, is it no awfu? He’s aye daein sumthing silly.

MASHA: (Gets up as she sings under her breath) ‘A green oak grows by a curving shore, and round that oak hangs a golden chain….’

OLGA: Ye’r dowie, the-day, Masha.

(Masha puts on her hat, singing)

Whaur ye gaun til?

MASHA: Hame--! Ah’m gaun hame!

IRENA: Whit a daftlyke thing ti dae!

TOOZENBACH: Whit--! Gaun awa frae yeir sister’s pairtie?

MASHA: Whit dis it maitter? Ah’l be back again this forenicht. Fareweill ma darlin! (Kisses IRENA) An aince mair, Ah wush you aw the happiness in the warld. In the auld days, whan oor faither wes alive, we uised ti hae thertie or fortie officers at oor pairties. Whit cheerie pairties we haed! An the-day---whit hae we got the-day? A man an a hauf, an the houss is quaet as a grave. Ah’m awa hame. Ah’m fair depressed the-day, sae Ah im! Ah’m dowie, sae never YOU heed me!
(Laughs through her tears)
We’l hae a crack later, but fareweill for nou, ma dear. Ah’l gang sumwhaur or ither, oot the road.

IRENA: (displeased) Ye ir the leimit!

OLGA: (tearfully) Ah unnerstaun ye Masha. Ah unnerstaun.

SOLIONY: Gin a man sterts philosophisin, ye caw that philosophy, or mebbe juist sophistry, but if a wumman sterts philosophisin, ye cry that….whit wad ye cry it nou? Ask me anither!

MASHA: Whit ir ye on aboot? You ir a richt haiveril.

SOLIONY: Naething---!
“He had no time, ‘Oh, oh’
Before that bear had struck him low” …..

MASHA: (To OLGA, crossly) An you stap that sneivellin!

(Enter ANFISA and FERAPONT, the latter carrying a large cake)

ANFISA: Cum alang ma dearie, this road. Cum awa in, yeir buits is clean aneuch.
(to IRENA) A braw cake frae Protopopov, at the Cooncil Office.

IRENA: Thenk ye! You tell him Ah’m mukkil behauden til him!

(Takes the cake)

FERAPONT: Eh---? Whit’s that?


OLGA: Nanny, wul ye gie him a bit cake?
Alang ye gae, Ferapont, they’l gie ye a bit cake!

FERAPONT: Whit’s that?

ANFISA: Juist you cum alang wi me, Ferapont Spiridonych ma dearie! Cum alang!

(Goes out with FERAPONT)

MASHA: Ah dinna lyke that Protopopov chiel, Mihail Potopych, or Ivanych, or whitever it is. It is best no ti invyte him here, Ah’m thinkin.

IRENA: Ah haena invytit him.

MASHA: Thenk guidness for that.

(Enter CHEBUTYKIN, followed by a soldier carrying a silver samovar. Murmers of astonishment and displeasure)

OLGA: (Covering her face with her hands) A SAMOVAR---! But this is awfu!

(Goes through to the ballroom and stands by the table)

IRENA: Ma dear Ivan Romanych, whit ir ye thinkin aboot?

TOOZENBACH: (Laughs) Did Ah no tell ye?

MASHA: Ivan Romanych, ye really soud be ashamed o yeirsell!

CHEBUTYKIN: Ma dear sweet lassie, Ah hae naebodie in the warld but you. Ye’r dearer ti me nor oniething in aw the warld. Ah’m verra near saxtie year auld. Ah’m an auld man – gey ferr doun the brae nou – a lanesum auld man o nae importance at aw. The ae thing that’s warth oniething ti me is ma feelins for ye, an it warna for you, Ah’m shuir Ah wad hae been deid an in ma lair, langsyne.

(to IRENA) Ma dear, ma sweet wee lass, hae Ah no kent ye sen the verra day ye war born? Did Ah no cairrie ye aboot an daunil ye in ma airms? ……an yeir mither an me no aye guid freins?

IRENA: But whit did ye git sic expensive presents for?

CHEBUTYKIN: (tearfully and crossly) Expensive presents---? Howt, awa wi ye---!
(to the orderly) Pit you the samovar doun ower thare!
(Mimics IRENA) Expensive presents----!

(The orderly takes the samovar to the ballroom)

ANFISA: (Crosses the drawing room) Ma dears, the’r a strange Colonel juist arrived. He’s taen aff his tapcoat an he’s cummin up nou. Irenuska, you be nice an polite til him, wul ye no?
(in the doorway) An it’s tyme we haed oor denner, tae. Ai Mercie me!

TOOZENBACH: It wul be Vershinin, Ah daursay.

(Enter Vershinin)

Lieutenant-Colonel Vershinin!

VERSHININ: (to MASHA and IRENA) Allou me ti introduce masell— Lieutenant-Colonel Vershinin. Ah’m that gled, that verra gled for ti be here at lest. Hou ye hae aw chynged! Ai Michtie, hou ye hae chynged!

IRENA: Please, sit yeirsell doun, Sir! We’r unco pleased ti see ye, Ah’m shuir.

VERSHININ: (cheerfully) Ah’m that gled ti see ye, that gled! But the war the thrie o ye, war the no? Thrie sisters--- Ah mynd the war thrie little lassies. Oh ay, Ah saw thaim masell. Ah mynd thaim weill. Hou tyme flees! Ai, mercie, hou it flees!

TOOZENBACH: Alexandr Ignatyevicvh cums frae Moscow.

IRENA: Frae Moscow, is it? Ye cum frae Moscow?

VERSHININ: Ay, frae Moscow it is. Yeir faither wes a battery commander thare, an Ah wes an officer in the same brigade.

(to MASHA) Ah seem ti ken your face a wee bit.

MASHA: Ah dinna mynd you at aw.

IRENA: Olia, Olia! (Calls towards the ballroom) Olia, cum ben the houss!

(OLGA enters from the ballroom)

It seems that Lieutenant-Colonel Vershinin cums frae Moscow.

VERSHININ: You maun be Olga Serghyeevna, the auldest yin…… An you wul be Maria….an ye ir IRENA, the yungest yin.

OLGA: Ye cum frae Moscow?

VERSHININ: Ay, Ah studied in Moscow an listit thare. Ah bade thare for a guid lang whyle, but syne Ah wes pitten in chairge o a battery here---sae Ah flittit oot here, ye see. Ah dinna richt mynd ye, ye ken. Ah juist mynd the war thrie sisters. Ah div mynd yeir faither tho, Ah wul say. Ah mynd him verra weill. Aw Ah need ti dae is shut ma een an Ah can see him staunin thare as gin he wes aye leevin. Here, Ah uised ti veisit ye in Moscow.

OLGA: Ah thocht Ah myndit awbodie an yit…..

VERSHININ: Ma Christian names ir Alexandr Ignatyevich.

IRENA: Alexandr Ignatyevich, an ye cum frae Moscow! Weill, whitna surprise!

OLGA: We’r gaun ti leeve thare, ye ken.

IRENA: We howp ti be thare bi the Back End. It’s oor hame toun, we war born thare… Staraya Basmannya Street.

(Both laugh happily)

MASHA: Fancy meeting in wi sumbodie frae the same toun sae unexpekkit lyke!
(eagerly) Ah mynd nou. Div ye mynd, Olga, the war sumbodie they uised ti caw, ‘the luivseik Major’? Ye wad be a Lieutenant then, war ye no, an ye war in luiv wi sumbodie or ither, an awbodie uised ti bather ye aboot it! They cawed ye Major for sum reason or ither, tho ye warna a richt Major at aw.

VERSHININ: (Laughs) That’s it, that’s it…. ‘The luivseik Major’, that’s whit they cawed me.

MASHA: In thae days, ye onlie haed a mustache…. Michtie me, ye look a sicht aulder nou! (tearfully) That mukkil aulder---!

VERSHININ: Ay, Ah wes still a yung man in the days whan they cryit me, ‘the luivseik Major’. Ah wes in luiv then, richt aneuch. It’s different nou,

OLGA: But ye haena a singil gray hair on yeir heid. Ye’ve aged lyke, but ye’r shuirlie no an auld man.

VERSHININ: For aw, Ah’m turnt fortie-twa. Is it lang sen ye left Moscow?

IRENA: Eleivin year. Nou whit ir ye greitin for, Masha, ye daft kipper? (tearfully) Ye’l gar me greit anaw.

MASHA: Ah’m no greitin. Whit wes the street ye bade in?

VERSHININ: In the Staraya Basmannaya.

OLGA: We did---we bade thare tae!

VERSHININ: At ae tyme, Ah leeved in the Niemietzjkaya Street. Ah uised ti walk frae thare til the Krasny Berricks, an Ah mynd a dreich brig A haed aye ti cross. Ah uised ti hear the soond o the wattir rushin ablo it. Ah mynd hou lanesum an dowie Ah felt thare. (a pause) But whit a braw braid river ye hae here! It’s a marvellous river.

OLGA: Ay, but this is a cauldrif place. It’s cauld here, an the’r an awfu mosquitoes here.

VERSHININ: Is that sae? Ah wad hae thocht ye haed a guid climate here, a rael Russian climate: forest, river…… bonnie birks anaw
The dear shy birks---Ah loue thaim mair nor onie ither tree. It’s fyne leevin here. But the’r ae unco thing; the station is fullie fifteen myle frae the toun. An naebodie kens whit for.

SOLIONY: Ah ken hou that is. (Everybody looks at him) Kis gin the station wes nearer it wadna be sae ferr awa, an as it is sae ferr awa, it canna be nearer.

(an awkward silence)

TOOZENBACH: Ye fairlie lyke yeir little joke, Vassily Vassilich.

OLGA: Ah’m shuir Ah ken ye nou. Ah ken Ah dae.

VERSHININ: Ah kent yeir mither.

CHEBUTYKIN: She wes a guid weill-daein wumman, God bliss hir maimorie!

IRENA: Mammie wes beirit in Moscow.

OLGA: At the convent o Novo-Dievichye.

MASHA: Ye ken, Ah’m even stertin ti forget whit she lookit lyke. Ah daursay fowk wul forget aw aboot us in the same wey, yae day. Ah dout we’l be forgotten awthegither.

VERSHININ: Ay, we’l aw be forgotten foraye. That is oor weird, an the’r naething we can dae aboot it. An aw the things that seems serious, important an ful o meanin til us nou, wul be forgotten yae day --- or oniewey, they winna seem important onie mair.

(a pause)

VERSHININ: It’s queer ti think that we canna tell whit wul be seen as gret an important in future an whit wul be regairdit as fouterie an haivers. Did the gret discoveries o Copernicus—or a Columbus, gin ye lyke, no kyth as uissless ti begin wi? Whyles a whein blethers wrutten bi sum dottilt auld fuil wes seen as a revelation or a gret truith!” It micht even cum ti pass that in tyme ti cum, the lyfe we leeve the-day wul seem orra an stuipit, an no even clean aither, an mebbe even wicked.

TOOZENBACH: Wha can tell? It’s juist as lyklie that generations ti cum wul think that we leeved oor lyves on a hie plane an mynd us wi respek. Eftir awe, we dinna hae tortures an public executions an invasions an siclyke, tho the’r aye a fek o puirtith an sufferin.

SOLIONY: (In a high-pitched voice as if calling chickens) Chouk, chouk. Couk! The’r naething oor guid Baron lykes as mukkil as a nice bit o hamespun philosophisin.

TOOZENBACH: Vassily Vassilich, wul you kyndlie leave iz alane?
(Moves to another chair)
This is becummin richt wearisum.

SOLIONY: (as before) Chouk, chouk, chouk!

TOOZENBACH: (to VERSHININ) The sufferin we see aroond us – an the’r mukkil o it – proves in itsell that the society we belang haes at least wun til a level o moralitie that is heicher….

VERSHININ: Ay, ay, richt aneuch.

CHEBUTYKIN: Ye said the-nou that oor age wul be cawed gret, but fowk ir wee an shargert aw the same…… (he gets up) Juist look hou smaw an shilpit Ah im!

(A violin is played off stage)

MASHA: That’s Andrey on his fiddle; he’s oor brither ye ken.

IRENA: We hae quite a clivver brither – we’r fair expekkin him ti be a professor. Faither wes a military man, but Andrey hae chuisen an academic career.

OLGA: We’ve been funnin wi him the-day. We think he haes fawn in luiv, a wee bit.

IRENA: Wi a lass that bydes doun hereaboots. She’l be lookin in the-day, maist lykelie.

MASHA: Mynd ye, the wey she dresses hirsell is no cannie. It’s no juist that hir claes ir ugsum an auld-farrant, they’r simply pathetic. She’l pit on sum weird-lookin bricht yallae skirt wi a coorse kynd o freinge falderal, an syne a reid bloose wi gang wi it. She’s a bit o an affront wi hir auld duds.

Hir chowks looks lyke as tho they’d been skoured, they’r that glossy. Andrae canna be in luiv wi hir. Ah canna credit it: eftir aw, he haes sum taste. Ah think he’s juist playin the daft laddie, juist ti fash us. Ah heard yestrein she’s ettlin ti git mairrit on Protopopov, the convener o the local cooncil. Ah thocht masell that wes a grand idea.

(Calls through the side door) ‘Andrey, you cum ben here, wul ye? Juist for a meinit, ma dear!’

(Enter Andrae)

OLGA: This is ma brither, Andrey Serghyeevich.

VERSHININ: Vershinin!

ANDREY: Prozorov! (Wipes the perspiration from his face)

Ah hear tell ye’ve been appyntit battery commander here?

OLGA: Whit dae ye think, dear? Alexandr Ignatyevich cums frae Moscow.

ANDREY: Dae ye nou? Man, Congratulations---! Ye’l git nae peace frae ma sisters, nou.

VERSHININ: Ah dout yeir sisters maun be gittin bored wi me areddies.

IRENA: Juist look, Andrey gied me this little picter frame the-day. (Shows him the frame) He made it hissell.

VERSHININ: (Looks at the frame, not knowing what to say) Oh ay, it’s verra braw, Ah’m shuir….

IRENA: Dae ye see yon wee frame ower the pianae? He made that yin anaw.

(Andrae waves his hand impatiently and walks off)

OLGA: He’s richt knackie wi his haunds; he plays the fiddle an he maks aw kynds o things, anaw. Andrae, please dinna rin awa! He’s got sic a bad habit --- aye walkin awa that wey. Cum here you!

(Masha and IRENA take him by the arms and lead him back laughing)

MASHA: Nou juist you cum here!

ANDREY: Juist leave me alane, please!

MASHA: Ye ir a sumf! They uised ti caw Alexandr Ignatyevich, ‘the luivseik Major’, an it didna bather him at aw.

VERSHININ: No in the laest---!

MASHA: Ah feel Ah soud caw ye, ‘the luivseik fiddler’.

IRENA: Or a ‘luivseik professor’.

OLGA: He’s fawn in luiv! Oor Andriusha’s in luiv!

IRENA: (Clapping her hands) Thrie cheers for Andriusha! Andriusha’s in luiv.

CHEBUTYKIN: (Comes up behind ANDREY and puts his arms round his waist) ‘Nature created us for love alone’…..

(Laughs loudly, still holding his paper in his hand)

ANDREY: That’s aneuch …. Less o that…..! (Wipes his face)

Ah coudna git ti sleep aw nicht, an Ah’m no feelin ower graund the-nou. Ah read or fower o’clock, an syne gaed ti bed, but naething happent--- Ah coudna faw ower. Ah kept on thinkin aboot yae thing an anither…. An it gits licht sae aerlie; the sun juist poors inti ma chaumer. Ah’d lyke ti owerset a book frae the Inglish, whyle Ah’m here throu the simmer.

VERSHININ: Ye read the Inglish then?

ANDREY: Oh ay, ma faither – God bliss his maimorie – uised ti fair weir us oot wi lairnin. He wes ay at us. It soonds daft, Ah ken, but Ah maun confess that sen he dee’d, Ah’ve begun ti growe stoot, wi be-in relieved o the strain o lairnin. In juist a year, Ah’m fair stoot growne. Ay, thenks ti ma faither, ma sisters an Ah kens French an German an Inglish, an Irena here, kens the Italian anaw. But whitna tryauve it aw cost us.

MASHA: Kennin thrie ootlin leids in a toun lyke this is no mukkil guid til oniebodie. It is juist a uissless burden – raither lyke haein a saxt fingir on yeir haund. We ken a hantil stuff that’s uissless awthegither.

VERSHININ: Dae ye think sae? (Laughs) Ye ken a hantil stuff that’s uissless! It seems ti me that the’r nae place in aw the yird, houever dreich an dowf it micht be, whaur intelligence an a guid education can be uissless. Lat us suppose that amang the thrie hunder thousan sowls in this toun, the haill clanjamfrie, nae dout, ignorant an backward, the’r juist thrie bricht fowk lyke yeirsells. Atweill, ye canna howp ti mak a big impression on the mass o ignorance roond aboot ye; as yeir lyfe gaes in, ye’l git smoored amang the thrang. Lyfe wul gollop ye up but ye winna sant awa awthegither, ye’l mak sum impression. Eftir ye’r awa, mebbe sax mair fowk lyke yeirsells wul pit in an appearance, syne the’l be twal, or in the end, maist fowk wul be lyke you. Sae in twa or thrie hunder year, lyfe on this auld warld o oors wul becum lousum an wunnerfu.

Man greins for sic a warld, an gin it’s no here yit, he wul imagine it, dream aboot it, an mak ready for it. He haes ti ken an see mair nor his faither an graund faither did afore him. (Laughs) An here ye’r complainin kis ye ken a lot o stuff that’s uissless.

MASHA: (Takes off her hat) Ah’l be bydin for ma denner.

IRENA: (with a sigh) Mercie, sumbodie soud hae wrutten aw that doun afore Ah forget it.

(ANDREY has left the room unnoticed)

TOOZENBACH: Ye say that in tyme, lyfe wul be lousum an wunnerfu. Aweill, that’s lykelie true. But ti enjoy it the-nou, at a distance, sae ti speak, we maun mak ready an wurk for it.

VERSHININ: (Gets up) Oh ay….ay shuirlie. Whitna hantil flouers ye hae here! (Looks around) An whit a braw houss ! Ah fair envy ye! Aw ma lyfe A’ve leeved lyke a pig in pokey wee flats, wi twa chairs an a sofae, an a stove that aye reiks. It’s the flouers Ah’ve missed aw ma lyfe, flouers lyke this!…… (Rubs his hands) Aweill, never heed!

