Large door opening on snowy landscape at back of stage.
Peter Sabouroff and Michael.
Peter (warming his hands at a stove). Has Vera not come back yet, Michael?
Mich. No, Father Peter, not yet; 'tis a good three miles to the post office, and she has to milk the cows besides, and that dun one is a rare plaguey creature for a wench to handle.
Peter. Why didn't you go with her, you young fool? she'll never love you unless you are always at her heels; women like to be bothered.
Mich. She says I bother her too much already, Father Peter, and I fear she'll never love me after all.
Peter. Tut, tut, boy, why shouldn't she? you're young and wouldn't be ill-favoured either, had God or thy mother given thee another face. Aren't you one of Prince Maraloffski's gamekeepers; and haven't you got a good grass farm, and the best cow in the village? What more does a girl want?
Mich. But Vera, Father Peter-
Peter. Vera, my lad, has got too many ideas; I don't think much of ideas myself; I've got on well enough in life without 'em; why shouldn't my children? There's Dmitri! could have stayed here and kept the inn; many a young lad would have jumped at the offer in these hard times; but he, scatter-brained featherhead of a boy, must needs go off to Moscow to study the law! What does he want knowing about the law! let a man do his duty, say I, and no one will trouble him.
Mich. Ay! but Father Peter, they say a good lawyer can break the law as often as he likes, and no one can say him nay.