even in rags!
None of your insolence now! Mind that!
I am not being insolent to you in any way, sir, and I merely addressed you
because I thought you might have a mind to do something for the town
sometime. You have a great deal of power, your worship, if only you had
the wish to do some good. Now, for instance, we've storms so often, and
yet we don't put up lightning conductors.
It's all vanity!
How can it be vanity when experiments have been made.
What sort of lightning conductors are you talking about?
Well, and what then?
DIKOY (_getting more and more furious_).
I hear they're steel rods, you viper, but what of it? Granted they're
steel rods! Well, what of it?
And what is the cause of a storm to your notions, hey? Come, speak up!
'Lectricity he says! Ah, a brigand you are and no mistake! a storm is sent
as a chastisement to make us feel our sins, and you want with rods and
tackle of one sort and another, God forgive you, to ward it off! What, are
you a Tartar or what? Are you a Tartar? Speak up! A Tartar, hey?
Saviol Prokofitch, your honour, Derzhavin said:
In body, I languish in the dust,
In mind, I command the tempest.
For such words you ought to be led off to the police captain, he'd give it
to you! Just listen, worthy citizens, what the fellow is saying!
There's no help for it, I must submit! But when I have made my fortune,
then you'll see how I'll talk!
[_With a wave of his hand goes out._
What! are you going to steal a fortune? Stop him! The false scoundrel! How
ever is one to treat such people! I don't know. (_Turning to the crowd_)
And you, damned rascals, you're enough to make anyone swear! Here I'd no
wish to lose my temper, and he must needs go and put me out, as if it were
on purpose. Curse the fellow! (_angrily_) Has the rain given over, eh?
I fancy it has.
You fancy! go and see, you fool. Tell me, you fancy, indeed!
FIRST (_going outside the arches_).
It has left off!
[_Dikoy goes out and all follow him. The scene is empty for a little
while. Varvara runs quickly in under the arcade and, hiding herself, peeps
VARVARA and later BORIS.
I believe it's he! (_Boris advances from the background of the scene_.)
Sss-sss! (_Boris looks round_.) Come here. (_She beckons, Boris goes up to
her_.) What are we to do with Katerina? For mercy's sake tell me!
Why, what is it?
It's terrible, that's all. Her husband has come back, do you know that? We
didn't expect him, but he's here.
No, I didn't know it.
She's simply beside herself.
It seems as if I had only lived for these ten short days that he has been
away. And now not to see her!
Oh, I've no patience with you! I've something to tell you! She's shaking
all over, as if she were in a fever. She's so pale, she wanders about the
house, as though she were looking for something. Her eyes are wild, she's
like a mad thing! She began crying long ago in the morning, she simply
sobs. Merciful Heavens, what am I to do with her?
But perhaps this will pass off.
I doubt it. She daren't raise her eyes to her husband. Mamma's begun to
notice it, and she follows her about and keeps a suspicious eye upon her.
She looks daggers at her; and that makes her worse than ever. It makes one
wretched to see her. And I'm afraid too.
What are you afraid of?
You don't know her. She's a strange creature. One never knows what to
expect from her! She will do things ...
My God! What's to be done? You must talk to her thoroughly. Can't you
manage to soothe her?
I've tried. She doesn't even hear. Better leave her alone.
Well, what do you suppose she may do?
Why, simply this: fling herself down at her husband's feet, and tell him
everything. That's what I'm afraid of.
BORIS (_with horror_).
Could she possibly!
She may do anything.
Where is she now?
At this moment she's out on the parade with her husband, and my mother's
with them too. You go and meet them, if you like. But no, you'd better not
go, or she'll very likely lose her head completely. (_A peal of thunder in
the distance_) Isn't that thunder? _(Looks out)_ Yes, it's raining too.
And here are people coming this way. Get somewhere out of sight, and I'll
stand here where I can be seen, so that they won't notice anything.
