Fruits of Culture. A Comedy in Four Acts - Leo Tolstoy - ebook

Fruits of Culture. A Comedy in Four Acts ebook

Leo Tolstoy

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Opis

In the morning, men from the Kursk province arrive at the Zvezdintsev’s house. Their appearance alarms the valet Fyodor Ivanovich, he tries to send uninvited guests to the courtyard, but the maid Tanya intervenes for the walkers: the peasants are her countrymen, in addition, one of them is the father of the barman Semyon, with whom the girl intends to associate fate. When Tanya finds out that the master refuses to sign an agreement on the sale of land, a cunning plan matures in her head.

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Liczba stron: 147

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Contents

CHARACTERS

ACT I

ACT II

ACT III

ACT IV

CHARACTERS

LEONÍD FYÓDORITCH ZVEZDÍNTSEF. A retired Lieutenant of the Horse Guards. Owner of more than 60,000 acres of land in various provinces. A fresh-looking, bland, agreeable gentleman of 60. Believes in Spiritualism, and likes to astonish people with his wonderful stories.

ANNA PÁVLOVNA ZVEZDÍNTSEVA. Wife of Leoníd. Stout; pretends to be young; quite taken up with the conventionalities of life; despises her husband, and blindly believes in her doctor. Very irritable.

BETSY. Their daughter. A young woman of 20, fast, tries to be mannish, wears a pince-nez, flirts and giggles. Speaks very quickly and distinctly.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH ZVEZDÍNTSEF. Their son, aged 25; has studied law, but has no definite occupation. Member of the Cycling Club, Jockey Club, and of the Society for Promoting the Breeding of Hounds. Enjoys perfect health, and has imperturbable self-assurance. Speaks loud and abruptly. Is either perfectly serious–almost morose, or is noisily gay and laughs loud. Is nicknamed Vovo.

ALEXÉY VLADÍMIRITCH KROUGOSVÉTLOF. A professor and scientist of about 50, with quiet and pleasantly self-possessed manners, and quiet, deliberate, harmonious speech. Likes to talk. Is mildly disdainful of those who do not agree with him. Smokes much. Is lean and active.

THE DOCTOR. About 40. Healthy, fat, red-faced, loud-voiced, and rough; with a self-satisfied smile constantly on his lips.

MÁRYA KONSTANTÍNOVNA. A girl of 20, from the Conservatoire, teacher of music. Wears a fringe, and is super-fashionably dressed. Obsequious, and gets easily confused.

PETRÍSTCHEF. About 28; has taken his degree in philology, and is looking out for a position. Member of the same clubs as Vasíly Leoníditch, and also of the Society for the Organisation of Calico Balls. Is bald-headed, quick in movement and speech, and very polite.

THE BARONESS. A pompous lady of about 50, slow in her movements, speaks with monotonous intonation.

THE PRINCESS. A society woman, a visitor.

HER DAUGHTER. An affected young society woman, a visitor.

THE COUNTESS. An ancient dame, with false hair and teeth. Moves with great difficulty.

GROSSMAN. A dark, nervous, lively man of Jewish type. Speaks very loud.

THE FAT LADY: MÁRYA VASÍLEVNA TOLBOÚHINA. A very distinguished, rich, and kindly woman, acquainted with all the notable people of the last and present generations. Very stout. Speaks hurriedly, trying to be heard above every one else. Smokes.

BARON KLÍNGEN (nicknamed KOKO). A graduate of Petersburg University. Gentleman of the Bedchamber, Attaché to an Embassy. Is perfectly correct in his deportment, and therefore enjoys peace of mind and is quietly gay.

TWO SILENT LADIES.

SERGÉY IVÁNITCH SAHÁTOF. About 50, an ex-Assistant Minister of State. An elegant gentleman, of wide European culture, engaged in nothing and interested in everything. His carriage is dignified and at times even severe.

