A monologue from the play by Alexander Ostrovsky
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Plays of Alexander Ostrovsky. Ed. George Rapall Noyes. New York: Scribners, 1917.
KORSHUNOV: What are you crying about, young lady? For shame, for shame! He, he, he! There! I’m older than you, and I don’t cry. [Looks at her searchingly.] Oh, well, I know what it’s about! I suppose you want to marry a young fellow? Now, this, my pretty one, is just girlish folly. Now, just listen to what I’m going to tell you; I’ll tell you the truth straight out. I don’t like to deceive any one, and have no need to. Will you listen, eh? Good! Now, we’ll begin with this point. Will a young man appreciate your love? Any girl will love a young man; that is nothing unusual for him; but to an old man it is precious. An old man will reward you for your love with some little gift, this and that–with gold, and with velvet–and there’s nothing he won’t give you. And in Moscow there are lots of nice things in the shops; there are things worth giving! So it’s nice to fall in love with an old man. That’s number one for you! And then this is what happens with a young and good-looking husband. You see they are a fickle lot! Before you know it he will be running after some one else, or some young lady will fall in love with him, and then his wife may pine away. Then come reproaches and jealousy. And what is this jealousy, eh? He, he, he! Do you know, young lady, what this jealousy is? It isn’t like a needle prick in the finger; it’s far more painful than that. You see the cursed thing consumes a man. From jealousy people stab one another, and poison one another with arsenic! [Laughs spasmodically and coughs.] But when any one falls in love with an old man, then all is peaceful for his wife. And here’s something else I will tell you, my dear young lady: Young men like to go on sprees; they like gayety and distraction, and all sorts of dissipations, and their wives may sit at home and wait for them till midnight. And they come home drunk, and bully their wives, and swagger. But an old man will just sit near his wife; he’ll die before he’ll leave her. And he would like to look into her eyes all the time and to caress her and to kiss her hands. [Kisses them.] Just like that.