The Cause of it All, Leo Tolstoy
The Cause of it All
Leo Tolstoy
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The Cause of It All is a play in two parts by Leo Tolstoy published in 1910, and later translated by Aylmer and Louise Maude. It heavily features anti-alcohol and teetotaling themes.

The Cause of it All

A Play in Two Acts

Leo Tolstoy

Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude


AKULÍNA. An old woman of seventy, brisk, dignified, old-fashioned.

MICHAEL. Her son, thirty-five years old, passionate, self-satisfied, vain and strong.

MARTHA. Her daughter-in-law, a grumbler, speaks much and rapidly.

PARÁSHKA. Ten years old, daughter of Martha and Michael.

TARÁS. The village elder’s assistant, speaks slowly and gives himself airs.

A TRAMP. Forty years old, restless, thin, speaks impressively; when drunk is particularly free and easy.

IGNÁT. Forty years old, a buffoon, merry and stupid.

Act I

Autumn. A peasant’s hut, with a small room partitioned off. Akulína sits spinning; Martha the housewife is kneading bread; little Paráshka is rocking a cradle.

MARTHA. Oh dear, my heart feels heavy! I know it means trouble; there’s nothing to keep him there. It will again be like the other day, when he went to town to sell the firewood and drank nearly half of it. And he blames me for everything.

AKULÍNA. Why look for trouble? It is still early, and the town is a long way off. For the present …

MARTHA. What do you mean by early? Akímych is back already. He started after Michael but Michael’s not back yet! It’s worry worry all day long; that’s all the pleasure one gets.

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