SALOME [at the door]. Come; pray come in. [Offers her hand.] May your coming into our house bring blessings!
ALEXANDER [making a bow]. Madame Salome [kisses her hand], I am happy that from now on I dare call myself your son.
SALOME [kissing him on the brow]. May
God make you as happy as your mother wishes.
Please, please sit down! Nato will be here immediately.
[They sit down.
ALEXANDER. How are you, Madame Salome? What is Miss Natalie doing? Since that evening I have not had the pleasure of seeing her.
SALOME. Thank you, she is very well. The concert that evening pleased me exceedingly. Thank heaven that so good a fashion has found entrance among us. In this way we have a perfect bazaar for the marriageable girls, for had not this concert taken place where would you two have found an opportunity to make each other’s acquaintance? Where else could you have caught sight of each other?
ALEXANDER. Dear lady, Miss Natalie must please everybody without concerts, and awaken love in them. Oh, how I bless my fate that it is my happy lot to win her love!
SALOME. And my Nato pleases you, dear son-in-law?
ALEXANDER. Oh, I love her with all my heart, dear madame!
SALOME. If you love her so much, dear son, why did you exact so much money? For the sake of 1,000 rubles this affair almost went to pieces. Your sister Champera swore to me that if we did not give 1,000 rubles more you would this very day betroth yourself to the daughter of Barssegh Leproink.
ALEXANDER. I wonder, Madame Salome, that you should credit such things. I marry Leproink’s daughter! I refuse Miss Natalie on her account! forget her beautiful black eyes and her good heart, and run after money! Would not that be shameful in me! I must confess to you freely, dear madame, that my sister’s way of doing things is hateful to me. Fi mauvais genre! But let us say no more about it. If only God will help us to a good ending!
SALOME. God grant that neither of you may have
anything to regret!—[rising] I will
come back immediately, dear son-in-law; I am only
going to see what is keeping Nato. [Alexander also
rises.] Keep your seat, I beg of you. How
ceremonious you are! I will come right back.
ALEXANDER [alone.] At last my burning wish is fulfilled! Now I have both a pretty wife and money. Without money a man is not of the least importance. Let him give himself what trouble he may, if he has no money, no one will pay any attention to him. I have made only one mistake in the business. I have been in too much of a hurry. If I had held out a little longer they would have given me 8,000 rubles; now I must be satisfied with 7,000. Still,