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Savva and The Life of Man
by Leonid Andreyev
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KONDRATY

Really!

SAVVA

And when a dozen of their idols have gone the same way, the slaves will begin to understand that the kingdom of their God is at an end, and that the kingdom of man has come. Lots of them will drop from sheer terror. Some will lose their wits, and others will throw themselves into the fire. They'll say that Antichrist has come. Think of it, Kondraty!

KONDRATY

And aren't you sorry for them?

SAVVA

Sorry for them? Why, they built a prison for me, and I am to be sorry for them. They put me in a torture chamber, and I am to be sorry for them. Bah!

KONDRATY

Who are you to be above pity?

SAVVA

I? I am a man who have been born. And having been born, I began to look about. I saw churches and penitentiaries. I saw universities and houses of prostitution. I saw factories and picture galleries. I saw palaces and filthy dens. I calculated the number of prisons there are to each gallery, and I resolved that the whole edifice must go, the whole of it must be overturned, annihilated. And we are going to do it. Our day of reckoning has come. It is time.

KONDRATY

Who are "we"?

SAVVA

I, you Kondraty, and others.

KONDRATY

The people are stupid. They won't understand.

SAVVA

When the conflagration rages all around them, they will understand. Fire is a good teacher, old boy. Have you ever heard of Raphael?

KONDRATY

No, I haven't.

SAVVA

Well, when we are through with God, we'll go for fellows like him. There are lots of them—Titian, Shakespeare, Byron. We'll make a nice pile of the whole lot and pour oil over it. Then we'll burn their cities.

KONDRATY

Now, now you are joking. How is that possible? How can you burn the cities?

SAVVA

No, why should I be joking? All the cities. Look here, what are their cities? Graves, stone graves. And if you don't stop those fools, if you let them go on making more, they will cover the whole earth with stone, and then all will suffocate—all.

KONDRATY

The poor people will have a hard time of it.

SAVVA

All will be poor then. What is it that makes a man rich? His having a house and money, and the fact that he has surrounded himself with a fence. But when there are no houses, no money, and no fences—

KONDRATY

That's so. And there won't be any legal papers either, no stocks, no bonds, no title-deeds. They will all have been burnt up.

SAVVA

No, there will be no legal papers. It's work then—you'll have to go to work even if you are a nobleman.

KONDRATY (laughing)

It's funny. All will be naked as when coming out of a bath.

SAVVA

Are you a peasant, Kondraty?

KONDRATY

Yes, I am a peasant, sure enough.

SAVVA

I am a peasant also. We have nothing to lose, brother. We can't fare worse than we do now.

KONDRATY

How could it be worse? But a great many people will perish, Mr. Tropinin.

SAVVA

It makes no difference. There'll be enough left. It is the good-for-nothings that will perish, the fools to whom this life is like a shell to a crab. Those who believe will perish, because their faith will be taken away from them. Those who love the old will perish, because everything will be taken away from them. The weak, the sick, those who love quietness. There will be no quietness in the world, brother. There will remain only the free and the brave, those with young and eager souls and clear eyes that can embrace the whole universe.

KONDRATY

Like yours? I am afraid of your eyes, Savva Yegorovich, especially in the dark.

SAVVA

Yes, like mine. And emancipated from everything, naked, armed only with their reason, they will deliberate; discuss, talk things over, and build up a new life, a good life, Kondraty, where every man may breathe freely.

KONDRATY

It's interesting. But men are sly creatures. Something of the old will be left over. They'll hide it, or try some other trick, and then behold! back they slide to the old again, everything just as it was, just as of old. What then?

SAVVA

Just as of old? (Gloomily) Then they will have to be wiped clean off the face of the earth. Let there be no living human being on earth. Enough of it!

KONDRATY (shaking his head)

But—

SAVVA (putting his hand on his shoulder)

Believe me, monk, I have been in many cities and in many lands, Nowhere did I see a free man. I saw only slaves. I saw the cages in which they live, the beds on which they are born and die; I saw their hatreds and their loves, their sins and their good works. And I saw also their amusements, their pitiful attempts to bring dead joy back to life again. And everything that I saw bore the stamp of stupidity and unreason. He that is born wise turns stupid in their midst; he that is born cheerful hangs himself from boredom and sticks out his tongue at them. Amidst the flowers of the beautiful earth—you have no idea how beautiful the earth is, monk—they have erected insane asylums. And what are they doing with their children? I have never yet seen parents that do not deserve capital punishment; first because they begot children, and secondly because, having begot them, they did not immediately commit suicide.

KONDRATY

Good heavens, how you talk! Hearing you, one hardly knows what to think.

SAVVA

And how they lie, how they lie, monk! They don't kill the truth—no, they kick her and bruise her daily, and smear her clean face with their dirt and filth so that no one may recognize her, so that the children may not love her, and so that she may have no refuge. In all the world—yes, monk, in all the world—there is no place for truth. (Sinks into meditation. Pause)

KONDRATY

Is there no other way—without fire? It's terrible, Savva Yegorovich. Consider what it means! It's the end of the world.

SAVVA

No, it can't be helped, partner. It must be. The end of the world must come too. They were treated with medicine, and it did no good. They were treated with iron, and it did no good. Now they must be treated with fire—fire!

[Pause. Lightning flashes. The thunder has ceased. Somewhere outside a watchman can be heard striking his iron rod.

KONDRATY

And there'll be no drinkshops either?

SAVVA (pensively)

No, nothing.

KONDRATY

They'll start drinkshops again all right. Can't get along without them, you know. (A prolonged pause) Ye-es. What are you thinking about, Savva Yegorovich?

SAVVA

Nothing. (Draws a light breath, cheerfully) Well, Kondraty, shall we begin?

KONDRATY (swaying his head to and fro)

It's a mighty hard problem you have put up to me. It's a poser.

SAVVA

Never mind, don't get shaky now. You are a sensible man; you know it can't be helped; there is nothing else to do. Would I be doing it myself, if it were not necessary? You can see that, can't you?

KONDRATY (heaving a sigh)

Ye-es, hm! Why, Mr. Tropinin—why, my dear fellow—don't I know, don't I understand it all? It's a rotten, cursed life! Ah, Mr. Savva, Mr. Savva—look here. If I were to tell anyone that I am a good man, they'd laugh and say: "What are you lying for, you drunkard?" Kondraty a good man! It sounds like a joke even to myself. And yet I swear to you, by God, I am a good man! I don't know how it happened the way it did, why I am what I am now. I lived and lived, and suddenly! How it came about, what the reason of it is, I don't know.

SAVVA

And you are still afraid?

KONDRATY

What am I now? I am neither a candle for God nor a poker for the devil. Sometimes when I think matters over—ah, Mr. Savva, do you think I have no conscience? Don't I understand? I understand everything but—I am not really afraid of the devil either. I am just playing the fool. The devil—nonsense! If you were in the place of us in there, you would understand. Not long ago, when I was drunk, I cried: "Get out, devil—out of my way—am a desperate man!" I don't care for anything. I don't care if I die. I am ready. You have worked at me, Mr. Savva, until I have grown quite soft. (Wipes his eyes with his sleeves)

SAVVA

Why should you die? I don't want to die either. We are going to live for some time to come, we are. How old are you?

KONDRATY

Forty-two.

SAVVA

Just the right age.

KONDRATY

I am sorry for the ikon. They say it appeared miraculously in the river, and that's how it came to be here.

SAVVA

Nonsense. Don't waste your feelings. It's supposed to be a wonder-working ikon and hasn't one miracle to its credit. Why, it makes one feel like a fool just to say it.

KONDRATY

They say it has been replaced by the devil, so that it isn't the real one.

SAVVA

So much the better. And yet you crack your heads in front of it and fool the people about it. There is no use wasting words, my friend. It's agreed then.

KONDRATY

You have to go now. The gate will soon be closed. And all of a sudden—

SAVVA

What "all of a sudden"?

KONDRATY

And all of a sudden I'll be going to the ikon, and it will strike me down with lightning and thunder. Won't it?

SAVVA (laughing)

Don't be afraid. It won't strike you. That's what everybody thinks. They are all afraid they'll be struck by lightning and thunder. But it won't happen. Believe me, a man may blow up the ikon and no lightning will strike him. Do you need money?

KONDRATY

Have you got any?

SAVVA

I have.

KONDRATY (suspiciously)

Where did you get it?

SAVVA

What business is that of yours? Suppose I killed a rich man, or cut somebody's throat—are you going to report me to the police?

KONDRATY (reassured)

What are you thinking of, Savva Yegorovich? That's your concern. As to your offer, of course, money always comes in handy. It will enable me to leave the monastery. I'll tell you in confidence, I have long been nursing a scheme—it's my dream—to settle somewhere along the road and start an inn. I like company. I am a talkative chap myself. I know I'll succeed. It doesn't hurt a host to have a drink now and then. The guests like it. With a jolly host you'll spend every penny you have, and your pants besides, and you won't notice it. I know by personal experience.

SAVVA

Why not? You can start an inn if you want to.

KONDRATY

And besides, I am still in the full vigor of manhood. Instead of sinning here, I'd rather get legally married.

SAVVA

Don't forget to invite me to the wedding. I'll act as your godfather.

KONDRATY

You are too young. As to the money—when shall it be, before or after?

SAVVA

Judas got his before.

KONDRATY (offended)

There now, when you should be doing your best to persuade me, you call me Judas. It isn't pleasant. The idea of calling a living man Judas!

SAVVA

Judas was a fool. He hanged himself. You are going to start an inn.

KONDRATY

Again? If that's what you think of me—

SAVVA (slapping his shoulders)

Well, well, uncle, don't you see I'm joking? Judas betrayed a man, and you are not going to betray anything but lumber. Is that right, old man? Speransky and Tony appear, the latter walking very unsteadily.

KONDRATY

There—brought by the devil! With us carrying on this kind of conversation, and they—

SAVVA

It's agreed then?

