SALOME. How the man talks! Were your parents of better rank than mine? What? Say!
CHACHO [enters, left]. What’s all this noise about?
OSSEP. O aunt, you are here?
CHACHO. Yes, it is I, as I love and live. How are you, my son?
OSSEP. Pretty well, thank God. And how are you, aunt?
CHACHO. My dear son, I am very feeble. But what is going on here? They must have heard your voices in the street.
SALOME. Do you not know that married people often have little quarrels?
CHACHO. That I know a hundred times better than you. And only a blockhead takes a dispute between man and wife seriously. That is true; but that you two have already had time to get used to each other is also true.
OSSEP. Sit down, dear aunt. Tell me, rather, whether a wagon can be moved when one ox pulls to the right and the other to the left.
CHACHO. It will not stir from its place any more than I will now. [Sits down with legs planted firmly.] What can move me away from here?
OSSEP. Now, is it not true? One must help the other, for one alone cannot accomplish much, be he ever so strong and ready to work.
SALOME. Oh, yes! and you are the one ready to work and I am the lazy one, I suppose.
OSSEP. For heaven’s sake, do not fly into a passion like that!
CHACHO [to Salome]. That was nothing more than a figure of speech. Who is accusing you of laziness?
OSSEP [sitting down]. Tell me, can we count ourselves among those persons who can give their daughter 10,000 rubles for a dowry? Are we able to do that?
SALOME. Eight thousand is surely not 10,000.
OSSEP. Both are too much for me.
SALOME. Oh, it is all the same to me; it is not
for myself; it is for
[Sits down, ready to cry, upon the sofa.
OSSEP. It is a beautiful thing, the way you look out for your daughter; but everything has its time and place. We have, remember, two other daughters to provide for.
CHACHO. Dear Ossep, why are you so obstinate?
OSSEP. I am not obstinate; but you two are. Yes, you are obstinate, and will pay no attention at all to what I say.
CHACHO. Since when have you become such a niggard? You should have economized when you gave the sasandars something like ten rubles for a fee.
OSSEP. Those times have passed and won’t come back again, dear aunt. At that time I was able to do it; but not now. Trade is dull and my business is going badly.
CHACHO. Possibly with your enemies, dear son; but there is nothing the matter with your business.