OSSEP [meeting him as he enters from the right]. Oh, it is you, dear Gewo! What brings you to our house? [Offering him his hand.] I love you; come again, and often!
GEWO. You know well that if I had not need of you, I would not come.
OSSEP. How can I serve you? Pray, sit down.
GEWO [seating himself]. What are you saying about serving? Do you think that this confounded Santurian has—
OSSEP [interrupting him anxiously]. What has happened?
GEWO. The dear God knows what has happened to the fellow!
OSSEP. But go on, what has happened?
GEWO. What could happen? The fellow has cleared out everything.
OSSEP [disturbed and speaking softly]. What did you say, Gewo? Then I am lost, body and soul; then I am ruined!
GEWO. I hope he will go to the bottom. How is one to trust any human being nowadays? Everyone who saw his way of living must have taken him for an honest man.
OSSEP [softly]. You kill me, man!
GEWO. God in heaven should have destroyed him long ago, so that this could not have happened. But who could have foreseen it? When one went into his store everything was always in the best order. He kept his word, paid promptly when the money was due; but what lay behind that, no one knew.
OSSEP. I have depended on him so much. What do you say, Gewo? He owes me 10,000 rubles! I was going to satisfy my creditors with this sum. To-morrow his payment was due, and the next day mine. How can I satisfy them now? Can I say that I cannot pay them because Santurian has given me nothing? Am I to be a bankrupt as well as he? May the earth swallow me rather!
GEWO. I wish the earth would swallow him, or rather that he had never come into the world! I have just 2,000 rubles on hand; if you wish I will give them to you to-morrow.
OSSEP. Good; I will be very thankful for them. But what do you say to that shameless fellow? Have you seen him? Have you spoken with him?
GEWO. Of course. I have just come from him.
OSSEP. What did he say? Will he really give nothing?
GEWO. If he does not lie, he will settle with you alone. Let the others kick, he said. Go to him right off, dear Ossep. Before the thing becomes known perhaps you can still get something out of him.
OSSEP. Come with me, Gewo. Yes, we must do something, or else I am lost.
GEWO. The devil take the scoundrel!
SALOME [coming in from the left]. May I lose my sight if he is not coming already. He is already on the walk. [Looking out of the window and then walking toward the entry.] How my heart beats!
[Goes into the ante-room. Alexander appears at the window and then at the door of the ante-room.]