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    The Fourth Act

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    Chapter 5
    Previous Chapter
    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.

    CROWD

    Get at him from that side! Yes, go yourself! You have a stick! Oh, hang it, there isn't a single stone around! Hold him, hold him, he'll escape!

    MAN IN OVERCOAT (getting to his feet again and assuming the leadership) Surround him, boys, surround him! Block the way to the river! Don't let him run away! Well, now, get a move on you!

    CROWD

    Go yourself--I've tried once! Push that way! Get hold of him! Grab him! Aha!

    KONDRATY (shouting at the top of his voice)

    Beat him! Beat the Antichrist! Beat him!

    SAVVA (the danger brings him back to his senses. He looks around, takes in the path to the river with a quick glance, and gray as dust with rage, he makes for it with a single abrupt movement) Get out of the way, you monsters!

    CROWD

    He is getting away! He is getting away! Hold him! Boys, he is getting away! He is getting away!

    [As Savva advances, the crowd falls back in a semicircle, tumbling against one another. Kondraty begins to make the sign of the cross at Savva and continues to do so throughout the remaining scene.

    SAVVA (advancing)

    Get out of the way! Get out of the way! So you're scared now, you dogs? You've pulled in your tails? Get out of the way! Go on!

    CROWD

    He is getting away.

    [King Herod issues from the crowd, and plants himself in front of Savva so as to obstruct his way. There is a terrible look on his face. Savva comes up close to him and stops.

    SAVVA

    Well?

    [A brief pause. The conversation is carried on in a sort of undertone, almost calmly.

    KING HEROD

    Is that you?

    SAVVA

    Is that you? Let me go.

    KING HEROD

    A man?

    SAVVA

    Yes, let me go.

    KING HEROD

    Did you want the Saviour? Christ?

    SAVVA

    They fooled you.

    KING HEROD

    People may fool, Christ never. What's your name?

    SAVVA

    Savva. Get out of my way, I tell you.

    KING HEROD

    Surrender Thy servant Savva. Hold!

    [He strikes a heavy, swinging blow with his left fist whence Savva did not expect an attack. Savva sinks on one knee. The crowd rushes at him and tramples him down.

    CROWD

    Beat him! Aha! So! He is turning back! Beat him!

    FRIAR

    What does this mean? Oh! Oh! Oh! (He clutches his head with both hands, cries, and runs away)

    SAVVA (fighting desperately, he appears for a moment looking fierce and terrible) Let go--Ho-o-o! (He sinks back again)

    CROWD

    That's the way. One, two--Ah! Strike! Got him? Not yet! Got him? What are you waiting for? Strike! Done!

    A VOICE

    He's still moving.

    CROWD

    Strike!

    MAN IN OVERCOAT

    Peter, got a knife? Finish him with your knife. Cut his throat.

    PETER

    No, I'd rather do it with my heel. One! Two!

    KONDRATY (cursing him)

    Lord Jesus Christ! Lord Jesus Christ!

    [Loud cries are heard from the background: "They are carrying Him! They are carrying Him!" The mob begins to disperse and thins out quickly.

    CROWD

    They are carrying Him! Yes, it's enough. It's done. No, let me at him--once more. There! I gave him one good one in his face. They are carrying Him! They are carrying Him!

    KING HEROD

    Enough, enough. A grand feast for you, you accursed beasts!

    CROWD

    I tell you, they are carrying Him! Lie there, you! Oh my, am I going to be late? Enough now. Are you sorry for him, eh? Is it your head? One more! Come on!

    [They run away so that Savva's mangled body becomes visible.

    MAN IN OVERCOAT

    It ought to be taken away from here. It isn't right to leave it here on the road. It's dirty. Boys! Say, boys!

    [He goes off following the rest, but is met by the procession pouring in upon the stage. There is a great din and humming of talk. Speransky and Tony approach the body cautiously, bend over it on their knees, one on each side, and stare at it eagerly.

    SPERANSKY

    Dead! His eyes are gone.

    TONY

    Shut up! (He bursts into a groaning laugh, pressing his hands hard to his mouth)

    SPERANSKY

    But his face is calm. Look, Mr. Anthony. It's because now he knows the truth.

    TONY

    Shut up! (Bursts out laughing) What a funny face he has!

    [He laughs behind his hand. Then his laugh bursts through his fingers, so to speak, grows in intensity, becomes irresistible, and passes into a whine. The crowd begins to fill the stage, concealing the body, Speransky, and Tony. The bells are rung in the monastery as at Easter, and at the same time the singing of thousands of voices is heard.

    CROWD

    "Christ is risen from the dead. He has conquered death with death and given life to those lain in their graves. Christ--"

    LIPA (flinging herself into the crowd)

    "Christ is risen!"

    [The crowd continues to pour in, filling the entire stage. Gaping mouths and round, wide-open eyes are seen everywhere. Shrill shrieks are uttered by the crazed epileptics. A momentary outcry is heard: "Somebody crushed!" Tony's laughter dies away somewhere. The triumphant hymn rises, spreads, passes into a titanic roar that drowns every other sound. The bells continue to ring.

    CROWD (shouting at their utmost power)

    "Christ is risen from the dead. He has conquered death with death and given life to those lain in their graves. Christ is risen--"

    CURTAIN

    THE END.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *
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