- POPOVA, a landowning little widow, with dimples on her cheeks
- SMIRNOV, a middle-aged landowner
A drawing-room in POPOVA’S house.
POPOVA is in deep mourning and has her eyes fixed on a photograph. LUKA is haranguing her.
POPOVA. [Looks at the photograph] You will see, Nicolas, how I can love and forgive. . . . My love will die out with me, only when this poor heart will cease to beat. [Laughs through her tears] And aren’t you ashamed? I am a good and virtuous little wife. I’ve locked myself in, and will be true to you till the grave, and you . . . aren’t you ashamed, you bad child? You deceived me, had rows with me, left me alone for weeks on end . . . .