KONDRATY

Oh, you're too much for me.

SPERANSKY (bowing)

Good evening once more, Mr. Savva Tropinin. Mr. Anthony and myself have just been at the other end, in the cemetery. A woman was buried there to-day, so we wanted to have a look.

SAVVA

To see if she hadn't crawled out of her grave? What are you dragging him along with you for? Tony, go to bed, you can't stand on your feet.

TONY

I won't go.

SPERANSKY

Tony is very excited to-day. He sees all kinds of faces.

SAVVA

Funny faces?

TONY

Yes, funny. What else can you expect? (Sadly) Your face, Savva, is very, very funny.

SAVVA

All right, go along with you! Take him home. What are you dragging him about with you for?

SPERANSKY

Good-bye. Come along, Mr. Anthony.

[Speransky goes out. Tony follows him, looking back at Savva, and stumbling as he goes along. They disappear in the dark.

KONDRATY

It's time for us also to be going. Have you got that money at hand?

SAVVA

Yes, I have. Now listen. Sunday is the feast-day. You are to take the machine Saturday morning and plant it at night at half past eleven, four days from now. I'll show you how to do it and everything else that's necessary. Four days more. I am sick of staying in this place.

KONDRATY

And suppose I betray you?

SAVVA (darkly)

Then I'd kill you.

KONDRATY

Good heavens!

SAVVA

Now I am going to kill you if you merely try to back out. You know too much, brother.

KONDRATY

You are joking.

SAVVA

Maybe I am joking. I am such a jolly fellow. I like to laugh.

KONDRATY

When you first came here, you were gay. Tell me, Mr. Savva (looking around cautiously), did you ever kill a man, a real live man?

SAVVA

I did. I cut the throat of that rich business man I told you about.

KONDRATY (waving his hand)

Now I see that you are joking. Well, good-bye, I am going. Don't you hang around here either. The gate will soon be closed. Oh, my—I am never afraid—but just as soon as I begin to think of the hall, it's awful. There are shadows there now. Good night.

SAVVA

Good night.

[Kondraty disappears in the dark. Lightning. Savva remains leaning on the railing to stare at the white tombstones that are momentarily revealed by the flashes of lightning.

SAVVA (to the graves)

Well, you dead ones, are you going to turn over in your graves or not? For some reason I don't feel very cheerful—oh, ye dead—I don't feel the least bit cheerful. (Lightning)

CURTAIN



THE THIRD ACT

_A festively decorated room with three windows to the street. One window is open, but the curtain is drawn. An open door, painted dark, leads into the room seen in the first act.

It is night and dark. Through the windows can be heard the continuous tramp of the pilgrims on their way to the monastery for the next day's celebration. Some are barefoot; some wear boots or bast shoes. Their steps are quick and eager, or slow and weary. They walk singly or in groups of two or three, the majority in silence, though now and then suppressed, indistinct talking may be heard. Starting from somewhere far off to the left, the sound of the footsteps and the talking, muffled at first, approaches and grows louder, until at times it seems to fill the whole room. Then it dies away in the distance again. The impression is that of some tremendous movement, elemental and irrepressible.

At the table, lighted only by a flickering stump of a tallow candle, sit Speransky and Tony. The latter is very drunk. Cucumbers, herring, and bottles of whiskey are on the table. The rest of the room is entirely dark. Occasionally the wind blows the white curtain at the window and sets the candle flame tossing.

Tony and Speransky talk in whispers. A prolonged pause follows the rise of the curtain._

TONY (bending over to Speransky, mysteriously)

So you say it is possible we do not exist, eh?

SPERANSKY (in the same manner)

As I have already stated, it is doubtful, extremely doubtful. There is very good reason to suppose that we really do not exist—that we don't exist at all.

TONY

And you are not, and I am not.

SPERANSKY

And you are not, and I am not. No one is. (Pause)

TONY (looking around, mysteriously)

Where are we then?

SPERANSKY

We?

TONY

Yes, we.

SPERANSKY

That's something no one can tell. No one knows, Anthony.

TONY

No one?

SPERANSKY

No one.

TONY (glancing around)

Doesn't Savva know?

SPERANSKY

No, Savva doesn't know either.

TONY

Savva knows everything.

SPERANSKY

But even he doesn't know that.

TONY (threatening with his finger)

Keep still, keep still! (Both look around and are silent)

TONY (mysteriously)

Where are they going, eh?

SPERANSKY

To the elevation of the ikon. To-morrow is a feast-day—the day of raising the ikon.

TONY

No, I mean where are they really going—really—don't you understand?

SPERANSKY

I do. It isn't known. No one knows, Anthony.

TONY

Hush! (Makes a funny grimace, closes his mouth with his hand and leans on it)

SPERANSKY (in a whisper)

What's the matter?

TONY

Keep quiet, keep quiet. Listen. (Both are listening)

TONY (in whisper)

Those are faces.

SPERANSKY

Yes?

TONY

It's faces that are going. A lot of faces—can't you see them?

SPERANSKY (staring)

No, I can't.

TONY

But I can. There they are, laughing. Why aren't you laughing, eh?

SPERANSKY

I feel very despondent.

TONY

Laugh. You must laugh. Everybody is laughing. Hush, hush! (Pause) Listen, nobody exists, nobody—do you understand? There is no God, there is no man, there are no animals. Here is the table—it doesn't exist. Here is the candle—it doesn't exist. The only things that exist are faces—you understand? Keep quiet, keep quiet. I am very much afraid.

SPERANSKY

What are you afraid of?

TONY (bending near to Speransky)

That I'll die of laughter.

SPERANSKY

Really?

TONY (shaking his head affirmatively)

Yes, that I'll die of laughter. I am afraid that some day I'll catch sight of a face which will send me off roaring with laughter; and I'll roar and roar until I die. Keep quiet. I know.

SPERANSKY

You never laugh

TONY

I am always laughing, but you don't see it. It's nothing. The only thing I am afraid is that I'll die. I'll come across a face one of these days which will start me off in a fit of laughter, and I'll laugh and laugh and laugh and won't be able to stop. Yes, it's coming, it's coming. (Wipes his chest and neck)

SPERANSKY

The dead know everything.

TONY (mysteriously, with awe)

I am afraid of Savva's face. It's a very funny face. One could die laughing over it. The point is that you can't stop laughing—that's the principal thing. You laugh and laugh and laugh. Is there nobody here?

SPERANSKY

Apparently no.

TONY

Keep quiet, keep quiet, I know. Keep quiet. (Pause; the tramp of the pilgrim's footsteps grows louder, as if they were walking in the very room itself) Are they going?

SPERANSKY

Yes, they are going. (Pause)

TONY

I like you. Sing me that song of yours. I'll listen.

SPERANSKY

With your permission, Anthony. (Sings in an undertone, almost in a whisper, a dismal, long-drawn-out tune somewhat resembling a litany)

Life's a sham, 'tis false, untrue, Death alone is true, aye, true.

(With increasing caution and pedantry, shaking his finger as if imparting a secret)

All things tumble, vanish, break, Death is sure to overtake Outcast, tramp, and tiniest fly Unperceived by naked eye.

TONY

What?

SPERANSKY

Unperceived by naked eye, Wheedling, coaxing, courting, wooing, Death weds all to their undoing And the myth of life is ended.

That's all, Anthony.

TONY

Keep still, keep still. You have sung your song—now keep quiet.

[Lipa enters, opens the window, removes the flowers, and looks out into the street. Then she lights the lamp.

TONY

Who is it? Is that you, Lipa? Lipa, eh, Lipa, where are they going?

LIPA

They are coming here for the feast-day. You had better go to bed, Tony, or father will see you and scold you.

SPERANSKY

Big crowds, aren't they?

LIPA

Yes. But it's so dark, you can't see. Why are you so pale, Mr. Speransky? It is positively painful to look at you.

SPERANSKY

That's how I feel, Miss Lipa.

[A cautious knock is heard at the window.

LIPA (opening the window)

Who is there?

TONY (to Speransky)

Keep quiet, keep quiet.

KING FRIAR (thrusting his smiling face through the window) Is Savva Yegorovich in? I wanted to ask him to come with me to the woods.

LIPA

No. Aren't you ashamed of yourself, Vassya? To-morrow is a big feast-day in your monastery and you—

YOUNG FRIAR (smiling)

There are plenty of people in the monastery without me. Please tell Mr. Savva that I have gone to the ravine to catch fireflies. Ask him to call out: "Ho, ho!"

LIPA

What do you want fireflies for?

YOUNG FRIAR

Why, to scare the monks with. I'll put two fireflies next to each other like eyes, and they'll think it's, the devil. Tell him, please, to call: "Ho, ho, ho!" (He disappears in the darkness)

LIPA (shouting after him)

He can't come to-day. (To Speransky) Gone already—ran off.

SPERANSKY

They buried three in the cemetery to-day, Miss Olympiada.

LIPA

Have you seen Savva?

SPERANSKY

No, I am sorry to say I haven't. I say, they buried three people to-day. One old man—perhaps you knew him—Peter Khvorostov?

LIPA

Yes, I knew him. So he's dead?

SPERANSKY

Yes, and two children. The women wept a great deal.

LIPA

What did they die of?

SPERANSKY

I am sorry, but I don't know. It didn't interest me. Some children's disease, I suppose. When children die, Miss Olympiada, they turn all blue and look as if they wanted to cry. The faces of grown people are tranquil, but children's faces are not. Why is that so?

LIPA

I don't know—I've never noticed it.

SPERANSKY

It's a very interesting phenomenon.

LIPA

There's father now. I told you to go to bed. Now I've got to listen to your brawling. I'll get out.

(Exit. Enter Yegor Tropinin)

YEGOR

Who lighted the lamp?

SPERANSKY

Good evening, Mr. Tropinin.

YEGOR

Good evening. Who lighted the lamp?