_(Enter several persons of both sexes and different classes.)_
VARVARA and various persons, and later, MME. KABANOVA, KABANOV, KATERINA
The good lady seems awfully frightened by the way she's hurrying for
No use seeking shelter! If it's written in the book of fate, there's no
KATERINA _(running in)._
Ah, Varvara! _(Seizes her hand and holds it tight.)_
Come, be quiet!
It will be my death!
Come, come! Pull yourself together!
No! I can't. I can do nothing. My heart aches so.
MME. KABANOVA _(entering)._
Let me tell you, one should live so as to be always ready for anything.
You would not be in such terror then.
But what sins in special has she to frighten her, mamma? Her sins are no
more than all of us have to repent; being afraid of storms is a matter of
How do you know, pray? The heart of another is darkness.
Oh well, maybe, something very wicked while I was away; certainly when
I've been here she never did anything bad.
Maybe, when you were away, then.
Katia, my girl, you'd better repent, if you've been sinful in any way. You
can't have secrets from me, you know; no, you naughty girl, I know all
KATERINA _(looks him straight in the face)._
Come, why do you keep teazing her? Can't you see she's not well?
[_Boris steps out of the crowd and bows to the Kabanovs._
What are you frightened of? Did you think it was a stranger? This is a
friend! Is your uncle quite well?
Quite, thank you.
KATERINA (_to Varvara_).
What more does he want of me? ... Isn't it enough that I am in torture
[_Leans against Varvara, sobs._
VARVARA (_aloud, so that her mother should hear_).
We're simply tired out, and don't know what to do with her; and now
outsiders must come up too!
[_Gives Boris a sign and he walks away to the entrance of the arcade._
KULIGIN (coming into the middle of the scene and addressing the crowd).
Why, what are you afraid of, I should like to know! every blade of grass,
every flower is rejoicing now, while we try to get away and are as
frightened as if it were a disaster! The storm kill us indeed! It's not a
storm to be dreaded, it's a blessing! Yes, a blessing! Everything's
dreadful to you. If the Northern Lights shine in the heavens-you ought to
admire and marvel at "the dawn breaking in the land of midnight!" But you
are in terror, and imagine it means war or flood. If a comet comes-I
can't take my eyes from it! a thing so beautiful! the stars we have looked
upon to our hearts' content, they are always with us, but that is
something new; well, one must gaze and admire! But you're afraid even to
look at the sky, and all in a tremble! You make a bogey out of everything.
Ah, what a people! I'm not afraid, you see. Come, sir, let's go on!
Yes, let us go! it's more terrible here! [_Goes._
The Same, without BORIS and KULIGIN.
Well, that's a pretty sermon he gave us! Something worth hearing, and no
mistake! What have the times come to, when such as he turn teacher! If an
old man talks so, what can we expect from the young ones!
The whole sky's overcast. It's covered up all over, as it were, with a
Eh, mate, see how the storm cloud is rolling into a ball, as though there
were something alive turning round in it. And see how it's creeping up
towards us, creeping like a live thing!
Mark my words, that storm's not coming up for nothing. It's the truth I
tell you; I know. It'll strike someone dead, or set fire to a house;
you'll see, look what an extraordinary colour!
What are they saying? They say someone will be struck dead.
You know what stuff they talk, any nonsense that comes into their heads.
Don't you criticise your elders! They know better than you. Old people
have forewarnings of all sorts. Old people don't talk at random.
KATERINA _(to her husband)._
Dear Tihon, I know who will be struck dead.
VARVARA _(to Katerina, softly)._
If only you would hold your tongue!
How do you know?
It will strike me. Pray for me, then.
[_Enter Old Lady with footmen. Katerina with a shriek hides her face._
The Same and the OLD LADY.
THE OLD LADY.
Why hide your face? It's no use hiding! One can see you're afraid. You've
no wish to die! She wants to live! To be sure she does!-look what a
beauty! Ha, ha, ha! Beauty! Better pray to God to take away your beauty!
It's beauty that is our ruin! Ruin to yourself, a snare to others, so
rejoice in your beauty if you will! Many, many, you lead into sin! Giddy
fellows fight duels over you, slash each other with swords for your sake.
