Read the extract below and answer the questions

Read the extract below and answer the questions Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov (1860—1904)
He was born in a small town in the Ukraine, where he attended grammar school and supported himself as a tutor before enrolling in the Moscow Medical School. Although popularly recognized for comical short stories he published as a student, Chekhov remained in school and became a doctor. He practiced medicine for seven years. During this period, he developed the penetrating but non–judgmental approach to social commentary that characterized his later works. He wrote hundreds of short stories and several plays. In 1888 he was awarded Russia’s Pushkin Prize. Active in medically related social research and service in his later years, he traveled widely, and was married at age 41, three years before his death from tuberculosis.
The Proposal
by Anton Chekhov (1860—1904) Translated by Julius West (1891—1918)

 

CHARACTERSSTEPAN STEPANOVITCH CHUBUKOV, a landowner NATALYA STEPANOVNA, his daughter, twenty–five years old IVAN VASSILEVITCH LOMOV, a neighbour of Chubukov, a large and hearty, but very suspicious landowner
SETTING:CHUBUKOV’s country–house
[A drawing–room in CHUBUKOV’S house.]
[LOMOV enters, wearing a dress–jacket and white gloves. CHUBUKOV rises to meet him.]
CHUBUKOV: My dear fellow, whom do I see! Ivan Vassilevitch! I am extremely glad! [Squeezes his hand] Now this is a surprise, my darling . . . How are you?
LOMOV: Thank you. And how may you be getting on?
CHUBUKOV: We just get along somehow, my angel, to your prayers, and so on. Sit down, please do. . . . Now, you know, you shouldn’t forget all about your neighbours, my darling. My dear fellow, why are you so formal in your get–up? Evening dress, gloves, and so on. Can you be going anywhere, my treasure?
LOMOV: No, I’ve come only to see you, honouredStepanStepanovitch.
10
CHUBUKOV: Then why are you in evening dress, my precious? As if you’re paying a New Year’s Eve visit!
LOMOV: Well, you see, it’s like this. [Takes his arm] I’ve come to you, honouredStepanStepanovitch, to trouble you with a request. Not once or twice have I already had the privilege of applying to you for help, and you have always, so to speak . . . I must ask your pardon, I am getting excited. I shall drink some water, honouredStepanStepanovitch. [Drinks.]
CHUBUKOV:[Aside] He’s come to borrow money! Shan’t give him any! [Aloud] What is it, my beauty?
20
LOMOV: You see, HonourStepanitch . . . I beg pardon, StepanHonouritch . . . I mean, I’m awfully excited, as you will please notice. . . . In short, you alone can help me, though I don’t deserve it, of course . . . and haven’t any right to count on your assistance. . . .
CHUBUKOV: Oh, don’t go round and round it, darling! Spit it out! Well?
LOMOV: One moment . . . this very minute. The fact is, I’ve come to ask the hand of your daughter, Natalya Stepanovna, in marriage.
CHUBUKOV:[Joyfully] By Jove! Ivan Vassilevitch! Say it again––I didn’t hear it all!
LOMOV: I have the honour to ask . . .
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CHUBUKOV:[Interrupting] My dear fellow . . . I’m so glad, and so on. . . . Yes, indeed, and all that sort of thing. [Embraces and kisses LOMOV] I’ve been hoping for it for a long time. It’s been my continual desire. [Sheds a tear] And I’ve always loved you, my angel, as if you were my own son. May God give you both His help and His love and so on, and I did so much hope . . . What am I behaving in this idiotic way for? I’m off my balance with joy, absolutely off my balance! Oh, with all my soul . . . I’ll go and call Natasha, and all that.
LOMOV:[Greatly moved]HonouredStepanStepanovitch, do you think I may count on her consent?
CHUBUKOV: Why, of course, my darling, and . . . as if she won’t consent! She’s in love; egad, she’s like a love–sick cat, and so on. . . . Shan’t be long! [Exit.]
40
LOMOV: It’s cold . . . I’m trembling all over, just as if I’d got an examination before me. The great thing is, I must have my mind made up. If I give myself time to think, to hesitate, to talk a lot, to look for an ideal, or for real love, then I’ll never get married. . . . Brr! . . . It’s cold! Natalya Stepanovna is an excellent housekeeper, not bad–looking, well–educated. . . . What more do I want? But I’m getting a noise in my ears from excitement. [Drinks] And it’s impossible for me not to marry. . . . In the first place, I’m already 35––a critical age, so to speak. In the second place, I ought to lead a quiet and regular life. . . . I suffer from palpitations, I’m excitable and always getting awfully upset. . . . At this very moment my lips are trembling, and there’s a twitch in my right eyebrow. . . . But the very worst of all is the way I sleep. I no sooner get into bed and begin to go off when suddenly something in my left side gives a pull, and I can feel it in my shoulder and head. . . . I jump up like a lunatic, walk about a bit, and lie down again, but as soon as I begin to get off to sleep there’s another pull! And this may happen twenty times. . . .
[NATALYA STEPANOVNA comes in.]
50
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Well, there! It’s you, and papa said, “Go; there’s a merchant come for his goods.” How do you do, Ivan Vassilevitch!
LOMOV: How do you do, honoured Natalya Stepanovna?
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: You must excuse my apron and néligé . . . we’re shelling peas for drying. Why haven’t you been here for such a long time? Sit down. [They seat themselves] Won’t you have some lunch?
LOMOV: No, thank you, I’ve had some already.
60
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Then smoke. . . . Here are the matches. . . . The weather is splendid now, but yesterday it was so wet that the workmen didn’t do anything all day. How much hay have you stacked? Just think, I felt greedy and had a whole field cut, and now I’m not at all pleased about it because I’m afraid my hay may rot. I ought to have waited a bit. But what’s this? Why, you’re in evening dress! Well, I never! Are you going to a ball, or what?––though I must say you look better. Tell me, why are you got up like that?
LOMOV:[Excited]You see, honoured Natalya Stepanovna . . . the fact is, I’ve made up my mind to ask you to hear me out. . . . Of course you’ll be surprised and perhaps even angry, but a . . . [Aside]It’s awfully cold!
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: What’s the matter? [Pause] Well?
70
LOMOV: I shall try to be brief. You must know, honoured Natalya Stepanovna, that I have long, since my childhood, in fact, had the privilege of knowing your family. My late aunt and her husband, from whom, as you know, I inherited my land, always had the greatest respect for your father and your late mother. The Lomovs and the Chubukovs have always had the most friendly, and I might almost say the most affectionate, regard for each other. And, as you know, my land is a near neighbour of yours. You will remember that my Oxen Meadows touch your birchwoods.
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Excuse my interrupting you. You say, “my Oxen Meadows. . . .” But are they yours?
LOMOV: Yes, mine.
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: What are you talking about? Oxen Meadows are ours, not yours!
LOMOV: No, mine, honoured Natalya Stepanovna.
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Well, I never knew that before. How do you make that out?
80
LOMOV: How? I’m speaking of those Oxen Meadows which are wedged in between your birchwoods and the Burnt Marsh.
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Yes, yes. . . . They’re ours.
LOMOV: No, you’re mistaken, honoured Natalya Stepanovna, they’re mine.
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Just think, Ivan Vassilevitch! How long have they been yours?
LOMOV: How long? As long as I can remember.
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Really, you won’t get me to believe that!
90
LOMOV: But you can see from the documents, honoured Natalya Stepanovna. Oxen Meadows, it’s true, were once the subject of dispute, but now everybody knows that they are mine. There’s nothing to argue about. You see, my aunt’s grandmother gave the free use of these Meadows in perpetuity to the peasants of your father’s grandfather, in return for which they were to make bricks for her. The peasants belonging to your father’s grandfather had the free use of the Meadows for forty years, and had got into the habit of regarding them as their own, when it happened that . . .
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: No, it isn’t at all like that! Both my grandfather and great–grandfather reckoned that their land extended to Burnt Marsh––which means that Oxen Meadows were ours. I don’t see what there is to argue about. It’s simply silly!
LOMOV: I’ll show you the documents, Natalya Stepanovna!
100
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: No, you’re simply joking, or making fun of me. . . . What a surprise! We’ve had the land for nearly three hundred years, and then we’re suddenly told that it isn’t ours! Ivan Vassilevitch, I can hardly believe my own ears. . . . These Meadows aren’t worth much to me. They only come to five dessiatins[1], and are worth perhaps 300 roubles[2], but I can’t stand unfairness. Say what you will, but I can’t stand unfairness.
LOMOV: Hear me out, I implore you! The peasants of your father’s grandfather, as I have already had the honour of explaining to you, used to bake bricks for my aunt’s grandmother. Now my aunt’s grandmother, wishing to make them a pleasant . . .
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: I can’t make head or tail of all this about aunts and grandfathers and grandmothers! The Meadows are ours, and that’s all.
LOMOV: Mine
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NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Ours! You can go on proving it for two days on end, you can go and put on fifteen dress–jackets, but I tell you they’re ours, ours, ours! I don’t want anything of yours and I don’t want to give up anything of mine. So there!
LOMOV: Natalya Ivanovna, I don’t want the Meadows, but I am acting on principle. If you like, I’ll make you a present of them.
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: I can make you a present of them myself, because they’re mine! Your behaviour, Ivan Vassilevitch, is strange, to say the least! Up to this we have always thought of you as a good neighbour, a friend: last year we lent you our threshing–machine, although on that account we had to put off our own threshing till November, but you behave to us as if we were gipsies. Giving me my own land, indeed! No, really, that’s not at all neighbourly! In my opinion, it’s even impudent, if you want to know. . ..
120
LOMOV: Then you make out that I’m a land–grabber? Madam, never in my life have I grabbed anybody else’s land, and I shan’t allow anybody to accuse me of having done so. . . . [Quickly steps to the carafe and drinks more water] Oxen Meadows are mine!
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: It’s not true, they’re ours!
LOMOV: Mine!
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: It’s not true! I’ll prove it! I’ll send my mowers out to the Meadows this very day!
LOMOV: What?
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: My mowers will be there this very day!
LOMOV: I’ll give it to them in the neck!
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: You dare!
130
LOMOV:[Clutches at his heart] Oxen Meadows are mine! You understand? Mine!
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Please don’t shout! You can shout yourself hoarse in your own house, but here I must ask you to restrain yourself!
LOMOV: If it wasn’t, madam, for this awful, excruciating palpitation, if my whole inside wasn’t upset, I’d talk to you in a different way! [Yells] Oxen Meadows are mine!
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Ours!
LOMOV: Mine!
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Ours!
LOMOV: Mine!
[Enter CHUBUKOV.]
CHUBUKOV: What’s the matter? What are you shouting at?
140
NATALYA STEPANOVNA: Papa, please tell to this gentleman who owns Oxen Meadows, we or he?
CHUBUKOV:[To LOMOV] Darling, the Meadows are ours!
LOMOV: But, please, StepanStepanitch, how can they be yours? Do be a reasonable man! My aunt’s grandmother gave the Meadows for the temporary and free use of your grandfather’s peasants. The peasants used the land for forty years and got as accustomed to it as if it was their own, when it happened that . . .
CHUBUKOV: Excuse me, my precious. . . . You forget just this, that the peasants didn’t pay your grandmother and all that, because the Meadows were in dispute, and so on. And now everybody knows that they’re ours. It means that you haven’t seen the plan.
150
LOMOV: I’ll prove to you that they’re mine!
CHUBUKOV: You won’t prove it, my darling.
LOMOV: I shall!
CHUBUKOV: Dear one, why yell like that? You won’t prove anything just by yelling. I don’t want anything of yours, and don’t intend to give up what I have. Why should I? And you know, my beloved, that if you propose to go on arguing about it, I’d much sooner give up the meadows to the peasants than to you. There!
LOMOV: I don’t understand! How have you the right to give away somebody

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