SPERANSKY

Miss Olympiada.

YEGOR (blowing it out)

Learned it from Savva. (To Tony) And you, what's the matter with you? How long, how long, for Christ's sake? How long am I to stand all this from you, you good-for-nothing loafers? Eh? Where did you get the whiskey, eh?

TONY

At the bar.

YEGOR

It wasn't put there for you, was it?

TONY

You have a very funny face, father.

YEGOR

Give me the whiskey.

TONY

I won't.

YEGOR

Give here!

TONY

I won't.

YEGOR (slaps his face)

Give it to me, I say.

TONY (falls on the sofa, still holding on to the bottle)

I won't.

YEGOR (sitting down, calmly)

All right, swill until you bust, devil. What was I saying? That fool put it out of my head. Oh yes, the pilgrims are going, it strong this time. It's been a bad year for the crops. That's another reason, I suppose. There's no grub, they have nothing to eat, and so they'll pray. If God listened to every fool's prayer, we'd have a fine time of it. If he listened to every fool, what chance would the wise man have? A fool remains a fool. That's why he is called a fool.

SPERANSKY

That's correct.

YEGOR

I should say it is correct. Father Parfeny is a smart man. He flim-flams them all right. He put up a new coffin—did you hear that? The old one has all been eaten away by the pilgrims, so he put a new one into its place. It was old, so he put a new one instead. They'll eat that one away. No matter what you give them—Tony, are you drinking again?

TONY

I am.

YEGOR

I am! I am! I'll hand you out another one in a moment and we'll see what you say then.

[Enter Savva, looking very gay and lively. He stoops less than usual, talks rapidly, and looks sharp and straight, but his gaze does not rest long on the same person or object.

SAVVA

Ah, the philosophers! Father! A worthy assemblage. Why do you keep it so dark here, like some hell-hole with a lot of rats in it? A philosopher has to have light. The dark is good only for going through people's pockets. Where is the lamp? Oh, here it is. (He lights the lamp)

YEGOR (ironically)

Perhaps you'll open the windows too?

SAVVA

Quite right. I'll open the windows also. (Opens them) My, how they keep pouring in!

SPERANSKY

A whole army.

SAVVA

And all of them will die in time and acquire peace. And then they'll know the truth, for it never comes except in the society of worms. Have I got the essence of your optimistic philosophy down right, my thin, lean friend?

SPERANSKY (with a sigh)

You are always joking.

SAVVA.

And you are always moping. Look here now. What with the poor, scanty fare the deacon's wife doles out to you and your constant grieving, you will soon die, and then your face will assume an expression of perfect peace. A peaked nose, and all around, stretching in every direction, a vast expanse of peace. Can't you get some comfort out of that? Isn't it a consolation to you? Think of it, a tiny island of nose lapped in an ocean of peace.

SPERANSKY (dejectedly)

You are still joking.

SAVVA

The idea! Who would joke about death? No, when you die, I'll follow your funeral and proclaim to all: "Behold, here is a man who has come to know the truth." Oh no, I'll rather hang you up as a banner of truth. And, the more your skin and flesh decompose and crumble, the more will the truth come out. It will be a most instructive object lesson, highly educative. Tony, why are you staring at me?

TONY (sadly)

You have a very funny face.

YEGOR

What are they talking about?

SAVVA

Father, what's the matter with your face? Have you sooted it? It looks as black as Satan's.

YEGOR (quickly putting his hand to his face)

Where?

SPERANSKY

They are just making fun. There is nothing on your face, Mr. Tropinin.

YEGOR

The fool! Satan? You are Satan yourself, God forgive me!

SAVVA (making a terrible face and holding up his fingers in the shape of horns) I am the devil.

YEGOR

By God, you are the very devil himself!

SAVVA (glancing round the room)

Isn't the devil going to get any dinner to-day? I have had all I want of sinners. I am surfeited with them. I should like to have something more appetizing now.

YEGOR

Where were you knocking about at the regular dinner hour? You'll have to do without dinner now.

SAVVA

I was with the children, father, with the children. They told me stories. They tell stories splendidly, and they were all about devils, witches, and the dead—your specialty, philosopher. They trembled with fear as they told them. That's why we stayed so long. They were afraid to go home. Misha was the only one who wasn't scared. He is a brick. He's afraid of nothing.

SPERANSKY (indifferently)

What of it? He'll die too.

SAVVA

My dear sir, don't be so funereal. You are like an undertakers' trust. Don't be forever croaking: "Die, die, die." Here, take my father, for instance. He'll soon die; but look at his face, how pleasant and cheerful it is.

YEGOR

Satan! You're the devil incarnate!

SPERANSKY

But since we don't know—

SAVVA

My good friend, life is such an interesting business. You understand—life. Come, let's have a game of jackstones to-morrow. I'll provide the jacks, first-class jacks. (Enter Lipa, unnoticed) And then you should take gymnastic exercises. I mean it seriously. See how sunken your chest is. You'll choke of consumption in a year or so. The deaconess will be glad, but it will create consternation among the dead. Seriously now. I have taken gymnastic exercises. Look. (He lifts a heavy chair easily by the leg) There, you see!

LIPA (laughing aloud)

Ha, ha, ha!

SAVVA (putting the chair down, with a touch of embarrassment)

What's the matter? I didn't know you were here.

LIPA

You, ought to join the circus as an acrobat.

SAVVA (glumly)

Don't talk nonsense.

LIPA

Are you offended?

SAVVA (suddenly bursting into a good-natured, merry laugh) Oh, a trifle! All right, the circus, why not? We'll both join it, Speransky and I. Not as acrobats though, but as clowns. How about it? Can you swallow hot junk? No? Well, I'll teach you. As for you, Lipa, won't you please let me have something to eat? I haven't had anything since this morning.

YEGOR

A regular Satan, a regular Satan! Hasn't had anything to eat! Who has ever heard of eating at this hour of the night? Who has ever seen such a thing?

SAVVA

I'll give you a chance to see it now. It's very interesting. Wait, I'll teach you also how to swallow hot junk. I'll make you an expert. You'll be a wonder.

YEGOR

Me? Fool, you can't teach me anything any more. Tony, give me the whiskey.

TONY

I won't.

YEGOR

The devil take you all! Brought up and fed a lot of—(Exit)

LIPA (handing him milk and dark bread)

You seem to be happy to-night?

SAVVA

Yes, I am, and you are happy too.

LIPA (laughing)

I am.

SAVVA

And I am happy. (He drinks the milk with avidity; the footsteps in the street grow louder, filing the room with their sound, and then die away again) What a treading and a tramping!

LIPA (looking out of the window)

The weather will be fine to-morrow. As long as I can remember the sun has always been shining brightly that way.

SAVVA

Hm, yes. That's good.

LIPA

And when they carry the ikon, it sparkles all over with the precious stones like fire. Only His face remains gloomy. All the gems don't give him any pleasure. He is sad and gloomy like the people's woe.

SAVVA (coolly)

Hm, yes. Is that so?

LIPA

Just think how many tears have fallen upon Him, how many sighs and groans He has heard! That alone is enough to make the ikon holy for all who love and sympathize with the people and understand their soul. Why, they have nobody except Christ, all those unfortunate, miserable people. When I was a little girl, I was always waiting for a miracle—

SAVVA

It would be interesting.

LIPA

But now I understand that He Himself is waiting for a miracle from the people. He is waiting for the people to stop fighting, hating, and destroying each other.

SAVVA

Well, what of it?

LIPA (fixing her gaze upon him)

Nothing. To-morrow you'll see for yourself when they carry Him in the procession. You'll see what effect the mere consciousness that He is there with them has upon them, how it transforms them, what it does to them. The whole year round they live a dog's life, in filth, quarrelling with each other, suffering. On that day all the ugliness seems to vanish. It is an awful and a joyous day when suddenly you cast away from yourself all that is superfluous and when you feel so clearly your nearness to all the unfortunates that are and ever were, and your nearness to God.

SAVVA (abruptly)

What time is it?

SPERANSKY

The clock has just struck a quarter past eleven, if I am not mistaken.

LIPA

It's still early.

SAVVA

Early for what?

LIPA

Nothing. It's still early, that's all.

SAVVA (suspiciously)

What do you mean?

LIPA (defiantly)

What I mean.

SAVVA

Why did you say it's still early?

LIPA (paling)

Because it's only a little after eleven; but when it's twelve—

SAVVA (jumping up and going to her quickly; fixing her with his stare, he speaks slowly, pronouncing every word separately and distinctly) So? Is that it? When it's twelve—(He turns to Speransky without removing his eyes from Lipa) Listen, you go home.

LIPA (frightened)

No, stay, Mr. Speransky. Please stay, I beg you.

SAVVA

If you don't go at once, I'll throw you out of the window. Well?

SPERANSKY

Excuse me, I never had the faintest idea—I was here with Mr. Anthony Tropinin. I am going instantly. Where is my hat? I put it here somewhere—

SAVVA

There's your hat. (Throws it to him)

LIPA (feebly)

Stay here awhile longer, Mr. Speransky. Sit down.

SPERANSKY

No, it's late. I must go to bed. Good night, Miss Olympiada. Good night, Mr. Tropinin. Your brother is asleep already, I believe. You ought to take him to bed. I'm going, I'm going. (Exit)

SAVVA (speaking in a quiet, calm tone; his movements are heavy and slow, as if his body had suddenly stiffened) You know it?

LIPA

I do.

SAVVA

You know all?

LIPA

All.

SAVVA

Did the monk tell you?

LIPA

He did.

SAVVA

Well?

LIPA (drawing back a little, and raising her hand for protection)-Well, nothing will happen. There'll be no blowing up. You understand, Savva, there'll be no explosion.

[Pause. Footsteps are heard in the street, and indistinct talking. Savva turns around. Stooping more than usually, he takes a turn around the room with peculiar slowness.

SAVVA

Well?

