'Don't shout at him,' said the compere gently. ' He'll repent.'
Turning his blue eyes, brimming with tears, towards Nikanor Ivanovich, he
said : ' Go back to your place Nikanor Ivanovich.'
After this the actor rang the bell and loudly announced:
Shattered by his involuntary debut in the theatre, Nikanor Ivanovich
found himself back at his place on the floor. Then he began dreaming that
the auditorium was plunged into total darkness and fiery red words leaped
out from the walls ' Hand over all foreign cirrency! '
After a while the curtains opened again and the compere announced:
'Sergei Gerardovich Dunchill on stage, please! '
Dunchill was a good-looking though very stout man of about fifty.
'Sergei Gerardovich,' the compere addressed him, ' you have been
sitting here for six weeks now, firmly refusing to give up your remaining
foreign currency, at a time when your country has desperate need of it. You
are extremely obstinate. You're an intelligent man, you understand all this
perfectly well, yet you refuse to come forward.'
'I'm sorry, but how can I, when I have no more currency? ' was
Dunchill's calm reply.
'Not even any diamonds, perhaps? ' asked the actor.
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