—There is the burning campion.
—Don’t touch; don’t touch the flowers, girls. Her kisses are upon them. Don’t throw them on the floor, girls. Her breath is upon them. Don’t blow them away with your breath. Don’t touch, don’t touch the flowers, girls.
—He’ll come and he’ll see the flowers.
—He’ll take the kisses.
—He’ll drink her breath.
—How poor they are! How happy they are!
—Come, let’s leave.
—Haven’t we brought our dear neighbors anything?
—What a shame!
—I brought a bottle of milk and a piece of white, sweet-smelling bread. (Puts them on the table)
—I brought flowers. (Scatters them)
—We brought branches of oak and birch with green leaves. Let’s put them up around the walls. The room will look like cheerful green woods.
[They decorate the room with the branches, concealing the dark windows and covering the pinkish nakedness of the walls with leaves.
—I, brought a good cigar. It is a cheap one, but it’s strong and fragrant and will give pleasant dreams.
—And I brought a ribbon, a red ribbon. It makes a very pretty fancy bow for the hair. It’s a present my sweetheart gave me; but I have so many ribbons and she hasn’t even one.
—What did you bring, grandpa? Did you bring anything?
—Nothing, nothing, except my cough. They don’t want that, do they, neighbor?
—No more than they want my crutches. Hey, girls, who wants my crutches?
—Do you remember, neighbor?
—Do you remember, neighbor?
—Come, let’s go to sleep, neighbor. It’s late already. (They sigh and leave, one coughing, the other knocking the floor with his crutches)
—May God give them happiness. They are such good neighbors.
—God grant that they may always be healthy and merry and always love each other. And may the hideous black cat never pass between them.
—And may the good man find work. It’s bad when a man is out of work. (They leave)
[Enter immediately the Wife of Man, very pretty, graceful, and delicate, wearing flowers in her luxuriant hair which is hanging loose. The expression on her face is very sad. She seats herself on a chair, folds her hands in her lap, and speaks in a sad tone, turned toward the audience.
I’ve just returned from the city, where I went looking for I don’t know what. We are so poor, we have nothing, and it’s very hard for us to live. We need money, and I don’t know how in the world to get it. People won’t give it to you for the asking, and I haven’t the strength to take it away from them. I was looking for work, but I can’t get work either. There are lots of people and little work, they say. I looked on the ground as I walked to see if some rich person hadn’t lost his purse, but either nobody had lost one or somebody luckier than I had already picked it up. I feel so sad. My husband will soon come from his search for work, tired and hungry. What am I to give him except my kisses? But you can’t satisfy your hunger on kisses. I feel so sad I could cry.