LIPA

Then you had better believe me, brother. Believe me.

SAVVA

Yes?

LIPA

Why that was—I don't know what it was—it was a piece of madness. Think it over.

SAVVA

Is it really true?

LIPA

Yes, it's true. It's all over. You can't help it any more. There is nothing for you to do.

SAVVA

Tell me how it happened. (Sits down deliberately, his eyes fixed on Lipa)

LIPA

I guessed a little something long ago—that day when you spoke to me—only I didn't know exactly what it was. And I saw the little machine too. I have another key to the trunk.

SAVVA

Evidently you have been cut out for a spy. Go on!

LIPA

I am not afraid of insults.

SAVVA

Never mind, never mind—go on.

LIPA

Then I saw that you had frequent talks with that fellow—Kondraty. Yesterday I looked in the trunk again, and the machine wasn't there. So I understood.

SAVVA

You say you have another key?

LIPA

Yes. The trunk is mine, you know. Well, and to-day—

SAVVA

When to-day?

LIPA

Toward evening—I couldn't find Kondraty anywhere—I told him that I knew all. He got very much frightened and told me the rest.

SAVVA

A worthy pair—spy and traitor.

LIPA

If you are going to insult me, I won't say another word.

SAVVA

Never mind, never mind—go on.

LIPA

He was going to tell the Father Superior, but I didn't let him. I didn't want to ruin you.

SAVVA

No?

LIPA

When it was, all over, I understood what a crazy scheme it was—so crazy that I simply can't think of it as real. It must have been a nightmare. It's quite impossible. And I began to feel sorry for you—

SAVVA

Yes.

LIPA

I am sorry for you now too. (With tears) Savva, darling, you are my brother. I have rocked your cradle. My dear angel, what idea is this you have got into your mind? Why, it's terrible—it's madness. I understand how hard it must be for you to see how people live, and so you have resolved on a desperate deed. You have always been good and kind, and so I can understand you. Don't you think it's hard for me to see this life? Don't you think I suffer myself? Give me your hand.

SAVVA (pushing her hand away)

He told you he would go to the Superior?

LIPA

But I didn't let him.

SAVVA

Has he got the machine?

LIPA

He'll give it back to you to-morrow. He was afraid to give it to me. Savva dear, don't look at me like that. I know it's unpleasant for you, but you have a lot of common sense. You can't help seeing that what you wanted to do was an absurdity, a piece of lunacy, a vagary that can come to one only in one's dreams at night. Don't I understand that life is hard? Am I not suffering from it myself? I understand even your comrades, the anarchists. It's not right to kill anybody; but still I understand them. They kill the bad.

SAVVA

They are not my comrades. I have no comrades.

LIPA

Aren't you an anarchist?

SAVVA

No.

LIPA

What are you then?

TONY (raising his head)

They are going, they are going. Do you hear?

SAVVA (quietly, but ominously)

They are going.

LIPA

There, you see. Who is going? Think of it. It's human misery that's going. And you wanted to take away from them their last hope, their last consolation. And to what purpose? In the name of what? In the name of some wild, ghastly dream about a "naked earth." (Peers with terror into the darkness of the room) A naked earth! It's terrible to think of it. A naked earth! How could a man, a human being, ever conceive such an idea? A naked earth! Nothing, nothing! Everything laid bare, everything annihilated. Everything that people worked for through all the years; everything they have created with so much toil, with so much pain. Unhappy people! There is among you a man who says that all this must be burned, must be consumed with fire.

SAVVA

You remember my words to perfection.

LIPA

You awakened me, Savva. When you told me all that, my eyes were suddenly opened, and I began to love everything. Do you understand? I began to love it all. These walls—formerly I didn't notice them; now I am sorry for them—so sorry, I could cry. And the books and everything—each brick, each piece of wood to which man has applied his labor. Let's admit that it's poor stuff. Who says it's good? But that's why I love it—for its defects, its imperfections, its crooked lines, its unfulfilled hopes. For the labor and the tears. And all who hear you talking, Savva, will feel as I do, and will begin to love all that is old and dear and human.

SAVVA

I have nothing to do with you.

LIPA

Nothing to do with us? With whom then have you to do? No, Savva, you don't love anyone. You love only yourself and your dreams. He who loves men will not take away from them all they have. He will not regard his own wishes more than their lives. Destroy everything! Destroy Golgotha! Consider: (with terror) destroy Golgotha! The brightest, the most glorious hope that ever was on earth! All right, you don't believe in Christ. But if you have a single drop of nobility in your nature, you must respect and honor His noble memory. He was also unhappy. He was crucified—crucified, Savva. You are silent? Have you nothing to say?

SAVVA

Nothing.

LIPA

I thought—I thought—if you succeeded in carrying out your plot—I thought I'd kill you—that I'd poison you like some noxious beast.

SAVVA

And if I don't succeed—

LIPA

You are still hoping?

SAVVA

And if I don't succeed, I'll kill you.

LIPA (advancing a step toward him)

Kill me! Kill me! Give me a chance to suffer for the sake of Christ. For the sake of Christ and for the sake of the people.

SAVVA

Yes. I'll kill you.

LIPA

Do you suppose I didn't think of it? Do you suppose I didn't think of it? Oh, Lord, to suffer for Thee! Is there higher happiness than that?

SAVVA (with a contemptuous gesture, pointing at Lipa)

And that's a human being! That's one counted among the best! That's the kind in which they take pride! Ah me, how poor you are in good people!

LIPA

Insult! Mock! That's the way it has always been. They have always heaped insults upon us before they killed us.

SAVVA

No, I don't mean to insult you. How can I insult you? You are simply a silly woman. There have been many such in the past. There are many such to-day. You are simply a foolish, insignificant creature. You are even innocent, like all insignificant persons. And if I mean to kill you, there is no reason to be proud of it. Don't think you are an object specially worthy of my indignation. No, it would merely make matters a little easier for me. When I was chopping wood, and the axe in my raised arm struck the threshold instead of the log of wood, the jar was not so hard as if someone had arrested the motion of my arm. A raised hand must fall on something.

LIPA

And to think that this beast is my brother!

SAVVA

Whose cradle you rocked and whose diapers you changed. Yes. But to me it doesn't seem in the least strange that you are my sister, or that this bundle there is my brother. No, Tony! They are going. (Tony turns his head and stares stupidly without making any answer) And it doesn't seem in the least strange to me that any insignificant chit and piece of nothingness calling itself my brother or my sister should go to the chemist's and buy a nickel's worth of arsenic on finding out who I am. You see, they have even attempted to poison me. The girl who left me tried to do it, but she lost her nerve. The point is that my sisters and brothers, among other things, have the characteristic of being cowards.

LIPA

I would have done it.

SAVVA

I don't doubt it. You are a little hysterical, and hysterical people are determined, unless they happen to burst into tears first.

LIPA

I hysterical? All right, have it your way, have it your way. And who are you, Savva?

SAVVA

That doesn't interest me.

LIPA

They are going, they are going. And they will find what they need. And that is the work of an hysterical woman. Do you hear how many of them there are? And if they found out—if I were to open the window this minute and cry out: "This man here has tried to destroy your Christ"—If you want it, I'll do it this instant. You need only say so. Shall I? (She takes a step toward the window in a frenzy of rage) Shall I?

SAVVA

Yes, it's a good way of escaping the crown of thorns. Go ahead, shout. But look out, don't knock Tony down.

LIPA (turning back)

I am sorry for you. You are beaten, and one doesn't like to kick a man who is down. But remember, remember, Savva, there are thousands, thousands of them coming in, and each one is your death!

SAVVA (smiling)

The tramp of death.

LIPA

Remember that each one of these would consider himself happy in killing you, in crushing you like a reptile. Each one of these is your death. Why, they beat a simple thief to death, a horse thief. What would they not do to you! You who wanted to steal their God.

SAVVA

Quite true. That's property too.

LIPA

You still have the brazenness to joke? Who gave you the right to do such a thing? Who gave you power over people? How dare you meddle with what to them is right? How dare you interfere with their life?

SAVVA

Who gave me the right? You gave it to me. Who gave me the power? You gave it to me. And I will cling to it with grim determination. Try to take it from me. You gave it to me—you with your malice, your ignorance, your stupidity! You with your wretched impotence! Right! Power! They have turned the earth into a sewer, an outrage, an abode of slaves. They worry each other, they torture each other, and they ask: "Who dares to take us by the throat?" I! Do you understand? I! (Rises)

LIPA

You are a mere man like everybody else.

SAVVA

I am the avenger! Behind me follow in pursuit all those whom you stifled and crushed. Ah, they have been pursuing their wicked trade in all quietness, thinking that no one would discover them—thinking that they would get away with it in the end. They have been lying, grovelling, and sneaking. They have been cringing and abusing themselves before their altars and their impotent God, saying: "There is nothing to be afraid of—we are among ourselves." Then comes a man who says: "An accounting—I want an accounting! What have you done? Out with it. Give me an accounting. Go on now! Don't try to cheat, for I know you. I demand an account for each and every single item. I will not condone a single drop of blood, I will not absolve you from a single tear."

LIPA

But to destroy all. Think of it!

SAVVA

What could you do with them? What would you do? Try to persuade the oxen to turn away from their bovine path? Catch each one by his horns and pull him away? Would you put on a frock-coat and read a lecture? Haven't they had plenty to teach them? As if words and thoughts had any significance to them! Thought—pure, unhappy thought! They have perverted it. They have taught it to cheat and defraud. They have made it a saleable commodity to be bought at auction in the market. No, sister, life is short and I am not going to waste it in arguments with oxen. The way to deal with them is by fire. That's what they require—fire! Let them remember long the day on which Savva Tropinin came to the earth!

LIPA

But what do you want? What do you want?