And you are glad! Old men, honourable men, forget that they must die,
tempted by beauty! And who has to answer for all. Better go down into the
abyss with your beauty! Yes, quick, quick. _(Katerina hides herself.)_
Where will you hide away, foolish one! There's no escaping God! _(A clap
of thunder.)_ All of you will burn in fire unquenchable! [_Exit._
Ah, I am dying!
Why do you torture yourself like this! Stand on one side and pray; you
will feel better.
KATERINA _(goes to the wall and drops on her knees, then jumps up quickly,
seeing the picture on the wall)._
Ah! Hell! Hell! The fire unquenchable! _(Mme. Kabanova, Kabanov, and
Varvara surround her.)_ My heart is torn! I can bear it no longer! Mother!
Tihon! I have sinned against God and against you! Did I not swear to you I
would not set eyes on anyone when you were away! You remember! you
remember! And do you know what I have done in my sinfulness? The first
night I went out of the house....
KABANOV _(in despair, in tears, pulls at her sleeve)._
You mustn't, you mustn't! don't! What are you saying? Mother is here!
MME. KABANOVA _(severely)._
Come, come, speak, now you have begun.
And every night the same.... _(Sobs, Kabanov tries to embrace her)._
Let her be! With whom?
She's raving, she doesn't know what she is saying.
You be quiet! So this is the meaning of it! Well, with whom?
With Boris Grigoritch. _(A clap of thunder.)_ Ah!
[_Falls unconscious in her husband's arms._
Well, son! You see what freedom leads to! I told you so, but you wouldn't
heed me. See what you've brought on yourself!
Scene same as Act I. Twilight.
KULIGIN (_sitting on a bench_).
KABANOV (_walking along the parade_).
"In dark of night are hid the skies
In sleep now all have closed their eyes."
(_seeing Kabanov_) Good-evening, sir, are you walking far?
No, I am going home. You have heard talk, I expect, about us? The whole
household's upside down.
I have heard so, sir, yes, I have heard so.
I went away to Moscow, you know. Mamma sent me off with a sermon, oh, such
a sermon, but as soon as I was well away, I went in for enjoying myself. I
was glad to have escaped into freedom. And I was drinking all the journey,
and in Moscow too I kept it up, and had a jolly time-as you may fancy! Of
course I'd to get in fun enough to last me the whole year. I never once
thought about home. Though, if I had thought of it, I never should have
dreamed of what was going on here. You've heard about it?
I'm a miserable man now! And so, for nothing, my life's spoiled, for
nothing I have done.
Your mother is terribly hard.
Yes, indeed, she's the cause of it all. And what am I suffering for, tell
me that? Here I've just come from Dikoy's, and well, we drank a bit; I
thought it would drown care; but it has only made me worse, Kuligin! Ah,
the wrong my wife has done me! It couldn't be worse....
It's a difficult business, sir. It's difficult to judge between you.
No; nothing could be worse than what she's done! It wouldn't be much to
kill her for it. There's mamma keeps saying: she ought to be buried alive
to punish her! But I love her, I can't bear to lay a finger on her. I did
give her a blow or two, but that was at mamma's bidding. It makes one
wretched to see her, do you understand that, Kuligin. Mamma's just
tormenting her to death, while she wanders about like a shadow, and makes
no resistance. She only weeps, and she's wasting away like wax. It's
simply breaking my heart to see her.
You must make it up somehow, sir! You ought to forgive her, and never
refer to it again. You are not without sin yourself, I daresay!
I should think not!
And you must never reproach her even when you're drunk! She would be a
good wife to you yet, sir, better than any-believe me.
But understand me, Kuligin; I'd never say a word, but mamma ... do you
suppose one can get over her!...
It's time you were guided, sir, by your own good sense, sir.
My own good sense! I've got none, I'm told, and so I'm to live by other
people's! I declare I'll drink away whatever sense I have left, and then
mamma can look after me as much as she likes, when I'm crazy.
Ah sir! there's a world of troubles! But, Boris Grigoritch, sir, what of
Oh, he, the scoundrel, is being sent off to Tiahta, to the Chinese. His
uncle's sending him off to a merchant he knows there. He's to be there
Well, what does he say to it, sir?
Oh, he's wretched too; he weeps. His uncle and I, we set upon him not long
ago, we swore at him-he didn't say a word. He seems like a wild thing. Do
what you like to me, says he, only don't torment her! He's sorry for her
He's a good fellow, sir.
He's packed up and ready, and the horses are ordered. He's so wretched,
it's awful! I can see he wants to say good-bye to her. But that's too
much! I can't have it. He's been an enemy to me, you know, Kuligin! He
ought to be thrashed within an inch of his life to teach him ...
We must forgive our enemies, sir!
You go and tell that to mamma, and see what she'll say to it. So, brother
Kuligin, all our family is now split up and divided. We're not like
relations but enemies to one another. Mamma kept nagging and nagging at
Varvara; she couldn't stand it, and she soon made an end of it-she's
simply gone away.
Where has she gone?
No one knows. They do say she's run off with Vania Kudriash, and he can't
be found anywhere either. It's all mamma's doing. I'll tell you frankly,
Kuligin: she had started bullying her and locking her up. "Don't shut me
up," she said, "or it will be the worse," and so it has turned out. What
am I to do, tell me that! Tell me how I am to live now! My home is made
loathsome to me, I'm put to shame before everyone, if I set about anything
my hands drop listless and dejected. Here I'm on my way home now. Shall I
find any happiness there, do you suppose? [_Enter Glasha._
Master, Tihon Ivanitch!
What is it now?
There's something wrong at home, sir!
Mercy on us! It's one thing on top of another! Tell me, what is it?
Why, your good lady....
Well, what? Is she dead?
No, sir, she has disappeared; we can't find her anywhere.
Kuligin! we must run and search for her. Do you know what I am afraid of?
That she may be driven in her misery to lay hands on herself! She grieves
and grieves,-ah, God! It rends my heart to see her. What were you
thinking of? Has she been gone long?
No, sir, not long! It's we're to blame, of course; we didn't keep an eye
on her every minute. Though it's true, to be sure, the most watchful will
be caught napping sooner or later.
Well, don't stand there doing nothing; bestir yourself! _(Exit Glasha.)_
And let us go too, Kuligin!
[_They go. The stage is empty for a little while. From the opposite side,
Katerina enters and walks slowly about the stage._
[_Throughout the whole monologue and in the following scenes she speaks
slowly and disconnectedly, repeating words dreamily and, as it were, in a
state of forgetfulness._
No, no, nowhere! What is he doing, my poor boy, now? All I want is to say
good-bye to him, and then ... and then death. Why did I lead him into
trouble. It's made it no better for me! I should have suffered alone! But
I have ruined myself, ruined him, brought dishonour on
myself,-everlasting disgrace on him-yes,-dishonour on myself, and on
him everlasting disgrace. (_Silence_.) If I could remember what it was he
said. How he felt for me? What were the words he said? (_Clutches at her
head_) I can't remember, I have forgotten everything. The nights, oh, the
nights are a weariness to me! All lie down to sleep, I too lie down; it is
well with all of them, but I lie as in my grave. It is fearful in the
darkness! There is a sound of singing as at some burial; but so soft,
almost out of hearing, far away, far from me.... How one longs for the
light! But I can't bear to get up-the same people again, the same talk,
the same torture. Why do they look at me so? Why is it they don't kill one
nowadays? Why don't they? In old days, they say, they used to kill women.
If they would take me and throw me into the Volga, I would be glad. "If we
kill you," they say, "your sin is taken from you; you must live, and
suffer for your sin." But I have suffered for it already! Am I to suffer
much longer? What have I to live for now, what for? I care for nothing,
nothing is sweet to me, the light of day is not sweet to me! And still
death does not come. One calls upon death and death comes not. Whatever I
look upon, whatever I hear, it is nothing but aching here _(touching her
heart)._ If I could be with him, there might perhaps be still some joy for
me.... Nay, it's all the same, my soul is lost now. How sick I am with
longing for him! If I cannot see thee, hear me at least from far away!