TOOZENBACH: Ay, we maun wurk. Ah daursay ye’l be thinkin Ah’m a sentimental German. But Ah can tell ye Ah’m no---Ah’m Russian. Ah dinna speak a wurd o German. Ma faither wes brocht up in the Greek Orthodox Kirk. (a pause)

VERSHININ: (Walks up and down) Ye ken, Ah aften wunner whit it wad be lyke ti stert yeir lyfe ower again---Ah mean……. Suppose ye coud pit asyde the waesum lyfe ye’ve leeve areddies, lyke it wes juist a kynd o first draft, an syne stert anither yin as a fair copy.

An that happent, Ah think the thing ye’d want maist wad be no ti repeat yeirsell. Ye’d try shuirlie, ti bigg a new warld for yeirsell: a flat lyke this yin, for instance, wi a whein flouers an plenty licht …. Ah hae a wyfe, ye ken, an twa wee lassies, an ma wyfe is no weill, an aw that…..Weill, gin Ah haed ti stert ma lyfe ower again, Ah wadna mairrie, for a stert….. Na, na, Deil a fears.

(Enter KOOLYGHIN in the uniform of a teacher)

KOOLYGHIN: (Approaches IRENA) Congratulations ma dear sister--- frae the bottom o ma hert, congratulations on yeir Saint’s day. Guid health ti ye an awthing a quyne o your age soud hae. An allou me for ti present ye wi this little book. (Hands her a book) It’s the historie o oor skuil ower the haill fiftie year o its existence. Ah wrate it aw masell. Juist a bit o a divert, ye ken -- Ah wrate it in ma spare tyme whan Ah haed naething better ti dae, lyke- But Ah howp ye wul read it for aw!

(to VERSHININ) Allou me ti introduce masell! Koolyghin’s the name. Ah’m a dominie at the secondary skuil here. An a toun cooncillor anaw.

(to IRENA) Ye’l finnd a leit in the book o the names o aw the bairns that haes feinisht thair studies at oor skuil ower the lest fiftie year. Feci quod potui, faciant melior a potentes.

IRENA: But ye gied me this book lest Aester.

KOOLYGHIN: (Laughs) Did Ah really? In that case, gie me it back---or no, better gie it til the Colonel. Pleae tak it, Colonel. Mebbe ye’l read it sum tyme whan ye hae naething better ti dae.

VERSHININ: Monie thenks ti ye! (Prepares to leave)

Ah’m rael gled for ti make yeir acquantance….

OLGA: Ye’r no gaun, ir ye? ……. Ye maunna gang.

IRENA: Ye’l shuirlie byde an hae a pikkil denner wi us, please!

OLGA: Please byde!

VERSHININ: (Bows) Ah see Ah’ve intruded on yeir Saint’s day pairtie. Ah didna ken. Ye maun forgie me for no offerin ma congratulations.

(Goes into the ballroom with OLGA)

KOOLYGHIN: The-day is the Sabbath, ma freins, a day o rest. Lat us rest an enjoy it, ilkane accordin til his age an poseition in lyfe! We wul hae ti rowe up the carpets an pit thaim awa till the wunter…..we wul hae ti mynd no ti forget ti pit sum moth baws on thaim, or Persian pouther.

The auld Romans aye enjoyed guid health kis they kent hou ti wurk an hou ti rest. They haed, mens sana in corpore sana for ti keep thaim richt. Thair lyfe haed a definite maik, a paitern…… a form… The Rector o this skuil aye says the maist important thing in lyfe is form…..a thing that losses its maik is feinisht---an that’s true o everyday lyfe.

(Takes MASHA by the waist and laughs)

Ma Masha loues me. Ma guidwyfe loues me. Ay, an the curtains wul hae ti be taen doun an pitten awa wi the carpets, tae…….. Losh, Ah’m fair cheerie the-day, sae Ah im. Ah’m in braw speirits…. Masha, we’r invytit ti the Rector’s at fower o’clock this eftirnuin. A bit dander in the kintrie haes been arranged for the teachers an thair faimlies.


KOOLYGHEN: (distressed) Masha, darlin, whitfor no?

MASHA: Ah’l tell ye eftir…………..(crossly) Awricht, Ah’l cum. Juist leave iz alane the-nou--- (Walks off)

KOOLYGHIN: An eftir the walk we wul aw spend the forenicht at the Rector’s houss. For aw his puir health, that man spare nae pains ti be sociable. The’r aye a kynd wurd frae him. A first-rate ceivilised bodie----! Yin o naitur’s gentlemen--- Eftir the conference yestrein, he says ti me, says he ‘Ah’m wabbit, Fiador Ilyich. Ah’m fair forfochen.’ (Looks at the clock, then at his watch) Yeir tyme piece is seivin meinits fest. Ay, Ah’m fair worn oot awthegither,’ he said.

(The sound of the violin is heard offstage)

OLGA: Wul ye aw cum an sit yeirsells doun, please! The denner is richt ready. The’r a pie!

KOOLYGHIN: Ai, Olga, ma dear lass--! Lest nicht, Ah wrocht up till eleivin o’clock, an Ah felt tyred lyke, but the-day, Ah’m fair blyth, sae Ah im. (Goes to the table in the ballroom) A pie, is it---? Graund! Ma dear Olga!

MASHA: Aw the same, dinna you daur drink oniething!

(Crossly, but making sure her husband doen’t hear) Sae nou Ah hae ti spend anither o thir deid borin forenichts at the Rector’s.

TOOZENBACH: Ah wadna gang if Ah war you, an that’s that.

CHEBUTYKIN: Dinna you gae, ma dear!

MASHA: Dinna gang! Ai, whitna damnable lyfe! Ah canna thole it. (Goes into the ballroom)

CHEBUTYKIN: (Follows her) Weill, weill….

SOLIONY: (as he passes TOOZENBACH on the way to the ballroom) Chouk, chouk, chouk!)

KOOLYGHIN: (brightly) Yeir health, Colonel! Ah’m a skuilmaister….. An Ah’m fair yin o the faimlie here, mair or less. Ah’m Masha’s guidman. She haes sic a sweet naitur, haes Masha, sic a verra sweet naitur!

VERSHININ: Ah think Ah’l hae a drap this derk vodka. Slainte---! (to OLGA) Ah feel that joco wi you fowk!

(Only IRENA and TOOZENBACH remain in the drawing-room)

IRENA: Masha’s in a bit o a bad tid the-day. Ye ken she got mairrit whan she wes echteen, an at that tyme, hir man seemed til hir the clivverest man in aw the warld. It’s different nou. He is the kyndest o men, but she kens he is no the clivverest.


ANDREY: (offstage) Juist cummin---! (Enters and goes to table)

TOOZENBACH: Whit is on yeir mynd?

IRENA: Oh, naething special. Ah dinna lyke this man, Soliony. Ah’m fair feart for him. Whanever he opens his mou he says sumthing silly.

TOOZENBACH: He is a queer burd. Ah’m vext for him in a wey, even tho he fashes me. In fact, Ah feel mair vext for him nor fasht. Ah think he is blate in a wey. Whan he is on his lane wi me, he can be wycelyke an freinlie, but in company, he is a bullie an turns nestie. Dinna you gae ower thare juist yit; lat thaim git richt dounsutten an settilt. Ah’l byde wi you for a bit. Tell me whit ye ir thinkin aboot!
(a pause) You’r twantie ….. an Ah’m no thertie yit, masell. Whit years an years we still hae afore us: a haill lang train o years, aw fou o ma luiv for you!

IRENA: Dinna speak ti me aboot luiv, Nicolai Lvovich!

TOOZENBACH: (not listening) Ai, a lang tyme for a ful lyfe. Ah lang ti wurk an warsil an this langin is sumhou melled wi ma luiv for you, Irena. An juist kis ye happen ti be lousum, lyfe seems lousum ti me! Whit ir ye thinkin aboot nou?

IRENA: Ye say that lyfe is lousum. Mebbe it is---but whit if it onlie seems lousum? Oor lyfes, Ah mean the lyfes o us thrie sisters, haena been lousum up ti nou. Ti tell ye the truith, we hae been smoored, lyke sae monie weeds in a gairden. Mercie, Ah’m greitin…..the’r nae need!

(Quickly dries her eyes and smiles)

We maun wurk, wurk, wurk! Ah think we feel depressed an tak sic a dreich view o lyfe, kis we hae never kent hou ti mak a real effort. Fowk that haes ti tyauve disna hae tyme ti wunner whuther they’r depressed or no. We’r the bairns o parents that despises wark

(Enter NATALIA IVANOVA. She is wearing a pink dress with a green belt)

NATASHA: They’ve gaen in for the denner areddies…. Ah’m late…. (Glances at herself in a mirror, adjusts her dress) Ma hair seems awricht……..Ah think it wul dae. (Catches sight o IRENA) Ma dear IRENA Serghyeevna, ma congratulations! (Gives her a vigorous and prolonged kiss) Ye hae sae monie veisitors…….Ah feel fair shy, sae Ah div…. Hou ir ye, Baron?

OLGA: (Enters the drawing-room) Oh, thare ye ir, Natalia Ivanovna! Hou ir ye ma dear?

(They kiss each other)

NATASHA: Ma best wushes! Ye ir that thrang here, Ah feel awfu shy…

OLGA: It’s awricht, they’r aw auld freins.

(Alarmed, dropping her voice) Ye’r weirin a green belt!
That’s shuirlie a mistak.

NATASHA: Hou a mistak? Is it an ill taiken or whit?

OLGA: Na, Na, but it juist disna gang wi yeir dress… It looks wrang!

NATASHA: (Tearfully) Dae ye think sae? But it’s no richt green. It’s a kynd o dull color…..

(Follows Olga to the ballroom. All are now seated at the table; the drawing room is empty)

KOOLYGHIN: Irena, ye ken, Ah div wush ye’d finnd yeirsell a guid man. Ah’m thinkin it’s mair nor tyme ye got yeirsell mairrit.

CHEBUTYKIN: You soud finnd yeirsll a nice wee man, tae, Natalia Ivanovna.

KOOLYGHIN: Natalia Ivanovna haes a man in mynd areddies, haes she no?

MASHA: (Strikes her plate with her fork) A gless o wyne for me, please! Thrie cheers for oor gret auld lyfe! We fairlie keep oor end up, Dae we no?

KOOLYGHIN: Masha, Ah wadna gie ye mair as five oot o ten for guid conduct.

VERSHININ: Say, this liqueur gaes doun weill. Whit is it made frae?

SOLIONY: Blek beetles.

IRENA: It’s no! Ugh! Ugh! That’s skunnersum!

OLGA: We’r haein roast turkey for the supper the-nicht, syne aipil tairt.

Ah’m gled Ah’m here aw day the-day……this forenicht anaw. Ye maun aw cum the-nicht.

VERSHININ: Can Ah cum then, tae?

IRENA: Ay, please cum!

NATASHA: They dinna staun on ceremonie here.

CHEBUTYKIN: ‘Nature created us for love alane!’ ……..(Laughs)

ANDREY: (crossly) Wul YOU stap it please? Less o that! Ir ye no tyred oot yit?

(FEDOTIK and RODÉ come in with a large basket of flowers)

FEDOTIK: Juist look here, they’r aw at thair meat areddies!

RODÉ: (in a loud voice) HAEIN THAIR DENNER? Sae they ir, they’r haein thair luncheon areddies!

FEDOTI: Haud on a meinit! (Takes a snapshot) Yin---! Juist anither meinit!……(Takes another snapshot) Twa…! That’s it!

(They pick up the basket and go into the ballroom where they are greeted uproariously)

RODÉ: (loudly) Congratulations, Irena Serghyeevna! Ah wush ye aw the best, awthing ye’d wush for yeirsell! Graund weather the-day, gret---! Ah’ve been oot stravaigin the haill mornin wi the laddies. Ye ken Ah teach gym at the academy, div ye no?

FEDOTIK: Ye can move nou, Irena Serghyeevna, that is gin ye want ti. (Takes a snapshot) Ye look unco bonnie the-day. (He takes a top out of his pocket) See this peerie---it’s got a graund hum til it!

IRENA: Whit a dinkie wee thing---!

MASHA: ‘A green oak grows by a curving shore, and round that oak hangs a golden chain’……a green chain around that oak’….. (Peevishly) Whit dae Ah keep on sayin that for? Thae lynes haes been worryin me aw day lang!

KOOLYGHIN: Dae ye ken, we’r therteen, dounsutten at the yae table.

RODÉ: (Loudly) Ye shuirlie dinna believe in thir auld supersteitions, dae ye?


KOOLYGHIN: Whan therteen fowk sits doun at the yae table, it means sum o thaim ir in luiv. Is’t yeirsell, bi onie chaunce, Ivan Romaych?

CHEBUTYKIN: Howt, Ah’m juist an auld skoundrel….. But whit Ah canna mak oot is hou Natalia Ivanovna looks sae embarrassed.

(Loud laughter. NATASHA runs out into the drawing room. Andrey follows her)

ANDREY: Please, Natasha, never you heed thaim! Haud on…. Wait a meinit….. Please!

NATASHA: Ah feel that affrontit….. Ah dinna ken whit ails me, an they’r aw lauchin at me. Ah soudna left the table lyke yon, but whan Ah seen sae monie fowk, Ah coudna help it, naither Ah coud ….. Ah juist coudna….. (Covers her face with her hands)

ANDREY: Ma dear lassie, please, please, dinna git upset. Honestly, they mean nae herm; they’r juist batherin ye. They ir guid naitured fowk – they aw ir – an they ir fond o us baith. Cum ower ti the wundae! They canna see us thare….. (Looks round)

NATASHA: Ye see, Ah’m no weill uised wi be-in wi sae monie gentrie.

ANDREY: Hou yung ye ir, Natasha, hou wunnerfu yung! Ma dear sweet lass, dinna fash yeirsell! Believe me --- Ah’m sae happy, that ful o luiv an joy…. Na, Na, they canna see us! Hou did Ah cum ti faw in luiv wi ye, whan wes it?… Ah dinna unnerstaun oniething onie mair. Ma precious, ma darlin, please --- Ah want ye ti mairrie me! Ah luiv ye as Ah’ve never luived oniebodie……(Kisses her)

(Enter two officers and, seeing NATASHA and ANDREY kissing, stand and stare in amazement)



The scene is the same as in ACT I. It is eight o’clock in the evening. The faint sound of an accordion is heard coming from the street. The stage is unlit.
(Enter NATALIA IVANOVA in a dressing gown, carrying a candle. She crosses the stage and stops by the door leading to ANDREY’S room.)

NATASHA: Whit ir ye daein, Andriusha? Ir ye readin? It’s awricht, Ah juist wantit ti ken…. (Goes to another door, looks inside and shuts it again) Naebodie’s left a licht on oniewhaur……

ANDREY: (Enters with a book in his hand) Whit is it, Natasha?

NATASHA: Ah wes juist daein the roonds for ti see if oniebodie haed left a licht on oniewhaur. It’s the carnival week an the sairvants ir aw up ti hie doh aboot it….oniething micht happen. Ye hae ti keep an ee on thaim. Lest nicht aboot twal o’clock, here did Ah no happen ti gang intil yeir parlor, an wad ye credit it---dae ye ken whit Ah seen---the war a lichtit caunil on the table heid? Ah haena fund oot wha lit it yit. (Puts the candle down) Whit tyme is’t?

ANDREY: (Glances at his watch) Quarter past echt--!

NATASHA: An Olga an Irena ir still oot! The’r no back frae thair wark yit, puir things! Olga’s aye at sum teachers’ conference, an Irena is at the Post Office. (Sighs) This mornin Ah says til Irena: ‘Mynd an tak care o yeirsell, ma dear! But she never heeds ME. Did ye say it wes a quarter past echt? Ah dout ma Bobik is no at aw weill. Hou did he git sae cauld? Yestrein he wes fevert, but the-day he feels cauld lyke ti the touch…… Ah’m that worrit aboot him.

ANDREY: He’s awricht, Natasha. The bairn’s weill aneuch.

NATASHA: For aw, Ah think he soud hae a special diet. Ah’m concerned aboot him. Bi the by, they tell me sum carnival pairtie is expekkit ti be cummin here the back o nyne. Ah wad raither THEY DIDNA CUM, Andrae!

ANDREY: Aweill, Ah dinna ken whit Ah can dae aboot that. They hae been askit ti cum aince eirant.

NATASHA: This mornin whan the wee fallae waukent up an look’t at me, aw at aince, he gied me a wee smyle. He kent me, ye see. It wes as mukkil as ti say, ‘Ah ken you. Ye’r ma Mammie!’ ‘Guid mornin, Bobik!’ says Ah. Guid mornin ma praiciuss darlin.’ An syne he laucht. Bairns unnerstauns awthing, ye ken, they unnerstaun perfitlie weill. Onie road, Andrey, Ah’l tell the sairvants no ti lat that carnival pairtie ower the houss door.

ANDREY: (Irresolutely) Weill…… it’s really for ma sisters ti say, is’t no? It’s thair houss eftir aw…….

NATASHA: Ay, it’s thair houss anaw. Ah’l tell thaim tae… They’r that kynd, sae they ir…… (Walks off) Ah’ve ordert soor milk for supper. The doctor says ye soud eat naething but soor milk, or ye’l never git onie thinner. (Stops)
Bobik feels that cauld, Ah dout his room is ower cauld for him. He soud move intil a cosier room, at laest or the warm weather cums. Irena’s room, for instance---that’s juist a perfit room for a wee bairn--- it’s dry an it gits the sun aw day. We’l hae ti tell hir: mebbe she wad share Olga’s chaumer for a bit…..Oniewey, she’s never hame throu the day. She onlie sleeps thare.
(a pause)
Andrey, ye’r no sayin oniething!

ANDREY: Ah wes ferr awa for a meinit. The’r naething ti say, oniewey.

NATASHA: Weill…. Whit wes it Ah wes gaun ti tell ye? Ai, ay, Ferapont, frae the Cooncil Office, wants ti see ye anent sumthing.

ANDREY: (Yawns) Tell him ti cum up!
(NATASHA goes out. ANDREY, bending over the candle she has left behind, begins to read his book.)
(Enter FERAPONT in an old shabby overcoat, his collar turned up, his ears muffled in a scarf)

ANDREY: Hullo, auld yin! Whit did ye want ti see me aboot?

FERAPONT: The chairman’s sent ye the register an a letter or sumthing. Here they ir! (Hands him the book and a letter)

ANDREY: Thenk ye! That’s fyne, but hou ir ye sae late, man? It’s eftir echt areddies.

FERAPONT: Eh----? Whit’s that?


FERAPONT: That’s richt. It wes still licht whan Ah arrived, but they wadna lat me see ye. ‘The maister’s gey thrang the-nou’ they said. ‘Weill, gin ye’r thrang, ye’r thrang. Ah’m in nae hurry’.
(Thinking that Andrey has said something)
Whit’s that?

