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Full text of "The lower depths; a play in four acts"

UN VERSITY OF CALIFORNIA,, SAN DIEGO 




3 1822015997760 




LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF 
CALIFORNIA 

SAN DIEGO 



Mnn OF 




3 7822 




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Central University Library 

University of California, San Diego 
Note: This item is subject to recall after two weeks. 

Date Due 


J 141993 




^ 1 ^ 1993 RKT 


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0139(1/91) 



UCSDLib. 



TLAYS OF TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW 



THE LOWE "DEPTHS 



Plays of To-day and To-morrow 
DON. By RUDOLF BESIER. 

" Mr. Besier is a man who can see and think for himself, and con- 
structs as setting for the result of that activity a form of his own. The 
construction of ' Don ' is as daring as it is original." Mr. Max Beer- 
bohni in The Saturday Review. 

" It is a fresh and moving story . . . and full of good things." Mr. 
A. B. Walkley in The Times. 

"'Don' is a genuine modern comedy, rich in observation and 
courage, and will add to the author's reputation as a sincere dramatist." 
Mr. E. F. Spence in The Westminster Gazette. 

THE EARTH. By JAMES B. PAGAN. 

"A magnificent play at one and the same time a vital and fearless 
attack on political fraud, and a brilliantly-written strong human 
drama." The Daily Chronicle. 

"'The Earth' must conquer every one by its buoyant irony, its 
pungent delineations, and not least by its rich stores of simple and 
wholesome moral feeling." The Pall Mall Gazette. 

LADY PATRICIA. By RUDOLF BESIER. 

" One of the most delightful productions which the stage has shown 
us in recent years. Mr. Besier' s work would ' read ' deliciously ; it is 
literary, it is witty, it is remarkable. . . . ' Lady Patricia ' is much more 
than merely a success of laughter. It is also a success of literature. 
It is difficult, if not impossible, to convey the delicate feeling for 
words, the quaint, satirical quizzing of Mr. Besier of the firecieuse, the 
dabblers in sentiment, the poseurs who form the people of his play." 
The Standatd. 

THE MASTER OF MRS. CHILVERS. 

By JEROME K. JEROME. 

" It cannot be denied that Mr. Jerome has written an excellent acting 
play." Glasgow Herald. 

" There is no caricature of the suffragist, and every type in the play 
is both carefully and skilfully drawn." Aberdeen Free Press. 

THE WATERS OF BITTERNESS 

(A Play in Three Acts) and THE CLOD- 
HOPPER (An Incredible Comedy). 
By S. M. Fox. 

"I am inclined to think that we shall hear a great deal of Mr. Fox 
supposing that Mr. Fox writes other plays as clever as 'The Waters of 
Bitterness,' and supposing that managers think the public clever 
enough to appreciate them. Anyhow his is a strong and bold debut." 
Mr. Max Beerbohm in The Saturday Review. 

LONDON : T. FISHER UNWIN 
NEW YORK: DUFFIELD & CO. 




MAXIM GORKY. 



THE 

LOWER "DEPTHS 

A TLAT IN FOU^ ACTS 



BY 

3MAXIM gORKI 



TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL RUSSIAN 
BY 

LAURENCE IRVING 










LONDON: r. FISHED 

ADELPHI TERRACE 



(All tighls reserved.) 



The Cast of " The Lower Depths," as it was produced 
at the Kingsway Theatre, London, on December 
2, 1911 : 

Luka HOLMAN CLARKE 

Vassilisa FRANCES WETHERALL 

Vaska Pepel O. P. HEGGIE 

Natasha JEAN BLOOMFIELD 

The Actor LEWIS WILLOUGHBY 

Anna HAIDEE WRIGHT 

Satine HERBERT BUNSTON 

Nastya LYDIA YAVORSKA 

The Baron VINCENT CLIVE 

Kvashnya CLARE GREET 

Boobnoff E. H. BROOKE 

Kleeshtsh C. F. COLLINGS 

Myedvyedyeff ALBAN ATTWOOD 

Kostoloff J. H. BREWER 

The Tartar IVAN BERLYN 

Alyoshka RICHARD NEVILLE 

When .. SIDNEY TEVERSHEM 



THE FIRST ACT 



THE FIRST ACT 

SCENE. A cave -like cellar. The ceiling is 
arched, grimy, with the plaster peeling off. 
The light comes from a square window high 
up in the right wall. The right corner is 
partitioned off with thin boards; it forms 
PEPEL'S room . Close to the door of this room 
are BOOBNOFF'S sleeping -planks. In left 
corner is a large Russian stove ; in the stone 
wall left is the kitchen door, where KVASHNYA, 
the BARON, and NASTYA live. Against the 
wait, between the stove and the door, is a 
large bed with dirty print curtains. Sleep ing- 
planks around the walls. To the front by the 
left wall is a block of wood with a vice, and 
an anvil, also another lower block of wood. 

(On the lower block KLESSHTSH is seated 
trying keys into old locks. At his feet 
are two large bundles of miscellaneous 
keys, strung on wire rings, a battered tin 
samovar, hammer, and pincers. In the 
middle of the shelter are a large table, 
two seats, a stool, all dirty and of plain 
wood. KVASHNYA is behind the table 
attending to the samovar, the BARON is 

chewing some black bread, and NASTYA 
11 



12 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

is on the stool, leaning her elbow on the 
table, reading a tattered book . In the bed, 
behind the curtains, ANNA lies coughing. 
BOOBNOFF is seated on his planks with 
an old hat shape between his knees, con- 
sidering how he shall deal with a pair of 
unstitched old trousers. Scattered about 
him are a couple of vizors, some pieces 
of buckram, a rag. SATINE has only just 
gone off to sleep on his planks; he grunts 
in his sleep. The ACTOR, out of sight, 
tosses about on the stove and coughs.) 

(It is an early spring morning.) 

THE BARON. 
And after I 

KVASHNYA. 

No, says I, no, dearie, just you stow it, says I ; 
I've tried it, you see . . . and it's no more 
marriages for me 1 

BOOBNOFF. 

(To SATINE.) Stop that grunting I 

KVASHNYA. 

What for, says I ; me a free woman, my own 
mistress what for should I go and give up my 
passport and saddle myself with a husband no 1 
I wouldn't marry no man let alone one of them 
American Princes, that I wouldn't ! 

KLESSHTSH . 
You lie ! 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 13 

KVASHNYA. 

What -at ? 

KLESSHTSH. 

You lie 1 You'll marry Abramka. . . . 

THE BARON. 

(Reading the title of the book he has snatched 
away from NASTYA.) " The Fatal Love "... 
(He laughs.) 

NASTYA. 

(Extending hand.) Give now . . . give it 
. . . stop fooling 1 

(The BARON flourishes the book in the air.) 

KVASHNYA. 

(To KLESSHTSH.) You red goat, you telling 
me I lie 1 Just don't you dare to give me none of 
them coarse words. 

THE BARON. 

(Striking the book on NASTYA'S head.) Nastya, 
you little fool ! . . . 

NASTYA. 

Give it here. 

KLESSHTSH. 

Quite the fine lady. . . . But you'll be married 
to Abramka . . . and you know you're just 
dying to. ... 



14 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

KVASHNYA. 

Aren't you clever I I just see myself . . . you 
as 'as done your wife nearly to death. 

KLESSHTSH. 

Stop it, you hag ! Tain't no affair of 
yours. . . . 

KVASHNYA. 

Ah, ha, you can't stand the truth ! 

THE BARON. 

They're started. Nasty a, where are you? 

ANNA. 

(Putting .her head through the curtains.} 
Morning at last I For Heaven's sake don't shout 
. . . stop quarrelling. 

KLESSHTSH. 

Moaning moaning . 

ANNA. 

Every blessed day. . . . Might let me die in 
peace. 

BOOBNOFF. 

Noise ain't no 'indrance to dying. 

KVASHNYA. 

(Approaching ANNA.) 'Ow yer ever 'ave 
managed, you poor soul, to live with such a beast ? 

ANNA. 

Don't . don't. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 15 

KVASHNYA. 

Well, well I You're such a patient thing 1 . . . . 
Ain't the chest no easier? 

THE BARON. 

Kvashnya ! Time for market. . . . 

KVASHNYA. 

Just a second ! (To ANNA.) 'Ud yer like 
some of my 'ot pies? 

ANNA. 

No, no ... thanks. Why should I eat? 

KVASHNYA. 

Must eat. 'Ot ones soothing. I'll leave you 
some in a cup . . . then when you feel like 
it, yer gobble it up. 1 Come on, Baron. . . . 
(To KLESSHTSH.) Er you dirty beast ! . . . 

(Goes into kitchen.) 
ANNA. 

(Coughing.) Lord, Lord. . . . 

THE BARON. 

(Softly nudging NASTYA'S elbow.) Chuck it 
. . . yer silly 1 

NASTYA. 

(Growls.) Do go. . . . I let you alone. 

(THE BARON goes out after KVASHNYA, 
whistling.) 



16 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

SATINE. 

(Sitting up on his planks.) Can't think who 
it was that pummelled me yesterday ? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Does it matter much 'oo it was ? 

SATINE. 

Leave it at that. . . . But what was it for, 
though ? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Was yer play in' cards ? 

SATINE. 
Played. 

BOOBNOFF. 

Well, then, that's 'ow it was. . . . 

SATINE. 

The blackguards. 

THE ACTOR. 

(Raising his head from the stove.) One of 
these days you'll get such a real pummelling a 
pummelling to death. 

SATINE. 

Don't talk rot. 

THE ACTOR. 
Why rot? 

SATINE. 

Because . . a man can't die twice over. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 17 

THE ACTOR. 

(After a silence.) What do you mean? How 
can't he? 

KLESSHTSH. 

Come down off that stove, and sweep up. ... 
What are yer shamming there ? 

THE ACTOR. 

That's none of your business. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

Wait till Vassilisa comes she'll soon show yer 
yours . 

THE ACTOR. 

Vassilisa can go to the devil. It's the Baron's 
day to sweep. . . . Baron ! 

(BARON coming out from the kitchen.) 

THE BARON. 

I've no time for sweeping. ... I'm off to 
market with Kvashnya. 

THE ACTOR. 

For all I care . . . you may be going to jail. 
. . . It's your turn to sweep . . . and I'm not 
on to doing other people's jobs. . . . 

THE BARON. 

Oh, go to blazes ! Let Nastya do it. . . . Hi, 
you there, fatal love I Buck up ! (Takes book 
from NASTYA.) 



18 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

NASTYA. 

(Getting up.} What now? Give it here ! You 
puppy ! And you call yerself a gentleman. . . . 

THE BARON. 

(Giving back the book.) Nastya ! You're 
going to sweep up for me understood ? 

NASTYA. 

(Going into kitchen.) Likely indeed. . . . 
What next I 

KVASHNYA. 

(To BARON through kitchen door.) Now come 
on ! They can do it without you. . . . Actor ! 
you was asked you do it ... it won't kill yer I 

THE ACTOR. 

Yes . . . it's always me. ... I don't see 
it. ... 

(BARON comes out of kitchen carrying some 
earthen pots strung on a pole and 
covered with rags.) 

THE BARON. 

A bit heavy to-day. . . . 

SATINE. 

Fat lot of good being born a Baron, I don't 
think ! . . . 

KVASHNYA. 

(To ACTOR.) Just you be sure and sweep up I 
(Goes off pushing the BARON before her.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 19 

THE ACTOR. 

(Coming down from stove.) It's harmful for 
me to inhale the dust. (With pride.) My 
organism is poisoned with alcohol. . . . (Seated 
meditating on planks.) 

SATINE. 

Organism . . . organon. . . . 

ANNA. 

Andree Mitritch. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 
Well, what? 

ANNA. 

Left some pies for me Kvashnya did you have 
them. 

KLESSHTSH . 

(Approaching ANNA.) Well, won't you? 

ANNA. 

No, no. ... Why should I eat? You've to 
work ; you . . . you need it. ... 

KLESSHTSH. 

Frightened? Don't be frightened . . . might 
get all right. . . . 

ANNA. 

Go and eat ! In a bad way ... all over 
soon. 



20 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

KLESSHTSH. 

Come, come you never know . . . may pull 
round . . . such things happen ! 

(Goes into kitchen.} 
THE ACTOR. 

(Loud, as if he had suddenly woken up.) 
Yesterday in the hospital, the doctor he said to 
me : - Your organism," he said, -' is thoroughly 
poisoned with alcohol "... 

SATINE. 

(Smiling.) Organon. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

Not organon or-ga-nism. 

SATINE. 

Sicambri. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

(Waving his hand at him.) Oh, rubbish 1 I 
say this, and seriously. If the organism is 
poisoned . . . why, then it must be harmful for 
me to sweep the floor to inhale the dust. . . . 

SATINE. 

Macrobistik . . . ha I 

THE ACTOR. 

What are you muttering? 

SATINE. 

Words . . . here's another for you trans - 
cendentalistic. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 21 

BOOBNOFF. 

What does it mean ? 

SATINE . 

Don't know . . . forgotten. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

What are you coming at ? 

SATINE. 

Just so ... I'm tired, mate, of all our human 
speech ... all of our words. I'm sick of 'em. 
I've heard 'em every single one ... at least a 
thousand times. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

In the play of " Hamlet " they say : " Words, 
words, words I " It's a good piece ... I 
played the grave-digger. . . . 

(KLESSHTSH coming from the kitchen.} 

KLESSHTSH. 

Let's see how you play with that broom. 

THE ACTOR. 

Keep to your own business . . . (Strikes his 
chest.) Ophelia I O . . . think of me in thy 
prayers ! 

(In the distance is heard a dull murmur, 
cries, and a police whistle. KLESSHTSH 
sits down to his work, and scrapes away 
with a file.) 



22 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

SATINE. 

I love difficult, rare words. When I was a 
little chap ... I was in a telegraph office . . . 
read a heap of books. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Did you work the telegraph? 

SATINE. 

I did. . . . There are some very good books 
. . . and quantities of curious words. . . . I've 
received an education . . . see? 

BOOBNOFF. 

You don't let one forget it ! Much good it'd 
done yer ! Now I I was a fur -dyer . . . had 
a place of my own . . . 'ands all yaller with 
the dye : dyed 'em this and dyed 'em that : 'ands 
all yaller right up to the elbows ! " Well," I 
thought, " I shall never get 'em clean in this 
world ... I shall just die with these 'ere yaller 
'ands." . . . But look at 'em now, there's only 
dirt on 'em . . . nothing else. 

SATINE. 

Well, what of it ? 

BOOBNOFF. 

That's just all about it. ... 

SATINE. 

What are you talking about? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 23 

BOOBNOFF. 

Just so ... just comparing. ... It shows 
yer whatever you does to the outside it all comes 
off ... it all comes off, ay, ay. 

SATINE. 

Ah . . . my bones are aching ! 

THE ACTOR. 

(Seated nursing his knee.) Education's bosh, 
the great thing is talent. I knew an actor . . . 
had to spell out his parts, but he played heroes in 
a way that . . . why, the theatre would just rock 
with the delight of the audiences. 

SATINE. 

BoobnofT, lend us five kopyeks? 

BOOBNOFF. 

All I have's two. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

I say ... to play heroes you must have 
talent. And talent's just belief in yourself, in 
your own powers. . . . 

SATINE. 

Give me five kopyeks and I'll have belief in 
you ; I'll believe you a hero, a crocodile, a police 
inspector. . . . Klesshtsh, five kopyeks ! 

KLESSHTSH. 

Go to hell ! The whole pack of you ! 



24 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

SATINE. 

What are you cursing at? You haven't got a 
stiver in the world I know yer ! 

ANNA. 

Andree Mitritch ... I'm choking ... I 
can't breathe ! 

KLESSHTSH . 

What can I do? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Open the passage door ! 

KLESSHTSH. 

Thanks. Nice for you up there ; I've to be 
on the floor ... if I was in your place I'd say 
" Open it." . . . I'm cold enough without no 
door open. 

BOOBNOFF. 

It wasn't for me ... it was for yer wife. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Sulkily.} Makes no odds who it's for. 

SATINE. 

My head's all buzzing. . . . Eh . . . why 
must people be thumping each other's heads? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Not only each other's heads, but all over each 
other's 'ole bodies. (Gets up.} Coin' to buy 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 25 

some thread . . . they're late in showin' up to- 
day our losses ! 

(Goes out.} 

(ANNA coughs: SATINE lies motionless, with 
his hands folded behind his head.) 

THE ACTOR. 

(After a melancholy look round, approaching 
ANNA.) Feeling bad, eh? 

ANNA. 

. . . the choking . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

Would you like to go out into the passage ? Up 
you get, then. (He helps her to rise, pulls a kind 
of shawl round her shoulders, and supports her 
towards the passage.) Ay ay . . . it's a job. 
I'm ill myself poisoned with alcohol. . . . 

(KOSTOLOFF in doorway.) 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Having a stroll? 

Here's a very pretty pair, 
Gallant knight and lady fair. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

Get on one side there. . . . way for the 
invalids ! 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Pass out, pass out. . . . (He hums an anthem 



26 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

tune, glances round suspiciously, and inclines his 
head to the L. as if he were listening for some- 
thing in PEPEL'S room.) 

(Exeunt ACTOR and ANNA.) 

(KLESSHTSH is jangling his keys and 
scraping away with his file.) 

How you squeak ! 

KLESSHTSH. 

What d'you say? 

KOSTOLOFF. 

I say you squeak. (Pause.) Er . . . There 
was something* I wanted to ask you. (Quick and 
low.) Wife not been here ? 

KLESSHTSH. 
Ain't seen her. 

KOSTOLOFF. 

(Carefully approaching the door of PEPEL'S 
room.) It's a lot of room that you take up for 
your rouble a month. The bed . . . and then 
where you sit ... hum, yes 1 Five roubles' 
worth of room as Heaven's above us. I shall 
have to stick you on half a rouble. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

You'd put a rope round my neck, and strangle 
me. ... You're near the grave, and you think 
of nothing but half -roubles. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 27 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Why strangle you ? What were the use of that ? 
Live in the Lord, live and prosper. . . . But I 
shall have to stick you on half a rouble 'ave to 
buy oil for the sacred lamp . . . that it may 
burn before the Holy Ikons in atonement of my 
sins. . . . And my sins will be forgiven me, 
and yours too. Your sins you don't think about 
. . . no, verily. . . . Oh, Andruishka, you are 
a wicked man ! Your wife is perishing through 
your wickedness ... no one loves you, nor 
esteems you . . . your work is squeaky, dis- 
turbing to everybody. 

KLESSHTSH. 

What do you come here for baiting me ? 

(SATINE gives a loud growl.) 

KOSTOLOFF. 

(With a start.) Lord, there's a noise for 
you. . . . 

(The ACTOR entering.) 

THE ACTOR. 

I've sat her down in the passage, and wrapped 
her up. 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Here's what I call a real good fellow. There 
are good deeds. They shall all be paid back 
to you. 

THE ACTOR. 
When? 



28 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

KOSTOLOFF. 

In the other world, my boy . . . there all, 
every one of our acts, they shall all be reckoned 
up. ... 

THE ACTOR. 

Suppose you were to reward me for my goodness 
down here. . . . 

KOSTOLOFF. 

How can I do that ? 

THE ACTOR. 

Wipe out half my debt. 

KOSTOLOFF. 

He he ! You are always joking, my dear boy, 
always poking fun. ... Is the goodness of 
the heart to be paid for in money? Goodness 
is above all other gifts. But your debt to me 
that is ... your debt to me. And accordingly 
you should pay me back. . . . Doing me good 
for its own sake, to me, who am an old man. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

Old man you old rogue 1 ... 

