by Anton Checkov
BORKIN. [Laughing loudly] There, I am sorry, really. I won't do
it again. Indeed I won't. [Take off his cap] How hot it is! Just
think, my dear boy, I have covered twelve miles in the last three
hours. I am worn out. Just feel how my heart is beating.
IVANOFF. [Goes on reading] Oh, very well. I shall feel it later!
BORKIN. No, feel it now. [He takes IVANOFF'S hand and presses it
against his breast] Can you feel it thumping? That means that it
is weak and that I may die suddenly at any moment. Would you be
sorry if I died?
IVANOFF. I am reading now. I shall attend to you later.
BORKIN. No, seriously, would you be sorry if I died? Nicholas,
would you be sorry if I died?
IVANOFF. Leave me alone!
BORKIN. Come, tell me if you would be sorry or not.
IVANOFF. I am sorry that you smell so of vodka, Misha, it is
BORKIN. Do I smell of vodka? How strange! And yet, it is not so
strange after all. I met the magistrate on the road, and I must
admit that we did drink about eight glasses together. Strictly
speaking, of course, drinking is very harmful. Listen, it is
harmful, isn't it? Is it? Is it?
IVANOFF. This is unendurable! Let me warn you, Misha, that you
are going too far.
BORKIN. Well, well, excuse me. Sit here by yourself then, for
heaven's sake, if it amuses you. [Gets up and goes away] What
extraordinary people one meets in the world. They won't even
allow themselves to be spoken to. [He comes back] Oh, yes, I
nearly forgot. Please let me have eighty-two roubles.
IVANOFF. Why do you want eighty-two roubles?
BORKIN. To pay the workmen to-morrow.
IVANOFF. I haven't the money.
BORKIN. Many thanks. [Angrily] So you haven't the money! And yet
the workmen must be paid, mustn't they?
IVANOFF. I don't know. Wait till my salary comes in on the first
of the month.
BORKIN. How is it possible to discuss anything with a man like
you? Can't you understand that the workmen are coming to-morrow
morning and not on the first of the month?
IVANOFF. How can I help it? I'll be hanged if I can do anything
about it now. And what do you mean by this irritating way you
have of pestering me whenever I am trying to read or write or---
BORKIN. Must the workmen be paid or not, I ask you? But, good
gracious! What is the use of talking to you! [Waves his hand] Do
you think because you own an estate you can command the whole
world? With your two thousand acres and your empty pockets you
are like a man who has a cellar full of wine and no corkscrew. I
have sold the oats as they stand in the field. Yes, sir! And
to-morrow I shall sell the rye and the carriage horses. [He
stamps up and down] Do you think I am going to stand upon
ceremony with you? Certainly not! I am not that kind of a man!
ANNA appears at the open window.
ANNA. Whose voice did I hear just now? Was it yours, Misha? Why
are you stamping up and down?
BORKIN. Anybody who had anything to do with your Nicholas would
stamp up and down.
ANNA. Listen, Misha! Please have some hay carried onto the