Gerard R. Ledger.
Please notify any errors or omissions to firstname.lastname@example.org ACT THREE
Olga's and Irina's room. Beds on the right and the left, partitioned by screens. It is between two and three in the morning. Behind the scene a siren is sounding owing to a fire in the town which started some time ago. It is evident that no one has been to bed so far tonight. Masha is lying on a divan, wearing, as usual, a black dress. Olga and Anfisa enter.
ANFISA. They are sitting downstairs now, under the staircase… I said to them - 'Please, come upstairs. It's impossible,' - I said, - 'for you to stay like this' - and they were crying. 'Daddy', they said, 'we don't know where he is. Please God, please God, don't say he's died in the fire'. What a thing to think of! And then in the yard there are others… they are also only half dressed.
OLGA. (Takes some dresses from the wardrobe.) Take this grey one… and this one… And this jacket also… And take this skirt nanny… My God, can you imagine it. The whole of the Kirsanovsky suburb has burnt down, it seems… Take this… And take this as well… (Heaps up dresses into her arms.) The Vershinin's are terrified, poor things… their house almost burnt down. They must spend the night with us… it's impossible to let them go home… Poor Fyedotik has lost everything, nothing is left…
ANFISA. You'd better call Ferapont, Olya darling, I can't carry all this.
OLGA. (Rings the bell.) No one will answer this… (Through the door.) Is anyone there, please come here!
(Through the open doorway a window can be seen which is red with the glow of the fire; fire engines are heard passing the house.)
It's simply dreadful! It's totally exhausting!
Here, take these downstairs. The Kolotilin girls are standing there under the stairs… give these to them. And these as well…
FERAPONT. Yes Madam. In eighteen hundred and twelve Moscow was burning. Good Lord above! The French were struck with horror.
OLGA. Go on. Take them away.
FERAPONT. Yes Madam. (He goes.)
OLGA. Nanny, my dear, give them everything. We don't need anything, so give them the lot nanny… I'm tired out, I can hardly stand… We cannot let the Vershinin's go home… The girls can sleep in the drawing room, and Vershinin himself can go down with the baron… Fyedotik also had better go with the baron, or perhaps with us in the dining room… The doctor is drunk, absolutely drunk, as if on purpose, and no one can be put with him. Vershinin's wife also must go in the drawing room.
ANFISA. (Exhausted.) Dear Olya, my dearest one, don't get rid of me, please don't get rid of me!
OLGA. What nonsense you are talking, nanny. Nobody is going to get rid of you.
ANFISA. (Puts her head on Olga's breast.) My dear child, my darling one, I toil away, I keep working… But I'm getting weak, and everyone is saying 'She should go'! But where would I go to? Where? I'm eighty years old. I'm in my eighty second year.
OLGA. Sit down nanny. You're tired, you poor thing. (Makes her sit down.) Rest awhile, nanny dear. How pale you are!
NATASHA. Outside they're saying that we should set up a committee to help those whose homes have been burnt. What do you say? It's an excellent idea. We ought generally to help the poor, that is the duty of the rich. Bobik and little Sophie are fast asleep, sleeping as if nothing had happened. There's such a huge number of people in our house, everywhere, wherever you go the house is full. There is influenza in the town. I'm worried that the children might catch it.
OLGA. (Not hearing her.) The fire is not visible from this room. It's quiet here.
NATASHA. Yes… I think I must be rather dishevelled. (In front of the mirror.) I'm told that I'm getting fatter. It's not true! Not in the slightest! Masha's asleep, she's worn out, poor girl… (Coldly, addressing Anfisa.) How dare you sit down when I am here! Stand up! Leave this room!