Wild winds, bear my grief and longing to him! My God! I am weary, I am
weary! _(goes to the river bank and cries loudly at the top of her voice)_
My sweet, my heart, my soul, I love you! Answer! [_Falls a-weeping. Enter
KATERINA and BORIS.
BORIS (_not seeing Katerina_).
My God! It's her voice! Where is she? _(Looks round.)_
KATERINA _(runs to him and falls on his neck)._
At last I see you again! _(Weeps on his bosom. Silence.)_
We are weeping together, God has brought us together.
You have not forgotten me?
Me forget you? Don't!
Oh no, oh no! You're not angry?
How could I be angry?
Forgive me, anyway! I did not mean to harm you; but I was not free myself.
I did not know what I was doing, what I was saying.
Oh don't! how can you! how can you!
Well, how is it with you? how are you now?
I am going away.
Where are you going?
Far away, Katia, to Siberia.
Take me with you, away from here!
I cannot, Katia. I am not going of my own free will; my uncle is sending
me, he has the horses waiting for me already; I only begged for a minute,
I wanted to take a last farewell of the spot where we used to see each
Go and God be with you! Don't grieve over me. At first your heart will be
heavy perhaps, poor boy, and then you will begin to forget.
Why talk of me! I am free at least; how about you? what of your husband's
She tortures me, she locks me up. She tells everyone and tells my husband:
"don't trust her, she's sly and deceitful." They all follow me about all
day long and laugh at me before my face. At every word they reproach me
And your husband?
One minute he's kind, one minute he's angry, but he's drinking all the
while. He is loathsome to me, loathsome; his kindness is worse than his
You are wretched, Katia?
So wretched, so wretched, that it were better to die!
Who could have dreamed that we should have to suffer such anguish for our
love! I'd better have run away then!
It was an evil day for me when I saw you. Joy I have known little of, but
of sorrow, of sorrow, how much! And how much is still before me! But why
think of what is to be! I am seeing you now, that they cannot take away
from me; and I care for nothing more. All I wanted was to see you. Now my
heart is much easier; as though a load had been taken off me. I kept
thinking you were angry with me, that you were cursing me....
How can you! How can you!
No, that's not what I mean; that's not what I wanted to say! I was sick
with longing for you, that's it; and now, I have seen you....
They must not come upon us here!
Stay a minute! Stay a minute! Something I meant to say to you! I've
forgotten! Something I had to say! Everything is in confusion in my head,
I can remember nothing.
It's time I went, Katia!
Wait a minute, a minute!
Come, what did you want to say?
I will tell you directly. _(Thinking a moment.)_ Yes! As you travel along
the highroads, do not miss over one beggar, give to everyone, and bid them
pray for my sinful soul.
Ah, if these people knew what it is to me to part from you! My God! God
grant they may one day know such bitterness as I know now. Farewell,
Katia! _(embraces her and tries to go away)._ Miscreants! monsters! Ah, if
I were strong!
Stay, stay! Let me look at you for the last time _(gazes into his face)._
Now all's over with me. The end is come for me. Now, God be with thee. Go,
BORIS _(moves away a few steps and stands still)._
Katia, I feel a dread of something! You have something fearful in your
mind? I shall be in torture as I go, thinking of you.
No, no! Go in God's name! (_Boris is about to go up to her._) No, no,
God be with thee! There's only one thing to pray God for, that she may
soon be dead, that she may not be tortured long! Farewell!
[_Boris goes out. Katerina follows him with her eyes and stands for some
time, lost in thought._
Where am I going now? Home? No, home or the grave-it's the same. Yes,
home or the grave! ... the grave! Better the grave.... A little grave
under a tree ... how sweet.... The sunshine warms it, the sweet rain
falls on it ... in the spring the grass grows on it, soft and sweet grass
... the birds will fly in the tree and sing, and bring up their little
ones, and flowers will bloom; golden, red and blue ... all sorts of
flowers, (_dreamily_) all sorts of flowers ... how still! how sweet! My
heart's as it were lighter! But of life I don't want to think! Live again!