(Goes into the kitchen.) 
(KLESSHTSH gets up and goes into the 
passage.) 

KOSTOLOFF. 

The squeaker he's hooked it. He he I He 
has no love for me. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 29 

SATINE. 

Who but the Devil does love you? 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Oh, you've a bad tongue ! Yet I love all of 
you. ... I see that you are my poor, down- 
trodden, useless, fallen brothers. . . . (Suddenly 
and rapidly.) And Vaska . . . is he at home? 

SATINE. 
Look . . . 

(Going to the door and knocking at it.) 
Vaska ! 

(THE ACTOR appears at the kitchen door, 

chewing something.) 
PEPEL. 
Who is it? 

KOSTOLOFF. 

It's me . . . me, Vaska ! 

PEPEL. 

What d'you want ? 

KOSTOLOFF. 

(Bawling back). Open ! 

SATINE. 

(Without looking at KOSTOLOFF.) He opens, 
and there she'll be. ... 

(THE ACTOR makes a grimace.) 

KOSTOLOFF. 

(Low, anxiously.) Eh? Who'll be there? 
What do you mean'? 



30 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

SATINE. 

What's that ? Are you asking me ? 

KOSTOLOFF. 

What did you say? 

SATINE. 

I was just . . . talking to myself. 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Look here, my friend 1 Don't get too funny 
. . . see I (Bangs on the door.} Vassili I 

PEPEL. 

(Opening door.} Now, then? What's up? 

KOSTOLOFF. 

(Looking into the room.} I ... you see 
. . . you. . . . 

PEPEL. 

'Ave yer brought the money?. 

KOSTOLOFF. 

I wanted to tell you. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Where is the money ? 

KOSTOLOFF. 
What money? 

PEPEL. 

Why, the seven roubles for the watch now? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 31 

KOSTOLOFF. 

What watch, Vaska ? What a fellow you are ! 

PEPEL. 

You're a good 'un 1 Yesterday, before wit- 
nesses, I sold you a ticker for ten roubles . . . 
three I had the seven fork it up I What are 
yer blinking for? You prowl about waking 
people up ... and now you don't know your- 
self what you're after. 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Sh sh I Don't get angry, Vaska. . . . The 
watch, you see it was . . . 

PEPEL. 

Stolen. . . . 

KOSTOLOFF. 

(Sternly.) I receive no stolen goods . . . 
that you should think 

PEPEL. 

(Taking him by the shoulder.} Now, what 
did you disturb me for ? What is it you want ? 

KOSTOLOFF. 

I don't want nothing. ... I'll be off if 
you're going to. ... 

PEPEL. 

Be off, and bring the money ! 

KOSTOLOFF. 

A dreadful surly lot 1 Who ever did ! . . . 

(Goes off.) 



32 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

THE ACTOR. 

It's a farce they're playing. 

SATINE. 

Good. I like farce. . . . 

PEPEL. 

What was he after, eh ? 

SATINE. 

(Smiling.) You don't know? He's after his 
wife . . . why don't you settle him, Vaska? 

PEPEL. 

Risk my life for a tihing like that. . . . 

SATINE. 

You're a sharp lad. Then why shu'd marry 
Vassilisa . . . and become our boss. . . . 

PEPEL. 

You are good ! Why, you'd just fatten on me ; 
I'm a soft-hearted fool, you'd drink away every 
farthing I had. . . . (Sits on the planks.} The 
old devil . . . woke me up. . . .1 was having 
a fine dream ; I was fishing, I'd caught a pro-di- 
gious bream 1 Never saw such a one out of <a 
dream. There I had him on my hook, and I 
was just dreading " the line'll snap ! " I'd just 
got out the gaff . . . and I was thinking to 
myself, now in a moment . . . 

SATINE. 

That weren't no bream, it was Vassilisa. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 33 

THE ACTOR. 

He hooked Vassilisa long ago. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Angrily.} You can all go to the devil . . . 
and you can take her with you I 

(KLESSHTSH coming out of the passage.} 

KLESSHTSH. 

Cold . . . devilish cold. 

THE ACTOR. 

Have you left Anna out there ? She'll 
freeze. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

Natasha 'as taken 'er with 'er into the 
kitchen. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

The old man'll put her out. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Sitting down to his work.} Hum . . . 
Natasha'll see to her. . . . 

SATINE. 

Vaska 1 Let's have five kopyeks. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

You . . . you and your five kopyeks. . . . 
Give us twenty kopyeks. . . . 

3 



34 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

PEPEL. 

I'd best hurry up ... or you'll be wantin' a 
rouble. . . . There 1 ... 

SATINE. 

Gee-bral-tar-r ! Crooks are the best folk in 
the world. 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Grumbling.) Their money's easily come by 
. . . they don't work. . . . 

SATINE. 

Heaps come by their money easily, there's 
precious few to part with it easily. . . . Work? 
You make your work so that it's pleasant to me, 
and I don't say I won't work. ... I might ! 
When your work's a pleasure, life's jolly then. 
When it"s a toil, a duty, then life's slavery I (To 
the ACTOR.) Here, Sardanapalus I Come 
on. ... 

THE ACTOR. 

Come on, Nebuchadnezzar I I'm going to swill 
it down like forty thousand drunkards. 

(They go out.) 
PEPEL. 

{Yawning.) Well, and 'ow's yer wife? 

KLESSHTSH. 

She ain't for long. . . . (Pause.) 

PEPEL. 

Yer know I look at you there's no good in all 
that scraping. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 35 

KLESSHTSH. 

What should I jdo ? 

PEPEL. 
Nothing. 

KLESSHTSH. 

'Ow should 1 live? 

PEPEL. 

People manage. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

Them ? Call them people ? Rabble, muck 
people ! I'm a working man. ... I'm ashamed 
even to look at 'em. I've worked since I was 
a child. . . . D'you think I shan't get clear of 
all this? I shall, if I leaves all my skin behind 
me . . . just you wait . . . my wife, she'll die. 
. . . I've been here six months, but it seems 
more like six years. 

PEPEL. 

There's no one here any worse that you . . . 
say what yer like. . . . 

* 

KLESSHTSH. 

No worse I They 'aven't no honour nor no 

conscience. 



PEPEL. 

(Indifferently.) Much good of them honour, 
conscience ! Can you get 'em on to your feet in- 



36 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

stead of boots honour and conscience? Honour 
and conscience does mighty well for them as 'as 
the power and the strength. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Re-entering.} Ooh ! . . . bitter. 

PEPEL. 

Boobnoff ! Got a conscience? 

BOOBNOFF. 

What for ? A conscience ? 

PEPEL. 

That's just it. 

BOOBNOFF. 

What 'ud I do with a conscience? I ain't no 
rich man. 

PEPEL. 

That's what I say : honour and conscience 
they're for the rich, yes I Here's Klesshtsh lettin' 
it into us ; says we ain't no consciences. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Why, is 'e wantin' to borrow some? 

PEPEL. 

'E 'as 'is own supply. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Oh, then 'e's sellin' off. Won't find no market 
here. Now, if it was old cardboard I'd take some 
of it . on account. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 37 

PEPEL. 

(Didactically.) You are an ass, Andruishka ! 
Just you let Satine talk to you about consciences 
... or try the Baron. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

D'you think I'd talk to sich ! 

PEPEL. 

They've better 'eads than yours . . . for all 
their drinking. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

'E that can be drunk and wise 

'E's a man a man should prize. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Satine says, every man wants a conscience in 
his neighbour, but 'e says, no man wants one in 
'isself . . . and that's a fact. 

(NATASHA comes in. Alter her, LUKA with 
a staff, a pack over his shoulder, ft 
kettle and a teapot at his waist.) 

LUKA. 

Give you good-day, honest people ! 

PEPEL. 

(Twisting his moustache.) Ah, Natasha ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

(To LUKA.) I was honest up to last spring 
year. . . . 



38 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

NATASHA. 

See, here's a new room-mate. . . . 

LUKA. 

Oh, it's all one to me ! Sharpers I respect 
'em, too. There's no two sorts for me ; all just 
fleas ... all little black fellows ... all 
hopping about . . . tha-t's the way. Show me, 
dearie, where shall I squeeze myself? 

NATASHA. 

(Pointing to kitchen door.} Go over there, 
daddy. 

LUKA. 

Thanks, girlie dear ! It's all just a place. . . . 
Where the old man's warm, there the old man's 
happy. 

PEPEL. 

A wonderful little old boy that you've brought 
us, Natasha. . . . 

NATASHA. 

A sight more interestin' than you. . . . 
Andree ! We've got yer wife in the kitchen . . . 
just you come and fetch 'er. 

KLESSHTSH. 

Right. ... I'm coming. 

NATASHA. 

And you might try and be kinder to 'er. . . . 
She hasn't much longer. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 39 

KLESSHTSH. 
I know. . . . 

NATASHA. 

You know. . . . There's no good in knowing, 
the thing is to do. Ah, it's a fearful thing to 
die. . . . 

PEPEL. 

See me. ... I'm not afraid. . . . 

NATASHA. 

Oh, you're a marvel, aren't you? 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Whistling,) Urn . . . sticky thread. . . . 

PEPEL. 

God's truth, I'm not afraid ! This very 
moment I'm ready to die. Take a knife, plunge 
it into my heart. . . . I'll die without a sound. 
And gladly, too, for I should fall by a pure 
hand. . . . 

NATASHA . 

(Going out.) Keep your soft soap for them 
as likes it. 

BOOBNOFF. 

Um . . . sticky . . . sticky. . . . 

NATASHA. 

(By the passage door.) Don't forget, Andru- 
ishka, about your wife. . . . 



40 

KLESSHTSH. 
All right ! 

PEPEL. 

There's a fine girl ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

Ay, the girl's all right. 

PEPEL. 

Why's she so short with me ? Why ? Ah, well, 
she's bound to come to grief here. 

BOOBNOFF. 

You'll bring her to grief. . . . 

PEPEL. 

What do you mean I ? I'm sorry for her. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Like the wolf for the lamb. . . . 

PEPEL. 

You liar 1 I am right down sorry for her. . . . 
She 'as a 'ard life 'ere. ... I see. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

Wait till Vassilisa spots you gabbing with 
her. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Vassilisa? M'yes, she ain't one to let 'er own 
go. ... She's a fierce woman. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 41 

PEPEL. 

(Lying on the planks.) Go to the devil . . . 
yer croakers ! 

KLESSHTSH. 

You'll see wait a bit ! 

(LuKA from the kitchen, singing :) 

Through the night we trudge along, 
Dark as night is all around . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

O Lord ! . . . another shouter. . . . 

PEPEL. 

I'm bored. . . . Why do I get this boredom? 
All's going along well. Then all of a sudden, 
yer kind of dry up and it all gets tiresome. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Tiresome ? Hum .... 

PEPEL. 

Ay ay. . . . 

LUKA. 
(Sings :) 

All the road is dark before. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Old man 1 Hi ! 

(LuKA appearing in the door.) 



42 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

Call me? 

PEPEL. 

Don't sing ! 

LUKA. 

You don't like it? 

PEPEL. 

When it is good singing, I like it. ... 

LUKA. 

That's to say, then, mine isn't good? 

PEPEL. 

You've hit it. . . . 

LUKA. 

There now ! I did think I could sing. That's 
just always the way : a man he goes along 
thinking now this is something I can do. And 
suddenly folks seem not to care for it. ... 

PEPEL. 

(Smiling.} Yes, that's the way. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Say you're bored, and now you're laugh- 
ing. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Let me alone, you crow. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 43 

LUKA. 

Who is it says they're bored? 

PEPEL. 

Me . . . here. . . . 

(Re-enter the BARON.) 

LUKA. 

There now ! There's a girlie there in the 
kitchen, sitting there, and reading a book, and 
she's crying 1 That she is ! The tears are flow- 
ing. ... I says to her, " Why, my pet, what is 
it all, eh?" "Oh," she says, "it's so sad!" 
"What is it," I says, "that's sad?" "Here," 
she says, " in the book." . . . And that's how 
people pass their time, eh? It's all from this 
boredom. . . . 

THE BARON. 

That's girl's a fool. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Baron ! Had your tea? 

THE BARON. 

Had it. ... What then? 

PEPEL. 

What d'you say 'ud you like me to stand yer 
half a bottle ? 



44 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

THE BARON. 

What do you think ! . . . What then? 

PEPEL. 

Go down on all fours, and bark like a dog ! 

THE BARON. 

Fool ! What are yer talking about ? Are yer 
drunk ? 

PEPEL. 

Bark go on ! That'll amuse me . . . you're 
a gentleman. There was a time you thought 
yourself better than your brother man . . . and 
all the rest of it. . . . 

THE BARON. 

Well, what then? 

PEPEL. 

What ! Why now I make you bark lik a dog, 
and you've got to do it are yer going to? 

THE BARON. 

And if I do. And where 's your gain if you 
do know that I've fallen even below you? You 
made me go an all fours when I was above you. 

BOOBNOFF. 
That's true ! 

LUKA. 

It's true, and it's good. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 45 

BOOBNOFF. 

What was, was ; what's left's all nothing. . . . 
There's no difference here. . . We're all of us 
level ; nothing but the bare, naked man. . . . 

LUKA. 

That means all are equal. . . . But tell me, 
dearie, have you been a Baron? 

THE BARON. 

What is it ? Is it a spectre ? 

LUKA. 

(Laughs.) Counts I've seen, and I've seen 
princes . . . but a baron the first that I ever 
saw, and this only a damaged one. 

PEPEL. 

(Laughing.) That's up against you, Baron. 

THE BARON. 

We live and learn, Vassili. . . . 

LUKA. 

Hey hey. . . . When I look around, my 
lads. . . . Your way of life . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Our way of life is uproar commencin* from 
daybreak. . . . 



46 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

THE BARON. 

We've some of us lived better j . . . Yes ! I, 
in my time, have lain in bed of a morning and 
drunk my coffee . . . coffee ! with cream. . . . 
Ay! 

LUKA. 

But all of us are all men ! You can pretend 
all you like, and give yourself all the airs, but 
a man were you born, and a man you have to 
die. . . . And I see, for all folks gets wiser and 
busier . . . and though they live worse and 
worse . . . they've the will to live better . . . 
the stiff-necks I ... 

THE BARON. 

What are you, old 'un ? Where are you from ? 

LUKA. 

What ? I ? 

THE BARON. 
A tramp? 

LUKA. 

Tramps we are all. . . . And they say now, as 
I'm told, this whole earth is a tramp in the skies. 

THE BARON. 

(Severely.) Maybe it is ; but have you a pass- 
port ? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 47 

LUKA. 

(After a slight pause.) And what are you, 
then an informer? 

PEPEL. 

(Delighted.) Had Mm, old 'un I How do you 
feel now, Baron? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Um yes, that was one for the gentleman. . . . 

THE BARON. 

(Taken aback.) What d'yer mean? . . . 
Why, I was only joking, old man 1 I haven't got 
any papers myself. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Now you're lying. . . . 

THE BARON. 

Oh, well . . . I've got some papers . . . 
but none that are good for anything. 

LUKA. 

But those papers are all the same . . . they're 
none of them good for anything. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Baron, let's go to the trakter. . . . 

THE BARON. 

Right ! Well, goodbye, old man . . . you're 
a rascal 1 



48 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

Tell me who isn't, friend. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(By passage door.} Well, come along ! 

(Goes out, the BARON rapidly following.) 

LUKA. 

Is it true that that man was a Baron? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Who can say? A gentleman 'e 'as been. . . . 
It comes out every now and then. You can see 
he hasn't got rid of it yet. 

LUKA. 

Ay, to be sure, this gentility it's like the small- 
pox ... a man may get over it, but it leaves 
its marks. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

He's right enough though . . . every now and 
then breaks out a bit ... like he did about 
your passport. 

(ALYOSHKA enters, drunk, with a concer- 
tina, whistling.) 

ALYOSHKA. 
Hey, boys I 

BOOBNOFF. 

What are you bawling for? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 49 

ALYOSHKA. 

I beg pardon . . . ask your forgiveness ! I'm 
a well-bred man. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

On another jag? / 

ALYOSHKA. 

Many as you like ! This moment the Inspector 
Myedvyedyeff 'e's just thrown me out of the 
station ; 'e said : "See," says he, " that you keep 
out of the streets "... that's all. . . .1 am a 
man of character. . . . My master 'e sneers at 
me. What is 'e 'imself my master? Fi-i ! 'E's an 
idiot a drunkard, my master is ! ... But I'm 
just such a man that wants nothing ! I wish for 
nothing and that's flat ! You say here's twenty 
roubles ! But I I don't want nothing. A 
straight chap like me to 'ave my mate set over 
me, and a drunkard. . . . Won't stand it, won't 
'ave it ! 

(NASTYA comes out of the kitchen.) 
'Ere's a million d-d -don't want it. 

(NASTYA stands in the door shaking her 
head at ALYOSHKA.) 

LUKA. 

(Good-naturedly.) Ay, lad, you've got a bit 
mixed up. ... 

4 



50 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

BOOBNOFF. 

What fools men are ! . . . 

ALYOSHKA. 

(Lying on the floor.) Well, eat me. For I 
I want nothing. I am a wretched man. Show 
me how I'm worse why am I worse than others ? 
Show me? MyedvyedyefT says, "Keep off the 
streets or I'll bash in your mug." And I I 
go and lie down right in the middle of the street 
crush me. Nothing I want nothing ! . . . 

NASTYA. 

Poor fellow . . . such a kid . . . and now 
already . . . come to this. . . . 

ALYOSHKA. 

(On his knees before her.} Lady . . . 
me'mselle ! Parle franc, ais price -current ! Been 
on the spree. . . . 

NASTYA. 

(In a loud whisper.} Vassilisa ! 

(VASSILISA opening the door sharply.} 

VASSILISA. 

(To ALYOSHKA.) You here again? 

ALYOSHKA. 

Good -day . . . don't be 'arsh. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

Puppy, I told you to keep your carcase out of 
here . . . and now you've come back I 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 51 

ALYOSHKA. 

Vassilisa Karpovna . . . would you like me to 
play you a funeral march? 

VASSILISA. 

(Seizing him by the shoulder .) Clear out ! 

ALYOSHKA. 

Stop ! That's not the way I Funeral march 
. . .just learnt it ! Real music. . . . Stop ! 
that's not the way ! 

VASSILISA. 

I'll teach you . . . what's the way. . . . I'll 
'ave the 'ole street on you . . . you dirty tattler 
. . . you cub, to dare go tattling about me. . . . 

ALYOSHKA. 

Well, I'm going. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

(To BOOBNOFF.) Never you let him set foot 
in 'ere. D'you hear me? 

BOOBNOFF. 

I aint' your watchman here. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

It's nothing to me what you are ! You're here 
out of charity don't forget it. How much do 
you owe me? 



52 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Calmly.) Never reckoned. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

I'll reckon for you ! 

ALYOSHKA. 

(Opens door and shouts out.) Vassilisa 
Karpovna I I'm not afraid of you n-n-not 
afraid ! 

(Disappears.) 

(LUKA laughs.) 
VASSILISA. 

Well, what are you? 

LUKA. 

A wayfarer ... a bird of passage. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

For the night or to stop? 

LUKA. 

I'll look round. . . . 

VASSILISA. 
Passport ! 

LUKA. 

Well, yes. . . . 

VASSILISA. 
Come on I 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 53 

LUKA. 

I'll fetch it ... it'll arrive with the rest of 
my luggage. 

VASSILISA. 

A bird of passage ... eh? A jail-bird 'ud 
be nearer the truth. . . . 

