CHACHO. Who would have believed that this Barssegh would have worked himself up like that! Yet God be praised! Perhaps it is the times that bring it about. Yesterday or the day before he was a shop-boy at Basaschoma, and now! I can picture him as he was then! He wore a tschocha of green camelot with a narrow purple belt. The wadding stuck out at his elbows and his boots were mended in four places. Great piles of goods were loaded on the poor devil’s shoulders. Many a time, with the yardstick in one hand, he came to our houses with whole pieces of calico and got a few pennies from us for his trouble. And now he is a man of some importance! Many’s the time we gave him a cuff and sent him back and forth with his goods. And, Salome, do you know that he lied? God save us from such lies! But what could he do? One would die of hunger, to be sure, if one always told the truth.
 A bazaar in Tiflis.
 A long overcoat.
SALOME. Yes, yes, dear aunt, it is the same Barssegh—whom
they all call
“Wassil Matwejitsch” now.
CHACHO. What! have they turned Mathus, his father, into Matjewitsch? Who is good enough for them now? Many a time has the cobbler, Mathus, mended my shoes. His workshop was in the Norasch quarter. O good heavens, the world is upside down!
NATO [entering at right]. Mamma!
O aunt, are you here, too?
[Hugs her and kisses her.
CHACHO. O my only treasure! [Kisses her.] How fresh and pretty you are! Where are you going? Are you going out when I have just come?
NATO. What are you saying, dear aunt? I
will come back again immediately. I am only going
to make a few purchases at the bazaar. [Turning
to Salome] Dear mamma——
[They begin to speak together in a low tone.
CHACHO [aside]. Yes, yes, her father is
right! [Aloud.] I will go and see what the
children are doing [trying to rise]. Come
here, you pretty rogue, and give me your hand.
I feel exhausted.
[Nato helps her.
SALOME [offering her hand]. Let me help you, too.
CHACHO. May God give you health and a life as long as mine! [To Nato:] O my heart’s angel—if only I have my wish and see you wear the bridal wreath!
SALOME. God grant it, dear aunt!
CHACHO. He will, he will, my child! [Going
toward the entrance.] Good
heaven! how old I have grown!
[Goes out at the left.
NATO. Don’t keep me waiting, mamma.
SALOME. And won’t a little less satisfy you? Why do you want so much all of a sudden?
NATO. But, dear mamma, please; I want it so much!