No, no, no use ... life is not good! ... And people are hateful to me, and
the house is hateful, and the walls are hateful! I will not go there! No,
no, I will not go! If I go to them, they'll come and talk, and what do I
want with that? Ah, it has grown dark! And there is singing again
somewhere! What are they singing? I can't make out.... To die now....
What are they singing? It is just the same whether death comes, or of
myself ... but live I cannot! A sin to die so! ... they won't pray for me!
If anyone loves me he will pray ... they will fold my arms crossed in the
grave! Oh yes.... I remember. But when they catch me, and take me home by
force.... Ah, quickly, quickly! _(Goes to the river bank. Aloud)_ My dear
one! My sweet! Farewell! [_Exit._
[_Enter Mme. Kabanova, Kabanov, Kuligin and workmen with torches._
MME. KABANOVA, KABANOV and KULIGIN.
They say she was seen here.
Is it certain?
They say they saw her.
Thank God, if she has been seen alive.
And you in such a fright already and crying over it! There's no need.
She's not worth fretting about! Don't worry yourself, we shall have our
hands full with her for many a long year yet.
Who would have dreamed of her coming here! A place so frequented. No one
would ever think of hiding here.
That's just her way! The shameless hussy! She wants to keep up her
character, it seems!
[_A crowd with torches collects, coming in from different directions._
ONE OF THE CROWD.
Well, is she found?
It seems not. She seems to have vanished into the earth.
How strange! It's a queer thing. And where could she hide?
ONE OF THE CROWD.
Oh, she'll be found!
Of course she'll be found!
To be sure, she'll come back of herself.
[_A voice behind the scene: "Hi, boat there!"_
KULIGIN _(from the bank)._
Who's calling? What is it?
[_The voice: "A woman's thrown herself into the water!" Kuligin and
several men after him run out._
MME. KABANOVA, and KABANOV and Crowd.
Merciful Heavens, it is she! _(tries to run off. Mme. Kabanova holds his
arm)_ Mamma, let me go! I will save her! or I too ... What can I do
I'm not going to let you go, and don't you suppose it! Kill yourself on
her account; she's worth that, isn't she? As if she'd not brought disgrace
enough on us already, to plot to do a thing like this too!
Let me go!
There are plenty to help without you. I'll curse you if you go.
KABANOV _(falling on his knees)._
Oh, to look upon her at least!
They'll pull her out-you'll look upon her, right enough.
KABANOV (_gets up. To the crowd_).
Well, my lads, do you see anything?
ONE OF THE CROWD.
It's dark down below, there's nothing in sight.
[_A noise behind the scene._
They seemed to be shouting something, but I couldn't make out what.
That's Kuligin's voice.
They're coming along the bank with torches.
They're coming this way, and they're carrying her.
[_Several people come back._
ONE OF THOSE WHO HAVE COME BACK.
That Kuligin's a brave fellow! It was close here in a deep pool, near the
bank; with the torchlight we could see a long way off in the water; he saw
her dress and pulled her out.
How could she be alive? She had thrown herself from the height; the bank
is steep there, and she must have fallen upon the anchor, she was so
injured, poor thing! But she looks as though she were alive! Only one
little wound on the temple, and one single stain of blood on it.
[_Kabanov runs across the scene, meets Kuligin with the crowd, carrying in
The Same and KULIGIN.
Here is your Katerina. You may do what you like with her. Her body is
here, take it; but her soul is not yours now; she is before a Judge more
merciful than you are, now!
[_Lays her on the ground and exit._
KABANOV _(rushes to Katerina)._
Hush! It's a sin even to weep for her!
Mother, you have murdered her! you! you! you!
What do you mean? Think what you're saying! You forget whom you're
You have murdered her! you! you!
Come, I'll talk to you at home. (_Bows low to the assembled people_) I
thank you, good people, for your services! [_All bow low._
It is well with you, Katia! But why am I left to live and suffer!
[_Falls on his wife's body._
End of Project Gutenberg's The Storm, by Aleksandr Nicolaevich Ostrovsky
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