VOITSKI'S bedroom, which is also his office. A table stands near the window; on it are
ledgers, letter scales, and papers of every description. Near by stands a smaller table
belonging to ASTROFF, with his paints and drawing materials. On the wall hangs a cage
containing a starling. There is also a map of Africa on the wall, obviously of no use to
anybody. There is a large sofa covered with buckram. A door to the left leads into an
inner room; one to the right leads into the front hall, and before this door lies a mat for
the peasants with their muddy boots to stand on. It is an autumn evening. The silence is
profound. TELEGIN and MARINA are sitting facing one another, winding wool.
TELEGIN. Be quick, Marina, or we shall be called away to say good-bye before you
have finished. The carriage has already been ordered.
MARINA. [Trying to wind more quickly] I am a little tired.
TELEGIN. They are going to Kharkoff to live.
MARINA. They do well to go.
TELEGIN. They have been frightened. The professor's wife won't stay here an hour
longer. "If we are going at all, let's be off," says she, "we shall go to Kharkoff and look
about us, and then we can send for our things." They are travelling light. It seems,
Marina, that fate has decreed for them not to live here.
MARINA. And quite rightly. What a storm they have just raised! It was shameful!
TELEGIN. It was indeed. The scene was worthy of the brush of Aibazofski.
MARINA. I wish I'd never laid eyes on them. [A pause] Now we shall have things as
they were again: tea at eight, dinner at one, and supper in the evening; everything in order
as decent folks, as Christians like to have it. [Sighs] It is a long time since I have eaten
TELEGIN. Yes, we haven't had noodles for ages. [A pause] Not for ages. As I was
going through the village this morning, Marina, one of the shop-keepers called after me,
"Hi! you hanger-on!" I felt it bitterly.
MARINA. Don't pay the least attention to them, master; we are all dependents on God.
You and Sonia and all of us. Every one must work, no one can sit idle. Where is Sonia?
TELEGIN. In the garden with the doctor, looking for Ivan. They fear he may lay violent
hands on himself.
MARINA. Where is his pistol?