ANDREY: (Turns over the pages of the register) The-morn’s Friday, the’r nae meetin, but Ah’l gang ti the office for aw, an dae a pikkil wark. Ah’m that bored at hame !……….
(a pause) Ay, ay, ma dear auld chap, hou things chynge an whit a swick lyfe is! The-day Ah picked up this book juist wi be-in wearie an haein naething ither ti dae. Here, it’s a copy o a whein lecters Ah attendit at the University…. Michtie, juist think, Ah’m the secretary o the local Cooncil nou, an Protopopov’s the Chairman, an the maist Ah can ever howp for is ti be a member o the Cooncil masell. Me, a member o the local Cooncil---! Me---that dreams ilka nicht A’m a weill-kent professor in Moscow University, a namelie academic, a lad o pairts an the pride o the haill o Russia.

FERAPONT: Ah’m vext A canna tell ye. Ah’m kynd o ill o hearin.

ANDREY: Aweill, gin ye coud hear richt, Ah dinna think Ah’d be speakin til ye this gait. But AH MAUN speak ti sumbodie. Ma guidwyfe disna seem ti unnerstaun me, an as for ma sisters……..Ah’ve growne feart for thaim, for sum reason or ither. Ah’m feart for thaim lauchin at me an pouin ma leg….. Ah dinna drink an Ah dinna mukkil care for gaun ti pubs, but Govey Dick! Hou Ah wad enjoy an oor or twa at Tyestov’s or the Gret Moscow Restaurant! Ma dear fallae, Ah fairlie wad!

FERAPONT: The ither day at the office, a contractor wes tellin me aboot sum business men that war eatin pancakes in Moscow. Yin o thaim gorbilt up fortie pancakes an syne dee’d on his saet. It wes aither fortie or fiftie. Ah canna mynd richt. It wes ower monie oniewey.

ANDREY: Ye can sit aw yeir lane in sum mukkil restaurant in Moscow athout seein a kent face, an naebodie kennin you; yit sumhou ye dinna feel ye dinna belang thare… But here ye ken awbodie, an awbodie kens you, an yit ye dinna feel ye belang here, ye dinna feel at hame, lyke…… Ye ir lanesum an ye feel an ootlin.

PERAPONT: Eh---? Whit’s that?
(a pause)
It wes the same fallae that telt iz---mynd he micht hae been tellin a lee---he said the’r a mukkil raip streikit oot athort Moscow---frae ae syde o the toun til the tither.

ANDREY: Whit wad that be for, A wunner?

FERAPONT: Ah’m vext Ah canna tell ye. That wes whit he said oniewey.

ANDREY: Whit haivers---! (Reads his book for a moment)


FERAPONT: (after a pause) Na, no me. It wesna God’s wull Ah soud gang. (a pause) Can Ah gaun awa nou?

ANDREY: Ay, awa ye gae? Guidby!
(PERAPONT leaves)
(Reading) Fareweill---!
Cum the morn’s morn an pick up sum letters! …… Ye can awa nou.
(a pause) He’s gaen.
(a bell rings)
(Shakes his head, ruefully) Ay, ay, that’s the wey it is……
(Stretches and slowly goes to his room)

(Singing is heard offstage. A nurse is putting a baby to sleep)
(Enter MASHA and VERSHININ. While they talk together, a maid lights a lamp and candles in the ballroom.)

MASHA: Ah dinna ken. (a pause) Ah dinna ken, it’s aw whit ye’r uised wi, mynd ye. For instance, eftir ma faither dee’d, for a gey whyle we coudna git uised ti the idea we haed nae orderlies ti serr us haund an fuit. But apairt frae that, in this toun, the military fowk certainly seem ti be the nicest an best-mainnert.

VERSHININ: Ah hae an awfu drouth. Ah coud fair dae wi a guid cup o tea.

MASHA: (Glances at her watch) They’l be bringin it in in a meinit. Ye see, they mairrit me aff whan Ah wes echteen. Ah wes feart for ma man, kis he wes a skuilmaister, an Ah haed onlie juist left the skuil masell. He haed gloweruin een, an seemed awfu wyce an clivver an important than……but nou it’s different awthegither, Ah’m vext ti hae ti say.

VERSHININ: Ay, ….. A see….

MASHA: Ah’m no sayin oniething agin ma man, mynd. Ah’ve gotten uised wi him nou --- but the’r sic a lot o vulgar an nestie fowk amang the ither civvies – the hoi polloi. Ah canna be daein wi vulgarity. Ah feel insultit bi it. It hurts me whan Ah meet in wi oniebiodie coorse, wi orra mainners an nae courtesy. Whan Ah’m wi the ither teachers – ma man’s freins, it’s terrible. Ah canna thole thaim, but Ah juist hae ti pit up wi thaim.

VERSHININ: But Ah wad hae thocht that in a kintrie toun lyke this, baith the civvies an the airmie fowk wad hae been uninterestin. The’r naething ti pick atwein thaim, shuirlie. Ye speak ti onie educatit bodie here, civilian or military, he’l generally tell ye he’s fair worn oot.. It’s aither his wyfe, his houss, or his estate, or his cuddie, or sumthing. Us Russians ir capable o sic graund thochts--- but we’r gey coorse in practical maitters.
Whit ir we lyke that for, dae ye think?

MASHA: Whitfor, Ah wunner?

VERSHININ: Ay, hou did his wyfe weir him oot? An hou did his bairns weir him oot? But whit aboot HIM weirin oot his wyfe an bairns.

MASHA: Ye’r in gey puir fettil, the-day, ir ye no?

VERSHININ: Mebbe Ah im. But Ah haena haen onie denner the-day. Ah’ve had naething ti eat sen this mornin. Yin o ma dochters is aff color, an whan the bairns ir seik, Ah git that worrit, lyke. Ma conscience bathers me for landin thaim wi a mither lyke hir. Ai, if ye coud hae seen hir this mornin! Whit a contemptible jaud o a wumman! We stertit catter-batterin at seivin o’clock, an at nyne, Ah juist walkit oot an banged the door on hir. (a pause) Forordnar, Ah never speak aboot sic maitters, but ye ir the onlie sowl A feel A daur speak til. (Kisses her hand) Dinna be roosed wi me, Masha! Ah hae naebodie but yeirsell Ah can turn til. (a pause)

MASHA: Whit a lyke dirdum the wund’s makkin in the stove! Juist afore ma faither dee’d, the wund yowled in the lum lyke that.

VERSHININ: Ir ye supersteitious?

MASHA: Ay, whyles---!

VERSHININ: That’s funny. (Kisses her hand) Ye really ir a wunnerfu lass, a marvellous craitur. It’s gey derk in here but Ah can see yeir een shynin.

MASHA: (Moves to another chair) The licht is better ower here.

VERSHININ: Ah luiv ye. Ah luiv ye…..Ah luiv yeir een, Ah luiv the wey ye move……Ah dream aboot thaim. Ye’r a wunnerfu marvellous be-in awthegither.

MASHA: (Laughing softly) Whan ye speak ti me lyke that, sumhou Ah canna help lauchin, tho Ah’m feart at the same tyme. Ye’d better no say it again, please!
(Half audibly) Weill no……cairrie on. Ah dinna mynd. But sumbodie’s cummin….Speak aboot sum ither thing!

(Enter IRENA and TOOZENBACH through the ballroom)

TOOZENBACH: A hae a triple-barreled name: Baron Toozenbach – Krone- Alschauer – but Ah’m a richt Russian for aw. Ah es baptised in the Greek Orthodox Kirk. Juist lyke yeirsell--- Ah’m no German at aw, Apairt frae the dour stubborn wey Ah keep on pesterin ye. Look hou Ah aye bring ye hame safe, everie forenicht!

IRENA: Ai, hou tired Ah im!

TOOZENBACH: An Ah’l gae on feshin ye frae the post office an bringin ye hame everie nicht for the neist twantie year—binna ye send me awa. (Noticing MASHA and VERSHININ with pleasure) Oh, it’s you pair! Hou ir ye?

IRENA: Aweill, here Ah im at lest.
(to MASHA) A wumman cam intil the post office juist afore Ah left. She wantit ti send a wire til hir brither in Saratov, for ti tell him hir son haed juist dee’d, but she coudna mynd the address, juist Saratov. She wes greitin an Ah gied hir snash for nae reason at aw. ‘Ah haena tyme ti waste on you!’ says Ah. That wes richt stuipit o me. Ah’m an awfu besom gittin. We’r ti hae the carnival croud in the houss the-day, ir we no?


IRENA: (Sits down) Ah’m that gled ti git a saet. Ah’m fair wabbit.

TOOZENBACH: (Smiling) Whan ye cum hame frae yeir wark, ye look sae yung, sae waesum lyke. (a pause)

IRENA: Ah’m tired. Na, Ah dinna lyke ma wark at the post office. Ah dinna lyke it at aw.

MASHA: Here, ye’ve gotten thinner!…..(Whistles) Ye look yungir, tae, an yeir face looks lyke a laddie’s.

TOOZENBACH: It’s the wey she dis hir heid.

IRENA: Ah’l hae ti hunt for anither job. This yin disna suit me. It’s naething lyke whit Ah’ve aye dreamed aboot. It’s the kynd o wark ye dae lyke a zombie – athout thinkin. (Someone knocks at the floor from below)

That wul be the doctor chappin.
(to TOOZENBACH) Wul ye aunsir him, dear? Ah canna…. Ah’m that wabbit.

(TOOZENBACH knocks on the floor)

IRENA: He’l be up this meinit. We wul hae ti dae sumthing aboot aw this cairrie-on. Andrey an the doctor gaed til the club lest nicht an they lost at the cairds again. Ah hear tell Andrey lost twa hunder roubles.

MASHA: (with indifference) Weill, whit ir we ti dae aboot it?

IRENA: He lost a fortnicht syne, an he wes doun in December anaw. Ah wush ti guidness he’d loss awthing we hae, an the suiner the better. Mebbe then we’d flit oot o here. Michtie me, Ah dream o Moscow ilka nicht. Whyles Ah feel lyke Ah wes gaun aff ma heid. (Laughs) We’r gaun ti Moscow in the month o Juin. Hou monie months ir the till Juin/ …… Febrie, Mairch, April, Mey---verra near hauf a year!

MASHA: We’l need ti watch Natasha disna finnd oot aboot him lossin at the cairds.

IRENA: Ah dinna think she cares a docken, she’s that taen up wi that bairn o hirs.

(Enter CHEBUTYKIN. He has been resting on his bed since dinner and has only just got up. He combs his beard, then sits down at the table and takes out a newspaper)

MASHA: Thare he is! Look at him! Haes he peyed his rent yit?

IRENA: No him---! No a penny for the lest echt month. Ah daursay he haes forgotten.

MASHA: (Laughs) He looks that solemn sittin glowerin thare.

(They all laugh. A pause)

IRENA: Hou ir ye no sayin oniething, Alexandr Ignatyevich?

VERSHININ: Ah dinna ken. Ah’m juist deein for sum tea. Ah’d gie oniething for a cup. Ah haena haed a bite ti eat sen this mornin….

CHEBUTYKIN: Irena Serghyeevna!

IRENA: Whit is’t?

CHEBUTYKIN: Please cum you ower here! Venez ici! (IRENA goes over to him and sits down at the table) Ah canna dae athout ye.

(IRENA lays out the cards for a game of patience)

VERSHININ: Weill, an we canna hae onie tea, let’s dae a bit o philosophisin, onie wey.

TOOZENBACH: Ay, cum on! Whit aboot?

VERSHININ: Whit aboot? Weill….lat’s try ti imagine whit lyfe wul be lyke eftir we’r aw deid, say twa or thrie hunder year hence!

TOOZENBACH: Awricht than…. Eftir we’r aw deid, fowk wul flie aboot in balloons up in the lift, the cut o thair claes wul be different, the saxt sense wul be discuivert, an mebbe even uised, for aw Ah ken…… But lyfe itsell wul byde the same: it wul aye be difficult an fou o meisterie an happiness. An cum a thousan year’s tyme, fowk wul aye be girnin an complainin: ‘Hou dour this business o leevin is!’ But for aw, they’l still be feart ti dee, an sweir ti leave this warld, Lyke they ir nou.

VERSHININ: (after a moment’s thought) Weill, ye ken……. Ah think awthing in the warld is lyke ti chynge gradually--- But aw the tyme we can see it chyngin afore oor verra een. In twa-thrie hunder year, or mebbe a thousan year, lyfe wul be different awthgither. It wul be happy, for a stert. We’l no be here ti enjoy it, lyke, but aw the same, whit we’r here for the-nou, is ti bigg the foonds for the new warld. We tyauve an aye we suffer, juist for ti create it. That is the gret goal o oor lyfe, an in oor ain day, that is the best we can ever dae.

(MASHA laughs quietly).

TOOZENBACH: Whit ir you lauchin for?

MASHA: Ah dinna ken. Ah hae been lauchin ti masell aw day.

VERSHININ: (to TOOZENBACH) Ah gaed til the same cadet skuil as you, but Ah never gaed on til the Military Academy. Ah read a guid lot, o course, but Ah never kent the richt books ti pick, an Ah lykelie read a hantil stuff that’s no wurth oniething. But the langir Ah leeve, the mair Ah thirst for knawledge. Ma hair is gaun gray an Ah’m gittin on in years, but Ah ken sae little. For aw, Ah think Ah div ken yae thing that’s true an important. Ah’m shuir o’t. Ai, if Ah coud onlie convince ye that the’r no gaun ti be onie happiness for oor ain generation. The canna be an winna be…… We juist hae ti wurk an darg. Aw the happiness is reserred for oor descendents ferr aheid.
(a pause) Onie road, gin Ah’m no ti be blyth in ma lyfe, syne ma bairns’ bairns wul in thairs.

(FEDOTIK and RODÉ enter the ballroom; they sit down and sing quietly, one of them playing a guitar)

TOOZENBACH: Sae ye winna allou us even ti dream aboot happiness in this lyfe! Gey mean speirited---! But whit if Ah im happy nou?

VERSHININ: But ye’r no!

TOOZENBACH: (Flinging up his hands and laughing) We dinna unnerstaun ither, That’s for shuir. Hou can Ah convince ye?

(MASHA laughs quietly)

TOOZENBACH: (Holds up a finger to her) Show her a finger an she’l lauch!
(to VERSHININ) An lyfe wul be juist the same as ever, no onlie in a couple o hunder years’ tyme, but in a million year. Lyfe disna chynge; it aye gaes on the same. It follaes its ain roads; that disna concern us, we canna fathom that oniewey. Think on the burds that flies awa til ither kintries in the Back End: the cranes, for instance, they juist flie on an on, athout kennin whaur they’r gaun or whitfor. An they’l cairrie on fliein, nae maitter hou monie clivver philosophers ir fliein alang wi thaim. Lat thaim theorise as mukkil as they lyke, as lang as they cairrie on fliein.

MASHA: Ir the no sum meanin?

TOOZENBACH: Meanin---? Juist you look oot thare! It’s snawin. Whit’s the meanin o that? (a pause)

MASHA: Ah think a human be-in haes ti hae sum faith, ot at laest he’s got ti try ti finnd faith. Gin he disna, his haill lyfe wul be boss an tuim---- Hou can ye leeve an no ken hou the cranes flies, hou the bairns ir born, hou the sterns shyne in the lift?…... Ye maun ken whit ye leeve for, or naething maitters….awthing is nae mair nor wyld gress. (a pause)

VERSHININ: Aw the same, Ah’m vext ma youth is ower an by.

NASHA: ‘It’s a deid bore ti be alive in this warld, freinds!’ That’s whit Gogol says.

TOOZENBACH: An Ah feel lyke sayin: it’s uissless argiein wi you, ma freins. Ah gie up.

CHEBUTYKIN: (Reads out of the paper) Balzac’s mairriage taen place at Berdichev.

(IRENA sings softly to herself)

CHEBUTYKIN: Ah maun write this doun in ma notebook. (Writes) Balzac’s mairriage taen place at Berdichev. (Reads on)

TOOZENBACH: Weill Ah’ve thrawn in ma haund. Did ye ken Ah’d sent in ma resignation, Maria Serghyeevna?

MASHA: Ay, Ah heard aboot it. Nae guid wul cum o that, aither. Ah dinna lyke civvies.

TOOZENBACH: Never heed! (Gets up) Whit kynd o sojer im Ah, oniewey? Ah’m no even guid-lookin or smert. Whit dis it maitter? Ah’l wurk. Ah’d lyke ti dae sic a hard day’s darg, that whan Ah cum hame at nicht, Ah’d faw forfochen on ma bed an faw ti sleep at aince.
(Goes to the ballroom)
Ah imagine wurkin men sleep gey soond at nicht.

FEDOTIK: (to IRENA) Ah’ve bocht ye sum colort crayons at Pyzhikov’s, in Moscow Street. An this wee penknyfe anaw!

IRENA: Ye still treat me lyke a wee lassie. Ah wush ye wad mynd Ah’m growne up nou. (She takes the crayons and the penknyfe joyfully) They ir awfu nice!

FEDOTIK: Look here, Ah bocht a knyfe for masell, tae.. Ye see it haes anither blade, here, an syne anither….. The’r a tuith-pick, this thing is for cleanin oot yeir lugs; thir is nail shears an this is for cleanin yeir fingir nails……

RODÉ: (in a loud voice) Doctor, juist hou auld ir ye?

CHEBUTYKIN: Me---? Thertie-twa.


FEDOTIK: Ah’l show ye anither kynd o patience. (Sets out the cards)

(The samovar is brought in, and ANFISA attends to it. Shortly afterwards, NATASHA comes in and begins to fuss around the table.)

(SOLIONY enters, bows to the company and sits down at the table)

VERSHININ: Whit a lyke wund ootby the-day!

MASHA: Ah’m seik tired o the wunter. Ah’ve verra near forgotten whit the simmer is lyke.

IRENA: (Playing patience) It’s cummin oot. The echt haes ti gae on the twa o spades. (Laughs) An that means ye winna gang yeir fuitlenth ti Moscow!

CHEBUTYKIN: (Reads the paper) Tzitzikar---! Smawpox haes brukken oot!…..

ANFISA: (Goes up to MASHA) Masha, the tea is maskit, ma dear.
(to VERSHININ) Wul ye please cum til the table, yeir Hieness? Ye maun forgie me, yeir name haes slippit oot ma maimorie!…..

MASHA: You bring it ower here, Nanny! Ah’m no cummin ower thare ti fesh it.


ANFISA: Cumm…!

