A monologue from the play by Alexander Ostrovsky

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Plays of Alexander Ostrovsky. Ed. George Rapall Noyes. New York: Scribners, 1917.
  • POTAPYCH: Girls? There are some on the estate, and among the house servants; only it must be said that in these matters the household is very strictly run. Our mistress, owing to her strict life and her piety, looks after that very carefully. Now just take this: she herself marries off the protégées and housemaids whom she likes. If a man pleases her, she marries the girl off to him, and even gives her a dowry, not a big one--needless to say. There are always two or three protégées on the place. The mistress takes a little girl from some one or other and brings her up; and when she is seventeen or eighteen years old, then, without any talk, she marries her off to some clerk or townsman, just as she takes a notion, and sometimes even to a nobleman. Ah, yes, sir! Only what an existence for these protégées, sir! Misery! The lady says: "I have found you a prospective husband, and now," she says, "the wedding will be on such and such a day, and that's an end to it; and don't one of you dare to argue about it!" It's a case of get along with you to the man you're told to. Because, sir, I reason this way: who wants to see disobedience in a person he's brought up? And sometimes it happens that the bride doesn't like the groom, nor the groom the bride: then the lady falls into a great rage. She even goes out of her head. She took a notion to marry one protégée to a petty shopkeeper in town; but he, an unpolished individual, was going to resist. "The bride doesn't please me," he said, "and, besides, I don't want to get married yet." So the mistress complained at once to the town bailiff and to the priest: well, they brought the blockhead around.