GEWO. Come with me; perhaps we will find help somewhere.
OSSEP. There can be no more talk of help.
GEWO. Come, come; there is still a way out.
OSSEP. What way out can there be?
GEWO. Come, come; let us not delay.
OSSEP. But tell me how is it to be managed?
GEWO. Come, come! I will tell you on the way.
OSSEP. What you say sounds very strange; tell me what it is. Speak, what has occurred? Don’t fear! Don’t spare me! Whatever happens cannot be worse than what has happened; they have already sent a bullet into my heart, and what worse can they do to me, except tear open my breast and take my heart out? Speak; what is it? Have they put seals on my store?
GEWO. Come and you will see.
OSSEP. They have put seals on it, then?
GEWO. I tell—
OSSEP. You are ruined, Ossep. [Rushes to the table, seizes the box and scatters the cards; some fall on the floor.] Now you may play; now you may play. [Exit.
GEWO. Too bad; too bad about him! [Follows him.
Enter Salome, Martha, Nino, Pepel, and many well-dressed ladies, followed by two footmen carrying candelabra and lamps, which they put on the table.
SALOME. Take seats, please. The cards are already here.
MARTHA. How pretty it is, isn’t it?
The cards are already dealt.
[The ladies converse smilingly with one another.
SALOME [stepping forward and noticing the cards
on the floor].
What is this? Who can have done it?
MARTHA. Probably the cats ran over the table.
SALOME. I cannot think how it could have happened! Please sit down.
Enter Nato and her friends.
SALOME [collecting the cards]. Who can have done it? Nato, did you do it?
NATO. No, mamma, I did not touch them.
SALOME [to the guests]. Sit down, I beg.
[All the guests sit down at the table, Nato and her friends sit on the other side of the stage. Salome, standing, deals the cards which the guests hand one to the other. Then they pay in the stakes to Salome, which she lays on the table in front of her.
NATO [going to meet Alexander]. Alexander, why were you so long?
ALEXANDER. I was obliged to be [leading Nato aside excitedly, and in a whisper:] I have something to say to you.
NATO [in a whisper]. What makes your hand tremble?
ALEXANDER. They have brought action against your father in the courts.
NATO. What! For what reason?
ALEXANDER. Because of debts.
NATO. Who told you so?
ALEXANDER. Your father himself.
NATO [laughing aloud]. Ha! ha! ha! [Whispering:] My father has no debts.