NATASHA: (to SOLIONY) Ye ken, even wee babbies kens fyne whit we say perfitlie weill! Guid mornin, Bobik,’ Ah said til him, onlie the-day, ‘Guid mornin ma praiciuss!’ …. An syne he lookit at me in a special kynd o wey. Ye micht say it’s onlie a mither’s norie, but it’s no, A tell ye. Na, Na, he’s a maist byordnar bairn! He kens ilka wurd A say.

SOLIONY: Gin that bairn wes mynes, Ah’d birsil him up in the fryin pan an eat him.
(Picks up his glass, goes into the drawing room and sits down in a corner)

NATASHA: (Covers her face with her hands) Whitna coorse ill-mainnert keelie!

MASHA: Fowk that disna notice whuther it’s simmer or wunter ir lucky, Ah aye think. Ah think Ah wad never ken whit season it wes an Ah leeved in Moscow.

VERSHININ: Ah hae juist been readin the diary o sum French cabinet meinister. It wes wrutten in the jyle. He wes pitten in the jyle ower the heid o the Panama affair. He wrate wi delicht aboot the burds he coud see fliein, throu the bars o his cell---the burds he haed never noticed whan he wes a cabinet meinister. But nou he is oot the jyle again, he winna notice thaim onie mair….an in the same wey, ye winna notice Moscow, aince ye ir back bydin thare again.

We’r no happy, an the’r nae wey we can be happy: but we aw want happiness, for aw.

TOOZENBACH: (Picks up a box from the table) Say, whaur aw the chocolates?

IRENA: Soliony gorbilt thaim up.

TOOZENBACH: He et thaim aw?

ANFISA: (Serving VERSHININ tea) Here a letter for ye, Sir!

VERSHININ: For me---? (Takes the letter) Frae ma dochter! (Reads it) Ay, ay, Ah soud hae kent. Forgie me, Maria Serghyeevna, Ah’l juist leave quaetlyke…. Ah’l no hae onie tea. (Gets up, agitated) (Aye the same thing….. The’r nae end til’t.

MASHA: Whit is it? A secret---?

VERSHININ: (in a low voice) The wyfe haes taen puzzin again. Ah maun awa nou. Whitna grief this is! It’s aye maist embarassin for me---! (Kisses MASHA’S hand) Ma dear lass….Ah’l juist slip oot this road…. (Goes out)

ANFISA: Whaur’s he aff til? An here Ah’ve juist brocht him sum tea! Whitna queerlyke fallae---!

MASHA: (Flaring up) LEAVE ME ALANE! Whit dae ye keep worriein me for? Ir the ti be nae peace in this houss? Wul ye never leave me in peace? (Goes to the table) Ah’m seik an tired o YOU, ye dottilt auld besom!

ANFISA: Mercie…..A didna mean ti offend ye, ma dear.
(Andrey’s voice offstage) Anfisa---!
(Mimics him) Anfisa! Huh, sittin thare in his den---!
(Goes out)

MASHA: (By the table in the ballroom, crossly) Wul ye lat me sit doun sumwhaur? (Jumbles up the cards laid out on the table) You tak up the haill table heid wi yeir cairds! Whit dae ye no git on wi yeir tea for?

IRENA: Mercie, ye’r that ill-naiturt turnt, Masha!

MASHA: Weill, an Ah’m ill-naiturt, juist dinna you speak ti me, then! Leave iz alane! Dinna touch me!

CHEBUTYKIN: (Laughs) Dinna touch hir!….. Leave hir alane! Watch ye dinna touch hir!

MASHA: Ye’r mebbe saxtie, but ye’r aye bletherin sum demned styte or ither. Ye’r lyke a mukkil bairn.

NATASHA: (Sighs) Dear Masha, dae ye hae ti be sae coorse lyke? Ye ken, wi yeir guid looks, fowk wad think ye a richt chairmer, sae they wad; even the best cless o fowk --- gin ye wad juist watch that ill tung o yours. Je vous prie, pardonnez moi, Marie, mais vous avez des manières un peu grossières.

TOOZENBACH: (with suppressed laughter) Raxez moi ower ….. Ah mean ye wadna be sae guid as ti pass me ….. Is that the cognac ower thare or whit?….

NATASHA: Il parait que mon Bobik dèjà ne dort pas……Ah think he’s wauken. He’s no been verra weill the-day, naither he haes. Ah maun gae see him…. Perdon me! (Goes out)

IRENA: Say, whaur haes Alexandr Ignatyevich gaen

MASHA: He’s awa hame. His guidwyfe haes duin sumthing daft again.

TOOZENBACH: (Goes over to SOLIONY with a decanter of cognac) Ye’r aye sittin thare yeir lane lyke a craw in a mist---tho whit ails ye naebodie richt kens. Weill, wad ye no lyke ti beirie the hatchet. Lat’s hae a dram thegither, an nae ill feelin.
(They drink)
Ah daursay Ah’l hae ti play the pianae the haill forenicht the-nicht---a lot o rubbishy tuins, o coorse….. But never heed!

SOLIONY: Whitfor did ye say, ‘Lat’s beirie the hatchet!’ We haena quarrelt.

TOOZENBACH: Ye aye gie me the feelin the’r sumthing wrang atwein us. Ye’r a queer yin, nae dout aboot it.

SOLIONY: ‘I am strange, but who’s not so? Don’t be angry, Aleko!’

TOOZENBACH: Whit haes Aleko ti dae wi it whan he’s at hame?

SOLIONY: Whan Ah’m ma lane wi sumbodie, Ah’m fyne. Ah’m juist lyke onie ither bodie. But in companie, Ah feel dounhauden. Ah git depressed, lyke an shy, an Ah stert haiverin. For aw that, Ah’m a sicht mair strecht an weill-meanin nor a hantil ither fowk.

TOOZENBACH: Ye aften roose me, man, kis ye aye wul keep on pittin ma back up whan we’r in companie thegither – but for aw, for sum reason, Ah seem ti lyke ye …. Ah’m gaun ti git fou the-nicht whitever befaws! Lat’s hae anither dram!

SOLIONY: Ay, thare a guid idea. (a pause) Ah’ve never haed oniething agin ye, personally, Baron, but ma temperament is raither lyke Lermontov’s. (in a low voice) Ah even look a wee bit lyke Lermontov, sae Ah’ve been telt.
(Takes a scent bottlefrom his pocket and sprinkles some scent on his hands)

TOOZENBACH: Aweill, Ah’ve sent in ma resignation. Ah’ve feinisht wi the airmie! Ah’ve been switherin aboot it for the lest five year, an nou ma mynd is made up at lest. Ah’m gaun ti dae sum richt wark.

SOLIONY: (Recites) ‘Don’t be angry, Aleko…Away, away, with all your dreams!’

(During the conversation, ANDREY enters quietly with a book, in his hand and sits down by the candle)

TOOZENBACH: Ah’m gaun ti wurk!

CHEBUTYKIN: (Comes into the drawing room with IRENA) An the maet they gied me wes the rael Caucasian stuff: ingan soup, wi chehartma eftir --- that’s a dish made wi butcher maet ye ken .

SOLIONY: A tell ye, cheremsha is no butcher maet at aw. It’s a vegetable, no unlyke an ingan.

CHEBUTYKIN: Na, Na, ma friend, chehartma, isna an ingan, it’s roast mutton

SOLIONY: Ah tell ye, cheremsha is a kynd o ingan --- the neibor o an ingan.

CHEBUTYKIN: Ah dinna see hou Ah soud argie aboot this wi YOU! As ferr as Ah ken, ee’ve never been ti the Caucasus an never tastit chehartma.

SOLIONY: Ah haena tastit it, kis Ah canna thole the ming o it. Cheremsha stinks lyke garlic.

ANDREY: (Imploringly) Wul ye drap it, friends? For the luiv o Guid, stap it!

TOOZENBACH: Whan is the carnival croud cummin alang?

IRENA: They promised ti be here bi nyne---that means onie meinit nou.

TOOZENBACH: (Embraces ANDREY) Lat’s hae a drink, the Deil tak it! Andriusha, lat’s drink til eternal freinship! Ah’l cum wi ye whan ye gae back ti Moscow University.

SOLIONY: Which university? The’r twa universities in Moscow.

ANDREY: The’r onlie the yin.

SOLIONY: Ah tell ye the’r twa.

ANDREY: Never mynd, mak it thrie. The mair the merrier.


(Murmers of protest and cries of ‘Wheisht! Sit doun, man!’)

SOLIONY: The’r twa universities in Moscow, an auld yin an a new yin. But gin ye dinna want ti tak tent ti whit Ah’m sayin, gin ma conversation fashes ye, Ah can haud ma tung. Ah can dae better. Ah can gang til anither room.
(Goes out through one of the doors)

TOOZENBACH: Hurray, hurray! Lat’s git stertit, ma friends, Ah’l play for ye. Whitna queerlyke stick that Soliony is! …….

(Sits down at the piano and plays a waltz)

MASHA: (Dances alone) The Baron is fou, the Baron is fou, The Baron is fliein….


NATASHA: (to CHEBUTYKIN) Ivan Romanych!
(Speaks to him, then goes out quietly)

(CHEBUTYKIN touches TOOZENBAB on the shoulder and whispers to him)

IRENA: Whit is it?

CHEBUTYKIN: It’s tyme we war awa. We’ve haed oor mairchin orders. Guid nicht!

IRENA: But Mercie---whit aboot the carnival pairtie?

ANDREY: (Embarrassed) Ah dout the carnival pairtie’s no cummin. Ah’m rael vext aboot that. Ye see, Natasha says that Bobik is no weill, an sae….Oniewey, Ah dinna ken—an Ah certainly coudna care less.

IRENA: (Shrugs her shoulders) Bobik’s no verra weill!…..

MASHA: Never heed, we’l keep oor end up! Gin they turn us oot, oot we maun gae!
(to IRENA) It’s no Bobik that’s no weill, it’s hir….
(Taps her forehead with her finger) A heid case---! She’s a control freak! A richt wee suburban housswyfe.

(ANDREY goes to his room on the right, CHEBUTYKIN follows him. The guests say goodby to the ballroom.)

FEDOTIK: Whit a peitie! Ah’ve been howpin ti spend the forenicht here, but gin the bairn’s no weill…whit can ye dae? Ah’l bring him sum toys the-morn.

RODÉ: (In a loud voice) Ah haed a guid lang sleep eftir lunch the-day, kis Ah thocht Ah’d be hoochin an dancin aw nicht. Ah mean ti say – it’s onlie nine o’clock.

MASHA: Lat’s gang ootby an speak aboot it! We’l decide whit ti dae than.

(Voices are heard saying, ‘Guidby! God bliss ye!’ and TOOZENBACH is heard laughing boisterously)

(Everyone goes out. ANFISA and a maid clear the table and put out the lights. The nurse sings to the baby off-stage)

(Enter ANDREY, wearing an overcoat and hat, followed by CHEBUTYKIN. They move quietly.)

CHEBUTYKIN: Ah never fand tyme ti git mairrit, sumhou—pairtlie kis ma lyfe haed wheicht past me lyke lichtnin—the months gaed by lyke days—an pairtlie kis Ah wes aye daft aboot yeir mither, an she wes mairrit….

ANDREY: A bodie soud never mairrie. Ye soudna mairrie kis it’s sae borin.

CHEBUTYKIN: That’s aw verra weill, but whit aboot be-in lanesum—left aw bi yeirsell. Ye can theorise as mukkil as ye lyke ma laddie, but it’s a waesum weird ti be left aw yeir lane…… Mynd ye, frae anither pynt o view, it disna maitter a demn!

ANDREY: Cum on, lat’s git on quick!

CHEBUTYKIN: Whit’s yeir hurry? The’r plentie tyme.

ANDREY: Ah’m feart ma wyfe micht try ti stap me.


ANDREY: Ah winna play at the cairds the-nicht. Ah’l juist sit an watch. Ah’m no feelin up ti the merk. Whit soud Ah dae for ma braithlessness, Ivan Romanych?

CHEBUTYKIN: Dinna speir at me,ma dear laddie! Ah canna mynd. Ah juist dinna ken onie mair.

ANDREY: Lat’s gae oot throu the back kitchen!

(They go out. A bell rings. The ring is repeated and voices and laughter are heard.)

IRENA: (coming in) Whit’s aw that dirdum?

ANFISA: (in a whisper) The carnival pairtie---!

(the bell rings again)

IRENA: Ai, whit an affront---! Tell thaim the’r naebodie here, Nanny. Apologise ti thaim. (ANFISA goes out)

(IRENA walks up and down the room, lost in thought. She seems agitated. Enter SOLIONY)

SOLIONY: (Puzzled) The’r naebodie here. Whaur is awbodie?

IRENA: They’r awa hame.

SOLIONY: That’s funny! Then ye’r here bi yeirsell?

IRENA: Ay, it looks lyke it. Aw ma lane---! (a pause) Weill, guidnicht ti ye then---!

SOLIONY: Ah ken Ah wes tactless the-nicht. Ah lost the place for a meinit. But ye’r different frae the lave. You staun oot heich abuin thaim aw.—ye can see whaur the truith is….. ye’r the yae sowl in aw the warld that coud possibly unnerstaun me . Ah hae fawn in luiv wi ye… Ah luiv ye wi a deep, bounless….

IRENA: Behave yeirsell! That wul juist dae! Guidnicht!

SOLIONY: Ah canna leeve athout ye. (Follows her) It’s aye sic a delicht for me ti look at ye. (with tears) Yeir glorious een—yeir een ir lyke nae ither wumman’s A’ve ever seen.

IRENA: (Coldly) Wul YOU please stap this, Vassily Vassilich?

SOLIIONY: Ah’ve never spoken o the wey Ah felt aboot ye afore….it gars me feel lyke Ah wes leevin in anither planet. (Rubs his forehead) Never mynd, Ah canna force ye ti feel for me, for shuir. But Ah’l tell ye this: Ah’l no hae onie successfu rivals. Na, na, Ah sweir ti ye bi oniething Ah haud sacred, gin the’r oniebodie else, Ah’l kill him. Ai, but ye’r wunnerfu.

(Enter NATASHA, carrying a candle)

NATASHA: (Pokes her head into one room, then into another, but passes the door leading to her husbands’s room) Andrey’s readin in thare. Better lat him read! Ye maun forgie me, Vassily Vassilich, Ah didna ken ye war here. Ah fear Ah’m no richt dressed. Mercie, Ah’m no wycelyke! (Closes her dressing gown)

SOLIONY: Whit dae Ah care? Guidnicht! (Goes out)

NATASHA: Ye wul be tired, ma puir lass. (Kisses IRENA) Ye soud git ti yeir bed aerlier, sae ye soud!

IRENA: Is Bobik sleepin?

NATASHA: Ay he’s asleep, but he’s no sleepin peacefu lyke. Bi the by, ma dear, Ah’ve been meanin ti mention it for a whyle, but thare haes aye been sumthing …..aither ye’r no here, or Ah’m ower thrang…… Ye see, Ah think that Bobik’s nursery is that cauld an damp…an your chaumer is juist perfit for a wee bairn. Darlin, dae ye think ye coud move yeirsell inti Olga’s room?

IRENA: (Not understanding her) Whaur---? Whaur til?

(The sound of jingling bells is heard outside and a ‘troika’ is driven up to the house)

NATASHA: Ye can share a room wi Olga for the tyme be-in, an whan you ir oot the road, Bobik can hae your room. He is sic a wee darlin! This mornin Ah said til him, ‘Bobik, ye’r ma verra ain! Ma verra ain!’ An he juist goved up at me wi his dear wee een.
(The door bell rings)
That wul be Olga. She’s geyan late the-nicht.

(A maid comes up to NATASHA and whispers in her ear)

NATASHA: Protopopov! Ai, whit a man--- Protopopov’s cum for ti ask me ti gae for a hurl wi him. In a troika--- (Laughs) Ir the men no funny craiturs?
(The door bell rings again)
Sumbodie’s ringin. Wul Ah gang for a short turn? Juist for a quarter o an oor, lyke---- Ah’m shuir it wad dae me guid.
(to the maid) Tell him Ah’l be doun in a glisk.
(The door bell rings)
That’s that bell again! Ah expek it’s Olga. (Goes out)

(The maid runs out. IRENA is lost in thought)
(Enter KOOLYGHIN and OLGA, followed by VERSHININ)

KOOLYGHIN: Weill, whit’s aw this? Ah thocht ye said we war gaun ti hae a pairtie.

VERSHININ: It’s a funny thing. Ah left here aboot hauf an oor syne, an they war expekkin a carnival pairtie then.

IRENA: They’r aw gaen awa.

KOOLYGHIN: Masha’s gaen tae? Whaur haes she gaen til? An whitfor is Propopov daein ootby in a troika? Wha is he waitin for?

IRENA: Please dinna speir onie mair quaistens at me. Ah’m ower tired.

KOOLYGHIN: You…..spylt bairn!

OLGA: The conference is onlie juist feinisht. Ah’m fair worn oot awthegither wi hearin fowk speak even on. The heidmistress is no weill an Ah’m staunin in for hir or she’s richt better. Ma heid is stoondin---Ai ma puir heid! (Sits down) Andrey lost twa hunder roubles at the cairds lest nicht. The haill toun’s speakin aboot it.

KOOLYGHIN: Ay, the conference haes taen it oot o me, tae. Ah maun hae a saet. (Sits down)

VERSHININ: Sae nou ma wyfe haes taen it intil hir heid ti gliff me. Hir latest ploy is tryin ti puzzin hirsell. Houanever, awthing’s awricht nou, sae Ah can relax for a wee whyle---God be thenkit! Sae we hae ti leave again? Weill, guidnicht til ye aw; aw the best. Fiodor Illyich, wad ye care ti cum alang wi me sumwhar or ither? Ah canna byde at hame the-nicht, sae Ah canna……..Please cum!

KOOLYGHIN: Ah’m gey tired. Ah dinna think Ah’l cum. (Gets up) Ah’m fair forfochen. Haes the wyfe gaen hame?

IRENA: Ah believe sae.

KOOLYGHIN: (Kisses Irena’s hand) Guidnicht! We can hae a rest the-morn an the day eftir the-morn---twa haill days! Weill, Ah wush ye aw the best.

(Going out) Hou Ah coud dae wi sum tea! Here Ah wes, expekkin ti spend the forenicht in guid companie, but---O fallacem hominum spem! Aye uise the accusative in exclamation!

VERSHININ: Weill, it looks as if Ah’l hae ti gang sumwhaur ma lane.

