THE CHERRY ORCHARD – Monologue (Madame Ranevsky – 2)

A monologue from the play by Anton Chekhov

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Two Plays of Tchekhof. Trans. George Calderon. London: Grant Richards Ltd., 1912.


Please don’t go; I want you. At any rate it’s gayer when you’re here. [A pause] I keep expecting something to happen, as if the house were going to tumble down about our ears.

We have been very, very sinful! Oh, the sins that I have committed … I’ve always squandered money at random like a madwoman; I married a man who made nothing but debts.

My husband drank himself to death on champagne; he was a fearful drinker. Then for my sins I fell in love and went off with another man; and immediately–that was my first punishment–

a blow full on the head … here, in this very river … my little boy was drowned; and I went abroad, right, right away, never to come back any more, never to see this river again….

I shut my eyes and ran, like a mad thing, and he came after me, pitiless and cruel. I bought a villa at Mentone, because he fell ill there, and for three years I knew no rest day or night;

the sick man tormented and wore down my soul. Then, last year, when my villa was sold to pay my debts, I went off to Paris, and he came and robbed me of everything, left me and took up with another woman, and I tried to poison myself….

It was all so stupid, so humiliating…. Then suddenly I longed to be back in Russia, in my own country, with my little girl…. [Wiping away her tears] Lord, Lord, be merciful to me;

forgive my sins! Do not punish me any more! [Taking a telegram from her pocket.] I got this to-day from Paris…. He asks to be forgiven, begs me to come back….

Read the play here

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