OSSEP. Ho! ho! As though women did not play
cards also! Formerly the cards were solely our
diversion; but they have taken them away from us.
Don’t worry yourself; with God’s help they
will be learning to play billiards. Why do you
dwell upon the fact that the men play cards? One
in a thousand plays; while of a thousand women, nine
hundred play. Men are always more moderate.
They see that the times are hard, and have given up
most of their earlier pleasures. Where are the
banquets that used to be given, one after another?
Where are the drinking-places where the music played?
They have given them up; and the women are just like
they were, only worse. To-day they arrange a picnic,
to-morrow a little party, and so on. The men
stand gaping at them, and the children are left to
the servants. If I could take the law into my
own hands, I’d soon set them right.
[Paces to and fro in anger.
CHACHO [rising, aside]. He is right.
All that he says is pure truth.
Ossep. Then Alexander.
OSSEP. O dear! O dear!
[Stands near fireplace; rests head on hand and remains motionless.
ALEXANDER [enter right]. You have come,
father? [Silence—comes near
OSSEP. Ah! Alexander [offering his hand]. Please sit down. Have you just come?
ALEXANDER. No; I have been here a long time. I was in the garden.
OSSEP. What is the news? [Both sit down.
ALEXANDER. Nothing, except that I wish to have a wedding next week.
OSSEP. So soon?
ALEXANDER. Yes; my chief goes soon to Petersburg, and I want him to be at the wedding.
OSSEP. And can’t we wait till he comes back?
ALEXANDER. That would be too long.
OSSEP. Very well. As you wish.
ALEXANDER [stammering]. But—my dear father—
OSSEP. I understand; I understand. You want me to pay over the money at once?
ALEXANDER. Yes, my dear father, if it is possible.
OSSEP. I am sorry to confess that at the present moment I have no money at hand. You must wait a little. If you wish to marry without money, that is your affair.
ALEXANDER. You amaze me!
OSSEP. It is better for me to tell you this than to deceive you. You know the law to some extent. Tell me, if I owe someone money on a note, can my creditor bring action against me and put an execution on me without having me called before the court?
ALEXANDER. Is the note attested by a notary?
ALEXANDER. He has the right to come to your house and have everything put under seal.
OSSEP. Without first bringing me into court?
ALEXANDER. Yes, without court proceedings.