THEODORE IVÁNITCH. Personal attendant on Zvezdíntsef, aged about 60. A man of some education and fond of information. Uses his pince-nez and pocket-handkerchief too much, unfolding the latter very slowly. Takes an interest in politics. Is kindly and sensible.

GREGORY. A footman, about 28, handsome, profligate, envious, and insolent.

JACOB. Butler, about 40, a bustling, kindly man, to whom the interests of his family in the village are all-important.

SIMON. The butler’s assistant, about 20, a healthy, fresh, peasant lad, fair, beardless as yet; calm and smiling.

THE COACHMAN. A man of about 35, a dandy. Has moustaches but no beard. Rude and decided.

A DISCHARGED MAN-COOK. About 45, dishevelled, unshaved, bloated, yellow and trembling. Dressed in a ragged, light summer-overcoat and dirty trousers. Speaks hoarsely, ejecting the words abruptly.

THE SERVANTS’ COOK. A talkative, dissatisfied woman of 30.

THE DOORKEEPER. A retired soldier.

TÁNYA (TATYÁNA MÁRKOVNA). Lady’s-maid, 19, energetic, strong, merry, with quickly-changing moods. At moments, when strongly excited, she shrieks with joy.

FIRST PEASANT. About 60. Has served as village Elder. Imagines that he knows how to treat gentlefolk, and likes to hear himself talk.

SECOND PEASANT. About 45, head of a family. A man of few words. Rough and truthful. The father of Simon.

THIRD PEASANT. About 70. Wears shoes of plaited bast. Is nervous, restless, hurried, and tries to cover his confusion by much talking.

FIRST FOOTMAN (in attendance on the Countess). An old man, with old-fashioned manners, and proud of his place.

SECOND FOOTMAN. Of enormous size, strong, and rude.

A PORTER FROM A FASHIONABLE DRESSMAKER’S SHOP. A fresh-faced man in dark-blue long coat. Speaks firmly, emphatically, and clearly.

The action takes place in Moscow, in Zvezdíntsef’s house.

FRUITS OF CULTURE

ACT I

The entrance hall of a wealthy house in Moscow. There are three doors: the front door, the door of Leoníd Fyódoritch’s study, and the door of Vasíly Leoníditch’s room. A staircase leads up to the other rooms; behind it is another door leading to the servants’ quarters.

Scene 1

GREGORY [looks at himself in the glass and arranges his hair, &c.] I am sorry about those moustaches of mine! “Moustaches are not becoming to a footman,” she says! And why? Why, so that any one might see you’re a footman,–else my looks might put her darling son to shame. He’s a likely one! There’s not much fear of his coming anywhere near me, moustaches or no moustaches! [Smiling into the glass] And what a lot of ’em swarm round me. And yet I don’t care for any of them as much as for that Tánya. And she only a lady’s-maid! Ah well, she’s nicer than any young lady. [Smiles] She is a duck! [Listening] Ah, here she comes. [Smiles] Yes, that’s her, clattering with her little heels. Oh!

Enter Tánya, carrying a cloak and boots.

GREGORY. My respects to you, Tatyána Márkovna.

TÁNYA. What are you always looking in the glass for? Do you think yourself so good-looking?

GREGORY. Well, and are my looks not agreeable?

TÁNYA. So, so; neither agreeable nor disagreeable, but just betwixt and between! Why are all those cloaks hanging there?

GREGORY. I am just going to put them away, your ladyship! [Takes down a fur cloak and, wrapping it round her, embraces her] I say, Tánya, I’ll tell you something...

TÁNYA. Oh, get away, do! What do you mean by it? [Pulls herself angrily away] Leave me alone, I tell you!

GREGORY [looks cautiously around] Then give me a kiss!

TÁNYA. Now, really, what are you bothering for? I’ll give you such a kiss! [Raises her hand to strike].

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene, rings and then shouts] Gregory!

TÁNYA. There now, go! Vasíly Leoníditch is calling you.

GREGORY. He’ll wait! He’s only just opened his eyes! I say, why don’t you love me?