LUKA. 

(With a sigh.) Um, you're not gentle, 
mother. . . . 

(VASSILISA goes to the door of PEPEL'S 
room; ALYOSHKA looks out from the 
kitchen.) 

ALYOSHKA. 

(Whispering.) Has she gone, eh? 

VASSILISA. 

(Turning on him.) You still here? 

(ALYOSHKA gives a whistle and disappears.) 
(NASTYA and LUKA laugh.) 

BOOBNOFF. 

(To VASSILISA.) 'E ain't there. . . . 

VASSILISA. 
Who? 

BOOBNOFF. 
Vaska . 



54 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

VASSILISA. 

Did I ask if he was? 

BOOBNOFF. 

I saw you was looking all about. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

I was looking if things was straight, d'yer 
see ? Why's the room not swept out yet ? 'Ow 
often have I told you it's to be kept clean ? 

BOOBNOFF. 

It's the actor's turn. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

Don't care whose turn. Suppose the inspectors 
come along and put a fine on me . . . then 
it's out you get, all of you I 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Calmly.) Then what will you live by? 

VASSILISA. 

I'll have none of this litter. (Goes into the 
kitchen. To NASTYA.) What's up with you? 
What's your face all swelled up for? Clean the 
floor I Natasha have you seen her? 'As she 
been here? 

NASTYA. 

Don't know . . . 'aven't seen her. 

VASSILISA. 

And he . . has he been home? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 55 

BOOBNOFF. 

Vassilisi? Yes . . . Natasha, she was here 
talking to Klesshtsh, she was. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

Did I ask you who she was talking to? Dirt 
everywhere . . . filth ! Ah, yes pigs 1 Clean 
it all up ... d'you hear ! 

(Goes out rapidly.} 

BOOBNOFF. 

That's a wild beast of a woman ! 

LUKA. 

She's a serious lady. . . . , 

NASTYA. 

It's the life that's made her a beast. . . . 
Any one as was tied to a husband like 
hers . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Come, she don't let the tyin* worry her. . . . 

LUKA. 

Does she always rage around like that ? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Always. . . . Then, you see, she came after 
'er lover, and 'e wasn't 'ere. 



56 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

And that put her out, of course. Oh-ho-ho ! 
How all sorts of people on this earth is putting 
things in order ! And with all sorts of punish- 
ments, all punishing one another . . . and yet 
there's no order in life . . . and there's no 
cleanness . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Everybody likes things in order . . . but some 
'asn't brains enough. Still, for this cleaning-up 
Nastya . . . you see to it. . . . 

NASTYA. 

I see myself ! D'yer think I'm yer servant? 
(After a silence.) I shall get drunk to-day I 

BOOBNOFF. 
That'sflat ! 

LUKA. 

Why, what d'you want to drink for, girlie ? 
A moment back you were crying ; now you say 
"I'll get drunk ! " 

NASTYA . 

(Loud.) I'll drink, and then I'll cry again 
. . . and that's all ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

It's not much. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 57 

LUKA. 

But what for? tell me that. Every pimple has 
a reason for it. ... 

(NASTYA remains silent, shaking her head.} 

So ... ah -ha 1 the race of men 1 What's 
to be made of it? ... Well, then, say that I 
was to sweep up . Where do you keep the broom ? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Behind the door in the passage. . . . 

(LuKA goes into the passage.) 
Nastya I 

NASTYA. 
Well? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Why did Vassilisa go for Alyoshka? 

NASTYA. 

'E said that Vaska was sick of 'er, and wanted 
to chuck 'er . . . and take on with Natasha. 
... I shall leave here . . . and go somewhere 
else. . . . 

BOOBNOOF. 

Why ? Where ? 

NASTYA. 

I'm sick of it. . . . I'm not wanted here. 



58 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

BOOBNOOF. 

You're not wanted anywhere . . . and none 
of all the people on earth there's none of 'em 
wanted. . . . 

(NASTYA shakes her head. Gets up, and 
goes slowly out into the passage.) 

(MYEDVYEDYEFF comes in; LUKA after him 
with a broom.) 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Seems to me I don't know you. . . . 

LUKA. 

And all the other people, do you know them 
all? 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

I have to know every one in my ward . . . but 
here's you I don't know 

LUKA. 

Now the cause of that, daddy, is that the whole 
world doesn't lie in your ward . . . there's just a 
leetle piece outside of it. . . . 

(Goes into kitchen.) 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Over to BOOBNOFF.) It's true my ward's not 
a big one . . . but it's worse than the big ones 
. . . just now, as I was comin* off duty I 'ad to 
run in Alyoshka, the bootmaker. . . . 'E was 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 59 

right in the middle of the road, with his con- 
certina, and bellowin' " I want nothing I want 
nothing I " Horses goin' and all the traffic might 
get run over and so on. ... 'E's a wild Jad 
... so I just took him by the collar. Very fond 
of giving trouble. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

'Er yer comin' to play draughts to-night? 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Coming? M-yes. . . . What about Vaska? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Nothing . . . same as usual. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Means . . . he's getting along? . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Why shouldn't he get along? He's able to get 
along. 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Doubtfully.) Able to? 

(LuKA goes into the passage with a bucket 
in his hand.} 

M-yes . . . there's a sort of talk . . . about 
Vaska . . . ain't yer heard? 



60 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

BOOBNOFF. 

I've 'card all sorts of talk. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

But about Vaska? Ain't yer noticed? 

BOOBNOFF. 
What? 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Why ... in general. . . . Maybe yer know 
and you're lying? Why everybody knows. . . . 
(Sternly.) Let's 'ave no lies, brother ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

What should I lie for ? 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

So ... so ... ah, come I They say that 
Vaska and Vassilisa . . . what's it to me? I am 
not her father, I'm her uncle. ... It can't make 
me look silly. ... 

(KVASHNYA comes in.) 

But there's a kind of people sprung up who wants 
to make every one look silly. . . . Ah, so there 
you are. . . . 

KVASHNYA. 

BoobnofT 1 Hey, my gallant sentinel 1 Again 
in the market he asked me to marry him. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 61 

BOOBNOFF. 

Well, and what then ? 'E's got money, and 
'e's a sturdy fellow yet. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 
What, I ? Ho-ho ! 

KVASHNYA. 

You old grizzle pate ! Let be, it's my sore 
point. I've tried it once, duckie for a woman 
to marry it's like throwin' yerself down a 'ole 
in the ice when you've done it once, yer never 
forget it. ... 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Now wait a bit ... there are husbands of 
all sorts. 

KVASHNYA. 

I'm always one and the same. When my beloved 
old man breathed his last, may I never 'ave a 
roof over my 'ead, if I didn't just sit up for joy 
a whole day and night : sat and simply couldn't 
believe in my happiness. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

If your 'usband beat yer . . . why, you should 
have complained to the police. . . . 

KVASHNYA. 

I complained to God for seven years ... it 
'elped none 1 



62 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Nowadays it's forbidden to beat your wife . . . 
all in these days is strict, according to law . . . 
and order ! No one is to be beaten wrongfully, 
all the beating's to be done to keep order. 

(LUKA leads in ANNA.) 

LUKA. 

Slow but sure ... so here we are. Fancy 
leaving her to go alone when she's so weak? 
Which is your place? 

ANNA. 

(Pointing.) Thanks, dear old man. . . . 

KVASHNYA. 

She's got a 'usband . . . look ! 

LUKA. 

The poor soul's in quite a weak state. . . . 
She creeps along the passage, feeling for the 
walls, and groaning. Why do yer leave 'er by 
'erself? 

KVASHNYA. 

'Adn't noticed, daddy pardon us ! 'Er maid, 
you see, 'as just gone out for a stroll. . . . 

LUKA. 

So now . . . you're making" fun . . . but 'ow 
can one neglect a 'uman creature so ? Whoever 
it is, all of us is of value. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 63 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Supervision there must be ! Suddenly say she 
dies? Then there's no end of bother. . . . 
Watch must be kept ! 

LUKA. 

True, Mr. Sergeant. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

M-yes . . . though I'm . . . I'm not quite a 
sergeant yet. . . . 

LUKA. 

Not ? The bearing's so very heroic ! 

(Noise and scuffling in the passage. Loud 
cries.) 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Oh, not not a row? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Sounds like it. ... 

KVASHNYA. 

Go and look. 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

There, I've got to go. . . . Ah, the service I 
And why part people when they fight ? They'll 



64 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

stop of themselves . . . yer bound to stop fight- 
ing ... if they was left to fight it out in peace 
. . . why, they'd fight less, because they'd not 
forget it so easy. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Getting off his planks.) Must speak to your 
superiors about it. ... 

(KOSTOLOFF cries out, throwing open the 
door.) 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Abraham ! Come . . . Vassilisa, Natasha 
. . . she's killing her . . . come ! 

(KVASHNYA, MYEDVYEDYEFF, BOOBNOFF 
rush into the passage. LUKA looks after 
them, shaking his head.) 

ANNA. 

O Lord ! . . . poor little Natasha 1 

LUKA. 

Who is it fighting? 

ANNA. 

The mistress . . . with her sister. 

LUKA. 

(Coming to ANNA.) What's to be done? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 65 

ANNA. 

Well, they've both food enough . . . and 
health. . . . 

LUKA. 

And you what is your name ? 

ANNA. 

Anna. ... It seems to me . . . you look 
like my father . . . my dear father . . . gentle 
like him . . . and mild. . . . 

LUKA. 

It's the knocks I've 'ad ; they've made me 
gentle. . . . (Laughs with a grating laugh.} 



END OF THE FIRST ACT. 



THE SECOND ACT 



THE SECOND ACT , 

SCENE. Same scene. Night. 

(On the planks round about the stove SATINE, 
BARON, WHEN, and the TARTAR are 
playing at cards. KLESSHTSH and the 
ACTOR are watching the game. BOOB- 
NOFF, on his planks, is playing draughts 
with MYEDVYEDYEFF. LUKA is seated on 
a stool by ANNA'S bed. The shelter is 
lighted by two lamps: one on the wall 
by the card-players, the other on BOOB- 
NOFF'S planks. 

THE TARTAR. 

One more game then I stop. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

When ! Sing ! (He sings:) 

The sun it rises and it sets. 

WHEN. 

(Harmonising :) 

In my prison darkness reigns. . . . 

THE TARTAR. 

(To SATINE.) Shuffle ! Shuffle well ! We 
know you, yer know. . . . 

60 



70 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

WHEN and BOOBNOFF. 
(Together :) 

Day and night the warders go, 
Pacing underneath my window. 

ANNA. 

Yells . . . abuse . . . nothing else have I 
seen . . . nothing besides. . . . 

LuKA. 

There, missus, don't fret ! 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Look out, where are yer moving? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Ah ! yes, yes, yes. . . . 

THE TARTAR. 

(Threatening SATINE with his fist.} Why er 
yer trying to hide a card ? I see yer . . . yer 
beauty 1 

WHEN. 

Chuck it, Hassan ! They're sure to skin us. 
. . . Boobnoff, strike up ! 

ANNA. 

I can't remember when I wasn't hungry. . . . 
I've trembled all my life. . . . Dreaded. ... I 
shouldn't get no more to eat . . . been in rags 
all my life ... all my wretched life . . . 
why, why ? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 71 

LUKA. 

There, there, darling ! You're tired. Never 
mind. 

THE ACTOR. 

(To WHEN.) Play the Knave the Knave, 
damn yer 1 

f 

THE BARON. 

We 'ave the King. 

KLESSHTSH . 

They win every time. 

SATINE. 

It's a way er 'ave. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 
Crown him ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

And I ... um-m. . . . 

ANNA . 

I'm dying. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

Just look at 'em ! Prince, you chuck it ! 
Chuck it, I tell yer ! 

THE ACTOR. 

You let him alone, 



72 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

THE BARON. 

Look out, Andruiska, that I don't give you a 
damned hiding ! 

THE TARTAR. 

One game more. The pitcher goes to the 
well so often it gets broken at last. 

(KLESSHTSH, with a shake of his head, 
moves over to BOOBNOFF.) 

ANNA. 

I'm always thinking. Oh ! Lord, can it be 
that in the other world, too, I shall have to 
suffer? Not there as well? 

LUKA. 

There won't be nothing ! Lie and listen ! 
Nothing ! You'll have rest there. ... A little 
more patience. . . . All, dearie, they all suffer 
. . . each in his own way. . . . (Gets up with 
quick steps.) 

(Goes into the kitchen.) 
BOOBNOFF. 

(Sings:) 

Take your gun, and have some fun. . . . 

WHEN. 

I'm not going to run away. . . . 

BOTH. 

(Together :) 

Longing, longing to be free, 

But my chains I cannot break. , . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 73 

THE TARTAR. 

(Shouts out.) That card was in your sleeve. 

THE BARON. 

(Confused.) Do you want me to ram it under 
your nose? 

THE ACTOR. 

(Positively.) Prince, you're wrong . . . 
never, never in this world. . . . 

THE TARTAR. 

Saw it ! Sharper I I'll play no more ! 

SATINE. 

(Gathering up the cards.) Hassan, go and 
shake yourself . . . yer know we were sharpers. 
Then why did yer play with us? 

THE BARON. 

I've won forty kopyeks, and you shriek as if 
you were beggared . . . come, one more I 

THE TARTAR. 

(Hotly.) Then play straight. 

SATINE. 
What for? 

THE TARTAR. 

How " What for?" 

SATINE. 

Just so ... what for? 



74 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

THE TARTAR. 

Well, don't yer know? 

SATINE. 

I don't know. Der you? 

(The TARTAR spits viciously. All laugh at 
him.) 

WHEN. 

(Good-naturedly.) You're green, Hassan ! 
Can't you see 1 If they was to begin living 
honestly, why, in three days they'd starve. . . . 

THE TARTAR. 

That's nothing to me ! They must live 
honestly ! 

WHEN. 

Keep it now ! Better go and 'ave some tea 
. . . Boobnoff I And . . . 

Oh, my chains, my heavy chains. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Oh, my heavy clanking chains. . . . 

WHEN. 

Come along, Hassanka ! (Goes out singing.) 
Tease me not, and I'll not beat yer. . . . 

(TARTAR threatens the BARON with his fist, 
and goes out after his companion.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 75 

SATINE. 

(Smiling to BARON.) You, your mightiness, 
you came another cropper ! You've had an edu- 
cation, but yer can't palm a card. . . . 

THE BARON. 

(Hands apart.) Devil knows how it hap- 
pened. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

No talent ... no belief in yourself . . . 
without that no good ever . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

I've one King . . . and you've two . . . 
m-yes ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

One's good enough, if he's a brainy one . . . 
on yer go ! 

KLESSHTSH. 

Er yer winning, Abra'm Ivanitich? 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

None of your business . . . d'yer see ? So 
shut yer mouth. . . . 

SATINE. 

Fifty -three kopyeks in. 

THE ACTOR. 

Three kopyeks for me . . . though what do 
I want with three kopyeks ? 



76 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

(Coming out of kitchen.} Well, so youVe 
cleared out the Tartar? Going to have a glass 
now? 

THE BARON. 

Come along with us. 

SATINE. 

Let's see what yer like drunk. 

LUKA. 

No better than I am sober. 

THE ACTOR. 

Come along, old man. . . . I'll recite to 
yer. . . . 

LUKA. 

What ever's that? 

THE ACTOR. 

Verses understand ? 

LUKA. 

Verses ! What do I want with verses ? 

THE ACTOR. 

They're amusing . . . sometimes they're 
sad. . . . 

SATINE. 

Hi, recitationist, er yer coming? 

(Goes out with BARON.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 77 

THE ACTOR. 

Coming. . . . I'll catch yer up ! Now, for 
instance, here's a bit out of one poem, old man. 
. . . The beginning I've forgotten . . . clean 
forgotten 1 ... (Strikes his forehead.) 

BOOBNOFF. 

There ! I've taken yer king ... on you go 1 



MYEDVYEDYEFF. 



yEDVYEDYEFF. 

If I'd gone there, you'd 'ave 'ad 'im. 

THE ACTOR. 

In the past, before I was poisoned with alcohol, 
I had a fine study, old man. . . . But now you 
see . . . It's all up, brother 1 All up with me. 
I used to give that poem with enormous success 
. . . thunder of applause. You you don't know 
how it feels applause . . . why, brother, it's like 
vodka I . . .I'd come on ... stand like this 
. . . stand like this and . . . (Silence.) Can't 
remember a thing . . . not a word . . . can't 
remember 1 Used to love that piece : in a bad 
way, eh, old 'un? 

LuKA. 

There can't be no good in fergettin' what yer 
loved. Where yer love there's all yer soul. 

THE ACTOR. 

I've drunk my soul, old man. . . . I'm lost, 
brother. . . . Lost how? Hadn't no belief 
. I'm done with. 



78 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

No I Why? You . . . you can be cured ! 
In these days they cure people of drunkenness 
fact 1 Cure them, brother, fer no thin'. . . . 
There's a 'ospital been built for drunkards . . . 
and they cure 'em fer nothin'. . . . It's recig- 
nised, yer see, that a drunkard's a man, too, 
and when 'e wants to be cured, they rejoice at 
'im ! So stir up and be off. 

THE ACTOR. 

(Reflectively.) Where? Where is it? 

LUKA. 

Well, it's . . . it's in a certain town . . . 
what d'yer call it 1 It's just a name like 1 ... 
Now you just do this : be gettin' ready. . . . 
Control yourself 1 ... Take yerself in hand, and 
wait. . . . And then get cured . . . and 
begin life all over again . . . sounds good, 
brother, all over again? Make your mind up, 
and it's done. 

THE ACTOR. 

(Smiling.) Over again . . . from the begin- 
ning . . . that's fine . . . m-yes. . . . 
All over again? (Laughs.) Um. . . . Yes I 
Can't? I really can, eh? 

LUKA. 

Can yer? Anything a man can do ... if 'e 
makes up his mind to do it. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 79 

THE ACTOR. 

(Suddenly, as if awakened.) You're a crank. 
By-bye for the present ! (Whistles.) Old boy 
goodbye to yer. 

(Goes out.) 
ANNA. 

Gran 'pa, darling 1 

LUKA. 

What, dearie? 

ANNA. 

Talk to me. . . . 

LUKA. 

(Close to her.) Come now, let's talk. . . . 

(KLESSHTSH looks round, silently comes 
towards his wife, looks at her, makes 
some movements with his hands, as 
though wishing to speak.) 

What's up, comrade? 

KLESSHTSH. 

(In a low voice.) Nothing. . . . 

(Goes slowly to passage door, stands in it 
for a few secondsand goes out.) 

LUKA. 

(Following him with his eyes.) Takes it to 
heart, does your old man. 



80 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

ANNA. 

He's nothing now to me. 

LUKA. 

Did f e beat yer? 

ANNA. 

Worse than that. ... I'm dyin' through 
'im. . 

BOOBNOFF. 

My wife . . . she 'ad a lover played draughts 
finely a thorough scoundrel. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 
Um-m. . . . 

ANNA. 

Dear -gran'pa 1 Talk to me, dearie. ... I 
can't breathe. 

LUKA. 

That's nothing ! Comes before death, lovie. 
. . . Just hope. . . . You're goin' to die, and 
then you'll be at peace ; there'll be nothing more 
that yer need fear nothing ! Calm, peace. . . . 
Don't move ! Death it settles all. . . It's very 
tender with us. ... You die, you rest, that's to 
say . . . that's what it is, pet I Because for 
can a man find rest here? 

(PEPEL comes in. He is slightly drunk, 
dishevelled, sullen. Sits on planks 
by door, silent without moving.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 81 

ANNA. 