(Goes out with KOOLYGHIN, whistling)

OLGA: Ai, ma heid, ma sair heid…. Andrey haes lost at the cairds again…. The haill toun’s speakin aboot it….Ah’l gang an lie doun--- (Going out) The–morn A’m free. Ma heid’s achin…. Ai, ma sair heid….

IRENA: (Alone) They’r aw gaen. Nobody’s left.

(Somebody is playing an accordion in the street. The nurse sings in the next room)

(NATASHA crosses the ballroom, wearing a fur coat and cap. She is followed by the maid.)

NATASHA: Ah’l be back in hauf an oor. Ah’m juist gaun for a wee hurl. (Goes out)

IRENA: (Alone, with intense longing) Moscow! Moscow! Moscow!



A bedroom now shared by OLGA and IRENA. There are two beds, one on the right, the other on the left, each screened off from the centre of the room. It is past two o’clock in the morning. Off stage the alarm is being sounded on account of a fire which has been raging for some time. The inmates of the house have not yet been to bed. MASHA is lying on a couch, dressed as usual, in black. OLGA and ANFISA come in.

ANFISA: Nou they’r sittin doun thare ablo the stair…….. Ah keep on tellin thaim ti cum up here---that they soundna sit doun thare---but they juist cry, ‘We dinna ken whaur oor Papa is!’ They say, ‘Mebbe he’s gotten burnt in the fire.’ Whitten an idea---! An the’r fowk doun in the yaird, tae….hauf-dressed, lyke.

OLGA: (Takes a dress out of a wardrobe) You tak this gray frock, Nannie….. An this yin….This blouse, anaw….An this skirt….Ai, Heivins! Whit’s gaun on! Seeminlie the haill o Kisanovsky Street’s been burnt doun….Tak this….an this, tae!
(Throws the clothes into ANFISA’s arms)
The puir Vershinins haed a richt gliff. Thair haill houss nearly burnt doun awthegither. They’l hae ti spend the nicht here….We maunna lat thaim gae hame the-nicht. Puir Fedotik’s tint awthing….he’s got naething left at aw….

ANFISA: Ah’d better cry Ferapont, Oliusha. Ah canna cairrie aw this masell.

OLGA: (Rings) Naebodie peys onie heed whan Ah ring. (Calls through the door) Ir the oniebodie thare? Wul sumbodie please cum up?

(A window, red with the glow of the fire, can be seen through the open door. The sound of a passing fire engine is heard.)

This is terrible! Ah’m fair seik o it, sae Ah im!


Wul ye tak this doun the stair……The Kolotilin quynes ir sittin ablo the stair………Gie it til thaim……an this anaw……

FERAPONT: Verra guid, Mistress. Moscow wes burnt doun in echteen-twal the verra same wey. Mercie on us!….Ay, the French war fair dumfounert at the sicht.

OLGA: Alang ye gae, nou! Tak this doun!

FERAPONT: Ay, verra guid--- (Goes out)

OLGA: Gie it aw awa, Nannie ma dear! Ah’m that wabbit, Ah can haurlie byde on ma twa feet. We maunna lat the Vershinins gae hame. The wee lassies can sleep in the drawin-room, an Alexandr Ignatyevich can gang in wi the Baron. Fedotik can gang in wi the Baron anaw, or mebbe he wad better sleep in the ballroom. The doctor’s gaen an gotten drunk---ye’d think he did it on purpose. He’s fair fliein, sae we durstna lat oniebodie gae intil his chaumer. Ah dout Vershinin’s guidwyfe wul hae ti gang inti the drawin-room, tae!

ANFISA: (wearily) Dinna send iz awa, Oluiska, darlin! Dinna send iz awa!

OLGA: Whit haivers is this, Nannie? Naebodie is sendin ye awa.

ANFISA: (Leans her head against OLGA’S breast) Ma dear lassie, Ah div wurk, ye ken. Ah tyauve awa as hard as Ah can…..Ah daursay, nou Ah’m gittin waeker, Ah’l be telt ti gang. But whaur can Ah gae? Whaur? Ah’m echtie year auld, ye ken. Ah’m mair as echtie-yin!

OLGA: Juist you sit dou, for a whyle, Nannie…. Ye’r tired, ye puir thing…. (makes her sit down) Juist rest yeirsell a bittie! Tak yeir meinits! Ye’ve turnt fair whyte aboot the gills.


NATASHA: They’r sayin we soud stert a fund ti help the victims o the fire. Ye ken---form a societie, lyke, aince eirant for ti help thaim. Weill, whitfor no? It’s a graund idea! It’s up ti us ti help the puir fowk the best we can. Bobik an Sofochka ir soond sleepin lyke naething haed happened. We haed sic a thrang o fowk in the houss; the place is ful o fowk everie wey ye turn. Ah hear tell the’r flu in the toun an it’s gey smittil…..Ah’m that feart the bairns micht catch it.

OLGA: (without listening to her) Ye canna see the fire at aw frae this chaumer, it’s quaet in here.

NATASHA: Ay…… Ah daursay ma hair is aw ower the place. (Stands in front of the mirror) They say Ah’ve growne stooter, but it’s no true! Ah’m no a bit stooter….. Masha haes went ti sleep…..She’s wabbit, puir lass….. (to ANFISA, coldly) Hou daur ye sit doun in ma presence? Git up! Git yeirsell oot o here!

(ANFISA goes out. A pause)

Ah canna unnerstaun whit ye keep that auld kimmer in the houss for.

OLGA: (Taken aback) Forgie me for sayin it, but Ah dinna unnerstaun whit it haes ti dae---

NATASHA: She’s uissless awthegither….She’s juist a kintrie wumman. Hir richt place is in the kintrie plowterin aboot amang the dubs in hir wellington buits. Ye’r spylin hir. Ah div lyke ti keep an orderly houss. Ah canna be daein wi uissless auld bodies hingin aboot the place.
(Strokes OLGA’S cheek) Ye’r tired ma dear. Oor heidmistress is fair worn oot. Ye ken whan Sofochna growes up an gaes til the skuil, Ah’l be a bit feart for you.

OLGA: Ah’m no gaun ti be the heidmistress.

NATASHA: Ye’l be askit til, Olechka; it’s aw settilt.

OLGA: Weill Ah’l refuise. Ah coudna dae it…. Ah wadna be strang aneuch. (Drinks water) Ye spak gey hairshlyke ti Nannie the-nou…… Ye maun forgie me for sayin sae, but Ah juist canna thole that wey o speakin…. It garred me feel faint.

NATASHA: (Agitated) Forgie me, Olia, forgie me! Ah didna mean ti mismak ye.

(MASHA gets up, picks up a pillow and goes out in a huff)

OLGA: Please try ti unnerstaun me….It micht be that we’ve been brocht up in a funnylyke wey, but oniewey, Ah canna beir it. Whan fowk ir treated lyke that, it gits me doun. Ah feel fair seik…..It pits ma nerves on edge.

NATASHA: Forgie me, dear, forgie me……. (Kisses her)

OLGA: Onie cruel or tactless remerk, oniething coorselyke, aye fair upsets me.

NATASHA: Ye’r richt. Ah ken Ah aften say things that wad be better no said at aw-- But ye maun grie wi me, dear, that the lykes o hir wad be better on sum glaurie ferm steidin, amang the dubs.

OLGA: She’s been wi us for thertie year.

NATASHA: But she’s no able nou, is she? Aither Ah dinna unnerstaun ye, or ye dinna want ti unnerstaun me. She canna wurk. Ah seen hir sleepin whan she wes supposed ti be reddin up eftir the denner yestrein. She juist sleeps an sits aboot daein naething.

OLGA: Aweill, lat hir sit aboot!

NATASHA: (in surprise) WHIT DAE YE MEAN, LAT HIR SIT ABOOT? (tearfully) Na, Ah dinna unnerstaun ye, Olia! Ah hae a nurse for the bairns, an a wet nurse, an we share a maid an a cook. Whit ever dae we want this auld kerlin for? Whit for?
(The alarm is sounded again)

OLGA: Ah think Ah’ve aged ten year the-nicht.

NATASHA: We maun sort things oot, Olia, you an me. You ir wurkin at yeir skuil an Ah’m wurkin at hame. You’r teachin an AH’M RINNIN THE HOUSS. An whan Ah say oniething aboot the sairvants AH KEN whit Ah’m speakin aboot. That auld wyfe, that auld wutch maun git oot this houss the-morn! (Stamps her foot) Hou daur ye vex me lyke this? Hou daur ye? (Recovering her self-control) Really, gin you dinna shift doun the stair, we’l aye be rowin lyke this. This is juist awfu, sae it is.


KOOLYGHIN: Whaur Masha? It’s tyme we war awa hame. Ah hear tell the fire is gittin less bowsterous. (Stretches) Juist the yae block got burnt doun, but ti begin wi, it lookit lyke the haill toun wes gaun ti be set ahaud bi yon wund. (Sits down) Ah tell ye whit it is, Ah’m that wabbit, Olechka, ma dear. Ye ken, Ah hae aften thocht ti masell, that if Ah haedna mairrit Masha, Ah’d hae mairrit you, Olechka. Ye’r that kynd. But Ah’m fair worn oot, sae Ah im! (Listens)

OLGA: Whit is’t?

KOOLYGHIN: The doctor’s gotten fou, juist lyke he haed duin it on purpose. He is fair stottin! He’s gotten a richt skinfu this tyme. (Gets up) Here, Ah think he is cummin up here……. Can ye hear him? Ay, he’s cummin up here awricht. (Laughs) Whit a lyke fallae, Ah ask ye! Whit a caird…. Ah’l awa an hide masell.
(Goes to the wardrobe and stands between it and the wall)
Ai, whit an auld skoondrel!

OLGA: Mercie, he’s been aff the drink for twa year, an nou, aw at aince, he gangs an gits anither skinfu.

(Walks with NATASHA towards the back of the room)

(CHEBUTYKIN enters, walking firmly and soberly, he crosses the room, stops, looks round, then goes to the wash-stand and begins to wash his hands)

CHEBUTYKIN: (Glumly) The Deil tak thaim aw……… The haill clamjamfrie! They think Ah can treat oniething that ails thaim juist kis Ah’m a doctor, But Ah ken naething ava. Ah’ve forgotten everie singil thing Ah uised ti ken. Ah mynd naething, naething at aw….

(OLGA and NATASHA leave the room without him noticing)

CHEBUTYKIN: The DEIL tak thaim! Lest Wodinsday, Ah attended a wumman at Zasyp. She dee’d an it’s aw ma blame that she did dee. Ay,……. Ah uised ti ken a trick or twa, but nou Ah dinna mynd a thing. No a singil thing! Mebbe, Ah’m no a man at aw, but juist fancy Ah hae haunds an feet an a heid. Mebbe Ah dinna exist at aw. (Weeps) Ai, if Ah coud onlie stap existin!

(Stops crying, glumly) Guid kens…..The ither day they war speakin aboot Shakespeare an Voltaire at the club…. Ah haedna read aither o thaim, never read a singil lyne o aither, but Ah tryit ti mak oot bi ma expression that Ah haed. The ithers did the same. Hou pathetic it aw is! Hou despicable---! An syne, aw at aince, Ah thocht o the wumman Ah killed on Wodinsday. It aw cam fluidin back ti me, an Ah felt sic a swyne, sae seik o masell Ah gaed an got fou….

(Enter IRENA, VERSHININ and TOOZENBACH. TOOZENBACH is wearing a fashionable new civilian suit)

IRENA: Lat’s sit doun here for a bit. Naebodie wul cum in here.

VERSHININ: The haill toun wad hae been burnt doun, an it haedna been for the sojers. They’r a grand lot o fallaes! (Rubs his hands with pleasure) Excellent fallaes. Ay, they’r a braw lot.

KOOLYGHIN: (Approaches them) Whit tyme is’t?

TOOZENBACH: It’s fullie thrie. It’s stertin ti cum licht.

IRENA: They’r aw sittin throu in the ballroom an naebodie thinks to leave. That man, Soliony is thare, tae…. (to CHEBUTYKIN) You soud gae til yeir bed, Doctor!

CHEBUTYKIN: Ah’m aw richt…. Thenks…. (Combs his beard)

KOOLYGHIN: (Laughs) Hauf seas ower, Ivan Romanych! (Slaps him on the shoulder) Ay, ye’r a braw yin! In vino veritas, as they uisd ti say in auld Rome.

TOOZENBACH: Awbodie keeps speirin at me ti arrange a concert for ti help the victims o the fire.

IRENA: Weill, wha wad ye git ti perform in it?

TOOZENBACH: Ah daursay it coud be duin if we wantit. Maria Serghyeevna is graund at playin the pianae, in ma opeinion.

KOOLYGHIN: Ay, she’s first cless!

IRENA: Mercie, she’s forgotten hou ti play. She haesna played for thrie year….. or mebbe it’s fower?

TOOZENBACH: Naebodie unnerstauns muisic in this toun, no a singtil sowl. But Ah ken, an Ah can tell ye for shuir, that Maria Serghyeevna plays brawlie. She haes a fair genius for the ivories.

KOOLYGHIN: Ye’r richt thare, Baron. Ah’m verra fond o Masha. Sic a nice lyke lass. She certainly sees me awricht.

TOOZENBACH: Fancy be-in able ti play as weill as hir an haein naebodie, naebodie at aw ti appreciate it.

KOOLYGHIN: (Sighs) Ay! But wad it be quite the richt thing for hir to play in a public concert. (a pause) Ah ken naething anent sic maitters ma freins. Mebbe it wul be awricht. But ye ken, tho oor director is a guid man in his wey, a verra guid man, an clivver, tae, Ah ken that he haes gey definite notions aboot whit is wycelyke….. Mynd ye, this is really nane o his business, but aw the same, Ah’l hae a wurd in his lug aboot it, an ye lyke.

(CHEBUTYKIN picks up a china clock and examines it)

VERSHININ: Ma claes ir in sic a state helpin for ti pit oot the fire, Ah maun look lyke naething on earth. (a pause) Ah believe they war sayin yestrein that oor brigade wes lyke ti be posted sumwhaur a lang wey awa. Sum said ti Poland an ithers awa ti Cheeta, in Siberia.

TOOZENBACH: Ah heard that, anaw. Aweill, the toun wul be fair desertit athoot thaim!

IRENA: We’l gang awa, anaw!

CHEBUTYKIN: (Drops the clock and breaks it) Smashed ti smithereens! Ah dout it wul never be the same.

(A pause. Everybody looks upset and embarrassed.)

KOOLYGHIN: Fancy brekkin sic a valuable thing! Ai, Ivan Romanych, man, man, ye’l git a blek merk for that!

IRENA: It wes ma mither’s clock.

CHEBUTYKIN: Aweill, supposin it wes. Gin it wes yeir mither’s, it wes yeir mither’s. Mebbe Ah didna smash it. Mebbe it onlie appears Ah did. Mebbe it onlie appears til us that we exist, tho, in reality, we dinna at aw. Ah ken naething---naebodie kens oniething.

CHEBUTYKIN: (Stops at the door) Whit ir ye aw glowerin at me for? Natasha’s haein a nice wee affair wi Protopopov, an ye dinna see it. Ye sit here on yeir erses seein naething, an aw the tyme, Natasha’s haein a nice wee affair wi Protopopov.

(Goes out)

VERSHININ: Aweill…. (Laughs) Things ir funny, richt aneuch. (a pause) Whan the fire stertit, Ah stoured hame as fest as Ah coud. Whan Ah got near, Ah coud see that oor houss wes awricht an oot o herm’s wey, but the twa wee lassies war staunin thare in thair nicht gouns. Thair mither wes naewhaur ti be seen. Fowk war rinnin aboot aw airts, horses, dugs….an in the bairns’ faces, Ah saw a feart wanrestfu look, Ah dinna ken whit! Ma hert sank whan Ah saw thair wee faces. Dod, Ah thocht, whit wul thir bairns hae ti gae throu in thair puir lives? They micht leeve for a lang tyme, tae! Ah picked thaim up in ma airms, an ran back here wi thaim, an aw the tyme Ah wes rinnin, the same thing wes in ma heid: whit wul they hae ti gae throu in this lyfe?
(The alarm is sounded)
An whan Ah wan here, ma wyfe wes here areddies…..roosed, skraichin!

(Enter MASHA, carrying a pillow. She sits down.)

VERSHININ: (Continues) An whan ma wee lassies war staunin thare in the door wi naething but thair nicht gouns, an the street wes reid wi the lowe o the fire an ful o terrifyin dirdum, it struck me that this kynd o thing uised ti happen lang syne, whan airmies made suiden raids on touns, an herried thaim an set thaim ableize…… Oniewey, ir the onie gret difference atwein the wey the warld wes then an the wey it is nou? An afore verra lang, say in anither twa or thrie hunder year, fowk micht see oor present lyfe, juist as we see the past nou, wi skunner an scorn. Oor ain tymes micht seem coorse ti thaim, borin an comfortless an ootlin……Ai, whitna graund lyfe it wul be then, whit a lyfe! (Laughs) Ye maun forgie me, Ah’m philosophisin ma heid aff. Ah dae that, whyles…….but can cairrie on, please? Ah’m in guid fettil for it.
(a pause)
Ye look lyke ye’r aw gaun ti sleep. As Ah wes sayin, whit a gret lyfe it wul be in the future! Juist try ti imagine it!……The nou the’r juist thrie fowk o intelligence in aw this toun, but in future generations, the wul be mair an mair smert fowk lyke yeirsell, or the day wul cum whan awbodie wul be lyke you. Fowk wul leeve thair lyfes in your wey, an syne, even you wul faw ahint an be auld-farrant, an a new bricht generation wul pit in an appearance, that wul be better nor you ir…. (Laughs) Ah’m in graund fettil the-day. Fou o the ettil ti leeve! (Sings)
‘To Love, all ages are in fee,
The passion’s good for you and me’

MASHA: (Sings) tara-tara-tara

VERSHININ: Tum-tum….

MASHA: Tara-tara

VERSHININ: Tara-tara, tum-tum-tum…. (Laughs)


FEDOTIK: (Dancing about) Burnt, burnt! Awthing aw burnt ti shunders!

(All laugh)

IRENA: It’s nae lauchin maitter. Haes awthing really been burnt?

FEDOTIK: (Laughs) Awthing, awthegither! Ah hae naething left. Ma guitar’s burnt, ma photigraphs is burnt---aw ma letters. Even the wee note-book Ah wes gaun ti gie ye, haes been burnt.


IRENA: Na, na! Awa ye gang, Vassily Vassilich! Ye canna cum in here.

SOLIONY: Can Ah no? Hou can the Baron cum in here an Ah canna?

VERSHININ: It’s tyme we war aw awa, the haill lot o us. Hou is the fire daein?