SAVVA

What do I want? To free the earth, to free mankind, to sweep the whole two-legged, chattering tribe out of existence. Man—the man of to-day—is wise. He has come to his senses. He is ripe for liberty. But the past eats away his soul like a canker. It imprisons him within the iron circle of things already accomplished, within the iron circle of facts. I want to demolish the facts—that's what I want to do: demolish all facts! To sweep away all the accumulated rubbish—literature, art, God. They have perverted mankind. They have immortalized stupidity. I want to do away with everything behind man, so that there is nothing to see when he looks back. I want to take him by the scruff of his neck and turn his face toward the future.

LIPA

Look here, Savva. You are not immortal, and the two-legged animal has arms also.

SAVVA

Do you think I don't know that every one of these stupid asses would be glad to kill me? But it won't happen, it won't happen. The time has come for my arrival, and I have arrived. Prepare yourselves. The time has come. You little insignificant thing there—you thought that by stealing one little possibility away from me you could rob me of all? Oh no—I am as rich as ever.

LIPA

I am your sister, but oh! how glad I am that you are not immortal.

SAVVA

I see that you are a thoroughgoing anarchist. They too think that all is done if one man is killed. But if they kill me, hang me, break me on the wheel, there will come another purer than I. Where there's an itch, there is always somebody to scratch it! Yes, sister! If not I, then someone else, and (clenching his fist) it will fare ill with your world.

LIPA

You are a terrible man. I thought you would be crushed by your failure, but you are like Satan. The fall has only made you blacker.

SAVVA

Yes, Lipa, only a sparrow can fly straight up from the ground. A large bird must descend to adjust and spread its wings for its upward flight.

LIPA

Aren't you sorry for the children? Think of the number of children that will have to perish.

SAVVA

What children? Oh yes, Misha. (Tenderly) Misha is a fine boy, that's true. When he grows up, he will show you no mercy. Yes, the children—You are beginning to be afraid of them, and you have good reason for it. Never mind. It's true that I love children. (With pride) And they love me. But they don't care for you.

LIPA

I don't play jackstones with them.

SAVVA

How silly you are, sister. But I like to play with them.

LIPA

Then go ahead and play.

SAVVA

Well, I will play.

LIPA

When you talk like that I have the feeling once more that it has all been a dream—all that we were saying just now. Is it really true that you want to kill me?

SAVVA

Yes, if it must be done. But perhaps it won't be necessary.

LIPA

You are joking!

SAVVA

Every one of you will have it that I am joking. You keep constantly telling me so. You seem to have utterly lost the sense for what is serious.

LIPA

No, it's not a dream. They are going.

SAVVA

Yes, they are going. (Both listen)

LIPA

You still seem to believe. What do you believe?

SAVVA

I believe in my destiny. (The hour begins to strike in the belfry of the monastery) Twelve.

LIPA (counting)

Seven—eight—and to think that this is the hour when it should have happened—the very idea of it—(A muffled report as of a powerful explosion is heard) What was that?

SAVVA

Yes, what was it?

[Both rush to the window, waking Tony, who moves his head sleepily. The tread of the footsteps in the street stops momentarily. Then all begin to run. Frightened cries are heard, weeping, loud, abrupt ejaculations of "What's the matter?" "Oh, Lord!" "Fire, fire!" "No, something has fallen down!" "Let's run!" The word "monastery" is frequently heard.

TONY

They are running! Where are they running to? Why is nobody here?

PELAGUEYA (entering the room, half dressed)

Oh, Lord! Oh, heavens! Is it possible the monastery is on fire! Good gracious! Heavens! And you here, you drunken sot! You monster!

TONY

Oho! They are running? Faces, mugs, eh?

[The bell begins to toll the alarm. Then the strokes follow each other in more rapid succession; hasty, disquieting, uneven, they blend with the noise of the street and seem to creep through the window.

PELAGUEYA (crying)

Good God, I don't know where to turn.

[She runs out. The cries in the street grow louder. Someone yells in one prolonged note "Oh-oh-oh!" until the sound is drowned in the general noise, excitement, and ringing.

LIPA (moving away from the window, very pale, stupefied) What does it mean? It cannot be. It is impossible. Tony, Tony, get up. Tony, brother, what does it mean? Tony!

TONY (reassuringly)

It's nothing. They are all faces.

SAVVA (leaving the window, calm and stern, but also pale) Well, sister?

LIPA (flinging herself about the room)

I want to run with the rest. I'll run. Where is my scarf? Where is my scarf? My God, My God! Where is my scarf?

SAVVA

Your scarf? There it is. But I won't give it to you. Sit down; you have nothing to do there.

LIPA

Let me have it.

SAVVA

No, sit down, sit down. It's too late now anyway.

LIPA

Too late?

SAVVA

Yes, too late. Don't you hear the noise the crowd is making and the way they are running and pushing?

LIPA

I'll run, I'll run.

SAVVA

Keep still—sit down. (Forces her to sit down) Tony, did you hear? They've exploded God.

TONY (looking at Savva's face in terror)

Savva, don't make me laugh. Turn your face away.

[Savva smiles and walks around the room with buoyant step, without his usual stoop.

LIPA (faintly)

Savva.

SAVVA

What is it? Speak louder.

LIPA

Is it, really true?

SAVVA

It's true.

LIPA

And doesn't He really exist?

SAVVA

He does not.

[Lipa begins to cry, at first low, then more and more loudly. The sound of the ringing bells and the noise of the crowd continue to swell. The rolling and clatter of wagons is also heard.

SAVVA

They are running. My, how they are running! (Lipa says something, but her words are inaudible) Louder. I can't hear you. My, how they are ringing.

LIPA (aloud)

Kill, me, Savva.

SAVVA

Why? You'll die anyhow.

LIPA

I can't wait. I'll kill myself.

SAVVA

Go ahead, kill yourself, kill yourself quick!

[Lipa cries, burying her head in the armchair Tony, his face distorted with fear, looks at Savva, holding both his hands in readiness at his mouth. Loud peals of the bell. The disquieting sound blends with the loud tone of Savva's speech.

SAVVA (shouting)

Ah! They are ringing. Ring on! Ring on! Soon the whole earth will ring. I hear! I hear! I see your cities burning! I see the flames. I hear the crackling. I see the houses tumbling on your heads. There is no place to run to. No refuge! No refuge! Fire everywhere. The churches are burning. The factories are burning. The boilers are bursting. An end to all slavish toil!

TONY (trembling with fear)

Savva, shut up, or I am going to laugh.

SAVVA (unheeding)

The time has come! The time has come! Do you hear? The earth is casting you out. There is no place for you on earth. No! He is coming! I see him! He is coming, the free man! He is being born in the flames! He himself is fire and resolution! An end to the earth of slaves!

TONY

Savva, shut up!

SAVVA (bending down to Tony)

Be prepared! He is coming! Do you hear his tread? He is coming! He is coming!

CURTAIN



THE FOURTH ACT

_Near the monastery. A broad road crosses the stage obliquely. On the far side of the road is the river, beyond which opens a wide prospect of the surrounding country—meadows, woods, and villages, with the crosses of the churches burning in the sun. In the distance, at the right, where the mountain projects over a glistening bend of the river, is seen a part of the walls and the towers of the monastery. On the near side of the road is a hilly elevation covered with trampled grass. It is between five and six in the morning. The sun is out. The mist over the meadow is scattering slowly.

Now and then a pilgrim or group of pilgrims may be seen hurrying by on their way to the monastery. Wagons carrying cripples and other monstrosities pass along the road. The noise of thousands may be heard from the monastery. The crowd is evidently moved by some joyous emotion. No individual voices are heard, but it is as if one could feel the singing of the blind, the cries, and the quick, glad snatches of conversation. The general effect is that of an elemental force. The noise decreases at regular intervals, like a wave, and then the singing of the blind becomes distinctly audible.

Lipa and the Young Friar appear on the near side of the road: Lipa is sitting on the hillock, dressed as she was the night before, but her head is covered with a white scarf carelessly tied. She is exhausted with joy and almost dropping off to sleep. The Friar stands near her. On his face there is a troubled, vacant look. His movements are irresolute and aimless. He tries to smile, but his smile is twisted and pitiful. He is like a child who feels hurt without knowing the cause._

LIPA (untying her scarf)

Heavens, but this is splendid! I should like to die here. I can't get enough of it. Oh, it's splendid, it's splendid!

FRIAR (looking around)

Yes, it is splendid. But I can't stand it in there. I can't. They push and jostle and press and jam. They crushed the life out of one woman, absolutely crushed her. She had a child with her. I couldn't look at it. I—I'll go to the woods.

LIPA

How splendid! Oh, Lord!

FRIAR (looking dejectedly into the distance)

I'll go to the woods.

LIPA

And to think that only yesterday everything was just as usual. There was nothing of all this, no miracle, nothing. There was only Savva—I can't believe it was yesterday. It seems to me a whole year has passed, a century. Oh, Lord!

FRIAR (his face clouding)

Why did he do it? Why?

LIPA

Can't you guess, Vassya?

FRIAR (waving his hand)

I asked him to come to the woods with me. He should have come.

LIPA

Did he tell you anything?

FRIAR (waving his hand)

He should have come. Yes, he should have come.

LIPA

Ah, Vassya, Vassya, on account of your woods you missed one of the greatest events that ever happened—so great, in fact, that no man remembers the like of it. Ah, Vassya, how can you be speaking about anything else when right now, right here—right here—a miracle has happened. Do you understand? A miracle! The very mention of it fills one with awe. A miracle! Oh, God! Where were you, Vassya, when the explosion occurred? In the woods?

FRIAR

Yes, in the woods. I didn't hear the explosion. I only heard the ringing of the alarm bell.

LIPA

Well?

FRIAR

Nothing. I ran back and found the gate open and everybody crying like mad. And the ikon—

LIPA

Well, well? Did you see?