If there too there's suffering ? 

LUKA. 

There won't be anything ! Nothing ! Trust 
me ! Rest and nothing more ! They'll lead you 
up to God, and they'll say, " Lord, look here, 
behold, here is Thy servant, Anna." . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Severely.) How do you know what they say 
up there ? I like that .... 

(At the sound of MYEDVYEDYEFF'S voice, 
PEPEL lifts up his head and listens.} 

LUKA. 

It's just like this, that I do know, Mr. Ser- 
geant. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Conciliatory.) M yes ! I don't see myself 
. . . though I'm not yet exactly a sergeant. 

BOOBNOFF. 

I take two. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

O Lord ... do go ahead. 

LUKA. 

And the Lord, 'E'll look at you mildly and 
fondly, and He'll say, " I know that same Anna." 

6 



82 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

Then He'll say, " Take her, that Anna, into Para- 
dise. Let 'er be at peace . . . for I know 'er 
life it was very hard . . . she's very weary. 
. . . Give rest unto Anna." 

ANNA. 

(Breathing hard.} Uncle . . . you are such 
a dear ! If it is so ... if there's just rest 
. . . and to feel nothing more. . . . 

LUKA. 

There won't be ! There won't be anything ! 
Trust me ! Die joyfully, and no worry. . . . 
I tell you, Death it's to us ... like a mother 
with her little children. 

ANNA. 

Yet ... I may ... I may get well ? 

LUKA. 

What for? For fresh suffering? 

ANNA. 

But ... to live a little . . . just a wee bit 
more. If there's no suffering I could endure a 
little longer. I could. 

LUKA. 

There'll be nothing more. . . . It's shnple. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Rising.) May be ... and may not be. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 83 

ANNA. 

(Frightened.} Oh, Lord 1 ... 

LUKA. 

Ah, dearie. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Who's that bellowing ? 

PEPEL. 

Me I What of it ? 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

You shouldn't bellow, that's what. Folk should 
bear themselves quietly. 

PEPEL. 

Ah . . . yer block ! You're a fine uncle . . . 
ho ho 1 

LUKA. 

(To PEPEL in a Low tone.) Please now don't 
shout 1 A woman's dying here . . . don't dis- 
turb 'er I 

PEPEL. 

I respect you, gran'pa ! You're a brick, you 
are ! You're a good liar . . . you put things 
nicely ! Lying's no harm . . . there's so little 
that's cheering in the world ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

What ! Is the woman really dyin' ? 



84 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

Ay, there's no joke about it. ... 

BOOBNOFF. 

Shan't have no more coughing then. . . . Most 
disturbin' 'er cough was. ... I take two. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Ah, I'm done for I'm done for I 

PEPEL. 
Abraham ! 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Don't call me Abraham. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Abramka ! Is Natasha ill ? 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 
What's that to you ? 

PEPEL. 

I want to know. Was it a bad beating Vassilisa 
gave her ? 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

And that's none of your business ! It's a family 
matter. . . . Who do yer think yer are? 

PEPEL. 

Don't matter who I am . . . but if I choose, 
you'll never see Natasha again ! 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 85 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Leaving the game.} What d'yer say? Who 
are yer talkin' of? D'yer think my niece? . . . 
Ah, yer robber 1 

PEPEL. 

A robber you never could catch. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Wait 1 I'll catch yer . . . you see. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Catch me and I'd flog the whole nest of yer. 
D'yer think I'd keep quiet before the beak? 
Expect a wolf to howl ! They say, " Who taughft 
yer to rob, and showed yer the cribs? " Mikhail 
Kostoloff and his wife 1 " Who was yer fence? " 
Mikhail Kostoloff and his wife I 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Lies ! They won't believe yer ! 

PEPEL. 

Yes, they will, for it's truth I And I'll give 
you a twist ... ha I I'll sink the whole lot 
of yer, yer devils you see 1 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Shaking.) Lies I And . . . lies I And . . . 
what 'arm 'ave I done to you? Yer scabby 
cur I ... 

PEPEL. 

And what good 'ave yer done to me? 



86 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

Ri-ight there ! 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(To LUKA.) What er you . . . croaking for? 
Is this any of your business ? This is a family 
matter I 

BOOBNOFF. 

(To LUKA.) Let be I Not ours to meddle in. 

LUKA. 

(Peaceably.) I said nothing ! I only say that 
if one man 'asn't done good to another, 'e 'asn't 
done well. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Not understanding.) 'Ere we are . . . and 
we all know one another. . . . But who are you, 
pray? 

(Makes an angry grimace and goes out.) 

LUKA. 

The gentleman's angry. . . . Oh -ho, brothers, 
things here ... I see things here in a tangle ! 

PEPEL . 

'E's gone to whine to Vassilisa. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

You're foolish, Vassili. Much good yer bold- 
ness has done yer. . . . Boldness is all right in 
its place . . . but 'ere it cuts no figure. . . . 
They'll slice yer 'ead off alive. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 87 

PEPEL. 

N-no, they won't ! Us Yaroslaff boys you 

don't catch us napping ... if it's war we shall 
fight. . . . 

LUKA. 

But I tell you truly, lad, you get out of this 
house . . . get clear of it. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Where to? You tell me that. . . . 

LUKA. 

Go ... to Siberia. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Ho -ho. When I go to Siberia, I mean to go 
at the charge of the Crown. . . . 

LUKA. 

Now listen to me you go there ! There you 
can make your own way ... you're just the kind 
for there ! 

PEPEL. 

The way is marked out for me. My father 
passed his whole life in prison, and 'e told me 
to. Why, when I was a little boy they called me 
thief and thief's son. 

LUKA. 

But it's a grand country Siberia I A golden 
country. 'Oo 'as the might 'as the right. 



88 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

PEPEL. 

Old boy, why are you always lying? 

LUKA. 

What's that ? 

PEPEL . 

Deaf ? .Why do yer lie, I ask ? 

LUKA. 

In what do yer mean I lie ? 

PEPEL . 

In all . . . you say it's good there, good here 
. . . you're plainly lying 1 What's it for? 

LUKA. 

You take my word and go there, and see fer 
yerself. You'll say thanks. . . . What's the 
good of loafing here ? And . . . why are yer so 
mad after the truth? . . . Think a bit ! The 
same truth might cut like a razor. . . . 

PEPEL. 

I don't care ! If it's a razor, it's a razor. . . . 

LUKA. 

Oh; you're crazy ! Why go and destroy 
yerself ? 

BOOBNOFF. 

What is it that you two are jawing about ? 
I don't know ! What sort of a truth, Vaska, 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 89 

d'yer want? And why? Yer know the truth 
about yerself ... ay, and every one knows 
it. ... 

PEPEL. 

Hold on, stop yer croaking I I want 'im to 
tell me . . . listen, old man : is there a God? 

(LuKA gives a silent smile.) 
Say now, is there? 

BOOBNOFF. 

People just live . . . like shavings on a 
stream ... a house is built . . . and the 
shavings ... off they floats 1 ... 

LUKA. 

(In a, low voice.) If you believe it there is ; 
if you don't believe it, there's not . . . that 
which yer believe in, that is. ... 

(PEPEL looks at the old man fixedly and 
in surprise.) 

BOOBNOFF. 

Shall we go and have some tea . . . come on 
to the trakteer ? Eh ? 

LUKA. 

(To PEPEL.) What are you looking at? 

PEPEL. 

Just so. ... Now wait. . . . Then that 
means . 



90 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

BOOBNOFF. 

Then I'll go alone. 

(Goes to door, encounters VASSILISA.) 

PEPEL. 

Therefore . . . you. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

(To BOOBNOFF.) Nastya at home? 

BOOBNOFF. 

No. 

(Goes out.) 
PEPEL. 

Ah . . . you're there. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

(Over to ANNA.) Still alive? 

LUKA. 

Don't disturb 'er. 

VASSILISA. 

What er yer hanging about here for ? 

LUKA. 

I'll go ... if yer want me to. ... 

VASSILISA. 

(Towards the door of PEPEL'S room.) Vassili I 
I've somethin' to say ter you. . . . 

(LUKA goes to the passage door, opens it, 
and shuts it loudly. Then he clambers 
on to the planks, and from there on to 
the stove.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 91 

VASSILISA. 

(From PEPEL'S room.} Vaska . . . come 
here ! 

PEPEL. 

I'm not coming ... I don't mean to. ... 

VASSILISA. 

Ah . . . what's wrong? What's annoyin* yer ? 

PEPEL. 

I'm bored . . . sick of the whole rigmarole. 

VASSILISA. 

And ... of me? 

PEPEL. 

And of you. . . . 

(VASSILISA draws her handkerchief tight 
over her chest, pressing against it her 
hands. Goes towards ANNA, looks 
carefully behind the curtains, and re- 
turns to PEPEL.) 

Well ... out with it. ... 

VASSILISA. 

Out with what? Can't force people to be kind 
. . . and it ain't in me to beg for kindness. 
. . . Thank you for the truth. . . . 

PEPEL. 

What truth? 



92 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

VASSILISA. 

That I'm a bore to you ... or isn't it the 
truth? 

(PEPEL looks at her in silence. She turns 
to him.} 

What er yer staring at? Don't yer know me? 

PEPEL. 

(With a sigh.) You're beautiful, Vassilisa (she 
.puts her hand on his shoulder, but he shakes it 
off} but my 'eart it was never yours. . . . And 
I lived with you, and the rest of it ... and 
I've never really liked yer. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

So-o . . . well ? 

PEPEL. 

Well, we've nothing to talk about 1 Nothing at 
all ! Get away from me ! . . . 

VASSILISA. 

You fancy some one else? 

PEPEL. 

Not your business. ... If it was so it's not 
you I'd consult. 

VASSILISA. 

That's a pity. . . . P'raps I might arrange 
things. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 



93 



PEPEL. 

(Suspiciously.) 



VASSILISA. 
You know 



What d'yer say? 



how to conceal things. 



Vassili 



I'm a straight chap. 



I'll hide nothing 



you've dealt 



(Lower.) 
with me 



shabby 
a whip 
sudden 



for no reason you've laid it on with 
said yer loved me, and all of a 



PEPEL. 

'Twasn't sudden . 

there's no soul in you, woman ... we are 

beasts. . . . We must be ... we must be 

trained . . . and what 'ave you trained me to ? 



. . for a long time . 
you, woman ... we 



VASSILISA. 

What was it over ? . . . I know a man can't 
help 'is own will . . . yer love me no more . . . 
all right. . . . 

PEPEL. 

That's it, it's at an end. We part peaceably, 
without no rows . . . the proper way ! 

VASSILISA. 

No, wait now ! It's this. . . . When we came 
together I banked on you to drag me out of all 
this nastiness to free me from my 'usband, my 
uncle . . . from all this life . . . and p'raps it 
wasn't you, Vaska, that I loved . . . but my hope 



94 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

... it was that thought of you I loved. . . . 
D'you follow ? I expected you to pull me 
out. . . . 

PEPEL. 

You aren't a nail, I ain't a pincers . . . 
you've wits enough . . . and you're wily ! 

VASSILISA. 

(Coming close to him.) Vaska I Come, now 
. . . let's 'elp one another. . . . 

PEPEL. 
'Ow? 

VASSILISA. 

(Low and forcible.) My sister . . . she's 
taken yer fancy, I know. . . . 

PEPEL. 

And that's why you beat her, you savage 1 
Vassilisa, look 'ere 1 Don't dare to lay a finger 
on 'er. 

VASSILISA. 

Stop now ! Don't get hot ! It can all be done 
quietly and well. D'yer wish to marry 'er? I'll 
give yer money with 'er . . . three hundred solid 
roubles I If I can afford it, more. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Coming up to her.) Stop . . . why is it? 
What's it for? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 95 

VASSILISA. 

Rid me . . . from my 'usband. Relieve me 
of that millstone. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Whistling softly.} So now we've got to it. 
Oh ho -ho ! A very crafty notion . . . get your 
'usband in his grave, your lover doin' time, whilst 
you ... 

VASSILISA. 

Vaska ! Why doin' time ? You won't yerself 
| . ; . get some of yer pals ! Suppose it was 
yerself, who's to know ? Natasha . . . think 
now ! You'll 'ave money . . . you can g"o any- 
where ... set me free for ever, then, too, the 
sister, she won't be round me, that's good fer 
'er. The sight of 'er's bad for me . . . on ac- 
count of you I get spiteful . . . arid I can't hold 
it in. . . .1 torment the girl, beat her . . . 
beat her so ... that myself I can cry with pity 
for her . . . yet I beat her. And I will beat 
her I 

PEPEL. 

You savage ! Do yer brag of yer savageness? 

VASSILISA. 

I don't brag I speak truth. Think now, Vaska. 
Twice through my 'usband 'ave you gone to jail 
. . . through 'is avarice. . . . 'E's glued to me 
like a limpet . . . four whole years I And what 
sort of a 'usband d'yer call 'im? 'E scolds 



96 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

Natasha, torments her, calls 'er a beggar ! To 
every one 'e's just poison. . . . 

PEPEL. 

You do yarn cleverly. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

All I say's above board. . . . It's only a fool 
that won't see what I want. 

(KOSTOLOFF enters cautiously and steals 
forward.} 

PEPEL. 

(To VASSILISA.) Oh get away ! 

VASSILISA. 

Think it over ! (Sees husband.} What, you? 
Er yer followin' me? 

(PEPEL leaps up and eyes KOSTOLOFF 
savagely.} 

KOSTOLOFF. 

It's me . . . me ! You're here by your- 
selves ! Ah ah. . . . You're . . . having a talk . 
(Suddenly stamping with his feet and shouting 
out.} Vaska . . . you devil ! Beggar I Hag ! 
(Startled at his own cries, met by silence and 
immobility.} I ask pardon. . . . Here again, 
Vassilisa, you lead me into sin. . . . Been every- 
where hunting fer yer. ... (In a scream.} It's 
bedtime ! You've forgotten to fill the lamps . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 97 

you, you . . . beggar . . . sow. . . . (Points 
at her with trembling hands.) 

(VASSILISA slowly goes to passage door, 
looking round at PEPEL.) 

PEPEL. 

(To KOSTOLOFF.) Get out of here . . . clear 
out. ... 

KOSTOLOFF. 

(Yells.) I'm the master I Clear out yourself, 
thief ! 

PEPEL. 

(Sullenly.) Be off, Mikhail 1 ... 

KOSTOLOFF. 

You dare to I'll show you. ... I tell 
you. . . . 

(PEPEL seizes him by the collar and shakes 
him. A noise is heard from the stove 
and a loud yawning. PEPEL releases 
KOSTOLOFF, who runs into the passage.) 

PEPEL. 

(Springing on to the planks.) Who's there 
... on that stove? 

LUKA. 

(Raising his head.) Eh? 

PEPEL. 
You? 



98 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

Me . . . me myself. ... Of Lord Jesus 
Christ. 

PEPEL. 

(Closes the passage door, feels for the bolt 
and can't find it.) The devils I ... Old man, 
get down I 

LUKA. 

All ri-ight . . . getting down. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Menacingly.) Why did yer get on that stove? 

LUKA. 

Where 'ud yer 'ave me get? 

PEPEL. 

Yer made as you'd gone in the passage. 

LUKA. 

In the passage, comrade, it's cold for an old 
man. 

PEPEL. 

You . . . heard? 

LUKA. 

Ay heard . How not to hear ? Ud yer 'ave 
me deaf? Ah, my lad, your happiness is coming 
to yer . . .it's happiness that's coming to yer. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 99 

PEPEL. 

(Suspiciously.) What 'appiness? In what 
way? 

LUKA. 

Why, in the way that took me on to the stove. 

PEPEL. 

Ah . . . why did you make that noise ? 

LUKA. 

Why, because I was getting aglow . . . for 
the orphan laddie's welfare . . . yet I knew 
well that the laddie might take it all wrong, that 
he might be for throttling the old man. . . . 

PEPEL. 

Ye-es ... it was a near thing. . . . 

LUKA. 

Ay ... them mistakes often get made. . . . 

PEPEL. 

What are you? 

LUKA. 

My lad ! Now listen to me, what I say : that 
woman cut it ! Nothing to do with 'er ! keep 
out of 'er way? She'll put *er 'usband out of the 
way better ner you could, yes ! ' Don't you listen 
to her, the devil. . . . Look at me ah? Bald 
. . . and why? Out of all these same different 
sorts of women ... I should say I've known, 



100 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

maybe, more women than ever there grew hairs 
upon my head. . . . And that Vassilisa she 
. . . she's worse than a pagan Finn ! 

PEPEL. 

I don't knoiw if I ought to thank yer, or 
whether you as well . . . 

LUKA. 

Don't you say nothin' ! You'll say nothing 
better than what I've said 1 Listen : the one 
you fancy, put 'er arm in yours, and out of here 
in double-quick time. Get out of here, clean 
away. . . . 

PEPEL. 

No makin' people out ! Who's good, 'oo's bad 
. . . can't understand a thing. . . . 

LUKA. 

What's there to understand ? There's all sorts 
of men. ... As their hearts tells 'em, so they 
live . . . good to-day, bad to-morrow. But if 
that girl's really got hold of yer heart . . . take 
'er clear off, and 'ave done with it. . . .Or else 
go alone . . . you're young, you've time to look 
out for a wife. 

PEPEL. 

(Takes him by the shoulder.} No, you tell 
me, why are you on to this? 

LUKA. 

Now come, let me go. . . . Must see to Anna 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 101 

. . . she was rattling so bad. . . . (Goes to 
Anna's bed, opens curtains, looks, feels with his 
hand.) 

(PEPEL comes after him, thoughtful and dis- 
traught.) 

Jesus Christ, most merciful Lord, the spirit 
of Thy newly departed servant Anna receive into 
Thy peace. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Softly.) Dead? (Without approaching, leans 
forward so as to obtain a sight of the bed.) 

LUKA. 

(Softly.) She is gone ! Where will 'er 'us- 
band be ? 

PEPEL. 

In the trakteer, most likely. . . . 

LUKA. 

Well, 'e must know. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Shuddering.) I don't care for dead 
people. . . . 

LUKA. 

(Going to the door.) What's there to care 
for? Care for the living . . . the living. . . . 

PEPEL. 

I'll come with yer. . . . 



102 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

What, afraid? 

PEPEL. 

Don't like it. ... 

(They go out quickly.) 

(Emptiness and silence. At the passage 
door a dull, incomprehensible, uneven 
sound is heard. Then enter the 
ACTOR.) 

THE ACTOR. 

(Standing in the open door, supporting himself 
against the door-posts, shouts out) Old man, 
hi ! Where are yer? I've remembered . . . 
listen 1 

(He staggers two steps forward, strikes an 
attitude, and begins:) 

Then, gentlemen, for all our pain 
If truth still flee our straining eyes, 

Shall we not hail the madman's brain: 
The brain that spins us golden lies? 

(NATASHA appears in the door behind the 
ACTOR.) 

Old man 1 

And tho' the earth to atoms fly, 

And tho' the sun be quenched and dead, 

They shall be re-created by 

The thought within a madman's head. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 103 

NATASHA . 

(Laughs.) You gaby 1 You're full. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

(Turns to her.) Ah, it's you 1 Where's the 
little old boy . . . the darling little old man? 
Nowhere 'ere, that's clear. . . . Natasha, fare- 
well. . . . Farewell . . . yes. 

NATASHA . 

Never said good -day, now says goodbye. 

THE ACTOR. 

(Barring the way to her.) I am going away. 
. . . The spring'll come, and you won't see me 
no more . 

NATASHA . 

