Dramatic Texts >> Aleksandr Shirvanzade
FOR THE SAKE OF HONOR by Aleksandr Shirvanzade
 
A sitting room-office used by Antreas and Pakrad Eliz-parian set between the library and the bedrooms in the upper story of the house. It is a medium sized room. At right, two windows look out onto the street. Between them Antreas' desk. On it papers and documents, a phone, and electric lamp. Near the desk at the wall a large arm chair; on the other side of the desk a plain chair. There are two doors in the upstage wall, one at center, the other at the far left. In left wall, doors which lead to the living quarters. Near these doors, Pakrad's desk with documents, pencils, engineering books, etc. A strong box behind. On the right, a stove. Chairs at the wall. A rug covers the floor at right. The windows are curtained.
 
Act I
Scene I
Sakhatel and Garinian
The curtain rises as Sakhatel, standing by Antreas' desk, speaks into the telephone. The middle doors are open. Garinian enters and begins to look about Antreas' desk. When these doors are open a bookkeeper's desk can be seen (with the young bookkeeper beside it). From time to time, there appear other employees and visitors who pass to and fro in occupied manner until the closing of the office. The sound of office machines can be heard as well as the ringing of the telephone, occasionally.

 
SAKHATEL
(Telephoning.) What can I do for you? Yes, he'll be back, soon. Huh? I can't hear. Yes. Good. Send it. Goodbye. (The bell rings and he hangs up.) What an invention ? This telephone! Good for business! Now, what was I saying, Aristages? After you finish what you're doing, start on Pakrad's accounts. (Derisively.) Our Mr. Engineer wants to know what his factory is costing him.
 
GARINIAN
But you haven't entered your expenses with the bookkeepers yet. Mr. Pakrad wants receipts for every item of expense.
 
SAKHATEL
That's what he's all about, your Mr. Pakrad ? receipts. I've worked with Antreas Elizparian all these years handling receipts enough. Yes, I've worked faithfully. The old man trusts me. The son should trust me, too. (Calmly.) What are you looking for?
 
GARINIAN
The unpaid bill made out to the Minatsaganians. (He stops looking.)
 
SAKHATEL
Hey, angel face. You've been working here all this time and you don't know that Antreas Elizparian never leaves important papers on his desk.
 
GARINIAN
Of course. Everyone's a born thief for Elizparian.
 
SAKHATEL
That's right. He thinks people will steal anything they can get their hands on. And he's right. There are no honest men on the face of the earth. We're all born thieves. (Fingers his beads, muttering, as he goes to Garinian.)
 
GARINIAN
You know, there is such a thing as conscience in the world.
 
SAKHATEL
Eh? You and your conscience. If you like it, eat it. But it won't fill your belly.
 
GARINIAN
For some it's indigestible.
 
SAKHATEL
What about you? A forty-two year old man. Look at you: white-haired, bent over. What has saying conscience, conscience netted you? Tell me, if you dropped dead this minute, would your wife find some money in your pockets?
 
GARINIAN
Maybe not, but I'd have died in peace.
 
SAKHATEL
(Bitterly derisive.) Sure. Peace for you. Leaving your children hungry in the streets. Conscience is a good thing. Too bad it's the slave of money, and wears you out day after day. Oh yes, listen: I wanted to ask you. Has Otarian been here, today?
 
GARINIAN
No.
 
SAKHATEL
Thank God. (He fingers his beads and turns away.)
 
GARINIAN
Tell me, what's going on between the young man and Mr. Antreas? SAKHATEL It's a long story. And really not our business.


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