A Good Neighbor

Ivan Vassilevitch Lomov (a wealthy man) enters the house of Stepan Stepanovitch Chubukov. They greet each other. Ivan tells him that he has come to Chubukov for some help.  Chubukov thinks that Ivan Lomov has come for monetary help (he decides not to help him).

Lomov finally tells Chubukov that he has come to ask the hand of Chubukov’s daughter Natalya Stepanovna in marriage. Chubukov is delighted to hear this proposal. He at once starts to kiss and hug Lomov and behaves very kindly. 

Stepan Chubukov exits the place to find Natalya. Lomov is very excited. He murmurs to himself that it would be very difficult for him to marry if he insisted on finding an ideal girl. He is already thirty-five years old (a critical age, according to him). Natalya enters the place. She asks Lomov for some lunch (which he refuses) and about the weird dress he was wearing.

The Dispute Arises

Ivan Lomov tells Natalya that she may get angry at what he is going to ask her. Natalya asks what the matter is. Lomov tells Natalya that he, from his childhood, had the privilege of knowing Natalya’s family. The Lomovs and Chubukovs had the most affectionate regards for each other.

Lomov also tells Natalya that his Oxen Meadows touch her birchwood. Natalya tells him that Oxen Meadows belong to Chubukov, but he argues that Natalya is mistaken. They both argue like idiots.

Lomov tells Natalya that from time immemorial, the Oxen Meadows belonged to the Lomovs. His aunt’s grandmother gave free use of those meadows to the peasants of her father’s grandfather. The peasants used that land for forty years and had this habit of considering that land as their own. Natalya refuses, and Lomov decides to show her the document of ownership.

Natalya tells Lomov that the land is worth only three hundred roubles, but she cannot stand the unfairness. Lomov tries to explain, but Natalya declares that land as her own. They again argue like idiots. Lomov tells her that if she likes that land, he will gift her the Oxen Meadows.

Natalya tells him that it is not good of him to gift her the land that already belongs to her. She also reminds Lomov that he was a good neighbor in no way, even though the Chubukovs have helped him on multiple occasions.

Natalya decides to send her mowers to the Oxen Meadows, they both shout at each other until Chubukov enters. He tells Lomov that the meadows are ours. Lomov tells the same story. Chubukov respectfully disagrees and tells Lomov that if he keeps yelling, he would happily give the Oxen Meadows to the peasant than by giving him.

The situation gets tense as Chubukov tells Lomov that he is twice his age and is not accustomed to being talked to in that tone. Lomov, in response, tells him that he is not a good neighbor but a grabber. Lomov threatens to go to court. Chubukov calls him a pettifogger. They blame each other for the crimes their families committed in the past. Chubukov calls all the Lomovs lunatics.

I Am Dying!

Lomov gets a panic attack and asks for some water. He thinks that he is dying. While abusing him, Chubukov talks of the proposal that Lomov made him at the beginning. Natalya enquires about the proposal, and Chubukov tells her that Lomov had come up earlier to propose to her about marriage. Natalya at once commands her father to bring Lomov back.

Stepan Chubukov becomes frustrated about being the father of a grown-up daughter. He and his daughter now blame each other for driving Lomov out. Lomov enters again, Natalya tells him that the Oxen Meadows always belonged to him. Lomov tells the same story about the peasants, but Natalya tries to drive attention away from this fact. They start to talk respectfully. 

My Dog is Better

Lomov talks about his dog Guess, who has gone lame recently. Natalya tells Lomov that her dog Squeezer is way better than Guess (Ivan Lomov’s dog). They both start to argue about dogs. Both hold on to the fact that their respective dogs are the better of the two. 

Natalya tells Ivan Lomov that first, he said that the Oxen Meadows belonged to him, now he says that Guess is better than Squeezer. He should face reality. They argue like idiots again.

Lomov tells Natalya that his heart is bursting. Stepan Chubukov enters, and Natalya complains about the dog comparison. Chubukov tells Lomov that Squeezer is the best dog in the district. He also tells Lomov that his dog may be good, but it is old and short. Chubukov tells that they should not argue over dogs.

Natalya and Chubukov tease Lomov over his heart condition. They call him an intriguer. Lomov calls him an old rat: both Ivan Lomov and Stepan Chubukov fall. Lomov is unconscious. Natalya tells his father about Lomov’s condition. They give Lomov some water, and he is good again.

Married!

Chubukov puts Natalya’s hand into Lomov’s hand and tells him that his daughter has agreed to the marriage. He tells him to hurry up and get married. They marry and kiss each other as husband and wife. They argue over the dogs again as Chubukov celebrates.