A monologue from the play by Anton Chekhov

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Two Plays of Tchekhof. Trans. George Calderon. London: Grant Richards Ltd., 1912.
  • MADAME RANEVSKY: Please don't go; I want you. At any rate it's gayer when you're here. [A pause] I keep expecting something to happen, as if the house were going to tumble down about our ears. We have been very, very sinful! Oh, the sins that I have committed ... I've always squandered money at random like a madwoman; I married a man who made nothing but debts. My husband drank himself to death on champagne; he was a fearful drinker. Then for my sins I fell in love and went off with another man; and immediately--that was my first punishment--a blow full on the head ... here, in this very river ... my little boy was drowned; and I went abroad, right, right away, never to come back any more, never to see this river again.... I shut my eyes and ran, like a mad thing, and he came after me, pitiless and cruel. I bought a villa at Mentone, because he fell ill there, and for three years I knew no rest day or night; the sick man tormented and wore down my soul. Then, last year, when my villa was sold to pay my debts, I went off to Paris, and he came and robbed me of everything, left me and took up with another woman, and I tried to poison myself.... It was all so stupid, so humiliating.... Then suddenly I longed to be back in Russia, in my own country, with my little girl.... [Wiping away her tears] Lord, Lord, be merciful to me; forgive my sins! Do not punish me any more! [Taking a telegram from her pocket.] I got this to-day from Paris.... He asks to be forgiven, begs me to come back....