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The Anniversary
by [?]


ANDREY ANDREYEVITCH SHIPUCHIN, Chairman of the N—- Joint Stock
Bank, a middle-aged man, with a monocle
TATIANA ALEXEYEVNA, his wife, aged 25
KUSMA NICOLAIEVITCH KHIRIN, the bank’s aged book-keeper
NASTASYA FYODOROVNA MERCHUTKINA, an old woman wearing an old-fashioned cloak

The action takes place at the Bank.



1 verst = 3600 feet = 2/3 mile (almost)
1 arshin = 28 inches
1 dessiatin = 2.7 acres
1 copeck = 1/4 d
1 rouble = 100 copecks = 2s. 1d.

The Anniversary.
Translated, with an Introduction, by Julius West.

[The private office of the Chairman of Directors. On the left is a door, leading into the public department. There are two desks. The furniture aims at a deliberately luxurious effect, with armchairs covered in velvet, flowers, statues, carpets, and a telephone. It is midday. KHIRIN is alone; he wears long felt boots, and is shouting through the door.]

Send out to the chemist for 15 copecks’ worth of valerian drops, and tell them to bring some drinking water into the Directors’ office! This is the hundredth time I’ve asked!

[Goes to a desk]
I’m absolutely tired out. This is the fourth day I’ve been working, without a chance of shutting my eyes. From morning to evening I work here, from evening to morning at home.

And I’ve got an inflammation all over me. I’m hot and cold, and I cough, and my legs ache, and there’s something dancing before my eyes.

Our scoundrel of a Chairman, the brute, is going to read a report at a general meeting. “Our Bank, its Present and Future.” You’d think he was a Gambetta…. [At work] Two… one… one… six… nought… seven…. Next, six… nought… one… six…. He just wants to throw dust into people’s eyes, and so I sit here and work for him like a galley-slave! This report of his is poetic fiction and nothing more, and here I’ve got to sit day after day and add figures, devil take his soul!

[Rattles on his counting-frame]
I can’t stand it!

That is, one… three… seven… two… one… nought…. He promised to reward me for my work. If everything goes well to-day and the public is properly put into blinkers, he’s promised me a gold charm and 300 roubles bonus…. We’ll see. [Works] Yes, but if my work all goes for nothing, then you’d better look out…. I’m very excitable…. If I lose my temper I’m capable of committing some crime, so look out! Yes!

[Noise and applause behind the scenes. SHIPUCHIN’S voice: “Thank you! Thank you! I am extremely grateful.” Enter SHIPUCHIN. He wears a frockcoat and white tie; he carries an album which has been just presented to him.]

[At the door, addresses the outer office]

This present, my dear colleagues, will be preserved to the day of my death, as a memory of the happiest days of my life! Yes, gentlemen! Once more, I thank you! [Throws a kiss into the air and turns to KHIRIN] My dear, my respected Kusma Nicolaievitch!

[All the time that SHIPUCHIN is on the stage, clerks intermittently come in with papers for his signature and go out.]

[Standing up]
I have the honour to congratulate you, Andrey Andreyevitch, on the fiftieth anniversary of our Bank, and hope that…

[Warmly shakes hands]

Thank you, my dear sir! Thank you! I think that in view of the unique character of the day, as it is an anniversary, we may kiss each other!…

[They kiss]
I am very, very glad! Thank you for your service… for everything! If, in the course of the time during which I have had the honour to be Chairman of this Bank anything useful has been done, the credit is due, more than to anybody else, to my colleagues.