FRIAR

Yes, it was in the same place as before. And all around—(Growing animated) You know the iron grating over there—you know it, don't you? It was twisted like a rope. It's funny to look at. It looks like something soft. I touched it, and it wasn't soft, of course. What power! It must have been something tremendous.

LIPA

Well, and what about the ikon—the ikon?

FRIAR

What about it? Nothing. It's there in its place, and our people are praying to it.

LIPA

Oh, Lord! And the glass is whole too?

FRIAR

The glass is whole too.

LIPA

That's what they told me, but I can't believe it yet. Forgive me, O Lord! Well, what are they doing? They are overjoyed, I suppose.

FRIAR

Yes, they are overjoyed. They act as if they were drunk. You can't make out what they are saying. A miracle, a miracle. Father Kirill keeps grunting like a pig "Oui, oui, oui." They put cold compresses on his head. He is fat, and he may pass out any moment. No, I can't stand it here. Come, let us go. I'll take you home, Miss Olympiada.

LIPA

No, Vassya dear, I'll go in there.

FRIAR

Don't go, for heaven's sake. They'll crush you, as they did that woman. They are all like drunk. They are carrying on and shouting like mad, with their eyes wide open. Listen. Can't you hear them?

LIPA

You are still a boy, Vassya. You don't understand. Why, it's a miracle. All their lives these people have been waiting for a miracle. Perhaps they had already begun to despair, and now—O Lord! It's enough to make you mad with joy. Yesterday, when I heard the cry of "a miracle," I thought: "No, it's impossible. How could it happen?" But then I saw them crying, crossing themselves, and going down on their knees. And the ringing of the alarm bell stopped.

FRIAR

Oh, it was Afanassy who rang. He's terribly strong, a regular giant.

LIPA

And the only thing heard was "A miracle, a miracle!" No one spoke, and yet one kept hearing "A miracle, a miracle," as if the whole earth had become articulate. And even now, when I close my eyes, I hear "A miracle, a miracle!" (She closes her eyes and listens with an ecstatic smile) How splendid!

FRIAR

I am sorry for Mr. Savva. Listen to the noise they are making.

LIPA

Oh, don't talk about him. He'll have to answer to God. Are they going to sing "Christ is arisen" instead of the usual hymn when they carry the ikon in the procession to-day? Vassya, do you hear? I am asking you a question.

FRIAR

Yes, they say that they are. Go home, Miss Olympiada, won't you?

LIPA

You can go, if you like.

FRIAR

But how can I leave you alone? They'll come tearing down here soon. For heaven's sake, there is Mr. Savva!

[Savva comes in hatless. His face is dark and stormy. There are lines under his eyes. He looks sideways with a steady stare. Frequently he glances around and seems to be listening to something. His gait is heavy, but quick. Noticing Lipa and the Friar, he turns and walks toward them. At his approach Lipa rises and turns away.

SAVVA

Have you seen Kondraty?

FRIAR

No, he is in the monastery.

[Savva remains standing in silence. The noise in the monastery has subsided and the sad, pitiful singing of the blind is heard.

FRIAR

Mr. Savva.

SAVVA

Have you got a cigarette?

FRIAR

No, I don't smoke. (Plaintively) Come to the woods, Mr. Savva. (Savva remains immovable and silent) They'll kill you, Mr. Tropinin. Come to the woods—please come! (Savva looks fixedly at him, then silently turns and walks away) Mr. Tropinin, on my word you had better come with me to the woods.

LIPA

Leave him alone. He is like Cain. He can't find a place on the earth. Everybody is rejoicing, and he—

FRIAR

His face is black. I am sorry for him.

LIPA

He is black all through. You had better keep away from him, Vassya. You don't know whom you are pitying. You are too young. I am his sister. I love him, but if he is killed, it will be a benefit to the whole world. You don't know what he wanted to do. The very thought of it is terrible. He is a madman, Vassya, a fearful lunatic. Or else he is—I don't know what.

FRIAR (waving his hand)

You needn't tell me all that. I know. Of course I know. Don't I see? But I am sorry for him all the same, and I am disgusted too. Why did he do it? Why? What stupid things people will do! Oh, my!

LIPA

I have only one hope—that he has understood at last. But if—

FRIAR

Well, what's the "if"?

LIPA

Oh, nothing, but—When he came here, it was as if a cloud had passed across the sun.

FRIAR

There you go also! You should be happy—Why don't you rejoice? Don't be "iffing" and "butting."

[A crowd begins to collect gradually. Two wagons with cripples stop on the road. A paralytic has been sitting for some time under a tree, crying and blowing his nose and wiping it with his sleeve. A Man in Peasant Overcoat appears from the direction of the monastery.

MAN IN OVERCOAT (officiously)

We must get the cripples over to Him, to the ikon—we must get them over there. What's the matter, women, are you asleep? Come on, move along. You'll get your rest over there. What's the matter with you, gran'pa? Why aren't you moving along? You ought to be there with your legs. Go on, old man, go on.

PARALYTIC (crying)

I can't walk.

MAN IN OVERCOAT (fussily)

Oh, that's it? That's what's the matter with you, eh? Come, I'll give you a lift. Get up.

PARALYTIC

I can't.

PASSER-BY

Won't his legs work? What you want to do is to put him on his feet, and then he'll hop away by himself. Isn't that right, old man?

MAN IN OVERCOAT

You take hold of him on that side, and I'll take this one. Well, old man, get a move on you. You won't have to suffer long now.

PASSER-BY

There he goes hop, hop. That's right. Go it, go it, old man, and you won't get left. (He goes away)

FRIAR (smiling happily)

They started him going all right. Clever, isn't it? He is galloping away at a great rate too. Good-bye, old gran'pa.

LIPA (crying)

Lord! Lord!

FRIAR (pained)

What's the matter? Don't cry, for pity's sake. What are you crying for? There is no cause for crying.

LIPA

No cause do you say, Vassya? I am crying for joy. Why aren't you glad, Vassya? Don't you believe in the miracle?

FRIAR

Yes, I do. But I can't bear to see all this. They all behave like drunks, and shout and make a noise. You can't understand what they are talking about. They crushed that woman. (With pain and disgust) They squeezed the life out of her. Oh, Lord, I simply can't! And the whole business. Father Kirill keeps grunting "Oui, oui, oui." (Laughs sadly) Why is he grunting?

LIPA (sternly)

You learned that from Savva.

FRIAR

No, I didn't. Tell me, why is he grunting? (Laughs sadly) Why?

[Yegor Tropinin enters dressed in holiday attire, his beard and hair combed. He looks extremely solemn and stern.

YEGOR

Why are you here, eh? And in that kind of dress? You're a fine sight.

LIPA

I had no time to get dressed.

YEGOR

But you found time to get here. What you have no business to do you have time for, but what you should do you have no time for. Go home and get dressed. It isn't proper. Who has ever seen such a thing?

LIPA

Oh, papa!

YEGOR

There is nothing to "oh" about. It's all right, papa is papa, but you see I am properly dressed. I dressed and then went out. That's the right way to do. Yes. It's a pleasure to look at myself sideways. I dressed as was proper, yes. On a day like this you ought to give a hand at the counter. Tony has disappeared, and Polya can't do all the work herself. You needn't be making such a face now.

MERCHANT (passing by)

Congratulate you on the miracle, Mr. Tropinin!

YEGOR

Thank you, brother, the same to you. Wait, I'll go with you. You are a goose, Olympiada. You have always been a goose, and you have remained a goose to this day.

MERCHANT

You'll have a fine trade now.

YEGOR

If it please the Lord! Why are you so late? Have you been sleeping? You keep sleeping, all of you, all the time. (They go out)

FRIAR

I scattered all the fireflies I caught on the road when I ran last night. And now the crowd has trampled them down. I wish I had left them in the woods. Listen to the way they are shouting. I wonder what's the matter. They must have squeezed somebody to death again.

LIPA (closing her eyes)

When you talk, Vassya, your words seem to pass by me. I hear and I don't hear. I think I should like to stay this way all my life without moving from the spot. I should like to remain forever with my eyes shut, listening to what is going on within me. Oh, Lord! What happiness! Do you understand, Vassya?

FRIAR

Yes, I understand.

LIPA

No. Do you understand what it is that has happened to-day? Why, it means that God has said—God Himself has said: "Wait and do not fear. You are miserable. Never mind, it's nothing, it's only temporary. You must wait. Nothing has to be destroyed. You must work and wait." Oh, it will come, Vassya, it will come. I feel it now, I know it.

FRIAR

What will come?

LIPA

Life, Vassya, real life will come. Oh, mercy! I still feel like crying for joy. Don't be afraid.

[Speransky and Tony enter, the latter very gloomy, glancing sideways and sighing. In a queer way he sometimes recalls Savva his gait and look.

SPERANSKY

Good morning, Miss Olympiada. Good morning, Vassya. What an extraordinary event, if we are to believe what people say.

LIPA

Believe, Mr. Speransky, believe.

SPERANSKY

You judge in a very simple offhand manner. If, however, you take into consideration the fact that it is highly probable that nothing exists, that even we ourselves do not exist—

TONY

Keep quiet.

SPERANSKY

Why? There is no miracle for me, Miss Olympiada. If at this moment, for example, everything on this earth were suddenly to be suspended in the air, I shouldn't regard it as a miracle.

LIPA

As what then? You're a very peculiar man.

SPERANSKY

I should look on it simply as a change. It was first one thing and then it became another. If you wish, I'll admit that for me the very fact that things are as they are is in itself a miracle. All are glad and rejoicing but I sit and think: "Time is blinking his eyes now, and there is a change. The old people are dead, and in their places appear the young. And they are apparently glad and rejoicing too."

TONY

Where is Savva?

LIPA

Why do you want him?

SPERANSKY

He has been looking for Mr. Savva ever so long. We have looked everywhere, but have not been able to find him.

FRIAR

He was here awhile ago.

TONY

Where did he go?

FRIAR

To the monastery, I think.

TONY (pulling Speransky)

Come.