SOLIONY: The wund haes lowdent an it’s dwynin doun, they say. Weill, Ah hae ti say, it’s a queerlyke thing the Baron can cum in here, an Ah canna.

(Takes scent bottle from his pocket and sprinkles himself with scent)

VERSHININ: Tara-tara.

MASHA: Tum-tum, tum-tum

VERSHININ: (Laughs, to SOLIONY) Lat’s gang til the ballroom!

SOLIONY: Verra weill,we’l mak a note o this.
‘I hardly need to make my moral yet more clear:
That might be teasing geese, I fear!’

(Looks at TOOZENBACH) Cluck, cluck, cluck!
(Goes out with VERSHININ and FEDOTIK)

IRENA: That Soliony haes fair smeikit the room oot….. (Puzzled) The Baron haes dozed aff. Baron! Baron!

TOOZENBACH: (Waking out of his doze) Ai, Ah maun be fair forfochen. Ah maun hae dovert aff. The brick-warks …. Na, na, Ah’m no speakin in ma sleep. Ah ettil ti gae back til the brick-warks an stert wurkin thare fairlie suin. Ah’ve haed a bit wurd wi the manager.

(To IRENA, tenderly) Ye ir sae pale, sae lousum….. Yeir fauch face seems ti licht up the mirk aboot ye, sumhou…. But ye’r dowie: ye’r no content wi the lyfe ye hae ti leeve here. Cum awa wi me, lat’s gae awa an wurk thegither!

MASHA: Nikolai Lovovich, Ah wush ye wad gae awa.

TOOZENBACH: (Laughs) Ach, you’r here, ir ye? Ah didna see ye.

(Kisses IRENA’S hand) Ah’m gaun, ye ken, an as Ah look at ye nou, Ah keep thinkin o the day---it wes a lang whyle syne, yeir Saunt’s day—whan ye spak til us aboot the pleisir o wark… war sae blyth an bonnie then---an whit a happy lyfe Ah saw aheid o me then! Whaur is it aw nou? (Kisses her hand) The’r tears in yeir een. Ye soud awa til yeir bed. Mercie, it’s stertin ti git licht---it’s amaist mornin. Ai, if onlie Ah coud gie ma lyfe for you!

MASHA: Nikolai Lvovich, wul you please gang awa/ This wul no dae!

TOOZENBACH: Ah’m gaun. (Goes out)

MASHA: (Lies down) Ir ye sleepin, Fiador?


MASHA: Whitfor dae ye no gang hame?

KOOLYGHIN: Ma darlin Masha, ma sweet precious Masha….

IRENA: She’s tired. Lat hir rest a wee whyle, Fyedia!

KOOLYGHIN: Ah’l gang in a meinit. Ma wyfe, ma dear wyfe…. Hou Ah luiv ye, onlie you.

MASHA: (Crossly) Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant!

KOOLYGHIN: (Laughs) Whit an amazin wumman! Ah’ve been mairrit on ye for seivin year, but Ah feel lyke we war onlie mairrit yestrein. Ye really ir byordnar! Ai, Ah’m that happy, happy, happy.

MASHA: An Ah’m that bored, bored, bored!

(Sits up) Ah canna git it oot ma heid. It’s juist skunnersum. It’s lyke haein a mukkil nail cawed inti ma heid. It’s aboot Andrey…. Dae ye ken he haes actually mortgaged this houss til a bank? An that wyfe o his haes gotten hir haunds on aw the siller ---an yit the houss disna belang ti him. It belangs the fower o us! Shuirlie he maun ken that, if he haes onie honesty at aw.

KOOLYGHIN: Whit ir ye bringin this up for, Masha? Whit ir we batherin aboot it for nou? Andriusha is awin siller aw roun the toun…. Leave him alane!

MASHA: Whitever, it’s a richt skunner. (Lies down)

KOOLYGHIN: Weill we’r no puir, Masha. Ah hae ma wark: Ah teach at a kintrie skuil, Ah gie private lessons in ma ain tyme…..Ah’m a dominie, a plain honest man……Omnia, mea mecum porto, as they say.

MASHA: Ah ask for naething for masell, but injustice skunners me aye.

Whitfor dae ye no gae hame, Fiador?

KOOLYGHIN: (Kisses her) Ye’r wabbit, lass. Juist you rest here for a whyle….

Ah’l awa hame an wait for ye….. Gang an hae a guid sleep! (Goes to the door) Ah’m that happy, happy, happy!

IRENA: Ti tell the truith, Andrey is gittin ti be shallae-myndit. He’s aulder lookin, an sen he’s been leevin wi that wumman, he’s lost aw the smeddum he uised ti hae. No that lang syne he wes wurkin for a professor’s chair, an yit yestrein, he wes blawin an booncin he haed been elekkit a member o the Coonty Cooncil, wi Protopopov as chairman! They say the haill toun is lauchin at him. He is the onlie yin that disna ken oniething. An nou ye see, wi awbodie oot at the fire, he’s juist sittin in his chaumer, ignorin awthing.

(Agitated) It’s juist terrible, terrible. Ah canna beir it onie langir ti see ma brither lyke this. Ah canna.

(Enter OLGA. She starts arranging things on her bedside table.)

IRENA: (Sobs loudly) Ye’l hae ti turn me oot o here! Turn me oot! Ah canna thole it onie mair!

OLGA: (Alarmed) Whit is’t? Whit is it, darlin?

IRENA: (Sobbing) Whaur…… Whaur haes it aw gaen til? Whaur is it aw nou? God, Ah’ve forgotten……Ah’ve forgotten awthing. The’r naething but confuision an heiligoleirie in ma heid…… Ah canna mynd the Italian for ‘wundae’ or for ‘ceilin’. Ilkie day, Ah’m forgettin mair an mair, an ma haill lyfe is slippin awa, an it wul never, never cum back….We’l never gang ti Moscow…..Ah can see that that nou…. We wul never gang back.

OLGA: Dinna ma dear, dinna you fash yeirsell!

IRENA: (Trying to control herself) Ai, Mercie, Ah’m that meiserabil! Ah canna wurk, Ah winna wurk. Ah’ve haen mair nor aneuch o it, Ah tell ye, aneuch! First Ah wrocht on the telegraph, nou Ah’m in the Coonty Cooncil offices an Ah hate an despise awthing they gie me ti dae thare….. Ah’m twantie-thrie year auld, Ah’ve been dargin aw the tyme an Ah feel lyke ma brain haes dried up awthegither. Ah ken Ah’ve gotten skinnier an mair ugsum an aulder, an Ah finnd nae satisfaction in oniething Ah dae, no a bit o it..

An the tyme is aye passin….an Ah feel lyke Ah’m slippin awa frae onie howp o a rael guid lyfe, doun intil a derk pit o despair. Ah dinna ken whit Ah’m aye alive for….hou Ah haena killed masell.

OLGA: Dinna greit, ma puir lass, dinna greit, it gies me a sair hert!

IRENA: Ah’m no greitin onie mair. See, Ah hae stappit! That’s aneuch o it. Look, Ah’m no greitin nou. That’s aneuch o it.

OLGA: Darlin, lat me tell ye sumthing! Ah juist want ti speak as yeir sister, as yeir friend. Dae ye ken whit Ah think?

Ah think ye soud mairrie the Baron.

(IRENA weeps quietly)

OLGA: Eftir aw, ye respect him an think weill o him….. It’s true he’s nae eyl paintin, but a richt, innerlie, wycelookin fallae. Ye’d gang ferr an finnd waur. Whan aw is said an duin, whit haes luiv got ti dae wi it. Naething ava! We aw hae oor duty ti dae. Mercie, gin it war me, Ah’d mairrie oniebodie that speired me, as lang as he wes wycelyke. Ah’d even mairrie an auld dottilt whyte-heidit man!

IRENA: Here A’ve been hingin aboot aw this tyme, thinkin we’d be flittin ti Moscow, an that Ah’d meet in wi the fallae Ah’m meant for thare. Ah’ve dreamed aboot him an Ah’ve luived him in ma dream….. But it haes aw turnt oot ti be sae monie haivers….juist a lot o styte!

OLGA: (Embracing her) Ma darlin, Ah ken awthing ye’r sayin, perfitlie. Whan the Baron resigned his commeission an cam ti see us in his civvie claes, Ah thocht he lookit sae plain an dowf, Ah stertit ti greit at the sicht o him….He speired whit wes Ah greitin for……. Hou coud Ah tell him, Ah ask ye? But for aw, gin it war God’s wull he soud mairrie ye, Ah’d feel quite gled aboot it.

IRENA: Ai, wad ye, Olga?

OLGA: Crivvens, that wad be a different thing awthegither.

(NATASHA, carrying a candle, comes out of the door on the right, crosses the stage and goes out through the door on the left without saying anything)

MASHA: (Sits up) She gangs aboot lookin lyke she’d stertit the fire.

OLGA: You’r silly, Masha. Ye’r the stuipitest bodie in oor faimilie. Ye’l forgie me for sayin sae, but ye ir a bit o a gowk.

(a pause)

MASHA: Ma dear sisters, The’r sumthing Ah hae ti tell ye. Ah hae ti git it aff ma kist. It’s in ma hert. Ah’l juist tell it til the twa o ye, syne til naebodie else. Ah’l tell ye in a meinit.

(In a low voice) It’s a secret, but ye’l hae ti ken awthing aboot it. Ah canna haud it in onie langir. (a pause) Ah’m in luiv……..Ah luiv that man……. Ye saw him thare the-nou. Weill whit’s the guid? Ah luiv Vershinin…..

OLGA: (Goes behind her screen) Dinna say it! Ah dinna want ti hear it. Mercie, he’s auld aneuch ti be yeir faither!

MASHA: Weill, whit’s ti be duin? (Holding her head) Ah thocht he wes a bit o a heid case at first, syne Ah stertit ti be vext for him…….syne Ah stertit ti luiv him…..luiv awthing aboot him---his voice, his crack, his mishanters, his twa wee lassie bairns.

OLGA: Hou aboot his wyfe? Dae ye luiv hir, tae? But Ah dinna want ti hear this. Ye can blether awa as lang as ye lyke. Ah’l no be heedin ye.

MASHA: Ach, ye’r stuipit, Olia! If A luiv him, weill---that’s ma weird. That’s ma destiny…….He luivs me anaw. It’s kynd o scary, Is’t no? It’s no a guid thing this, is it?

(Takes IRENA by the hand and draws her to her)

Ai, ma dear! Hou ir we gaun ti leeve throu the rest o oor lyfes? Whit’s ti becum o us? Whan ye read a story-book, awthing in it seems sae auld an obvious, but whan ye faw in luiv yeirsell, ye finnd oot aw at aince that ye dinna richt ken oniething for shuir, an hae ti mak yeir ain mynd up…. Ma dear sisters….. Ah’ve telt ye awthing, an nou Ah’l keep quaet….Ah’l be lyke yon madman in the story bi Godol----silence…..silence.

(Enter ANDREY followed by FERAPONT)

ANDREY: (Crossly, to FERAPONT) Whit dae ye want? Ah canna unnerstaun whit ye’r on aboot.

FERAPONT: (Stopping in the doorway, impatiently) Ah’ve askit ye nou, ceivil aneuch, aboot ten tymes, Andrey Serghyeevich.

ANDREY: In the first place, ye’r no ti cry me, Andrey Seerghyeevich---
You caw me, ‘Yeir Honor.’

FERAPONT: The firemen ir speirin at Yeir Honor, if they micht dryve throu yeir gairden for ti win til the river for the wattir. They’ve been gaun the lang road roond aw this tyme, an the fire aye bleezin.
It’s an awfu business.

ANDREY: Awricht, Ah didna ken. Tell thaim it’s awricht!

(FERAPONT goes out)

They keep on plaguin me. Whaur’s Olga?

(OLGA comes from behind the screen)

Ah wantit ti see ye. Ye wadna be sae guid as ti gie me the key til the lobby press? Ah dout Ah’ve tint mynes. Ye ken the key Ah mean.? The wee tottie yin ye’ve got.

(OLGA silently hands him the key. IRENA goes behind the screen on the side of the room)

ANDREY: Whit a terrific bleize! It’s deein doun nou tho. Thon Ferapont fasht me, the Deil tak him! Silly thing he gart me say….Tellin him ti cry me, ‘Yeir Honor’ ……Wha dae Ah think A im? (a pause)

ANDREY: Whitfor ir ye no sayin oniething, Olia? It’s aboot tyme ye stappt this daft cairrie-on…..dortin lyke this for nae reason at aw……You here Masha? An Irena’s here tae. That’s fyne! We can cum oot wi it then, aince an for aw! Tell me strecht, whit hae ye got agin me. Whit is’t?

OLGA: Juist drap it the-nou, Andrey. We’l speak aboot it the-morn. (Agitated) Ai, whitna lyke nicht this haes been.

ANDREY: (In great embarrassment) Dinna mismak yeirsell! Ah’m askin ye, ceivil lyke, whit hae ye got agin me? Juist tell me strecht!

VERSHININ: (Voice offstage) Tum-tum-tum!

MASHA: (In a loud voice, getting up) TARA-TARA-TARA! (to OLGA) Guidby, Olia, God bliss ye! (Goes behind the screen an kisses IRENA) Sleep weill! Guidby, Andrey! Ah soud leav thaim the-nou, they’r aw fair duin. We’l speak it ower the-morn. (Goes out)

OLGA: Richt aneuch, Andrey, lat’s leave it or the morn’s mornin!

(Goes behind the screen on her side of the room)

It’s tyme ti gang til oor sleepin beds.

ANDREY: The’r juist the yae thing Ah want ti say, then Ah’l gae. In a meinit….. First o aw, ye hae sumthing agin ma guidwyfe---agin Natasha. Ah’ve kent it ever sen the verra day we war mairrit. Natasha is a fyne wumman, she’s honest an strecht an she haes hir principles…….. That’s ma opeinion. Ah respek ma wyfe, an Ah expek ithers ti respek hir anaw. Ah’l repeat: she’s an honest,weill-daein wumman an yeir ill-wull agin hir---gin ye dinna mynd me sayin sae---is juist yeir imagination, an naething mair…..It dis ye nae credit.(a pause) Saicontlie, Ah seem ti be in yeir blek books for no makkin masell a professor, an no daein onie academic wark. But Ah’m wurkin in the Cooncil Office. Ah im a member o the Coonty Cooncil, an whit is mair, Ah feel ma wark thare is juist as wycelyke an uissfu as onie academic wark Ah micht dae. Ah’m a member o the Coonty Cooncil, an if ye want ti ken, Ah’m prood o it! (a pause) Thirdly, the’r anither thing Ah hae ti tell ye….Ah ken Ah mortgaged the houss athout askin yeir leave….That wes wrang an Ah admeit it, an Ah ask ye ti forgie me…..Ah wes driven til it bi aw ma debts….Ah wes at ma wuts’ end. Dae ye ken, Ah’m in debt ti the tuin o thertie-five thousan roubles. Ah dinna play at the cairds onie mair. Ah gied it up langsyne…..The onlie thing Ah can say ti excuise masell is that, i the feinish, you girls wul cum in for an annuity, whyle Ah wul git naething at aw---naething in the wey o income, Ah mean….. (a pause)

KOLYGHIN: (Calling through the door) Is Masha in thare at aw? Is she no thare? Whaur can she be, then. It’s gey queerlyke….. (Goes away)

ANDREY: Sae ye winna heed me! Natasha is a guid honest wumman, Ah tell ye! (Walks up and down the stage, then stops)

Whan Ah mairrit hir, Ah thocht we war gaun ti be happy thegither…. But ma God…. (Weeps) Ma dear sisters, ye maunna believe whit Ah hae been sayin. Dinna believe it! (Goes out)

KOOLYGHIN: (Through the door again, agitated) Whaur’s Masha? Is Masha no here! Ah canna credit it! (Goes away)

(The alarm is heard again. The stage is empty)

IRENA: (Speaking from behind the screen) Olia, wha’s that chappin on the fluir?

OLGA: It’s the doctor, Ivan Romanych. He’s fou again.

IRENA: This haill nicht, it’s juist been yae thing eftir anither. (a pause) Olia! (Peeps out from behind the screen) Hae ye heard? The troops ir be-in moved awa frae this neiborheid. They’r ti be gaun sumwhaur a lang wey awa.

OLGA: That’s juist a rumor!

IRENA: We’l be left aw oor lane then………Olia!

OLGA: Weill, whit is it?

IRENA: Olia, darlin, Ah div lyke the Baron…. Ah think aboot him an awfu lot. He’s a richt guid man…. Ah’l mairrie him, Olia. Ah’l grie ti mairrie him if onlie we can gang ti Moscow! Please lat’s gang thare, Olia! Please lat’s gang!



The old garden belonging to the Prozorov’s house. A river is seen at the end of a long avenue of fir trees, and on the far bank of the river a forest. On the right of the stage, there is a veranda with a table on which champagne bottles and glasses have been left. It is midday. From time to time people from the street pass through the garden to get to the river. Five or six soldiers march through quickly. CHEBUTYKIN, eradiating a mood of benevolence which does not leave him throughout the act, is sitting in a chair in the garden. He is wearing his army cap and holding a walking stick, as if ready to be called away at any moment. KOOLYGHIN, with a decoration round his neck and his mustache shaved off. TOOZENBACH and IRENA are standing on the veranda, saying goodby to FEDOTIK and RODÉ, who are coming down the steps. Both officers are in marching uniform.

TOOZENBACH: (Embracing FEDOTIK) Ye’r a braw chiel, Fedotik; we hae been guid freins! (Embraces RODÉ) Yince mair than…….. Fareweill ma dear freins!

IRENA: Au revoir!

FEDOTIK: Ah dout it isna au revoir, It’s guidby. We’l never see ither again!

KOOLYGHIN: Wha kens? (Wipes his eyes, smiling) Thare, ye’ve garred me greit.

IRENA: We’l meet sum tyme.

FEDOTIK: Mebbe in ten or fifteen year tyme. But syne, we’l haurlie ken yin anither ….we’l juist meet an say, ‘Hou ir ye?’ Cauldlyke--- (Takes a snapshot) Haud on a meinit! Juist yin mair, for the lest tyme.

RODÉ: (Embraces TOOZENBACH) We’r no lyke ti meet again….. (Kisses IRENA’s hand) Thenks for awthing…..awthing!

FEDOTIK: (Annoyed) Juist haud on a glisk!

TOOZENBACH: We’l meet again gin we’r weirdit ti meet. Be shuir an wryte til us! Be shuir an wryte, nou!

RODÉ: (Glancing round the garden) Fareweill trees! (Shouts) Hoy-thare! (a pause) Cheerio, echo!