Rubbish . . . where er yer goin' ? 

THE ACTOR. 

To find a town ... to get cured . . . you 
clear out, too. Ophelia . . . into a monastery 
. . . yer see, there's a hospital for organisms . . . 
for drunkards ... a splendid hospital. . . . 
Marble . . . marble floor I Light, clean food 
all for nothing 1 And a marble floor . . . yes ! 
I'll find it, get cured, and ... I shall be all 
over again. . . . I'm on the way to regeneration 
... as said . . . King Lear. Natasha, on the 
stage . . . my name was Svertchkoff Yavolski. 
. No one knows that no one I I've no name 



104 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

here. . . . Can't you understand how that's gall- 
ing to lose yer name ? Dogs even have their 
names . 

(NATASHA manages to get round the ACTOR, 
goes over to ANNA'S bed and looks.) 

No name, and you're no man. . . . 

NATASHA. 

Look . . . the poor soul . . . look ! She's 
dead 1 ... 

THE ACTOR. 

(Shaking his head.) It can't be. ... 

NATASHA . 

(Moving away.) God ! yes . . . look. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

(In the door.) Look at what? 

NATASHA . 

Anna . . . she's dead. 

BOOBNOFF. 

Won't cough no more, that means. (Goes 
to ANNA'S bed, looks, goes to his place.) You 
must tell Klesshtsh . . . it's 'is business. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

I'll go and tell him . . . she has lost her 
name. 

(Goes out.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 105 

NATASHA. 

And then . . . one ... I too . . . same 
for all ... struck down. 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Stretching a rag of some kind over his 
planks.) What what er yer mumbling? 

NATASHA. 

So ... to myself. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Waiting for Vaska ? You see, Vaska'll break yer 
head for yer. . . . 

NATASHA . 

Does it much matter 'oo breaks it? I'd 
sooner that he did. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Lying down.) That's your affair. . . . 

NATASHA. 

For surely . . . it's well she's dead . . . it's 
sad, too. . . . Lord ! Why do people live? 

BOOBNOFF. 

So with all : born, live, die. And I shall 
die . . . and you too . . . where's the sad- 
ness? 

(Enter LUKA, the TARTAR, WHEN, and 
KLESSHTSH . KLESSHTSH comes behind 
the others, slowly, shrunk up.) 



106 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

NATASHA. 
Sh 1 Anna. 

WHEN. 

We've heard ... in 'eaven, if she's 
dead. . . . 

THE TARTAR. 

(To KLESSHTSH.) You must have her out 1 
Out into the passage ! Can't keep dead bodies in 
here ; here the living have to sleep. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Low.) Well, take 'er out. 

(All go over to the bed; KLESSHTSH looks 
at his wife over the others 1 shoulders.) 

WHEN. 

(To the TARTAR.) You think she'll smell? 
There'll be no smell from her . . . she 'ad 
wasted alive. . . . 

NATASHA. 

Good Lord ! won't yer pity 'er ? . . . if some- 
one 'ud speak a kind word 1 Oh, you. . . . 

LUKA. 

Girlie, don't take on ... it's all right ! For 

what . . . and how shall we pity the dead? Eh, 

darling 1 The living we don't pity . . . and 

ourselves we don't pity . . . why her? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 107 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Yawning.) And besides, death don't wince 
from a word . . . illness may wince from a 
word, but death . . . no ! 

THE TARTAR. 

(Going out.} Must fetch the police. . . . 

WHEN. 

Police that must be done ! Klesshtsh ! 'ave 
yer informed the police? 

KLESSHTSH. 

No . . . she's got to be buried . . . and all 
I've got's forty kopyeks. 

WHEN. 

Well, in that case yer must borrow . . . and 
we'll club together . . . one gives five, another 
what *e can. . . . But get the police and quick ! 
Else they'll be fancying it was yer doin', or what 
not. (Goes to the planks and makes ready to 
lie down beside the TARTAR.) 

NATASHA. 

(Moving away from BOOBNOFF'S planks.} 
Now . . . you see I shall dream of 'er . . . 
the dead always appear in my dreams. ... I'm 
afraid to go alone . . . it's dark in the 
passage. . . . 

LUKA. 

(Following her.) You be afraid of the living 
. . . that's what I say. . . . 



108 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

NATASHA . 

Come with me, daddy. 

LUKA. 

Come . . . come, I'll see yer safe I 

(They go out. A pause.} 

WHEN. 

Oh ho-o I Hassan, spring soon, mate . . . 
we shall feel warmer then. Now in the country 
already peasant's looking to 'is plough and 'is 
'arrows, gettin' ready to till ... all ready for 
tilling . . . m-yes ! And we ... Hassan ? 
Snoring already ! Accursed Mahometan ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

Tartars love to sleep. 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Standing in the middle of the shelter and 
gazing vacantly in front of him.) What am I 
goin' to do now ? 

WHEN. 

Lie down, and sleep . . . that's all there is 
to it. 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Low.) But . . . she . . . how? 

(No one answers.) 
(SATINE and the ACTOR come in.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 109 

THE ACTOR. 

(Shouts out.) Old 'un ! Hither to me, my true 
Kent. 

SATINE. 

Way for Miklooka Maklai. . . . Ho -ho ! 

THE ACTOR. 

It's fixed and decided ! Old 'un, wKere's the 
town . . . where are yer? 

SATINE. 

Fata Morgana, the old man diddled yer 1 ... 
There's nothing. . . . No towns, no people- 
nothing at all ! 

THE ACTOR. 
You lie 1 

THE TARTAR. 

(Leaping up.) Where's the master? I'll fetch 
the master. If I can't sleep 'e shan't take my 
money. Corpses . . . drunkards. . . . 

(Goes out quickly . ) 
(SATINE whistles after him.) 

BOOBNOFF. 

(In a sleepy voice.) Lie down, boys, keep 
quiet ... in the night yer must sleep. 

THE ACTOR. 

Yes . . . here aha I A corpse. ..." We 
took a corpse up in our nets "... poetry. . . . 
B^ranger 1 



110 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

SATINE. 

(Calls out.} Corpses can't hear ! corpses 
can't feel. . . . Bellow . . .yell . . . corpses 
can't hear. . . . 

(LuKA appears in the doorway.} 



END OF THE SECOND ACT. 



THE THIRD ACT 



THE THIRD ACT 

SCENE." The Waste," strewn with all sorts of 
rubbish and overgrown with long grass. At 
the back, a high brick party wall. It shuts 
out the sky. Around it are elder bushes. At 
right a dark timber wall belonging to some 
sort of an outhouse, a barn or a stable. At 
left the grey, crumbling plaster wall of the 
house in which KOSTOLOFF'S night-shelter 
is. It stands on a slant, so that the further 
corner reaches almost to the middle of the 
" Waste." Between it and the party wall a 
narrow passage. In the grey wall are two 
windows: one on a level with the ground, 
the other about six feet higher up and closer 
to the party wall. By that wall is a big 
sledge turned upside down and a beam about 
twelve feet long. At right, by wall, a heap of 
old planks. Evening. The sun is setting, 
throwing a red light on the party wall. Early 
spring, the snow being lately melted. No 
buds as yet on the black elder branches. 

(NATASHA and NASTYA are seated on the 
beam, side by side. LUKA and the 
BARON on the sledge. KLESSHTSH is 
lying on the pile of timber, right. In the 
ground-floor window BOOBNOFF'S mug.) 
8 "3 



114 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

NASTYA. 

(With eyes closed, and nodding her head in 
tune to the words, relates in a sing-song way) 
Then at night would he come into the garden 
and talk with me, as we 'ad agreed . . . and I 
had been waiting for him a long while, and I 
shook with dread and anguish. And he shook, 
too, and pale as honey, and 'e 'eld in 'is 'and a 
pistol. . . . 

NATASHA. 

(Chewing reeds.) Oo ! Then it's true 
that these students they're such desperate 
fellows. . . . 

NASTYA. 

And he says to me in a terrible voice, " My 
own precious love." . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Ho -oh ! Precious ? 

THE BARON. 

Here ! If you don't like it, don't listen, let 
her lie. . . . When, then? 

NASTYA. 

" My imperishable love," 'e says, " my 
parents," 'e says, " will not consent for me to 
marry yer . . . and threaten to curse me for 
ever .because of my love for you. Therefore, 
I must," 'e says, " for that reason take my own 
life." . . . And his pistol was huge, loaded with 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 115 

ten bullets. . . . "Farewell," f e says, "my 
'cart's beloved comrade 1 I 'ave decided past 
recall ... to live without you that I cannot." 
And I replied, " Oh, never can I forget you, my 
Raoul !" 

BOOBNOFF. 

(In astonishment.} What what's that? 
Kravol ? 

THE BARON. 

(Laughs.} Come, Nastya, steady on ! Why, 
last time it was Gaston ! 

NASTYA. 

(Leaping on.} Silence, you wretches I ... 
mongrels ! D'yer think you . . . d'yer think you 
can understand . . . love ? Real love ? For 
mine it was . . . real 1 (To BARON.) You ! 
Dirt 1 ... an educated man, you . . . lay and 
drank coffee, did yer ? . . . 

LUKA. 

Come now, come . . . wait a bit ! And don't 
you interfere ! Show respect to folk . . . not in 
word but in deed. It's the reason for a word 
that matters. That's where the matter lies ! Tell 
along, dearie girl, it's all right ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

" For all the crow may dye its wings." . . . 
Dash along ! 



116 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

THE BARON. 

Well, what then? 

NATASHA . 

Don't mind them . . . what are they? 
They're only jealous . . . 'cause there's nothing 
to tell about themselves. 

NASTYA. 

(Re -seats herself.) No, I won't any more ! I 
won't go on. . . .If they won't believe . . . 
if they're going to laugh. (Breaks off suddenly, 
is silent for a few minutes, then, with closed 
eyes, and keeping time with her hands, as though 
beating to some far-off music, she goes on again 
loudly and heatedly.) And then I answer to 'im, 
" Joy of my life ! thou, my limpid moon ! And 
I, too it is not possible for me to live without 
yer . . . because I love you so wildly, as I shall 
love you as long as a heart beats in this bosom I 
But I say take not away your young life . . . . I.t 
is so necessary to your dear parents, for you 
are all their joy . . . give me up ! let me cast 
away my life . . . out of my love for thee. . . . 
I am alone ... I am what I am 1 I am fit 
for nothing . . . and I 'ave nothing . . . 
nothing nothing at all." . . . (Hides her face 
in her hands, and weeps noiselessly.) 

NATASHA. 

(Turning to one side, in a low tone.) Don't 
cry . . . yer mustn't cry I 

(LUKA, with a smile, strokes NATASHA'S 
head.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 117 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Laughs.) Ah I ... what damned foolery I 

THE BARON. 

(Also laughing.) Old 'un I D'yer think all 
that's true ? All out of a book " The Fatal Love." 
. . . It's all a lot of trash ! Let 'er alone ! 

NATASHA. 

Leave off ! Just shut yer mouth ! God '11 
punish yer yet. 

NASTYA. 

(Bitterly.) Degraded creature I Empty 
fellow ! How could you have a soul ? 

LUKA. 

(Taking NASTYA 's hand.) Come away, 
dearie I It's nothing . . . don't get angry ! I 
know . . . I believe ! It's you that's right, not 
them. If you believe you had a real love . . . 
why, then, you had one 'ad one ! But don't get 
angry with 'im, with yer room-mate . . . maybe 
he's envious, and that's what he's laughing for 
. . . maybe 'e never 'ad one of that real sort 
. . . 'ad nothing 1 Come along, then I 

NASTYA. 

(Pressing her hands fast against her bosom.) 
Gran'pa ! God's truth . . . that's 'ow it was 
... it was, indeed it was ! 'E was a student 
. a Frenchman we called 'im Gastosha , 



118 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

or little black beard . . . and wore patent boots 
. . . strike me dead if I'm lying 1 And 'e loved 
me so ... 'e loved me so ! 

LUKA. 

I know 1 It's all right I I believe ! Did 'e 

wear patent boots? Ai ai ai and you loved 
'im too, didn't yer? 

(Disappears round the corner.} 

THE BARON. 

There's a fool of a girl for yer ! . . . Good ! 
but such a fool it's incredible ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

Why is it? ... people's so fond of lying 
just as if they was up before the beak . . . it's 
so 1 

NATASHA. 

Can't yer see that lies is ... jollier . . . 
than the truth ... I too 

THE BARON. 

You too? Come, let's have it ! 

NATASHA . 

I think, and think . . . and I think and 
expect . 

THE BARON. 
What? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 119 

NATASHA. 

(Smiling in a perturbed way.') Just . . . 
Now, I think, to-morrow . . . there'll come 
somebody . . . something . . . extraordinary 
... or something will 'appen . . . something 
unusual. . . . I've been expectin' long . . . I'm 
always expectin'. . . . But really ... as a 
matter of fact what is there to expect ? 

(Pause.) 

THE BARON. 

(With a faint smile.) Nothing to expect . . . 
I expect nothing ! All that was . . . has been ! 
Passed, ended ! . . . What then ? 

NATASHA. 

And then ... I get a fancy that to-morrow 
. . . suddenly ... I shall die . . . and that 
gets me scared. ... In the summer it makes 
one imagine about death ... in summer the 
storms are about . . . you may be struck by 
lightning. . . . 

THE BARON. 

Your life, it's a hard one . . . that sister of 
yours has a fiend's temper. 

NATASHA. 

Tell me 'oo does live 'appily ? It's 'ard for 
all ... that I see. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Till then motionless and indifferent, suddenly 



120 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

jumping up.} For all? That's a lie ! Not for 
all ! If for all ... then all right ! Then- 
there 's no 'arm . . . yes I 

BOOBNOFF. 

What's up is the devil biting yer ? You, 
indeed, howlin' that way ! 

(KLESSHTSH lies down again in his place, 
muttering.} 

THE BARON. 

Um ! . . . I must go and make it up with 
-Natasha ... if I don't I'll not have the money 
for a drink. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Um ! . . . People's fond of lying. . . . 
With Nastya it's clear enough 1 She's used to 
colourin' 'er mug . . . and 'ere she is now 
wantin' to colour her soul ... to put rooge on 
her soul. . . . But . . . the others. . . . why 
do they ? Now, for instance, there's Luka . . . 
'e lies rarely . . . 'e gets nothin' from it. ... 
And an old man, too why is it all? 

THE BARON. 

{Smiling and going off.} All men they have 
all grey souls and they all want to rouge 'em 
up. ... 

(LUKA appears from round the corner.} 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 121 

LUKA. 

Now, dear sir, why do you tease the girl ? 
Don't interfere with 'er . . . let 'er cry it gives 
her pleasure. . . . It's for 'er own pleasure, yer 
see, that she 'as 'er weeps . . . where is the 
'arm to you? 

THE BARON. 

It's rubbish, old man ! She's a nuisance. 
To-day Raoul, to-morrow Cast on . . . still the 
same old tale ! Still I shall go and make it 
up with 'er. . . . 

(Goes out.} 
LUKA. 

Go along, that's it ... go and fondle 'er ! 
Fondle people . . . never does no 'arm. . . . 

NATASHA . 

Daddy, 'ow good yer are ! . . . Why are yer 
so good? 

LUKA. 

Good, der yer say? Um . . . that's right, 
if so be ... yes ! (Behind the party wall the 
sound of low singing to a concertina is heard.} 
One must, dearie, be good to some one . . . 
and we must pity people 1 Christ He pitied all, 
and so He ordered us. . . .1 say this if you 
pity a man . . . then good comes of it 1 Here, 
now, I was once a caretaker in a villa ... an 
engineer's it was, near the town of Tomsk. . . . 
Ay, it was I The villa stood in a forest, in the 
'eart of it . and it was winter and there I 



122 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

was in the 'ouse all alone. . . . Well and good ! 
One day a sound people rustling I 

NATASHA. 
Thieves ? 

LUKA. 

Yes. That's what's rustlin', ay 1 ... Pick up 
my little gun, and out I went. See 'em two 
. . . openin' the window so busy about it that 
they don't see me. I shouts out, " You rascals 
. . . be off ! " And then, yer see, they're at me 
with an 'atchet ... I tell 'em to stand off ! 
Or else I fire ! . . . And my gun I keeps 
pointin' it at one and then the other. Down they 
goes on their knees, as to say, " Have mercy I " 
For I tell you I was riled . . . ' cause of the 'atchet, 
you see ! I says : " Now, you woodmen, I've 
ordered yer off once, and you're not gone. Now 
just you break me off a birch." They broke it off. 
Now, I says " Lie down " to the one, and to the 
other, " Flog 'im." So they flogged one another. 
And then they began to beseech me. " Dearie 
man," they says, " for Christ's sake give us some 
bread ! We'll go away ; we meant no 'arm." Them 
was my robbers, lo vie . . . . (Laughs.} Them was 
their 'atchet, too ! Yes . . . good peasants both 
of 'em. ... I says to them : 'Why, my wood- 
men, you should 'ave asked right out for bread." 
And they say : " We're tired of asking," they say 
" ask and ask . . . and no one gives . . . it's 
cruel I " So all that winter they lived with me. 
The one that was called Stepan he'd take my gun 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 123 

and go shootin' in the forest. . . . But the other 
man, Jacob 'e was ill, coughing always. . . . 
And there the three of us together we took care 
of the villa. . . . When the spring came 
" Goodbye," they say, " gran'pa I " And off they 
went . . . they were going to Russia. 

NATASHA . 

Were they runaways ? convicts ? 

LUKA. 

That's just what they were runaways . . . 
broken out of prison. . . . Proper moujiks I If 
I'd not pitied them maybe that they'd 'ave killed 
me ... or what not. . . . Besides courts, and 
prison and Siberia . . . where's the sense? 
Prison don't teach nothin' good, and Siberia don't 
. . . but it's the man 'e teaches . . . yes 1 A 
man, 'e can teach for good . . . very simply ! 

(Pause.} 

BOOBNOFF. 

M-m-yes 1 ... But here am I ... I can't 
lie ! Why ? To my lights give us just all the 
truth, as it is 1 Why 'ide any thin' ? 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Suddenly leaping up again and shouting out 
in an- ecstatic way.) What's truth? Where is 
the truth? (Tearing at his rags.) Here's 
truth I No work ... no strength I Here's 
truth I No shelter ... no shelter I We must 
pant and die . . . that is the truth I The devil I 



124 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

What what do I want with the truth? Give me 
room to breathe . . . room to breathe ! Why 
am I guilty? What's to me ... the truth? 
Can't live blast it ! I can't live ! Live hell ! 
let us live . . . and there is the truth ! . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Touched 'im up a bit ! . . . 

LUKA. 

Lord Jesus . . . now listen, love ! You . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Quivering with excitement.} You talk about 
truth. You, old man, you go about and you 
soothe every one. ... I tell yer ... I loathe 
every one ! And that's a truth . . . blast the 
truth I Now do you hear ? Now do you know ? 
I say to you blast it 1 

(Rushes off round the corner, turning as 

he goes.) 
LUKA. 

Ai ai ai ! It's a real shock 'e's 'ad. . . . 
Where's 'e run off to? 

NATASHA. 

'Is raving don't matter. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

'E let it go fine ! The way they do in the 
theatres. . . . Often 'appens that way . . . not 
got used to the life. 

(PEPEL comes slowly round the corner.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 125 

PEPEL. 

Peace be to this honest assemblage I Well, 
Luka, my wily old boy, been givin' them the 
story of yer life ? 

LUKA. 

You ought to 'ave 'card just now 'ow one fell 
a -shouting I 

PEPEL. 

