A sitting-room in LEBEDIEFF'S house. In the middle of the wall at the back of the
room is an arch dividing the sitting-room from the ballroom. To the right and left
are doors. Some old bronzes are placed about the room; family portraits are
hanging on the walls. Everything is arranged as if for some festivity. On the piano
lies a violin; near it stands a violoncello. During the entire act guests, dressed as
for a ball, are seen walking about in the ball-room.
Enter LVOFF, looking at his watch.
LVOFF. It is five o'clock. The ceremony must have begun. First the priest will
bless them, and then they will be led to the church to be married. Is this how
virtue and justice triumph? Not being able to rob Sarah, he has tortured her to
death; and now he has found another victim whom he will deceive until he has
robbed her, and then he will get rid of her as he got rid of poor Sarah. It is the
same old sordid story. [A pause] He will live to a fine old age in the seventh
heaven of happiness, and will die with a clear conscience. No, Ivanoff, it shall not
be! I shall drag your villainy to light! And when I tear off that accursed mask of
yours and show you to the world as the blackguard you are, you shall come
plunging down headfirst from your seventh heaven, into a pit so deep that the
devil himself will not be able to drag you out of it! I am a man of honour; it is my
duty to interfere in such cases as yours, and to open the eyes of the blind. I shall
fulfil my mission, and to-morrow will find me far away from this accursed place.
[Thoughtfully] But what shall I do? To have an explanation with Lebedieff would
be a hopeless task. Shall I make a scandal, and challenge Ivanoff to a duel? I am
as excited as a child, and have entirely lost th e power of planning anything.
What shall I do? Shall I fight a duel?
Enter KOSICH. He goes gaily up to LVOFF.
KOSICH. I declared a little slam in clubs yesterday, and made a grand slam!
Only that man Barabanoff spoilt the whole game for me again. We were playing--
well, I said "No trumps" and he said "Pass." "Two in clubs," he passed again. I
made it two in hearts. He said "Three in clubs," and just imagine, can you, what
happened? I declared a little slam and he never showed his ace! If he had
showed his ace, the villain, I should have declared a grand slam in no trumps!
LVOFF. Excuse me, I don't play cards, and so it is impossible for me to share
your enthusiasm. When does the ceremony begin?
KOSICH. At once, I think. They are now bringing Zuzu to herself again. She is
bellowing like a bull; she can't bear to see the money go.