SPERANSKY

Good-bye, Miss Olympiada. How they are shouting over there! The time will come when they will all be silent. (They go off)

FRIAR (disturbed)

Why are they looking for Mr. Savva?

LIPA

I don't know.

FRIAR

I don't like that seminarist. Always nosing about where there are dead around. What does he want? He is a dreadfully disagreeable fellow. Never misses a funeral. He smells death miles away.

LIPA

He is an unhappy creature.

FRIAR

Unhappy? Why is he unhappy? Even the dogs in the village are afraid of him. You don't believe it? It's so, upon my word! They bark at him, and then slink away behind the gate.

LIPA

What does all this matter anyway, Vassya? It's of no account, mere trifles. To-day they are going to sing: "Christ is arisen from the dead. Death has conquered death." Do you understand? "Death has conquered death."

FRIAR

I understand. I understand. But why does he say "All will become silent" and that sort of stuff? I don't like it, I don't like it. They have crushed a woman to death—perhaps others too. (Shaking his head) I don't like it. In the woods everything is so quiet and nice, and here—I'd prefer that no miracle had happened. I'd rather have things nice and pleasant. What's the use of it? What's the use of the miracle? There is no need of a miracle.

LIPA

What are you talking about, Vassya?

FRIAR

Savva Tropinin! The idea. It shouldn't have been done. There was no need of it. He said he'd go with me to the woods and then—I liked him a lot, but now I am afraid of him. Why did he do it? Why? My, what a fearful crowd! More cripples coming, and more and more.

LIPA

What is the matter, Vassya? What are you so excited about?

FRIAR

Everything was so nice and fine. Oh, my! Why don't you go home, Miss Olympiada? Do go, please. You have seen all there is to be seen. It's enough. What can you gain by staying here? Come, I'll go with you. Oh, God, there comes Mr. Savva again!

LIPA

Where?

FRIAR

There he is. For heaven's sake!

SAVVA (enters and sits down)

Has Kondraty been here?

FRIAR

No, Mr. Savva.

[Pause. Again the piteous singing of the blind can be heard.

SAVVA

Got a cigarette, Vassya?

FRIAR

No, I haven't. I don't smoke.

LIPA (harshly)

What are you waiting for, Savva? Go away. You are not wanted here. Look at yourself. You are a terrible sight. Your face is black.

SAVVA

I didn't sleep all last night. That's why it's black.

LIPA

What are you waiting for?

SAVVA

For an explanation.

LIPA

You don't believe in the miracle?

SAVVA (smiling)

Vassya, do you believe in the miracle?

FRIAR

Yes, of course I do, Mr. Savva.

SAVVA

Wait. You'll find out. What are they doing down there? They have already crushed three to death.

FRIAR Three?

SAVVA

And they'll kill many more. And they all keep shouting: "A miracle, a miracle!" At last it has come. They have got what they have been waiting for at last.

LIPA

And it's you, Savva, who gave them the miracle. It's you who are to be thanked for it.

SAVVA (gloomily)

Well, Vassya, the monks are glad, aren't they? Tell me, don't be afraid.

FRIAR

They are very glad, Mr. Savva. They are crying.

SAVVA (looking at him)

Crying? Why are they crying?

FRIAR

I don't know. I suppose for joy. Father Kirill grunts like a pig "Oui, oui, oui." They all act as if they were drunk.

SAVVA (rising, agitated)

As if they were drunk? What does that mean? Perhaps they really are drunk.

FRIAR

Oh no, Mr. Tropinin. It's all on account of the miracle. They are mad with joy. Father Kirill keeps grunting "Oui, oui, oui." He vows that if he remains alive he'll swear off liquor and live as a hermit.

SAVVA (eyeing him)

Well?

FRIAR

That's all.

SAVVA

What do they say?

FRIAR

They say they'll do penance and stop sinning. They hug each other and behave as if they were drunk.

SAVVA (walking up and down, stroking his forehead with his hand) Yes, hm. So that's the way! Yes.

LIPA (following him with her eyes)

Go away from here, Savva. You are not wanted here.

SAVVA

What?

LIPA (reluctantly)

They may recognize you and then—Why don't you put on a hat at least? You look like—

FRIAR

Yes, go—please go—dear Mr. Savva. Why, they—why, they might kill you!

SAVVA (in a sudden outburst of anger)

Leave me alone! No one will kill me. It's bosh! (Pause. Sits down) I wish I could get a drink of water or something. I am very thirsty. Isn't there a pool or something of the kind around here?

FRIAR (looking in terror at Savva)

No, it's all dried up.

SAVVA (frowning)

Sorry.

FRIAR

Oh, that woman there has a jug of water. (Gleefully) I'll go and ask her for it. (Runs)

LIPA

You ought not to have that water. Go away from here, Savva, go away. Look what gladness there is all around you. Everybody, everything rejoices. The earth is glad. The sun is glad. You are the only one who is not—you alone. I still can't forget that you are my brother. Go. But wherever you go, bear with you the memory of this day always. Remember that the same fate awaits you everywhere. The earth will not surrender her God to you; the people will not surrender to you that whereby they live and breathe. Yesterday I still feared you. To-day I regard you with pity. You are pitiful, Savva! Go! Why are you laughing?

SAVVA (smiling)

Isn't it a little premature, sister, for you to be delivering my funeral oration?

LIPA

Aren't you frightened yet?

SAVVA

Why should I be frightened? At your tricks and jugglery? I am used to the lies and frauds, Lipa. You can't frighten me with them. I still have a lot of stupid confidence left. It will help. It will come in handy the next time.

LIPA

Savva!

FRIAR (bringing the jug of water)

I had the hardest time getting it from her. She was like flint. She said she needed it herself. She was a hard case.

SAVVA

Thank you, boy. (Drinks with avidity) Fine! (Drinks the last drop) That was fine water. Take it back and tell the woman her water was fine and that there is none like it in all the world.

FRIAR (merrily)

All right, I'll tell her. (Goes off)

LIPA (in a whisper)

You are the enemy of the human race.

SAVVA (smacking his lips)

Very well, very well. Just wait. We'll hear what Kondraty has to say. The blackguard! I'll give it to him!

LIPA (with emphasis, but still in a whisper as before)

You are the enemy of the human race! You are the enemy of the human race!

SAVVA

Louder! No one hears you. It's a spicy bit of information.

LIPA

Go away from here.

[The Friar returns.

SAVVA (looking into the distance with narrowed eyes)

It's nice out there, isn't it, Vassya? Whose woods are they? Vazykin's? Have I ever been there with you?

FRIAR (gleefully)

Yes, they're Vazykin's. I was there yesterday, Mr. Savva. I caught a whole handful of fireflies, but as I ran—(He grows sorrowful at the memory) My, how they are shouting! What are they up to anyway? Did you say they killed three, Mr. Tropinin? Was that what you said?

SAVVA (coolly)

Yes, three.

FRIAR

What are they pushing and jostling for anyhow? He'll be carried in the procession and they can all see Him.

SAVVA

When will they carry Him?

FRIAR (looking up)

It won't be long now.

LIPA

They'll sing "Christ is Arisen" to-day.

SAVVA (smiling)

Is that so? Didn't I arrange a feast-day for them though?

[Tony and Speransky appear.

FRIAR

Are these fellows here too? For goodness' sake, what do they want? What are they looking for? I don't like it. Mr. Tropinin, come; let's go away from here.

SAVVA

Why?

FRIAR

They are coming this way, Speransky—

SAVVA

Aha! The "Tramp of Death" is approaching.

[Lipa looks at him in astonishment. The Friar presses his hand to his bosom in a state of agitation.

FRIAR (plaintively)

What are you saying? Oh, God! Why did you say that? You mustn't do it. This is no tramp of death, nothing of the kind.

SAVVA

It's a kind of story he has written—Good morning, good morning. What can I do for you?

SPERANSKY

Mr. Anthony Tropinin is looking for you, Mr. Savva.

SAVVA

What do you want?

TONY (very sadly, hiding a little behind Speransky)

Nothing.

FRIAR (listening attentively and then speaking with passion) What are you running around for then, and whom are you hunting? If you want nothing, do nothing. But you are running around and hunting, hunting. It isn't nice, I tell you!

TONY (after a passing glance at the Friar he fixes his gaze on Savva) Savva.

SAVVA (irritated)

What do you want?

[Tony makes no answer, but hides behind Speransky, looking over his shoulder. In the course of what follows he keeps steadily looking at Savva. His lips and eyebrows twitch, and at times he presses both his hands hard against his mouth.

SPERANSKY

The crowd is in a state of great agitation, Miss Olympiada. They broke the old gate opening on the other side of the woods and rushed in. The Father Superior came out and asked them to behave. They shout so you can't hear anything at all. Many are rolling on the ground in convulsions. I suppose they are sick. It's very strange, quite unusual in fact.

LIPA

Will they carry Him out soon? I must go. (Rises)

SPERANSKY

They say it'll be soon now. One wagon with cripples in it was upset—cripples without hands or feet. They are lying on the ground crying. It's all so strange.

FRIAR

What? Did you see it yourself?

[Kondraty appears on the road coming from the monastery. He is walking in the company of two pilgrims, who are listening attentively to him. Catching sight of Savva, Kondraty says something to his companions, who remain standing where they are while he goes up to Savva.

SAVVA

Aha!

KONDRATY (clean, spruce, beaming)

Good morning, Miss Olympiada. Good morning to you too, Mr. Savva Tropinin.

SAVVA

Good morning, good morning. You have come after all? You were not afraid?

KONDRATY (calmly)

Why should I be afraid? You won't kill me, I suppose, and if you should, it would be sweet to die at your hands.

SAVVA

What bravery! And how clean you are! You are positively painful to look at. You didn't make quite so smart an appearance when you lay wallowing in the puddle. You were a little the worse for the mud, and so on.

