CHACHO [continuing]. God grant that your first may be a boy! Love and respect each other! May the eye of the Czar look down on you with mercy! [Sees Ossep.] Let the father now offer you his good wishes.
SALOME. Dear Ossep, congratulate your daughter.
NATO. Dear papa!
[Goes up to Ossep and kisses his hand. Ossep stands
ALEXANDER [seizing Ossep’s hand]. From now on, dear father, count me among your children. [Turning to Nato offended:] What is this?
SALOME. Don’t be impolite, Ossep.
CHACHO. What has happened to you, Ossep?
ALEXANDER [to Salome]. I understand nothing of this. [To Ossep:] My father, you seem dissatisfied.
OSSEP [recovering himself]. I dissatisfied! No—yes—I am dizzy.
ALEXANDER [offering him a chair]. Sit down, I pray, my father.
OSSEP [to Alexander]. Do not trouble yourself. It is already passed.
SALOME. Can one meet his son-in-law like that? And such a son-in-law, beside! Say something, do.
OSSEP. What shall I say, then? You have consummated the betrothal. God grant that all will end well. [To Alexander:] Please be seated.
ALEXANDER. My father, when do you wish the betrothal to be celebrated?
OSSEP. That depends upon you. Do as you wish.
ALEXANDER. I will invite twenty persons and bring them with me. My superiors I must invite also; it would not do to omit them.
OSSEP. Do as you see fit.
ALEXANDER [to Salome]. Perhaps he is angry with me. If there is any reason for it, pray tell me now.
SALOME. What are you saying? That cannot
[They move away a little and speak softly together.
OSSEP [on the other side of the stage to Chacho].
Could you not wait a moment?
CHACHO. What is the matter now?
OSSEP. Only God in heaven knows how I stand! Think of it! Santurian has failed.
CHACHO. Great heaven!
ALEXANDER [offering Nato his arm]. Something
must have happened!
[They go off at the left, Salome following.
OSSEP. Righteous God, why dost thou punish me thus?
SALOME [returning to Ossep]. Do with me
as you will, but it could not have been helped.
I have promised him 7,000 rubles as dowry, [Turning
to Chacho as she leaves the room:] Pray come with
me, aunt. You come, too, Ossep.
OSSEP [much excited]. What do I hear? Has she spoken the truth? Do you hear? Why do you not answer me? Why are you silent? [Still more excited.] It is true, then! Yes, yes, I see that it is true! O God, let lightning strike this unlucky house that we may all die together. I have just lost an important sum and come home to prevent further negotiations. And see there!