The drawing-room of LEBEDIEFFÕS house. In the centre is a door leading into a
garden. Doors open out of the room to the right and left. The room is furnished
with valuable old furniture, which is carefully protected by linen covers. The walls
are hung with pictures. The room is lighted by candelabra. ZINAIDA is sitting on
a sofa; the elderly guests are sitting in arm-chairs on either hand. The young
guests are sitting about the room on small chairs. KOSICH, AVDOTIA
NAZAROVNA, GEORGE, and others are playing cards in the background.
GABRIEL is standing near the door on the right. The maid is passing sweetmeats
about on a tray. During the entire act guests come and go from the garden,
through the room, out of the door on the left, and back again. Enter MARTHA
through the door on the right. She goes toward ZINAIDA.
ZINAIDA. [Gaily] My dearest Martha!
MARTHA. How do you do, Zinaida? Let me congratulate you on your daughter's
ZINAIDA. Thank you, my dear; I am delighted to see you. How are you?
MARTHA. Very well indeed, thank you. [She sits down on the sofa] Good
evening, young people!
The younger guests get up and bow.
FIRST GUEST. [Laughing] Young people indeed! Do you call yourself an old
MARTHA. [Sighing] How can I make any pretense to youth now?
FIRST GUEST. What nonsense! The fact that you are a widow means nothing.
You could beat any pretty girl you chose at a canter.
GABRIEL brings MARTHA some tea.
ZINAIDA. Why do you bring the tea in like that? Go and fetch some jam to eat
MARTHA. No thank you; none for me, don't trouble yourself. [A pause.]
FIRST GUEST. [To MARTHA] Did you come through Mushkine on your way