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The setting of the third act returns to the house, in a large drawing room. The Jewish orchestra, which was mentioned in Act II, is playing, and couples are dancing. It is obvious that Lyobov has succeeded in having her final party. Among the guests are Pishtchik, Charlotta, Trofimov, Dunyasha, the post office clerk, and the stationmaster. Ironically, the auction of Lyobov's estate is being held during the dance.
Various conversations are heard at the party. Charlotta performs some tricks for people; Pishtchik is particularly enamored by her cleverness. He spends all his time talking about how important money is to him. Trofimov teases Varya about becoming Madame Lopahin, which makes her angry. Varya, however, tells her mother that she is very sad that Lopahin has never proposed to her, as expected. Then Lyobov talks to Varya about the auction of the cherry orchard. She reveals that the wealthy aunt has told Gaev that he can borrow some money from her. As a result, Lyobov still hopes that her brother may have succeeded in buying the estate to keep it in the family, where Lyobov feels it belongs.
Trofimov strikes up a conversation with Lyobov. When he calls her lover a "wretch," she grows angry and calls Trofimov all kinds of names. When he departs in anger, Lyobov chases after him and shouts at him to stop. Suddenly there is a loud crash. Varya and Anya enter laughing. They report that Trofimov has fallen down the stairs. Although embarrassed, he returns to the party. When the orchestra plays a waltz, Anya dances with Trofimov. Then he asks Lyobov for a dance, trying to patch things up between the two of them.
Epihodov continues to bother Dunyasha, expressing his love for her; she tries to avoid him totally. Seeing what is happening, Varya asks Epihodov to leave. When she sees that he does not depart, Varya picks up Firs' stick to hit Epihodov; however, her aim is off and she accidentally hits Lopahin, who has just entered the drawing room. When Lyobov sees him, she comes up and questions Lopahin about the sale of the cherry orchard, but he says nothing. Gaev dejectedly enters, but he does not say who has bought the orchard; however, it is obvious that he has not been successful.
Lopahin finally announces that he has bought the estate. He tells everyone about how his grandfather and father had been slaves in the cherry orchard. Now he is proud to be the owner of it. Lyobov is crushed by the news and weeps bitterly. She cannot believe that a former slave has purchased her childhood home. It forces her to see how the old order, the aristocracy, is falling apart, and the new order, the capitalistic, emerging middle class, is seizing control.
Pishtchik takes Lopahin away so that Lyobov may weep with dignity. Anya and Trofimov approach her. At the end of the act, Anya is trying to console her mother.