OSSEP. It would be best for us if the earth opened and swallowed us up.
SALOME [crying]. Am I, then, so much to blame here?
OSSEP. Really, you look splendid! Go! go! that no one sees you here. It is not the first time that you have put me in a dilemma. Go! and pray God to change noon into midnight and make the streets dark, so that no one sees that you have a torn veil on your head.
SALOME [wiping away her tears]. God only knows everything I have to suffer from you!
OSSEP [alone]. Great heaven! how this world is arranged! When one trouble comes to a man a second comes along, too, and waits at his door. When I am just about ready to cope with the first, in comes the second and caps the climax. I don’t know which way to turn with all my debts; and now this women’s quarrel will be laid at my door.
BARSSEGH [coming in, angry]. I will show him that I am a man!
BARSSEGH. I want neither “good-morning” nor any other wish from you. You have, I suppose, come to help your wife. Give me a blow, too, so the measure will be full. This is surely the interest on the money you owe me.
OSSEP. Calm yourself. What, indeed, do you want?
BARSSEGH. Do you, then, believe that I will overlook my wife’s hair being pulled out? That I will not pardon.
OSSEP. What is there to pardon? Your wife tore my wife’s veil from her head.
BARSSEGH. A veil is not hair.
OSSEP. For heaven’s sake, stop! Is a women’s spat our affair?
BARSSEGH. Say what you wish, but I will do what pleases me.
OSSEP. Calm yourself; calm yourself.
BARSSEGH. Yes, yes; I will calm you, too.
OSSEP. Believe me; it is unworthy of you.
BARSSEGH. She has torn her veil, he says. What is a veil, then? A thing that one can buy, and at most costs two rubles.
OSSEP. The hair was also not her own. Why do you worry yourself about it? For a two-ruble veil she tore a two-kopeck band. The band is there, and she can fasten the hair on again.
BARSSEGH. No, you can’t get out of it that way. I will not pardon her for this insolence.
OSSEP [aside]. Great heaven!
BARSSEGH. You’ll see! you’ll see!
OSSEP. Do what you will! I did not come to you on that account. You sent for me by Micho?
BARSSEGH. Yes, you are right. Have you brought me my money? Give it to me, quick!
OSSEP. How you speak to me! Am I your servant, that you speak so roughly? You surely do not know whom you have before you. Look out, for if I go for you, you will sing another tune.
BARSSEGH. That has not happened to me yet! He owes me money, and even here he makes himself important!
OSSEP. Do you think because I owe you money I shall stand your insults? I speak politely to you, and I demand the same from you.