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Contemporary One-Act Plays
written by "Barrie, J. M. (James Matthew), 1860-1937"
...e weren't any more nice people in the world! But the whole neighborhood is full of gentlefolk. The regiment is stationed in Riblov—officers—simply beautiful! One can't see enough of them! Every Friday a ball, and military music every day. Oh, my dear, dear ma'am, young and pretty as you are, if you'd only let your spirits live—! Beauty can't last forever. When ten short years are over, you'll be glad enough to go out a bit and meet the officers—and then it'll be too late. MRS. POPOV. [Resolutely.] Please don't speak of these things again. You know very well that since the death of Nikolai Michailovitch my life is absolutely nothing to me. You think I live, but it only seems so. Do you understand? Oh, that his departed soul may see how I love him! I know, it's no secret to you; he was often unjust toward me, cruel, and—he wasn't faithful, but I shall be faithful to the grave and prove to him how I can love. There, in the Beyond, he'll find me the same as I was until his death. LUKA. What is the use of all these words, when you'd so much rather go walking in the garden or order Tobby or Welikan harnessed to the trap, and visit the neighbors? MRS. POPOV. [Weeping.] Oh! LUKA. Madam, dear madam, what is it? In Heaven's name! MRS. POPOV. He loved Tobby so! He always drove him to the Kortschagins or the Vlassovs. What a wonderful horse-man he was! How fine he looked when he pulled at the reins with all his might! Tobby, Tobby—give him an extra measure of oats to-day! LUKA. Yes, ma'am. [A bell rings loudly. MRS. POPOV. [Shudders.] What's that? I am at home to no one. LUKA. Yes, ma'am. [He goes out, centre. MRS. POPOV. [Gazing at the photograph.] You shall see, Nikolai, how I can love and forgive! My love will die only with me—when my poor heart stops beating. [She smiles through her tears.] And aren't you ashamed? I have been a good, true wife; I have imprisoned myself and I shall...

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