What, Klesshtsh, was it? What's up with 'im? 
'E's runnin* as if he was scalded. . . . 

LUKA. 

When yer run like that, it means . . .it's 
gone right to yer 'eart. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Sitting down.} Don't like 'im . . . 'e's beastly 
spiteful and 'aughty. (Imitates KLESSHTSH.) 
I am a working man. Every one's beneath 'im. 
. . . Work, if yer want to ... nothin' to be 
cocky about ? If yer value people by their work 
... a 'orse can give any man points . . . 'e 
pulls and says nothin' ! Natasha ! Your people 
-in? 

NATASHA. 

They're gone in the Square then to evenin' 
service . 



126 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

PEPEL. 

So, yes, I see that you're free for once ... a 
novelty ! 

LUKA. 

(Reflectively to BOOBNOFF.) Now see . . . 
you say truth . . .it's not always a good treat- 
ment for man . . . can't always heal the soul 
with the truth. . . . For instance, now 'ere's a 
case : I knew a man 'oo believed in a land of 
righteousness. 

BOOBNOFF. 
In wha-at? 

LUKA. 

In a land of righteousness. " There must," 'e 
said, " on the earth be a land of righteousness . . . 
and there must be dwelling in that land an ex- 
ceptional kind of people ... good people ! they 
respect one another, and it's just natural to them 
to help one another . . . and all about them 
is wonderfully good ! " And there was that man 
. . . 'oo was always wantin' to go and seek the 
land of righteousness. 'E was poor, lived miser- 
ably . . . and when it got so bad with 'im that 
even lyin' down didn't 'elp 'im still 'e didn't lose 
'eart, he'd only just smile and 'e'd say : " Never 
mind I I can bear it I A little more waiting 
and I've done with all this life and I shall go 
off to the land of righteousness." ... It was 
his one delight, was that land. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 127 

PEPEL. 

Well? Did 'e go? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Where ? Ho, ho ! 

LUKA. 

And then to this place all this was in Siberia 
there came an exile, 'e was a scholar . . . 
books and plans 'e 'ad, that scholar 'ad, and every 
sort of thing. . . . Then the man says to the 
scholar : " Show me, if you will be so kind, where 
does the land of righteousness lie, and which is 
the way there?" At once the scholar opens 'is 
books, undoes 'is plans . . . 'e looked looked 
no, there's nowhere no land of righteousness. It's 
quite true, the countries there are all marked, but 
for a righteousness one there isn't such ! . . . 

PEPEL. 

What ? None ? 

(BOOBNOFF laughs.) 
NATASHA . 

Stop now. . . . Well, uncle? 

LUKA. 

The man won't believe. . . . " There must be," 
'e says ..." look well 1 If not," 'e says, " yer 
books and yer plans they're no use : if there 
isn't any land of righteousness." . . . The scholar 
was offended. " My plans," 'e says, " are the 
very latest, and there isn't nowhere not any land of 



128 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

righteousness at all." Well, and then the man 
grew angry. " Can't be 1 I've lived and lived and 
suffered and suffered and always believed there 
is ! and your plan says that there's not ! 
Robbery 1 " Then 'e says to the scholar : " Ah, 
you . . . you scum ! You're a swindler, not a 
scholar "... and gives 'im one whack on 'is 
ear ! Then another 1 ... 

(Silence.') 
And after that 'e went 'ome and 'anged 'imself ! 

(All are silent, LUKA, with a smile, looks 
at PEPEL and NATASHA.) 

PEPEL. 

(In low tones.) Oh, the devil I ... that's 
not a cheerful tale. 

NATASHA . 

'E couldn't stand the deceit. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Sullen.) All of it's made up. 

PEPEL. 

M-yes ... so much for your land of right- 
eousness ... it wasn't to be found. . . . 

NATASHA. 

I'm sorry for that man. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 129 

BOOBNOFF. 

It's all a story. . . . Ho, ho 1 the land of 
righteousness ! There's a notion ! Ho, ho, ho 1 

(Disappears from window.} 
LUKA. 

(Nodding towards window.) 'E laughs I Eh- 
hay-hay 1 ... Well, children . . . live in 
God I I'll soon be leaving you. 

PEPEL. 

Where are yer off? 

LUKA. 

To little Russia. . . .I'm told that they've 
found there a new faith . . . 'ave to look into 
it ... yes I People are always seeking and 
wishing a better way. . . . God give 'em 
patience ! 

PEPEL. 

'Ow d'yer think will they find it? 

LUKA. 

If people will ? They'll find it I Who wishes 
finds . . . who wishes strongly finds 1 

NATASHA. 

If they'd found anything . . . they'd 'ave 
arranged better than . . . 

LUKA. 

They're arranging I But they must be 'elped, 
little one . . . they must be respected. . . . 

9 



130 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

NATASHA. 

'Ow can I 'elp? I'm without 'elp . . . for 
myself. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Decisively.} Once more I'm . . . I'm going 
again ter talk ter yer . . . Natasha. . . . It's 
this 'e knows all. Come . . . with me I 

NATASHA. 

Where? To prison? 

PEPEL. 

I told you I'll chuck thieving ! God's truth 
I'll chuck it 1 What I've said I'll do ! I can 
read and write. . . . I'll work. . . . Here's 'e 
been tellin* me to go to Siberia on my own 
hook . . . let's go together eh? . . . D'yer 
think my life, it don't jar me ? Ah, Natasha . . . 
I know ... I see ... I consoles myself 
because I see others steals more than me, and 
they live in honour . . . though they don't help 
me I It ain't that 1 I ain't repentin' ... I 
don't believe in conscience. . . . But this thing I 
do feel : I must live . . . different I Must live 
better ! Must live ... so as I can be able 
to respect myself. . . . 

LUKA. 

That's true, friend 1 God grant it ... Christ 
'elp yer ! True : a man ought to respect 'imself. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 131 

PEPEL. 

I've been from my cradle a thief ... all 'ave 
always said to me : " Vaska's a thief, the son of a 
thief." Aha 1 Eh? There it is ! Set down a 
thief I ... Yer see : I might 'ave been a thief 
from badness yes . . . but I 'ave been a thief 
because no one ever called me anythin' else. . . . 
Say now. . . . Natasha, well? 

NATASHA . 

(Sorrowfully.} Some way, I don't believe 
. . . not in any words. . . . And I feels uneasy 
to-day . . . my 'cart's 'eavy ... as though I 
was expectin' somethin'. . . It's a pity, Vassili, 
you started on this to-day. . . . 

PEPEL. 

But when then? It isn't for the first time. . . . 

NATASHA . 

And where should I go with you? As to . . . 
loving you. ... I don't much love you. . . . 
At times you do please me ... then some- 
times I can't bear to see you . . . when it's 
love . . . one sees nothing bad in one's sweet- 
heart . . . but I see . . . 

PEPEL. 

You'll love me never fear I I'll make you 
care ... if only you'll say yes 1 I've watched 
yer for over a year. ... I see you're a straight 



132 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

girl . . . good ... a man yer can trust . . . 
'e loves yer very much. . . . 

(VASSILISA, in her best dress, appears in 
the window and listens.} 

NATASHA. 

Well, you love me, but my sister . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Agitated.} Well, what of 'er? That sort 
. . . they don't count. . . . 

LUKA. 

Never mind that, girlie. When yer can't get 
good bread, yer put up with stale stuff. . . . 
When there's no clean, good, fresh bread. . . . 

PEPEL. 

(Gloomily.} Per'aps yer might pity me. My 
life's not soft ... a wolf's life little joy in 
it ... like a man in a swamp . . . and what- 
ever I catches at ... it's all rotten ... no 
hold nowhere .... Your sister ... I thought 
different ... if she weren't so ... so 'ot after 
money I'd gladly 'ave taken 'er . . . for good 
and all I ... If as she'd be mine altogether. 
. . . But she wants other things. . . . She 
wants money . . . and 'er own way . . . and 
'er way is to to go on the loose. She can't 
'elp me. . . . But you're like a young fir-tree, 
and it may rock, yet it 'olds firm. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 133 

LUKA. 

And I say you go with him, dearie, you go 
with 'im 1 'E's the right sort a good lad ! And 
you just keep on remindin' 'im 'e's a good lad, 
so, I mean, as f e shan't forget it. 'E'll believe 
yer. . . . Only you say to 'im, " Vaska, it's certain 
that you're a good man . . . don't forget it ! " 
And think, too, dearie, where else is there you 
could go to ? um ? Your sister, she's just a fierce 
beast and 'er husband what can one say of 'im ? 
There's no words bad enough for the old man 
. . . and all of this life 'ere what can it lead 
to? But the lad's strong. . . . 

NATASHA. 

Nowhere to go ... I know . . . I've 
thought of it. . . . Only it's this. ... I don't 
believe nobody. . . . But I've nowhere to go 
to. ... 

PEPEL. 

One way . . . but that way I'll not let yer 
go. ... Sooner I'd kill yer. . . . 

NATASHA . 

(Smiling.) There ... I'm not his wife yet, 
and already 'e's talkin' of killin'. 

PEPEL. 

(Putting his arm round her.) Come, Natasha, 
say yer will 1 



134 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

NATASHA. 

(Pressing herself to him.} But this one thing. 
I say, Vaska . . . and I speak it before God ! 
the first time you strike me, or any way insult 
me, I'll either 'ang myself ... or ... 

PEPEL. 

May my 'and rot off, if I touches yer ! 

LUKA. 

It's all right, never doubt it, lovie. You're 
dearer to 'im than 'e to you. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

(Out of the window.} So that's arranged ! 
A pretty love council ! 

NATASHA . 

She's there. . . . Oh Lord ! She's seen ah, 
Vaska I . . . 

PEPEL. 

What er yer frightened for ? No one dare 
touch yer now ! 

VASSILISA. 

Don't fear, Natasha ! He'll not beat yer. . . . 
'E can't beat, for 'e can't love. ... I know ! 

LUKA. 

(Low.} Ah, woman . . . poisonous 

snake 1 . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 135 

VASSILISA. 

*E 'its yer with words. . . . 

(KOSTOLOFF enters.} 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Natasha ! What er yer after 'ere, sluggard? 
Tittle-tattling? Grumbling at yer relatives ? And 
the samovar not ready? . . . the table not 
touched ? 

NATASHA . 

(Going out.) I thought you was goin' to 
Church. . . . 

KOSTOLOFF. 

That's none of your business where we're 
goin' ! Keep to your own business . . . and 
do as yer ordered ! 

PEPEL. 

Hold you ! She's no longer yer servant I ... 
Natasha, don't go ... don't do nothing ! 

NATASHA. 

You stop ordering . . . you're beginning a 
bit early ! 

PEPEL. 

(To KOSTOLOFF.) So that's 'ow I get left 
. . . never mind ! Now she is ... mine I 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Yours ? When did you buy 'er ? Fer 'ow 
much? 

(VASSILISA laughs.) 



136 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

Vaska ! you be off. . .'". 

PEPEL. 

You're pleased to think it funny I Maybe 
you'll learn that it's a cryin' matter I 

VASSILISA. 

Oh, 'ow terrible ! Oh, ain't I terrified I 

LUKA. 

Vassili be off I for see . . . she's drawing 
yer on ... working yer up don't yer under- 
stand? 

PEPEL. 

Yes . . . aha 1 She's lying . . . you lie ! 
You won't have it all your way ! 

VASSILISA. 

And it won't be the way that I don't want, 
Vaska 1 

PEPEL. 

(Clenching his fist at her.) We'll see ! 

(Goes out.) 

VASSILISA. 

(Disappearing from window.) I'll arrange you 
a wedding. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 137 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Well, my old man ? 

LUKA. 

Just so, my old man I ... 

KOSTOLOFF. 

So ... you're going away, they say? 

LUKA. 
Soon. 

KOSTOLOFF. 
Where? 

LUKA. 

Where my eyes draw me. 

KOSTOLOFF. 

On the tramp, you mean. . . . Ain't to yer 
taste, I see, stoppin* in one place ? 

LUKA. 

Under a firm stone no water flows, they say. 

KOSTOLOFF. 

That's for a stone. But a man ought to live 
on one spot. Men ought not to live like beetles 
. . . each one popping about just as ever *e 
pleases. A man ought to settle 'imself in one 
place . . . not wander at random over the 
earth. . 



138 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

But supposing that every place is his place? 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Why, that shows 'e's a tramp ... a useless 
man ... a man, 'e ought to be of use . . . 
he ought to labour. . . . 

LUKA. 
Get on ! 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Yes. Consider ... a vagrant . . . what is 
he ? A man apart ... a man not like others .... 
Suppose 'e a real pilgrim knows somethin' that's 
no good to any one . . . though it be true enough 
. . . but there's not good in every truth . . . 
yes ! Well, let 'im keep it to 'imself and keep 
still ! If he's a real pilgrim, 'e is silent. But 
then 'e *e don't wish for nothing, don't interfere, 
don't annoy people without reason. . . . 'Ow 
people live's none of 'is business. . . . 'E ought 
to follow a righteous life ... to live in the 
woods ... in the fastnesses . . . out of sight ! 
And interfere with no one, judge no one . . . 
but only pray for all ... for all the sins of 
the world . . . for mine . . . for thine . . . 
for all. It's for that 'e forsakes all earthly cares 
... so as to pray. And that's the way. 
(Pause.) But you . . . what sort of a pilgrim 
are you ? You've no passport ... a good 
man should 'ave a passport ... all good people 
'as passports . . . yes \ 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 139 

LUKA. 

There are people, and then there are others 
that are men. . . . 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Won't do for me. Don't give me no riddles. 
. . . I'm as clever as you. . . . What stuff 
people and men ! 

LUKA. 

Where's the riddle ? I say there is ground 
that won't take seed . . . and there's land that's 
fertile . . . whatever you put in it it grows 
. . . and by that . . . 

KOSTOLOFF. 

What er yer gettin' at? 

LUKA. 

Now thus, for example. . . . Suppose the 
Lord God 'Imself says, " Mikhail, be you a man ! " 
. . . It's all settled . . . without no bother 
... as you are so you remain. . . . 

KOSTOLOFF. 

But . . . but are you aware my wife 'as an 
uncle a policeman. And if I ... 

(VASSILISA comes in.) 

VASSILISA. 

Mikhail Ivanitch, go and 'ave yer tea. 



140 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Here's fer yer ! get out of here ! clear out 
of this place I 

VASSILISA. 

Yes, you get out, old man ! Your tongue's 

a sight too long . . . yes, and 'oo knows you're 

not a runaway. . . . 

KOSTOLOFF. 

From to-day take yer carcase off ! or else 
look out ! 

LUKA. 

Call up uncle I Call uncle . . . think if *e 
caught a runaway. . . . Uncle might get a 
reward . . . three kopyeks. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

(At window.) What's that for sale? What's 
that fer three kopyeks? 

LUKA. 

It's me they're threatening to sell. 

VASSILISA. 

(To husband.) Come on. ... 

BOOBNOFF. 

For three kopyeks? Why, you see, old man, 
they'd sell you for one. . . . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 141 

KOSTOLOFF. 

You . . . sprang up just like a devil from 
under the stove? (Going with his wife.} 

VASSILISA. 

What 'eaps of shady people in the world . . . 
and every kind of swindlers. . . . 

LUKA. 

Wish you a good appetite 1 ... 

VASSILISA. 

(Turning round.} Shut your mouth . . . yer 
rotten toadstool I 

(Disappears with her husband round the 
corner.} 

LUKA. 

This night I'm off. ... 

BOOBNOFF. 

That's best. Never outstay your welcome. . . . 

LUKA. 

You say true. 

BOOBNOFF. 

I know. Maybe I'd be in prison, if I 'adn't 
gone off in time. 

LUKA. 
Urn? 



142 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

BOOBNOFF. 

True. This way : my wife took up with the 
master. ... To say truth, the master was all 
right . . . 'e was a rare 'and at changing dog's 
coat, re-dyin' it, into racoon . . . cat's too 
into kangaroo . . . musk-rat . . . and all sorts. 
A knock out ! So you see the wife took up with 
'im . . . and they were that gone on one another 
that I feared they might poison me, or get me 
out of the world some'ow. So I beat the wife 
. . . and the master me. . . . We 'ad dread- 
ful fights. Once 'e pulled out 'alf my beard and 
broke my rib. Then I'd get wild too . . . once 
I cracked my wife over the noddle with an iron 
yard . . . and altogether we was in the wars. 
'Owever, I see nothin' can come of all this . . . 
they get the best of it 1 And then I thought to 
myself I'd kill my wife . . . thought of it 
powerful ! But I pulled myself up in time and 
cleared off. . . . 

LUKA. 

That was the best I Leave 'em to go on chang- 
ing dogs into racoons 1 

BOOBNOFF. 

Only that the shop was in the wife's name . . . 
and I was left as you see ! Though, to tell the 
truth, I'd 'ave drunk away the shop. For, yer 
see, I 'as those drinking spells. . . . 

LUKA. 

Drinkin' spelli ? Ah ! 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 143 

BOOBNOFF. 

The worst yer can ! Once I begin to put it 
down I do in everything, leave nothin' but my 
skin. . . . What's more I'm lazy. It's awful 
'ow I 'ate work 1 

(SATINE and ACTOR enter quarrelling.} 

SATINE. 

Rot ! You won't go anywhere . . . it's a 
pack of lies. Old man ! why did yer pour all 
that stuff into 'is ears ? 

THE ACTOR. 

You lie ! Uncle ! tell 'im that 'e lies ! I- 
am going 1 To-day I worked, swept the floor 
. . . and took no vodka. How's that? Here 
they are two five kopyeks, and I'm sober I 

SATINE. 

You pack of fools 1 Give it here, I'll drink it ! 

THE ACTOR. 

Get out 1 That's all towards it. 

LUKA. 

(To SATINE.) And you why do you lead 'im 
away? 

SATINE. 

Tell me, you magician, beloved of the gods 
what's my life going to be? Blown myself, I 
have, into smithereens I But it's all gone yet, 
uncle there are sharpers in the world cleverer 
than me 1 



144 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

You're merry, Konstantine . . . agreeable 1 

BOOBNOFF. 

Actor 1 Come along 'ere I 

(The ACTOR comes to the window, and sits 
in front of BOOBNOFF on the sill.) 

SATINE. 

In early days, brother, I was a great wag. It's 
good to remember I ... One of the boys in my 
time . . . danced splendidly played on the 
stage liked to amuse people . . . fine. . . . 

LUKA. 

'Ow did yer get out of yer bearings, eh? 

SATINE. 

Aren't you just curious, little old chappie 1 You 
have to know all ... but why? 

LUKA. 

I want to understand the ways of men . . . 
and I look at you I don't understand ! You're a 
bold fellow, Konstantine ... no fool . . . yet 
all at once . . . 

SATINE. 

Prison, daddy 1 Four years and seven months 
did I sit in prison . . . after the prison . . . 
nowhere to go I 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 145 

LUKA. 

Oh -ho, ho ! What were you in for? 

SATINE. 

For a rascal. ... I killed the rascal in a 
rage . . . and in the prison I learned to play 
cards. . . . 

LUKA. 

Was the killing for a woman? 

SATINE. 

For my own sister. . . . Anyhow you come 
off it. I don't care for being questioned . . . 
and ... all that happened long ago. . . . My 
sister died . . . nine years have passed since 
then. . . . Ah, brother, she was a real brick 
of a girl, my sister was. . . . 

LUKA. 

You take life easily ! Yet 'ere just now was 
the locksmith 'ow he did yell . . . ai ai ai ! 

SATINE. 
Klesshtsh ? 

LUKA. 