KOOLYGHIN: Ah wadna be surprised an ye got yeirsell mairrit, oot thare in Poland…..Ye’l git yeirsell a Polish guidwyfe, an she’l pit hir airm round ye an say: ‘Here ma jo!’ (Laughs)

FEDOTIK: (Glances at his watch) The’r barely an oor ti gang. Soliony is the onlie yin frae oor battery that’s gaun doun the river on the bairge. Aw the lave ir mairchin on fuit wi the diveision. Thrie batteries ir leavin the-day bi road an thrie mair the-morn---syne the toun wul be fair deid.

TOOZENBACH: Ay, an gey dowf, tae.

RODÉ: Bi the by, whaur Maria Serghyeevna?

KOOLYGHIN: She’s sumwhaur aboot in the gairden.

FEDOTIK: We maun tak oor leave o hir.

RODÉ: Guidby, Ah hae ti gang nou, or Ah’l burst oot greitin.

(Quickly embraces TOOZENBAH and KOOLYGHIN, kisses IRENA’s hand) Lyfe hae been guid here.

FEDOTIK: (To KOOLYGHIN) Here a wee souvenir for ye---a notebook wi a pincil…..We’l gae doun ti the wattir throu here lyke.

(They go off, glancing back)

RODÉ: (Shouts) Hoy-ho!

KOOLYGHIN: (Shouts) Fare-ye-weill!

(At the back of the stage, FEDOTIK and RODÉ meet Masha, and say goodby to her; she goes off with them)

IRENA: They’r gaen…. (Sits down on the bottom step of the veranda)

CHEBUTYKIN: They forgot ti say fareweill ti me.

IRENA: Whit aboot you? They didna need ti.

CHEBUTYKIN: That’s true, Ah forgot, tae. Never heed! Ah’l be seein thaim again fairlie suin. Ah’l be leavin the-morn. Ay, onlie the yae mair day. An syne, in a year’s tyme, Ah’l be retirin awthegither. Syne Ah’l cum back here an feinish whit’s left o ma days near you. Juist yae mair year ti pit in or a git ma pension. (Puts a newspaper in his pocket and takes out another) Ah’l cum back here an lead a reformed lyfe. Ah’l be a nice, quaet, weill-daein, wee, auld mannie.

IRENA: Ay, it’s mair nor tyme ye reformed, ma frein. Ye soud lead a different style o lyfe, Ah’m thinkin.

CHEBUTYKIN: Ay, A think sae, tae. (Sings quietly) Tarara-boom-di-ay---Ah’m sittin on a tomb-aw-day.

KOOLYGHIN: Ah dout the’r no mukkil can be duin wi IVAN Romanych. It’s ill tryin ti lairn an auld dug new tricks.

CHEBUTYKIN: Ay, ye soud hae taen me in haund. Ye micht hae reformed ma character whyle the war still tyme.

IRENA: Fiador’s shaved his mustache aff. Ah canna beir ti look at him.


CHEBUTYKIN: If Ah coud juist tell ye whit yeir gizz looks lyke nou---but Ah daurna.

KOOLYGGHIN: Weill, we hae ti keep up wi the fashion! Modus vivendi, as the auld Romans uised ti say. The Director shaved his mustache aff, sae Ah shavit mynes aff ti be upsydes wi him whan they made me an inspector. Naebodie lykes it, but that’s naething ti me. Ah’m weill content. Whuther Ah hae a mouser or no, it’s aw yin ti me. (Sits down)

(ANDREY passes across the back of the stage pushing a pram with a child asleeep in it)

IRENA: Ivan Romanych, ma dear friend, Ah’m fair worrit aboot sumthing. Ye war oot in the toun perk yestrein---tell me whit happent thare!

CHEBUTYKIN: Whit happent? Naething happent---juist a bit triffil.

(Reads his paper) It disna maitter oniewey.

KOOLYGHIN: Ah hear tell that Soliony an the Baron met in wi ither in the toun perk ootby the theater yestrein an…..

TOOZENBACH: Dinna, dinna, please! Whit’s the guid?

(Waves his hand at him deprecating and goes into the house)

KOOLYGHIN: It happent forenent the theater. Soliony stertit on badgerin the Baron, an he lost the heid an gied him sum snash that fair offendit him.

CHEBUTYKIN: Ah ken naething aboot it. It’s aw styte.

KOOLYGHIN: A skuilmaister yince wrate ‘styte’ in Russian on a laddie’s essay, an the laddie wes fikkilt bi it, thinkin it wes a Latin wurd. (Laughs) They say Soliony’s fair taen up wi IRENA an that he’s gotten ti hate the sicht o the Baron, mair an mair…. Weill, ye can unnerstaun that he micht fancy Irena. Irena’s a braw lass. But she’s a bit lyke Masha: she’s inclyned ti be ower taen up wi hir ain thochts.
(To IRENA) But your character is mair easy-gaun nor Masha’s. Mynd ye, Masha haes a nice disposeition, tae. Ah luiv hir, Ah div luiv ma Masha.

(From the back of the stage comes a shout: ‘Hey-ho!’)

IRENA: (Starts) Awthing gars me lowp the-day. (a pause) Ah hae aw ma luggage ready, tae. Ah’m sendin ma things aff eftir lunch. The Baron an me ir gaun ti be mairrit the-morn, an strecht eftir, we’r flittin intil the brick-warks, an the day eftir the-morn, Ah’m stertin wark at the skuil. Sae, God wullin, oor new lyfe wul begin. Ye ken whan Ah wes ettlin for ma teacher’s diploma, Ah stertit ti greit aw at yince for sheer joy, wi a feelin Ah wes blisst….. (a pause) The cairrier wul be cummin for ma luggage in a wee whylie….

KOOLYGHIN: That’s aw verra weill, but sumhou, Ah canna feel it’s meant ti be serious. Oniewey, Ah wush ye luck wi aw ma hert.

CHEBUTYKIN: (Moved) Ma dear lass, ma precious bairn--- Ye’r awa ferr aheid o me. Ah’l never catch up wi ye nou. Ah’m left alane lyke a draigilt burd that’s growne ower auld ti keep up wi the lave o the flock. Flie awa, Ma dears, flie awa an God be wi ye! (a pause) Whit a shame ye’ve shaved yeir mouser aff, Fiador Ilyich!

KOOLYGHIN: Dinna yerp on aboot it, for onie sake! (Sighs) Aweill, the sojers wul be on thair road the-day, an awthing wul gae back ti whit it wes lyke afore. Oniewey, whitever they say, Masha is a guid leal wyfe. Ay, Ah luiv hir dearlie. An Ah’m thenkfu for whit the Guid Lord haes gien me. Fikkil Fortuin treats fowk different.

Tak the excise clerk here, bi name o Kozyrev. Dae ye ken, he wes at the skuil wi me, an he wes expelled frae his fift year kis he coudna gresp the ut consecutivum. They threw him oot on his lug. Weill, he’s gey hard-up nou, an in puir health anaw. Whanever Ah meet in wi him, Ah juist say til him, ‘Hello, ut concecutivum,’ an he sterts aff wi his kirkyaird hoast. Ah dout he canna be lang for this warld. Nou me, Ah’ve been gey lucky aw ma lyfe. Ah’m a happy man. Ah’ve actually been awairdit th Order o Saunt Stanislav, saicont cless---an nou Ah’m teachin the bairns the same auld ut consecutivum. Mynd ye, Ah’m clivver--- Clivverer nor a hantil ither fowk….but whyles Ah think ti masell, happiness wants mair nor juist be-in clivver.

(In the house, someone plays, ‘The Maiden’s Prayer’)

IRENA: The-morn’s nicht, Ah winna hae ti listen til ‘The Maiden’s Prayer’. Ah’l no hae ti meet Protopovov onie mair….. (a pause) Bi the by, he’s plankit hissell doun in the sittin room. He’s cum again.

KOOLYGHIN: Haes oor heidmistress no arrived yit?

IRENA: Na, we’ve sent for hir. Gin ye onlie kent hou ill it is for me ti byde here bi masell, athout Olia! She fair leeves at the skuil, nou she’s the heidmistress, an she’s thrang aw day. An Ah’m here ma lane, shiftless, wi naething ti dae, an Ah hate the verra room Ah byde in.

Sae Ah’ve juist made up ma mynd.---if Ah canna gang an leeve in Moscow, that’s that. Naething can be duin aboot it. It’s God’s wull, awthing that befaws, an that’s the truith. Nicolai Lvovich proposed ti me….. Weill, A thocht it ower an made up ma mynd. He’s sic a nice innerlielyke man, it’s extraordinar hou innerlie he is…. an aw at yince, Ah felt as tho ma saul haed taen flicht. Ah felt mair blyth an sae relieved. Sumhou, Ah wantit ti wurk again. Juist ti stert wurk--- But sumthing happent yestrein, an nou Ah feel sum unco dreid hingin ower me lyke a shrood.


NATASHA: (Speaking through the window) Oor heidmistress!

KOOLYGHIN: Oor heidmistress haes arrived! Lat’s gae inby!

(Goes indoors with IRENA)

CHEBUTYKIN: (Reads his paper and sings quietly to himself) Tarara-boom-di-ay…..Ah’m sittin on a tomb-aw-day.

(MASHA walks up to him; ANDREY passes across the stage pushing the pram)

MASHA: Ye look verra comfortable lyke, sittin here.

CHEBUTYKIN: Weill, whit aboot it? Is oniething happenin?

MASHA: (Sits down) Na, naething. (a pause) Wul ye tell me sumthing? War you in luiv wi ma mither?

CHEBUTYKIN: Ay, A wes that!

MASHA: Did she luiv you?

CHEBUTYKIN: (After a pause) Ah canna richt mynd, nou.

MASHA: Is ma man here? Oor cook ay uised ti caw hir husband, ‘ma man.’ Is he here, dae ye ken?


MASHA: Whan ye hae ti tak yeir happiness in wee pikkils, in dribs an drabs, as Ah dae, an syne loss it, as Ah’ve lost mynes, ye gradually git dour an crabbit. (Points at her breast) Sumthing is bylin ower inby me, here
(Looking at ANDREY, who again crosses the stage with the pram) Thare Andrey, oor dear brither….. Aw oor howps for him haes gaen doun the plug.

It’s lyke whan thousans o fowk hyst a mukkil bell intil a touer. Naebodie kens whit siller an darg haes been spent on it, an syne, aw at yince, it faws, doun it cums an gits brukken ti bits. Aw at yince, athout rhyme or reason. It wes lyke that wi Andrae.. .…….

ANDREY: Whan ir they gaun ti settil doun in the houss? They’r makkin an awfu lyke dirdum.

CHEBUTYKIN: They wul suin. (Looks at his watch) This is a richt auld-farrant watch. It chaps the oor…. (Winds his watch, which then strikes) The first, saicont an fift batteries wul be leavin sherp at yin o’clock. (a pause) An Ah’l be on ma road the-morn.

ANDREY: For guid?

CHEBUTYKIN: Ah dinna ken…. For guid or for ill--- Ah micht be back in aboot a year. Guid kens--- It’s aw yin.

(The sound of a harp and a violin is heard)

ANDREY: The toun wul seem fair emptie. Lyfe wul be snufft oot lik a caunil. (a pause) Sumthing happent yestrein forenent the theater. Awbodie’s speakin aboot it. Ah’m the onlie sowl that disna seem ti ken aboot it.

CHEBUTYKIN: Howt, it wes naething. A lot o styte--- Soliony stertit badgerin the Baron the wey he dis, or sumthing. The Baron lost his rag an insultit him, an in the hinner end, Soliony haes ti challenge him til a duel. (Looks at his watch) Weill, Ah think it’s tyme ti gang. At hauf past twal, in the wuids ower yonder on the ferr syde the wattir…….. Bang-bang! (Laughs) Soliony imagines he’s lyke Lermontov. He fairlie fancies his chaunce. He actually wrytes poems, sae he dis. But jokin asyde, this wul be his third duel

MASHA: Wha’s third duel?

CHEBUTYKIN: Soliony’s---

MASHA: Whit aboot the Baron?

CHEBUTYKIN: Weill, whit aboot him? (a pause)

MASHA: Ah’m aw raivilt…. Whit Ah mean ti say is, they soudna be alloued ti fecht. Mercie, he micht mittil the Baron or even kill him.

CHEBUTYKIN: Aweill, Ah daursay the Baron can look eftir hissell, but whit dis it really maitter whuther the’r yae Baron mair or less, in aw the warld. Lat it be. It’s aw the same i the feinish.

(Shouts of ‘Yoo-hoo’ and ‘Hey-ya’ are heard from beyond the garden)

CHEBUTYKIN: That’l be Skvortsov, yin o the saiconts, bullerin frae the boat. Aweill, he can juist wait.

ANDREY: Ah think it’s immoral for ti fecht a duel, or even ti attend yin as a doctor.

CHEBUTYKIN: That’s juist the wey it seems ti you. We dinna exist at aw, naething exists, it’s aw juist a kynd o dwam---an illusion. It onlie seems we ir here….an whit difference dis it mak?

MASHA: Blether, blether, naething but slaiverin blethers aw day lang! (Starts to go) Haein ti leeve in this dreich climate wi the snaw aye thraetenin ti faw at onie meinit, an syne on tap o awthing, haein ti listen til aw thir kynds o haivers, even on…. Ah canna beir ti gang in thare…. Wul ye lat me ken whan Vershinin cums? (Walks along the avenue) Look at thon burds, stertin ti flie awa areddies! (Looks up) Swans or geese, follaein the sun. Dear burds, happy lucky burds. (Goes off)

ANDREY: Oor houss wul seem fair desertit awthegither. The officers wul gang, you’l be awa, ma sister wul git mairrit, an Ah’l be left aw ma lane i the houss.

CHEBUTYKIN: Whit aboot yeir guidwyfe?

(Enter FERAPONT with some papers)

ANDREY: Ma wyfe is ma wyfe. She’s a guid dacent kynd o a wumman! She’d really a kynd wumman in hir air wey, but he’r sumthing aboot hir that puls hir doun til the level o an animal…..a kynd o mean, blinnd, thick-skinned beiss, no a richt human be-in at aw. Ah’m tellin ye this as a frein, mynd! But whyles, she seems ti me that coorse an vulgar. Ah feel fair skunnert bi it, an syne Ah luiv hir---or oniewey, yince cam ti luiv hir.

CHEBUTYKIN: (Gets up) Weill, ma dear lad, Ah’m up an awa the-morn, an it micht be we wul never see ither again. Syne Ah’l gie ye sum guid advice. Pit you yeir hat on yeir heid, tak a guid crummoch, an tak the gait oot o here!……..Gang awa, an dinna ever look back! An the ferrer ye gang, the better.

(SOLIONY passes across the back of the stage, accompanied by two officers. Seeing CHEBUTYKIN, he turns towards him, while the officers walk on.)

SOLIONY: It’s tyme, Doctor. Hauf past twal areddies---

(Shakes hands with ANDREY)

CHEBUTYKIN: Gie me a meinit, wul ye? Ai, im Ah no seik tired o the lot o ye?

(To ANDREY) Andriusha, gin oniebodie speirs eftir me, you tell thaim Ah’l be back in a wee whyle. (Sighs) Oh-ho-ho!

SOLIONY: ‘He had not time to say, “Oh-ho”
Before that bear had struck him low’

(Walks off with him) An whit ir ye graenin aboot, auld yin?

CHEBUTYKIN: Ah…….weill!

SOLIONY: Hou dae ye feel?

CHEBUTYKIN: (Crossly) Lyke a lest year’s burd’s nest.

SOLIONY: Ye maunna fash yeirsell aboot it, auld yin. Ah dinna ettil ti dae him mukkil skaith. Ah’l juist birsil his weings a wee, lyke a wyldcock’s. (He takes out a scent bottle and sprinkles scent on his hands) Ah’ve gaen throu a haill bottle the-day, but ma haunds ir still mingin. They smell lyke a corp. (a pause) Dae ye mynd yon poem o Lermontov’s.

‘And he rebellious, seeks a storm,
As if in storms the war tranquility.’


‘He had not time to say, “Oh, oh!”
Before that bear had struck him low.’

(Goes out with SOLIONY)

(Shouts of ‘Hey-ho!’, Yoo-hoo! are heard)


FERAPONT: Wad ye sign thir papers, please?

ANDREY: (With irritation) Leave iz alane! Leave iz alane, for Heivin’s sake!

(Goes off with the pram)

FERAPONT: Weill, whit im Ah supposed ti dae wi the papers than? They’r meant ti be signed, ir they no? (Goes to back of stage)

(Enter IRENA and TOOZENBACH, the latter wearing a straw hat.)

(KOOLYGHIN crosses the stage, calling, ‘Yoo-hoo! Masha! Yoo-hoo!’)

TOOZENBACH: Ah think he is the yae sowl in the haill toun that’s gled the airmie is gaun awa.

IRENA: That’s no ti be wunnert at. (A pause) The toun wul look richt empty. It wul be gey dreich.

TOOZENBACH: Ah’l be back in a meinit.

IRENA: Whaur ir ye gaun til?

TOOZENBACH: Ah hae ti slip back til the toun, an syne, Ah wad lyke ti see sum o ma comrades aff.

IRENA: That’s no true…. Nicolai, hou ir ye sae absent-myndit the-day? (a pause) Whit happent forenent the theater yestrein?

TOOZENBACH: (With a movement of impatience) Ah’l be back in an oor. Ah’l be back wi you again. (Kisses her hands) Ma treisur!…. (Gazes into her eyes) It’s fullie five year sen Ah first began ti luiv ye, an Ah still canna git uised til it, an ye seem bonnier ilkie day that daws on me. (a pause)

TOOZENBACH: Whit wunnerfu hair ye hae! Whit marvellous een! Ah’l tak ye awa the-morn. We’l wurk an we wul be rich. Ma dreams wul cum ti lyfe again. An ye’l be blyth. But---the’r juist the yae ‘but’, ye dinna luiv me!

IRENA: Aweill, we canna mak nae mair o that. Ah’l be leal an true ti ye, but Ah canna luiv ye…..Ai, whit’s ti be duin? (Weeps) Ah’ve never luived oniebodie in ma lyfe, tho Ah’ve fairlie dreamed aboot it! Ah hae been dreamin aboot it for sae lang, day an nicht……But sumhou ma sowl is lyke a grand pianae sumbodie’s lockit up, an the key’s gotten lost. (a pause) Ye’r een ir that restless. Whit ails ye man?

TOOZENBACH: Ah never got richt slept aw nicht. It’s no that the’r oniething ti be feart for---naething thraetening….It’s the thocht o that lost key o yours that torments me an keeps me wauken. Say sumthing ti me! (a pause) Say sumthing!

