Thursday, 20 March 2008
LOPAKHIN. Please attend carefully! Your estate is only
thirteen miles from the town, the railway runs by, and if the
cherry orchard and the land by the river are broken up into
building lots and are then leased off for villas you'll get at
least twenty-five thousand roubles a year profit out of it.
GAEV. How utterly absurd!
LUBOV. I don't understand you at all, Ermolai Alexeyevitch.
LOPAKHIN. You will get twenty-five roubles a year for each
dessiatin from the leaseholders at the very least, and if you
advertise now I'm willing to bet that you won't have a vacant plot
left by the autumn; they'll all go. In a word, you're saved. I
congratulate you. Only, of course, you'll have to put things
straight, and clean up. ... For instance, you'll have to pull down
all the old buildings, this house, which isn't any use to anybody
now, and cut down the old cherry orchard. ...
LUBOV. Cut it down? My dear man, you must excuse me, but you don't
understand anything at all. If there's anything interesting or
remarkable in the whole province, it's this cherry orchard of ours.
LOPAKHIN. The only remarkable thing about the orchard is that it's
very large. It only bears fruit every other year, and even then you
don't know what to do with them; nobody buys any.
GAEV. This orchard is mentioned in the "Encyclopaedic Dictionary."
LOPAKHIN. [Looks at his watch] If we can't think of anything and
don't make up our minds to anything, then on August 22, both the
cherry orchard and the whole estate will be up for auction. Make up
your mind! I swear there's no other way out, I'll swear it again.
FIERS. In the old days, forty or fifty years back, they dried the
cherries, soaked them and pickled them, and made jam of them, and
it used to happen that ...
GAEV. Be quiet, Fiers.
FIERS. And then we'd send the dried cherries off in carts to Moscow
and Kharkov. And money! And the dried cherries were soft, juicy,
sweet, and nicely scented. ... They knew the way. ...
LUBOV. What was the way?
FIERS. They've forgotten. Nobody remembers.
Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard