The drawing-room of SEREBRAKOFF'S house. There are three doors: one to the right,
one to the left, and one in the centre of the room. VOITSKI and SONIA are sitting down.
HELENA is walking up and down, absorbed in thought.
VOITSKI. We were asked by the professor to be here at one o'clock. [Looks at his
watch] It is now a quarter to one. It seems he has some communication to make to the
HELENA. Probably a matter of business.
VOITSKI. He never had any business. He writes twaddle, grumbles, and eats his heart
out with jealousy; that's all he does.
SONIA. [Reproachfully] Uncle!
VOITSKI. All right. I beg your pardon. [He points to HELENA] Look at her. Wandering
up and down from sheer idleness. A sweet picture, really.
HELENA. I wonder you are not bored, droning on in the same key from morning till
night. [Despairingly] I am dying of this tedium. What shall I do?
SONIA. [Shrugging her shoulders] There is plenty to do if you would.
HELENA. For instance?
SONIA. You could help run this place, teach the children, care for the sick--isn't that
enough? Before you and papa came, Uncle Vanya and I used to go to market ourselves to
deal in flour.
HELENA. I don't know anything about such things, and besides, they don't interest me.
It is only in novels that women go out and teach and heal the peasants; how can I
suddenly begin to do it?
SONIA. How can you live here and not do it? Wait awhile, you will get used to it all.
[Embraces her] Don't be sad, dearest. [Laughing] You feel miserable and restless, and
can't seem to fit into this life, and your restlessness is catching. Look at Uncle Vanya, he
does nothing now but haunt you like a shadow, and I have left my work to-day to come
here and talk with you. I am getting lazy, and don't want to go on with it. Dr. Astroff
hardly ever used to come here; it was all we could do to persuade him to visit us once a
month, and now he has abandoned his forestry and his practice, and comes every day.
You must be a witch.