KONDRATY (shrugging his shoulders and speaking with dignity) It's no use recalling that incident now. It's quite out of place. Mr. Tropinin, it's time for you to have done with your spite and malice, high time.

SAVVA

Well?

KONDRATY

That's all. There is no "well" about it. You have had your shot. Be satisfied.

SAVVA

Are congratulations upon the miracle in order?

KONDRATY

Yes, Mr. Tropinin, upon the miracle—the miracle, indeed. (He weeps with a bland air, wiping his face with his handkerchief) God granted that I should live to see the day.

SAVVA (rising and advancing a step toward the monk; peremptorily) Enough now! Stop your hocus-pocus. You have played your trick. Now stop, or I'll knock all that jugglery out of you. Do you hear?

FRIAR

Mr. Savva, good Mr. Savva, please don't.

KONDRATY (drawing back a little)

Not so loud, not so loud. We are not in the forest where you can kill rich merchants and get away with it. There are people here.

SAVVA (lowering his voice)

Well, tell me all about it. Come on.

KONDRATY

What's the use of going away? I can tell you everything right here. I have no secrets. It's you who have secrets. I am all here.

SAVVA

You'll lie if you tell it here.

KONDRATY (heatedly, with tears)

Shame, Mr. Tropinin! Shame! Shame! Why do you insult me? Is it because you saw me lying in the puddle? It's a sin, a shame!

SAVVA (perplexed)

What's the matter with you?

KONDRATY

Do you think I am going to lie on a day like this? Miss Olympiada, you at least ought to know—Good God! Good God! Why, Christ has just arisen! Do you understand?

[The crowd increases. Some cast glances at the group with the two monks before they pass on.

LIPA (excitedly)

Father Kondraty—

KONDRATY (beating his breast)

Do you understand? I have lived all my life like a scoundrel, so why, why did God do this with me? Do you understand, Miss Olympiada? Do you understand? Eh?

SAVVA (perplexed)

Talk sense. Stop blubbering.

KONDRATY (waving his hand)

I am not angry with you. I bear you no grudge. Who are you that I should bear any resentment against you?

SAVVA

Talk sense.

KONDRATY

I'll tell Miss Olympiada. I won't speak to you. You knew me as a drunkard, Miss Olympiada, a mean, worthless creature. Now listen. (To Speransky) And you, young man, may listen also. It will teach you a lesson. It will show you how God works His will unseen.

LIPA

I see, Father Kondraty. Forgive me.

KONDRATY

God will forgive you. Who am I to forgive you? So that's the way it was, Miss Olympiada. I followed your advice and went to the Father Superior with the infernal machine. It was indeed an infernal machine! And I told him everything, just the way I felt, with a perfect candor and purity of heart.

SPERANSKY (guessing)

Is that how it happened? What a remarkable event!

FRIAR (quietly)

Keep quiet. What are you butting in for?

KONDRATY

Ye-es. The Father Superior turned pale. "You scamp," he said, "do you know with whom you have had dealings?" "I do," I said, trembling all over. Well, they called together the whole brotherhood and discussed the matter in secret. And then the Father Superior said to me: "It's this way, Kondraty," he said. "God has chosen you as the instrument of His sacred will. Yes. (Weeps) God has chosen you as the instrument—"

LIPA

Well? Go on.

KONDRATY

Ye-es, hm. "Go," he said, "and put down the machine as you were told to do, and set it going according to the directions. Carry out the devil's plot in full. I and the other brothers will sing a hymn quietly as we carry the ikon away. Yes, that's what we'll do. We'll carry the ikon away. And thus the devil will be made a fool of."

SAVVA

Ah!

LIPA (astonished)

But, Father Kondraty, how can that be?

[Savva laughs heartily.

KONDRATY

Patience, patience, Miss Olympiada. "And when," said the Father Superior, "the devil's plot shall have been carried out, then we'll put the ikon—the dear, precious ikon—back in His place." Well, I won't attempt to describe the scene that took place when we carried the ikon away. It's beyond my power. The brothers sobbed and wept. Not one of them was able to sing. The little candles burned with tiny little flames. And then when we carried Him out to the gate, and when we began to think and remembered—who is now in His sacred place—we lay around the ikon, our faces on the ground, and cried and wept bitter, bitter tears, tears of pity and contrition. "O Thou, our own, our precious idol, have mercy on us, return to Thy place." (Lipa cries; the Friar wipes his eyes with his fist) And then—bang! went the machine, and the sulphurous smoke spread all around so that it was impossible to breathe. (In a whisper) And then many beheld the devil in the smoke, and they were so terrified that they lost consciousness. It was horrible! And then, as we carried Him back, all of one accord, as though we had agreed beforehand, began to sing "Christ is arisen." That's how it happened.

SAVVA

You hear, Lipa? But what's the matter with you? Why are you all crying?

FRIAR

It makes one feel so sorry, Mr. Savva.

SAVVA

Why, they fooled you, they played a trick on you. Or else you are all lying, lying with your tears.

[Kondraty makes a gesture of indifference.

LIPA (shaking her head, weeping)

No, Savva, you don't understand. Oh, Lord! Oh, Lord!

KONDRATY

You have no God, that's the reason you don't understand; You have only reason, and pride, and malice. That's why you don't understand. Ah, Mr. Savva, you wanted to ruin me too. And I tell you as a Christian—it would have been better if you had never been born.

SAVVA

Oh, fiddlesticks! Whom do you think you can hoodwink? Do you think I have turned blind?

KONDRATY (turning away with a wave of his hand)

You can shout as much as you like.

FRIAR

Mr. Savva, you mustn't shout, you mustn't. We have already attracted the attention of the crowd. They are looking at us.

SAVVA (laying his hand on Kondraty's shoulder and speaking in a low voice) Look here, I understand. Of course, in the presence of people—but you understand, don't you, Kondraty? You are a clever man, a very bright man. You understand that all this is nonsense. Just consider, brother, consider a moment. Didn't they carry the ikon away? Then where is the miracle?

KONDRATY (twisting himself free from Savva's grasp, shaking his head and speaking aloud) Then you don't understand? No, you don't understand. What of it?

SAVVA (in a whisper)

Listen, remember our talk.

KONDRATY (aloud)

Don't whisper to me. I have nothing to hide from anybody. How do you think miracles happen anyhow? Say, you are a smart man too, and yet you can't comprehend a simple matter like this. Why, it's all your work, all your doing, isn't it? You gave me the machine. You planned the explosion. Your orders have been carried out. And yet the ikon is untouched; it's whole. That's all I have to say. It's the plain, simple statement of fact. Yet you come here with your arguments and try to get away from those facts by mere reasoning.

LIPA (looking around in a paroxysm of excitement)

How simple it is! And how terrible! O Lord, O Lord! And to think that it was I who did it, I, with my own hands! O my God! (She falls on her knees, turning her eyes toward heaven)

SAVVA (looking at her savagely, then at Kondraty)

Well!

KONDRATY (drawing back in fright)

Why are you staying here? Why haven't you left already?

SAVVA (shouting)

What a —— fool you are!

KONDRATY (paling)

Lower, lower, I say. Don't talk like that, or I'll shout.

SAVVA (turning quickly toward Speransky)

What are you staring at with your mouth wide open? You are a philosopher. You, you are a philosopher. Can you understand the stupidity of these people? They think it's a miracle. (Laughs) They think it's a miracle.

SPERANSKY (stepping back)

Excuse me, Mr. Tropinin, but from their point of view—I don't know.

SAVVA

You don't know?

SPERANSKY

Who does know? (Cries out, in despair) The dead alone, Mr. Savva, the dead alone.

KONDRATY

Ah! You are cornered—Antichrist!

LIPA (in terror)

Antichrist?

[Hearing the cry, the two pilgrims who were with Kondraty approach. They are gradually joined by others, among whom is the Man in Peasant Overcoat.

FIRST PILGRIM

What is it, father? Has he revealed himself?

KONDRATY

Look at him, look at him!

SAVVA

Vassya, you dear, fine boy—Vassya, what is the matter with them? Hear what they are saying. Hear the nonsense they are talking. You good, nice boy!

FRIAR (drawing back)

Mr. Savva, don't, don't. Go away from here. Leave this place.

SAVVA

Vassya, Vassya, you, you—

FRIAR (crying)

But I don't know. I don't know anything. I am afraid.

LIPA (ecstatically)

Antichrist! Antichrist!

SECOND PILGRIM

Hear! Hear!

KONDRATY

Ah! You are cornered. Here is your money—take it! It has burned holes in my pockets, your accursed money. Here, take it, take it, you brood of Antichrist! (Throws the money at him)

SAVVA (raising his fist as if to deal a blow) I'll teach you—

FIRST PILGRIM

Boys, don't be afraid. Here boys, here!

SAVVA (pressing his head between his hands)

Oh, it hurts, it hurts! Darkness is closing in.

KONDRATY

It's beginning to get you, is it? That's right, that's right.

LIPA

Antichrist!

TONY (shouting)

Savva, Savva!

SAVVA (sinking for a moment into profound, terrible meditation; then he straightens himself suddenly and seems to grow in stature; he cries out with a wild joy as if speaking above the heads of all to reach somebody far off) I am right! Therefore I am right! It was all necessary! All! All! (He stands as if petrified in an upward-striving posture)

KONDRATY

Boys, it's he who did it. That's the fellow.

MAN IN OVERCOAT (pushing himself forward, officiously)

What's the matter, boys? Aha! He is caught! Which one? This one? Come on with you! (Takes hold of Savva by the sleeve)

SAVVA (shaking him off with such violence that the man falls down) Get away from me!

VOICES

Don't let him go!

KONDRATY

Hold him!

FRIAR (crying)

Run, Mr. Savva, run.

[During the following scene Lipa prays. Speransky looks on with keen curiosity, while Tony stares over his shoulder. All the voices become blended into one raging, frightened, savage roar.

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