Yes. 'There's no work," 'e cries . . .. 
" there's nothing ! " 

SATINE. 

He'll get used to it. ... What shall I be 
up to now? 

10 



146 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

LUKA. 

(Softly.} See ! 'ere he comes ! 

(KLESSHTSH comes in slowly, his head 
bowed.) 

SATINE. 

Hey, widower ! What do yer hang yer head 
for? What are you pondering? 

KLESSHTSH. 

Thinkin' . . . what shall I do ? I've got no 
tools ... all gone for the funeral ! 

SATINE. 

I'll give you some advice ... do nothing ! 
Simply dig up the world ! 

KLESSHTSH. 

That's what yer say ... I should be ashamed 
before men. . . . 

SATINE. 

Come off ! Men aren't ashamed to let you live 
worse than a dog. . . . Think now you stop 
working, I don't work . . . and a hundred more 
. . . thousands all ! d'yer see? All chuck 
work ! No one will do anything then what '11 
happen ! 

KLESSHTSH. 

They'll all die of hunger ! 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 147 

LUKA. 

(To SATINE.) If these are your notions, you 
ought to go to the " fugitives "... there's a 
people they call the " fugitives." . . . 

SATINE. 

I know . . . they're no fools, ancient. . . . 

(NATASHA is heard from KOSTOLOFF'S 
window crying out, " What for? 
Stop! . . . What 'ave I done? ") 

LUKA. 

(Agitated .) Natasha ! It was her cryin'- 
Ah \ 

(From the KOSTOLOFFS' apartment is heard 
noise, scuffling, the sound of broken 
crockery, and the shrill cry of 
KOSTOLOFF " A h ! heretic ! hag ! " ) 

VASSILISA. 

Wait a bit ... I'll teach her ... there, 
there ! . . . 

NATASHA. 

Beating me . . . killing me. . . . 

SATINE. 

(Shouts in at the window.) Hi ! in there ! . . . 

LUKA. 

(In trepidation.) Vassili . . . call 'im ; 
call Vaska. . . . Oh, Lord ! Brothers . . , 
children 1 



148 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

THE ACTOR. 

(Running out.) Here, now. . . .I'll find *im 
at once ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

It's nothin' uncommon, their beatin' 'er. 

SATINE. 

Come on, old man . . .we'll act as witnesses 1 

LuKA. 

(Following SATINE.) I ain't no sort of a 
witness ! It's Vassili . . . quick and fetch 
'im. . . . 

NATASHA . 

Sister . . . sister, dear ! . . . Va a a . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

They've stopped 'er mouth I'll go and 
look. . . . 

(The noise in the KOSTOLOFFS' apartment 
diminishes, seems to die away as if 
they had gone out into the passage. 
The cry of an old man heard: 
" Stop ! " The loud slam of a door, 
which seems, as it were, with a hatchet, 
to cut off all sound. Quiet on the 
stage. Evening twilight.) 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Seated on the sledge, rubs his hands firmly 
together. Then begins to mutter something 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 149 

at first indistinguishable, then} 'Ow, then? Must 

live. (Aloud.} Must have a roof . . . well? 

No roof . . . nothing 1 Man alone . . . alone 
that's all. . . .No hope. . . . 

(Slowly he goes out.} 

(A few seconds of ominous silence, then, 
somewhere in the passage, a volume of 
sound, chaos of cries. It increases and 
approaches. Individual voices are dis- 
tinguishable.} 

VASSILISA. 

I'm her sister 1 Let me go. ... 

KOSTOLOFF. 

What right have you got F 

VASSILISA. 

Jail -bird 1 ... 

SATINE. 

Call Vaska ! . . . quick When give it 'im 1 

(A police whistle.} 
(TARTAR runs in, his right hand bandaged.} 

THE TARTAR. 

'Ere's a pretty pass 1 murder in broad day- 
light ! 

(Enter WHEN, followed by MYEDVYEDYEFF.) 



150 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

WHEN. 

Ha ! I gave 'im one for 'imself ! 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

You you've been fighting, too ? 

THE TARTAR. 

And you ? Do yer own duty 1 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Feeling for his cord.} Here I give up my 
whistle. . . . 

(KOSTOLOFF runs in.) 

KOSTOLOFF. 

Abraham ! Stop 'im ! . . . Seize 'im ! . . . 
It's murder ! 

(From around the corner come KVASHNYA 
and NASTYA, supporting NATASHA, all 
dishevelled. SATINE moves backwards 
towards the house, dragging VASSILISA, 
who is trying to get at her sister; 
ALYOSHKA is leaping about her like a 
madman, whistling in her ears, shriek- 
ing, roaring. Also other tattered 
persons men and women.) 

SATINE. 

(To VASSILISA.) Would you? you damned 
owl ! . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 151 

VASSILISA. 

Let go, you jail -bird ! I'll tear you to 
pieces. . . . 

KVASHNYA. 

(Taking away NATASHA.) Karpovna, leave off 
... aren't you ashamed? Er you mad? 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Seizes SATINE.) Aha . . . I've got yer 1 

SATINE. 

When ! flay 'em . . . Vaska; . . . Vaska . . . 

(All are struggling in a mass near the 
passage, near the party wall. They 
draw NATASHA away to the R., and 
set her down on the pile of wood.} 

(PEPEL rushes in and silently, with power- 
ful movements, forces his way through 
them.) 

PEPEL. 

Where are you Natasha? 

KOSTOLOFF. 

(Getting behind the corner.) Abraham I Seize 
Vaska 1 brothers, help us ... take Vaska ! 
Robber I footpad ! 



152 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

PEPEL. 

You you old goat I (Violently swinging 
round, he strikes the old man.} 

(KOSTOLOFF falls so that only the upper 
part of his body is in sight. PEPEL 
rushes to NATASHA.) 

VASSILISA. 

Beat Vaska I Good people I ... beat the 
robber ! 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Cries to SATINE.) Let be ... this is ... 
a family matter 1 They're relations . . . what 
er you? 

I 

KVASHNYA. 

Look, look the savages I They've scalded the 
child's poor feet. . . . 

NASTYA. 

The samovar upset. 

THE TARTAR. 

Maybe ... an accident . . . must 'ave the 
truth . . . mustn't talk wildly. . , . 

NATASHA. 

(Half fainting.) Vassilisi . . . take me . . . 
save me . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 153 

VASSILISA. 

Good folk ! look here I look, see ! Dead ! 
Murdered I 

(All gather round KOSTOLOFF in the 
passage. BooBNOFF comes out from 
the throng, goes to PEPEL.) 

BOOBNOFF. 

(Low}. Vaska 1 the old man ! It's done now ! 

PEPEL. 

(Looks at him, seems not to take it in.} Go 
. . . and call . . . take 'im to the hospital . . . 
leave me to deal with them 1 

BOOBNOFF. 

I say the old man some one's finished 
im. . . . 

(The noise on the stage goes out like blaz- 
ing wood extinguished by water. Sepa- 
rate half -whispered ejaculations: " Not 
really?" "Done it this time!" 
"Let^s get out of it!" "Oh, the 
devil! " " Some one's in for it! " The 
crowd decreases.} 

(BOOBNOFF and the TARTAR go off.} 

(NASTYA and KVASHNYA rush to the body 
of KOSTOLOFF.) 



154 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

VASSILISA. 

(Getting up from the ground, cries out 
triumphantly} Killed 'im ! my 'usband . . . 
there's 'is murderer I Vaska murdered 'im ! I 
saw it I Good people I saw it ! ... And now 
Vaska? the police ! 

PEPEL. 

(Doming from NATASHA.) Take 'er away I 
(Looks at the OLD MAN. To VASSILISA.) Well? 
You're glad? (Touches the body with his foot.} 
Croaked the old dog I It's come your way. But 
can't I serve you the same? (Rushes at her.} 

(SATINE and WHEN pounce upon him 
VASSILISA rushes into the passage.) 

SATINE. 
Hold on ! 

WHEN. 

Proo I Where are you jumping to ? 

VASSILISA. 

(Reappearing.) What, Vaska, darling friend? 
You've got to go on trial. . . . Police I Abra- 
ham ! Whistle ! 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

They tore it away, the devils ! . . . 

ALYOSHKA. 

Here it is 1 (He whistles. MYEDVYEDYEFF 
runs after him.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 155 

SATINE. 

Vaska, don't funk I Manslaughter that's all 
it is that's nothing ! That doesn't cost you 
much. . . . 

VASSILISA. 

Hold Vaska ! 'E killed 'im. . . . I saw 'im I 

SATINE. 

I gave 'im three good taps. . . . Can't have 
needed much ! Call me as a witness, Vaska. . . . 

PEPEL. 

I don't want to acquit myself. . . . What I 
want's to bring Vassilisa in ... and I will bring 
'er into it. She wished for it ... she 'as urged 
me to kill 'er 'usband ... 'as urged me 
to. ... 

NATASHA. 

(Suddenly and loud.) Ah ! I understand. 
. . . So, Vassili ? Good people ! They are at 
one I My sister and him . . . they are at one I 
They had arranged it all ! So, Vassili, that's 
why you talked to me to-night ... so that she 
. . . might overhear it all? Good people I She 
is 'is lover . . . you know it ... all know it 
. . . they are at one ! She ... it was she 
got 'im to kill 'er 'usband . . . 'e was in their 
way . . . and I was in their way. . . . See 'ow 
they've mangled me. . . . 



156 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

PEPEL. 

Natalya ! What d'yer say . . . what d'yer 
say? 

SATINE. 

The devil's in it all ! 

VASSILISA. 

You lie ! She's lying I ... I ... He, 
Vaska's the murderer ! 

NATASHA . 

They are at one 1 Curse you both ! Both 
of yer. 

SATINE. 

'Ere's a muddle 1 Take care, Vassili. They'll 
sink yer between 'em 1 

WHEN. 

No understanding it. ... What a world it is 1 

PEPEL. 

Natalya I No, it can't be you do really? you 
can't believe that me and her . . . 

SATINE. 

God's sake, Natasha, think what you're saying I 

VASSILISA. 

(//z the passage.} They've killed my 'usband 
. . . Your worships. . . . Vaska Pepel, a thief 
... he 'as killed him, Mr. Inspector. ... I 
saw it, they all saw it. ... 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 157 

NATASHA. 

(Her mind wandering.} Good people . . . 
my sister and Vaska they're murderers ! The 
police you can 'ear them . . .it's she, it's my 
sister, she's urged him persuaded him . . . her 
lover . . . there 'e is, the wretch . . . they are 
the murderers ! Take them . . . judge. . . . 
And take me to prison ! For Christ's sake . . . 
let me go to prison ! . . . 



END OF THE THIRD ACT. 



THE FOURTH ACT 



THE FOURTH ACT 

SCENE.. Setting of First Act. PEPEL'S room is 
gone, the partition is broken, and in the place 
where KLESSHTSH sat there is no anvil. 

(In the corner where PEPEL'S room was the 
TARTAR lies, moving and groaning from 
time to time. Behind the table 
KLESSHTSH is seated; he is mending a 
concertina for a leak in the bellows. At 
the other end of the table SATINE, 
BARON, and NASTYA. In front of them 
a bottle of vodka, three bottles of beer, 
a large hunk of black bread. The ACTOR 
is turning about on the stove and cough- 
ing. Night. The scene is lighted by 
a lamp in the middle of the table. Wind 
in the yard.} 

KLESSHTSH. 

Y-yes . . . during all of that shindy . . . 'e 
cleared out. 

THE BARON. 

Vanished before the police. . . . Just like 
smoke dies before fire. . . . 

SATINE. 

Just as evildoers flee the faces of the just I 



102 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

NASTYA. 

'E was good was the little old man 1 ... But 
you're not men . . . you're mildew I 

THE BARON. 

(Drinks.} To your health, lady 1 

SATINE. 

An interesting old boy . . . yes 1 Nasturka 
here she's fallen in love with him. 

NASTYA. 

In love with 'im . . . arid dead in love with 

'im I 'Onest 1 'E saw . . . everythin' . . . 

understood everythin' . . . 

SATINE. 

(Smiling.} And on the whole ... he was 
good for a lot of yer . . . like slops are when 
you've no teeth. 

THE BARON. 

(Laughing.} Or a plaster on a boil. . . . 

KLESSHTSH . 

'E 'ad pity . . . you 'asn't no pity. . . . 

SATINE. 

Does it help yer if I pity yer? 

KLESSHTSH. 

You may . . . it's not that you should 'ave 
pity . . . but it is that yer shouldn't give 
offence . 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 163 

THE TARTAR. 

(Sitting on the planks and nursing his damaged 
hand like a child.} The old 'un was good . . . 
'ad the law in 'is soul ! 'Oo 'as the law in 'is 
soul's good. Lose the law and yer done for 1 

THE BARON. 

What law, Prince ? 

THE TARTAR. 

Just . . . different ones . . . you know 
just . . . 

THE BARON. 
What then? 

THE TARTAR. 

Don't offend people there's the law ! 

SATINE. 

We call that " The code of punishments, 
criminal and correctional." 

THE BARON. 

And, moreover " an act for the regulation of 
punishments to be inflicted by justices of the 
peace." . . . 

THE TARTAR. 

Koran tells . . . your Koran ought to be yer 
law. . . . The soul ought to be the Koran. . . . 
Yes I 



164 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Testing concertina.} Wheezes, wheezes, damn 
it ! ... but the Prince 'e says right . . . must 
live by the law ... by the gospel. . . . 

SATINE. 

Live it. ... 

THE BARON. 
Try it. ... 

THE TARTAR. 

Mahomet gave the Koran ; *e said : 'Ere's the 
law ! Do as it's written there. Then in course 
of time the Koran's not enough . . . time gives 
its own law, a new law. . . . Each time gives 
its own law. . . . 

SATINE. 

Just so. ... Time went by and gave " a code 
of punishments "... A strong law . . . you 
won't soon get rid of it. . . . 

NASTYA. 

(Bangs her glass on the table.} And what 
for . . . why do I live here with you? I'll go 
away . . . go off to some place ... to the end 
of the world 1 

THE BARON. 

In your slippers, lady? 

NASTYA. 

Naked 1 On all fours ! 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 165 

THE BARON. 

Quite a picture, lady . . . if on all fours . . . . 

NASTYA. 

Yes, I'll crawl ! If it's only not to have to 
look at your mug. Ah, 'ow it all revolts me ! 
All life ... all people ! . . . 

SATINE. 

Go on, and take the Actor with yer . . . 'e's 
off on some goose chase . . . he's learned that, 
at exactly half a verst from the end of the world, 
there's a 'ospital for organons. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

(Getting up from the stove.) Or-ga-nisms 
yer fool ! 

SATINE. 

For organons poisoned with alcohol. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

Yes, he'll go ! he'll go ! just see ! 

THE BARON. 

He who, monsieur? 

THE ACTOR. 
I ! 

THE BARON. 

Merci, servant of the Goddess . . . what's 'er 
name? The Goddess of plays, of tragedy . . . 
what on earth's she called? 



106 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

THE ACTOR. 

The Muse, idiot ! Not a Goddess but a 
Muse ! 

SATINE. 

Hera . . . Aphrodite . . . Atropos ... to 
'ell with em ! It's all the old man . . . that's 
screwed it into the Actor . . . d'yer see, Baron ? 

THE BARON. 

The old 'un's an ass. . . . 

THE ACTOR. 

Clods ! Goths ! Mel-po-me-ne ! Heart- 
less creature, you shall see he'll go ! " Get ye 
hence, ye dismal spirits " . . . verses of Be*ranger 
. . . yes ! He'll find 'im a place where there's 
no ... no ... 

THE BARON. 

No, anything, monsieur ! 

THE ACTOR. 

Yes ! Nothing ! " That ditch shall be my 
tomb, sick and exhausted I die "... Why do 
you live ? Why ? 

THE BARON. 

You 1 " Kean or genius and excess " : don't 
bellow 1 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 167 

THE ACTOR. 

You lie ! I will bellow I 

NASTYA. 

(Looking up from the table , wrings her hands.) 
Shriek ! Let 'em listen ! 

THE BARON. 

I don't quite take you, lady ! 

SATINE. 

Quiet, Baron ! Oh, 'ell ! ... Let 'em shout 
. . . split their own ears ... let 'em ! That's 
sense, too. . . . Don't 'inder folk, as the old 
man put it ... yes, yer know, that old bird 
he's just turned all our people's heads. . . . 

KLESSHTSH. 

'E pointed 'em some place . . . and then 
never showed 'em the way. . . . 

THE BARON. 

The old 'un was a humbug. . . . 

NASTYA. 

You lie ! You're a 'umbug yerself ! 

THE BARON. 
Silence, lady I 

KLESSHTSH. 

The truth , . , 'e didn't like it, the old 'im. 



168 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

didn't. 'E stood firm against the truth . . . and 
right 'e was I Yes where 's there truth 'ere ? But 
without it yer can't breathe. . . . Look at the 
Prince there . . . 'e's spoiled 'is 'and workin* 
.... 'e'll 'ave to 'ave 'is 'and sawed off, see 
now . . . and there's some of yer truth ! 

SATINE. 

(Striking his hand on the table.} Silence ! 
You're all of yer cattle ! Boys shut up about 
the old man 1 (Calmer.') You, Baron are the 
worst of all I ... Not a thing do yer under- 
stand . . . and yer lie ! The old 'un's no hum- 
bug ! What is the truth? Man there's the 
truth ! He understood that . . . you don't 1 
You're as dead as bricks. ... I understand the 
old man . . . yes. He lied . . . but out of 
pity fer you, devil take yer ! There's lots of 
people that lie out of pity for their neighbours. 
. . . I know ! I've read ! Beautifully, in- 
spiredly, affectingly they lie I There's the con- 
soling lie, the preceptive lie ... the lie to 
justify the burden that crushes the hand of the 
labourer ... to lay blame on the starving. I 
know about lies ! The weak of spirit and them 
that live on the sap of others it's them that need 
lying . . . some it supports, and others it 
screens. But him that's his own master . . . 
who don't depend on others and don't feed on 
others why should he lie? Lying's the religion 
of slaves and masters. . . . Truth's the God of 
the free man ! 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 169 

THE BARON. 

Bravo ! Finely spoken ! I agree ! You talk 
like a decent man ! 


SATINE. 

Shan't a rogue sometimes speak the truth, 
when decent folk so often talk like rogues ? . . . 
I've forgotten a lot, but I shall know something ! 
The old 'un ! He had brains. ... He ... 
worked on me like acid does on a dirty old coin. 
. . . Let's drink to his health ! Fill up. ... 

(NASTYA pours out a glass of beer and gives 
it to SATINE. He laughs,) 

SATINE. 

The old man lives his own way . . . looks at 

everything through his own eyes. Once I asked 

him: "Daddy! why are men alive?" . . . 

(Trying to speak in LUKA'S voice and to 
imitate his demeanour.) 

" Why they live for the better man, dearie ! 
Now, let's say, there's carpenters and the rest 
masses people. . . . And then out of them a 
carpenter's born ... a carpenter such as never 
was in all the world : above 'em all : never 
was his like fer carpent'ring. 'E stamps 'imself 
on the whole carpent'ring trade . . . shoves the 
whole thing twenty years forward. . . . And so 
for all the others. . . . Locksmiths then . . . 
bootmakers and other working folk . . . and all 
the agricultural . . . and even the gentry they 



170 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

live for the better man ! Each thinks 'e's livin' 
fer 'imself, yet it turns out it's for that better 
man. A 'undred years . . . and maybe longer, 
we 'as to go on livin' till the better man ! " 

(NASTYA looks fixedly into SATINE'S face. 
KLESSHTSH stops working at the con- 
certina, and also listens. The BARON, 
with his head lowered, drums with his 
fingers softly on the table. ACTOR has 
got off the stove.} 

SATINE. 

