NATO. Is it really true, mamma dear?
CHACHO [at the same time]. Is it true?
SALOME. It is true, be assured.
NATO [embracing Salome]. O my dear, dear mother.
SALOME [seizing her daughter and kissing her]. Now I am rid of my worries about you. I hope it will bring you joy. Go and put on another dress, for your betrothed is coming.
SALOME. Certainly, at once. You know, I presume, that you must make yourself pretty.
NATO [happy and speaking quickly]. Certainly. I will wear the white barege with blue ribbons, the little cross on black velvet ribbon, and a blue ribbon in my hair. [Hugs Chacho.] O my precious auntie!
CHACHO [embracing and kissing her]. May this hour bring you good-fortune! I wish it for you with all my heart.
NATO [hugging and kissing Salome again]. O you dear, you dearest mamma. [Runs out of the room.
CHACHO. What does all this mean? Am I dreaming or am I still awake?
SALOME. What are you saying about dreams? His sister Champera was here, and about five minutes later he himself came. They live very near here.
CHACHO. If it was arranged so easily, why have you wrangled and quarrelled so much?
SALOME [in a whisper]. But what do you think, aunt? I have arranged the affair for 7,000 rubles, and I have had to promise his sister 200 rubles beside.
CHACHO. May I be struck blind! And you have done this without Ossep’s knowing it?
SALOME [whispering]. He will not kill me for it, and let him talk as much as he will. It could not go through otherwise. Get up and let us go into that room where Ossep will not hear us. [Helps her to rise.
CHACHO. O just heaven! What women we have in these days!
OSSEP [alone, buckling his belt and holding his cap in his hand, comes in through the right-hand door, stands awhile in deep thought while he wrings his hands several times]. Give me money! Give me money! I would like to know where I am to get it. It is hard for me to give what I have promised. And what if it cannot be arranged for that sum? Am I, then, to make a mess of this!—I who have always been willing to make any sacrifice for my children? It must, indeed, lie in this—that the suitor does not please; for I could not find 2,000 to add to the 6,000 that I have promised. Yes, that’s it! The man is not the one I want for her. If he were an ordinary fellow, he would not treat with me. At any rate, what he is after will show itself now; yes, we shall soon see what kind of man he is! Up to this day I have always kept my word, and the best thing I can do is to keep it now.