[By James Rusk]
ERMOLAI: now written in English as "Yermolay"
PETER: "Petya" in the original
EPIKHODOV: now written in English as "Yepikhodov"
FIERS: pronounced "fierce"
little man: lit., little peasant
kvass: a homemade beer
mother/little mother: the translator's choices for "Mamochka," an intimate nickname for mother
villa: "dacha," a summer vacation home
Mentone: located on the French Mediterranean
from one holy place to another: religious pilgrims were common in 19th century Russia
long jacket of thin cloth: "poddëuka," typical peasant clothing
as if he is playing billiards: Gaev's billiard terms don't match any particular kind of billiard playing, and Chekhov admitted he knew nothing about the game
patchouli: a perfume
my dear little cupboard: most translators use "bookcase"
Nurse has died: "nyanya," a nanny
dessiatin: 2.7 acres
Encyclopaedic Dictionary: probably the 86-volume Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary
in a worn student uniform: all students at this time wore uniforms
I'm a man of the eighties: a period of extreme reaction under Czar Alexandr III
Anya dear!: Anichka!
passport: an internal passport for movement within Russia
salto mortale: a complete somersault
What is this noisy earth to me...: words to a popular ballad
Buckle: historian Henry Thomas Buckle (1821-1861) was considered a materialist and free-thinker
about the seventies and about decadents: probably refers to the group of French poets who called themselves decadents
do stop: do stay
all my substance: all my fortune
Emancipation: the serfs were freed in 1861
It was very good for them in the old days: this is said ironically
créches: public nurseries; day care centers
My brother, my suffering brother: from a poem by Nadson
Come out on the Volga: from a poem by Nekrasov
Oh, feel me, get thee to a nunnery: in Hamlet, Hamlet says this to Ophelia (III, 1, 121)
Oh, feel me, nymph, remember me in thine orisons: see Hamlet, III, 1, 89-90
Oh, it's awful...their heavy visions: this passage was substitued by Chekhov for one the censor objected to. The original passage was restored after the 1917 revolution: "To own human beings has affected every one of you--those who lived before and those who live now. Your mother, your uncle, and you don't notice that you are living off the labours of others--in fact, the very people you won't even let in the front door."
Promenade a une paire: promenade with your partner
Grand rond, balancez: the great ring dance, get set
Les cavaliers à genou et remerciez vos dames!: Gentlemen, on your knees and thank your ladies
Nietzsche: German philosopher, 1844-1900
Caucasian dance: lezginka, a courtship dance
Ein, zwei, drei: one, two, three (German)
Guter Mensch aber schlechter Musikant: A good man, but a bad musician (German)
I don't want to be a Beau Brummel: I don't want to be fashionable (Beau Brummel was George Brummel, 1778-1840)
"The Magdalen" by Tolstoy: the poem is "The Sinful Woman" by Aleksey Tolstoy (1817-1875), not Leo Tolstoy the novelist
freeholders: small farmers
fagged out: worn out
allez: let's go! (French)