" All, dearie boy, all in their way live for 
the better man ! Therefore you must show re- 
spect unto all ... it's clear we can't know who 
'e is, why 'e was born, and what 'e can do ... 'e 
may have been born for our 'appiness ... to 
bring us 'elp. . . . Arid) the most of all ... 
that we must respect children . . . the little bits 
of mites ! For the little children there must 
be no cramping ! Never interfere with the 
children : respect the mites ! " (Pause.} 

THE BARON. 

(Thoughtfully.} M-yes. . . . For the better 
man? So ... it was in our family ... an 
old family ... of Catherine's time. . . . 
Noblemen . . . originally French. ... In the 
service rose and rose. Under Nicholas, my grand- 
father, Gustave Debille, held a high post. . . . 
Riches. . . . Hundreds of serfs . . . horses 
, , . cooks. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 171 

NASTYA. 

Lies ! 'E never did ! 

THE BARON. 

(Leaping up . ) What ? Well . . . and after ! 

NASTYA. 

'E never did ! 

THE BARON. 

(Shouts out.} A house in Moscow ! A house 

in Petersburg ! Carriages . . . with coats -of - 
arms. 

(KLESSHTSH takes the concertina^ gets up, 
and goes to one side, from where he 
watches the scene.) 

NASTYA. 
Never 'ad ! 

THE BARON. 

Silence 1 I say . . . ten footmen ! . . . 

NASTYA. 

(With exultation.) N -never 'ad ! 

THE BARON. 
I'll kill you ! 

NASTYA. 

(Preparing to run.) There was no carriages ! 

SATINE. 

Stop, Nasturka ! Don't rile 'im. 



172 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

THE BARON. 

Just wait, yer spawn ! My grandfather . . . 

NASTYA. 

'Ad no gran'father ! 'Ad nothin' ! 

(SATINE laughs.) 

THE BARON. 

(Worn out with rage sits on the bench.) 
Satine, tell 'er . . . the slut. . . . You, too 
. . . you're laughing ! You . . . too don't 
believe me ? (Cries in despair, pounding his fists 
on the table.) It's true, damn you all ! 

NASTYA. 

(Triumphant.) A -ah, got 'im. D'yer know 
now 'ow it is when people won't believe yer ? 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Returning to table.) I thought there'd be a 
fight. . . . 

THE TARTAR. 

Ah ! Silly folk ! Very bad ! 

THE BARON. 

I ... won't let myself be jeered at. I've 
got proofs, documents, damn it ! 

SATINE. 

Stole them ! And forget about your uncle's 
carriages ... in a carriage that was you can't 
go anywhere. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 173 

THE BARON. 

That she should dare, anyhow I 

NASTYA. 

D'yer hear 'im? Should dare I ... 

SATINE . 

'E's only laughing I How's she any worse than 
you ? Though in her past we'll take it that she's 
had no carriages and grandfathers, or even a 
father and mother. . . . 

THE BARON. 

(Growing calmer.) Devil take yer 1 ... 
you're able ... to judge things . . . coolly. 
. . . But it seems time. . . . I've no strength of 
character. . . . 

SATINE. 

Get some 1 It's of use. . . . (Pause.) 
Nastya, er yer going to the hospital ? 

NASTYA. 
Why.? 

SATINE. 

To Natasha. 

NASTYA. 

What er yer thinking of.? Been out long since 
. . . came out and disappeared ! No findin' 
'er. 



174 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

SATINE. 

That's to say she's a goner. 

KLESSHTSH. 

It's interestin' to see who's goin' to floor which ? 
Vaska Vassilisa, or she him? 

NASTYA. 

Vassilisa'll win I She's cunning. But Vaska 
he'll go to penal servitude. . . . 

SATINE. 

For manslaughter only to prison. . . . 

NASTYA. 

Pity. You're better off in penal servitude. 
. . . That's where yer ought all to be ... in 
penal servitude ... all mixed up together . . . 
all mixed up ... like rubbish ... in the 
dust-hole. 

SATINE. 

(Astonished.) What are you saying? Are 
you mad? 

THE BARON. 

Now I'm just going to give her one . . . for 
her insults ! 

NASTYA. 

Try it ! Touch me ! 

THE BARON. 
I'll try it I 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 175 

SATINE. 

Let be ! Don't touch her . . . give no 
offence to folk ! I can't get him out of my head 
that old man 1 (Laughs.} Give no offence to 
folk, and if a man does me an offence what I 
call a life -long offence what then? Forgive? 
Nothing I No matter I 

THE BARON. 

(To NASTYA.) You ought to know that I'm 
I'm on a different level to you! You .;. , 
muck I 

NASTYA. 

Ah, you poor wretch I Why you . . . you 
live on me like a worm does in a little apple 1 

(Laughter of the men.) 

KLESSHTSH . 

You . . . stupid I A little apple ! 

THE BARON. 

You can't ... be angry . . . she's such an 
idiot I 

NASTYA. 

Laughing? That's a lie too I You don't find 
it funny I 

THE ACTOR. 

(Gloomily.) Thrash 'em 1 



176 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

NASTYA. 

If only I ... could ! I'd give yer . . . 

(Takes cup from table and throws it on 
the ground.) 

that's 'ow 1 

THE TARTAR. 

Why break the crockery? La ... yer 
ninny 1 

THE BARON. 

(Getting up.) No, now I'm goin' ... to 
teach her manners . 

NASTYA. 

(Running away.) Go to the devil I 

SATINE. 

(After her.) Here ! Stop ! What are you 
running for ? 

NASTYA. 

Wolves 1 may yer choke 1 yer wolves I 

THE ACTOR. 

(Gloomily . ) Amen . 

THE TARTAR. 

O-o. She's a bad woman the Russian 
woman 1 Scolding wilful ! Not the Tartar woman 
the Tartar woman knows the law I 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 177 

KLESSHTSH. 

Give 'er a shaking. 

THE BARON. 
The huzzy ! 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Trying the concertina.} Finished ! But 'er 
master didn't come for 'er. . . . 'E's on the 
loose. . . . 

SATINE. 

Come on drink ! 

KLESSHTSH. 

Thanks ! Bedtime soon. . >' . 

SATINE. 

Are you getting used to us? 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Having had a drink, goes over to the corner 
where his planks are.} It's all right. . . . 
Everywhere there's men ... at first yer don't 
see that . . . then you look round, you find 
that they're all men . . . it's all right ! 

(The TARTAR spreads something on his 
planks, goes on his knees, and prays.) 

THE BARON. 

(Pointing the TARTAR out to SATINE.) Look I 
12 



178 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

SATINE. 

Stop ! He's a good chap. . . . Let him 

alone ! (Laughs.} I to-day am good. . . . 
Devil knows why ! 

THE BARON. 

You're always good when you're drunk and 
clever. . . . 

SATINE. 

When I'm drunk ... I like everything. Yes. 
. . . He prays ? Fine ! A man can believe or 
not believe . . . that's his affair I A man is 
free ... he pays for everything himself ! . . . 
for belief, for unbelief, for love, for wisdom. A 
man pays everything himself, and therefore is 
free ! . . . The man that's the truth ! What 
is man? . . . It's not you, not me, not them 
no ! It's you, I, them, the old 'un, Napoleon, 
Mahomet ... in one ! (Draws in the air the 
face of a man with his finger.) D'yer see? 
That's prodigious ! In that is the beginning and 
end of all. All is in man, all for man ! There 
exists only man, all the rest is the work of his 
hands and of his brains ! Man ! That's mag- 
nificent ! That sounds . . . mighty. Mankind ! 
You must respect mankind ! Not pity him . . . 
not lower him with pity . . . must respect him I 
Let's drink to Mankind ! Baron ! (Gets up.) 
It's good to feel yourself a man ! I'm a ticket - 
of -leave, a murderer, a scoundrel yes, I am ! 
When I walk the streets people eye me for a 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 179 

crook . . . and they draw away, and they glare 
after me, and they often say to me, " Loafer ! black- 
guard 1 work ! work ! " Why ! To fill my belly? 
(Laughs,) I've always despised people who 
worry too much about stuffing themselves. It 
isn't that, Baron? That isn't it. Man is higher 
than that. Man is higher than repletion ! 

THE BARON. 

(Nodding his head.) You're getting at it 
. . . that's prime . . . that's the thing to warm 
one's heart. I haven't got that. ... I don't 
know how ! (Looks round then softly, cau- 
tiously) I, brother, I'm afraid . . . sometimes. 
D'you see? Get in a funk . . . because what 
after ? 

SATINE. 

Rubbish ! There's nothing that a man should 
fear? 

THE BARON. 

Yer know . . . from when first I can remem- 
ber . . . there's been inside my noddle a sort 
of fog. Never anything have I understood. I'm 
... in some way I'm clumsy. It seems to 
me all my life I've done nothing but dress up 
. . . and why? Went to school wore the uni- 
form of the Institute for the Sons of the Nobility 
. . . but what did I learn? Don't remember. 
. . . Married in a frock-coat, and an over- 
coat . . . but I picked out the wrong wife and 
why? Don't understand. . . . Squandered all I 



180 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

had, wore some sort of a grey pea-jacket and red 
trousers . . . but where did it all get to? Never 
noticed. . . . Entered the Court of Exchequer 
. . . uniform, and a cap with a cockade . . . 
made away with some Government money they 
put me into the convict's gown . . . then I got 
into this lot here. . . . And all ... like in a 
dream . . .ah? That's funny. . . . 

SATINE. 

Not very. ... I should say stupid. . . . 

THE BARON. 

Yes . . . and I think it's stupid. . . . But I 
must have been born for some reason. . . .Eh? 

SATINE. 

(Smiling.} Probably. . . . Man is born for 
the better man ! (Shaking his head.) So ... 
it's all right 1 

THE BARON. 

That . . . Nastya ! . . . Where's she run 
off to ? I'll go, and see . . . where she is ? 
For after all ... she . . . 

(Goes out. A pause.) 
THE ACTOR. 

Tartar ! (Pause.) Prince ! 

(The TARTAR turns his head.) 

THE ACTOR. 

For me ... pray. . , .. 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 181 

THE TARTAR. 
Why? 

THE ACTOR. 

Pray for me. . . . 

THE TARTAR. 

(After a silence.) Pray yerself 1 

THE ACTOR. 

(Gets quickly from the stove, goes to the table, 
pours himself some vodka with trembling hands, 
drinks, and almost runs into the passage.) I'm 
off ! 

SATINE. 

Hi, you, off where? 

(Enter MYEDVYEDYEFF in a wadded 
woman's jacket, and BOOBNOFF ; both 
drunk, but not very drunk. In one 
hand BOOBNOFF is carrying a packet 
of cracknels; he has a bottle of 
vodka in one armpit, and another stick- 
ing out of the pocket of his pea- 
jacket.) 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

A camel it's a kind . . . of a donkey I Only 
with no ears. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Chuck it ! Yerself yer a kind of a donkey. 



182 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

MYEDVYEDYEFF . 

A camel, it hasn't got no ears at all ... 
it hears with its nostrils. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

(To SATINE.) Chum 1 I've been looking for 
yer in all the trakteers all the stills 1 Take 
the bottle, all my 'ands is full 1 

SATINE. 

You put the cracknels on the table, then you'll 
have one hand free. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

True 1 You're right. . . . Jumble, look at it 
all I So there, eh? ... Wire boy. 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Sharpers . . . they're all clever ... I 
know 1 They 'ave got to be clever. A good 
man he may be stupid and good, but a wrong 
'un, 'e's bound to 'ave wits . But, about the camel, 
yer know . . . yer can get me up on 'im . . . 
'e 'asn't no 'orns, not no teeth. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Where's every one? Why's there no one 'ere? 
'Ere, get up ... it's my treat ! 

SATINE. 

You'll soon drink all you've got, blockhead 1 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 183 

BOOBNOFF. 

Soon, yer say? This time I've gathered some 
capital a little pile. . . . When ! Where's 
When? 

KLESSHTSH. 

(Going to table.) Not here. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

Ooo-r-r ! Yer peacock I Don't bark, don't 
growl I Drink, be jolly, don't turn yer nose up. 
... I treats everybody 1 Why, mates, I loves 
to stand treat ! If I was rich ... I'd ... 
I'd build a free trakteer ! Yes, my God I With 
music, and a troupe of singers. . . . Come, 
drink, eat, listen to the singers . . . gladden yer 
'earts. A man's a sad creature . . . come along 
to me to my free trakteer I Saline 1 For you 
. . . you . . . 'ere, take 'alf of all my capital ! 
This way 1 

SATINE. 

Give it me all in a lump 1 

BOOBNOFF. 

The 'ole capital? At once? Right ! Then 
. . . here's a rouble . . . and here's a twenty 
kopyeks ... a five kopyeks ... a two kopyeks 
. . . all. . . . 

SATINE. 

That'll do I It's safer with me. I'll play cards 
with it ! 



184 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

I am a witness . . . the money is placed in 
your keepin' . . . 'ow much is it ? 

BOOBNOFF. 

You? You're a camel ... we want no wit- 
nesses. . . . 

ALYOSHKA. 

(Comes in barefooted.} Fellows I my feet are 
soaking. 

BOOBNOFF. 

Go and soak yourself . . . only all over 1 I 
like you. You sing and you play . . . that's 
very good ! But, drinking that's a poor game 1 
That does 'arm, brother ; drinking does 'arm ! 

ALYOSHKA. 

Why, I look at yer ! And it's only when yer 
drunk yer anythin' like a man. . . . Klesshtsh ! 
My concertina mended? (Dances, and sings:) 

If my nozzle weren't so bonny, 

Then my gossip wouldn't love me. . . . 

I'm frozen, fellows 1 Cold 1 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

Um. ... If one was to ask : 'Oo is that 
gossip ? 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 185 

BOOBNOFF. 

Keep still. You're no one now, brother. . . . 
You're no " bobby " in these days . . . you're 
done with ! No " bobby " nor no uncle. . . . 

ALYOSHKA. 

You're just auntie's darling hubby ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

One of yer nieces is in gaol, the other's 
dyin' 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

(Proudly.) Yer lie ! She's not dyin' : she's 
disappeared without tellin' no one 1 

(SATINE laughs.) 

BOOBNOFF. 

All the same, brother I A man with no niece 
'e's not an uncle ! 

ALYOSHKA. 

Your Excellency ! The retired drum -major I 

My gossip has 'er savings, 
And I've not got a penny! 
Oh, aren't I a merry boy? 
Oh, I am so good! 

It's cold 1 

(WHEN enters; then until the end of the 
act some other male and female 
figures. They undress, get on to the 
planks, snore.) 



186 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

WHEN. 

Boobnoff? What made yer 'ook it? 

BOOBNOFF. 

Come 'ere I Sit down . . . let's sing, mate I 
My beloved . . . eh ? 

THE TARTAR. 

In the night yer must sleep I Sing songs in 
the day ! 

SATINE. 

That's all right, Prince. You come here I 

THE TARTAR. 

How all right? There'll be a noise. . . . 
When there's singing, it means a noise. . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 

{Going to him.) Prince I 'ow's yer 'and? 
'Ave they cut it off? ... 

WHEN. 

Means the gutter for you, Hassan 1 Without 
a hand what er yer good for ? A man's valued 
by 'is 'ands and 'is back. . . . No hand no 
man I Go and drink I Nothing like it I 

(KVASHNYA comes in.) 

KVASHNYA. 

Ah, my dear good people 1 Out in the yard, out 
in the yard ! The cold, the slush is my man 
here? Mannie ! 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 187 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 
Me? 

KVASHNYA. 

Got on my jacket again . . . and it seems 
to me ... a bit on, ah? What d'yer mean 
by it? 

MYEDVYEDYEFF. 

On account of the birthday . . . Boobnoff 
. . . and the cold . . . the slush 1 

KVASHNYA. 

Look at me . . . the slush ! No foolery. 
. . . Come to bed. . . . 

MYEDVYEDYEFF.. 

(Going into the kitchen..} Sleep, yes ... I 
will. ... I want to ... it's time ! 

(Exit.} 

SATINE. 

Why are yer so beastly strict with him? 

KVASHNYA. 

It's the only way, my friend. A man like 
'im 'as got to be kept strict. We keep 'ouse 
together, now ; I thought 'e would be a 'elp to 
me . . . seein' as 'e's 'ad discipline, but you 
you're a disorderly crew. . . . I've got my 



188 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

woman's view ... let 'im go gettin' drunk. 
That don't suit my book ! 

> 

SATINE. 

You've chosen your help wrong. . ... . 

KVASHNYA. 

No better than you . . . you'd never live 
with me ... a fellow like you 1 I'd see yer 
one week in twenty . . . you'd gamble away me 
and my very insides 1 

SATINE. 

(Laughs.} That's true, my girl ! I 
would. . . . 

KVASHNYA. 

So now ! Alyoshka ! 

ALYOSHKA. 

Yes here am I 1 

KVASHNYA. 

What's this you've been saying about me ? 

ALYOSHKA. 

I? No 'arm. I've said, there, I've said, there's 
a woman ! Wonderful woman 1 Flesh, fat bones 
good forty stone, and brains not a ha'porth I 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 189 

KVASHNYA. 

And there you're wrong ! I've got a deal of 
brains. No, and why did yer say that I beat 
my man? 

ALYOSHKA. 

I thought that was beatin' 'im when you seized 
'old of 'is 'air. . . . 

KVASHNYA. 

(Smiling.) Fool ! Then just you don't see ! 
Why do you carry tales out of school ? And 
yer 'urt 'is feelin's too. . . . It's cause of your 
talk 'e's took to drinkin'. 

ALYOSHKA. 

Then the sayin's true, then, even a bear likes 
drink I 

(KLESSHTSH and SATINE laugh.) 

KVASHNYA. 

You're a pretty sort of man, you are, Alyoshka ! 

ALYOSHKA. 

I'm the very first superfine sort of man for 
any job ! I just go where my eyes lead me ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

(By the TARTAR'S planks.) Come along ! It's 
no use . . . they'll not let us sleep 1 Come and 
drink . . . the night through, When ! 



190 THE LOWER DEPTHS 

WHEN. 

Drink? Why not. . . . 

ALYOSHKA. 

And I'll play to yer ! 

SATINE. 

Let's 'ear yer ! 

THE TARTAR. 

Well, Boobnoff, yer devil fetch the wine ! 

We'll drink, we'll rollick death comes . . . 
we've got to die ! 

BOOBNOFF. 

Pour 'im out, Satine I When, squat ! Ah, 
pals ! Does a man want much ? I've drunk a 
bit and happy ! When ! Strike me . . . lad ! 
I'll sing. . . . I'll pay ! 

WHEN. 
(Sings .-) 

The sun it rises and it sets . . . 

BOOBNOFF. 
(Going on.} 

In my prison all is dark! 

(The door is opened suddenly. BARON on 
the threshold.) 



THE LOWER DEPTHS 191 

THE BARON. 

Hi ... you ! Go ... go over there ! On 
the waste . . .out there . . . the Actor . . . 
he's hanged himself ! 

(Silence. AIL look at the BARON. NASTYA 
appears behind his back, and slowly, 
with wide -opened eyes, goes over to 
the table.} 

SATINE. 

(In a low voice.} Ah . . . he's spoiled the 
song . . . the fool ! 



THE END. 



Sjjt (Jlrtsljam TQtttt, 

UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED 
WOKING AND LONDON. 



UC SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FAOLIT