TÁNYA. What sort of loving have you imagined now? I don’t love anybody.

GREGORY. That’s a fib. You love Simon! You have found a nice one to love–a common, dirty-pawed peasant, a butler’s assistant!

TÁNYA. Never mind; such as he is, you are jealous of him!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene] Gregory!

GREGORY. All in good time... Jealous indeed! Of what? Why, you have only just begun to get licked into shape, and who are you tying yourself up with? Now, wouldn’t it be altogether a different matter if you loved me?... I say, Tánya...

TÁNYA [angrily and severely] You’ll get nothing from me, I tell you!

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene] Gregory!!

GREGORY. You’re mighty particular, ain’t you?

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH [off the scene, shouts persistently, monotonously, and with all his might] Gregory! Gregory! Gregory! [Tánya and Gregory laugh].

GREGORY. You should have seen the girls that have been sweet on me. [Bell rings].

TÁNYA. Well then, go to them, and leave me alone!

GREGORY. You are a silly, now I think of it. I’m not Simon!

TÁNYA. Simon means marriage, and not tomfoolery!

Enter Porter, carrying a large cardboard box.

PORTER. Good morning!

GREGORY. Good morning! Where are you from?

PORTER. From Bourdey’s. I’ve brought a dress, and here’s a note for the lady.

TÁNYA [taking the note] Sit down, and I’ll take it in. [Exit].

Vasíly Leoníditch looks out of the door in shirt-sleeves and slippers.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Gregory!

GREGORY. Yes, sir.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Gregory! Don’t you hear me call?

GREGORY. I’ve only just come, sir.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. Hot water, and a cup of tea.

GREGORY. Yes, sir; Simon will bring them directly.

VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH. And who is this? Ah, from Bourdier?

PORTER. Yes, sir.

Exeunt Vasíly Leoníditch and Gregory. Bell rings. Tánya runs in at the sound of the bell and opens the front door.

TÁNYA [to Porter] Please wait a little.

PORTER. I am waiting.

Sahátof enters at front door.

TÁNYA. I beg your pardon, but the footman has just gone away. This way, sir. Allow me, please. [Takes his fur cloak].

SAHÁTOF [adjusting his clothes] Is Leoníd Fyódoritch at home? Is he up? [Bell rings].

TÁNYA. Oh yes, sir. He’s been up a long time.

Doctor enters and looks round for the footman. Sees Sahátof and addresses him in an offhand manner.

DOCTOR. Ah, my respects to you!

SAHÁTOF [looks fixedly at him] The Doctor, I believe?

DOCTOR. And I thought you were abroad! Dropped in to see Leoníd Fyódoritch?

SAHÁTOF. Yes. And you? Is any one ill?

DOCTOR [laughing] Not exactly ill, but, you know... It’s awful with these ladies! Sits up at cards till three every morning, and pulls her waist into the shape of a wine-glass. And the lady is flabby and fat, and carries the weight of a good many years on her back.

SAHÁTOF. Is this the way you state your diagnosis to Anna Pávlovna? I should hardly think it quite pleases her!

DOCTOR [laughing] Well, it’s the truth. They do all these tricks–and then come derangements of the digestive organs, pressure on the liver, nerves, and all sorts of things, and one has to come and patch them up. It’s just awful! [Laughs] And you? You are also a spiritualist it seems?

SAHÁTOF. I? No, I am not also a spiritualist... Good morning! [Is about to go, but is stopped by the Doctor].

DOCTOR. No! But I can’t myself, you know, positively deny the possibility of it, when a man like Krougosvétlof is connected with it all. How can one? Is he not a professor,–a European celebrity? There must be something in it. I should like to see for myself, but I never have the time. I have other things to do.

SAHÁTOF. Yes, yes! Good morning. [Exit, bowing slightly].

DOCTOR [to Tánya] Is Anna Pávlovna up?

TÁNYA. She’s in her bedroom, but please come up.

Doctor goes upstairs.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.