IRENA: Mercie, whit wad ye want me ti say? Whit?

TOOZENBACH: Oniething!

IRENA: Dinna, ma dear, dinna…. (a pause)

TOOZENBACH: Sic triffils, sic silly wee things whyles becums that important aw at yince for nae guid reason! Ye lauch at thaim, juist as ye’ve aye duin. Ye still see thaim as triffils an ye haena the pouer ti conter thaim. But we maunna speak aboot aw that. Ti tell ye the truith, the-nou Ah feel fair crouss---lyke Ah wes seein thae fir trees an maples an birks for the first tyme in ma lyfe. It’s lyke they war aw keekin doun at me an waitin for sumthing---whit braw trees, whit bewtie! Lyfe soud be lyke thir trees.

(Shouts of ‘Yoo-hoo! Hey-ya!’ are heard)

TOOZENBACH: But Ah maun awa. It’s tyme. See yon deid tree! It’s aw dried up an wuzzent, but it’s aye sweyin in the wund in kilter wi its neibors! An in the same wey, it seems ti me that if Ah dee, Ah’l still hae a share in lyfe, sumhou or ither…..Fareweill ma dearest! (Kisses her hands) Yeir papers, the yins ye gied me, ir on ma desk, ablo the calendar.

IRENA: Ah’m cummin wi ye.

TOOZENBACH: (Alarmed) Na, na! Ye maunna! (Goes off quickly, then stops in the avenue) IRENA!

IRENA: Whit is’t?

TOOZENBACH: (Not knowing what to say) Ah-Ah didna hae onie coffee this mornin. Wul ye tell thaim ti git sum ready an het for me?

(IRENA stands, lost in thought, then goes to the back of the stage and sits down on a swing)

(Enter ANDREY with the pram; FERAPONT appears)

FERAPONT: Andrey Seerghyeevich, the papers ir no mynes, ye ken, they’r the office papers. Ah didna mak thaim up masell!

ANDREY: Ai, whaur haes aw ma past lyfe gaen til---the tyme whan Ah wes yung an gleg an clivver, whan Ah uised ti hae fyne dreams an gret thochts, an the present an the future war bricht wi howp? Whit gars us turn sae dowf an dreich an weariesum afore we hae even begun ti leeve? Hou dae we git ti be lazy, gumptionless an dowie? This toun’s been here for twa hunder year, a hunder thousan fowk bydes here, but naebodie stauns oot frae the lave. Thare never been a scholar or an artist or a saunt in this place; never a singil sowl wi aneuch mense ti admire an look up til. The fowk here dis naething but eat, drink an sleep…. Syne they dee, an ithers tak thair steid, an they eat drink an sleep anaw---an juist for a bit o variety, they aw gaun in for snash an clishmaclaivers an boozin doun the vodka, an gamblin an litigation. The guidwyfes cheat on thair men, an the men tell lees til thair wyfes an pretend they dinna see or hear oniething that’s gaun on. An aw this wecht o coorseness an smaw-myndit vulgarity, irzes aw the smeddum oot the bairns, sae that they, in thair turn, growe up inti meiserabil, hauf-deid-lyke craiturs, aw lyke yin anither, shauchlin throu lyfe, an juist lyke thair mithers an faithers afore thaim.


FERAPONT: Whit? Eh? Here the papers for ye ti sign!

ANDREY: Whit a pest ye ir!

FERAPONT: (Hand him the papers) The porter at the finance depairtment telt me The-nou…..he said lest wunter they haed twa hunder degrees o frost in Petersburg.

ANDREY: Ah hate the lyfe Ah leeve nou, but whit a lift Ah git whan Ah think on the future. Syne Ah feel that licht-hertit, sic a sense o freedom. Ah see masell free, an ma bairns, tae---free frae idleness, free frae eatin guiss an cabbage, free frae eftir-denner dovers, free frae be-in a parasite.

FERAPONT: They say twa thousan fowk war frozen ti daith. Awbodie wes fair terrified---at thair wuts’ end. It wes aither in Petersburg or Moscow. Ah canna richt mynd nou!

ANDREY: (With sudden emotion) Ma dear sisters, ma dear sisters! (Tearfully) Masha, ma dear sister!

NATASHA: (Through the window) Wha is that daein aw that lood speakin thare? Is that you, Andrisusha? Keep you yeir voice doun! Ye’l wauken Sofochka. Il ne faut pas faire du bruit; la Sophie est dormie déjà. Vous êtes un ours. (Getting angry) Gin ye want ti speak, you gie the pram ti sumbodie else. Hou monie tymes dae Ah need ti tell ye? Ferapont, you tak the pram frae the maister!

FERAPONT: Ay, Madam! Richt, Mistress! (Takes the pram)

ANDREY: (Shamefacedly) Ah wes speakin quaet.

NATASHA: (In the window, caressing her small son Bobik! Bobik! Irna you a bad wee laddie?

ANDREY: (Glancing through the papers) Awricht, Ah’l gae through thaim, an sign thaim gin they want signin. Ye can tak thaim back ti the office later.

(Goes into the house, reading the papers)

(FERAPONT wheels the pram into the garden)

NATASHA: (In the window) Whit’s Mammie’s name, Bobik? Ye wee darlin! An wha’s yon wumman? Auntie Olia! Say ‘Hello, Auntie Olia!’

(Two street musicians, a man and a girl, enter and begin to play on a violin and a harp; VERSHIN, OLGA and ANFISA come out of the house and listen in silence for a few moments; then IRENA approaches them)

OLGA: Oor gairden’s fair lyke a public road. Awbodie gangs throu it. Here, Nanny, gie sumthing til the musicians!

ANFISA: (Giving them money) Alang ye gae, nou God bliss ye, guid fowk!

(The musicians bow and go away)

Puir hameless fowk! Whaever wad trauchil roond the cauld streets playin tuins, gin he haed a hame ti gang til, an aneuch ti fill his wame?

(To IRENA) Hou ir ye, Irenushka?

ANFISA: (Kisses IRENA) Ai, ma bairn, whit a graund lyfe Ah’m haein! Sic comfort! In a mukkil flat at the skuil wi Oliushka—an nae rent ti pey aither. The Guid Lord’s been guid ti me in ma auld age, auld sinner that Ah im! A mukkil flat, nae rent ti pey, an a haill room ti masell, wi ma ain warm bed. Aw free! Whyles whan Ah wauken up throu the nicht, Ah think ti masell, Ai, Halie Mither o God, the’r naebodie mair content nor me, naither the ir!

VERSHININ: (Glances at his watch) We’l be stertin in a meinit, Olga Serghyeevna. It’s tyme Ah gaed. (A pause) Ah wush ye aw the happiness in the warld….. awthing ye’d wush for yeirsell…. Whaur Maria Serghyeevna?

IRENA: She’s oot in the gairden, sumwhaur. Ah’l gae look for hir.

VERSHININ: That’s guid o ye. Ah’l hae ti git a move on.

ANFISA: Ah’l cum help look for hir. (Calls out) MASHENKA, YOO-HOO! (Goes with IRENA towards the far end of the garden) YOO-HOO! YOO-HOO!

VERSHININ: Awthing cums til an end, aye. Weill, here we ir, an nou it’s ti be, ‘fare ye weill!’ (Looks at his watch) The toun gied us a fareweill denner. The war champagne, an the Provost made a wee speech, an Ah wired in an listened til him a bit, but in speirit, Ah wes wi you here…… (Glances round the garden) Ah’ve growne that uised wi ye aw.

OLGA: Wul we meet again, sum day, Ah wunner?

VERSHININ: It’s no verra lykelie! (a pause) Ma guidwyfe is lyker hirsell, an the twa wee lassies wul be bydin on here for a month or twa. Please, if oniething happens, ye ken, if they need oniething lyke…..

OLGA: Ay, ay.o coorse. Ye needna fash aboot that. (a pause) The-morn the’l no be a singil officer or sojer in the toun….. Aw that wul juist be a maimorie, an o coorse, a new kynd o lyfe wul begin for us here….. (a pause) Naething ever turns oot the wey we want it. Ah never ettilt for ti be a heidmistress, but here im Ah, a heidmistress: an auld maiden leddie. It means we’l never be gaun ti byde in Moscow.

VERSHININ: Weill, thenks for awthing! Forgie me if Ah’ve ever duin oniething oot the wey. Ah ken Ah’ve whyles blethert on ferr ower mukkil….Forgie me for that an dinna think ower ill o me.

OLGA: (Wipes her eyes) Mercie! .…… Ah wunner whit’s keepin Masha?

VERSHININ: Whit mair can Ah tell ye, nou it’s tyme ti say, ‘Guidby’? Whit wul Ah philosophise aboot nou, Ah wunner? (Laughs) Ay, lyfe is dour an ill ti thole. It seems the’r no mukkil howp for the fek o us. Ah dout we’r juist stuck in the bit….. but for aw, ye maun admeit, it is gradually gittin easier an brichter, an it’s clear that the tyme is no ferr awa whan the licht wul spreid awhaur. (Looks at his watch) Tyme nou, it’s tyme for me ti gang….. Langsyne, the human race wes ay makkin wars, an its tyme wes maistlie taen up wi fechtin: wi campaigns, retreats, victories, killin ither an the lyke….. But nou, that’s oot o date, an in its steid the’r a mukkil vacuum: a hole needin ti be filled. The human race is in sair need o sumthing ti fill this hole, an for shuir, it wul finnd sumthing yae day. Ai , Ah div howp it happens suin. Gin we coud educate the common wurkin fowk, the hoi polloi, an gar the educatit fowk dae a pikkil wark…..sum howp…..gin porkers coud flie, eh? (Sighs) Aweill, Ah maun awanou.

OLGA: Here she cums!

(Enter MASHA)

VERSHININ: Ah hae cum ti say, Guidby.

(OLGA walks off and stands a little to one side, so as not to interfere with their leave-takin)

MASHA: (Looking into his face) Goodby! ….. (A long kiss)

OLGA: That’l dae. Nou, that wul dae.

(MASHA sobs loudly)

VERSHININ: Wryte ti me….. Dinna you forget me! Lat me gae…. It’s tyme. Olga Serghyeevna, please tak hir awa …. Ah hae ti gang…… Ah’m late areddies…..

(Deeply moved, kisses OLGA’s hands, then embraces MASHA once again and goes out quickly)

OLGA: That wul dae Masha! Dinna, ma dear, dinna!…….


KOOLYGHIN: (Embarrassed) Never heed, lat hir greit, lat hir….. Ma dear sweet Masha…..Ye’r ma wyfe, an Ah’m blyth in spite o awthing…..Ah’m no complainin. Ah’l no cuist it up ti ye, an Olga here, is ma wutness. We’l stert oor lyfe ower again in the same auld wey, an ye winna hear a wurd o reproach frae me… a singil wurd.

MASHA: (Suppressing her sobs)
‘A green oak grows by a curving shore,
and round that oak hangs a golden chain’
‘A golden chain round that oak…..Ai! Ah’m gaun crazy!
‘By a curving shore…..a green oak….’

OLGA: Caum yeirsell, Masha, try an settil doun!…. Gie hir a drap wattir!

MASHA: Ah’m no greitin onie mair.

KOOLYGHIN: She’s no greitin onie mair….she’s a guid lassie, sae she is.

(The hollow sound of a gunshot is heard in the distance)

MASHA: ‘A green oak grows by a curving shore, and round that oak hangs a golden chain’….a green cat….. a green oak…..Ah’ve got it aw raivelt up….
(Drinks water) Ma haill lyfe’s aw messed up….. It’s aw buggert up! Ah dinna want oniething nou…… Ah’l caum doun in a meinit….. It disna maitter….. Whit is ‘the curving shore’? Hou dis it aye keep cummin inti ma heid? Ma thochts is aw steired up.

(Enter IRENA)

OLGA: Settil doun, Masha. That’s richt---thare a guid lass! Lat’s gae inby!

MASHA: (Irritably) Ah’m no gaun in thare! (Sobs, but immediately checks herself) Ah winna gang inti that houss nou, an Ah’m no gaun til….

IRENA: Lat’s sit oorsells doun thegither for a meinit an no speak aboot oniething at aw! Ah’m gaun awa the-morn, ye ken…..

KOOLYGHIN: Yesterday eftirnuin, Ah taen awa a fauss baird an a mustache frae a laddie in Cless Thrie. Ah hae thaim wi me here. (Puts them on) Div Ah look lyke oor German teacher? (Laughs) Here, Ah div, div Ah no? The laddies is gey droll, whyles.

MASHA: It’s div look lyke that German o yours!

OLGA: (Laughs) Ay, sae he dis. Ah think he suits the whuskers fyne.

(MASHA cries)

IRENA: That’s aneuch, Masha!

KOOLYGHIN: Gey lyke him, Ah think!


NATASHA: (to the maid) Whit? Oh ay, Maister Protopopov is gaun ti keep an ee on Sofochka, an Andrey Serghyeevich is gaein ti tak Bobik for a bit hurl in his pram. Whit a wark thir bairns mak!

(To IRENA) Sae ye’r really gaun the-morn? Whit a peitie! Shuirlie ye’l byde anither week wul ye no?

(Catching sight of KOOLYGHIN, shreiks; he laughs and takes off the false beard and moustache)

Awa wi ye, ye skunner! Whit a gliff ye gien me!

(To IRENA) Ah’ve growne that uised wi ye be-in here……Ye maunna think it wul be easy for me here ti be athoot ye. Ah’l git Andrey an his auld fiddle ti move inti yeir room, an he can saw awa at it as mukkil as he lykes in thare. An syne we’l move Sofochka intil his room. She’s sic a wee pet! Sic a lousum wee lassie bairn! This mornin she lookit at me wi sic a douce innerlielik expression on hir face an syne she said: ‘Ma-am-ma!’

KOOLYGHIN: It’s true, richt aneuch, she’s a wee bewtie, sae she is!

NATASHA: Sae the-morn, Ah’l be aw ma lane here. Ah’l juist hae ti grin an beir it. (Sighs) Aweill, Ah’l juist hae this fir-tree avenue felled doun for a stert, an syne that maple tree ower yonder. Ah’ve never lykit it. It looks awfu in the forenichts…..

(To IRENA) Ma dear, that belt ye’r weirin disna suit ye at aw. It’s no in verra guid taste. Ye want sumthing mair genteel for ti gang wi that dress…. Ah’l tell thaim ti plant flouers aw roond here, a hantil flouers, sae that we git a rowth o scent frae thaim aw the tyme.

(Sternly) Whit is that fork daein lyin on this saet?
(Going into the house, to the maid) Whit is that fork daein lyin on the saet for?

KOOLYGHIN: Thare she gaes again!


MASHA: The sojers ir on thair road. Weill…..A happy traivel til thaim. (To her husband) We maun gae hame….. Whaur ma hat an cape?

CHEBUTYKIN: Olga Serghyeevna!

OLGA: Whit is’t? (A pause) Whit?

CHEBUTYKIN: Naething, A dinna ken hou ti tell ye….. (Whispers in her ear)

OLGA: (Frightened) Na, it canna be true!

CHEBUTYKIN: Ay, a richt bad business……Ah’m that tired wi awthing ….. Fair worn oot……Ah dinna want ti say anither wurd.

(With annoyance) Oniewey, naething maitters…..

MASHA: Whit’s happened?

OLGA: (Puts her arm round IRENA) Whit a dreidfu day! Guid God! Ah dinna ken hou ti tell ye, dear.

IRENA: Whit is’t? Tell ne quick! Whit is’t, for Heivin’s sake? (Cries)

CHEBUTYKIN: The Baron haes juist been killed in a duel.

IRENA: (Cries quietly) Ah kent it. Ah kent it….

CHEBUTYKIN: (Goes to the back of the stage and sits down) Ah’m fair guttit awthegither. (Takes a newspaper out of his pocket) Lat thaim greit for a bittie…. (Sings quietly to himself) Tarara-boom-di-ay, Ah’m sittin on a tomb aw day….. Whit difference dis it mak? Naething maitters!

(The thrie sisters stand huddled together)

MASHA: Juist listen til yon band giein it big licks! They’r aw leavin us. Yin o thaim’s gaen foraye---forever! We’r left oor lane….. Ti stert oor lyfes aw ower again. We maun gae on leevin…. We maun gae on….

IRENA: (Puts her head on Olga’s breast) Yae day, fowk wul unnerstaun hou sic things is weirdit, an whit it aw means….. Syne, the winna be onie mair riddils ti fikkil us. In the meantyme, we maun warsil on, leevin an wurkin! Ah’l gie ma lyfe ower ti fowk that needs it…. It’s weirin on near the back end nou; wunter wul suin be here, an the snaw wul hap the haill warld……. But Ah’l gae on tyauvin an tyauvin!

OLGA: (Puts her arms round both her sisters) Ah feel Ah want ti leeve! Mercie o God, the years wul slip by an we’l be gaen for guid, an forgotten aboot awthegither. We’l no be here ti see it, an oor voices wul be forgotten an oot o mynd, an naebodie wul ken the war yince the thrie o us here. But aw oor dule an pyne micht lead ti happiness for whaever cums eftir…..The’l be a tyme whan peace an guidwull cums hame til the haill warld, an syne fowk wul mynd o us kyndlyke an blisst. Ma dear sisters, lyfe is no duin for us yit! We’r gaun ti leeve! Yon band is that cheerie lyke. Mebbe, gin we byde a wee whyle, We’l finnd oot whit we ir here for---Ah wush Ah kent!

(The music grows fainter and fainter. KOOLYGHIN happily brings out the hat and the cape. ANDREY enters. He is pushing the pram with BOBIK sitting in it.)

CHEBUTYKIN: (Sings quietly to himself) Tarara-boom-di-ay. Ah’m sittin on a tomb-aw-day. (Reads the paper) Whit dis it maitter? It’l aw be the same a hunder year hence an we’l no be here ti see it! Naething maitters!

OLGA: If onlie we kent! If onlie we kent!



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Information about Document 925

The Thrie Sisters


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1999
Title of original (if translation) The Three Sisters
Author of original (if translation) Anton Chekhov
Language of original (if translation) Russian
Word count 26409

Text medium


Text performance/broadcast details

Where performed/broadcast Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 1999
Performed/broadcast by Theatre Alba

Text setting


Text type

Script (film, play, radio, tv etc.)


Author details

Author id 17
Forenames David
Surname Purves
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired Biochemist
Place of birth Selkirk
Region of birth Selkirk
Birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Master Grocer
Father's place of birth Selkirk
Father's region of birth Selkirk
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Selkirk
Mother's region of birth Selkirk
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All circumstances
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes