Saturday, November 05, 2005

Lvov: Why have you brought me to this house of reptiles? This is not a place where honest people should be seen.

Anna: Would you mind, Doctor, can I give you a social tip? It's bad manners to take a lady out and keep on about how honest you are. Perhaps it's true but nobody wants to know. I promise you, it's good advice. Don't draw attention to your virtues. Let women discover them for themselves. When Nikolai was your age, then he did nothing but sing songs and tell stories. And there wasn't one woman alive who couldn't sense what a fine man he was.

Lvov: Please. Don't compare me with Nikolai. I know everything about him.

Anna: No. You don't. You're a good man but you know nothing. Let's go into the garden. Nikolai never used to rail against the menagerie. You never heard Nikolai call people reptiles. Or boast about his own superiority. He left people alone to live their own lives. If he spoke at all it was to blame himself for his own impatience, or to express his pity for some poor soul. That's how he was. Forgiving. Not like you...

--- Anton Chekov, Ivanov, Act 2 Sc 10. Adapted by David Hare.

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