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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 146 pages of information about Savva and the Life of Man.

—­Do you remember?

—­You’re going to die soon—­do you remember?

—­Do you remember?

[The dance grows brisker, the movements sharper.  Strange, whining notes mingle into the singing of the Old Women.  An equally strange laugh passes around the circle of dancers, suppressed and quiet at first.  As each one glides past Man, she flings an abrupt whisper into his ear

—­Do you remember?

—­Do you remember?

—­How gentle!  How exquisite!

—­What balm to the soul!  Do you remember?

—­You’re going to die soon, you’re going to die soon.

—­You’re going to die soon—­

—­Do you remember?

[They circle more quickly, their movements growing still more abrupt.  Suddenly there is silence and they halt.  The musicians grow rigid with the instruments in their hands.  The dancers remain fixed in the game position in which they were when the silence fell.  Man rises, straightens himself, throws back his gray, beautiful, terribly majestic head, and calls out in a surprisingly loud voice, full of sorrow and wrath.  After each short phrase a brief but profound pause follows.

MAN

Where is my squire?  Where is my sword?  Where is my shield?  I am disarmed!  Come to me quick!  Quick!  Be accurs—­

[He sinks down on the chair and dies, his head falling backward.  At the same moment the candle flares up brightly and goes out.  All objects are buried in a dense twilight which seems to be descending the stairs until it gradually covers everything.  The face of dead Man alone remains bright.  Low, vague conversation, whisperings and derisive mockery are heard from the Old Women.

SOMEONE IN GRAY

Silence!  Man has died!

[Profound silence.  Then the same cold, indifferent voice repeats from a remote depth, like an echo

Silence!  Man has died!

[Profound silence.  The twilight thickens, but the mice-like figures of the Old Women are still seen standing rigid.  Presently they begin to circle about the dead body mutely, quietly; then they begin to sing softly, and the musicians begin to play.  The gloom thickens, the music and the song grow louder and louder, and the wild dance grows more unrestrained, until finally it ceases to be a dance, the Old Women merely whirling about the dead man arm in arm, stamping their feet, screeching, and laughing a wild, prolonged laugh.  Complete darkness descends.  Only the face of Man is still lighted up.  Then this light too is extinguished.  Black impenetrable darkness prevails.

In the darkness are heard the movements of the mad dancers, their screeching and laughter, and the discordant, desperately loud sounds of the music.  Just when they have reached their highest pitch, all the sounds and noises withdraw rapidly somewhere and die away.  Stillness._

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